Monday, May 2

daring to live fully for Him

The other day, while standing at a red light I watched a person at the same street intersection. The cars were travelling north-south and she was wanting to cross east-west. The light had just turned green for those heading north south but she came up and hit the button on the crosswalk. Then she hit it again. She began to look a little impatient and I could imagine her thoughts "SO OKAY, I PRESSED THE BUTTON DARN IT SO WHY AREN'T THE LIGHTS CHANGING SO I CAN CROSS!" By the sight of her body language and her expression on her face... I honestly believe she thought that by pressing the button on the side that says crosswalk - that she "controlled the lights" and would bring the traffic going the opposite way to her - to a halt! I just had to smile. This is not the first time I have seen this happen. One time the person hit it at least three times as they waited impatiently at the corner!

WHile I smile at this - it speaks volumes into my own heart. I wonder how many times I have "hit the button" and tried without fail to speed something up - or slow something down - so that I could do what I needed to do NOW!

Today, I enjoyed something very timely (for me especially) about s-l-o-w-i-n-g down to experience life FULLY in the everyday here and now. It happened at noon when I met my "friend who sticks closer than a sister" Josie to talk about the book we are reading together. (Jo and I have been best friends since Grade 4) The book we are reading is called "one thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I have had it for a while - but I am finding that her poetic style of writing is one that I have to make lots of time for in order to read (and sometimes re-read) and to soak it in. I purchased this after I had a conversation with Nicole about a book that had a huge impact on her, and I googled it, read Ann's blog and ordered the book. I didn't realize that within the first few pages, my heart would break again as I read about her loss.... I am not sure why I keep being surprised at how raw I still am.
Anyhow - I began to read (and re-read) and then gave the book to my friend Jo for her birthday, and we together decided to have our own little book-club and get together over a good cup of coffee and a couple hour time slot! We are only discussing two chapters at a time - but it has been rich. And, like I said at first - it is very timely!!

We reviewed chapter 3 & 4 but it was 4 (A Sanctuary of Time) that spoke deep into my being. Ann says some profound things (which is why SHE is an author of a book!) about how busy our lives get. Page 62 she says, "Oh yes, I know you, the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life. I'm the face grieving. God gives us time. And who has time for God?" 

She quotes Psalms 39:6 which says, "We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing."

Excerpts from pages 66-67 say:
"In our rushing, bulls in china shops, we break our own lives."
"The hurry makes us hurt."
"Hurry always empties a soul."
"I speak it to God: I don;'t really want more time; I just want enought time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give YOU glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done --- yesterday. In a world with cows to buy and fields to see and work to do, in the beep and blink of the twenty-first centruy, with its "live in the moment" buzz phrase that none of the whirl-weary seem to know how to do, who actually know hot to take time and live with soul and body and God all in sync?"

Ouch.... this feels like me. It is as if Ann has looked deeply into my soul and speaks the words my heart cries out often. O Lord - help me to live FULLY - to live FULLY FOR YOU! I don't think that it is just because I am in mid-life... turning 53 in a couple months. NO... I think it is because I am desiring MORE of the LORD because I HAVE tasted and I HAVE SEEN that HE (my Lord and Saviour) is GOOD!

I have joked about the phrase "GO BIG OR GO HOME" and have also wanted to "LIVE ON THE EDGE" and people who know me likely think - really Joy? But REALLY..... I want to live all out for HIM.

I have come to realize (and I also thank Ann for underscoring this with her book) that "living fully" has to be about living for the Lord. Jesus said that he came to give us life to the full! Living fully is about being thankful for whatever state I find myself in. (YEP that IS a challenge, believe me, I get that)

Elisabeth Elliot said "Wherever you are, be all there!" And if there is one person that modeled that for me - it was my mom, Dolly Thomas. She lived fully,even though she was blind at the end, and housebound for the most part. She found out how to live content in her circumstances. I remember the one time I came up to see her - her osteo had really taken its toll on her, and she was in great pain. I said "Mom, do you ever feel like giving up?" to which my mom replied "Oh no dear! I have so much to be thankful for!" My mom and Ann would see eye to eye.... about being thankful. About finding GOD in the moment - in the every day simple things. We so often miss him because we are rushing!!

Ann took a challenge from her friend to write down 1000 gifts (or in other words, to wake up to the everyday blessings!) It is an intentional way of living. A way of slowing down to embrace the here and the now. A way of praying without ceasing as you give thanksgiving to God throughout the day.
SO... for that reason, I have started another blog for my own 1000 gifts

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