Be Still

I have always had trouble being still. When I was little I had an uncle who would trap me as I ran around my grandparents’ home during holiday gatherings and make me sit still on his lap for a full minute. I thought I would die! Of course, if I wiggled or fought he would start the time over again until I sat completely still for the entire time. I guess I really haven’t changed much as an adult. I don’t run through the house at family gatherings anymore, but I am rarely still. I always have to be doing something. If there’s action, I am usually in the midst of it. God is revealing to me how dangerous that can be in my life. If I keep myself busy, there is no time to be lonely and I don’t have to think about the things I wish were different about my life. However, keeping busy shuts out the One who has the solution to the loneliness.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. The Lord delights in the way of the man whose steps he has made firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”       Psalm 37:7 & 23

If we never take the time to be alone, we will never see that there is a solution to the loneliness in the midst of being alone. God is waiting for us to be still long enough to hear Him tell us how much He loves us, or to whisper His promises to us. But he is a gentleman.  He rarely shouts above the noise and busyness of life to be heard by us, and unlike my uncle God won’t trap us and hold us on His lap until we stop struggling and listen to Him. He waits for us to come to Him and be still before Him. It’s more than reading His word or talking to Him in prayer. It’s becoming motionless and peaceful before our Lord, allowing Him to speak without expectations. It is only then that we can know the steps on the path He has laid out before us. And it is then that He can delight in his child and uphold us along that path.

Lord, too often I get so caught up in the busyness of my life that I don’t allow myself to be still before You and allow You to pour Yourself into my life. I know in my head that You alone are enough for me. But I want to know it in my heart. Teach me to be motionless and peaceful in Your presence. Teach me to be still before You, and to rest in Your arms.

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Occasions Worth Noting

Today is my dad’s 79th birthday. Dad never wanted much attention on his birthday. He always said it was “just another day”. The older I get the more I relate to that statement, but truly a birthday is not “just another day”. Birthdays are milestones, not only of another year of life gone by, but another year of accomplishments, opportunities and memories made, even if we keep them to ourselves. 

Dad’s 70th birthday was a memorable one. We threw him a surprise party (had he known about the bash he would have nixed the celebration!) and looking back on the photos from that day I see the joy on his face and the faces of family and friends. They are reminders of everyone visiting, eating and enjoying the time together, glad for the opportunity to show their love for Dad. It was certainly an occasion worth noting.

Dad celebrating his 70th birthday

How many of our days are occasions worth noting? When your day is full of chaos and stress, is it a day you’d call noteworthy? Are the days that don’t go as you planned occasions worth remembering?

Actually I’d submit that they are.

These are the days that build us up and make us who we are. Perhaps they are not days worth hanging onto past a brief time of reflection, but they are tools for teaching us about the best person we can be. And when we present each day to the Lord and ask Him to use it for His glory, He will! We may never see how much our smile made someone’s day. We may not know how much the time we took to write a quick note to a friend or listen to a stranger was noteworthy to each of them. God can and WILL use our seemingly insignificant and frustrating days for His purpose when we trust them to Him.

My dad left us four years ago and except for a note in my blog and birthday napkins at supper his birthday this year will go on without celebration. But that doesn’t mean that today is not a noteworthy day. I know God used me today to make someone’s day a little brighter. And I know He used you too…if you allowed Him.

I challenge you as I challenge myself – begin and end each day asking God to make it an occasion worth noting

— even if you never see the results.

Blessings and peace to you!

Paula

Unfinished Business

“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.”     2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV

I love to quilt, and in the world of quilters there is a term used in most circles – “UFO”. This UFO doesn’t refer to some sort of extraterrestrial being, it is the term for UnFinished Objects. Most quilters have them, and it is not uncommon for conversations to start amongst a group as to who has the most and how long they’ve been sitting in the sewing room.

While in my (very messy and unorganized) sewing room the other day I looked around at the unfinished objects tucked away in drawers and laying out on counters. Projects that I was once so excited about have been cast aside as they became difficult to complete or as another caught my eye and drew me in to believing that it was more desirable than the current project.

And I was convicted.

My conviction came only partly at the thought of the treasures that could be beautiful blessings to someone if completed but mostly because I began to think beyond the squares of fabric, partially completed quilt tops and patterns that I saw around me.

“What else is unfinished in my life”?

This can be a dangerous question to ask if you’re not in the right frame of mind. This question has, at times, sent me spiriling downward to a place of depression and failure. That is not my intent today. I present the question to you to be examined from a systematic and prayerful place. Beyond conviction, think of it as I did the other day – a challenge – best addressed in pointed conversations with the Lord and with an intent to seek His help, not only in conviction, but also in completion.

When we leave things unfinished in our lives, whether projects around the house, a ministry goal, or physical or intellectual desires of our hearts we don’t live at peace. While we may be able to sweep the discomfort aside temporarily or try to replace the UFO with another project or goal, it will never be enough. God plants desires in our hearts to see them fulfilled in our lives. They sometimes take a long time to complete, and may come with struggles and complications, but when completed each will be a masterpiece that will bless the lives of others, and be pleasing to the Lord.

I challenge you today: pick one UFO in your life and prayerfully lay out a plan to complete it. Then follow through. If you’d like a prayer partner along the way, e-mail me at pauladavispeace@gmail.com. I’ll be honored to stand with you as you work to complete your unfinished business!

Blessings and peace to you today…

Paula