Fear or Adventure?

safety, health, decisionI have an opportunity that excites and terrifies me at the same time. It’s something I’ve been interested in for several years and keep saying, “Someday.” Recently an invitation was given for a specific date.

Talking brave is one thing; being brave is an entirely different matter. The time has come to make a decision. Either I go ahead or completely give up on this adventure. It’s like someone has called my bluff!

Conflicting thoughts compete for space in my mind. There is a possibility of harm. I’ve always erred on the side of caution. This has ensured safety but I wonder what the cost has been.

A song that I heard many years ago springs to mind. The words, “Everything in moderation, that’s the way it’s always been” are a good representation of my life. The lyrics go on to express a longing for more.

I wonder if I’ve played it safe for long enough. Maybe I need this adventure to take me farther out of my comfort zone than I’ve ever been.

Another song that comes to mind is Live Like You Were Dying.  Currently I have my health. A physical examination with all the required tests was recently completed and no problems were found. At this point in time I have loved ones who are facing severe health issues. They are limited in activities I take for granted and wouldn’t be able to do what I’m considering even if they wanted to. I don’t want to look back with regret that I let fear rob me of an adventure I was capable of.

The other factor is money. There are far more practical uses for it. I remember a quote from Jim Rohn that says, “If you want something badly enough you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”

The pros and cons have now been weighed. It seems I’ve made my decision.
I’ll tell you all about it in my September newsletter! Watch for it on September 12th.

If you don’t already receive my monthly newsletters you can send me a private message with your email address or sign up on my website www.timewithtandy.com

My Olympic Lesson

#God, #inspiration, Support, guidance, pace myself“I never thought watching a bicycle road race would be interesting,” I said to my husband. The 136.9 km race was well underway when I sat down to watch this Olympic event.

After a steep climb two riders were clearly in the lead. When they started the descent, one pulled away. As her lead increased the commentators said she would be hard to beat. With 10.7 km to go, Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands crashed. She went down hard and didn’t move for quite some time. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for her competitors to ride past as medics tended to her.

Maria Abbott of the USA moved into first place. We watched her maintain her lead until the final few kilometers. A group of three behind slowly decreased the distance between them and passed her in the final meters before the finish line. She gave it all she had but finished out of the medals by mere seconds.

It wasn’t the front runners who won the medals, but the ones who paced themselves. They held back slightly during the race so they’d have the energy to finish strong. They were also the ones who stayed together and shared emotional support during this grueling exercise.

I realized there was a lesson here for me. Many times I’ve had a strong start and then faltered before I reached the finish line. Sometimes I’ve plodded slowly up a steep learning curve. Once I have the required knowledge and am on the descent I try to make up for lost time. As I speed to the finish line I encounter an unexpected bump and down I go. It may be a stumble that I recover from easily. Or, it may be a spectacular crash.

The more time I spend on the ground assessing my disappointment and injured pride, the greater the chance I will admit defeat. Instead of getting back into the race I question why I ever entered it in the first place. In effect, I beat myself.

My objective should not be to set goals that I reach in my own strength. I want to run with endurance the race God has set before me. Instead of trying to speed ahead, I need to follow the pace he dictates. Sometimes that includes slowing down. Part of my preparation must be quiet time spent with God. That’s where the true training comes from. I’ve learned he will guide me and place me with others for mutual support. Together we will advance into the writers he wants us to be. This is how I can hope to achieve the prize of bringing glory to him.

I heard a sports commentator say that in order to be winners, athletes have to believe they belong with the best. That goes for me as well. As a child of God I am already a member of the winning team.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)

What’s the Attraction?

#Jesus, #inspiration, attitudeDuring an eight-hour drive we noticed many signs telling us of upcoming towns. Under the name of each town were symbols representing what services could be found there. When we knew the local attractions it was easier to decide where to stop. There would be no use stopping for the night if no motels were there or for a meal if there were no restaurants.

Some small towns had few symbols under their name, others had many.

We discussed the fact that these signs could make the difference to someone stopping there or passing on by.

Relating this to our lives, we wondered what signs we exhibit that attract people to us. A cheerful attitude will draw people near. Being moody and temperamental will ensure they pass on by.

Jesus told us to treat others the way we would like to be treated. For me that means to be helpful, loving, respectful and encouraging. That’s what I appreciate in others. I want to be the kind of person I’d like to have for a friend.

When I serve the Lord in this way, his light shines through me. People are drawn to the evidence of him in my life. That’s the kind of attraction I strive for.

Do to others as you would like them to do to you. (Luke 6:31 NLT)

Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other. Don’t be lazy in showing your devotion. Use your energy to serve the Lord. Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually. (Romans 12:10-12 GWT)

Leaning into the Curves

#Jesus, #inspiration, balanceThe term sharp curve just didn’t make sense to me. Curves by nature are soft and rounded so how could they be sharp?

I saw the sign on the highway just before the road had some twists and turns. Part way through this area I understood how sharp curves can be. I also realized my whole body was leaning into each curve as I navigated it. That’s when I started talking to myself!

“Why are you leaning?” I asked. “It’s not as if that will help the car take the curve.” I laughed at my body instinctively listing to one side as I rounded a bend. My attempt to help my vehicle was not going to make a difference.

“Is there a time when leaning into a curve like this is helpful?” I wondered. The answer that came quickly was, “Yes.” The road of life is not always straight. Sometimes I encounter curves that throw me off balance.

Leaning into them may help me feel that I’m doing something worthwhile, but it doesn’t always make the situation easier to navigate.

When I lean into Jesus he guides me through the challenging places. He keeps me balanced so I’m not concerned with remaining upright. There is peace when I call out the name of Jesus because I know he will make my route straight and clear.

