Being well

I recently got an email from Pinterest with “18 Mental Health Pins” for me to investigate.

How did they know?!

Seriously. I’ve been struggling a little bit because I’ve just “lost” almost a whole month…yes, a month. Gone. Just. Like. That (snaps fingers).

It all started the day I was transplanting the magic beans and managed to hurt my back. Yes, magic beans. At least that’s what my Uncle called them when he shared them with me a few months ago. Actually, I think they’re called hyacinth beans, but I like that magic beans thing better. (Insert silly kid Grin here.)

Anyway! The beans got transplanted, the back muscles suddenly went into DEEEEEP spasms with (thank you, God!!!) no disc involvement and I began what has been quite a long recovery process. It really wasn’t how I saw my July happening, you know?

I’ve said it for years: I’m the most blessed person I know. Still true. Absolutely positive about that…and yet…I will admit without any wiggle room whatsoever that I am a horrid patient. Because I’m not. Patient, that is.

Sitting still, moving slowly, reconsidering even simple chores, letting things go, ASKING FOR HELP!–All of these things make me cringe. They might actually be my top five things to avoid…well…in the top 10, anyway…right after reptiles, rodents, the plague, reptiles (on here twice because I REALLY despise those things!), and cancer.

And yet, this was my month…complete with an adoring husband, kind friends who called and prayed, and a disgruntled cat who was being denied his favorite perch (my lap), and me…being whiny and negative and frustrated because for the first time ever I couldn’t depend on my body to do what I told it to do. That takes some getting used to physically…and mentally, as well.

Interesting things I discovered this month:

  • the world ran just fine without me.
  • many, many things happened without my input or my presence.
  • you can’t even breathe without it affecting your back muscles.
  • I am not a fan of whiny people…even or ESPECIALLY when it is me.
  • my husband likes being the caretaker more than being taken care of…for the most part.
  • it is never a good idea to do a spiritual assessment of yourself when you’re grumpy and in pain.
  • I am not as far along on that “being ok about giving up control” thing as I would like.
  • if you have been praying for patience for me, you can stop now. Really. I mean it. Stop it. Now. Feel free to pray for strength and endurance, but let’s just let that patience thing slide on out of the picture, ok? I am serious about this one.
  • pain can actually make you a more dedicated prayer warrior for others.
  • God can and will show up and give you stuff to do even when you’re confined to a chair.
  • sometimes, having Margin is good for situations that you wouldn’t really expect…or want.
  • chiropractors can actually help with some issues (pardon me if you are one or love one, please. I had never been to one before this month. They were kind and helpful and caring–and Bama fans, which made me smile even though it hurt.)
  • people in pain are much more sympathetic to others in pain than people who are rarely ill and have abnormally high pain tolerances (me…I’m talking about me although I would REALLY have preferred to find this out a different way, God! BIG eye roll–at ME, again!)
  • Pinterest, who sent me an earlier email with suggestions for my “RED” board that were 98% YELLOW (?!), might not be the best place to look for mental health tips.

That last one is important. I am much better off talking to God about what ails me–body, mind, or spirit–and counting on the truth of His Word to keep my mind headed in the direction that’s best for me–and you are, too!

“You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (CSB) 

As I am recovering, I am feeling the truth of that verse more and more. It’s not over…but neither am I. Returning strength gives me yet another reason for praise, another reminder to pray for those who still need it, and another call to gratitude for all my blessings: physical, spiritual, and mental.

May you be blessed and may you be well…in every respect.

IMG_20180720_194723477(and BTW, the magic beans are doing just fine…and so is Grace! In fact, she ought to be ready to transplant just in time for the Fall–although someone else may be digging THAT hole! grin)

Grace and peace!IMG_20180720_194741388

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Staying on Margin-mission

I’ve written quite a bit about Margin this year. I’ve thought about it even more than I’ve written about it, but I have to say that one of the things I neglected to really think about was the WHY of it…at least until the last couple of weeks, anyway.

