"Surround every circumstance with the awareness that God has brought it into our lives for a reason. There is no random act or accidental circumstance. Everything is there to teach us, to provide an opportunity, or to simply witness to God's presence. In short, everything belongs." - pg. 158
I recently posted the above quote on my Facebook page and my dear friend Austin Ray responded in a thought-provoking way. Austin and I attended Ouachita Baptist University together back in the '80's. We went our separate ways after college, but through the magic of Facebook, we have been reunited!! Our "life journeys" have been quite different, which has shaped our outlooks on religion and faith quite differently as well. Do we agree on everything? No, we do not. However, I LOVE his heart and his search for the truth. His comments always challenge me... I'm so grateful for that. Who wants a bunch of friends who always AGREE with you? What's the fun in THAT? :-)
Anyway.... back to the above quote. After reading it on my page, Austin made this comment:Poor God. He always gets blamed for all the "circumstances" that come into our lives. Poor God. Bless God's heart. I disagree with D.H. on this. God is our salvation, not our problem maker. Things happen in our lives because there is a tremendous amount of random activity going on. It's called life. It's called free choice in the human. I do not believe that God is setting up all these road blocks and "circumstances" to teach us something. What I do believe is that God has given us Its spirit at the center of our core which is CAPABLE of taking each "circumstance" and USING it as a wonderful opportunity for growth and enlightenment into our TRUE NATURE, IF WE CHOOSE. We can use the "circumstances" as a stairway to heaven if we choose to use our circumstances for personal growth, but he aint up there rubbing his hands and thinking... (fade up on an Old God pointing his finger from behind the cloud) God: Hmmmmm what can I throw at her next? (insert evil villanish laugh) (and fade scene)
Then he "re-wrote" the above quote to this:"Surround every circumstance with the awareness that God is at the center of our lives and we have Its nature. We are surrounded by random acts and accidental circumstance. We are saved in that everything that is there has the opportunity to teach us, to provide an opportunity, for us to witness God's presence. In short, everything belongs."
Well, at least we are in agreement that "Everything Belongs"-- LOL Honestly, after reading Romans 8:28 - I think Austin may be on the right track. I think we DO have to take in account the free will that God has given us. That "free will" causes all kinds of problems for us personally and for others as well. What we do, good or bad, causes a chain effect from person to person to person.... thankfully God can take our messes and still use them for HIS good. Either way, I believe that "Living in the Present" means looking at each circumstance we are faced with and trying to squeeze out something good, something positive that we can take with us from that moment. (Thanks Austin!! Love you buddy!!)
MULTI-TASKING: I'm the BEST multi-tasker! It has always made me proud that I could juggle so much.. but I'm realizing now that it's NOT something to be proud of. I believe it's MY biggest hurdle in TRULY "living in the present". I'm so busy trying to cram more than one thing into each second of the day, that I don't fully experience each task, each moment. One of the exercises in this chapter is: "Try to do one thing at a time for an entire day. Don't talk on the phone while driving. Don't watch television while sewing (or answering emails!). Do one thing at a time fully and completely." ---- That seriously puts me into panic mode!! One thing at a time?!?!?! I'm not sure I can DO THAT!! Sigh.... Anyone else have "multi-tasking issues"??
One more quote to think on today:"Living fully in the present means banishing what-ifs and if-onlys from my vocabulary and letting God do what he will with each day." -- pg 158
That's a tough one too.... it's so tempting to sit around with our "if-onlys" from our past... and our "what-ifs" to the future and not be present in the present. Gonna try to really make an effort to do this myself. When I wallow in regret, it does me NO good. When I make too many plans for the future, I'm doing God's job. So... my only REAL option is to do my best each day with what God puts on my plate and truly live in the present.
SO loving this book! If you are reading along... holler!!!