Shhhhhh. . . You’re Entering the Quiet Zone

quietness1Busy, busy, busy. Thoughts keep coming at you like rush hour traffic, Our minds are so busy constantly looking for answers and solving problems and thinking this and thinking that. Thoughts rush in from all sides. Our enemy certainly tries to give us his opinion on any and every subject throughout the day. The very atmosphere we live in is charged with thoughts from every person we come in contact with and maybe even those we never see. And we are constantly thinking and trying to figure things out. Yet we have this verse from Isaiah, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15  Shhhhhhhh. . . Let your mind rest. God, himself rested, and He made us to need rest; we must take time to rest from our thoughts.

quietness2Thoughts are extremely important. In fact, what would life be without our thoughts? Absolutely nothing would get done because everything starts with a thought. Yet in all of the thinking, there must be a time of quietness. In fact the more often we have moments of quietness, the more the One Voice that has all Wisdom and all answers can guide us and give us direction, success, and peace. His answers and His wisdom will come to us without effort. Quietness. . . just listen and don’t think. Listen to the One who made us. God will speak in our quietness; peace and confidence will come and we will be strengthened.

Today’s Verse: In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15
Today’s Action: Take 5 minutes and quiet your mind. Breathe deeply. Just listen. Let Peace come.
Meditate on the insight from the word “quietness” below from the Thesaurus and have a peaceful day!
Noun 1. quietness – the property of making no sound

silence, quiet – the absence of sound; “he needed silence in order to sleep”; “the street was quiet”
noiselessness – the property of making no noise
2. quietness – a state of peace and quiet

calmness – a feeling of calm; an absence of agitation or excitement
peace of mind, ataraxis, peacefulness, repose, serenity, peace, heartsease – the absence of mental stress or anxiety
easiness, relaxation – a feeling of refreshing tranquility and an absence of tension or worry; “the easiness we feel when sleeping”

quietness

I Know Turtles and I Know How They Think

turtle2A friendly and helpful neighbor was rescuing a neighborhood turtle by scooting him out of the road where he would likely have been flattened sooner if not later. “He was going the other way.” My husband Larry commented critical of the direction the neighbor had pointed the little fellow.

“How do you know he was trying to go the other way?”

My husband’s confidant response was,

“I know turtles and I know how they think!”

I could think of no response to that so I scratched my head, and pondered how much I knew about turtles.

turtle1Of course many of us may think we know turtles or other creatures or humans. We might even think we know how they think, and we might be correct. On the other hand, can you really know  a turtle unless you’ve been a turtle. But since you are a person, maybe you really do know something about people.

The truth is we really do know people better than we think we do. We may not know everything they are thinking or every motive behind what they do, but there are things we do know. We know that everyone needs food, shelter, clothing, and love. We know that a kind word goes along way. We know that we each react or respond based on our own experiences. We know that if we expect the best of someone, they will  rise to our expectations. We know that each person wants to love and be loved. Some people have more capacity for love than others based again on their past experiences. We know that each person has God-given gifts and talents. We also know that each person has fears and self-imposed limitations. So yes, we know a lot about people, and we know how they think. So we can use what we know to help a fellow get pointed in the right direction.

turtle4Today’s Action: Consider that you know more than you think about the people around you. They are like you in many ways. Today reach out to them as you would want them to reach out to you. Give what you need. If you need encouragement, give it. If you need a friend, be it. If you need prayer, pray for someone else. At the end of the day, you’re going to be headed in the right direction.

Just One Glass of Water, Please

water1As of Mother’s Day, 2013, we added a new addition to the Jordan household.  Her name is Flora, and she is a houseplant. She came to us in a pot with a handle saying “Welcome” to all who see her. She was arrayed with little red blossoms and rich green leaves. I personally thought she would love intense sunshine like all of us Jordans do. She did at first, but by water12the end of the day, her very first day alone at home on the front porch in direct sunlight, she responded by looking as if she were saying good-bye forever. All of the life had gone out of her leaves, blossoms began to fall off. It was obvious she wasn’t long for this world.

water2This wasn’t the first time I had seen something like this. I have lost many plants in my lifetime. I wanted this plant to survive. After all, she was a gift from my family, she was family! I decided to take action.

