Friday, March 27, 2015

Contentment

My fatigue in working eight consecutive days challenged this, but I'm reminding myself as I write this.  I am content.

My contentment is found in knowing my destiny and our vision revealed in what God has told us and what we trust will come about in seasons ahead.  Without visions and a God-centered destiny, our current set of circumstances would leave us hopeless.  We are the gifted, called and anointed.  None of that has been recanted or rebuked.  We remain the called, gifted and anointed.  Alleluia.

The Lord told me my current occupation shall pass.  This I still believe. While this is true, I'm getting familiar anew with my level of perfectionism.  I can identify it more accurately now days.  My perspective on perfectionism is multifaceted and been imparted to me from many sources over the years.  Perfect accomplishments are virtually impossible, and that frustrates me because I've been taught to strive for them.  Since I believe it isn't obtainable, I'm still held by its grip.  This truly frustrates and angers me.  When I'm tired physically or otherwise, anger arises.

There's no joy or peace in perfectionism.  It can never be satisfied or accomplished.  Since I started working again, this stuff arose in me afresh.  Thankfully, I can recognize it.  I'm still working on alternative actions and feelings when the frustration and anger arises.  One of the keys is to realize I'm not in any labor alone.  I can accomplish tasks, but its not all up to me.  I'm limited by the amount of time and strength every day.  My joy, peace and contentment shouldn't be sacrificed for the sake of fatigue, frustration and anger brought on by unsatisfied perfectionism.

What if my superiors are not happy with me because I didn't accomplish everything I was assigned?  Well, I do my best to accomplish what I can.  There will be accomplishments.  I am capable.  I may not succeed at everything.  How superiors or others react to what isn't fulfilled is up to them.  I'll try my best, but its not worth my contentment in life.  Perfectionism is a myth, not a goal.  It does more harm than good.  I will love God, my neighbor and myself.  Perfectionism is not worth my time if I compromise love.  Alleluia.

Last Saturday, one of the store managers asked me to help him lift a large box into a customer's truck.  I met him outside the store.  The truck was actually a flat-bed trailer.  He told me to tip the box over to the edge of the trailer, lift up the bottom and then slide the box on to the bed.  We succeeded.  As I walked away, I thought, "He taught me something in which I needed teaching."  The thought didn't even finish expression in my mind when, I believe, God told me, "You could teach him about lifting heavy things.  You've carried plenty."  This brought a tear to my eye.  Thank you, Lord.

I saw this quote from Smith Wigglesworth on Facebook:

I see the last day revival that's going to usher in the precious fruit of the earth. It will be the greatest revival this world has ever seen! It's going to be a wave of the gifts of the Spirit. The ministry gifts will be flowing on this planet earth. I see hospitals being emptied out, and they will bring the sick to churches where they allow the Holy Ghost to move.

My contentment is found in knowing my destiny and our vision revealed in what God has told us; what we trust will come about in seasons ahead.  We will steward a place and time of worship where the presence of the Lord will abound to heal, deliver, save, comfort, empower scores of people.  Its our belief it will be a part of what the Lord will fulfill in the earth for all people.

There are plenty of things expressed and believed that challenge contentment.  My Achilles' heal in the past has been versions of perfectionism I've been taught.  Thank God I recognize it.  My contentment is more valuable than pleasing a myth.  The healing and deliverance of scores in Jesus' name thrills me more than being perfect.

I then saw a quote from John Lennon that thrilled me as much as Wigglesworth's quote did.

When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down 'happy'.  They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.

I understand life.  I am a child of God and happy.  I am at peace and content.  I will do my best in all circumstances.  I realize that won't satisfy everyone, but I will love my God, my neighbor and myself.

The days ahead will be glorious for many who'll encounter a God of grace and glory.  That makes me content.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Trash Day

Recently, I went for my morning walk.  I thought about just doing laps in the circle/cul-de-sac in front of the house.  As I walked, I just kept going down the street.  Thinking again, it would be better to walk out in the neighborhood.

I made it to the next block.  The trash truck had already made its rounds and emptied cans that morning.  I came upon a can.  On the ground beside it was a dirty diaper, a Gerber baby food plastic container, a smashed piece of blue plastic I thought could have been the lid to the container, and a lid to a Zaxby's to-go box. I pitched all of it into the open, empty can with the exception of the blue plastic broken lid pieces.

The next can I approached ten yards or so down the street had garbage on the ground beside it, as well.  As I came to the can willing to put those items in that open can as I did previously, I noticed something.  At the foot of the can were virtually identical items - a Gerber baby food plastic container, a smashed blue plastic lid, a dirty diaper, a Zaxby's to-go box (the exception being this one being a bottom and not a lid).  I put them in the open, empty can as I did before, and I knew God was speaking to me.

The items on the ground beside each trash can were in the same order and placement, right to left - smashed blue lid, baby food container, dirty diaper and Zaxby's box/lid.  OK, what does it mean?

I believe its a sign of what is over.  A baby eats food (finishes the contents and couldn't be returned to the container because the lid was in pieces), the baby relieves himself or herself in the diaper after eating, an adult eats his or her meal, and she or he knows where to relieve themselves.

