A Piece Broke

photo-1519292578988-e0633c8321ffA piece of my burden broke away from me.

I wasn’t doing anything in particular, but I felt it. I had been carrying a burden that I couldn’t identify. It was nothing specific, but it was heavy and dark and unwelcome. But it was mine to carry and wrestle with for a while.

Then there was an ache and a lightening and a sense of freedom. I still didn’t know what it was all about, but I knew God was refining me. He was pruning me. I carried a burden and tried to rely on him through it, and even when I didn’t understand it all, he lessened it. He broke away a piece, and I felt relief.

He replaced the piece with peace. Not that everything was suddenly fixed, not that I could avoid many issues, but that I was on the right track with him.

Being faithful is difficult when we don’t know the details, when we’re uncertain or confused or overwhelmed. We can choice him despite not understanding. We can choice him in the vagueness. We can choice him in the burden.

Pray Before

d755bb82266e94cbae36cac56befbaa4Pray before the provision comes.

We can trust God.

One of my favorite songs right now is Do It Again by Elevation Worship. The lyrics include:

Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet

As uncertain as life is, there is much we can be certain about, including God’s promises and character. We have to be careful not to distort or misunderstand them in ways that trick us into thinking God is not who he says he is or isn’t doing what we thought he promised. Our misunderstandings don’t define who God is.

When we know God well, when we’re humble enough to seek him with honesty, we find a confidence in him that is an unshakable foundation. It’s not our faith that is unshakable but it is God himself.

Get honest with him and with yourself, no matter how long the process might take. The confidence you will find in him is worth the time and effort.

Pray before he provides. Confide as you build confidence. Let him reveal his promises as he fulfills them through his faithfulness.

Effort Over Ease

photo-1489348611450-4c0d746d949bI dropped off my mom and daughters at a busy mall and began to search for a parking space. I didn’t mind walking, so I drove a few rows away from the doors and started driving up and down rows. Traffic was slow and often got backed up when one person waited for others to get into a car and empty a space. I tried to avoid the rows where I saw several cars already ahead of me in the search. I wondered how long it would take.

Then I remembered another parking lot I’d used before. It was on the other end of the mall, but it was worth a look. I broke free from the congestion and found a nearly empty lot. It wasn’t convenient to where I needed to be, but I was willing to walk.

Sometimes we need to break out and be willing to walk, making an effort instead of expecting ease. Sometimes convenience is not worth the cost. As I stretched my legs with a brisk walk, I thought about the importance of stretching myself in so many ways instead of relying on my comfort or expectations.

Walking was definitely worthwhile.

Make an extra effort to get out of your comfort zone and take a different path today.

Productive Rest

photo-1520809170356-cfbee41507c1Rest can be productive.

We don’t think of it as such. We tend to define productivity as getting something done, being able to see tangible results, or marking a task off our to do list.

But we can be restful while we are getting things done. We can be intentionally productive in rest.

Rest isn’t laziness. Rest involves relaxing, refreshing, and recovering.

After a particularly busy weekend day, I spent the following day in productive rest. I accomplished numerous things, but I did so with a restful mindset and pace. It was a day of recharge, a day to reset and refocus. It was energizing.

That’s what intentional, productive rest does most of the time.

God was intentional in his rest. He was intentional about instructing us to rest. And his way of rest is always productive, because it focuses on him and grows our relationship with him, because we trust God through it.

Whether for a day, an hour, or a few minutes, rest his way today.

A Loud Pop

photo-1533612878354-b7fe81ecfe48I plugged in the Crockpot and sat in the nearby living room to write. Thirty minutes passed, and I heard a loud pop as if something had broken or fallen. I didn’t suspect the Crockpot at first, but when I couldn’t find any other culprit, I looked around it and noticed the microwave, plugged into the same outlet, no longer had power. I unplugged the Crockpot, found the right switch in the electrical box, and reset the outlet.

I plugged the Crockpot into another outlet. It popped and threw the switch before I walked away. Repeat: unplug the Crockpot, flip the switch.

But no more testing. Safety ruled, and I immediately drove to the store to replace the Crockpot. I didn’t want to lose the meal I was preparing.

The Crockpot wasn’t my favorite. I really liked the carrying case that came with it, but I usually used a different Crockpot. But I had left it with my ex when I moved out. It was the one he was used to, and I knew he liked to make soup in it. I figured it was easier for me to get used to something new.

I stood in the aisle, looking at all the Crockpot options. I realized unless I wanted a digital display, which I didn’t, my choices were limited. Once I looked at the sizes, the options narrowed even further.

I ended up getting the same one I’d left behind. Why not? I liked it. I knew it fit in my carrying case. It was familiar.

The same, yet different.

That phrase describes a lot in my life nowadays.

Change is sometimes brought on by a loud, surprising pop. We don’t have access to what we once did. But we can adjust if we’re willing.

Paper Trail of People

photo-1527791002176-af61ee4ec40cA form didn’t get filed properly, so I (and others) have been working for nearly two months to correct the error. It seems like an easy fix, but apparently, it isn’t. It’s annoying, yet it isn’t.

I’ve met some people I might never have met otherwise.

We’ve called each other enough times, we’re at the “guess who” stage, and we usually guess correctly. While we might be annoyed with the situation, we don’t get annoyed with each other. We…are a “we.” We help each other, contact each other, encourage each other.

It seems like a game of chase the paper trail, but it is also an invitation to briefly share life with others.

Perhaps instead of getting easily annoyed with others who have roles in our frustrating situations, we can learn to appreciate them and invite them into “we.”