Thursday, February 25, 2010

At the End of the Day will it be My Best or God's Best

My natural fascination with human interest stories influenced how I watched the Olympic games.

One story in particular grabbed me in how it demonstrated a life lesson we all need to grapple with in our own lives.

I have no desire or intent to pass judgement on the two girls involved in my story, and while the story details are in the public knowledge domain, I will use only their first names.

Julia and Lindsey, have long been rival competitors in their chosen sport of downhill skiing, never moving toward friendship though they train together.

Finally on the day of one of their Olympic events, the two girls waited their turn on the mountain top; Julia slotted to ski immediately following Lindsey.

The weather conditions made the run treacherous and Lindsy became one of the victims of the steep course, crashing into the protective fencing, the medics racing to her side.

Julia was signaled to start her run, but then partly down the course she was flagged to stop because they had not yet untangled Lindsey from the mesh fence.

There was no way for Julia to get back up to the starting gate other than finishing her descent and then be returned to the starting gate by snow mobile.

Julia was understandably upset -- her concentration had been broken, she had now lost her assigned position to ski her run. The hill conditions would change before she got to ski, her postion moved down 13 spots.

Waiting at the bottom for the snow mobile, she verbally cursed her misfortune and the skier who had literally thrown a stumbling block in her quest for a medal.

She did not try to hide her emotional upset.... her resentful attitude evidenced in tears and ranting over the events that she had no control over.

That she had been given an advantage seemed to not enter her narrow focus. All the skiers had to ski the run without a practice run.... except for Julia. She had the advantage of a full practice run down allowing her to get a feel for the course and the effect of the weather upon it.

Back up at the top , finally able to ski her run, her run time was well below what had been expected of her. She did not ski worthy to win a spot on the podium, and she withdrew from the other race she was scheduled to ski in.

As I watched the story unfold, I thought of how I was watching a scenario that plays itself over and over again in our personal lives.

How often do our plans get upset - something outside of our control jars our emotions, and we are thrown off track or diverted from our path entirely.

I wonder.... how often does our attitude toward the unexpected in our life determine whether or not we will attain to God's best plans for us? Does our negative attitude cause us to miss the advantage God intended through the unexpected or even 'undesired' circumstances/events ?

How do we react when things happen that push our emotional default buttons ? How often do we like Julia rage and blame others - how often are we critical, defensive and self-focused?

How often do we waste our emotions on what we think we have lost..... instead of focusing on how God can/will use the twists in our path to our advantage?

As believers we say that we trust God to lead and guide us. We say we believe that all things work together for good. We say that we love and seek the good of others before our own.

But do we ? How do we react when God lays a 'test' in front of we pass? do we fail?

When we are inconvenienced, or side tracked or bumped by an uncomfortable road block,do we think of what it means for someone else? Do we calmly ask God for new directions? and then humbly accept what He lays before us?

I have learned that God trains us in the little details so that when the real test comes we are exercised to trust and obey and face with a humble heart an unexpected challenge.

Some wise person once said... "I am not in control of what happens to me, but I am in control of how I react."

How often is it that in the inconveniences or the frustrating circumstances or the hindered plans that we have the greatest opportunity to rise above the occasion and show that we are not victims of our circumstances but rather use them to glorify the God whose name we cheer and wear on our heart and sleeve!

My challenge - for me and for you -- to use the little inconveniences of each day to exercise our hearts and minds to look for God in the unexpected... eager for His purposes.... instead of allowing our self-default to dictate our reactions.
Let us all 'go for gold' !!

May we join in Paul's prayer, that we seek not our own righteousness, judging the circumstances of our life by our own standards but rather seek God's righteousness (right judging) in every annoying moment or distressing turn in our life path.

Phil. 3:7-10
"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ,
but indeed I also count all things loss
for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them as rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in Him,
not having my own righteousness ,
which is from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ
the righteousness which is from God by faith'
that I many know Him
and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death."


Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Exactly spot on observations Julie!
Our sermon this week was on being generous. The story of Gander, Newfoundland that took in all the planes that were diverted immediately after 9/11 shut down the US airways was used to illustrate the point: A small town had to take in almost as many people from the airplanes as there were residents, and all the shops provided free of charge whatever the stranded people need for the three days they were stuck there.

