Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Which Mirror Are You Using?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Mirror, mirror, always in sight—

please confirm that I’m alright.

If there is one item that we all have in abundance—it is the mirror.

We don’t limit our mirrors to glass alone, but purchase glossy plastic for babies, and tiny, shiny, metal circles to keep in our purses.

We check our style in store windows as we walk down a sidewalk, and seek our face amidst the ripples, as we stroll beside a lake.

We create mental imagers from words people say and are subjected to the glaring speculum of unrealistic, media dramatization.

Mirrors are reflections that tell us literally and psychologically a lot about how we see ourselves.

We are obsessed with the mirror. What we really want from the mirror is for it to tell us that we are alright—over and again—as many times as we look. Or at least to never confirm our biggest fear—that something is wrong with us.

We tend to live out our lives as we see ourselves to be.

Be aware that voices around us, the past within us, and our circumstances before us, can reflect a cloudy and distorted view of our true potential.

You need a mirror that gives a clear reflection of who you really are. So invest in good mirrors!

 Accountability partners call you to stick to your goals and a circle of friends assure you that failure is not fatal.

The mirror of God’s Word boosts our confidence by clearly establishing our constant true worth. Inviting God’s presence to live within us allows us to reflect true beauty from our inner souls and to remember and relax in who we are.

You are more than the latest style, the absence of wrinkles in your skin, or every hair in place. You are more profound than size, color, or race.

You are beautiful, loved, and created by God.

If your mirror says differently—invest in a new one!

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Psalm 139:14 NLT

Balance Your Day

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Crashing metal, thudding, and sounds of heavy furniture being slid across a tile floor brought my husband Garry and me out of our chairs and onto our feet. The noise was coming from behind the closed utility door.

With adrenaline pumping we flung the door open to find the clothes washer thrashing about like a monster trying to rid itself of an unpleasant pest.

Garry began talking to the machine, asserting that he had not put in too many jeans to wash effectively in a single load! The moving slowed after he pushed the off button, and he was then able to open the lid and view all those jeans piled up on one side of the tub. There may not have been too many clothes, but they had gotten completely off balance. In the lop-sided condition the tub simply could not take the ‘spin’ cycle.

Our lives can be a lot like my washing machine. We fill each day to the maximum with stuff. When we get overloaded, it’s hard to do a good job. Maybe we have even calculated the day and it looks like the number of things we have scheduled is a do-able amount. But there is still one more important detail that must be considered. That vital aspect is balance.

A friend of mine, who started his own cabinet-making company, found that his greatest challenge was consistently taking a lunch break. Before he owned the company, lunch was an anticipated joy so he easily kept track of time. But when he became the owner, he tried to get ahead by working nonstop all day long. After many hours of not eating, he felt weak and his hands would begin to shake as his blood sugar dropped dangerously low. He learned that to really be successful he would have to work in harmony with his body.

In the same way, if I neglect the spiritual side of my life by going extended periods without praying or reading the Bible, then I will find myself becoming emotionally unstable, as well. And so will you.

We were made to have balance in our spirit, soul, and body—time to work, play, eat, exercise, rest, create, pray, and contemplate. Balance creates order, focus, and boundaries. Balance keeps us from becoming burned out. Balance allows us to refuel and enjoy a greater sense of accomplishment and fulfillment throughout the day. We may not even have too much stuff. We may just need to prioritize and arrange it differently… especially when life goes into a ‘spin’!

Are you out of balance in the spin of a hectic schedule today? If so, then I pray that you would stop and create balance in every area of your life: spirit, soul, and body. May you live a healthy lifestyle and be strong even in old age.

May your day be blessed and your tub in balance!

“One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6 NASB)

Mind+Set=Me

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

 Why do I do what I do? Why is it so hard to make lasting change?

These are questions that surface at times of frustration when we once again fail to carry out our good intention

Sometimes, even my own actions have shocked me and left me asking, “Where did this come from?” I know that when I’m confronted with certain situations, my true beliefs show through my actions.

My mindset is much like a thermostat. It predetermines what my responses will be relative to what I believe. When I set my mind on a task, I also shut down and push away anything that doesn’t fit within my mindset. 

The first step to change is acknowledging the need to change.  To question how we think often stops us long enough to evaluate.

Lasting change depends upon how important the desired results are to us. If we can live with how things are, then we probably won’t change.

