I told myself feelings are not facts and I do believe it.
Add that little saying to all the others, Lisa Anne, over time your happy heart will override your frenzied mind.
Will cushion the knowing that’s gonna grow you, will soften the edges of you, will be a plump pillow for your head at day’s end, sweet rest for the soul.
I listen to a whole lot of stuff when I’m walking, wisdom and or lyrical voices.
I’m particular with my listening, not my favorite thing to learn from tones that are “chipper”.
Cut out the pretty words. I crave what I already know, just need a voice confirming on a firmer note.
I’m down to just a few now, podcasts that are good fits for me.
Yesterday, I silenced my phone.
I paused the voice that was the same as so many with a similar exhortation.
I already knew. I already know.
I’ve got extra blank space now. I’m not sure I’ve ever had so much room in my thoughts for things to grow.
I’m challenged to accept the void of activity. I resist the not knowing what may be next or not come at all.
I walked bored with others’ knowledge and I saw the geese behind their mama all swimming in a row.
But, first I heard them, the rhyme and rhythm of their following along.
I paused then walked on.
I turned the steep sharp corner carefully and hearing a rattling engine moved to the far edge of the high grass.
I was prepared; but, not to be startled, an old van, a bearded tank top man and a head down in the darkness passenger in his midst.
“I’m walking.” I answered when he asked if I needed a ride and then added, “I walk everyday.” wishing I hadn’t added that and hoping he didn’t hear.
He drove away.
I approached the place where the Labrador loved to sit and I heard the croak of a frog off someplace and I remembered the creek of my childhood and those simple and yet complex days.
We walked every day. We took off to our simple shady quiet place.
I turned towards home and saw the bright blooms of summer, found the hidden key, let myself in and then double locked the door.
Later, I told the neighbor, I’ll be walking a new way, find cut throughs through yards. She said okay, suggested I leave one ear without music.
I told my husband.
He listened and agreed on new ways to get to the cul de sacs, the neighborhood and finally the trail I love.
I mentally made a plan.
I expected to be afraid in my sleep, awakened by the encounter of the ones in the old tagless used and beat up van.
But I wasn’t.
I considered the possible intent of the man and I am responding accordingly, not afraid,
I’m changing, I’m listening. I’m learning.
Feelings do not write your stories.
Listen more to what you are seeing now.
Your story was written so very long ago by the one who knows you now and then and in all the days to come.
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.”
Psalms 139:1-3 NLT
Notice the one who takes unending notice of you.
You, who God made fearfully and wonderfully well.
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!”
I believe God is pleased that we think of Him, ponder, consider His ways.
“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?”
Proverbs 8:1 NIV
That’s just another example of His grace.
I believe God sees our gradual growth and celebrates rather than pontificates over why on earth has it taken her so long to arrive here, why can’t she stay in this place?
I believe God is simply happy to see our return, our return to believing that He knows.
I’m certain that morning is the most optimum time for gentle instruction.
I’ve not a clue as to why I woke up this morning with the question to myself.
How are you waking, with regret or redemption?
Why, oh why must I wake with such deep considerations?
Or maybe we all do, just keep them to ourselves.
Makes good sense, your brain filters your thoughts all through the night, transfers them to the place where the finished and important product, a lesson is delivered.
Voila’! Here you go! This message is just for you! God
Are you smiling now, imagining God saying “Voila'”?
I think sometimes I think the oddest things and then realize there is always a reason.
A secret waiting to be revealed.
To be researched, to be determined what it is exactly God wants me to know, to hold on to as my own.
Wants me to u-turn, don’t go back that way, you were progressing, see now…stay here.
Be at peace.
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV
Someone called this morning by accident. Her Bluetooth dialed the wrong Lisa. I knew her voice, thought Lord have mercy, did I call her and forget I did?!
But, I hadn’t and she reminded me of our relationship which led to me telling her what I’m doing now, hoping to use my grant writing skills to work with causes I believe in.
And that led to her telling me she had “chills” now because of an idea she has to strengthen the cause she is over.
We talked about it further and even longer about our faith, about how God wakes us to new opportunities every day and how none of them are accidents.
I considered her truth.
She considered mine as I shared with her my waking thought, regret or redemption, which will you choose to frame your day?
She said “Oh, that’s wise.” “Thanks”, I said and thought, thank you God for this confirmation of my next steps and direction.
Of letting some things go unattended to give my energy to what is new, even unseen, sort of brewing.
So, what is this state of mind and heart called “spiritual maturity”?
It is waking with regret less often in light of your redemption.
It is waking with the clear and attainable path towards peace.
It is recalling the stuff you felt God telling you to do afraid even if there’s fear in the room because there’s a reason you don’t know that God wants you to go, to be something He sees as necessary for others in the room.
He has us go places we don’t understand.
It is being attentive to a nudge that becomes a lengthy pause because you are still enough to become more wise, to receive either good or disappointing clarity so that your peace is not stolen and so that you grow.
That’s redemption, my friend.
Understanding what it is that is the taker of and opposing force of your peace.
Spiritual maturity is a splendid and secretly personal gift.
It is a fervent fire inside kept alive by your yearning to learn more, know more of God.
It is an acknowledgment of better days, contented minds, and restful nights because of your redemptive choice to forgo regret.
It is knowing you are still growing. It is glimpses of the secret place, the view of you through God’s eyes.
It is not always easy, nor is it difficult at all.
The secret for me, intentional choosing which thoughts I allow to write scary, hurtful and impossible to understand stories.
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6 ESV
To set my mind on the awakening things of my mornings.
Lord, help me to stay quiet enough to know which way to stay my thoughts and which way my words and work should go. Because of your redemptive mercy towards me, Amen
I’m in between assignments, never had this much time on my hands.
I have, perhaps never been so quiet, so quiet I can almost hear God’s plans.
At least more than even before, though not fully I am sure.
The spaces in my mind occupied by busy and angst are uncomfortably new.
I must fill them with something, I thought, then waited and in tiny incremental steps, did one thing knowing God will do the next.
God is always working behind the scenes.
3:45 in the afternoon yesterday and I’m found with time to fill.
I sat poolside with a book and my husband until I’d had enough and three hours still until I’d need to get ready.
I’m goin’ for a walk, I told him and struck out like I do.
Happened upon a feather and I kept it although it was grey, not white or blue, oddly it was habitual, my picking it up, not my typical “totem discovered” enthused.
My music skipped annoyingly so I walked without a beat, a solitary robin above me, lifting in a rollercoaster rhythm through the trees.
I found the camera icon and flipped my phone around only to break the cycle, the fat robin never came back into view.
As if it say, that was just for you, no documenting our time together for others required.
Okay. I see.
This morning I remembered last night’s silent prayer.
Driving home later than usual, I’m in the passenger seat and we’ve been with people and chatter and both agreed upon what my husband calls a “conversational hiatus”.
Big semi-trucks are parked in their resting places in both directions of the interstate.
Their big red lights are dim like a soft sleepy glow. He comments, they’re required to pull over, somehow their stopping to rest is kept track of.
I lean back, close my eyes and pause.
I pray remembering the bold request earlier today and then later a subtle satisfaction that the outcome will be okay either way and what I want and asked to come sooner than later might never come at all.
I settled it with God and myself then, okay.
Another person came to mind, someone I’ve no real attachment to, only aware of the seemingly futile reply to her prayers.
Someone I love hurts for someone she loves.
I prayed in a “Why not?” way for them, asking God to intervene, intervene in a way they’ve yet to see, a way that will seal the deal for an end to their anxiety.
For real I prayed, long and it seemed ridiculously up front, for real evidence of stability.
Prayer is a response to a nudge from God, so much more than seeking results or answers.
Prayer, the kind where it seems you’re sleeping, pausing, resting, prayer that comes because you notice God with you.
With you, a peaceful presence.
Pray more I tell myself now. More often, more spontaneously, more aware of God’s nearness and when someone comes to mind.
That’s a prompt, an invitation to conversate with our loving Sovereign God.
Pause to mention the person God brought to mind, ask God to see others more than He sees you.
The bluebirds don’t linger although they come close.
The tiny sparrows perch on the rusty barbed fence. I approach and they dart on their way.
The place that grows the flowers from a newly rain soaked ground is littered with egg of baby blue.
A new bird is learning to fly, leaving behind evidence for me.
To pray sans ceremony or setting, to pray and be changed and to pray for change to come true and be seen.
I cannot explain the way or the why of how this happens; but, it happens with regularity and it happens suddenly with slow unraveling upon my waking to begin a day.
I woke up and found myself curious over the word “consecrate”.
“God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.”
Job 28:23 ESV
Yesterday evening I adjusted my route. The breeze was without a thick heat and the trees were swaying only slightly as if escorting the predicted storm away.
Gently. Not today.
I’ve been walking this way for most of my grown up life. My saying, “unraveling the day” is an explanation that is for me, succinct.
A great day was Saturday, no other way to describe the time. A college graduation, a daughter and son and family together. It was truly celebratory, memorable like no other before.
I am in between things.
Now waiting for the any moment call, it’s time for baby, we are on our way to the hospital.
We will be grandparents.
I’ve told people when speaking of my resignation after ten years that I’ve got lots of “balls in the air” and that I’m hoping to establish a rhythm, get into a “mojo” of work from home.
Soon I’ll be helping with a baby and still working in some way, using what I’ve learned and hoping to combine it with my faith to help others while gaining just enough income.
Yes, this has been my response to interested individuals who are either thrilled for my new role or who question what on earth is she thinking…no income, no position, no dependable check every month?
I’ve been stuffing it down. People who are skeptics, people who have no faith in leaps of faith like this.
I walked yesterday and saw the sun making shadows on the open field now overgrown with high grass and weeds with fluffed up looking tops reminding me of lace, tiny yellow buds here and there.
I always pause. God is near.
Agree with God and be at peace. Job 22:21
I like the way God lays His light down in layers. Different all the time, different prompts and patterns.
I continued and thought to jog but didn’t.
Felt no need for further self-punishment.
I walked on and changed my path to circle back uphill through every single shady cul de sac.
There was no rush, I took the back way and reversed my pattern, uphill first then downhill the rest of the way on the trail.
The evening drawing nearer as I stepped over the roots forcing through the hard pavement trail, I paused in front of my favorite field and noticed a dandelion.
The sunlight landed on its little circle of soft peach fuzzy head. It stood alone in the high tangle of weeds.
I’m certain it was for me.
I stepped forward, walked with renewed conviction.
I’ll just get up the same way every morning and make each day my vocation.
I’ll go about my day with intentionality and pursuit of God’s ways.
My first journal entry, May 6th?
An intentional life, my prayer.
Clarity – where to go, what to do, to create, to initiate
Commitment – go there and see it through, finish what you begin.
Consecrated- do all of it for God.
I’m not a biblical scholar.
I happen upon wise words and want to understand them, want to have them make me more than what I see, what tiny bit I know of me, I seek to solve the mysteries of me.
To consecrate means to make or declare something holy, to a higher purpose, even a divine one.
Is it possible that all I do means more than a finish, the attainment of a goal, an outcome resulting from input, the result of my knowledge and hands?
It is possible if we believe we are loved by God, created for more than what we can see.
God understands the way to it, this consecrated daily life.
He knows how to make new wine of our old bitter tastes.
He desires to make us vessels of new.
Consecrated is a word mostly found in the Old Testament, difficult to understand, ritualistic often and sometimes about laws and food deemed unfit.
I considered what if I thought of all I do a return of my grace for God’s grace towards me.
What if I returned to God His investment in me through my investment of all I do for Him, a divine ROI?
Perhaps deciding to do everything from a place of love in light of grace bestowed me makes consecration easier to understand.
For it is grace that brought me thus far and grace that has and will lead me on.
Grace like a phone call just now to arrange a meeting, a program seeking my grantwriting knowledge to discuss my alignment with their mission becoming more understood and known.
A phone call I thought might come yet did not with certainty know.
An opportunity no longer hanging up in the air, a ball clutched in the palm of my hand now captive with the possibility to be divinely pursued, my work through God’s hands and my prayer.
A clear expression of God’s love for me in this place of uncertainty layered thickly with faith.
Be persuaded, timid soul, that He has loved you too much to cease loving you. Francois de la Mothe Fe’nelon
I asked God to help me understand what it means to live consecrated and he led me to the Book of Job, a chronicle of a good and godly man who was met by trouble and tragedy that made absolutely no sense at all.
Job never stopped believing in a God that knew all. Job lived a consecrated life, refused to trade his understanding of it all for the possibility of losing what He knew, God.
“For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds,”
Job 33:14-15 ESV
I’m paying more attention to my morning thoughts, less prone to reach for my phone or to jump up quickly from my bed.
There are important and enlightening ways for me to go, not rushing, more resting.
Waiting for His clarity to guide my committed pursuit and to follow His lead, with intentional steps towards what might help someone, less haphazard, though ever imperfect, my pursuit of Holy and divine.
Every morning, grace comes my way and I am learning to listen.
I have just a few blooms left of the farewell lilies.
I picked the withered petals, adding water to preserve what’s yet to bloom, like life still good to come from what has and is fading.
We can be confident that our God is always good.
Psalm 108 ends on a confident note, David says he knows that with God all of our victories are valiant ones.
Then the mood shifts. It’s sort of heavy and negative.
It’s about our foes, not just physical enemies, it can be circumstance, unforeseen change, opposition we sense or walk around carrying in our souls.
Enemies are not just people, they are the stuff of our negative stories, the ugly and sad of an imperfect world.
The struggles that come with intent to steal our peace.
Psalm 109 is an outspoken plea for help from God from David in light of his accusers, those who were attacking him through deceit.
I read it and sense David’s frustration and defeat. It is not easy to read as he asks for God to intervene to not allow blessing to come near his foe, only curses. David’s words are an outcry to God, a totally honest plea…asking God “do you see all that is happening to me?”
I love, love, love this honesty!
Psalm 109 ends with praise as if to say thank you God for letting me get that off my chest, don’t you worry, I am praising you anyway!
Could David have felt like me, honestly, God I promise to do my best?
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death. Psalm 109:30-31 ESV
And then, Psalm 110 keeps on teaching us how to live undefeated. It begins with a reminder to be patient, a reminder that He is near and that He sees it all.
“The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Psalm 110:1 ESV
I’m smiling now because all I can think is sit down now, take a deep breath, put your feet up. I see you.
A petal drops from the day lily onto the table. The sound so subtly quiet it barely shifts my attention.
But, it does.
I turn to notice and then wonder how long before the others let go.
The dirty mason jar, because I’ve no idea what happened to all of my vases, has been the vessel for yellow, a soft maroon, ivory and a golden rust colored arrangement. The stems strong and the leaves a lively green will be the last to go.
I have loved them in my morning spot.
Yesterday I told someone I was struggling to comprehend a life of abandonment to God’s will.
Told her I’m prone to expect a revelation, a change that says you’re done or a turning down one road never venturing wrongly or lazily short cutting again.
This morning I know better.
I know abandonment of some of my analytical longings will lead to a life maybe not all romantic like a theatrical opera or song.
It’ll be more incremental.
It will be stop and start, stay longer next time until you realize oh, okay it’s been a while. Maybe saying to myself,
I didn’t realize how long it’s been. I’ve settled in this place of acceptance without fear.
Abandoning yourself to God’s plan, what a calling, an aspiring and admirable decision!
But, I am human and I live amongst other imperfect humans. I know some things they do not know of me and I must remember that it is the same for them.
All of our behaviors are formed by our individual damaged or undamaged perceptions on life with other humans.
Here’s what I came to on the issue of abandon, of abandoning my ideas, hopes, plans, goals to God’s plan.
I am learning as I go.
I am abandoning self-condemnation when it seems I don’t live the abandoned life as fully or continuously as I should. I will abandon being so hard on myself.
I consider this a good beginning.
I’m abandoning my need to know, abandoning my need to correct others, abandoning my need to forget harm done to me by others.
I can abandon strife for peace.
I can abandon anger for acceptance.
I can abandon envy, jealousy and resentment for love.
I can, incrementally.
I am certain that abandon and living this way is more like joy than work.
It is more a breathless expectation of what is coming good or not so great. It is the committed mindset that every tiny thing, life event or circumstance has been filtered.
Has been held by God and let go or not let in.
Maybe living the abandoned way really means living unexpectedly!
Like your grandpa used to say,
Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.
Living that way.
Not knowing what your next moment will bring, your next hour or next day.
I think I can live this way.
It may be momentarily, this new way.
But, moment by moment I will be accepting what is next for me and for those my life gets to be intermingled with, influenced by and loved…my influence a hopeful one for them.
That will be the greatest of things. Abandoning what I don’t know and keeping what I do!
Perhaps adding a new daily prayer, the prayer that Jesus prayed, inviting heaven into my earth, into my day.
“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”