While things are fresh in our minds is the best time to review and reconsider aspects we may have missed. Before we take our look back at the week that was here on “Becoming Today”, we need to pause.
Taking a moment today to remember the day when the world stopped turning…
Twenty years ago today, the promise was we will never forget, but are we?
On this date September 11, 2001 the nation was shocked, refusing to be paralyzed as an unprecedented terror attack was launched against us. Almost immediately we learned of a day that would live in infamy and almost as quickly it erased the original date given that title.
Does your calendar even note December 7th (1941) as “Pearl Harbor Day”? For over six decades it did, but further removed from the horrific event and the sacrifices made that day seem to be relegated to even less than a footnote in history…..
Obviously COVID concerns have hampered the ability for widespread mass gatherings or memorials, however like much of modern culture things come and go much quicker.
While FDR’s words echoed in our collective consciousness, across several generations for 61 years, can you off the top of your head remember anything George W. Bush said the fateful day of his presidency, just 20 years ago?
The signs of our heightened disengagement were visible even after just 10 years. As singer Daryl Worley shared,…..
Lest we forget I encourage you again to pledge to never forget. There are many still hurting from that September morn, as some familie just this past week had the remains of their loved ones finally identified. It seems to be one of those all too many instances of unseen hurt being carried by invisible people – those who are in plain sight but whom can not be seen by many.
Please resolve to never forget and focus always on the spirit of the rising, as we continue to overcome together along our shared journey here on “Becoming Today”,…
Also before we lose track of our thoughts, let’s take a look back at our conversations of this past week:
Trust the Timing
It happens to everyone. There are times along our journey where we simply do not see movement. We may feel stuck, but we are being held in place, so we can be better prepared for our next step, our next realization.
Here at “Becoming Today” being held in place is all about timing. And keeping our timing in sync. The decisions, choices and options we have related to when things will occur and trusting that the timing is right on schedule.
That is why I operate in a different timezone than the map may have me limited to. Gone are my restricted windows of CST, my clocks are set to G.S.T. – God’s Standard Time.
It builds character, develops stamina and promises deliverance. For all and in all things. Everything is possible. The key is to trust. Trust God and trust his timing.
Does that mean everything happens when I want it to, or think it should?
Sure I experience delays, Argue with myself over whether or not I’m being too patient, but time and time again I have come to know that when I do I’m just adding to the length of time it will take to “find” what I was searching for.
We may not fully understand the plans,purpose or promise God, has for us, nonetheless He has appointed a time for all. For all things, for all people. That includes you and I.
Throughout time as we understand it, God has been gifting us with Grace. If we choose to accept it. Therefore say yes and allow our “Becoming” to be. Let us trust our faithful God to deliver upon His promises to each of us.
How amazing it is that Grace can provide for us and with us if we only trusted God all the time and in all things.
I’ve been thinking about something I know many people ponder, questions and wonder about. Am I living an authentic life?
This is something that I struggled with for years and only within the recent past I honestly answer yes.
Like many for years I viewed it as a destination. “Well I get there.”
Thought “maybe, someday”. But we all know “Someday Never Comes”…..
It was only when I realized how true that was that I knew I needed to make this a turning point day and get it in gear. Coincidentally ( and I know there is no such thing as coincidence, lol ), I came across some old dog eared notes about 15 steps to living a truly authentic life. Now I have no idea where I originally came across these, as I’ve carried them around for so long, they are written on a steno pad!
I then decided to undertake a 15 – day study and contemplation. One day for each of the suggested steps on this path and then one more for review and analysis.
1. Let your inner light be your guide. Connect with the Spirit through quiet reflection, meditation or prayer. Seek the wisdom of your heart-center when you are faced with important choices and decisions.
2. Be your highest self. Remember who you are intended to be. Recall what it was like before life got in the way. Disconnect from your ego, separate from your busy mind and connect with the authentic inspiration that dwells deep inside.
3. Let go of habits, routines and people that no longer serve you. Release guilt and anxiety. Surround yourself with those who love you, believe in you, and only want the best for you.
4. Speak your truth. Find your voice. Use your words. Express yourself. Do not limit yourself. The truth will set you free.
5. Open your mind. You are your own worst critic. Tell yourself to shut up! Let go of judgement and practice self compassion. Expand your view and your thinking-will follow.
6. Free your heart. THose barriers you have built around it are not protecting you. They only prevent you from receiving inspiration, guidance, direction and deliverance. Open your heart, give love freely and accept the love you truly deserve.
7. Learn to trust intuition. Follow your heart, your spirit and the mind will follow. Ego rules the mind and should not be allowed to lead you.
8. Unchain your spirit. Go ahead and release it. Allow yourself the freedom to play, sing, .. sing a song – sing out loud, sing it now….. dance, create, breathe, laugh and cry. Creative expression can be the catalyst for so much healing.
9. Dive into your strength. You were intended to be joyful, successful and confident. You’re only limited by your own thoughts. Create a shift in your thinking; empower yourself to live the life you want. Ask for ( and receive) the support of your higher power.
10. Recognize connections.. There is an invisible web of connection between people, events and even the places in your life. This is how the Universe nudges and guides you towards your destiny.
11. You are of greatest Service when you are happy and healthy. You can not take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself. Your life is sacred. It is your primary responsibility to care for yourself allowing your capacity for loving and nurturing of others to be strengthened,
12. Choose love. Love does indeed make the world go round. Reject Fear. All positive emotions come from love. All negative emotions from fear. Fear fosters anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.
13. Live courageously. What would you do if you were not afraid? Take risks. Step out of your comfort zone. Be open to new experiences.
14. Be grateful. See the good in everything and everyone. Cherish beauty, kindness, love, and joy.
15. Celebrate Life. Live it. Feel it. Be it. Honor yourself by living every day to the fullest.
That is what I am “Becoming”. A liver of life. A lover of life. Every moment of every day I am grateful that I have been granted the abilities, understanding and gifts to live a truly authentic life.
It was only through conquering my fears and doubts, accepting help and challenges plus surrendering all that I could that I realized I am now and will continue to by living my truly authentic life. It’s all part of “Becoming” and has delivered me to a place where I can finally honestly, boldly proclaim:
“I love Life. I love the Lord. I love myself”.
Trusting In Quickly, Soon…
For me September began with a bang. Literally, a huge boom! And all of sudden I could not see where I was headed and could do nothing about it. After a few moments of fear, I quickly came to rest on the opposite side of the road.
It was a sunny day, not much traffic. While I was looking for a road in an unfamiliar area, myself traveling below the posted speed limit, then in less than blink of an eye, everything changed in the moment.
There was a red pick up truck crossing the center lane, at least 30 miles an hour above the limit and all I could do was brace myself for impact and pray.
I believe the latter had a more positive effect.
My car was totaled.
I could not see because the airbags had deployed. While the rescue workers could not open either door on the driver’s side. I was nestled in the seat, all the safety equipment doing what it was supposed to do. I was bleeding, bruised and battered, but could communicate, move and was alive.
An ambulance ride followed by six hours in the hospital emergency room and the tests confirmed nothing broken or sprained. No internal injuries, just lots and lots of cuts, lacerations and glass to be removed from my body.
While medically in shock I was at peace because I know I survived but by the Grace of God.
He had protected me again and was aiding already in my recovery.
So moment to moment my situation changed, first the completely unexpected, but then each resulting minute brought improvement, reassurance and good news.
A great reminder of how “Becoming” can be measured and assured in our daily living.
This week I have been thinking a lot about timing.
The decisions, choices and options we have related to when things will occur and trusting that the timing is right on schedule.
This is another of life’s lessons pointing to my belief that those of us on this shared adventure of “Becoming Today”, need to trust the timing.
Time and time again, I gave testimony to things working out at the very moment I needed it the most. More often than not, circumstances have improved, beyond what I had limited myself to expecting, or at times even hoping for.
After a while I could no longer be in denial of it. Despite a battle of impatience, if I continue in faith and trust, at the very least my needs, hopes and dreams are delivered – often exceeded beyond what I had prayed for.
Then suddenly quickly, when the timing is right, in God’s judgement and with his wisdom soon is transformed into now. Which will prove itself to be the absolute, unequivocable, without a doubt, right, perfect, just in time moment.
Do not let naysayers or well intentioned, but less “Becoming” individuals in your circles dissuade you. Do not deny the Truth, by listening to their fears or lack of understanding. Do not allow their emotional responses to rule your heart, mind and soul. Be obedient. Be Faithful. Trust God’s Timing. Believe. Then gracefully acknowledge it all.
Release your understanding upon your actions. Live it and gracefully acknowledge.
Accept grace, joy and wisdom. Give thanks for it with a grateful heart.
Keep doing it.
Then you are “Becoming” the real, true, authentic you. All you were intended to be.
Last week we talked a bit about some formal and basic ways of praying. Today on this edition of “Becoming Today” I want to share a more personal approach to prayer.
In the Bible we are taught that prayer is an evolving, ever changing, developing, growing means of interacting with God. Most often it is done through a spontaneous, individual, unorganized form of petitioning and/or giving thanks.
For many they hope that it is always simply ask and you shall receive. I’m sure you’ve had those moments. I know I have. You pray and instantly a voice gives you the answer you’re looking for!
Entirely possible at times, however I find prayer to be a more involved process and I need all the help I can get on how to pray more effectively.
I should also mention I pray in many different forms. Silently, aloud, sometimes very loud and in writing. My diary is full of petitions, intercessions and notes of thanksgiving to the Lord.
While what we pray for and /or should pray for changes continually; both verbally as well as through pen and ink I find it important and rewarding to thank God continually for his assistance and gifts. I often focus on the following six key aspects:
Thank You Lord, for your Unconditional Love, Ceaseless Compassion, Tender Mercies, Amazing Grace, Freedom through Forgiveness and Eternal Salvation in Jesus’ name-Amen!
Let’s examine each of these areas a bit.
As we can read in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5(NIV),
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
Love is indeed patient and kind. In the Scriptures, love is what unites people. Brings groups together against hate and dishonesty.It is what enables forgiveness and restores confidence.
The love of God is ours, the purest point of Love, God.conditionally. Meaning we don’t have to earn it. There is no price for accepting it and there are great rewards in choosing to receive it.
I ask you to choose to accept this understanding that I have developed:
“Becoming compassionate is accepting the conscious process of showing kindness and sharing empathy with others, so that we may then decide to assist all those we can.”
It is even more empowering and rewarding when that compassion is coming from the purest point of love – God.
A widely stated adage expresses,
“A single act of compassion can change a person’s life forever.” Making it a very Becoming quality. When that compassion is shared with us by our Heavenly Father the results are almost indescribable.
I know this was a movie title, and if you reflect upon it, in that film, Robert Duval’s character of Mac Sledge was given more than a second chance, he was granted new life from the Tender Mercies bestowed upon him by God. After he was willing to see and accept them.
As I defined in our talks about the 8 Points of Light, “Mercy is a blessing. A gift of compassion in unfortunate circumstances or troubling times.”In the Scriptures, Jesus instructs His Disciples: “ I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
A foundation for the belief that mercy comes in the personal relationship Jesus promises to all of us. That is a relationship based upon forgiveness, love, reconciliation and truth. That’s why some theologians share that Jesus Christ can be considered the face of God’s mercy, as it’s very essence is personified in His works of healing, forgiving and welcoming all.
Mercy matters because we all need forgiveness. Mercy can be readily available as long as we are willing to accept it.
As the hymn reminds us, “Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found,Was blind, but now I see”.
A simple definition is that Grace is a gift from God.
Building from there we need to add that it is a gift in the purest sense. One we do not deserve and is not earned. We simply are eligible to receive it because of God’s unconditional love for us.
Grace is quite easily understood and yet wonderfully perfect in its complexity; defined in our purposes as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it”.
The simplest definition I have ever embraced on this topic is “God’s unmerited favor”.
Sounds wonderful, and when you have received God’s gift of Grace in your life, believe me as I testify, it feels even better.
Freedom through Forgiveness
You can not create a state of “Becoming”, if you aren’t willing to let the former or current realities go.This is a vital part of “Becoming”. Not only forgiving others for perceived wrongs, and asking for forgiveness from those you may have hurt but also forgiving yourself.
It is then, and only then, that you can let go of anger, guilt, shame, or any other feeling limiting your growth. Let it go. Face forward, look upward and then you can get busy moving on.
To let go of past hurts, you need to make the conscious decision to take control of the situation. However, this can take time and practice. Be kind to yourself as you practice self care and love.
Then you can say good-bye to anger, guilt, shame, or any other feeling limiting your growth. Let it go. Face forward, look upward and you get busy moving on.
That is where you find your Freedom through Forgiveness. From God. For He has forgiven us at the moment we needed it. Whether we realized it or not. It’s up to us to accept that truth. God has forgiven us, freeing us to forgive ourselves and others.
Eternal salvation is an undeniable cornerstone of the Christian faith.
To be free to be forgiven, absolved of our sins ( with true repentance) and granted everlasting life ( in Heaven), is something that while none of us are truly worthy we are blessed to receive by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Because of His unconditional love for us, God sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. HIs suffering and pain freed mankind from the wrath that we had earned. The only thing we must do is repent putting our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
While salvation is granted as a gift from God, it is not received by everyone. Only those who choose to accept it. Many times people will mistakenly believe that being a “good person” is enough to secure their place in heaven. However, by the standards of God, no one is “good”, by the definition. We must learn to reject our prideful nature and confess our righteousness.
I do often, well try to do all the time, end my even most informal prayers with, “in Jesus’s name-Amen!” To me it is soothing, giving gratitude and praise where it belongs and I believe it to be empowering. Not only for myself, but also of the ability to have my prayers heard.
An interesting quote I recall about this comes from the Tyler Perry character of Madea. In one of his movies, the character is talking to a teenage girl about how to pray. While a comedy even the misstatements can be enlightening.
As Madea talks about Noah coming along on the St. Louis Arch to rescue Peter who took his eyes off Christ while walking on the water because he was distracted by Jonah floating by in the belly of the whale, she does tell the girl,
Hmm.. it’s like a postage stamp. You slap it on there to make sure it gets delivered’.
Sounds like good practice to me, so I always affix my forever stamp in the upper right corner and send it priority in Jesus’ name, Amen!