Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Awake & Be Alert!

Chapter five of Self Talk, Soul Talk is titled "Tune In: Awake, My Soul". Don't worry if you are not doing this online study with us, hosted by Lelia. It is my prayer and hope that you are enlightened, enriched, uplifted, or strengthened through any morsel fed by this soul. My purpose is not to just enrich my life but also yours through sharing these studies. Let's begin...

As Jennifer talked about her diamond ring, I understood the deep value in something material, such as a wedding ring. I also knew where she was leading us. "I lost what was most valuable to me because I was distracted by the urgency of dirty dishes." Let's adjust that a little by saying: I lost what was most valuable to me because I was distracted. Period. Oh how that screamed at me. That's me! I lost one of my most valuables. I lost the second most valuable person. A circle of three was reduced to a circle of two: God and me. And now, only God can restore, replace, and resurrect what I lost by being distracted with the emotional pain hidden deep in my heart. For over two years, I slowly lost myself in my weakened walk with Jesus.

I lost. He will restore.
I was distracted. He will retract.

Wow. All that from one sentence. Thanks, Jenn.

"When we aren't tuned into what is true, we are taken in by what is transient."

Distractions come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
~~Nettlesome problems. check.
~~Selfish indulgences. check.
~~The seemingly urgent. check.
~~Menial tasks. check.
~~Worry. check.
~~Fear of failure. check.
~~Opinions of others. check.

Wow. That last one can really destroy. The opinions of others combined with worrying over them...a deadly combination. I can't explain the depths of destruction that can be done by those. It truly is a distraction that takes away from the treasures(relationships) that are most important.

"Only when we allow them to keep us from our treasures do they become stumbling blocks in our lives." I had one huge stumbling block.

I want to truly treasure my treasures: my relationship with God and also His approval, a sense of purpose, and loved ones.

I love the imagery of custodial staff not placing empty boxes and cleaning supplies in the same gallery where the Mona Lisa hangs. So, should we not do the same with our thought closets and priorities? We shouldn't junk up our galleries (thoughts) with boxes (distractions) to block our Mona Lisa masterpiece (treasures).

So what in the world is the answer to avoid distractions and highlight treasures?
Focusing for a moment. Gaining perspective. Prioritizing treasures. Talking to your soul!!!

"Even a good thing can become a distraction if it shoves my treasure to the rear of the shelf." So "let's keep the light on so we can clearly see what's in there." If we don't have our own clothes closet organized and we go to reach in for an item, what will we pull out of the dark closet? We may want the dress jacket and pants but we get the painting shirt and sweats. That's not going to make a good impression at the job interview.

We know satan twists everything he touches and everything he speaks so yes he's not above using good things to distract us.

Here's a diagram I use in my head to simplify what Jennifer is saying.
Good things --> Distractions --> Displaced treasures

I love, love, love her analogy with the roaring lion. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 She posed a good question. How does a roaring lion sneak up on anyone? I never thought about this but it's so true. It is because we've become desensitized to his roar. He is always lurking and roaring at us. We just merely tune him and his roar out gradually. Like a hum in our car that fades or a buzz in the house that softens...in our minds that is. That is scary! Is it not? Do not become desensitized to his roar. He roars at the door but don't answer...you don't have to! Don't be the someone for which he's looking.

You are a loser.
No, you are a conqueror. Rom. 8:37

You are weak.
No, He gives strength. Is. 40:31

You are abandoned.
No, God is for you. Rom. 8:31

You are alone.
No, you're not separated from Christ's love. Rom. 8:35

Nobody cares for you.
No, God cares and comforts. 2 Cor. 1:4

God doesn't listen
No, God is near. Ps. 145:18-19

You have no value.
No, you are His. Is. 43:1

This can't be fixed.
No, nothing is too hard for God. Jer. 32:17

No, do not worry; pray! Phil. 4:6

Peace is not yours.
No, He gives you peace. John 14:27

You have no willpower.
No, He gives power. 2 Tim. 1:7

Staying Alert,

The picture is from my sweet Australian friend Paula. It is a Sweetpea flower from Burnie, Tasmania (Australia).


grey like snuffie said...

I loved all your thoughts and the scripture that countered them...well done.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing how the distractions caused you to lose something most precious to you. I have found through this chapter, that i really need to prioritize so that I can make sure that I am not being distracted from the things most precious to me!

I so value your honesty... thank you so much for sharing your heart!
Love you,

Pamela (His maidservant) said...