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. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Breathe Deeply

#Jeusu, #inspiration, #Holy Spirit, “It’s nothing to worry about,” the doctor said. “We just need your heart rate to slow down a little more before we do the next test, so we’re going to put you on oxygen for a few minutes. We find it effective in restoring the heart rhythm.”

I’d never had oxygen before and was curious to know what it would be like. Since I felt fine, there was no concern on my part. The gentle flow into my nostrils didn’t cause any discomfort. It didn’t even disrupt my conversation with the nurse!

After a few minutes I was told my heart beat was back to normal and I could move on to the imaging area. I felt no physical difference but the monitor showed an improvement.

I related this experience to the Holy Spirit breathing into my life. Jesus said he would send us a helper, the Holy Spirit. There is no need for regulators and monitors. On the surface things appear the same. When I call out to him, he calms my heart and mind. This is not only during anxious times. Every day I need the guidance and peace that comes when I breathe deeply of him.

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. (John 14:16-17 GWT)

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:12 NIV)

What is Collectible?

#God, #inspiration, #bibleBehind the chain link fence several old vehicles are left to rust. Their useful life is over and they have been abandoned to the effects of the elements.

A collector car show is happening in another part of town. Those vehicles have been restored and have shiny new paint jobs. Signs tell us of their history and ask us not to get too close. Crowds of people hover nearby expressing their appreciation for these vehicles.

It made me wonder why some are abandoned while others are lovingly restored. Is there a #God, #inspiration, lovedetermining factor as to what is worth saving? Who decides what is collectible and what isn’t? Is it the outside or inside that matters most?

I am so thankful that God does not judge me by my outside appearance. The signs of aging do not diminish my value.

Among the many promises of the Bible is one that says God will never abandon me. I know this to be true. When I attempted to rely on my own strength I faltered. God could have turned his back but instead lovingly restored me. He invites me to come close. It gives me great peace to know I will always be loved and cared for, even if I do have a few dents in my fenders.

Be happy with what you have because God has said, “I will never abandon you or leave you. (Hebrews 13:5 GWT)

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. (Isaiah 55:8 NLT)

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)

Different But the Same

#Jesus, #God, #inspiration,#loveOur church has started using two different bulletin covers each Sunday. I was greeting and handing out bulletins when one woman noticed the two covers. With confusion in her voice she asked, “Do we have more than one bulletin today?”

I explained that although the covers were different the insides were the same. Then I added, “Just like people.”

People come in all shapes, sizes and colours. No two are exactly the same. Even identical twins have subtle differences in their appearance.

On the inside we are basically the same. Each one of us wants love, acceptance and a feeling of belonging. Fear, loneliness and illness can alter our outward appearance. The face we present to the word is not always inviting.

When I am feeling ‘less than’ I tend to withdraw from contact with others. It may seem to you that I am aloof, hostile or grouchy. The truth is I want love and acceptance but don’t know how to ask for it. It’s easier to keep my distance than to be vulnerable and risk rejection. I end up creating the opposite of what I most desire.

Jesus knows my thoughts and needs even when I’m unable to express them. Before I call his name, he’s there for me. He doesn’t necessarily give me what I want but it is always what’s best for me. The everlasting love of Jesus means I am accepted unconditionally and never rejected or alone.

The LORD is near to those whose hearts are humble. He saves those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalm 34:18 GWT)

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:177-18 NLT)

Taking Inventory

#God, #inspiration, #blessings, gratitudeThe past few days have been spent doing inventory in the gift store where I work. Counting everything and recording its value is a tedious task that we don’t look forward to. Nevertheless it needs to be done.

Strange as it sounds, the three of us tackling the inventory enjoyed ourselves this year. We worked well together and our positive attitudes made all the difference. Instead of grumbling and complaining, we laughed about some of the outdated things we came across. There were also forgotten treasures that were unearthed from storage areas.

The experience was not that different from taking inventory in my life. If I take the time to sort through my thoughts, plans and dreams on a regular basis I’m sure I will unearth many things of value as well as some that need to be discarded.

Old hurts, anger and regret have no place in my life now. Once I have learned the lessons they had for me I can toss them on the garbage heap.
The positive attitude of my co-workers reminded me to focus on the abundance of blessings I have received. Memories of love and laughter with family and friends flood my mind. Meaning and purpose have been added to my life in the times I’ve been able to touch the lives of others.

I find what is occupying the most space in my personal inventory is gratitude. I thank God daily for the love he has shown me. He touches my life in the quiet times spent with him, through the beauty of nature and the people he brings me in contact with. My blessings are something I’m always happy to count.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9 NLT)

Purple Moustache

#Jesus, #inspiration, forgiveness, love“Do I have a purple moustache?” I asked my husband. “Not that I can see,” was his reply.

I had used fresh blueberries in my morning smoothie and wondered if any evidence remained on my face. Although the outside of the berries are blue, the stain they make is always purple!

Before I left the house for the day I stopped for a quick look in the mirror. That’s when I saw the tell-tale purple stains I’d been concerned about. My husband didn’t intentionally trick me into going out with a purple moustache. He honestly didn’t notice. I realized this was another sign that he often sees the best in me and either doesn’t notice or overlooks my imperfections.

This is something I know Jesus does for me every day. I make many mistakes and he not only forgives them but also eliminates them so they are no longer seen or remembered. The bible tells me that he removes my sins as far is the east is from the west.

It is incredible to know I’m not judged by my appearance or misdeeds. Jesus looks past my faults. He knows my heart and sees what I can become. When I maintain a close relationship with him, I am seen through the eyes of his unfailing love.

As far as the east is from the west— that is how far he has removed our rebellious acts from himself. (Psalm 103:12 GWT)

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.( Psalm 86:5 NLT)

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