The store that I work in was in the process of moving locations. I have moved my home to a new location before but it was the first time I had been involved in the move of a store. Neither of these are my idea of fun!
It took days to get everything packed and although it didn’t seem like it at the time, this was the easy part of the move. Far more difficult was unpacking and finding the right spot for everything. This is even more of a challenge when moving to a smaller location. As I stood, surrounded by boxes, I was overwhelmed. Not knowing where to start caused me to panic and instead of getting to work, I froze, afraid that this was more than I could cope with.
Thinking about this later I recalled the many times I have been in this kind of situation. Part of the problem is having too much stuff. It collects slowly, without me noticing it, and one day I realize that all of this is cluttering up my life and causing me to be overwhelmed and stressed.
It isn’t always a physical change of location that causes this feeling. There have been things I have wanted to do in my life that I am unable to start because of emotions and limiting beliefs that are cluttering up my mind. The only sensible thing to do is to purge. The trouble is that when I reach that state, I want to retreat and hide, not to face things head on.
Instead of letting things build up to this point, I need to remember to continually bring my life to the Lord and rely on his guidance. He will teach me what to hold onto and what to let go of. He constantly watches over me and sees the whole picture, not just the part I am stuck on. My role in this is to pray and ask for his guidance and then trust as I wait for his answer.
The Lord says, “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” Psalm 32:8
Here is a story from my book, Inspirations from the Everyday, as featured on Christine Lindsay’s site this morning.
The call came while I was at work. A shipment of books had been dropped off on my front porch. As I thanked the person who called, tears of joy were running down my cheeks. You see, these weren’t just any books. They were my book, the first I had written and a labour of love.
Since I live close to work I was told to go home, take the books in and enjoy the moment. Climbing into my vehicle, I realized that I would be alone when I first held one of my books. This didn’t seem right, so I called my daughter-in-law Jackie and asked her if she could join me. She and her girls soon met me at my house. Jackie took pictures as I opened a box and then more as I picked one up, smiling and crying at the same time! The girls each held a book so we could get a photo. Two of them looked at the front cover and one turned it over and said “Your picture is on here!” The joy I felt was indescribable. After the photos we had a little celebration party with bowls of candy (before lunch!) and then they went home and I headed back to work.
The moment I held my first book was a special time that will never happen again. This was an achievement I wasn’t certain I could accomplish. I thought it was too big a project for me. God had other plans as he gave me the inspiration needed and surrounded me with the support that enabled me to take on this daunting task. I am doubly blessed. Firstly that God entrusted this to me; and secondly that I had loving family members with me to share in this special moment.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 NLT
The post Standard Transmission had an error in it. If you are the first one to correctly identify and let me know what that error was, you will win a copy of my newly released book, Inspirations from the Everyday.
Our rental can was equipped with a standard transmission. While both of us were familiar with driving standards, we were used to automatic transmissions on our vehicles at home. Driving in a busy foreign city where it seemed that speed limits were only a suggestion and signal lights were an option rarely used, was challenge enough. Doing this in stop and go traffic with a standard transmission sometimes posed a problem. Occasionally we stalled the car. Although recovery was swift and caused no issues for other motorists, it was still frustrating as a driver, to have that stall happen.
Sometimes in life, I also encounter stalls. In rushing around, it is quite easy to suddenly stall. My mind goes blank and I can’t think of what it was that was about to do or where I put those keys that were just in my hand. Perhaps I have been running on automatic for so long that I count on the gears shifting by themselves. This is not always the case. At times like this it’s tempting to be hard on myself. What I need to remember is that stalling is not the problem. Failure to start again is. I just need to get moving again and keep focused on the Lord. There is nothing standard about the mission that he has for my life.
But he knows the way that I take, when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:10 NIV
Much of the world has spent countless hours, over a seventeen day period, in front of their televisions watching the events of the winter Olympics. Each of us cheers for the athletes of our own country. In Canada, many people traded sleep for a chance to watch our men’s team play hockey for the gold medal. Even though it meant being up by 4 or 5 am, it was something willingly done. The cheering could not be heard by the athletes, but the support that the nation showed was unmistakable.
This has made me think of the opportunities I have to cheer people on in life. I can do this in person rather than just in front of a television screen, where the people I’m cheering for don’t know that I am there. I can encourage and cheer on people I come in contact with on a daily basis. It may only take a smile or a kind word. Something this simple could be just what is needed to help someone get through their day. It may even have a ripple effect as they pass it on to others. Who knows the difference I may make by taking the time to cheer on those around me.
I smiled on them when they had lost confidence; my cheerful face encouraged them. Job 29:24 Good News Translation
The morning sky was overcast as we set out for our walk. We had become accustomed to the brightness of the sunshine, but right now, it was nowhere to be seen. Looking up to the sky I could see a slight break in the clouds. It looked like the sun was fighting to break through.
This was a reminder for me that even though clouds may temporarily block my view of the sun, it is still there. At the moment it may be hidden by clouds but sooner or later it will be shining on me once again.
The Son of God, Jesus, is also known as the Light of the world. His light is always available to shine on me. Any obstacles blocking this light are of my own making. When I focus on him, and not the clouds blocking my vision, he will always break through to light my way.
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NIV
I am an avid shell collector. Some of my shells have colours and markings that are well defined and the surface is perfect with no flaws or cracks. I have a few more shells that I believe are the same type as these and once also must have looked good on the surface. The difference is that this second group is ones that have been broken and the inner parts are now visible. Strange as it may seem, it is the ones that I can see inside of that I’m most drawn to.
Again, I relate this back to life. When I put up a good front, all you see is my surface. Unless I become vulnerable and let you see inside, you will never really know me. I may look quiet and reserved on the surface, but deep within lies a heart with a passion to make a difference. I want to encourage others to see their own beauty and worth, to know that they are valuable and have a life worth fighting for.
In order to do this, I need to be vulnerable and share my heart. Jesus has done amazing things in my life since I gave him control. He wants me to share this with others. By sharing his love with those I encounter, they too will be able to see themselves through his eyes. Jesus loves each of us as though there were only one of us. He loves us just as we are, but far too much to leave us that way. I am living proof of the change that can take place when someone was open enough to pour his love over me, and I can oly pass this along by doing the same.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may kjnow the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18, 19A NIV
We had been coming to this spot for several years and always enjoyed our beach walks. After all of this time, we were still on the lookout for things we hadn’t seen before. One day we were rewarded by the sight of a hermit crab. We stood fascinated as we watched this crab, underneath a large shell not its own, slowly walking along the beach. Approaching it to take a picture, it sensed out nearness and stopped, climbing right inside the shell. Now it looked like any other shell on the beach. There was no evidence of the crab. I poked at the shell a little, but got no response .Not wanting to disturb it; we turned and walked a few steps away. Feeling safe now, the crab went on its way as we watched from a distance.
Talking about this, I realized how similar my behaviour can be to that of this crab. There are times that I go along, acting like everything is fine. When others come near, I retreat into my shell and pretend I’m not there. If I blend into my surroundings and become invisible, no one will see me or be able to hurt me.
This is a lonely way to live. It is only by coming out of my shell and allowing others to know me that I can live the purposeful life that I was created for.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10 NIV
After 2 weeks of wearing either sandals or aqua socks, my feet screamed in protest as I laced up my running shoes. Normally I wore aqua socks when we went for our morning beach walk, allowing for elastic stretch and flexibility. This day we had planned a more challenging walk so the support of running shoes was needed. My ankles felt as though they were being strangled! I understood why the firm support was needed, but it was an uncomfortable transition from the freedom and flexibility I’d quickly grown used to.
This was an accurate reflection of my life. When everything is going smoothly I enjoy the freedom and flexibility in my day-to-day life. Then, when things become more challenging I realize that it is firm support that is needed to carry me through. Even though deep down, I understand the need for this firmness, I still chafe at the loss of my freedom.
When my life is placed in the loving hands of the Lord, he will guide me with the support I need. It may feel uncomfortable at times but in reality gives me much more freedom than I have ever had on my own.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV