Sunday, October 9

Sacred Sundays: Rising Above


      I find it slightly ironic that the afternoon that I had planned to write this post about this book that is essentially about choosing joy, being peaceful, focusing on God, that I'm feeling a little....well, irritable.

     Why, you may ask, am I feeling irritable?

     Oh, you know... female hormones, the non-stop needs of children, and a husband who had commitments from 7:30 this morning until 6ish tonight...yes, that's right, on a beautiful Fall Sunday afternoon. I'm so happy about it! Really!

     This post isn't seeping with cynical sarcasm already, is it?

     Shucks. That's one of the traits I was hoping to to have left on my Dad's side of the family...

     Alright, alright, cynical sarcasm is a far cry from anything sacred...and suddenly I'm feeling a  little sacriligious.

     So here's the deal...I"m feeling a little cranky, it just happens doesn't go the way we'd like it to go and our inner 2-year old comes out (and do I know about 2-year old tantrums) and we start whining...maybe we're not even whining to anyone in particular (which is much better than the way a 2 year old whines....just sayin'), BUT our entire inner dialogue is whine, whine, whine, whine, whine...

     Frankly, it's a beautiful day and I'm a little tired of listening to it and my only choice in the midst of it all is to CHANGE MY ATTITUDE.

     See, we always have a choice...and that is what God is teaching me most this week, and today. Will you give into the cranky feelings or will you rise above?

      So far today I've mostly given in, though I'm ready to rise above.

     The book I've been reading during my quiet/devotional time this week is called "A Woman's Passionate Pursuit of God" by Karol Ladd. It's a wonderful exploration of the book of Philippians from the Bible-- a book that is a letter from the apostle Paul to his followers written mostly from...prison!

     Alright, I'm going to be really frank and honest with you here...there are days that I have equated time stuck in the house with kids to....oh boy, here goes...being in prison!

     Yes, yes...I know that is terribly ungrateful and pathetic of me and I can't believe I'm saying that aloud for anyone in the whole world to read...but it is true.

     I don't go there often or for long, but there are days when I feel a little stuck...when I feel like I don't have a whole lot of choices about what I'd like to do, where I'd like to go, or even what time of day I'd like to shower or brush my teeth. Some days I feel like I'm unable to eat, clean, dress or even visit the ladies room on my own terms, and it makes me a little grouchy. And some days, here comes confession #2, I feel a little crabby because our spouses mostly get to do all of those things on their very own terms...and, oh boy, the resentment bug creeps in...


     SO, rising above...

     I was reading this book this week and Ladd was talking about how Paul was writing this book from prison and that in the middle of his crappy situation he was joyful, praising God and praying for those he was writing to. It also talks about how life is messy, how we are messy and "under construction", but that we should rejoice because it is all part of the process:

"Paul's life was messy, yet beauty blossomed through his difficulties. He said his challenges happened so that he and his companions would rely on God and not themselves...Paul grew strong in his faith through the challenging detours in his life. He didn't quit when the going got tough. He didn't give up on God or on others. Quite the contrary, he grew strong, he improved and his faith increased.

Being under construction doesn't always look pretty, but as progress and improvements are made, we begin to get a glimpse of what the architect is doing, and our faith grows in the process." 

     And so I got to thinking about how I could reframe my focus, and my attitude. I realized I've been framing my thoughts through the lens of "These are all of the things that I cannot get done because of my stage of life"....when, like Paul did, I should be saying, "These are not the circumstances that perhaps I expected but what can I do from this place to still glorify God, love others and be encouraging to those around me?" 

     Wow...just a little tilt in perspective and the whole world suddenly looks different. 

     Lastly, and I'll leave you with this...God has been teaching me through several books I've read, through life circumstance, and through my quiet time, what it means to "offer" thanksgiving...we are not always in the right "mood" to give an offering of thanks, but that is not what God asks...

Lisa, please offer thanks and praise and be joyful only when you feel like it....

     Nope. That would be pretty ugly...

God says always be thankful, always be prayerful, always be ALL circumstances. 

    Working, working, working on that this week....

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