What Does God Want?

Two of the most famous miracles performed by Jesus were the feeding of five thousand and walking on water to comfort his fearful disciples. In the book of John, the morning after he had performed these miracles, Jesus had a conversation with a group of people whom he fed the day before. Jesus’ response to a simple question hit me between the eyes like a pop up mole in a carnival whack-a-mole game.

People, witnessing and experiencing the miracles of Jesus began following him, even getting in boats and crossing a lake to find him. But Jesus saw through their actions to their hearts. After holding them accountable to following him because he gave them something (food) Jesus told them to not seek the perishable, but to seek the eternal life that comes from him. What followed is the exchange above.


Most of my life as a believer I have struggled to make decisions because I desperately want to do what God wants me to do; however, I over think and get in my own way. What God wants is really very simple. Believe in the one he has sent.

Humans muddy the waters, but Jesus cuts right to the heart of what is important. I do believe. I also work at the relationship; I learn, I read, and I listen. Then, no matter where I go or what I do I know I am pleasing God.

Don’t overthink…believe. Believe as little children believe.

~Sheryl

Fear, Sparrows and Me

What do these things have in common? Jesus spoke about them all in the twelfth chapter of Luke. Well, he didn’t speak about me personally, rather he was speaking to his disciples. However, all who believe he is the Son of God; God made flesh who walked the earth then was persecuted and executed only to rise in three days to complete his purpose then ascended into heaven, we, too are his disciples. So what did he say?

Fear

I live with anxiety. I take medication so the symptoms are under control but my mind still can grab a hold of some thought or situation and go crazy creating scenarios that are not real. They are products of my imagination. Jesus very clearly says “Don’t be afraid. Do not worry.” So why do we live in fear?

It is one of the subjects spoken of the most in the Bible. I think it is because God knew that humanity, separate from Him, would try to survive on their own. Think of a small child who wants to venture out into the world, but is cautious; they will only go where their parent goes to keep them safe. Without God’s presence the world is a very scary place.

Sparrows & Me

Sparrows seem like happy little birds. They hop around urban areas scavenging for food and zip about in the sky from bush to bush hiding from predators. I have always taken great joy in watching sparrows go about their business.

Jesus uses sparrows to teach us how much we are loved and that God is with us always. As great teachers do, he used ordinary things to illustrate his message. Sparrows are small, prolific, commonplace and in the food chain, fairly helpless.

Maybe it is the small and helpless part of this that strikes so close to home for me. I am small and helpless – literally, I am a small person with little ability to protect myself. But I know that God loves me more than the sparrows and “the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.” This verse, Luke 12:7, is not the only time sparrows are used to show us how valuable we are to God. With a love like that is it no wonder that we are told over and over, “Do not worry.”

Worry = Broken Connection

Whenever I find myself worrying about the future…what I should do or where I should go, how will something work out…I know I have become disconnected. Worry comes when I have let go of Jesus’ hand and begun relying on my own knowledge and wisdom. Just like that toddler who must have their parent with them to feel safe and secure, I must stay connected to Jesus. He is my everything; he is my savior, role model, teacher, comforter and Lord. Without him my life has no value or meaning.

So, I start my day here and know that what comes next will all work for my own good no matter what that may be.

Blessings to you and those you love. ~Sheryl

Life Inside My Head

The morning sun casts a golden glow across the landscape of my backyard. The sky prepares for the new day with a color that is reminiscent of sapphires. Soon dawn will give way to daylight causing the deep, rich blue to fade like a pair of jeans after years of wear. A new day has begun. A new day of a new week. What lies ahead? I know I must step out into the world to find out. No more staying home and pretending. Thus begins the internal dialogue.

Morning Rituals

I reach for my coffee cup. It is empty. Time for the next step in my morning ritual. First cup of coffee means writing my morning pages. The dumping ground for all the crap that circles around in my head. I need that place to rid myself of so many random and distracting thoughts. “What did I do before morning pages?” I mutter as I head back to the kitchen for my second dose of delicious, hot caffeine.

Morning ritual number two is coffee and 200 mg of Sertraline, which is the real secret to my sanity. My mind is an interesting place to live. And I live in my head. I live several lives in my head; not in the multiple personality kind of of way, but in a fantastical, what if kind of way. One day I dream of a quiet life in a small town and the next I am craving the excitement of big city living. The only life I no longer dream of is a rural farm life. I have come to grips with the reality that I was born in a city for a reason and until HGTV made so many different lifestyles look attractive, I never considered the rural life. It looks romantic and fun on television but the reality is that it is filled with the kinds of wildlife I really prefer not having as neighbors and the work is hard and dirty. I have the greatest admiration for those who are made of sturdier stock than myself and can live that life. I know my limitations.

While I don’t want to live a rural lifestyle, I need regular doses of nature to feel connected and whole. That is the reason I am headed to my personal getaway this week. I think I could live anywhere if I had ways to reconnect with non master planned nature. There are so many state parks in this country I would love to visit. I have a plan, but it must be strategized and implemented carefully so that I don’t send my husband into his corner to prepare for the boxing match of dreams.

Fear Of Decisiveness

I look around the suburban home I have lived in for 33 years, contemplating the last segment of life. I am a realist. I understand that I am living in the latter years of my life, and while I am not giving up to sit and rock – although I do love a good upholstered swivel rocking chair – I am likely making choices that will dictate where and how I live for the rest of my life. “We are only moving once” were the emphatic words of my husband when I discussed possibilities that would enable us to have the best of all worlds. Again I remind myself to “pick your battles” and retreat from this discussion.

