Friday, July 27, 2012

Five Minutes: Beyond

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Beyond.

Ready.  Set.  Write. 

I love staring out across the ocean because I can search and stare and never see the end of the water.  Wherever the "end" is, it's beyond my eye sight.  To think of something so apparently unending is merely a small snippet of God's full creation is hard to get my head around.  What I can't see is beyond my sight, but not beyond God's.

There are times in our lives when we want to know more than what is the very next step in our path, but that is beyond our sight.  God gives us enough light for us to see where to take our next steps, but protects and limits us from seeing beyond what our mind could grasp.  Why?  Because He is God and we are not.  I long to go to those "beyond" places to see what lies ahead.  Of course, I don't want to see the bad times, just the good times and blessings in store for me.  What I realize is that many times those are meshed together so that without stepping through the journey, we wouldn't see the mixture of blessing amongst the bad.  Seeing the "beyond" in it's raw form is more than our finite minds can process.

I can rest in the fact that ultimately my blessings go beyond what I deserve and many times can imagine.  When I'm discouraged because something in my life isn't happening in the timing I'd hoped, or I get that grumbly ungrateful spirit when I'm far more blessed than 95% of the free world, I realize my life is beyond blessed. 

"Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power who works in us - to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." - Ephesians 3:20-21

Monday, July 23, 2012

No Man (or Woman) is an Island

The phrase "No man is an island" is as famous as "There is no such thing as a free lunch." Recently this phrase has been on my mind as I've ruminated on this blog post and decided to research its origin.  The words were coined by John Donne, English poet and Christian, in his book "Devotions" written in 1624.  In short, without dissecting his rich words, the meaning behind it was human beings do not thrive when isolated from others.

I can't help but think about the Tom Hanks' movie, Castaway, when I think about this phrase.  He was stranded on a desert island, and, to prove out this phrase, created a personified friend, Wilson, from a volleyball.  Yes, no man is an island...even if he has to talk to a volleyball.

So what has my mind thinking on these things?  A recent realization of the importance of accountability.  My friend, Amy, and I discussed this a few weeks back and she's on the edge of her seat waiting for my thoughts on this to splurge to the screen.  As a single gal who lives alone, I spent a great deal of time, well, alone.  I have a full-time job and am blessed with some of the best friends on the planet (many that are literally all over the planet), but still navigate most waters solo.  Being an independent soul, I can argue the point that with me and God, I need nothing else.  Tis true, my friends, but God's design was not for us to be alone, but to have relationships, always coming back to that One True Relationship with Him.

All the way back to the Garden of Eden, God realized it wasn't good for man to be alone and He created woman.  This is why our desires for that type of relationship run deep.  God created His people for relationship.  Not to walk this world alone.  It was His Plan from before the dawn of time.

Whether single or married, we need that "iron sharpening iron" from those we trust and can hold us accountable.  That dreaded phrase "hold us accountable" makes many of us squirm, thinking that we're giving someone control to rip us apart when we make a mistake or struggle with a sin.  Though having accountability is not only necessary, but freeing.  Lest you think I'm smokin' the weed, let me 'splain.

Left to my own direction, I can make choices that I can maybe justify are "from God" but when lined up with Scripture, really aren't.  Without accountability with trusted friends, I could take action that may take me three steps forward, but eventually, six steps back.  With accountability, I might still make those choices, but can quickly retreat, or refocus based on the wisdom of those that know me best, along with being head down in the Word.  Being honest with someone and trusting them to do that for you is the first step...and it's a doozy!  But having that in our lives is of utmost importance.  I've seen too many people in my life who resist accountability and later pay for that for years to come....all could be avoided if they had just chosen accountability.

As Amy and I talked about this topic, we realized how blessed we are to have people we can talk through what God is teaching us, how we're messing up, how He's restoring us and how we love and support each other through it all.  I was reminded of what I miss about my sweet friend, Jan.  She always asked, almost every time we talked, "What is God teaching you?"  I miss that.  Amy and I have decided to do that for each other.  People, it's glorious.  It focuses me that I'm going to be asked what I'm learning from the Lord and His Word and I'm going to be challenged as to how I'm applying that to my life. 

Accountability can be tough...for those on either side.  But the results that come from it are worth all the tough and honest conversations that ensue from such a relationship.  Those humans who live on the island...well, they have a volleyball, but that's about it. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Five Minutes: Enough

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Enough.

Ready.  Set.  Write.

When is it enough?  This vague, yet poignant question can apply to so many areas of our lives.  I'm currently on a health plan (I loathe the word diet) to strive to lose weight.  For once in my life, it's working.  And, the best part of it all is that even with the little I eat...I feel like it's enough.

The past month or so I have been convicted of not being grateful for the immense amount of blessings I have.  A quick review of my life and I'm better off than 90% of the free world, yet, I want more.  Because "something" is not enough.  Do I not have enough money?  Do I not have enough activities to fill my down time?  I try every day to be thankful for what I do have, knowing that God has richly blessed me and this selfish human flesh just always thinks it's not enough.

Being single, I think "I've had enough of this flying solo."  But, am I fed up enough to settle for less than God's Best for me?  If I was honest, no.  Because jumping into a relationship for the wrong reasons is never going to have a happy ending.  I counsel way too many women who in their lives have made rash choices that have forever scarred their future relationships.  When God brings the man that will allow me to show the world a relationship and marriage that is God-honoring, then I will know I've had enough of the solo life.

What is enough?  Jesus Christ.  Period.  As I watched the news this morning and saw the heartbreaking tragedy of the lives lost in Aurora, Colorado, simply by attending the midnight premiere of a movie, I realize that only Christ is enough.  May I always find my complete satisfaction in Him.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Five Minutes: Story

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Story.

Ready.  Set.  Write.

People usually wince when I start to tell a story.  Why?  Because my stories contain all the details available nicely organized in chronological order.  I love telling stories (some would say I just love to talk) and reliving experiences to share with others.  Conversely, I am probably one of the few people who will sit and listen to your stories.  As much as I love telling my own, soaking in other people's life experiences are just as enjoyable.

That must be why I love to read.  My life is way too busy for a single gal with no man, no children, no pets.  It comprises a lot of work (of which I'm thankful for, even on the craziest of days) and lot of service and activity with my church (which I also am grateful to have in my life).  But between those two things and the daily tasks of life - cleaning, laundry, bill-paying - finding a quiet time to curl up with a book is a challenge.  Thank goodness for my Kindle that I have with me wherever I go.  I'm able to pop it open at a moment's notice and read in small spurts as I have the time.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the salon getting my hair done.  I was sitting there reading my latest book, extremely engrossed in the storyline set in Italy, that a co-worker came up to me and I almost didn't hear her.  She also being a reader completely understood my absorption.  Getting lost in a book...whether in the midst of a busy salon or in the quiet of my home is a journey I love to take.