Daily Fit’s and Starts, Endings and Encores

blog and such 006Here’s a way to start and end each day…

 Is there a recipe for life? Psalm 92 :2 gives us the best way to start and end each day.  It says it is good to praise the Lord and the writer tells us specifically how to do this: To proclaim God’s unfailing love in the morning and His faithfulness at night.

Psalm 921 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
      to sing praises to the Most High.
 2 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
      your faithfulness in the evening,
 3 accompanied by the ten-stringed harp
      and the melody of the lyre.

 

Proclaim God’s love

In the morning?  I am not a morning person! I often can’t think of one good reason to push back the warm duvet.  So this for me this is a stretch.

 But if you think about it… the day is going to start anyway, no matter how many times you hit the snooze button. So, if it’s gotta have a start, is there any better way to launch the day (or endure its beginning) than to turn your thoughts toward God and his love?    

 Each morning if I take the time to think about God’s love, it will give me the courage to face what each day brings.  If I know that God loves me, I can trust him to lead me throughout the day and if I am secure in his love I will have the confidence to face what ever comes my way.  God’s love will also give me what I need in dealing with people throughout the day.  Self confidence, or lack of it… make way for God confidence. Insecurity and fear can move on out.  I am in the centre of God’s love.

 

 Proclaim his Faithfulness 

Do you know how much we miss by not taking a moment to reflect on the day and thank God for his faithfulness?  Cognitive behavioral theory states that the focus of a person’s thoughts influences their feeling and behavior.  It suggests that a way to ward off depression is to start a thankfulness journal.  Everyday you record all the good things that happened to you, or the good things you have in life. 

 This is what the psalm is talking about. At the end of the day, take a moment to look back and see God’s hand. Take a moment to seek out Divine fingerprints.  Learn to recognize God’s leading and guiding.  Learn to discern his faithfulness.  He is faithful… we just need to see it.

 

 And, proclaim it out loud! 

Really? Won’t the family think I have lost the last marble?

 I researched this one a bit.  To ‘proclaim’ is to “shew forth” (Hebrew- ‘nâgad’ ) which means to audibly say something in a bold way – as if in opposition. Once again, the psalmist is stating what research is proving:  the power of the spoken word.  Something in our brain happens when we audibly hear what we know is true.  And we know what is true when we hear it. 

 So speak it loud and clear.  The spoken word also has power in the spiritual world.  I don’t know much about this… but I do know that when I speak truth there is an unleashing of power. There is a fight in the higher heavens and our prayers and praise are part of the warfare.  

 And, oh…  if you have a ten stringed harp or a lyre… feel free to strum away!

 

 October

For the month of October… let’s put this to the test. With it being the month of thanksgiving and all…wanna join me?

 –          Each morning start off with proclaiming God unfailing love.  Then, step into your day with his confidence.

 –          Each evening take a moment to proclaim God’s faithfulness. Then rest the night in peace. 

 This sounds like a great way to do life. 

 Now… Enter your praise and thanksgiving and read other’s input as we all add our ‘two-cents’ to thoughts of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.

 And of course.. read out loud…

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Blueberry Muffins and Spirituality

blueberry%20muffinShawna, a mom of three young children, pulled fresh blueberry muffins from the oven and handed me a cup of amazing coffee.  Settling into her sofa we caught up on life and then dove into the question that initiated our ‘coffee’ talk.  I had about a week to think about the question she asked me, and even as we started talking I felt waves of insecurity rise within me.  Her question had been quite simple, yet deep. 

“Doris” she facebooked “I was wondering if you had some ideas on how to bring Christ and spirituality more into my children’s lives?”

Yup…waves of inadequacy. Did I do enough with my children when they were younger?  Did I instill in them a love for God and knowledge of his word that would see them through their teen years and university education? Would my children walk with God throughout their lives?

I was pregnant with my first child when I was hit with the realization that not only was I bringing a child into this worldI was also bringing a soul into eternity.  Waves of fear submerged me…what if this child rejected God…what if a child of mine rebelled against their Creator?

I have always tried to be intentional in teaching my children about God.  Over the years we did it in different ways and at different times of the day.  But before Shawna and I talked about these practical ideas I wanted to address the foundation.   As I grow my children spiritually I have to be solid in what I believe and I need to be practicing my faith.  I must be intentionally growing in my spiritual life while I am investing in my children’s. 

It is kinda like Shawna’s blueberry recipe that I copied out before I left her place.  Most of the ingredients are put into the main body of the muffins, but one-half cup of the dry mixture is saved to sprinkle on top.  The topping only reveals was is in the core. We have to make sure that we are putting the bulk of the spiritual intentionality into our own lives, and then saving some to share with our kids. We ‘sprinkle’ into their lives what is at the core of our lives. 

Waves of fear and inadequacy are replaced with waves of grace.  Romans 9 says that it is God’s mercy that draws us to him.  In understanding the attributes of God, we see that he is faithful. Our amazing God who reveals himself to us can also reveal himself to our children. We just get to help set the stage.

This can include:

–          Regular prayer time at meals, before bed and maybe even in the car before you head out of the garage.  Definitely let your family experience prayer when there is crisis. Let them see you turning to God for needs.

–          Regular Bible reading times. 

  • When the children were younger we read bible stories as part of our bedtime rituals.
  • As they got older we read after the supper meal
  • Now, we try to read at breakfast before they head off to school.

–          At one stage we had evening family time (after they were in p.j.’s).  Sometimes I’d pull out the guitar and we sang camp songs and other times we learned memory verses by putting our own actions to them.  Even before my son could read, he had Psalm 1 memorized… complete with actions. We always tried to keep these times fun and entertaining.

And then there are the ‘talk-as-we-walk-through-life’ training times (Deut 6).  I’d ask God to reveal himself in ways that I can point out to the children, enabling God’s truth to be brought into conversations and situations.  He will do it… we just need to ask and then watch to see him ‘show up’ all around us.

–          Seeing beauty in nature reflecting God

–          Recognizing God’s provision in our lives

–          Recounting answered prayers

–          Letting our children see us live moral lives sustained with integrity

–          Demonstrating God through love and discipline

Really, each day is loaded with opportunities to implement spiritual perspectives.  Inadequacies are countered by filling up on God’s grace each day and counting in His faithfulness. I still have more years to pour into my children.  I’m glad I started when they were young, but I want to have a lifetime of bringing Christ into my children’s lives.  And then someday…I hope to influence my grandchildren! 

And maybe, I’ll even pass on Shawna’s blueberry muffin recipe. Thanks for the talk Shawna…

Do You Like Me

We took a holiday by a lake in the mountains.  The sky was blue, the water cool and the mountains surrounding the lake was surreal in beauty and magnitude. Bobbing on air mattresses that I had purchased the week before from the local hardware store for a whopping $12.97, I asked my husband the million dollar question.  It was a simple one, but one that had been haunting me for the past month. 

“Do you like me?”

I know… the question sounds needy and is obviously asked from a depth of insecurity, but the reality was I needed to know. I never doubted whether my husband was committed to me, or whether he loved me – I just needed to know whether he liked me. 

I wanted to talk about how he was feeling towards me. When a wife asks her husband about feelings there often tends to produce a knee-jerk reaction.  Please, can we talk about the weather, fishing, sports or… I might even be willing to talk religion or politics… but feelings??

Feelings play such a huge role in relationships but they are often hard to put into words. It can tough to describe whether you feel positive about your relationship or not and why.

Positive sentiment override is when positive comments and behaviors outweigh negative ones about 20:1. This idea originated with John Gottman and it suggests that there is a positive filter that modifies how couples evaluate their relationship. In this state there are more positive feelings and thoughts attached to the relationship that negative (and yes Sherlock, negative sentiment over-ride is when negativity presides).

When there is positive sentiment override in a marriage there is a feeling of good will towards each other.  It means that at the end of the day, when you are brushing your teeth before bed and you look at the person you are sharing the sink with – there is positive feeling; you actually like the person. This is the stuff that good marriages are built on; mutual feelings of positive sentiment. 

My husband and I had been through a series of tough issues and situations.  Personality clashes, style differences and even gender disparities had caused some stormy waters.  So, as we floated on the idyllic lake I posed the question.  Do you like me?

His response was calculated and a bit too slow for my liking.  But it was legitimate; he was being careful and analytical as his nature dictates.  “Yes Doris, I do like you…” he replied.  Then as the conversation continued we talked about the past month and the various strains that we had encountered.  While restating our underlining commitment to each other we touched on a few things that we needed to implement to ensure that we would continue to ‘like’ each other.

We need to take time in our day to interact on an intentional level. Daily. We must incorporate time into our schedules and busy lives to look each other in the eye and to validate each other’s life.  By noticing and even studying my husband I can learn to read and even predict how different circumstances will effect affect him.  I once heard a friend say that he wanted to take the rest of his life to learn all he could about his wife –as if he were working toward a master’s degree on understanding her.

Daily interactions need to happen for this type of knowledge to be built up. Specific times of connecting to highlight:

–          Take a couple of minutes before you leave each other to go to work and the time when you come back to look into each other’s eyes. Give a quick kiss “goodbye” or “hello”.  This validates the other’s worth and creates a wonderful tradition of recognizing and celebrating each other’s presence.  We need to ‘touch base’ with each other.

–          Set aside a couple of minutes at the end of the day to recount the day’s highs and lows. Keep it brief as needed or as long as you both want.

–          Plan a trip-for-two at least once a year.  For some couples they get away to plan and prepared for their next year – combining day-timers and setting goals.  For others it can be a relaxing weekend away to just vegetate.  Whatever your style is – do it!

Building a healthy marriage is keeping the positive sentiment higher than the negative reactions.  It really is that simple – but it can be hard to do.  It takes time and commitment to build a healthy relationship. Building a friendship in marriage is even more difficult because of all the strains that life brings.

So, next time you have a moment – or even right now – ask yourself.  Do I like my spouse?  If you can say yes, then you are heading in the right direction.  If the answer is ambiguous or negative, then take time to get to know your spouse again, so that you will like them.  You obviously liked each other at one time, or you wouldn’t have said “I do”. 

And if the answer seems too slow or calculated for your liking – purchase an inexpensive floatation device and head for the mountains. Sometimes these types of questions just need the time and space to be answered.

Copyright© 2009 Doris Born – Permission granted to use and reproduce with proper citation