Sunday, February 26, 2012

Get Out Of The Groove

I'm pretty sure there's a problem with my brain.  The only consoling thing about it (according to some weekly news program The Pastor saw one night after I was in bed), is that it's a common problem and I'm not alone.  According to the study on the news, when certain thinking and behavioral patterns repeatedly occur, they get entrenched in the brain.  There's actually a "groove" or a pathway and once those thought patterns and behaviors get stuck in the groove, they are extremely hard to get out.  In other words, we have to work extra hard to break the patterns.

I've found myself wrestling with some stinkin' thinkin' lately.  I know it's wrong.  I know Satan likes to attempt to deceive me and I try hard to make an effort to redirect those thoughts.  The problem is, it's hard.  They're in danger of becoming entrenched.  If I let them go on too long, my brain will make them a nice little groove to live in.

I'm not willing to let that happen.  I have a desperate need to renew my mind daily. I need to let the truth of scripture and God's love for me sink in deep.  Though it will take a  conscious effort, for my growth and sanity, I'm getting out of the groove!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whiteboards and Clean Slates

Lately I've been moving offices a lot at work.  I'm starting to get used to it and have stopped flinching each time someone comes in and says, "Pack up!"  Although, I have to admit, I'm reluctant to hang my pictures too quickly.

I'm a visual thinker and learner, and therefore I rely heavily on my whiteboard.  Because all offices have a whiteboard, it's too much trouble to move them around, so each time I'm required to relocate, I have to take a picture of my board to take my precious ideas and scribbles with me.  (Lord knows, they're not worth anything to anyone else.)

Whiteboards represent a lot of effort. Sometimes good and productive, and sometimes just brainstorming and junk. The nice thing is that whether your thoughts are good or bad, you always have the opportunity to easily wipe the slate clean. When I unpacked in my new space, I noticed my new whiteboard was full.  I grabbed the board cleaner and eraser, and prepared to make short work of the ideas left behind.  I felt a little bad about wiping away the representation of so much effort, but as I did, I had this strange feeling of thankfulness.

The couple days previous to my office move had not been great.  Some of it was my fault and some of it was not.  My attitude was a tad stinky, but at the same time, I felt justified because life was coming at me faster than I could handle.  While I set to work erasing and cleaning that board--and preparing to fill it with new and fresh ideas, it felt good to wipe the slate clean, and not only that to ponder the whiteboard of my life.

At the moment, it was filled with not-so-productive thoughts and feelings, but I'm thankful that each and every day, God grabs the whiteboard cleaner and gives us a good scrubbing.  His mercies are new every morning.  It doesn't matter how many terrible ideas I've had (and carried out), I'm always given the chance for a clean start. My mess ups, failures, plans I thought were good but ended up not so much...he wipes them clean and allows me to start fresh. No condemnation. Just a clean slate.

Every day, no matter what the previous one was like, we have a new opportunity.  We have the chance to change our hearts, minds, and attitudes and do something for God. So grab your markers and lets get to work!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Pushing The Envelope

Yesterday as I drove to work I could feel a thin film of ice covering the roadway.  Each time I rounded a corner, I goosed it a little, letting my back tires slide around the corner in a slight fishtail.  I've been driving in the snow for a long time and The Pastor always keeps my car fitted with fantastic studded tires.  Armed with this knowledge and the comfort of how far I can push the envelope, it doesn't bother me to slide around a bit. I know my limits and my own comfort level.

The same is true in my kayak.  I know just how far I can wobble without tipping it over.  I know when to stop leaning and when to straighten up--quickly.  I've done it a million times.  I'm aware of the edge and have the sense to stop when I should.

Stop when I should... how I wish I could do the same with my everyday life!  Instead, I push the envelope too far.  I take on too many things--responsibilities and worries that aren't mine and that I have no business owning. Trying to achieve things that God has not called me to, and attempting perfection where I should consider myself lucky to even attain competency.  

One time I got overly confident on the ice.  It led me to have to apologize to the driver I rear-ended.  Another time, my friend and I made an agreement to purposefully tip our kayaks over (in shallow water) to see how far we really could push it.  I chickened out and she tipped hers alone.  I laughed--and then had to apologize.

Pushing the envelope in life leads me to the same place with God.  It drives me to apology and repentance. It makes me realize my dependency on God and that I am certainly not the one in control.  Maybe one day I'll be smart enough to recognize I'm doing it and stop before it's too late.

Join me in asking God exactly what he wants from each of us and purposing to do it without sliding too far or tipping over.

No apology needed!


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