2017: Page 321

Page 321 has been a day filled with conversations about prayer, about listening to God, about being the person God intended, and about using God’s gifting as effectively as possible.  One of the things about representing the prayer ministry at a conference such as the one I am at, is that I tend to use up my word allotment for at least a month all in a day’s time.  Multiply that times several days of the conference and I will have talked more in a few days that I usually do over a long period of time. 🙂

No new photos taken today, so the photo on today’s page is one from my walk yesterday morning.  As I walked along the river, I loved the view of the riverboat with the twin steeples in the background.  It made me think of how we often look back on time periods that have passed, particularly time periods we didn’t live in, and view them in a more positive light than those living in them probably did.  It is easy to long for the “good old days” when our only memory is stories of a simpler life with less complications rather than stories of hardship and the incredible amount of work required to do just about anything.  The fun part of having conversations at a missionary convention is that I get to hear stories of struggles that God lifted people through in order to accomplish His work through them.  Sometimes we are afraid to tell of the hardship we experience or we don’t know how to tell it without sounding very negative, so we inadvertently give the impression that the journey of our life with Christ has been smooth sailing.  While Christ does smooth out the rough patches of life, to act like they don’t exist can end up causing a crisis of faith in the lives of people who experience tough times and think their must be something wrong with them because everyone else’s life is great.  The solution is what I call, “Tell your story and give God the credit”.  When you are able to share your story in a way that gives God the credit for carrying you through the hardships of life, you are able to encourage others who need to know that hardships are not unique to them and God has the power, ability, and willingness to carry them as well.

As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:

  • When I am able to do what God has called me, gifted me, and created me to do, it brings me great peace even when it carries me far outside my comfort zone.
  • Given the right subject and setting, I talk a lot for someone who walked away from a speech class because I couldn’t imagine having to give multiple speeches in front of a class during the semester.
  • The “good old days” are often only “good old days” in our mind.  
  • When we talk about the negative parts of life in the right context and for the right reason, the conversation becomes positive rather than negative.
  • Most of the difference between a positive conversation and a negative one has to do with our attitude and motives rather than the actual subject.
  • Hearing stories of hardship that include “but God was with me”, helps me to know that God can be with me in the midst of hardship also.
  • Each of us have a life story that I’m guessing includes good things, not so good things, and even bad things.  When we tell our story including all of those things but also make it clear how God was or is using each of them, we encourage others to consider how God uses all things to create a beautiful story in their life.
  • Standing and walking on concrete all day makes for some tired feet and knees.

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