Change takes effort on our part, and we must be willing to continually get back up when we fail. The good news is that we don’t have to do it alone. God calls us to reason together with Him, and in that place, all things become possible.

“For as he (a person) thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Prov 23:7 (NKJV)

I’ll Never Wash My Hand Again!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

An usher had just shown me to my seat in the Starlight Theater in Branson, Missouri. It was the opening night of Toy Shoppe. The producer of the musical was country music legend Kenny Rogers. As I waited for the show to begin, I made small talk with two ladies on my row.

One lady seated beside me was overly ecstatic because she had talked her 84 year-old friend Emma into coming with her. Emma looked quite healthy. She was dressed neatly, and had a gorgeous smile. Emma shared with us that after she and her husband celebrated 65 years together, he had passed away. Afterwards, she decided her fun times were over and she would never go out again.

However, tonight, Emma’s friend persuaded her to get out of the house, and here they were! Our conversation was cut short when we were asked, “Excuse me ladies, would you like to move up closer?” Leaning over the seat in front of us, the theater manager offered us seats that were located on one of the first several rows. The seats had been blocked off for Kenny Rogers and the cast members’ families.

We were elated, but as we celebrated our good fortune, another­­­­ usher leaned over our row and said, “Excuse me ladies, but we will need to move you. The family needs these seats.” The theater manager on the opposite side urged us to move out more quickly—offering apologies and free popcorn. We crowded into the aisle and stopped…unsure of what to do next.

Kenny Rogers BransonWhile we fought to maintain our dignity after being asked to get up and move, the unexpected happened. We all looked up to discover we were blocking the aisle for Kenny Rogers himself! Out of our group, I was the first to maneuver out of the aisle. I smiled and slid past Kenny on my way back to our lovely, (now second-rate) row.

I stood and waited for Emma and her friend to take their seats beside me. Emma’s friend consoled us with a reminder of free popcorn. All Emma could say was, “I’ll never wash my hand again!” Kenny Rogers had taken the time to greet Emma, and patted her gently on the arm before going on stage.

As Emma returned with her popcorn during intermission, I couldn’t help but ask “Did you wash your hands before eating your popcorn?” She simply smiled and shook her head “no.” There was a new sparkle in her eye that looked like a fresh hope for living.

I respect Kenny Rogers for his kindness, and I honor the friend who encouraged Emma to take that first step out of the house and attend the event with her.

We can’t all be celebrities, but we can all be encouragers and befriend someone else. Be assured that your acts of kindness will bring new life and fresh hope to someone.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

It’s Not Normal

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

 Hunger made me search for food and thatched umbrellas, shading a cluster of tables on the sidewalk, helped me choose a Bistro café.  A gentle breeze and warm sunshine lulled me to slow my pace and enjoy a sandwich while observing people coming and going.  The noon hour brought a mix of young professional women in cute shoes and men in creased khakis, who mannerly held the door open for them. Some ate inside, some grabbed a bite to go, and some joined me to savor the weather and dream on the sidewalk.  The conversations mingled and overlapped into a melody with high pitched laughs, baritone voices, and the click, click rhythm of footsteps on smooth concrete.

The picture-perfect scene didn’t last long.  I began to hear a child’s voice rising above the hum. At first I couldn’t make out the words.  But the fervor and pitch made it very clear this child was passionately desperate about something.  I soon glimpsed a cute baby girl, possibly 2 or 3 years old, holding the hand of her mom near the door. The child was half crying now and the words were heartrending.  Each time the mom tried to lead her little girl into the café; she would pull back and say, “It’s not normal. It’s not normal!”  The mom would stop to explain that it was perfectly normal to go inside and eat. And yet the daughter was never convinced.  The mom had to physically lift the child into the store.  Even as the door was closing behind them the child continued to say, “No, it’s not normal!”

I love children and am always amazed at their perception of the world around them.  It was easy to see she was really saying that it wasn’t what she wanted. Normal and want had gotten confused in her vocabulary and understanding.

Smiling, I returned to the thoughts that had been going over in my mind before the distraction. It was quite shocking to find that many challenges I was fighting against was because I was saying, “It’s not normal.” I too was struggling over things I didn’t want or like. Perhaps I too had become confused on what was normal.

