Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wild Thing: Living the Intentional Life

"Wild make my heart make everything groovy! Wild Thing."

"Doing things on purpose"....sounds easy, doesn't it! You would think so. But lately I have been thinking about how mostly we live our daily lives habitually rather than intentionally.
Let me explain....
First, I will ask you a question. Have you ever been driving down the highway for several minutes then popped back into your own mind and wondered how in the heck you got where you are when you can't remember turning, steering, breaking for traffic, or much else, for that matter? It's like you are on automatic mode and you just do it robotically.
Well, that is what I find myself doing everyday, nearly 24 hours a day. I's sad isn't it. We function on automatic and are habit driven. I get the same stupid things daily...go to work...and although the tasks change somewhat, my mind just keeps on auto pilot. Back home from work and I plunk down in front of the computer or television so I don't have to think...(and although I think zombies are kind of popular right now, I really don't enjoy being one.) Shoveling food into a mouth that doesn't taste and barely takes time to chew...staring at brain dead movies that require no thought...
This is not living the way God purposed us to live. But let me tell you...being intentional takes work! You're brain has to be have to make choices instead of being a creature of habit. In fact, being intentional means you HAVE to think ALL OF THE TIME!!!
Our pastor has been preaching to us about getting outside of the box. I think that this is one aspect of what he is talking about. Choices! We need to CHOOSE! I'm tired of taking the "easy" route...I'm ready to be more intentional.
So....where to start??
Today, I put my Netflix on hold! I'm going to make time for other things. I chose fruit and yogurt for lunch. I went out at six this morning and walked around my yard enjoying nature and listening to the birds. Sometimes...I choose to take a different route to get to work. When I had to shop at Walmart yesterday....I went in the opposite direction on purpose! lol. If I want chocolate, by golly, I'm going to taste it...instead of eating it without realizing I've gobbled up a one pound bag of M & M's without tasting a one! Before I answer Yes or No....I'm going to stop and pray about both answers and do what God tells me to do regardless of what people may think or say. might sound a little silly to you...but to me it's the beginning of the end. I have one foot over the edge of the box.....I'm escaping.....and when I get out of this stifling box.....I'm going to run free....I'm going to live the intentional life I was meant to live.
I sort of picture a wild cat being shut up in a box with the lid closed all day long and then finally someone opens the lid. WATCH OUT! That cat will come clawing and digging it's way out of that box to get loose. I am THE cat! I want out!
I have a musical button on my desk at work that when I push it, it plays Wild Thing. I'm going to push that button every morning as a sign that I'm on my way. I'm going to celebrate and embrace that wild side. It may be a little dangerous....but I really like what the author, CS Lewis says of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Aslan is wild.
Our God is not tame, but He is a wild God! He does things that aren't expected. But He's very intentional! He's a little scary and very exciting...but, it's never dull or boring. That's how I want to live.
Intentional living.....goodbye! And someday...I hope someone pushes that button at my funeral....and Wild Thing starts playing to remind everybody to surrender to the "Call of the Wild" that is placed in each of our live a little more daring and intentional for HIM!

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Not Just For the Birds!

