Month: August 2010

Fairy Dust and Getting My Act Together

I got hit right in the mouth.

I got hit so hard that over 24 hours later I am still reeling from the punch.

Each and every time I have ever got hit in the mouth,  it got my attention real quick.   This punch was no different from any other I have ever experienced in my life.   A short right cross to the mouth…I never saw it coming.

It got my attention.

Now before you start to think that I got punched in the mouth, I better clarify… No,  I did not physically get hit  in the mouth but the results are just about the same.

The punch was not a physical one but a spiritual one and it hit me as hard as any “truth” has ever hit me.

God has been telling me to quit “trying” to get my act together and stop waiting on Him.  He is not the delay in keeping me from starting to “really” serve Him again.

I became a believer in 1970, two days after my brother was killed in a car / train accident.  My Aunt Brenda led me to the Lord in the back of Robinson’s Funeral Home in Oak Harbor, Ohio.  My Aunt told me how Jesus Christ died for my sins.  She told me that there was nothing I could do to earn my way to heaven.  Being a good person, doing charity work or going to church was not going to get me into heaven.  I had to acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross for me.  That He paid the debt for my sin and that I had to believe in Him and ask Him into my life.  If I confessed my sins to Him, that He would forgive me of those sins and accept me into His family and prepare a place in heaven for me.  I did just that and I still believe that He has done what He has promised.  He is preparing a place in heaven for me and I believe that only through Jesus Christ can I receive salvation.

However, in the forty years since that fateful day in the back of that funeral home, I still struggle with doing everything that I believe God wanted me to do.  So many times as I look back on my life as a believer and wonder what could have been.  These days I sit and wonder what might happen in the future.

Now surely you know am I joking when I say that it’s like I still am waiting for God’s  “fairy dust”  to be sprinkled on my life and somehow I will be placed in a position to “really” serve God.  But as silly as this sounds, I don’t think I am the only one who has thought this way.   I know many people  have expressed it to me in different ways, but in the end, they are still “waiting” on God to show them which way to go.

I am finally learning that God doesn’t sprinkle “fairy dust” on us and then suddenly we know which way to go….or suddenly I will get my act together and really start serving Him.  There is no “fairy dust” and God is patiently waiting for me start serving Him with more and more of my life.

I always used these excuses that I needed to get my act together.   Only then will I be able to do something for God.  All I had was a few more issues to work out and then I will be ready to serve God.

How many times have you used these same excuses?  I know I have used them many times over the past forty years.

I have even convinced myself that I needed to “really need to work on this or that and then I could do something for Him”.

Does that sound familiar?  Have you told yourself that?

Unfortunately,  HERE IS THE TRUTH…you are NEVER going to have it all together!!!

It is about time you face it.   Striving for perfection is NOT going to work.   Without His grace, forgiveness, and mercy…we are nothing and can do nothing!  We are never going to be good enough, Holy enough, or have it all together enough to earn the right to serve Him.  It is only through His grace, His righteousness that we can accomplish what He has laid for us to do.  It’s not through our works, but His grace.  It’s not through our worthiness, but His righteousness.  It’s not on our strength, but through His!

So…quit looking for “fairy dust”…it doesn’t exist.   Accept the fact that you will NEVER get your act together enough to earn the right to serve God.

You need to stop waiting on God, because in truth, all this time…He has been waiting on You.

I Wish I Didn’t Know Now, What I Didn’t Know Then

I’m well into my 50’s, and I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes in my life.   I have learned tremendously from each and every mistake that I have done.  I guess that is why they call them a “life lesson”. The truth is that I was pretty naive back then.  I really needed someone to give me advice on what life was going to bring.  This thing called “life” has kicked me around for a few years and there have been times that I have told myself, “I wish I didn’t know now, what I didn’t know then”.

But that is not how it works.  Through many of these “Life Lessons” I have learned important things and hopefully I can share just a few things that I have learned over these past thirty or forty years that may help someone else who will journey down the path of this thing called ‘life”.

So what have I learned?  What have I discovered to be true?  Let’s take a look and see what I did not know back then…but know it to be true today…

For example, I did not know back then that…

  • No One Really cares how many points you scored in Basketball during your High School career.
  • You will NOT really stay “best friends” to those whom you considered such back then.  In most cases you have no idea where they are at today.
  • Just because your Mom says you are good at something doesn’t make it true.  It is their job to tell you that.
  • Life is Short…but I didn’t have to rush to make decisions.
  • 55% of all marriages fail.  Christian or Not.
  • If you don’t have the money to pay cash for it, don’t buy it.
  • It’s 10 times easier to fall in love than to stay in love.
  • No matter what the sad songs say about romance, broken hearts do mend.
  • What your significant other does that bothers you when you are dating …they will DO in EXCESS after you’re married.
  • Plans are just that…they rarely become reality.
  • Great parents can have rotten kids and rotten parents can have great kids.
  • Things change…most times you have no control over them.
  • Almost no one stretches, flosses or gives compliments often enough.
  • You cannot make someone love you.  All you can do is be someone who can be loved.
  • It’s better to sing off-key than not to sing at all.
  • You can do something in an instant that brings heartache for life.
  • You can’t win arguing with police officers or referees.
  • Writing can ease the pain.
  • Most people you knew that were really going to make something of themselves…never do.
  • Your education isn’t complete until you’ve learned to take a hint.
  • Continuing to play in games after being hurt in high school would come back and haunt me later in life.  It really didn’t matter then and it definitely doesn’t matter now.  Just ask the pins in my shoulder that hold it together.
  • It isn’t enough to be forgiven by others.  You have to learn to forgive yourself.
  • People you care about the most are always taken for us way too soon.
  • Most secrets we find out about in life, should have remained secrets.
  • Two people can look at the same exact thing and see two totally different things.
  • No matter how much I tried to protect my children, they will still get hurt and you get hurt in that process as well.
  • Promptness shows respect.
  • No matter what I have learned, I still have a lot more to learn.
  • Whatever your passion, pursue it as though your days were numbered. Because they are.
  • Life Changes.

Now I know that this is a really short list.  There is much more to write down.  The realty is that I have learned more than I could ever put down on paper but that is the great thing about life…you are never too old to learn a “life lesson” and knowing the truth in that “life changes”.

What have you learned and would like to share?

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Few songs have been so much a part of my life than Tom Petty’s song “The Waiting”.   As with most of Petty’s songs, this one is basically the sound track of my life.  I have found that for me, the waiting is indeed the “hardest part”.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Everyday You Get One More Yard

You Take It On Faith, You Take to The Heart

The Waiting…is the Hardest Part. – Tom Petty

The song is clearly demonstrated by events that have happened in my life.  It is one of those songs that was written just for me.   The songs meaning actually became clearer when the movie “Titanic” came out.  I know you’ve seen it, so you remember the plot.  The part I want to focus on occurs on the exploration boat after Rose has shared her story of the final hours of Titanic.  She provides a number of statistics, followed by an interesting commentary…

“Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us. There were twenty boats floating nearby… and only one came back. One.  Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six… out of fifteen-hundred. Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait… wait to die… wait to live… wait for an absolution… that would never come.”

The statistics are factual, so there’s not much to discuss there.  It’s the waiting that piques my interest.  I can’t (and frankly don’t want to) imagine the thoughts that must’ve gone through the minds of the people sitting on the lifeboats.  Hours earlier, they were in formal attire, dining on the greatest ship ever built.  Now they were sitting in total darkness in a small open boat in the middle of the North Atlantic.  They didn’t know the actual numbers, but they knew all too well the tragic loss of life that had just occurred.  Many of them were in shock, or mourning the deaths of their husbands, fathers, sons, and dear friends.  They also found themselves in uncertain circumstances.  It was likely that rescue ships would come, but when?  Would they freeze, starve, or capsize before help arrived?  On one level, they had to be happy to be alive, but with all they had experienced there could be no manner to express it without guilt, shame, and remorse.

The “Waiting” had to be the hardest part for them.  It is this act of “waiting” that has a way of giving the mind opportunities to fill itself with images.  Images of the fear of the unknown, the images  of the loss of hope.  All of these, Satan uses  to do all that he can to derail you from the things God has put in your life, whether they are designed to bless you or test you.  Think about the moments you have where you are truly alone with your thoughts.  For most people, one of two things will fill those times – fears or prayers.

The same is definitely true for me.  The waiting is the hardest part, because it is in this idle time of “waiting” that my mind gets distracted from the very things I need to focus on.  I usually let the fear of the unknown take over and I defeat myself before I ever truly get started.

I have written about it before, (Click Here) I feel as if I have been on the shelf…”waiting” to be used of God again.  I have the desire to teach a Sunday School class again.  As I wait for God to open doors and allow me to have another opportunity to teach again, I struggle with distractions and fear of the unknown or the fear of never getting another chance.

While I know that the enemy tries all he can to distract and destroy, God gives us a simple instruction to help us to better use these times to glorify Him and strengthen our faith.  Paul speaks of these attacks and our best defense in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5…

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Our minds will work against us, if we allow them to do so.  Over-thinking and analyzing situations create unnecessary tension, unrealistic expectations, and unfortunate outcomes.  However, by taking “every thought captive” we regain a sense of control over our minds.  We keep our perspective, we remain calm, and we  allow the voice of the Lord to speak clearly into ears that can hear and to a mind ready to listen and comprehend the good and will of the Lord in our lives.

If you are like me, you have made this mistake – more than once.  Thankfully God is patient and forgiving.   I know that God wants to use me again one day.  I want to prepare my head and my heart for the day when I am given another chance.

Until then…I’ll wait.

It’s the hardest part.