I had every intention of dealing with them last week, and the week before. At the very least, they should have been sorted and counted.
Although I knew it should be done, I didn’t want to, which is why I was still tripping over bags of bottles and cans in my garage. They were taking up valuable space and were also an eyesore I faced every time I entered or exited the garage. It was getting harder to ignore this visible reminder of clutter to be removed.
Only a little dedicated time was needed to deal with these recyclables before they were traded for cash. A reward that turned clutter into something of value should be all the incentive needed to do the necessary work.
I wondered if my procrastination was representative of something deeper. Do I have items of potential value hidden inside that are not being utilized? What would I discover if I sort through the clutter in my mind?
Am I afraid to explore the dreams buried deep within? Are excuses taking the place of action?
As I answer these questions I realize I am the only one responsible for my experience. It’s up to me to take the necessary steps to find the treasure of possibility buried inside and bring it to the surface.
“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” Bill Phillips
The old dressing table had been languishing in our garage for quite some time. I can still picture it in its original state in my mother’s bedroom. Before it came into my possession, the surface had been painted a bright yellow. This furniture held too many memories to allow me to part with it and my husband decided to restore the finish.
First, he stripped away the layers of paint and then sanded it down to the bare wood. As the layers were stripped away, marks and stains became exposed. They may have been caused by a drink or??? being set directly on the wooden surface. The paint had done an effective job of hiding the damage, but under its cover, the stains remained.
The marks were sanded out but nothing could remove traces of yellow paint that had seeped into the wood, leaving a permanent stain.
In a way, I’m like this old piece of furniture. Many stains have appeared over the course of my life. I want to cover them up so you won’t see my imperfections. The longer I keep them hidden, the more they will become embedded into my life, causing permanent damage.
Sooner or later the bright surface I show the world will become stripped away. My stains and imperfections will be exposed.
A better choice is to confess my sins and leave them at the feet of Jesus. He is the only one with the power to completely remove them and renew me.
By making a habit of coming to Jesus, I need not fear what will be exposed when the layers are stripped away.
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. (Psalm 51:1 NIV)
There is nothing like the taste of fresh from the garden produce. I am a carrot lover, so that is one crop I look forward to with great anticipation.
A few days ago we harvested the remaining carrots. It was interesting to see the variety of sizes. The seeds were all sown on the same day, into the same mix of garden soil. They were cared for in exactly the same way. So why were some large and others small?
At first, I wondered if the ones gathered closely together didn’t have enough space to grow as large as the ones with more room. That may be part of it, but then how do I explain a large carrot growing beside a small one? What makes one thrive while another grows slowly?
I wondered if this is true for seeds, is it also true for people? Deep within each of us lies many seeds. We have seeds of potential, of love and kindness; seeds of confidence and self-worth. We also have seeds of disappointment, of anger, of discouragement and low self-esteem.
Some of these seeds grow larger and stronger than others, depending which ones we focus on. Every seed needs proper nourishment to grow and flourish. I can feed the negative ones by focusing on them, or I can make the choice to nourish the positive ones to encourage their growth.
I look at the carrots just in from the garden and wonder, which of the seeds in my life I’m putting my focus on.
Do you hear that sound? The Canadian Geese are doing practice runs and we seem to be in their flight path. Maybe you are, too.
They spend weeks practicing before they actually attempt their long distance flight. On occasion, we have witnessed a gaggle of geese on a nearby pond start to honk as two or three were landing. It was like they were cheering the others on.
Did you know that the reason geese honk from behind is to encourage the ones in front of them? Also, when the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back and another takes its place as the lead.
I could learn from their teamwork. It makes sense to take turns doing the hard jobs and to encourage those who are taking the lead.
The V formation geese fly in allows the whole flock to have a much longer flying range than if one bird flew alone.
Again, this can apply to us. When we share a common direction, we can get there faster and easier if we travel with others. Not only can we learn from those we travel with, I find it more pleasant than travelling alone.
A flock of geese is like a family. They look out for each other. As part of the family of God, I am instructed to do the same. What a wonderful world it would be if we took our cue from the geese and everyone worked together and encouraged each other.
“Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.” (Romans 12:10 GWT)
Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.” (Galatians 6:2 GWT)
The sign caught my attention. I was visiting the Royal Tyrell Museum which is famous for its dinosaur exhibits.