Based on a study I had read about the effects of human interaction on plants, I decided to talk to her. That’s when she got the name, Flora. Do you know that within the next six hours or so, she was flourishing like a palm tree (Psalm 92:12). She looked, and obviously felt marvelous! Perhaps I should mention that along with some friendly conversation, she received a nice full glass of water. We continued our research and continued talking to her daily (and watering her) and do you know whenever she looked wilted as she sometimes did, it only took some kind words and one glass of water and everything changed. Each time, she perked right up as if all she needed to thrive was a kind word (and a glass of water.)

water7Sometimes, that’s just what I need, too. Just please someone give me a glass of water (and some kind words.) Tell me I’m doing a good job, I’m helping you somehow, I did a great job raising my children, or you appreciate something I did. I’m often just thirsty for a kind word and encouragement. And if no one else provides it, I can find a way to encourage myself.

The most interesting part of our study proved to be the rapidity of the change in Flora. It was noted that sometimes within an hour or less of receiving kind words (and a glass of water) her countenance, her leaves, the feel of the dirt beneath her changed dramatically. Everything changed just that quick.

water8There is, as you see, conclusive evidence that kind words, appreciation, water, all produce rapid positive changes. Things can look alarmingly bleak, and in just the smallest amount of time, everything changes. Remember that as you start your day. It may be cloudy, and the next instant the sun shines. You may be feeling sick, and shortly, you feel better. You may be unhappy, moments pass, and you are happy again.  And it only takes a glass of water and some kind words.

And should you give a glass of water to any wilting plants you might see today? Only if you want to see them flourish “like a palm tree.”

Jesus said, in Matthew 25:34-40,” Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in, naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

What Are You Doing in the Hole?

hole6“911? Is this 911? Hello, I was calling 911.”

“Yes, this is 911, may I help you?”

“YES! HELP! Come quickly! I’m in a hole!”

“Yes, ma’am, could you spell your first, middle, and last name please, and what is the address of the hole, please.”

* * * * * * * *

hole7“Well, it’s about time you got here! Help! I’m in this hole, and I can’t get out!”

“Ma’am, excuse me, but what are you doing way down in that hole?”

“Whaaat?”

“I said, What are you doing way down in that hole.”

hole3“Well, I had this shovel in my hand you see, and I just said to myself, ‘I’m not any good at anything,’ and I tossed a shovelful of dirt over my head. Then I said to myself, ‘You have never been any good at anything,’ and I tossed another shovelful of dirt behind me. I said,’You never will be any good at anything.’ I began thinking about how I have no friends, nothing ever works out for me. I am totally confused. I’m not sure how to please God, or what I should do. I’ve been hole2eating too much, I don’t have enough money, I’m bored, I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I have no friends, and no one cares about me. I don’t like people, and they don’t like me. I can’t talk to people.hole15 Every time I open my mouth I stick my foot in it. Before I knew it, shovelful by shovelful I ended up down here. I’m looking up and come to think of it, you look like an ant with a fire helmet on. Are you an ant with a fire helmet on?”

“Ma’am, I’m here to help. I’m not an ant with a fire helmet. Can you grab hold of a vine or something on the side of the hole and pull yourself up?”

“No, sir, I can’t. It’s too slippery. I tried that, and I keep slipping back down. Don’t you have a ladder? Aren’t you going to help me? No one ever helps me.”

“Ma’am, I hate to tell you this, but I think you are slipping a little deeper. My ladder won’t reach. If you had called us before you got so deep, we could have reached you with the ladder. Look around for something to stand on. There are some rocks sticking out of the side. Isn’t that a rock, you could grab hold of and put under your feet. Look, it says something on it. What does it say?”

“Hmmmm, let me see. I’ve got it. It says, ‘Jesus loves me.’ I know that song.”hole1

“Ma’am, can you sing that song?”

“What? Are you crazy? I’m in a hole!”

“Ma’am, just start singing that song and look for rocks along the side, pull them out and read them and think about what they say. Believe what they say, and then stand on them. Keep going. That’s right! Read the rocks, sing, and put them under your feet. You’re already beginning to move up out of the hole. Come on! You can do it!”

hole9“Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.’ Here’s one that says, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9.  I’ll stand on that. And oh look at this, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’ 2 Timothy 1:7 That’s good!’ Hey, look at you. You’re not an ant!

hole2“Let me get this big rock over here, what does that say? Let me see,  ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4:13. I can stand on that. Okay, I can see you clearly now! Can you let down the ladder now? I think it will rest on these rocks I’m standing on.”

hole14“Sure, lady. I’ll be glad to. Read the names and words as you come up the ladder. You might be interested in what is written there.”

