The text came across my phone as I was out walking with my neighbor.
“Lea, she has a brain bleed. They are transporting her
Her daughter is only ten. She simply went outside before school to ride her bike and took a spill, earning herself a helicopter ride along with a few days in a hospital.
Several hours later standing in the kitchen after I get off the phone with her mom it hits me:
There isn’t a wall you can build that protects you from unexpected pain.
There’s no special prayer to pray, spiritual discipline to follow, or secret potion that can protect you from suffering. Death, accidents, hurricanes, tornados, fires, illness-none of us are immune. There is no way here on earth to avoid pain and suffering.
Among all the pain and suffering of the world, I am finding there is only one way to live…present. Enjoying the people placed before us and the life we have been given. There is absolutely no other way we can live if we want to make the most of the days we have been given.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time…they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” Ecclesiastes 3:11
God knows all the events of the past as well as all things that will occur in the future. We are incapable of finding out “what God has done from beginning to end.” God establishes the outcome. We have to choose to trust Him with the past and the future to live fully present.
To be honest, I’m not good at being present. I worry about the future and feel guilty about the past. In efforts to genuinely receive God’s gift of grace to live grateful for the present, I jotted down a list of habits I have developed over the years. Habits to reminded us to stay the course and don’t get caught in things that don’t matter.
When the week starts spinning out of control, and you don’t know where to begin, and you seem to be at the end of yourself, my prayer is this list will help you, as its’ helped me.
As the week unfolds remember:
Begin the day with the word, even if it’s only five minutes. Setting thoughts on things above as your feet hit the floor will transform the day.
Create margin in the schedule. Blank space…to sit, reflect, and process.
Learn to say no, even if it seems good. Business without purpose creates weariness and frustration.
Stay focused on your purpose. We exist to please God and God alone.
Laugh. A lot. Remember, “smiling is your favorite.”
Live in the present. Let go of the past and give God the future brings an inner stillness and peace.
Saturate your heart with the truth and striving will cease.
Forgive. Relationships only exist in the fertile ground of forgiveness.
Put down the phone. You’ll never regret it.
Lavishly receive grace. Guilt and shame over past mistakes will keep you bound to the past.
Give a gently answer instead of a harsh word. “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness” Proverbs 15:3.
Write. Everyday. Following your deepest desires brings Him glory.
Take time to bask in His creation. Reminds you to see all things through God’s eyes.
Pray big scary prayers only He can fulfill. Deep faith emerges when we move beyond the tangible into the supernatural.
Stay humble. Always allow others to teach you.
Take time to linger, and you may become aware of things previously unnoticed.
Kiss the ones you love. Saying, “I love you often.”
Worship. Not to fight the war but to remember the war has already been won.
Oh soul please remember:
Stay focused on the Promises. Looking to the negative only drains you.
Relationships over to-do-lists.
Rest in the finished work of the cross. Worry is a choice. Rest is a gift, choose it often.
Embrace the future with hope. Bravely trust that God is doing a new thing.
Let go of the lie you’re not enough. In Him, you will always be enough.
Declare God’s word. This is the only way to stay strong in God.
Protect your mind. Refuse to meditate on negative mind chatter. Any thought not producing hope must flee.
Keep loving, because in loving you become more like Him, and really that’s all that matters.
Skip social media and read a book. Your soul will thank you.
Month rolling into month, and you may lose your footing, kinda feeling like a failure. It’s ok. Dust yourself off. Remind yourself of this list and begin again. If you can be brave enough to start again without the guilt, He will give you the grace to succeed.
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The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.