Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coming Up for Air

Friends, I have been in acute Blogland withdrawal for the past few weeks. Life has taken an unexpected turn that I know is no surprise to God. I am well; my family is well. My professional life has been the culprit. In this age of massive unemployment, I am officially NOT complaining!

This interlude has highlighted how much I love the friends I have made here in the blogosphere. There is a list of questions that go through my head quite often. I wonder how T's son is doing, whether D is feeling better, if S got home safely from her missions trip, what E is waiting on before she pens her book. While my presence has been shadowy these weeks, my heart for the women who have befriended me here grows fonder.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit

The last Word:
To my dear friend, whom I love in the truth. 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 1:1, 2, NIV.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Digging Deeper, Lifting Higher

In this last chapter of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk, she exhorts us to "Lift Up: Praise the Lord , O My Soul." We are invited to examine what we are lifting up in our thought lives. It reminds me of the saying, "I'm not much, but I'm all I ever think about"

This is our sinful nature, our default position ever since Eve wondered how the forbidden fruit could work to her benefit. Eve was focused on her own agenda that day. Her wants and her needs. What she could gain from taking the risk. Does this sound familiar to anyone besides me?

Jennifer offers the antidote to such thinking in today's reading. Relief comes when we lift up thoughts of others and, most especially, of our God. Our minds cannot focus on two thoughts at one time. When the misery of self-seeking overwhelms me, I can turn to the needs of others. I can turn to praising the God I know and adore. Soon, self has taken a back seat in my thoughts, and life doesn't look so hard after all.

I consider my life as the space under a canopy. Sometimes, I expand my space by digging deeper into my soul. At other times, I expand my space simply by lifting the canopy higher. To do this, I focus on the greatness of God, on His deeds, His love and His faithfulness. When I am praising God, He is invited beneath my canopy. As a result of His company, the canopy lifts higher to hold Him, and the expanse of my life unfolds to greater and greater heights.

Today, I invite you to look up, to focus on God, to invite Him to sit beneath the canopy that is your life, to enjoy the wonders of His ever-expanding view.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
Psalm 8: 3, 4, NKJV.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Being Still: Yes to God Tuesdays, Chapter 9

Oh, to rest in God like a child rests on a beloved adult! To abandon all cares, to submit to the rise and fall of the grownup's chest, to snuggle into the warmth of another. Unhindered sleep follows. Peace only comes when all efforts cease.

This week's chapter of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk bids us to "Chill Out: Be at Rest, O My Soul". There were several lines in this chapter that popped me right between the eyes. "My fatigue became more powerful than my fortitude" (p. 135) summarizes my on-going dilemma.

When I am moving like a locomotive, it is often in doing good things. What a battle to accept that this is no excuse for not taking care of myself! I love the quote Jennifer attributes to Chuck Swindoll. Responding to the motto, "I'd rather burn out than rust out", Chuck asked, "What's the difference? Either way, you're out" (p.136).

There is a line I can easily cross in my full-steam-ahead mentality. At some point, I cease doing God's will and give in to the temptation of Gail's will. My will often includes making life go a certain way and having others see me in a certain light. Whenever I hit the burnout skids, I can retrace my steps and find the point where I diverged from God's plan and struck out on my own.

Thankfully, God has let me go down that path and suffer the consequences so many times, I am now loathe to do it. This takes intentional effort on my part. As Paul says in Hebrews, "Let us make every effort to enter God's rest so that no one will fall" (4:11, NIV). To hear more on the subject of God's rest, be sure to visit the "Yes to God Tuesdays" series, hosted by Lelia.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."
Isaiah 30:15, NIV.