Over one enclosed case was a sign titled Skeletons (and more) in our Closet. It went on to say that what we saw on exhibit was only a fraction of the fossils that have been collected.
What a good analogy of life.
Skeletons in my closet.
What you see is only a fraction of who I am.
Parts of my life require more work before I will feel confident enough to put them on display. It’s much more appealing for you to see the finished product rather than the work in progress.
There are also skeletons in my closet that I would prefer to leave there, never to see the light of day.
The thing is, those skeletons tend to appear at the most inopportune moments. They are like the ones in the museum that need to be in a glass case. You can see them, but not get too close.
There are two things that I’ve found helpful in dealing with what I have hidden from view. First is that people connect with your weakness, not your strength. Vulnerability doesn’t push people away, it draws them closer.
Secondly, secrets can keep me bound up in fear and shame. Trapped in the confines of my mind, they are much larger than life. Brought out into the open they tend to diminish in size. Somehow they don’t seem as frightening when I choose to expose them.
The process isn’t easy but the freedom experienced afterwards makes it all worthwhile. So, who else is ready to open the closet and release some skeletons?
Summer weather has stretched into September and we are taking full advantage of it. The weekend was a perfect time to head to the lake and enjoy our RV.
During the heat of Saturday afternoon, the power went out in much of the campground. We were told it might not be restored until the following day. There was a fire ban so we couldn’t keep warm in the evening by sitting by a fire.
The next day was cool with a threat of rain and still no power. Brian and I watched as many people packed up and went home. It was gloomy and there was no electricity so they didn’t want to stay.
It was the power that made the difference. The parallel to my life was not lost on me. There is only one power source that will never let us down and it is found through a relationship with God.
Unless I plug into my power source first thing every morning, my day is not going to have the outcome that would otherwise be possible. I start my day by connecting with God in prayer. The wonderful thing is there is no worry of a fuse or transformer blowing. A long extension cord is not required.
God’s power is eternal and available whenever I choose to make the connection. I have a choice to make. Either I can sit in the cold and dark, or plug into the power source God provides. With this source freely available, constant and reliable, I would be fooling not to remain plugged in and fully charged for the Lord.
“Our Lord is great, and his power is great. There is no limit to his understanding.” (Psalm 147:5 GWT)
Yellow tape was strung across the area, warning us to stay away. Damage was visible on the outside of the building. Inside the store, another area was cordoned off until repairs could be completed.
I asked a store employee what had happened. It seems someone put their car in drive instead of reverse and drove into the building.
The same thing happened last year, in exactly the same spot in the store. The cashier and I talked about the speed needed to do that much damage. Both offending vehicles had been parked directly in front of the store. We thought it was surprising that any driver pressed so firmly on the gas pedal when attempting to back out of the space. Both said we tend to back up slowly and cautiously to ensure safety.
Before I pass judgment, I need to think of times I’ve decided on a course of action and then sped off to make it happen. I haven’t always made sure everything was in place to head in the right direction before stepping on the gas. I wonder what damage I’ve left behind in my haste to get going.
If I don’t want to have a caution tape warning others to stay away from me, I need to take the time to put everything in place before heading off. I am not only responsible for my experience but also that of those I come in contact with. Instead of hitting the gas I need to check around me to ensure I’m going the right way. When I do so, my breakthroughs will not be the kind that cause damage.
“He who begins too much accomplishes little.” German Proverb
Are you a dabbler? To dabble is to take part in a casual or superficial way. In other words, you’re not fully committed.
I must admit that I’ve been known to dabble. I’m not a dive in headfirst type of person. No, for me it’s been more stick your toe in the water and see if you like it.
Maybe that’s why I’ve worked in so many types of jobs. This means I know a little about a lot of things but I’m an expert in none.
In the past, it was the same with hobbies. Once the novelty of something wore off, I’d be on to the next thing. I have a sewing machine that hasn’t seen the light of day for years, cross stitch canvases that are still unopened and racket ball gear that was eventually given to someone who would use it.
While it may be acceptable to dabble in many types of activities until I find the right one, there is one area where this is not advised.
My spiritual life is not an area to be dabbled in. There is nothing casual or superficial about my relationship with God. He has repeatedly shown his commitment to me. How can I not have the same commitment to him?
When I spend time with him, in prayer and reading The Bible, I will learn how to live a life that is fully devoted to him. My goal is to honour and please the Lord, no dabbling allowed.
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” (Colossians 1:10 NLT)