Monday Minute: First Responders

 

phone-interview-2In an emergency situation, there is someone who is called. Be it your spouse. A friend. Or 911. And more often than not, it is the conversation or response of those “first responders” that largely determines the perspective or outcome of said situation.

Stay with me here.

I’ll be honest… As I finished a short time of reading and prayer this morning, I just prayed a simple prayer, “Lord, please help my first response to situations this week not be of comparison, fear, or control.” And immediately I thought of our first responders, and how important they are. Yet how moldable and changeable they are. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and three times for an advertisement to be seen to really sink in. Repetition, in small quantities, done over a long period of time, is what will cause change.

As I read Romans 6, a chapter I have read multiple times, verse 22 stood out to me anew, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

I had never, until this morning, viewed sanctification as ‘fruit’. But here Paul is saying that the wages of sin is death, but once you believe in Jesus and start walking in obedience to His ways, sanctification is what follows – a reordering of our life and loves. And this is actually fruit!

Sanctification is a process, just as learning to respond in new ways to familiar situations is a process. But walking in obedience to the Lord, situation by situation, day by day, is where change actually takes place.

I finished a short booklet this weekend that I got at the Pursuit Conference I was at a few weeks ago. Written by Jess Connelly and Hayley Morgan, Wild & Free, one thing Hayley said stood out to me: “If we dedicate ourselves to meticulous life management that doesn’t lean on faith in a good God, we are signing ourselves up for a life of anxiety that comes from constantly chasing control.”

Our first response, more and more, has to be one that believes in a good God, otherwise, we chase control in every situation.

Just a simple Monday Minute to challenge you, like I felt this morning, to let our first responders be ones of faith in a good God.

Happy Monday!

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Sanding grit and turning walls into gates

Does anyone else out there try to get as much done in as little a time as you can? Do you like instant results, rather than the discipline and sweat it takes to get to a desired result?

Yeah, me too. Take this recent refurbishing project for example.

It was an old secretary’s desk that used to belong to my Great Aunt. With a fold up/down top, it had hidden compartments with a few drawers. Lots of great potential, but it really needed either a coat of paint, or a complete sanding down and new stain. I opted for a mix of both.

IMG_0243I am slowly seeing that that reno’s or refurbishing projects always take longer than expected. Always.

It was a beautiful Thursday evening and with a quick lesson from my hubs, I was ready to start sanding the desk outside. I figured 2-3 hours and I’d be ready to stain, with the piece back in spot by the weekend.

When sanding, you have to start with a low number grit – like a 60 or 80. These have courser grit and will take the finish off quicker. Once the finish is off, you go higher in number to smooth things out. I started with an 80 grit, but some of the finish on the desk was stubborn, and not wanting to come off.

Troy came to me, inspected, and said, “You’ll need to do a 60. Then go back to 80. Then 100, 120, and maybe even 150.”

I looked at him like I was ready to swear, and if you know me at all, I’m not that girl. But in that moment, I sure was! He held my shoulders in his strong hands, “Enjoy the process!”

10 months married and he knows my love for instant results over long drawn-out processes. He, on the other hand, will take the time to make it right and well-done the first time.

After grumbling and throwing a bit of a mini internal adult-tantrum, I grabbed a 60-grit, sucked it up, and started over. Up and down, up and down. I spent the next whole day sanding from 80 to 100, to 120 to 150. Sanding out the squiggles in the wood, so that when the stain was applied all I would see was a beautiful wood grain.

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Troy was away for the weekend, so when he returned, he was impressed. Albeit a couple spots I could’ve sanded a bit more, but still, I embraced the grueling process. And am happy I did.

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Goals, sanctification as a believer, change or growth of any sort, will be a process. It’ll take commitment, determination, patience and discipline. And for me, learning to love the process is a process! But, I am slowly seeing the rewards of it. Slowly. 😉

Take for example, my love for writing. I even hesitate to invest myself in long-term writing projects if I don’t know what the end result is to be. Deep down, I don’t really want to waste, ‘er invest, my time on a project that will become…nothing. If it isn’t read by others and help others, then what’s the point, I ask in my heart.

But as I talked to Troy last night, perhaps the whole point of the writing process is learning to write. The discipline. The process of creating itself. Learning to express. Not just the outcome of a publisher or book tour, or even reaching one person.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the very process we are fighting to embrace is not meant to be a wall, but a door to something else.

Are you fighting a process right now? It’ll likely take longer than you expected, be harder than you anticipated, and will be more rewarding than you ever dreamed, if you stick with it. He who began a work in you, is faithful to complete it 😉 (Phil 1:7)

Shall we try, together, to embrace the process?

*The ship, the toast and the process*

I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of situations in my life, and others, that didn’t turned out as expected. Our well-worn ship titled Hope set sail and what it was met with out on the waters was different than anticipated – but the ship needed the water’s crashing waves.

Numerous situations in my life haven’t turned out the way I thought they would, but my heart is filled with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness; I wouldn’t change a thing.

I wanted to get married at 23, have my first baby by 25, and 2.5 children and a picket fence by 30. Did that happen? No. But I was able to get an education, travel and live abroad, buy a house, learn and try new things, and meet amazing people – so in my eyes, I win. For someone else, their story might be the total opposite, and I say, they win. Because that’s their story, and however they choose to look at it will determine what side of the podium they stand on – the winners or the losers.

This might seem like an insignificant example, but I have been working on a play since October of last year. Yes, I am six months playwright pregnant and don’t really ‘feel’ like writing this script anymore. I submitted the initial script for a competition at Christmas, it was selected, and the process of development has been invaluable to me as a writer. I’ve had people with years of theatrical experience asking me about my characters, conflict and plot and while I don’t always have answers – they don’t expect them. The process is for me to write. Develop. Do I anticipate, or want, to become a great playwright? No, not really (though having my name up in Broadway lights would take my breath away!), I just like to tell a good well-written story.  This process has taught me not to give up when I feel like quitting; to finish what I start. I have tasted the exhilarating feeling of completing something after pushing through. And to me – whether that is my ‘expected outcome’ of this competition or not, that is worth the process.

Nearly every weekday morning I crawl out of bed to make breakfast, and then back into bed with some food wares and my Bible.  I crunch through my peanut butter toast, with a side of blueberries, and as I stare at the one-bite of crust left, rather than toss it on the plate as I have done so many times, there is now something in me that says, “I’m going to finish what I start.”

Do I like processes? No, I like quick results, I’ll admit that. However my perspective is changing and I try never to write about something I myself have not already experienced.

Friends, whatever ‘process’ you find yourself in today – realize that your expectations and the glorious outcome that God has in store for you are likely very different; because while we want a bite of the apple, He has a whole orchard waiting for us. You might get something totally different out of the process you are in, but it will likely be exactly what you need.

Expect, yes. Believe and put forth effort. But don’t forget to look back and see how God has always always always been so faithful in the midst of the unexpected, and how He knew what He was doing all along.

Happy Monday blog world … On with the process.

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