Decisions, Divisions….

Life is a series of decisions that affect all those in my path. Every decision I make puts me either closer to God or further away from Him. It is impossible for me to make the right decisions without the help of the Holy Spirit. The old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is wise indeed. Doing what I think is best isn’t the way to go. I have to listen to God and trust His Spirit when it comes to decisions. If I allow His Spirit to help me obey when I don’t understand, I will find joy and peace. Good intentions often lead to divisions as differences of opinion abound when it comes to what is right and best.

Being still for an instant before speaking or acting allows time to pray and gives God space in which to work. I have always been a go-getter and a doer, and I can get a lot done in a little time when motivated. The practice of stillness in each moment allows me to do what God has in mind. I still get much done, but those tiny prayers leave me less frazzled. God has given me many opportunities to practice that stillness this week, and I can tell a big difference in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. That’s a big step on the path to a praying life.

One beautiful side effect of the new way of praying is the quality of my sleep. Racing thoughts are gone because they are all about plowing through the day without those still moments of prayer. The stillness before each decision takes care of them one at a time throughout the day, and the time of prayer before sleep finishes off any loose ends. I’m finding there aren’t very many left at the end of the day. I’m busier than ever, watching only a few minutes of TV each day, and more connected than ever. The images God gives are clearer without all the static, and His Word is alive in a new and beautiful way.

Decisions still divide, but the divisions are ones I need. I have the tendency to make connections that are unhealthy, but I’m finding it is much easier to connect as God desires when I practice those moments of stillness. The battle is always between what I want or what someone else wants and what God desires. Selfishness and the desire to please are powerful forces, but they do not hold a candle to God’s love. Seeing Christ’s love in each decision brings a sweet unity with Him that makes each decision a little easier. My praying is often simply saying, “I love you Lord, Thank you God, or Help me Spirit.” Simplicity is best when it comes to praying; the same is true for talking:)

A sweet sense of peace comes with each decision that brings me nearer to God. That helps me know I’m going in the right direction, and that makes this journey a joy:)

Tedious Trudge or Joyful Journey?

What’s the first thing you seek when you awake? If you’re like most, it’s a cup of coffee or something to eat. I like to linger in bed and talk to God before I start the day. My day is much better when I start it with Him. If I am worrying or whining, our time together isn’t time together at all. Worry makes it all about me, and that ruins the moment. The day goes from bad to worse. If I seek Him first thing in the morning and thank Him last thing in the evening, I find myself walking in His kingdom throughout the day.

Yesterday was a perfect example of being in His presence all day. I didn’t worry once, and God showed me how beautifully that affects my journey. Anytime I end up doing the children’s story, I know there is a lesson God is trying, without success, to teach me. I have the story today, and it’s about worry:) I’ve read and prayed over the scriptures for two weeks, and Pastor John shared the message God gave him about the powerful passage on seeking. I finally get it, and it is a transforming lesson indeed!

I hadn’t thought of the connection between worrying and seeking until John shared the message with me. Worry and trust are closely connected. If I worry, I don’t trust. If I trust, I don’t worry. It’s a simple message, but one with which I’ve struggled my entire life. Christ knows that worry causes me to miss God’s kingdom, and that makes life a tedious trudge instead of a joyful journey. God lets me decide which path to take, but He prefers I let go of worry and embrace the joy God’s kingdom has for me. Holding on to worry keeps me from seeking God’s kingdom; that makes me let go of worry as if it were a hot coal and seek God in a whole new way:)

Last night, I was getting my sparrow and lily ready for the story this morning,  and I was struck by the notion that worrying forces me to live life in a backward way. If I focus upon food, shelter, clothes, taking, making, getting, and doing, I don’t have time to seek God. Can you imagine what God’s world would look like if we all sought Him first? It would be His world and not ours. It would be His life and not mine. It would truly be “His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven:)” That was part of the powerful lesson this week.

So why do I worry? I worry because I don’t trust God. It’s as simple as that, and God will not let me add any ‘if’s, and’s or but’s to that lesson. I have been known to take a perfectly wonderful lesson God teaches and add a little something to it, and that’s worse than worrying. That’s playing God, and it gets me into more trouble than not trusting Him. I’m humbled when I think of His patience with me and very thankful He sees me as a child learning to walk in His kingdom. Otherwise, I’d be in big trouble.

There is nothing worse than worry. It causes the past and future to invade my present. It makes me old, wrinkles my face, sours my stomach, disrupts my sleep, ruins my health, and keeps me from God’s presence. Wow, do I need any more convincing? I finally got God’s message on Thanksgiving day, and that was perfect timing on His part. Seeing Ali after seven years was icing on the cake yesterday. I told her she was my sticker this week, and what a wonderful blessing it was to hug her tightly and reconnect beautifully.

Worry causes me to look at the clock, think about the cost, wonder if I’m able, etc… Thanksgiving 2012 will go down as the week God put worry in its proper place-behind me! I pray I will remember the lessons from Matthew 6:25-33 as long as I live. I know I will as I seek Him in prayer, look to His Word, and see His world as He desires. God certainly did His part in making the lesson this week memorable, and I know if I will put Him in His proper place-in front of me, the journey will be a joy-filled walk in His kingdom that will help me draw nearer to Him and those He places in my path:)