Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's My Obstacle?

A very close friend of mine e-mailed me last week. At the end of the note, she asked "What are your obstacles to writing your book today?" Great question!

I've been pondering this all week. The biggest obstacle I've encountered so far is noise. Not so much external noise, but more like internal noise. Before you ask, no, I'm not one of those people who hears voices in her head. I'm talking about the self-talk. The voice listing everything I have to do, reminding me of the things I have not done, expressing concern about my children (does Princess have too much attitude? Will I ever be able to potty-train Little Guy?), and nagging me constantly ("you should me exercising." "You should be writing."). My response has been to shut down and not in a good way.

Another obstacle is fear. Is my idea for my book a good one? Will people want to read it? I will say that having a blog has helped me conquer some of my fear. It's not completely gone, but it also does not have the stronghold it once had over me.

The solution to my obstacles is to obviously be quiet and know that He is God (see Psalm 46;10). He has plans for me and my desire to serve Him will help me overcome these challenges. Again, it comes down to focusing on Him and not myself.

What are your obstacles in accomplishing what you want to do?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Procrastination

Joshua 18:3: "And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, how long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?"

Slack (7503 Strong's Exhaustive Concordance): Raphah (raw-faw): forsake, idle, leave, let alone, be slothful

Possess (3423): Yaresh (yaw-raysh): to occupy (by driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place)

Given (5414): nathan (naw-than): apply, appoint, ascribe, assign, bestow, distribute, give (forth, over, up) (these are just a few of the words given for nathan).

My Take
Though the word procrastination does not appear in the Bible (at least in the KJV), this verse illustrates it perfectly. Most of the Canannites had been conquered and the land now belonged to the Israelites (see Joshua 18:1 - 2). Seven tribes though, had yet to lay claim on their property. Why? Was the job too difficult? Too time consuming? Why didn't they "receive their inheritance?"

Though I'm not claiming any land, the Lord has set before me a purpose for my life. A lot of the time though, I do not work on my purpose. I procrastinate. I know the Lord wants me to write, but there are some days where I prefer to clean my house, run errands, even exercise (gasp!) than to sit down and write. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for me to do these other things, but when I do them instead of writing, I am procrastinating. So now, I must ask myself, why am I so slack? Is the job too difficult? Too time consuming? Why am I not receiving my inheritance. I know some of the answers, but to be honest, they are more like excuses.

So, how do I beat procrastination? In the verses following verse 3, Joshua appoints men from each tribe to map out the land and to divide it. After the mapping is done, Joshua tells the tribes that he will then cast lots in the presence of the Lord. Joshua had a plan. That's what I need - a plan. I need to allot time for chores, errands, exercise, and writing. When it is time to perform these tasks, I need to be disciplined (another word study coming soon) to do them.

He also had the appointed men report back to him. He held them accountable to their purpose, their plan. That's what I need to do as well. Whether it be through a writer's group, a critique group or partner, I need that accountability.

Finally, Joshua cast lots before the Lord. By doing this, he was leaving the division in the Lord's hands. Though I probably won't be casting lots before the Lord, I will dedicate my work to Him. The point here is letting the Lord's will be done.

So, right now I am acknowledging my procastination. I know I do it and do it well. I will, however, create a plan, find someone to hold me accountable, and dedicate my work to the Lord. Now, hopefully, I won't slack in creating my plan.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Politics - As Usual

I’m really not one to talk (or in this case write) about politics. If I do so, it’s because I’m extremely frustrated. Well, guess what? I’m there. Actually, I’m beyond frustrated, I’m mad.

I had hoped I would be wrong about this administration. I wondered if we would really see any hope and change. A popular bumper sticker during the campaign said this: "Change: It’s all you’ll have left." I’m beginning to believe it. I’m sure the slogan "Yes, we can!" didn’t originally mean "Yes, we’re the government and we can tax you on everything!"

I have decided, for my own peace of mind, to stop watching the news. At least for a few days. This whole mess with AIG, Congress, and the Treasury Secretary is just the latest. It stresses and saddens me. I find myself extremely cynical of the government and I don’t want to be.

This past week has been no exception. First, Senator Dodd claims that he had no idea the stimulus package contained a bonus protection clause. Then, the very next day, he admits to writing it himself at the behest of the administration. He also claims that though he was hesitant about it, he didn’t think it would be a big deal. Seriously? Millions of dollars in "retention" bonuses paid to people who no longer work at AIG wouldn’t be a big deal to the country. Oh, please! We’ve already given them billions of dollars that we’ll probably never recoup. Now Congress is trying to cover its backside by taxing the recipients of the bonus. I have mixed feelings about this. I feel it sets a bad precedent. We’ll have to wait and see if the tax is legal. I’m sure tens of lawyers are already on the case.

