LASTing Peace, Week 44, Beyond Ourselves–A Part of Healing

Friends, today I want us to look beyond our own pain, our own addictions, losses and broken relationships to a battered and bruised world.
I’ll share with you some specific verses that we can use to focus our hearts in prayer and gain perspective.

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4 Holiday Philosophies for Health

When you lay your personal goals along side the holidays, what comes to mind? A lot of the chatter we hear is people bemoaning inevitable weight gain and plotting their New Year’s resolutions to undo all the over-doing.

Or, are you thinking about your personal goals for learning to enjoy the small things, indulge in relationships and overflow with gratitude for delicious food and generous friends and family?

I’ve collected a few links from around the worldwide web, interesting perspectives on the holidays. Enjoy!

“What are you going to do to burn off those Thanksgiving calories?” ‘health-related’ Facebook pages ask.

How about enjoy time with your family and don’t beat yourself up? Don’t see exercise as punishment for or salvation from eating delicious food. Go on with your normal workout routine because it makes you feel good. And eat healthy food next week because it nourishes your body and mind.” Rachel Mac 

Not surprisingly, Kirstie Alley’s holiday perspective is completely centered around how to maintain an enviable figure. Is this really all we want to think about?

1. Move, move, move 2. Relish each mouthful and 3 more…

Obviously, food makes an easy gift. But I still wonder, as one recovering from an eating disorder and a ridiculous obsession with food, is there a way to move away from that? Do you give a lot of food gifts at Christmas? It’s a delicate balance for me, learn to celebrate food and also learn not to focus on it.

Are you tired of giving the same old holiday gifts – candy, cookies, stupid stocking stuffers? Me too! I would like my gifts to be meaningful, not too expensive, but promote health and vitality.

Well, here are a few of my favorite things… (I couldn’t resist!) ~Fresh Food Perspectives

A selfless perspective on the holidays:

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Comical Perspective

Let’s add some levity to the subject of perspective that I brought up on Monday. A change in perspective almost necessarily requires learning to laugh at ourselves, our circumstances and sometimes our frustrations. Let me tell you about the week of Rachelle’s wedding… and the week after we got home.

The second week that I had been living out of a suitcase, I was sleeping in my parents’ basement. I had just driven from Dallas, TX to Wichita, KS, arriving at about midnight. Talk about perspective – I thought midnight was the witching hour and I never stay up that late. Well, given the right incentive (spending time alone with my mom and the excitement of wedding preparations and the fact that I was needed in KS) suddenly, midnight was totally possible.

I woke the next morning to a cryptic email from my business partner with Moms Who TRI, Kristen Hench, who is also my dog-sitter. “Call me, it’s about Brave!”

I bolted out of bed and stood trembling as the phone rang. “He’s not getting out of bed, he wet himself on the floor, he’s shaking and he’s barely eating.” Here’s the point where I lost perspective. Sobbing hysterically, I hung up with Kristen, called the vet, cried to my mom and prepared my sister that I might have to fly home and skip her wedding – my dog was sick. Let’s not yet discuss my lack of perspective. To keep a very long and embarrassing story short, I wrestled with God concerning my perspective and priorities. Finally, after two expensive trips to the vet, Brave began to recover from a UTI and was back to his normal self.

Next, hurdle. Smaller, Patrick’s luggage got lost in Atlanta on his way to the wedding. It was found and delivered at some heinous hour. Hysterics averted.

Next hurdle. As a writer, my computer is practically an extension of my fingers. It’s not quite my livelihood, but writing is my passion and the computer is a necessary tool. I opened my cherished Mac Book Air on Sunday morning to find the equivalent of a “blue screen of death.” Another unplanned expense.

Next hurdle. I always struggle returning from a trip, trying to re-assimilate myself into my own, real life. This time I had a workable schedule in mind, certain things to do on certain days for my first week back in VA. Tuesday morning, I hopped in my car and cranked the key… nothing… not a click. After two jump starts, I was afraid to turn the car off. I drove to a Jiffy Lube where they laughed at me when I told them I needed a battery that fits in the trunk of my car. When I called the Miata dealership, they had one single battery left. I traipsed through VA traffic (again a matter of perspective) and waited for over an hour while they did a $200 battery replacement.  Tuesday’s agenda shot. Another whopping bill. Perspective.

This is not meant to be a pessimistic or “poor me” post. I don’t want to imply “it can always get worse.” But I’m grateful to my Heavenly Father and the work of the Holy Spirit in me. In the past, the accumulation of these little setbacks would have had me in tears. This time, one at a time, I rode through them and found my joy intact. Perspective.

Perspectives of Pain and Perfection

Is happiness dependent on whatever life throws our way or do we have a say in the matter? We can find peace amongst chaos, contentment despite limitations, and joy even in our lowest moments. It all comes down to Perspective… Craig Groschel in his recent series on Philippians

Everyone is blinded by their own perspective. Perspective is the angle at which you view something. A pauper views a sandwich and shelter as the essence of life. A king views those same principles of sustenance as bland and ordinary, nearly an assault to his majesty. Before I lived in Georgia, I believed that Oklahoma was humid. An athlete views a difficult workout as a challenge and something to be mastered, a couch potato views the same drills as agony and next to death. Do you see where I am going?

Recently I brought you some stories about the persecuted church. After a few days of reading about the physical abuses that Christians in Nigeria and Egypt were enduring, we read about discriminative abuses against Christian businesses in the United States. I am not diminishing the pain of the Christian businesses, but put in perspective, what is endurance?

I am going somewhere with this (:

Craig Groschel has convicted me on many occasions through his online sermons at LifeChurch.tv, but his series on perspectives has been very humbling. I’ve begun to consider the privilege of pain. “Count it all joy, my brothers when you encounter various trials,” says James, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”            (James 1)

Like the example above, my own pain, in perspective seems minimal and sometimes petty. But my Father knows the testing that my faith requires in order to perfect me. Be it struggles in my marriage, the constant humbling need to destroy my personal idols of food and fitness, loneliness, feelings of failure or any other hurdle that God places in my path in the future, He is intentional.

Intentional. Intentional and repetitive. As He is known to do, God has been echoing this one message in my life from various angles. I am also preparing to lead a Beth Moore Bible study in my home. God chose the book of James this time. As I read through the first chapter, I was skewered by the passage I quoted above…

For you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.

That’s what I want. I want to be perfect, clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness, perfectly and contentedly reliant on Him for all my salvation and life. That’s going to require a change in my perspective – a new perspective on my own good works, my own sin, my own struggles and my own forgiveness of others. I hope you find the LifeChurch.tv catalogue of sermons effective for your own training in righteousness. Start with the series on Perspectives.