Article By: Curtis Beaird
Photography By: Norma W. Beaird
I kinda thought I would think on, muse on, wonder about and listen to my yesterdays and see what they had to say to me.
So, here goes…...
1. Life is about falling down and getting up. It is about fouling up and waking up. It is about fast starts, slow starts, false starts, re-starts and do-overs.
2. Our greatest privilege: The opportunity to confess, repent, receive forgiveness and begin again and again and again. Guilt is a painful reminder that we are not in charge. Follow the trail of guilt through the veil of tears and it will lead us to grace, forgiveness and the next second chance. Confession, as they say, is good for the soul. It sets us free to fly.
3. Life is about showing up. Someone, who knows who, said,
"Ninety percent of success is little more than showing up." It's about asking, seeking, knocking. Lean on the gate just a little and it will open. If it doesn't, it is either not a gate, could be a wall, or it is not your gate to lean on. Pick the next one and lean on it.
Thankfully, our life will see more than one gate. Those that are ours will open.
Show up and lean into it.
4. Jump and the net will appear. Give up on security. Security is an illusion. Time and chance happens to everyone. At least the writer of Ecclesiastes thought so. Living life on the fly is the way life is lived. A living faith has wings.
5. If you do look for security, try God. We don't know how anything is going to turn out, except where God is concerned. Fear is useless. Risk invigorates. Love grounds us. Loving God gives us our only solid place to stand. Go ahead and take a chance. Do a half gainer off the high board right smack into the middle of tomorrow. Go for it.
6. Dwelling on the past will turn you into a pillar of salt. Losing yourself in woulda, shoulda or coulda, means just that, losing yourself. It will stop you cold. It will reduce your soul to a mush of misgivings, doubts, and a long string of tiresome second guesses and self-castigation. That, when it is not exhausting, is boring. “Forgetting those things which have gone before, I press on…” A bad memory can serve our future well.
7. Use depression wisely. Surprise, surprise. In the economy of God, even depression has its purposes. The Bible talks about the "treasures of darkness”. Obviously, you have to go there to find those treasures. Never fear things out of our control. Things in our control that we manage poorly; or plain fatigue, will now and then plop us down in the middle of the valley of the shadow.
Isaiah 45: 2 - 3
2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
A couple of questions. Will we be like the Psalmist and walk through the valley fearing no evil? Will we squint just a little and see through that scowling evil and find the greatest treasure in that dank darkness, that "Thou art with me”? (Psalm 23)
Makes no difference what the dark feels like. While there, we may feel like a whipped pup or an abandoned child. We may feel lost, a loser, confused….. ..or just not care. Not caring can be the worst. It is then that we are willing to lose ourselves for nothing.
Thankfully, feelings are just feelings. In the extreme, except in the case of love, they seldom define the way things are. As far as the valley of the shadow is concerned, our fearful feelings never tell us the truth. The truth is.......God is there. We are not alone.
The dark is real. Evil is our threat. Our feelings distract us from finding the treasure.
“Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. My cup runs over."
All of that and more while we are deep in the valley of the shadow.
Go ahead and take a step. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Use depression wisely. It can lead you to the treasures of darkness. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And, I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
8. We lose in order to find. Oops, I fumbled the ball. Oops, I don't have the ball any more. I lost it. Good. Now you have a chance to seek and find what was intended for you all along…...your very own life. "If you lose your life for my sake you shall find it." Oops, I fumbled the ball. Good. Another chance.
9. We can’t get it right, but we can try again. Faith includes trial and error, a good bit of experimentation and a dollop of adventure. Noah's ark building, Abraham's leave-taking, Moses’ fire-watching and voice-hearing all involved faith. Remember Moses? Following a massive foul-up in the small matter of the killing of an Egyptian, he found himself on the backside of Median turning aside to see a bush that burned and was not consumed.
While staring at the flames and the bush that wouldn't go away, a voice was heard. "Moses!" Unmistakable, loud and clear, it was his name. The specifics of his calling followed. His excuses followed the call. Faith took over. And, Moses in shorter order than he ever intended, ever expected or even wanted, was on his way to trying again.
Getting it right must not be the requirement. Trying must be the expectation. The calling moves us to it. The calling frees us for it. Try again.
10. Well, like I said at the top of the page, best I can tell, life is about falling down and getting up. It is about messing up and waking up. It is about fast starts, slow starts, false starts, re-starts and do-overs.
Thankfully, it ain't ever finished. It's better than you expected and can and usually will become something other than what you planned.
Life is not a problem to be solved. Life is intended to be lived.
Living is about forgetting about the pot of gold and falling in love with the rainbow. God is good.
11. There is no way to get ahead or fall behind. Plans are great until they change or get wrecked.
In the economy of God, wrecked plans fit in.
At least Paul thought so. "All things work together for good..." Plans have a way of ending abruptly and permanently. We don't need a nip, a tuck or a plan. We need a faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. We need the faith that is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith alive replaces strategic certainty with the risk of forward movement. Try.
Romans 8:28 (King James Version)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Philippians 3: 13 - 14 (King James Version)
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Copyright 2012, Curtis Beaird. All rights reserved.