Monday, September 26, 2011

The Tyranny of the Urgent

It's a saying that I have heard before - and remind myself of time and time again - "Do not mistake the urgent for the important".  I didn't realize there was a book written about it... in 1967!  (with a sequel and a reprint in the late 1990's.... apparently we still struggle with the concept!  I know I do...).

Needless to say, the reminder was perfectly timed.  I lay awake for a while last night, contemplating the tasks to be done and time in which they must be completed.  It didn't seem possible.  On my good days, I just do "the next right thing" - on the not so good days, I feel overwhelmed to the point that I can't really do *anything* - including sleep.

So, I try to prioritize, and figure out which things truly are important and which are merely urgent.  Unfortunately, the urgent things tend to scream a little louder than the important things do.

But then, there are the not-even-urgent things that we (I) treat as such.... my phone ringing, for example.  I have made it a point not to answer it during dinner, and not to be talking on it while I am checking out at a store, because I feel that's just flat out rude... but any other time, it rings (or bings, or vibrates, or any of the other indications that there may be a call / text / email that is demanding my attention), I reach for it... almost instinctively.

I think back to the days before there WERE cell phones....  somehow we survived.  Before email... before (*gasp*) Facebook!  I remember, "back in the day", when we had to sit down and hand write a letter, mail it and wait.... Before cordless phones were available, and you were "lucky" if you had a 6 foot cord to the phone. (Would I tolerate a phone with a "leash" now?  No way.) There was much less "multitasking" - and certainly less of it while driving! 

And THAT is what I love so much about the title of the book.  It is so honest in it's description of our relationship with the urgent..... tyranny:  "Cruel or oppressive government or rule".

And I accept it.  Willingly.  I accept it as "necessary" and "convenient".  *COULD* I live without my smartphone?  Technically, yes, I could.... do I want to?  NO WAY!  Does it - in some twisted way - make my life *more* difficult in certain areas?... I'm sure it does....Still, I cling to it.

BUT.... am I willing to step out from under it's "cruel and oppressive rule"?... I guess we'll see.

It's one of my goals for my retreat - "unplugged".  (God help me!) 

Help me to focus on the important, Lord... Help me to focus on You.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Behind the Clouds

It has been a long week.  Not only were there the usual responsibilities of working and parenting - but there were a few meetings and a couple of other tasks thrown into the mix as well.  It's not like they weren't important, they were - there just isn't a lot of "wiggle room" in my daily routine, and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The weather has been a little gloomy too. And, while I'm grateful for the rain and the cooler temperatures, it just makes it a little harder for me to crawl out of bed to face the day.

Throughout the week, God has been faithful.  I've seen Him at work - clearing a bit of time here, and taking away another responsibility there.  He has a way of "Redeeming the Time" for me, for which I am always grateful.  I knew today would be no exception.

I wasn't sure I would be able to fit what needed to be included into today.  But mid-morning, I saw this - a Carolina blue bursting forth through the overcast sky!  God's little reminder to me that NO MATTER WHAT I see before me - He is there.

It doesn't matter if clouds roll in.... they are temporary.  He is eternal.  Whatever challenge is standing before me... He is there.

Thank You, God for the little reminder - and for carrying me this week.  I could never have done it without You...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Remind Me Who I am....

My pastor had posted the video link to Facebook, and I watched it and listened.  Without a doubt, I. Loved. It.

*LOVED* it.

OMG.  Seriously, what a perfect song.  And what an amazingly powerful video.

I was a bit weary when I heard it first, between my aching heart and my aching leg, but I had been reminded to keep focused on The Promises.... and who I am in Him.  And I was trying to do just that.

As is His way, reaching me and teaching me through music, as it played, I felt totally surrounded by His presence and fully engaged in the lyrics. In a simple song, there it was - who I am to Him.  A simple reminder that would play over and over in my head.

As I watched the video, I noticed what had happened to the people through His eyes.  (but I'll let you see that for yourself!).

You know I wanted the same.  I am experiential like that! So with my friend, at the park, I pulled out my cardboard, on which I had written:  "Beloved" and we took pictures.


Ah, yes, Lord.... let me see myself through Your eyes.  "Remind me who I am"- to You and through You.

