But the fruit of the spirit is
and self control.
I was watching a show on TV yesterday called Property Brothers. These two guys help people renovate old, dilapidated homes. In this episode, a married couple was updating their entire back-yard pool area. The finished project really looked spectacular with new landscaping, a refurbished patio and a total re-do of the pool house.
I was so impressed, except for one thing..about half way through the re-do process, they discovered some cracks at the bottom of the swimming pool. One of the property brothers explained that it would cost about two thousand dollars to fix them. The owners balked, said they didn’t have the money, and chose to deal with the problem later. The pool was promptly refilled.
This part really bothered me. How could these people ignore something so important, something that was bound to cause problems later?? Towards the end of the show, the wife admitted she had been secretly saving money on the side and they went ahead and purchased $4,000 worth of pool furniture..money that surely could have been used to fix the cracks.
I Imagined this happy couple entertaining in their beautiful new back-yard with a hose dripping into their pool to keep the water level up.
How short sighted..These homeowners didn’t seem to recognize that their pool was THE main feature..the focal point that gave meaning to everything else..including the “POOL” house, the “POOL” toys and their overpriced “POOL” furniture!
Honestly though..this is how we sometimes live our lives. We prance around looking like we’ve got it all together knowing full well that we’ve got a slow leak deep inside. And instead of fixing the cracks that drain us… we just keep filling our lives with food or booze or drugs or shopping or whatever will fill us up for the moment.
It’s true that fixing cracks is a time consuming process. But it’s so much better than the alternative..
God tells us to build our lives on Him.. “the rock.” He is the strong, immovable foundation upon which everything else we have in this life confidently stands. He is the never-cracking pool that we can confidently fill and swim in. The bible says that everything else in the world..(everything else!).. is sinking sand.
Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock.
Sinking sand…who would knowingly build their house, or their life, on that?
I guess the same people who would keep adding water to a cracked pool…?
I missed my new yoga class last week because we were down at our house in Florida with my daughter on Spring Break. My sister sent a text from the”Y” up in Charlotte to tell me that there was a substitute instructor because the regular teacher’s dad had died.
She was back leading our group yesterday and you would never have guessed anything major had shifted in her life. Towards the end, during the meditation segment (when I normally compose my grocery list 😕) I wrestled with whether or not I should offer my condolences; I really don’t now this woman. I am so uncomfortable when it comes to this stuff; always afraid I’m going to bust through someone’s privacy barrier and put them (and me) in an uncomfortable position.
After all the namastes were said, the girl next to me approached the teacher. I heard them softly talking about her dad. I rolled up my mat, tucked it under my arm, and gingerly walked over to join them. When the brief conversation came to an end, the student rather abruptly announced, “I’m going to give you a hug.” Yeah, it was a little forced, but I took it as an opportunity to make my move. “I’m going to give you one too” I heard myself say.
When I backed up, I bumped into my sister who was just then reaching out to do the same. As I moved away I saw another woman coming over to wrap the teacher in another embrace. It was like a chain reaction hug-athon..and you could see the instructor was very touched.
But what if that first girl hadn’t broken down that initial, invisible, awkward barrier? It was obvious to me that there was a pent up desire to comfort this woman in her time of grief. All it took was one girl with a bold and loving heart to open up the gate allowing the rest of us to flow through.
I don’t want to live in a world where we don’t acknowledge and assuage each other’s pain. So I guess I need to learn to put aside my constant concerns about how my actions will be perceived and focus instead on just being myself and follow the promptings I feel in my heart. I’d rather take a chance and face possible embarrassment or rejection than be walled off from the people in my life.
Worry is the point at which I choose to devote a portion of my day, my thoughts, my words, my sleep and my poor stomach to an in depth analysis of “what if.”
What a waste.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Many years ago, my kids took piano lessons from a lady who lived “off the beaten track.” She and her husband owned a nice sized piece of property, and to get to her front door you had to maneuver your car up a long, winding gravel drive. While the initial section of her land was just like any other out in the country, the front lawn near her house was inexplicably littered with junk..everything from old washing machine parts to rusty scraps of metal. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why anyone would allow that situation to develop. Over time, I truly came to believe she was completely blind to the growing heap of clutter..
Years later, I have come to realize that I can be just as blind to the ballooning amount of mental “trash” I permit to fester in my mind. If I’m not careful, I can allow old grudges, jagged jealousy and corrosive anxiety to stack up like mounds of rotting tires. Before I know it, I’ve got the twin rats of anger and fear scurrying through slimy puddles of confusion and self doubt. I’m here to admit that if I let the garden of my mind go unattended, it can quickly devolve into a hazardous dump.
So how to keep the flowers blooming? Carefully pick your “seeds” and keep weeding out the negativity. Whether it’s the TV programs you watch, the music you listen to or the friends you surround yourself with; choose wisely. Build protective barriers around people or situations that are invasive or toxic so they don’t take over your life.
Staying focused on all that is good and praiseworthy is a sure way to increase your happiness and wellbeing. Filling your heart with gratitude protects it against bitter resentment and self-centeredness. Of course every day can’t be a bed of roses, but there is much we can do to protect our overall mood if we tend and nurture our minds the way a gardener takes care of his land.
Think good thoughts – don’t plant “malicious mental mint.” 😉
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
photo credit: loriwagner.wordpress.com
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
I remember lecturing my kids once about what it means to love a pet. It isn’t just snuggles and cuddles, it involves feeding and walking and keeping shots up to date. We’ve all seen those reality shows on TV where animals are living in absolute squalor, and each time the Humane Society comes to rescue them, the owners cry about how much they truly do “love” their neglected pets.
Healthy, vibrant and growing love requires attention and “deeds.” Love that doesn’t involve action, personal sacrifice, unsolicited kindnesses and putting the needs of someone else first is nothing more than a deeply felt, but unshared, sensation..
kinda like a stomach ache.