God Ate My To-Do List (Living Beyond Yourself Week 2)

 God Ate My To Do List (Living Beyond Yourself Week 2)

God ate my to-do list today.

This morning as I sat down to listen to Beth Moore teach session 2 of our “Living Beyond Yourself” study following our week titled “To Live By the Spirit”, I had a heavy heart. A big change is taking place in our lives today, that although I feel very strongly about (in a good way) and helped make it happen, it does not negate the fact that it’s scary.

So I thought it ever-important to really start today right. Not in a ‘turn over a new leaf’ kind of way, but more of a ‘do what you’ve always known what you’re supposed to do’ kind of way.

You know what I mean, right?

When you go through your day, don’t you get those nudges of what you feel like you should do, but you don’t do them for whatever reason (too tired, too busy, not convenient, etc). Or better yet, you sit in your bed on a Sunday night pledging to God, “This week will be different.” You say you’ll get up early, read your Bible every day, make time for your kids when they come home from school, start a regular cleaning schedule, stop watching “Real Housewives of …”, clean out the fridge of crap & start juicing, pull out the P-90X DVD that’s been sitting in its case since Christmas…

Should I continue? (Just PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one who does this!)

Anywhoooo…

So this morning I finally did what I knew I needed to do. Well, I didn’t get up as early as I’d hoped. But I did work my way through my essential morning routine and then sat down to listen to Beth teach me before starting my work day.

I’ve also learned, as someone who has a brain that never stops, that I need to keep a piece of paper or a notebook nearby whenever doing something like this to jot down the random thoughts that inevitably pop in my brain.

I had been keeping said piece of paper in my Bible, but if you’ve ever done a Beth Moore study before, you know she makes you flip back & forth finding verses in that Bible like you’re fanning yourself in a Mississippi church that doesn’t have A/C in July!

 God Ate My To Do List (Living Beyond Yourself Week 2)

At some point during the hour-long lesson, I misplaced that square piece of paper keeping track of what I needed to do once this was over.

I flipped through all the pages and even held my Bible open upside down. Nothing.

I thought to myself, “Well, maybe God ate it! I guess that wasn’t supposed to be what I focused on today.”

Yet all through her teaching, I felt a nudge.

Now would be a good time for me to confess that I’m a bit of a TV addict. Not a sit down and become a zombie in front of the screen kind of way, but a “I have to have constant noise running in the background of my life” kind of way. I rarely do ANYTHING at home without the TV on and if I do, it’s the result of a very conscious choice and a strong effort of my will.

So that nudge was telling me to forsake my end-of-the-night programming that ‘helps me fall asleep’ and instead replace it by ending my evening doing my Bible study homework. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but do-able. After all, I can sacrifice half an hour for God, right?

But then the nudge got stronger: I felt like while someone else was making a sacrifice in our family this week, I should match it by fasting TV all week.

WHOAAAAA – hold on there God…doesn’t that seem a bit extreme?

I mean, come on – I’m just trying to support what you’re doing in this person’s life, but you don’t have to punish me too!

But then it hit me: what could he accomplish in me if the noise of the TV was turned off and I was more in tune with His Holy Spirit. What could I hear? How much more productive could I be? What would I learn?

My initial freak-out turned into a peace that washed over me, quelling the PANIC I’ve been allowing to creep into my life.

In that instant, I got up, walked over to the armoire where our TV is housed in our bedroom and shut the doors on it. A literal and symbolic step saying that not only am I not going to allow you to dictate my time and my thoughts, but even more so a step of obedience to God saying that I choose you to fill me over the garbage that my enter my life through this screen.

As soon as I walked back to where I had been sitting and listening to Beth, I found it.

My to-do list was literally at my feet.

I don’t have many of these moments in my life, but it was almost as if I heard God audibly speak to me. Once I was obedient, He allowed me to move on with my day. But sometimes we are so stubborn in what we think is right and ought to happen, that we allow no room for Him to come in and impact our lives, much less our to-do lists!

Now that I’ve found it, I’m not sure it is in fact what I need to spend my time doing today. But regardless of whether or not I accomplish the things on that post-it note or not, I do know what I need to spend more of my time doing:
Inserting quiet time into my life that will not only allow the Holy Spirit of God to speak into my life and my decisions, but that will permit me to be still enough to hear Him when He does!

So I have two questions for you today:
1. What are you doing in your life that me be keeping you from what the Holy Spirit truly has for you?
2. Will you pray that I make it through this week without my TV crutch? I’d be ever so grateful…

pin it button God Ate My To Do List (Living Beyond Yourself Week 2)

The Long Road Home

20120904 104620 The Long Road Home

We’ve started the long road home to Nashville…

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I received the call from my husband that his dad had passed away and hours later I piled our two kids into the mini van to make the 13 hour trek down to South Florida amidst squalls from Hurricane Isaac.

It’s a blur.

In the past week we’ve planned a funeral, buried my father-in-law, sorted through his belongings, relived a lot of memories and hugged an entire community.

We are emotionally spent.

Yet through it all, we’ve clung to each other and learned so much from so many of you.

1. It’s not about me

I think this is fairly self-explanatory, yet it is something someone very close to me lovingly reminded me of icon wink The Long Road Home It’s easy to be offended when our expectations aren’t met…and I think it’s safe to say that when you bring a large group of people together who are all grieving in their own ways (not to mention exhausted and emotional), it’s not possible to meet everyone’s expectations. So the safest thing to do is to set your own aside. Max Lucado wrote a book on this very topic (It’s Not About Me: Rescue From the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy The Long Road Home) that included the following:

“The brevity of life grants power to abide, not an excuse to bail.”

Yikes. I know I still have a lot to learn in this area.

2. Slow Down

We are busy. And yes, I recognize our lives are even busier than most (at least that’s what I keep hearing from all of you!), but through this we have learned that we need to slow down and make time for God and each other. I think everyone can attest to the fact that there’s never a convenient time for tragedy to strike, but when you’re living your life on fumes, it makes those times even more stressful. In Bill Hybels’ book, “Too Busy Not to Pray The Long Road Home“, he reminds us that true prayer can’t “happen on the fly”, especially in this time when pain & distractions seem to be on the rise. While this week may have been a forced ‘slow down’ for us, I’m grateful for the people we were able to re-connect with (and especially for our multiple employers being so gracious in understanding the need to be with our family to help take care of the issues at hand).

3. Receive Help

Though I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with asking for help in a time of need, I understand how difficult it is to bring yourself to that point. Luckily, we never even had to ask this week icon smile The Long Road Home But for some who are used to being the ones offering aid, it can be equally difficult simply to receive help. This week I learned that as much of a blessing as it is to be the recipient of such a gift, there are those who truly enjoy giving in times such as these…and to deny them that would be robbing them of their joy. Their is an art to graciously receiving and while I am still learning that art, I loved witnessing the act of all of you sharing your blessings with us!

4. Life is a Gift, not a Guarantee

When we found out on June 7 about dad’s brain tumor, we couldn’t fathom that he only had 6-8 weeks left to live. Can you imagine being told that? What would you do differently? But then we realized – none of us know when we will die. Although dad was given a rough estimate, the reality was that any of us could have lost our life before he did. We’re thankful for the memories we were able to make this summer, but also came to the bigger realization that we need to start living each day with more passion & purpose.

Listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast on the road yesterday, I was reminded of the story of the Good Samaritan and how he did exactly what he could do in the moment without shirking his current responsibilities. As we drive home today, I want the memory and lessons of these events to influence my day to day role as a wife, mother, friend, worker & volunteer, while not distracting me from my ultimate goal.

Our lives are fleeting, even if this car ride is not icon wink The Long Road Home

20120904 104629 The Long Road Home

What lessons have you learned in grief?

pin it button The Long Road Home

The Feast

feast table The FeastMany of us will pull ourselves up to a table to feast on turkey and all the trimmings this week…and some of us more than once!