I have no doubt, if I remembered continually,  some of my choices would be different. I bet I would be less distracted by this world I live in.  I'm sure I would fear less, and trust more.... I could better  be Your hands and feet.

Help me to remember.  Lord, please....

"Remind me who I am."

Remind Me Who I Am
  ~ Jason Gray

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name
Remind me who I am
In the mirror all I see
Is who I don't wanna be
Remind me who I am

In the loneliest places
When I cant remember what grace is

Tell me, once again
Who I am to You, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You, that I belong to You
To You

When my heart is like a stone,
And I'm running far from home
Remind me who I am
When I cant receive Your love
Afraid I'll never be enough
Remind me who I am

If I'm Your beloved can You help me believe it

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You
To You

I'm the one You love, I'm the one You love
That will be enough, I'm the one You love

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You

Tell me, once again
Who I am to You, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You, that I belong to You
To You

To You

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Agenda? What Agenda....?

I feel like I keep getting "busted" by God....  which is OK, really.  I'm in a good place - all things considered - which is a great gift (considering all that is going on!),

The thing I have discovered with this gimpy leg of mine, is not so much the pain and frustration of taking twice as long to get from point A to point B.... it's that I have a PLAN for it.  (And not *just* a plan for it, but a plan that is at risk to not come to fruition....)

I've been looking forward to my upcoming retreat, with periodic prodding to "get this" or "bring that" - which I have done.  I THOUGHT I had it set aside as a "Your plans for me, Lord" weekend.  But the closer it gets from *right now*, the more anxious I get that I won't be able to HIKE.

I want to HIKE... (might even consider that ridiculous boot! :)  kidding.... sort of....).  So, apparently, I DO have an agenda for the weekend.

I love to hike.  I love the quiet and the out of doors, and the God-and-me conversations that occur when I am putting one foot in front of the other.

I suppose, ultimately, time will tell... And He knows the plans He has for me - and this retreat weekend.  May I follow and not try to lead...

(Note to self:  Better add ibuprofen to the "Bring this...." list)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vanity, Pride and My Stubborn Self

Let me preface this post by saying that I have a "good" ankle and a "bad" ankle. The "bad" ankle I rolled several years ago, and was lucky not to end up in a cast.  It stays tied up in a corset type brace when I am doing my Martial Arts.  The "good" ankle, well... it's just that... "good".

And then last week - it began to bother me.  Just a little after my morning MMA class.  "whatever".  I put some topical something on it and took an advil (or two).  That night, it was still a little sore when I started class #2.  About midway through, I started modifying my weight distribution, determined not to quit.  Which was "fine"...  I got home and ice/heat/ice'd it.

Fast forward to Thursday.  It was still sore depending on how I put weight on my foot.  I let the instructor know I was going to attempt class, but couldn't guarantee anything.  I did get through it - with plenty of modifications - much to my dismay... I love kicking.  And I love kicking HARD.... which is when, if I look back, I think the problem started... a hard kick on the bag.

At the end of class, I got my zinger - well, my first zinger tied to this situation.  The instructor had talked about perseverance and overcoming challenges.  I nodded.  I'd shown up, suited up and had given it my best - which some would have considered over the top, if not downright foolish. 

But then he talked about doing it in ALL areas of our lives.

I immediately thought of my relationship with God.  Do I show up, suit up and give it my best, even on days when, by the worlds standards, I certainly could opt out.  *ouch*  Not so much.  Do I continue to pursue God when doing so makes my life uncomfortable.  Uhm..... again.  Not so much.

I mulled that over for a while, until He began showing me more of my self - the vain, the proud and the stubborn.

As things settled in with my "weight bearing as tolerated" self, the pain began to dissipate some - but also define it's true location.  That bone right above my ankle.  "AHHH....", I said, "... bone pain."  Drat.

It's walkable - slowly- but aches towards the end of the day - or with a lot of (slow) walking.  The kids and I did Wal*mart by foot on Saturday.  After that, I decided crutches might help ease the ache a little, by decreasing some of the activity.... but about 3 steps out from the car, BACK into Wal*mart on Sunday, there was NO WAY I was going to be swinging myself around in there.  The boot (I borrowed) doesn't alter the level of comfort enough to make the rediculousness of the boot worthwhile.