Instead of watching the news, I will read a book or two. I will write. More importantly I will pray. I will pray for our leaders and our country. I will pray for the people who have lost jobs, suffered salary cutbacks, are concerned with their housing situation, have health coverage worries, and so on. Though I may have lost hope in this administration, I haven’t lost hope in the Lord. He alone can change the hearts of people and give them hope in their situations.

Note: March 23: Here is the link to the article that Loretta mentioned in her comment. For whatever reason, the whole link isn't appearing in the comment box (at least on my end. I'm sure it's an error on my part). http://www.1440wallstreet.com/index.php/site/comments/aig_puts_goldman_sachs_back_in_the_limelight/

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Will

Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

Will (2307 Greek - Strong's Exhaustive Concordance): thelema (thel-ay-mah): desire, pleasure, will.

My Take

I was recently reminded of this verse during a Bible study. To be honest, a knot formed in my stomach as I read it. I questioned whether or not I was truly doing the will of the Father.

In order for me to understand the context of this verse, I read the verses before and after verse 21.

Verse 20: "Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

Verses 22 and 23: "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

I believe Jesus is referring to those who "talk the talk," but don't walk with Him. They are doing their own wills, their own desires, not the will of the Father. Their fruit is rotten.

So, what is the Father's will? In John 6:40, Jesus says: "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." It's God's desire or pleasure for us to believe in His Son and to spend eternity with Him. What a great verse! More proof as to how much the Father loves us.

This particular definition of "will" is also used in other places. The first mention of it is in the Lord's Prayer: "...Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10).

Jesus used "will" during his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane: "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

Again in both of these verses, Jesus is referencing the Father's will, not ours, or Jesus' will.

Another point I find interesting is whenever Jesus spoke of God's will, he used "Father" instead of "God" or "Lord." It adds a degree of parent-child intimacy (obviously, since Jesus is the Son of God), but for me as well. It adds a sense of wanting to do the Father's will, since I am His child wanting to please and obey Him.

Now I use Matthew 7:21 as a spiritual check. Am I doing the Father's will or mine? To do the Father's will is to say so long to my will, my desire. At times, it will be a sacrifice to me, but it's a choice I make, just like Jesus made his choice to die for our sins. If the Father's will is important enough for Jesus to follow it to the point of death, then, as his disciple, I need to follow his example.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Coming Soon: Word Study Wednesday

What is Word Study Wednesday? WSW is where I will pick a key word out of a verse and conduct a study of that word. I will consult various references (think concordance, dictionary, and such) to learn more about the true context of the word.

I believe it is very important for a Christian to truly understand the Word of God. In order to do this, it is necessary to learn more about the origin of the word.

The "My Take" section is my opinion on what I learned from the study. I am in no way a theologian. This section is to encourage dialogue only. I would love to hear what you have to say. As Proverbs 27: 17 says: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (NIV).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Pretend Friend

"Mommy, Prince and I sleep in the same bed," my five-year-old daughter announced to me and the rest of the shoppers in the cereal aisle.

HUH?!? I grabbed my jaw and took a deep breath. "No, I don't think so, sweetie," I told her. My face flushed. "Boys sleep in boys' rooms and girls sleep in girls' rooms," I continued. Where is this coming from? I'm really not ready for this conversation.

I found out about Prince on our way to the grocery store. She informed me that Prince would be sitting in the middle seat. Usually, she refers to her younger brother as Prince, so I told her that no, he had to sit in his car seat. She then informed me that Prince was her "pretend friend." Ah. For some reason, it bothered me that she had an imaginary friend who was a boy. I'm just not ready to go there yet.

I'm trying not to make a big deal about Prince. Occasionally, if she brings him up, I'll ask a question. The other day, she eased my mind with the following conversation:

Me: "Is Prince another brother.

Her: "Yes, mommy. I have two brothers."

At that point, the youngest one looked at me and said "No, one sister."

The other day, the mystery behind Prince was solved. We were watching one of her favorite cartoons. I noticed that the little girl in the cartoon had a pretend friend who was a boy. "Is that where you got the idea for Prince?" I asked her. She gave me a sheepish look. She proceeded to tell me that she had to have a prince she could dance with since she's a princess.

I'm a little more comfortable with the idea of Prince, just as long as he stays in the boy's room.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Jumping in the Deep End

To begin with, let me say "Welcome to my new blog!" Several people have encouraged me to begin a blog, but I've always brushed off the idea. What would I write? Would people read my blog (other than family and friends who felt obligated to)?

Finally, through prayer, encouragement from my husband, family, and friends, and God telling me to get over myself, I've decided to jump into the writer's pool. Not only have I started this blog, but I have also written a story for review and am in the process of writing a novel.

I will use this blog to discuss various things: faith, writing, politics (if I really need to vent), health, books, music, and so on. I hope you find this blog to be at least interesting, if not encouraging.

We are all given a talent or a skill we can use to bring glory to God. I know my purpose is to write. What's yours?