In return, passengers took up money and started an educational fund to help Gander's undereducated children.

Instead of grumbling about having to help out or being stuck, everyone was blessed instead.

Marg said...

I knew that if I came here today...I would find the right nourishment for my heart...Yes, I saw the story unfold. You described it so well.
Yes, we need to be on guard with all our opportunities and see them as blessings rather than failures.

betty r said...

'Let us all go for gold'..I like that! I too want to remember to turn those inconveniences to blessings! Timely reminder Julie.

Elsie said...

Yes, I agree, the detours in life do sometimes turn out to be blessings! When we're flexible and "go with the flow", we save ourselves a lot of anguish.

Anneliese said...

Julie, as someone else said, you described the story so well and saw what could so easily be missed.
I know that you have had opportunity to practice some inconveniences in your own life, with health issues . .. and I admire how you continue to focus on the Lord and His strength, rather than grumble about them.

Anonymous said...

To have strong faith you have to be consistant in your rituals with your relationship with God. You also have to fight and remind yourself by warding off worldly desires as much as possible or at least try and to keep balance between the two.

This is what has helped me, in my personal life.

I am a Muslim by faith, and in my own personal experience. It's when I'm the closest to God in my prostrations, by increasing them & remembrances, ONLY and of course if God wills it will I be patient in the face of adversity.

I appreciate your observations in this post.

Anonymous said...

Hello Julie,

I am the anonymous poster above, and needed to put a disclaimer somewhat on my message. I'm not encouraging worship as a Christian(and no offense to you of course!), as yours and my fundamental beliefs are very different, even if there are similarities in our religions.

I am just sharing my personal views of how I attain patience, and calmness when I apply these devotions.

Thanks for reading this.

Again I must emphasize no offense to you or your blog atmosphere here, but, needed to say that.

Julie said...

Dear Anonymous, thank you for visiting my blog, and taking the time to comment.
I appreciate your comments, and of course no offense was taken.

I have read- not all, but some of your Koran - and find that the Koran teaches about Jesus. I know it says that Allah sent Jesus to the world. I believe that Jesus is the way to God, and that Jesus speaks the truth.
Did Allah ever say that there was anyone else that was like Jesus ?

Anonymous said...

Hello Julie,

Thanks for your welcome and understanding. I only clarified my first statements, because,

as a Muslim I cannot encourage worship of God in the Christian belief, that is a big responsibility to me.

And to answer your question. Well, I'm not sure what you mean really.

But the Jesus(Peace be upon him) that's referred to in the Quran is in fact the same Jesus that is also mentioned in the Bible and who was also created by virginal conception(I think it's also refered to as immaculate conception) and his mother was Mary.

However, Muslims do not believe he is the son of God, but, a prophet(Peace be upon him).

I wanted to refer you to a good reference when reading the Holy Quran.

It is a translation of the meanings of the Quran that will give you details of the verses/chapters contained within and what they mean/help to understand them better, according to reputable scholars of Islam.

It is one of the most accepted translations of the meanings of the Quran known.

The particular link I posted as well is called the Chapter of Maryam(Mary). It has subtitles that will guide you to information that will explain the verses of the chapters in detail and will explain the story of Jesus(Peace be upon him), how he came to be...etc...

Also wanted to clarify something, just incase you might not understand, that yes, Muslims do refer to God as Allah. But it is the same God(Allah) of Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and other revealed Prophets(Peace be upon them all.) that also some are mentioned in the Bible as well.

Julie said...

Hi Anonymous... since you know my name could you tell me your first name?
Thank you for your last response and also for the link.

May I ask you a question?
I read in the Koran that God sent Jesus, that He did not have an earthly father, and that God put His words in Jesus.
I know that the sign of a hypocrate is that when he speaks, he lies. If Jesus has God's Words in Him, He could not lie.
Do you believe that words of Jesus in our Bible to be true?

And I know that the Koran teaches that God could not have a son. I also do not believe that He could have a son as we understand 'son' in human terms. But I believe that God sent His Spirit to take on a body of human flesh so that God could speak to man.
I do not find the words of Jesus in the Koran. Therefore I ask if you believe the words of Jesus recorded in the Bible.