Shifting my perspective

I can’t imagine receiving manna from heaven and complaining.

Lord, we’ve been eating manna FOREVER! Can we have some lunch meat, please? And send down a jar of mayo while you’re at it…this bread is so dry! 

Okay, so I’m paraphrasing the children of Israel, but you see the point. 

My thoughts go to impoverished countries where they literally eat the same thing every day and are thankful. Variety is not important to them; having food at all, no matter if it is the same thing, is what’s important.

A little bit of perspective goes a long way in our consumerist society.

Last night I ate a dinner that was entirely provided–minus the butter and onions–by friends who blessed me with fresh eggs, cheese, bread, and herbs.

Wow. Talk about being spoiled…

Each bite was a sweet reminder that God’s given me some great friends and friends who are generous at that.

It also reminded me of our brothers and sisters around the world who don’t have access to food as readily as I do. Some of those brothers and sisters live in my backyard.

They are the chronically homeless.

They are the families who live paycheck to paycheck.

They are recovering drug addicts.

They are down on their luck war veterans.

They are the disabled who just need some help.

I am hanging out with my neighbors each Thursday and my perspective changes as I see what true struggle looks like.

My friend, you and I are blessed.

And it’s not about having all the coolest toys or the latest and greatest clothes. It’s not even about making the most money. 

My perspective on what it means to be blessed is changing.

 

 

Being Present

Hard to believe school will be finished up in 4 weeks! 

My first 2 terms at Rhema have been awesome. I’m learning a lot and it’s going to be weird to be done until September. 

But there will be plenty to do until then. 

I’ll be working full time and my summer reading list is taking shape. 

Several of my favorite authors have books out, so I plan to read as much as I can. 

For now, I’m buckling down and enjoying the term to the fullest. 

Something I’m learning is how to be as present as possible wherever  I’m at in life. 

I like The Message translation of Matthew 6:34:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Jesus’ advice to be present was to not only safeguard us against worry but also to help us not miss out on what’s right in front of us. 

There’s nothing worse than waking up one day and realizing you’ve wished your whole life away. 

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Overflowing Love

When Jesus sent out the 70 disciples, He told them not to take anything–not even an extra change of clothes!

The early church sold all of their extra stuff (they shared everything else) and dumped the money at the apostles’ feet. 

The widow in the temple gave everything she had. 

Paul teaches us the secret of contentment: Do all things through Christ who strengthens you whether you’re broke or rich. 

We’re told to not covet in The 10 Commandments and by Jesus Himself. 

We’re told to seek The Kingdom first because God is the supplier of our every need. 

And I could keep going with examples!

I’m packing up to move and I wonder if I’m too greedy…

Am I willing to give everything away?

To share everything?

To see my life–time, giftings, possessions, and money–as simply a means to help others?

I want to say yes. I want it to be an all-the-time truth, but I struggle…

Can’t something be mine?

Here was God’s answer:

Yes, the one thing no one can take away is your relationship with Me. What else do you want?

Ouch!

God is an all-in kind of Father. He gave us everything He had. Nothing was held back from us. 

I want to be that kind of person. 

I want to be all-in. 

My life was so empty before my relationship with God. No amount of success or approval or stuff could fill the void. 

My response to His great grace is that I want to live a life stripped bare of anything that keeps me from being full of Him, of His overflowing love. 

A happy change

Once again, my Saturday was awesome. 

I went to Joplin to watch the Rhema basketball teams play in the last games of a tournament. 

Boys came in 5th place and girls came in 3rd place. 

The scenery is beautiful between Tulsa and Joplin. This is my first time living in the Midwest, so everything about this place is part of the adventure.

My friend Holly and I rode together to the tournament and it was fun to go on a mini road trip. 

We ate lunch at a local barbecue place, which was my first time eating barbecue since moving. How did I go that long without it?!? 

I digress…

This past week’s been a lot of fun because it’s the first time in a while that I’ve had something going on everyday. 

I’m just taking things one day at a time and soaking up all of these experiences. 

If I want to do something, I give it a shot. What can it hurt?

If I want to get to know someone, I stick out my hand and introduce myself. What can it hurt?

Sure, I’m still my awkward, goofy, and cheesy self but I’m starting to embrace it more and more. 

Some days are harder than others. Some days I miss home. 

For the most part, though, I’m simply grateful to be in Tulsa. Being a student at Rhema, seeing faith in action is changing me. 

And I am happy about this change. 

Doing what’s necessary

I’m working on a big project at work. 

It’s one of those projects where many other projects will stem from completing this one task.

No pressure, right?

The spreadsheet is long and I have to toggle back and forth between two programs to gather information. 

I keep telling myself, as my eyes cross from staring at the computer screen, that getting this task done right the first time will make my job so much easier in the long run. 

And it’s true. 

Sometimes the only way to get things done is to roll up your sleeves and dig in your heels. 

Trust me. I tried to think of a way to avoid this project…

Is there a shortcut?

Jesus, please show me a shortcut!

There is simply no other way to move forward without this project being completed.

