It was not my intention when I sat down to spend some quiet time with God this morning to take a year-end inventory however, if I have learned anything in the years I have walked with the Lord it is that it is not really about me and what I want but what He has for me.
My pastor has made the comment to take the lesson and leave the luggage. In order to do this we need time to reflect. I believe that God is constantly talking to us. There are always lessons, miracles, wisdom to be gleaned from life experiences however we need to take the time to examine life as it occurs not simply let it pass by. I have tried to be more consistent with this in 2014. I still have much opportunity to improve but so what?!
So as sat this morning quietly reading and sipping my coffee I asked myself what have been the most important lessons learned this year? How have I grown? Where do I need to focus as January rounds the corner because where my focus is will get my attention.
Lessons learned(in no particular order):
Trust God. He has a plan. That plan is better than mine. He will provide the plan when I am ready.
This may seem like a no brainer but all too often I still go about my life doing what I want and hoping it is what God wants too. You can read a past post here is you would like to see how I learned this lesson. The part about the plan is revelatory(for me). I know that things always happen in His perfect time yet this morning He whispered that the plan is revealed when I am ready. Hmm…a partnership, co-laborer in His kingdom?!
Write things down. I remember better when it has been written. Things that happen during the day are important. People and interactions matter, so make notes.
Keep a journal. This is a place to record your thoughts and elaborate on feelings. One of my favorite quotes is “thoughts are disentangled as they pass through our fingerstips”~ Dawson Trotman.
I have taken to writing the names of each patient I interact with during the day. It helps me to remember who they are but more importantly I use it as a prayer reminder lifting each one up throughout the day.
Only this moment is guaranteed, the next is not. Live life with purpose. Be intentional in everything. Set goals. Take risks. Give Glory to God. Say things that are important. Be sure to give time to what is important to me—this should be people(note to self). Love everyone. Always. But especially when you don’t feel like it.
Happy New Year Everyone! Praying that 2015 brings you love, joy and peace.
It wasn’t until the end of this audible book that I realized the Grimke sisters were not fictional characters but true abolitionists, that fact certainly made the story more impactful. One thing I truly enjoyed was hearing how Sarah discovered her purpose in life. Kidd does an excellent job on emphasizing this fact as Sarah walks through life. The sisters were truly infamous women leaders, paving the way for the abolition of slavery and invoking revolutionary thoughts on women’s rights.
As I pondered their courage and accomplishments while listening to their story I was reminded of the line of scripture from the story of Ester when Mordecai says to Ester that perhaps God has brought her to the palace for a time such as this. Sarah and her sister Nina growing up in a southern slave owner’s home were exposed to the realities of slavery as young girls this upbringing shaped their viewpoint and when the time became ripe God launched their ministry.
We are all born for this time. We are all here for a purpose. There is a lifework looking for our unique signature. Sarah Grimke didn’t step into her purpose until her 40’s and said “No” to other potential distractions but joys along the path. We must do the same. We each have a call upon our life and shouldn’t stop short until we hear the words, “well done good and faithful servant.”
Do you ever feel that you are the only person who thinks the way you do?
I often find myself silently pondering this very idea. Not too long ago when I was dwelling on this idea the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me that I don’t think like those in the world…my mind is being renewed with the thoughts of Christ.
Hmmm, a familiar verse indeed and one that spoke truth to me at the time. Often when I find myself in the place that reveals my thoughts to be different from those in the world I do not speak up–I consider this the power of discernment–knowing when to speak and when not to is a valuable lesson, one that I was not always mindful of. The circumstances were different in a recent meeting however and I felt the prompting of the Lord to share a perspective that the group needed to hear.
The group consisted of a number of my colleagues, nurses, social workers and other closely related providers of the team. The topic being discussed was the boundaries of the professionals as it pertains to interacting with patients. The “issue” being explored was the decision of one of the group to go to a patient home to inform him of an upcoming chemotherapy appointment that he was not aware of. The patient was known to have many barriers to care, including only having a pay as you go cell phone. I should mention here that one of the primary functions of my role as a nurse navigator is to identify and overcome barriers to care. Well my colleague decided that she would make an “unauthorized” home visit and tell this person of his upcoming appointment. Her decision was not embraced by the administration.(Point #1 of thinking differently than the rest of the world)
The discussion that ensued eventually came around to caregivers, i.e. “the group” attending personal events of a patient, like celebrations and funerals. There was quite a bit of dialogue around the table. Many of the group felt that attending these events blurred the lines of professionalism, who were they attending the event as, the nurse/social worker or as a friend? Still others believed that this simply oversteps an unstated boundary.(Point #2 of thinking differently than the rest of the world)
As I usually do I sat quietly absorbing this conversation and asked, do I speak up or keep silent? The answer I received was to speak up. And so I did.
