Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Love and Sovereignty and the gift of Time

I would really like to manage a weekly entry, consistently, but then summer comes, school's out (I have a minor at home) and company comes to stay. So with the house quiet again and with time on my hands (albeit at midnight!) I can take a moment to talk about time and our relationships. To write now, when I've been silent for over 2 months, is a pleasure I've missed.  To this group of readers, please accept my apologies.  I hope time has been kind to you over these weeks.

Someone once encouraged me to make time my friend.  But I'd heard that 'time marches on', and so I lived as though it would run out. Now I realize, though it may march with or without me in step, it really can be, on some occasions, a friendly soldier.  Sometimes when you're working and 'in a groove' it feels like time is standing still.  There have been some days when I've looked up after what seemed like hours of hard slog on the computer to discover that only 90 minutes had passed and my work was accomplished!  These were days when I ignored distractions, prayed before starting, and hummed along as though no one else existed on the planet.  It's a nice sense of accomplishment when I've had a day like that, when I've been able to have a day like that.

But days like that are the exception. More often, time is filled with distraction, any kind of distraction. There are the daily duties, family needs and friendly phone calls (or sometimes the untimely, uninvited 'cold' sales calls). These distractions are external.  But worse I think are the internal distractions - worries, fears. Perhaps the worst of these are the relational anxieties: thoughts about someone ill or aggrieved.  Don't our minds like to drift to negativity: what if they're displeased with us! Or if we think they're unhappy with us, our thoughts about them or more specifically our relationship with them interrupt our minds and our work. Why? Because we love them. And perhaps more often because we fear they don't love us, or won't love us any longer. Worry doesn't change anything, but for many it's a part of life.

We all need love. Time won't change that.  It's in our DNA. But our attitude to ourselves and others can be changed so that we don't live in fear - fear that we will lose a friend or fear that we ever had that friend in the first place. If we worry that we've done something wrong to them or they to us, we don't have to dwell. Instead we can shift our perspective, and look out and look up, so that the time for fear can end.

"The sovereignty of God implies that He rules the universe and that nothing occurs on earth outside of God's permission or awareness. No event happens without His foreknowledge and His assent to it happening. Everything that takes place occurs in His wisdom and for His ultimate purpose, for His glory and for His goodness. If not, then God would not be God."*

If we're worried about a relationship, it can work it for good that it's on our mind.  What do we need to do or to say, to improve the relationship, to deepen mutual understanding or to transform it completely? If our mind is taken from something we think is important to someone whom we know is important, it needn't be a waste of time. We can allow it to catapult us into action, toward building better relationships with others and stronger character within ourselves.

When we recognize God's authority and handiwork in our lives, it frees us. To know all events, relationships and circumstances are inevitable and are for our ultimate good, helps us to appreciate our time and trust our relationships. Life is full of events, distractions, relationships, conflicts, but when we see them within the hands of a noble and loving God, we can rest assured even the distractions are part of the plan for our lives. It gives us peace to know our time and relationships are in His hands.  Being truthful, being loving keeps us on track, soldiering on in this journey called life.

Happy days!

* Excerpt taken from: FREE TO BE: Defeating Insecurity, Transforming Relationships, Building Character, Essence Publishing 2012, by yours truly.

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