Jan 212015
 

 

Gotta love those proud parent moments.  The one’s in which the only grateful thought keeping you from playing the “Shame Game” for the rest of the year is, “Atleast no one else was around to witness this gold star conversation.”  Not to toot my own horn, but I had one of these this week.

It was a “normal” week day (for us this means school, work, meals, shopping, quiet times and the girls’ “squirrel dancing” all took place).  I had this genius idea to bring my computer out front to check some “to do’s” off the list, while concurrently watching the girls ride their bikes in the street.  At the same point my brain was giving myself an imaginary pat on the back for living out an upstanding example of the multitasking mother, IT happened.  My gold star parenting moment.

My youngest daughter rode up to me and stated the question that has not left my mind all week, “Mama, do you love your phone or Jesus more?”  Right.  There.  My.  Heart.  Sank.  And then I proceeded to give a quick answer of, “Well, I love Jesus more honey.”  Because that was the right answer.  My daughter rode off as I thought back to all the times today and in days past my cell phone had been my priority.

I decided to close my computer after that conversation.  Frustrated with technology sapping me of relationships.  I thought to myself, “Was my relationship with Jesus my priority each day?  What message am I communicating to my family and others through my actions (not words) of the things I value most?  How can I live a life of being present with the one’s I am face to face with, not the one’s over cyberspace?”

I love that we serve a God of grace.  Who never shames us into submission.  Or forces us into intimacy.  But instead has an always extended hand.  Patiently waiting.  For us to grab it.

For this year of 2015, my word is “reliance”.  Webster’s defines reliance as “the state of needing someone or something for help”.  Like minded words are: anchorpillar, dependence, standby.  

For me, the picture that goes with my word of the year is one of the extended, open, welcoming, warm hand of Jesus.  Our God is THE one to rely on.  For strength. Help.  Comfort.  Direction.  Wisdom.  Worth.  Peace.  And Purpose.

So when I am not relying on the Lord, what am I relying on?  I have found out.  “Myself” is the answer.  It is so fitting that all the Webster’s words opposite of reliance are:  independence, independency, self-dependence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-support.  When I let go of the hand of Jesus, I choose to rely on myself.  

But isn’t it a comforting thought that weakness and reliance are not like minded words.  The above words coupled with Webster’s definition of “reliance” are one’s of strength-“anchor, pillar”.  So we can be sure that relying on/holding onto the hand of Jesus puts us in a category of strength.  The bible confirms this as it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This “reliance relationship” is what I desire.  To be priority.  Over all other crazy “distraction balls” hurled at me daily as if I am in a dodgeball game.  So I am putting a name to my top 5 distractions

  1. Cell phone
  2. Household chores
  3. Computer-Amazon, email
  4. A friend’s request to get together
  5. Work tasks

These distractions consist of everyday, even necessary activities, technologies, projects and people.  And each one is not bad in and of themselves.  But the problem arises when I rely and act on my own impulses, expectations, and control rather than obedience to the Spirit’s voice.  These distractions are my “acheles heals”-areas I know I am prone to prioritize above God’s will for me in the moment.  And in these moments when these distractions reign above God’s promptings, or the distractions have so overwhelmed my brain and I am not aware or asking for God’s decision, I am telling God I love “my cell phone” more than Him.

Sweet Jesus, may I today “keep in step with Your Spirit”.  May I prioritize loving You and others above my distracting cell phone.  May you see me as faithful as I do my best to be obedient to Your voice and commands.  May I recognize Your extended hand beckoning me to come.  Rest.  Find help.  Find peace.  Find true fulfillment and love.  As the distractions of this world fade away in light of Your glorious face.   

What distractions keep you in “self reliance” mode rather than reliance on God mode?

What might God be beckoning you to take His hand to do-trusting and relying on Him for strength?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 222014
 

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5

There are times when I am focused on the task at hand and times when my mind is swayed by everything else around me.  It was a time when the latter was evident-the word “concentration” was far from my reality.

I was running on my regular nature path.  But for the life of me I could not stay on it.  Let me explain.

I saw a florescent wad of cloth off a couple feet to my left.  I was strangely drawn to it.  Who knows, maybe I had left it on a previous run?  I followed my curiosity to the field beside me. I found it was a boy’s shirt.  Truly not life changing.  Or even slightly exciting.  And most definitely didn’t belong to my girl power kiddo’s.

I was able to move on from this sighting fairly immediately.  I was about to get back on the path when something else mysterious caught the corner of my eye.  It was a deer.  Now this was a little more exciting-an untamed animal in the wild.  And I was mesmerized.  By its calm, staring demeanor.  And if this wasn’t enough of a little piece of heaven, another deer came to join.  And then another followed right behind!   I stood only three feet away from three deer and breathed in and out slowly with eyes fixed on the group.

After the deer party ran into the woods, I headed back to the path to run.  But surprisingly there were multiple other distractions that took me off the path.  Once for roadkill (curiosity getting truly getting the best of me this time), and a sprinkler (happened to turn on with the perfect timing so I received two showers instead of my typical one for the day).

