Five Minute Fridays

Stuck

Five-minute Friday word with Kate Motang.

Interesting that this ended up to be the word for today.  Just this week a friend I met in China reminded me of a time I was stuck.

I had been living in China for 5 years and had found many interesting differences but the most novel was the doors.  You see when you rent an apartment it is quite secure, there is a gate all around the compound and guards at the gates.  When you go into the apartment there is the same kind of security on the doors as here but the individual doors of each suite is different for they lock automatically when the door is shut.  In fact some are almost impossible to open from the inside unless you know the secret of the turn.  How I wish I had a picture to put here of the first place I had stayed and then you could see the inside of the door and how well there was no handle as we know it.  There is a small round knob that you have to turn the correct way to get out.  The first time I was there alone well I was stuck, there was no way I could get out no matter how I tried to turn, twist or open that door.  Now there was no window it was a solid metal door, the kind you might see in solitary confinement, no way once it was locked could a person get out.  Well that was the first time I found myself STUCK in an apartment in China.

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The time my friend was referring to was a more modern door, with a handle and key hole that was well almost like here in Canada, but they also lock as soon as you close the door.  They have a small lock on the inside for extra security.  At night I tended to lock it because I was never sure who else had a key for the apartment.

One morning I was on my way to work but when I tried to get out the door, well I was STUCK.  Now getting locked out I have done before but getting locked in, this was a bit ridiculous, I tried everything I could.  I walked away and prayed.  I checked the bedroom window, but it had bars on it that had no way to be released for the inside, which seems now a bit strange, since in an emergency how is one to get out.  Well so much for the reflection on that now.  So after a pause, a prayer and gathering my wits I went again to the door to check and think and try one more time to get out to no avail.

What to do? Well I phoned a friend, thinking if she came I could at least hand the key to her through the barred windows, but she was unavailable, so I called another friend.  After calling work to tell them I could not make it, and waiting and trying a third time the door and the window.  I called another friend, who called a locksmith, who arrived later that day.  Finally, the door was opened and I was UNstuck.  I could leave my house.

Even though at the time it was frustrating, now I laugh about it and think how in these small things in life, even though a bit frightening, can also be a time to grow trust; trust in God, a God who loves me and will take care of me no matter how long or in what way I am stuck.

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Five Minute Fridays

Simplify

This weeks five-minute Friday word is simplify.

To simplify: less is more.

Once I worked in a crisis nursery and this was the playroom motto, to have less play choices actually caused the children to enjoy the ones they had more.  It made it easier for clean up as well because there was enough space to put everything away in an orderly fashion where they were more accessible.

Since coming back from China I have a small space that is mine, but I have many boxes that I had left at my brothers of my “stuff”.  I am wanting to simplify because I have to move again one day and because I like to travel I will not want a lot of extra stuff to manage.  However, this is not easy.  Many of the boxes are books, pictures, and journals.  What to keep and what not to keep is the question of my life right now.  How to use the little space I have and maintain some semblance of order so I can find the things I need.

To simplify my life can also mean to stop doing so much other things, things that tire and stress, to simplify is to be wise in what we focus on.  Am I focused on earning money or am I focused on Glorifying God?  Am I focused on me or on God?  My mind is very busy, always going so fast the rest of me can’t keep up, I can be miles ahead in my thoughts about everything that I become stressed about not enough time, not enough time to be still and rest, not enough time to finish projects I started, not enough time alone, not enough time with people.  Maybe to simplify my life I first have to simplify my thoughts.  To not worry and stress over what doesn’t get done but to move more slowly and do well the things I do with taking time to breathe, focus and rest in-between.  It seems to simplify my life means I need to simplify my thoughts and yet accept that life can be complicated, complex, difficult, and overwhelmingly too busy at times, but it is possible to learn to slow down, to downsize and to let go of that which is not necessary.

This one thing that is necessary is to spend time with God, so I can learn from Him how to slow down, even my thoughts and find rest and peace in a simplified life with Him.

