Where Do the Tough Go?

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That’s what I always heard. Sounds like a great plan. But it really isn’t all that helpful if you think about it. Just where do the tough get going to?

I tried going to a lot of things. My go to places were isolation, bad relationships, loneliness, despair and depression. No matter how tough I might have tried to make myself, I never really went anywhere.

My go to feelings were anger and hate and fear. No amount of toughness got me any closer to getting out of the struggle of living.

All I am really saying, is it isn’t enough to just get going, tough or not. There has to be a place to go. Having a place to go is helpful even if I am a wimp about getting there.

Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

I have never been so tough that I didn’t need help. Fortunately, here is a place that I can go. I can go there if I feel tough, or broken, or worn-down or just plain helpless. When the going gets tough, I can go to my Father that loves and cares for me and spills his endless mercy and grace all over me and my entire life just when I need it most, even when I don’t realize just how much I am in need.

Some people, namely me, have a hard time admitting the need for help, even a need for God. But my need is a good thing that drives me close to his side where I can live sheltered during the storm. I have to be wary of getting the feeling that I am becoming more self-sufficient over time. I have to continue to know that my need for him is the same as it has ever been.

At some point today, things are likely to be tough and I will react in some way. This morning I pray that I react by heading straight to the place of mercy, grace and help. God will take me any place else I need to go from there.

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Noah’s Ark

I used to work in Noah’s Ark. No, I didn’t work in the one with Noah and all the animals. It was a restaurant shaped by a giant boat with a bunch of fake animals all over the place. I didn’t work there very long. Apparently one of the rules for working there was that the new guys get pushed around by the guys that had managed to work there three or four grueling months.  So one Sunday morning, when two other guys didn’t want to work and thought I should handle a huge crowd all on my own, I quit. They got fired and I never went back inside the ark again.

In my short time working amongst all the plastic animals, I did have some excellent adventures. There were adventures of taking food to the hotel for room service. I never knew what I was going to see when the hotel room door opened.

There were adventures involving the animals, real ones and not the fake ones that seemed to be everywhere. Most of the time I was grateful the animals were plastic replicas of elephants and giraffes. Real ones would have caused so much more work. Even a tiny mouse (a real one) can cause a really big mess when a grown man crawls over a table knocking plates and drinks everywhere so he can get to a place to shake the little critter out of his pant leg. That’s entertainment!

But I decided I never wanted to work in a restaurant again. Even though people in that particular restaurant would often gush about how wonderful that nasty smelling clam chowder was, it seemed they mostly just complained. The complained about their service, the food, the temperature and the lighting. They hated the way the elephant was staring at them. The bread was stale, the chowder was cold and their drink was watered down. I don’t know if any or all of the complaints were legitimate or not. I never could afford to eat anything more than a hamburger there. The burger were delicious.

I remember one lady that returned three different steaks in one evening. There was nothing wrong with the steaks. They were barely cooked and warm on the inside. But she put on a huge show for those in her party and demonstrated the finest complaining I have ever heard anywhere in my life. The last time she returned her steak they simply put it on a different plate and sent it back to her. Then she raved how this time it was just right and she let her food shut her mouth.

I’m terrible about complaining in a restaurant too. I am a nice, patient guy unless I don’t get acknowledged when I come in the door, my drinks aren’t refilled or my food order comes to me different than I ordered it. Then it starts, I complain about everything. The waitress not only has failed to provide the service I deserve but she has looked ugly doing it. In fact, all the rest of the staff is ugly and so are their mommies and daddies. I turn my complaining into an art form and actually begin to enjoy it. Maybe this is my calling. It just flows from my mouth like water from a spring.

Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

A while back my pastor spoke about these verses. There is a lot of stuff packed into this little portion of the bible. I know from experience working in a restaurant that when a complainer is in the building they are criticized. They are made fun of and there are some pretty bad things said about them. I have been “that guy”, the one that the staff of a restaurant, the employees at a store, the players at a ball game or any other place that my tirade of complaining has occurred. I have been criticized.

I have been crooked and perverse and tried to get others to follow me as I led a chorus of vile, useless complaining. It is not only useless it is directly disobedient to God’s Word. It is sin.

I am to live a clean and innocent life. I am to be uncontaminated. The words that flow from my mouth like water are to be pure and without pollution. Complaining makes the words I speak useless to others. They are contaminated, polluted, corrupted and impure. If others take them in they will become sick spiritually. They will become crooked and perverse. I am supposed to be a bright light, not a source of the bent and twisted nature we are to help rescue the rest of the world from.

God, take away my selfishness that drives me to complain and argue. Keep my words pure and uncontaminated. Make me a light that shines brightly in a dark world. Amen.

Weather or Not

It is really hard to beat this weather. The sun dominates the sky which has donned its very best hue of blue. The temperature makes the air feel comfortable against my skin and the air conditioning inside the house becomes somewhat useless. This is the weather most people call fair. I can’t conceivably use such a mundane word for it. I say it is excellent. It is the kind of weather that makes people walk with a spring in their step after the dog days of summer. It brings people out of hiding in their living rooms and out into the open to feel the sun again. The sun isn’t so harsh and unyielding. It is doled out in quantities we can bear and appreciate.

Sadly, there will probably only be precious few days like this here in Missouri before winter arrives. The cold, wet air of winter will drive everyone back inside to hunker down and wait for spring. No, there are not enough days in the year like today. Every day should be like this.

In this land of Missouri, sometimes pronounced “Misery”, we have it all. Bitter cold, suffocating heat and a few days like today. Most of our bad weather is accentuated by good old humidity which adds to the burden that the hot or cold weather carries. Humidity is the stuff that makes steaming hot air, the kind of air that hits you right between the eyes when you walk out the front door. I only have to spend a couple of days out west in the mountains to start dreaming about a life without having to endure the nasty Missouri summers and cold, clammy winters.

I have had to learn to continue to function, though, no matter what the weather dishes out. Vicious thunderstorms after a blistering hot day are nothing I am not prepared for. Waking up to six inches of unforecasted snow is not something that I’m not halfway expecting. Anything can happen weather-wise here in this state of meteorological variety. I’ve seen lightning take down trees, wind take down buildings, softball-sized hail covering the green grass, snow above my knees, floods that reach for miles outside the riverbeds and all sorts of other oddities produced by the weather here in this fine part of the country. During all those times I longed for days like today.

The people here in Missouri seem to take this unpredictability in stride, except for the inclination to go to the store and buy all the bread and milk in the place whenever there is a hint of a snowstorm. It is how life is here. We deal with it and don’t even know we are dealing with it.

I find that in life, really perfect days are just too rare. Most days are hard. I lean to one extreme or another and seldom hit that perfect place where life is just sublime. I am too angry, too impatient, too lazy, too tired, too anxious or too whatever to be able to go through the day without having to adjust myself. That’s right, I have to adjust myself.

In the past, I have left the house on the way to work and declared this day was going to be an angry day. So, I took it like it was the weather. I couldn’t change it and went through the day angry and that was that. I’d heat up all day long, hit a high of 95 or so and go home and hope to cool down by evening. I have got to remember. I am not like the weather. I can change my temperature, wind speed and all the other things that are making have a lousy day. This day can change and I don’t have to endure whatever I grabbed out of my personality box to wear this morning. I can change.

Ephesians 4: 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

This tells me that out of all the things that are out of control in my life, I have control of this. I throw on the Spirit of God and he renews my thoughts and attitudes. I yank something better out of the personality box and but on something more righteous. I can do this. Life can be good. I can weather the storm and not be the storm.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

A clean heart and a renewed spirit is available to me.  I’m not stuck with being an unpredictable storm ready to unleash a mess wherever conditions seem to merit it.  I can be calm despite the pressure, the heat or the situation that seems to call for my personal thunderstorm to wreak my own personal brand of havoc upon it.  I can sit back and watch God calm the storm and learn to better trust in his power over it all.

Breathing

I’m sitting here this morning in the midst of several weeks of not being able to breathe. That’s not really true. If it were, the not being able to breathe would have only lasted until I was dead, which, thankfully, I am not.

Actually, I have just had difficulty breathing. Between allergies and sinus infections and whatever other bugs are gnawing on my immune system, breathing has become something I notice because it seems to be work. But even so, when I fall asleep and forget to breathe, it keeps on happening so the situation must not be as dire as I make it out to be.

The only real experience that I have with not being able to breathe is getting the wind knocked out of me. Is there a medical term for that or do young doctors study a book with a chapter entitled “Wind Getting Knocked Out of a Person”?

At any rate, it is a scary experience. Everything a person knows about breathing gets tossed out the window and a panicked desire to suck air into the lungs with what seems like no success at all ensues. It has happened to me numerous times, usually as a result of some action that I should have left for a properly attired stuntman to try. Thoughts of, “What if I can’t ever breathe again?” have pervaded my mind on more than one occasion.

Life is full of getting the wind knocked out of me moments. Usually, they are the result of my recklessness and foolishness but other times they are due to life being what it is, a symphony or cacophony of assorted events and milestones that weave together into some sort of abstract tapestry.

I can recall numerous times I thought life was over and done and that I would never breathe it in again but here I sit, sniffling and occasionally gasping, grateful that it keeps on going. Sure, I can try to minimize the things I do that may cut it short but it is God that keeps the breathing going. He is the source of my movement, my being, my provision and my path for today and the days to come.

I feel like today I have just rambled a bit. Maybe that’s what I do every time I sit down to write a few words. The only point I really have for today is to just do what I need to do and let him take care of the breathing. I need to trust him for what only he can provide and not struggle to make something happen that I really can’t control at all. If the wind gets knocked out of me, I need to stop and catch my breath again, get up and know that God has this.

Job 33:4 For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Nope, Not Going to Africa!

One day, as I was sitting in a small church, a very young version of who I am now accepted Christ’s gift of salvation.

And I lived happily ever after…not.

I can remember that same young boy praying, “God, please don’t make me go to Africa or Haiti or any other place I don’t think I will like.”

I was particularly against going to Africa.  After all, I knew all about it from Tarzan movies and the natives were restless and mean, there were bad guys dressed in safari outfits and the animals just couldn’t get enough people in their diet.

I remember thinking, “Anything but Africa, not Africa.”

One day, Jesus called me and I stayed home and refused to follow him because I thought it might lead me to Africa.

I wanted my “Get out of Hell Free!” card but I was not about to follow Christ to who-knows-where.

This went on my whole life.  I’d give in to God and teach a Sunday School class or sing a song at church or even grill for 400 people or so.

Yep.  I’d do some stuff now and then but I still refused to follow.  I wanted total control of when and where I was headed.

Let me tell you where that was.  I was headed into a mess of my own failure and selfishness, depression and weakness.

One day, Jesus called and said “Howdy!  Welcome.  See you when you get back in town.”

Mark 1:16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 18 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

One day, Jesus called Peter and Andrew (Peter was going by his alias of Simon here) and called them.  They left their nets, their way of life, the source of their next meal and followed Jesus.

They just up and followed him.  There were no conditions, no restrictions, no reservations, no excuses, no protests.  They followed, wherever that might lead them, they followed.

It wasn’t until I was a flaming pile of garbage laying in the dumpster of life that amidst the fingers pointed at me, the voices of anger shouting at me, the pain of not knowing if I had anything left worth saving, the guilt of a lifetime of lying and deceit and heaping pain upon others, that I began to hear that voice.

“Come follow me and I will show you.”

So here I sit on what I think will be a very difficult day.  I don’t know what is going to happen, what I am supposed to do or not do, what challenges this day will bring but I will follow him and he will show me whatever I need to see.

If this day should take me into the wildest, harshest depths of Africa, I know he is there with me because he will have led me there.

Focus

I recently had to get my glasses repaired. The right lens kept falling out. Trying to look at the world with one eye that sees things as they should be and the other manufacturing an interpretation out of its surrounding based on things other than what it can actually see, is a waste of time.

I either needed to close my right eye or take the glasses off and try to see without the aid of any corrective lenses.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to grab an old pair of glasses and wear those until the nice lady at the eye doctor’s office fixed these frames and secured the lens back in place (at least that is my hope but not for sure since I can break an anvil in a sandbox).

I’m not quite as smart about other things. I’ve quite often tried to live life without any focus or clarity. I just kind of filled in the details of what I could not see and made them fit in a way I was comfortable.

When it comes to growing as a person, comfort is seldom a good cultivator of character.

In a person’s life, there has to be focus. Not just any focus will do. I’ve often had a lot of focus on myself and when I’d get out in the sun too much the light would create a painful pinpoint of heat and energy that threatened to incinerate me. No, that focus needs to be on where I am going and who I am becoming, not on what I am and how much I want to stay that way.

Sometimes, I need someone to tell me what needs to happen next. I forget when I get wrapped up in maintaining vehicles, going to work, mowing the grass, taking my meds every day and making sure my coffee intake is sufficient in order for me to get moving in the morning.

I need accountability to some people. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have guys around saying, “Hey doofus! Tie your shoe before you break your neck.” Although, those kinds of people are a big help, especially to Captain Oblivious (which would be my super hero name).

I just need others to help me focus on what is important when smaller things distract me or distort my view of life. I need someone to point out that I may stumble and fall before my nose hits the floor. It is a good thing and I shouldn’t be embarrassed or too proud to hear it.

If I didn’t have these cheaters resting on my nose this morning, I wouldn’t know for sure what I had typed on this page. I’d only know what I intended and we all know that intentions only make for good pavement to some location that I can’t recall this very second.

Colossians 3:16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

I have to be willing to teach as well as receive teaching, to guide and be corrected. This sure saves on a lot of spiritual bruising and everyone knows that my experience with becoming beat down due to self-inflicted injury has far exceeded the minimum requirement.

God, Do Something! Now!

 

I often hear a lot of talk about how the world is so terrible today. I have to agree. I hear people say that things are worse now than ever. I have to disagree. The world has been a pretty horrible place many times in history. In fact, it has been pretty horrible throughout most of history. I have cried out to God to step in and take over and fix things. I have been filled with near terror at the thought of facing what was going to happen next in this world that has forgotten the one true God and frivolously serves whatever god is handy or whatever god fits into their perverted version of morality.

But God doesn’t step in and he seems to not even hear my cry. The truth is that men have felt this for thousands of years. The world around us does not fear God and for the time being God is content to allow the world to do as it pleases intervening just enough to keep it from destroying itself. I am often filled with feelings of uncertainty and that God does not answer my prayers. All I want is for the world to be a better place. I want to be safe and secure. I want peace.

Habakkuk 1:2 How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. 3 Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight. 4 The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.

I have felt exactly like that prophet with the funny name! This wasn’t written today, although it could easily describe the world we are living in and the way I feel about it sometimes. It was written over 2,600 years ago. The things people could use for evil were different back then but the people were just the same as they are today. People were self-serving and ignored the God of the Ages and Godly people cried out seemingly ineffective prayers to God to change it all.

Here is a part of all this that I have a really tough time with. There is nothing wrong with what I want. The world should be a better place. Violence and destruction should cease. There should be justice. The world should be overflowing with righteousness. Why doesn’t God just step up and make it happen?

First of all, he is going to do just that. The problem is that when he does, man’s opportunity to freely choose Christ will be over and done with. There will be no more room for those that reject him if we want a world like the one Habakkuk-yuk-yuk prayed for. That includes those that are in our families, those that are close to us, they all have to go. There is going to be unity in Christ. Am I really truly ready to decide today that everyone has had their last chance and today is the day that their opportunity to know God is over? I really believe I am going to have to step back and trust God on this one.

Habakkuk 1:5 The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.

God went on to tell this prophet with a name that sounded like laughter that he was working in ways that seemed counter-productive, illogical and flat-out strange. But he was working to bring Israel back to him.

Here is another really tough pill for me to swallow. How can I ask God to step up and fix the world when I know him and have experienced what he can do, he has changed me through and through, yet I have not really allowed him to take the place in my own life that I am asking him to take in the lives of others. I fall so far short of my goals in my relationship with God, yet I pray, not that God would be first in my life, not that I would diminish and let him increase but that he would work elsewhere.

He is working elsewhere. If I could see it I would be amazed. But I am merely a mortal man with a puny human brain and I wouldn’t believe it even if someone told me about it. I would be hitting Snopes.com to verify it and they wouldn’t believe it either. I guess I just have to trust that God is faithful and true. Why is that so hard to do?

James 4:7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

If I want to see the world change, God has given me what I need to change my part of it. I humble myself before him and resist the devil.. It doesn’t tell me I will win a war, conquer a nation or beat the Cubs. The devil will flee. If I draw near to God, God draws near to me and there is no evil near to God. If I give my undivided loyalty to God and shed my loyalty to this world, it can no longer control me. As Christians, all of us truly doing these things will collectively change things everywhere we go. The world won’t be what God is going to make it into but it will be better and we won’t feel so hopeless.

Teaching Moments

The other day, I was outside working on that pergola.  My grandson was out there with me.  He is a little over two years old and if he wasn’t blessed with a Ridenour skull which contains more bone than most other skulls, I would have deemed being with me while I work dangerous.

I found him hitting boards and standing behind me on the ladder and doing other things he shouldn’t really be doing pretty often.  He was busy, not building a pergola, but emulating Grandpa.

At one point we sat down and took a break, me in my chair and him in his miniature chair.  I would drink water and he would drink water, being careful to stop when I stopped and attempting to “aaaahh” afterwards just like I did.

I don’t expect that he will be going out in his mother’s back yard and constructing a pergola or gazebo anytime soon, although he may think he is ready for such a project in his young mind.  But, he did learn a few things.  I even showed him my “boo-boo” from where I smashed my finger with a hammer a few days before hoping to demonstrate that hammers can really hurt.

He was impressed by all the bruising and gave it a tight squeeze to try to make it feel better.  Yikes!

I’ve seen God do some things in my years on this earth, impressive things, things where he takes raw materials, raw people, raw situations and turns them into something beautiful and impressive.

There have even been times that I have gathered up my tools and jumped in to “help”.  I suspect that I was like a two year old, hammering away because God appeared to be just hammering away but not understanding that every nail was going in a specific place for a purpose.

I’ve copied what I thought God was doing and then been disappointed to find out I had really done nothing.

I guess I have felt like a failure most of the time when I step out and try to join God in the Kingdom building process.

I have to remember that nothing is ever wasted with God.  Every moment is a teaching moment.  I may not understand what God wants me to do today.  I may have it completely wrong or misguided.  But these are what teaching moments are, coming to the realization that what seems to be random pounding on a board is actually driving nails to join to boards together to build something greater.

Sometimes, I don’t see what the results of my life is going to have built.

1 Corinthian 3:10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

As I sit here this morning and get my tools ready for today, I may be building something beautiful to be admired by all.  I may be installing plumbing.  I don’t really know.  I’ve given up on knowing.  I only know that someday I will see it as God sees it and it will be beautiful.

Just as I know that my little grandson will one day be able to be right there by my side, helping me build pergolas or gazebos or whatever else my wife decides I need to build, I know that now, at least once in while, that is how it is with me and God.  He holds the plans and I build my part.

Thinking and Sacrifice

There are a lot of mornings that I get out of bed and the first things I think about are not all that great.

I think about my problems. I think about situations with friends and family that just are not right and need to change but they aren’t going to change in the very near future unless some sort of miracle happens. Those thoughts bring me to a place of frustration, confusion and discouragement.

I think about my financial situation and if I will ever be able to afford to retire and I wonder if I will still be getting up and going to work when I am eighty years old. Those thoughts bring me to a place of futility and hopelessness.

I think about the next war that is coming along and the never-ending wars that are already in progress and the endless numbers of children we send to foreign lands to die. Those thoughts fill me with fear and grief.

Psalm 39:3 The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words:

Getting out of bed in the morning can be a pretty lousy time of day when all those realities of life come crashing into the middle of a great dream like an out of control truck barreling out of nowhere through the front wall of my house.

