Tag Archives: choices

Solitary Discipline

GoodGirl and I spent some extra time together this week. I enjoy her company and thrill to watch her run the lots and pastures at lightening speed for the sheer joy of running. I also enjoy watching her interact with all the other animals.

GoodGirl and Hero chat between passes.

 

True to her breed GoodGirl instinctively herds the livestock. Fence or no fence, hot wires or cold she needs no help getting the attention of the sheep or steers. The way she even directs the neighbor’s animals – on the other side of the wire fence fascinates me.

Again this week I noticed how this girl-dog especially loves to dash up to the chicken run, kicking up dust, scattering the hens into a squawking flurry and stop with her nose micrometers from the chicken wire. She’s clearly demonstrated how, let loose and unchecked, she could pull at that wire and have a tasty snack in no time, so we scold her for chasing chickens.

GoodGirl resists (mostly) her innate desire to harass the chickens. She adores the people that liberally pour love, food and comfort on her. Even at three years of age she desires her human’s praise and approval even more than she likes chasing chickens.

Under her steady gaze, I tend the hen house every day. She reminds me of my relationship with God. As much as I may enjoy ripping and running around the countryside, let loose to run unchecked I’d be a poor, broken, sick mess in no time. Although I get lonely for my offspring, siblings and friends now and then, I’ve learned that our Heavenly Father knows best when to reign me in and when to let me run if only for the sheer joy of it.

Just like GoodGirl.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

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On Second Thought

Contrary to my nature, I awoke with a negative thought this morning, my body and spirit feeling uncharacteristically heavy and dark.

Not realizing it, I carried that around with me through the first minutes of the day.

Also not usual in those first moments in that hour as my brain wakes, I began examining, probing the negativity.

Hours later I’m now slightly embarrassed. After waking and walking with the Holy Spirit all these years I’m still so easily tempted to shoulder burdens God never intended for me to bear alone:

  • grief,
  • anger,
  • anxiety,
  • remorse,
  • fear…

This morning grief got a good grip on me before I even recognized it.

Thanks to God, something outside the kitchen window soon captured my attention, changing the atmosphere entirely:

clear, blue skies decorated with white, fluffy clouds!

Sometimes it’s good to be easily entertained or distracted.

With the tangible vision of a brand new day, my second thought was, “Wow God, what a fabulous day!”

God and I kicked some ideas around together a while. Now, tea is cooling, sunshine is bursting through the windows igniting the rooms with energy. As I realize today is officially the last day of winter, I’m so very thankful for second thoughts.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

 

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No-mo

Thursday this week was monumental for me.

I ignored my phone.

Believe it.

This alone is epic. I don’t actually suffer from nomophobia. I unintentionally walk out of the cottage without the phone more often than I like to admit. Doing so not only causes Brother Cole undue concern every few weeks or so, but it forces me to shop without my lists, I miss Kodak moments, and mess up my step count (but there’s an app for that).

Still, ignoring a notification is difficult for me. It’s not a mom thing. I admit its about living alone and sometimes needing to be needed – moreover remembered.

Astounding as it is, I’ve only recently come to fully appreciate my personal space. Until some weeks ago this strange aloneness took me to such extremes I looked for – and found – things to keep me busy.

There were chores – laundry (for one person), cooking, dishes (again, it’s just me), dusting, tending livestock (ahem, that aren’t actually mine)…  Seriously, who dusts a barn? And yet I struggled getting around to organizing, decorating or (gasp) my job!

Unsettling as this was I thought my prayer life was good – while I was actually praying. But when all my other personal needs took a back seat to anything anyone else may have wanted, any time – and there’s nobody else to blame – forget Houston, Heaven, we have a problem.

Immediately I prayed for help with this. God’s response came quickly – and actually annoyed me initially.

During my quiet time early on Thursday the phone sounded repeatedly. I assumed Cole was in a mood – it happens. We have an understanding – when he actually needs me he can call.

Hard as it was, I ignored the phone.

Later I found that not only the earth still turned without my help, but the text was actually DearFriend sharing Scripture God put on her heart for me.

The breakthrough? I realize I must choose to constantly make my relationship with God my highest priority. As I practice doing this, I get to see myself the way Jesus sees me – beloved. No matter what else. And I adore Him right back.

Ridiculous as it is, after trying to run the universe for the first part of my life, this relax-and-let-God-be-God thing is still a challenge. Still, after diligent practice, on Thursday DearFriend helped confirm I am beginning to grasp the handle on it.

So, occasionally pity parties leave me feeling slightly disappointed that I wound up living alone. Fact: God is always with me – even when I try to ignore Him, run or hide from Him. And He always graciously reminds me, this story’s far from over.

I am God’s beloved. That’s enough today.

“Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:6-7 (NLT)

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The Best Choice Today

Have you ever faced a hard choice wishing it was not up to you? Have you ever regretted a decision? Welcome to my thoughts today, as I seem to bear the weight of the world!

whats right

 

Today I’m considering quotes. Usually quotes from my late brother help me most often, like “It’s not about who’s right, but what’s right.” But that’s not much help today.

I take more time making decisions these days than ever before. Perhaps that’s because America is caught up in the Presidential Election Primaries – so much information, the actual facts (verses misinformation or subjectivity), so little time. Maybe because I am older than I ever thought I’d be and yet vital, I approach many decisions more seriously. More than ever before in my history every choice seems more important in nearly every area of life.

