"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 29, 2010
I'm sure we've all heard the expression of someone "biting off more than they can chew". Generally it refers to someone taking on more responsibility or work than they can handle. Perhaps they initially thought it would be an easier project or job than it turned out to be. Sometimes things have a way of growing once you begin a project, and you end up feeling like you're in over your head.
I had that happen to me recently. Jon was going to be working out of town for a week, so I decided that would be a good time to repaint our kitchen cabinets. I thought it would give me something to do so that I could keep busy and time would go by faster while Jon was gone. I had never done a project like this, so had no idea what I was getting myself into! By just looking at our kitchen my thought was, "The rooms not that big, so it should only take me a couple days to paint the cabinets." I even thought if I finished and still had lots of time left then I might even tackle the inside of our garage and paint it too. Oh how naive and overly-ambitious I was!
I didn't realize how many cabinet doors we had, until I started taking them down and taking all the handles and hinges off. I didn't consider that the cabinets above our bar has doors on both sides. I discovered that we have a total of thirty cabinet doors, plus about ten drawers. Also, the original color was a brighter country blue and I was wanting to paint them a more neutral cream color, so I had to paint two coats of primer on all those doors and drawers, as well as the cabinets and bar, before I could even begin painting. Then I had to take all the dishes off the shelves and out of the drawers. I cleaned the insides of the cabinets and repainted the shelves and the insides of the drawers.
I spent five days, working 8-10 hours per day, working on these cabinets. Many times I really wished that I had never started the project. Several times I wondered if I could get someone to come in and finish painting for me, and if so, how much they'd charge. I was exhausted, achy and sore, and found this project consuming most of my waking hours. I kept reminding myself how good my kitchen would look after I finished, and kept plugging away at it. I knew that I couldn't quit once I had started, but had to keep going. I didn't want my husband to come home to discover that I'd abandoned the painting, and find the kitchen in a huge gigantic mess. Setting goals for myself, working towards each one and meeting them kept me going.
Honestly, if I had of known how much work and time would have been involved, I would never have begun the project. That's probably why it's a good thing none of us truly realize what we're getting ourselves into when we begin home maintenance or remodeling projects, or we'd never get anything accomplished and not get anything done. Keeping a house maintained and up-to-date is important, or we'll wake up one day and discover that it's falling down around our heads; then it really will be overwhelming trying to get it back into shape. But there are times when the unknown is better because we'll tackle things that we otherwise wouldn't, and end up feeling a sense of accomplishment once we see the end result.
This is an example of how our lives can be. There are days and periods of time for each of us when life seems overwhelming. We get tired and weary and sometimes want to sit down and quit. There may even be moments when we feel like "what's the use!" The burden and load we're carrying feels heavy and we are struggling to just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Some days we wish we could pull the cover over our head and stay in bed and not have to face the world. Sound familiar?
But we know we can't give up, and so we place one foot in front of the other and take things one day at time. Sometimes we may feel as if we're only getting through one hour at a time. But we keep going, knowing that we can't sit down and give up. Hoping that things will get better, we keep plugging away. We may even set goals for ourselves to meet.
And someway, somehow we get through those days and things do turn around. We begin to see blessings coming our way. We see how God was with us during those times when we felt alone and wanted to give up. Eventually, the burden doesn't feel quite so heavy and we realize that it's easier to pick our feet up and get through each day. There comes a time of refreshing and peace in our life. We can sit down and catch our breath and know that we're going to be okay and make it. Looking back we can say, "I did it! I made it and didn't give up, but kept going even when I felt like quitting!"
Our journey upon earth is not all fun and games, and at times may not make a lot of sense. Tragedy and horrible things can happen at times. We don't understand why bad things happen to good people. Sometimes we may wonder where God is in the midst of all the heartbreaking circumstances.
But we go on, not knowing what each day will hold for us. Our day may be filled with blessing and unexpected surprises. Or it may hold a shocking death or illness. One minute we may be feeling great and full of energy, and seeming the next have our nose dripping with a pounding headache. And actually, it's best that we don't know what lies ahead in our future; or we'd end up spending all our time worrying and fretting. We'd forget to enjoy today, but would focus on what bad things lie ahead. We probably wouldn't get much accomplished if we knew what all lies ahead for us. So it's important to maintain our families and lives each day, and live with as few regrets as possible.
