I had only been on the highway a few minutes when the vehicle I was driving suddenly veered to the side. Fighting to regain control, I wondered what had happened. The road that had felt smooth only moments before now seemed very rough. Pulling over to the shoulder I was sure that the cause must be a flat tire. For the sake of safety I decided to put the hazard lights on. Since this was not my regular vehicle I had trouble locating them. I had never given them a second thought until they were needed. Finally I located the button. Once they were on I felt much safer as these four-way flashers would alert other motorists to the fact that I was having a problem.
What I soon discovered was that having the hazard lights on didn’t make a difference to the speed in which others raced past me. It didn’t seem like they slowed down and no vehicles stopped to see if I needed help. Sitting there, I knew it wasn’t safe to open the driver’s door so I climbed over the seat and out the passenger side to check things out. It was a relief to see that everything looked fine. I must have either hit a small patch of ice or picked up something in one of my tires that had now dislodged. Climbing back into the truck I turned off the hazard lights and eased my way back into traffic. The rest of my drive home was uneventful.
This experience taught me some valuable lessons. I may feel that I put my metaphorical hazard lights on to warn people when my life is not going smoothly. What I have no control over is how others respond to that warning. Most will race on past, while a few may stop to offer assistance. What I can’t do is just click on my distress signal and expect someone to come and rescue me. Calling out to Jesus is what is needed. He will always be available to calm my fears and guide me to safety.
Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7 God’s Word Translation
The store that I work in was in the process of moving locations. I have moved my home to a new location before but it was the first time I had been involved in the move of a store. Neither of these are my idea of fun!
It took days to get everything packed and although it didn’t seem like it at the time, this was the easy part of the move. Far more difficult was unpacking and finding the right spot for everything. This is even more of a challenge when moving to a smaller location. As I stood, surrounded by boxes, I was overwhelmed. Not knowing where to start caused me to panic and instead of getting to work, I froze, afraid that this was more than I could cope with.
Thinking about this later I recalled the many times I have been in this kind of situation. Part of the problem is having too much stuff. It collects slowly, without me noticing it, and one day I realize that all of this is cluttering up my life and causing me to be overwhelmed and stressed.
It isn’t always a physical change of location that causes this feeling. There have been things I have wanted to do in my life that I am unable to start because of emotions and limiting beliefs that are cluttering up my mind. The only sensible thing to do is to purge. The trouble is that when I reach that state, I want to retreat and hide, not to face things head on.
Instead of letting things build up to this point, I need to remember to continually bring my life to the Lord and rely on his guidance. He will teach me what to hold onto and what to let go of. He constantly watches over me and sees the whole picture, not just the part I am stuck on. My role in this is to pray and ask for his guidance and then trust as I wait for his answer.
The Lord says, “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” Psalm 32:8
The morning sky was overcast as we set out for our walk. We had become accustomed to the brightness of the sunshine, but right now, it was nowhere to be seen. Looking up to the sky I could see a slight break in the clouds. It looked like the sun was fighting to break through.
This was a reminder for me that even though clouds may temporarily block my view of the sun, it is still there. At the moment it may be hidden by clouds but sooner or later it will be shining on me once again.
The Son of God, Jesus, is also known as the Light of the world. His light is always available to shine on me. Any obstacles blocking this light are of my own making. When I focus on him, and not the clouds blocking my vision, he will always break through to light my way.
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NIV
I am an avid shell collector. Some of my shells have colours and markings that are well defined and the surface is perfect with no flaws or cracks. I have a few more shells that I believe are the same type as these and once also must have looked good on the surface. The difference is that this second group is ones that have been broken and the inner parts are now visible. Strange as it may seem, it is the ones that I can see inside of that I’m most drawn to.
Again, I relate this back to life. When I put up a good front, all you see is my surface. Unless I become vulnerable and let you see inside, you will never really know me. I may look quiet and reserved on the surface, but deep within lies a heart with a passion to make a difference. I want to encourage others to see their own beauty and worth, to know that they are valuable and have a life worth fighting for.
In order to do this, I need to be vulnerable and share my heart. Jesus has done amazing things in my life since I gave him control. He wants me to share this with others. By sharing his love with those I encounter, they too will be able to see themselves through his eyes. Jesus loves each of us as though there were only one of us. He loves us just as we are, but far too much to leave us that way. I am living proof of the change that can take place when someone was open enough to pour his love over me, and I can oly pass this along by doing the same.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may kjnow the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18, 19A NIV
After 2 weeks of wearing either sandals or aqua socks, my feet screamed in protest as I laced up my running shoes. Normally I wore aqua socks when we went for our morning beach walk, allowing for elastic stretch and flexibility. This day we had planned a more challenging walk so the support of running shoes was needed. My ankles felt as though they were being strangled! I understood why the firm support was needed, but it was an uncomfortable transition from the freedom and flexibility I’d quickly grown used to.