Faced with making a decision that will directly impact my household, possibly my entire family, I’ve been profoundly circumspective the past few weeks – months actually. It’s not all bad. I’ve discovered among the blessings of aging is history; I can look back at choices I made and examine what was good, what could have been better and what didn’t work out so well – and why. As recently as a few years ago, my history had me reluctant to make decisions that had much bearing on anyone but me. One such choice about three years ago was to combine my household with my sister and brother. That decision brought me here, both geographically and metaphorically.

During weeks of introspection and examining the facts, thoughts from Louie Giglio’s book, I Am Not But I Know I Am come to mind (paraphrased):

  • I am not God. Therefore I cannot alter His plan.
  • God doesn’t have a backup plan in case I screw up His plan.
  • This story isn’t over, not even the results of decisions I regret because I chose while angry or hurt.

One choice that faces us all more than we even notice, is to do what’s best. Granted, I like to examine everything from every available perspective –  which often annoys my housemates. For example,

shall I:

  • get up now or go back to sleep,
  • eat cheese, eggs, beef or chicken, tea or coffee
  • walk in the morning or afternoon
  • spend now to save or do without

Under our intense circumstances our household often faces choices that ordinarily seem simple but are actually complex and have an impact on someone else or another area of life:

I’m groping here, but for example:

  • leave a light on in case someone in the household isn’t home yet (impacting the electric bill)
  • shop for food today because supplies are scarce or wait until the coupons and sale ads arrive
  • spend any more time trying to save a few pennies

But the biggest choice facing me now,

  • should I stay in my present household with family or move to somewhere more conducive to my needs.

The hardest part of the process is considering the list under the category,

What if

Some choices offer immediate results so they seem simpler. Those involving others and bear more dramatic, long-term or unseen ramifications are more challenging. With all our advanced technology, seeing ahead is sometimes as difficult as ever, particularly when our choices affect the lives around us.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Spock

When faced with difficult choices, I rely upon intensive prayer and fasting. Even then answers can seem subjective, especially to my vision in the moment. So, whenever possible I give myself time. I dread the chance I may have missed something important simply because there’s so much to consider. While I’m undeniably an emotional being, just as able to make a decision that could be influenced by my feelings in the moment, faith also guides my decisions.

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” Proverbs 29:18 (NLT)

When open communication is tricky, confusion and offenses weigh in, being no more self-centered than the next human, my maternal instincts tend to override other logic. Still, I’m careful about doing something or entertaining thoughts that seem to be all about me – essentially evil.

“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (King James Version)

Today my search for wisdom and direction led me right back where today began. My only plan remains to prepare myself to be ready when the time comes to either stay or move.

“If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Job 11:13-14 (NLT)

A die hard scout, I shall prepare for whatever, continue listening and wait.

Good talk. Thanks!

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My Circus, My Monkey

If you haven’t discovered Michelle Malone yet, I recommend you take a look. A Middle School Assistant Principal, she helps humans at their most influential stage of life – your basic everyday hero.

Michelle’s article, I Got 99 Problems got me thinking about my circus.

Gabriela Kucerova orangutang

Most times I enjoy being me. I’ve literally worked hard toward that goal. Typically I’m a better person interacting with the wonderful beings around me. Occasionally, not so much. In my particular circus, my area of responsibility, I am learning to own my feelings as they happen – without derailing.

You probably don’t go through a wide spectrum of changes like I do, often minute-to-minute depending upon prevalent events or circumstances. Still, I empathize with those who do. Suddenly the senior member of our household, my feelings are a troublesome monkey.

Throughout my early years, how I felt was literally the least of my concerns. I deliberately emulated Mr. Spock’s logic (okay, mostly my dad’s). Like most everything else, that’s fine as long as it’s in moderation. Yeah, balance was never my strong suit.

Somewhat recently I realized I sometimes made my life harder, more complicated than it had to be, dismissing or at the very least minimizing my emotions. I sometimes shot myself in the foot for the greater good, excluding myself from equations, mostly because I didn’t trust my feelings.

After years of considerable self-restoration work, I am now more aware how my feelings influence my attitude and my choices. While I’ve learned to not sacrifice my legitimate needs, my feelings sometimes seem puerile and confusing. I’m becoming okay feeling silly sometimes.

So, being comparatively new at owning my feelings, in the moment when they happen, my heart should be in prime condition for all the ups and downs, lifts and crashes I experience. Whether we are in a hormonal influx, under intense personal pressure, or bearing the weight of life’s milestones, our feelings (including mine) matter to God, so they must matter to each of us.

Thank God my circus is marvelous, lively and mostly entertaining. I usually enjoy all the monkeys and how they interact with each other; the sweet ones, the lively ones, the dramatic ones and the hurt or broken ones. Even though I don’t always recognize my monkey immediately, I can cage them when I need to.

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Present, Future and Past

I agree for the most part. As with most of life, it’s all about our next choice. I recently heard James Reeves say, “If you haven’t dealt with your past, then it isn’t your past, it’s your present and your future.” Sometimes we get stuck in the past because we left a stone unturned. Sometimes we can kick stones out of our way. And sometimes we simply walk on. We choose what we do next.

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