In all of my inability to stay focused on the running route at hand, there was one thing which kept bringing me back to the path for which I had come in the first place.  One thing that helped me refocus on running.  One thing that was so beautiful, there was nothing I could do but respond with action.

The Brilliant Sun.  Rising to mark the new day.  Lighting up the entire sky with brightness.  And when my mind and feet had wandered off the path, this sun beckoned me to look up.  It was as if it was almost daring me to stare into the light because no other shirt, deer, or distracting circumstance below held a candle.  And strangely looking into the light jolted me out of my Curious George moments and reminded me of what I was here to do.  Run.  on.  the.  path.

It is the same way with the light of Jesus.  God shines His light on our path-behind.  before.  in the very present.  And it beckons us to follow.  Anytime we fix our eyes on Jesus, the light of the world, our current “off the path” distractions cannot compete.  Any “off the path” things such as sin, worry, dark places of depression, family crisis, financial issues, trials, busyness, lies, doubts, or insecurities to be seen clearly for what they are.  Satan’s plan to kill, steal, destroy and distract us from God’s plan and love for us.

Turning to focus on the light of the Son gets us out of our mundane, anxiety driven, sin bound, weary minded, restless, fruitless selves and reminds us of our identity, love and calling in Jesus (just like focusing on the sun reminded me of the run on the path I was meant to do).  The light of Jesus reminds us that He will use our difficult circumstances and weak areas for the good of His Kingdom.  That His Word gives specific guidance to our now.  And that no darkness can overcome it.  No matter whether you are currently on the God’s path for you, just stepped off the path, have been too busy to recognize if you are or aren’t on the path, have never been on the path, can’t remotely even know where to begin to get back on the path, our God see’s.  And holds out loving arms of grace to each of us.

So let’s look to the Son/”Sun” today and be welcomed onto His path of light and life.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 202013
 

I shared in my post last week about how limiting my Facebook usage for Lent led to discovering all the distractions in my life.  God has also shown me the impact the distractions are having on my family and my ability to live the life I long for.

Just as I challenged you to spend a few minutes to write a list of your commitments (distractions) in life, I challenged myself as well.

This is where the hard work really begins.

Now that I am aware of the distractions in my life, what am I to do with this new insight?

I have a choice to make. I can continue trudging forward, holding tightly to my distractions, or I can be open to God’s leading and learn to loosen my grip.  I deeply desire to loosen my grip but to do so means letting go of things I hold dear.  It means letting go of control and trust.

Distractions are not always negative. Many of my distractions are worthwhile, fun and nurturing, which is why cutting them out of my life feels difficult.  However, the right choice is being obedient to what the Lord is calling me to do.  I know from past experience when I have listened and acted in obedience, I have been blessed by the outcome.  Even if it was tough to obey.

I have my list before me and I am prayerfully considering each distraction and asking myself the following questions:

1) How much time does it use?

2) Is this God’s will for this season of my life? Or is it my own?

3) Does it involve sharing Christ with others?

4) What is the impact it is having on my family? My state of mind?

5) If I let it go, what would that look like?

I am not suggesting that all commitments are distractions or that we should “flake” on all our responsibilities.  I am simply encouraging us to reflect on the commitments we have, listen to God’s leading and create space to be.

The wonderful gift of creating space in our lives is a deep inner sense of peace and calm.  This is something my soul longs for. Does yours?

 

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 132013
 

The Bible study I attend is walking through the study, “A Clearing Season“, by Sarah Parsons.  She encourages you to spend time in your personal wilderness to discover what might need changing for the season of Lent.  What you might let go or start to participate in.  Sarah does a wonderful job of reminding you that Lent is not a time for self-deprivation, but rather a time of reflection.

In honor of Lent I decided I would limit my Facebook time.  Knowing myself well, I knew I would cave in if I decided to quit completely, so I decided to limit my “attendance”, as I called it. Through this process, God opened my eyes!  Not only to how much time I was wasting on the computer when there was a pause in the day but to other distractions in my life.

I found this “extra” time I had was spent with my family or used to do something productive. This in itself is a great break through, however the Lord took me deeper and continues to do so.

Through this process all the distractions in my life have become clear. It is almost as if a big flashing sign has been turned on!

What do I mean by distractions?

My distractions consist of computer time, commitments outside the home, hobbies, groups I am a part of, things I want to do and things I need to do.

None of the above listed items are inherently bad.  It is that I have too many of them.  By having too many, I am distracting myself and robing myself of the opportunity to live the life I long for.

I have a dream of what I want my life to look like.  Most importantly, I have a dream of what I want my home environment to be for my girls.  As a perfectionist, I have learned to hold this dream loosely, however I do not want to lose my vision completely because of all my distractions.

My dream involves time. Time to be present. Time to be creative. Time to be home. Time to be together.

With too many distractions, time almost becomes extinct.

I encourage you to take 10 to 15 minutes to sit.

Allow your mind to wonder. Breath deeply. And take note of what distractions, worries, stresses come to mind.

Make a physical list.

What distractions have you unearthed?

 

 

 

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Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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