Strength in Weakness

It is early morning. I am feeling a bit paralyzed by thoughts racing through my mind of everything that needs done today at work and home.  I have been working long days and feeling a bit exhausted at the moment.

I need to catch my breath, to be still for just a little while longer.

Times like these, I rely heavily on the lists that I make to keep myself organized and sane. I love lists, only lists can become overwhelming if you keep adding to them and never seem to put a dent in removing items.

Sigh…

It seems fitting this morning that the passage I read is this…

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Paul is talking about this thorn in his flesh. We are never clearly told what this thorn in his flesh is, but it seems to keep him grounded in his dependence upon Christ.
What is your thorn in the flesh?

None of us like to think of being weak. That is so contradictory to what the world values, but it is our weakest moments that can cause us to draw closest to Christ. Think about your own life. When have you been most aware of your brokenness and your need for Christ? Your weakest moments.

I think of these stomach ailments I live with in the form of ulcerative colitis. Most days, I  am relatively okay, but I have learned to redefine what it means to be okay. Social eating is not as fun as it once was. I also struggle with fibromyalgia. Most people close to me personally and professionally at work have no idea I deal with these things except for my strange eating habits. I tend to push through the pain. I am aware of my dependence on Him.

Anxiety? Yes, another thorn in my side. I am learning to trust God through the fear and anxious thoughts. I am acutely aware of my need for God to work through the anxiety.

It seems like a contradiction. Power in weakness. Much like joy in the pain. My greatest times of growth have been during valleys where I knew I needed Him.

I heard a song at church on Sunday…. don’t tell God about your mountain, tell the mountain about your God.


When we are weak, He is strong. Being dependent upon Him is a very good place to be.

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Life as the Great Balancing Act

I miss the mountains. A lot.


Over the weekend, a close friend was asking how my vacation was. As I shared how much I love the mountains, she agreed she could see me living there. When she asked what I loved the most about vacation, I reflected on the slow paced mornings, coffee on the deck, and writing time. She laughed and said, “Sounds like you want the retired life.”
Sigh. Actually, though, I guess what I love about the mountains is the quiet beauty of them. Life is life and vacation doesn’t last forever, though.

What I long for is a piece of that mountain peace  I felt to seep into my daily life. My ongoing struggle is this whole work life balance thing. I know I am not alone. Many of us work a lot and struggle to find a balance. My daughter is an education major and just told me the average teacher works 53 hours a week. I work in healthcare and that is comparable. Every occupation has its times of long hours. 

Last Saturday afternoon, while reading my devotional and Bible, I stumbled upon this verse although I don’t think it was a random stumbling upon…

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones. Psalm 127:2 NLT

There is a message in those words. Balance is important in life. Work should not consume our lives. When work feels like it is becoming too much, what can we do to regain our sense of self?
For me, this area is an ongoing work in progress. I have implemented a few things to help me. I am in the process of reevaluating the things that I am involved in outside of work and setting boundaries. I have just started an inspirational Writing group which totally uplifted me over the weekend. I take time nightly for TV time with my son to laugh along to our favorite show The Middle. I am making snippets of time to write and exercise. I am trying to find moments to reconnect with my husband because he is in a season of working a lot of hours, too. 

The most important thing? I am keeping prayer and time in God’s Word as a priority. I am learning to give myself grace. I am trying to learn an important lesson my friend reminds me…No is a complete sentence.

Finding balance amist the chaos of life can feel a bit like driving through a thick fog. It can be easier to simply accept the busyness as okay. It is much more uncomfortable and disorienting to sort your way through the fog of finding balance.
Finding balance is a process. Don’t settle for crazy. What small changes can you make that may pave the way for big strides towards balance in your life?

Friday Fatigue

One week back to work, and I am tired. 

Sigh…And I can’t really say, “I need a vacation”… I just had one!!

During these early morning hours, I choose to start my day in the Word. The past few days, I confess that I have jumped right into work stuff as soon as I was awake and then listened to my devotional in the car on the way into work. Perhaps, I have had my priorities shifted.

If Jesus walked on water, then certainly God can hold me through these challenges of day to day living. I have made some small changes in my schedule already, and I have faced opposition. Being busy is what I know. I am learning my need for rest.

Our church is in the midst of a prayer challenge and we are reading Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson. I am committed to praying and believing deeper that God cares about all the details of our lives-the big and small.

God cares about my tired. God cares about my sense of feeling overwhelmed. He doesn’t leave us in the middle of the ocean to drown. As in the movie The Shack, when Mac starts to walk on water, the character Jesus looks at him and says, “This works better if we do it together.”

So, I need to do my tired with God. He wants my honest, tired prayers. I am choosing to believe God can carry me through the tired. He who moves mountains can certainly make a way for tired souls. 

Wednesday Words

I have really enjoyed my little piece of quiet stillness in the mountains these past few days. I have enjoyed lazy mornings, time to relax and reflect, the beauty of nature, witnessing hope in healing from the fires, and time with those whom I love.

Simple moments matter. Sometimes, doing nothing is the something that you need most.

As I bid the mountains farewell, I want to share some great words with you that have been staring back at me each day here in this cabin retreat.

Have a great day. I challenge you to choose a phrase from the picture and live those words today. As for me? I will strive to listen to others with my whole heart.
Have a great Wednesday. Make the best of it!

Redefining Vacation

My cousins and I were having a conversation last weekend about our views of what vacation should entail. They named off sightseeing, shopping, amusement parks…Those kinds of things. My thoughts on vacation are much different. My children are older, so I don’t feel the need to entertain them as much on vacation.

Vacation growing up was cramming as many sights into as few days as possible.  I love that my parents have taken me to so many states. I appreciate the experiences I have had.

My husband has given me another view of vacation, though, and it has been a true gift. He has taught me the value of rest and doing nothing. Sure, we enjoy taking in the sights especially natural beauty such as Yellowstone, the Great Smokey Mountains, and beaches, but we enjoy simply resting. I have learned to be content sitting by the beach or leisurely riding a bike. I find peace in rocking in a wooden rocker on the deck of a mountain cabin with my morning coffee and devotions.

Life is busy and fast paced. It is busy physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Vacation provides time to detach from the daily bustle, to reconnect with family and friends without the typical distractions, and offers an opportunity to be still.

To settle my soul before God.

I long for quiet. For moments of stillness. 

I don’t desire glamorous vacations with cruise ships and exciting ports with activities. I crave quiet. Simple moments of laughter over board games with my son. Slow paced mornings over the Word with coffee.
I need to learn how to capture the moments of stillness into everyday life. 

I need to give myself permission to rest.

I am looking forward to a few days away in a few weeks. I am looking forward to the seclusion of a mountain cabin. I am looking forward to time with my family and friend. I am craving quiet and stillness.

The definition of vacation is an extended period of recreation. I am exchanging the word recreation for rest. 

Vacation is less about seeing the world and more about reconnecting with my world. 

Our extended weather forecast looks rainy. I know weather forecasts can change daily but I am fine with rain. I am looking forward to reading, writing, board games, laughter, cooking together, sleeping in, conversation, and morning coffee and devotions on the deck. If we never leave the cabin, I will be fine.

Jesus acknowledged the importance of quietness. 
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place where they could be alone. Mark 6:31-32 NLT

If quiet rest is important to Jesus, then it should be important to me.

Learning to rest is a journey I am on. I encourage you to find your own journey of quiet rest.