Deafening Silence: Cutting Through the Clutter of Noise

“Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.”

– Epictetus, philosopher 

Now that things are quieting down in my atmosphere, I realize how much turmoil I’d been stirring up in my own life just by being involved in – and caught up in – idle activity.  Classic case of the good thing vs. the God thing.  Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should do it.  I’m not called to be anyone’s savior; I must point them to The Savior.  I can’t want something for someone else more than they want it for themselves.  I heave a sigh of relief as I release the cares of the world that I never should’ve picked up in the first place. 

A glimpse into my prayer of realignment:

So I finally find myself alone in Your presence, Lord.  What comfort, what joy to return to the waiting arms of My Creator, the One Who understands me – and loves me still.  What great and necessary steps to take in preparation for ministering the song “With All My Heart” (“in this quiet place with You, I bow before Your throne…”).  A slight nod, a tip of the hat, and a wave of my hand was the most I could give you before uttering an exhausted “Thank You, Lord” that could scarcely be categorized as a prayer before tumbling into bed.  How that must grieve You when You ask for my best.  You gave Your best gift, so why should I not follow Your lead?  What a travesty that I haven’t made bowing or quiet before You my #1 priority.  Please forgive me Lord, I pray…

How do you spend your time?  It’s currency, you know!  Whether wisely invested or foolishly frittered away, time doesn’t stay – it goes.  The critical question is:  Where is your time going?  If you don’t know, can you really be considered an effective steward over this valuable commodity our Lord has entrusted to you?  If you do know and it went in a direction not guided by the Holy Spirit, but instead was influenced by worldly desires and fleshly lusts, repentance is in order.

How our time is spent directly correlates to and accurately reflects our heart’s true priorities.  Big time bandits and thieves include technological advances, cleverly disguised as conveniences or creature comforts (to name a few:  mindless TV-watching; unedifying movies; sensual music; flesh-gratifying games, hobbies, and pastimes; gossipy magazines; carnal websites; and leisurely activities) that capture your attention to divert it from time well-spent with Christ – communing, fellowshipping, and learning of Him, His character, His plan and will for your life, and His wisdom for you today.

I couldn’t hear God clearly through the distortion caused by a muddled multitude of voices competing for my undivided attention – quite impossible!  That’s what you call an unrealistic expectation. 🙂  So I had to silence some voices by shuttin’ ‘em down.  Serious business, because they were loud.  But my peace is priceless.  Getting off the dizzying, speeding merry-go-round, I’m finally regaining my equilibrium and balance.  Steady now!  Swooning and careening, I can’t believe how long I was “under the influence.”  But now I’m free and I see reality.  Please purge, purify, and cleanse me, Lord.  Make me white as snow.

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

(Psalm 46:10)

“… but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

(I Thessalonians 4:10b-12)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

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An Empty Present: A Post-Holiday Reflection

What an empty feeling to get the present you thought you wanted, only to discover that it doesn’t bring you fulfillment – or longer hair, whiter teeth, stronger muscles, a bigger bank account, greater prestige, or many of the empty promises we heard touted by advertisers in the weeks preceding the Christmas holidays.  Just reflect:  were your holidays celebrated as holy days?  Instead of resolving to do something you knew you wouldn’t do in the new year, did you consider asking God to show you what HE wanted from you in 2011?

I’ll be honest – I did overeat during the holidays a bit more than Weight Watchers would’ve allowed.  Nevertheless, I’m back on track, losing weight again (after several weeks of gaining!), being more disciplined, making healthier food choices, and getting back into my exercise routine.  But I’m grateful that I didn’t overspend.  Because I’ve been in that position before – and it hurts when the sparkle wears off.  Every action has a result.  The euphoria of having something shiny or new diminishes exponentially when you realize how much it’s going to cost you…every month…for several years.  And then you have to ask yourself:  was it worth it?

I believe there’s actually a correlation between overeating and overspending – in both instances, you think you don’t have to pay for it now.  But the big secret is this:  you will have to pay for it eventually!  And interest is mounting up significantly.  While excess fat that you don’t burn off accumulates on the hips (and other spots!), spending (or charging) what you don’t have today racks up credit card debt. 

