Monday, February 29, 2016

How God Led My Journey to Better Health

Last September I embarked on a serious health overhaul. I needed to lose weight, but more than that, I needed to get healthy. My "numbers" weren't good, and when my doctor prescribed yet another medication, this time to control high triglycerides, I thought, I'm too young to be taking all these medications. And I want to live for a long time.

I began a doctor-supervised weight loss program and met with a nutritionist who asked me lots of questions which resulted in a weight loss plan that was tailored to my habits and lifestyle--something that was not a diet, but would become a way of life. I knew what to do, but I needed accountability and a plan on how to do it.

Six months later I can honestly say that it has become a way of life. The few times I overindulge, I can't wait to get back to my routine. But the best part is that I no longer feel guilty when I do overindulge--or even indulge (I had a wonderful dish of ice cream today, and enjoyed it immensely, and without guilt!).

Many of you--especially my faithful readers--traveled with me on my journey. You ran with me as I began a running program (C25K) and cheered me on when I finally ran that 5K a few months later. 

People have noticed. Oddly, lots of folks make comments like, "Are you okay?" or "You're withering away to nothing." I lost almost thirty pounds. I had to buy a whole new wardrobe (which was kind of fun)! But I'm actually at a healthy weight now and am maintaining.

Because it has been a significant change, people have been asking how I did it. I tell them: I cut way back on portions, eliminated processed sugar, alcohol and carbs. I had a certain amount of calories that I was allowed each day and I stuck to it. I didn't eat much during the day (and still don't) and saved my one meal for a healthy and relaxed dinner with Hubbles. And I exercised. Every day.

But I realized today that I have been leaving out a HUGE, HUGE factor:


I have dieted before. I successfully lost weight on Weight Watchers and then gained it back. I tried giving up sweets and said, "I'm addicted. I just can't do it." I, like many others, spent years yo-yo dieting. 

It wasn't until this time, when I realized I was putting myself at risk by continuing in my ignorance that I turned to God and said, "I just can't do this alone. I need your help, Lord."

I had to look at the why and not just the what and how.

  • Why did I feel the need to turn to food when I was angry, tired, lonely, anxious, upset, excited, etc?
  • Why did I succumb to the temptation of night time eating? What was I really looking for?
  • Why did I feel I needed food more than I needed God?
  • Why did I let food control me?
  • Why did I think that I couldn't exercise?
  • Why did I believe that I couldn't run more than 60 seconds (I really couldn't in the beginning)?

Every time I reached for food that wasn't in the plan or when I wasn't hungry, I had to ask myself, "Is it worth the calories? Am I even hungry? Is there something else that might be a better choice? What is it that I'm longing for? Can you fill it, God?"

Every time I got up at 5:30 am and wanted to go back to sleep, I had to ask, "How will I feel at 6:30 when I get up and realize that I skipped the exercise my body desperately needs because I was just too lazy? Help me, God. I don't want to get up. This is hard and I don't want to do it."

Every time I wanted to quit, when I felt like I couldn't run one more step, all the people on my prayer list came to mind--all those who were grieving, who were prevented from exercise because of illness, disease or other reasons, all those who were struggling with cancer, depression and other things. I went those extra steps for them.

My journey to better health gradually became less about me and more about God. My focus was on Him, and not on the food, not on what I "had" to give up. One month into it, I had bloodwork done and all my numbers were in the healthy range. Six months later, I'm off almost all my meds. 

If I go too long (more than 3 or 4 days) without running, it at least walking, I start to get antsy. I start to crave it. I really get what "runner's high" is. I never in a million years would have thought that I could enjoy running--I HATED it. But I love it. I really love it. And I can't wait to run another 5K this spring. That HAS to be a "God" thing!

A big part of weight loss is getting into a routine. Bad habits are hard to break. Good habits are hard to break into. I don't know why that is. Maybe because bad ones are so much more fun. Until they start to affect your health.

If you're struggling with your health, weight loss, exercise or anything else, and it's not working, consider this:

Maybe it's not working because you haven't invited God to fulfill your needs. Invite Him on your journey. He wants to be a part of it. 

