Top o’ the marnin’ to ya!
If you are just tuning in, we are studying The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. Fabulous book. Written by a Pastor, based on his studies of the Bible, this book is about helping us to find our purpose(s) in life and it has certainly helped me, in so many ways. I hope it is helping you, dear readers, as well.
We have reached Day 28 of the forty-day action plan that is Mr. Warren’s book. I am anxious to hear how and if it has helped you at all. Do you feel this book has made a difference in your life? Has it made an impact on how you live each day? How you see things? Feel things? Your beliefs? Yes, I’ve heard from a few of you (that asked me not to post your comments and I’m cool with that) and I’m so happy to know that it’s changed your life and brought you a new understanding of God; renewed your faith; and helped you to reconnect to God. Thank you for sharing your hearts about Mr. Warren’s book.
Wow! Do you feel, through reading what Mr. Warren conveyed in this chapter, that God was speaking directly to you? I sure did! One of my strongest weaknesses is patience: grasping it, learning it, practicing it. Ok, perhaps the concept is grasped, but the execution is rather elusive. Isn’t it? It is for me, at least.
Mr. Warren explains that “there are no shortcuts to maturity. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time. When you try to ripen fruit quickly, it loses its flavor.” I get that. However, knowing that and being cool with it are two different things. Waiting is hard. On everyone. You want this for your life. You feel you can’t wait to get there or to have that. Why do you think we are in such a hurry? Why are we always so unsatisfied with how life is going or unsatisfied with ourselves? Is there anyone out there that is chilled on how life is progressing for you? Are you patient with life and yourself and everyone else?
I want to speed to get to work, so I won’t be late. That’s not smart, as I am a potential wreck, waiting to happen. I want to rush through the work week to reach the weekend, so I can have time with my family, clean my house, relax a little, and simply, not be at the office for a couple of days. Then, I complain that my baby (ok, not a baby – more like a tween) is growing up way too fast and I want time to slow down. We cannot have it both ways. Actually, we can’t have it either way. We cannot slow down time, turn back time, nor speed it up. All we have is the here and now and we need to deal with it, try to enjoy it, make some memories, laugh more, love more, forgive immediately, so that we can actually LIVE in this moment. We need to all learn how to live in this moment, simply because that is all we have. We have memories and lessons learned from our past. We have no idea what the future holds or even if there will be a future. All we have is this moment. We don’t even know how long this day will last. Oh, sure, there are 24 hours in a day, but will we make it through the day? We don’t know. I am going to try to make a daily practice and TRY to remember that all I have is now. What will I do with this moment? Right now, I’m chatting with you, and . . . well, . . . me. It’s where I choose to be at this moment and I’m enjoying it. When Hallie wakes, I’ll be hugging and smooching on her and taking her temp, because she’s had fever off and on for the last couple of days and a sore throat. Although, this did not stop her from helping her team reach a victory in their game yesterday!!! Wooo-hooo! Go team!
Today, we (or I, depending on how Hallie feels) will clean for a few hours, we will listen to some good music while doing it, and we will belly laugh with each other and our furry babies (because they are all super silly) and we will make some memories. We will make time for some well deserved relaxation and spend time with Mama. Because the three of us? We are three peas in a pod. No place we’d rather be than with each other. We are all best friends. What will you do today? Will you try to live in the moment, doing things you enjoy? What fills your heart with joy? Make a list. Then, do some of those things today.
Mr. Warren explains, “Christlikeness is your eventual destination, but your journey will last a lifetime.” Looking back, living through all the struggles of my past, I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed my journey, thus far. Did I enjoy the past, during those struggles? Definitely not! But I didn’t get it then, like I get it now. I see so many things differently after getting the chance to give birth and raise a child – this wonderful child. She makes me see the kind of person I want to be. She makes me want to be a better person. Now, I can look back on my life as learning experiences – struggles I needed to grow through – pain that created a stronger me, a better me, a better parent for Hallie. Some were hard lessons to learn but I can see why I had to experience those struggles. Do you have regrets? You should not look at them as regrets. You cannot undue what has been done. You can make things better now, though. You can forgive others and yourself. You can ask forgiveness and know that God has already forgiven you if you have asked. You can start your life anew, beginning with this very moment. It’s not that easy, you might say. It’s easier than you think. All you have to do is try. Make an effort. Believe that you can do anything, with God’s help.