And, lets just say - it's nearly IMPOSSIBLE to do *anything* around my house - except perhaps take the length of the hall to the bathroom - on crutches.  Not happening.

The good news:  It's improving.

The not so good news:  I still struggle terribly with vanity, pride and my own stubborn self.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Farewell, Wild Bill....

Yesterday was  hard day.  I got a call I never expected. One of my favorite doctors had died.

This man, I watched grow from a "baby doctor" to an attending.  Over a decade, I watched him mature in his role, and increase his skill set, and never lose sight of his humility, nor his ability to connect with his patients.  He was just plain kind and down to earth...and not one bit politically correct!

There is so much I will remember about him - his jaunty gait, his straight-talking demeanor, and the fact that he often wore his Ropers with his scrubs.  If I had that picture, I would certainly share it! But most of all, I will remember the way he related to people.

He is loved by many - and I remember that it is present tense... for Love never ends.  We still love him.

It saddens me that I will never be able to round with him again, and laugh so hard that I fear i will have to change my scrubs - as I did this past weekend.   I am grateful, though to have told him, "I just love you, Bill...." as we laughed and reminisced some of our favorite stories.

It saddens me that the world has lost such a tremendous physician and good man.

Farewell, Wild Bill...

You are already missed.

“The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul 
arises from the feeling that there is in every individual 
something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone,
and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.”
~Arthur Schopenhauer

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome, or Invited?

As I walked through my front door, after some God-talk with a friend, I stopped and wondered...

Is God "welcome" in my home and in my life, or have I truly "invited" Him in?

Well, certainly, He is welcome.  In nearly every room, there is some reference to Him, or His Word.  Outside the front door, is the stone that stands to remind me of my "Thus Far" experience.

OF COURSE He is welcome... I love to witness and be a part of His hand in my life and in the lives of those around me.  It encourages me in the hard times to know that He is there (for me).

But that wasn't really the question, was it?

Have I *invited* Him?  OR... better question, do I continue to invite Him..... into my home, into my life, into my day to day decisions?

Have I invited Him? Sure, once or twice, I'm sure I have, but day to day? Answering honestly, that would likely be a "no".  I'm afraid I don't.

More often, it's more of a "Thanks God for the stuff you do for me, that way things work out in ways that I could NEVER coordinate!  But, this thing.... I got!"

I will say, though, there have been a few things lately, that I HAVE invited Him into - cause I know "I don't got..." and He remains faithful.  Leading, directing, encouraging, supporting, and loving me through...

But, imagine the way my life would be different, if I DID invite Him in to the day to day - before I ran off in one direction or the other.  If I actually asked and listened - and trusted and obeyed.

Imagine the things He could do - that I could witness and experience, if only I would invite Him in...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Then and Now...

I've been doing a bit of thinking, about "when I was your age"...

Perhaps it is the similar events, or the similar environments that is bringing it to mind. Perhaps it is simply a gift - to look at then and now - and see that I *am* truly being made new. I'm not who I was...

I am far from "there", or "together", but I am definitely in a different place, looking at the world from a different perspective, and through different lenses. I choose differently. Those old choices don't "fit" anymore....

Thank You, God for making me new, and for this bit of clarity. It encourages me on my path to seek You!

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV)
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Additional Perspective

As I re-read yesterday's blog post - which is my habit, for sometimes I learn from what I have written - something caught my eye...

It appeared from reading what I'd written, that my life is either intently "God-connect"-ed OR it is day-to-day mundane tasks of the To Do list... I have been aware lately, of the internal struggle between the Mary and Martha aspects of my life.... Do I sit at His feet, listen and learn, or do I focus on the things that need to be done to keep a household up and running? Where do I find the balance between the two?

I think back to a moment in time when I experienced God in the Mundane. Right there in the midst of my day to day activities. I know it existed at one time. I remember writing about it. (Thank God for Google to be able to FIND it again!!)

As I re-read it, I am encouraged, because it supports what I was thinking initially about finding Him there - in the mundane. Yesterday I wrote about serving others I meet out there in the world.

Today, may I remember the ways in which I can serve those with whom I live.