Saturday, March 5, 2011

Calm in the storm

Originally written and posted on MySpace March 19, 2006

The house is quiet and a little colder than I like. I just got up and bumped up the heat four degrees. I like the house warm. It has been one of those rare days for Arizona. It has rained off and on all day and continues to do so even now. It is a good time to snuggle under a warm quilt and let your mind wander. Jan is at work and the girls are in bed. I like my quiet times. It gives me an opportunity to simply stop and relax and recharge.

Life is too busy. That is an undeniable fact but what is there to do about it? Being a parent is busy. Being a husband is busy. Being a Christian is busy. Working for a living is busy. What of these would I be willing to give up to be less busy? The answer is clearly none of them.

Still I wrestle with whether or not I am giving the right amount of time to my kids and wife and church. It seems that when I am home and ready to be with the kids, they are off doing something else. When I am at work, there are needs that I want to meet for the church. When I am busy with activities that give life to my faith I feel like I am neglecting family. It too often feels like a no-win situation.

It may be frustratiing at times but I am not sure I would have it any other way. I would rather be busy than bored. I would rather my kids see me in service to Jesus and responsible in my work than to be a TV-Aholic. I would rather work than leave my family hungery. I would rather love my wife and enjoy my life with her than to live alone or worse, in a dead relationship.

I am beginning to learn that though I could wish for more time for everything it is not going to happen. Life is all about balancing. I can only trust that God has answered my prayers and that I have been a good steward of the time I have been given each day. I will continue to stuggle but it is struggle that both strengthens and evidences life.

I love my life, my family, my God and even my job. I am blessed. How like a child I am that I still complain...

Closing my MySpace account

Maintaining a presence on multiple social networks just does not work. So after much delay and neglect I am officially suspending all activity on my MySpace account. To that end I have moved some old blog entries from there to here, making *this* my one and only place to jot down my thoughts and save the for posterity.


Originally written and posted on MySpace July 31, 2006

It has been a while since I was here and much to my surprise, people have noticed (Hi Pam :). I will always be an infrequent poster here so I am not going to make up excuses.

I was talking to a really good friend of mine the other night while sitting out on my back porch. We were talking about life and choices and direction and definition and ... well you name it. We were truly enjoying each other's company.

One of the things we talked about was choices. When I read in Genesis that "God created us in His own image" I often wonder what that means. I often wonder if it means that He gave us the ability to make choices. We clearly do not operate by instinct. We clearly do not always make good choices. Of all of the things that God gave us in our creation I believe that this is the single most powerful.

Consider the power you have. You get to choose whether or not to have faith. You get to decide to do right or wrong. You can even choose to disregard God all together and decide for yourself what is moral and what is not. Were I God I am not sure I would give me those choices. I feel fairly certain that, were I God, you would disregard Me at your own peril; my lightening bolt would always be hot. Yet He not only gives us choice but is patient with us as we use and misuse this blessing.

Choice. It is not always a Heaven or Hell thing. I see unbelievable power in those choices. But I also see fantastic freedom in God giving us the power to choose who we are going to be. In another entry in this blog I describe some of the choices I have made. What I may not have made clear is that not all of those choices are natural for me. Many of them are counter to what I would be if I did not have the ability to decide who I am. But God gave me that ability and I would be foolish not to take and use that blessing.

Another thing that I did not make clear is that I have not successfully become what my choices say that I am. I write my choices in a tense of completeness but they are, in many places, still goals. Some things I am much closer on and some I have a ways to go. That is not the important thing, though. The important thing is that I have exercised the gift God gave me by making the choices. I choose who I am.

I suspect that I could go on and on with this. If ever you want to see me animated get me talking about this topic! Almost every aspect of life is a choice. God gave us incredible power with that blessing. We are foolish beyond all imagination not to take full advantage of it. Thank you for being there as I remind myself of this.

