Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's Next

This blog seems to have morphed a little lately. I have been unsure of where I've been going, and what I'm supposed to be doing. I know you all have been hearing that, but I just have to keep it real. I'm not good at putting on a show of things being "hunky dory" when in reality I'm at loose ends.

If you all read my "other blog" Common Ground, then you know a little more about me. I love antiques and the whole flea market/antique mall scene. That's how I got in to blogging in the first place. Buying and selling antiques has been something I've really enjoyed for the last 5 or 6 years; well, really my whole life.

I'm not a good multi-tasker, I'm more of a focused individual preferring to concentrate on one subject at a time. If I'm not careful I can wander around all day not accomplishing anything, so I  have to try to stick to one thing and see some progress. Being focused on one thing can be a problem at times, and in the big picture of life, this little business of buying and selling antiques can be pretty dominating of your time and energy. Anything you really enjoy can have a tendency to "take over", but if it's a business, then whoa, watch out!

I've been saying for awhile how I knew things were transitioning, and recently I've had some feelings and thoughts sort of take shape. I've been praying for guidance on what I'm supposed to be doing with my life and for months I've been stewing over what that might be. Well, seemingly overnight I received an answer. Was it the answer I thought?... no way!

For a little more backstory, having been in the antique business for awhile, I've collected lots of stuff. lots and lots of stuff. I love stuff. I'm not a real "materialistic" person, but I just enjoy old things. And my house and garage are proof. I've asked God in a nice way if He would help me get a handle on paring down my "stuff" and organizing not only my house and garage, but my life. So guess what? The direction that He's put me on isn't what I thought it would be, but one that needs to be dealt with first; some things that have taken a back seat, that now over the last several months I see need to be "cleaned up".

When I thought I might just need to call "the junk man" to come and take everything away, God is now given me the concept of doing myself. In some ways it would be easy just to haul it all out to the street and wave goodbye, but for me I'm taking some personal responsibility to get things in order; find balance; and let go. I've learned in life that God does different things with different people. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. Living life is really just letting God be in charge of things, allowing Him to work on us; molding, shaping and transforming us. I'm the kind of person that likes instant change, to cut through the junk and "getter done". God doesn't always work that way.

So I have some direction right now; not what I thought, but evidently what I need. Posts have been sparse, but I'm still here. Hope you don't mind a little of this head clearing, cathartic type of post sometimes. I know the things I go through, you all do too; at one time or another.

So to get where we're going sometimes is a lengthy process. Putting one foot in front of the other. Listening to the Spirit. Waiting. Being open and available to Him, and yes, putting on the work gloves and getting busy on first things first.

What kind of "junk" do you have in your life... physical or spiritual?

love in Jesus,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Never Fails

Today is Valentine's Day. A day we think of our sweethearts...spouses, loved ones, children. But to really know about love and what it really is, we need to go to the source.

When we are children most of what we know about love comes from, and is directed to, our parents. The needs we have for security, affection, and belonging are found within the family setting. Learning about how to love usually comes from what we learn from our parents example.

I know when I was newly married I thought, that I really loved my young, handsome, husband. When I had my children, I learned about a whole new kind of love. Maternal feelings of love and protection that I really never knew existed, welled up when I held those tiny babies. Love encompasses many relationships, each one different. Love grows, matures, endures, and changes us.

We know that there are four main types of love:

Phileo which is what is usually termed "brotherly love", but is a term for friendship and affection that often requires love and respect to be reciprocated.

Storge which refers to love that is within a family.

Eros which refers to the intimate relationship between lovers, romantic love or "lust".

Agape is the love that defines how God loves us; unconditional

I remember when God first started asking me to pray for other people. I looked at it as something that I should do as a Christian; sort of a responsibility. I was young, had lot's to do, my own family to take care of. With all that I had going on, praying for the needs of others just didn't have a lot of priority. Praying for my own family's needs was all I could manage to get around to, and sometimes I didn't even get that accomplished.

God was asking me to love other people. LOVE other people. Not on a surface level, or with "lip service", but to really regard them as my own self. Put their needs up there at the top of the list. I didn't think I could do that. I had to admit to God one day, that I just really didn't LOVE other people. And with that admission, I knew that deep down inside I didn't really love God the way I should love Him, either.

Pretty hard and harsh reality. This is where God and who He is comes in. God isn't just about love, or that He loves us, it's the fact that He truly is LOVE. God IS Love, and without being inspired by Him and knowing Him we can't ever really get there. He is the author and the finisher. The Alpha and Omega.  He IS Love.

