Ballet Turtles


Ever watched a turtle perform ballet?

I hadn’t either. But one day on a date at Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium with my husband, we happened upon these turtles that appeared to be stretched out in arabesques. We laughed to see these reptiles pretend to dance on their log. Or, at the barre, if you will.

I’m sure they didn’t know what it looked like to us. Certainly, they were simply enjoying the sunny day, but it appeared purposeful. At least in theory.

It made me think of what positions we take that appear to be something they’re not.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

Lately, I’ve been stunned and saddened by the stance of many who claim to know and love God, profess to be followers of Jesus, but adopt positions that flagrantly oppose what the Bible says. Mean spirited posts from ones who are to extend the love of Jesus. Demands for rights that do anything but consider others in humility. Embracing patterns of the world with lifestyle, choices, and outright destructive behavior.

I have to look at myself too. I’m not finger pointing.

We’re reading Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge and today’s chapter on Self Life and what it means to truly surrender my life to Jesus convicted me. How can I show love if I’m quick to react to something my spouse says instead of calmly conversing? If I write a retort to that post that offended me? When I’m impatient because I’m not getting something I need or want when I want it?

I suppose we could pretend to be like the turtles and say we don’t really know what we’re doing.

But we aren’t. We know what we’re doing.

It may seem like a silly comparison, but if the arabesque fits…

By the way, have you taken time to enjoy nature lately? Here are some other scenes we enjoyed that day. What did you learn from your time in the wild?

So What About the Goals I Set?


DSC_0047

I don’t often do this.

While I’m always honest in sharing my heart here, I don’t always give all the details of my life. Usually, it doesn’t serve a purpose to talk about me apart from what I’m learning that may be helpful to others.

But this post is different.

On occasion I read back through my journals to see what God has done, how I’ve changed or where I still need work on something God’s been teaching me. This week I had some time to do that and found some words I had written that I felt God had spoken to me.

 

Words about goals, plans and schedules.

It seems so appropriate for this time of year when we’re all struggling to get a handle on our New Year’s resolutions or goals for the year. When maybe we wonder what we were thinking when we planned on that situation being accomplished or expected a particular thing to work according to plan.

Here’s what I believe God told me…

“Set a schedule, set goals, make plans, but let Me rule and lead you within that. Those things aren’t wrong, but they can’t consume you so that you forget your God first. So I will destroy your goals and plans and anything you set as more important than me – your marriage, life, children, business, books, job, etc.

When you can live intentionally while letting me direct you, you will find peace and success.

I want good for you. I have good for you, but I must be first and you must allow your goals and plans to fall or bow to me. I will restore you because I restore. I will provide because I provide. If you look to your goals and plans as security, it will come to nothing.

I know you try to put Me first. You give Me first fruits. You spend time with Me and in My presence. You ask for wisdom and for Me to lead you. All good – BUT then you look to your plans and despair if I lead you outside of them.

And you ignore Me when I speak. When I tell you what to do, you decide what you want instead or what you “feel” like doing or not doing. That is not letting Me lead you. When you disregard your plan for your own whims, that is not allowing Me to lead you either.

But if you are completely submitted and surrendered to Me, you don’t have to be afraid. I will lead you in ways that are good.”

My response?

I’m so sorry, Lord. Please forgive me. I feel my prideful heart rise up with objections. “I don’t.” “I’m not.” “I didn’t.” But the truth is clear and the fact that resentment comes means I’m doing exactly what you say I am.

When I don’t heed your lead, I’m lost indeed. 

The truth is, I can’t ask God to lead me and then question His leading and pull to do my own thing.

Goals and plans are good. Even God tells us to make plans. God is a planner. He planned for the temple with great precision. He gave plans to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. And He planned for his son, Jesus, to come to us to make a way for us to have relationship with him restored by his planned death and resurrection.

Now there’s a plan!

But God’s plans prevail. God makes our plans succeed. God is the one who goes ahead of us and behind – he was and is and is to come so he’s already been where we are and where we’re going. Why wouldn’t we ask him to clue us in and lead us in the best way?

I didn’t plan to write this today.

But God must believe that someone out there can be helped, blessed or encouraged by God’s words to me. So I’m going with his plan today.

From my heart to yours.

What are some ways you keep surrendered to God and focused on his plans?

Are You Worn Out?


345

As the year winds down and winter winds blow us toward giving thanks and a white Christmas (unless you’re in Florida like I am), do you feel worn out?

I do.

This year has been one of the toughest of my life and though the calendar may say it will be over soon, the trials continue to drag on. I believe many all over the nation and the world share my heartache.

Our world is a broken, dangerous place these days.

That’s why I really appreciate a new book one of my favorite authors, Mary DeMuth, Image result for mary demuthhas written. Jesus Every Day releases in less than two weeks, on DECEMBER 1 and already has impacted the lives of those of us who have been privileged to read an advance sample copy.

Mary reaches deep into our soul with heartfelt prayers based on her own life joys and struggles. Her vulnerable, lyrical prose grabs my heart and leaves me whispering through tears “Yes. Me too..”

Today, these words captured my heart:

“Help me know that it is not failure on my part when I can’t carry a burden–it’s simply a signal that it’s time again to surrender.”

Loss, heartache, illness, crisis load us down with burdens of sorrow, grief, fear and worry. But God doesn’t ask us to carry those. He asks us to surrender them to him. When I’m weary and worn it’s a reminder that I’m weighed down by things he never intended for me to bear.

I’m not a failure when I can’t stand under the weight.

That thought alone lifts my heart and gives me feet to move forward in life. How can I take my life forward when I’m dragging bowling balls of burdens behind me? I can’t. But isn’t it good to know that God doesn’t count that as a failure but rather an opportunity to surrender the burden to him?

Jesus promises he will exchange our heavy load for his light one.

He doesn’t insist we carry it, or ignore it but offers to carry it for us and let him replace our weariness and sorrow with his strength, peace and joy.

All it takes is letting it go.

Picture the commercial for letgo in which the man is hanging by one arm clinging to a truck on the side of a cliff while holding a bowling ball in the other hand. Funny, yes. But also life and death stuff here, folks.

When I take time to surrender to Jesus and let him take the burden from me, I find peace that is beyond my comprehension.

And you don’t even need an app for that.

I encourage you to embrace the idea that you have not failed and let God take over for you. And I highly recommend Mary’s new book. You can pre-order it here to enter a drawing for a chance to win a free Bible. Or get it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

I’d love to pray for you and the burdens you’ve been carrying. Let me know how I can help in the comments below or email me at laurabennet14@gmail.com