Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Slower Pace....and Place

"And be not conformed to this world: 
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, 
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2
(KJV)


I have such a deep love for quotes.
I think it is wonderful that we can glean wisdom through the learning and life experiences of others.
What a blessing that down through the years, so many have spoken what God has placed upon their hearts,
and we have such a wellspring from which to draw and be filled.

I have collected quotes for years....
picking them up from all sorts of sources,
jotting them down on napkins and/or whatever I could get my hands on at the moment.

In October of 2011, when I started Homespun Devotions,
I built a page that is chock-full of them.
 Should you ever wish to check them out, click here.
It is a bit overwhelming...there are so many on there, 
and they are in no particular order.
I just add them as I find them on slips of paper or learn a new one!
If you take the time, I know you will find some you really like.


In light of my current health issues, 
today, I got to thinking about George Mueller and one of his famous quotes.
He said, "God not only orders our steps, He orders our stops."

He knows when a "stop" is necessary for our own well-being.

A good shepherd will never over-drive his sheep.
He is in tune with them and quick to spot signs of exhaustion and weariness.
Even if he wants to go further, he will put the needs of his sheep ahead of his own agenda.
He will take all the time needed to insure the sheep is well-rested and ready to move
before he ever forces it to go forward.

Some of us "sheep" are harder-headed than others.
Some us have to be literally hit over the head with the rod before we have enough sense
to realize that we need to slow down and not only find a slower pace...
but a slower place....
and permanently maintain it.

Can anyone else relate to my problem?

We live in a fast-paced world.
Fast means of travel.
Fast ways to "cook" our food.
Fast-moving careers.
Fast-maturing children.
Have you ever seen a time when kids are in such an all-fire hurry to grow up?
Even school curriculum has been accelerated to the point that our children 
are having to learn things way earlier than we did when we were in school.
Is this really healthy?
Or wise?
Should their young minds be forced to absorb information that is
beyond their scope of being able to healthily or fully process?
We start pushing them as infants.
We want them to learn to read at a younger age.
We want them to compete and excel and be smarter than their friends.
We want them to be better...sooner.
The pressure we inflict is sending them into a hopeless abyss of despair, 
as too often they realize they are not capable of living up to our fast-paced demands.
Why not let kids be kids?
Let them play.
Let them learn....at their own pace.
I am not saying they don't need a disciplined, well-balanced environment.
But, why not let them grow and develop and mature at the rate God instilled in them and intended?
Why not teach them to slow down, stop along the way, and maybe even smell a few roses?


Have kids nowadays even heard this term?

Why does a toddler need an iPod?
Seriously?
Why must they have continual, never-ending stimulation?

Children are so over-stimulated in today's world,
that they don't even know how to sit in the floor and play.

Whatever happened to toys?
Like trains, remote-controlled cars, farm animals, and blocks?
Whatever happened to giving toddlers pots and pans and allowing them to sit at Mama's feet,
as she prepares the evening meal?
Whatever happened to blowing bubbles...homemade ones even....
like Mom used to make?
She would take a wooden spool of thread,
mix up some dishwashing liquid and water,
dip the spool in the solution,
then blow bubbles through it for Zachary.

Those kinds of moments are some of the most precious, endeared memories of my early childhood.

We grew up without so much as a TV in our household.
I am thankful for that.
I am eternally grateful that I grew up in the days before computers in the home,
VCRs and DVD players and PlayStation and XBox.
Because life was slower.


We got to know each other.
We talked...a lot.
I remember having such deep conversations with Mom and Dad.
We were very closely-knit and shared just about everything.

