Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Not Nearly Enough

Today is Be Humble Day. Did you know that? Neither did I. I don't even know what that means, actually. Humble -- well, of course, I know the definition but how does one "be humble"? And if you go around being humble are you a showoff? And isn't that the opposite of humble?

Of course, I'm belaboring the issue here but I just find it very confusing. I don't actually like the word humble. It is supposed to be a spiritual attribute so I guess it is a good thing but if it is a good thing, why do we get bombarded with memes and psycho babble telling us to think well of ourselves and eat a steady diet of positive reinforcement on how very important and valuable we are to the world? That's not being humble.

We're told to be all we can be. Treat ourselves well and focus on our good characteristics. We're smart, witty, attractive, funny, canny, etc. But does anyone say, "I'm a really humble person"? No, of course not. Because that wouldn't be humble.  

Micha 6:8 says: "He hath shown thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" KJV

The Amplified version elaborates: "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?" AMP

Wow. Overblown self-importance. That'd fill a stadium. Or a country.

I had to look, of course. I found one page with 72 verses about humility so obviously, it is more important than the modern era realizes. I mean, it seems like a life and death issue.  All those mouthy folks who get up and spout all they've done for humanity .... they're not humble. Mama used to say actions speak louder than words. If a person has to get up and recite their accomplishments, well, they're not actual accomplishments. They're advertisements.

No, I think this humble think is critical. It isn't all about us, is it? We're far too full of ourselves. Humility is an obsolete word in the current era.

But it is important.

"Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD'S anger." --Zephaniah 2:3

 Perhaps? No guarantees, huh? Wow. You might be hidden.

I really have to do more research. I don't know how humble I am but I suspect it isn't nearly enough.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Bad Day

Psalm 34:1-4 says "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."

It's easy to say but much harder to do when things go south. You wake up feeling lousy. You get a phone call that gives you bad news. Someone you trust does something that destroys your faith in them. You wreck the car. You get a negative diagnosis from your doctor. Your child gets sick. The list is endless but it doesn't change anything. We're still supposed to bless the Lord at all times.

The last few days, in fact, the last week has been a good week for me. My pain levels have been manageable. Waking up and getting out of bed was hard but after the first hour, things perked up quite a bit and I was able to accomplish many things that usually give me difficulty. It's easy to praise the Lord on days like that. I'm so grateful for even small accomplishments that it's not hard it all. Although, when I first get up I'm praying "please, Jesus, help me", but once the stiffness and the pain lessen I can say it with more enthusiasm.

No, it's those days when things just seem to go wrong with no help from you. That's what it's hard to utter blessings and praises.

I didn't come here to offer you a solution. Today I'm stressed and frustrated and disappointed. I don't feel like blessing the Lord or praising anyone. It doesn't take much to ruin a day. But the Psalm does not say any of those things are an excuse not to bless the Lord. It teaches you how to find your focus and when things are bad, how to ease your desolation.
5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. 
9 O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
22 The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.  
           -King James Version (KJV) Public Domain
I'm still depressed. I'm still frustrated. I'm still disappointed in people I trusted. But these are not worthy of my attention to the point that it causes me to not bless the Lord or praise him. If I can bless him for the great week I've had then I can also bless him for holding my hand on the bad days.

It has taken me years to get to this place. The journey has been long and arduous and there have been too many times that the things that overwhelmed me drove me to flail against the very one who would comfort me. Blessings were far from my thoughts and railings at my plight were easy. If it were not for the blessings of God, even on the worst days, I would have been gone long ago.

So, I do not have a solution for your lousy day. I cannot help you with your depression. I cannot ease your frustrations. But I can tell you that if you focus on blessing and praising your Creator you will lose sight of the catastrophes for a short time. If you do it often enough it gets easier and the bad day passes. They always do. They may leave scars but they will pass.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His holy name. It doesn't take much but the outcome can make tomorrow a better day.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Booboos

I've managed to get through the holidays relatively unscathed by the darkness that has so often accompanied this time of year.

Yes, you've done well.

Truth is, I've been too sick to notice what month it was, never mind what anniversary. I was sick through Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year. I totally forgot my wedding anniversary... even though my son got married on the same date. I didn't remember until he posted something on Facebook. And the anniversary of Jerry's death... I remembered the day after.

How did you feel about that?

Horrible. Like I'd done something wrong.

Life goes on. 

Really? Cliches?

I invented them... well, I said things that others made into cliches. 

I know I've used a bunch of them. Anyway, so, today things got dark. It sort of rolled in like a fog, I felt it approaching yesterday and today it just settled over me. I didn't want to be alone but Sarah went home for the weekend.I honestly was looking forward to some alone time.

How long did that last?

About 5 minutes. Well, actually longer but the heaviness just sat there. It is past my bedtime and I know if I go to bed I'll not rest well. I'm in pain, too, so it isn't helping. My RA meds finally wore off.

..........

What am I missing?

I don't know if you're missing anything

I'm not going to write a sigh or the mental laugh that I just had but I thought you knew everything?

What makes you think you're missing anything?

Because I don't feel like I get anything right.

You've felt better; I don't mean pain wise.

It was just a fluke.

I don't do flukes. Unless you're talking about liver flukes. I did those. 

All right. I admit. I've had a more positive attitude. I've felt like ...

Go on, say it. And don't give me that look.

I've felt like some things were ... right.

There. That didn't hurt, did it?

Actually . . .

Stop.

I feel terrible.

Had you bothered to have a conversation with me earlier, I might have been able to alleviate some of your stress. You choose to wrestle with it and have suffered because of it. You come now and expect me to kiss your wounds and make it all better. I can't. Unattended wounds tend to get infected if left untreated. You know this as well as I do. Yet, you let it fester. 

Uh. . .

I'm not done. Yes, I could just wipe it all away but if I did that every time you hurt, you'd never learn anything. You have a choice to live in a bubble or live life. The reality is that life, real life, hurts. It hurts tremendously. To have life, you must hurt. If you don't, you're not living. However, when it hurts, you have a physician who can get you through the rough spots. You'll have wounds, you'll bleed, and you'll have scars. You'll just live life through it. 

.......

I'm done now.

I guess I just forgot.

If I had a nickel....

I think I'm going to bed now. I'm sure rest will be good for me.