Shifting to The Lighter Walk

Life has a way of sending us in new directions. I have walked many roads in my day, many that have not been easy.  The past few years have been less complex as I continue to learn how to make my life less complicated.

And now I am ready for The Lighter Walk.

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I have a deep faith in the transformative power of Jesus Christ in my life. I continue to develop a rich personal relationship with God. I have learned to let the words in the pages of my bible come to life and guide me through the Holy Spirit. When I am willing to look, I see God in the world around me. I have come to appreciate the connection between those wonderful words, nature, and the way in which my heart and mind are more open in those spaces.

I am ready for life to be less complicated. I don’t need to walk a thousand miles to find myself or to find God. I don’t need to embark on a foreign adventure to find what is already inside my heart and soul. I do; however, need to open my bible, open my eyes, open my ears, and become willing to receive the love God has surrounded me with here where I live and any where my feet carry me.

I need to let the light into the darker places from journey’s past and walk in a lighter direction.

img_2350-1What does that mean for this blog? It means I will slowly begin to turn this over to The Lighter Walk. It means that I am going to start walking in nature here, and near, where I live. It will start with a simple walk in the parks, the fields, the mountains, and the beaches around me in Virginia.

The Lighter Walk is a journey I hope you will join me on. I hope that as I step out you might want to walk with me and share what God is doing in your life. I hope that we will discover that if we keep it simple, we will simply hear and be with God

More to come, but for today I am letting go of other people’s expectation about how a walk with the Lord should look. I am letting go of the notion that we need some complex deep theological angle to meet with God. I am letting go of all that has held me back and starting a simple lighter walk with God.

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Night Callings

Darkness falls

Silence follows

Chirping crickets

Crying babies

Silence broken

 

Night evolves

Moon shines

Stars twinkle

Plane lights high

Light the sky

 

Nightly moves

Dogs last walk

Cars at home

Street light glows

Settling in

 

Night callings

Bed waiting

Shades drawn

Prayers said

Peaceful ending

The Art of Saying “No”

I think many of us are taught as Christians that we need to follow-up our faith with action; however, sometimes we become so action-oriented we forget why we are doing what we are doing. It is easy to find that we have joined one too many ministries or agreed to one too many projects and are overburdened by our commitments. We say “yes” every time someone asks us to participate or we feel guilty when no one says “yes,” so we jump in to fill the gap. We become the “face of the church” because we are everywhere doing everything. It is great to volunteer or to lead ministries, but we need to learn to do it in a prayerful and reasoned way.

I wrote an article a while back about energy-drainers. They are the things we place in our way that stop us from reaching our goals. Saying yes to every ministry opportunity can create obstacles to following the plan God has placed in front of us. I think that God calls us into certain areas—these are the things that we are most passionate about. Laurie Beth Jones (1996) challenges us to identify those things that excite us, anger us, and call us into action. They are the things that, when we pray, we find the Holy Spirit is leading us to commit our time and our energy. All the other things are nice to do, but they may not be the things that relate to the mission God has placed on our heart.

Learning to say “no” when asked to serve in church leadership or to volunteer for the next event may be difficult for some of us. We have all heard the, “pray about it and let me know” line which we often interrupt to mean—“just say yes.” And so we do, because we don’t want to disappoint or appear uncharitable. We must, however, actually take time and pray. We need to ask God to show us if this fits with what we have heard he is asking us to do individually. We need to ask if this is something that will extend or broaden our ministry and not deter us from the path head. Sometimes we need to say, “No” and do it unapologetically.

I found myself in this dilemma and I realized that having said yes to leadership of a ministry, for all the wrong reasons, was draining my energy. I became frustrated that I did not have the insight or ability to lead. I began to spend hours trying to get better at that position while neglecting what I am supposed to be doing—studying and writing. I found myself with massive headaches and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was frustrated because “I” couldn’t make things happen. I had said “yes” even though I knew the right answer was “no.” So I finally said, “I can’t do this. It isn’t what God set on my path.” It was hard. I’m sure it was disappointing and frustrating for others to receive the message, but I know it is the right thing. How do I know? I woke up today for the first time wanting to write and excited to finish my class work. I feel inspired and ready to burst with energy. I know I am where I need to be and doing what I need to be doing.

What have you said yes to that should be a no? What do you need to back out of so that you can focus on your personal mission and vision statements? What obstacles are draining your energy? Are you ready to get back on the path you see for your life and let go of those things that don’t fit? Pray about it and when you see the answer—yes or no—go with it!