Just yesterday I prayed for a friend’s mom to live. By evening she had passed.  Once again I wanted to say, “It’s not normal.”  But death is a normal occurrence on earth and even a sure appointment.  Life is filled with many seasons of both sunshine and rain. Yet I so often embrace good times and pull back from discomfort.  I say that life isn’t normal when it isn’t what I want. Then God, like a good parent, somewhere in the midst of my complaints gently lifts me over the present threshold of fear and quiets me with His love.  If I should stop to listen to His wisdom, I’m pretty sure I would hear Him say, “Yes, it is earth’s normal. It is just something you don’t like.  Come on, I will take care of you.” 

I think I may always struggle and argue with earth’s definition of normal.  But I do believe that heaven is a place where what I like and normal always mean the same.

Stop the Thunk!

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

 I wish I could tell an armadillo about the value of change.  I’m saddened each time I see a ten pound, brownish-gray, nocturnal animal lying dead along the highway. I don’t even really like armadillos.  They dig holes in the yard and then I have to deal with a bumpy ride each time I mow the lawn. But I do hate to see failure just because of refusal to change. I am told that armadillos have a sure-fire way to ward off intruders. An armadillo will stand its ground until the opponent gets close.  Then it flexes and jumps straight into the air.  This scare tactic worked for centuries. But then along came the invention of the automobile. And when a big, big animal, with headlights for eyes, topped the hill the armadillo did what had always worked. The armadillo stood its ground, waited for the car to get really close, then flexed and jumped straight into the air.  Thunk was the outcome!  Thunk is the only sound and word to describe a once sure-fire method that had suddenly ceased to work.

Do you ever feel like you’re beating your head against a wall?  Does the same old method, that used to bring good results, now bring you failures? If so, it might be time for a change of tactics.

I have no idea how to save an armadillo from jumping into cars.  I can’t tell you how to easily cross the roads of life. But I do know that God promised that He would give us wisdom if we just ask. Being willing to honestly assess situations and seek wisdom, on the right method of response, is vital to stay cutting edge—and alive.  I can change even though it goes against my genetic predisposition.    

Renew your mind daily through prayer and ask God for wisdom in every situation.  Don’t second guess yourself or God’s ability to know the road ahead.  Trust in Him. Stop the thunk.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5 (NLT)

Let It Go

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Let it Go

The difference between great success and failure may be as simple as knowing what – and when – to let go.

I heard a story about how hunters in Africa catch monkeys. Monkeys are very smart and difficult to trap. So the hunters build a container with an opening large enough for the monkey to put its hand into, yet it’s too small for a clenched fist to be removed. Hunters then place tempting trinkets or food into the container. The monkey reaches in, grips the treasures, and is trapped by its own fist. It’s hard to believe that a monkey will stay trapped until the hunter returns and captures it – when all that was needed to be free was for it to let go.

We’re more intelligent than a monkey. Yet no matter how much we know, there are times when we struggle to just let go.

Do you want to know three words to make your life more successful?  “Let it go.”  Three simple words will make your life more successful. We must evaluate often those things that we are holding onto and understand why we might want to cling to them. Things that have fulfilled their job or no longer pulling us forward have to be released to make room for the new and relevant. It is a waste of precious time and energy to keep hammering away at issues that we are powerless to change. We can gain tremendous peace just by letting go of past hurts, bitterness, or things we just never could quite figure out. Relationships also have to be evaluated. People that I pull into my inner circle will either lift me up or pull me back. I must evaluate my circle of friends and choose to stay in close contact with those who value what I have to say, encourage new ideas, and share some goals in common. You, too, should let go of friends who merely tolerate you. This will make each day an uplifting celebration.

It may not be easy to let some things go. That time, relationship, or plan in your life became part of you.  It is normal to feel some temporary sadness when you let it go. That’s OK.

Push past the disappointments. Open your hand and release. There are new people, places, and experiences ahead for you. Move forward into the great plans God has for you.  Just let it go.

“I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Phil 3:13,14 NLT

No More Detours

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

The count is definitely in, and everyone I know is glad for the past year to go. I too welcomed a new year because I wanted a fresh start.  But this New Year is now into its second week and life is throwing me some pretty fierce distractions to deal with. I wonder if what I did last week was done any differently than this time last year.

Distractions don’t go away. They must be dealt with. I can’t drive down the main street of our small town or log onto my computer without the possibility of getting sidetracked. But I can become stronger and make wiser choices.

