Saturday, August 6, 2011

Made to Shelter

Frustration is not the will of God.  There is time to do anything and everything God wants us to do.                                                                                                                              ~Elizabeth Elliot

Have you ever dreamed you were on a merry-go-round and couldn't get off?  Around and around, up and down, playing the Joseph Polka in double time as you frantically wave to the conductor that you want to exit -- now?

That's how I feel sometimes when I try to accomplish all my obligations so I can race to do the fun things -- until even the fun things aren't fun any longer.  The more I race, the more people want me to do until I'm singing, I am happy in the service of the King; I am happy, oh so happy, in double time, feeling my smile slip a bit with each verse.

The Obstacles to Growth Survey found that on average, more than 4 in 10 Christians around the world say they "often" or "always" rush from task to task. And around 6 in 10 Christians say that it is "often" or "always" true that "the busyness of life gets in the way of developing my relationship with God".

Sometimes we just need to stop and figure out which activities are the most important.  Immediately we think all our "God-activities" should come first.  While I'm not suggesting God should come last, I do feel like sometimes our attitudes toward our part of God's work need to be reexamined.  Some good questions to ask ourselves would be:

1.  Is this project one that God placed on my heart or does it belong to another?
2.  Has God given me the talents to accomplish this activity?
3.  Is this activity man-breathed or God-breathed?

I serve a gracious God.  While He is relentless in His pursuit, He is considerate of our limitations.  I live intimately with Him, yet He does not expect me to do what He has called others to do.  If God wanted me to be a cookie cutter Christian wouldn't He have mass-produced man?  Instead, He "formed me in my mother's womb" -- uniquely me.  Me, with brown eyes and an overdose of shyness.  Me, with a love of books and all things written and a tendency to forget the dust on the cherry hall table while I read.  Me, with a desire for knowledge and wisdom and an inclination to search for a description of the basket Paul used instead of pursuing God's Word.  Me, with a passion for encouragement and a too-quick-judgement of those who live for themselves.  Me, with a disdain of surface feelings and a deep desire to understand the holiness of God.

I'm not perfect.  I would have been -- without the fall.  Instead, I was born with heaven and earth in my heart -- wanting to be perfect, yet living in a very human mind.   Thus the merry-go-round.  Trying to please everyone, yet failing to accomplish what my Maker desires from me.

I'm ready to climb off my galloping horse and walk in the path God chose for me -- the path that is tied to the promise, "I will go before you and make the crooked places straight." If we are on a path not intended for us -- a path straightened  for a friend, pastor or even a blogger we admire -- we cannot be assured God will make our pathway straight.

Only when I am strengthened and renewed by the sweet presence of God will I be able to choose God's path.  A presence I will take with me, to cover my activities and share with others.  Without the Holy Spirit I cannot expect God's plan to be effective.  I need off the merry-go-round to engage in God's priorities and internalize His joy so I can truthfully sing, "I am happy in the service of the King."

* * * * *

Carousel Fun

Listen to Carousel Music

Fix a  Carousel Snack

I got these animal crackers for the snack, but wasn't pleased with really can't tell they are animals at all.  I would suggest buying the original ones or the party ones with pink icing and sprinkles.

  • Bagel half
  • Peanut Butter  
  • Animal Crackers
  • Skittles  

 Color a Carousel Page

                            Bake a Carousel Cake

Buy a Carousel Gift



This is such a creative idea . . . your thought with lots of ideas.

My life is too quiet right now . . . I want to get on the merry.go.round. :-)


Martha said...

A wonderful post -- and I love the carousel snack! How clever!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for joining us for Spiritual Sunday. This post was both educational and fun to read. I love your quote at the begining... why do we have to get so worked up about things? God definately wants us to get our priorities straight and find balance in our lives.

Shanda said...

