Wednesday, February 18, 2015

saying no, self-control, and joy

i have missed writing here - so many times this has been an outlet for me both as a ministry to others and as a chance to express myself. i had a few moment this morning, so here are some thoughts i have been having in no particular order... 

1. saying no - right now is a time of my life when i am throwing myself into my life that is right before me. i am not able to add a lot to it in writing or in taking on new commitments. i am learning how to say no. i am learning that it is okay, not only okay but really really good, to say no. saying no means i can say yes with a whole heart to the things He has asked me to say yes to right now. i am learning that saying no doesn't mean it will be no forever. i think a lot of times i am hesitant to make decisions because i feel like i am locking myself into a forever commitment to either do or not do something; however, this just isn't the case on most things of life. we follow His lead and He leads us day by day.

2. self-control of what comes out of our mouths (and our fingers) - it is an interesting time we live in where so much of our communication happens online via a screen that we can hide behind instead on face to face like most communication has traditionally taken place. my dad was a communications professor at a local university, so i would say i have some well grounded thoughts on communication. i find it interesting that so many people feel so much liberty in what they say in an online setting that they may never say to someone's face. i find it interesting that so much of our communication in these settings lacks the non-verbal communication elements that they say make up 80% or more of communication. i find it very interesting, interesting and sad, that people, especially believers, type out statuses and comments on forums like facebook that insult other people for choices they make in life with demeaning language and haughty speech and words (and this is often on non-sin issues... i am not talking about taking a stand for righteousness). there are so many hot topics these days, largely fueled by the media swirl (which is another topic for another day), and it seems people are so quick to demonize "the other side," not thinking that those of "the other side" may be the brothers and sisters in Christ that we worship next to on Sunday morning. so many Scripture references pop into my head including Jesus' admonishment that calling your brother a fool could endanger one's soul of the lake of fire itself... or how about the places where the apostles paul, peter, and john plead with believers to love one another? i often wonder if people think about who is reading their words and if they would want to say that to someone's face? how would these discussions take place in a living room over a cup of coffee? or, even more important, do we want these side issues, no matter how passionate we feel about our perspective, to take the place of importance of the REAL issue of following Jesus and displaying his sacrificial love to one another and to those who have not yet believed? i believe in not compromising what Jesus and the scriptures say following Him looks like - i am not one of changing the scriptures to say all paths lead to God. i am thinking of side issues... i am thinking of things that are left up to us and not described as sin. even confronting sin issues should be done in love and coming to a brother or sister personally... just thoughts that i think when i watch this dynamic that is specific to our particular time we live in.

3. joy - what does it look like to walk out true joy? joy isn't tied to circumstance - joy is tied to the secure place we have in the One to whom we entrust our lives. i am finding for myself joy is more and more tied into giving thanks. as i am reading through the psalms daily, i am finding the command to give thanks over and over again. i read the reminder to israel to remember what He did for them and to tell others of what He did... i think as believers we are to do the same. when my thoughts and words are filled with thanking Him for His faithfulness, something bubbles forth from my very depths that can't help but cause me to trust Him more and to experience this joy that cannot be stolen by anyone or anything. no one can steal my joy when i am anchored to Him who is trustworthy. i do not understand a lot in life, but i know that joy is available to me when i choose to give thanks in all things.

blessings to you and yours - may God show you what He has for you to say yes to so you can feel confident in saying no to what which isn't for this season. may God give you grace to choose your words lovingly and keep the main thing in focus, that the worries and cares of this life won't cause you to forget that we are first called to walk as He walked and talk as He talked - full of mercy, truth, and always pointing to the hope of reconciliation to the Father! may God bring you to experience true joy - joy that lasts!

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