But have you ever paused to think what exactly you’re feasting on? Not necessarily on Thanksgiving, but on a regular basis?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also ~ Matthew 6:21

Do you feast online, devouring Facebook updates and Tweets? Do you feast on the accolades you receive over your clean house? Are you feasting on the bottom line of your work spreadsheet as you present it to your boss after an 80 hour work week? Perhaps you’re feasting on your kids’ latest trophy win.

Whatever it may be these days, take time to consider where you’re feasting; that is, where you’re spending the majority of your time and energy. Because if you’re spending it anywhere other than the Father’s table, everyone else that comes in contact with you is only going to get the leftover’s of your table scraps, instead of equal portions of His plenty.

Come, all you who are thirsty,
   come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without cost.
 Why spend money on what is not bread,
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
   and you will delight in the richest of fare.
~ Isaiah 55:1-2

pin it button The Feast

Who are you thinking about?

Who are you thinking about today?

fall Family faces 300x225 Who are you thinking about?

My favorite people to think about!

We’re all busy, but don’t you ever get tired of using that as an excuse for why you don’t think about people more? I know I do.

Think about it – if you’re always running around with a to-do list in your head, it leaves little room for you to think about the people you really care about…much less hear the voice of God!

Maybe someone has even said to you, “If I was important enough to you, you’d call me!” <or these days, text, Skype, etc>

You want to assure them they are important, but really, there’s an ounce of truth to that. If you don’t have room in your life to even think about someone, you certainly won’t make time to contact them.

Start today by reclaiming the ‘down time’ in your life: when you wake up, drive time…heck, even bathroom time! Don’t try to fill every minute of everyday with a task. Take time to let your mind wander and dwell on those you love – and better yet – let them know you were thinking about them!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8

pin it button Who are you thinking about?

Baby Locked in Car…Interruption?

police car Baby Locked in Car...Interruption?My trip with the kids to the dentist this week ended very unexpectedly when a woman ran up to my car window as I was about to pull out of my parking spot.

“Can I use your phone???” She asked frantically. “My baby is locked in my car!”

Time stopped. I quickly dialed 911 while I sent her inside to get anyone to help. With my own kids already watching a DVD in our van, I went to find as much information I could about her vehicle.

Luckily, her car was running, but everything had been locked inside the car, including her keys, phone and yes – her 10 month old daughter.

I stayed close by so that she could see someone was near while also talking to the 911 dispatcher and hoping to flag down any police officer I could find.

Let me stop my story here to tell you two things:
1. Nothing happens to the baby (I know all of you are wondering – so I want to put your minds at ease!)
2. The security officer/police officer response was not only pathetic, it rocked my belief in our system.

When the mother came running back out of the building, the security officer slowly walked behind her. When I questioned whether or not he had anything to open the door, he said he couldn’t because of liability.

Liability?

We’re talking a baby locked in a car in 100 degree weather!

I hugged the mother. I cried with her. I prayed for her…all the while believing confidently we’d hear those screaming sirens any second.

Two minutes passed. Then three. Then five.

After ten minutes passed I stood there in total shock. Not only was this a baby locked in a car, but this was downtown Nashville! Surely there were dozens of cops driving nearby.

Nearly 13 minutes later, two cop cars leisurely pulled into the parking lot – only two be greeted by two women flailing their arms. There was no urgency and to be honest, very little concern on their faces. One had trouble even getting out of the driver’s seat.

The swifter of the two said “Pop a Lock” was on its way…..On its way? You mean we have to continue to sit and watch this child scream for its mother, not knowing whether or not the air is working inside?

He then informed us he could break the window, to which the mother reluctantly but quickly agreed to.

With the unreal & severe heat wave much of this country has been subjected to, along with the number of child deaths due to the heat, how could anyone be so blase? One may argue that they were simply stoic to keep the situation under control. Maybe. But there were no sirens, no hurry in step, and no comfort of any sort after the baby was reunited with her mother.

For the second time in less than 20 minutes, I looked on in shock.