I have no answers. I wish I had a crystal ball and knew definitively what we are supposed to do. So many people our age move closer to their kids and grandkids yet we are considering moving further away. In this modern age of connectivity we don’t have to fear loosing contact or being left out of each other’s lives by the distance between our homes. And yet…old fears of being alone crop up from my subconscious. These fears and doubts make me fearful and anxious. When I am fearful and anxious I attempt to fix all the ‘problems’ myself. It is as if when I put them in a box and tie a ribbon around them life will be perfect and all will work out just like in every fairy tale ever told. That, however, is not real life.

Tune To The Right Station

Real life is living each day being tuned in to God who doesn’t dictate a path but rather allows us to make choices and then learn from those choices. I am not a believer in cosmic fate; a predestined life that only has one outcome. That is terrifying. I know I would see something sparkling then wander off my path in search of the magic jewel and end up in whatever version of hell might really exist. It is much more comforting to know that God loves and guides. There are many paths that each life can travel, some better than others, but it isn’t an all or nothing game. Thank goodness.

So, when I get my brain into a tizzy over the future, I need to remember to step back and just live today. Go out into the world and make the best of today and let tomorrow take care of itself. And so, here I go.

Beetle Mania

I bought my first VW Beetle in 1977. I had just finished medical assisting school and had my first real full time job. Still living at home with no real expenses I saved until I could pay for my own car. Adulting, as we now call it, had begun.

Origins Of The Passion

My first VW Beetle experience was riding with our family friend Joey Okura. She was my Girl Scout leader who became a close friend of my mother then our families became close; their oldest son my first crush, daughter a friend, and youngest son the family clown who always made me laugh. I cherish them to this day.

Joey loved her Beetle. I know of at least one engine replacement and who knows what else was done to keep that car running. I don’t know what color it originally was, but I do remember it being a shade of green. Back then there was a handle on the passenger side of the car above the glove box. My mom still recounts “hanging on for dear life” as Joey zipped all over town.

My best friend at the time had a Beetle. We met while working at the Brookhurst Theater in Anaheim, California. She and I went places together in her car and I knew that I would one day own one as well.

1971 Super Beetle

I had money in the bank and was tired of driving the 1966 Chevy Impala (a car, that today I wish I still owned) that had been our family car for the past eleven years. I wanted something that was “me.” I scoured the newspaper ads and came across not necessarily the Beetle of my dreams, but a Beetle for my budget. I paid $1,100 for it and writing that check…well, it might as well have been a million dollars. What I drove home was a beige 1971 Super Beetle. Of course it had no air conditioning and even with the windows rolled down I can remember how hot and sweaty I got sitting on those vinyl seats. Nonetheless, I was smitten.

I didn’t have this car very long. Within the year I traded it in for marriage and a life in Texas where air conditioning is a matter of survival. The marriage lasted seven years; the Beetle infection, however, has endured to this day.

The road of life sometimes feels like a dead end street. Yet other times that same road is long and narrow, only two lanes and I’m stuck behind a tractor traveling twenty miles per hour. And then there are the times when life zips along at the posted speed, the music is playing and the scenery is beautiful. Life is good.

All of these are part of God’s plan for our lives. I have come to understand and appreciate all of them for what they teach me about life, faith, fear, and joy. Potholes and bumps in the road are a certainty; it is how I let it affect my life that matters. God is in the driver’s seat of my life, I just need to remember the let go of the wheel.

Tomorrow I will continue the saga of my Beetle Mania. Until then, I pray for you peace on your journey through life.

Antidote For Social Hysteria

I got off schedule. I let myself get so busy that I didn’t do the one thing that I promised myself I would do every day: write this blog. But rather than beat myself up, I’m here. Sitting at my desk, looking at my dandelion print and seeking that little seed to send off into the world today.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about all the voices in the world. So many people, thoughts and opinions with a multitude of ways to express every single idea. How can one possibly make sense of all this? And, here I am…just one more voice vying for a place in your life. But there is a difference between what I strive for here and what happens in so much of the social media world; I am not here to tell you what to think or do, I am here to share how I cope with the hysteria of the world and point to the One who is really in control.

The Spread of Hysteria

News stories about terrorism, disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and other potential threats become increasingly negative, inaccurate and hysterical when passed from person to person, according to new research by the University of Warwick.

http://www.sciencedaily.com

It should come to no surprise that hysteria amongst humans is highly contagious. In a story from Science Daily we learn some interesting truths. The most telling one is also something I have heard from other studies as well. It seems that once we humans latch on to an idea or a belief simply being given the facts is not enough to change our deeply held position.

In every chain, stories about dreaded topics became increasingly more negative, and biased toward panic and fear as it was passed from person to person — and crucially, this effect was not mitigated when the original unbiased facts were reintroduced.

The original neutral information had virtually no effect on reducing people’s increasingly negative outlook.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180607101010.htm

Isn’t this fascinating? Once we have accepted information as truth our brains are seemingly unable to move back and recognize facts. That is, our brains alone are incapable of accepting the truth. There is a way and that is how I survive the increasingly chaotic world we live in today.

Through Jesus I have God’s Holy Spirit through whom I have access to the God of Truth. When my natural mind can no longer handle the craziness I know where to go. I don’t have to panic because God has all this under control and all I have to do is be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

In the simple act of being still and listening for God to give me clarity I also receive peace. In the case of Corona Virus, I take the precautions but I don’t wring my hands or clutch my pearls over stepping out in public. I simply don’t buy into the hysteria surrounding the virus. It is real. It can kill—a small percentage of the population—but it isn’t the end of the world. Politicians and the news media all have something to gain from telling this story in a certain way.

I choose a different path. I choose God whose peace passes all understanding. The only way to maintain this peace is to spend quiet time with God and turn off everything else. Guard your mind and heart with all your might. Dwell on good things and find peace. That is my prayer for you today and always.