We are so busy accumulating possessions that the storage business is BIG business. Even amid the minimalism movement, we still buy, store and buy some more. Don’t get me wrong, I love my stuff like everyone else. I particularly love my electronic devices, books as well as art and needlework supplies. The daily use of these things give me pleasure. But are they necessary? No. But they sure make life more fun.
I am writing this blog post from a booth at a breakfast restaurant. Thanks to technology I can take a Bible with me everywhere I go. An app for my blogging platform allows me to snap a picture and write whenever the spirit moves me. This is a wonderful thing. I never know when God is going to move my heart and I don’t have to risk forgetting; I can share anytime, anywhere.
I know that God is with me always…but now I can spontaneously share where He leads and what He is teaching…and so can you!
For more years than I can recall, my soul has longed to write. I start blogs, then I give up. I journal for a while then I give up. Why? Fear…fear of what might happen if I succeeded and the expectations that come with that success.
We all have those things that cry out from the depths of our souls; passions, drives, those themes that seem to recur regularly as we travel the path of life. I believe we are all created to add to and make this world a better place. Our lives are not without purpose or value. God placed us here at a certain time and in a certain place for a reason. Ours is to stay connected so that we may live out that higher purpose and complete the task we were assigned.
Don’t get caught up in the idea that only big things count as callings. Being a kind and caring person to all you meet, while important for all of us, some folks just seem to effortlessly be at the right place to help. And in so doing, they fulfill their calling. It is the simple things. It is act of doing what you feel most strongly about in a way that fulfills your spirit and makes the world a better place.
Conquering The Fear
My Fear Monster has controlled my life for too long. I may never get published, but I will write. However, writing is not my calling. Writing, the art and craft of using words for a specific purpose, is the vehicle for my calling. Every job, task, or activity that has had meaning and provided me with a sense of fulfillment have all shared one commonality. In all things I was able to help others. Professionally I was a nurse, an assistant teacher, church receptionist, and shop owner. I am a dismal businesswoman, but I excel at assisting and guiding people. I tried to stay in business for the mere purpose of selling items I had made. I hate it. I have to force myself to do it; thus I fail. My calling isn’t making and selling. I can do it but it robs my soul of joy. From the day forward I choose joy over fear.
So, how to find and live out your purpose? In a word, listen. In the stillness of the early morning light, quiet your mind, and listen. Listen for that still small voice inside. It takes practice to be fully quiet and present, but keep trying. Just a few minutes a day is all it takes. Give yourself this gift. First thing in the morning before the rest of the world wakes up, take time to listen.
Ritual, as a part of focusing the mind to hear and listen (yes, they are different), is important. Small things we do to prepare alert our mind that something special is about to happen. I am not great at setting up and keeping rituals. I love the idea but in practice am not great at it.
I finally have my desk area set up and this is now where I spend my mornings. I light my candle, sip my coffee, read from my Bible and devotional books, write by hand in a journal and I listen. I wait. Because that still small voice may not arrive today, but it will arrive and when it does I want to be ready. Ready to hear and respond.
I believe there is an inner longing and purpose inside each of us. If only we, as human beings, would spend as much time looking inward to become better people as we do looking outward at what others are doing (or not doing), the good would soon outweigh the bad and the world would really be a beautiful place to live.
We recently added to our family. A bouncy, happy, always loving little four legged family member moved in a few months ago. Belle has been a member of our extended family since she was eight weeks old; this was her first home after leaving her mom. She belonged to our daughter and when she left, Belle went with her.
Life is a fluid thing. Nothing ever stays the same for long—change is a constant. When faced with moving to an apartment we were asked to take Belle in for a short time. The inevitable happened, we both became attached. Actually, all three of us became attached. Her visit became permanent. Our daughter and her family decided to allow Belle to live here and they will adopt another dog who is better suited to living with children.
Our dog Maggie has ever only played with one dog and that dog is Belle. Maggie is an old soul who never learned to play as a puppy and was damaged goods when we rescued her eight years ago. She has always welcomed Belle back into her home and willingly shared all she has with her. Belle, who has now become a bit grumpy with other dogs, likewise is generous with Maggie. They are a match made in heaven.
