Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

priorities

I am certain that we all, at one time or another, have had our priorities messed up. It can be easy to get distracted. Maybe you don’t want to disappoint someone so you say yes when you know you should say no. Too many of those moments and you will find yourself frustrated. You might even want to blame someone else. Yet, we are responsible for our own choices.
 
What does God’s Word have to say about choices? Plenty!
 
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Eph 3:20 NLT
 
It is clear that we cannot do all the things that we want to do, nor all the things others would like us to do. I find that fulfillment comes when I seek to do those things God has planned for me to do. His grace is enough to do all that He calls me to do. The problem comes in when I am trying to do more – or do something other than what He intends for me to do.
 
I want to do it all — all that God has planned for me.
 
How do we know what He wants?
 
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 NLT
 
Read the Word. Study the Word. Pray and ask God for direction.
 
“He will give you wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do it.”  Curtis Girod
 
I want to make the best use of the time and energy that I am given. This requires being intentional about what I spend my time doing. When I set my priorities to line up with God’s leading, I can relax and focus on what is at hand. I can walk in His peace even in the midst of difficulties.

Intentional
How are your priorities?
til next time
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February 12, 2019 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

it’s monday – how’s your soul?

Here it is the Monday morning.   We pack a lot into our weekends so it is not unusual for  exhaustion to set in on Monday morning.

I want to do it all!  Yet, it can cause weariness to set in if I’m not careful.  (hmm, I am starting to see a pattern in my life.)

 

matthew 11 28

 

Sadly, when our schedule gets overloaded – spending time with Jesus can get squeezed out of our day.   It isn’t like it is an intentional thing but nonetheless it can so easily happen. Then is it any wonder we find ourselves overwhelmed?

I encourage you to be adamant about spending quiet time with God. If your days are filled like mine – it may be the only quiet time you get each day but it will be enough.

Jesus is more than enough.

Another thing you can give yourself and others is the gift of laying down expectations. My mother set the bar high for her daughters.  She worked full time and her house always looked great.   She rose early and was the last one to bed.  I can’t live up to that expectation of myself.   Laying that down has been very liberating.

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 2 (NIV)

How’s your soul?

Maybe spending time with Jesus right now is what you truly need.

Selah,
til next time

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February 12, 2018 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

i want to do it all!

How’s your soul? (will, mind, emotions)

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.” Psalm 103:1

Often I have to make the choices so that I am not going to get crazy stressed.   I have to talk with God about it often, otherwise I am pretty much programed to over-work and over-extend myself.

I want to do it all!

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:2 Yes, still waters in the middle of Christmas prep.

Lysa Terkeurst shares (in her book The Best Yes) four important things to consider when making commitments. Will this fit physically, financially, spiritually, and emotionally?

I generally have no problem deciding if I can physically do the task, if we have the money for the task or if the task is in line with God’s Word. However, do I have the emotional energy needed to complete the task? This is the one that I have tended to ignore in the past.

Here’s what can happen when we don’t consider if we have the emotional energy needed. We may grumble the whole time. We may take it out on those closest to us. We may even not follow through with what we had said that we would do. Something will give and usually it isn’t a good thing.

When I ask myself those 4 questions then I am able to decide my best yes. Just because it is a good thing doesn’t mean it is good for me to do it at this time. As much as I want to do it all, I can’t. And neither can you.

How’s my soul? Good, real good!

What about you? How is your soul?

Silah,

til next time

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February 10, 2018 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

please don’t take it personal

If you had walked past our house yesterday afternoon you may have thought someone was being beaten.  I am grateful that it is winter so the windows are shut.  Since it is cold that means people weren’t working in their yards.  That is a good thing too.

Yes there was screaming and lots of tears.  No, no one was being beaten.  In fact, my husband was there softly telling me to breathe, it would be over soon, and it was going to be ok.  In between all of those comments, he would pray.     Hmmm, you might think I was having a baby.  There are certainly some similarities.   Sadly when it was over, it was just over and all I was left with was pain.  There was no beautiful bundle of joy.

I would  start the whole healing process all over again.  Why?

thoughts

understand

I bought this when my son and our family were going through a most difficult and life altering trial.  When your world is turned upside down, it is good to remember that we don’t have to know why — we just trust that God is with us.  (Psalm 40:1)  This sign has proven to be a wonderful reminder when I would find myself heading down the “why” road.

I was traveling that road yesterday afternoon.  Why?  What possible good is there in this?  God is this really part of your plan?  I just don’t think I can head down this road again.  Plllllllllleeeeeeeeeaaaaaaassssssseeeeeee, God!!

The first time it was nine months (hmmmm again the baby similarities) before the pain was gone.  Six and half months later it would return.  This time it was not as intense but still very evident.

Just last Sunday the pain had finally left.    It was a glorious week.  Then yesterday it returned with a vengeance.

Did you know that when you cough or sneeze  it affects your sphincter muscle?  You probably  did not because unless your muscle is angry you don’t even know you have one.  Trust me, you have one and when it is angry you know it.  No medication will calm it and it will not be ignored.

I have strongly believed that  my health issues have been more of a spiritual thing.  A very small similarity to the boils that Job dealt with.  I have pushed on and refused to let it stop me from moving forward.

I am a firm believer that in my weakness He is strong.  I have proven that over and over again.  (2 cor 12:10)

I still hold to all of that but I am sensing a change in my direction – in how I handle this. I still think it is a spiritual thing.  I believe God gives us grace for what He leads us to and that He has a plan and a purpose for each day.  However, the drive to push through is diminishing.   It is my hope and belief that this is God leading me down a  different path in how to respond to this latest development.

I have discussed this with my husband – who is also my spiritual leader.  He is on board and very supportive.  More than anyone, he knows what this has cost me.

Here he is last night — making me smile!

IMG_20160214_201732_372

IMG_20160214_201819_792

It just so happens that (counting today) in 40 days it will be Good Friday.   For the next 40 days I plan to do some serious schedule elimination not revisions.  (I know one friend that will say “it is about time.”)

Today, for instance, I had a great opportunity but it would require three or so hours.  I declined.

So, I will be immersing myself in study.   I will be taking at least four sitz baths a day and be diligent with my food intake.  (I have found that a crazy busy schedule does not work well with a closely guarded food regiment.)

bible

It is my prayer that people won’t take it personally when I decline or eliminate things from my schedule.  Yet, I must leave that in God’s hands.

What is God asking of you?

til next time

click here for part 1 of this journey

 

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February 15, 2016 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

scheduling down time

There are things in my life that just radiate warmth and contentment.

A gentle rain
Laundry blowing in the breeze
Curled up with a good book and a blanket
Riding the motorcycle on a deserted highway
Listening to the wood crackle in the fireplace
Walking in fresh fallen snow
Laughing with friends
Swinging in the sunshine or pretty much any weather
Spending an evening at home with the family
A cup of hot tea
The smell of lilacs

The key is to remember to take time to step aside from the daily list of things that need attention and ‘smell the roses’.    God’s beauty is all around.  His fingerprints are everywhere.

Sure I would like to blame my crazy schedule or my husband or the demands that ‘seem’ to loom over my head.  The truth is though, that it’s up to me to decide whether or not I am going to take some time each day to relax. 

People who have a tendency to work ‘all the time’ must make down time part of their schedule each day or it just doesn’t happen.  I know this from personal experience. 

Yet knowing and doing are two different things. 

A life lesson that I have learned, yet find myself learning over again, is that all work and no play (down time) makes Gloria a very stressed out person.  This is not an example of the life that God has for each of His children.

So today I had breakfast on my swing.  By then my first load of laundry was ready to hang on the line (which is not considered work to me — I enjoy it that much).  Now I am going to go have a cup of tea on my swing and read some of a wonderful book “When Women Long for Rest”  by Cindi McMenamin. 

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”  I love the translation that puts it this way “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

What are you doing today about down time? 

til next time

September 5, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

the elusive balance

“Sooooo, how do you know when you’ve achieved your balance?”  (A question from the comments on  my last blog.)    It certainly seems like with the hustle and bustle of the day, the expectations of family and friends, along with cramming too much into our schedule, we are left with very little room for balance.   Everywhere I look the response to “how are you?” –  is – “busy, or tired, or crazy” – you get the picture.  You’ve probably said the same thing.  I know I have.

The oh so elusive balance. 

I do think that attitude and balance go hand in hand.  Sometimes it is not my activities that are out of whack, but it is my attitude.  I could drop everything, but if I maintain a bad attitude it won’t make much difference.  That said I am not going to address the whole attitude issue here.  Let’s for the sake of this topic say that my attitude is not the problem, but I am exhausted and out of balance.

Jesus is the example that I look to.  How did He do it?  One thing I see very clearly is that He did not let others dictate His schedule.  He did not leave us an example of constantly rushing from one ‘great’ thing to another then another.   What He did do was to regularly go off to a quiet place and connect with God the Father.   He made Himself  approachable and willing to be inconvenienced.  Yet He didn’t drop everything and run because He knew that God had a plan and things happen for a purpose.   He walked in obedience.

My life at times looks like a paper that has had the margins removed, is single spaced and is filled from top to bottom.  I once printed that out for a sermon I preached on ‘wiggle room’.  Try printing something that is filled from side to side, top to bottom, single spaced and see how easy it is to read.  Yet, we live like that sometimes. 

Wiggle room — no it is not a place where little kids can jump around and have a good time 🙂  It is time in my schedule that allows for the unforeseen and gives me time to regroup.  It means that I keep some space in between things.  I’ve called it other things –margins, breathing room, down time, to name a few.   If I find myself coming and going while barely meeting myself in between then I know that I have removed the wiggle room from my life. 

When I remove the wiggle room from my life  it is not long and I am near exhaustion and wondering just what is God thinking??  Why is it that things are piling one on top of another? It is then that I am reminded that God is probably thinking something like this:

“Gloria what are you doing?  Who is in charge of your schedule?  It is not my plan for you to be always on the go.  Come to me and I will give you rest.” 

He wants to lead me beside the still waters, but I can be so busy that I refuse to allow myself to be led.  Oh, I don’t knowingly refuse, but I refuse none the less.  Usually, it is because I am too busy to recognize the still small voice calling to me to ‘come away to a quiet place’ or ‘it’s time to make a schedule change’.    I may not recognize it because after all I am so busy because I’m doing it:  for God, because of my love for God and people, because it has to be done, because it is expected, because it is important, because I said I would — sometimes it is for all of the above.

Balance when it is working in my life looks like this.  Wake up refreshed because I have given myself adequate sleep. (this is the first thing to go out of balance)  I have allowed myself time to connect with God to receive from the Word spiritual refreshing. (even on crazy days I still connect with God because I might as well stay in bed if I don’t)   I am on time because my life is in balance and I have allowed ‘wiggle room’.   I have something to offer people because I am not focused on how ‘stressed’ or ‘tired’ I am.  I make time to do something I enjoy.  I make commitments and keep them because I don’t over commit or under commit (both are wrong) and I have a sense of purpose in my life because I am walking in obedience.

There is so much more to say about the elusive balance but I need to get off of here now or else it will use up all my ‘wiggle room’ for this morning.

til next time

February 20, 2009 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments