SLOW DOWN AND GIVE THANKS

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Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV)

“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

           Have you ever realized in the middle of a hectic day that you are obsessing more about what is going on around you rather than being thankful for what you have? What if you tried to take the time to thank God for all he has given you and your mind wants to only stay focused for a few seconds before it is invaded by the next thing you think you need to do? How about just feeling disconnected from God where you are not sure if you are doing what He is asking you to do?

          I recently encountered all three of these questions one after another and had to answer yes to all three. The first came up while I sat alone in my living room at a time when I should have been thankful for all the good things that have been happening in my life, but instead all I could think about was nonsense from the day before. I felt like I was in one of those antacid commercials where the food begins to smack you in the face, but it wasn’t food, it was my guilt.

I had again let myself become overly distracted and had taken my eyes off of God. As I replayed what I had been focusing on I quickly saw that at least half of the things did not even happen yet or were out of the realm of possibilities. In a perfect world realization is half the battle, but in this case, it was only a start. As I tried to correct my thought process I entered a tug of war with myself as every time I tried to speak to God, my thoughts were quickly redirected to another imagined problem or unimportant task.

At first this became very frustrating, but I took a deep breath and tried it again. At one time in my life I thought it was amazing that the harder I tried to connect with God the more distractions sprung up to prevent it. I’ve come to realize over the years that these are the situations where all the forces that are keeping us from God will do everything in their power to prevent us from reconnecting.

This is the very thing that is being described in John 10:10 that “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” Think about how many times that any positive forward progress was stopped dead in its tracks. Worse yet, your situation could be multiplied or just become even more unbearable. No matter how tough you act or think you are, this type of continual pressure does wear on you.

The longer it goes, the more frustrating it becomes with many people just want to give up completely and just stop trying. I have been there on my knees several times screaming toward Heaven “why Lord why,” but I have never reached the point where I felt all hope was lost. This is where we must learn to remain strong in Christ and continue to reach out to Him till we can make it through or at least halt the mounting negative forces.

          I’m sure you’re like me and have noticed how this modern world and even everyday life is the distraction that takes our mind off God. Everything from our schedule, to a personal conflict, or even something that hasn’t happened yet can cause us to feel overwhelmed and detached from Him. Faithful persistence is one of the keys to make it through these periods, but it is not the easiest thing to stay with.

          Even after I was able to return to a sense of joy, my thoughts were still somewhat muddled and unclear. I finally realized that I was trying to juggle way too much again and some of the balls were starting to hit the floor. This is when I had to stop and take a deep breath to start bringing everything back under some semblance of control, but even after I did I still had that disconnected feeling.

           I have been in this position far too many times that I care to admit where I couldn’t hear God speaking to me and wasn’t sure I could feel Him beside me. Now I know His love for me does not change and He is always with me, but this is another situation where the enemy is trying to convince me otherwise. So what do you do?

          This time around I had to take each ball and examine them closely one by one to see which ones needed to be tossed back into the air, which ones could be set aside for another time, and the ones I could toss out. Then I deliberately added in a few with His name on them as a reminder that I needed to keep looking to Him as well.

          As we do this we need to take the time to look into our hearts to see where he wants us to be so we can include what is asked of us.  However, I was also reminded that many times we may be tossed another ball, but don’t always have to add them to the ones we already have in the air.

Since no two people or situations are the same, what you need to focus on first or how we organize our plan of attack may be different every time. The main thing we must remember is to include God in everything we do and to always be thankful for what we have been given. I know that He has given me so much and that I do not thank Him nearly enough.

So join me in slowing down then actually schedule a time to just sit and talk to God. If you can’t keep your mind focused, then make a list of everything you are thankful for and read it to Him. So as you plan your next step go to the poem and Spanish poem sections and enjoy the latest poem I was led to write, “Count Your Blessings Every Day”.


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