Monday, September 28, 2015

Sharpen Spiritual Shears

Remember last weeks post about Pruning Neck Branches? Well, I took a week off from work (the papal visit closed practically every road, so it was a good call) and tried to use that time to trim some of the brambles in my life.

Unfortunately I didn't get far.

I'd worked six days a week for three weeks straight, missing church for those three weeks. Granted, we needed the fundage, but I still felt like I really needed to be at church.

I was physically, emotionally and spiritually tired when those three weeks were up. I wasn't ready to handle trimming the neck branches. My spiritual shears needed sharpening.

It didn't help that I wasn't in the mood for attitudes. I won't go into details, but someone decided to 'educate' me on the new church ministry rules, and I turned it into a huge deal.

I wasn't ready for change. I wasn't ready to handle an attitude- I just wanted to get my ministry set up. And since my spiritual batteries were nearly dead, I reacted badly. I yelled. I ranted. Then I left church to take a nice long walk, fully intending to go home.

I needed God's Word, but to go back meant I had to see this person again and those that saw me blow up. Not exactly how I wanted to attend services after being away so long! But I wasn't going to let Satan keep me from hearing the sermon, so I turned around and started back, waiting until services started before going back in.

Some congregants noticed I wasn't acting like myself and tried to get me to talk. I wouldn't. I blamed my red nose and puffy eyes on allergies until the sermon started.

After services were over, I walked home. I just wanted to be alone.

I was embarrassed that I lost control. I was angry with that person. And I was angry with myself. Who loses their schmidt like that? No one else I knew. I still have no idea why I reacted so badly.

I needed help. Despite being angry at everyone and everything, I cried out for God to help me, even though I was mad at Him too. It was Sunday and I was curled up into a big ball of misery alone in my bedroom. No one could hear me. I wasn't sure if God was listening.

He was.

Today a friend called, wanting me to take a walk with her. We go to the same church, and my first thought was she's going to tell me what everyone said about my blow up. Egad, let me crawl under a rock and die! But she didn't. She chatted with me and never even mentioned church. Apparently my blow up wasn't as momentous as I thought- she hadn't heard a thing. But since I brought it up....

She asked if I would talk about it. I did. Then we prayed. She let me sharpen my spiritual shears by listening and praying with me- but I had to open up first.

Only then did I start feeling better.

I still have to face those same people next week, but my heart will be in a better place by then. Fuller. More humble. And this time, I'll be caught up on the new ministry rules.

Please don't do what I did and run down those spiritual batteries! Read His Word. Pray. Take a walk and talk with a friend. Don't let life dull your shears. How else can you trim those branches and blossom into what He sees in you?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pruning Neck Branches

It's been five weeks since I started working as a driver part-time. I also drive private clients once or twice a week. The private ones pay more, but aren't regular; the new job provids less pay but steady work, hence a steadier income. 

The past three weeks were very, very busy. So busy that I worked private drives on Sundays three weeks in a row. Just one job for those Sundays, but big ones that paid very well. I would've worked Saturdays too, but my husband took those runs for me the same three weeks. 

The good news is we're finally up to date on bills and groceries. The bad news is we're both tired.

Very tired.

My husband did overtime the last two weeks (non-driving related). Driving relaxes him, so doing the Saturday drives revive him. I drive all week (about five hours a day), and it drains me. I love driving, but being out that long sucks the energy out of me like a vacuum hose in a fish tank. Those three Sundays wiped me out, not only because the drives were so long (four to five hours each), but I also missed church services.

Those weeks were a time to work, but today is a time to rest.

Last night my allergies kicked my butt. I slept for a restless three hours, and when I got up, my reflection was one of the living dead. Not really what I wanted to see staring back at me this morning!

Hair disheveled? Check. Especially the gray ones.
Bags under the eyes? Double check. In fact, I had several sets of luggage under my bloodshot hazels.
Teeth? Some of them, but the rest were still sitting in their little case in the bathroom. 
Nose? Yep- it was there, all red and running from sneezing my face off.

It was definitely time for rest.

I took my husband to work (hey, I still needed the van after all- I still have errands and appointments to keep!) came home and collapsed into bed. I slept like a brick for ninety minutes.

