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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Day 1: It's Not About Me

I have to tell you first...before I tell you my answer to the question it asked...after reading just the first four pages of this book, I wanted to flip ahead and keep reading...just like the book said I couldn't do. From what I've read in the Bible, they meditated on the Word. If in 40 days I'm going to be transformed into a more beautiful creation for God with a sweeter smell, I'm all for it.

When I was younger I thought that my purpose in life would be determined by the gifts and talents that I was given by the Holy Spirit. Well, that probably would have been all well and good if I'd stayed on the straight and narrow path. Needless to say, I took an easier route and now I'm making my way back to the path that I should have been on all along.

Question to Consider: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

The pastor at the church I've been going to has mentioned several times that it's very important to be happy with what you have. Of course it can make you go in to debt, but also, I think that you can spend too much time obsessing over getting something better than what you have especially if there is nothing wrong with what you already have. That wasted time could be spent on better finding out why on earth we are here!

I spent almost two years in college studying advertising. All advertising is designed to stimulate a desire, even where no desire exists. By knowing that, I am able to remind myself that there are people with the knowledge that when you people have a rule (commandment) they are trying to follow, some can be persuaded to break that rule (covet what their neighbor has). They know there are also those that have no values and rules that they abide by and can be easily persuaded by the lure of being someone that is envied. You figure your price by what would appeal to both of those markets and you've got a winning product.

Another way of reminding myself, is sitting down and really thinking about my priorities, which I've been working on rearranging anyway. God is my first priority. Because I'm only human, He does drop to second and third on my list occassionally, but then He reminds me that He can do ANYTHING. Even what I think is impossible. If I could somehow learn how to keep Him in that number one spot without even having to think about it, I would probably have fewer episodes of where I panic and start thinking "what am I going to do?!"

Being encouraged daily by others who are also living for God helps us keep our focus. I've found out this week that Satan can be very creative with his attacks and we have to prepare ourselves for anything. To me it's kind of like yoga for your spirit. You can't start on the first day by standing on your head without the support of a wall. For me, if I was to try to stand on my head the first day even with a wall, I would only end up injuring myself and having to put off practicing for a while. I went for two days without really being encouraged by anyone and was too easily distracted from God who could have saved me some grief.

We have become a soceity that is too impulsive with every aspect of our life. The art of patience is something that is seen as "neglecting ourselves". Maybe by trying to be more patient, we will realize that life can be so much more rewarding when it's not about us. We truly can hurt ourselves when we aren't patient. Instead of spending an extra 30 minutes preparing a healthy meal, we go to a fast food restaurant. Instead of waiting till we can afford a better car or home, we put ourselves into debt.

I will be reminding myself that there are forces working against me that would like to put my focus on myself and what I want. When I quit thinking about what would make "me" feel better and focus on my list of priorities where God is number one and I am number two, He makes me feel better and it is so much more rewarding.


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