Dive In

It was my turn.  All the other family members had taken the plunge in this particular event in our annual Summer Vacation Crazy Olympics. I was happy to be the photographer, reporter, cheerleader….just not the participant.  I don’t mind diving into water (as long as it’s not too cold,) but I wasn’t too sure about diving into the ground.

This “Human Bowling” event entailed taking a plunging slide down the slip-n-slide in order to knock over boxes set up as bowling pins.  I was a bit fearful of getting hurt on the plunge, but mainly hesitant because of the frigid water on the slide.  You see, I like my water comfortably warm, and even then I take my time to meander in so I can “get used to it.”

The more I thought about it, the more difficult it seemed. I hesitated.  I heard the chants of “Nana, Nana, Nana,…” which were partly encouraging and partly annoying.  I didn’t want to let the team down, but couldn’t I just fade into the background this once?  So, as a compromise I ran down beside  the slide with my foot in the water…hoping that would “count.”  Alas, it did not.

So, I took some spiritual lessons from inside my heart.  I’ve been reading the Old Testament of late and these lessons touched my heart.

1 Kings 18:20-21

[20] So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. [21] Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.

Elijah’s question to the crowd…”how long will you waver between two opinions?” was far reaching.  Those who wavered witnessed defeat. Those who followed the Lord wholeheartedly saw God move powerfully.

Numbers 14:24
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

And this “different spirit” followed Caleb later in his life as we see him in Joshua 14:10-12
“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! [11] I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. [12] Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

So, with inspiration from Elijah and Caleb (and my cheering family) I dove in.  I made a decision to no longer hesitate, waver between two opinions or be a “has been” participant holding back in the “comfort zone.”  It felt like a moment of reckless abandon, but I am grateful I took the plunge.  It wasn’t pretty, but it was fulfilling.

More importantly, may I never hesitate, waver between two opinions, or lose eagerness and passion to keep going and growing in my spiritual walk.

Whatever right decisions you may be “wavering” to act upon, or hesitant to go forward with….Take it from the lesson from Human Bowling.  Just dive on in.  You will be glad you did.

Note:  I have much to share from the family vacation…but am saving a few chapters for a new book coming out in October.  Stay tuned….

 

Oh my! What did I get myself into?!

Have you ever been faced with a decision you made….and later thought – “What in the world was I thinking?!”  Last night, as I gathered a travel crate, blanket and  puppy collar for packing, I felt a bit of fear and trepidation.  In fact, I felt more than a “bit”.  You see, “dog life” has gotten quite easy over here.  Our little ten year old cockerpoo goes out once in the morning and then again at night.  We don’t even have to walk outside with him if the weather is bad. Meanwhile, he just wanders from the sofa to his little bed, circling each place a few times until he settles on the best spot for a nap.

Wyndham leaves for a meeting this afternoon and plans to come back in a couple of days with a little something in that travel crate I mentioned – an eight week old puppy full of life and energy.  I have found myself wondering what in the world  I agreed to- and what insanity entered my mind to do this again?!  My “easy dog life” is about to be over.  I must confess I felt a slight sense of panic.

In my future I am seeing several weeks of puddles and worse, perhaps a chewed chair leg or two along with some mangled toys that were intended for the grandchildren’s play.  I’m sure there will be lots of hair for daily vacuuming, vet bills.. and if we are fortunate to have many years with him…another heartbreak twelve to fourteen years from now.

So, why in the world would I do this?  Because the sheer joy he will bestow on me when I come in the door after being gone; the eagerness he will have to please us; his ability to love unconditionally; his longing eyes and cute antics; his energy and zeal; his head that will rest on my knee, and most of all his devotion as a loyal friend will make it all worth it. It’s really about the relationship between a “man and his dog” and a “woman and her dog”.