What I’m learning, though, is that going in with a good attitude is helping me move forward quickly. 

If you’re facing a similar situation, don’t sit around pouting! Hating the project and your job will not help you at all. 

We all have parts of our jobs that are not fun. 

But since when does everything have to be about us having fun?

Set goals.

Get to work. 

Do your best. 

Practicing Contentment

Part of settling into a new job is organizing your work space. 

When I first started working for Storage Depot, I spent 2 days organizing my office. The work space would simply not do!

Of course, you would never throw things away without asking a supervisor. My boss was very supportive of my reorganization, which was encouraging. 

I don’t have much organized in my new office because I just moved in today. My antsy, get-things-fixed-now nature wants things to speed up.

I’m trying something new though….

It’s called waiting.

Okay, okay waiting is not a new concept, but I’m not one to wait around for long. 

I’ve been so busy with various projects that getting my office situated is the last thing on my mind. Plus, my training involves 5 people, which means I have to work around their schedules.

All of these factors are forcing me to see what’s really important: Getting the work done. 

Moving from a temporary work space to a messy work space has not bothered me. Too much is happening to care!

How does this crazy glimpse into my mind help you?

This whole experience has me thinking that impatience causes us to miss out on good things.

When this room is cleaned…

When this job is finished…

When I get back from vacation…

…then I will be satisfied.  

The only problem with completing one “when” is that the next “when” is right around the corner.

How about being content now? 

Your current situation won’t stay unresolved for long.

Move on! Get happy! 

Maybe there would be greater job satisfaction if more people thought this way. I have no proof to support my theory, but it makes sense to me.

 

 

 

Take a deep breath

Do not let your to-do list rob you of joy. 

I’ve said this 50,000 times today while hyperventilating….

There is a list of small things that need to get done between now and my move. 

There are also a lot of people who are more important than my to-do list. 

I do not want to be so task oriented that I am not enjoying my time with friends and family. 

So, I’m going to take several deep breaths and prioritize….and I won’t need a brown paper bag to do so. 

I say all of this to encourage you to not be bullied by your to-do list.

Don’t allow anyone or anything to steal your joy. 

Life is way too short for that kind of nonsense. 

Building Windmills

Choices, choices

Choices, choices

Today I needed pens for my office and I had 518 options.

Not everyone has these kind of options.

In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba built a windmill using parts from a junkyard. He did it without modern tools too. 

There were no trips to Lowe’s or Home Depot to agonize over 50 brands of hammers.

And William still managed to bring electricity to Malawi.

A whole country found hope because one boy got busy.

What could be accomplished if we stopped complaining about not having the right tools? The right education? The right job?

You can own 518 different pens and never write that book. A garage full of tools and never rebuild that classic car. harnessing wind

Are too many options crippling us as a people?

My circumstances will never be perfect enough to do ___________.

Yours won’t either.

As a kid, I rarely had a complete set of toys.

I collected toys from yard sales and thrift shops. I made my toys houses out of cardboard boxes.

Countless hours were spent weaving stories in my own little world.

What I had was enough. My imagination had no limits.

And then adulthood crashed my party.

“You’re an adult now. Play time’s over.” is something I’ve heard a lot since graduating college.

But I don’t want to spend half my life hating my life.

I’m willing to pay the price for doing things differently. It’s better, to me, than waking up one day and realizing I’ve been asleep for 50 years.

Which brings me back to having enough….

Here’s my favorite definition of contentment:

Contentment is knowing that I already have everything I need to be happy.

What I have–right now–is enough.

There’s nothing I can’t accomplish if I already have what I need.

It’s time for you and I to build some windmills.

Thankful for Snow

It snowed!

And there’s still piles of it on the ground.

This is a new experience for a small town Southern girl.

Life has continued as usual. School is still in session and businesses are still open. I’ve seen the snowplow riding through our neighborhood every day. Winter is officially here. I cannot leave my house without a heavy winter coat and gloves.

The other day, I shovelled snow for the first time in my life!

It’s a lot harder than it looks in the movies. My dad told me that shovelling snow is the leading cause of heart attacks for older people in the North. I can believe it. That was a hard job.

Hopefully, you’re not too bored with this conversation. I’m just so excited about the possibility of a white Christmas. That will be a first for me. And maybe a last. Who knows? I won’t live in this region forever.

If I’ve learned anything while living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s been that life is something to be enjoyed, treasured even.

Every day is such a gift and somewhere along the way I had forgotten. I needed to be reminded.

If I can’t get excited about the weather—hot or cold—how can I appreciate my family, my job, or my hobbies? It’s likely that I won’t recognize those blessings if I can’t get excited about the little things.

A picture from my sister, a penny on the sidewalk, a compliment from a friend…these are the small things that can potentially produce thankful thoughts.

A grateful attitude, I’m convinced, is more important than a college degree, job status, or the clothes you wear.

Those who are content have more opportunities and lead more fulfilling lives.

The power of contentment requires no complex formulas to understand. It only requires a choice.

Will I be thankful or will I be unthankful for the blessings around me?