His wife had similar characteristics as well. Even while she battled cancer, she was determined to remain standing during the entire worship time. It was her own way of expressing her heart’s gratitude to what God has done in her family through the years.
Growing older doesn’t have to be a scary and difficult situation. Sure, as you move up in years, you’ll have more physical limitations. But instead of being discouraged, it should be a time to re-focus your approach.
Several years ago I wrote a blog post called Has Life Begun? I had just turned forty that day, and wanted to share some of my thoughts. The most significant idea for me was that I wanted to focus my time and energy on things I am “made” for. The idea is to focus on the core of what you do, the most essential matters only. Let all other things have a secondary status.
When you try to do everything as before, the situation becomes problematic. You just may not have the energy or stamina as in your earlier years. Make your goals more realistic with the primary focus on the essentials. These essentials are in effect what you are “made” for.
All the experiences you’ve had over the years have built you and prepared you for the important task of focusing on your essentials. Now, it is time to narrow your focus and put in your best. Your later years can be the most strategic and productive.
What are the things you feel you are “made” for?
Please leave your comments here.
Photo by mcohen.chromiste Creative Commons
Several years ago I was talking to a young man about someone I knew who had an accident and the doctors were ready to amputate one leg from above the knee. The severity of the situation and the possible future consequences just overwhelmed this young man as he pondered the issue. Then he responded and said: “I would rather die than face something like that.”
It was another afternoon of weariness, sleepiness, and the struggle to stay awake and study. My college days were a constant struggle for survival as I worked a job most nights till four in the morning. A few hours in the afternoon was all I had to study and to sleep. That was a difficult choice to make when tests were coming up and assignments and papers were due, but sleep was important as well.
One particular afternoon the door to my room opened without a knock. My friend walked in and sat down silently for a few minutes. Although I kept reading I was waiting to hear him speak up and say something. Not a word was spoken as he sat there in silence. After several minutes he got up quietly and left. I began to wonder why he came and why he had said nothing at all. That’s when I realized that my weariness and sleepiness was gone. Most importantly, there was a sense of self-pity that was increasing that day as I struggled to stay awake and study, after which I would be returning to work for another night of physical labor. Suddenly I realized that the self-pity had lifted and I felt refreshed. All of that just because a friend walked into my room and sat silently for a few short minutes?
There was a man whose first response to tragedy was worship. He lost all his children and his entire wealth in one day. When the reality of this tragedy struck him, his first response was worship. With his life experience he knew there was no hope anywhere else. So why bother? The only logical and fruitful response for him was worship. “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped” (Job 1:20 ESV). Many years ago, Philip Yancey impacted my thinking greatly through his book Where is God When it Hurts? It’s a challenging book that changed my thinking and my responses to life as well. But the struggle continues as I train myself to shift my focus from my problems to God.
How have you responded to tragedy?
There are several reasons for such a situation: 1) Some are intensely focused on their task and that focus keeps them from looking within their own lives. Their eyes are fixed on resolving the problems of people. 2) Others have a false assumption that in order to help others, they themselves must be problem free. Thus they develop an inaccurate view of their own struggles. 3) Then there are others who don’t see their own problem as a problem. They fail to recognize their own brokenness. Sometimes they see the problem but they don’t think of it as a hinderance to their ministry.
I am reminded of the words of Larry Crabb: “So its okay to hurt. More than that its necessary to hurt. Hurt is evidence of life, at least as long as we live in a fallen world.” This is the understanding we all must adopt. Problems are a part of life. We must embrace them and deal with them appropriately.
But those who continue in such a state eventually end up in a very difficult situation. Some become bitter after carrying their struggles and the resulting brokenness for such a long time. They wonder why there was no one to help them, much less God. Does he not care as well? Others become withdrawn and isolate themselves from people. They become quiet and “composed.” Some even interpret this to be a sign of spiritual maturity.
All along they had the tools and skills to solve their own issues, but they just could not recognize them. These undetected issues have impacted their ministry and their personal growth. Jesus himself suffered much during his life here on earth (Hebrews 5:7-8 ESV). Unfortunately they have directed many people to Jesus, but they themselves could not get there.
Why do you think people fail to recognize their own struggles?
Leave your comments here.
Continue to dream big
Focus your hopes on God
Never give up