As one year closes and another is about to dawn upon us, many of us are looking ahead with resolutions, dreams, and plans.
Some people are naturally more future-oriented, others prefer stay focused in the present, and others look back often on the past. May I recommend that in heading into a New Year, each of us take a cue from all three perspectives?
To enhance your present and future joy, before diving into dreaming and planning ahead, glance back over your shoulder – not just at the year that is closing – but at that long and winding road that brought you to this time and place.
Something beautiful happens when you do…
Take a few moments to let your mind wander down the road of your life, thinking back on your mountain-top experiences, as well as all the valleys you’ve traversed through.
As you think on these things, you realize that God has been there for you all along. And has guided you each step of the way with such faithfulness, provision, love and care. Even in those times when you were in the wilderness of your life (and we’ve all had those).
Allow an attitude of gratitude to release praise and thanksgiving from your heart. Take some time to truly thank God. There may be a few tears that flow also. If so, let ’em roll. Thank Him for all the good times and for all the character-shaping hard times also.
Thank Him for the people you’ve met on your journey, and for those you’ve yet to meet; for the experiences you’ve had, for where you are right now, and for experiences still to come.
The beauty in looking back before you look forward is that it gives you a fresh perspective: you think differently about the past, the present, and the future.
You realize that there is a reason for your life and a master plan that God has just for you.
This is reason enough to be filled with hope, peace, and joy for the future.
But there’s more:
With this perspective of meaning, you will find yourself inclined to dream and create more fulfilling plans and resolutions for this coming year that affect you, of course, but also that affect others in a positive way.
This kind of journey in life has been shown to the most satisfying to the soul and will leave you with a smile on your face during, and at the end, of your life.
So enhance your joy today, take some time this end-of-year to look back on the road of your life before you look forward.
Then prepare to experience the exciting things that God has in store for you in 2017.
Here’s to a wonderful year ahead for you!
The stillness of the morning. The mist is rising and the dawn is breaking…
You stretch a little upon waking, then wander to the window and gaze out in quietness, while down the hall the coffee pot brews your morning coffee. Maybe you sit up in bed for a while to think, or put on your robe and find a cozy chair to focus in quietness and contemplation before the day begins.
Sound like you? No? Does it sound like any of us anymore?
Or, do you wake, stretch, and then check your smartphone for text messages, switch on your tablet or laptop and begin scrolling social media sites, perhaps turning on the T.V. on at the same time, while somehow reaching for your morning coffee in the haze of so much ‘noise’.
My question is this – if quiet time is becoming a lost art, are we losing something precious in this age of ‘always-on’ technology?
I’m convinced we are. We could say this is the ‘neglect of our time’ (excuse the double-entendre). And it’s causing a multitude of problems. It’s time we stopped the craziness and evaluated exactly what is happening to us.
I’m as technology-savvy as the rest of us, and even teach social media strategies as part of my job, but I also know that our brains need some rest and quiet time. Our body, soul and spirit need it too. And yet, we are giving them very little of it.
I, for one, have decided not allow this trend of ‘always on’ to steal my soul. By not turning on my electronic devices, checking social media or email, etc., upon waking, until after I’ve had time to gather my thoughts, read, pray, think, listen, evaluate and renew my spirit, I can truly have some important quiet time. Then let the business of the day proceed.
There are some things too precious to be side-lined by the ‘always on’ social media phenomena. If we don’t have some quality time daily to renew mind and soul, we will be nothing but robotic tech-captives, empty on the inside, and with little to give others of true value. We can’t run forever on empty, and live a fulfilling life.
Perhaps you, too, have a quiet time each day. If so, that’s awesome. If not, and you long for one, this might be a good time to start and watch how it contributes to your quality of life. For me, early morning works best, but it could be different for you – perhaps mid-morning, noon, or late in the evening, for instance – whatever time you choose, creating a quiet time habit will contribute greatly to your peace of mind in this busy time we live in.
I challenge you to discover, or re-discover, the lost art of quiet time for yourself and watch what it does for your physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being – and for those people that you interact with each day. You, and they, will notice the difference!
Here’s to you, and joy on the journey!
Hasn’t the world seemed a little crazy lately? Turmoil and trouble everywhere on the international and domestic scene.
While we view the news headlines with furrowed brows, we crave peace, don’t we? Not just around us, but inside us also.
Did you know that God has promised that you can have “peace like a river”?
Who doesn’t enjoy relaxing under the shade of a tree on a late summer’s day, breathing in the fresh breeze, and gazing at a river’s gentle ripples? Beautiful. Peaceful.
Rivers are continuously flowing. Regardless of activity around, or in, them, they continue on. Nothing seems to adversely affect them, water flows on, either in a gentle meander or a spirited over-the-rocks forward movement.
Perhaps that’s why God used the metaphor “peace like a river” to describe the peace He has for us. Isaiah 48:18 indicates that we can have this flowing peace, if we listen to, and obey, the voice of God: “Oh that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river…”
So many people spend their lives searching for peace – in all the wrong places. Craving peace, they search everywhere BUT God to find it, not understanding that a troubled world doesn’t have the capability to give them peace.