Rules for Life - The Rules

Rules For Life

Originally written and posted on MySpace March 25, 2006

  1. The first rule of my life is that there are no rules. There are only choices and consequences. Rules imply doing things because they have to be done; no choice in the matter. Or, things are not done because you are told not to; again, not because you have a choice. My first choice is to not live by any rules.
  2. I choose to trust God's promises in my life. I will actively seek them as I read and study His word. I pray that they will stand out as I read and I trust God to make that so.
  3. In relationships, with God, my family, my friends and those around me, I will choose to do all things because I love them and seek their happiness. I will gain pleasure, joy and happiness in seeing smiles on other people's faces. I will learn to love more deeply and care more actively.
  4. I choose to base my happiness, self worth and joy of living in the things that God gives me. These I can trust to be there in all situations. God has promised to Love me no matter what comes; no matter what I do; no matter how the world my treat me. He is my anchor and I will trust in Him to give me value.
  5. I will choose to do good, not because of the negative consequences but because of the positive ones. I have no fear of Hell my eyes are upon heaven. I serve well not because if I don't I will be made uncomfortable but because I love the joy I share in doing good. I will live with the active knowledge that joy shared is doubled and sorrow shared is halved.
  6. I choose to speak boldly in support of my Lord and Savior. When others put Him, or those who believe in Him, down, I will speak. My life must be as bold as my words for only by the mirror of my life may my words reflect the power of Jesus Christ.
  7. I choose to be open to changing my mind. I choose not to come to any conclusion that has the rigid permanence of an epitaph chiseled in stone. I hold the Bible to be truth and am willing to submit my understanding to its guidance.
  8. I choose to be gentle with sinners. I will not condone or encourage their sin. Neither will I dilute in my speech its harm to their soul. I will, however, teach, admonish, correct and encourage with that same heart that told the woman caught in the very act of adultery to "go and sin no more".
  9. I choose to openly worship my Lord every single hour of every single day: every waking hour and every hour I am asleep. Sundays I choose as a time to focus that worship and to encourage others and to accept the encouragement from my fellow brothers and sisters. Sundays are a day of building up.
  10. I choose to seek out my Lord so that I might know Him better. I will do this by reading His word and by speaking to Him often. My prayers will, for the most part, be conversational, as with a friend. When I praise Him it will be with all of my heart. I will allow my prayers to be assisted by the Holy Spirit. This is a promise of God that I will trust.

    Rules for Life

    Originally written and posted on MySpace March 24, 2006

    Some time ago I was in a class at church and an assignment was given. It was to write down your rules for life. Now, I never did home work when I was in school, what made this teacher think that I would do it for him?

    He had triggered something, though. My mind tried to chew on it, for though I had no real intention of doing the assignment I did want to have some seemingly smart answers just in case I was called upon to participate the next week. What I found really distressed me. There was nothing to chew on.

    I was a man in his 40's with a successful job and a good family. From all outward appearances it would seem I had it all together. I did not. I simply could not answer the question "Who is Paul". I kept coming up with answers like "A computer programmer" and "Father" and "Husband" and "Christian" and a list of other adjectives but they were all so nebulous. They were the pat answers; not the real answers. I did not have any real answers.

    I found that my life was one where I was being lead by events as they happened. I had no real guiding principles. I had no way to say "this" or "that" fell within the bounds of who I am. I had no goals. I had no definition. I was simply a rider of life and a slave to whatever was the current situation.

    So I decided to give the assignment a try. It was not easy. I will tell you, though, that it was worth it. After completing my "Rules for Life" I had a better idea of who I was. I found I liked me :)

    I have these posted on my wall in my office. I read them to remind myself of who I am. It is also there so that others can read them and that gives the a feeling of accountability; if others know who I am, I need to reflect my values consistently.

    Anyway, this preamble is much longer than I had planned. So, I will post my rules in a new post. I hope you will read them and then be challenged to come up with a list of your own. It will be time well spent.