Not saying, we were without fun in our lives, either.
Mom and Dad let me do things.
How grateful to God I am that they were not fanatic and overboard dogmatic!
Too often in life I have seen the results of parents smothering their children in those kinds of strangleholds...
only to have them rebel and burst wide open at the seams upon their first taste of freedom.
Mom and Dad allowed my life to include more than just constant church-going & family time.
I have four older siblings,
and I have so many great memories of them including me on outings,
taking me places with them and their children,
and all of us doing fun things together.
Almost every day after school, Mom and Dad used to let me walk to the corner 7-11
and spend money I had earned babysitting a sweet, little girl named Alexis.
I would take my money, ask the cashier to trade it for quarters, and spend them playing PacMan.
I was the self-described PacMan queen!
I had the pattern down-pat and would take on any challenger who happened to wander in behind me.
I had a ball doing things like that...in moderation.
I knew when my quarters ran out, I was done for the day,
and it was time to head on back home.
Enough was enough.
I also knew that if I wanted to enjoy such luxuries and extravagance, 
I would need to babysit Alexis some more in order to earn the money.  :)

Today, it seems kids don't have many boundaries or limitations.
Good work ethics are often not being taught,
and life is all one big, long, never-ending video game or texting-fest.
They have every imaginable form and channel of non-stop, continuous entertainment
and stimulation right inside the home.
Parents too often use movies, television, and game systems as babysitters
to keep them occupied and out of their way, 
so they can pursue their own endeavors.
We need to wake up, dear friends.
Children are a God-given responsibility which He has entrusted to our stewardship.
We have a Divinely-appointed commission to raise them right,
to set healthy boundaries and limitations,
to pour ourselves into their care, learning, and training,
and to deny ourselves, in order to properly equip them for life.

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, 
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, 
and when thou walkest by the way, 
and when thou liest down, 
and when thou risest up."
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

There is never a moment we can afford to drop the ball.
This is way too important.
We only have a few, short years to get this right.
God help us to keep our homes (click here to read more), 
and live up to our God-appointed commission.


Children left to their own grow up way too fast.

Kids today are learning more about the facts of life as small children
than I probably knew when I got married.

I don't know about anyone else, but it seems to me the whole world is in a hurry.
And for what?
To get where?

We all live, and one day, we all will die.
Why be in such a hurry to reach our end?
Why hasten through life, and therefore shorten it?

Fast-track living is not conducive to holy living.
We are in this world, but certainly not of this world.
Following the mindset of the world around us is unwise.
In fact, we cannot afford to walk through life as mindless lemmings,
just doing it because everyone else is and forgetting that we have been called to a higher standard.

The world we live in fosters the idea that everything should be as big as possible,
as fast-moving as possible,
and as flesh-indulgent as you personally choose it to be.
People are living like there is no tomorrow....let alone a God to answer to.
The thought process seems to be to pack in as much partying as you can,
live it up until you're used up,
and rush as fast as you can...headlong....full-speed ahead.

As Christians, it is going to take a full-time, concentrated effort to not fall into this trap.
We cannot afford to live our lives in this manner.
We know the truth.
And, remember the truth is what sets us free.
Maybe it is time we get back to the basics...of God's plan of simplicity for us.

My Papaw didn't live a fast life...neither did Mimmie.
Neither did Mom or Dad....even in their busiest years.
People from that old school just had a slower, more methodical way of facing life.
A funny story about my Papaw...
one time, after Mimmie died, and Papaw was living alone,
Mom, Dad, and I were visiting him one day.
I don't remember where we were going,
but all four of us ended up going outside to get into his car to go someplace.
As we started to get in, we noticed a broom handle lying in the floorboard.
Mom asked him what it was, and he told her it was his cruise control!
Instead of wanting a new car with it installed,
Papaw seemed to prefer using his old, make-shift way!
I can still remember standing there by his car that day,
hearing him say that and thinking how much his simplistic,
slow-moving, practical way of looking at things impressed me.

He never was one to want to fix what wasn't broken.
He didn't accumulate unnecessary burdens.
He was one of the biggest prayer warriors I ever knew.


He lived a simple, very-close-to-God life that I admired deeply.

I miss that old way of life...the way they lived it in Papaw's day.
I love this song by the Spinney Brothers.


Click here if video doesn't load.

Living life in the fast lane,
continually pursuing the next best thing,
keeping our minds so busy that we have no time for God,
bombarding our brains and senses with continual entertainment and worldly-minded stimulation,
will eventually leave us old before our time and completely void of a relationship with our Creator.

I love the old-time, Bible way.
The paths that our ancestors trod.
The slow pace that God demands.
It is a path with no pressure applied....
no concern over what everyone else is doing....
no unreasonable, unreachable, undoable demands.

Our Creator knows...since He is the One Who designed every intricate part of us...
what we are capable of handling.
He set those capabilities in place.
He never requires that we do anymore than that.

We put the pressure on ourselves.
The world around us dictates demands that are far beyond the realm of what God expects of us.
If only we would stick to what He wants.
If only we would adhere to His wishes.
How much happier, more at ease, productive, and fulfilling our lives would be!

As women, I think we feel it more.
But, only if we allow it.

I am thankful that when I tend to veer towards a fast, unhealthy path,
Jesus, my Shepherd, is quick to notice it.
He loves me too much to allow me to self-destruct.
Sometimes His love requires Him to pull me back...with His staff....
to correct and realign my way of thinking....with His rod....
to set me aside...on the sidelines of life....by the still waters....
so He can restore my soul.

""And be not conformed to this world: 
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, 
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

God told us not to be conformed to this world.
He knows the self-destructive dangers that lurk inside a worldly mindset.
He said to "be transformed by the renewing of our mind."

I read Romans 12:2, and I come to the realization that 
I do not have the power within me to transform myself.

"Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? 
Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil."
Jeremiah 13:23
(NIV)

Coming to this realization has driven me to the point of begging Him to do within me what I cannot do.
I don't want a worldly mindset.
I don't want my thought patterns to conform to the thought patterns of this world.
Because I know in my heart that there is a good versus evil war going on,
the battle is all happening inside the mind,
and the mindset of this world is in total and complete contradiction to God's thoughts.
I want my mind and way of thinking to be 100% aligned with His.
I know I will never comprehend or fully understand His thoughts....
they are so far above mine.
But, I want to live my life by His thought standards, not by the mold the worldly-minded have crafted.

So, I have diligently and earnestly asked GOD to do this for me.
God answers prayer!

I believe God has allowed my sickness to slow me down...
to get my attention....
to make me see that He is doing exactly what I asked Him to do....
He is renewing my mind and transforming me to think more like Christ.
Showing me that to run myself ragged, as the world around me seems so intent on doing,
is not what He requires, not what He demands, and is very detrimental to my overall health and well-being....
spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

We were not created to rise to the pressure and impossible-to-please stipulations of others.
The only thing God longs for us to do is to please Him.
To try to continually appease and gratify a fast-paced, pressure-packed attitude is in total opposition 
of what we should be reaching for, as Christians.
Truly, it takes our eyes off the real goal.

So what, if the world passes us right on by?
What a relief!
What liberation to no longer feel the pressure to keep up the fast pace!
What joy of heart to feel such undue stress lifted!

I face this brand-new year with a renewed mind.
I have prayed for it...longed for it....wished it would happen.
I wouldn't have chosen pneumonia as a vehicle of choice.
Nevertheless, I bless the Lord, for answering prayer and doing something I was powerless to do.
Because of His interception and through this at-first-sight-unwelcome interruption,
the renewal process is taking place.
I need to slow down...to a slower pace....not just for the moment...
not only through this time of sickness,
but as a way of life.

He ordered a needful and necessary "stop" on my path...
a "stop" that has landed me literally off my feet, and rendered me unable to keep pushing against it.

In the process,
"He has set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."
(Psalm 40:2)

The word "goings" here literally means...
steps,
modes of life.

He has brought me to a slower pace....and place...
and I couldn't thank Him more.


Think I'll just settle in and enjoy the walk!
Care to join me?

2 comments:

  1. What a great reminder! So thankful He is in control of our starts and our stops!!!! Cheers to a restful 2014!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, sweet friend. Same to you!

      Delete