Free to Be

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The car’s packed and we’re heading down the road to new adventures! …I remember my anticipation as a teen going off to college. Along with some normal anxiety, I looked forward to having my own schedule and being able to make my own decisions. I was free to strike out on my own. Free to be me… Rather a scary thought as I look back on that, but my parents and others had prepared me well and my faith in God was real and strong. Growing and maturing is an important step in life.

Free to be. Free to make choices. Free to consider future and present actions… But isn’t it also easy during that pursuit to become too self-focused, missing out on the richness and satisfaction of reaching outward in service and in working with others? We’ve all heard the clamor of the world. “He said…” “She did…” “That’s a lie…” “You deserve…” Perhaps I am just more aware as I’ve gotten older, but selfishness often seems to be encouraged. Talking at once seems to be the norm. People loudly espouse their agenda, poisonous words tearing others apart, hurting and demeaning everyone.

As I discovered during my college days, along with freedom comes new responsibility, greater accountability and consideration of others. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. * In our freedom, I pray that we will remember the element of respect, building up and caring for others, rather than tearing down and destroying.

Of encouragement to me is the observation that when we face common challenges or tragedies, we begin to gain a sense of our shared humanity. When we take time to notice and acknowledge people as important and valued, then differing perspectives, needs, or goals no longer seem as significant. When we reconsider harsh words, there are fewer times to regret. When we choose positive actions, then growth and reconciliation are made possible. When we allow change in our own thinking and perspective, we discover room for compassion.

*1 Corinthians 10:23

 

Open

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Open heart now do we heed
Understanding gain

A treasure box with gifts to share
Revealing many things

Open mouth what do we speak
In kindness wisdom not in folly

Careful words produced with thought
Teaching truth and life

Open ears what do we hear
To know the words just spoken

Among the mad uproar and chaos
Listening and discerning

Open eyes what do we see
Wondrous things and tragedy

Hold outheld hands to offer aid
Touching hurt and bringing healing

Open doors we knock in faith
Pass through gates of life

Walking leaping now made right
Prisoners no more

Open

From “My Words to Live By” c-a allen

Get Help!

Get Help

As I was looking over a website, getting familiar with a new platform for work, a handy little button at the bottom of the screen caught my attention. “Get Help,” it read. Definitely an option I needed to remember!!

I have often been very appreciative when guidance was available to instruct me in how to do something… and frustrated when promised or hoped for assistance was unavailable, unclear, or incomplete. Patience has been something I have worked on!

There is within us a healthy desire to learn to do things for ourselves, but I, like many of us, have sometimes struggled when I realized that I needed help. How many of us have encountered a determined child attempting to do something “by myself”?! My father told me once that he had wanted to teach me to be conservative and independent, and perhaps had overdone both!

Whether it is a new experience or endeavor, a life crisis, or some other situation… asking for or seeking help can make us feel vulnerable, yet it also binds us and builds stronger relationships. I’m reminded that God formed us for companionship, to be together and to work together. In the book of Genesis, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” * I am so glad to have helpers and teachers, those who are patient encouragers.

The book of Psalms is full of references to “help” and reminds me of our ultimate and greatest help. “The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” * In my “Get Help” moments, I can be assured of His presence as I seek a calm spirit and surer direction. What a relief to know that we can lay aside our insecurities, doubts, hang-ups, and “by myself” attitudes and push that “Get Help” button! Actually… I think that I need to just leave that particular window open all the time, don’t you?!

*Genesis 2:18, Psalm 118:7a

Reflections on Dirt

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 This place where we are planted needs nourishment
• As we are nourished, we grow
• Sometimes things are rocky, and it is difficult for our roots to grow
• Our dirt can become toxic and in need of cleansing
• Tensions and stress can be released by working in the soil
• For positive results plant and water regularly
• There are many byways and wonders within the earth
• These ways can be places of peril or roads to safety
• Carefully tend your homeplace which is your support and foundation
• The Gardener watches over the plants in His garden

He Comes!

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Anticipation
Hurry hurry
He’s coming now!

Excitement
Hear the shouts
See the crowd

Honor
Palm branches laid
Robes spread before him

See
He comes to you
Righteous victorious

Lowly
Upon a donkey
Only a colt

Ruler
Giver of life
Bringer of hope

Rejoice
Your King comes
Hosanna, save

 

*John 12:12-19, Zechariah 9:9