Monday, October 20, 2014

Where The Journey Leads

"I don't mean to say I am perfect. I haven't learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us". Philippians 3:12-14 (The Living Bible) 

When she pulled off the fast-paced highway of the working world in the middle of winter, she had no idea how different the pace on the country road would be. The cold January mornings found her snuggled under a blanket in front of the fireplace with a warm cup of tea while former co-workers made their way to the workplace on icy, dark roads. She felt blessed and privileged that her corporate working days were finally over. Waking to the sunrise instead of the alarm clock soon became a passion and drifting through the day without a schedule gave her wings of freedom.

As winter turned into spring, the feeling of freedom and a care-free summer ahead was exciting. Vacations to the beach or spending time with family and friends without consulting someone else’s timeline had been something she had given up many years ago when entering the working world.

“Come on over to my yard
 Sit around
 Let your troubles all disappear
 Come on over to my yard
‘Cause right now Heaven’s right here”  (Jeb Loy Nichols “Heaven’s Right Here”)

An so it was, mornings spent in her garden, surrounded by God’s feathered choir and the sun beckoning her to enjoy this moment she had earned….

The giddy feelings of freedom were refreshing during those first few months, but the giddiness, it seems, is wearing off. Frankly, the increasing feelings of freedom are somewhat overshadowed by the feeling of being completely trapped; trapped somewhere between what was and what is to come.

Not long ago Mondays were to be dreaded and faced with blinding determination to get past the start of the work week. Tuesdays were a little better, like the second sip of something bitter…it went down a little easier.  Wednesdays were the half-way mark of the fast paced race to make it to the finish line. Thursdays were the big push to get it all done so Fridays could be glided through with ease into the freedom of the long awaited weekend that would, no doubt go faster than the speed of light right back into someone else’s timeline. 

Days now come and go without the speed and stress of a few short months ago and are often undefined by any particular activities. Finding joy in this new found freedom is fleeting and finding a level of discipline to this new pace seems just a bit out of reach.  In a season of discontent, she finds herself in the spin cycle of change, searching for something to hold on to…. a passion……a purpose.

When it’s time for a change, you can feel it in your bones, and there’s nothing like that feeling – the feeling of chasing something new. Excited, anxious, happy…maybe even a little scared…but those feelings drive us towards the starting line of something fresh. There comes a time when we want something more, and there comes a time when we need something more. It can build up slowly, or catch you by surprise. Either way, you know it’s time to skip to the next scene, press play, and let the magic of the unknown excite you. (Author unknown)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Too Late in Life

" one day you will wake up and find there won't be anymore time to do the things you always wanted to it now".
Paulo Coelho

I watched the shadows of 80 plus years pass over her well worn face as Mary spoke of dreams left unfulfilled. Her voice was shaky and trembling hands caressed her prize possessions as she told of her dream to own a shop to display all her antiques and music artifacts. Would there have ever been a price tag that would actually give her reason to relinquish even one of the treasures she held dear to her heart? The world will probably never know, as the dreaded disease of the elderly slowly takes over, but in that moment in time as Mary's eyes revealed the depths of her soul and she uttered the words, "it's a little late in life to think about that now", time stopped and my mind raced......

I know I am not promised anything beyond this very moment, yet I am always looking ahead, dreaming that next dream and touching that next life. As my thoughts raced to the journey I had just begun, I couldn't image not fulfilling the dream of running my own business; a business that could touch and change so many lives.

I truly believe each of us is born with a purpose in life. Max Lucado tells us in his book, "The Cure For the Common Life", we are born pre-packed. When God formed us, He looked at our entire life, determined our assignment and gave us the tools to fulfill that purpose. It is our job to unpack our tool bag and use the tools (skills) specifically assigned to us. Many times we go through life trying to use the tools from someone else's bag and we find ourselves discouraged, hopeless and unfulfilled. We race through each day complaining, frustrated, and stressed out trying to meet their expectations, never finding that "sweet spot" God intended for us.  In finding our sweet spot.....our uniqueness that comes when our successes and our passions intersect.....we find joy and contentment in what we do and without a doubt, it has nothing to do with money or self recognition. God packed us with special tools so we can make him known (1 Peter 4:10-11) and to serve others (1 Cor. 12:7).

I think about the lives I have touched and those who have touched mine in the past and know it has prepared me to relate and give to many more in the future with what God packed in my tool bag; encouragement, confidence building and now, the opportunity for financial change.

We drove away that afternoon as Mary stood in front of her home where she felt secure and at peace with her surroundings, waving goodbye. I have only known her in her later years, but at that moment I knew there stood a woman who had lived her life looking back, holding on to the past and dreaming dreams she would never realize and my heart cried for her loss.

(Psalm 33:13, 15) The Lord looks from Heaven; He sees all the sons of men......he fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Finding the Better Part

It's Monday and for the first time in more than 37 years, I'm not headed out the door to face the challenges of a corporate work day. If fact, I have just returned from a wonderful, exciting, fun-filled weekend with over 6000 friends and business partners who are either doing what I'm doing this morning or working their way to doing what I'm doing......working from home, being my own boss, setting my own schedule and running my own business! As I begin my day and I find myself searching for that "quiet time" to read scriptures, to meditate and find that something.......that quiet voice to feed and nurture my soul and spirit, I pick up one of my favorite books, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver. This book has helped me through some rough spots during the last few years of being a "Martha" as I tried to juggle the stress and tension of a hectic, time-consuming work schedule, build a future home based business and make time for home and family. The order in which I list these activities are sadly, the order in which they have dominated my life; being a Martha and longing for the chance to just be a Mary sometimes.

In the story found in Luke 10:38-42, Jesus and his disciples came to town and a woman named Martha opened her home to them. Her sister Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to what He had to say instead of busying herself in the kitchen with Martha. Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made and got ticked at her sister for not helping, so she went to Jesus and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Jesus politely said "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her." 
For so many years, I have reflected Martha in my day to day life with long, stress- filled work days. 
January 2014 is the beginning of a new segment in my life. I am still a Martha, but my time is my own and Mary will be more visible as I schedule each day on my new journey, seeking the better part in each of them.