A season or series of related seasons are clearly over.  For there to be two sets of these items, it emphasizes confirmation, witness of the end of a season.  This was or these were seasons of eating, digesting and passing along refuse after the nutrition was extracted.  There has been that which we've experienced or learned in these seasons in Albertville and Anniston after being shown and given a vision and destiny to steward the Presence of the Lord in a place and time where scores of broken ones will be restored, delivered, saved and made whole by God's grace and power on Sand Mountain.  Eating, digesting and absorbing all that's good and casting aside the waste.  There was that which only an infant could digest, and there was that which a mature digestive system could accept.  Perhaps these were separate and consecutive seasons. 

I approached home.  I always lap the cul-de-sac before going in.  As I walked in the circle, I noticed two buzzards perched in a dead tree.  I'd seen a pair of hawks in that same tree last year.  I've yet to see the return of the hawks this year.  Could it be the two buzzards (two, again) confirm the end of the season of eating and digesting?  Regardless, I believe they signal the end of something.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shame, Labor, Destiny

We sense, no, we know seasons have changed.  

I saw a posting by Kris Vallotton on Facebook.  Its a quote from Thomas Leonard, a major contributor to the development of personal coaching. "Motivation is an external temporary high than pushes you forward.  Inspiration is a sustainable internal glow which pulls you forward."  Motivation is inferior to inspiration.  This strikes me.  Motivation comes within.  Inspiration is born from revelation.  I'd rather be inspired to do the right and truthful thing than motivated by humanistic desires. 

A couple weeks ago, a retail chain store invited me in for an interview.  I went the next day, and they offered me a job.  I accepted it.  As I walked in the neighborhood for exercise the next morning, I prayed for the Lord to speak to me if there was anything I needed to know about this new job. I believe the Lord spoke to me.  I heard from another heart besides mine.  I heard, "This too shall pass."  I've always assumed it was scripture.  It isn't.  Its believed to be from Persian poetry and Jewish folklore.  I believe it means for me its clearly temporary.

A couple days afterward was my orientation day with my new employer.  It was hectic and interesting.  One difference between that day and other secular work days I've experienced was I prayed in the Spirit silently when any feelings of fear and shame came upon me.  When I left my car after supper before walking back into the store, I fingered feelings of fear.  These feelings were weaved through feelings of shame.  I stood beside the car and said, either within or out loud (I can't remember), "Lord, I will not be afraid.  I will not fear."  This made a difference.

As I wrote this in my journal, I heard Steffany Gretzinger's spontaneous song on You Tube, "Turn the Light Back On."  She sings about monsters under the bed and shadows on the wall metaphorically being demons trying to scare and influence us.  She sings, "Call out for help and turn the light back on again.  His name is Jesus."  Its ironic I'd be recording my recollection of fear and hearing that song.

The shame element in my secular work history always made me feel whatever was demanded of me I was incapable of accomplishing to the satisfaction of employer and customer, a like.  This feeling would prompt me to lie to customers in years past.  I didn't want to appear to be inept.  I lied by telling customers something that sounded authoritative and knowledgeable instead of speaking the truth of not knowing the answer to the question they asked and finding out for them.

I've read John 1 recently through the Daily Office.  What struck me about John the Baptist is he knew who he wasn't and who he was.  There were limitations but absolute fulfillment in his assignment.  He knew who he was and who he wasn't.  After some personal struggles, I've learned who I am not and who I am.  I know my destiny and what is temporary.  This new job in retail has awakened previous feelings of shame.  I must affirm my limitations and accept them and grow in knowledge of my job and not accept feelings of shame. They are fiery darts of the enemy.  I am God's child and fully accepted by my Father.  Alleluia!

As I drove to work one day this week, I asked the Lord to speak to me.  Just about as I arrived at work, I felt the impression that amounted to this: I know what it is to labor without a vision and destiny and the feelings related, and I know what it is to labor with a destiny and vision (this is this season).  Its a wonderful, comfortable thing to know our destiny.  The pain of laboring and not knowing your destiny in God is a gut-wrenching feeling of hopelessness.  I felt this before.  I've also felt what it is to lose focus on my destiny and the resulting pain.  I also know what it is to regain my focus on our vision and destiny and my own abilities, passions and gifting.  These so often get lost when hope wains.  It feels so good when they're recovered.

Today, I know our vision and destiny - to steward a place of God's great Presence with on-going worship, teaching and empowering and deliverance and healing of many at a "farm" on Sand Mountain.  Alleluia. I am not ashamed or afraid.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Whatever is demanded of me, I will do my best.  Whatever is set before me, I will look at all circumstances through the membrane of the helmet of salvation.  I am saved, God's son, anointed and empowered.  I owe nothing to anyone but to love them.  Alleluia.

One night, as I retrieved my coat from the break room after clocking out, I said goodnight to a woman I'd seen sitting in there on a couple of occasions. She sat with her left leg on a chair that night as she had on previous nights.  I reached the hall, stopped, turned around and went back into the break room.  She and I were the only ones there.  I came to her, introduced myself and asked if I could pray for her.  She said that would be wonderful.  I asked her about her leg.  She got hurt at work.  She was on workman's comp but was required to keep her schedule.  I told her I believed in miracles because I'd seen God do wonderful things, and he was capable of healing in anyway way he chose.  She agreed.  I prayed for the leg, the rest of her body and whole life.  He's good and does good.  She thanked me and said the prayer came at a perfect time.  I told her I was glad and I'd see her another day.

Seasons have changed for many of us.