Thursday, June 14, 2012

Invite Joy, Hope and Vision

For the past three years I've been a grad school student. My schedule has been flexible yet quite demanding. For three years I knew what life would be like. Each semester held new classes and new ideas to learn and financial aid would be disbursed and I could live in denial of the increasing debt that would await me upon graduation. The day has come. I have graduated and entered a season I've been longing for ... days and days of doing whatever I please! It has been wonderful. Waking up later, reading books for fun, painting, gardening, watching movies and soaking in the wonderful act of just sitting and enjoying doing nothing. However, the novelty of this is quickly fading. There are many things I want to accomplish this summer, over the next year and over the course of my life. I've learned the beauty of balance of resting and working. I've learned they can actually co-exist in the same season. What has been intriguing to me is this lingering feeling of discontent. It began as a faint whisper that was easy to ignore and has grown to a feeling in my gut that greets me each morning. In fact, I'm sure I've written about this very feeling before. It's familiar in a few different ways. 1) It feels like my nasty inner-critic telling me I'm lazy and don't deserve to rest or do things I enjoy. That voice is beyond annoying. Such a difficult little creature to destroy and yet, I have full power to do so. 2) It feels like a call from the highest form of myself to live into my greatness. I have a purpose, dreams and visions of what's to come. It's bidding me to not let these things fall to the wayside. 3) An urging from God to not be satisfied with just temporary happiness. His calling to me is one that urges me to find joy. An author once wrote that joy has the strength to withstand what happiness cannot. With this familiar feeling growing stronger each day I have had to think about how to use it for good and not self-destruction. The inner-critic invites despair to take up a room in my spirit. But that is not my desire so I have to combat it. The calling to accomplish the visions I've been given need to be nurtured and paid attention to; they need to be given air, light, water and tender-care in order to grow. And God, well, I have found that the urges I attribute to Him have always led me to unbelievable blessings. I woke up the other morning and decided on a plan. I came up with four questions that would keep me focused each day: -what is excellent about me? -what am i looking forward to today? -what do i hope for today? -what brings me joy? I have discovered that if I do this before I get out of bed, I make sure that once my feet hit the ground they do so with purpose and direction. I also feel a sense of self-worth and value. Each day I'm doing two things: I'm growing a list of praiseworthy and excellent things to remind myself of who I am and a list of things that bring me joy so that when circumstances aren't pleasant, I can always find my joy in every season of life. Second, I'm intentionally giving hope to each day and creating a sense of seeking out things to look forward to. This blog began based on Philippians 3: 8 & 9 "Finally, brothers whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." The first two questions call for these things to be stated each day. The second two questions are inspired by Proverbs 29 that says,"Where there is no vision, the people perish..." Each day I encourage you to answer these questions and invite hope, joy and vision into your life. I pray that each of you would find your passion in life and go after it with all the excellent qualities you've been given to accomplish such things. Don't fade into a life of existence ... open yourself to a unique joy and hope and live your life to the fullest. warmth&blessings.

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