This was an accurate reflection of my life. When everything is going smoothly I enjoy the freedom and flexibility in my day-to-day life. Then, when things become more challenging I realize that it is firm support that is needed to carry me through. Even though deep down, I understand the need for this firmness, I still chafe at the loss of my freedom.
When my life is placed in the loving hands of the Lord, he will guide me with the support I need. It may feel uncomfortable at times but in reality gives me much more freedom than I have ever had on my own.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV
In an effort to control how many shells I was picking up to bring home, I set myself a daily limit. During our walk one morning my husband showed me a lovely shell that he knew I’d like. I quickly counted those in my hand and told him I’d already reached my limit. His response surprised me as he said, “So, change your limit.” To be fair, he also said that I could re-evaluate what I had and decide which one not to keep!
The thought that kept coming back to me was to change my limit. At times I’ve said that I’d almost reached my limit, meaning I was running out of patience or energy. What if, when I feel this way, I stop, take a deep breath and change my limit? How much more patient and understanding could I become?
This could also work in reverse. When I have 20 things to do in a day and only accomplish 18 of them, do I beat myself up over the 2 not completed or change my limit and be happy with what was done? When it comes right down to it, this is my limit and I’m the one with the control over adjusting it!
The main thing for me to remember is that the final control of my life is not with me, but with Jesus. He will guide me far beyond any limits I have set so that I can accomplish his will for my life.
I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 God’s Word Translation
My husband and I were on our morning walk when we came upon a spot that was difficult to pass through. There were many sharp rocks blocking our path. Brian stepped up onto a ledge to get around the rubble. My legs are not as long as his and I realized that this step up was too high for me. I concentrated on which rocks I could safely climb on to get me to close enough to the ledge that I could join him. When I looked up I realized that Brian had his hand stretched out to help lift me. I said to him, “I was so busy concentrating on how to get through this that I didn’t see your hand reaching down for me.”
My ever understanding husband asked me if there was a story there! How right he was to point that out. We then discussed the times in life that we have encountered obstacles in our path. When we concentrate on how best to navigate them on our own, we often forget to look up and see the hand of Jesus, reaching out to guide us. He is always there for us. All we need to do is to look up and take the hand he is offering.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalms 40:2 NIV
As I looked into the clear night sky my attention was drawn to the full moon. There were no clouds to block it and I was filled with awe at its mesmerizing brilliance. The twinkling stars faded into the background and the moon was the focal point in the sky. The light it provided was so bright that it was hard to believe it was only a reflection.
The moon on its own does not emit a light that we can see so clearly this far away. It actually reflects the light of the sun, and that is what was illuminating the night sky.
Gazing at its beauty, I am reminded that the only way my light can shine brightly enough to attract others is when I reflect the light of the Son, Jesus.
Just as clouds can block my view of the moon and obscure its light, I can easily let difficulties become my focus, making it impossible for the light to reach me. This impacts my ability to reflect that light to others. When I consciously seek the Son, and focus on him, his light can shine in and through me. This enables me to reflect the light of Jesus into the dark corners of my world, thus fulfilling his plan for my life.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV
Due to the ongoing snowy weather, it has been a challenge to navigate some of our side roads. There are some deep ruts made by the vehicles that continually travel these roads.
The interesting thing about these ruts is that if you attempt to drive outside of them, they pull you back in. Blazing your own trail is difficult when you are constantly pulled back into the ruts.
This is a mirror of my life. I tend to do the same things day after day. They become so comfortable that I don’t even realize that I am in a rut. It is only when I want to strike out on a new path that I find this familiar rut pulling me back in. It may not be all that comfortable any more, but my rut is familiar and feels safe. The challenge for me is to keep pulling myself out of the rut so I can embark on a new path.
Over the years I have learned that an effective way to do this is through prayer. When I feel that Jesus wants me to head in a new direction, all I need to do is keep praying to him for guidance. He is the one that will enable me to continue in the way he has chosen for me.
But he told me: “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I will brag even more about my weaknesses in order that Christ’s power will live in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 God’s Word Translation
Be inspired today
The snow keeps falling and as it blankets outdoor lights and decorations, it truly looks like a winter wonderland outside. While the adults are not enjoying all the shoveling, children are having fun building snowmen and having snowball fights.
Thinking about playing in the snow, I am reminded that a large snowman starts with a single snowball. As the snowball rolls along the ground it picks up more and more snow and keeps growing larger. The size the snowman becomes is determined by how much time is put into rolling that snowball.
This is something that I can relate to my life. When I stay in one place, my life remains static, not growing. If, on the other hand, I am willing to open myself up to new experiences, my life expands as it rolls along. The more I do this, the larger my life becomes.
Jesus has so many plans for my life. It is only by spending time with Him and following his plan that my life will expand to include so much more than I could ever imagine on my own.
May the Lord direct your lives as you show God’s love and Christ’s endurance. 2 Thessalonians 3-5 God’s Word Translation
Be inspired today.