When you learn to crave God more than your habit, your sin, your addiction--whatever--minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day it will become less about you and more about Him. And one day you'll realize that whatever it is you're struggling with has lost its grip on you. It no longer has control over you. When that day comes, I will rejoice with you and shout, "Hallelujah!"

Thanks for reading my testimony!

"Now" Photo credit Amy Maddaluna

Blessings Along the Path,

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Why Are You Holding On to Your Sin?

I , even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
Isaiah 43:25

We've all been told--and hopefully believe--that our sins were forgiven when Jesus went to the cross. We've read lots of scripture telling us the same. But do you really believe it?

Sometimes we like to hold on to our sin...oh, I don't mean I keep sinning after we know we've been forgiven...well, there's that too, but that's not what I mean by "hold on." 

The "holding on" that I'm talking about is more of a penance that we're holding ourselves to--more of a nurturing of our guilt over that sin, even if we are no longer held captive to it. 

A personal unforgiveness for a particular sin that is just too awful for us, so we must continue the self-flagellation--even though Jesus has told us that we have been forgiven, even though we know we are forgiven. Grace works for others, but not for us...not for this sin.

We accept that God forgives us, but we can't forgive ourselves. 

There are two things wrong with this:

1. If God has forgiven us, what gives us the right to continue NOT to forgive ourselves? 

By doing so, we place ourselves above God, as if His Word alone is not enough. How presumptuous! How prideful! Either we take God at His Word...all of it...or we don't. 

2. We don't assign enough meaning to the word forgive. 

When God forgives us our sins, He remembers them no more. 

Some people are grudge holders. They remember every little infraction done by every single person they've ever encountered.

I am not one of those people. I find it too difficult to remember each instance, and I have better things to do with my time than recall past hurts. 

God doesn't hold a grudge against us. So why do we continue to hold a grudge against ourselves? 

According to the scripture in Isaiah, God not only forgives our sins, but He blots them out.

I have read this passage countless times and never really paid much attention to those two little words:

Blot Out.

The Hebrew word for blot out is from the primary root word machah (maw-kwah) and means to stroke or rub; by implication-to erase; also to smooth (as if with oil); i.e. grease or make fat; also to touch, i.e reach to:--abolish, blot out, destroy, full of marrow, put out, reach unto X utterly, wipe (away, out), exterminate, obliterate (source: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance).

The same word is used in Genesis 7:23, referring to the Flood:

Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out...

We are all familiar with the severity of that Flood. Only 8 people were spared--Noah and his family. God obliterated--destroyed--blotted out--exterminated the entire earth.

Similarly, he does the same with our sin--

He destroys our sin.
He wipes it out. 
He obliterates it.
He erases it.

But look again at the Hebrew meaning of that word--- stroke or rub; by implication-to erase; also to smooth (as if with oil); i.e. grease or make fat; also to touch...

He does so lovingly. 

Think of how a rock is polished and smoothed. An ugly rock becomes beautiful when it is oiled, smoothed, and polished. The ugliness is erased and destroyed, and a beautiful shine emanates from it. 

That is what God does with us and the effects of the sin that we long to nurture and caress. He gently takes it from our clutches, and obliterates, destroys, and exterminates it--then anoints us with the oil of gladness, rubs us smooth, and makes us shine. 

I believe that the way God covered the earth with water in order to obliterate sin was a foreshadowing of the way our Savior's blood covered the cross in order to destroy sin forever.

If we want to live in true freedom from sin, we must stop caressing the shame, blame, and guilt of sin redeemed and allow God to completely and lovingly obliterate it from our lives. We must accept His mercy and grace. Only and until then will we truly understand forgiveness.

What are you holding on to? Why not let it go now?

Here's a challenge to take this one step further:

If God can do this for you, can you extend it to someone else--someone you've been holding a grudge against, someone whose "sin" (real or perceived) against you has kept you in unforgiveness toward that person? Have you been nurturing blame, feeding shame, or doling out extra helpings of guilt to someone in an attempt to remind them of how much they hurt you? If God obliterated your sin, he destroyed theirs too. Isn't it time to release them from your bondage, since that is not your right?

