Tag Archives: wisdom

A Perfect Imperfect Life

I celebrated another birthday last month. An odd thing about the years adding up, you realize how much you don’t know while also becoming wiser in the things you do know. Quite paradoxical, I’ve surmised. overflowSo on the wisdom theme; I’ve been thinking about clichés lately, both biblical and otherwise, those phrases we throw around as magic wand solutions to life. You know, stuff like “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” God won’t give you more than you can bear;” statements that help us feel better when we don’t know what else to say. I’ve been wondering where they came from and if they’re actually true.

Lately I’ve been contemplating this one: “Is your glass half full or half empty?” and have decided I don’t want my cup to be half anything. I want it filled to the brim and overflowing with thankfulness, grace, love, encouragement, joy, laughter and peace.

God has blessed me in many ways this past month, my glass is full and I want to acknowledge a few of these blessings with gratitude.

  • My husband took me out, brought me flowers and spoiled me. He spoils me all year actually and I’m awestruck that he has celebrated four decades of birthdays with me so far. I don’t deserve such love and loyalty.
  • We were able to visit our son, David, his wife, Clara and our cute, adorable, babbling, hug-able, my-heart-is-bursting-with-love, little grandson, Asa, for a long weekend. Someone please remove the stars from my eyes and forgive me for turning into the obnoxious grandmother I said I’d never be!
  • I have great friends! Three of them brought a surprise lunch to me on my birthday, cooked it in my kitchen and served me at my table. For someone who spends half her life in the kitchen (or so it seems) it doesn’t get much better than this. A few days ago, friends from Kissimmee drove up and stayed the day, brought gifts, food, laughter, a massage table (with essential oils! Ahhh!) and took me out for dinner before going home. And I had a night out with another beautiful friend this week who is rich in wisdom, overflows with love, makes me laugh way too much (if that’s possible), and challenges my heart and brain with stimulating conversation. God has surrounded me with the very best of His human creation.
  • I was able to get Jon to his dentist appointment on time (miracle!) and as he was waking up from sedation (our doesn’t want to be touched and doesn’t talk much son), held my hand and began quoting the 23rd Psalm and singing The Lord’s Prayer. God gives us deep glimpses into our Jon’s heart now and then, and reminds me that the heart of a person is more valuable than what is seen on the outside.
  • I’m not running marathons, but I’m more pain free and healthier than I’ve been since I was in my twenties, thanks to the knowledge I’ve gained in recent years about diet and nutrition. God has been faithful to lead me down a path of understanding my body as a temple of His Holy Spirit, and all this entails.

Life is far from perfect, there are constant obstacles and challenges but the longer I live, the more I’m aware of the perfection that exists in beautiful moments of time. Yet our selfish flesh loves to wallow in the mud of misery, negativity and pity. The enemy of our mind and soul delights in reminding us how hard our situation is, how difficult that person is, how we don’t have enough, how we aren’t enough and most of all that our God is too small! I can choose to remain mired in negatives and dwell on downers or allow Jesus to fill my cup to the brim with goodness, mercy and joy.

Remember, an overflowing cup is going to spill all over somebody. With every today, I want to live in a refreshing overflow of God’s presence, discovered in the richness of an imperfect life.

Perfection in imperfection, it’s the ultimate paradox lived in and through Christ.

John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

John 4:14 “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.”

Luke 6:45 “The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Proverbs 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”

Psalm 68″19 “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!

 

React or Respond – My Special Education, Lesson # 9

react-respondJon desperately needed a shower and shave. When I went in his room to vacuum and change his sheets, I took his iPad and told him he could have it back after he cleaned himself up.

“Why don’t you do that while I clean in here,” I said with a smile, “then everything about you will be clean and shiny today.”

He scowled at me and left the room.

I busied myself for the next hour picking up a variety of things from the floor: sticks, strings, marbles, batteries, dice and pens, throwing away piles of old paper he’d collected and organizing his DVD and VHS collection back on shelves.

When I went to check on him he was in our bathroom. I’m never thrilled about Jon in the master bath. He gets into all our stuff when he’s in there, but it’s the only bathroom in the house with a tub so we allow it from time to time.

Later that evening I noticed Mike’s electric shaver was missing along with my pearl necklace. I knew Jon had used the shaver since he emerged from our room with his caveman beard missing.

We looked in all the places he might have laid it down and didn’t find it so I knocked on his door.

“Jon, Dad’s shaver is missing and so is my pearl necklace. If you have them would you please set them outside your door? Dad needs his shaver before he leaves for work in the morning. I was going to give back your iPad but we need those things returned first”

He frowned, glared at the floor and when I left the room, threw a small object at the back of the door to emphasize his disapproval of my decision.

In the morning the shaver and the necklace were lying on the hall carpet in front of his door. I thanked him and returned his iPad.

Negotiating with Jon has become a survival skill I have learned over the years. He is slow and often resistant to respond to everything, including directives. The more he’s pushed, the further he retreats, so I need to remain firm, calm and wait him out.

When caring for someone long term, who needs help making good choices but doesn’t want it, choosing which battles to engage is important for sanity’s sake. Some aren’t worth fighting and others are tough to resolve no matter what. Then there are those days I know I won’t have the patience needed, so it’s best to avoid conflict, if possible.

Dealing with difficult people requires a good amount of tongue taming, self control and wisdom and all of us have plenty of opportunity to practice because we all have difficult people in our lives.

How we respond to them is usually more about us then them.

Because we are naturally selfish, anger is often the normal response. Our reaction is usually based, not on what will solve the problem, but how the other person is making us ‘feel’ at the moment.

What we say at such times and just as important, how we say it, reveals who we really are. A response of great character is described in Proverbs 15:1-2 & 4, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly..a gentle tongue is a tree of life..”

Jesus was a master at responding to others instead of reacting. He knew exactly what to say in every situation and confrontation. He also knew when to be quiet and slip away. (John 12:49 “For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak.”)

Can we begin to see the difficult folks in our lives as teachers instead of problems, opportunity for personal growth instead of someone to conquer, and a challenge to build strength of character instead of an irritation to curse? It’s certainly not easy to maintain this idea!

As we set our heart on the intentional practice of responding to others with grace, gentle words and quiet confidence, we find God gives us what we need to be changed from the inside out.

And as we pray for help to become less reactive to difficult situations and people, it becomes natural to keep a calmness and peace about us that others notice and desire.

Then we will “Be ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer to any man who wants a reason for the hope that you have within you..with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15).

Twenty-one Things I Would Tell A Younger Me

My upcoming birthday has caused me to think about what I would tell a younger me if I could go back and sit down for a meaningful chat with her. The fifty-nine year old me has learned some important stuff I didn’t know then.21 things

So here it is, twenty-one things I would tell a twenty-one year old me, if I could: 

1. Get over yourself. Everything isn’t always about you.

2. You don’t know everything and never will. So stop thinking you do.

3. Life can get messy. Clean up the mess and move on.

4. Practice good attitudes and choices. What you choose today becomes tomorrow’s reality.

5. Always needing to be right usually isn’t. Don’t be too proud to admit you’re wrong.

6. Lower the drama meter. Laugh more. Save serious for when it’s really needed.

7. Changing/fixing others is not your life calling. Offering grace and love is.

8. You can still be nice to people who don’t agree with you. Just remember they might not return the courtesy.

9. It’s not the end of the world if everyone doesn’t like you. Enjoy the people who do.

10. Learn to balance work and fun. Too much of either is…too much.

11. Simplify. Busy is not always a sign of productivity. If it won’t matter twenty years from now it’s probably not worth your time.

5912. Take care of yourself. You won’t be young forever. De-stress. Exercise. Rest. Eat Right. Smile.

13. Don’t worry. Worry is borrowing fear for tomorrow from delusional scenarios created inside your own head (it also gives you permanent creases between your eyebrows).

14. Comparing creates misery. Stop measuring your imperfect life against everyone else’s imperfect life. Enjoy the life you’ve been given.

15. Let go of regret, guilt and shame. It does no good to live there. God forgives the broken. So forgive yourself. It’s never too late to start over.

16. Don’t expect any person to satisfy your every want /need when the rest of humanity is just as flawed as you. The only one who loves you perfectly is your Father God.

17. It’s not God’s fault when others are stupid, mean, rude, disloyal, unkind…Forgive them so you can be forgiven and free of their hold over you.

18. Pain, suffering, loss, delay, irritation, frustration and the mundane is where you can learn and grow the most. Not what you want to hear I know. Sorry.

19. Life isn’t always fair and sometimes doesn’t turn out the way you hoped or planned, but remember God is with you in it all. He promised.

20. Pray more. Well actually, pray all the time. Your Creator holds the owner’s manual to your heart and He loves having conversations with you (don’t forget to listen).

21. The years fly swiftly. Relish each day. Each moment of your journey is the best part of now.

I’d love to hear what you would tell a younger version of yourself if you could?

 

 

Wisdom Is Calling

According to Proverbs eight, Wisdom is personified as a woman who goes into the busy streets of the city calling for those who would seek her. Many destructive voices constantly call mankind away from an upright life but Wisdom, according to the Message Bible, draws us to a life defined by good counsel, common sense, insight and virtue. These qualities are certainly needed in our current generation.

Wisdom’s neighbors are listed as Sanity, Knowledge, Discretion, Wealth, Glory, Honor and a Good Name. She and her companions live at the intersection of Righteous Road and Justice Avenue. The real estate value of this space cannot be estimated! It is priced far above all wealth possible to obtain in a lifetime.

Proverbs also tells us Wisdom begins with fearing the Lord (Proverbs 9:10; 15:33). Fear, as the word is used here, does not mean to be afraid, but to show respect and honor. Proverbs 8:13 defines the fear of the Lord as hating evil, or hating the things God hates. Some of the evil God hates, is defined in chapter six and several other places in Proverbs. If I truly honor God, I will love what is good and hate what is evil, according to the standard that He sets, not the standards of society, culture or the world.

James said if we need wisdom we should ask God for it and He will give it generously to those who believe (James 1:5). If Wisdom is on the street corner calling loudly and God is so willing to give it to me, it shouldn’t be hard to find. Many voices compete for attention above Wisdom’s, but if I am listening intently and diligently seeking, Wisdom and I will discover each other and become good companions; in doing that I receive abundant life and God’s favor.

So the important question is: what am I seeking and what voice am I listening to today?

Proverbs 8:34-35 (MSB) Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me [Wisdom], awake and ready for me each morning,alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.

Psalm 51:6 (NKJ) You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.