How do we rest in God’s greatness? How do we experience the abundant life he has for each of us?
So, let’s say that you’re holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and accidently bumps into you or your arm, making you unfortunately spill your coffee.
Why did you spill the coffee?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
Maybe not…..We’ll explore this issue later….
Meanwhile allow me to propose several daily habits that can help each of us move from being overwhelmed to overflowing….
Connect each day directly to Jesus.
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me” (John 15:5 CEV).
So, when we try to go through life on our own, it takes no time at all before we find that we have become overwhelmed and overburdened. A flat iron cannot fulfill its purpose with a woman’s hair (Mine is naturally curly….so annoying!), unless it’s plugged in to the electrical outlet which provides its power. That same flat iron has an on and off switch that I control. Each of us absolutely cannot fulfill our God given purpose and enjoy the amazing goodness of God unless we too are plugged in to His power. We also control that on and off switch that led us to His power. God doesn’t make us do that…we choose.
Proverbs 20:3 says, “Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them”.
It’s no surprise that the use of condemning statements like, “It’s all your fault” or “You should be ashamed of yourself” lead to arguments. Or instead, maybe condemnation comes out of our mouths in phrases like, “You really ought to…”, “You shouldn’t…”, or “You always…”, and “You never…”. Starting sentences with ‘You…” condemns others and puts each of us above them, which isn’t the way of Jesus. Instead, starting phrases with “I find that…”, “I really ought to…”, “I really should…” are less threatening to the recipient of our messaging. We all fall into this trap easily. It takes fortitude to intentionally change our tone and how we start a sentence.
Comparison creates arguments because it shows that we’re not satisfied or content with what we have, and who God has made us to each be.
Matthew 6:25, 26 says “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
When we are content with our lives it shows up for all to see and manifests itself as seen in our healthy relationships.
1 Timothy 6: 20 says, “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’”.
This is another tough one for me. In the middle of a disagreement, it’s good to remember “don’t sweat the small stuff”. As trained ophthalmic surgeons we are highly skilled in the realm of exquisite details. We are pros at being ‘detail oriented’. Right? So, it can be challenging to retrain ourselves, but if somebody around us could have done some small thing better, let’s strive to let that go. We don’t have to always “be right”.
William James, a famous psychologist once said, “Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook”. If we can each learn to let things go, then we can embrace enhanced peacefulness in our relationships.
So, in the spirit of ‘pick your battles’, back when my youngest was in high school (he’s 33 now), one night he started playing his cello at 11:30 pm at night and awoke my husband and I from sound sleep. We discussed this among ourselves and agreed there really are a vast number of far worse things he could be doing at 11:30 at night, and so agreed to permit him to proceed for 20 minutes and then we got out of bed and discussed openly how the rest of us were all tired and would much prefer to sleep.
So, back to that cup of coffee that just spilled after we got accidently bumped …
What really happened with that situation?
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in your cup, you would have spilled tea.
Whatever is inside your cup, is what will spill out.
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes and bumps each of us (which WILL happen), whatever is inside us, is what will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until we get rattled and caught off guard.
So, this example begs the question… “What’s in my cup?”
When life gets tough, what’s the first thing that spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace, and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words, and reactions?
Today let’s work towards intentionally filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation, kindness, gentleness and love for ALL others and every circumstance.
Have a great Thanksgiving!