Like many of you, I was tired and rundown by the end of last year and, since I knew that God had given me the majority of those assignments (but…let’s be real here, I added plenty of things to my own plate, as well!), I blithely assumed that this call for more Margin was another of His many gifts to me. I still don’t think I’m wrong on that.

I was just so grateful for the call to Margin that I forgot to ask many more questions. Actually, I may have been too tired to ask more questions at that point, but since we’re already into the month of JULY, that means I’ve had some time to give it some thought and…and…but…but…

what if I don’t always like where it might lead? What if it makes me uncomfortable or steps on my toes sometimes?

A few weeks ago I was with a group of friends and as the conversation progressed I noticed that one of them had wandered dangerously into my territory. (wow. that sounds melodramatic, doesn’t it?! HA!) Anyway! She began talking about all the things she wanted to do and she had plenty of fresh ideas and tons of energy and…all of the sudden I started getting a little bit antsy. Didn’t she know I already knew how to do that? Why didn’t she ask me to help? I could make things SO much simpler for her if she’d only ask!

Y’all! It took God about midway through that last sentence-thought in my head to snap me into attention as He LOUDLY in my spirit/headspace reminded me that HE was in charge of things and that MY job was to be obedient to what He was calling me to…and that was NOT what He was calling HER to right then! As clear as day, God said to me, “I am calling you to Margin, but I am loading her plate.”

Let me just stop and mention here that Scripture (in 1 Kings 19:12) tells us that Elijah looked for God in the earthquake and the fire, but found Him in “a still, small voice.” Well. The voice in my headspace was neither still, nor small. It was quick and powerful and full of conviction as God reminded me of my mission and quickly gave instruction about how I was to proceed. MY job, you see, isn’t to be one of DOING in this instance, but to be one of SUPPORTING! MY job is to cheer her on, build her up, pray for her and speak words of encouragement both to her and on her behalf.

And just like that, I settled down. As I did so, it is amazing how much easier it was to listen without all those voices in my head! HA!!

Being on mission with God doesn’t always look the same from the outside and this was the perfect example of that to me. I was instantly made aware (AGAIN!) that

  • it isn’t my job to do Every Thing,
  • it IS my job to do what God tells ME to do and support others as they do the same, AND
  • there will come a time when God chooses to fills my plate again.

That last one is important because it reminded me of ONE of the reasons I need this time of margin: I need to be ‘rested up’ and ready for the next time of heavy assignment.

No matter what mission God has assigned you today–either for margin or the filled plate or somewhere in between–I pray that you are filled with peace and able to hear His voice without your own getting in the way like mine did for a bit. I also pray that if your voice does get in the way, that His will override it with the same quickness and authority that He did with me and that you’ll be just as happy as a bird with a french fry at whatever He has to say.

“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” Deuteronomy 5:33

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 

Sunday blessings on you today, dear friends.

Grace and peace!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weeks of water and wonder

God’s been on a mission around here lately. He’s been answering some prayers and watering my plants–and everyone else’s!–with abandon…for days and days.

As He’s done so, that low place in the driveway filled up and made a spectacularly large birdbath delighting me and the birds who have taken full advantage. The hard Georgia ground has softened up to accept a few more new plants so I could take advantage of a break in the downpour and finally get around to planting some iris rhizomes that were gifted to me at the beginning of April. (Yes. April! I know. Blessings on you, Cyndi, and please thank Will, again, for his patience about returning his bucket!) Though I won’t see anything from them this year, they’re already holding a promise for the Spring–and isn’t it just like God to use something we normally complain about to help us become more pliable and full of beauty for the future?!

As we’ve watched the waters fill up buckets and overflow rain gauges, God has also filled up our home with guests and laughter. He sent us out to minister to others and helped us enjoy seeing that adding margin to our own lives can actually become a blessing to those around us, as well.

