Battle Against Apathy

As I woke this morning, right before my eyes opened up to today's reality, I felt my heart begin to will my body to sleep longer. It was like my heart didn’t want to be activated in the demands of caring for this day. I’ve had that periodically throughout my life and it’s been something that I’ve had to take an aggressive part in willing myself to kick into “care mode” upon facing each new day.

After fighting the will to continue sleeping (longer than I should) I opened my eyes and just laid there, staring out at the mountains, through my beautiful picture window. It was my dog, Lobo, 100 lbs of hairy Malamute/Shepherd, that hopped up on my bed (which he knows is a forbidden practice) and encourage me to get up and let him out!

My battle this morning and many mornings were to fight APATHY. Apathy, I believe is a powerful emotion that has a sole purpose to paralyze us from expending energy on its opposite emotion of CARE or LOVE.

Apathy, is simply summed up with a phrase that we’ve all said, “ask me if I care about that.” or “give a quarter to someone who cares” or ” if you think I give a red rats #$% about that you’re gravely mistaken” or “whatever, what makes you think I care?” The mantra “I don’t care” continues to echo in our minds and eventually makes it out into the atmosphere through our shouts or silent inner vow whispers.

I really believe it’s so much easier NOT TO CARE about things, people, situations or anything that is presenting a negative pressure into our lives. But the truth of the matter is that APATHY is a form of hatred and as we are people whose destiny is to live in LOVE, there is no room for APATHY.

I’m choosing today to CARE about the hard things, people, situations that come my way today. I believe in my effort to activate CARING in my heart APATHY will dissipate. God knows that this is a battle I fight daily in all different aspects of my life, but today I commit to you to turn the light on in my heart and CARE again. Especially about the things in life that I’d just as soon dispose of because they bring me pain. Pain will no longer be a field where I let APATHY take hold.

Daily Challenge: Sit down today and write down all the things or the people who you really don’t care about (don’t be surprised if you use more that one piece of paper). Be honest with yourself. Then pick just one thing or person on that list and choose to care again. Begin to pray for them. Ask God to reveal a way that you can make it known to them or your situation that you are committing to care again. Do this every day, a new item each day, and let’s watch us go from people who live in apathy to people who love again.

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT: Love, Peace

Talk to God in the next 24 hours. Remember to breathe and on the exhale give God all the Praise!


 

Battle for the Next Step

Sept 1, 2012

Sneakers, spandex gym knickers, and comfy T-shirt on;  small, lightweight handbag with iPad, iPhone, and water bottle (full of ice and tea) strapped on my back, were all eager signs of my readiness to trek into the town of Genoa, NV on foot from the Walley’s Hot Springs Resort. I’d been entertaining this idea for the last two days during my rest at Walley’s and today I finally pulled the trigger! I was so excited to make this walk and contribute to my get-in-shape program.

If you’ve ever been to Walley’s you know how beautiful it is with the mountains in the distance framing in the cow pastures and ponds. The highway that leads to the town is a desert highway, hot, dusty, long, flat and uneven. The teeny, weeny, houses in the distance gave a good perspective to how far away it seemed.

I must admit when I started out walking “up” to the highway I was sweating and breathing hard. Now we’re only talking two minutes from my door to the highway to begin my journey. So, by the time I hit the highway and saw how small the houses were, I began to have regrets!

On I went, down the road, sweating and breathing hard. My eyes were pretty much glued to the ground because…well, I don’t know why…just because, I think I was making a huge mistake.

Suddenly, about three minutes into it, I heard a gun shot to the left of me and I noticed a white truck pulled over to the side of the road. The tall, thin, older,  man was holding some sort of rifle, pointing it at the side of the mountain. He turned to watch me as I walked by. I kept my eyes straight ahead, hoping if I didn’t look at him, he’d take his attention off of me and back onto the rabbit or snake, or target, or whatever he was shooting at. I kept walking.

After about five minutes down the road, I could see no end in sight. I lost sight of the little houses in the distance because the road was winding around a bend. I felt this surge of regret, thinking, maybe I should just turn around and go back. Ten minutes is a long enough walk. Something within me said, “keep going, don’t give up, accomplish your mission, you’ll be glad you did”. I then caught myself answering the little voice prompting me NOT to turn back.

“What if it takes me an hour to get there? That means it’ll take me an hour to get back and I don’t think I’ll want to walk back for another hour. I’m not a hitch-hiker, so then what?” The prompting voice didn’t answer. I just kept walking, one foot in front of the other, finding the rhythm in my breathing and sweating like a work-horse.

I was really glad I kept walking because when I arrived at the first shop in the town I looked at the time and it was only 20 minutes. I ride the stationary bike at the gym for 20 minutes every other day, so I was really happy I would only have a 20-minute walk back.

I had a really nice time in Genoa. I visited every shop, (all four of them) and sat in one of their cafes for a light lunch. I was able to make a phone call to a good friend. After about two hours (of procrastinating) I decided it was about time I walk back to the resort. 20 minutes would be all it would take. I can do this. It was a little cooler out and there was a nice breeze. No big deal right? Wrong!

Off I go. One foot in front of the other. After a few minutes up the road I could see the teeny tiny roof top of the resort that sat below the highway. It looked so far away, but I knew that it wouldn’t be that long, probably only 15 more minutes. It was so strange how my mind was fighting me the whole time. I wanted to be anywhere else at that moment than 15 whole minutes away from my resort on foot. Bring me a camel, a donkey, a motorcycle, anything! My feet and legs were tired. My back was sore from carrying the day pack, which now had more stuff in it because I actually bought something at the boutique.