I have the same problem and always have to stop and remind myself that I can be so busy serving that I don't have time to obey in a certain way or task when God does call on me. He didn't mean life to be on a marry go round. A lot of it is the American culture.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela - I love how you say "While He is relentless in His pursuit, He is considerate of our limitations". Its also freeing to know that He created me to be exactly who I am.
God bless

Clint said...

Peace be still.

I find that I am happier and closer to Him when I am OFF the not-so-merry-go-'round. I can hear Him. I can see and follow His leadings. I can THINK...

The rat race is WAY overrated. Great post.

Clint said...

Peace be still.

I find that I am happier and closer to Him when I am OFF the not-so-merry-go-'round. I can hear Him. I can see and follow His leadings. I can THINK...

The rat race is WAY overrated. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You have the whole theme down! I love the cookie.

Nikki (Sarah) said...

this is really encouraging for me...what you said....hits home.

michelle said...

very nicely said. I know I'm guilty of performing for God. I like what my pastor says about priorities:

God first
Family second
Job third
Ministry fourth


Joan Hall said...

I'm by nature a "Martha" and I tend to say yes to too many things. When I do that, I'm not effective in any of them.

I like what Micey said, "God first, family second, job third, ministry fourth." Although I would like ministry to be before my job, I realize that at this time I need to work and I have obligations to perform my job in a way that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father.


Susan said...

What a beautiful wonderful post, Pamela!!!

Quite often we have to forgo the "GOOD" for His BEST.

I'm thankful mine blessed you today on the 24th anniversary of loosing your daughter. The pain eases but you are proof it never goes away. As you know I am just learning to walk on this new path in our life, but HE is faithful and we are surrounded with HIS peace that passeth understanding.

If you have time, I invite you to come back and read my post of yesterday about the letter "C". I am participating in Alphabet for August in an attempt to get back to blogging on a regular basis which has been difficult for me both during Suzette's battle and with her passing.

Have a wonderful, BLESSED day in The Lord this Sabbath.

Diane said...

Great snack idea and thanks for sharing.

Elizabethd said...

There is so much to think about in your wise words.
I know how easy it is to get on the Carousel. It's better to be off and going at the pace that the Lord sets for me, I think!

A multi-dimensional life said...

I love the way He formed you! Uniquely you and gifted to speak volumes to hearts like mine! Your words sing to my soul!

The dizzying merry go round will definitely keep us from the straight path God has for us. Oh, let me not be side-tracked. Let me heed those tips you've included here and always ask whether it is man breathed or God breathed!

Thank You! xo

Ann Jones said...

I love the snack idea, I bet my two boys would love it, thanks for the idea!

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

I'm like you I'm ready to get off of my galloping horse.

Shawntele said...

"I am happy in the service of the King."

Thanks for your encouraging words, just what I needed to read tonight!

Bobbi said...

I can really relate to this post. It was most creatively written. I'm hoping to slow my ride down or jump off some rides without breaking my neck! HA! Blessings to you today!

Laura said...

Too often I settle for the good when God has the excellent in mind for me! This is what that busy-ness steals from me far too often. I really enjoyed this post--a timely reminder :).

Jen said...

Too cute snack! What a great idea! ~ jen

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Nicely said! I needed this today.
"Man-breathed or God-breathed" sometimes I get so intent on doing and helping it's hard to tell if it was meant to be. Have a great week,

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

So happy I was blessed to read this post this morning.
Thanks for taking the time to write it

Tiffini said...

oh is this true
the American way..
I have been caught up in this way and I am so thankful He opened my eyes and ever since I am more conscience of asking the questions and being more coomfortable in my skin with God...and being more than doing. Good meaty stuff!

Shelly said...

So's in our abiding in Christ and walking in the Holy Spirit that makes our path more clear and helps us to set healthy boundaries.

Shanda said...

This is all so true. I recently stepped off the roller coaster and did almost nothing for a short time. Now I am gradually taking on things again. We have to guard ourselves and do what God wants. I find that others don't understand and want me back on but that is where we have to stand firm. The hard part is getting off. Even harder is not getting on again. But I have more peace now and feel I am pursuing what God wants instead of frantically serving the church and others.