Awesome thoughts here. AND I LOVE YOUR PICTURE OF YOU!!! It is so good to put a face to the women I have been praying for.

Your beautiful girl!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Laura said...

Hello, friend.

Wow. That really spoke. Distractions make us lose in a big way.

Loved this chapter, makes me recommitted to my treasures.

I received your email today (at work). I'm so grateful that you have such loving friends to turn to in those times when you need them. Yes, do put me in your speed dial! I don't do the texting thing--yet. With one in middle school now, I have a feeling it is down the road. I'll let you know when I evolve into this century.

I love seeing your sweet face! You are beautiful, Paula!

Anonymous said...

The verses that I just worked on for Beth Moore's scripture memory challenge was Phil. 4:4-7...
and this time it is 1 Peter 5:6-8... again about casting our anxiety on him because he cares for us...

God has been working those scripture verses at the right time too! :)

skoots1mom said...

very well said...thanks for reminding us
love your picture!!

Gail W. said...

Paula, I am so happy you posted your picture - I agree with Pam that it's a treat to put a face with the prayers. Also, I loved your point, counterpoint discussion between the roaring lion and the Word of God!

Sue said...

I love the way you summarized this chapter. There really was a lot there. I sure had my book marked up!

God Bless,

Sharon said...

You are so right, I really need to see my closet, and the only way is the light. I don't want to have to do things by feel or guessing, I need to see, so yes as Motel 6 says leave the light on, I will then find exactly what I am looking for. Praise God my eyes are getting opened for this. Those scriptures were also so right on! I am jotting them down to reflect on today.

Love that picture :)

Blessings to you my friend

praying for my sister

Liz said...

Oh, I am so glad to see you! You are beautiful and I love your long brown hair! Putting a face to the dear woman I pray for is so sweet.

Thank you for the list of lies that the lion roars and the weapons that we have to refuse to let them take captive our thoughts. I want to print it and carry it.

Wonderful post, Paula. I am staying alert with you!

Pam said...

great post! surprise it' me!!! ;) it seems you are getting some clear direction for your questions... i am thankful. did you read RM's e-mail today? I found it very fitting...and needed. take care!!

Natalie said...

I usually view your posts through Google Reader and don't see your actual page but I love your picture. Your face looks as sweet as your gift for words.

Abba's Girl said...

I think back to 1 week ago, I went to work from the hospital for a couple of hours because dad was stable, needed an IV treatment and was going to have a CT Scan. Was in the office for an hour when I got the call they were doing CPR. I was distracted by how much work I had missed. I lost the last few seconds of being with him before he left for his eternal home...

Angie said...

SEVERAL things jumped out at me. Not in this order---but the purple tree...I love it! Your picture---you are beautiful!---all the distractions you listed...and then "checked"---girl---I double checked!
This post---was what I needed THIS morning. Yes...I could just as easily pull out the paint shirt and sweats...yes. Distracted. BUT we are striving for the ORGANIZATION and moving things OUT of our lives that will lead to total concentration---no more distraction!

YOU are such a blessing:) LOVE you bunches!

Carol said...

Good Morning Paula

Wow your post hit me this morning, the distractions that cause such great loss. I love your list and am right there with you on that.

You shared so beautifully, you are a dear to me. By the way I'm glad you put your picture on your blog.

I love you friend.

Sharon said...

:) YES I will need my Paula fix for the weekend :)
Love Ya
Your buddy,your pal, your FRIEND!

B His Girl said...

Great post. Hi Paula, I stopped by (from Sheryl's or DeeDee's)and I had to smell the flowers. You are a flower girl preparing the way for the bride to meet her groom. Yes, you are blogging for Jesus. Great blog and pictures. B

Nicole said...

Great post Paula! Thanks for the verses you gave under the lies that we believe. God is bigger and can conquer anything we go through! We need to let him fight on our behalf. He's so much better at it. My Beth Moore study gave a verse about God going to battle for us. That was so comforting for me.

He is our restorer. I pray that for you today!

Hope you have a great weekend friend!


DeeDee said...

I have just bought this book = looking forward to reading it!

Thanks for sharing...
Sweet Blessings,

Stacy said...

Isn't this book amazing? Isn't our God good? Thank you for sharing your thoughts. What an encoouragement!

much2ponder said...

Good points! Sounds like a good study. Good to see a picture of you on your blog, now I can put a face with your words, not that it changes anything, but it is a bit more personal and I like that:) Thanks for sharing your heart here.