Mr. Warren gives several reasons why it takes so long for us to change and grow up: “We are slow learners. We have a lot to unlearn. We are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves. Growth is often painful and scary. Habits take time to develop.”
“Since most or our problems–and all of our bad habits–didn’t develop overnight, it’s unrealistic to expect them to go away immediately. There is no pill, prayer, or principle that will instantly undo the damage of many years. It requires the hard work of removal and replacement.” Now, wouldn’t it be nice if there was such a quick fix? I’ll have that pill please? And one for my friend? Not that easy.
“There is no growth without change; there is no change without fear or loss; and there is no loss without pain. We fear loss, even if our old ways were self-defeating, because, like a worn out pair of shoes, they were at least comfortable and familiar.” Is this how you feel? This is certainly how I feel. For years, I stayed in the same place, not moving forward, repeating the same old pattern, because it was easy, it’s what I knew. Did I know I was wrong? Of course, I did! Did this change anything? No. I was young and I was stupid and weak. I didn’t care enough for myself to change anything, for a while, at least. I eventually learned this was not what I wanted for my life. So, I decided to make some changes. It wasn’t easy but I did it. If I can do it, you can do it. Trust me. I’m not the strongest person, nor the smartest, nor the quickest study. I can be pretty slow sometimes. I have a lot farther to go, but I’m well on my way.
Where are you on your journey? Make a list of where you are right now in your life. Then, beside each one, make a list of where you would like to be. Then, write down baby steps on how you can reach that place. Let us take smoking, for example. Do you want to quit? Want a healthier habit? Don’t say, “I want to quit smoking.” Say, “Instead of this unhealthy habit, I’m going to refill that activity with a healthy one.” Come up with some healthy habits you could possibly see yourself doing. Keep yourself busy so that you will not allow yourself to have time to think about the bad habit. Take up walking or reading or tennis or cooking or studying/learning something new. You can think of something. If you have a problem and wish to share with me, I will try to help you with a list of things that you could possibly take on to replace your old habit or ways you can work to improve your life. Baby steps is all it takes. Making an effort, no matter how small your effort – taking action is all it takes. The want has to be there. Don’t forget to ask God to help you. He wants to. You can do this! You must have patience with yourself. I know how hard it is. Do it anyway. You’ll be glad you did.
“As you grow to spiritual maturity, there are several ways to cooperate with God in the process: Believe God is working in your life even when you don’t feel it. Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned. Be patient with God and with yourself. Don’t get discouraged.”
The journal is “not a diary of events, but a record of what you are learning. Write down the insights and life lessons God teaches you about him, about yourself, about life, relationships, and everything else. Record these so you can review and remember them and pass them on to the next generation. The reason we must relearn lessons is that we forget them. Reviewing your spiritual journal regularly can spare you a lot of unnecessary pain and heartache.” The Bible says, It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off.”
I’ve attached pictures of a journal I made. You can get these brown blank journals in different sizes (Hallie got a smaller version) and design your own. It’s fun to personalize a journal and make it your own – it’s more inspiring to write in. If you don’t want to make the time or feel you aren’t crafty, type your journal into a word document on your computer or get a lined composition book or spiral notebook – that will do the trick.
“Great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering. Be patient with the process. James advised, “Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed.”
“A delay is not a denial from God.” It took me how long before I got the child I spent my life praying for? That’s right. 31 years. It’s not like I was trying to have a baby the previous years. In fact, I wasn’t trying to get pregnant with her. However, I wanted to do it the right way. Had to fall in love, get married, then God intervened when he felt it was just the right time. He was right to make me wait. I wouldn’t have been as good a mother to her, had I been blessed with her earlier. Everything in God’s time, is the perfect time. How right he is! Don’t be in a hurry. God will decide when it’s time. Don’t force things. Don’t rush things. Easier said than done, I know.
“Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be.” Thank you, God, for that!!! God is not finished with me, yet. “God isn’t finished with you, either, so keep on moving forward. Even the snail reached the ark by persevering!” Ha! Love that!
Make it a super Sunday! Go do something with a person or people you love and care about. Share your heart with someone. Make God smile. Make today special. Love you! *smooch*
Sorry this post is lonnnng and drawn out. I was feeling talkative today. 😉