Have you ever started preparing a meal and discover you have had your pan on the wrong burner? Once again I found myself wondering how in the world I didn’t notice sooner that nothing was happening in my pot that should be boiling any moment. As I reached for the handle it was very hot to the touch but the rest was not. That’s when I realized I had turned on the wrong burner and proceeded to increase the temperature as required only to succeed in heating the handle not the contents. After rectifying the problem I moved on the next item of importance. But as I looked back at the stove with my hand still stinging from grabbing the piping hot handle, I thought “isn’t that just like life.” I wake up each morning with a basic plan and focus to spend my time and energy according to what I think is most important. Then I’m off and running. The next thing I know I’ve turned on the wrong burner! My energy is not directed where it is required to accomplish the necessary tasks for the day. Can you relate? I also thought of how quickly these “wrong burner days” can easily become weeks, months and sometimes years if I don’t seek daily guidance from the Lord on how to spend my time and energy He has given to me. His word tells me that he has “created me for good works” that He has prepared for me (Ephesians 2:10). I don’t want to focus my time and energy into a burner that isn’t warming His prepared task for me. In order to put the right amount of energy and focus into each burner I have to seek Him first.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
I remember that Sunday morning well. The summer sun peaked through the bedroom blinds before my eyes were ready to greet the day. Sounds of a squirmy infant and toddler encouraged one more attempt at squeeze just 5 more minutes of sleep before I faced the activities of the day. Then it happened– the whimpers of a hungry little guy. Before I knew I was awake I found myself settled in the rocker with a nursing bundle in my arm and my snuggly brown eyed girl in my lap. After the morning snuggle we were off to the races to get everyone, Dad, Mom, and three kiddos under 4, ready and in the van for church.
At some point, I called out “Where is Erika?” Our brown eyed, 19month old was not under foot and too quiet for my comfort. After an unsuccessful, thorough search of the three story home, panic set in Brian’s and I’s heart. Then came the knock at the door. Brian opened the door to find little Erika standing there, hand in hand, with a woman he did not recognize. She proceeded to ask in a sweet voice “Is this your little girl? I found her wandering along the road.” He immediately lifted Erika into his arms and held her tightly while answering “Yes, thank you so much!” When he turned to follow-up with the kind woman, she was nowhere to be found. It was like she had vanished. He and Erika looked down the street and around the corner, but it was like she was gone without a trace. Brian was puzzled and smiled as Erika announced, “Bye-bye, all gone, bye-bye” in her sweet little voice.
He rounded the corner of the stairs to share the mystery of Erika’s morning adventure outside. After hearing the story of the disappearing lady, Sara, our 4 year old, declared, “She’s an angel! She brought her back!” Brian responded “Your right Sara. She must be an angel, because I’ve never seen her before and she disappeared so quickly.” We took a moment to say a prayer, thanking the Lord for protecting Erika and a blessing be given to the angel that returned Erika safely. Then off to church we went with full hearts.
Has your desire ever taken you on a dangerous adventure like Erika that summer morning? She had a strong desire to go outside that morning, and she was inspired by the sunshine to go explore. All she needed for her adventure to begin was the courage to open the door and take that step out. In my previous post, The Journey, I talked about having the “courage to take the first step”, following through on the desires and inspirations the Lord places in your heart. Today I want to follow up with having the courage to challenge your hearts desire. Proverbs 4:23 instructs: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Have you ever let your guard down? Have you ever regretted doing or saying something? My answer is a resounding “Yes!” I have reduced the regularity of such regrets and moments of a lax guard over my heart and mind with the practice of self-reflection and others to help keep me accountable in my walk with Christ. It takes courage to be honest with yourself and listen with an open heart when you ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal any wickedness or pride that lingers. It takes courage to align your thought life to Philippians 4:8. Are my thoughts focused on whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? When I’m on a short time line and my family is on their own time line, my thoughts are not very lovely. Or when I’m driving and the drivers around me seem to have forgotten what it means to merge, yield, or go at a green light; I struggle to turn my thoughts to admirable truth. The natural human tendency is to pridefully elevate my needs above the needs of others. It takes courage to be selfless and keep my selfish desires in check.
I struggled with my desire to elevate myself above my husband in the situation of Erika escaping on her adventure that summer morning. After all “He was responsible for her…she never would have got out if it was my responsiblity.” I’m thankful I had the courage to catch myself in the unloving thought pattern and to change it to one of praiseworthy thoughts before my thoughts became my words.
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Have the courage to guard your heart and reflect on the purity of your desire.
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
John Maxwell Team Certified inspirational speaker and author