The nature of striving does not allow one to be content with one's current lot in life. Where, then, does "Be Still and know I am God" fit in? Where is the Rest from being weary and heavy-laden? How does Paul's admonition to be content in all things - whether rich or poor - add up? What about pursuing the Kingdom and His Righteousness, and trusting that God will add all this other stuff in due time? When did a community need to become compensated to be fruitful? When did earthly leaders become gurus on leadership to be all but worshiped?
Solomon had ALL these things and more. He was the richest, wealthiest, most famous, and wisest sought after man compared to none other in history and had more at his disposal than we will ever dream.
His takeaway at the end of it all? IT'S ALL MEANINGLESS; a vapor in the wind. He concluded it is best to be content with eating, drinking, and enjoying the fruits of one's labor and to be thankful to God for all we do have.
Moreover, THIS is what is identified, according to Proverbs as the joy of life: To find a noble wife (or spouse) and bear children with [her] so that you two can raise up a family to love God and people, all while enjoying the fruit of your labor with them and worshiping our Father in heaven. Easy peasy, right? NO; that's hard enough within itself without all the added strife. However, it is FULFILLING especially when one is grateful. To be GRATEFUL for your family and to do your best loving them - THAT brings contentment. With gratitude, there is a contentment that follows and a release of the need to strive.
As a nurse that works with a lot of the dying; you should know their biggest regret is always having worked too much and not loving and engaging their family more. Most sad in some of my encounters with these individuals is that many times they end up alone in a nursing home as their children repeat the same striving they learned from their parent. That sucks.
I am so grieved to see people, especially people I love, working themselves to exhaustion for vapor in the wind. Some even trying to save the world as they lose their loved ones and sabotaging their health in the meantime.
Now I am NOT saying to not to pursue excellence or not to work on being the very best you - that is definitely an important part of living and growing. And I am NOT saying not to pursue you dreams. What I am saying is that if your growing or pursuit of a dream is killing everything else in your life, then you are just growing into or becoming a weed. Even weeds look beautiful at first, but they choke the life of all the flowers around them, and even damage structures, buildings, and farms over time. What I am saying is; don't be a weed.
I got distracted with this mindset of striving for a long time too. That is part of why I am so grieved as well. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for snapping me out of yet another "good" thing that almost made me neglect my hugest treasures here on earth - the apples of my eye; Kyle and Aaron. I also pray that all those caught up in the hamster wheel of striving see the wheel they are in and escape it to fine true rest. Especially before it's too late. And lastly for my patients; redeem the time they have left. Bring them comfort and solace and make every minute they have left here on earth count. Amen
I think about all the times people think they are doing something because "God is leading" them.
Joan of Arc thought so.
The Pharisees thought so.
The Crusades thought so.
The men who bombed the World Trade Center thought so.
How many times even I have thought so.
You know what?
We all have to be careful when "God" speaks to our hearts. Satan is who he is because he is a great impersonator. After all, he is called the Great Deceiver who poses as an angel of light.
Sometimes Satan is most effective in the small things; those everyday life choices that seem so subtle but as one continues the trajectory just wrecks one's life. It can be so insidious over a period of years.
Even the things that on the surface are good - those things can become the trickiest. An example of how I recently sinned because of a good intention was when I was trying to correct a friend in something I think they are involved in as not good - I ended up flying off the handle and sinning in anger. My intention was good; the execution - Very Bad.
So when God is leading you, Pause. REALLY pray and ask for counsel. Align what it is you think is leading you with not just "a" scripture, but the whole passage in context. How many lives I have seen destroyed from proof-texting.
Make sure what ever you do is a blessing full of love. I have found that is a pretty good litmus test: If whatever you do is not in love, than it is not from God.
Lastly, if whatever you are doing in love still ends up destroying you, odds are, it's not from God either.
In memory of all who have lost their lives because of deception.
Today’s You Version bible “Verse of the Day” goes well with the theme of Labor Day quotes I’ve been posting this week on social media, and especially the quote from Colossians I posted even before seeing this one. And it kinda made me take a long pause to think about WHAT the “work” I do should be rooted in. The verse reads, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” -St. Paul - Acts 20:35.
It made me pause to reevaluate the “why” of my work. I have been working A Lot lately. Some of you know I am a nurse that moonlights as a psych charge nurse at a mental health hospital, I pick up referrals for a home health agency to provide home psych evaluations, AND I am building a 2-part business – one part in coaching and mentoring and the other part in marketing for an online wellness company that provides affordable top end products directly to the consumer. In all that I do, I like to think I am following my Isaiah 61 calling and fulfilling my duty to each human I meet by providing the best of my services for their benefit.
