I was good up till that last phrase, "that God will use you." What? What about God changing them!?! They're the one at fault, the one in the wrong. <sigh>
God of profound forgiveness and mercy, change my heart.
Help me to see that s/he is doing the best s/he can.
Help me to see the brokenness in others that my own heart might be softened.
Help me to breathe when my buttons are being pushed, to see deep within me the brokenness that created the buttons in the first place.
Help me to be kind, understanding, forgiving, to breathe deeply and allow others the grace they need.
Help me to be a peacemaker.
Change my heart, O God, may I be (more) like you.
Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord,
my rock and my redeemer.
This is one I probably should've had yesterday, before the session meeting! :-o
When we talk all the time, it speaks volumes about us, doesn't it?
I'm the one who's most important here (and you're not).
I'm all wise (and you're not).
My thoughts and opinions are far more important than yours.
When we listen to others more, they feel respected, listened to, and cared for/about. We also learn a lot when we listen more.
And I think the same can be said of our prayer life as well. God can do so much more with us if we'd just stop talking and listen - like we have anything to tell God that God doesn't know! :-p And we have so much to learn, don't we? Think how much time we waste when we talk God's ear off and forget to listen to what God has to say to us.
And what does it say about our relationship with God when we're the ones talking all the time? <put up your lightning rod!>
March 18: Always need to be in control? Let someone else today. Need to be more assertive? Step up and take charge (or at least volunteer!).
Sometimes, those of us in leadership roles tend to forget that much of what we do is empowering others. Instead of always leading the conversation, we can toss out a conversation starter and let the others take it from there.
Sometimes those of us who tend not to be leaders just sit back and let others take charge. That's defaulting to "do nothing" just because someone else will.
But we all have a responsibility to think, act and do - some by stepping up and others by stepping back.
My husband reminded me the other day that the very thing I was frustrated about was exactly what I should've been thrilled to see - one of the folks had not only stepped up, but had taken up the drumbeat I'd started. That's exactly what a leader desires, but because I "need" to be in charge (and receive the accolades), I couldn't even see that this is exactly what I hope for! <sigh>
And then there's all those school volunteer jobs that I "allow" others to do because "I'm busy." Of course that assumes the others aren't. As if! They're probably at least as busy as I am, or perhaps more! Shouldn't I be as willing to give of myself? After all, it's my kids I'm serving, and even if it wasn't, it's my town, my society, and each thing we step up to help with allows more to get done which benefits all of us. They're *all* my kids!
God of change and all good things, open my eyes to see the places I can step up and the times I should step back. Empower me to empower others, and then see it when it happens. Encourage me to step up, and be more open to seeing opportunities when they present themselves. Change my heart, O God. May I be (more) like you.
This one has several layers doesn't it? Deadly comparisons. Scarcity mentality. Being thankful in all things...
One of the things I struggle with is living in a middle class pocket in the midst of much wealth. Am I thankful that I'm living in the middle class pocket? My well-worn car (quite a few dents and scrapes these days) is much older and more worn than the brand new cars my daughter's friends are getting for their 16th birthdays. I'm still grateful I have a good car with lots of character. I can still pick up a load of kids and drive them places. We have to scrape sometimes to make sure the mortgage, utilities, car payments and insurance get paid, but we have a warm house, lights, cars and insurance.
We don't always have the latest gadgets, but we all have cell phones (who'da thunk it 10 yrs ago), laptops (again, who'da thunk it), TVs with internet connection and lots of movie/shows (like we really need that), and plenty of wheels.
We have so much and there are many who have so little. I ponder sometimes the folks who have so much (myself included). It's easy, I think, to grow callous or get caught up in a cycle of "needing" more stuff when we have more than enough. My children really feel it at school. I feel bad for them sometimes because it's hard for them to see outside of it, even when we try to give them perspective.
I recall our honeymoon to Jamaica where we stayed at a posh resort but ventured into the back country and up in the mountains and saw such poverty - people living in tiny little shacks on the side of the road, preparing meals over an open fire outside, children selling coffee beans to tourists. The contrast was stark. But the reality is that 1% of the population was growing richer while the rest grew poorer, and most of the profits were being sent to the US, where the owners of the resorts live.
It's good for us to be confronted with that from time to time. We see it on the streets of Detroit, but it's easy to side-step and ignore as we race from tournaments to malls to appointments, bemoaning our lot instead of being thankful that we can.
Being satisfied with what we have requires that we see beyond our stuff and being grateful for the breath we draw, beautiful sunrises, the people who color our lives and give us joy, the God who makes it all possible. Thank you Lord, for all these things and much more. Amen.
Seems like it should be easy, but sometimes, it's counter to what we're thinking and feeling...like today.
Woke up to the sound of crying from the next room. :-o <panic, leap out of bed>
She overslept for the tournament today, car waiting in the driveway and she's standing there, half dressed and completely discombobulated. Got her out the door, my coffee made, just settling down to the morning cuppa before my 9am appointment, when I got a text, "Mom, can you meet us at Cass Tech with my glasses?" <what? sigh> Which of us needed the more joy? ;-/ No coffee, no breakfast, jumped into some clothes and raced downtown to deliver the goods.
Once in the car, I wondered what I was wearing, if I'd have time to grab a fast food breakfast, and oh yeah, keep my mouth shut since I didn't brush my teeth! Oh joy! ;-) Driving through the snowstorm that erupted just as I drove up on the overpass, I realized how fortunate I am that I was able to help - help her get ready and out the door, that I could still make my appt, and even thought to grab my laptop! The snow was pretty, my daughter can be in robotics and volleyball, I can drive, we have cars that work, I give thanks for some of these things! That gives me joy. :-) It's really about perspective, isn't it, and a positive mindset.
So I smiled at the guy at Micky D's as I handed him the money, and he smiled back, almost in surprise. ;-) When I pulled up to the next window to get my breakfast, I smiled at the next guy as he handed me out the brown bag and drink and said, very joyfully, "Thanks!" :-) He looked like he was having "one of those days" too, and looked at me like, "here, lady," and then smiled back. :-)
When I got to my appointment, I shared some of the morning's moments and laughed.
:-D We were both smiling on through the appointment. :-) Life can be funny...and it can be joyful. Depends on your perspective.
Joy is contagious. Smile! :-) Share joy! Share joy! Share joy! :-)
God who calls us into being and leads us forward, I pray for the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Southfield MI. Speak to us as a part of the body of your Son, Jesus Christ, and help us to hear your call to us in the community. We want to know what you and your people need from us, and how we can best serve, given our gifts, skills and talents. Empower us to fulfill your calling to us as fishers of people, give us courage to do what you require, and send us out into the Southfield Sea. Help us to set aside our fears and anxiety and seek to form relationships in the community, working for justice and equality for all your people. Guide our leaders and our decision-making so that we might march boldly into the future you have set out for us, following your Son into the city to serve your people. Strengthen us to do your will, love your people and serve where we are planted. In Christ's name I ask it. Amen.
My daughter's been struggling with a mentor who irritates her to the point of anger, red-faced, fist-shaking anger - at him, at the club, at life in general. I suggest that she try to see things from his perspective. It might help her to pray for inner peace with it. Either way, it's hard. :-/
People's quirks and need for attention get under our skin and they cause a minor irritation. If we continue spending time with them, it just keeps irritating like a rock in our shoe until it become painful and causes us to walk funny until we stop and take it out.
How can we take out the rock of irritation cause by someone who gets under our skin? Pray. Try to understand their need, their perspective. God created this person and for some reason, s/he has an unfulfilled need that pushes our buttons.
What's the need in us that allows our buttons to get pushed in the first place? We're pretty much need-based creatures - physical, mental, emotional... But that might be another prayer. Is it about them being somehow like us in a way that we don't like? Truth be told, it's probably some kind of unperceived competition between us, and I don't want to lose. :-p Ah, there. I said it. It's always about us, isn't it? We're the only ones we can really change anyway.
Gracious, understanding, always creating God, change my heart. Give me peace with that child of yours who rubs me every which way but good. Help me understand their need to always win, always be right, always be in the spotlight, always show me to be inferior. Help me humble myself before you so that I can help them win some, be right, in the spotlight, without belittling me. Give me courage to let them shine and humility to step back without being right/the winner/in the spotlight....because that's really what's at issue isn't it? Me, myself and my need to be the winner. Help me to give thanks for this creation of yours who really is loved and gifted by you. Help me to see deep enough inside them to find those gifts and blessings. Create in me a new and clean heart, O God. May I be (more) like you. Amen.
My knee-jerk reaction: Be generous with what?
My initial thought is to be generous with financial wealth, but time is probably the thing the I should focus on....Or perhaps that's a financial avoidance issue! ;-)
It seems to me that the poor tend to be more generous with their money than the wealthy. Why is that, do you suppose?
The more we have the more we have to lose?
The more tendrils there are to wrap around our hearts and keep our fingers clenched around our stuff?
What of love and affection? It seems the more love and affection we receive, the more generous we are with it. Reminds me of a song we sang in youth choir back in the 70's: Magic Penny. "Love is something if you give it away...you end up having more. It's just like a magic penny. Lend it, spend it, you'll have so many, they'll roll all over the floor."
So money and wealth are very different than love and affection. The more money we have, the less generous we are with it. The more love and affection we have, the more willing we are to be generous with it. Love grows and overflows, whereas wealth inspires us to build bigger barns for it. I guess that's why Jesus spent so much time talking about wealth.
Lent is a good time for us to think about our material possessions, for none of us is taking it with us. Why hold on to it, short of paying the bills and guaranteeing our human needs are covered? A mentality of scarcity permeates our society while Jesus advocated for enough, it seems. And sharing. When we share what we have with others, there is enough.
There's much more to ponder here...maybe later, if I get some time. ;-)
Well, that's easy! Dear God, how can I serve today? <pregnant pause> Nothing? Well, ok then! Thanks anyway! Have a nice day!;-)j/k ;-) <ducking & running>
I guess asking is the easy part, but listening and then being open to hearing what God has to say are the more difficult things. Listening requires attentiveness to God's voice in the midst of all the busyness and noise of my life. Being open to hearing what God has to say requires that I free my heart of the things which hold me back, my reluctance, my fear, my priorities.
It can tell myself that serving today means unloading the dishwasher so my husband doesn't have to. It's nice, and maybe it's serving others, definitely helping my family, but it's not really going out of my way, and if I'm honest, it's also self-serving. :-<great> :-/ <sigh> Back to the drawing board...or listening board. ;-); -)
Asking God how I can serve today is setting aside my agenda for today and being open to rearranging my schedule, going the extra mile, doing something or going somewhere I may not want to or "have time" to.
Serving in my mind and in God's mind may be two very different things. Waiting for the answer, openness to hearing the response, and doing what God asks are the (difficult) key to asking God how I can serve today.
Ok, here goes. Dear God . . .
I'm a wife, mom, pastor, human...probably not in that order. I struggle each day to be faithful to God, to my family and to my call as a Christian and all of those previously-mentioned roles. I pray to be positive, kind and thoughtful, but tend to fall short on all counts. I am inspired by sunrises and enjoy taking pictures (mostly my kids, deer in the yard and sunrises). I waste time playing stupid computer games and wishing I'd been better at all of the aforementioned roles. ;-)