Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

What if?

I've spent all day working on my teaching for the upcoming & Women's Conference at Orchard -- Rise and Shine Women's Retreat --  and I am just filled to overflowing right now with God's good heart toward his creatures. I am filled to overflowing with the knowledge of how much he wants for us ... and how very often we refuse his good gifts.

In some of my reading today, I came across this little bit of writing from David Whyte and it just struck me to the core with its painful truth:

“Sometimes reading … I look out at everything growing so wild and faithfully beneath the sky and wonder why we are the one terrible part of creation privileged to refuse our flowering.” (David Whyte)

What if we simply did nothing except refuse to "refuse our flowering?"

What might our lives look like then?

Poems

This poem by Mary Oliver pretty much describes my morning:

Just Rain

The clouds did not say soon, but who can tell for sure,

it wasn't the first time I had been fooled; the sky-doors opened and the rain began

to fall upon all of us: the grass, the leaves, my face, my shoulders,

and the flowered body of the pond where it made its soft unnotational music

on the pond's springy surface, and then, the birds joined in and I too felt called toward such throat praise.

Well, the whole afternoon went on that way until I thought I could feel the almost born things

in the earth rejoicing.

As for myself, I just kept walking, thinking:

once more I am grateful to be present.

(From Evidence,  a book of poems by Mary Oliver that my children gave me for my 50th birthday)

 I try to read poems often, and I especially enjoy poems that I can understand, that I can read without working too hard. I find they often speak to my soul in ways that other types of writing can't.

I especially love Mary Oliver's poems, and I enjoy a book of poems that Garrison Keillor edited, simply entitled Good Poems.

Give poems a try!  You just might like them!

 

The power of subtracting

A great German thinker named Meister Eckhart said,

"God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting."

I remember where I was when I first read this line. I was laying on my couch reading the book in which it was contained. Ever have one of these moments?  The whole world just kind of stood still, got real quiet, and I felt a gentle whisper in my ear that said: "Pay attention to this."

What if less really is more?

What if there are things God wants me to subtract in order to know him more deeply?

What might those things be? And am I willing to subtract them?

This fall, as everything seems to ramp up and the push to add more things to your days and weeks and months is very strong, take a moment every once in a while and ask God, "Is there something you would like me to subtract from my life during this next season?"

And if He answers, by all means subtract it!

Less is more.

The joy of the Lord

I am sitting on my porch this afternoon reveling in a great lunch I just had with my best friend. Talk was easy. Laughter abounded. We caught up, sought advice, shared worries, encouraged each other in ministry, and then off she went. And I just decided that the day was so good, and the breeze was so nice that I should finish my day's work right here. The birds are chirping, and I can hear kids playing next door. I have work that I love to do and I feel so grateful in my spirit.

This all made me  want to encourage you to seek out the simple things in life that fill up your soul. For, when we spend time engaging in good actions that bring our hearts joy, the Scriptures tell us that God gives us strength.

In Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah is speaking to the people of Israel, many of whom had been crying as they'd finally listened to the reading of the Scriptures after their return from exile, and he said to them:

"Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

I remember reading that one of the best protections against sin is allowing yourself to engage in the things in life that bring you happiness and joy. And I don't mean things like watching tv, playing computer games or shopping .... I mean deeper, truer, better things than these.

What good activities bring your soul joy?

What people do you love spending time with because they bring out the best in you?

How do you most love to immerse yourself in God's good creation?

Whose words do you love to read because they inspire you?

What do you love to do that truly refreshes you?

Do. These. Things.

And remember that these good things, these gifts, come from God. And God will fill you with His joy ... and you will find yourself strengthened. God is so good to us.