Who’s in Control Here?

We all want to do our own thing, when we want, how we want and with whom we want, don’t we? We make plans and go to great extents to have everything just the way we want it.

Being a single parent, I’ve had to take control of a lot of stuff: child-rearing decisions, house decisions, health care decisions. I could go on and on, but you get the idea, right? We get used to being in control of our lives.

But then something happens that is out of our control: a child becomes addicted, a spouse cheats, an illness, tragedy or hurricane strikes. Then what?

Then it’s time for a change of perspective. It’s time to realize the truth.

Control is an illusion.

I may think I am in control of my life, but am I? Not really. What’s more, I’m not in control of anyone else’s life either. I can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do no matter how much I beg, plead, or reason. When I keep trying to control situations or others, the more frustrated I get. When I protest against decisions others make, like my boss, the government or the homeowners association, I make myself miserable. Anybody relate?

So what is the solution? The solution is to realize that God is really in control of everything, not me. When I learn to surrender, (yes, it’s a tough word to swallow, but it can be done), I am more at peace. I can trust that although the situation may look bad, God has a good outcome in store. I can relax and let go of things that are out of my control. I find that even though my plan didn’t work out, God’s plan was ultimately better in the long run.

It all comes down, once again, to faith. So the next time your plans are foiled or a situation doesn’t sit well with you, instead of getting all bent out of shape, pause and take a breath. Sit back, relax, and surrender it up to God. Trust me, He can work it out if we let Him. Like the old television show, Father really does know best!

What’s Wrong with High Standards?

Most of my friends know that I love to dance. It’s fun, good exercise, and a great stress relief at the end of a long work week. But I am particular where I go to dance. I want to hear a band that plays good music I can dance to. They have to put some effort into it, ya know what I mean? It’s just not worth it to get all dressed, put makeup on, drive, and pay money to go listen to some band play a bunch of songs that don’t move me. I want to be MOVED!

Some would say I have high standards. I would agree. I do have certain standards. Let me give you another example – house cleaning. I used to hire people to clean my house. I remember one woman said to me “Well, I don’t clean microwaves.” I’m not going to share what I was thinking.

I don’t think my expectations are unrealistic. If I am paying for a service, I expect to get good service and quality. Why do you think people have bought Japanese cars for so many years? What makes a good restaurant last? Good quality and good service, right?

As a child of God, I am called to be a person of excellence. I am not supposed to settle for mediocrity. God gave us his best so why shouldn’t I give him my best? Yes, it takes effort. Yes, it takes time, but if I want God’s best in my life, I must be willing to do MY best.

I know not everyone feels this way. But it comes back to a favorite verse of mine, “You reap what you sow” (Gal 6:7). It is a principle of life that we can ignore, but nonetheless, the results will always hold true.

Do you want God’s best for your life? If so, what kind of standards have you set for yourself? Are you putting your best effort forth at whatever you do?
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as unto the Lord.”(Col 3:23)

So, I am sure I have stirred some of you up. Agree? Disagree? Drop me a note and share your thoughts. Until next time, keep looking up!

Talk Less, Listen More

People like to talk. I think that’s why social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and cellphones have become so popular. People want to talk about what’s on their minds and what’s going on in their lives and there’s nothing wrong with that – to a point.

Gender doesn’t seem to matter. It has been said women talk more than men but I know several men who can out-talk a woman any day of the week. It seems the more free time someone has on their hands, the more they like to “shoot the breeze”.

But sometimes I long for good old peace and quiet. Seems like it’s a rare commodity these days. Yes?

Did you know that the Bible has a lot to say about talking. See what you think about these nuggets of wisdom.

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (Prov. 18:18)

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19)

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint and a man of understanding is even tempered.” (Prov. 17:27)

Basically, speak only when necessary, avoid unwholesome talk and use words that are uplifting and edifying to the hearer (Eph. 4:29). Sometimes that’s quite a tall order, wouldn’t you say?

The truth of the matter is that we could all, yes, that includes me, use more practice in listening. As I used to tell my kids, “That’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

So, what do you have to say 🙂 Are you a talker? Do you like to chit chat for hours on end? Or are you one of the silent types who barely utters a word? The goal of this post is to encourage us all to strive for balance in our speech because silence truly is golden.

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!

Mini-Blinds and Miracles

Funny how even the most mundane situations in life can speak truth to us, isn’t it?

This summer, there have been several home repairs and improvements that needed to be taken care of at my house. Being the industrious soul that I am, I endeavored to handle them on my own.

Well. Live and learn. Get help.

This past week, my youngest graciously agreed to assist with my latest adventure – hanging cellular blinds in my office. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever attempted this or not, but let me say, having the right drill bit saves a lot of sweat and hard work. Who knew drywall could be so difficult to screw into?

The instructions that came with the blinds weren’t exactly clear either. To make matters worse, when I attempted to try to hang one of the blinds by myself, the whole thing came crashing down and I almost ended up with a broken hand.

After several trips to Home Depot to buy drill bits, we finally had the proper tools. Amazing how much easier it was to get those screws in the wall! But still no success in getting the blinds to stay up. As they fell down time and time again, I watched my son’s quick reflex enable him to deftly catch them. Suddenly, I found the whole situation extremely hilarious.

“I’m glad you think this is funny. You try it,” he says to me. So up on the desk I climb. Bewildered as to where the thing was actually supposed to hook into, we both stood there and stared at it.

“Get down, I know what to do,” he says.

Within minutes, both blinds were up and working perfectly.

“Funny how when you do it right, miracles happen”, he says.

I was struck by the truth of that statement; that applies to life, as well. When we do things the right way, miracles happen. Too bad it takes so many attempts to get it right though, isn’t it?

Moral of the story, whatever it is you’re facing, keep persevering. Keep doing the right thing and sooner or later, you will see a miracle too!

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up. And oh, watch out for those blinds 🙂