“I love the Lord because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live” (Psalm 116:1-2).
Are you a fixer? When a loved one comes to you for emotional support, do you try and share what you think would be a good solution to their problem? It is normal to feel uneasy when someone we love is in pain. A typical response would be to try and find a way to make them feel better. Thus the race to find a way to fix it begins.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASB)
We got a brick. Not just any brick but a special brick. Some of you may have done the same thing. It was the Summer Olympics of 1996. It was a fundraising opportunity for the Olympics and you could inscribe anything you wanted on this brick, as long as it was no more than 10 characters. The brick is still there in Centennial Park. What do you put on a brick that’s going to have your name and a phrase on it for decades to come?
We thought about “You ‘da man!” but it took too many spaces, besides I think that one’s been used before. Then we thought of abbreviating. MGIAAG “My God is an awesome God,” but only my wife Janet and I would’ve known what it meant. Then, only Janet would’ve known what it meant because, with my great memory, I would have forgotten.
We decided on Carpe Diem; short sweet and to the point. Isn’t that God’s desire for us, to seize the day? As I write this, several friends and friends of friends have died quite suddenly. One friend’s mother died at a restaurant. Another friend died quite suddenly of cancer leaving behind a wife and child. My sweet sister recently died in a car accident. You never know.
It’s got me thinking, how am I doing having that abundant life? Am I seizing the day? In our counseling situations, we often run into individuals that are paralyzed because of their past or are afraid of failure to the point they don’t move forward. I must admit, at times I struggle with the same issues. How many days, weeks, or even years are wasted because we are waiting for the right sequence of events to fall in place, to ensure success and not a failure? The reference in John says, “I came so that you might have life”. What does it mean to you to have a life? How would you define the second half of that verse, “to live it abundantly”?
Sometimes we’re so busy looking for that right sequence of events for that 100% guarantee, that we miss God speaking to us through the body of Christ. God has a plan for each of us. We are each gifted in unique and special ways. I believe part of having that abundant life is exercising those gifts He has given us.
What keeps you from seizing the day? For many of us it’s schedules and routines. We spend the majority of our time surviving, living from paycheck to paycheck trying to make ends meet. I believe one of the greatest ways that Satan undermines the family is through our schedules. It’s like that old story, “How do you boil a frog?” You put it in cold water and gradually turn the temperature up. As a result, the frog doesn’t notice the temperature change, but if you drop it in hot water, it’ll hop right out. I think in some ways, we’re the same. We’re ready for the frontal attacks of alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc. But we are not ready for the slow, gradual ways that our family can be undermined through our schedules and being overly committed.
Perhaps you have the same struggle that I do at times. How can I listen to the voice of God, if I’m not being still? Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In closing, let me encourage you to examine your schedules and your life. Are you too busy, are you able to listen to God, are you able to be still?
Keith Niager LCSW