squirrel

Thoughts

Controlling your thoughts.

I can’t seem to get my head right since my mother passed away. Her death has changed me. I am no longer a “type A” personality, but rather a MAJOR procrastinator (GASP!). We have a saying in our family where we yell, “SQUIRREL!” when someone is appearing to be easily distracted at the moment. I’m not only being distracted by “squirrels” lately, I seem to be SEEKING THEM OUT. I will do anything other than the task I SHOULD be doing. What is wrong with me?!

I look at my kids’ faces, and stroke their hair while thinking to myself, “It’s not fair that we have to be apart from each other someday.” I can totally see why some people who have been hurt decide to shut themselves off from the outside world. If you don’t let any love in, you won’t let any hurt in either. Being separated from those we love is just all kinds of wrong.

It’s not fair.

This world feels so broken at times. Too often we hear of a hurt or misfortune of others and have become almost nonchalant about categorizing that event under “this world is broken.” We move on to the next task without expecting any change. Just a continuation of hurt, devastation, pain, and struggle to find any sliver of good throughout our day.

I HAVE found it though—the silver lining. It comes to me when I can allow myself to slow down, look up, and be thankful. The next time you find yourself in quicksand… just

SLOW DOWN (stop what you’re doing)

LOOK UP (rest your mind on God)

and BE THANKFUL (choose something in your life to be thankful for).

Today I have “slowed down” by pausing from work to write this post so my kids can read it someday and gain peace. I have “looked up” at God by reading today’s passage in a book titled Jesus Calling, and I am “thankful” for the immense amount of love that resides in my home. I have a loving best friend and husband of 20 years, and 3 beautiful, kind, loving, amazingly bright, healthy children who absolutely love spending time with me. I am blessed. Life may often feel unfair, but right now it feels weighted WAY in my favor.

LIFE LESSON: 

There is ALWAYS a silver lining. You just have to look for it.

hands folded in prayer

Prayer

Have you ever wondered…

…Is this working? Is anyone out there? Am I doing this right? Is prayer just talking to God?

If God already knows what I need, then WHY ASK?

The purpose in prayer is to surrender to His will more than your own. Before we get to what you want, we must first surrender to Him. You should be more committed to His will than your own because he sees the world and your life more clearly than you will ever be able to see it. Thank God we don’t always get everything we ask for b/c we don’t know what else God is working on.

God’s will be done – because it’s bigger than just you.

Every single time you pray you need to remember that you are a forgiven person and you should forgive the people around you. And you are not intending to do evil. It’s not about getting forgiveness and emptying your sin bucket so you can go out and fill it up again.

HOW TO PRAY:

  • Declare God’s greatness.
  • Surrender your will.
  • Acknowledge your dependence.

– PROVISION (remembering that everything comes from God)

– PARDON (thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins)

– PROTECTION (from temptation and evil)

Don’t start off asking for what YOU want.

To the best of your ability, try to keep the following things in mind during prayer:

  • Be alone
  • No one else sees you
  • Isolation from the world around you
  • To your unseen father
  • Don’t think you are going to move God in your direction
  • You don’t need to beg or plead
  • He knows what you need before you ask him

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

Luke 11:1  — Lord, teach us to pray.

Matthew 6:5-10 — And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (with peace). And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Matthew 6:12-13  This then, is how you should pray: (MEANING: here is a new model and direction and way to move when you pray) Our Father in heaven, hallowed (majestic, separate, holy, big) be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

LIFE LESSON: Why Pray? The reward is PEACE.

Just try it. The next time someone makes you red in the face with anger, try praying for them. If you can honestly get your heart to the place where you can ask God to bless them, you’ll be rewarded with an overwhelming peaceful feeling in your gut. Believe me, I’ve had my share of wanting to fight back with fire—but it only makes me get MORE fired up. The only way I have been able to find peace during a hard time with another human is by praying for them. And when you pray—remember you have been forgiven—therefore you should immediately forgive others. I think prayer and forgiveness go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. That is why prayer brings such immediate and immense peace to my soul.

Don’t know what to pray? Try this simple prayer on for size: “God, let Your desires be my desires.” And then sit back and enjoy the path in life you are on, because it’s more than likely the path God wants you to be on, which means your life will be lived to it’s fullest potential.

WANT MORE?

Here’s a great video from one of my favorite pastors, Andy Stanley from North Point Community Churchhttp://yourmove.is/episode/red-letter-prayers/

Until my next life lesson… may you find peace and love in this crazy thing called life.