It was the time when I felt like I couldn’t take another step, physically or mentally, that I heard the little voice again, “start counting your steps Wendi. Don’t focus on the distance, focus on your accomplishment. Begin to count every step of success, and before you know it, you’ll see your victory. You’ll be back at the resort” So, I did. At that moment I began counting, 1,2,3….10..60..75..99, 100.

100 steps went by so fast, then I continued, 101,2,3,4…10..20..99, 200.

On I went. Before you know it I was at 400 then 600 steps. You guessed it, 700…900 steps. I had no idea how many more steps to go, but by 900 steps the resort was looking pretty large! I hadn’t reached the driveway yet but I could SEE the driveway. at 980 steps I was already down the driveway and at exactly 1000 steps I WAS AT MY CAR DOOR!!

Here’s the lesson in this particular battle for perseverance. 1) Don’t despise your mission. 2) Don’t quit just because it gets hard. 3) Don’t think there’s no end in sight, because there is. 4) Don’t focus on what you HAVEN’T accomplished yet, but celebrate the successes each step of the way!! Before you know it, you’ll be done and be glad you did it!!

The Fruit of the Spirit here is PATIENCE! (which also translates PERSEVERANCE)

Talk to God in the next 24 hours. Remember to breathe and on the exhale Give Him all the Praise.

Battle Systems: Seeking Rest

Posted on September 7, 2012

 

“This puts the ‘hot’ back in hot tub” I commented to the lady that was soaking with me at Walley’s Hot Spring. The temperature was up to 104 degrees F. The other tubs had only reached a 100 degrees F all week and they felt like we were sitting in lukewarm bathtubs.

After cooking for about 10 minutes in the sulfur smelling mineral water, I could definitely feel my body begin to weaken. I decided to get up and go sit on the lounge chair by the cool pool and cool off. The sun was already starting to go down behind the mountain, but the rays of the sun were peaking up over the mountain top and shining behind the silver clouds. It was absolutely gorgeous.

There were others in the cool pool (which was about 90 df) but I was enjoying the cold air on my skin. I just stared up into the sky and began to meditate on the cloud formations. I could see Yogi bear, a dog with angel wings, a Pegasus horse, and a flying pig. The wind was ever so slight, so the formations would dissipate in a matter of minutes.

I was thinking about how my body was enjoying the hot and the cold. The meditative effect it was having upon my heart was so peaceful. I noticed that as I sat there watching the clouds my skin began to get that crispy cold feeling, so I quickly removed myself from the lounge chair and got back in the 104 df pool. The sting of the hot water was so cathartic that exhaling with a deep sigh help me to acclimate and settle back in.

I repeated the pattern of soaking in the hot, then lounging in the cold about three times. On my third time in the tub, I began to think about how that applied to the battles I face in life. You see I had developed a system and a rhythm that kept me feeling complete and healthy. The sting of the heat demanded the sting of the cold to keep me balanced, enabling me to keep it up for 2 hours. I noticed how the intervals between the hot and cold became shorter and shorter because my body had committed to memory what it felt like to heat up and then cool down.

I think it’s the same with the way the human spirit reacts to the spiritual battles we face in life. When we’re in the heat of battle it’s important that we take the time to remove ourselves from the heat and seek a quiet and cool place to rest. Taking our mind off of the things that are stressful is a healthy thing to do. If you can’t physically remove yourself from your battle field, then it’s important to go to another place meditatively and let the cool breeze of the Holy Spirit give you rest.

I think that’s why Jesus said He’d prefer us to be hot or cold, but if we’re lukewarm He’ll spit us out of His mouth (Rev 3:14-15). He talks about our deeds being hot and cold, but I also think this relates to the condition of our spiritual commitment to remain in righteousness and fight the battle with victory in the end.  I think Jesus knew that hot and cold is a universal balance that God put in place. People who are hot, seek the cold, and people who are cold seek the heat, but when you’re just warm, then the seeking stops. Jesus loves the seeking process.

The fruit of the Spirit that involves seeking in stillness before God, is Faithfulness. Be faithful to have a system of rest in your battle, seek the Lord, find a quiet place to mediate and listen to His cool and soothing voice. Moses said in Exodus 14:14 , “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

So your challenge this week is to develop a battle system of faithfully seeking Him through stillness.

Talk to God in the next 24 hours. Remember to breathe and on the exhale give God all the praise!

The Battle to Keep Perspective

 

When traveling to foreign countries with the purpose of doing missionary work, it is not uncommon to encounter cultural differences that can greatly affect one's attitude.

My last trip was full of blessings and favor from God and at the same time filled with some unfamiliar hardship. Two flights canceled, long unexpected bus rides, brown water leaking from the ceiling over the primitive toilet in the hotel bathroom, (eww) were just a few of the situations that I was able to exercise the virtue of perspective.

“It could be worse”, I kept telling myself. Then, I listed all the worst things that could be happening instead. After doing this I realized how much God loved me and how he has hand picked my momentary afflictions. His mercy doesn’t exempt me from hardship, but it does protect me from the worst things in life.

Here’s your challenge today: Take out a piece of paper or write in your journal a list of your afflictions on one side of the paper and then on the other side of the paper list all the ways it could be worse. Then, thank the Lord for choosing very carefully the affliction you may be experiencing, knowing that His mercy is sparing you from the worst things in life today.

Fruit of the Spirit: PATIENCE, JOY

Remember to breathe and on the exhale give God all the glory!