Peace for the Day

Devotions for our daily angst.


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Let It Go

 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passes understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV)

 The first step to overcoming A-n-g-s-t is to admit it, so here goes.

 I had a melt-down last week. A big one. In public. In front of friends. At a restaurant. Over the top, even for me, all because of a mistake at work.

I FORGOT TO DO SOMETHING, SOMETHING IMPORTANT- AGAIN.

 When the slow-grinding gears clicked into place and I remembered, I was beside myself. I am not a surgeon, pilot, police officer, soldier or in any other profession where a mistake could lead to death, mine or others, but my mental and physical reactions were at that level.

My husband and friends got to hear the inner dialog that was now pouring out of my mouth. How could I be so stupid as to forget THAT? I know I came out of the meeting ready to do it. What happened? Where did the thought go? More importantly, why didn’t I look at my notes? Where were my notes? This always happens to me. Why can’t I get it right? It’s happening again. I’m losing it. I can’t do this. Make it go away. My boss is going to be upset. (She was, rightfully so.) I’m going to hear the “I’m disappointed” talk. (I did.) I hate this. I hate this. I hate this about myself.

 DEEP BREATH.

UNCURL FROM FETAL POSITION.

Katherine Fetal Position

 I try to explain it to my husband who admits he has rarely, if ever, felt this way. It’s not this one thing. It’s a lifetime of things. All of them proof that I’m the loser my “itty bitty shi@@y committee”, as Jill G on her Anxiety Self Help blog calls negative self-talk, says I am.

I searched Google and found a title for my life – General Anxiety Disorder or GAD. Here are the symptoms:

  • Escalated heart rate
  • Obsession about small or large concerns that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event
  • Worrying about excessively worrying
  • Difficulty concentrating, or feeling that your mind “goes blank”
  • Distress about making decisions for fear of making the wrong decision
  • Carrying every option in a situation all the way out to its possible negative conclusion
  • Indecisiveness
  • Inability to set aside or let go of a worry

How do you spell K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E?

  My dear spouse is a fixer, so he offers suggestions. Make lists. Put in a calendar reminder. He eventually becomes frustrated when I resist his help and yells, “Just let it go!”

I stare at him, incredulous. “Are you kidding? If only it were that easy.” But it’s not. It takes focused determination to grasp the good God says about me and to place the negative into His hands and to “let it go.”

If you’re like me and you’re reading this, let’s walk the road to freedom together. As we seek wholeness by talking to a counselor, taking medication, or eating right and exercising, let’s remember to pray. Lord, Prince of Peace – Help us to never forget who we are in You. Remind us daily that we are chosen by You and precious in Your sight. Amen. It shall be so.


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Love Lessons

I’m skewered by texts. The family issues first mentioned in my blog titled Focus continue. I do what I always do, what I’ve always done – I grieve and talk to the Lord.

Me: I’m wounded, Lord. This situation really hurts. (Is there anything in the Bible about being wounded I ask myself. When I see the first verse that pops up, I smack myself in the forehead. Duh.)

Jesus: Take heart. I was wounded so you can be free. The Romans lashed my body so all could be healed. When they crushed the crown of thorns down on my head, it was for your peace of mind. I long for everyone to be whole. (Isaiah 53:5)

Me: Yes, but it’s someone I love. Someone close to me. Someone I trusted.

Jesus: I know. I get it. It was my close friend, remember? Someone I trusted, who ate my bread, who walked with me, who laughed and talked with me, who lifted up his heel against me. It’s hard, isn’t it? (Psalm 41:9)

Me: But, Lord, what’s being said isn’t true.

Jesus: Think about my trial when I was brought before Pilate. Many people talked about me. They lied. Finally, two men were found who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” They twisted my words. (Matthew 26.61)

Me: So what am I supposed to do? Should I defend myself? No one will listen anyway.

Jesus: Remember when I stood before Pilate? When the leaders brought accusations against me in front of him, I chose to remain silent. He even asked me, “Don’t you hear what they’re saying?” Pilate was surprised when I said nothing. (Matthew 27.14)

Me: I don’t know how you stood there, silent. I wanted you to tell them off just like I want to be catty and snarky right back, to tell my side of things.

Jesus: Grace. My grace is sufficient. My lovingkindness and mercy are more than enough, always available, whatever the situation I’m here right beside you. All of you. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Me: What do I do? What can I do?

Jesus: The most difficult thing of all and yet, the simplest. Love. Work at love. Lift patience and kindness. Practice contentment. Put others first. Forgive. Rejoice in truth. Be assured, my love for all of you will not fail.

Me: There’s not anything I may go through that you haven’t already experienced, is there?

Jesus: No, there isn’t. Hope, faith, and love. These three things remain, but the greatest of these is love.

Beloved, if God so loved us [in this incredible way], we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11 AMP


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Prayer Seeds

Prayer Seeds 2    Spring is on the horizon and I’m ecstatic. Bring it on. Last night it stayed light until 6:05 pm. Woo hoo. It’s coming. All over the garden, the tips of fall-planted bulbs brave the cold and push their way out of the hard ground. On the side of the house, where they’re more sheltered, the daffodils even have flower heads forming.

