Side Tracks


I took my youngest (by a minute) G.son to school this morning. I haven’t counted but there are probably 20 or more traffic lights between here and there and back. About two thirds of the way to school I realized I had stopped at only one red light!! We continued on to school, I dropped him off and on the way back it continued – Green light after Green light after Green light! WOW!! What a wonderful day this is going to be!”

  • Then, it happened! I did it! It was my fault! I wasn’t paying attention (too busy congratulating myself, I think) to where I was and I made a wrong right turn.  About two blocks down that road, I realized where I was and at the first opportunity made a U-turn.

I’ve been in Recovery a bit more than 8 years. This path I’m on is MUCH smoother now than before. There are days I hit “Green light after Green light after Green light.” It’s real tempting on those days to not pay close enough attention to where I’m going. Some days, before I know it, I’ve made a wrong turn. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the consequences that await me at the end of that side track. I’m now much quicker to realize I’m headed the wrong way and I make that U-turn at the first chance I get.

This morning, when I realized where I was and what I’d done, all I did was say: “Oh, Ratz!” I didn’t reach into my “backpack” and grab my favorite tool to beat myself up. (like I used to) In the past, I would become so wrapped up in condemning myself for my mistake, I could be MILES down the road, and it would be a LONG way back. Sometimes, I’d get lost down that side track and wonder if I’d EVER make it back.

My WW and I love taking Road Trips. When I’m driving, she usually pays pretty close attention to what’s going on around us. I’ve told her “If U see something U think I need to be aware of, feel free to speak up.” It’s always better for her to speak and tell me something I already know than to keep silent and then we’re both sorry later. I needed her in the car with me this morning.

I need somebody walking with me as I travel this road of life.
I need someone who can speak up when it’s needed. 

There have been times she’ll speak up and my thought (or words) will be: “Honey, sometimes I wonder how I managed to drive that huge bucket truck for ATT all over three counties for 40 years without your help!” She often replies (nicely): “I wonder the same thing sometimes!”

I have learned give her the freedom to speak up when it’s needed. It’s become a two-way street. There are things, there are times that I need to speak into her life as well. (though it’s hardly ever about her driving)

Do you have someone in your life with the freedom to speak up when it’s needed?
It’s a lot more important than U might realize.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise.
  Proverbs 12:15 (NKJV)

The King’s Voice

friday-afternoon-day8-084

I haven’t heard The King’s Voice lately. I wonder if it’s because, like me, He’s grown tired of all the political bickering.

My WW’n I spent most of last month away from it all, cruising through the Panama Canal. Well, at least away from the majority of it. I see now that it took a few days to “get away from it” while we were gone. I fully intended to keep my distance upon returning. I’m amazed how quickly I was sucked back into the vortex. The voices are shouting even louder than before we left.

I remember evenings standing at the rail, gazing into the gathering darkness with my mind as still and quiet as the distant horizon. This verse from one of my favorite hymns slipped into the quietness of my mind:

                                 “When peace, like a river, attendeth my soul –
                                  When sorrows, like sea-billows roll –
                                  Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to know –
                                  It is well, It is well, with my soul…”

This morning, in these early quiet moments, I’m reminded that the Peace-full Stillness I seek is not in silence from the strident voices surrounding me. Just as in this stillness, I hear the tick-tock,tick-tock,tick of the grandfather clock in the corner, the distant rolling of the train across town, the first chirping of the early birds at the feeder, and of course, the quiet breathing of my sleeping WW, there is a quiet place within my soul where I can once again hear the gentle whispers of My King’s Voice saying:

                                                               “Peace!”

ThkQ for reminding me this morning that You are already aware of what will transpire tomorrow. I’d like to think You’re in control and I can simply petition You to make my choice reality. In actuality, I know that some of your other kids are asking You for the opposite of what I want. One of the real temptations is to let our differences lead to anger! Perhaps that anger is part of the reason I don’t hear Your Voice! I think I’m glad I’m not You!! lol

ThkQ for reminding me this morning that WHATEVER happens tomorrow, in that quiet place deep inside me, I will still be able to sing/say/know…

                                                  “It Is Well, It Is Well, With My Soul!”

 

Images of God

What’s more important, the way I see God or the way He sees me? 

For several weeks, I’ve had this thought running through my mind, “Images of God”. I’ve even done an internet search for “images of God.” GOOGLE had 212,000 images. 

Angry God. Laughing God. A punishing God.  Far away God. Vengeful God. A Loving God. Non-existent God. A God “who keeps attendance/score”. A “vice principal” God. Allah. Buddha. A socially-conscience God. A political God. 

I was born knowing God loved me. Thx, Mom! ThkQ, Dad! But I thought He kept score. I thought He loved me more when I behaved myself. AND – was ready to punish me when I didn’t. 

About 9 years ago, I prayed: “God, teach me to trust you more.” That began an almost decade-long journey that has changed how I view God. It began with a change in my understanding of how God sees me. He taught (is teaching) me – He Loves Me!! He’s my “ABBA – Daddy,” NOT my Judge! 

More to come…

T.B.T.#14

ThrowBackThursday #14

Recovery Step 3 – “We surrendered our Lives and our Wills to the care of God…

Monday night I listened as a guy explained the difference between the two. He said we first surrender our Life to God – we do that once. But then, on a daily basis, we need to surrender our Will. Makes sense to me!!! So how come it gives me so much trouble?!?

