Thursday, January 27, 2011

Using Time

Many of us struggle with how we use time, often wishing for more time, often pressured by time. Human beings are different from any other creature on this earth. We are aware of time. We are also blessed with both memory and imagination. We can remember the past and we can imagine our future. These enable us to live thoughtful and creative lives.

However, our memory and our imagination also create problems for us. Often our minds are influenced by painful memories and by negative, imaginative thoughts of the future. Our memory reminds us of past fears, worries, guilts, hurts and discouragement. It may say, for example, “Remember how foolish you felt when you tried something new in second grade and the class laughed at you.” And so we back away from change because of memories. We decide not to try something new.

Memories, conscious and unconscious, cause us to be fearful of the future. Many of our fears, worries, and jealousies, are created by our negative imaginations. We picture the worst happening? We say to ourselves, what if ____ happened? And then we start to worry about “it” happening. Someone has said that worry about the future is interest paid on a debt that may never come due. Worry changes nothing and keeps us from growing and trying new things.

How do we not worry in our complex world? We can use our minds, our memories and our imaginations to remind us that God is in charge and that his purposes are good. We can then make conscious choices about how we use the time we have (the present). Only mankind is capable of this. We can remember the past but we don’t have to be bound by the past. With God’s help we can use our wills, to set priorities and to move toward them. This way we use our time wisely.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thoughts on Time

At the beginning of a new year we think back over the previous year and remember both high and low points. For many people the past year was difficult with job losses, illness or even the loss of loved ones. Even in a good year many take stock of what was accomplished in the prior year. Did we use our time wisely? Did we grow and learn? Did we spend our time in ways that pleased us and pleased God? We also look ahead and plan and wonder what lies ahead.

I spent some time thinking about both of these – the past and the future. I thought of many marvelous times with family, friends and church in 2010. I also thought of family members and friends with health problems, or who lost loved ones. And I thought of the friends whose funerals we attended in 2010, including a cousin the last week of the year. We really don’t know what lies ahead – not even one day ahead. But God does. He’s in charge and he is good.

I talked with him about all this. It was early in the morning; the sun was shining on the brilliant white snow. I was dazzled by the beauty of the world and by God’s beauty. I sat in my comfy recliner, a glass of water nearly finished, on a tray beside me. My lamp was shining directly on the water. God surprised and awed me, as I glanced at my simple glass of water appearing clear, silvery and beautiful – like crystal. I felt God’s presence in this moment and realized he is good, pure, beautiful and true. And life is beautiful even when the glass is nearly empty; even as the years slip by. Life with God is full even when the glass of your life seems nearly empty.

I trust in you, O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:14-15

Blessings, Dottie