I have a wandering eye. It's too often roaming the landscape, cataloguing what others have and what they get.
And I have a counter in my pocket to keep track of inequities I see -- mostly as they work against me. Or, as I perceive them to. There have been a few parenting moments when I detect the slightest squeamishness in my soul for being a hypocrite when I tell my kids, “Life’s not fair.” In better moments I know I’m my own audience when I talk to them about contentment no matter what the situation, about “fairness” being the last thing we want from God, about his glory and our good.
"People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives ... and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted."—Nate Saint
Known as the missionary pilot who flew with fellow laborers into the midst of the Auca Indians, a tribe inclined toward killing without restraint, Nate Saint* uttered these words not to condemn those who didn't approach missions the way he did, but to bear Holy Spirit conviction against those who believe devoting one's life to the furtherance of the gospel to every nation, tribe and tongue is a waste of time.
Every nation (my associates and my enemies -- grand and unseen, petty and provocative), every tribe (those outside my echo chamber), every tongue (the thousands in my path every day who reflect cultural differences) ...
Lord, let me not waste a minute more ...
Darkness is pushed back as a spotlight blares on. It's over my head and I am in the middle of its sharply defined circle of light.
I look down at my trembling frame, encased in rags and smudged with ash and dirt from the fire. I am not prepared to meet Him who "has roused himself from His holy dwelling."* Surely I am doomed.
For the first few weeks of each new year, a plethora of "Best Moments of" lists fill our newsfeeds and headline the segments on slow news days. For 2016 we've already seen the
"Best Sports Moments of 2016"
"Best Photographic Moments of 2016"
"Best Election Moments of 2016"
"Best Entertainment Moments of 2016" (would that be the same thing?)
"Best Literary Moments of 2016"
The stories are entertaining, but none of them have any relevance to me. Certainly nothing I've done will make any "Best of" list. My life is a dirty laundry pile of mundane moments.
In God’s economy, however, there is nothing too small to be considered inconsequential.
Time for a writer's block diversion!
I thought it would be interesting to review the words that tumbled out of my head and onto the "page" a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, so I checked in with my archived #thereyougothinkingagain posts from January 2016, as well as posts and articles from various other venues. There were a few from 2014 that I found as well, but none from 2015 -- the year of the unfettered brain (and the retrospectively self-diagnosed concussion).
The peek into past Januaries proved to be more than an interesting diversion. No quick scans here, but journeys through faith revisited as I read again about a never-changing, eternal God dealing with the Laura of 2014 and 2016 through experiences, afflictions, trials, celebrations -- just as he has throughout the 28-year walk I have had with him.
As I sat in the Pitt terminal waiting for my mom to be able to check in at the ticketing counter, I wondered if I would tie my 5 Minute Friday “connect” piece today in with the idea of connections during travel.
Then I saw the crawl across the TV screen above the cafe bar, and all thoughts of a travel piece fled my mind.
“3 dead at Ft Lauderdale airport, shooter at large.”
*Breathing. Physiologists say it is one of the involuntary actions of the human body. It just happens. We don't need to learn how to do it -- although most of us need a good slap on the bum to get it started, then the next 23,000 breaths per day (on average) just flow forth involuntarily. They are reflexive.
I'm sort of throwing my hat into the ring with a post about New Year's resolutions, but only by retooling a piece I wrote two years ago from my then-position as Sunday School coordinator. I think it's still relevant, and since I resolved not to write another one on the topic again, it's all you're going to get.
I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t like feeling compelled to make promises I can’t be sure I am able to keep. This especially goes for resolutions where I resolve to lose XX amount of pounds or spend less time looking at screens. Things happen, and while sometimes those things can legitimately interfere with the keeping of a resolution, I know myself too well and anticipate happily taking advantage of a good excuse to ditch the resolution.
Does the thought of researching Bible Reading Plans wear you out?
Do you scroll past the posts recommending Bible in a Year plans, letting yourself linger only long enough to catch a glimpse of the exhortations from pastors and writers about the need to be in the Word daily, but avoiding the laborious task of deciding which one to pick?
Do you dread the building knot of guilt in your gut as you recall the months it's been since you checked off a box on this year's plan?
Divine purpose, and divine and human action. The thought always comes to me in retrospect -- "Oh, now I see why that had to happen that way!" But sometimes the images slide together in focus, and I comprehend that God is this very moment providentially moving about in the world, through human action, to bring about his will for his glory and my good. "I don't know what he has planned as the outcome, but there are things he is doing today that are instrumental in bringing it about." My most-used application of this is in the ubiquitous matter of the job search. Isn't it true that the position God has ordained for you has to be made available at the right time? And that that availing process involves another availing process -- someone else needs to leave their job before person B can take it, thereby leaving their job to create the vacancy for you to fill tomorrow? Right?
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2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to #thereyougothinkingagain, lauraenglandmiller, or Laura E Miller with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.