Our guests have been delightful and nourished us much like the rain has blessed our plants. We’ve seen some incredible growth in both plants and relationships–and both are beautiful. I’ve lost count of the number of hydrangeas arrangements have left this place to find new homes and, hopefully, give cheer in their new locations.

IMG_20180602_185143192

It seems that nature has used this rain to fullest advantage…and now we have a new, though unplanted crop being enjoyed by our local squirrels. Although their abundant presence in our yard often annoys me as I work to stay ahead of planted nuts growing into trees in all sorts of odd places, I laughed to see how the squirrels have nibbled all around the edges of a string of mushrooms all lined up like a buffet. I guess God thought He would provide for those guests, as well.

As I wandered through the yard this afternoon, I couldn’t help be be reminded how blessed we all are and along the way, I found a few more things to share. For those of you still asking after Grace, I’ve included a picture of her below. She’s showing out these days…just like God.

I’m looking forward to seeing what God does next…and to home-grown tomato sandwiches and a caprese salad or twelve, as well. In the meantime…

Grace and Peace!

Response Time

I hate to admit it, but I might just be a little lazier than I used to be. I came to this momentous insight earlier today when my riding lawn mower suddenly decided to stop working as it should. I’m pretty sure it’s the fault of all of those nasty sweet gum balls that did it, but no matter what (or who, since I was driving!) is to blame, I have to say that my first thought was something along the lines of, “Well, maybe this just isn’t the day to do this!”

It was, though.  In fact, I was trying to get the back part where all of those sweet gum balls were mowed because I didn’t mow it the last time…and I had someone coming over later today and I wanted it all done so they could do what THEY needed to do without being obstructed by all of that higher grass back there, so I grabbed the push mower and went back to work. Once the guy was through with his job, I had to wait a little bit before I could be outside, so I took the time for an early lunch…and began to contemplate whether or not, the rest of the yard REALLY needed to be done today…and it did…so I filled up the push mower and started again.

I generally love mowing the yard. It’s pretty good prayer time as a rule, but today…wellllll…to be honest, I wasn’t really using that time to it’s fullest advantage. Oh, I was talking to God, alright, but it wasn’t all that constructive.

I was complaining…and at a pretty good pace, too.

It was hot. I was tired of things breaking down around here. I know it all belongs to You, God, but really?! It was incredibly dusty and the mask I wore made it even hotter. It was taking forever to do it this way. Why did this have to happen today? On and on it (I!) went. The only thing productive about the whole thing was that the grass was getting mowed…albeit at a much slower rate than I preferred.

About the second time my mower needed more gas, I finally remembered something: Yes, all those things I was complaining about were (are) true, but so is this: When one mower quit, I had another one to use. I had gas in the can and strong legs to push the mower around the yard. It would take longer than normal, but it would also mean I didn’t need to hit the treadmill later. The time I’ve been putting in on the treadmill lately has made me stronger for what I need to do today. That strength has also made it easier for me to handle the heat and God occasionally still allowed me some shade. Using the pushmower also meant I could get into some tighter places and wouldn’t need to do as much weed-eating later. That’s something to be grateful for, so I decided to change my behavior…and do what I ask others to do: I started telling God how grateful I was for all of the blessings I had listed and then I added to the list for several more rounds until my mower needed more gas and it was time for another break.

I also thanked Him for the opportunity to take a break when I need more gas (something I might have blown right past before He started teaching me about margin!), for the fact that Outshine makes an amazing mango popsicle that hits the spot perfectly when you’re hot and taking that break, that HE is God and I am not, for all those teachers I’ve had over the years that pointed me to Him and told me some of the very same things I tell others now. As I thought about that last one, I remembered some other things I know to be true:

  • God will take you seriously when you ask Him for something, and He also takes it seriously when He tells you to share Him with others and tell them that He can be trusted.
  • When you tell them He is your Healer, you may find yourself or someone you love in need of healing.
  • When you tell them He is your Provider, you may find yourself in need of provision.
  • When you tell them He is your Comforter, you may find yourself in need of comforting.
  • When you tell them He is the Source of all wisdom, you may find yourself in a place where nothing makes sense.

