Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time Marches On...

In the Pacific Northwest, changing seasons from winter to spring and spring to summer can be a little difficult to mark.

"Is this still winter rain, or have we moved on to spring showers?"

"Is it going to stay warmer long enough to say summer has arrived?"

Fall, however, is a little more easily defined because of the trees. When the brilliant yellows, oranges and reds appear, we feel a briskness in our souls, gear up for trick or treat-ers, jack-o-lanterns, plan our shopping for the right turkey for this year’s Thanksgiving gathering, and start getting serious about that Christmas list.

This seems like the season to take inventory of our lives as well . . .

"What has changed for me since this time last year?" "Has this year been especially trying for me?" "Do I feel ‘asleep at the wheel’ or is everything ‘on track’?

Perhaps this is the time to join a Bible-study group, Life Group, or book club.

Have you ever tried a "morning letter to God"? It can be a great exercise in getting your heart-thoughts down on paper. You might be surprised at what comes out when you write for five minutes without allowing yourself to "edit". Just "Dear God . . . "a deep breath, and what comes. Giving yourself a little time restraint, and not allowing editing, but speaking from your heart, can really be something that brings clarity to questions and pondering you’ve had going on "in the background" and bring it to the front so you can ask Him to help you with the underlying motivation for those thoughts.

Maybe you would be willing to tell us a little about something new in your life . . . a baby, a job, a book, a study . . . anything that has caused you to "adjust your sails" a little.

Here’s one of mine: I’m adjusting my calendar to allow more time for writing. I’ve had several writing projects lying on my desk, waiting for me, and letting them collect dust because I started them, but stopped when they got hard. Some of them are ancient!

I’ve been convicted that I need to be obedient in finishing them, not judging them before they have a chance to breathe, and just plain having the discipline to sit there until something comes. It’s hard, but I have good friends and family who have heard me out about it, and called me on it.

I went away for a retreat in early October, with the question of working on these things at the front of my mind. On the first morning, I gathered at a table before breakfast with several friends to complete the guided study we were provided. When we had all finished our study worksheets, we began a conversation that included discussing study/devotional books that had influenced us.

The woman on my right mentioned a book, and the woman on my left said, "That’s amazing! That book changed my life! I had forgotten about it!"

A few minutes later, the woman on my left mentioned another book, and the woman on my right said, "That’s amazing! That book changed my life! I had forgotten about it!"

This conversation was "in my face". I came to the retreat questioning whether the hard work of finishing these writing pieces "matters". The conversation between these two women said to me that I needed to finish what I had been called to do, without judging the outcome, and trying to decide before I am finished if I actually have something to say.

The Holy Spirit was pretty clear: "That’s not your business. You need to be obedient, and leave the results up to me."

It wasn’t easy. I came away from the weekend doing an inventory of my time, to see if I could squeeze in some writing time. My cohorts pounced on me! "Stop postponing what you’ve clearly been told to do. Just do it!"

So, this new season, I’m moving things around, and making time for writing. It’s hard. And good.

What’s up for you? Are you being called to "do it differently" in some way?

Please share your walk. It’s how we help one another grow.

Mary Hagle, Editor, The House

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. KJV

In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. AmplifiedBible

Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. The Message

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