Belle has a very specific schedule. Every morning between 5:45-6:00 she is ready to get up and is not shy about letting me know she is awake. First a couple little whimpers, then a kiss or two on my arm. If I do not respond she becomes a tad more vocal and persistent. So as to not wake hubby I get up and begin my day; I am thankful for my new alarm clock.
You see, this has always been my best time of day but since “retirement” I have allowed myself to just wake whenever or stay in bed longer than necessary. Once up I am not one to go back to bed. Belle has forced me to face the day while it is still dark outside. Dark and silent.
After seeing to the needs of the dogs, I make my first cup of coffee and sit in my Victorian wing back chair in a corner of my studio. A small lamp illuminates just this area. I am not ready for overhead lights. I wish to enter the day slowly, thoughtfully, and with just enough light to be able to read a Scripture for meditation. Once I have read it a couple of times—or as many as necessary—I turn off the light, close my eyes and ponder what I have read. Some of the pondering is active and some is passive. I think about a word or a phrase and then I wait. I wait on the Lord of move my spirit in the desired direction.
In the silence of the early morning I hear the world waking up. The birds, an occasional squirrel running across the roof, then there are the cars and other signs of life around me. But through it all my mind and spirit are resting, listening, anticipating. I know that it is here that I feel the peace and the presence of God. I really don’t want this time to end.
I keep a journal, a sketchbook, pencil, pens and watercolors on the table with my Bible and a book that guides my meditations. More on that book next week. My time alone with God is not finished until I have recorded something in my sketchbook. It is a private and visual record of what I heard in the silence. This is a new practice for me and one that has already become my sacred time. Before I know it two hours has gone by and I am ready to tackle the rest of my day.
May you find your own sacred time and practice. Until Monday have a blessed and healthy weekend.
Out of sight, out of mind. That sums up my brain most of the time. I set things down and don’t give them another thought until one day I need it, and, well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty. I’m worse with things I hear but don’t see. I don’t know about you but when I focus on the crazy things happening in the world I begin to think that what I see is the only reality. What a horrible existence. Thankfully, I know that there is more going on than meets the eye.
What Is The Real Battle?
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
It is so easy to look with the eyes and not the heart. With our eyes we see people fighting for a cause they passionately believe in, refusing to hear or see alternative views. It is so human to make judgements and take sides. We see violence, destruction and the rejection of all forms of authority. It seems frightening, like the world is “going to hell in a hand basket.” When this overwhelms me, I just stop and remember that I am never alone. I have the power of God and the victory over evil through faith in Jesus Christ.
So, I turn off the television news. I listen to music that soothes my spirit and enriches my mind. I pray. And I go about my life looking for those little moments God gives me to speak in love. Not everyone will understand. And that is OK. I have done my job. I am at peace.
May your day be filled with the things that bring joy and peace to your soul…
In 1976 I went to school to become a medical assistant. Among the skills we learned was how to count red blood cells in a sample of blood. I loved this glimpse into the microscopic world. My fascination with minutia continues to this day. There is magic that exists beyond what can be seen with the eyes alone.
This fascination can be seen in my “Organic Crochet” style of fiber art. I love to create, with yarn and a hook, the kinds of shapes and textures found just beyond the surface in nature.
There is a wealth of beauty around us, the key to is to look…really look beyond what the eye can see and the ear can hear. The key is to take the time and effort to really see and hear. Watch and and really see without preconceived ideas. Hear and really listen not merely to what is said, but the emotions underlying the words. Dig beyond the superficial and discern for yourself what you truly believe and hold dear.
I believe that if we treat each individual we encounter in this manner, treating them with kindness, patience, and respect unless proved otherwise, our world would be a much happier and peaceful place.
I serve a loving, omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly just God. I pray each day to have the eyes that see and ears that hear. He sees and knows all. He understands the hearts and minds of mankind and I trust that when I am connected to him in this way, he works through me to be the kind and accepting person I am called to be.
Until tomorrow I pray for you to have eyes that see and ears that hear….