Thursday, January 16, 2014

Path of Least Resistance

We've been talking a little bit about memory loss in our family (not my memory....well, mine, but only to laugh at myself...but in other family members more specifically).  One medical professional told me when someone struggles with short term memory loss it is important for them to continue to try to "find" words and communicate verbally. If we allow our loved one to be isolated or have little conversation, their minds will "wander" and eventually that will become easier than communicating. Our minds naturally tend toward the easiest path.  It was described as the "path of least resistance".

That has really stuck with me, not only as an encouragement to spend time with older people, but also to be patient, resisting interruption, allowing them to find their voice. However, this ended up bridging into my own life.  Do I "default" to what I know, what is easy, what has the "least resistance"?  Yes.  When I'm discouraged, do I pull up my boot straps and walk my way out of the miry muck?  No.  I withdraw, I get lazy, I whine. I take the "easy" way out.

Jesus had some very close friends, they spent time together every day.  They saw some pretty awesome things...they were part of something bigger than life and they thought their destiny was sealed.  But then Jesus died.  Wait, what?  He was supposed to rule, be the next king, they would have positions of authority and power.  When their hopes and dreams were dashed what did they do?  Press on and fight the good fight?  No, they went fishing. (see John 21, basically Simon Peter says, "I'm going fishing", to which the rest reply, "us too".)  It is what they knew, the "path of least resistance".  I'm not a Bible scholar, I don't really know what else anyone expected them to do, but sometimes I think, "Come on disciples, really?  You just go back to your old ways?"  Yup, and I probably would have been the first in the boat.

Sometimes, I believe a new path is being forged for us and maybe it is a rocky, thorny, difficult one.  It is the Lord who leads and I guess as He leads, He clears some of the brush for us, but often times life just isn't easy and the road is hard.  That does not mean it is the wrong road. Scripture is filled with words like: endure, count the cost, persevere, weariness, trials, despair, suffering.  Sounds like a path full of resistance, but maybe not the way you think.  The resistance is from me.  I don't want to be weary, I don't want to struggle through hardship, I don't want to endure, I don't want to grieve.  (whine, whine, whine!)

I've been thinking, the path of least resistance for the believer is the path chosen by the Lord and not one chosen by ourselves. What if we didn't resist His leading, what if we were obedient, what if we chose to be thankful no matter our circumstances?  What if we didn't fall back into our old lives and patterns as the disciples did?  I don't want to resist anymore.  I want to embrace all the Lord has for me, even if the road is long.  Even if it is not the easiest to navigate.  And really, with my memory, I'll forget all the hard stuff and I'll probably have some pretty good stories to tell along the way!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dear Nancy

When we arrived home from our Christmas Eve service this card was waiting in the mail for me.  It was another one of those "shaking my head" moments.  The sermon title that evening: "Joy to the World!", the same sentiment as the front of this card.  

This has been an exhausting and emotional year.  As I sat in that pew, the church dimly lit, the last thing on my mind quite frankly was joy.  I listened with an open heart, asking (begging) God to let me receive the joy of my salvation once more.

We drove home and my heart didn't feel any relief.  And then I opened this card.  I am sharing it because I don't want to forget it and just maybe it will encourage you.

Inside was hand written:

God has many gifts wrapped just for you and waiting under His Tree...all the gift tags have your name on them!  

There's the gift of hope that brings renewed confidence in the truth that you will continue to see the goodness of the LORD in the coming days;

the gift of joy that prevails even when sorrow is deep and despair seems like it's at the door just waiting to come in; 

the gift of peace which brings something beyond your understanding to the chaos of life and gives a quietness to the soul that looks like the lake on a perfectly calm morning; 

the gift of love that shows you that nothing can separate you from God and reminds you that He absolutely and completely adores you. 

And so many more... Untie those ribbons, rip off the paper and enjoy His "presence"!  You are loved.  

A clear reminder that He has given us all we need.  Did you see "joy" tucked  there in the middle?  God answered the cry of this unbelieving heart and I received joy this Christmas Eve.  May the Lord grant you the same sweet relief in the knowledge that He has so many good things just waiting for you to "unwrap".  May your gaze be on the goodness of the Lord and off of the sorrow of this life.  May you live life with JOY each day in 2014.  You are loved!