Friday, January 6, 2017

Don't get distracted

January 4, 2017

Sometimes life gets busy, work gets busy and families get busy. Visiting with the ones you love is important, but at times can also be exhausting. I'm not talking exhausting because of the people themselves, but because often times in this life if we take time to do one thing then something else gets put on the back burner.

If we take a few days to spend with family or a few days to spend quality time with my husband or a few hours to go to an event to cheer on our loved ones the reality is that is lost time doing something else. Time that you planned for something else. Maybe that something else is important, maybe it seems super pertinent or maybe it's just something you think needs to get done. Having a lot on my plate isn't a bad thing unless it keeps me distracted and away from time with God.

I love camping. I love hiking and I love being outdoors taking in God's beauty. In the peace and quiet of nature I can feel God. I can be reminded of how awesome He truly is. Sometimes when we reach a vista point I might even be brought to a point of true awe in our creator that makes all things. I might even be made speechless or moved to tears when I let it all sink in… His greatness, how He created it all, how He made me, how He loves me and no matter the canvas or materials He uses He is the best artist in the world.

I'm not just talking about His masterpieces in nature, but in me, in people, in creatures and the human body. How He makes us all beautiful and all new. How our bodies are formed and designed. How intricate our bodies are. How after years of research scientists don't completely understand them or our world, but God sure does.

For me being outdoors can be a spiritual time. A place where I can be restored. A place where I can praise God and a place where often times I do praise God without even realizing it. But at the same time those activities could be wrong and bad for me. Not just because I get blisters and my body aches, but because they could be stopping me from doing God's will. Maybe He had another plan for me, but I was too focused on what I wanted to do that I missed it. Maybe He wanted to use me to serve others, but I was too busy planning my adventure that I missed my opportunity. Maybe sometimes in life I get too busy thinking about me, my time, my family, my job, my passions and my desires that I don't hear God telling me...Go here I need you...Go there those people need you or Go_____ because I've got a huge plan and you have a purpose.

Stop looking at life and what you want. Stop looking at opportunities and saying nope that's the wrong one. Please stop looking at things and saying this really isn't how it's supposed to be. Can you really just trust God already? Hasn't He proven enough to you already? Hasn't He made Himself known enough? Hasn't He performed enough miracles in your life alone?

Now isn't any different. Now isn't a time of doubt. Now is a time to have renewed faith. Now is a time to not only trust Him, but you. He'll put you where you need to be, where He wants you, when He wants you there. Stop trying to understand everything. Stop trying to make your own plans. They are going to fail anyway. Stop keeping yourself so occupied that you don't hear Him. Who cares what Facebook has to say. Who cares if you have a new email. Who cares if you have a new text message. They can wait. Your instant gratification and always needing to be entertained is often detrimental. Your vision gets cloudy, God's voice gets drown out and your heart gets hardened.

Go back to simpler times. Go back to simpler days when life wasn't so busy. When you filled your time and days with what was truly important. The days where you focused on the people you really cared about and not the friends on the Internet that are people you've met a few times. You don't have to fully unplug. You don't have to withdraw from society. You don't have to go back to the stone age. You just need to set limits.

Don't spend all day everyday seeing what's happening in the world or the lives of your random acquaintances. Don't spend so much time reading the news that doesn't pertain to you. Spend your days doing what really matters. Love your real friends and family while you have the chance. Love your neighbors like you love yourself. Love your spouse more. Meet your family's needs more. Show more grace. Be less judgmental. Show love, kindness and compassion.

Homes are broken, hearts are hurting and your attitude doesn't help. Your it will all be okay attitude might not be what people need to hear. Yes it's true God works out everything for the good of those that love Him. Unfortunately not everyone loves Him. Unfortunately not everyone has a peace that exceeds everything or a joy that knows no limits. You live in a tough and harsh world. Don't get caught up in the antics, in the depression or in the judgmental hate spewing ways. It's not the answer and never has been.

You need to work hard to be a change for the world, but for yourself as well. You need your own hurts healed, your own pain eliminated and your own joy restored. You can't take care of anyone else when you are sick. You can't save the world and lose yourself. You can't preach a message of hope if you don't feel hopeful yourself even when you know you should be full of hope. You aren't a failure or a bad person or even a back sliding Christian if you have a little doubt. You have always and will always be a work in progress. A work in progress that needs God and a work in progress that on your own will fail.

You just need a little direction. You just need a little restoration. A little time down in the minor leagues so you can get your swing back the way it should be. Maybe you need to perfect some things and then you'll be back where you belong. Sometimes you can get a little defeated, a little lost, a little confused, but you will come back. You'll right the ship. You'll put the right captain in the seat and you'll learn to do the paddling only when He tells you to and only when you have to. If you paddle while the captain is controlling the boat you'll just get tired, just waste your energy, and exhaust yourself for no reason.

Don't lose hope. Don't lose sight of what's truly important. Don't let unimportant things take priority in your life. Don't let confusion take a place in your life. Kick it out along with the devil. They have long overstayed their welcome. Times are changing, the world is changing and it might seem like it's spinning out of control, but it's not. God's got everything under control and you know it deep down. You just need help to actually see it through your eyes especially when you have your doubting glasses on.

Be brave. Be strong. Be yourself and wait for the right doors to open. The door that God opens is the one you want and need. Be patient. Keep your faith. Trust the God that has never failed you and He won't fail you anytime or ever. You might not see His vision, but He does and it's not only bigger than you can imagine, but better too. You won't regret it. You won't regret your time of perceived hardship that leads to spiritual growth. You'll never really regret anything in life that leads you closer to Him. Get ready. Hold tight. Pray without ceasing not because He doesn't know what you need, but because your faith needs it and so does your heart. He will set you on Eagle's wings and you will soar, but only after He tells you to Go, to move, to do and His plan for you is known.

He is so so good. You know it. You say you believe it, but do you? When push comes to shove… when your faith is tested where exactly do you stand? People are watching. They want to see you stumble. They want to see you proven wrong. They want to say I told you so. They want to say where's your God now?

Are you going to give them that opportunity? Are you going to make a real stand with and for God or are you going to look like a coward that runs away when times are hard, when life isn't what you thought, when things don't look perfect. He needs you to be faithful. Maybe just maybe He wants to use you and your story to reach others, but He can't do that if you give up. If you throw in your towel He doesn't throw in His, but people won't see that. They only see you.

Be careful. Slopes can be slippery, falling really hurts, and climbing back up is very very difficult and tiring. You are almost to the top don't force yourself back to the valley floor just because you can or want to take a different path. God’s path is the best. The guide book you have doesn't have all the routes, but God's does. His book is complete. It's the right one and it's the one I'm going to take no matter what even if sometimes on my own I've veered a little off path I know what's right and that's where I'm headed even if it took me longer than it was supposed to.

You've wandered in the woods long enough. Come back to the trail. You know you don't just hurt yourself when you go off course. You can lead others right behind you. Now it is time to lead yourself and others back to the real path that God laid out just for you and them.

Don't give up. Catch your breath. Get your rest. You say the best view always come after the hardest climb and it'll be worth it. Tighten those boots for a little bit more climbing. Your vista point is so close. It'll be worth the effort, work, tears, blisters from life and any pain you endured along the way. Don't lose your focus or your footing on the rocks of life. Follow your path. Climb your mountain and then take in everything God has for you...everything He used to get you there… everything you thought wasn't right. Those were just a few things He needed you to learn. Embrace your life and his plan for you. It's beyond what you expected and He deserves all the glory and praise Not you!

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