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Archive for September, 2012

The Easier Way

This morning as I walked my regular route, I met an elderly gentleman that I often see walking along in front of the rehab center uptown.  He likes to make a bit of conversation as we pass, and this morning he said, as he headed down a steep hill that I was in the process of climbing, “Sure a lot easier going downhill than up, ain’t it?” accompanied by his toothless grin.  I assured him of my agreement as we passed with a smile, but his statement continued to haunt me, and obviously still is playing itself out in my head.

I realize he was simply making friendly conversation, but still…how many times do we look for the easy route?  How much time do we spend looking for an easier way out of a situation or an easier way to our destination, when in reality the easier way is often not the best way.

In regard to our walking, for the very purpose of the walk, the uphill climb was doing me more good that the downhill part does.  If I reversed my walk, the uphill slopes would be gentler and the downhill parts steeper, but for my purposes I choose the steep uphill climbs.  And, as I walked along after our brief encounter, I thought of the old adage: ‘No pain, no gain’ which seemed to fit the whole subject beautifully.

This also makes me think of a TV show I watched once where the lady determined she would never fall in love because she didn’t want to deal with the pain and inevitable heartbreak involved.  I thought at the time, and continue to think that is a pretty foolish attitude.  For the sake of avoiding a little pain, she chose to cheat herself out of a lot of happiness and companionship.  But yet, we cannot avoid pain in our lives.  It’s part of living.  Pain and sorrow and grief and regret are just as much a part of our growing as love and joy and happiness are.  What would we be like as old people if we’d never grieved?  Never endured the disciplines of pain?

I have a pet peeve with today’s society in general when it comes to pain.  Have you noticed there seems to be a pill for any kind of pain or discomfort you can imagine?  AND, there are then the necessary pills you must take to assist with the side effects of the original medications.  I’m sorry, but pills tend to make me want to simply roll my eyes.  What’s wrong with a little pain?  Did God not have a purpose when He created pain?  Is it not there to tell us something?  (i.e. ‘Take it easy!’ ‘Slow down!’ ‘Stop using your limb in that way!’ or even sometimes ‘Loose some weight and your knees won’t hurt and your blood pressure will drop of its own accord!’ etc.)  But our society thinks we must fix everything with a pill instead of the disciplines God intended for us.

All of this also brings to mind Matthew 7:13, 14:  “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Are you looking for the easier way, my friend?  Have you learned the joy to be found through the path of sorrow?  Let me encourage you to find that steep hill and start climbing my friend!  I promise the result will be well worth it all.

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Praising…

Have you ever stopped to take a bit of ‘inventory’ of your life?  No, not counting the ‘things’ in your life, but assessing your attitudes and actions.  That has been one of my commitments I made to myself for the year (and hopefully is becoming a new lifestyle for me).  I try to evaluate my actions, attitudes, feelings, even moods from Christ’s perspective.  I ask myself what it is that Jesus sees or hears or knows about me.  Everything I say, I want to know that it’s exactly what I would have said had the person on the receiving end of my comment been Christ.  It has been an eye-opening year for me, and hopefully a pivotal one.  I’m amazed how very freeing it is to be so honest with myself.

The other commitment I’ve made is to praise no matter what!  When things are glorious around me, I praise God.  When things are not going so smoothly, I am trying to still praise and trust.  When my health takes a nosedive, I still want to praise and for me, that is not very easy.  I hate feeling poorly.  I dislike tremendously being weak and having pain.  But, for some reason, pain is part of my life and I want to simply praise God because He knows best and it is in my weakness that I see His strength the best.

Today has been one of the days that I love.  A day that is easy to praise and be thankful.  It has been a day full to the brim of gifts from God, and the thanks simply spills over as I rejoice and thank Him.  The sun is shining, but the humidity has dropped considerably.  There’s a cool breeze that whispers ‘autumn’ as it moves the curtains slightly.  The birds are busy at the feeders and I even had a new cardinal couple that I haven’t seen before, and my favorite woodpecker was back—he’s been gone a while.  And the best gift of all is that a good friend that I haven’t seen much of this summer is back in town and had time to stop by for lunch with me today.  Oh, it was SO good to chat with her again.  She’s been such a sweet gift since we moved to Virginia.  And this evening is the annual Soup and Salad Supper for our church women.  What a sweet time that is each fall!

Yes, the more I start counting my blessings, the more they seem to pile up and run over.  How can I help from praising my God as I absorb all that He gives to me?

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods.”  (Psalm 96:1-4 NIV)  Praise, praise the Lord!!!

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