“The Lord will always lead you.” Isaiah 58:11

Jones, L.B. (2006) The path: creating your mission statement for work and for life, Hyperion Press, NY, New York

Letting Go of Resentments with Mercy

Holding on to our resentments does less to the person we are angry with and more to hurt ourselves. Learning to release the person who offended us from our hate list may take real effort on our part, especially if they have been on the list for some time. Did you know that resentment is just another word for jealous? Did you know that mercy is the greatest gift you can offer another and yourself at the same time?

Offering mercy may take a deliberate effort on your part. It means offering forgiveness and meaning it. It means treating the other person with God’s love when your love isn’t there. It means being kind and treating the other person with understanding that we too are not perfect and we may have some responsibility for the situation. It means being compassionate when they hurt instead of laughing. And it does mean celebrating when good things come their way, even when we would like to think the good fortune should be ours. Mercy is sincere—it can’t be faked because above all, mercy means that we pray for all things God would have in their lives. We especially pray that they know the Lord and are transformed by his love and mercy. We ask that we too are transformed as we pray for them.

My daughter is one the greatest examples of a mercy-giver that I know. Even as a teenager she could find a way to forgive or overlook a person’s misdeeds toward her. She always seems to take the high road in relationships and give it one—or seven times seven— more chances. I have seen her rekindle relationships that I would never have gone back to and I have seen her grow more as she let go of her resentment. I have seen the freedom that comes from her mercy. She is the kid whose friends turned away from her when she wouldn’t go down the path they were heading, and still she managed to re-establish friendships with some of those people years later because she was willing to let the past be in the past. Like many young women, she has been hurt in relationships, and yet she has found a way to forgive and accept rich friendships on new terms. She has even shown her old mom mercy from time to time, understanding that I make mistakes and sometimes my problems have caused rather uncomfortable circumstances for us. She keeps moving forward and she inspires me to be all those things Jesus told us to be. She is one of the best examples I have of living a life in the image of Jesus.

As we ask for God’s mercy when we are in distress or have acted in a way that does not honor him, let us ask that he show us to whom we need to extend the same kind of mercy. We ask that he change our hearts and save us from carrying a burning coal that eats through our own heart. We ask for all things good for those we resent or envy and that we can be happy for their success. We ask to see them as God does, knowing he loves them. We ask that he inspire us to get on a path that takes us forward and frees us of the burden of disdain we carry.

Do you have a way you approach others with mercy? Do you have a success story of a time you gave or received mercy? I would love to hear your story. Please share it in the comments below.

“Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress.” Psalm 25:16
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When I Forget to Pray

I have days, sometimes many days, in which I rush out the door and I forget to take the time to pray. It shows in everything I do, from not writing here to a less than gracious attitude with people. I have to feed my heart and soul everyday with the truth or I find myself living the lies again.

Praying for me begins with a reading from the Bible—usually Psalm 25 and something from the New Testament. I like the so-called “red letter words,” or those words spoken by Jesus. I also like to read other scriptures that remind me I will always be on a road of transformation because no matter how deep my faith runs, I can always be better. I can always learn more and be more for others. I can never be satisfied that God turned my life around because I know without digging into the words and praying regularly, I am just as capable of slipping into poor behavior as the next guy.

In Matthew 26:41 Jesus said to the disciples: “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (NLT) Temptation comes to us all. We are foolish to think that we are immune to it or somehow set apart because we are believers in Jesus Christ. We all want to remain faithful. None of us wants to walk on the dark side, especially if we have been there before. Watch and pray—be guarded and ask for the strength to do the next right thing when you feel pulled in a different direction. Our spirit may want to stay on the path set before us, but as humans our bodies can fail us. Our body—including our minds—can overtake us if we are not careful. If we want to avoid making the same mistakes of the past, or finding new mistakes to make, we must be diligent and feed the spirit with positive words that our actions may follow along.

My new commitment is rather simple. Before the feet hit the floor, I will take time to think about the day ahead. I will take time to ask for God’s blessing on my life and on those who come to mind. I will ask that the next hour or so be focused on his word and dedicated to sharing what God reveals in the morning hours. Before I walk out the door, I will make sure that I am spiritually fed and better equipped to face the challenges of the day. And as the day progresses, I will pray for guidance and wisdom in all my activities. Starting my day with God, even if it is only the prayers in bed, I know I am better positioned to make the right choices I desire to make.

How do you keep a prayerful life? Do you have suggestions you can share that might inspire others? Click on LEAVE A REPLY below – We would love to hear from you.