I'm an early riser because I'm usually at work by 7:00 am. This gives me just a little time to meditate and ponder on the things I need to accomplish in the day or to have a few moments of peace before the tranquility is shattered by the busyness of life. I really relish this time and I usually pour myself a big glass of orange juice, sit down in my chair and stare out of my picture window watching the birds enjoy their breakfast at my bird feeders. I never really thought about birds much, but as I got older, I began to understand why older people seem to enjoy them. So I guess I have also joined the ranks of an older person, because the lessons those little birds are teaching me are amazing.
Let me elaborate. If you watch birds long enough, you will begin to be able to tell them apart. They have personalities very similar to the larger two-legged species called man.
The flighty ones: they can never light in one place too long. They are skiddish when other "birds" are around and don't even seem to really be able to sit long enough to enjoy a good breakfast.
The bulles: Ah, yes. These "birds" are usually a bit larger and darker in nature than the others. They swoop in and scare all the others away, perch like they are the king of the feeder, dive bombing and pecking at all the others. They are intimidating to the littler species and know it. Half the time, they aren't even hungry, they just want to show the rest who runs the place.
The little sneakers: These little creatures hide in the branches and slowly inch their way toward the feeders. They slowly gain ground, and just when you think they might get a bite....something scares them back to the beginning and the inching ritual begins all over again.
The loud, nagging ones: They have to let everyone know they have arrived and are chatty and loud.
The teenagers: These little birds sport a white mohawk and feast under the feeders in small groups. They appear to be ADHD and definitely dance to the beat of a different drummer. They make you nervous.
The pompous male: He is brightly adorned and struts up and down the chain preening and showing off. He thinks all the women birds want him and he ruffles up and makes a spectacle of himself as the "ladies" ignore him.
The couples: There are always a few of these in the crowd. They only have eyes for each other and don't pay a whole lot of attention to anything that goes on around them.
The gluttons: These definitely enjoy a good, free buffet. They sit and eat constantly and even when they are full they carry off more to their nest.
The show-offs: These are the birds that hang upside down, walk tight wires and swing from their perches in forty mile an hour winds. It's amazing....they never fall off and they don't even have hands to hold on with.
The snobs: They grab what they need with their eyes on the sky and fly elsewhere to eat. Too good for the little people.
The annoying one: Okay...usually a woodpecker....tap, tap, taps that crazy tree until just about every bird is ready to kill him.
I guess that is just a sampling....I didn't even mention the frumpy ones, the dull ones, the crazy, suicidal ones (these usually take on the family cats), the lazy ones, or the joyous, singing ones.
By observing the different characteristics of the birds out my window, I have learned a great deal about people and the God who made them. I am amazed at His handiwork, and the bird is only one animal....look around at nature and you will discover hundreds upon thousands of intricately created little beings, all living out their lives, no matter how short or insignificant, oblivious to their surroundings, carrying out their own special purpose, created just for them, on this big, blue planet we call earth. How lucky we are to get to share it with such incredible wonders of God's creation.
How can you see these creatures and not believe in a Creator? But more importantly, how can you even begin to think that "you" are the center of this universe? Get over it! It's NOT ABOUT YOU! It's about the Master Sculptor displaying his beautiful works of art and handiwork in the museum of life for His glory and recognition. It's open all year round, 365 days a year. Take time to appreciate it in all it's majesty and magnificent splendor. Let all of creation praise His name!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Master Gardening 101

I have never had a green thumb. It's just a fact. I love green plants, flowers, and gardens, but they don't love me. I do have a knack at killing things, however. I over water...I under water...I don't like weeding...I plant too deep...They get too much sun....or too little sun....sometimes I think they just look at me and shrivel up and die to spite me. Last week, I forgot and left one of my house plants outside and the frost killed it. It takes patience to start a little seed, baby it, nurture it, and raise it up into a fine, healthy plant that produces fruit. Physically, I just don't seem to have that gift of knowing what it takes to be a master gardener.
Recently, however, I have been asking myself whether or not I have a "spiritual" green thumb. Can I plant, nurture, and harvest spiritual fruit? Am I patient enough to plant spiritual seeds? Determined enough to pull the weeds out of my own life and the lives of others to produce the spiritual yield necessary? Do I water the dry, parched souls with life giving water? Do I plant spiritual seeds that will take root and grow into strong, healthy plants capable of bearing an abundance of fruit?
I am amazed, when I watch the Master Gardener, Jesus, at work. He take even the tiniest seed and produces abundant foliage and growth in our lives. He takes the most wilted, barren, and nearly dead hearts and like magic, right before your eyes, produces a bouquet of blooms and blossoms that you never imagined could be replicated. He surprises you with beauty and abundance.
Developing into a spiritual gardener does not happen over night. It takes time, it takes the right tools, and it takes training and mentoring from the Master Gardener. You must plant what you want to harvest. You must never plant a seed expecting to harvest a fruit other than what you planted. Seeds produce after their own kind. A seed of forgiveness will harvest forgiveness. A seed of love will harvest love. You must discern the right planting times. You must familiarize yourself with the tools of the trade. You must be patient, for it takes time for the seed to sprout, and the sprout to grow and the bloom to set on, then the blossom to open, and finally the fruit to mature. But in due season, you will reap what was sown.
As we go throughout life on this amazing planet, we need to look at people as opportunities for us to practice are spiritual gardening skills. Maybe the garden hasn't been prepared or plowed. Maybe the weeds are choking out the little bit of green growth that is sprouting, maybe they just need watered or introduced to the Son. And maybe, just maybe if you're timing is right, you'll get the experience of harvesting some of the fruit others have planted and nurtured ahead of you. Then stand back and be will see that it is quite possible that YOU do have a "spiritual" green thumb.