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Tag: problems

Atlas Holding up the Heavens

Releasing the Weight of the World

Atlas holding up the heavens

We’ve seen the sculpture of a man bent under the weight up a massive round sphere. Atlas is a mythical Greek titan, who after losing a rebellion against Zeus, was forced to hold up the heavens for all eternity. I can’t even hold a ten-pound weight above my head for more than two minutes before my arms start to shake uncontrollably.

Are we like Atlas, trying to hold up the world?

Are we being crushed under the weight that is too heavy for us to bear? Do we hold onto false guilt believing we should do more, try harder, handle circumstances that are beyond our control? I’m guilty. I’ve woken up more times than I can count stressing about one thing or another, striving to work out solutions to problems even in my sleep. How often do I let my problems affect my sleep and my mood? Not only do I let the weight of the sphere I carry burden me, but I also let it spill over onto those around me like my family or co-workers. They automatically know to “make scarce” when mom’s upset.

Here I am a mere mortal trying to carry the globe when I have a Heavenly Father who created the entire universe. How quickly do I forget the times God has seen us, though?

I can try to take some comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one. Not long after God performed the miracle of parting the Red Sea to help the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt, the Israelites complained about not having any food to eat. I can imagine God shaking his head, saying, “Do you truly believe I would save you from slavery only to have you starve to death in the desert?” So, God provided them with manna to eat that rained from heaven each night. Next, the Israelites feared they’d not have enough to drink, and God pulled through by telling Moses to hit a rock with a stick and water gushed out. You’d think that would shut them up and they’d learn to trust God, but soon the whining started that manna was getting boring. God provided them with enough quail until it was coming out of their noses.

What does it take to get us to trust that God is going to handle the problem? Can’t we learn vicariously through the Israelites, or do we need quail to come out of our noses to finally believe God’s got this?

World in his hand

Whether it’s paying bills, finding a spouse, getting another job, or fighting for a lost family member, wouldn’t it be nice to take our heavy ball and say “catch” to God? We can then relax in His peace, knowing it’s the size of a pebble in His caring, responsible hands—the same hands that placed the stars in the sky and scooped out the oceans.

God is faithful to see us through. Like the song goes – He’s got the whole world in His hands – so why are we still trying to carry the burden of it?

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Road Block or Toll Booth?

Avoiding potential disaster is not how my husband likes spending his holiday. However, this past Memorial Day, instead of BBQing, he reverted into crisis prevention mode because the main hard-drive of our company’s server decided to stop working. If it wasn’t back up and running for the following morning, we’d have an entire staff with nothing to do without a computer or internet. The IT company we pay to help us in crisis told us they were on vacation and good luck getting a hard drive on a holiday. Thankfully, a good friend who happens to work in IT stepped in and saved the day, for which we are very grateful.

Roadblock or Tollbooth?

Toll Booth

Tim Elmore, the author of Habitudessays we have to decide whether we let our problems be roadblocks or toll booths. When we run into a roadblock, we’re stuck. Our problem either makes us immobile or sends us back to the way we came. When we see our problems as toll booths, we pay the price and move past them to keep going.

Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”

Dwelling on our problems keeps us stuck. God doesn’t want us not to ignore our issues, but He doesn’t want our issues to keep us trapped. We will fall, but Proverbs says we should dust ourselves off and keep going. Pay the consequence and move forward. Expect adversity so you’ll be ready to overcome and move past it.

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Buffalo in field

Be a Buffalo

Niagara FallsWith a wide-stance, I braced myself against the reeling of the boat. Drenched to the bone, I held my camera out to capture the splendor of Niagara Falls. The Maid of the Mist is a misnomer. It should be called the Maid of the Torrential Downpour. No matter what the name, the vast expanse of the falls is impressive and well worth visiting.

