Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Plans- Useful or Useless?

What is the most useful, yet useless thing we do as human beings?

Plan stuff.

Plans can be great things; we can plan vacations, plan short-term goals, and plan events with friends and family. Plans help us stay on track, organize our lives and save us tons of time.

However, we can get so mired in plans that we cease to be productive. This is one of my many foibles, because I love making plans. In fact, I'd rather write plans than do them!

Useful plans for our family involve the finances- the household budget, debts, and making sure the Internet stays connected. Trips and visits are also well planned, and most times run smoothly. 

The plans that usually fall under the 'useless' category in my house entail things like the family chores, scheduling my day, and life goals. Any of these plans get rewritten so many times I could provide enough confetti for Mardi Gras for the next century. I had to stop writing these plans down before I became personally responsible for global deforestation. 
Family chores get done when they have to because our schedules are so wonky and are always changing. The same thing goes for my day, and though I can loosely plan to get a few things done, nothing is ever set in stone. When work calls, I drop what I'm doing and go- that's just the way it works here.

As for our life goals, Those have changed so much over the years, that it's not worth the effort to make long term career or life goals. We had grandiose plans for opening a B&B, a restaurant, a fabric/craft shop, or a cafe. Each was planned out as much as possible, only to wind up in the recycle bin the second God decided to point us in a different direction. To be honest though, I think what He has planned for us is going to involve preparing food and being creative!

Now I'm not saying don't make chore schedules or write out life goals. I'm just saying that doesn't work for us. You might be having similar issues with another part of your life; some plans work, and some seem like a waste of good ink. You need to find those out for yourself.

God has other ideas for us than what I wrote down. Have you ever watched that scene in Even Almighty when the businessman says he has all these plans, and God just laughs and laughs? Oh yeah- I make God laugh on a daily basis, because He knows where I'm going and I only think I know. 

In general, plans are a good thing, but try not to get upset when God throws a monkey wrench into the works. That's just His way of saying I have something better for you. And His life plans are more awesome than any plans we can make!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Life in a Wheel World

You never know when you'll find a diamond in the fertilizer.

Since I messed up my knees, walking has become problematic- even with a cane.

Stores have become daunting experiences. I tried walking amidst the aisles of the mega stores I usually frequent, only to find myself out of commission for the next few days because my knees retaliated. Even the cane wasn't much help.

I almost stopped going to stores altogether because it just wasn't worth the down-time.

Then I noticed those little motorized carts plugged into the wall. Was I allowed to use them? Yes- I was. Reprieve! 

Once I learned how not to run over anybody, grocery shopping had become fun once more- even more fun because the cart had a little horn- I'd tap it, and announce "Watch the tram car please!" 
If you've ever been to the Jersey shore, you know exactly what this means. If not, there was a little tram shuttle that would go up and down the shore boardwalk, and if people were in it's path, the driver would announce "Watch the tram car please!" And people would scurry out of the way. People took delight when I did this in my local Sam's Club- and yes, they instinctively scooted out of my way!

I never cease to find the fun in everything I do. Immaturity is awesome.

Yesterday I had to bite the bullet and go into a craft store to get some items for my daughter's sixteenth birthday party. God tweaked my ear and told me to ask about shopping scooters. When I did, they said they didn't have anything motorized, but they did have a wheelchair with a front basket.

That was all I needed!

The gratefulness I felt was overwhelming. I was able to take my time. I could enjoy the craft store and do some exploring, since I hadn't been there for a very long time. And it was pain-free, since my legs were elevated. What joy!

God is indeed good. Not only was I able to get my errands done, but I didn't suffer much after-effect since I wasn't on my feet the entire time. 

I didn't have to depend on bringing a 'partner' to help me shop. Partners can be fun, but sometimes I just like meandering and finding things on my own instead of taking my husband or kids along.

My knees are still wonky, so please pray that this is something silly that can be remedied with elevated feet and my husband hand-feeding me chocolate and fruit.

In the meantime, Beep Beep! Watch the tram car, please!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Who Is the Craftsman?

