Monthly Archives: February 2015

Sharing a sunset. Enjoying the presence of God.


by Lydia Floren

“Solitude is not withdrawal in order to get away.  It is withdrawal in order to be with Someone who normally gets crowded out of our lives…. it is the place of love and trust.  It therefore puts presence before action and seeks companionship before help.”   (Charles Rigma)

So many times when I am alone with God,  I have an agenda.  I might want perspective, or wisdom, or direction, or healing of some sort.  But I think much of that time with HIm  would be better spent not seeking anything, except to just hang out with Him.  No agenda. No words, really. Just two friends relishing a companionable silence—aware of each other, but not expecting from each other.  We have an understanding: I enjoy His presence, and He enjoys mine.  

I liken it to sitting with a close friend at the beach watching a sunset.   Though no words are exchanged, the  connectedness is almost palpable.  And the silence between us seems to magnify the beauty surrounding us.

In Heaven, I expect God and I will share many such quiet moments, enjoying the sweep of a mountain vista, the trill of a child’s laugh. Or the velvet touch of a horse’s nuzzle, or the fragrance of a rose in bloom.  But those experiences will pale compared to the stunning beauty of God Himself. His integrity. His wisdom. His vitality. His strength. His gentleness.

heaven is a ways off, thought, and there is much yet to do in this life. People to help.  Commitments to keep.  Plans to make, and then to follow.

There is a journey.  And I am on it. 

However, I must remember: part of that journey includes tasting a bit of heaven from time to time.  It is dangling my legs over a seawall with a Good Friend, watching the horizon together in companionable silence.  It is enjoying My Creator’s presence, not for what I can learn from Him, or for what He can do for me—but simply because He is there, and I love Him, and He loves me. 

And because it is just nice to share a sunset together.

Share with us: How do you find the time to enjoy God’s company?



Recent posts – Time Management Series: Taking Aim: Goal Series – Part IBeginning With The End In Mind: Goal Series – Part II, The Right Things For The Right Reasons: Goal Series – Part III

The Right Things For The Right Reasons: Goals series part 3

by Lydia Floren

Can we learn to be free from our performance-based roots, and still be “in the game” of life? Yes. Paul advised this:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

Transformation of the way we think is crucial to following God. First this involves a change of focus, as we discussed in the last two blogs on goals. Instead of adopting our culture’s definition of “success,” we must embrace  the more compelling goal to “make love our aim.” When we focus on things that matter for eternity, our “success” has far-reaching consequences.

Every believer has at one time or another done this, at least for awhile. But it is easy to slip back into old performance-based habits, and just call them by a different name.

For example, we decide to follow Christ. We have a revelation, a turning. We have come to accept that not only is God real, but He truly rewards those who genuinely seek Him. But somewhere along the way, we have lost the vibrancy of those first days of faith, and we are back to the grind. It might be a different grind, but grind it is. Instead of sharing our faith or time, or money, or energy because we have been led by God to do so, we do so out of duty, guilt, or fear. Or if we don’t do these things we feel guilty because we “aren’t doing more.” We find ourselves in a different kind of competition, with a different kind of goal– to be a professional Christian—The Best. And if we are honest with ourselves, we do it to remain a “member in good standing” with whatever Christian community to whom we might be attached.

We are not alone in this. Since the first generation of believers, people have succumbed to the temptation to take matters back into their own hands, and revert to rules and regulations instead of being guided by God. This is what Paul referred to in the first part of 1 Corinthians 13: “I can speak with the tongue of men and angels,” Paul says, “but if I have not love, I am nothing.”

We must choose to remain free
We must vigilantly guard our freedom in Christ, and resist the temptation to reduce a life of following God to a set of rules. God simply doesn’t work that way. He is consistent in His character but unpredictable in his methods. We must remain committed to Him first, not bound to a standard or a norm, or we slide into the pit of shoulds and coulds all over again.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Share with us: How are you choosing to remain free? We would love to hear from you.

Recent posts: Beginning With The End In Mind: Goal Series – Part IITaking Aim: Goal Series – Part I,

Beginning With The End In Mind: Goal Series- Part 2

by Lydia Floren

We have three sons, who all played sports at various stages while growing up, and we quickly learned that youth sports were not only competitive for children, but even more so for parents. When our son made a great play, we would get more high fives from other parents in the stands than our kids would from their teammates. When there was a victory, there was as much or more cheering on the sidelines as there was on the field. (Of course at the early stages, the main reason the players were cheering at the end of the game is because it was time for treats! Aaaah! Those were the days!)

So how does a parent cope with the temptation to be drawn into this ultra-competitive environment? And how does one then teach their child to keep things in perspective? Well, I could write a whole book on this (I made many mistakes) but a couple questions really helped me keep my feet on the ground through the whole kids-in-sports thing:

“Is my child likely to be in a professional athlete?”
“Does he have that drive, that desire, and that amount of natural talent?
“Is that the way I see God leading him?”

I asked myself these question repeatedly over the years, and my answer was invariably “no.” (Sorry, guys.) If most kids aren’t destined for ESPN highlights, the next question is obvious:

“Why should kids even participate in organized sports?”

  • What was the goal, the aim of that activity?
  • If it wasn’t to get him a scholarship to a Division I school on the way to a pro contract deal with commercials, what was and is the point?

Unfortunately for many of us parents, the answer might be more about us than about them. Be honest, sideliners. At some point or some level we have all enjoyed basking in the glow of our kids’ successes, not because of what it says about them, but what it says about us: “you must be a good parent because your kid is a great sportsman.” (How warped is that?)

There are many good reasons for enrolling your kids in organized sports that have nothing to do with grooming them for a professional career. (Years later I continue to see, long after their playing days were over, the great things my sons still carry with them from their playing days.) Here are a few great reasons to have a child in organized sports: physical fitness, learning how to be a team member, being a part of a group, learning discipline, hard work, excellence, selflessness, honesty, restraint, self-esteem, working with good and bad coaches [translate bosses].

Organized sports teach kids how to lose, to win, to encourage, to stay positive, to be consistent, to do the job you have been assigned, to lead, to follow. I could go on. None of these things in any way requires that your child be a standout performer on the fast-track to the pros. In fact, having that star distinction can hamper him/her from gleaning many of these benefits.

What is success?
I am getting to a point here. What is success? Making a bunch of money and having a body that doesn’t work well for the last half of your life? Risking life-altering injury for a few moments of glory? Spending all your college days on the field or in the pool instead of exploring your many other interests and abilities?

How does God view success? What would he consider a worthy aim in life? Jesus was quite clear on this point:

“Love the Lord your god with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.”

Or as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 14:1:

“Make love your aim.”

Now that is a goal worth aiming for.

Share with us: How do you decide and review goals? We would love to hear from you.

Recent posts: Taking Aim: Goal Series – Part IA Note In Your Lunchbox, To Be, To-Do To Be