Enjoy this wonderfully uplifting video by Laura Story (Grace)

Blessings Along the Path,

Monday, February 15, 2016

Death by Hanging--On a Coat Hook

For me, to live is Christ (His life in me), and to die is gain (the gain of the glory of eternity).

I had a dream the other night that I was arrested for disturbing the peace. When I told Hubbles of my dream, he laughed and said, "I can kind of see that happening." Thanks.

Anyway, the freaky part about this dream is that my sentence was death by hanging. I was led to the place where the hanging would take place and standing there, I realized that this was a reality. I was going to be hanged (hung?) and I would die. I suddenly felt frightened beyond anything I'd ever felt before--frightened, vulnerable, and utterly helpless,

When I looked around for the noose, all I saw was a hook on a wall. A coat hook. And I thought, Am I going to hang around like a coat until I just wear out? 

Perhaps I mentioned to my captors something about this not being a very effective way for me to pass on, and they thought better of it, because they decided to incarcerate me instead--for two years. Then, perhaps after that time, I'd hang. I suppose they needed awhile to perfect their torture methods. Lucky me.

What transpired next was more like a movie, and boy I wish I could remember it all, because it was quite good. I was left in some sort of marketplace to be looked after by someone while they prepared a cell or something, but that someone got distracted, and the rest of the movie was about how people helped me escape.

Okay, laugh if you will. Death by hanging on a coat hook until you just expire from boredom. 

But the thing is...I can still remember the heart-pounding fear. The reality of facing my death. There was no way out. (Well, apparently there was a loophole since they hadn't thought the whole coat hook thing through and I was going to be jailed for awhile instead, but I didn't know that yet). I marvel at how we can recall feelings in dreams, as if they really happened.

It made me think that perhaps I was standing up for my beliefs and being persecuted for them. Like a martyr, which I am so not. Like Paul.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he was imprisoned, enduring great suffering. Yet his writings were filled with encouragement and joy. He had learned to be content regardless of his circumstances and commissioned the church to rejoice in their sufferings as well (You can read a wonderful summary on the blog here). These words still commission us to the same joy today.

Now that I've experienced my own persecution (okay, so it was in a dream!), I can read this letter in a way I hadn't before and understand how Paul might feel torn between leaving this earth and those who rely on him for advice and guidance--not to mention those who love him--and spending eternity with Christ. An emotional struggle, for sure.

Getting back to my dream, I suppose my captors may have reconsidered allowing me to just expire on the coat hook because of how long it would take to actually shut me up---remember, I was arrested for disturbing the peace, not unlike Paul. Did they really think I'd just hang there and solemnly allow myself to fade away? Not this gal. I may not be the boldest evangelical out there, but I know how not to shut up---and I think that's not always such a bad thing.

Blessings Along the Path,

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why Celebrating Lent is a Good Thing

In case you didn't know, today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent. 

I grew up in a rule-centered religion, where one gave something up for Lent, like candy or swearing or television because we were told to. It was expected. When I came to know Jesus in a personal way, I gave up giving things up. The rules were too much, and born-again Christians didn't seem to do that. I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. I felt free to worship a God who doesn't condemn, but loves.

This year, however, I've been having second thoughts. I don't know if I ever truly understood Lent (despite all the rules being drilled into me!), so I did some research. 

I found some answers on the United Methodist Church's website, What is Lent and does it last forty days? (a trusted website). 

Is Lent biblical or just a tradition? I'm not sure, but I don't really care. I'm not here to split hairs, and I liked what I read.

For the sake of clarity, I'll use bold blue italic font for the material I quote directly from the website.

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday.

I never knew that it did not include Sundays! 

And the reason it doesn't is because each Sunday is supposed to be a sort of mini-Easter, 

and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

Well, I think that's pretty cool.

Why 40 days?

Because that's how long Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptations of Satan and preparing for His ministry. And if you recall (if you don't I'll remind you)--

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry (Matt 4:2).

I guess that explains why we're asked to fast or give up some sort of food, or something that's important to us--in order to relate to Jesus.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection.

After all, isn't that why Jesus went into the desert? 

So all those years of giving up chocolate or swearing or television---it was done for all the wrong reasons. I HAD to do it, because that's just what we did---and maybe there was some piousness there too. Look at me and how wonderful I am that I am giving this up.