600,000 gallons per second of water cascade over just the Horseshoe Falls alone. The speed of the falling water can reach 68mph and the rapids below up to 30mph.  The Maid of the Mist’s engines revved and fought against the strong current to provide us with an up-close view of this natural wonder.

While in Buffalo, NY right near Niagara, I was told the difference between the cow Buffalo in fieldand the buffalo. When a cow senses a storm approaching, it runs away from the direction of the storm. The problem with cows is that they aren’t faster than the storms. They struggle through the wind and the rain as they try to outrun it. In doing so, they actually end up running alongside the storm prolonging their wet misery. Buffalo, on the other hand, wait for the storm to arrive then turn and charge into the tempest. Somehow the buffalo seem to understand that by heading into the storm they can minimize its duration and suffering.

Are you a cow or a buffalo?

I admit. I don’t like conflict. Not many people do. Which is often why individuals with debt problems ignore bills as they pile up. Calls to problem customers who need extra hand-holding get pushed off until later. And, why working spouses stay longer at the office instead of coming home to work out marital problems. One thing I have learned is that facing difficult issues is more effective than running from them. Just like the cow can’t outrun the storm, undealt with problems will also track you down usually increasing in strength as they fester.

So how can we be a buffalo and not a cow?

  • Acknowledge there is a problem. Is there something that you’re avoiding? A subject you’re extra defensive or sensitive about? Something that causes you discomfort or pain. Usually, that is a sign of an underlying problem.
  • Accept that God is bigger than your pain. Pray about the problem. Know that ultimately God is in control and trust he is looking out for your best interests
  • Address the problem. Communication is key. It is a crucial part of the healing process for both parties. Open up about the hurt and pain. However, be careful not to let your emotions rule you. If you need to go back and pray more until you can take a calmer position than do so but don’t use it as an excuse to continue avoiding the issue.
  • Adapt to the outcome. Sometimes the storm may batter us, but remember facing it will get us through it faster. God uses trials to develop our character. He is growing us as a person and making us more into his likeness.
  • Appreciate the transformation. Storms may cause some damage, but they also bring a much-needed change, e., cooler or warmer weather. Don’t focus on the aftermath, concentrate on what you learned and how you are stronger for it.

Always remember, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

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Blip on a radar

A Blip on the Radar

I moved my senior year of high school to a new state. Not the ideal time to move. Seniors are not really looking to make new friends when they’re on the cusp of Blip on a radarspreading their wings and leaving the nest. It was a tough year for me. At graduation, I turned to the person seated on my right and then to the one on my left and introduced myself. Yet, if I hadn’t moved, I never would have met my husband. I also wouldn’t have learned how to “put myself out there” so to speak.

When faced with climbing a tall mountain or attempting to claw your way out of a deep pit, all you see is the obstacle of you, but if you pan out the hurdle becomes smaller and smaller. If I had one piece of advice for my boys, it’s that this moment is barely a blip on the radar. To a young teen, a breakup may seem like it’s the end Do you like me note. Check yes or no.of the world. Younger me still remembers the anguish of a crush, but older me can’t even remember the boy’s name. In the span of my life, high school breakups and a year at a new school wasn’t a disaster of epic proportions. It was more like a hard workout where muscle gets broken down. You’re sore for a couple days, but when the muscle rebuilds it comes back stronger and better defined.

Difficult situations refine you.

You learn a lot about who you are and who you aren’t so that you can boldly stand your ground with confidence.  Problems seem overwhelming, like a tidal wave that not only knocks you down but destroys the path behind you and the way in front. You may feel broken and lost but when the waters recede a clear route will reveal itself.

However, it may not be the path you intended to take. I didn’t apply for a single college in the state of Massachusetts. I wanted out as fast as I could graduate. But then, one of my few high school friends introduced me to a handsome guy with big entrepreneurial plans who drove a rusty T-bird, and I later married him. Now, I wouldn’t go back to change a single moment.

Despite how things may appear, God has a plan for you, and it will be better than anything you could have arranged yourself.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

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