Saturday, March 11, 2017

Broken Pencils

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 70: 
Today, I am grateful for broken pencils. 

Once upon a time, there was a world that spent all day working to achieve their daily bread. They grew their own grain. They made their bread. Some would refer to those days a "simpler times." 

Simple? Maybe. But, hard work, too. Since I am a huge fan of indoor plumbing, hot showers and my furnace that turns on at the touch of a switch... I wonder how long I would enjoy the "simple"?

The world, as we know it, is shaped by the generation into which we were born. 

Case in point: When I wanted to communicate, as a teen, with my friends, we wrote letters. (Expensive long distance calls were not parent approved in my world.) We addressed the envelopes and sent them with a stamp. Then... we waited for a reply in the mailbox. 

I ran that long country lane to the mailbox on many days. Excitement and anticipation. It was pencil and paper for us. I longed for the letters that came from those special friends. 

Today, I pick up my cell phone. I text or message some of those same friends through social media. Instant replies are possible. There is no need to wait. 

Are we losing our ability to be patient, due to lack of exercising "the wait"? We lack patience as a culture and as a people. Does that lack of patience pour into our relationship with God?

We even expect God to respond to our prayers within the same time frame as we do a friend's text message reply. In truth, we have most of his answers available in what is still the most published book in the world. The Bible - 5-6 billion copies sold! How many get read? 

God has written us a love letter... and it clearly states that "his ways are not our ways". But, HE IS always WITH US and He is faithful "until the end of the age". He is... I AM." Present tense. Don't be discouraged. 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LordFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.    -Isaiah 55:8-11

God doesn't stutter when he speaks. He is slow to anger and hears the prayers of his children. Sometimes, waiting is part of the answer and part of the lesson.

Well...Good Morning Earworm! My Earworm is awake and singing Natalie Grant's "King of the World".  

I tried to fit you in the walls inside my mind
I try to keep you safely in between the lines
I try to put you in the box that I've designed
I try to pull you down so we are eye to eye
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you're the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world
I think I need to create an "anti-stress" music mix. Natalie's voice manages to create almost a haunting feel as she brings this struggle we all feel at times to light. I forget the universe is not mine to control and God's timing is always perfect. Even when we don't understand it. Even when it looks like things happen at clearly "the worst possible moment". His hand is present. He is present. 
His timing is flawless. Do I believe that? In my heart, I know it is true. In my head, I believe. Then... human egocentrism gets the best of me. Who created the universe by speaking into the darkness? No... it wasn't me. 
In my daily walk... I get pretty focused on the  me-scape. Me. Me. Me. "Marcia, Marcia Marcia" echoes from childhood Brady Bunch memories. 
I forget His big picture is an infinite landscape with so many tiny details I do not see, know or understand. He is the master artist. He is meticulous in the details. I am a  broken little pencil he uses for his work. 
As Mother Theresa said, "

“I am a little pencil in God's hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more.”

In the me-scape, I want to be the vibrant paint... or better yet... the glitter. I was born to coruscate! It is so easy to be me-centered instead of God centered.
But, that is exactly where the anxiety can take root. When we wake up and pray... and then give the day to him... we can be set free of the burden of how it turns out. 
We must show up and bring our best... our life as an offering (Romans 12:1)... but how He chooses to use us... he will decide.
Why can't I simply take joy in being a broken little pencil waiting to be used up by a mighty, magnificent and awesome God? 
Why do I listen to the enemy when he whispers thoughts of inadequacy and unworthiness? Nothing about this journey is about what the world sees. We have a Jesus who died to free us from the consequences of our sins. We have a God who sees our hearts and will judge us on what he knows... not what the world believed. Jesus will be our advocate before the father... but He knows our hearts. 
Back to  two point Jesus lesson that covers it all:
1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. (Follow me)
2. Love your neighbor as yourself. All of them. (Go)
Isn't it the humble little pencil that does the big work on the artist's sketch pad? Isn't it the pencil that is the most easy to forgive when mistakes are made? Just erase. It is not easy that with glitter and vibrant paints. 
Seek to love. It might be misunderstood, but choose love anyway. If you get a chance to be glitter and big color... be prayerful... be cautious and be responsible. We can choose to be content... and grateful... to be a broken little pencil in the hand of a mighty God. 
Today, I am grateful for the broken pencils in the Master's hand.

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