However the source of peace is found in the Prince of Peace Himself, as Jesus promised: “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27.
What I love about God’s peace is that regardless of circumstances, we can have a quietness inside, a peace that continuously flows “like a river.” The world may be in turmoil, but we are not.
Want peace? It’s yours if you’ll ask for it. Seek it from the Prince of Peace, and sit on the river bank of His love and grace today.
God Knows – Poem by Minnie Louise Haskins, 1908
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
This beautiful and famous poem has been read and quoted by many, including HRH The Queen, the Queen Mother, and George VI, for its timeless message. It was also inspiring to the British public during World War II.
My mother often quoted it to me and I loved it. Until now, I had not, however, heard the second part and find it just as tremendous as the first few lines. Here is the rest of this powerful poem:
So heart be still;
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will Is best.
The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Until God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.
As you stand at the gate of the year 2014, I pray God will lead you and direct your steps. If we walk in His will for our lives, there’s no greater joy we can find.
Often it’s the “little things” that make life so beautiful. Don’t miss them in search of bigger things, otherwise you’ll miss so much.
Here’s a song shared by “Under the Radar” http://undertheradar.reframemedia.com/ that I hope you enjoy, as I have today.
We have much to be thankful for this week, and always.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
When like a tune, late afternoon
Sunlight plays on roses
And crisp, fall air, becomes a stair
To walk from summer’s poses.
And with the fade, a serenade
To mark the changing season
The sound of flight, as birds alight,
Warmth and south, their reason.
As colors change and leaves arrange
In such extravaganza
You’ll hear and see, a melody,
That creates September’s stanza.
As nights draw in, the gentle rain
May soothe the soul and heart
And harvest gains of fruit-filled lanes,
Play a harmonizing part.
Embrace the autumn serenade
Hear what others miss!
Let sweet notes of fall, fill your soul
Raise your cheek to nature’s kiss!
~ Kim Batson
Sometimes I wax a bit poetic and this first week of autumn seems to be one of those times. My hope is that through these few verses you would take a moment to pause and reflect on the gift of God we are given in the changing seasons. Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!
If you prefer to hear this poem spoken, with visuals attached, check out the video version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pkJSmRtRoU
A short poem for this first week of autumn – my hope is that through these few verses you would take a moment to pause and reflect on the gift of God we are given in the changing seasons. Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!
~ Kim Batson, Joy on the Journey
On Facebook? Follow us on http://facebook.com/joyonthejourney
On Twitter? Follow us on http://twitter.com/thejoyjourney
First, a sudden movement in the wrong direction and whoosh! the water glass beside the bed spills over the floor. Quickly grabbing tissues one mops it up. Fun. Then, while making coffee one’s sleeve catches a delicate stem glass on the kitchen countertop and sends it tumbling over – sending shards of glass all over. Just lovely, broken glass before breakfast! (And in case you’re wondering, no alcohol here; stem glasses in our household serve up a myriad of delicious non-alcoholic drinks, juices, etc.) So, hmmm…any more surprises to start the day? Should I go back to bed before there are? Is it going to be one of ‘those days’?
No matter how tempted I might be to do so, I don’t go back to bed, of course, because life is filled with these kind of days. You just move on and hope for a better rest of the day, don’t you? Or do you? Does it ruin your day? Or someone else’s, because you share your frustration?
And what if a crisis hits that requires more than just an attitude adjustment?
Sometimes our days start out rocky, sometimes even our lives do, or else they become rocky somewhere along life’s way. Just like broken glass before breakfast, we can either let those experiences ruin the rest of our day (or week, month, year, lives) or begin to turn it around.
We have to let the not-so-good, or even terrible, experiences go and release them to our past in order to enjoy the present and the future. We cannot let them steal our joy.
Why stay miserable, revisiting a bad experience in our minds? It only causes pain. And really, who wants to spend their life in emotional pain, when joy is available to replace it?
I understand that there are many, many experiences in our lives that are far worse than a broken glass before breakfast. Experiences where we feel we could never smile again. Been there, done that. I know what a broken heart feels like, the pain of tears and hurt deep down inside. Of broken dreams, frustrations, fears, embarrassment, and worry. And so do you, no doubt.
But joy can be restored. Even after the darkest of times. And it really is how we bounce back that matters.
Although re-adjusting our attitude and determining to see the silver lining in all things, can be an amazing tool to help that process, sometimes we need something stronger to help us do so. Someone stronger to help us bounce back. The good news: there is One who can and will, as noted in Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.”
I challenge you to give your burden to the One who cares for you, whose shoulders are stronger, and let Him help you bear it and turn your situation around. As the powerful song from Scott Wesley Brown says “If He carried the weight of the world on His shoulders, surely my brother or sister, He can carry you.”
Today, if you have experienced a ‘broken glass before breakfast’ day, or worse, let go and let God restore your joy. He’s standing by, just waiting to do so.
And make it a better day. I’m going to!