Enjoying The Journey

Enjoying the journey sounds so simple.  Isn’t it amazing how difficult that can be to do sometimes?  Yet it is so crucial to do.  For our own well-being.  If we’re not taking steps to do that, life has a lot more stress to it, doesn’t it?  And it’s far less enjoyable.

I am reminded that Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11 that through his life experiences he learned how to be content wherever he was at.  The word “content” in that verse means “satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted”.  That’s a pretty good place to be!  It’s no wonder that this is what God wants for us on our journey and that’s what trust in Him brings.

This is something I am needing to remember right now.  I have a lot going on with renovations to a house we just bought.  And most of it needs to be done by next weekend.  That doesn’t need to be stressing me out though.  “I am anointed and appointed for such a time as this.”

Isn’t it amazing how God takes care of things if we do what he tells us and expects us to do?  He told me to cast my cares on Him; He told me to trust Him–completely; He told me He has His very best in store for me;  He has told me how faith works and what to do to live it out.  As great as these things are, if I’m choosing not to do any one of them, I’m choosing to disobey and cause myself unneeded stress and complication.  Why do that to myself (and those around me)?

That’s easy to let happen, but so worth the effort and practice to overcome and change.  The incredible thing is, even that isn’t something I have to do (or can do) by myself.  God has given me (and you) the Holy Spirit to be a constant help as we walk out this journey.

We are so taken care of in His Kingdom!  It truly is a great place to be.  It’s there–He’s there–for anyone who wants this to be true in their life.

I would encourage you to cross that line, my friend!

Facing A Fear

Facing a fear.  It’s something we all hate to do because it’s so uncomfortable.  And yet, when we do face fear head-on, it brings an incredible sense of achievement, right?  Well, my brother and I faced one together many years ago that you may find interesting.

You might remember that I grew up with many a family card game of Progressive Rummy happening at my Grandma & Grandpa’s house.  My Grandma had a sister who everyone called “Aunt Shorty”.  For good reason, too, since she was all of about 4 feet 8 inches tall.  But her side of the family loved Progressive Rummy just as much as ours did.

My Dad had a cousin (Aunt Shorty’s son) named Bud.  Yup…..Bud.  He was a pretty laid back guy who took everything in stride.  He and his wife, Barb, lived a couple of hours away from us, so we occasionally drove over and visited.  When we did, the evening inevitably ended with the four adults playing cards late into the evening.  Since Bud and Barb didn’t have any kids, my bother and I were left to fend for ourselves for entertainment.

We were young enough at the time that we usually had pajamas with us to change into.  We eventually were laid down to sleep while the adults played on.  One night, however, after we already had our PJs on, we got bored while the adults were bantering back and forth.  We hadn’t brought anything of any real interest to keep our attention, so we looked around for something that qualified.

Then one of us saw the basement door.  We had been down in the basement earlier that evening for some reason (can’t possibly remember what that was at this point).  It was a big basement, mostly finished, with plenty of space to walk around.  I got this crazy notion that we should take turns going into the basement without the light on.

The goal was to walk (not run) the complete circle around the perimeter of the basement and back up the stairs without getting scared.  We decided we would keep the light on at the top of the stairs.  That way, with the door cracked about six inches, enough light shown down into the basement that we could just make out where we were going.

Because of two factors–me being the older brother and that this stupid idea originated with the same–I went first.  Once I got to the bottom of the basement stairs, I could hardly see a thing.  No sounds could be heard.  Just my own quick gasps for air as I fought the urge to hyper-ventilate while skirting the edges of the basement perimeter.  Shadows lurked here and there, some possibly moving in my peripheral vision, but I was determined to set the example for all to follow.  As I made my way back around to the bottom of the stairs, the desire to leap three stairs at a time was overwhelming.  I fought it back, though, and “calmly” climbed the stairs to light and the safety of my parents.

Then my brother went down.  He came back rather quickly, in my opinion, but stated for the record that he didn’t run and wasn’t scared.  So I went down again and tried to go even slower this time.  The thought of something lunging from behind to drag me back into the shadowy depths of the basement was there the whole time I climbed the stairs to victory.  But I did it!  We went back and forth with that journey into darkness for quite a while.  At least we did until the adults realized what we were doing and Uncle Bud put a kibosh on the whole thing.

So what’s your fear?  Can you take steps to face it?  Even baby steps? It’s worth the exhilaration you feel when you’ve taken steps to kick it in the teeth.  Try it!  You’ll like it.

The Immigrant

Have you ever heard the story of the immigrant who came to the New World?  Way back in the horse-and-buggy days, an immigrant decided enough was enough.  No more of this oppressive life he had been experiencing.  He was going to the New World!  There was just enough money in his possession to buy a boat ticket for a passenger liner with a little left over to begin his new life.  He didn’t have a cabin, so he just slept on the open deck every night.  For food, all he had available to bring was crackers, which he rationed out to two per meal.

The immigrant was thankful he was journeying away from oppression and on to freedom.  Even so, he couldn’t help but notice something as each day passed.  As he sat eating his crackers, he watched the other passengers walk into the dining hall and help themselves to all kinds of delicious food.  He longed for the opportunity to do that himself.  All he could do, though, was look down at the crackers he was eating and try not to think about how hungry he felt.

Day after day passed and finally the big boat arrived in the New World.  As he sat on the deck waiting for the boat to dock, a young girl approached him and asked him a question.  “I’ve been watching you every day since we got on the boat.  Why do you sit out here and eat crackers?”  He looked up at her and said, “Well, I couldn’t afford to buy any food inside the dining hall.  All I was able to bring with me to eat were these crackers.”  Her response shocked and angered him.  “Mister,” she said, “every ticket for this boat includes a free meal from the dining hall every day–morning, noon and night.  You could have had anything you wanted to eat in there.”  And she turned around and walked away.

This immigrant was entitled to all the food he wanted for the whole boat ride.  Because he didn’t know any better, however, he missed out on all of it.

Don’t let that be you!

Whether you believe it or not, God has an amazing life in store for you that He wants to give you.  But that life is only available through His Son and what you choose to do with His sacrifice for you.  You’ve been with me long enough to know what I’m talking about here.  There is such an amazing life awaiting you!  It’s got its challenges, sure, but it’s so worth it–especially when you consider eternity and where you’ll be living it.

You don’t have to be eating crackers!  If you do nothing about this, you will reach the end of your life and find out that a huge buffet was yours for the taking and you chose to ignore it.  The biggest difference between you and the immigrant is this:  When you see that reality, it will be too late for you to do anything about it.  Your choice has been made.  And it’s forever.

So once again….choose wisely!