Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Countdown

A number of people recently commented to me on their lifetime, specifically how much time they have left on earth.  The trigger might have been the passing of a contemporary or the approach of a major decade milestone that brings on such morbid thoughts.  I hear these loved ones say, "Only 20 or 30 more years left!"  I always respond with the opposite viewpoint, "What if you die tomorrow, how do you want to spend today?"  The fact is we do not control when we die, unless we choose to do so prematurely.  But we do control how we live! By living each day to the fullest, we accrue a life of value, meaning, and purpose.  "That's so simple!" one friend responded.  Yes, but simple is not easy. To focus on the gift of this day takes discipline in our thinking, but the rewards are great!  Squeezing the juice out of each day frees our mind from needless worry over those things we cannot control and maximizes our positive impact on those things we can control!  Melissa worked at focusing on making each day count, as her days became more numbered.  How did she do that?  She prayed constantly for God's peace and to trust Him with tomorrow, then she concentrated on loving those around her today.  When she was told she had only weeks left to live, she immediately went shopping for her sister's birthday gift and her father's day presents. This week, I'm going to try to live like Melissa, making each day count, praying and trusting my Lord for the future and doing my best to be a blessings to others each day.  Have a great week!    

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I have an amazing capacity to ruminate.  I stew.  I worry.  I toss problems over and about in my mind like a sea tossing a ship--- a very destructive thing to do.  Our minds steer our lives.  Our thoughts point us in the right or wrong direction.  Now, problem solving is fine, but ruminating is fretting over those things which we cannot control, past, present or future.  Focusing on circumstances, problems, worries, anxieties sap the very strength and joy out of our lives. I listened to a sermon this Sunday that stated "your focus determines your feelings."   If we focus on our problems, we will be anxious and maybe depressed, but definitely not joyful!  If we choose to focus on our God who loves us, our feelings change.  We become relaxed.  Joyful.  All I have to do is remind myself that eternity is coming, and whatever I am so upset about this moment will pass so quickly that I won't even remember it two years from now.  In the grand scheme of eternity, almost all of what I stress about is minutia.  When I think about all the ways God has provided in the past, I can more easily trust His provision with whatever is stressing me right now.  Melissa said in her witness, "God answers our prayers in the little things, so we can trust Him with the big things." Melissa was right about keeping a prayer journal, too.  Just last week I was so upset about a work issue, and God sent the perfect answer- a gift straight from heaven!!  A few days later I looked at my journal and realized how distressed I had been, and how quickly I had forgotten God's solution!!  So, keep track of all those answered prayers, and remember, nothing is too big for our Faithful Creator, who just longs to bless us!!  Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


 Everyone feels a need to be in control of their lives. When we feel threatened by new circumstances, new losses, or new challenges, we can easily feel a need for more control.  I once knew a Pastor who lost his church of many years because he started controlling every decision and every church matter.  Only after the damage was done did a psychiatric nurse have the chance to identify the coping mechanisms behind the behavior. His controlling behavior began shortly after loosing both his parents within a few months. So much of what we do is unconscious!  
If anyone needed to feel control, it must have been Melissa, as her cancer continued to grow   through her lungs despite treatment.  Yet, she focused on what she could give to others, not herself.  She prayed for peace constantly and received it. She made plans and always had "things to look forward to", and focused on them. She successfully used her precious last days on earth to bless others and bring God's love to them!  She relinquished control to her Lord, because she knew He loved her so much!  She trusted God's plan, even though it made no sense to her. "If God takes me home now, it's to spare me from something worse,"  she explained to her shocked friends when she had only weeks left to live.  Even in the face of the ultimate out of control of death, Melissa knew the secret to peace: trusting our Faithful Creator!