Amy said...

This is such good reminder--perfect visual to make it real. I've always loved the Elisabeth Elliot quote you use at the beginning--but I'd forgotten the first sentence about frustration. So good. The carousel activities/snack at the end look like good stay at home/stay calm fun:)

Lynn said...

Pamela, This is such a thought provoking post. Beautifully worded and your sincerity is so precious to me. Reading it, I remember a women on the carousel back in the mid 80's, three children, my car was my second home transporting my children everywhere, running home and picking up so the ladies would not see my home in normal family disorder, etc etc. I loved my life....but apparently the Lord wanted me to have a closer walk with HIM. He allowed my deafness at 39. Sometimes, more than anyone knows except HIM, I want to get back on the carousel. I loved social gatherings, women's luncheons all the things that now are just too frustrating due to the excessive noisy world my Cochlear Implant lets me hear. One to one is wonderful, almost perfect, but not social functions. HE knows I miss the carousel, sometimes to the point of tears. So he has replaced it with my camera lens, a way I can show the world my love of HIM in nature, on road trips, in my grandchildren's smiles. Your post is beautiful, made me tear up, then thank Him, then smile. How Great Thou Art in each of our lives if we just let go and let Him lead us.

amanda said...

I struggle in this area of wanting to serve and do it all, but jumping in with my own plan. My dad has often said, "If Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy". So true. Thanks for this great reminder. Blessings :)

LeAnn said...

This was a great post. I felt enlightened and I am going to ponder on your thoughts. I too feel that at times I am doing what I want instead of praying to know what God wants me to accomplish. There are just so many things to do each day it does take making choices and our first one should be our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Thanks for the thoughts to ponder upon.
Enjoy the moments!

oodlesofgrace said...

Choosing to hop off the merry-go-round today. Thanks for the encouragement.

Unknown said...

Amen, Pamela! This year for me has been all about getting off the carousel and I have asked myself very similar questions that you posed here. Fabulous!

Jennifer @ said...

What a beautiful teaching here. Sadly, I'm not surprised at your statistics. I would have been among those who answered that they rushed from one thing to the next -- even in my church work. Sigh ...

Ever-learning; ever-growing, right? :) Thank you for your post. You're a blessing!

Charlotte said...

You write in such an interesting way. When I was a child I loved Merry-go-rounds. When I got on I never wanted to get off. How different it is for me now as an adult. Time is going by so fast that sometimes I feel like I'm still on a merry-go-round. It seems like it speeds up a little each year. I realize that life as we know it here on earth will be over for all of us very soon. We need to slow down and let God lead us in the things He wants us to do. As you said, we don't need to rush in and take over something that someone else is supposed to do. We need to ask God for the wisdom to know the difference.

Ruth said...

Great thoughts, Pamela!
Recently, I received a revelation about pursuing new paths or plans I wanted to do. My mind thinks very creatively and I love to dream about how I could do this or remake that or repurpose something. Some of them come to be others are discarded and some are tried with frustration being the result. What if I prayed that God would lead me to pursue the ideas that He wanted me to accomplish and just let go of the others? And to do this early on in the thinking process, before I had wasted sleep time or money to gather the equipment to do the project.
I believe He will show me and I will be more effective in what I put my hand to.
Thank you for sharing!

Grace and Beauty said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my Encouraging Words Wednesday! That was such an encouraging post and I definitely needed to hear those words. I want to please Jesus more than anyone! I want to walk in the path that He has chose for me.
Thanks for the reminder.......

Cassy said...

I love to ride merry-go-round when i was a kid. Now, my little niece and nephew are the one I accompanied to have their ride.

Cassy from Guitar Made Easy

Karen said...

Pamela, This is awesome and "time-ly" wisdom! Thank you for these thoughts!