Sunday, March 12, 2017

Try Harder, Try Harder, Try Harder

Hey Friend,

Have you ever had one of those weeks that you want to take a big, old, red sharpie and draw a line through it...crossing it off your mind and out of your life? Sure you have, and I just had one.

Not that we need to analyze every move we make, but I am trying to look back over this week and find out where and when it really took its detour south.  

It started out well after a weekend of refreshment, but not long into the week interruptions began piling up.  I am a task-oriented achiever and so for me unwelcome interruptions can be the kiss of death.  I'm not talking pleasant interruptions like a friend stopping by, but people (especially one) who can get under my skin like none other.

I had a big project I was working on and all of a sudden everyone was demanding a chunk of my time.  I was allowing them to force their agenda on me and I was beginning to resent it.  Part of my problem is that I allow people to do that because I am, at heart, a people pleaser.  Perhaps that's why I agreed, against my better judgment, to babysit my son's two year old lovable, but full of boundless energy, dog.

As I sat at my laptop, trying to get some work done, she'd bring over one mangled, drool encrusted, squeaky toy and plop it in my lap and then sit back and cock her head as if to say, "This one...will you throw this one?"  "Leesi, I'm busy, I'd grumble." 

So she'd go get another toy...the raccoon who was about to have a tailectomy. this it?  She'd sit smiling expectantly at me.  With each new toy she brought to me, I felt my blood pressure start to rise.  Why do I let people (and even pets) encroach on my precious time?  Don't they see I have a non-profit ministry to run?

"I"...."me"...that's usually where it begins.  I even tried reading my devotional and my Bible, but I found myself skimming the words.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know this. Finished, done.  Now I can get back to my work.  Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, the interruptions, trouble, frustration mounted day by day.  

My response?  Try harder, try harder, try harder.

If I just tried harder I could get accomplished what I had set to accomplish.  My husband will tell you that by Thursday I was a growling grizzly bear and then Friday I was finally reduced to tears in the Walgreen's parking lot because I realized I had failed miserably this week.  

After my cathartic cry, in the quiet, His words came to me...I cast my eyes unto the hills.  Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and earth (Psalm 121: 1-2).

Once again I had been spinning my wheels so desperately that all they did was sink farther down in the muck.  Try harder obviously wasn't the answer.  So what was?

Instead of pushing my foot down harder on the accelerator, what I actually needed to do was let my foot off the gas, get out of the car, and let God drive. I had been relying on MY driving skills when what I needed was to let Jesus take the wheel. (cue song) 

Today, I have been meditating on the rest of Psalm 121 that came to me in my crumpled pile of exhaustion. Will you read it with me??

Psalm 121

The Lord Our Protector

A song of ascents.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.[a]
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

Fifteen of the Psalms are categorized as Songs of Ascent.  Many scholars believe that these psalms were sung by worshippers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem to attend the three Pilgrim festivals.  Perhaps that's why they are also called "Pilgrim Songs".

Instead of trying harder (this pilgrim that I am, wandering my way through life), I sure wish that I had pulled away and let quiet reign.  Nothing was really accomplished by my trying harder other than to build my mounting frustration.

When life gets frustrating, distraught, and despair filled, I need to pull myself away to His Word because in it is where I will find hope for what ails me.

This Psalm is filled with cheer, and comfort, and hope.  Read the number of times that the Lord offers protection.

He protects me night and day because He does not slumber. 

He protects me by being my shelter - my refuge from all the people and problems that assail me.

He protects my very life.  

He protects my coming and my going.

In short He protects me even when I don't realize He's protecting me.

All I see is what I see.  I don't see all the things God protects me from every day.  

Likewise, when I am caught up in the muck and mire of my problems, I lose sight of all the wonderful things that are good in my life - all the people and things that are gifts - all the love He pours out on me everyday.  

Gratitude, I'm learning is the antidote for grumbling!!!  Can I get an Amen? 

So how can I do this week differently?  If this week starts detouring south, I need to immediately lift my eyes unto the mountainous hills from whence my help comes from.

I need to take my foot OFF the accelerator and spend time in His quiet presence to hear what He would really say to my heart.

I need to offer prayers of thanksgiving - even in the midst of the unwelcome interruptions.  

I get interrupted from my work.  I have work that I love and is fulfilling.

My ex drives me crazy concerning issues with our kids.  I have two beautiful children because of him.

My son's dog comes whirling into my house for a day.  I have a house to live in and a place that people like to come to...not to mention a big back yard for running.  

My phone pings, and beeps and calls keep coming in.  On a global level, I am one of the wealthiest people on earth.  I can afford a cell phone and a laptop with an inbox that continually fills.

I get frustrated because I'm not accomplishing anything.  I am saved and eternally secure because of what Christ accomplished.  Thanks to Him it IS finished. 

Try, I think I'll try it HIS way next time... 

What are you spinning your wheels on?  What makes your day/week take a detour south?  What is God calling you to do to change your mode of operation? What truth is He speaking to your heart?

Dear Heavenly Father,  This week my heart has yearned for the quiet place, but I was trying harder, so much so, that I couldn't let go and just let myself go there....go to the place where Jesus holds me, the small, helpless lamb in His ever so strong arms, and gently carries me close to Himself where I can hear His heart of love beating for me.  Let this always be my safe place - my place of protection - where I am your beloved and where you delight in me.  When the world piles up - let me go, no run, to you and let you embrace and quiet me in your loving arms.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed,

ps.  I invite you to join me at our Website for our "sCARves for a Cause" campaign going on right now.  Donations will not only help us to purchase a MUCH needed vehicle for the school, but donations of $75 or more will get you a beautifully handmade scarf by the impoverished women and widows who live near our school.  Come check this out:

Thank you.....