2016: Page 202

Page 202 was another day of weathering the storm that has taken up residence in my head.  Overall, it was a productive day but it was apparent by mid-afternoon that the weariness was setting in and shortly after that I knew that I had mentally “hit the wall”.  I began the day taking care of some things in the office and finishing up some details for my most recent book to become available on Amazon soon.  While it was still somewhat cool, I headed out to get some of the mowing done for the week and spent most of the morning on the seat of the mower.  Shortly before noon I had finished mowing most of the “up front” areas of the property.  Covered in dust and grass clippings, I stopped to take a break and drank several bottles of water — I guess it was a little dry out.  

As I enjoyed the cool, refreshing water, I began to work on the next week’s devotions in the “Devotions For Those Who Serve” series I have been working on.  This is a series I began early in the year and then it got set aside as I poured my writing time into the devotional journal, “Almost Heaven”.  A little over a week ago, I received an email from a camp director that is using the series and was about to start the last week that I had written but still had two weeks of camp left to go for the summer.  It was the first indication I had that anyone was actually using them, so I finished the next one in line last week and sent it to him and was able to send him another one today.  There are still three more that I have planned out for the series, so I will probably go ahead and try to get the series finished soon.

Today’s writing project was a booklet of 7 daily devotions using the theme “Serving By Listening”.  Throughout the early afternoon, I spent time with God writing out each day’s devotional questions, thoughts, and prayer points.  As I did so, God was also refining some of my material for a workshop I will lead later this month at the National Student Conference with the subject, “Developing a Lifestyle of Prayer Through Listening”.  One of the daily topics is about how we serve by listening when it comes to the matter of reconciliation.  Social media is a very good tool when used with wisdom and restraint.  However, I saw someone today describe the current atmosphere on most social media as an online version of road rage.  As I scan my social media newsfeeds, it is apparent that there are a lot of opinions and anger present but very little indication of listening taking place.  We feel safe when we can sit at a distance, critiquing others and condemning all who disagree with us.  Instead of listening to what is actually being said, we take everything as an attack on our position and we become defensive about everything.  As I was mowing today, I thought about something as simple as the current Pokemon Go craze and how defensive some friends of mine have gotten when they read anything that they take as speaking negatively about it.  I thought about it because I spent the morning mowing and bouncing over ruts where cars have driven through our lawn as the drivers try to capture different pokemon they believe are on our property.  In addition to the ruts, the trash they left behind needed picked up as well.  From my perspective, the problem isn’t the game but rather the lack of respect for private property that some of the players have.  When similar incidents are posted online, there is an entire list of people who, rather than listening to what is really being said, quickly become defensive and accuse those affected by disrespectful behavior of being negative and lumping all game players in a single negative category.  On the other hand, if we sit down together and listen to each other we just may discover that we agree about more than we would imagine.  Instead of being at odds with one another, when we listen we discover the beauty of reconciliation as we have a greater understanding of what each other really means by the words they use.

Once I had written the entire “Serving by Listening” devotional and posted it on my website, it was late afternoon and my mind had hit the end of its usefulness for the day.  Not only had my mind reached the overload stage for the day, it was late so I headed out to a 4 PM lunch before heading home to take a nap.  As I wrote today’s page, I thought about some storm photos that I took from the airplane when we flew to Florida a couple months ago.  The photo is a reminder that whatever storm I am going through, my view of it is different than the view from above.

I pray that you and I would be more deliberate in listening to God and to each other.  I pray that we would seek to listen when our human reaction is to become defensive.  I pray that we would turn to God in the midst of all of the storms we face in life, knowing that His perspective of them is more accurate and He has a view of our storms that sees them from beginning to end.

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