So, having made a deposit earlier, I just wrote a check for the remainder of the payment.  I sighed a bit, but then smiled.  To us, he is more than worth the cost.  We weighed it, and considered it long and hard.  I’m sort of glad we had to put a deposit down.  It helped me keep my resolve. When something doesn’t cost me anything, I am more apt to back out. I  made a wholehearted decision.  If I had kept wavering in indecision I would be miserable, and I would fail to enjoy this soon-to-be reality of a new puppy.  I can already “feel” his cuteness.

On a far weightier matter, I made a decision many years ago, when I was a teenager, to become a Christian – a follower of Jesus.  Since I came out of the waters of baptism there have been many exhilarating times, numerous challenges, victories and defeats.  I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.  I made a big decision to turn my life over to Jesus’ care and direction…yet he made the far bigger deposit – his life.  That deposit, and the one he gave me of his spirit living in me, have helped me keep my resolve to follow Jesus. –  with no turning back!

Luke 9:23-25
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. [24] For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. [25] What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

Luke 9:62
Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

A decision to turn back would not only cost my salvation – but would also affect others who see my life.  Most of all….I would miss out on the most amazing benefit; a relationship with God that gives me forgiveness, friendship, family, purpose, identity, acceptance, fullness of life and so much more.  This relationship has such an amazing effect on all of my other relationships. I love this relationship that “I got myself into!”  Oh my!

Conquering the Black Jeans

I have a job to complete.  I’m sitting at my kitchen counter with my “Hello Kitty” sewing machine… hemming some black jeans.   (Yes, I use a “Hello Kitty” sewing machine.  It is simple enough for me to use, and I figured that I could teach my grandkids to sew with it.)   I purchased these jeans for my husband about 3 years ago because they were his size…sort of.  I found them on sale for one dollar.  Yes, …one dollar.  The size was not marked,  but they looked about right for him.  They fit him well, except for the length.  I think that is why these jeans were on sale.  They would have fit well if he were about 8½ feet tall.  He is tall, but not that tall.  Well, I am happy to report that I just completed the job.

For some reason, I have procrastinated hemming these jeans for those 3 years.  I’m ashamed to say that they have been folded in the corner of our room for that entire time.  It actually took me three minutes to get the sewing machine set up with the needed black thread.  It took about another five minutes to hem both pants legs and another minute to put the machine back in the closet.  That’s it. Three years to actually make the decision to act …which took nine minutes to complete.

This new year, I wanted to begin by conquering this silly, crazy thing that had been hanging over my head  for much too long.  It’s eleven o’clock in the evening and I was not going to let another day pass without facing this.  The other thing I put off for way too long was getting rid of a cobweb in the corner of my shower.  It required my getting a footstool and wiping the corner of the shower stall.  Not a big deal, but every day for months  I would look up at that corner and say to myself, “I really should do something about this.”  Well, I’m happy to say the cobweb is gone.   I am quite sure I have spent much more time thinking about “getting around to it” than it actually took to do it.  I had to come to a point where I decided it was time to act on my good intentions saying….If I don’t do it today, then when will I…really?

While these two things are not really important in the big scheme of things they had gotten the best of me.  I just didn’t want to do them….yet.  However, I was always planning to “get around to it”.

Putting off until tomorrow can be a dangerous habit, especially if it effects life issues that are of utmost importance.  Perhaps you have been thinking of pursuing or strengthening your relationship with God….or changing something that keeps you from following him wholeheartedly.  Or maybe it’s just a small task like I mention above.  Sometimes, like Felix in the scripture below…we put something off because of fear of change.

Acts 24:24-25

    Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. [25] As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

Other times, it is easy to just get complacent thinking that nothing is really that urgent.  The scriptures soberly speak to this as well.

Luke 12:18-21

    “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. [19] And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

    [20] “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

At any rate, I feel so much better after hemming those “dollar jeans” and wiping away the cobwebs.  What are you procrastinating?  Go for it today.  It could make the difference for the day, the year, or even eternity.