I think you get the point. When we share God with others, He will often put us in places so they can see US have the opportunity to have great need of Him. It will make the most powerful witness when we respond appropriately…and the worst kind of witness when we don’t. Though He may not answer our prayers in quite the way we think He ought to answer, He still has a plan and if we’ll get with it, He will be glorified, we will be blessed and others will get a front row seat to see it all. Just think, wherever you are and whatever you’re facing, you have the opportunity to become a person of influence…by just doing what you already know to do, and the best part of ALL of that is this: He will never leave you alone in the middle of any of that for a single solitary second. He has promised.

Today, He gave me the opportunity to live out what I teach. I’d imagine that He’s doing that wherever you are today, as well.

How will you respond?

As for me, my break is over and there’s still more grass to be mowed, more gas in the can, and more time to be spent in prayer. Funny how that mower quitting might just turn out to be one of my biggest blessings of the day…

Grace and Peace!

IMG_20180509_145744778_HDRP.S. If I’d been on the riding mower, I also might have missed the fact that one of my new iris blooms had fallen over and I’d have probably run right over it. Instead, I get to have THIS in my kitchen window for the next little bit. Now, tell me that’s not a blessing!

God-Margin: Is this for you?

Saturday morning was pretty busy for us as we dropped off a vehicle for repair, picked up a few essentials, and headed home to plant a few things in our container gardens. I put away the groceries, grabbed a mango popsicle (I am addicted to the Outshine ones!), and put my feet up to enjoy it. My cat soon joined me, since an open lap is apparently a sin as far as he is concerned. Almost immediately my phone buzzed–actually, the Minions giggled, because that just cracks me up–and a text came in from a dear friend who was attending a Priscilla Shirer simulcast. The text read:

“God is looking for people with MARGIN in their lives….who have left room for Him and His work and His gifts.”   ~Priscilla Shirer

Isn’t that the truth?! Preach, sister, PREACH!

I want that! I want to be that woman for God…and that desire has been a driving force behind my determination to clear out the things in my life and in my schedule that “I” (boldface, italics, quotation marks, and EVERY other emphasis indicator you can think of!) have too often loaded me up for…without asking Him if “that one” was for me or not. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excess (feel-good, praise, and public attention) that comes from saying “yes” and we can forget that the God of “yes” also created the “no” for our blessing, as well.

Please don’t miss my point. God DOES call us to the “yes” for Him and His people, but He does NOT call us as individuals to EVERY “yes” we’re encouraged to say. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in to speak of Jesus. That is the first “yes” we need hear and say. The other “yes” answers you’ll be called to say should always take their cue from that first one: what is the expressed will of the Father? That the whole world would come to know Him personally. Is that even possible if we’re too busy to stop and tell them about Him…or show them that they matter to Him and, as a result, to us?

What do you need to say “No” to today in order to be available to say “YES!” when God asks you to do so?

Societal values are cyclical and the cycle we’ve been in for a very long time (too long!) is one where “the busiest one wins.” Having that mindset makes it very difficult to hear the Holy Spirit speak Jesus in our ears because all we’ve learned to focus on is being the one who wins, the one who can be “depended on”, or the pride factor that comes from being the first one thought of and the last-minute savior of all things chaotic. When we get so caught up in all that WE can do, we forget to listen for HIS name, HIS voice, and HIS choices for us. There’s a very good reason that Psalm 46:10 tells us “Be still and know that I am God.”–and we often stop there as if that is the whole verse, but IT IS NOT!

The rest of that verse is critical to showing us the reason behind our need for quieter schedules. Read it with me:

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

Have you ever noticed that before? He didn’t say stay busy and loudly proclaim your busy-ness, and stay overworked trying to prove that there IS a God and that you belong to Him so that in the process YOU are exalted. He didn’t say that at all. Our quietness is so that HE can be exalted.