I entered this profession to provide health care to human beings. This meant showing compassion and mercy towards those that need it. It however doesn’t stop there, at the door. I went on to share with the group that when I have been invited to attend a celebration of some sort by a person I have had the privilege of caring for, I received the invitation with honor. As caregivers we help people in what is often their darkest hour overcome fear and pain creating a unique and treasured bond. Why should I not attend a special event that represents so much to the person? And if the person has extended an invitation to me how would they feel if I didn’t attend? And on those all to often occasions when a person I have provided loving care for leaves this life and enters into eternity should I spare myself the burden of attending the funeral service and forsake the opportunity for closure for me and the family?
Thankfully I have discovered that when I separate myself from these experiences, I cannot possibly be all that I am created to be in that moment–living life authentically and fulfilled.
I have long since come to appreciate that if the Lord has you share something it is to be done if faith–act as the mailman and expect nothing in return. In practice this can be difficult though as affirmation is often a much needed component to our life of obedience. On this occasion the Lord sent a special someone to tell me how much my sharing was appreciated. Oh the JOY!
The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.
~Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, 1996
Early on in my blogging journey I shared one of my inspirational reads that helped me to discover “Me”. Today’s inspirational quote is taken from that book.
I am a dreamer but I have not been a consistent doer in all things. In early 2012 my pastor preached a sermon that helped me to easily identify why I did not always reach my dream—I do not always follow through. Yep it was true, I often lacked the stamina to see my dream become reality. Once aware of this truth I could hardly ignore the cold, hard fact and God in His faithfulness wasn’t going to let it go either. So I embarked on a journey toward goal setting with accountability–much of the time blogging about my successes. I still miss the mark but it happens less frequently now. And as His word says, as I have become faithful in small things, larger things have been entrusted to my care(Luke 16:10).
We need to be dreamers who do because as the quote says, the world needs us.
Thanks for reading today.
- Be A Doer Not Just A Dreamer (wealthymatters.com)
- Dreamer (limabue.wordpress.com)
- Dreamers and planners (christianpf.com)
- Congratulations on being a doer! (jamwithmike.wordpress.com)
- Favorite Quotes on Dreams (dshenai.wordpress.com)
- Writing my way to through Simple Abundance – Day One (wileyschmidt.wordpress.com)
- A Year of Gratitude – (julielynn.typepad.com)
Last December my husband and I were out doing some final shopping for one of our many holiday events when he spotted someone he knew. This is not too unusual for my very social husband who really thinks that a stranger is someone he has only yet to meet. We struck a conversation with this guy and his wife who are about the same age as us and like us a second time around marriage. Inspired by the chance meeting he extended an invite to them to join us during one of those said holiday event, an invite which they accepted. Since that chance(not) meeting we have had the opportunity to fellowship with this couple on a few occasions and have become better acquainted. During our most recent evening together the conversation moved toward how God uses us in our life and I was struck by how perfectly we are each crafted to sometimes thrive at other times just survive in our sphere of influence. Let me elaborate.
S.G is employed in the local boat yard as a welder. The mostly men who inhabit the world in which he has been assigned can be shall we say tough, sometimes mean-spirited, crass kind of guys. I know from our conversation that S.G is often challenged by the hardness of the environment yet he is well equipped to handle these guys. S.G has a personal walk with God that enables him to speak boldly into their lives. And it would seem that there is a knowing respect for S.G’s relationship with his savior which at times actually curbs the language and behavior(at least in his presence). It is through him that the light of the Lord is shining in this dark place.
As I pondered this man and his sphere I was struck by how uniquely gifted we each are for exactly our personal sphere of influence. I could not imagine walking the walk that S.G is called to but that is not my walk. Many people have remarked to me over the years how difficult “my” calling is—working with cancer patients;yet I enjoy the rewards daily often finding myself even more greatly blessed than those I minister to.
I was recently reading in the book of John and I came across the story when Jesus reinstates Peter. In this passage Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves him. When Peter confirms this to be fact Jesus says to him then follow me. So Peter does. But Peter notices that they are being followed by one of the other disciples and asks Jesus, what about him? To which Jesus replies, what is that to you. You must follow me. Jesus to telling us that it doesn’t matter what the other guy is doing, all that matters is that we are obedient to His command and follow him.
Each one of us is uniquely fashioned by the Creator of the universe to influence an assigned sphere. We need to be less concerned about what the person next to us is doing and more concerned about if we are doing everything we are called to.
What is your assigned sphere of influence? Are you doing your part to spread His light?