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Sunday, September 25, 2016

A moment to pause

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first.  (Philippians 2:3-4 VOICE)
We let a whole lot of things interfere with our relationships, don't we? Truth be told, most of us don't even know all the things we have tolerated that just aren't doing much to build us up, create cohesiveness in the relationship, or give us much of a foundation upon which to weather the worst of storms together. It isn't as though we set out to be selfish and prideful, but it is as though the world has an agenda for us that somehow twists our focus away from the important stuff in life and puts it squarely on the stuff some will definitely see as selfish and a little too much based in pride. We have to stop occasionally to really evaluate what we are keeping squarely in our sites and then refocus when we see we have not been focused as we should be.
Agendas have a way of getting filled by the loudest, most obnoxious things - don't they? The laundry is piling up, the dishes need to be done, the carpet has stains from where someone dribbled their cup of coffee, and the bathrooms just don't clean themselves! It is quite possible we see all of these things as very practical work we all need to do on a fairly regular basis, right? We all want to wear clean clothes! We can only substitute paper plates for so long - eventually we will need the pot to make the next meal! So, how is it these things could ever be something that takes us away from relationship? Easy - if we make the job the focus we are allowing the job to set the agenda. If we make the relationships we have within that home to be the focus, the jobs will get done, but the relationships will be built, as well.
In the blink of an eye a plane fell from the sky last night just one mile from my home. The house it crashed into went up in a fire ball quicker than anyone could have imagined. The people on board the plane were all skydivers, so they were prepared to jump, but those in the house - were they prepared for this sudden change in their agenda? I kind of doubt it! Even the skydivers and pilot of the small plane didn't expect the change in agenda! What could have been catastrophic for a great many people actually was quickly addressed by multiple fire and rescue agencies responding to this "sudden change in agenda". We just never know how life will change when we are so laser focused on one agenda or another. Relationships could have been changed forever last night, but fortunately for everyone concerned, it was reported all made it to safety.
We have a natural "inborn" tendency to protect what is ours - it is like we become mother hens just brooding over what we see as ours - our responsibilities, our dreams, our mission in life. We forget totally that others play a pretty significant part in "our responsibilities", "our dreams" and "our mission in life". We don't do this alone - you have heard me say that before. We live life in community and it seems to me there are things which just naturally oppose us being all that "communal" in our focus. We get all wrapped up in what matters most to us at the moment and forget about all the others God has placed in our path. It might just be time to refocus our attention to the things that matter in relationship. That may be a little time spent building a Lego castle with your grandson, or filling the bird feeder and sitting on the patio at night just watching the birds come and go with your loved one. Life doesn't have to always be "filled" with the complexity we call "living" these days. Sometimes it just needs to be filled with the laughter and tears of being real with each other in those moments of pause we take to really focus on what matters. Just sayin!