By now, the bill cycles from Christmas decisions (and indecisions) are running and being delivered to mailboxes far and wide.  Though the specific day celebrated as Christmas has come and gone, it is still quite appropriate to ask your Creator for the right gift this year.  Troubled, anxious, worried, fretful?  What you really need is peace – that only comes from the Prince of Peace.  Puzzled, confused, wavering?  You need the Wonderful Counsellor.  Looking for direction and instruction?  The Mighty God and Everlasting Father will show you the way – for He is the Way.

Don’t bankrupt yourself – in the natural or in the spirit realm.  Nobody wants an empty present birthed out of an impulsive past that leads to a bleak future.  Choose life!  Make wise decisions!  Jesus is the Gift that keeps on giving…taste and see.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

(Isaiah 9:6-7)

 

“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

(II Corinthians 9:15)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Waiting in Line: An Opportunity to Practice Patience (and to be perfected)

Happy New Year to y’all in the blogosphere!  My new year is off to a great start – how about yours?  Thanks for reading; I look forward to another year of growth as we continue to mature and develop with the help of God’s Word.  Be abundantly blessed and stay encouraged! 🙂

Grateful to approach yet another birthday, I found myself at the DMV to renew my driver’s license earlier this month.  Unfortunately, the stereotypes about government offices held true during this visit; it ended up not being the most enjoyable way to spend my day off from work. However, it was necessary since I wanted to remain in good standing with the State.  In light of the fact that neither folding my arms, tapping my toes, rolling my eyes, nor sighing with visible exasperation would change my predicament, I prepared myself mentally for the imminent line.

So I waited outside.  In the cold.  Behind a young pregnant lady…and her icky cigarette smoke blowing into my face.  And I realized that being anxious wouldn’t speed things up one bit.  We finally got inside the door (with the heat) within 5 minutes.  I moved up a slot after the fresh-faced teenager (behind the pregnant lady) discovered she’d have to come back tomorrow.  Because of her place near the back of the line, she wasn’t guaranteed to be seated for the road test by 4:00 p.m. – which of course, was a requirement.  It was 3:15 p.m.  I could tell this was gonna take a while…with the “standing room only” area obviously near capacity, the line inside the building wound its way through several velvet ropes.  This was like hanging around a club I didn’t want to pay a cover charge to enter…

By the time I’d reached the front of the line, I’d served as the Unofficial Southern Welcome Wagon to a nice lady who’d recently moved here from Wisconsin.  If I must pass the time, at least I can be kind to someone, right?  I even held up my mirror for the pregnant lady while she put on eye shadow for her impending “photo opportunity.”  She put more effort into her glam look than I put into my own; I was ready to get outta that cramped place that looked like it was stuck in the 80s!

At 4:05 p.m., a matter-of-fact DMV employee announced to those still in line that there were no guarantees they’d get a terminal for the computer test today (do we see a theme here?)…so I guess it’s “wait at your own risk?”  At least by then, I was out of the dreadful line and seated behind the counter amongst strangers who looked more annoyed than I felt.

Anyhoo, as steady progress was made – hallelujah! – my number was finally called!  I didn’t have to use corrective lenses to pass the sign test…bless the Lord for the wonders of LASIK surgery!  And my hair looked great since my sister had just given me new highlights for my birthday gift.  I’m thinking my picture will look pretty decent for someone who’s been on the planet over 3 decades!  But I’d have to wait to see it since it the official copy had to be mailed to me…yes, more waiting.  I folded the temporary paper I’d have to retain as my proof of certification to operate a motor vehicle and added it to my wallet.  I was glad to be on my way before 5:00 p.m.  It hadn’t been so bad after all. 

Funny how time changes so many things.  I am grateful for another year of life – truly, time is in God’s hands.  Come to think of it, I’m very appreciative for His patience with me.  How are you practicing patience this year?

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”

(Psalm 40:1-3)

 

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”

(II Thessalonians 3:5) 

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart