Why Is This So Hard?

    If you want to know the truth, I am more than a little embarrassed at how hard this week’s Power Thought has been for me.  I actually found myself thinking, “is it time for a new power thought yet?”  Nope, I havet today and tomorrow still with Power Thought #10:  I live in the moment and enjoy each moment.

     My goodness that has been a challenging thought for me.  Apparently, I need lots of practice living in the present and enjoying each moment.  I do not dwell on the past, but I do have a tendecy to focus a lot on the future, and I don’t have a lot of balance in my life.  I do my work.  Then, we get a free moment, I feel lost trying to figure out what to do with it.

     I have had some notable, memorable, lovely moments this week, but I need to learn to have them and savor them and appreciate them every day.  Here are a few highlights:

  • Sunday night, I decided on a whim to make homemade potato soup and get into the fancy sausage, cheese and cracker set we got for Christmas.  Yum–it was something different and my husband and I really enjoyed the meal.
  • One day this week, after class, a student stopped me to tell me that I am doing a great job teaching, and that I motivate him and make him want to come to class.  Those things don’t happen very often–took my breath away.
  • Maybe the best moment of all was coming home and finding out that my husband had gotten us peeps (baby chickens)!  I am enjoying them so much.  While I am looking forward to fresh eggs, I look forward to picking up the babies, thinking up chicken names (Chicken-Lickin,’ Chicken Biscuit, Chicken Little, Crunchy Chicken, etc.), and watchign their feathers come in.

So, I am not sure what’s next.  I am sad that this Power Thought was so hard for me.  When I really think about it, it might be that in order to really enjoy the moment, it’s necessary to let go of the future–trust God with it.  I have to let go of life, stop trying to fix everything, and just be.  In this light, maybe my issue isn’t an enjoying life difficulty so much as it is a trusting God difficulty.

     I tried to take pictures of the peeps, but I am having technical difficulties.  I hope I can post some pictures of them soon.  Speaking of soon, I have another day and a half to really focus on living in the present and enjoying each moment.  Oh, God, renew my mind, and help me to enjoy the abundant life you desire for me!


My Struggle with Worry/Power Thought #6


Today is my last official day of focusing on power thought #6: I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.  Boy did this week ever test me on that power thought.  I was stuck inside Saturday and Sunday, and had to miss a sewing class I had signed up for and already paid for.  We seemed to lose a calf a day for several days—calves that had been born during the previous week’s blizzard.  I hit a friend’s car in the parking lot.  I tried to catch up on a week’s worth of classes and grading.  My teaching was observed.  My step dad was in the hospital.  My mother had a cancer screening to see if she is still cancer free, and I celebrated my hubby’s birthday.  Yes, that really did all happen this week. 

Was tempted to worry?  Oh, yes.  I was tempted to worry about how I was going to get out with the roads so bad, how I would get to work, losing calves and money, making up the sewing class I missed, how to pay for the repairs on the friend’s car, how I would ever have enough time to get caught up on grading, whether I was doing a good job teaching, what was wrong with my step dad, would my mom be cancer free, would the apple cobbler I made hubby taste okay and would he like his birthday presents?

I was far from successful with Power Thought #6.  I think it did help me a lot though—especially if I was having trouble getting my mind calm enough to sleep or I started to dwell on and reason through a situation, I would stop and say, “I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.”  I know this is a thought I will need to work with much, much more, in order to renew my mind, and really believe it.

No Worrying! Trust God & Be Happy!

I always get excited on Friday, knowing that I have a new Power Thought to look forward to on Saturday.  I like to prepare on Friday.  I reread the appropriate chapter in the Joyce Meyer book Power Thoughts and I write out answers to all of the “think about it” questions in the book.  I write down the scriptures that go with the power thought, and I use my Crayola markers to make new signs to post around the house.  It has become a weekly ritual.  My husband always notices when I “change the signs.” 

Last week’s power thought was this:  I love people and I enjoy helping them.  While other power thoughts may help me in overcoming my negative thinking, this one was definitely the most fun so far.  I am trying to put more thought into being a blessing, and I have already learned that when I really set my mind to the idea, I get all kinds of creative inspiration for ways to bless people.  I plan to continue asking God each morning for someone to bless, and what to do for that person.  It’s fun!

Now, it is time to move on to power thought #6:  I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.  This one is huge for me.  I chose “trusting God” as my “word(s) of the year” because I felt that the single thing that robbed my joy most was worry.  I realized that trusting God is the opposite of worry, so that is why it is my theme for 2011.  I am excited to have the opportunity, and the inspiration from the book, to put all of my focus on trusting God instead of worrying.

This has been a challenging week for those with a tendency to worry (me).  We had a blizzard, new heifers calving during the blizzard, impassable roads, and lots of work/classes missed.  In fact today is my fourth snow day/full day in the house.  I had to cancel my classes again today because I simply cannot get out.  Our roads have not been plowed.  Clearly, there is nothing in my power to change the situation, and yet, there is still a temptation to worry about my classes, my job, missing school, falling behind, etc.  Instead, I keep reminding myself that I have done everything I can do.  This one is beyond my control.  I just keep saying over and over again, “Lord, I trust you with ____________,” according to the specific situation.  This practice is restoring my peace of mind, and enabling me to enjoy the day that I have, at home in the house.

This week, let’s all practice saying and thinking:  I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.

A New Focus: Loving and Helping People

     It’s that time.  It’s time to shift my focus from Power Thought #4 “I am difficult to offend,” to Power Thought #5.  Let me just say that I am glad that I will be revisiting Power Thought #4 later this year.  I thought I did pretty well at not getting offended until Friday.  I said “Hi” to someone on campus, and he did not return my greeting.  Then, today at Target, one of the workers cut in front of me with a huge cart, and did not say excuse me.  My immediate response to both of these instances was offense.  So, yes, I need to work on being difficult to offend, and letting go of all resentment.  I need to practice thinking the best of everyone in every situation.  So, even though I see lots of room for improvement with Power Thought #4, I am ready to move on to a new focus this week. 

     I am very excited about Power Thought #5.  I have been looking forward to this one.  This week’s Power Thought is:  “I love people and I enjoy helping them.”  The fun and challenge with this thought is that I make it my goal to be a blessing.  With this thought, I look for ways to bless people on purpose.  In the book, Power Thoughts, Joyce Meyer suggests asking God every morning to show you someone to bless and what to do for that person.  Then, in the evening, you can take “inventory” and check to see if you did what God impressed upon you.  Loving people and helping them can take on many forms—from donating time, money, giving an unexpected gift, to being encouraging and complimentary in your words.  Every human being who crosses our paths is an opportunity for us to show love and kindness. 

     Living this way means filling my mind with thoughts of others.  What would she like?  What would bless him?  What would make her life better this week?  What would ease his burden?  I am going to confess that this is not my normal way of thinking.  Perhaps like many Americans, even many Christians, I am a little bit too focused on myself—what would I like?  What would bless me?  What would make my life better this week?  What can I do to make my life easier?  As I begin to focus on the needs and interests of others, I am trusting God to meet my own needs and look out for my interests.  I think incorporating this Power Thought and practice into my life is going to be life changing!  I am excited!

     One more thing—this loving and helping others must be mindful and on purpose, because I cannot count on feeling like it.  I might feel like helping someone occasionally, but many days, I feel like lounging around on the couch drinking coffee and reading books.  Thank God we don’t live life based on what our feelings tell us to do.

Grateful for What Is

     I think one of the many benefits of practicing gratitude is the fact that it shuts down a lot of other negative thought processes.

     On my quest of positive change and mind renewal, I have been faithfully repeating my mantra for the year–TRUSTING GOD,  and also meditating on this week’s power thought, I will not live in fear.  And…nothing seems to be happening.  Nothing seems to be changing.  If anything, I see myself becoming less motivated, and wondering How did that happen?

      I am clinging to my intentions here.  I am trusting that God is renewing my mind, and that I am on the right path, even if I don’t think I am seeing results.  I have been thinking a certain way, according to a certain pattern for an awfully long time–I must give the new thoughts time to take hold.  I will not live in fear that my motivation is gone forever.  I will not live in fear of being in a rut.  After all, that is just my perception of things today.  Perception changes.

     I have been helped tremendously by focusing on the many beautiful and rich moments I have enjoyed this day, and feeling gratitude for all that is, instead of fretting about what has not yet manifested.  AFter all, I can worry, or I can enjoy my life right now.  I am choosing to enjoy this precious life I have been given right now.

      Here’s a random list of what I am grateful for right at this moment:

  • I just want to scream from the rooftops how happy I am to have friends.
  • How happy I am to be able to read, how grateful I am for stories, and songs, and musical instruments
  • How I love tomato sauces
  • Scented lotions
  • And the different times of day—doesn’t each part of the day have its own beauty and special feel?  I love early morning, starting to work, midmorning-almost lunch, the noon hour, early afternoon, mid-afternoon, late afternoon, dusk and early evening, mid to lat evening, late evening.  
  • I know this will sound very old-ladyish, but I don’t care:  one of the most amazing luxuries I experience every day, is the pleasure I feel at going to bed.  I am tired when I go to bed, and when I lie down on that soft mattress and feel the flannel sheets and down comforter on my bare feet and legs, I relax and the tension leaves.  There are few things more pleasant than a comfortable bed when you’re tired, and the wonderful anticipation of a full night of sleep and rest and sweet dreams and the knowledge that a brand new day is coming soon.

More Unconditional Love: My Weaknesses & Asking for Help

     While today is the transition day (the day I should begin focusing on the 3rd Power Thought discussed in Joyce Meyer’s Power Thoughts, I have something else I want to share about Power Thought #2: God loves me unconditionally.  One of the most important points to get about unconditionally is the simple fact that God’s love is not dependent on our performance. 

     That means two important things to me that I am slowly coming to terms with:  I have weaknesses that aren’t going to go away, and I will always need God’s help—every day, and in everything.  I know these things. I really do, and yet, I find myself thinking that tomorrow, someday, in the near or distant future that I will be stronger and not need so much grace for my weaknesses.  I think that that the fact that I am constantly asking God for help has got to be wearying to Him, and that I need to get to the point where I don’t need so much help!  I guess it’s our culture, our humanity—to want to be strong and to want to be independent, but that fact is apart from God I can do nothing.

    I have started to remind myself throughout the day, “I have weaknesses, and that’s okay.  God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.”  I also repeat, “I need God’s help today, and I will need God’s help tomorrow.”  God loves me unconditionally and He wants to help me.  The idea that God gets weary is a lie, the idea that he gets tired of hearing his children ask for help is even more ridiculous.  God is my Help.  God is my Strength.

What’s Hard About Trusting God

     When “trusting God” came to me (again and again) as my focus or word(s) of the year for 2011, I had the verses in Proverbs 3:5-6 in mind:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

I memorized these verses when I was in college and Sixpence (None the Richer) wrote a sweet little tune using the scripture.  It was light and melodic and may have lulled me into believing that what’s commanded in this verse would be easy-peasy!  Trust God?  No problem!  So, what makes it difficult?

What makes it difficult for this spirited girl is “”lean not on your own understanding.”  What?  But my understanding is good!  I have good understanding.  I’m smart and I can figure things out and “help” God along.  Haha!  What does trusting God mean?  It means I don’t lean on my own understanding of things, because after all, if I understood everything, there would be no need for trust or for faith.

This reflection about not leaning on my own understanding came to me this week because I was expecting–yes, even trusting God to do something in my life, and it didn’t happen (yet).  The more I thought about it, and wondered what went wrong, the more I realized that I had been trusting God to work based on my previous experiences, my thoughts, and my plans about how things should work out.  I wasn’t trusting God.  I was believing that God would meet my need in a very specific way based on my human understanding and reasoning. 

     Today, it is freeing to let that go.  Naturally, I was disappointed that I didn’t get the answer I was expecting.  Yet, I also realize now that God is going to do something new in my life.  I am trusting him to meet my need in a way that is beyond my understanding, my experience, and my human plans.  Now, that’s trust.

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