Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crossroads or Round-About?

Months ago I found myself at a crossroads of opportunity, a new season of life. And so I named this blog Biding My Time and settled in for the adventure of patiently waiting for what God would send my way...sincerely desiring to do His will, not my own.

But come to find out, there is risk in simply Biding My Time at the crossroads.

We have a unique round-about intersection in our town. Actually it is a series of three two lane round-abouts in a a major intersection off of the highway...with two service roads and busy shopping malls on each side. In a word, it is dangerous!

Every once in awhile, you will see some poor thing circling round and around, not exactly sure which is the correct lane to be in for getting to the shopping that is just within view. And then right when they are about to make their move, another car enters the round-about and they are back to circling again.

Have I eased out of my crossroads of opportunity only to find myself stuck going round and around the Round-About?

That is one of the risks I am seeing at my personal crossroads. So I am asking myself some questions to make sure I am not circling the round-about aimlessly.

*Is life's clutter distracting my eyes when God's opportunity presents itself?
(Is my schedule full of "stuff" without meaning? My eyes so focused on the next thing on the calendar, that I can't live here in the present? That I don't have time carved out for meditation on God and for listening to what He is saying to me?)

*Has the same-ness of my nice life lulled me into complacency?
(My crossroads hasn't changed everything in my life, and in fact, life is very much the same as before...just kid-less durinig school hours. Am I stuck in any ruts or patterns of life that prevent me from reaching my hands out for valuable, God-ordained change?)

*Does laziness win too many battles with my motivation to seize the next thing God has for me?
(Am I finding the balance between rest and laziness? Between busy in God's strength and just busy? "No" for the right reasons? "Yes" for the right reasons?)

*Do I still trust that God's plan is best?
(Working? Staying in place? Continuing in the same volunteer positions? Adding new volunteer positions? Additional education?)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gettin' Organized!

Don't get mad, get organized!! One of my friend's from way back Texas days used to say this to me on occasion. I have not a clue whether it was original to her but it was her motto, and it has really stuck with me through the years.

The last several weeks I have had occasion to feel mad/frustrated/angry/stressed over various "issues" and each time, this little phrase would just pop in my head. At long last I am going to get organized about gettin' organized and the day I have chosen to focus on it is...tada...Mondays!!

So here I go on getting organized:

Issue: I am fatigued and have been for awhile regardless of "eating right", regular exercise, reduction of stressor's in my life, and being right with God.

Organizational solution: Today I am starting my long term effort to increase my water intake to at least 8 glasses a day.

I hate to drink water, and I love to take the mickey out of my friends (really just Kellie) who drink enough water to fill aquariums. But drink water I will because the internet told me that dehydration is one cause of fatigue, and honestly I prefer to label myself as dehydrated rather then depressed, hypothryroid, or having lupus.

It is 2:45 and I have drunk 58 oz. of water (almost to my goal). Interestingly enough, I have pee-ed about 158 oz. of fluid (at least, it feels like it). Hmmm...I wonder if that is a problem.

Anyways! Fatigue is fast becoming the least of my issues! I am hoping I don't drown!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lessons from a bonfire

Lesson #1. Fire is attractive.

In the chill 50 degree weather, the flames of my bonfire draw my neighbor out of her comfortable house to visit. We talk about a bunch of nothings and move around adjusting ourselves to avoid the smoke. The wind is keeping us guessing.

It is Good Friday and she suddenly asks if we are having a service again this year.

Last year she and her family attended Good Friday services with us but not Easter. I was so disappointed, since Easter is the great celebration after the somber tone of the account of the crucifixion. And they haven't come back all year, though her youngest daughter has returned to AWANA and has put her trust in Christ. I invited her family again this year to Easter Sunday and she hasn't yet committed to attend that service so the question about tonight's service is a little...surprising.

As I look in the flames, it hits me that fire is attractive. Why should I be surprised at the twists and turns that she takes in her spiritual seeking? She is feeling her way through the spiritual longing that I have no doubt rests deep inside her soul. She is seeking the light and warmth of the Savior and her path isn't necessarily going to be laid out in textbook format. She is just responding to the attractive nature of God.

Lesson #2. A breath of wind reveals whether a fire is dead or alive.

I am done playing with the fire. The neighbors have gone back home and the kids are inside playing x-box. I rake the coals, spreading them out to die and begin busying myself with stacking the unused wood and the camp chairs. I glance up in time to notice that a breath of wind has re-ignited the fire.

I sit back down in the camp chair to wait the fire out and spend some time in prayer. Prayer for my neighbors and their salvation mostly. Prayers for the perfect opportunity to arise to talk with them about Christ. In the meantime, the fire has died and re-ignited a couple of times before this thought hits me.

There is a lot of pressure that I put on myself to say just the right thing at just the right time in just the right way. The reality is this: salvation is a work of God, not man. It is the breath of the Holy Spirit that will reveal to my neighbor's heart whether she is alive in Him or dead. It isn't my brilliant choice of words. It isn't my impeccable sense of timing. It is the Spirit.

I do pray my neighbors will be drawn out of their comfort zone spiritually and be touched by the light and warmth of Jesus' love. And I pray that whether it is tonight or Easter Sunday, or just some time in the future days ahead, that they will sense that breath of the Holy Spirit and respond in faith.

Easter Sunday update: They didn't attend Friday night's services but I was DELIGHTED to see them this morning. Just can't wait to see how God will work through this!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

High Maintenance or Highly Valued

Let it be known that I am NOT a fan of high maintenance girls!

So occasionally, I will tell my somewhat dramatic, 8-days-from-being-13, young daughter to not be so high maintenance. It is light hearted and she gets the picture to tone down her behavior a notch. But not too long ago, around a round table of extended family and friends at a birthday party, this little ploy backfired on me badly.

Have you ever been to a real live spelling bee? Occasionally when a hard word comes along, the contestant will need to buy some time to think and will ask for a definition of the word. C decided to use this same strategy...on being told to not be high maintenance, she politely requested a definition.

It is amazing how all other conversations around the table seemed to instantly cease. And in that brief moment of silence I knew that I could get into real trouble real quick. As I stuttered through a few descriptive words that totally applied to several of the ladies present and tried to not make eye contact with those ladies, I realized that there was no delicate way to continue on this topic. Additionally, I was having a hard time coming up with a definition that didn't describe myself! I changed the subject as soon as possible.

That whole situation is really very funny to look back on. But I still need a definition for C, and so I have come up with my own definition so that she can be very clear on what behavior patterns exactly it is that I am trying to discourage.

high-maintenance girl (hi mane tin ants gurl) adj. Description of a female whose standard of personal preservation is more then the normal amount usually resulting in large expenditures of time, money, and effort.

For example:

1. Hair, nails, skin, and body must be pampered and primed to perfection at all times. Nothing must alter that perfection (such as camping, ironing, yard/house work, age, etc.). Appearance is very important.

2. Shopping is an art and shoes can be considered a hobby. There are specific stores, though, that are unworthy of a H.M. girls' style (think re-sale and WalMart).

3. Entertainment for the H.M. girl must be often and creative. "Dinner and a movie...again?!"

4. Topics of conversation with a H.M. girl are limited to what they consider amusing and all other topics will result in a one-sided conversation.

5. H.M. girls do not toil and neither do they spin...they are simply decorative in nature.

6. The focus of the high-maintenance girl is to get her way...this will surely bring her happiness.

Synonyms: Princess, Spoiled

What is scary to me is that as much as I dislike this kind of girl in definition, and as sinful as some of these attitudes really are, I still see some of myself in this definition.

What I really want to define my girls and myself is this:

Highly-valued girl (hi le valu d gurl) adj. Description of a female whose standard of living is based on the knowledge that she is a precious child of God created for His wonderful purposes.

1. Embraces the physical beauty God has granted her and chases the inward beauty He most values...a gentle and quiet spirit before Him.

2. Study of God's Word is an art. Because she knows Truth, she welcomes whatever adventure God brings her way and spends time enjoying the good gifts that God gives her without guilt.

3. Understands that fun and peace can easily be found in the simple things of life.

4. Works relationally to reach out to others and connect with them on a personal level.

5. Recognizes service to others in the name of Jesus will bring eternal rewards and great personal fulfillment.

6. The focus of the highly-valued girl is to follow God's Way...this will bring her joy.

Synonyms: Princess, Treasured

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A La Vida Dulce Moment

I was just sitting here reading Kellie's blog, laughing at her (over the international spin to her homemade chicken soup) and myself (for believing the pasta joke for half a second), and smelling the yummy homemade granola in the oven from Kellie's Granola recipe. And it just hit me like a pound of coffee beans that I am totally having a La Vida Dulce moment. The only thing that could possibly make it better is if she were sharing a cup of coffee and a laugh with me in person.

Thank you, Lord, for the creativity and the humor in our every day lives. Thank you, Lord, for the ability to communicate with each other, even long distance. And thank you, Lord, for the wonderful friendships that make this The Good Life!