I’m just enough of a nut to believe that He was serious about the way He had it written…and I desperately want to live that way so that HE is the one exalted and heralded and known and not just build my own resume of good works. It didn’t use to be that way, but I am listening and I am still learning. One of the things I’ve learned is that saying “No” actually gives me the opportunity to say “Yes” when God calls my name–and sometimes, He has us say the “No” without telling us the WHY…at the time.

I write all of this on the 7th anniversary weekend of when God called me to one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done: herding Baptists who wanted to help in the wake of the massive E-5 tornado that swept Smithville, MS and much of the surrounding area clean. I thought I was simply going to a meeting to take notes, but one of my pastors at the time, Tommy Gillon from Fairview Baptist in Columbus, actually took me up there to roll up my sleeves and stay awhile. For almost 3 months, I had the daily privilege of using my organizational skills to serve God and His people alongside Pastor Allen Simpson and his wonderful staff and the amazing people of First Baptist Church in Amory, MS. In the wake of unimaginable loss for many of their nearby Smithville, MS neighbors, we sought to match skill sets from all over the United States with needs in North Mississippi, meet basic life needs for people who often no longer had possessions of any kind, encourage where possible, pray continuously, and keep a few ‘helpers’ from making it worse. (written with a very thankful heart…and very wry grin)

Along the way I met some of the most incredible people doing impossible things because God was showing up and showing out through them–because they deliberately made some margin for God to use them! I watched families take in families–that they didn’t know, homes and churches get rebuilt, groups of students de-trashed huge fields making them ready to be planted so farmers could make something to help their families, and so much more. Simple things were made more profound than can be acknowledged through the working of God’s people who had hearts for Him and their neighbors because they chose to say the “yes” –and the “no”!–for margin so they could be available when they were needed.

God-Margin…who needs it? We all do–either as givers or receivers. Which one are you today?

Grace and Peace!

Mastered by the masses?

A friend and I were messaging back and forth awhile back when she asked how I was doing.

“Good. Peaceful, I think…a byproduct of being more creative these days and feeling like that’s what God is not just allowing, but asking of me right now.”

That was several weeks ago and the “feeling” is still holding. I’ve been on a search for more margin in my life for the past several years, but over the past 6 months or so I have intensified the pursuit as a result of specific Bible study and a significant amount of prayer. Conversations with various friends in search of the same goals have also helped and provided plenty of encouragement.

I’m under no illusions that this will be a one-and-done thing. I suspect it will continue to be a lifelong pursuit. Having had a taste of margin, I find myself craving more, but not at the expense of what I’m called to do. Instead, I am finding that adding more margin to my life is actually energizing me to do a few things that haven’t really made my list before now…and they’re things that I should have been doing for quite some time.

As a part of my search for increased margin, I decided to practice the spiritual discipline of observing Lent again this year. This is only my third time to do this, since my denominational affiliation doesn’t typically do this, but I found myself wanting to make sure that I was particularly and personally focused on the sacrifice that Jesus made for me. Put that way, it would seem to require something deep and mysterious, doesn’t it? The truth is that even seemingly insignificant self-sacrifice, when done for the right reason, can have a profound impact. Such was the case for me again this year.

I chose to abstain from Facebook.

Don’t laugh. Oh, well. Go ahead and laugh; it is actually kind of funny.

A few weeks before the Lenten season began, I saw a post by a friend that announced her intention to give up Facebook for Lent. I laughed. She’s one of the most social media-intense people I’ve ever seen in my life. Even her DOG has an Instagram account! She posts for the dog, herself, and her town. My first thought was, “she’ll never make it.”

