Misguided persistence

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“Stop nagging!” We have all heard it and we have may have said it to someone else. If you look in Webster, the definition is “persistently annoying or finding fault with someone”.

When I think about nagging, I am reminded of summer evenings, sitting outside trying to relax while being persistently and relentlessly pursed by a gnat. It buzzes around your face, your ears and nose, awaiting an opportunity to settle in and bite. It is this incessant, relentless pursuit that sends you running for the house or bug spray. You will do whatever it takes to make it stop.

That is exactly how I have found myself behaving with certain family members at times. They won’t sit still and just do what I want, what I think is best, so I continue with the constant buzzing, thinking I will get a different result. Meanwhile, my victim wants to shoo me away, to render me speechless or probably even smack me at times. When they think they have peace, there I am again. There is a reason the book of Proverbs says, “it’s better to live in a corner of a housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife”.

I used to plan a big long perfect tailored speech, assured that if I could just get my victim to sit still long enough, they would finally get it! They would finally open their eyes to the truth I was so anxious for them to discover. Now, might be a good time to clarify that I am not talking about teaching your children wrong or right, or lovingly steering them in the right direction. I’m not even talking about a good discussion with your spouse. Remember the definition for nagging is annoying and finding fault.

The constant nagging wears people down. It never results in good. You never figure out just the right way to verbalize things to get your way. You ultimately do more damage with your words, especially when they accuse and find fault. Remember, it’s just annoying buzzing. Eventually, they will learn to run and hide.

I believe that God looks at the heart. For example, say that I am firmly convinced that my child should do something because I think it’s in their best interest. And say that I am right in this case, because I’m not always. What if she does it for me, but only for me. That’s nice and it feels good for the moment but has her heart changed on the matter? If her heart hasn’t changed, will it last? If she hasn’t received the conviction for herself, in her spirit, she won’t be doing it because its something she believes in. So, in turn it doesn’t feel genuine, because it isn’t. I might feel good, but she doesn’t because she is betraying her heart. She may be wrong, but until she realizes it, it doesn’t matter.

I have learned the hard way that I get more flies with honey. If I just go about the business of loving my family members, like Jesus does (unconditionally), and pray for them, eventually things work out and never the way I would have done it.

What if I did win? What if my nagging paid off? Then I would feel worthy of the credit. I did it, I fixed her. But, the glory belongs to God and He will have it.

So, the more quickly we learn to surrender outcomes to the One who truly knows best, the easier it will be for us to relinquish our delusions of having control. When someone you love makes a choice for themselves or because God touched their heart about something, a genuine change occurs. This is between them and God. We all have to learn most things and certainly some of the most important ones for ourselves. If we truly believe how much God loves us and ours, we can find the faith to believe in a good outcome while we are waiting.


The Anything But Ordinary Day

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Today started out like most ordinary Fridays, with me peering through half closed eyes at the clock to check the time, then realizing its almost seven and feeling like I’m wasting the day away.  I stumbled to the bathroom and on to the kitchen for coffee.  Thursday is my Friday, so today I allowed myself to sleep late (for me) and take my time getting the day started.

Most Friday’s I do errands and this day would be no exception.  As I journeyed to town, I took the time to thank God for the beauty all around me and to ask for His mercy throughout the day.  I thanked Him for loving me and loved on Him as I enjoyed the view and the drive.  I felt such peace and such a spirit of gratitude enveloped me.  I determined in my heart that nothing would take that perfect peace away today.

I thought of a quote I had read this morning that said something about how we could be standing right next to someone who is completely broken and never even know it.  I would approach others with this thought in mind and show love.

As I drove on, I didn’t sense any agitation over other drivers or traffic.  I had a busy day ahead and many things to do, but I turned up “The Message”, sung along and resolved to do each errand without rushing and with patience and kindness.

