Listen up!

“Listen up!”—that’s Mississippi-speak for “Give me your attention, please!” At least, that’s what my mother always said when we were being too loud to hear what she wanted to say next. Usually, it meant that whatever she planned to say was something that she considered important…and that meant that we should also consider it important…if we knew what was good for us! (grin)

I was lying in bed the other night trying to go to sleep and I was actually pretty frustrated–perhaps that was why I wasn’t sleeping! (Ha!) In my mind I reviewed several recent conversations with people who are facing extremely different circumstances. Despite the differences, they did seem to have a common denominator: they were putting too large a burden on themselves.

Now, I was raised to have an excellent work ethic, so I’m never going to be one who’ll tell you it is ok to be a slacker. I WILL tell you that even when you work hard there will be times when you still can’t control the outcome. It is unfortunate…especially, since I’m a bit of a control-freak, but there it is…and trust me, if there were a way to control everything in my life so it would go exactly as I planned every time without fail…well, I would have already found it.  (Though in the spirit of absolute truthfulness, I’m not entirely certain I would share that illusive understanding with very many people…or even here with just you few dear friends…or even just my cats. Ok, well, it appears I still have some personal things to work on over here.)

So, in the absence of amazing wisdom telling you how to make everything in life work like YOU want it, I’m here to tell you the following things (and even though I’m not your mother, I do have MY mother’s tone down pat on this one!), so listen up:

  • You are responsible for how well you do your job.
  • You are not responsible for how well someone else does their job…OR how well they think they could have done yours.
  • If you haven’t done your best, then you are not finished. Finish it.
  • Your best today may not be your best tomorrow.  You’re not IN tomorrow, however, so don’t get too caught up in that.
  • IF you have done the best that you can do today, then nothing YOU can do will make it better. Let it go. In fact, wrap it up in prayer and take it straight to God…and then leave it with Him.  Walk away.  Let it go.

These things aren’t life-shattering, but they could be life-changing for someone else out there. If this is for you, you’ll know it. If not, then Happy Friday to you. Either way, the weekend is coming and there are other things that need your attention OTHER than the ruination of a perfectly great summer weekend by a repeating mental flagellation over things you can’t change now that they’ve already occurred. Let it go.

Everyone has a job to do, but it is not your job to do everything all by yourself. (and yes, I just stomped on my own toes with that one!–in fact, I may have just heard my husband shout an “Amen!” from several miles away on that one!) Even Scripture is clear about it.  In 1 Corinthians 3:6, Paul shares it this way:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”

It couldn’t be much plainer. Do your part, let others do theirs and leave the result up to God. It all belongs to Him anyway…Who better to be in charge of the results?

Grace & Peace!

(and happy weekend, everybody! It feels really good to be back! Oh!…and I’ll try to work on that selfish/sharing thing…Later. Yeah, well, I’ve got the honest thing down pretty well, anyway.)

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New days…

It has been quiet around here…not surprising for a blog entitled, “quiet ambitions”, perhaps, but after total silence for such a long while, I’ve found it difficult to start up the conversation again.  At first, it was because of scheduling and unpacking, the finding of old things and finding new locations for them. Later, it became something totally different.  It was at first a challenge that morphed into a cocoon. I got comfortable with the silence and found myself reveling in the quiet. Every now and then someone would ask when I planned to start blogging again and I would just smile and shake my head and say, “Whenever it feels right.  Whenever God says start again.”  It felt flattering to be asked…right up until I found I still had nothing to say…and so I waited…and waited…and waited…

I blogged in my head and there is a small red notebook with many snippets of notes inside–all hastily scribbled in the dead of night without so much as a light to keep me within the lined paper borders.  There’s a really poorly penned dream-note on one of the magnetic notepads on the side of the fridge.  I stare at it sometimes when I’m making out the grocery lists and it challenges me.  I can only remember a small portion of what would have been (I am certain!) of one of my most profound blog posts…ever.  (If at any point in the future God should allow me to complete the thought, I promise to share it…but I probably won’t mention that it is THAT post…just in case it turns out not as brilliant as I think it was supposed to be orginally.  grin)

I’ve missed being here.  I’ve missed you…and me…and all the quiet just took over and one day I realized that I wasn’t certain how to start over again here.  I asked God about it and He sent me this quote last week:

“People are always asking about the good old days, I say, why don’t you talk about the good new days?”  ~Robert M. Young

Well, God is never wrong and since He went to all the trouble of sending me  a quote and allowing a few extra thoughts to pass through the brain matter recently, here I am.

Things I learned in the quiet:

  • It is possible to be completely at home in a place you’ve never been before when you know with absolute assurance that God put you there on purpose…before He’s even made that purpose evident.
  • The mower that you had serviced at the end of the last growing season just before you moved will only break down when the grass in your new yard threatens to block the view from your front windows.
  • Sometimes, a broken mower becomes a blessing.  It keeps you from missing out on the shasta daisies that you didn’t know were going to come up over there and keeps you from decimating the tiny buds on the muscari that bloomed late and in a place you would never have thought they would grow. God has a purpose in everything.
  • I still need a Savior. Every. Single. Day.  (Even–or perhaps, especially, when I am all by myself.)
  • When you think you’re all alone, God will still be there…and the Jehovah’s Witnesses will find you…even in the woods.
  • It is really cool to take your trash out for pick up and get a hug from a neighbor in the middle of the road just because they’re happy to see you…and they don’t even know you well yet.
  • It is ok to take a break when everything still isn’t finished and the to-do list is huge and you have no idea what is for supper and…and…I never understood that before.  I’ve always been a work-past-the-point-of-sanity person, so this is new for me. If it is old news for you, then God bless you, why in the name of all that is holy didn’t you share it with me before? (Yes, I know.  I was busy and I wouldn’t listen, but perhaps someone else will, so share it with someone else near you soon.)
  • We only get one life and sometimes you need to celebrate the silly things.  Don’t wait on a big occasion to put on your party hat and giggle!
  • I’ve looked and tasted and, quite frankly, there doesn’t seem to be a really great Chinese restaurant near me now.  Naturally, I’ve been craving Chinese food for weeks!  Is it because I know I can’t have it or because I’m also missing the ones we used to go eat Chinese food with and worship with and pray with and laugh with, etc?  How wonderful to know that real friendships aren’t just food-related or proximity-dependent!
  • You have to make friends deliberately. I called the library the other day and a lady named Rosemary answered. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs and has long been assigned to represent “Remembrance/Friendship”…she doesn’t know me yet, but I hope to make this lady at the library a really good friend.  (Who knows?! Perhaps she knows where they keep the good Chinese food!!)
  • I was born and raised in Mississippi.  We’re known as “The Hospitality State”…for really good reasons.  What I never expected, however, was to live in a place where hospitality is extended in such a publicly rehabilitative way…as evidenced by the photo of what is now my favorite new sign in my new location:

That sign made me smile, then chuckle and then full-out belly laugh when I saw it!  And isn’t that always the way it is? Almost anything can be solved with friendship, a good meal, a desire to help others and a really good laugh!

Sounds like the perfect way to break the silence to me…

Grace & Peace!!