My next thought was, “hmmmmm…I wonder if I could do that.” Oddly enough, even that small thought made me uncomfortable. I’m not as active as she is, but I still post personally and for the Women’s Ministry of our church on a regular basis. I think it was the “uncomfortable” part that got my attention. Why in the world would that make me uncomfortable? I knew I had been spending a lot more time on social media, but why should stopping that one thing for 40 days be an issue? It was enough to sell me on the idea. Almost immediately, the following verse came to mind:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.” I Corinthians 12:2 (NIV)

With that verse as my “confirmation” I made it official and told my husband, alerted the other Women’s Ministry FB page administrator that I would only be posting on Sundays  until Easter Sunday, and so it began. My blog posts are automatically posted there, so I didn’t have to take that into consideration, but I also decided to deliberately limit my blog posts as well during that time.

It was a lot harder than I had expected. I had no idea that reaching for my phone had become such an ingrained behavior, but I realized very quickly that this was, indeed, exactly what I was supposed to learn. I had been “mastered” by something larger than just being on Facebook: I was no longer “in the know” about what was going on in people’s lives, their opinions about everything from supper to super powers, and missing out on pictures of their grandbabies, life events, and vacation photos. AGAIN, it sounds really laughable, but I was amazed at the number of times I reached out for that information only to remember my Lenten vow and stop.

Unfortunately, knowing all of that information gave me little benefit in return for what came at a significant price of a most precious commodity: time! When viewed in that light and initially difficult to break in habit, the trade-off was substantially easier than the thought of continuing to trade large chunks of my LIFE for the “privilege” of “being in the know.” I decided that each time I was tempted to look, I would pray. I would tell God “Thank you!” for His massively larger sacrifice for me and I would ask Him to bless those who came to mind. It took a few days, but then I began to feel the liberation set in and with that, a great deal of peace.

All of the sudden, I had time for other projects that had been neglected or put on hold. The house got cleaner as I cleared out closets and made more donations. I made plans and took steps to bless the ladies in our Tuesday Morning Bible study with a time of fun and fellowship. I actually picked up the phone to hear VOICES of people I loved instead of just texting them–and I’m absolutely sure that deepened our relationships. I had more time for deeper–and sillier!–conversations with my husband. I laughed more. I had time and energy to get more work done for my business and I actually felt SO much more creative that I was astonished. Could it be that something this simple was making all this difference? Yes. I wasn’t just reducing the time spent online, but now I was also increasing the time I spent talking with the Creator of the Universe! OF course it made a difference! I was being inspired even as I spoke to the One who created me!

As my first Sunday approached, I couldn’t wait to get back online to check in on everything. It took me exactly 30 seconds to realize I hadn’t missed that much. In fact, I questioned if I had “missed” anything at all. I spent less than 5 minutes–just to make sure I had exhausted every avenue–but it seemed “my people” had also chosen to take a break that week. The next week, I was even more productive and my Sunday check-in was even shorter. That trend continued over the remaining Lenten season…and I was enormously surprised.

I found that I missed posting on the Women’s page most of all because although I wasn’t posting, I was still reading through content every day that was inspirational and I would would think, “Oh! that’s good! They will like/love/need to know THAT!” They didn’t…for the most part, anyway. In fact, I doubt they missed much at all. I was reminded that most of us post for ourselves. If someone actually responds to our birthday greetings, humor,  weather-related, or political commentary, it’s a bonus, but not really that necessary–we’ve had our “say” about whatever subject we’re considering…and honestly, how many of us have had our lives and minds truly changed about one of those topics as a result of Facebook interactions? I’m not saying they aren’t FUN, I’m just saying we won’t typically change with whole world with our Facebook posts. (even though we’re always right, well-informed, and we present cogent, thoroughly researched opinions to begin with, right?! Sure.)

While Lent has passed and I have returned to my “allowed” perusal of Facebook, it is not with the same intensity or time-involvement as before.  Facebook is a wonderful and entertaining tool to help keep me in touch with people and reach and teach them about God. I don’t take that lightly and I am determined to use it more wisely. My Facebook fast helped to realize some very important things about time management and what God is calling me to do with the time He’s giving me. I became more addicted to the peace, to the additional creativity, to the added depth of prayer time, and to the increased margin that came as a result of my practice of the Lenten fast this year. I found I would rather be more deeply “mastered” by the Master Creator than simply following along with the masses and seeing what “they” are up to these days.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.” I Corinthians 12:2 (NIV)

May all of our choices be beneficial today!

