Giving Up

As we come to the end of Lent and approach Holy Friday, I am meditating on what Jesus gave up for me and what I have given up for Him this Lenten season.

I’ve given up trying to figure things out on my own. I’ve given up worrying about people and events I cannot control. I’ve given up expecting my loved ones to behave in a certain way and trying to understand why people act the way they do. I’ve given up control and direction of my life to the Lord in all areas. I guess you would call that surrendering. Waving the white flag and saying “Lord, I give up. I give my life to you. I’ve tried doing things my way, but have failed miserably. Proverbs 21 says ” A man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ surrendered himself in the most dramatic way – He gave up His very life for us: for all our sins, past, present, and future. He didn’t have to do that. He CHOSE to do that for us, because He loves us so very much.

If Jesus can hang on a cross and give up his life for me, what can I give up for Him in this short life of mine? How I can surrender my will more to the Father’s? Isn’t that what love is all about anyway? As St. Francis puts it, “It is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.” Dying to ourselves so that others may live.

Lord, my prayer is to make me more like your Son, Jesus. Help me to surrender to you, Lord, and give me the wisdom to know your will and the courage to obey. Amen.

Have a blessed Holy Week.

Giving Up

As we come to the end of Lent and approach Holy Friday, I am meditating on what Jesus gave up for me and what I have given up for Him this Lenten season.

I’ve given up trying to figure things out on my own. I’ve given up worrying about people and events I cannot control. I’ve given up expecting my loved ones to behave in a certain way and trying to understand why people act the way they do. I’ve given up control and direction of my life to the Lord in all areas. I guess you would call that surrendering. Waving the white flag and saying “Lord, I give up. I give my life to you. I’ve tried doing things my way, but have failed miserably. Proverbs 21 says ” A man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ surrendered himself in the most dramatic way – He gave up His very life for us: for all our sins, past, present, and future. He didn’t have to do that. He CHOSE to do that for us, because He loves us so very much.

If Jesus can hang on a cross and give up his life for me, what can I give up for Him in this short life of mine? How I can surrender my will more to the Father’s? Isn’t that what love is all about anyway? As St. Francis puts it, “It is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.” Dying to ourselves so that others may live.

Lord, my prayer is to make me more like your Son, Jesus. Help me to surrender to you, Lord, and give me the wisdom to know your will and the courage to obey. Amen.

Have a blessed Holy Week.

Keeping the Faith

Speaking of having faith in others, while I’m at it, I might as well have a little faith in myself. After all, I am a child of God, right? Now it’s only human to doubt from time to time if we are really hearing from God or not. Let me share an experience that happened this week to encourage you to have faith in yourself and that God is indeed leading you.

Recently I have been wondering whether I should continue this whole blog/writing thing. The desire of my heart always has been to be an encouragement to others, and a few years ago I felt called to write. By God’s grace I was able to put this blog together all by myself. Occasionally, I will get a comment from someone and that keeps me going, but most of the time, I don’t really know if anyone is reading these blog entries or not. So I signed up for a blog class at a local college and was so excited about learning how to do this.

Maybe I’ll learn how to put a counter on the thing so I’d know if people are reading it.

Wouldn’t you know it – the class was cancelled! Bummer.

Lord, is this you telling me not to pursue this blog thing?

Yesterday, I was reading my Bible and doing my devotions. My reading was from Habakkuk. The words from Habakkuk 2:2 jumped out at me “Write my answer on tablets so that it is clear and plain to see.” Wow! This was the very same verse from a writers’ conference I went to over the summer. God was confirming what He wanted me to do.

So tonight, I sat down at my computer to try once again to figure out how to put a counter on this blogsite. I found some free code, and after several tries, I finally found the right place to put the code and not get an error. I was amazed that it seemed like it’s working.

Now this might seem like a small thing to you, but for me to know that God is helping me, guiding me, and cares about me in this endeavor is a big thing for me.

What has God told you to do recently, dear one? Trust that you are indeed hearing His voice and keep the faith. Ask God to show you the next right thing to do and then “Just do it!” as the Nike ad says.

As it says in Habukkuk, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

Keeping the Faith

Speaking of having faith in others, while I’m at it, I might as well have a little faith in myself. After all, I am a child of God, right? Now it’s only human to doubt from time to time if we are really hearing from God or not. Let me share an experience that happened this week to encourage you to have faith in yourself and that God is indeed leading you.

Recently I have been wondering whether I should continue this whole blog/writing thing. The desire of my heart always has been to be an encouragement to others, and a few years ago I felt called to write. By God’s grace I was able to put this blog together all by myself. Occasionally, I will get a comment from someone and that keeps me going, but most of the time, I don’t really know if anyone is reading these blog entries or not. So I signed up for a blog class at a local college and was so excited about learning how to do this.