Version: NAS

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4. Love is patient, love is kind, [and] is not jealous; love does not brag [and] is not arrogant, 5. does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong [suffered], 6. does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never fails...

Things have been unsettled in my spirit lately. I can't really pin it down, but being in transition. Transition in that I'm on the path, but don't really know the destination. Moving forward, but with my eyes and ears open. I'm listening to the voice of the Father. The scripture about walking by faith, not by sight has been in my head recently.

Walking the path isn't always easy, I'm looking for the roadmap but it's not very clear. I've asked God to not let me make mistakes; costly mistakes that come from being unavailable to Him. "Don't let me fail You, Lord." That's been my desire. "Don't let me fail You. I'm counting on You. I can't do this by myself."
And then I heard His Voice.
"Love Never Fails."
He will never fail us.

love, in Jesus,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

No time like the present...

I want to share a little "thing" going on in my life that happened last week. It's about relationships, friendships, seasons, hearing God's voice...and change.

For the last several months I've been talking about knowing in my spirit; my gut, that things are changing. I'm walking into a new season even if I don't know exactly where that will be. I think we all can feel it when change is around the corner. God starts giving us nuances. They can be feelings, "intuition", emotions, changes in circumstances, etc. Many times it happens in others first, and we're the last to know. You know what I'm talking about. A situation that was good becomes overwhelming, boring, tiresome, too time we say in "Christianspeak" the anointing comes off. Any number of emotions and feelings can accompany it. I've had this happen with many situations; God inspired situations, that unbeknownst to me, become out of God's plan or timing. Sort of reminds me of High School dating. One month you're infatuated with the guy sitting next to you in chemistry, the next month you can't get away from him fast enough. Nothing changed on the outside. He's still a great guy, but God leads you in another direction.

So, now to the case in point. First let me tell you that no one did anything "wrong"; it involves a friendship with a "business partner". We're not extremely close, but still good friends. We don't pick up the phone and call each other in the middle of the night to chit chat over a problem, but we enjoy the same design style and "get each other" in that area. We've known each other several years, can have a great laugh, share how God is working, and enjoy each other's company.

People come with all kinds of approaches to life. I'm one that likes to be forthright and upfront. I like to talk things through and know where everyone "is coming from". Pretty transparent. That's just me. I like that in friendships, and business relationships...any kind of "ship". I don't like surprises. I want all the cards on the table, so to speak. I like to know what others are thinking, especially when it has to do with a mutual situation or circumstance. I understand that not everyone is like me. (Actually this trait really annoys some people) Some people like to really get something totally thought out and concrete before it's made "public"...nothing wrong with's just not who I am.

Now back to how God works in people and situations to accomplish His will.

I've known for a while that with having several blogs that my time is pretty much consumed with keeping them current. God led me into them. He set them up and put them together. But at the same time I didn't have time to do the same amount of Bible Study that I had done previously. I've been in a season of making connections through the web, and blogging; meeting wonderful people and having a forum for creativity and expression. Writing, photography (wow, I love this part; who knew???), visiting new places, making friendships etc. But at the same time my "God time" has diminished slightly. I've been in a season.

God doesn't always make things easy for us. Change can be uncomfortable. (Hey, didn't I just say that on my last post or two?) Sometimes He allows things that cause us to have to make decisions; difficult decisions, that require us to rethink priorities, be open to a new outlook, let go of some things. He shuts doors sometimes, and sometimes in those doors shutting our toes get stubbed and our noses get out of joint.

I won't go into detail here, because this situation involves a friend, like I said. We've talked through the outcome of this particular change and are still good friends. We still have a "business relationship", but God has some different things for each of us to do. The key here is that even though it had the potential to end our friendship, God gave us each grace to talk things out and realize that He indeed was calling each of us to do something different. Like I said, change can be devastating if you don't allow God to be in control of all aspects of it. Being led by the Spirit involves listening to Him, allowing Him to give us correct words, attitudes, and the freedom to lead us even when we are like stubborn little mules; angry, mouthy, stubborn little mules. I can be that at times.

So the result is even though I was pushed kicking and screaming through the door of God's plan, I did end up on the other side. He has reminded me that I'm not always right, other people have a say in a relationship, and that I can't always "fix" things. Sometimes things just need to change.

Getting to where God is leading us is not a destination, it's a process. Everyday being available to God. Doing what He asks, and realizing there's a bigger picture out there than what we might be able to see from our current vantage point. Ultimately it took following my own advice from last week. I had to ask God point blank, "is this a goal you want for me, or is this just something I want?" And guess what...He told me.

So, it wasn't the easiest weekend. But now I'm moving forward, one more step in the process to what's coming next.

love, in Jesus,