~ 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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~ You WILL

grapevine

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

I was looking out my back window at my pathetic espallied fruit trees today and once again contemplating whether I should give up and cut them down and use the upright poles between them to support a grape vine. (I should have looked up apple tree diseases before purchasing apple trees prone to Apple Cedar Rust Disease for a house on Cedar Road.)

The thought of grape vines always brings this verse to mind. Then my devotion today had the same verse. For some reason the word “WILL” jumped out for the first time in a long time. Almost every passage in the Bible is conditional in one way or another and this verse is blatant. IF you do this, this will happen. “If you remain in me, and I in you . . .”

I’m in a season of feeling pretty useless, what with my body being in rebellion mode. The more my body rebels, the less I accomplish, the more I’m forced to analyse the importance of my activities, physical, mental and spiritual.

I’m not happy about my rebellious body, but I’m grateful. I want to be fruitful. I don’t have what it takes physically, but guess what? That isn’t a condition! All I have to do is stick even closer to my maker, and draw the strength to produce fruit from him.

Not a bad trade off for a younger body and distracted lifestyle.

~ 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

~ Forever 44

2016-02-03 16.22.06

No matter what the question, if the answer is a number, my dad will say, “forty-four.”

It started when he was about to turn forty-five. He’d aged enough, and didn’t see any point in getting older. Forty-four was old enough. As long as he could stay forty-four, he would still be young enough to . . . whatever.

Don’t tell my dad, but he’s added forty years to that number. You’d never know it. He still works twelve hour days, just not five in a row. He still thinks young and looks terrific for his age, even if he’s not working forty-four hours a week any longer.

Days like today I wonder how he does it ~ days when I wake up feeling one hundred. Seriously? It gets worse? I don’t even want to think about it.

So, instead, I choose to think about this:

Isaiah 40:28-31 KJV ~ “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

So, like Dad, I get out of bed every morning, and have a talk with my heavenly Dad. It might take a while of waiting on the Lord, but soon I’m feeling forty-four again.

Waiting and Patience ~ as much as I don’t like those words, they keep coming up again and again. I have to keep forgiving myself and forgiving others and learn all over again that no matter how many times we fail, He never does. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I’m slowly learning to enjoy these times of weakness, just to see what God will do above and beyond my best efforts.

 

God Glimpses #24 – Am I an Artist, or a Cow?

Leather Jackets

God made me with artistic talent. God made me to write.

I am not a plumber. I am not an electrician. I cannot repair cars.

I am not a cow. Cows have a multitude of uses, and most of those uses come after the cow stops giving milk. Dog food, glue, belts and gloves and purses and shoes and jackets.

Book covers.

I am not a cow. I don’t have to wait until I’m dead to be useful. I may never look at a leather book cover the same way. God made me to fulfill a purpose.

I’m so glad I get to do it while I’m alive!

No more guilt because God made me to be something awesome, something I enjoy. Whoever heard of a car mechanic complaining that he hates working on cars, that it takes up his every thought? Who ever heard of a car mechanic caring whether people thought he should be paid to do his job? Really, where does this guilt come from?

Do people need leather book covers? Leather jackets? Leather gloves or purses? No, they want.

My job is to be so good at what God called me to be that people think they need what I have to offer. Because what I have to offer is a glimpse into what God can do with someone with a little talent and a lot of baggage, someone who is submitted to the process of God’s refinery. Someone who’s not going to let what I’m not stop me from becoming what He IS.

Because He’s called me into His likeness.

God Glimpses #20 – 2 WILD 4 U

2-wild-4-u

The second I pulled close to this car, jealousy ensued.

4Runner,  2WLD4U license plate . . . Adventure!

Seriously, images of myself with a rifle, highjacking said car, crossed my mind.

Then I remembered that I was driving my daughter back from a non-visit with a specialist. Why a non-visit? Because I had the day right, but the month was wrong. I make my own adventures. Who needs to go to the wilds for adventure?

For all I knew, that person ahead of me might be miserable down south in Philadelpha, sweating in shorts, while I was bundled up for the cold, wishing for spring.

It’s all perspective. God says don’t look on other people’s things, their lives, look to your own. Do what you’re supposed to do. Be who He made you to be.

Embrace your own adventure. There is so much good to see where we are.

God Glimpses #19 – Seeds of Hope

sycamore seed balls

Yesterday’s post dealt with hope deferred. When I took this photo, the sky was a beautiful blue, just begging me to look up.

Sycamore seeds. Fascinating textured globes of promise. In my minds eye they are broken all over the driveway, as they will be soon. They’re smashed from the impact of falling, squashed by tires, blown into fluff bits, and floating in the wind in tiny segments. They’re everywhere! They’re landing in my flower beds, in the lawn, heading for the soccer field across the street . . . if they make it past the hedge of trees.

“Just DO it” reverberates from yesterday.

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hand rest, because you don’t know which will succeed, whether one or the other, or if both of them will be equally good.”  Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)

 

God Glimpses #18 – Hope Deferred

snow on flower pots

The Bible says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” All winter long I’ve been ignoring these flower pots on my back porch, pretending the watering can doesn’t exist, pushing down dreams of spring green.

This morning, (after not one flake of predicted snow fell from the so-called snow storm earlier in the week,) I woke to find this not-so-sugar coating still falling from a sky that should have been blue.

(Shoot the weather men and women, please!)

We have no control over the weather. We can justifiably feel sick at the thought of another cold day with even the emerging crocuses looking frozen and miserable.

But do we defer our own hope? What dreams and goals do you have that could be achieved if you would just DO instead of dream . . . or wish . . . or pretend to hope. I don’t know about you, but I’m great at setting goals, not so great at remembering to look at them by mid-week.

DOers get things done. It’s that simple. Spend less time planning, and more time DOing. That’s my God Glimpse for today, folks. He sprinkled frosting on my misery and reminded me to look up (. . . and then go DO.)