“Oh my! I see. Linda, Jamie, John, Savannah. Those are people that love me, and no doubt have been praying for me. And there’s ‘faith, hope, love.’ Oh that top one has my destiny written on it. If I had just stayed right there, I would not have gone down in the hole ”

hole10As she is pulled from the hole by the handsome, friendly firefighter, she hears cheers and applause. Tossing the shovel away, she is welcomed into the arms of family, friends and all who know her. She is thankful and happy again and moves on with their support into her destiny.

What to do When You Mess Up

edit1Have you ever said something and wished you hadn’t? Or done something and wished you hadn’t? Have you hurt someone unintentionally who you wouldn’t have hurt for anything in the world? Have you lost precious minutes because of letting your emotions and words run amok and then edit3couldn’t even remember what started it? You really want to erase it, do it over, go back in time. Could it be possible?

Yes, God has made a way for us to do this. Every movie or TV show we watch and every song we listen to has undergone numerous revisions. Even as I write this, I can backspace, delete or cut. In fact, I do it so often, I hardly think about it. If you could see what I have written without backspace and delete, it would be embarrassing to say the least. Some things we say or the way we act can be embarrassing as well. We would love to always be able to say the right thing and act the right way, but just like our fingers when we type, our actions and reactions are often  swifter than our thoughts. Somehow, with God’s help we will find a way to redo it.

If you have ever watched a behind-the-scenes creation of a movie, you know they do a few minutes or seconds, edit5then cut, then do-over hundreds of times to get it right. And even after the tape is finished, there are multiple changes. Even whole scenes are cut out, never to be seen by the public. And no actor or producer is still talking about the scenes that didn’t make the cut. It’s history; it’s just tape on the cutting room floor to be swept away at the end of the day and forgotten. What remains is what’s entertaining, inspiring, significant.

edit4We can create a life like that too. When we don’t get it right, say the right thing, feel the right way, have the right perspective. we can mentally rewrite the script and shoot the scene again in our imagination. We not only learn from our mistakes this way, but we rehearse a better action, reaction, or attitude that will set us up for getting it right the next time. We can use buttons that work the same in our imagination as backspace, delete, cut, undo, redo. Our buttons have different names. They are called “repent,” “forgive,” “forget,” move on.” As we use these buttons to revise our lives, we no longer replay bad scenes that leave us feeling like we’ve watched a bad movie. We focus on those inspirational, entertaining, and significant events and days in our lives. We can replay them over and over and when the credits roll at the end of the movie, we’re going to feel pretty good when we hear the Critic proclaim, “Well done!”edit6edit7

Lower the Temperature, Keep It Cool

??????????????????????????????????????????????????Do you feel the pressure rising on the inside of you. Your thoughts heating up? Steam building like a pressure cooker? Thoughts rolling around causing you to spiral almost out of control of your imagination? Someone was unfair to you. Someone doesn’t like you. Someone didn’t treat you right. You’re worried about something. Anger, fear, frustration, confusion, depression oppression?  Oh no! Stop before it gets worse. But how can you?

temperature1Take a deep breath and turn down the temperature. That is the way we would deal with a boiling pot before it overflows onto the stove, making a huge mess. Deep breath, new thoughts. Look at it from another angle. Completely change your focus. Think of things you’re grateful for. Think of how it might look to the other party. Put the best connotation on it. Things are often not the way they seem. Ask God a question about this. That’s right, bring the temperature down. Is there anything you can do to change the situation? Is there something you could do to make it right? Is there a way that you could help someone else through this? Do it. Think of the positive outcome. Now isn’t that much better?temperature4 temperature5

Looking for Treasure

treasure4A ship carrying a cargo valued at $3 billion has recently been discovered after having been ship-wrecked over 70 years ago. There is likely to be a battle as to who gets to keep the treasure if it is successfully recovered. Is there anything more exciting than a treasure hunt? No doubt millions are being spent yearly in an effort to find and recover the over $60 billion that is estimated to be “lost at sea.”

