Tag: wisdom

If a Rose needs support – do I – Part 2

rosetrellisI’ve discovered putting a mature rose bush on a trellis can be a thorny and painful process.

Especially when the branches are heavy with blossoms and when the winding arms have already started down a path contrary to the direction I want them to go.

It’s the same with me. I’m the rose bush.

When I’ve been going my own way for a while, it takes more effort to change direction. To be willing to bend to the new way – even if I know it will benefit me in the long run.

 

 

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My trellis is the Bible. It’s the firm, never changing, God-inspired framework that guides and supports my life.

Often I know what I should do in a situation because the Bible is clear on its teaching. And I’m familiar with what it says. In these cases I don’t even have to think about my decisions.

Those instances seem natural to me. There’s comfort and support in the sturdiness of the framework that backs me. It helps bear my weight . And I lean on its structure as I grow.

Other times I come upon a verse that says something new to me and I feel a conviction to make a change in my attitude or behavior that causes some discomfort as I align myself to the structure of the trellis. That particular scripture becomes a sticking point for me that lifts me up, giving me guidance and new direction.

20180623_161520And then sometimes, there is a greater challenge. Without much thought, I allow myself to stray in a direction that feels freeing at first. It may be that other people are going that way and I think it would be fun.

But further down the path I see it leading me in a direction that takes me away from what I know is good. And I have to make a hard choice.

Sometimes it means making a U-turn and I have to bend over backwards to come back into alignment. That’s uncomfortable as I pull away from the people and activity I had joined. Uncomfortable because I want people to like me. And I want to be known as reliable and trustworthy, not fickle and inconsistent.

On rare occasions though, a U-turn isn’t possible. I simply have to cut off the branch entirely and discard the pieces that went in the wrong direction. This brings fear and embarrassment. Fear of what other people will think of me. They may question my choice, tease me, call me names, or talk badly about me behind my back. It hurts when I feel rejected.

Embarrassing because I made a bad choice and got myself into something I didn’t anticipate and couldn’t handle. These occasions are sticky, thorny situations. They are painful.

Painful because of the rejection I feel, but also a loss. I grieve the time and effort and resources wasted. And I grieve the loss of the relationships and doing something I enjoyed, at least for a while.

Fastening even one branch of a rogue rose bush to a trellis can be a painful chore. Its thorns scratch and grab at my sleeves, causing little snags or tears in the fabric. Sometimes they scratch and grab at me, leaving the skin on my arms full of small, bloody reminders of my efforts.

In my own life, redirection or pruning can cause just as much soreness and pain.

climbing-roses-1431123_640I haven’t finished the rose bush project yet. But as with my own life, we’re both works in progress. Thankfully my Gardener has a beautiful plan for me. With His endless patience and boundless grace He won’t give up on me no matter the scratches.

I love gardening.

And I love my Gardener!

 

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If a Rose needs support – do I?

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I bought a trellis for my rose bush this weekend.

It’s for its own good.

It gives stability for the plant’s long, gangly branches that hang down to the ground. And it provides a framework to display its beauty.

But does the rose understand what I’m doing for it?

Does it resent being tied to a frame – limiting its growth to one direction or one plane? Is it grateful for the support? The stability it offers? Will it feel different from the other plants that don’t get that kind of support?

 

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This project caused me to think about my life and how I am like a rose bush

I want to have the freedom to go in any direction I choose or feel led. But do I need a trellis?  And would that look like for me?

 

 

book-1936547_640For me, the Bible gives me guidance, structure, some might say wisdom. But do I see it as wisdom and embrace it willingly? Always? Or sometimes, do I see it as restriction, leading me in a limited path that seemingly restricts my freedom?

 

I would love to say I embrace it all the time. But I have fought it, tried to get around it, occasionally wondered what my life would be had I taken a different path.

I hope, with the support of the trellis, my rose bush will stand tall, displaying its beauty and fragrance for all to enjoy.

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And I hope my life will be the same. That God will be my gardener. And that I will embrace His Word to direct, guide, encourage, support and strengthen me whenever and however I need it. So that I will stand tall, displaying His honor and His grace for all to see.

 

Be a Silly Goose for Christ Part 2

Continuing to learn from the Goose:

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3 Communicate with those around you.

Geese are not quiet birds. They seem to always have something to say to each other. Whenever a group is already on the water and another group comes in to land, all kinds of honking commences. Similarly, when a group is preparing to take off, there is much ado.

We should share with other believers what we have learned: how to get along better in life, where there are traps and how to avoid them, praise and thanks for God’s bountiful provisions. I don’t know what the geese are telling each other, but it could be: “Hey there’s great grain over here!” Or “Watch out for the foxes at the end of the lake!” Wouldn’t you like to receive helpful direction and encouragement?

 

4 Circle before you land.

wild-geese-1148985_640Geese will always fly around an area before they actually touch down. I have seen them circle the lake 3 times before the first one touches down on the water or in a field. It’s as if they’re scoping out the location for danger and suitability.

Too often, we jump right in without checking things out and counting the cost. We need to use the brain God gave us and seek His wisdom as we make decisions, accept commitments, and move forward. Pull back to get the big picture and know what you’re getting into before you jump in with both feet.

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5 Travel light.

Before a bird takes off, it offloads all excess baggage. Every ounce counts when you have to physically carry it, especially long distances. So before it takes off, it poops! If you live in a flyway, this is a common sight and the result makes for very messy walking or picnicking.

We need to remember to take only what we need on our journey. How often do we travel with so much past hurt, anger, disappointment and upset that we can barely move forward? We need to expel envy, malice, bitterness, and hate because these things weigh us down and keep us from flying high. Drop off and leave behind discouragement, resentment, unforgiveness, whatever entangles you. Get the help you need to be rid of those poisons that will steal your joy and sap your strength. Read books, get counseling and pray to be able to forgive and let go of past hurts and failures.

We may like to think of ourselves as more majestic creations, maybe like the swans or eagles of the bird world. But God has placed wisdom all around us in all shapes and sizes. We can learn from everything He created. Learn from the behavior I’ve seen in these geese.

Dare to be a Silly Goose for Christ!

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You Light My Path

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Recently I found myself walking with a group of friends in the dark. I had a small flashlight that came in handy as the sidewalk had a broken and uneven surface.

 

detective-flashlight-260x300We huddled together and moved forward cautiously. At first, I thought it would be best to shine the light up ahead of us so we could see where the path curved or stopped at a curb or was cut off by bushes.   But it became clear that we could walk with the most certainty and speed when the light shone brightly on the very next step we were to take.

Looking ahead is good for getting a sense of direction, but we needed the close, step by step guidance to be sure our ankles didn’t turn or slip off the narrow path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Your Word, the Bible, is that light for me. The scriptures come alive in the circumstances of my life.

Pros_and_Cons_of_Tech_Communication_When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.” So while it is wise to make a list of pros and cons and count the cost of decisions, the logic of the world is not the final answer. Trusting in You to lead me through prayer and Scripture helps me make my final choice.

When I feel frustrated with something I had hoped would turn out better, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”. It picks me up and lets me know that instant gratification isn’t always available.   And reiterates that some things take time to see desired results.

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Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs. I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize] Your Word reminds me I am never, ever, no never, not ever alone.

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Like the flashlight on the path, Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.

Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its ‘wisdom’ You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.

Click on these to read the scripture again and see what God might be saying to you:

Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

The Weeds are back!

Just when I think the lawn is greening up and looking alive, I realize the green I see is mostly weeds! They probably never left but just lay dormant until Spring’s rain and sun coaxed them out of hiding.

One way to deal with weeds is to poison them. But if the weeds are in or near areas of desired vegetation, the poison will kill the good plants too. So the solution is to pull the undesirable weeds out of the places where desirable plants are growing.

I’ve learned two good steps in getting rid of weeds like this: prepare the ground, prepare yourself.

1 – Prepare the ground. In order for the ground to be willing to give up the weeds, it must be prepared in advance. If you go out and mow or just start pulling, you’re liable to only get the weed tops. When the roots remain, all you’ve done is stimulate the plant to grow more vigorously! It will come back again and again, each time more hardy than the last.

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So a day or so before the uprooting, the ground needs to be thoroughly soaked and maybe tilled a little. Then loosen with a pitchfork of sorts to break the hold the cemented soil has on the roots. When this is done pulling up weeds and getting the roots is more successful.

photo by samanthas

2 – Prepare yourself. This step is intended to protect you during your weed-pulling excursion. Sunscreen or protective clothing may be desired to limit the sun’s burning ultraviolet rays. There may be strategically located places on your body that are exposed during the squatting and bending hours of pulling weeds that burn very quickly and can leave you hurting when the work is done. Also, a mat or pad to kneel on or lean down on can save your lower back from the discomfort of bending at the waist.

Use a hand tool to break up the earth when it seeks to hold the roots tighter than your own arm strength. The final protection: appropriately thick or leather gloves to give you the firm grip you need to get leverage on the weeds as well as protect your hands from thorns and stickers.

Prepared in this way, you can enjoy a wonderful experience of clearing an area of ground to allow grass or new plants to take root. And they can grow unencumbered by the choking demands of unsightly weeds.

And so it is with life.

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Weeds of bitterness, jealousy, shame, anger, and fear can ruin your enjoyment of life. They can get a stranglehold on your sense of peace and destroy your attitude of Christian love. They show up as ugly and undesirable feelings, as cross, unkind words, as unloving attitudes. But you can tackle them!

Following the same guidelines as for gardening, you can have a beautiful, healthy, enjoyable life, growing in peace and joy.

1 – Prepare the ground. Spend time in prayer asking God to go before you and to be at work in the situation causing you pain. He may choose to change the circumstances, but He may also choose to change something in you. Be willing to accept what God tells you is needed. Ask Him to work in the circumstances and in the lives of any people involved.

If you need to go to someone and talk to them, ask God to safeguard the time set aside for the meeting and prepare their hearts to help you remove the weed between you. Also ask God to send the Holy Spirit to be in control and guide both your words and their responses.

2 – Prepare yourself. Go forward in the full armor and protection of God. To be cleansed in His perfect forgiveness, confess any sin in your life. Be especially specific involving the “weed” situation you are working on. Ask for and accept His forgiveness, cleansing you from your sin, guilt and shame.

Then prayerfully ask for God to give you His perspective on the problem. He may want to teach you something through this difficulty. Ask for His will to be done in the situation. Ask God for wisdom to show you how to get a grip on and remove the root of the issue. And put on the armor of God found in Ephesians 6 to protect you from anything that might keep the “weed” alive in your life to defeat you.

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You may discover that the biggest, meanest looking weeds give way easily when God has prepared both you and the ground.

Don’t be afraid to tackle the weeds!

 

Keep pulling on them and working the ground till they give way and are gone! In this way, you can be a victorious Christian, enjoying the fruits of the Spirit taking root and growing unencumbered in your new, weed-free life!