Merciful Mornings
September 16, 2015

esther-4-14When life hits hard, it’s always interesting to see what changes and develops. Maybe “interesting” isn’t the best word. Scary? Unexpected? Exciting? I guess it’s different for everyone. However you look at it, difficult life situations bring changes – whether you like them or not. And we truly do have the option to like them or not. I’m not one to believe that your circumstances determine your attitude or demeanor for each day. The devil might have a hand in the events that occur in my life, but he does NOT have control of how I react to them. Remember that whole carrot, egg, or coffee story? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

And sometimes the changes don’t end up being so bad. Maybe the events leading up to the changes are awful, but have you ever been in a situation where the end results almost made it all worth it? People change, life stages shift, and relationships must monitor and adjust. But as you mourn those changes and wish things could stay the same, can you also be open to the new opportunities that present themselves? Maybe you have had to move recently. There can be such grief that comes with that if you are leaving precious friends and/or family behind. But are you leaving yourself open to the potential for new relationships? What if your new best friend is just waiting for you to arrive?

God has this amazing way of turning what we see as horrible situations into blessings and opportunities. And maybe it’s not even a blessing for you – perhaps you were placed exactly where you are because someone else needs you. What if God is positioning you perfectly to bless another soul in need? This “it’s not all about me” mindset makes all the difference in the world… when I can get my thick head back into the right place. It’s hard to step outside of ourselves, especially when there is hurt or grief involved. Can you make that mental switch? If you look around outside of yourself, who do you see? How could God use you today to bless those around you – even if you don’t feel that you are in a place to serve in that way right now? God has promised to give each of us what we need for each day. If your day has been covered, how can you be used to provide that peace for someone else?

Love God. Love people. Blessings, friends.

September 6, 2015

River

I was away from the world of technology and social media for a whole weekend, and I didn’t die. I even opened up a real paper book, and it was glorious.

For many people, that seems like a silly thing to say. “Well, of course you didn’t die! Who needs the interwebs, anyway?? Not me!” But you might be surprised.

We had a family retreat with our church this weekend, and the campgrounds are out in the middle of nowhere. Some people loved the idea of losing all contact with the outside world. No phones, no Facebook, no Twitter, no technological extension of themselves to keep up with all weekend. Is this sounding good to  you?

For others, it was more of a challenge. We still walked around with our phones in our back pockets the whole time we were there. Why?? For most people, these crazy arm-extensions now also serve as a clock, camera, notebook, and flashlight. Forgot your bible for the evening devo? No worries – there’s an app for that. And as we used our phones as cameras to capture the precious moments, you could hear people saying things like, “I guess I’ll just text this to you once we have signal again.” What?? I have to WAIT for my pictures?! That’s just cruel.

I realized very quickly just how reliant we have become on these devices. We all talk about it, and you can probably find a million articles written about the shift of culture as technology advances. Nothing new here. But I really wonder – could you do it? If I were to challenge you to lock up your phone for an entire weekend, what would your initial reaction be? Some would immediately dismiss the suggestion because who can go that long without it?? Perish the thought! Others would consider it for a moment… and then have a panic attack. There are a few who still have that sigh of relief when the connection is broken.

So here’s the question my truly curious mind wants to know: what’s your response to the suggestion of a whole weekend without a phone or social media? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Who knows – maybe I’ll have my third graders create a graph to show the results. 😉