Grace and Peace!

 

What are you waiting for?

Waiting. I’ve yet to meet anyone who loves it…or doesn’t have to do it. We fuss about it and, yet, can’t actually live without it. Outside of Genesis and the garden of Eden, life just doesn’t happen without some waiting, and even there, God still took His time. We don’t like it, but waiting might actually be one of God’s most under-rated gifts to us. In any case, He makes us wait on a regular basis and as one of my favorite quotes reminds me, “God never plows unless He purposes a crop.” While we are often frustrated with the painful plowing, we are probably least fond of the waiting on the crop to arrive. (That’s not just me, right?)

God seems to be trying to teach me something about waiting as I search for more margin in my life because the subject keeps coming back up in my Bible study homework, in conversation with friends, and, today, in a book of essays about doing life well and, because of all of this focus on waiting, even in the movie we chose to watch tonight.

I’m pretty sure that we’ve all made some variation of the following statement: “If I can just get/do/accomplish _____, then I’ll be/feel _____.” All of our fill-in-the-blanks are different, of course, but the sentiment is still the same. We all believe that there’s more to be done before we can fully enjoy the now.

We’re wrong about that.

“NOW” is what we’re actually here for. NOW is when we can love on people, help make a difference, or just relax and enjoy the moment and have a chat with the Almighty. Since we can’t go back and do the past over and we have no guarantee of the future, NOW is what we have to work with. Naturally, there’s a significant link between NOW and Margin.

What I do NOW matters and affects whether or not I’ll actually have Margin later. Take today for instance. It was a pajama day for me. Maybe you call them something else at your house, but the whole point was to relax and just stay in the house. I try to have one on a pretty regular basis. We read, cleaned, straightened, organized, made good food, caught up on a couple of TV shows we like, updated our budget, watched a movie, and took a nap. It was a VERY good day and, once it started to wind down, we talked about our mutual sense of accomplishment in just taking it easy as we worked our way through all of these tasks that, in and of themselves aren’t very important, but whose collective whole have a tendency to make our lives just “better” when we do them.

We also talked about how much better we feel when we take care of ourselves in these simple ways. They make us more relaxed and put us in better positions to take on the bigger things we’ll face in the days ahead. They give us space to enjoy the moments NOW, energy to face the moments to come, and the comfort of knowing we’re better prepared for whatever else those moments bring.

As I’ve been typing here, I’ve also had an old song running through my brain,

“Be strong in the Lord” by Linda Lee Johnson.

1 Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage;
Your mighty Defender is always the same.
Mount up with wings, as the eagle ascending;
Vict’ry is sure when you call on His name.

Refrain:
Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And be of good courage, for He is your guide.
Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And rejoice for the vict’ry is yours.

2 So put on the armor the Lord has provided,
And place your defense in his unfailing care.
Trust Him for He will be with you in battle,
Lighting your path to avoid every snare. [Refrain]

3 Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage;
Your mighty Commander will vanquish the foe.
Fear not the battle for the vict’ry is always His;
He will protect you wherever you go. [Refrain]

I think there’s a definite link between having the courage to choose living in the NOW, Margin, and waiting on God to show us the next thing He’s got in mind for us. Some of us might have missed that as we’ve rushed or worried our way through our NOWs in our haste to avoid the wait God has installed to teach us lessons that might actually make us more prepared for what He has waiting when we get there. Let’s not do that anymore, ok?

Find your margin in the NOW and let God lead you toward confidently trusting Him more today. Take courage, be strong in the Lord…and make a point of doing what you can to enjoy whatever wait God has you in right now. He already knows the plan, so it stands to reason, He knows why the wait is right for us, as well.

What are YOU waiting for?! (grin) Look for ways to add margin while you wait!

Wait for and confidently expect the LordBe strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14 (AMP) 

Grace and Peace!