I Blog For Books

17 August 2016

What Do They See When They Look At You?

Do you ever have one of those days? You know the days I mean ... the ones where you wake up feeling semi-motivated, and by the time you've been up just a short while, you wonder where the motivation has gone? I seriously think it went back to bed this morning!

Not to bore you with the minutiae of my day, but after breakfast I ventured out to run a few errands before meeting two of my favorite people for lunch. My mama's sisters Mary and Barbara (otherwise known as Aunt May and Aunt Bobbi) come to Dothan usually once a week, and if I'm not working, we meet somewhere for lunch. Today's choice was Express Family Restaurant (between Haven Drive and the Circle near SAMC), and we had a great lunch while talking and laughing the way we always do when we get together. Driving back home, my mind began to think about the past few days and stuck on a conversation I recently had with a patient.

I'm not sure how we even got on the subject, but I remember telling the patient something I had recently read, "Remember that you may be the only Jesus some people ever see." After agreeing, we determined that to be one reason to do your best to always be yourself, while letting others see Jesus in you. Please understand that I am in no way comparing myself to the goodness and perfection that is Jesus. What I understand that statement to mean, however, is that the way I live, the way I interact with others, and my very existence paints a picture. What picture am I painting? 

Do I serve with understanding? Do I speak truth? Do I love others? Oh how many ways I feel that I fail Him daily. You know what? He loves me still. Jesus does not require perfection in His followers! How amazing is that? I'm broken, imperfect, and still struggling at times. And that is okay. 

Jesus, I thank you for loving and believing in me. I know that you are there, that you will guide me if I only listen and have faith to follow your commands.

"Though you may stumble, you will not fall, for the LORD upholds you with His hand."~Psalm 37:24

07 January 2016

The Post That Almost Wasn't

Lying in bed, late at night, I listen to the rhythmic sound of my husband's breathing and wonder why peaceful sleep (or any sleep, for that matter) eludes me. The soothing voice of Tahmoh Penikett has failed me this night, for the sleep-inducing meditation did not. Words, phrases, voices, and thoughts fight for recognition in the echoing cavern of my wide-awake mind. In what is now the wee hours of the seventh day of this new year, I stumble over these words and realize that I have thus far made minimal contributions to my 2016.

I had the best of intentions for the new year. Surely I am not alone in dreaming dreams, making plans, and setting some type of expectations for myself at the end of every year. As 2015 drew to a close, I vowed to read and write more, to discipline myself to write each day - even if only a few words, to eat less and move more, to quiet the discomfort and embrace the joy. Why is it, then, that I feel like a failure less than a week into the year?

New Year - New You! Nope, not my idea, I read it somewhere, probably Facebook. I find myself spending far more time there than I should. What started initially as a way to "keep up with friends and family" has turned into a time-consuming black hole for many, a portable soap opera for some, and an almost infinite source of amusement for most. The reality of Facebook, in my opinion, is that it isn't. Reality, that is. What we see of posters lives is what they choose to capture and share. I fully confess my part in the 'perfectionism.' I post the finished product of a kitchen creation, carefully hiding the dirty dishes and spills that usually accompany said creation. Here's a confession: I don't always wash the dishes immediately. I restart the dryer (sometimes more than once) to de-wrinkle my clothes, and I rarely make my bed. Does that matter in the big picture and overall scheme of things? I'm not sure if it does or not, but it obviously bothers me enough to confess my shortcomings.

The worst thing? In three short paragraphs, I have completely managed to change the post I intended to write. The thoughts that kept me awake had nothing to do with Facebook. Struggling with my own perceived imperfections lead my thoughts down roads better traveled in full daylight. Instead of reviewing my fears and delving into the Word for comfort, I scroll through social media and check my email. Why?

Psalm 139 reminds me that I am God's creation, that He knew me before I was me. He created me, He is everywhere and always with me. I am not now, never have been, and never will be perfect. What I do have, however, is His unending love, patience, and care. Psalm 138:3, 7 explains this with great clarity, "On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased ... Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me."(ESV)

What will 2016 bring to the Beadle household? Those answers have yet to be revealed. This much I do know with certainty - those answers won't be found on Facebook. I can only pray for guidance, seek understanding, and strive to follow God's plan, even if that requires me to step out on faith on a path not yet visible to my eyes. Will there be mistakes? Almost certainly. They won't be intentional, and I will certainly strive not to repeat them. Each journey begins with a single step, and this is mine.

"The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands."~PSALM 138:8ESV