Not wanting to step out of line, but needing to say something, I asked the officers if there was anything else I could do. They politely thanked me for staying on the scene until they got there and said my presence was no longer necessary. I walked over to the now relieved mother and asked if there was anyone she’d like for me to call and she declined. She thanked me and again apologized for interrupting my day.

Interruption? Is that even fair to say?

Now while I would never go so far as to say a baby locked in a car is a blessing, I would also not claim it to be a simple interruption. There was a reason I was at that place at that time. Had I been so busy as to ignore the woman, keep my doors locked and windows rolled up as I (and so many of us) often do when we don’t want to be bothettered, I would have missed the opportunity God had called me to in that moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say I saved anyone…except for myself, that is. Instead of being frustrated by the interruptions of the day, whether it be an unexpected phone call or a batch of heavy traffic, open your mind to the possibility that it may be happening for a divine reason. Perhaps that traffic is keeping you from your own car accident. Maybe that phone call will assist in getting your attention off of yourself and on to someone else.

Whatever the reason for the interruptions of your day, I’d like to challenge you to re-frame your thinking and open yourself up to the possibility of the impossible. We don’t always need to understand the reason things are happening, but we do need to understand that things happen for a reason…

 

pin it button Baby Locked in Car...Interruption?

Quick-Fix Parenting: Tommy Nelson Blog

Tommy Mommy whitepurple 150x150 Quick Fix Parenting: Tommy Nelson BlogIt’s official, my first “Tommy Mommy” post, “Quick Fix Parenting” on the Tommy Nelson blog is live today!

I think too many of us are looking to fix our kids (and fix them fast!) instead of looking introspectively to find answers to our parenting problems.

If you’re wondering how to encourage your children in the Lord, while growing yourself, I encourage you to read “Quick Fix Parenting” and check out all the other great resources at Tommy Nelson while you’re there.

Even if you don’t click over, consider this:

Do you expect more from your child’s relationship with Christ than you do from your own?

pin it button Quick Fix Parenting: Tommy Nelson Blog

What’s your routine?

routine Whats your routine? I recently wrote an article for my women’s column in The Good News of South Florida newspaper called, “What’s Your Routine?”

It troubles me that so many of us skate through life just trying to survive instead of thrive!

I’ve always found it easier to have a routine and deviate from it once in awhile than to try to live your life without any routine whatsoever and then wonder why you never get anything done!

Women are very quick to care for everyone else, but not for themselves. If you don’t schedule any time for some quiet time in your life, you’ll never be able to fully discern God’s will for your life. Jeremiah 29:12-13 says:
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

You can find the full article on page 8 of The Good News online.

pin it button Whats your routine?

Rest in Him

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. – Psalms 62:1

 

I know we’ve talked about being too busy for God, but have you ever felt like you’re too busy to rest?  In high-pressure situations, I actually find myself reminding my lungs to breathe!  Does the following phrase sound familiar to you: “Once I finish ______, I’ll have time to rest”.  If we keep waiting, we’ll never find that time.  There will always be something to fill in that blank in the sentence above.

 

The only rest we will ever find is in Him.  God alone is our comfort, our salvation, and our peace.  Don’t just make time for Him, allow yourself to rest in Him.  Know that no matter what may be thrown your way, nothing is too big for God to handle…so let Him handle it and rest in the promise of His love and protection!

pin it button Rest in Him

Stop & Listen

Do you ever forget to breathe during the day?  Is the first item on your to-do list, “find more time”?

I know I’m guilty of allowing the pressures of the world to wear me down.  Sometimes I think the devil figures he can keep us from God by making our lives busy.  My question to you today is, what are you busying yourself with?  I guarantee that if you make the time to listen to God, He’ll plan your day for you.  It’s the times when we don’t think we have time to stop and talk to God or read His word that we truly need Him the most!  So stop whatever you’re busying yourself with currently and take time right now to talk to God and listen for His voice. 

 

“I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people”

- Ps 85:8

pin it button Stop & Listen