Springing forth from a Truth that was revealed to me in writing “A Thankful Heart,” is the realization that there is unfound treasure all around us. It is within the people we live with, and the people we interact with on a daily basis, as well as the people we pass by with hardly a glance. Many times it is as if we are in our own little world in orbit around the sun, never touching the others who orbit around the same sun on a different path. I am for crossing paths, merging universes, and finding treasure.

treasure3How do we discover treasure in those around us?  Ask questions. Dig deeper. Make conversation. How do  they feel about their work, what hobbies do they have? Do they have pets? What are they passionate about? Who are they? We will find that they are people with people in their lives. They have families, friends, co-workers. They have hopes, dreams, struggles, disappointments. Each one has a story to tell and treasure to be found.

A friend of mine wrote a blog recently about the contrasting emotions she felt when her path crossed with a homeless person. Her answer was to simply “look at them.” This is exactly what we can do for each person we encounter, whether they are family members or co-workers or those less fortunate than us such as the homeless one. We can look, and look deeper and ask God to show us the treasure within.

When I wrote “A Thankful Heart,” I referenced an article called “Increase Your Happiness; Build Gratitude Chains.” David Pollay suggested in his article that when we are thankful for something, even something simple such as green beans, that we stop and think about the worker who ran the machine that canned the beans, the store clerk who put it on the shelf, the driver of the truck who delivered to the store. So many hands touch the things that make our life a little better, a little more interesting. We are meeting people every day who are doing things that affect others, possibly ourselves indirectly.

Find out what’s going on with some of the people you meet today. What’s important or interesting to them? What treasure is hidden there? If we learn to explore the treasures within our reach each day, we will indeed be richer for the experience.treasure1

Let Go of the Package

let it go2package1Let go of the package. I think it has been held on to for far too long. You have worried about the same thing over and over and you have let it keep you up at night and take away valuable minutes in your day. You have gone over and over it in your mind trying to figure out how it will turn out, trying to figure out what you should do about it. And I have done this also. I have good news for us. I know exactly what we should do. It is very simple and very wise. Just let go of that package. If it is sickness, lack, pain, concern over children, fear of the future, regret of the past, lack of confidence, lack of money, lack of ability, frustration, aggravation, package2unforgiveness, wrong self-image, addiction to something you don’t want in your life or if it is sin, doubt, or unbelief, let it go. Some of these packages were handed to us as children. Some of them we picked up ourselves along the way. The thing to do is simple and sure, but as many things are, it is easier said than done. Yet there are bigger Hands that can handle it. It is much too heavy for us, and actually the longer we hold it, the heavier it gets.

No matter how difficult it might seem, simply let go of it. I can see it now because I’ve done it myself; we finally get the courage to release the package that we have held tightly to our chest for so long, and we slowly lift it up to the One who can take it from us. He gently reaches out and places His big hands on it. We hold on tightly still. “Let go,” He gently says. We wait, we hold, we look into His eyes, and finally we let go, and we are free. package3let it go1

30 Days to Happiness: T is for Trust

trust5 Please Don’t Let Me Fall!

Trust Exercise # 1 Choose someone in the world that you “trust.” Ask them to catch you as you totally fall back into their arms. This is a team-building exercise often used in group encounters to encourage trusting others. Don’t you just want to say to the person who is supposedly behind you, “Please, don’t let me fall.”

Since they are human, there is ever the possibility that they could be distracted by trust1something and step away at just the moment you are “trusting them” as you fall back. It is also remotely possible that they could, heaven forbid, decide to see what actually happens if they step back and watch you fall. Your life and health are in their hands. So you say, “Please, don’t let me fall.” I realized that I daily have the opportunity to fall back, trusting  God to catch me, but something was holding me back from fully trusting God. I was dealing with worry, and trying to figure out solutions to my own problems, being frustrated and even frightened when things didn’t go my way.

trust1_2I found a quote online that answered the question, “What is trust?” Here is the answer: “Trust is believing that the person you are in a relationship with means good for you.” That statement bolted through my consciousness. I realized that at the heart of my “trust issue” was the fact that I was not sure that God meant good for me. I was afraid He would let me fall.

