I've returned!! I have no other reason for not blogging in several weeks besides the fact that I've been very busy. Lame excuse, I know! I have lots of blogging to catch up on and I would like to start with an article that I wrote a few months ago. I wanted to wait until it was published in our Sunday bulletin at church before I posted it on my blog. It came out on Father's Day so now I would like to share it with those who have not read it and maybe those who attend church with me but maybe missed it. I plan on rolling out more articles for this blog and the Sunday bulletin. A great big thanks to my grandmother Cathy (Nanny to me) for pushing me to start writing and for heading up the Writer's Guild in our church. She's my favorite writer. She captivates my attention faster than a cup of coffee.
I hope this blesses someone... if anything let it remind you to keep the main thing, the main thing. In a life where everything from bills, to work and everything else that seems to keep "flickering" and distracting your focus.... always keep a firm grip on your purpose and vision and always put everything into caring for your loved ones and keep God at the center of your life.
It was one week before Christmas; we were going to be hosting the holiday in our home for the first time. The following week, house guests were coming for New Years. We had already decided to do some last minute remodeling to our kitchen as well as paint a few rooms. My house was in shambles, and I was a nervous wreck as most house wives would be. I also had Christmas gifts that I still needed to buy, as well as some accounting to complete for our family business. I didn’t know how I was going to get it all done in just a few days. The Saturday before Christmas was especially stressful. I stopped in the middle of reupholstering a couch to go out and get lunch for me and my husband. I changed into an outfit appropriate for the public and grabbed my brand new purse on the way out. The painter had warned me not to touch the doorway trim because the paint was wet. But I was in a hurry.
In my rush to get to the restaurant, I wasn’t paying enough attention to how I was driving.
About half way there I noticed that I had brushed against wet paint and it was all over my purse and skirt, and even on my car seats. Even more upset and frustrated, I raced to the nearest convenience store to get something to clean it off before it dried. Stressed, hungry, and under the influence of caffeine, I hurried into the store. The first thing I heard was a very gentle, calm voice from the only other man in the store, besides the clerk.
“Mam, are you in a hurry?”
“Yes,” I replied abruptly, sensing that he had something more to say that I really didn’t want to hear.
“Did you know you cut me off, twice?” he asked. He was still calm, and sounded concerned.
“I am so sorry sir,” was my reply as I tried to get what I needed and leave quickly. I was afraid he was going to become angry with me.
“You know, you really need to be careful; somebody, if not you, could get hurt.”
Then I proceeded to tell him what an incredibly stressful day I was having and that I was very sorry for not paying enough attention.
After I paid for my items, I headed for the door hoping this gentleman wouldn’t say any more to me. But to my dismay, he did.
“Mam, please don’t become so consumed with your stress. I am 34 years old and I’ve had three heart attacks. Life is too short. Please take it easy. Enjoy your life!”
I thanked the man for his kind words; I apologized again, and hurried out the door and to my car. As I drove away, I suddenly felt that God had sent that man to speak to me. I began to think about how I was letting the stress of bills, time, chores, the holidays, and just everyday life control me.
Were these stressors causing me to cut God off? What about my husband and family? What about the stranger that I could have reached out to, but was too consumed with what I needed to get done?
Immediately, I recognized that this could be the very reason why, that lately, my every attempt at progress has been futile. God must have been trying to slow me down and show me that my stress had become the center of my focus. I began to realize that each and every stress was of itself, not a huge, life-threatening thing. However, when something small is placed directly in front of you, blocking your vision, it becomes all you can see, as it hides every beautiful thing around you.
I resolved from that day forward, that by the Grace of God, I would place everything in proper perspective. The things that had become stressors were indeed, important things. However, I cannot let them control my life. If I did, I would become a slave to temporary things, rather than a love servant to the One who gave me every beautiful and lasting treasure in my life.
Jesus warned us of the many snares of the enemy; one of them was becoming consumed with the cares of life. The cares of life will have us running around in circles if we don’t remember to put what is most important first, and that is Jesus.