 

Five Minute Fridays

Motivate

This weeks five-minute write word is motivate.  I have been reading through Daniel and as I read I see everyone is motivated by something different in this story.  Nebuchadnezzar was motivated by what?  Fame, Power, Control?  No he had all these already.  He wanted to be worshipped.  He wanted the people to see him as god.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego what was their motivation to choose the fire over worshipping a gold statue?  Did they want attention? power? fame? Did they think that by defying the earthly king they would have a higher status with the Eternal King?  What was their motivation?  Were they more afraid of their God than the King?  I believe their motivation was their loyalty to their God and his statutes.  I believe it was love for him that compelled them to choose the fire over bowing down.  What motivated the astrologers to snitch on them?  Probably a desire to be seen as greater and better and more worthy than them.  Jealousy.  I think that was their great motivator.  They saw that they were honored and had a higher position than they and they wanted to steal that from them.

So what will motivate me this year?  Will my desires for money, fame, attention, or will I be motivated by the love of Christ?  I pray that it is love, his love for me and his love in me that motivates me to do all that I do.  Whether choosing a movie to watch a book to read an activity to do or work.  I pray it is his love that compels and motivates me to do everything I do.

Five Minute Fridays

Different

Different well that is what I am.  My whole life I felt different.   Different from everyone else.  I cannot explain it but it just has always been this way.   I never tried to be different but always wanted to be the same and yet, I am different.  I think differently about things than most people, I see things differently than others.

I even experience life differently.

But really can’t that be said of us all.  After all we all have a unique DNA and a unique journey, no two are a like.  So is being different a terrible thing.?

No, it is actually a God thing. 

So no matter who you are or what your journey has been like you are different, we all are, the one common denominator is, we are all created in the image of God, our Father.  So, we should celebrate and rejoice in our  differences.  It is how God made us, and because of that our differences are good.

Five Minute Fridays

Excuse

There are two different ways most of us use this word.

  1.  When needing to get someones’s attention we use it politely, saying, “Excuse me please.”
  2. When we want to explain why we didn’t do something, we make an excuse.

Excuses we all have them, we all make them at some time in our lives, for things we should have done, could have done or wanted to do but didn’t.

Why do I not sit down and write more often?  because I’m too busy, I am not inspired, I am not good enough, I need to find a paying job, I don’t feel well….. and the list can go on and on.

Why did I not spend more time with so and so when I had the chance?  too busy, hard to get there, they were too busy….

Why did I not study more, take this course and not that one?  Again the list of excuses can go on and on.

For the most part our excuses are explanations of how we percieved the situation and to defend ourselves against accusations.

Take for instance Adam and Eve.   Eve made the excuse, “The snake made me do it.”  Adam made the excuse, “The woman you gave me…”

Most of the time our excuses are blameshifting to someone else,

“She made me angry.”

“He told me to do it.”

I know I have said these kinds of things.

Getting down to the truth of excuses, Jesus said in John 15, that if he had not come and spoken to them (us), they (we) would have no sin , but now they (we) have no excuse for their (our) sin.  Jesus came, he spoke and he still speaks today.

Paul in writing to the Corinthians, asked them if they thought they were making excuses, (or in some versions, defending) for themselves and their actions. ( 2 Corinthians 12)

Romans 1:20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly see, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened. “

Without EXCUSE for rejecting God, not glorifying Him as God and not being thankful.

Wow, we are without excuse for not being thankful.  When was the last time I really thanked God for all that I have.   Much too long.

We are so fickle we thank God for our food, but not for the trials that cause us to grow in His character.  We thank God for the new shoes but not the chance to grow in trusting for that next need to be met.

Romans 1 also says we (man) exchanged truth for a lie…..is excuse making actually exchanging truth for a lie?

OH I can’t help, it is just the way I am.    Does this sound like truth?

So, what is the truth about our excuses, can we help them or can we not?

In Romans God tells us we are without excuse, even though Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree we cannot hang on that and continue to blame them for our sin.  It is our own sin.  Excuses and blame shifting is no longer acceptable when we read that word,  because God says we are without excuse.   But the GOOD NEWS IS we are freed from this excuse factory, because we can come before God and confess our sins without fear because Jesus died to set us free, we are free from the excuse and blame shifting because Jesus is with us to help us do all we are to do and be all he created us to be.  There are no more excuses left.

NO EXCUSES.  NONE.

All we need is the grace to be humble and meek as Jesus is, so we can admit our faults, sins and shortcomings, have mercy on ourselves and one another and forgive then move on.  NO EXCUSES.