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.
"Before we can be cured we must want to be cured. Those who really wish for help will get it; but for many modern people even the wish is difficult."
- C.S. Lewis ~Mere Christianity
I have found that lamentably this is a truth with our current culture. I encounter may individuals, both patients, clients and even friends and family that say the pain or discomfort of their current situation is much to bear. However, when offered a solution or a way out, the remain almost frozen as if paralyzed to act. I used to think it was mere laziness, but as I took time to do my best to understand their heart, I found this is not often true. There is, instead, a learned helplessness tied with an ignorance that takes time to penetrate. There definitely is a longing for the cure, but fear of the cost to obtain it. Fear about how much time it will take to change. Fear about the unknown. Fear about what being cured actually mean as it will become a new norm. Fear of the pain to change is still greater of the fear in remaining the same. I have to admit; I am sometimes at a loss at how to approach people that hold on to their fear like a comfort blankie. I know it sounds ironic, but many do. It is like trying to pry away their torn up smelly blanket from them because it is all they know and have experienced so much loss, losing even this fear they have grown quite accustomed and even comfortable with is too precious for them to give up.
I remember once seeing a profound meme of a father (I think it was representing Jesus) kneeling in front of a little girl. She was clutching to her mangled teddy bear. His right hand was gently wooing her to let it go, while in his left hand there was the most beautiful teddy behind his back ready for her enjoyment. But she first had to give this worn out possession to receive what was better. There is a famous quote by John D. Rockefeller: “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” But for most, I find this is still not relevant to them. They still let go of the fear of giving up the bad for the good. Or in this case, the dis-ease for the cure. The battle of any disease state – well most of them – the battle is in the mind. I have learned to approach others “stuck” in fear, with love. Love truly drives out fear. Letting others know that you want to genuinely understand them with no judgment begins to chip away at that fear. With love, patience. The patience to listen and learn; it isn’t an overnight process. Finally, with love and patience; be an example. An example by being conquering one’s owns fear and sharing that process without shame. Show that it is normal and even okay to be afraid, but courageous. How one will get a wish fulfilled with courage. The courage to fight. The courage to endure. The courage to feel stupid sometimes, especially when you fall. The courage to get back up again. The courage to share their story without shame.
I was an addict for many years desperately wishing things to be different. I so wanted to be cured of so much pain and heartache. I was that little girl desperately clinging to toxic relationships and afraid of being sober because I didn’t like how it felt to be otherwise. I was okay being self-medicated because it numbed my pain, discomfort and my awkwardness being around others. The band-aide of drugs, sex and trance music was all I knew. But one day, the fear of remaining the same was greater than the fear of being radical and doing something different. The fear of losing my life or soul became greater than the fear of losing my ‘friends’. Ultimately, the fear of my children following in those footsteps outweighed the fear of shuffling alone in my own. When I finally hit my rock-bottom, it produced something amazing – loss of fear. When you lose everything or even just that thing you have clung onto so long and realize you are still alive and don’t have anywhere else to go but up, you are forced to be courageous. Here’s another thing folks; you may think to yourself – “yeah, but I’m not an addict.” And this is what I say to you…EVERYONE is addicted to something. Everyone holds something so close that it is holding their personal growth in some area. Everyone is at one point or another afraid to change. And Everyone has something they wish for but are too afraid to get it.
If you want to be cured of something, you have taken the first step because first you have to know you are dis-eased in some way to need a cure. But don’t stop just at wishing for help. Help yourself first by getting the help you need. And if you don’t know where to go; just ask me. I may not have all the answers, but I will strive to connect you with resources to help you get the help you need. Why, because that is what someone did for me and part of my cure has been paying it forward.
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.