Yeah, don’t laugh, I bet it does for U, too! If Not, give me a call, let’s talk!! I need to know what U know!

P.S… I must say, since I started this journey, I’ve learned that I (and other people) worry more about my times of failure than God does! So many times, I’ve seen Him turn my failures into important changes that brought great blessing into my life – and to others.

IT’s CALLED GRACE!

I posted this about a year ago:
Check it out…

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2015/08/22/sharing/

“I Asked God…”

I Asked God to teach me to Trust. Him
He taught me about His Love. For me

I Asked God to teach me to be better so He c/would Love me more
God said He already Loves me and that He can’t/doesn’t do “More”

I Asked God to help me love my fellowman.
He taught me how to love myself in Him and to let His Love flow through me to others

I Asked God to make me good so I could stay in His Presence more
God said: “My Son, Come. To me. Just Come, as U.R. – Now”

I Asked God to light my path
He said He’s with in the dark and that I can trust Him there. 

I Asked God to help me solve my problems
He used my problems to change me

I told God I needed to preach
He told me He made me a writer

I Asked God to let me see Him more clearly
He taught me He’s (my) God – even in the fog   {I was the one in the fog}

I Asked God; “But what about my sins?”
God said: “My Son already paid the price for that! Come to me – sin and all!”

I Asked God to show me the plan He has for me
He taught me to seek to know more about Him

I Asked God to help me understand
He said if I understood I would not need to trust – Him!

I told God I needed to be strong
He said He is strongest in my weakness

I Asked God
He showed me His Grace

I Asked God – “Where R.U?”
He said: “I am in U, I will be with U… Always!”

I Asked God…
He taught (is teaching) me to Praise – HIM




What If? #2

Way Back in May, 2014, when the movie “What if – God’s NOT Dead” was in theaters, I posted “7 What Ifs“. You can read them HERE.

This summer’s theme for the pastoral staff at New Life Church has been The Lord’s Prayer. You can listen/view their sharing HERE. They’re addressing it phrase by phrase. I’m finding it to be illuminating, challenging, thought – provoking and even life-changing.


The past two weeks have been amazing as they have unwrapped :

Forgive us our debts as / we forgive our debtors.

Perhaps, partly because of this series, or perhaps just because God tends to work in my life byasking me a Q, lets me ponder it for awhile, then helps me find His answer I’ve been thinking a lot about this What If:

“WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN ME AND GOD IF I DIE WITH UN-FORGIVENESS?”

Perhaps a better, corresponding Q might be this one that was #1 on the original list of
7 What Ifs
(U did go there and read them, right??)

What if we are ALREADY as forgiven (by God) as we will ever be?”   

How would the knowledge and belief of that change my life? But first, can that even be true? Can it be possible that God provided (complete) forgiveness through the sacrifice of His Son at the cross? Remember – the last words of Jesus were “It Is Finished!” I’m not sure I’ve ever fully understood what He meant by that.

In the past 26 months or so since I posted that first list of 7, it seems like I’m learning more and more about how God’s GRACE and how He views me because of it. As I’ve learned more about how God sees me, It’s changed how I see Him. Perhaps the most important is how it’s changing how I see others. It’s challenged some long-held beliefs I grew up with, argued about discussed by the hour, and related to God and others by.

Lately, as I write new posts on this writing thingy I’ve been doing for the past 3 years or so, I’m seeing more and more how “themes” are fitting together. In the next few days, weeks, (who-knows) I want to look back and see how this thought fits into my musings:

Because I am completely forgiven by God,
I can therefore choose to walk in forgiveness with ‘YOU’

In the meantime, I would LOVE it if you would chime in with your comments, thoughts, Q’s and yes, even your musings. Argue with me about it if you want!! We’ll learn together.

P.S. Join my “Tribe” – click on the “Follow” button and type in Ur email

SATURDAY GRATITUDEs #4

You can read part #1 HERE

Part #2 HERE Part #3 HERE

There’s this guy that likes to live in my head. In AA they call him “The Committee of one” I call him Sir James. I introduced y’all to him HERE. And HERE

One of the favorite tricks of Sir James is to get me to Compare. I’ve said it before, and I come to believe it more as time passes: 

Comparison is a Thief of Joy! 

AND Gratitude. 

Comparison is such a part of our natural way. It’s what makes us feel better (or worse) than others. It’s what drives us to build bigger, buy more, to plan ahead for greater tomorrows. It’s also a huge part of the reason I occasionally find myself in a pit. Fortunately, not as often nor as deep as in past times. 

I doubt that I have ever felt grateful because of comparison. Oh, I’d be glad that didn’t have “problems like other people.” But, I’ve discovered that feeling was usually based more on PRIDE than GRATITUDE. The major problem with being glad you have a better life than someone else is because none of us are at the top. There’s always someone else that’s “glad they don’t have a life/troubles like mine”. 

So… How/Why am I grateful? To a large degree, it’s a matter of choice. It’s a choice that I can CHOOSE to make. I do not have to listen to The  Voice of Sir James.  

My friend Matt once told me: “Jim, you need to write a book about Sir James, because EVERYBODY has a Sir James in their life.”

Q for YOU – What’s the name of the man / woman that lives in YOUR head? Does {S}He bring you to a place of peace and gratitude? 

This prayer is one of the thngs that helps me cope with Sir James:

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen