Finding God after my Tirade in Aisle 5

By Heidi McLaughlin:

Exhausted and depleted, I lost control. Thankfully I realized it takes seeking and finding God daily to live a satisfying life.

 

grocery store mishap

My heart sinks when I hear someone say: “I feel so overwhelmed, overscheduled and fatigued that I am afraid I am bypassing my divine life’s purpose.” Each time I hear the framework of those words, a familiar arrow hits my heart.

I know what it feels like to function at Mach 2 speed. I am a card carrying member of this generation that is running on a depleted “soul tank.”  Like unrelenting shock waves I hear stories of another blown up marriage or someone unraveling like an ‘out of control’ scotch-tape dispenser. Years ago I came to the shocking realization that I had to make some relentless decisions to slow down and leave more margins in my life. This revelation came to me in a large grocery store.

In the middle of Aisle 5 of the canned fruits and vegetables I flipped out over the fact that the store had run out of their whole cranberry sauce.

Before you chastise me, you have to understand it was three days before Christmas and I was exhausted and running late.  Back then I didn’t realize the danger of running on a depleted soul. When our bodies are ready to crumble under fatigue, it doesn’t take a universal catastrophe to crush the last remnants of our sanity.

After I was rude to the clerk and stomped out of the store, I sat in my car and submitted to my inexcusable, shameful behavior. Something was wrong and it had to change. I was not experiencing the life that Jesus said is available to all of us. The Bible says:

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT).

I know that you and I do not want to miss out on the fulfilling life that is right in front of our noses.  But how do we re-schedule our days, dismiss some obligations, disappoint people and give up our people-pleasing gratification?

As women of influence we need to be able to orchestrate our lives through a wiser grid. Let’s recognize the fact that we are modeling this behavior to a younger generation that is already struggling with depleted souls. Instead of beating ourselves up with endless obligation we need to model more Christ-like tenderness towards ourselves and others. How then do we change the tension of all our demands into a nourishing tenderness?

Please know that as I am writing this article I am not the teacher who has it all figured out and is giving self-righteous advice. I am still the student. Changing tension into tenderness is a daily struggle and commitment.  But I do know this: it is my responsibility to guard against the constant barrage of invading tension. The bible tells me that this all starts in my heart:

Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Here are 4 things that help me.

  1. Realizing my heart is the essence of who I am. It is where all my passions, desires and dreams live. It is the part that connects me with God and all people around me. I need to listen to the murmurings of my heart and make it a top priority to keep it physically, spiritually and emotionally healthy.
  2. Knowing that my heart is under constant attack from the demands of life around me. No one else can change my tension into tenderness. Every choice I make is in my power and I need God to help me.
  3. Being brutally honest about why I am trying to cram so much into my life. I need to ask some harsh questions. What is my distorted vision and belief system which makes me believe I have value only when I work so hard?  Why do I feel jabs of guilt when I goof off and feel unproductive? Do I continue to work to earn love and approval from others instead of God?
  4. Ending my time each day with God with this simple little prayer. “God help me to do today what I need to do today. No more and no less. To give glory to Your name. Amen.” It’s a simple prayer but it has revolutionized my life and God is empowering me to keep my days balanced, so that I can enjoy the rich and satisfying life available to me.

You and I live in the daily tension of meeting life’s demands plus trying to find tenderness for our own soul. The power lies in our hearts. I challenge you to make some bold choices to change your tension into tenderness.

© Heidi McLaughlin. For over two decades Heidi has taught women how to become “beautiful from the inside out”, applying God’s powerful truths via bible studies, mentoring, and Heidi’s own poignant stories.  Visit Heidi at www.heartconnection.ca, or  her blog. Follow Heidi on Twitter: @heidiheart

Here’s a relaxing video to watch if you are feeling stressed and need to focus on God:

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Find God on a Cold Night

By Karen O’Connor:

When you feel alone on a cold night, know that you are never truly alone–you can find God, the great comforter.

 

quilt, cold night, comforter, Jesus, find God

Image by jycleaver

While visiting my sister in Southern California I enjoyed the warm days but noticed the temperature dropped quickly at night. I awakened in the middle of the first night feeling chilly.

I reached for the extra blanket at the bottom of the bed and pulled it up to my chin. It felt good to snuggle deep into the comforting warmth. It felt even better to find God on a cold night. I was reminded as I lay there, Jesus’ promise to send The Comforter after Jesus returned to heaven to sit on the right hand of the Father.

He kept his promise and I am so grateful he did. Whenever I experience fear or guilt or hurt or anger, I can be confident that if I call on the name of God he is there as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to guide, guard, and comfort me, and to take away my pain and worries.

I wish I had known this truth when my first marriage was falling apart, when my best friend stopped speaking to me, when a work project I counted on for a month of income was suddenly cancelled. But it took these life-changing experiences to bring me to a place of trust and peace.

The important thing is that I know this truth now. As says in the Bible,

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

To find God has warmed all my days and nights since. May you find him now.

Take a look at this YouTube video, “I’ll Never Forsake You.”

        

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor

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Max Lucado on Finding God in the Miracle of Wholeness

By Linda Evans Shepherd:

In my interview with Max Lucado, we discussed his wonderful book Grace, More Than We DeserveGreater Than We Imagine and the miracle of wholeness.

 

Max LucadoRecently I spoke on the phone with pastor and author Max Lucado, to interview him about his new book for our blog. (See our other post: Finding Grace with Max Lucado.)

In the course of our conversation, I asked him how someone could find the miracle of wholeness.

Max explained:

“I think that one of the underutilized disciplines of faith is confession. After thirty years as a pastor, I believe most people carry around unresolved guilt—a regret, a stumble, a failure—and they’ve never talked to God about it. Satan uses this guilt because the commodity of Satan is condemnation. Satan wakes up every day wanting to figure out a way to make us feel guilty. The Bible calls him the accuser, and his goal is to condemn us and to create within us a feeling of condemnation.”

“How do we apply the solution?” I asked

“If we could learn to quickly confess, ‘Lord, I’m sorry for what I did. I accept your grace,’ then we would live in a state of confession, not in a state of guilt. To live in a state of receiving this forgiveness from God, all you have to say is, ‘Lord, I’m sorry; please forgive me.’ Then confess specifically what you did. ‘I looked at a woman in the wrong way,’ or ‘I spoke out of turn.’”

Max explained, “On the days I really apply this, I find myself practicing dozens of confessions an hour. But it’s not a sense in which I’m just beating myself up. It’s a nonstop conversation that takes place in the back of my mind between God and me, and it’s so liberating!

“Then there’s the issue of deep-seated bad choices,” Max continued, “choices we made years ago that have never been dealt with. Many people need to go back and have a good talk with God about them—about the night in the backseat of a car, or the drugs, or the abortion—some of the major issues we’ve never really let God forgive.”

Max’s insights are right on, and I think I would also add that in addition to seeking God’s forgiveness, we may also need to forgive a few others, including ourselves, other people, and perhaps even God.  (Not that God sinned but that we need to let go of our judgments against God for when we’ve blamed him for our difficulties.)

The best way to accomplish these tasks is through prayer(s) like:

 Dear Lord,

I have been carrying around a lot of guilt for my sin, choices, and regrets.  I come to you now, through the power of Christ, and confess these wrong sins, choices and requests of __________ (confess here) before you now and ask for your forgiveness.  I exchange my shame for your peace.

In addition Lord, I ask that you would help me forgive myself for my choices, regrets and failings, including __________ (list here), not through my power, but through the power of Christ.

I also ask that you help me release the judgments of blame I have placed on you Lord for my difficult circumstances of __________(name difficulties you have judged God for).  Forgive me Lord!  Teach me to trust you as you turn my difficulties into good.

Now, because I don’t want to leave any stone unturned, I also ask that you, Lord, would, through the power of Christ, release my judgments, anger toward others, including __________  (name people) for __________ (name deeds).

Now, Lord, I ask that you exchange all of my pain, judgments, guilt, anxiety, bitterness and regret, for your peace; not in my power, but the power of Christ, the Prince of Peace, who died for my sins on the cross.  In fact, I accept your forgiveness and peace so that I can walk with you, Oh, God.  I give my life to you and yield to your peace.

In Jesus’s name,

Amen

 

To find out more about living for God, go to:  www.GodTest.com

Watch as Max Lucado talks about why your best days are ahead of you:

To see the book trailer for Max’s recent book on grace, click  HERE  (maxlucado.net).

 

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