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.


KelliGirl said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the book. I got caught up with other things and had to set to book down. Your words today ring true in my own life.
When I feel down about something, the best way to end a pity party, silence the self-condemnation, or redirect misery is to get out of myself...to reach out to others and to reach up to Jesus. Soon perspective and purpose return.

Blessings to you today!

Denise said...

Amen, such lovely thoughts my friend, love you.

Laura said...

I love this illustration of the canopy! Both the words and the picture. I always wonder, if this is what I was made for, then why is it so hard sometimes? Why is is natural to let selfishness consume at times? I think it's because God wants us to be deliberate about pursuing Him. The more I lift others up, the easier it becomes to let go of my selfish desires.

Hope all is well with you, Gail.

Sending love,

Sita said...

When I read this, I could not help but think about the movie I saw today, Slumdog Millionaire...and the recent missions conference...and Crown of Beauty and Yesu Garden..and the reports of short term missions in Cambodia...how they inform and educate me beyond my geographic, cultural boundaries, how my 'canopy' or worldview is expanded..how I 'see' God in a global perspective...see His greatness expressed differently..His beauty in new ways...
He is our endless Source...our canopy Expander...what a God we serve...and by the way..you are one blogging friend I KNOW will be a friend in real life!

Marsha said...

Oh Gail! I LOVE your analogy of the canopy! Oh how I want Him to meet me there. My very own Tent of Meeting like Moses. The glory of the Lord would be so prevelent that all would stand in awe of His majesty.

Thank you, thank you for this post.

Sue said...

Hi Gail,
I am just plain having trouble keeping up with all the blogs I like to read. I'm glad I made it here tonight.

I love your canopy analogy, too! Your point about our selfishness being our default setting was true, too. I like what Laura said about God wanting us to seek him out. Like we've said before, God always forgives us, and welcomes our praise. For that, I'm thankful!

Have a blessed weekend!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

To sit with Him under my canopy in order to view the world through his lenses is an awesome thought...one that I continue to work toward.

You're right. Two thoughts cannot occupy the mind at one time. Thus, when my thoughts are focused on Jesus, other intruders are kept at bay!

Hope all is well, Gail. Are you going to She Speaks this year?


Carol said...

What a wonderful post I love that two thoughts can't occupy one mind. The picture of the canopy with your analogy what a great visual.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Gail. It's been wonderful to read your insights and your "Last Word" one of my favorite parts. You always seem to hear God's voice when you choose the scripture.


Crown of Beauty said...

Gail, what a lovely post, for lack of a better adjective. I have to honestly tell you what I think of you. We've never met, but somehow in your posts, I can tell that you are a humble woman. And true humility always ministers deep to our hearts. There are blogs I read that are "physically" beautiful - right words, correct sentence structure, impressive insights... but they leave me empty. My spirit can tell...

Would you want to go back to a restaurant that serves food that looks so right, but when you eat it, you come away empty, and not satisfied? I don't think so.

That is why I always love to read your posts. They satisfy my spirit... because of the humble way you connect things of the spirit to your own personal experiences. Like that canopy picture. I've known the Lord a long time, but this is the first time I heard it explained the way you did it. Since my husband passed away, I have been experiencing the love of God as a protective banner over me. His banner over me is love. Like telling the whole world I'm His, because His banner is over me. And when I read what you wrote about the canopy and how you feel God's presence by seeing yourself under that canopy... wow, I was really speechless.

I remember one other time I felt this way, was when I went to Shari's blog and listened to one song she shared entitled While I'm Waiting. If you have a bit of time I invite you to read my post on Waiting which I did last month, at this link


I am so sorry for this long comment... just wanted to share my heart with you to let you know how much of a blessing you are to me.

Tina said...

Gail, I've missed you! I love the canopy illustration and the picture...beautiful. As always, the scriptures you choose minister to my heart in a special way.

Thank you so much for the encouragement on my blog, it blesses my heart to know there are godly women like you praying for of our family as we walk this difficult path. It is yet another confirmation of God's sovereign protection of us.

In Him,

Ang baylis said...

It's funny, but you'll never believe why I clicked on your blog. There is a Gail W. who my ex-husband married two months after my divorce. I was actually praying you would be her. I'm kind of glad you weren't. It would have been an answer to prayer. Anyway... long story short, I'm very glad I happened to find you this evening. I LOVE your blog. I can tell you are someone I want to come back and visit. You are a nurse and I always love nurses. Not sure why, I'm just drawn to women who love taking care of people. Thanks for the reminder to look up, focus on God and invite Him in my life. I also loved how you said you can't think about two things at the same time! It was nice meeting you! I'll be back!
Love & Blessings,
Angie xoxo

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Sita said...

Hi Gail,
Just to let you know I miss you...hope all is well..
Love, Sita