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It is up to us

I have days when it seems like I can accomplish just about anything, and others where it seems like there is nothing getting done. Interruptions seem to rob my planned activities and replace them with those that were unplanned. The harder you seem to work at something (especially those things that are a little harder to accomplish in the first place), the more difficult it seems to become. You never seem to "catch up", never seem to fully "grasp" the goal - making it harder and harder to get to the desired end. In the end, you just stand there in total frustration, more in a muddle than you were when you first began. Just as quickly as we started, we find ourselves out of energy to continue the journey toward that goal! We stop short of the goal - never really crossing the finish line. What a waste, huh? Or is it? We all need reminders from time to time to stay focused even when there are things that aren't going so well for us. 

You know by now that I like the writings of the Apostle Paul - I seem to associate with his heart, I guess. His honesty is what always draws me to his words - the struggles, the questions, and then his simple trust. One of my favorite passages: "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." (Philippians 3:12-14) He hasn't "arrived" - and neither have we! He is open about the struggle (the strain) it takes to reach the goal set out before us - it could be a spiritual, emotional, physical, or even a financial goal. He isn't the "expert", but he knows the voice of his God beckoning him onward. Here we find the point of most of our failure - in our hearing of God's voice beckoning us onward, telling us not to forsake the goal. We all struggle with the "stretch" once in a while, but sometimes we struggle more than others - either because we hear and don't respond, or because we just refuse to hear.

So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it. (Philippians 3:15-16)

Anything less than total commitment really is not commitment! Commitment suggests engagement - active participation, purposeful movement, active listening. Anything less is really "dis-engagement". Paul's reminder to us is of the need for total engagement. Throughout scripture, we see accounts of many who start well, then get off-course along the way, heading down some path that just doesn't make any sense. Why? It usually begins in the "listening" deep within their hearts and minds. We "hear" a lot of stuff, BUT what we "listen to" is what affects us the deepest. I have shared many times - listening is an action, not a passive process. Listening is indeed engagement. It makes no sense to hear clear direction and then ignore it, right? Yet, we do! We read God's Word, become acquainted with God's will for us, then just go on without ever "conforming" to his will - all the while wondering why we aren't making any progress toward that goal. It is all a matter of focus - the clearer our focus, the easier it is to stay on track. It is God who gives us clarity - it is up to us what we do with the clarity we receive! Just sayin!

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