Archives for posts with tag: Colossians 3
DSCN8626

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

So, at our school, in this fast-paced, filled-with-trauma world, we’re working on being mindful. “Mindfulness” has been a phrase that we’ve used a great deal in the past year. My realization? That this teacher, (wife, mom, friend, etc), can be a tad-bit distracted a lot of the time.  So often  I am more mindFULL than mindful. So am rethinking some things. Here  are some of my thoughts:

My growing definition of mindfulness- being fully present in the moment I’m in; vested in the now;  all in; aware of myself and those around me; tuned in; present in mind, heart, body, spirit; responsive to the present stimuli rather than reactive to past events or future fears;  focused on the task at hand; living in the minute that I’m living.

DSCN1857

Broad River Greenway

Realization #1- It’s tough to be mindful when I have a mind FULL of past present and future goals, fears, to-dos, etc.

DSCN3429

Ocean  Isle, North Carolina

Realization #2- Tuning out is as important as tuning in.Being mindful takes paring down what I’m focusing on.

DSCN8617

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Realization #3 – Gotta figure what to filter in and filter out. Filters matter. Different filters are used for different things, circumstances, opportunities. Using spaghetti strainer-sized holes for a Keurig coffee filter won’t do. Will get lots of grounds in the coffee. Using a Keurig sized holes strainer for spaghetti won’t do. Water will overflow, won’t strain quick enough.  Strain.  Now that’s a word…’strain’. Here’s Google’s definition of strain:  “a device having holes punched in it or made of crossed wires for separating solid matter from a liquid.” Separating the solid from the liquid.  Separating the “what-matters” from the stuff to let go. Separating the value from the waste. Yeah, sounds like mindfulness to me.

DSCN5000

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Realization #4 – It’s a strain to strain. It takes work, determination, and willingness to fail, to filter out what’s not of value. It takes a willingness to let some things go. It takes perspective to know that the work of filtering will be worth the value of what’s left.

DSCN4933

Somewhere…

Realization #5 – Good things will be lost. There’s nutritive value lost in spaghetti water.  Yep. And that water could be used for lots more things. Yep. And I don’t want to be wasteful. Nope. But do I value my time and mission and purpose more than making sure that the spaghetti water  isn’t wasted?  Yep. Am I willing to accept that things and opportunities way more important than spaghetti water will be lost or wasted?  I’m working on my “yep” for that one, but definitely not all-there yet. Some things are more difficult to accept than others.

autumnfog

Broad River GreenWay

Realization #6 – The ‘what’ and the ‘who’ I set my mind on matters. Big time. It directs the course. Like a steering wheel, like a path, like a boundary, the “what” and the “who” direct my steps.  As a Believer, I want my North Star to be Jesus. His truths. His Word. His Passion. Am believing that all else is spaghetti water. Am I mindFULL of that? Working on the “yep” for that one as well.

DSCN7974

Asheville, North Carolina

Realization #7 – Being present in the moment is greatly enhanced by the knowing that we’re just passing through, that our days are numbered.  If I’m honest with myself, I know that I’m slower to complete things when there’s no deadline. Even though I have had many ‘talks’ with my kids about not procrastinating, I’m still really bad about putting things off until  the ‘last minute’.  But the thing is, in this gift called life, we don’t know when our ‘last minute’ will be.  Our days are a gift. So our are minutes, our hours, our years. They are gifts.They are gifts to be enjoyed, to be valued and appreciated, and can be used in a way to impact those around us in beautiful and amazing ways…or not. Kind of depends on what we’re mindful (or mindFULL) of.

DSCN4521

Kings Mountain, North Carolina

Realization #8 – Being mindful is a beautiful gift to myself and those around me. Period. It just is. Even if it can create friction, for friction often comes when there’s a change in patterns. But I know I’d much rather be present and less distracted and fully there for those around me for sure.

DSCN4584

Home

Realizations #9  Sometimes the best gifts come wrapped in discipline. Am thinking this is one of those. It takes discipline to rethink habits and patterns and pursuits.  It takes discipline to put down the computer and pick up the pen. It takes discipline to sit quietly and not fill the voids when there’s an awkward awareness of the void. It takes discipline to get stronger in heart and mind and body and spirit.

may12

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Realization #10 – Voids don’t have to be filled right away.  Voids get filled. Vacuums have a low pressure that make for the need for high pressure to move on in.  “Vacuum” comes from the Latin word “vacant”.  Empty.  So many of us have our lives and minds so filled to the brim that there are ‘No vacancy’ signs hanging all over us. And here’s the thing… We miss opportunities big time when we’re filled with fillers. When there’s a space like time or quiet, how often we quickly fill the voids with noise or cell phones or activity that is just a mere filler.

Sometimes we might need to sit with someone and let the quiet seep in before we fill the void with a cell phone or song or TV show. Sometimes we might need to let the uncomfortableness of a void sit for a bit so that we wait for a good filler as opposed to something to merely quiet the quiet. And it is true in so very many things that delayed gratification gives a much greater satisfied feeling and sense when the wait is finally over. So many things are worth the wait. Being slow to fill voids with fillers is something to be mindful of…

 

DSCN4142

Broad River Greenway

Realization #11- Mindfulness is not a 21st century hip trend, it’s been a pursuit and directive for the ages.     “As a man thinks within himself, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7).  “Wherever you are, be all there.”  (Jim Elliot),”Life is not a matter of milestones, but of moments.” (Rose Kennedy), and here’s my favorite:  “A man paints with his brains, and not his hands.” (Michelangelo).

weeping17

Boone, North Carolina

Though I am no Michelangelo and can only marvel at his amazing works, am thinking that we all create masterpieces in life. They are born out of who we are. We leave traces behind of who we are, what we think, what we put our time and passion into.  I love how Michelangelo knew that his hands, his work, were merely extensions of his mind… Another quote by Michelangelo is “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”  Love that. I’m thinking that he spent a good bit of time and discipline to cultivate his gifts as painter and sculptor…that he was mindful of what he was doing at the time. Focused. Determined. I wonder what masterpieces might surface in our lives if we put our fillers down and picked up our own chisel of sorts?  I wonder.

DSCN4450

Home

And that word…wonder. That leads me to the last little thought or realization I have this morning….( I think it’s the last anyway…)

Realization #12 Mindfulness opens my eyes to the wonder around me and doesn’t put me in the center.  I don’t want a world that revolves around me and makes me, my pursuits, my hopes, dreams, accomplishments the end-all. That leads nowhere. Am thinking mindfulness only aids in helping people to see with awe the infinite wonder that is in the world around them…not only the world that is in them. Mindfulness leads not to an ego-centric view… but  an “out of sight” mentality, in the hippest sense of the word. Mindfulness allows us to see that there is much that  we don’t see,  and to appreciate what IS, right here, here now.

 

IMG_5235

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

The irony of being mindful is that it makes us all the more aware of the world around us as well as within us….and has an amazing way of connecting the two.

I can pray to be more mindful. I am praying and I have. But as Oswald Chambers said, “Some things go by kicking…” Am thinking this is one of those.

So there’s my list for this morning…am hoping that these realizations truly do become real…that they start surfacing in my life. I guess the first step has been made…recognizing and being mindful of what I’m shooting for.

Blessings to You and Yours~

Heather

 

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

 

DSCN5159.jpg

Bloom  (Taken in Old Salem, Winston Salem, North Carolina, May 5, 2017)

So, when the word “spent” is used as an adjective instead of a verb, well, it doesn’t have the best connotation. It alludes to being used, depleted, …spent.  When we say that someone is ‘spent’, well, we’re saying that they’ve given and people have taken and they are depleted, done, spent.  And yes, that tends to have a negative connotation.

But recently, I’ve been looking at that concept from another angle. Maybe being spent is not such a bad thing. Maybe, just maybe, we are meant to be spent. Meant to be spent? Yes.  Not in a self-made-martyr kind of way that draws attention to self and exhausts to the point of being use-less, but in a ‘leave-it-all-on-the-field’ kind of way that empties one self out, letting in no regrets.

DSCN5188

…one bloom rising above the masses…

So often I have more regret over what I have not done rather than what I had. I regret the half-hearted attempts that breed half-hearted results. I regret the phone calls not made, the letters not written, the songs not shared.  (Oh, and I know a certain someone who presently has almost 400 un-finished, un-shared blog drafts…yikes.) I regret the good-intentioned, never completed things that go by the wayside. I regret the wasted use-less time that often empties me rather than fills me. I regret the things I supposedly have “learned”, even spoken, but have not yet truly applied. I regret the not taking time to look in the eye and ask the questions and say the words and get in there in real and tangible ways.

Being spent for the right things has a way of crowding out the wrong things or fillers in our lives.  Weeds don’t grow where flowers are blooming, where other seeds are planted. Being spent for the right things also has a way of filling up…motivating, encouraging, inspiring not just me, but hopefully those around me as well.

DSCN5191.JPG

It is only when a flower sheds its beauty in full bloom, full array, the last hurrah before the petals fade, that the seeds are formed. A flower in reserve is a flower with no blooms, because once the unfolding comes, the petals will fall off. Yes flowers that save, conserve, reserve, would merely be un-bloomed buds. But as we hopefully learned in elementary school science, flowers produce seeds. So blooms not only color our world in the now, they hopefully reproduce…and multiply the beauty shared.

DSCN5194.JPG

Poppies in a Garden in Old Salem, Winston-Salem, North Carolina May 5, 2017

And the beauty shared?  I loved that it comes in  all colors, sizes, and shapes that make for a beautiful bouquet. When one stops to see, to really see, they can’t help but behold the beauty. Yep, we all have different ways to be spent for our world… And I’m thinking it’s not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.

DSCN5203

So here’s to being spent. Yep, spent in a no-regrets-kind-of-way that makes our pillows soft and our sleep sweet knowing that we did what we could …that day. And here’s to knowing that even when mistakes are made, that they are to be learned from. I love that flowers are seasonal…and perennials get a chance to bloom and re-bloom over again…to be ‘spent’ over and over again.   To be shared over and over again.

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 8.29.42 AM

Jesus knew a thing or two about being spent. Not on futile things that are so temporal. But on being spent for life-changing, mind-blowing eternal things.  Am thinking Christ-followers should too.  A few thoughts (and reminders to myself) on being spent from a garden of blooms somewhere in the middle of North Carolina.

Blessings ~

Heather

“This is our time on the history line of God. This is it. What will we do with the one deep exhale of God on this earth? For we are but a vapor and we have to make it count. We’re on. Direct us, Lord, and get us on our feet.” –Beth Moore

 “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” –Mother Teresa

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” –Jim Elliot

 

little shepherd singing

Little bare feet walked the red carpeted aisle of our church. Angels and shepherds draped in tunics made from cloths which may or may not have come from their moms’ linen closets made their way to center stage of our church service where they shared the story of how an Extraordinary God came down to earth to some very ordinary people.

Some little performers sang loudly for all to hear as they clapped enthusiastically to the music. Some courageous little souls sang quietly and dutifully as it mustered all the courage they had to get in front of the large crowd. They sang on key, they sang off key. They shared lines carefully rehearsed, and they improvised as things were forgotten. But all shared the beautiful and wonderful story of Christmas.

But it was more than that. As I watched these little ones on stage I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about what a picture they were of what the church is supposed to look like.
There’s a verse in Colossians that talks about being “clothed in humility”. Clothed on the outside in the way that we are to be on the inside. Ordinary, simple, and loved just as they are. The Lord of All was clothed in humility. So were these little shepherds and angels.

Churchgoers in their Sunday best watched from nice chairs in a beautiful building. We clapped and smiled and enjoyed the mistakes as well as the good performances, because even as we sit in pews on Sunday, we are aware, that we are all made of the same stuff, cut from the same cloth. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, people who have great triumphs and tragedies, secret struggles and cherished hopes. Why is it that the church is so often seen as the opposite? Where we are polished on the outside in pristine buildings, but so out of touch? God didn’t come to the Kings. He came to the shepherds. The Kings came to Him.

And we in the Church, we come to Him. We are not Kings. We are not deserving. The church is not a place to show how great we are. It is a place where needy people have needs met by a Savior who knows them inside out. Jesus never tried to fit a mold. He was most critical of the Pharisees who were so concerned with appearance and so misguided in their personal lives and beliefs. Yes, He came to shepherds and children, those ostracized by society and those who didn’t fit molds. He came to those who knew their need.

So, this Christmas, I’m thankful for little barefoot angels and shepherds, for reminders of the beauty and simplicity of the Christmas story, the gospel message. Jesus came, He lived, He loved, He died and took on our sin, and He dealt with it once and for all on the Resurrection. And those in Christ are freed up….not to live on pedestals, but to be clothed in the grace and humility that comes from the fact that they are forgiven and whole just not by what they have done for themselves, but for what He has done for them, for All who would receive.

There’s a verse that says, “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”(John 1:12). I love that. This Christmas, with my teens and twenties who are not so very polished and so trying to find their way in this world and how God fits into it, I’m hopeful that they’ll be reminded of the True Gift of Christmas. That they’ll see the beauty of a Savior who meets us right where we are. No matter where we are. No matter who we are. It’s in the coming that matters. He came so that we could come to Him. Just as we are. And that’s the Wonder of Christmas.

Photo Credit: Mandy Wyatt

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”

Colossians 3:12-13

%d bloggers like this: