Eyes On The Prize

We all need reminders.

I just wish I didn’t require a spiritual head smack to get one.

I’ve been frustrated with some circumstances, mostly at work. My job has changed over time, and I don’t always feel like I’m making a difference or using my training or talents. I went to school for medicine – I seem to work in crisis management (and not the medical kind).

Add in some co-workers who make life difficult at times, and I have been longing to do something else lately. Life could be worse. I’m still employed, the job is not difficult, and I am liked by my management. Still, I get agitating at times, and I was focusing more on my circumstances that I didn’t like over anything else.

That’s when God spoke.

It went something like this: “Knock it off!”

I was reminded to focus on the One in control of the circumstances, over the circumstances themselves. He is in control – as always. I have seen His faithfulness too much to worry. I don’t remember this all the time, and I’m glad He doesn’t lose patience with me.

So if you hear me whining again, give me a kick in the shins please. God is too good for me to do that. I felt much better yesterday looking to Him instead of where I am. That’s how I’d prefer things.

What about you? Have you ever had one of those holy “thwacks”?

Eyes On The Prize

We all need reminders.

I just wish I didn’t require a spiritual head smack to get one.

I’ve been frustrated with some circumstances, mostly at work. My job has changed over time, and I don’t always feel like I’m making a difference or using my training or talents. I went to school for medicine – I seem to work in crisis management (and not the medical kind).

Add in some co-workers who make life difficult at times, and I have been longing to do something else lately. Life could be worse. I’m still employed, the job is not difficult, and I am liked by my management. Still, I get agitating at times, and I was focusing more on my circumstances that I didn’t like over anything else.

That’s when God spoke.

It went something like this: “Knock it off!”

I was reminded to focus on the One in control of the circumstances, over the circumstances themselves. He is in control – as always. I have seen His faithfulness too much to worry. I don’t remember this all the time, and I’m glad He doesn’t lose patience with me.

So if you hear me whining again, give me a kick in the shins please. God is too good for me to do that. I felt much better yesterday looking to Him instead of where I am. That’s how I’d prefer things.

What about you? Have you ever had one of those holy “thwacks”?

Fatherly Platitudes

Ah, the wisdom of the ages, spoken through me as a member of the grand old fraternity of fatherhood…

My oldest son has a tendency to get his expectations WAY up there, and if he gets disappointed he can become quite upset. The first soccer game of the season was canceled due to rain and cold. Both he and his younger brother were crying, as they had their soccer gear on all day in anticipation for the start of the season. I offered them the choice of a treat or playing soccer with me in the rain, and they chose the soccer (“Good one,” I said to myself sarcastically as I dripped with moisture).

Last week soccer got canceled again, this time for lightning storms. My middle boy handled this one better, but the oldest got throwing his soccer gear around, acting mad. When his mom sent him to his room for that, he started with a very rare screaming fit, that continued until I came home.

I had him cool down so he wasn’t throwing a fit, then sat with him to comfort him. In my enlightened fatherly sense, trying to explain the idea of making the best of a bad situation, I shared the time-honored saying with my progeny:

“Son, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

He cried a minute more while pondering this. Then he answered in a wailing voice, “What good does lemonade do if I’m in my soccer gear ALL DAY and we don’t get to play!” (referring of course to the first weather-canceled game).

Man. These pearls of wisdom are trickier to dispense than it seems.

Fatherly Platitudes

Ah, the wisdom of the ages, spoken through me as a member of the grand old fraternity of fatherhood…

My oldest son has a tendency to get his expectations WAY up there, and if he gets disappointed he can become quite upset. The first soccer game of the season was canceled due to rain and cold. Both he and his younger brother were crying, as they had their soccer gear on all day in anticipation for the start of the season. I offered them the choice of a treat or playing soccer with me in the rain, and they chose the soccer (“Good one,” I said to myself sarcastically as I dripped with moisture).

Last week soccer got canceled again, this time for lightning storms. My middle boy handled this one better, but the oldest got throwing his soccer gear around, acting mad. When his mom sent him to his room for that, he started with a very rare screaming fit, that continued until I came home.

I had him cool down so he wasn’t throwing a fit, then sat with him to comfort him. In my enlightened fatherly sense, trying to explain the idea of making the best of a bad situation, I shared the time-honored saying with my progeny:

“Son, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

He cried a minute more while pondering this. Then he answered in a wailing voice, “What good does lemonade do if I’m in my soccer gear ALL DAY and we don’t get to play!” (referring of course to the first weather-canceled game).

Man. These pearls of wisdom are trickier to dispense than it seems.

A Joseph Experience?