But I think I missed out on something all the years that I gave up giving up things.

You might think, as I did/do: 

I KNOW God loves me--unconditionally--so why do I need to do all that Lent stuff? 

Repentance, fasting, and preparation for Easter in the spirit of self-examination and reflection are privileges, not duties that I must perform in order to stay in God's good graces. When I changed my perspective, I discovered that my heart changed as well.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139: 23-24

Create in me a pure heart, O God
and renew a steadfast spirit within me...
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me
Psalm 51:10,12

Just as we prepare for the birth of our Savior during the weeks before Christmas, so must we prepare our hearts for the Resurrection of the same Savior who was born to die for us.

As we enter into this holy and somewhat somber season--with joyful Sundays in between--might I suggest that you join me in giving up myself for forty days? 

Let us give up our offensive ways in order to be led into the way everlasting. Let us give up our soiled hearts and ask Him to cleanse us and renew our spirits, to restore to us the joy of His salvation. Let us give up our wills and ask Him to grant us a willing spirit to sustain us in preparation for His glorious Resurrection.

And if chocolate, swearing, or television are a part of that, so be it.

Are you with me?

Blessings Along the Path,

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Monday, February 8, 2016

A Distorted Image

Yesterday I took Lucy for a long walk and noticed shiny blue Christmas balls hanging from a tree. I thought they were pretty, so I took a picture. You can sort of see my image in it, reflecting back. But not really. It's distorted. It doesn't give you an accurate view.

Kind of like the Funhouse mirrors at the carnival when we were kids. Remember those?

Fun to look at. Funny even--because we know it's not really what we look like.

But what about when we look in our bathroom mirror? Or the full length one behind the closet door? Worse, the one in the dressing room, that gives us an image on all sides, showing things we don't ordinarily see and would rather not see? What then? Do we laugh? Or do we cringe? 

My guess is that none of us look at that image in a lighthearted way because we know it's real. It's not distorted in any way. Or is it?

I'd like to suggest that the image looking back at you is the one telling you those things--call it your own thinking--and even though it is you, it's not. It's still an image, and it's distorted.

That person in the mirror is just that--an image. It's yourself looking back at you in a backwards way. You see yourself in the mirror opposite of how you really look, but not completely opposite.

Think about it--your right eye is looking back at you on the right, but if you jumped on the other side, it would be your left eye. But it's not, because when you put your mascara on, it's going on your right eye. So it's still your right eye. But you're backwards. Doesn't quite make sense does it?

Neither does it make sense for you to beat yourself up over the way you look.

I lost almost 30 pounds in the last six months. I tell you this because even though I'm now at a healthy weight, and I (pretty much) like the way I look, I realized that God doesn't love me any more that I'm thin than he did when I was overweight and disgusted with the way I looked. He loves me the same, no matter how I look. 

God is love. And if God is love and He loves me just the way I am, then who am I to try to override that? As long as I keep trying to love myself on my own, I'll always fail--I'll always see the flaws.

If I cannot accept the unconditional love of God--regardless of the way I look--I cannot love myself. I cannot accept who I am and what I look like if I continue to reject God's acceptance of who I am and what I look like. I will forever have a distorted image--not only of myself, but of God.

So the next time you're putting your makeup on, brushing your hair, or just stopping in a store window to check yourself out (I know you do it), remember that it will always be just a distorted image looking back at you. That's not how God sees you, and it's not how everyone else sees you either. 

You have to go out of yourself to really see yourself, so stop living inside yourself. Stop berating yourself and start celebrating who you are! God loves you, and so do I, so you should too.

Blessings Along the Path,

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RubyFebruary2016The February issue of Ruby For Women is here! Check out my short story on page 9---Voice Prompts at the Heavenly Gates. Can you imagine if you had to follow voice prompts to get into heaven???

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Ruby for Women and a Short Story

The February issue of Ruby for Women is here, and it's packed with lots of great articles, poems, devotionals, puzzles, yummy recipes, book reviews and more! 

click here if image doesn't open

And then there's this short story...

