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I have a friend who insists on never saying "goodbye." Instead, she utters, "Later" at the end of our conversations.
This word started me thinking. And the first thing which popped up was another word, procrastination. Its definition being...
"... the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the "last minute" before a deadline."
"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again."
~Lewis Carol, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
The new year: it is a minefield. There can be this weird concoction of hope and discouragement, effort and apathy.
A social media post, once again, caught my attention concerning this point. It was of the literary figure, Alice, from Carol's classic work, essentially binging.
And this was the image's caption...
"I can relate to Alice. She just keeps randomly eating and drinking everything she sees with the hope that it might actually solve all her problems."
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:20
The cute social media post thing strikes again. I came across this fluff ball the other day:
"Nope, I haven't seen your lipstick."
Adorable. Humorous. Human.
Indeed, this deceptive attempt at convincing did not start with our adorable pup. Rather, we need to look at history, a little further back. Let's peek in on a power couple.
Once upon a time, there was Ananias and Sapphira...Acts 5:1-11
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.
The Lord is not slow about His promise.
First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!"... But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:3-5, 8-9
We live in a fast food society. There are many places now that have put time clocks at the order windows. If your food is there in less time than promised, you get a reward...a free meal, a coupon, something. We are not used to waiting.
The Lord wants us to learn how to wait, to wait on Him. There are some things about waiting that I need to learn. As I look at the many definitions of "wait " in the dictionary, I see these:
- to stay in place in expectation of
- to remain stationary in readiness or expectation
- to look forward expectantly
These are all things I need to learn.
First, when I wait, I learn to expect God to act. If He is going to act, then I am not going to act. I am going to wait on Him to act. That seems so simple, but the fact is, if God doesn’t do what I think He should do, then often I move ahead, doing it instead. And, of course, I only make a mess of things. In waiting for Him to act, I learn to live content in the situation itself (Phil. 4:11), trusting Him to make the changes He deems necessary at the time He deems right.
There's a theory out there which asserts we have only two jobs in life:
1) to learn
2) to cope.
Spiritually, if we expound on this principle, we can see Divine Intervention at work, should we choose to embrace it.
The First Job: To Learn:
Scripture addresses our human need to learn. Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 4:7, for instance, are just a couple of verses which tout the important of wisdom.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
And, again, we are in dire need of this wisdom, as Paul reminds us of our vulnerable human condition...
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1
Gaman is a Japanese term of Zen origin which means "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity". The term is generally translated as "perseverance" or "patience."
And, within Scripture, this principle is, indeed, a faith focal point.
... we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10:36
I don't know about your physical education experience when you were a kid, but my class always participated in the annual presidential physical fitness test.
Is anyone out there groaning yet?
As part of that test to assess kids' fitness levels, things like pushups, sit ups and pull ups were measured. But the thing which caused me the most dread- and the least success- was the 600 yard run.
Now, is anyone out there groaning?
If you're not familiar with
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23
I recently came across this little inspiration ditty circulating on social media:
"God uses People Who Fail (No other kind around)."
That's become more of a revelation to me in the last few years, especially within the context of recovery. It's not a one-time, flawless thing. It's day in, day out, with some days being better than others. It doesn't sound glamorous or rewarding. Nevertheless, it is reality and embracing the process of life itself can be liberating if we, perhaps, give ourselves permission to fail. Part of that requires we not disqualify ourselves at the first -- or the one thousandth -- mistake; God doesn't.
"I have chosen you and have not cast you away." Isaiah 41:9
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
I often encounter people who are perfectionists -- and I get it. Among all the things I'm recovering from in life, perfectionism is, indeed, right up there. And, again, in the recovery context, it is
Hug Me! Do We Fight Our Help?
I love this adorable cartoon post.
Dinosaur number one pleads, "Hug me!" to Dinosaur number two, who responds, "I'm trying."
I immediately thought of the "fighting your help" principle, both on the recovery front and the much larger spiritual playing field.
Many of us struggling with addictions, disorders and vices often employ a lot of self-sabotage when it comes to interaction and, yes, actual help.
We reiterate such statements as...
"I've made too many mistakes."
With those statements, we push others away; we fight our help.
And, of course, we do this with God.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
It's important that, as wise scholars, we not apply every analogy in the Bible literally (as would be unwise), but that we do ferret out the truth that we might apply it to our lives.
Paul says: "one receives the prize." We know that there will be more than one Christian, so this isn't a matter of competing against each other in order to gain heaven. Thankfully, the Lord hasn't created such a system, but rather offers salvation to any and all who will receive Him, who will believe on His name.
What then is the kernel of truth that we should grasp from this passage? "Run in such a way that you may obtain it (the prize)." The point is that there are those who run but don't obtain the prize, those who will live as Christians, but won't persevere to finally end seeing the face of Jesus as Savior (though all will see the face of Jesus as Lord).
So how should one "run," how should one live her life? What does it take to gain the prize?
"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?"
I recently caught the 1960 Academy Award winning film, "The Miracle Worker." It portrays the relationship of Helen Keller and that of her groundbreaking teacher, Annie Sullivan.
Most of us know the basics to the story. Helen Keller was blind, deaf and mute and, before Sullivan's arrival, seemingly hopeless in her circumstances. If she could not see, hear or speak, how could she ever communicate, let alone, live in the world?
The situation looked bleak.
That was until Sullivan's arrival...