Maybe I’ll learn how to put a counter on the thing so I’d know if people are reading it.

Wouldn’t you know it – the class was cancelled! Bummer.

Lord, is this you telling me not to pursue this blog thing?

Yesterday, I was reading my Bible and doing my devotions. My reading was from Habakkuk. The words from Habakkuk 2:2 jumped out at me “Write my answer on tablets so that it is clear and plain to see.” Wow! This was the very same verse from a writers’ conference I went to over the summer. God was confirming what He wanted me to do.

So tonight, I sat down at my computer to try once again to figure out how to put a counter on this blogsite. I found some free code, and after several tries, I finally found the right place to put the code and not get an error. I was amazed that it seemed like it’s working.

Now this might seem like a small thing to you, but for me to know that God is helping me, guiding me, and cares about me in this endeavor is a big thing for me.

What has God told you to do recently, dear one? Trust that you are indeed hearing His voice and keep the faith. Ask God to show you the next right thing to do and then “Just do it!” as the Nike ad says.

As it says in Habukkuk, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

Have a Little Faith

This week I have been contemplating the issue of faith. I have been told I have a lot of faith. But do I really? When it comes down to the core issues and people in my life, how do I respond?

The Bible says each of us has been given a measure of faith (Rom 12:3). Like a muscle, though, we must exercise our faith for it to grow. In order to live well, it is important to learn to walk by faith and not by sight.

It seems I trust God when it comes to some things, but not in others. Perhaps I am spending too much energy trying to “do” things that please God and not enough time listening, trusting, and believing. I have worn myself out at different times in my life and I am beginning to understand how – by not trusting God to work in others and by trying to do too much in my own strength.

Rom 4:4 says “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” In other words, God sees us as righteous, not because of all our good works, but because of our faith and trust in Him. While I may be thinking I am pleasing God, I am saddened to realize that this does not please God at all. Scripture says that all my good works are like filthy rags (Is.64:6)

From now on, I am going to listen to my sons when they tell me “Have a little faith, Ma!” and really take it to heart and stop trying so hard to make things happen. I am going to expect a positive outcome even when I don’t see it at the present moment. Faith is pulling the dreams of tomorrow into our today and that is exactly what I am going to do. How about you, beloved? Today will you have a little more faith?

Have a Little Faith

This week I have been contemplating the issue of faith. I have been told I have a lot of faith. But do I really? When it comes down to the core issues and people in my life, how do I respond?

The Bible says each of us has been given a measure of faith (Rom 12:3). Like a muscle, though, we must exercise our faith for it to grow. In order to live well, it is important to learn to walk by faith and not by sight.

It seems I trust God when it comes to some things, but not in others. Perhaps I am spending too much energy trying to “do” things that please God and not enough time listening, trusting, and believing. I have worn myself out at different times in my life and I am beginning to understand how – by not trusting God to work in others and by trying to do too much in my own strength.

Rom 4:4 says “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” In other words, God sees us as righteous, not because of all our good works, but because of our faith and trust in Him. While I may be thinking I am pleasing God, I am saddened to realize that this does not please God at all. Scripture says that all my good works are like filthy rags (Is.64:6)

From now on, I am going to listen to my sons when they tell me “Have a little faith, Ma!” and really take it to heart and stop trying so hard to make things happen. I am going to expect a positive outcome even when I don’t see it at the present moment. Faith is pulling the dreams of tomorrow into our today and that is exactly what I am going to do. How about you, beloved? Today will you have a little more faith?

Fear Not

I usually consider myself a pretty brave person. I’ve faced a lot of difficulty in my life as a single parent, raising two sons. I don’t think of myself as being fearful, but this week I had a revelation that I am indeed acting of my fears.

My son, Jon, and I were driving to dinner one night this week when he made a comment that hit a nerve. “Why don’t you give me more credit, Ma?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You don’t give me enough credit. I can handle things and think I am pretty smart. I am going to be 25 you know.”

Yep, that is true. So why am I constantly making suggestions to him? No one wants to be told what to do about their lives, right? And especially not a 25 year old young adult male.

I realized I am reacting out of fear when I have expectations of others: fear that they are not going to do the right thing. And then when they don’t, my fears are confirmed. I think it boils down to the old idea of getting what you expect.

I’ve decided to take a new approach and start thinking more positively about people and having faith that they can take care of themselves and that they know what is best for them. Stop trying to play God by telling others what they should and shouldn’t do. We are all responsible for our actions and their consequences and that’s how we learn and grow, right?

