Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Peace in the Stillness

Peace.  It's my word for 2017.  For the last two years, I have asked God for a focus word for each year.  I also try to find a verse that corresponds to the word I have received.  In 2015, my word was "Now."  Ephesians 3:20-21 perfectly corresponds to that: "Now, to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than you can ask or even imagine...."  Now is the time to be obedient; now is the time to rely on God's power and not my own.  Last year I had "Renew."  Renew yourself each day and find the joy.  Reconnect with God, and enjoy your life.  "Create in my a clean heart, O God, and renew in me a right spirit" (Psalm 51:10).

This year it's "Peace."  That is. My word for 2017.  I know that it is the middle-end of February, but I am just now starting to put this together in my mind.  I had trouble finding a verse that really spoke to me.  One didn't immediately come to me that seemed to convey exactly what I was feeling.  I took off on a journey to search out a verse on peace.  There are no shortage of verses on peace.  So many that it is a bit overwhelming.  I started writing them all out hand, looking for the one that really spoke to me.  I love John 14:27 and John 16:33, and even a simple "Peace be with you."  But none of those seemed to be quite right for my personal focus verse for this year.

Meanwhile, Holy Spirit Keeps putting another verse in front of me.  I see it in books that I am reading.  I go to pick out a card for a friend and there it is.  Someone sends me a text and there it is again.  After many times of this happening in a short period of time, It finally dawns on me.  This.  This is the verse that best speaks peace over my life in 2017.  

"Be still and know that I am God."  (Psalms 46:10)

But it doesn't say the word peace, right?  I got hung up on this for a while.  My word and my verse in the last two years matched.  But focusing on that little detail makes me miss what God is really trying to tell me.  Be still, and know that I am God.

What are you worried about?  What is making you anxious?  Know that He is God.  He has it under control.  There is no problem that He can't handle.  He created the whole universe and everything in it. He parted the Red Seas.  He even conquered death on a cross.  Don't you think He can handle your bad day?

Haven't talked to God in a while?  Just be still, and feel His presence.  He is right there with you always, even to the very end of the age.

Are you feeling stressed, hurried, rushed, overwhelmed?  Just be still a moment.  God is there too.  He can help you.  Take a moment to be still and reconnect with Him.  Sometimes it can be simple as just saying,  "Jesus, I need you right now."     

Do ├┐ou feel like you are being attacked, either by other people or by other forces that want to pull you away from God?  The LORD will fight for you; you have only to be still.  If it worked for the Israelites at the Red Sea, then it could surely work for us too.

As I think through all these different situations, these are all areas where I feel my peace being threatened and attacked.  Some of them are my own creation, and some of them are natural reactions to what is happening around me.  But there is one way to combat all this negativity...

Be still, and know that I am God.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Start Where You Are

Start where you are.

This phrase keeps reverberating through my heads the last couple of weeks.  Through a conversation with a good friend, she told me just to start where I am.  Don't worry about trying to catch up; just start where I am.  Boy, those were the exact right words at the exact right time.  This lets me out of some guilt and other feelings of negativity.  Just start where I am right now.

Where am I right now?  I haven't written anything in months.  Haven't even thought about it much.  Does that mean God hasn't been working in my life?  Of course not.  That means I have just been focused on some other areas of my life.  But start where I am.  I am going to take five minutes right now and write.  Five minutes to start where I am.  This has been in my head so much lately that I thought I needed to share.

When I am feeling overwhelmed by clutter at home or on my desk at school, start where I am.  Can I just put away five things that are out of place?  Can I just file these ten papers right here?  It is so easy for the piles to overtake me, for I have never been a naturally organized person.  When I walk into classrooms and I see teachers' desks that are completely and totally cleaned off, I feel a pang of jealousy.  How do they do that?  How do they just know where everything goes?  How do they find the time to keep it that way?  But I can't focus on that.  What I can focus on is where I am right now and put a thing or two away.

Where I am right now is experiencing an explosion in my crochet business.  I am so thankful for that.  God continues to not only keep my little side business going, but he is blessing it in big and new ways.  With the increase in projects has also come the explosion of the yarn room.  Finish one project and move on to the next-throw the extra yarn on the bed.  Some people have gifted me some yarn they have cleaned out.  I will deal with that later.  Piles, bags, and boxes of yarn everywhere.  It was getting overwhelming to even walk in that room.  So I told myself not to freak out.  Just start where I am.  Start where I am.  Just put a way a little right now.  A little another time.  With that philosophy now, I have been able to (almost) get that room straightened back out.

I have fifty thousand things to do .  Where do I start?  With just one thing.  Get it done, and then move on to the next.  What I am doing may not be the biggest on my list, but I am going to start where I am.  Focus on one at a time so I can start to clear the clutter of my mind too.

So where are you?  Are you stressed, worried, overwhelmed?  Start where you are right now.  This very moment.  Take a deep breath.  Ask Jesus to help for we know that we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.  And start where you are right now.