May 10, 2012

Leaving the Past Behind




A new day has dawned. The early morning light was so bright that it nudged me through closed eyelids, urging me to wake up and begin my day.

Some days beginning again is easier than other days.

Sometimes yesterday’s failures and disappointments follow us into our tomorrows. Our tendency is to look backward and wonder, what if?


But we can’t let regrets and painful memories keep us stuck in the past. Each and every day is a new beginning, and we can’t move forward if we allow ourselves to dwell in the past.

There is great freedom in being in control of our thoughts. We can choose where to focus our attention. We waste a tremendous amount of energy when we dwell on past events. What's done is done. We cannot change what has passed. 

Reliving hurts and disappointments leaves us doomed to wallow in the misery of the painful emotions we experienced. 

It’s time to break free! 

We have a choice, and that choice should be to leave the past where it belongs and focus our thoughts on where we are now and the direction we want to be going.


It does no good to berate ourselves for past mistakes. We need to make the choice to move forward, forcing our thoughts to stop mulling over the past and to look to the future.


We have only one chance to make our lives what we want them to be. If we waste time in the past, we are wasting our present. We need to live now, for this moment will never come again.

And don’t waste time by worrying about how much time you’ve spent worrying about past events. Our energies would be better spent focusing on what we want to improve in our lives. Then make a plan going forward to focus all your energy on what you can control.

Much of the time, our lives feel out of our control.  We have so many demands on our time that it can be overwhelming. The one thing we can have complete control over is our thoughts. It takes practice and focus to be in control, sometimes repeatedly pushing negative or unwanted thoughts away. Through controlling our thoughts we gain empowerment.

Feeling in control of our thoughts brings us confidence and assertiveness in our decision-making. We are able to move forward, keeping our focus where it needs to be, living in the moment and finding joy in the discovery of what each day has to offer.

May 8, 2012

All Good Things


The simple truth is that within each day there is beauty, and it is up to every one of us to find it.

It may be as simple as the robin outside my window, with its russet breast and bright yellow beak, or the butterfly that flutters by in search of sweet nectar.

As my garden grows with the blessing of the spring rains, I delight in each new budding flower. I know that soon shades of pink will cover the landscape, as that is my favorite flower color and I’ve certainly planted enough pink flowering plants.

Earlier today, as the fat robin watched, a bright red cardinal hopped along in the green grass looking for a snack. They are all good things, these little joys, and I find great delight in the simple beauty of the natural world.

Sometimes beauty touches my heart through the gift of friendship. When someone reaches out to me, or I share my heart with a friend, I feel like that connection is the reason we are here. When someone shows they have been thinking of me, or they let me know they have been praying for me, I feel humbled that I could matter that much to someone.

When I open up my heart and share my thoughts or fears, and the friend who hears me tells me they understand, I feel the love they send me and I know I am not alone. Each one of us deserves to know the love of friendship, but sometimes we must be the first one to reach out to someone else. Friendships grow as deep, personal connections are made.

I see beauty in the blue skies overhead. As white clouds drift by, I feel a sense of peacefulness, especially after the gray days and storms we’ve been having lately. The warmth of the sun on my skin causes me to pause and close my eyes. There is beauty in rest, too.

Good things come in all-sized packages. A bright red strawberry hiding amidst the green foliage is a bounty waiting to be picked. Chocolate of any kind is a welcome treat, at pretty much any time. 

Music and laughter are the harmonies of life, and each should be enjoyed in the experience of the moment.

Every day, take time to find the beauty that is waiting to be discovered. Our days go by at a hurried pace, but we must discipline ourselves to pause long enough to absorb the goodness that life has for us. We must direct our thoughts to find and appreciate the gifts of beauty that touch our lives.



“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” When we receive these gifts of beauty, we should pause and offer gratitude for the beauty that has touched our lives. These gifts of life are all good things, and are meant for us to savor.





"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights," James 1:17a (NIV)

May 2, 2012

Finding Trust in God


It’s raining again! Our day started with torrential downpours and flashes of lightening. Sheets of rain poured from overflowing rain gutters in a matter of seconds as the storm blew in.

Dashing through the raindrops, I ran to my vehicle in order to drive my son to the bus stop. I splashed through warm puddles in my sandaled feet as thunder rumbled overhead, and I smiled enjoying the feeling of the first warm spring rain on my face.

Springtime weather in Wisconsin is very changeable. The weather can be cold and windy one afternoon and become sunny and warm the next day. Sometimes these changes happen during the same day!

Spring storms can come in furiously, or they can be a gentle shower to the earth. These nourishing rains are exactly what the newly unfolded leaves on the trees need to expand and grow into their summer canopies.

God knows what the plants need, and He knows what we need, too. As we learn to trust in Him more, we relinquish our control over every detail of our lives. We begin to realize that He will provide what we need, and that He knows infinitely better than we do what our needs are.

How does one begin to trust in God this way? It’s challenging for us as planners and control freaks, as we seek order amidst the chaos of our lives. We need to structure our time to accomplish as much as we can in a single day.

While we are planning our time, we need to set aside some time to just be. Time to breathe, and to focus on finding our inner peace. Time to connect with God, pausing in the midst of our busy day to find stillness within ourselves as we seek Him.

It takes only a few minutes to pause and thank God for any little thing that touches your heart. This begins a connection that can grow into intimacy.

Talk with God about the little things and the big things in your life. As you begin to reach out to Him in your life everyday, you will begin to see that He’s been right there all along.

He watches over us, patiently waiting and hoping we will seek Him. Sometimes it seems we only come to God with our greatest troubles, when we feel we have no other way to solve a situation and we are desperate.

But the truth is if we grow a relationship with God through sharing our daily lives with Him, it becomes easier to share even our smallest concerns, and that frees us from our worries. As we learn to share our lives with God, through both the good and the bad that we come across every day, we become attuned to His ever-present Presence.

Don’t be afraid to show God your weakness, for that is how we gain strength to deal with our problems. By sharing our troubles as well as our gratitude, we connect with God in our humanness. He understands us. He made us to be exactly the way we are. We will grow closer with Him through sharing all of our joys and sorrows, and open our hearts to a new relationship of trusting Him.





The rains have stopped now, and in the stillness of the morning I pause. Soon the winds will blow again and as the skies clear the sun will pour down to encourage growth in the natural world.





 

Life is ever-changing as it swirls around us in our busyness. The only constant in our lives is God. When we open our hearts to seek Him, we will find Him. As we learn to share our lives with Him, we begin to learn trust. And as our trust deepens, we open our lives more fully to receive the goodness that comes from an intimate sharing with our Creator.