Until the moment when God calls us home, we keep going through our journey called life. What makes the most difference is whether or not we put our trust in God. Do we believe that this life is it, then we die and it's all over; or do we believe that there's more once this life is over? If we believe the latter, then we have an end goal in sight. Regardless of how many years we live on earth, it's only one tiny grain of sand compare to eternity. No matter how tough or unfair life may seem, we know that awesome things lie ahead of us. We know that if we keep our faith in God, then we have eternity in heaven to look forward to.
So day by day, we get up and keep working. No matter how exhausted or weary we become, we keep going. When we want to give up and quit, we keep going. Why? Because we know this life is not the end. We have hope that God has prepare an awesome place for us to dwell for eternity. We know that our hard work and endurance will be worth it.
When people give up and lose sight of their end goal, it's generally because they've taken their eyes off God and focus either on people or on their situation. First of all, when we look at people we will get disappointed and be hurt and let down. We're all human and make mistakes; as well as have the ability to hurt and be hurt by others. It's important that we don't allow those situations make us bitter and strip us of our faith in God. People are the ones who fail us and cause us pain; not God.
Secondly, nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that we will never have problems, never suffer, never lose loved ones, never face temptations or never face hardships or tragedies. In fact, most people in the Bible faced difficult and adverse situations. They had to deal with many of the same things that we do today. Some allowed those things to separate them from God and died in their sin. Others made mistakes and failed, but they repented and turned back to God. Others seemed to have had it all together and were strong in their faith. The point is, they reacted in different ways just as people do today. They all had choices to make, and some made wise choices while others didn't.
Don't give up! Keep your focus on God and don't lose your faith. Know that we have the hope of eternal life in heaven, once this life is over for us. We have so much to look forward to. Whether we live to be 10, 50, 100 or somewhere in between, that's a short time compared to eternity.
At the end of our life may each of us be able to say with Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)
Exodus is a great example of frustrations. Even after Moses finally got the Israelites to walk out of Egypt, they complained and asked to go back repeatedly. Moses probably had no clue that he was starting a forty year long journey.
I'm sure it took great faith to leave in the first place, but Moses had heard directly from God, so that's not too surprising. But I know a lot of people who would have questioned it when God led them to the shore of the Red Sea. Surely Moses and most of the Israelites knew where they were headed. The way I picture it, as they got closer, the elders started asking, "Um, I hate to complain, but aren't we going to turn to the left or the right soon?" and "You do know there's a giant sea in front of us, don't you?" As they got closer, they probably said, "See? Sea! Can't we turn now?", and "Now, what?!?"
If Moses had known what was ahead, I expect he would have snuck into Egypt, gathered together a few dozen trustworthy people, and slipped out in the dark. It would have been so much easier. But that wasn't God's real plan. So its good he didn't know what to expect.
Jon and I recently grilled steak. You can marinade it anyway you like, but we like using Worcestershire Sauce and minced garlic. After the steak was grilled, we immediately put a couple slices of swiss cheese on top and allowed it to melt. I sauteed mushrooms in butter; seasoned with a little salt, pepper and garlic (you can use minced garlic, garlic cloves diced, garlic powder or garlic salt). Then we topped the steak and cheese with the mushrooms. It was delicious!!
My oldest nephew came to visit recently and some of my family were sitting around reminiscing. Greg was known to pull pranks from time to time, and about scared my socks off one night several years ago. I was living in a tiny mobile home and came home one evening and flipped the switch to turn the living room light on, and nothing happened. I could hear someone breathing, but they wouldn't answer me. My sister had dropped him off at my house to spend the night, and I didn't know he was coming. I ran outside and was going to either get in my car or run up to the neighbors, when he started laughing. I was so scared and was mad at him afterwards, but he thought it was quite funny.
But payback can come back in numerous ways!! Greg now lives in Dallas, and a while back he got home from work and walked into his bedroom upon arriving home. He walked into the room and "thought" he saw someone standing inside his room. He got so scared he couldn't breathe, and ran into the living room. He walked back to the bedroom and peeked around the door, and figured out what he had seen. Some of his friends had somehow "broken" into his house and set up a mannequin in his bedroom, knowing it would scare him. He realized what it was after the initial shock wore off and he went back to take a second look. To make matters worse, they had hid a camera in the room to record his reaction. They kept posting it on facebook (too bad I didn't see it), and Greg had to keep going in and deleting it. He deserved this prank, and it tickled me to hear about it!!
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
We love you!
Loretta & Jon