This led me to the next question. Does God ever cause destruction, pain and failure? No, He does not.  At the first sign of trouble, He sweeps in to bring every ounce of good and benefit and blessing out of anything that comes our way. It doesn’t matter if it comes to us through our own mistakes, consequences of our actions, life, or the enemy of our soul. He is there. He will not let us fall.  A loving  parent can’t, and really shouldn’t, stop every unpleasant thing from happening to their child, yet they are always available and rush in to help, love, advise, comfort, and restore. They can be trusted. Just like this, God is always there to rush in to help, love, advise, comfort, restore, strengthen, and guide, through it all. By doing this He brings forth treasures we could never have had otherwise. Yes, He can be trusted.

trust2Taking it a step higher, by staying close, close, close to Him, we will avoid many of the troubles that would have come our way had we trekked out on our own course. Yes, I can trust Him. He wants my good, He alone knows how to lead me to fulfill His Plan for me. Without a doubt, as I walk and talk with Him throughout the day, He loves and leads, guides and encourages. He can be trusted. He will not let me fall!

The Other Side of Fear

  fear1“Doc, thanks for seeing me today! Do you have any idea how long I had to wait in line. Do you know the line to get in here is wrapped around the building. People have lawn chairs out there. I personally started a conversation with a guy near the door and kind of just slid in line with him. I just had to see you.”

“Now, Bill. You didn’t have to go to such drastic measures as to break in line. I’ve sent word out that I’m not leaving today until everyone has been seen. It’s an epidemic. It is contagious, and we have to put a stop to it.”

“So, Dr. Sharon, all of these people have the same symptoms that I do? There must be over five hundred people out there.”

“Bill, are you having difficulty sleeping, do you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Sometimes you break out in a cold sweat? You have general feelings of despair and anxiety?”

“That’s exactly right. It seems to be getting worse, not better. What is it Doc?”

“Well, Bill, it’s been around for a long time and it does seem to be becoming more widespread. One thing leads to another. Naturally the more you share with others about it, it gets worse for all of you. It’s a thing called FEAR, and it’s rampant in the world today.”

“What can you do for me, Doc? This is awful!”Female doctor checking man's blood pressure

“I would like to try a drastic procedure on you, Bill. It is guaranteed to work and the great thing about it is that it is also contagious. The more you share it with others, by talking about it, they too can be relieved of their symptoms. Eventually they will have to have the same procedure, but just from being around you, they can have temporary relief of their symptoms.”

“What is so drastic about the procedure, and what are the risks, Dr. Sharon.”

“What we are going to have to do, Bill is to take the fear and turn it inside out.”

“That sounds serious! How do we do that?”

“Well, Bill. Here’s what we do, you take a good hard look at what is making you feel afraid. Then you ask yourself, ‘What if this doesn’t happen? In fact, what if the opposite happens? What if something completely good happens? What would you do if the opposite of something really bad that you feel afraid of happens? And how would you feel if something opposite of something that is making you feel afraid of happens?’ Do you understand what I am saying to  you, Bill” Dr. Sharon says as she looks into Bill’s bewildered face.

“So all I have to do is figure out what you just meant by what you just said and do it? And I will be fine?”

“Bill, there are two more treatments that follow the first one, but they go hand in hand. After we get your fear turned inside out by thinking about the opposite of it and feeling how you feel if the opposite happens, then you starve your fear.”

“Oh no, that I can’t do, Dr. Sharon. I have to eat three meals a day plus snacks. Starving is not in my vocabulary, just not possible, no way.”

“This starving I’m talking about, Bill is just refusing to add more thoughts to the thing you fear. Don’t let it run away with you. Feed the opposite, giving your thought time and energy to the good that might happen. Picture it, smell it, taste it and talk about it. Do not feed your fear, and it will die of starvation.”

“Well, as long as I can eat my Big Mac. I’ll try that. What else, Doc. I need a cure that will last me a lifetime.” fear3

“The last part of the treatment is to simply live your life in the present. Enjoy the moment you have in your hand. Live it to the fullest. It’s a gift. Make the most of the moment you have, and you’ll have no fear of the future.”

“Pretty drastic steps, do you think I can do this?”

“I know you can, Bill, and you must. When you are cured of this, others are going to want to know how you did it, and you are going to save the world one person at a time. In addition, take a healthy dose of scripture verses ten times a day until your symptoms are completely gone, and then continue to take them for preventive measures. You’re going to be fine, Bill. Send the next patient in, and please pay the receptionist on your way out.