Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 17: To Be or Not to Be Decisive

Week 17_Be DecisiveThere I was, fretting like a silly girl over another answered prayer. Yes, you read that right. I’d prayed for months about finding a job. When the offer finally came I began to tailspin out of control, second guessing whether or not the position was truly right for me. “Is this from God or is this a trap,” I questioned. What if it’s not a good fit after all, then what? Will I be miserable and stuck? Am I even qualified?

I’ve lived this scene more times than I can count. I’ve prayed for a position, an opportunity, and even a husband. And each time the prayer was finally answered I experienced a momentary time of panic and second guessing. Some panicky moments for some situations lasted longer than others.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s wise to discern the nature of opportunities and the hearts of people as they trickle your way. No matter how much you’ve been praying, every door that swings wide open isn’t the one you should walk through, and obviously (single ladies) every man that winks and walks your way isn’t necessarily the missing piece to your marriage puzzle, either.

Lately, I’ve found myself feeling that same ol’ fret again. This year, I prayed to be stretched – to grow as a writer and as a woman – and opportunities continue to come along to accommodate. As I prayerfully consider them, I’m not too sure I know how to determine which ones may be good ones for me.

So how do I find peace in the decision-making process when standing at the threshold of open doors and tempting opportunities? How do I know when something is right for me? Exactly how much should I stress about making the right decision? When should I just close my eyes and jump? All good questions, right?

As I was pondering some of these questions, recently, here is how I believe God answered me:

“Trust me. I know you.” – Psalm 139:1-6

1O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

“Trust me. I’m always with you and I’ll always protect you.” – Psalm 139:7-12

 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

“Trust me. I created you and I know what’s best for you.” – Psalm 139:13-16

13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

“Trust me. I’ll direct the steps you take.” – Proverbs 3:5, 6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

“Trust me. You can do anything with my help.” – Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

This week, pay close attention to the decisions you are facing and how you handle them. Are you a swift, confident decision maker or do you tend to over-think, in a desperate attempt to discern and make the right choice? What steps do you take to make decisions and then trust the decision you made?

Coming up next: I’d love to tell you that my meticulous (read ANAL 🙂) decision making tendencies are rooted in my desire to do what pleases God. While that is certainly part of it, there’s a little more to the story. In the next post, I’ll share my confession and elaborate a bit more on how the scriptures above are teaching me to close my eyes and jump a bit more often.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Letting My Light Shine, Part 2

Have I told you how much I enjoy reading your comments? I really do. Whether you’re reiterating a point, presenting a different perspective or sharing a page from your own life, I love reading your thoughts. In those brief moments, my imagination transports me to a quaint, eclectic little tea room nestled somewhere in the heart of the urban sprawl that surrounds me. There I sit, sipping hot green tea from a porcelain antique tea cup – with my freshly manicured pinky in the air – while laughing and talking with a good friend. I just love it!

Ok, back to reality…:-)

Check out what a few of you had to say in response to my Letting My Light Shine, Part 1 blog post a few weeks ago:

Becky confessed: I can shine bright to the world, but too often I snuff out my witness in tired, crabby moments at home. Of course we’re all human (fallen) but you’ve reminded me that “before men” also means “before your children” or “even when no one is looking.”

Now isn’t that the truth! I’m sure we all could make that confession. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of being a flood light to the world outside your door but just a night light, at best, before your family, friends or those closest to you? Guilty as charged, right? I know my hand is up.

Michelle shared this beautiful story:  When I first read the scripture, I immediately thought about my run this morning in the fog. There was another lady running with me but, ahead of me. At times, her body would turn into a mere silhouette, only to disappear from my eyesight all together. During those moments, I had to say a prayer and trust that if I keep running I would eventually see her up ahead. It wasn’t until she turned around to stop and check on me, that I could see the head lamp she was wearing shining through the fog. Life is sometimes like that. There are times when you can’t see your way through and you feel like you’re alone. Then someone comes along with the spirit of God shinning through.

Those last two sentences alone speak volumes of truth, don’t they? God, through His word, has charged us to be that lady running in the fog with the head lamp on.

Deborah said:  What I took from that (Isaiah 60:1-3 is the “that” she’s referring to), and from yours is that we need to bring light to all we encounter, whether in deed or with words, or through God’s word. We should always strive to brighten someone else’s day, not dim it by focusing on our own desires.

I love her last sentence so much. I remember when I read it I had to stop and just soak it in. How many times have I not been the light of Christ someone desperately needed to see because I was too consumed with me? Too many to count, I’m sure. There are probably too many times to count just today alone. Thanks, Deb, for the reminder.

Elisa asks: the question popped in my mind, “why are we so timid when it comes to letting our light shine?” Is it because we are truly thinking of self?

Uh oh…there’s that nasty four letter word: SELF! Didn’t Deborah just finish checking me about my SELF?? Geesh… You guys are a tough crowd. As God would have it, this leads me right to the doorway of my shortcoming in the area of letting my light shine. Recently, the Lord used a situation on my job to expose how my entanglement in the thoughts, opinions and approval of someone else can drastically overshadow (if not completely extinguish) any flicker of light I could be to the world around me. My rude awakening was that it’s so easy to become “timid when it comes to letting our light shine” if I’m more consumed with what others may (or may not) think about me than I am with what God has challenged me to do and to be to those around me.

LIGHT.

Whatever did we do with the sweet song we learned as kids? “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…. Everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine….let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

I challenge you to let each others comments soak into your heart and mind today. And may we all go about our days looking for opportunities to be God’s light and let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

P.S. Feel free to drop by and share a “light” story with me. You know I love reading your comments.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Letting My Light Shine, Pt. 1

Ok, so I’m supposed to be in the bed and well on my way to being sleep. Shhh, don’t tell. I wish you all could see me right now. I am laying in my bed – yes under the covers. I’m perched so I can see the doorway and trying to type quickly and quietly so my dear husband in the other room doesn’t detect that I’m still awake. I tell you, I’m a mess! 🙂 I drive him bananas when I stay up later than I should. It’s not so much the staying up too late that gets him. It’s the whiny toddler I turn into the next morning when the alarm is about to go off and I don’t want to get out of bed.

Anywho… I just had to share something with you before I lay me down to sleep.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16, NASB

Sean and I try to walk/run together 3 – 4 afternoons a week. Those are the best times for a girl like me who abhors working out alone. It’s always nice to have someone to encourage me, challenge me and workout with me. Kinda like having my own personal trainer. One of the best parts of our workout time during the week (second best to the company, of course) is the conversation we have along the way. We talk about all kinds of things, and today was no exception.

Somewhere during today’s banter entered the above verses of scripture from the bible. Now I can’t talk much about them right now, because like I told  you I’m possibly 10 to 20 minutes from trying to stuff this laptop underneath my pillow and pretend like I’m snoring. But tonight these verses are still burning on my heart so I just had to share them with you. Do me a favor, will you? Read them for me. If you are a Christian woman, think about what they mean to you, in your life today. If, by chance, you are not a Christian and some gusty blog wind blew you my way today, welcome. I’m glad you stopped by. I hope you’ll come back, because I’m going to come back later (when I’m not supposed to be in bed) and share my thoughts on these verses, along with a confession about how I’ve fallen short of them lately. Do we have a deal? I sure hope so.

Ok, I’m off to bed now. For real. By the time you get this I will have had a good night’s rest and I will NOT have aggravated my husband in the morning with self-inflicted, sleep deprived WHINING! Ask him. He’ll tell you.

P.S. You know I love to read what’s on your mind. So why don’t you get the party started by telling me what these verses speak to you today.