What if when you got to heaven, no one was there to greet you? Nothing except a sign that said, "Gone Fishing...For assistance, pick up the phone-Love, Peter"? Imagine if you picked up that phone and an automated voice prompted you to select from the menu, just like back on earth? Imagine your frustration! What if you chose the wrong prompt? Would it send you know...the other place...the place that is much warmer than the last Caribbean vacation you took?

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome if you read my short story called, Voice Prompts at the Pearly Gates on page 9. And while you're at it, why not sit down for awhile and be blessed by the other articles in the e-zine?

Blessings Along the Path,

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Am I a Fanatic?

Yesterday, I wrote about crossing the line between passion and fanaticism. In short, I decided that anything that takes you from relationship might be a sign of fanaticism. If you think more about doing your "thing" than you do being with people, then you might be in danger of crossing the line. 

It's easy enough to do. An interest can quickly become a habit. A habit can easily turn into a passion, and a passion into an obsession. When the obsession consumes us, we become a fanatic. There has to be a balance.

Funny how God often gives me a test at some point either before, during, or after I've written something. 

Allow me to enlighten you with a little story of my fanatical discovery.

Sunday (the day before my previous blog posted), was unseasonably warm--more like spring. If you read my Monday blog (and were paying attention), you may remember that I said I'd only had two runs that week. I like to try to get in at least three, preferable four or five.

I admit, I'm just a tad obsessed with this running app which is training me for a 10K. Mind you, I have no intention of actually running a 10K--I just want to complete the training so that when I run a 5K in the spring, I'll have more endurance.

I was up to Day 3 of 3 in Week 11 of 14: Three runs at 17 minutes each, with one minute in between for recovery.

Lately, I've had to do my running on the hamster wheel treadmill at the gym, but because of the beautiful weather, I decided to run outside, despite the quickly (but not quick enough for me) melting two feet of snow on the ground. And I'd take Lucy with me. She'd like that. But where could I run with a dog? 

After ruling out all of the places I usually go (too much traffic, busy road, narrow sidewalks), I opted for the local park, which has a pond and a track, similar to a high school track. 

Deceptively quiet the next day

Boring, but Lucy would like it. I'd have to go around like 50 times to make my goal, but at least it's flat.

Big mistake.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the problem. Everyone had the same idea. The track was packed with people walking their dogs, or just out for a stroll. Lucy is an excitable dog who loves everybody. As soon as she sees a person or a dog, she pulls. Did I mention that she's a golden retriever, weighing in at close to 60 pounds? When she pulls, I end up letting go of the leash half the time because I can't hold her. 

Notice--no leash. Out in the woods, when there's no one around, she's in her element.

I got out of the car, put my earbuds in, chose my music, set my other app which would map my run, and decided that I'd forgo the 10K thing. That definitely wasn't going to work today (see, I'm not obsessed). 

We started down the path to the track, and the first person/dog we came to, off she went. Down went the leash, and out flew my earbud, taking my phone with it, landing in the snowbank. Worse, the dog Lucy went to say hello to was afraid, and the woman holding the dog was trying to get away. Lucy is gentle, but other people don't necessarily know that.

Don't worry, I handled it like a non-fanatical pro. Picking up my phone (before retrieving my wandering dog), I yelled into the snowbank, "This was a mistake! A big mistake!" and huffed and puffed while I tried to get control of myself and my dog, all the while knowing how foolish I looked and sounded.

Scared Dog's Owner said (trying to help), "You know, the road goes all the way to the municipal complex."

I know full well where that road goes-I've walked it several times. But I didn't want to walk the road, I wanted to run the track! After all, I had to get my run in! It had been four days!

Oh dear, I suddenly thought. I'm turning into a fanatic!!!

I looked at Lucy, who looked back at me with oblivious doggy eyes, wildly dancing with excitement. She was just being her normal, overzealous Lucy. Oh, and I was being the same---overzealous Mary. "Come on, let's go," I said, and off we went to walk the road--which turned out to be an off-leash opportunity in places, and in fact, a better choice for an excitable dog.

But I'm not finished. Stay with me just a little longer. I didn't get over it that easy. I did not say "Come on, let's go," in a demure, resigned fashion. Oh no, I put on my frown face and pulled the leash hard. I finally cooled off while I warmed up and then took off running.

