Sunday, July 26, 2009

All Is Well

"Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing" (I Thessalonians 5:11). I just got back from my daughter's house. We were celebrating her birthday. I wanted to go there to encourage her because she has been going through some tough times lately. She has three children, and the two youngest keep her hopping. She hardly has a minute to herself. On top of that, she isn't doing too well financially. Before I left today, I prayed for her. I felt our bond strengthen, and the love of God soothed us both. I needed prayer as much as she did to become calm and peaceful. I try not to worry because I listened to an audio tape by Wayne Dyer in which he said, "It doesn't make sense to worry over the things you can control because if you have control, why worry? It also doesn't make sense to worry about the things over which you have no control because if you have no control, why worry? That takes into consideration all things. There is absolutely no need to worry because if you can control it, do it. If you can't control it, worry will do no good." I don't know if those were his exact words, but it was pretty close to that. What does make sense is to release all concern and relax in God's Presence, receiving His love and peace. "Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;...for the Lord has comforted His people." (Isaiah 49:13).

Love and Light,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The River of Hope

"Bless the Lord, O my soul,....who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's," said David in Psalms 103:1,5. This morning some negative thoughts were keeping my usually grateful self from rising from my bed with its usual happy bounce. I was not feeling all that youthful in my not-so-youthful body. What was wrong? I had temporarily stepped out of the present moment into anxiety of what the future will bring. In our current economic environment, I was concerned about our kids and ourselves. Yet I know that John Milton was right when he wrote, "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven." I could stay there in the misery of hell or rise up to the joy of Heaven. It was my choice. I decided to release my cares into the competent hands of the Lord. This is not always easy. Joel Osteen likens it to digging a new river, one thought at a time. He says, "At first, just a little water will be redirected out of the negative stream and trickle over into that positive stream." Then as we choose faith over fear, serenity releases tension in the spirit just like a massage releases tension in the body. (I know about massage because my daughter is a licensed therapist.) As renewal comes, I start expecting good things, starting with having a productive day. Finally the negative stream, referred to by Joel, starts dwindling and the positive river flows with great force. Alfred Lord Tennyson writes, "Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds." I will not be washed away by that tiny negative stream. No, the mighty positive river will carry me in its current to calmness. Come to think of it, the bible tells us to cast our cares upon God too. OK, now I'm feeling like an eagle!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who Is Responsible for My Happiness?

"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16) Because of God's indwelling Spirit, we can be happy and at peace. That's a fact! How do we release cares and concerns in our minds and hearts? We live gratefully in the present moment with faith in a loving God. We take responsibility for our own happiness. We stop blaming others and complaining about our circumstances. According to scientists who study the brain, 80% of our thoughts are negative. This kind of thought process poisons our systems. Are we doomed then to unhappiness? No, because we can learn to question our thoughts when they enter our brain. We can ask ourselves if the thought is true. When our district applied RIF (Reduction in Force) in 2002 and 2003 to cut the budget, I told myself that the district was wrong to let go of 132 educators in two years. I really seriously asked myself, "Were the district administrators and board members out to ruin our teaching careers?" Of course, the answer was "No", even though I told myself that lie for a while and let negative thinking engulf me. I had to finally let it go. After I did, I started to think about ways to make income without that job. I came up with the idea of substitute teaching. This positive thought expanded into a joyous plan to take pressure off myself and enjoy a very flexible schedule and still have the satisfaction of teaching. My husband's income and my inheritance from my parents could make up the difference. We can learn to let go of a negative thought and redirect ourselves to think in a more positive way. It will take time. If we are in the habit of thinking in a negative way, redirecting our thoughts to more positive ones will take some focus on our parts. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Paul says "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" in Colossians 3:2. With our GPS (God's Powerful Spirit) inside, we can be joyful children of God.