I don’t have to excavate the bulbs or dig around them to see with my eyes what is occurring under the surface. Years of experience has taught me, if the squirrels and chipmunks don’t eat them, the bulbs are doing their thing underground – eating, growing, and getting ready for their grand entrance. Yeah, baby.

My head knows all this. My heart – not so much. When I plant prayers, I pay little attention to what I’ve learned from nature. Nope. I dig those prayers right back up. I can’t let them be. I mess around in the dirt with a little shovel here and a scrape with a trowel there. I’m desperate to see with my eyes what is happening in the spiritual realm where prayers grow.

It’s a fact of life that unearthed bulbs don’t grow and neither do dug up prayers. Oh, that I would learn this lesson and leave my prayer seeds be, at God’s feet, where He can nurture them. One day, they’ll poke their heads above the surface and I’ll see the results or, if not, I will still believe and cling to and trust that He who promised is able.

Spring is on the horizon and I’m ecstatic. Bring it on. Last night it stayed light until 6:05 pm. Woo hoo. It’s coming. All over the garden, the tips of fall-planted bulbs brave the cold and push their way out of the hard ground. On the side of the house, where they’re more sheltered, the daffodils even have flower heads forming.

I don’t have to excavate the bulbs or dig around them to see with my eyes what is occurring under the surface. Years of experience has taught me, if the squirrels and chipmunks don’t eat them, the bulbs are doing their thing underground – eating, growing, and getting ready for their grand entrance. Yeah, baby.

My head knows all this. My heart – not so much. When I plant prayers, I pay little attention to what I’ve learned from nature. Nope. I dig those prayers right back up. I can’t let them be. I mess around in the dirt with a little shovel here and a scrape with a trowel there. I’m desperate to see with my eyes what is happening in the spiritual realm where prayers grow.

It’s a fact of life that unearthed bulbs don’t grow and neither do dug up prayers. Oh, that I would learn this lesson and leave my prayer seeds be, at God’s feet, where He can nurture them. One day, they’ll poke their heads above the surface and I’ll see the results or, if not, I will still believe and cling to and trust that He who promised is able.  Amen – it shall be so.   Prayer Seeds 1

 

 


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Distracted

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And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3 ESV

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been writing about procrastination. I’ve decided, however, that it’s not so much about delaying tactics as it is about being distracted. Like Martha, who was distracted with much serving (Luke 10:38), I am easily diverted from my stated objective – writing. I allow things, outside stimulation, and even internal dialogue to disrupt my focus or “directed attention”, as the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it.

As I came up to my office to write – well, first I had to walk to make a stab at getting my 10,000 steps in. It might rain this afternoon so it seemed wise to walk first, write later. I prayed as I walked, so I was multi-tasking. Next a shower. I work alone but even I don’t want to smell myself. Wait. Before I could do that I needed to clean out the kitty box and start a load of clothes. Fix breakfast – oatmeal with sliced apple. The kitchen is a mess because we ate in front of the television last night and never cleaned up. Wait! Are those dust bunnies on the hardwood floors? I thought I just vacuumed. Did I record what I ate for breakfast?

Stop!

You see how it goes for me? Maybe I have attention deficit disorder. Perhaps it is a case of “busy world clutter” I can’t seem to clear away or turn off. I’m not going to admit how many emails I’ve checked or texts I’ve written just in the matter of minutes it’s taken me to write 233 words.

I read the book of Nehemiah and am struck by the fact that the man maintained his focus. “I’m doing a great work and cannot come down,” he states. He understood his mission. It was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It would be easy to blow him off, to say so what, there were no distractions back then. After all, he didn’t live in the era of constant communication, 24-7 news, television, or movies.

It’s easy to read the words of the Bible without ever seeing or really envisioning the story being told. I’m visual, a playwright, and an actress. I can’t help but see scenes when I read.

So here we have Nehemiah. He’s in charge of Israel and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. As a leader, he would have been buffeted by people all day long. I was a manager and was constantly interrupted. I didn’t actually do my own work until about 5:30 pm after everyone went home for the day. Nehemiah led a nation.

There were legitimate needs. There was bickering between those living outside the walls and those living within. Nehemiah 5:17 states he fed 150 Jews and officials – daily – plus visitors. He refused to live at the expense of the people so he also had crops, livestock, and workers to oversee.

Above and beyond his responsibilities to the Israelites, he had to deal with the avowed enemies of the mission. They just didn’t like what he was doing and attempted to stop him any way possible. Those were the enemies without. He also faced traitors within the house of Israel (Nehemiah 13:4-9). His own countrymen. People he worked alongside of every day.

We see that, like us, Nehemiah was besieged by potential distractions as soon as his foot touched the floor in the morning. Yet through it all, he “held fast to the work” (Nehemiah 5:16).

Dear Lord, You know I’m so easily distracted even by good things. Help me to stay focused on you and the work you gave me to do. Tap me on the shoulder when I forget and start down another path. Like Nehemiah, let me boldly proclaim that in and through you “I’m doing a great work and cannot come down”. Amen. It shall be so.