Today I am going to trust God more in this area. Trust my loved ones in their abilities to make their own choices and let go of this responsibility. I think I will be more content and so will they!

As Paul says in Phil 4:8-9, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard or seen from me put it into practice and the peace of God will be with you.”

Fear Not

I usually consider myself a pretty brave person. I’ve faced a lot of difficulty in my life as a single parent, raising two sons. I don’t think of myself as being fearful, but this week I had a revelation that I am indeed acting of my fears.

My son, Jon, and I were driving to dinner one night this week when he made a comment that hit a nerve. “Why don’t you give me more credit, Ma?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You don’t give me enough credit. I can handle things and think I am pretty smart. I am going to be 25 you know.”

Yep, that is true. So why am I constantly making suggestions to him? No one wants to be told what to do about their lives, right? And especially not a 25 year old young adult male.

I realized I am reacting out of fear when I have expectations of others: fear that they are not going to do the right thing. And then when they don’t, my fears are confirmed. I think it boils down to the old idea of getting what you expect.

I’ve decided to take a new approach and start thinking more positively about people and having faith that they can take care of themselves and that they know what is best for them. Stop trying to play God by telling others what they should and shouldn’t do. We are all responsible for our actions and their consequences and that’s how we learn and grow, right?

Today I am going to trust God more in this area. Trust my loved ones in their abilities to make their own choices and let go of this responsibility. I think I will be more content and so will they!

As Paul says in Phil 4:8-9, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard or seen from me put it into practice and the peace of God will be with you.”

Tyranny of Should

Are you feeling pressured today? Too much to do and not enough time or energy to do it all?

For many years of my life, I felt this way. As a single-parent, I needed to be very responsible, obediently doing what I needed to do, disciplining myself to do things when I didn’t “feel” like it, and following the rules.

As a single parent, I didn’t have the luxury of time or feeling “in the mood” to take care of all the responsibilities of raising two children single-handedly while working full-time at a demanding career and taking care of a home and a car. There was always something that needed to be done, and it mattered very little if I was tired, the weather was bad, or I didn’t feel like it. I’ve always lived by the old adage “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

Now that my children are grown and out of the house, I am seeing that not everyone has this approach to life.

As I contemplate what it means to live well, I’ve realized that being content means not having expectations of others, but also not having such demanding expectations of myself. What am I trying to prove? Nothing!

Now I am not advocating a lazy, do nothing approach to life. We are called to be responsible for ourselves so that we will not be a burden to others. Life is very busy for most of us. All I am saying is that for me at this stage in my life, I think it’s time to take a more relaxed approach and stop pressuring myself needlessly. The house will get cleaned, the bills will get paid, and I will go to the gym and exercise. I know this because I have developed disciplined habits over the years. So why do I get anxious when things start to pile up? Eventually, everything gets done. As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, “there is a time and a place for everything under the sun.”

Where are you today? Are the pressures of life caving in on you?

Today, I will be content with myself and others. I will accept what the day brings me and not pressure myself or others. I will do what I have to do when I feel it is the right time to do it and trust that all will be taken care of in due time. How about you, beloved?

Tyranny of Should

Are you feeling pressured today? Too much to do and not enough time or energy to do it all?

For many years of my life, I felt this way. As a single-parent, I needed to be very responsible, obediently doing what I needed to do, disciplining myself to do things when I didn’t “feel” like it, and following the rules.

As a single parent, I didn’t have the luxury of time or feeling “in the mood” to take care of all the responsibilities of raising two children single-handedly while working full-time at a demanding career and taking care of a home and a car. There was always something that needed to be done, and it mattered very little if I was tired, the weather was bad, or I didn’t feel like it. I’ve always lived by the old adage “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

Now that my children are grown and out of the house, I am seeing that not everyone has this approach to life.

As I contemplate what it means to live well, I’ve realized that being content means not having expectations of others, but also not having such demanding expectations of myself. What am I trying to prove? Nothing!

Now I am not advocating a lazy, do nothing approach to life. We are called to be responsible for ourselves so that we will not be a burden to others. Life is very busy for most of us. All I am saying is that for me at this stage in my life, I think it’s time to take a more relaxed approach and stop pressuring myself needlessly. The house will get cleaned, the bills will get paid, and I will go to the gym and exercise. I know this because I have developed disciplined habits over the years. So why do I get anxious when things start to pile up? Eventually, everything gets done. As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, “there is a time and a place for everything under the sun.”

Where are you today? Are the pressures of life caving in on you?

Today, I will be content with myself and others. I will accept what the day brings me and not pressure myself or others. I will do what I have to do when I feel it is the right time to do it and trust that all will be taken care of in due time. How about you, beloved?