In Ecclesiates 7:8 (NLT) we read “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride”. How many times do we start a project yet do not see it come through to completion? Why? Is it because we do not have the patience to see it through or is it that we have so many things happening in our lives at one time we don’t find or have the time to complete it? Maybe it’s because we don’t know what our next step is or have fallen into a stalemate and being prideful we refuse to ask anyone for assistance?
We are reminded in Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) to “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans”. During the times in our lives when we don’t know what the next step is, take a moment and pray for clarity of thought and understanding. It says in Proverbs 3:6 (NIV) “In all ways submit to Him, he will make your paths straight”. He will lead us to the fruit bearing tree.
Don’t expect a “how to” book to fall suddenly from the heavens or an extra 2 hours to appear in your day. Instead by committing to the Lord you will find patience and a sense of calmness. When we are patient and calm, ideas and resources can suddenly appear before us, things that we never even imagined.
How many times have you completed something and while explaining the process used for completion to someone else they said: would it not have been easier if you would have done it this way or that way? At that point the light bulb goes on and we have the “aha” moment, thinking to ourselves, I never thought of it that way.
Reflection: Life can be much less frustrating if you “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in your ways” Proverbs 4:26 (NIV). Remember being steadfast was what won the race for the tortoise.
You’ve just made a purchase and returned home with something that says “assembly required” on the box. Well, you look at the box and, from the picture it doesn’t appear to be a too difficult a project so, you take everything out of the box and begin to put it together. Of course you don’t need the instructions; you want to figure it out for yourself. After a while, frustration sets in because it is not going together as easily as you thought. The next thing you know is you are looking everywhere to find thedirections that came with it, because you cannot put it together on our own.
Life can be like that for us at times as well, we don’t want to be instructed or told how to do it, and want desperately to figure it out for ourselves. This can be at work or in a relationship or even something as simple as working around the house. Were offended if the neighbor offers up a better way to build the deck or states “you really shouldn’t plant those flowers there, the pine needles have spoiled the soil”.
Life is much simpler when we are receptive to direction and the best place to find direction is in The Bible. It tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)“Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”.
Most of us have been out driving, (perhaps in an area were not familiar with) and, have gotten lost; just think how much easier it would have been had we looked at a map beforehand, wrote down the directions and, knew exactly where we were going. Psalms 119:105 (NLT) reads “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path”. The Bible is that map and it provides all the direction we need.
Direction helps us find our purpose as well others, yes others. You see, you have people that follow you whether you realize it or not and, they are waiting to see which direction you are going. Proverbs 10:17 (NIV) states “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray”. What kind of direction do you want to give?
You may have heard this before after asking someone, how’s it going? S.S.D.D. Same Crap Different Day (the wording a little different probably). What solicits a response like that? Perhaps it’s because they are using the Same Solution on a Different Day thinking that the result will be different. Well on this day the planets are now all in alignment so the result must be different right?
Maybe, if we’re lucky, but more often than not trying to use the same solution (that previously did not work) to solve the same problem usually doesn’t provide us with result we were hoping or looking for. We must seek new solutions and cast aside what we know does not work. We are told in Philippians 3:21(GNB) “He will change our weak mortal bodies and make them like his own glorious body, using that power by which he is able to bring all things under his rule”and it is then through Him we find new ways and solutions.
Rather than becoming frustrated from S.S.D.D. take comfort inPsalms 16:11(GNT) “You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever” take peace, presence and pleasure in knowing Him. In knowing Him, finding new ways and solutions to make the changes we want in our daily lives becomes much easier.
New Years is a time when many decide they want to make a change in their life but often fail in making that change happen because they try using the same things they have tried over and over with unsuccessful results.
Before trying this year ask yourself the following questions:
Have I made this decision before? What solutions can I identify in the past that have not worked? What new solution(s) am I going to try this time that will help me to make the change I want?
Reflection – Philippians 4:13(NIV) “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength”
If you have flown on an airplane before you are familiar with the following words, “In case there is a sudden loss in cabin pressure…” At this time your attention is directed to the airplane attendant giving instructions on the use of the oxygen mask that will fall from the ceiling should such an event occur. The instructions say that if you are traveling with someone that needs your assistance, to please, place the mask on yourself before attempting to assist someone else.
It is okay for us to think of ourselves; were just told not to do it too much!
In Romans 12:3 (NIV) we read “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” Much too often we forget to take care of ourselves and don’t take the time to refuel, and when we are asked to give, we simply do not have the energy or strength; sometimes when we need it most.
The late Stephen Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” always advocated; take a break, decompress and re-sharpen the saw…you can cut wood much faster with a sharp saw. Simply put, we need time away from our daily work, time for rest and time to fuel ourselves. We also must remember not only our physical needs but our spiritual, mental and emotional needs as well.
Ask yourself, when is the last time I re-sharpened my saw? Are my spiritual, mental and emotional needs okay or do they need re-fueling?
Reflection – It is more blessed to give than receive, but if there is no refueling going on in our lives, there will be nothing to give.
In the song “What’s Love Got to Do with It” the following question is asked: what’s love but a second-hand emotion? Then concludes by stating: who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken? Few things hurt as much as a heart that has been broken, but that does not mean we are to give up on love. If we look in faith to Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV) God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”.
If we did not have love in our hearts we would not be able to follow the first or second commandments; these two are the greatest of all commandments. When we are hurt and our hearts have been broken rather than look away we should take comfort in 1 John 4:16 (NIV) “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them”. I don’t know about you but I can handle being hurt or broken-hearted if I know that living my life in love means I live in God and He in me!
Of all the things we can do for one another, for society, for humankind, the thing that does not cost anything and means the most is love. Yes, love! 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLT) states “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing”.
As life goes on and those difficult days come and go remember what 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLT) says “Do everything in love”. It may seem difficult at times, or even downright impossible…but just remember: God’s love never hurts!