Part of my list today included picking up some of my granddaughter’s medications.  This can be a test in and of itself because often they aren’t ready, doctor hasn’t approved yet, they require a specialty pharmacy or a compound pharmacy (all things I would have never known about until Cali).   I called the farthest pharmacy away (the compound pharmacy) and although that one wasn’t ready yet, they said they would text me when it was.  My first actual stop was another pharmacy.  The prescriptions weren’t quite ready here either, but they told me to come in and by the time I got to the counter, they would have them.  They weren’t all covered by insurance, but the cashier offered to find a coupon that saved me $20.

One of these meds needed to be refrigerated, so I bought an inexpensive cooler and ice and was on my way to grab lunch.  My hubby’s business needs required my next two stops and I found what I needed without delay and readied myself to kill time waiting on the other prescription.  But, I got a text hours earlier than anticipated and proceeded to the other place, where everything was ready.

I went on about my day and every single conversation and experience was a pleasure.  Traffic seemed to be waiting to give me the best spot in line; everyone was kind and helpful and returned my smiles.  At my last stop, I talked to lady who was busily stocking shelves and she gave me a much appreciated compliment and then at the checkout I got to hear a story about a man who is helping build homes in earthquake devastated countries.

I left there with a grin on my face and the realization that today had been an extraordinarily good day; a day filled with peace and laughter.    Many days are filled with impatience and agitation.  Some “errand Fridays” I complain about traffic, rude people, long lines and anything else I can think of.  Today, I didn’t!

Yes, I know that all days aren’t amazing and bad things happen, and we are faced with trials and troubles.   However, I also know that how you approach your day makes a big difference in the outcome.  Oh, the problems are going to show up.    It’s how we deal with them that matters.

If I mediate on and implement the scriptures that say “love is patient and kind and long suffering” and the ones that say “think on good things” and “say things that edify others and build them up”, I know without a shadow of a doubt my day is going to go better than if I gripe, grumble and complain and look for the bad.  If I meet others with a long face or a scowl, guess what I will probably get in return?  If I greet the day with a grateful heart, thankful that I am saved by grace and given this precious gift that comes with such amazing peace I am much more likely to stay on the positive side of things.

As I sit here, errands done and the day winding down to a close I am thanking God again for His many blessings and for this anything but ordinary day.

Sunday morning Word – Celebrate with praise

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Celebrate Good Times.”

You receive some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news. How do you celebrate?

There are a few things that would fall in this category that I am currently praying and believing for.  When I get the good news, the first thing I will do is praise God for His abundant mercy and grace and for hearing and answering my prayer.

Secondly, I will share the news with family and friends who have been praying with me.  They have been with me through the thick and thin of things and will share the joy with me, as they have also shared the pain.

Me being a quiet, not too excitable person, there won’t be a loud, noisy celebration.  No cakes, or banners or trips to the mall to treat myself.  The things I am praying for have been watered with many tears and I’m looking forward to exchanging the bitter ones for tears of joy.

In all states of dilemma or of difficulty, prayer is an available source. The ship of prayer may sail through all temptations, doubts and fears, straight up to the throne of God; and though she may be outward bound with only griefs, and groans, and sighs, she shall return freighted with a wealth of blessings!

Charles Spurgeon

Daily Post: Asleep when the ball dropped

This is apparently the actual ball which will ...

I was awake when a multitude of time zones celebrated the beginning of the New Year, just not in this one.  This isn’t a departure from the norm for me.   I remember occasionally watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (or whatever labels it’s been given throughout the years) and there was a time I used it as another excuse to party.  However, for most of my 47 years, I have been deep in sweet slumber as our little slice of the globe rang in the new.

The bad thing about this is…well, I can’t find anything bad about it.  I woke up early, feeling refreshed and ready to actually enjoy this first new day of this New Year.  This is day one of 2013; a new day, fresh grace, opportunities untold.

The first, unstained, unsullied page of a brand spanking new book and I own the rights.  The pen is mine, therefore so is the outcome.  How will this tale unfold?  What will this story bring?  Who are the new characters and how will they develop and interact?  Will the primary genre be romance, suspense, action?  There is much to be determined.  I have free will; I can choose.

I am thankful that I am not alone in this endeavor.

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