However; I still paused. I, too, am human and can lose sight of the forest from the trees even in this “hard work” I do. I get caught up in the doing, rather than the being. My agenda to “help” people may not be how people want to be helped. And that frustrates me sometimes. I even get mad because I can be convinced I have the answer they have been looking for and decide to assert myself “for their good.” But that is where I think my work gets muddy. Am I truly “giving” and “helping” the weak, or am I just strong-arming my ideas? Am I trying to receive validation for my ego, or truly give compassion and understanding to the one I am serving?
Nursing teaches you to be a leader, an advocate, and provide evidenced-based education to individuals struggling with some kind of mental, physical and even emotional issue. However, the current nursing is provided under that medical model which is very diseased/cure focused, sometimes to the exclusion of the “whole” person. I get so caught up in the “hard work” of fighting a system of corporate healthcare that I forget the “weak” – those I am supposed to be fighting for. I get upset and get on soap-boxes about the woes of “the system”, rather than focus and listen to what is truly important – the heart of the person with whom I am ranting. I forget my attitude is very contagious and we all need more positive affirmation instead of being reminded about how messed up things may seem – especially those whom I serve and even with whom I work.
Moreover, I think a lot about nursing wages. They are honestly not the best, contrary to popular belief. Getting paid for nursing services is not wrong. I believe nurses should be paid better for their services. In fact; when one understands the purpose of money, one understands that trading money is a tool to allow individuals to make a living serving others - That is why I sometimes get bent out of shape when I am nickel-and-dimed for my wages or when someone demands something “free” from me. Truly, we all need to receive wages to survive and thrive. But with all that said, I have observed nurses, and especially myself, get caught in the wages and benefits compensation argument versus what we offer for our services and lose focus on how much we bless those we serve. I still believe in fighting for fair wages, of course. I just pray I never get so caught up in the “receiving” of compensation that I lose focus of the “giving” of my God-given talent to heal and cure others.
You may not be a nurse, but I still encourage you to pause and reflect on the hard work you do and ask yourself “why” you do it. Do you look at your job as something to “receive” wages and benefits only, or also to “give” your very best service? If you find yourself struggling with those questions, that may lead you to even a bigger question outside the scope of this post: Are you living out your purpose and working it out at your job?
Those are not easy questions, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you ask them and answer truthfully and then shift closer to the focus of giving rather than just receiving, you will feel happier and fulfilled. It really is more joyful to give than receive.
Today is September 5th. It is my late grandmother's Julia Olmo's, birthday, and I miss her. A lot. This morning I went to church in her honor. I typically do not go to early morning mass, but I did this morning because I wanted to give her the gift of my presence there. "Awela" (when I was little I could not pronounce the b, so that name stuck) was a godly simple devout Catholic woman with a first grade education who to this day captures a distinct and strong affection and longing in my heart. My cousins would all agree. We speak of her almost EVERY time we talk. THAT is how impactful she was. It is amazing that EVEN AFTER HER DEATH, she points me to Jesus and His peace. I can't think of any other reason I would have been up by 7:30, racing to mass, to be there if not for her. Her devotion and love led me to sit in quiet reflection of God's saving grace, mercy and comfort. Today's devotional that I am working on is on the scripture "Be still and know I am God." Awela exemplified this peace. Whether sitting at her feet watching novelas, taking naps on a sunny afternoon while I listened to her belly noises, I was able to just BE. I never felt anxiety, rushed, but complete Peace. She was Jesus to this child. At night, (we shared a room), I would already be in bed but would sense her coming into the room and peek groggliy as she readied her self to retire for the night. After the tediousness of her undressing (even though she remained home most of the time she was a Lady and wore all the "appropriate" undergarments of a lady) she would sit on her bed and pray. I never heard her speak, but still heard volumes in that action. She would then turn to the right to bless a statue of Mother Mary, turn over to my side of the room to bless a horrific bust statue that was also a night light of Jesus suffering in a crown of thorns, and then turn to her left to bless the crucifix. I would feel a blanket of something I could never point my finger on overtake that room and I would fall sound asleep. Her passing as left an amazing huge hole in our family that NO ONE in my family has ever been able to even come close to filling. I look forward to coming to NJ to visit with my cousin to do our best to honor this amazing Proverbs 31 woman. May the women in our family continue to strive to follow her example.
Te amo, awela y me haces tanta falta. Pero estoy contenta que vives con el Senor y no sufres en esta tierra nunca mas.
About the Blog...
We have heard the wisdom that we should love others as we love ourselves; but many of us do not even Like ourselves let alone Love ourselves. My mission is to help people learn to truly love themselves so that they can then love others as themselves.