Tag: problems

Are you thirsting in the midst of provision?

girl snow hatI didn’t want to walk.  It was very cold, and starting to snow.  But in an effort to be consistent with exercise for my body and spirit, I headed out.  I doubted that God would show me anything this blustery day.  The wildlife was in hiding, and the low cloud cover gave a dreary monotonous look to the landscape.  Soon, I had to raise my coat collar and pull down my hat to keep the icy snowflakes from getting into my eyes and down my neck.

fog trailThe flakes grew in size and density until I could hardly see where I was going.  As the snow moved in, the wind died down.  The whole sky was gray with large spots of whiteness drifting down.  I kept my head down and squinted my eyes to keep my feet on the path before me.

The cold air made my nose stuffy and I began breathing through my mouth. Walking on, I realized how dry my throat was getting and became very thirsty. On a warmer day, I would have my water bottle at my side. But not today. Complaining out loud about the cold and dreariness of the day and about being thirsty, I trudged on.

Why had I walked today? If God wanted to speak to me, did I have to be so cold and thirsty to hear His message?

It was then I perceived a voice saying, “Look up!”

When I did, a huge snowflake hit me on the lips. Startled, I flinched my head back down to avoid a face full of cold, wet snow.

catching snowflakes tongueBut in licking my lips and tasting the moisture, I realized this was God’s provision for me! I had heard of “showers of blessing”, but this?  I looked up again, and opening my mouth, made a game of “catching” these blessings coming from Heaven. My thirst was quenched.

What a wonderful lesson!

It wasn’t the birds or the plants or the lake. Today the lesson was me – and how God meets my needs! Provision was all around but focused on my uncomfortable circumstances, I didn’t see it.

How often do we grumble and whine about our needs, when God’s provision is showering all around us? We need to:

  1.  Look Up: take our focus off the problem and put it on God!
  2.  Open our mouth: in praise to receive His blessing

Are you so focused on your problem you can’t see anything else? Look to God.

Are you using your mouth to moan and complain? Use it to praise Him

Are you standing under a ledge of bitterness or rebellion, preventing God’s blessings from falling on you? Step out from under that canopy to catch God’s provision.

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Whatever the weather –

Look up –

Open your mouth in praise –

Receive His blessing.

More Lessons – from the Pool Boy

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Like I said last week: God is always so gracious and faithful to meet me where I am.  This time, He met me as I was The Pool Boy

Life is like a swimming pool. We want to share our lives with others, but God showed me that, like a pool, we need to keep up the maintenance

Read the last post to see the first 2 lessons: You have to Skim and You have to Go Slow.

Here are 2 more things He taught me as I  enjoyed my day outside cleaning the pool.

 

 

3 – Don’t let go of your pole!

PoolboyPolePool poles have a tube within a tube to help you push debris to the drain, usually in the deep end you can’t otherwise reach.  It telescopes to be hidden when you don’t need it, and pulls out to extend your reach.  There will always be places in your pool that are beyond your reach, even with a pole.

It will be a temptation to give the underwater piles a little extra “push” to get them all the way to the drain in one pass.  Doing this almost always causes you to overstretch your reach, and move your hand down to the very tip-end of your pole.  Don’t do it!

So slippery when wet, it’s very easy to lose your grip on the pole and drop it off into the water.  It will keep going down in the last direction your pushed it; probably all the way to the bottom of the deepest part.  And you will have to go in after it; with all the dirty leaves and dead things.  Your presence in the water will stir up everything you’ve already swept, and you’ll have to wait even longer till it settles again and start over.

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So use your pole – and don’t let go!

Don’t let go of the tools God has given you to handle life’s difficulties: prayer, praise, His Word, the Holy Spirit, other believers.  Problems have a way of overlapping into more than one area of your life.  These tools will extend your reach and help you get a handle on whatever lies at the bottom. Be prepared to reach into every area where problems may be: attitudes, relationships, behavior.

4 – Plan to cover twice

Things re-settle.  Often, the eddies and underwater wave action will carry things farther than you think, not where you want them.  So plan to go back over areas a second time.  Sometimes brushing in one place will cause something to be pushed into an area you already swept.  So you need a second pass.

pool-3515225_640In life, often one problem stirs up other issues.  Or as the details of circumstances settle, there are loose ends that need attention.  Issues need to be revisited to be sure what was agreed upon has actually turned out the way it was intended.  And sometimes problems arise not from the actual issue, but with the resulting emotional responses to what has happened or changed.  Review the events and results yourself, and if need be, with other people involved in the issue.

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In life, as in swimming pools, everyone enjoys an inviting, refreshing, clear place to be.  To relax, to relate, to have fun.

Even with the storms of life, you can be that place for others who can them be a blessing to you.

Grab your tools.

Be the Pool Boy!

Lessons from The Pool Boy

God is always so gracious and faithful to meet me where I am.  Even in doing mundane tasks, like pulling weeds or sorting laundry, He teaches me about life.

This morning, I am spending some time outside, and I am: The Pool Boy.

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Everybody enjoys an inviting, refreshing swimming pool; with calm sparkling water, where you can see clear to the bottom.

It’s such a delight to slip right in and slide through the water – or cannon ball in, creating a big splash!

 

But few people are eager to enter when they can see dead tarantulas and scorpions on the bottom, leaves and dust clouding the water, and lifeless mosquitos and dragonflies floating on the top.

Pools require care to maintain.  And so it is in our lives.

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Rains, winds and storms come.  What blows around, settles down.  And it makes a mess, dumping dirt, leaves, insects and trash into your pool.

 

The storms of life, too, leave messes in their wake.  Disappointments, missed opportunities, broken dreams, ruined relationships, tragedies; all create stuff for us to deal with.

Here are 2 lessons I learned from being the Pool Boy that have an application in how to handle life.

1 – You have to skim often

You have a skimming net and a pole.  With it you scoop and dispose of the floating debris off the surface – the little things, light and easy to skim.  Because, what you don’t deal with as floaters, become sinkers.  You’ll have to deal with them sometime, and it’s easiest now.  On the surface, you can get to them with the least amount of effort.  Plus, it lets you see what’s on the bottom more clearly

Eventually, what doesn’t get skimmed off the top, will make its way to the bottom, lay there and rot.  Sinkers have to be pushed to the drain to get to the filter and go through it to be cleaned out.  And sinkers can gum up the works.

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In life, whenever you can, deal with the little things while they’re still “little things.”  Those annoyances, irritations, things that make you lose your focus or your ability act with kindness and generosity, can often be dealt with easily if nipped in the bud.  If not, they can become major issues that are much more difficult to deal with.  

 

Think of something in your life that’s bothersome.  Is it something that could become a bigger problem of you don’t deal with it now?  Even though we may not like confrontation, clearing the air in a situation or relationship can save you trouble farther down the road.

2 – You have to go slow

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A brush on a long pole helps you brush the sides and the bottom to guide the dirt and sinkers along to the drain.  And you have to go very slow.  Every movement in water creates eddies and currents – underwater waves.

Going fast just stirs up everything.  Then you have to wait for it all to settle again before making another pass.  If you go slow, you can gently push the problem debris to the drain to get sucked into the filter.

It’s tempting to want to brush fast, and use more force, like sweeping a floor.  But that won’t get you what you want, and you’ll end up making a bigger mess and causing yourself more delays.

In circumstances and relationships, don’t just take control or rush in with brute force to get what you want.  Take time to understand what’s going on.  Think and pray about the best course of action.

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So, life is like a pool.  And God has given you the lessons and tools you need to keep up with maintaining it.

 

 

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If you want your life to be inviting to others, take care of the little, surface problems while they’re still small, and easy to deal with.  That may mean making an apology, offering forgiveness, keeping your mouth shut.  Be guided by scripture and the Holy Spirit.

 

When you tackle bigger issues, move slowly and be prepared to use extra resources that will extend your reach. That would mean take time to pray about your actions first.

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How does you “pool” look?  Inviting?  Refreshing? Uninviting?  Has a recent rainstorm left you with some work to do?

Grab your tools.  Be The Pool Boy!