To combat this I used to get up and make my coffee and turn on the news. That helped a lot. Well, that helped me amplify those feeling of frustration, confusion and discouragement, futility and hopelessness, fear and grief.

From that point on it was hit or miss whether I would recover enough to be able to fake some sort of happiness at work or if I was going to just say, “The heck with it.” and let everyone see the very crabby, angry man that usually hid behind sarcasm and humor. Would everyone around me deal with subtle bitterness or brazen anger? It was always a toss-up and I am sure my co-workers felt a lot of uneasiness when I would walk through the door in the morning.

Numbers 28:3 “Say to the people: This is the special gift you must present to the Lord as your daily burnt offering. You must offer two one-year-old male lambs with no defects. 4 Sacrifice one lamb in the morning and the other in the evening.”

No, I don’t get up in the morning and kill sheep. I don’t kill a sheep before bed. But when the days of blood sacrifice ended, the principle of why there was a blood sacrifice never changed. These sacrifices not only covered the people’s sins but they focused them on God and what he has done for them.

These days sheep aren’t of much value to most people. If I got up this morning and there was a sheep on my front porch, I would probably give it away. I don’t need it and it wouldn’t even be worth the trouble of selling it as far as I’m concerned.

But if there was a box filled with time I would be all over it. There just isn’t enough time. Time is more valuable than anything I own. If there is a sacrifice for me to make, something that is of value to me that I would like to hoard for myself, it would be my time.

I got out of bed at 4:30 this morning. I would much rather slept in to be honest with you, but this is the time I give to God each morning. This is my sacrifice.

I used to spend time in prayer and bible study before bed.  Now I fail to make this sacrifice and I selfishly allow myself to fall asleep without doing this.  I try to make that sacrifice every night.

Psalm 39:4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Am I now perfect and everyone loves me unconditionally? Sadly, the answer to that is a resounding “No”. However, I know that my thoughts are more in line with God’s. I see things with a lot more wisdom and a lot less emotion.

Lamentations 3:23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

So each morning and evening I need to make a sacrifice. In the morning I prepare myself anew for the unblemished, refreshed mercy of God to guide my day.  In the evening I thank him for the day and put it behind me.  Some days I am more successful than other days. I am ever-changing and my selfishness wanes and waxes. Thankfully God is always constant and unchanging. I can bring my imperfect self before him every day and his faithfulness is still perfect and unyielding.

God, renew in me my commitment to present my life to you as a living sacrifice, to do it unconditionally out of a servant’s heart and to be faithful to you as you are faithful forever to me.  Amen.

Talent

I’ve from time to time realized that I’m a pretty talented individual. Of course, talent doesn’t guarantee much of anything on this earth. Most everyone I know is talented. Most of us are still plodding and plowing along trying to make it from one day to the next with a roof over our heads and a bed to sleep in, some vittles in our bellies and a car in the driveway that will start when we turn the key hoping it gets us to another day of work.

I’ve never been fully able to use my talents. They’ve been there in sort of full force from time to time but I burn out and fizzle into mediocrity after a while.

I have had some glimpses into who I may have been created to be. I’ve gained some perspective on some of these things but I’ve always been kind of confused about where they should take me.

They really aren’t supposed to take me anywhere. It is God that leads me and gives me what I need. Here on this earth, I am merely learning that my talents aren’t for me, they are for God. My talents are to be used for his glory. They are to be a way that I fit into his kingdom.

I get so short-sighted about these things. This life is short. No matter how many years it is before I breathe my last here on earth, in a relatively short time, me and all the things that God saw necessary to create in me will be in another place, being used like they were created to be used. I need to seize opportunities to use my talents here when I can and trust God that I will not be frustrated or confused later on when I find my true place in the true kingdom unbound by this cursed earth’s hold on me.

Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. 4 And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

My tired old body, my delusional brain, my nature to do what is wrong, will no longer stand in my way and block me from what I was created to be. Those things that aggravate me and annoy me about living this life far below the bar I set for myself will be no more.

Although there is hope in this life, my true hope must rest in the next. It is real and it is waiting for me somewhere in my future.