I was listening to KLOVE radio the other day, and heard this little bit of wisdom:

'You're the project- not the Craftsman!'

Wow- my mind was blown! As a creative person, I completely understood what this meant, and it hit me right in the heart. How many times did I try to take the tools out of God's hands and try to work on...myself?

That's like a veterinarian doing his own kidney transplant- Yes, he might have an idea as to what to do, but he's better off getting someone to do it who knows exactly what he's doing. God knows where I need fixing and what to leave alone for the moment, so what business do I have taking over?

I'm the project- not the Craftsman!

Sometimes I like to tell God what to do when He's fixing me. "Wouldn't you rather do this instead of that?" I ask. And "I think this is more important than that- can't You work on this first?" Oh, He loves it when I interrupt with my nonsense! When I get particularly pesty, He usually tosses me into a situation to distract me so He can get His work done. I think that's why I get into trouble so much- I'm too busy telling the Craftsman how to do His job!

Let's think about this from a different perspective. You're good at something. Now, you're busy doing it, and the person for whom you're doing it comes in and starts telling you how to do it- yet they have no clue what the process is in making what you're creating. You know if you do it his way, he'll ruin said project. Wouldn't you get annoyed at that person and try to find something to distract him?

Oh yeah- God distracts me a lot.

He's the Craftsman. I'm not His apprentice, His hammer, or even His chisel. I'm the project He's perfecting. A very chatty, pesty project. But He still loves me. 

All I have to do is let Him finish His work!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Me? Evangelize?

Mark 16;15 says, He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

A simple premise, right? Just go on out into that big, wide, angry world and tell people about God. I don't know about you, but just the thought of going out in public, standing at the corner of a busy street and becoming the Town Crier for Jesus scares the bejeebers out of me!

But is that what God really meant? For some Christians, yes. For those who are extroverts, those with a powerful voice, and those with charm and charisma, this is right up their spiritual alley. But for me? God blessed me with a big mouth, but gave me the stage presence of an incontinent chihuahua.

God said we need to evangelize. But He also gives options on how to evangelize. God didn't want to leave the introverts out- Even extroverted introverts like me!

Matthew 5: 15-16 states Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 
This is the perfect verse for introverts, because we can shine doing God's work, and people can see God through us. No trumpets or bullhorns required.

This is such an awesome way for to get people to come to God- because people by nature are curious (and nosy) and they can't help but wonder why you're so happy, calm, peaceful, and smiling though the chaos. It drives them crazy!

You are the lamp, and when they see God's light shining through you, people want to know how to get some of that light for themselves. And when that happens, people come to you instead of the other way around!

Evangelism doesn't always mean shouting to a gaggle of people on a crowded street corner or grabbing some random pedestrian and asking "Do you know Jesus?". It can mean quietly sitting down next to someone who is crying, troubled, or upset and asking if they need prayers. Some will refuse, most will say yes, and a few might even engage in conversation about God. You'd be surprised how many people you can touch by praying with them- and it's a lot easier for introverts to talk to one person than a crowd!

All we have to do is take a deep breath and approach people. Scary, I know, but once you start, it gets a lot easier. 

The best part is you never know when you have an opportunity to evangelize- even to other Christians! My husband and I attended a Retrocon (80's enthusiast convention) and saw a young man having a panic attack. We offered to pray for him, telling him my husband was a deacon at our church and we liked to pray for others. He looked bewildered and blurted "But I'm a Methodist!" 
After praying, he told us that his church didn't recognize deacons (though some Methodist churches do), and was surprised that we prayed with him, since we weren't the same sect of Christianity. We smiled. "We're all Christians- and I don't think God has a problem with His people praying for each other...right?" That made him grin and we had a good chuckle over it. After we made sure he was okay, we went on to enjoy the rest of the Retrocon.

Pretty awesome stuff.

Evangelism doesn't always have to be applied with a hammer. It can also be a fine chisel, chipping away at the walls built up by those friends or family who are with you each day. God doesn't take a head count- He just wants us to tell people about Him, and pray for others. 

It's not always easy, but the effects are astounding when we listen to Him!