God decided to send me a dream.

I was running through an orchard of bare branches, getting snagged as I tried to run through them. I felt a sharp pain on my neck near my collarbone, and when I touched the spot, I pulled away a dead branch that was growing out of my neck. Only when it was removed could I get through the brambles. I have no idea why I thought neck branches were normal, but dreams are weird like that. Despite the weirdness, when I awoke, the message He sent was clear- I needed pruning.

Time to rest, and time to prune. I'm using this day off to get some very much needed housework done, but also figure out what branches of my life need trimming.

I have too many part-time jobs. Two pay, a few have great potential for income, and some are ministry oriented. The choices I make won't be easy ones, but I feel pressed by God to start the pruning process before my spirit dies of neglect!

This is definitely a Best Yes moment. I've got to narrow my focus if I want to be a successful- and sane- woman. I don't mean successful as in rich (though extra fundage is nice!), but successful as in able to pay the bills, bless others, and still be rested and spiritually charged. It's not an easy balance, but it can be done- I just have to prune the right neck branches!

If you have too much going on in your life and you need rest too (as I suspect 99.9% of us do), try writing down all of your jobs (paying, ministry, potential careers, etc.). See what can be focused on, and what needs pruning. Trim the neck branches to free yourself up for what God intended for you!

Monday, September 14, 2015

God- The Spiritual GPS

I have a new app called Waze. It's a really neat little directional app, and I've been using it a lot the past few weeks. One of the things I like about it is that it warns me of hazards (like potholes, construction, and even road kills!) and give me a better way to get there than my usual route.

And when I go the wrong way (which happens a lot) it doesn't condemn me or poke fun at me- it simply gives me a new route to follow to get me back on the right roads.

My GPS is a lot like God.

I make a mistake, Boop! God sends me someone to help me fix it. I make a wrong choice? Beep! God gives me a new way to get there. And when I feel blocked in with no way out? Blip! God shows me a way around it that I never saw before.

God's good like that.

But sometimes I'm stubborn. I know where I want to go, and I know best how to get there. Sometimes I shut the app off and go my own way. 
Then I get stuck in traffic. Or there's construction. Or I hit a major pothole and mess up my tire. Now I have to use the app to find a tow truck!

It's the same thing with God. Sometimes I tell Him "Really, I'm good- just let me do this by myself", thus shutting the God app off. Oh He's still watching me (and probably chuckling knowingly), but He let's me go my way and do my own thing. Then gives me a big hug when I come running back to Him when I make bonehead mistakes.

So I've stopped shutting off my God app. In fact, I look to Him regularly. He keeps me on track and I stay out of trouble (mostly). And I say mostly not because of Him, but because of me

Because I'm still stubborn. Good thing He's patient, hmm?

Turn on your God app and see His direction. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Make Your War Room!

Yes, I saw the movie. No, I won't give details. All I have to say is this:

I want a War Room!

The best part? I don;t need a closet. I have a sewing/writing room. All I need is a bare wall and maybe a curtain, and I'm golden. 

If you've seen the movie (and trust me, you should if you haven't), don't you want a War Room too?

But what if you don't have a closet?

You don't need a closet. I don't think anyone has a spare closet- especially if you have kids! But there are ways to have a 'War Room' even if you don't have the space.

Use a wall. Do you have a private spot in the house? Clear a wall and post those prayers!

Don't have a wall? That's okay too. All you need is one of those science fair boards (you know, the one that folds into thirds?) to post your prayers, and a room with a doorknob lock. The board acts like blinders if you prop it on a bed or desk, blocking you from distractions. The best thing about this War Room is you can take it with you anywhere you travel! Just unfold it when you have some privacy (and yes moms, you can even do this in the bathroom before the kids realize you're missing) and pray away.

Even if you don't have room for a science board, get a notebook and a pen and have a War Book. God doesn't give a hoot where you pray, as long as you pray. Often.

Everyone needs a War Room (or War Book). Everyone needs prayer. Everyone needs Jesus, even if they don't yet realize it.

Watch the movie. Start a War in your house. And watch what God does. It's going to be awesome.