~ Tangled Motivation

tangled-motivation

I was talking to a writer the other day who said this, “I’ll have to see if I can find some motivation.”

I wanted to scream. I have news for those who are still in the dream world of “finding motivation.”

Motivation can’t be found. Unlike lost keys, or even the coin of great worth, motivation can’t be found. It’s not lost. Motivation is made.

It’s not made from feelings, or emotions, or delivered by a muse, or even from on high. Motivation can only be formed by rational, deliberate, intentional decisions.

God Himself can’t and won’t motivate you. Not that He’s not all-powerful, but because His first priority is to give us the complete freedom of CHOICE. He made a plan before time began. Every nuance of history and the future was woven before the first man was formed. There are no tangled threads in God’s tapestry.

We, however, are overwhelmed with choices and decisions to make. Therein lies the problem. We let the overwhelmingness of our days keep us from being intentional. We take the easy and lazy way out. We deceive ourselves into believing that it’s all too much. But it’s not too much. God doesn’t leave us hopeless and helpless. He put within every believer His Spirit to guide us into all wisdom.

We make thousands of decisions every single day. What percentage of them do we make after asking for His help? “Pray without ceasing” takes on a whole new light, doesn’t it?

Do you want to get things accomplished? Reach your goals? Work on the real priorities, instead of being sabotaged by the subterfuge of instant gratification?

Make some real decisions! Motivation will follow.

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~ Grow where you’re Planted

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Seeing this Wild Ginger coming up in the broken pathway reminded me of this phrase.

There are times in life when we wonder how we got where we are. Most times it’s the end result of our own actions. Occasionally, we are clueless.

Either way, the only way to improve our situation is to make the best of where we are until we earn our way out, or until God allows us out.

The way out is always the result of praise and gratitude. With gratitude comes a positive attitude. But praise comes first, not as a result. When we praise in faith, then our circumstances can improve, or our hearts will learn to accept that they won’t.

The result will be praise that is felt from the heart.

We may or may not leave the pavement crack for the company of a flower bed, but either way, with gratitude we will flourish.

~ What are your Chances?

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You’ve all tried these machines ~ or worse yet, had the lovely experience of watching your child come to grips with the odds of winning a prize out of these rigged monsters of greed.

Relying on God’s promises isn’t a crap-shoot ~ it’s faith.

There is no risk involved in faith. It feels that way ~ it’s a scary thing letting go of our own self-reliance and trusting God.

“Stepping out in faith” feels like it carries the same odds as playing one of these games (invented by the devil himself, I’m quite sure.)

Here’s what’s at the heart of faith ~ faith is the opposite of trusting in ourselves. The reason the world at large has such a huge problem with faith is that faith is the crucial issue of our existence. Are we going to trust in a being we can’t see to have all the answers to the problems that are bigger than we? There is too much we can’t solve, too many unanswered questions, too much everything.

And yet, we all–believers and unbelievers, innately turn first to self-reliance. While all along there are answers and promises and instructions for all aspects of life the second we let go of self-reliance and simply refuse to play the losing game.

~ Dead Wood

It’s easy to look at the mess we’ve made as dead wood. Every year I have to cut the dead wood out of my Hydrangea. Every year there’s more. It’s a natural part of the life cycle of many woody shrubs and all trees. A certain percentage of the limbs and branches die off, and more grow in their place. Think of them as the equivalent of human hair. It doesn’t mean there is rot or disease, it’s just part of the process.

Now take that thought and apply it to the mess you’ve made of your attempts. Is your life (and possibly your home and office) filled with the clutter and refuse of attempts that went awry or projects that didn’t make it past the planning stage? Don’t beat yourself up! This is a normal part of the process of growth.

Rather than agonize over the failures, look at your mess as proof that you’re alive, trying new things, attempting to be and do more. Then get out the pruning shears and get rid of those things holding you back, reminding you of failure, and taking up valuable space in your life. Learn from God’s natural process. If you don’t cut out the dead wood, then the new can’t grow. There is no space, or light or air.

Breathe in those wonderful life-affirming verses that you love, and then tackle just one pruning job today. Nothing brings hope for the future like new spring green growth. Make room for it in your life.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB

“The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy.
I’ve come that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10 ISV

~ Rooted in Love

uprooted tree - Debbie Richardson

~ Rooted in Love

By my friend, Debbie Richardson

“Yesterday when I was reeling in the initial shock of things I went to the beach to feel God’s grace wash over me. He showed me the roots on these trees.

See them? All dug up and exposed?

Then I looked up to see wide beautiful branches heavy with new growth and greenery. God showed me that a tree can still thrive in conditions that pound the soil away from the roots. Exposed roots, while a little ugly, still function.

I’m going to thrive with my gnarly old roots because they are working just fine. It may not be pretty, but the tree holds fast and continues to flourish.

How’s that for a little lesson at the beach? God always meets me where I am. . . .”

~ I do believe my friend Debbie has learned one valuable lesson; that regardless of what others may think, she truly is on her way to perfection.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18

~ “You have the right to remain silent.”

Grandma and Lea

While visiting my parents, I saw a watercolor I did years ago of my grandmother and her best friend, Lea. I wrote a story to go with the illustration . . . on a typewriter. Let’s just say it was early writing. I rewrote it a bit for God Glimpses. Here’s the story in a condensed version:

~

I can’t remember ever hearing my grandmother say an unkind word about anyone. Not once. I often heard her exclaim, “If you can’t find anything good to say, don’t say anything at all!”

As a result, her friendship with her neighbor Lea was a puzzlement to me. Lea was large, loud and boisterous. Grandma was tiny and meek. Grandma was a sparrow, bright-eyed, darting about, rarely sitting down. Lea was a walrus, landing with an “oomph” into whatever room or chair would accommodate her presence.

Almost every day Lea would come by, just in time to watch her favorite soaps with my grandmother. During the programs, Lea would exclaim, “Why I never!” and “Did you hear what he just said to her?” and “Don’t you believe him honey. He’s up to no good!” My grandma would simply “tsk, tsk” and shake her head. During commercials, they retold what they had just seen, as though they hadn’t both been sitting there the entire time. When the last show ended, they would both sigh, sorry that they had to wait another day to find out what would happen next.

That was when the real stories came out. The stories about politics, and the neighbors. Childish curiosity pulled me into the room when the TV went off. It wasn’t the politics — it was the stories. Two-headed calves, cattle rustling, jealousies over prize-winning quilts and jellies at the county fair, and other stories unique to farm life. But invariably, the influence of the soaps turned the conversation to the relationships between neighboring farmers, and especially their wives. Grandma barely contributed to those conversations, but she hung on every word, just as she did when viewing the black and white TV. In her exuberance, Lea would venture farther and farther into downright gossip, and if she wasn’t stopped, could be vicious. That’s when Grandma would quietly remind Lea, “If you can’t find anything good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

That always mad Lea mad. Sometimes she fumed and “humphed.” Occasionally she packed up her needlework and stormed out of the house, declaring that their friendship had no value if she couldn’t voice her opinions. Sometimes she wouldn’t come back for days. She always found a way to save her dignity and return without taking the blame, however. It was usually in the form of “Well, you sit there and listen, so that makes you just as bad!”

Even in my loyalty to Grandma, I had to admit that Lea had a point. Grandma should have, and could have, stopped Lea sooner. However, when the gossip made it to Grandma’s house, that’s where it stopped. Grandma lived up to her word. She never repeated the gossip she heard from Lea or from the other neighbors who came by with their versions of the tales told.

We all have the right to remain silent, and not just the right, but the duty. It has to stop somewhere. We can choose to keep our mouths shut.

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36 (KJV)

 

Time and Priority Apps Recommendations

PLAN, PRIORITIZE, and TRACK your New Year!
Want great apps to help prioritize and plan your new year? (I wish I could benefit from these recommendations.)
The app is called Priority Matrix. I have it synced on my phone and tablet. (Free there, but costs on the computer.) Put in a master list, a weekly list, and a today list. Divide the master list into Urgent, Important, Obligations, and Eventually. (Keep in mind that only if the item is important to you and a true obligation does it belong in urgent, unless it’s unavoidable, like taking your kid to the ER) This also helps you resist volunteering yourself for things you can’t really do. The This Week and Today lists are divided into whatever categories your life takes. Right now mine is journals, home, art & writing, nonprofit & church.
Hours Tracker logo
Another great time management tool is an app called Hours Tracker. Great for tracking the time you spend on projects. Very versatile. Keeps me focused when I know I’m on the clock, and helps tremendously with putting a value on my time.

~ Self-Help is Rot

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This picture and the title may be all you need for this God-Glimpse.

Our very best efforts to repair ourselves turn out like this–a bad idea made worse by lack of experience, resources and patience.

Rot started the problem. A section of the rafter had to go before the fungus spread to the rest of the roof. We paid someone to repair the roof,  but noticed a couple of years later that the roof was sagging again, in the same location. It wasn’t enough to remove just a section of the board, the entire rafter should have been replaced with new. No wonder the roof was sagging!

It’s not enough to get rid of sin, bad habits or even weaknesses; they must be replaced with the proper support, or the roof of our good intentions will soon leak and eventually cave in.

Only The Master Carpenter has the experience, resources and patience to repair the rot of our lives. Only His Word is strong enough to shore up the roof over our heads.

Replace the old rafters of your life with new Living Words from the Father of Life.

~ Inside the Box

2015-09-02 15.26.13 Last week I asked what you might have in a box of joy, and told you I’d show you the inside of the little box of joy that I made for myself

This box just happens to be my travel watercolor kit. I searched and researched and am thrilled with my choices of supplies. In fact, this works so well that I seldom use my large watercolor palette or even my expensive Kolinsky brushes. Simply squeezing more water into the tip of a Sakura brush is faster and wastes less paint.

The purchased watercolor kit within my kit isn’t the most expensive, in fact it’s one of the least expensive on the market. The great thing is that the watercolors are standard half-pan size, so when I want to replace a color, I can buy just one of any number of brands. The whole kit is a tiny bit of perfection.

No matter what you do for work or for fun, you understand the joy of having the right tools for the job. No struggling to make do, no wishing you could have the top of the line because what you have is already the best for you, even if it’s not the most expensive or the most popular.

Every single time my eyes land on my little box of joy, I smile. For me, it’s perfect.

What things in your life are you perfectly happy with? This little box of joy reminds me that God perfectly and precisely fits me with the things I need to do his work, even if they don’t always seem like it to someone else (or me, when I’m in ungrateful mode.)

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

~ Fearing the Spam Journey

spam japaneseI knew it!

This is why I avoid the Sushi line at restaurants.

Seriously, do you avoid food when you’re not sure of the origin–or even its provenance just before it showed up in front of you?

We found this can, along with a lot of others at our local grocery store–on sale–all expired.

Ummm, no thanks.

For me, life is full of spam, and I don’t mean the junk mail kind. Full of uncertainty, unknown futures, unexplored consequences.

I want the good kind of change in my life, but my fear of the results makes me hesitate. Even worse, my fear of that period before the results gives me the shivers. I don’t know what kind of changes my body or my mind will experience to get to the goal. It’s the journey I fear. (And I call myself an adventurer.) Truly, trusting God and living by faith requires stepping–no, leaping–out of our comfort zones. Free falling.

So, why do we fear these changes that we think God is going to ask of us? Why are we convinced that he’s going to make us uncomfortable? (Maybe because we get it that to become more like him we have to let go of sin, and prior to doing that, we’ll have to admit to some of it? Yeah, probably.)

Mostly it’s about priorities. God wants nothing between us. His desire for us is a perfectly sweet and loving relationship. Take the best relationship moments you’ve ever known and multiply them times a zillion. That’s God’s love capacity. Our capacity–not so much. So he asks us to examine our own hearts, to find out where our priorities are:

  • What do I think about most?
  • What do I talk about the most?
  • What do I do with my time?
  • What do I escape to?
  • What do I pray about?

It’s not that the journey is meant to be painful, it’s just that sometimes the unknown is a feast, when we’re used to Spam.

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”