Living in a fog

I recently finished reading a book by Robert Bly called “Make Every Second Count.”  Bly is a business writer and this short book was a very quick compendium of useful time management tools and techniques.

One of the items that he discusses is stress.  We all feel stress from time to time, some more than others and some times more than other times.  But I loved the analogy that Bly used.

Imagine you are in a city in incredibly thick fog.  So thick you can’t see through it at all, even to the end of your outstreched hand.  Now picture that fog from ground level up 10 stories high and picture it in an area 7 blocks by 7 blocks.  That is a lot of fog!

If you took all of that fog, or more appropriately, all of the moisture in the air that is creating the fog, and condensed it into one place… it would only fill up one drinking glass.

That is how stress, sin and so many of the harmful worries and obstacles are in our lives.  We spread them out over space and time and they are a huge deal, even paralyzing.  But when we earnestly pray to turn it all over to God, in His power he compresses it down to what it really is – just a single cup.

The next time you read the scriptures about Christ being willing to drink the cup – keep this in the back of your mind.

Too many thoughts

Ever had those nights where you wake up because there are just so many thoughts running through your head?  They aren’t always worry’s or stress’s, although many times they are.  Sometimes it is just the thing you forgot, or a thing you wanted to remember or just stuff.  I know I do, and not only at night – I keep a pad of paper with me to write stuff down all throughout the day.

It seems like our lives are so filled with information, plans, worries, thoughts, ideas, stories, reminders, to-do’s – we need countless systems just to keep them organized and they aren’t even tangible things!

Then, smack up the side of the head, came the BSF memory verse that we are teaching the kids the first week.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

So, first, here is how I’m teaching it:

For true, we are going to hold 1 finger up, because we know in our heads and hearts what is really true and there is only 1 truth. for Noble, we are going to turn the finger to the side, like shaking your head ‘”no”, but we’ll explain what noble really means.  For right, thumb out to the right (that one was too easy, if the kids know right from left that is).  For pure, we are going to clinch the fist – pure means keeping all else out, right?  For lovely, open hand circling their own face – they are children of God and each is lovely.  For Admirable – same thing but turn the hand the other direction – loveliness in others.  For Excellent – cross the arms in and X.  For praiseworthy, raise hands up high.  Then finally, both hands, fingers at temples: think about such things.

Try it – it is fun.  If you have a partner, have them do the “whatever” part and you do the reply.

But, for me… what a verse.  I fill my mind with so many thoughts and worries.  So many things I pray to God about, but seem to hold onto anyway.  So, here is His criteria for what I should be spending my time and brain cells on.  Here is the test.  If it is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, then I should spend some time thinking about it.  What fits that criteria?  Other than God, the bible and love for others, not much that I know of.

But what should I do with all the other stuff in my head?  Well, step 1, pray about it and turn it over to God since He is in control anyway.  Step 2, to quote a dear Italian friend of mine: “forgettaboutit”.

Amen to that!