It’s really hard to complain about life. I have a steady job, working four 10-hour shifts Mon – Thurs, (even though I’m on the bus at 5:40 am to get there). I have a good house in a good neighborhood. My bills are reasonable, both cars paid for. I’ve graduated from college. I have a computer with DSL and a Xbox 360 (yes, I am waiting for Halo 3…).

Now the important things: I’ve got good friends at my church and I’m able to minister out of my giftings there. I have three wonderful boys who are a delight to me every day. My beautiful wife is my breath and my joy. I have been redeemed from my sins and walk as a new creation as a son of the Most High King.

My only reaction should be one of continual thanks to Jesus for all these blessings.

And yet…

I don’t know why we have such a hard time being content. I do know that God has placed me at my church, at my job, in my town.

And yet…

I can’t shake the feeling that I’m in a place of…isolation? It seems that I am far from making a difference with my life, at least the difference I think I could be making. My heart is for ministry. My heart is to actively and consistently be of service to my Lord. I have dreams of doing greater things than what I’m doing right now. My job is quite unfulfilling in the day to day grind of things. Why can’t I be doing something else? Then again, last year at this time I was out of work for 4 months, so how dare I complain?

Now, I know that I am called to serve God wherever I am, that my work and my town are mission fields in and of themselves. I know that true worship is walking in the light every day and being a vessel ready to be used by Him at any time. I realize this, and I really do my best to walk in it (not that any of us nail it perfectly all the time).

I ask the Lord to help me be content where I am. I feel like the description Yoda gives about Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, “Always looking to the stars, longing for adventure is he.” (paraphrase) I try to stay focused on what is in front of me, not worrying about tomorrow for He knows my needs and His purpose for me.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m in a Joseph place right now. Whether it’s in the prison or Potiphar’s house, I think I need to do the best I can right now, keeping faith that God will be faithful to the call and words spoken to me in the past. I’ve been reading some novels where the main character has their “wilderness” experience, frustrated that they’re not in the Promised Land yet, but being led by their God into these trying times to test or train them. I wonder if that’s where I am right now.

I’m not sure why this post bubbled out of me. I don’t want to be a whiner. Sometimes we learn from others’ struggles, so maybe someone out there can relate or get something out of this. If you can’t get anything here, try Heather over at L’Chaim, who has a good response to this post (even though she posted first!)

A Joseph Experience?

It’s really hard to complain about life. I have a steady job, working four 10-hour shifts Mon – Thurs, (even though I’m on the bus at 5:40 am to get there). I have a good house in a good neighborhood. My bills are reasonable, both cars paid for. I’ve graduated from college. I have a computer with DSL and a Xbox 360 (yes, I am waiting for Halo 3…).

Now the important things: I’ve got good friends at my church and I’m able to minister out of my giftings there. I have three wonderful boys who are a delight to me every day. My beautiful wife is my breath and my joy. I have been redeemed from my sins and walk as a new creation as a son of the Most High King.

My only reaction should be one of continual thanks to Jesus for all these blessings.

And yet…

I don’t know why we have such a hard time being content. I do know that God has placed me at my church, at my job, in my town.

And yet…

I can’t shake the feeling that I’m in a place of…isolation? It seems that I am far from making a difference with my life, at least the difference I think I could be making. My heart is for ministry. My heart is to actively and consistently be of service to my Lord. I have dreams of doing greater things than what I’m doing right now. My job is quite unfulfilling in the day to day grind of things. Why can’t I be doing something else? Then again, last year at this time I was out of work for 4 months, so how dare I complain?

Now, I know that I am called to serve God wherever I am, that my work and my town are mission fields in and of themselves. I know that true worship is walking in the light every day and being a vessel ready to be used by Him at any time. I realize this, and I really do my best to walk in it (not that any of us nail it perfectly all the time).

I ask the Lord to help me be content where I am. I feel like the description Yoda gives about Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, “Always looking to the stars, longing for adventure is he.” (paraphrase) I try to stay focused on what is in front of me, not worrying about tomorrow for He knows my needs and His purpose for me.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m in a Joseph place right now. Whether it’s in the prison or Potiphar’s house, I think I need to do the best I can right now, keeping faith that God will be faithful to the call and words spoken to me in the past. I’ve been reading some novels where the main character has their “wilderness” experience, frustrated that they’re not in the Promised Land yet, but being led by their God into these trying times to test or train them. I wonder if that’s where I am right now.

I’m not sure why this post bubbled out of me. I don’t want to be a whiner. Sometimes we learn from others’ struggles, so maybe someone out there can relate or get something out of this. If you can’t get anything here, try Heather over at L’Chaim, who has a good response to this post (even though she posted first!)

Our Father’s Pleasure

Saturday was more like a mid-summer day here in Idaho. The stifling air wilted me as I mowed my lawn in the heat. So much for the idea of getting up early to work in the coolness of the morning. The grass wasn’t going to cut itself, so I pressed into the machine, trudging behind like a slave to suburbia.

