Friday, August 7, 2009

Finding Balance

"The LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the EL of my life."—Psalms 42:8

Michael Hyatt wrote, "Most people believe that somehow, if they can just find the right system, they can get everything done. I think this is a myth bordering on an outright lie. You can't do it all. Time is a limited resource. This is just something you have to understand and accept. You only need to get the right things done and leave the rest with God. You're only human and you can only do so much."

Balance equals how many plates I can spin on emaciated financial and emotional poles. I work 2-3 jobs and struggle, never getting everything done at home. I eliminate and concentrate. I set my alarm for 3 a.m. so I can study my Bible, but even then, open eyes and Bible equal "kid magnet." I never feel like there is time for me.

Too many responsibilities, demands and unexpected surprises blur time and priorities.

Now that my launched sons are productive adults and I'm an empty nester, I feel guilt looking back and thinking, "I wish I'd prioritized better…done more…spent more time with my precious sons." Today I enjoy "me" time —pursing the passions God embedded in my heart's spiritual DNA.

I can't survive without El Chay, the God of My Life.

El Chay, I long for you in my life. When my tears stream day and night and haunting fears taunt, "Where is your God?" I can tell you everything I feel and think without fear of rejection. Thank you for listening and replacing my despair with hope in you, my helper, the God of my life.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pruning Dead Wood from My Life

"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. John 15:2; Galatians 5:22. (NASB)

Pruning Dead Wood

from My Life

A peach tree stands guard in front of my house. The person who planted it set it too close to my home's foundation. My sons and squirrels scramble up its limbs to access the roof.

The coming of spring does not produce beautiful blossoms. During summer, my peach tree remains barren. It litters my lawn with leaves in the fall. Winter storms bang its limbs against my house. Other than shade, this tree is a nuisance.

My neighbor, a master gardener, suggested severely pruning the tree to force the sap into more vigorous limbs to produce fruit.

Still no fruit.

Life without love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control reminds me of my peach tree, without fruit and useless.

The sharp pruning shears of single parenting regularly hack away at my negative character traits. Far too often than I'd like to admit, the stresses of dual parenting force out the worst in me. To bear good fruit in my soul, I've learned to trim away the dead wood—toxic relationships and attitudes that drain my faith.

I don't want to be dead wood in the lives of others. I want to be someone who encourages others to blossom and produce fruit in a manner worthy of the Lord.

Lord, I want the fruit of my life, my actions and my attitudes, to be a visible expression of your inward working in me.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Expect Delays

"The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.—Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

Expect Delays

The lighted yellow dots on the computerized signal spelled, "EXPECT DELAYS."

With directions in hand and my foot on the accelerator, I looked forward to meeting Gloria in Castle Rock for a little girlfriend time. As I zipped past the foreshadowing flashes of the signal, my radio blasted, "Be Still and Know that I Am God."

Suddenly, every lane on the freeway stopped—dead.

My tires sat stock-still on the fiery pavement. My soul was not still—it was hot and irritated. What? It's Saturday. Why is the freeway backed up?

I love the feel of a 75-mile-per-hour trajectal towards my destination.

Traffic crept and I called my friend to let her know we might miss the start time of our movie. "Not to worry," she said. "We'll regroup when you get here."

I relaxed.

Traffic again accelerated to full speed ahead. I'd already totaled one car on this never-ending road construction, car crash corridor; so I nervously negotiated my car in my lane between a cement barrier and semi-trucks driving far too close to my door handle for comfort.

Traffic stopped again. Again? Arggg! I spotted a dirt escape route to a road paralleling the interstate. I broke away from the pack and guided my car onto the muddy, dirt trail, pulling onto the old highway. Feeling victorious, I sped alongside the cars stopped on their tire treads. I passed the traffic stopper—an accident—said a prayer for the injured parties and cruised onto an on-ramp, depositing my car back on a near empty expressway.

One accident, two "Two Men in a Truck®" trucks lounging on the shoulder, a million rubberneckers, and several slow-down-fines-doubled road construction sites stretched the thirty-minute drive into an hour+.

This drive reminded me of my journey with God. I enjoy setting my cruise control, sitting back, cranking up the praise and worship music, and whizzing along at full speed with no distractions.

But far too often stress and obstacles punctuate my start, stop, go, slow down, speed-up life. Road construction, accidents, sidetracks, and unexpected delays put the brakes on my progress towards my goals, or so I think.

Life interruptus gets in the way of my dreams and aspirations. And often the reinforced barriers erected to keep me safe make me feel trapped. But the pauses of life drive me to engage in pressing heart matters. The stillness of immobility reminds me that God is at work on my behalf. Even though I make my plans, God directs my path.

Lord, I'm so grateful that even when I'm impatient and driven, you are at work in my life patiently guiding, protecting and perfecting my faith.