Our paths are strewn not only with distractions but also opportunities. So the question to ask ourselves when things pop into our world is, “Is this a distraction or an opportunity?” When distraction comes and opportunity knocks, we have the power to choose which one to answer and entertain and when to just stay focused on our present path.

If you plan ahead what you would like to accomplish in your day and upcoming year, it will make right choices clearer.

Decide where each new “unexpected” will lead your day. Distracted days add up to months, and soon another year has come and gone. We do have the core strength to do things differently. Be courageous and push pass that first uncomfortable moment of taking charge of your life – choose opportunity over distraction.

Give yourself an internal boost of energy by taking some time upfront to define your goals clearly, rid your path of proven distractions, and quiet your mind each morning.

Know that if you follow distractions, you will take a detour yet again this year.  But if you face the ongoing distractions, choose to stay the course, and keep going forward, you will enjoy great success in the coming year.

“For I can do everything through Christ,* who gives me strength.” James 4:18 NLT

A Fresh Start

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

on the WINGS

uplift for your world

Yesterday, at a get together in our home, after most of the guests had said their goodbyes, we three girls gathered around the bar to chat.  We three girls were those closest to me, one ahead and one following on the road of life – Mom, me, and my daughter.  After sipping yet another flavor of coffee, and tasting just one more bite of cherry pie, we talked about life.  Mom wished she knew what she knew now when she was my daughter’s age.  My daughter thought this wonderful concept could be achieved if mom’s wealth of wisdom was just downloaded to her immediately. It was a great idea of how becoming wise as an elder while still being young, could indeed be accomplished.  We laughed knowing that wisdom principals can be taught, but each person must then know when and how to apply those principals in his/her daily life.  Each path has different twists and turns that have to be personally walked out.

I have sometimes thought that if I could start over I would do things differently.  But after starting over, after many bummer days, I’ve found that it wasn’t just a second chance that was needed, but wisdom. Sometimes the wisdom ingredient to success was additional planning. After not being on time or prepared yet again, it became evident that I must avoid the trap of procrastination on a daily basis, to be wise.

I also had to let go of the myth that today’s fresh-start-path would somehow be easier than yesterday. Sometimes life is hard whatever the path. But hard is not always bad. Sometimes our greatest victories and highest joys are only realized by pushing past our comfort zones.

To totally embrace a fresh start, make peace with things in your past that cannot be relived or redone. Forgive, let go, and untie negative people and circumstances of yesterday.

Write down your goals, dreams, and ambitions and keep them before you. Surround yourself with people you would be happy to become more like.

Today is the day for a fresh start, whether it is your second or hundredth chance to live how you would — if you could — do it over.  Be diligent to live by wisdom principals that will bring the results you want in your life.  Learn something new each day, love well, and enjoy those before, beside, and behind you on the path of life.

Would you like a fresh start in any area of your life?  If so, then I pray today that you will commit to searching for wisdom, going past your comfort zones, and planning ahead.  May the God of all wisdom be your guide as you spend time in reflective silence before Him today.

By Reba Wilson (c)2012

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Pro 4:7 NKJV

I need you – you need me – and we all need God

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

In times of trouble, in times of great need, there is but one place where my heart is secure and my thoughts are understood. There is only one power that can quiet my busy mind and soothe my desperate soul.  When my faith is shaken, I must know there is a safe place above — called heaven — where life’s pieces actually come together in a land of perfect peace.

Today, I walk below the celestial sky.  I live on earth’s imperfect soil where both good and bad intermingle along the path.  I seek to connect with the creator of heaven and earth to make sense of the now and receive courage for tomorrow.

I find a refuge — in prayer to the God who understands a language of tears and sighs. I open the Bible and personalize promises that were given to me when I accepted Christ as my Savior…. The Lord is a very present help in my time of need.  Jesus has said that He will never leave me or forsake me.  God will make a way in my every trial so that I will not be crushed entirely beneath the weight of devastation.  When I don’t know what to do, I will ask God for wisdom and the Holy Spirit will give me direction.

Dear friend, if ever I should be too weak to cry out would you please say a prayer – for me.  In the middle of grief and loss each kind word, plate of food, and act of kindness gives me strength to keep on standing.  Please don’t stay away because you don’t have any words to say- for at times the greatest energy came when you said- nothing at all.  What mattered most… was that you were there.

“Amicu certus in re incerta cernitur.” (Quintus Ennius – 3rd Century BC) This quote translates from the Latin as ‘a sure friend is known when in difficulty’.