We ended up having to run up and down the road a few times to get my required mileage in (which I didn't, by the way--I clocked about a mile and a half). When off-leash, Lucy dropped back behind me. She's not used to running at a steady pace. She smiled, tongue hanging out the side. I think she was trying to have fun, but it felt a little like work. When we passed the car (back on-leash), she pulled toward it. She'd had quite enough of this, thank you very much.

So I pondered: Should I leave her in the car and run four times around the track by myself, getting in an extra mile? 

Or maybe you should just go home, you fanatic.

Opening the car door, I got Lucy's bowl and emptied some water from my bottle into it. She gulped it down, leaped into the back seat and plopped down. She looked at me, her eyes not so wildly excited now, but more subdued and tired, as if to say, "Are we going home?"

I closed the door, went around to my side, and slid into the driver's seat. There's no need to get crazy over this running thing, I said to myself. Lucy, head hunkered down, blinked in silent agreement.

Blessings Along the Path,

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Crossing the Line into Fanaticism

I tend to throw myself into everything I do.

For a time, I was really into gardening. I bought books, subscribed to magazines, and considered myself "a Gardener."

If only you could have seen the pitiful plots of haphazard flowers. I was so not a Gardener. A gardener--yes, but not a Gardener.

I threw myself into my health and wellness regimen and that actually panned out. Six months later, I'm still running--and even training for a 10K. I've lost weight, I eat healthy, and I keep my calorie count low.

But I only ran twice this week. And I had not one, but three deserts last night. And wine. I permitted it without guilt.

We all know people who are what we might consider a fanatic. An exercise freak, a health food nut, or even...(gasp) a religious fanatic--those "so heavenly minded that they're no earthly good."

So when does it become too much? Can you exercise too much? Yes. Can you eat too healthy? I'm not sure about that, but I believe that unless there are legitimate health concerns (like diabetes, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, etc) it is possible to easily cross that line into fanaticism.

I maintain a healthy diet, but if I'm invited into someone's home for lunch, I'm not going to whip out my protein bar and say, "Oh, just water, thanks. This is my lunch. I couldn't possibly exceed my calorie limit." THAT would be an example of fanaticism, not to mention rudeness. 

And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give. (Luke 10:7)

A writing friend recently mentioned that her son was visiting and she didn't get much writing done. I heard guilt in her voice, and told her that relationship is more important than writing.

Commitment to something is great, but we must find the balance between that thing and our relationships, lest we become fanatical.

I'm not saying that my friend is fanatical about her writing, but our thinking can become that way if we're not careful. God made us to be relational beings. Sometimes I need to take a pass on my writing, my exercise, my healthy eating, and yes...maybe even order to spend time with a real person who matters more than my passion of the day.

People don't see the importance of those things in our lives like we do. They only see the rejection when we choose that thing over them. And if we are to emulate Jesus we must be willing to sacrifice our stuff for relationship. 

We must be willing to eat more calories at lunch than we typically would for the sake of listening to a friend share her heartache. 

We must be willing to forego the exercise regimen and realize that the muscle won't degenerate in two days for the sake of helping a neighbor in their time of need.

We must be willing to put the writing aside in order to spend time with our children.

Dare I say that we might also be willing to skip church in order to be with a family member who is angry at God because inviting them to church is sure to fail? 

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the surest way to be labeled a fanatic is to disregard others, thinking only of ourselves---religious fanatics included. They may say that it's all about God, but anyone who discounts the feelings of others, disregards relationships, and chooses to live apart from this world is thinking purely of themselves. That's not how Jesus lived, and it isn't how He wants us to live either.

Spending time with God is important, yes. But if my desire to be close to God takes me to a place of only me all the time, something's wrong. My thinking has become distorted. We have been placed in this world for relationship--with God, but also with others. We cannot thrive without that love. 

So relax a little today--put the regimen aside if you have to. Pay attention to your surroundings. Listen to people. Be salt and light to others--even if it is at the expense of giving up your passion for the moment or for the day. Let someone else know that they matter more to you than your stuff does.

This is my commandment that you love one another, as I have loved you. 
John 15:12

Blessings Along the Path,

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