Things at home have been very hectic. We have all been sick, WH and DD and I passed around stomach bugs like we were playing “hot potato” and then upper respiratory infections. I felt like we were all typhoid Mary. Most of the time when I would get off work it was straight to bed. I haven’t bought groceries in weeks and thank God DD can do laundry and was willing to clean while mom was working. She has been a lifesaver over the past 4 weeks when she wasn’t feeling awful as well. It’s not been fun.
Everytime I got to feeling better and tried to jump back into life I would be knocked right back down and wind up back in bed. This has been going on for almost a month. I had to miss out on plans with friends and we weren’t able to go to church. It seemed to start a downward spiral.
Not only was my body suffering from illness but my spirit began to grow ill. Just like germs can gain a foothold and a stronghold over our bodies when our immune system is weak, satan can use our physical and emotional weaknesses to gain a foothold as well that can turn into a stronghold if we aren’t careful.
I know I have sent out invites in several different ways and all people have to do is check their calendar and check off Yes, No, or Maybe so that I can be prepared. People don’t get upset if you say no. We all know people either aren’t interested or might have a scheduling conflict. That’s fine, but here is my question…Are we so busy with our lives, running around in a million directions, that we have lost our common courtesy? Courtesy is all about respect. I was raised to say Yes Ma’am and No Ma’am, please and thank-you, and to let someone know if I can or cannot attend a function where my presence has been requested.
This isn’t just about a party that I am having. People cry out that they are lonely, that no one cares, but we are a people who are all the time consuming and our biggest consumer is being busy and focusing only on the “I”. We have to climb out from behind the Iphone, the Ipad, and take off the Ipod and interact with real live breathing people. We are losing our social skills byte by byte. We are becoming a society that responds to life in 140 characters or less and we find out about others by reading their Facebook status updates.
I’m not saying that media is a bad thing. I have FB, I have a blog (which you know if you are reading this), and I have texting and messengers and voice mail, but am I the only one that is feeling the disconnect while being plugged into 10 different things?
These are all wonderful tools. But just like the television, video games, sports, etc. it all depends on how it is used and everything that God can use for good, satan can and will pervert. We have to wake up and become aware. Are we replacing real life conversation with a keypad and a monitor and if so why? Are we afraid? Are we so busy that we no longer have time for chats on the front porch or coffee without being plugged in just in case we miss something?
I get so frustrated when I am talking with friends and they are checking their phones to see what else is going on. They aren’t 100% with you, they are distracted by their 400+ friends on FB and whether their mafia group just got attacked or their crops need to be harvested (if you do FB you will get this.)
When you see a post on FB or read a friends email, do you call them or do you just hit the “like” button or respond via text? Can’t you see where satan is seeping in and pushing us further and further into isolation? Kids are losing the ability to converse unless it’s via text. Adults are spending more time with their CPU then their significant others. And people are preparing a table for friends to come and celebrate accomplishments and people are too caught up in the “I” to see the “you”.
Unplug, respond with a phone call at least, but a face-to-face would be best. And please, if you get an invite, let someone know if you can make it.
Yep, told you I’d been thinking a lot.
Ah-Ha Moment #4: “Come here, come on baby, let’s go home.”
He wasn’t going to listen. He didn’t know me. He didn’t know my voice. That wasn’t his fault. He was doing what puppies do. He was playing. He had left the safety of his home to venture out into the big wide world and had landed smack dab in the middle of a mess. Why should he leave the freedom and the fun he was having? Because he didn’t realize the danger. We could see it. All the people in the cars around him knew that one wrong move and he would likely be killed and they were able to stop and prevent the danger. But he still had to get out of the road cause just like there are different cars traveling the roads every day, there are different temptations, different dangers, and different situations that are all around us trying to keep us from our Heavenly Father.
Ah-Ha Moment #5: “Be still.”
God cannot step in, pick us up, and carry us out of the mess unless we stop. We have to be still. We have to get quiet. I struggle with this every single day. Getting quiet and still in my heart. When I don’t know which direction to go, what to do, what step to take, it’s because I have to be still. Then we can either jump the ditch to safety or we might just be so lost, confused, and overwhelmed by it all that all we can do is fall down on our knees and submit. God will reach down, pick us up and hold us close and He will carry us to safety.
How do you get still? Take 15 minutes of quiet time. If you have never done that before, start with 5. Just sit. I light a candle sometimes. Turn out the lights so I am not distracted. When you first start it will be hard to turn off all that is swirling around you but keep turning that focus back to God and give yourself grace. Grace when the grocery list starts forming in your head, grace when you start thinking of all the things you need to do at work, grace when the honey-do list that your wife made for you starts unrolling in your brain. Be kind when you mentally roll that list up and put it away and then turn your focus back on your Father. Be quiet. And just listen.
That’s how I got the ah-ha moment from the puppy. I didn’t “see” all of these points at the time. I didn’t jump in the car after finding his home full of insight and singing praises. (Yes I did find his house; it had a “Beware of the dog” sign in the window, irony much?) It took thinking through what happened. Seeing the snapshots of it in my mind and getting alone with God so that He could teach me. I had to be still.
Ah-Ha Moment #6: (Last one, thanks for hanging in there): Do we bite the hand that saves us (or pee on it)? Do we recognize the miracles and blessings that are all around us? Do we slow down enough to realize when God steps in and wraps us in His arms? Or are we so hyped up, so excited, that we never experience the joy and the peace when He holds us. Or worse, do we attack Him when He corrects, when He disciplines, and bite back the very hand that wants to comfort? God uses people to minister to His children. It may be a pastor in the pulpit; it may be a Godly man speaking to your son at youth. It may be a teenager pouring her heart out to her friend when she sees her going down the wrong path. It may be a woman stepping into traffic to save a puppy.
How do we respond to those messengers from God? Do we embrace them? Honor their words with respect and acceptance? Or do we get angry and pout? Walk away. Reject them and therefore reject God? Or do we run away, oblivious to the danger around us. Refusing to hear their calls, their advice, their wisdom and continue down the path of our own destruction?
Do we stop, listen, and hear not only with our ears and our brains but our hearts? Do we allow the words to help sharpen us, make us stronger, keep us safe, or do we only get offended, and lash out or run away? Satan wants you to get your feelings hurt. He is the master at manipulating words to wound. He also wants to kill steal and destroy. Do you think you are immune to him? If so, then you are playing in traffic my friend. We can see the danger in the cars speeding down the road and we know we are no match for a 4,000 pound vehicle. (Fun Fact)
What makes us think we can stand alone against the Indy driver of sin? (ok, enough car similes).
I am no match for satan on my own. I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to help a puppy out of peril that he didn’t even realize he was in. But my God is always there, all the time, to rescue, to hold, and to protect the children that He loves and He loves all of us (No matter what kind of car your sin is). Get out of the road, listen to the voice that is calling you. Be still and allow Him to wrap his arms around you.