Monday, November 21, 2011

Serenity amid Chaos

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, some may already be forfeiting serenity just thinking of all the expectations of their families and vice versa. I don't believe serenity happens in an atmosphere of expectations. Here's a good one, however; I expect to make myself happy this holiday.

This can happen if you choose to be yourself while giving lots of grace to others who will be themselves for good or ill. Give yourself grace even if the turkey isn't done on time or you forget the cranberry sauce.

Speaking of grace...God's grace shed on America is why we celebrate Thanksgiving. His grace hasn't stopped in all these years to us as a nation or as individuals. Likewise, our thanks shouldn't stop either. May your day be stuffed with blessings!I know mine will be.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Slippery Choices, Concrete Commands

Today God revealed the cause of my 2 month funk: stuck in the predictable, secure status quo. It has been a choice I didn't know I'd made, gradually, lazily, blindly. I mistook security for serenity. WRONG! Abundant life brings surprise, mystery, challenge and discovery in the atmosphere of abiding peace, just because Jesus walks with me each moment.

What have I learned to prevent slipping into that gray land again? How did it happen? How did I choose it and not know?

It began with confusion over how to proceed with my novel after constructive criticism. I assumed my inadequacy to meet the challenge and my need to rely on "experts." Unable to find experts, I quit and shelved the challenge. I chose discouragement, the absence of courage. Dare I say I chose to be a coward? Doesn't look good in print but it's a redemptive truth God offers me. My assumed inadequacy was right on because I did not pray for God's "exceeding" abundance to work in me; I prayed only for helpers.

God commanded me, along with Joshua and a lot of others, to "be strong and courageous." I'm on that quest daily, now that I have repented of choosing discouragement and laziness. Time to get back to living according to my favorite life verses: I Corinthians 2: 9 and Ephesians 3:20.

Anybody out there who can identify with the safe, secure and stifling life and who have escaped? Let us know your journey to the abundant life.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Grace Tested

Last week I expounded on recognizing opportunities to extend grace. I worked on the blog for a couple hours. Later, when my grandson and a friend came to do yard work I took a break. While explaining the chores, I was startled by his friend “Jack” sitting nearby in Buddhist worship pose. I’d often sensed that Jack lacked direction in his life. I had long prayed to know him better and share Christ. There sat my chance.

Instead of suggesting a coke by the pond, I reacted with indignation. “Jack, you can’t do that here.” He looked up with a smile and said “Okay.” Later I returned to check on the yard work. Jack was gone.

My heart hurt. I had rejected the answer to my prayer. Why? Because my agenda ruled my day, not my search for grace moments. I did not consult God for even a second for his perspective. I didn’t consider God’s desire for that confused, aimless young man. God would have enjoyed a chat in the garden.

This loss definitely disturbed my serenity. Regret grayed three days until Jack walked down my driveway toward his friend's house. I called for him and he came. I apologized for my abrupt manner during his last visit. I asked him to please forgive me. He readily did and we hugged. That was grace to me.
How can I avoid a repeat of this?
• Act out of a God-given plan not a reaction to what I perceived as an offense.
* Seek God’s viewpoint.
• Think before I speak.

How can I grow from here?
• Repent of working on my goals and not taking time to seek God’s viewpoint.
• Confess my blindness
• Focus on God’s promise of comfort and redemption of my mistakes.
• Thank Him for more opportunities.
• Pray that light will come into Jack’s life.

Meditate: Read between the lines, listen to the silence, look for the invisible.
What are your thoughts on this? Sharon

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Dfficult Commandment to Obey

Life would be easier if all we had to concentrate on was following the Ten Commandments. God knew that it would take only ten to convince us that we can't make it without him. Adding to that challenge, he slipped even more into scripture, here and there.

Recently I found yet another and I didn't like it. It stepped on my black-and-white, fair-and-unfair nerve. I winced to consider the stretching that this one will require.

It's found in 2 Peter 3:18. There Peter warns against error and presents the command, “...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Why would this be difficult? Because it requires me to continuously choose to do that which is against my nature.

Some commandments I've not broken, probably because I haven't been tempted. Others simply required my resistance or avoidance, as indicated by the words flee, separate, and do not go. However, extending grace violates my self-interest, my reasoning, my judgments and my self-protection. Peer pressure and worldly values add to the challenge. Our world system sometimes permits mercy but grace? Next to never.

Grace flows out of our desire to extend God's compassion to his children, lost and found. Our perspectives prevent us from seeing what God sees. As we pray, God shares his response to those we reject. We need the eyes of God to recognize moments to grow in grace.

Gracious character develops in us when we choose to embrace God's nature. Awareness of God's favor lavished upon us motivates us to spill over onto others. Grace exercises God’s forgiveness, compassion and hope toward all, especially those who don't expect it.

How does grace affect my serenity? And what is involved in this growth process? Stop by tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Beginnings-2nd try

Since my last entry almost 2 years ago, I have struggled to figure out this blog stuff by myself. Thanks to the fact that my techy sister, M, now lives with us, I am learning and doing what she tells me to do, which includes a blog.

The work I've done in Celebrate Recovery since '09 has produced such profound changes in me that my testimony sounds like that of another woman. I'm certainly not all "fixed" but the major wounds and warts remain minimized. These transformations are taking me new places and into new directions, namely full time writing.

The writing life already taxes my serenity as I daily face the frustrations of learning the technologies associated with writing: websites, having a blog, e-books, etc. It's overwhelming to someone who remembers my typewriter and rubber eraser! Stretching hurts. But then so would writing by hand the required 85,000 words for a novel! Therefore, I reluctantly force myself to see the value of a computer, websites, etc. I know the Serenity Prayer will take on a whole new meaning for me.

Newest goal: to have my first novel ready for a publisher by January, 2012. It's the story of an alcoholic grandmother who finds a friendship that restores her hope of reconciling her grieving, embittered family eight years after a car accident kills her grandson and splits the family apart. The temporary title is The Bitter Snow.

Hope you will join me in my continuing journey to maintain and share serenity in every phase of my life.