Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Humor or lessons?

I started this blog mid  August 2012 but something came up and it didn't get finished.  Interestingly it is still relevant today!!!!

I am convinced that God does have a sense of humor....and a very fine one at that!   Prior to the Alaskan cruise I had been asked if I was going to go on a whale watching excursion and my response was "no, I do not want to recreate Jonah's adventure."  The first day at sea I found just the perfect spot on deck for my quiet time, had the perfect cup of tea, sat down and opened up my Bible to my daily reading list.....yes, I was to read the book of Jonah!  Thankfully no one was around to hear my instant laughter because they would have thought I was a little nuts. 

Now,  just as school is starting I am in Jeremiah.  Ironic that as Jeremiah is foretelling the nation's captivity I am personally feeling as if I'm heading to Babylon.  I love my job and I love the people I work with so why this attitude?  Especially when I've done this for 26 years? 

I can break most things down into it's necessary steps to accomplish the end goal.  Once I understand it in it's parts I'm pretty effective at communicating to others how to attain that end goal so it makes me pretty good at teaching.  This trait can also hold me hostage when reality doesn't cooperate with my desired timeline!  Any change (good or bad) can send me into a tailspin of stress!  Just an example of how absurd it is:  going on a trip causes LOTS of stress.  On top of trying to finish a project before I leave and pack, I'm typically stewing about the "what ifs....?"  You would have thought I had been a Boy Scout with the level I take "always be prepared".

Twelve years ago I was face to face with a surgeon who told me that my stress would kill me if I didn't get something figured out. I read a definition once that basically stated stress was ' perception of having control over something you truly have no control over'. That was a true smack in the face as I realized I was in a wrestling match with God over control of my life.  Really, I would know what was best for me over the one who could create a human from dust?   Jacob tried it and he limped the rest of his life!  It didn't happen over night but I began to learn how to trust God and not myself.

So the last few days I have really been searching myself as to "why"?   Why can't I enjoy the moment rather than get so wrapped up in the steps to get from A to Z?  Why do I allow myself to become obsessed by the steps(to do's) and ignore the people?

Then a still small voice spoke "boils down to control".  Wow, is that true?  I hate to admit that after ridding my heart of 'self controlling' that I am finding there are still puddles of it lurking!  Yes, God created my personality but He did not intend it for the extremes that I had taken it...again!  

The last thing I wanted was to go backwards so I talked with a friend.  She gave me great advice-  set specific boundaries and accountability.  In my reading came another great piece of advice from God himself....Jeremiah 29:7  And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it:  for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.  

1/30/13  Prayer....seeking the peace of my 'city' (my school) .  There is a novel idea....and yes sarcasm is intended!  Sometimes I can be really dense on the most obvious answers! 

I had started off the year doing well in this area but obviously had gotten sidetracked...hence my October postings.  It was good to reread this and remind myself what is the most important thing.  Contrary to my leanings the tests sitting on my desk to be analyzed, the files that need reorganized, the reports still to do, or the comparison study of two Word Study programs are NOT the important things!  It is one thing only....prayer.  Prayer for the fellow teacher who just had a major surgery, prayer for the administrators who in our state have an impossible task, and prayer for the many students who have childhoods that I can't begin to wrap my mind around.  That is why He has placed me there!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Honor thy parents....

Over the last month I've been spending lots of time with my parents.  We drove nonstop to Florida for Thanksgiving.  Then we were making a dress-up closet for my niece's Christmas present.  This last two weeks found us with a remodeling project in my kitchen to make a new refrigerator fit where the old one died.  Spending time with my parents is typically met with much laughter.... and the occasional grumbling.

Today's quiet time was on Paul's second letter to the Corinthians(12:14-15).  Paul's statement about parents being ready to "be spent" for their children made me think of my parents.  Everyone should be so fortuanate to have parents like mine!!!!!  My dad turned 70 when we were in Florida.  He spent the entire time painting interior rooms and putting together furniture that was bought for my sister's house.  My mom unpacked boxes, marathon shopped for household items, made a full Thanksgiving meal in a semi-ready kitchen, and put up my sister's new Christmas tree.

Paul's latter statement in verse 14 left me pondering my treatment of my parents.  Do I honor them or do I take them for granted?  Far too often I have to admit that I took them for granted!  Exodus 20:12
commands us to "honor thy father and thy mother".  My King James study Bible notes that "honor" means to prize highly(Prov 4:8), care for(Ps 91:15), show respect for(Lev 19:3, 20:9), and obey(Eph 6:1).

While I am not perfect at this honoring thing, I have noticed a change in my attitude towards them over the last few years.  I am more giving up my rights, wants, and wishes for theirs.  I am realizing just what they gave up for me!

While reading this passage I was also struck by the parallels of my relationship to my parents and my relationship to God....understanding their love/sacrifice and God's love towards us!   He sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ, just so I(and you too) may live.  I have eternal life because of that and that only! 

As well, I am beginning to see the parallel of my "honor" for my parents to my "honor" towards God.  As I prize highly, care for, show respect for, and obey my parents I am also doing the same to God.  Or is it that as I understand the depths of His love for me and begin to honor God with my life that I become better at honoring my parents?  If I had to answer that right now I think is yes because of 1 John 4:19.