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Squirrel!

December 27, 2016 — Leave a comment

Once! Only one time have I posted in this blog this year.  Shame on me.  Something I set out to be diligent about and here we are concluding 2016 and I have simply 1 post. I am looking back and this year and am truly confused on how it went so fast!

The end of any year is always a great time to take stock of things and begin to plan out the path for the upcoming year; and for me, this year is no different.  It is hard for me to sum up 2016 in a word much less a sentence.  Heck, I don’t think I could write a book explaining this year.  From difficult closures of one season to the new beginnings of another 2016 has been scattered with so many different experiences.  When you sum them all up together, this has been one crazy year.

One thing that has become more and more obvious to me, even as I logged on to my blog to post and noticed I have only 1 entire post this year, is how easily distracted we can become.

My life sometimes looks just like the silly dog in the movie “Up”.  I can be so easily distracted by a squirrel.  Ok, for all of you who have no idea what I am talking about:

But in all seriousness, there is a great quote from C.S. Lewis that really brings it home:

“We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”

If you were to be completely honest with yourself, I am certain you can think of a time or two in your life when you have used those infamous words “the time is just not right yet for me to do _________ (fill in the blank)”

Yet, just as the wise Mr. Lewis points out, favorable conditions never come. You simply have to decide and execute.

Take going to the gym for example. I don’t care who you are, there is never a “favorable time” to go there. If I have an open hour to spare in my day, I would much rather do something I would enjoy, like drink a nice cup of coffee and perhaps eat a donut – but that will never achieve the same results.  In fact that would achieve the complete opposite result.

It has become an almost cliché saying but you have to be intentional in all areas of your life.

It starts with your focus. Be intentional about where you focus. Jesus sums it up pretty simply in Matthew 6:31-34

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own troubles.”

That set of verses is probably one of the most encouraging and also the most discouraging verses in all of the Bible.  In one sentence, Jesus is saying “hey guys, I got this covered – just focus on me” and then he ends it up with “today is going to have enough troubles of its own…”

Another way of saying it might be something like this: Today will have troubles. Tomorrow will have troubles. In fact, next week is filled with various troubles. BUT don’t focus on those, in fact don’t even focus on trying to solve them, just focus on God and He will take care of it all for you.

That to me is the hard part. Honestly, I feel like I am trying to not “bug” God with the little stuff. I know He is busy, so I figure I will take care of the little things and maybe He will appreciate that I freed up some time for Him.

Ridiculous, right? But so many of us our guilty of that. And the problem amplifies as we continue to focus on all the little things that turn into one big distraction which takes our eyes off of Him.

This world is full of distractions. Add on my 3-year-old and 1-year-old and the idea of quiet time seems about as likely as winning the lottery while never buying a ticket.

Yet, I strive to be intentional.  Do I win that battle daily…no way!  But, I wake up and try again.

It is easy to focus on Him at Christmas. It is easy to pause and realize that He is the reason for the season but in a matter of days, life picks right back up to its normal pace and it is in that moment that you need to stop and decide to be intentional about your focus, keeping it all on Him.

Here is my prayer for 2017: Lord, may I never cease to be intentional about priority number one – you. May my focus be first on the Kingdom of God and Your Righteousness. Lord, help me to discern quickly what a distraction is and know when to push it aside and recalibrate my focus.

That is my prayer for you as well; for anyone reading this, that God will be your center, your guiding light and your focus.

Together, let us make 2017 the year of Intentional Focus!

Question: What is your secret to being intentional with your time?

Don’t Blink

June 11, 2016 — Leave a comment

Businessman pulling a clock hand backwards

Don’t blink. You will miss it.

Honestly, that is how I feel right now. Time has a sneaky way of moving so fast that it is not until you pause to look back that you realize just how much of it has passed. Looking back could be filled with regret over lost time, or filled with excitement over what has been accomplished.

Today it is hitting me differently.  Today we celebrate my first born’s 3rd Birthday, but four years ago…he was simply a prayer (and quite frankly, a prayer that we felt was never going to be answered).  Four years ago, we were finalizing our final round of torture (otherwise known as fertility treatments) and we had began our shift to adoption.

Just a few months later…but God…

Then, I blinked and here we are celebrating this little man’s 3rd Birthday with a little 7 month old brother at his side. This is not how I envisioned it all to pan out many many years ago – but yet – God’s timing is so much more perfect that my timing. His plan is so much more perfect than my plan.

That, however, is not the point of this post. The thing that seems most striking to me is that we can get so caught up in “our season” that we lose sight of the purpose. To make matters worse, when we finally escape one season and jump into the next – we turn around to realize we didn’t accomplish what we set out to do during that season.

I have talked with so many people, fellow wanderers, who have let precious years slip by only to say “I blinked…where am I”?

Each day is an opportunity for a new beginning.

I love Isaiah 43:9

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Do you see what God is saying there? Don’t miss it. He says he is doing a new thing…not that He plans to, or only if you do something for Him first…He has already done it! The question He asks is, “don’t you see it”? It is accomplished. It is a finished work. You just have to look up!

Look up every once and awhile while you walk the road you are on. Look around, lift your eyes to Jesus and gaze upon the wonder of what He is doing. The Kingdom of God is here now; Are you paying attention enough to actually see it?

My encouragement to you (as well as myself) – don’t look down; look up. Don’t let a “season” distract you from the new thing that God is doing in your life.

Question: How do you stay focused on the new thing?

NewAndImproved

It is so refreshing to know that we have a God who desires to do something new. Not something ordinary and mundane – but something new, unique and astounding.

Read Isaiah 43 verses 16-21, I have it here in The Message translation – but read it in a few different versions:

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.

I could read this again and again! No matter the situation, God desires to do something new in your life! Take special note to the first sentence – we serve a God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through the pounding waves. We serve a God who can part the seas, heal the sick and raise the dead and He desires to do a new thing with you as well!

What does the landscape around you look like? Is it a desert, a storm or are you surrounded by the pounding waves? He commands us to forget the past and BE ALEART AND PRESENT! Live in a state of expectancy for Him!

Today! Now! This moment! Don’t let it pass you by. Expect God to do something new and He will.

Question: Can you share an time when God did something new in your life?