My two older boys played happily on the slip-n-slide I had pulled from the garage earlier. We don’t always get to pull out the water toys this early in the season, but no sense in waiting if the weather cooperates. Besides, it kept the kids from begging for some Xbox time, so when there was enough grass mowed I had put it out so the boys could be boys.

Finally the heat had worn down my resistance. I found the siren call in the freezer-ice cream. A couple of scoops should help me conquer my task. I whipped out the scooper and soon had a foaming Coke float for me, while the boys would enjoy a bowl with chocolate syrup drizzled over their treat.

I walked carefully down the stairs, not wanting an ice cream bath. The boys squealed with delight at their bounty, and sat in the grass content with the cool confection sliding down their throat. I sat in the shade, taking my time before braving the elements once again.

As I tossed back the yummy mixture of melted ice cream and Coke, my middle son walked up to me with his empty bowl outstretched. His blue eyes sparkled. A wide grin extended across his small face. Silently he handed off the dish and started back toward his playground. One more glance back to his dad, the fresh smile still plastered in place, before he turned his attention to noise and splashes.

There was something that passed in that simple exchange of a smile between a son and a father that day. No words were spoken, but the love he had for me was evident in the fixed gaze he held with me. The gift was acknowledged and more than compensated in that quiet moment. I don’t know what his eyes saw in return, but I hope the love and pride I have in him as my precious son was shared with him in a similar manner.

Sometimes our relationship with our Father God is just as simple. Whether appreciating the smooth taste of vanilla, sugar, and cream, standing on a rocky outcropping watching the view unfold below us, smelling the freshness of impending rain in a summer thunderstorm, or the kindness of a helping hand at an opportune time, we have an encounter with the divine in such moments.

He didn’t create automons to obey His every command. He made us with significance and honor, the price being the very real likelihood that we would walk away from Him in our pride and doubt. Still, we had the free will to choose life or death, and continue to do so every day. Why He was willing to do such a thing will always be a mystery to me. Maybe when I get to heaven I can ask Him if it was worth it all. But I think I had a glimpse of the answer just this weekend.

It was in ice cream with chocolate syrup and the smile of a young boy.

Our Father’s Pleasure

Saturday was more like a mid-summer day here in Idaho. The stifling air wilted me as I mowed my lawn in the heat. So much for the idea of getting up early to work in the coolness of the morning. The grass wasn’t going to cut itself, so I pressed into the machine, trudging behind like a slave to suburbia.

My two older boys played happily on the slip-n-slide I had pulled from the garage earlier. We don’t always get to pull out the water toys this early in the season, but no sense in waiting if the weather cooperates. Besides, it kept the kids from begging for some Xbox time, so when there was enough grass mowed I had put it out so the boys could be boys.

Finally the heat had worn down my resistance. I found the siren call in the freezer-ice cream. A couple of scoops should help me conquer my task. I whipped out the scooper and soon had a foaming Coke float for me, while the boys would enjoy a bowl with chocolate syrup drizzled over their treat.

I walked carefully down the stairs, not wanting an ice cream bath. The boys squealed with delight at their bounty, and sat in the grass content with the cool confection sliding down their throat. I sat in the shade, taking my time before braving the elements once again.

As I tossed back the yummy mixture of melted ice cream and Coke, my middle son walked up to me with his empty bowl outstretched. His blue eyes sparkled. A wide grin extended across his small face. Silently he handed off the dish and started back toward his playground. One more glance back to his dad, the fresh smile still plastered in place, before he turned his attention to noise and splashes.

There was something that passed in that simple exchange of a smile between a son and a father that day. No words were spoken, but the love he had for me was evident in the fixed gaze he held with me. The gift was acknowledged and more than compensated in that quiet moment. I don’t know what his eyes saw in return, but I hope the love and pride I have in him as my precious son was shared with him in a similar manner.

Sometimes our relationship with our Father God is just as simple. Whether appreciating the smooth taste of vanilla, sugar, and cream, standing on a rocky outcropping watching the view unfold below us, smelling the freshness of impending rain in a summer thunderstorm, or the kindness of a helping hand at an opportune time, we have an encounter with the divine in such moments.

He didn’t create automons to obey His every command. He made us with significance and honor, the price being the very real likelihood that we would walk away from Him in our pride and doubt. Still, we had the free will to choose life or death, and continue to do so every day. Why He was willing to do such a thing will always be a mystery to me. Maybe when I get to heaven I can ask Him if it was worth it all. But I think I had a glimpse of the answer just this weekend.

It was in ice cream with chocolate syrup and the smile of a young boy.