Category Archives: Living grace

Distraction Detours

Two directional signs in the woods.by Lydia Floren

We all get distracted from time to time, especially those of us with ADD. Here is an example of what I call a “distraction detour” from my life recently:

I am finishing a task in the kitchen before I head out to run errands, and realize I need something from upstairs, so I run up to get it.  I walk into the spare bedroom, and immediately notice that it is a mess. I pick up a book and put it on its shelf. And then I rearrange the shelf a little. And before I know it I have completely organized the room.

And then I look at the clock.

 Two hours. I’ve been up here two hours. How in the world did I get started on this?  Oh yeah, I came up here looking for something…what exactly was I looking for?

I shrug my shoulders, and hurry back down to the kitchen.  As I enter, my eyes fall on a T.J. Max bag sitting on the counter. Oh yeah, the baby shower gift. That’s why I went upstairs: I needed a gift bag.   I turn around and climb back up the stairs muttering “gift bag, gift bag, gift bag” with every step, so I won’t forget why I came upstairs this time, and end up getting side-tracked all over again.

Sigh. Distractions happen. And occasionally–more for some of us than others– they sidetrack us. An unplanned two hour detour in a busy day, shoots a hole in our careful plans, and keeps us from accomplishing as much as we had hoped.  But we don’t have to let these DD’s ruin our day.   When my day is disrupted by a Distraction Detour, I get frustrated with myself for letting it happen. All too often, I will continue ranting at myself for the rest of the day every time I think about it.

What is wrong with you? Can’t you even go upstairs and find a stupid gift bag in under two hours?  Look at the time! Even if I hurry the rest of the day, I’ll never get everything done now!

Distraction detours impact our plans, but they don’t have to steal our joy.

So what’s a person to do when you recognize you have a DD?  And how do you keep a Detour from turning into a Disaster? Here’s a few things I have learned in my long experience with DD’s:

PUSH THE RESET BUTTON.

As soon as you realize what is happening, stop.  Take a deep breath. Give thanks. As my friend Denise often reminds me, “There is always always always something to be thankful for.”  Next, walk through the rest of the GRACE pneumonic we’ve talked about before (see Living GRACE)—Give thanks, Release, Accept, Continue, Enjoy.

Give thanks. Thank You, God, for my mind, no matter how scattered it gets. For Your love and patience, for the way You made me. Thank You that You multiply my time, and will help me to do what is most important without worrying. And thank you for what I got done these last 2 hours, even if it wasn’t on today’s to do list.

Release. I give all my time to you, and all my plans. I release myself from the expectation of perfection.   Please show me how to give myself grace, and lighten up a little (or a lot). And help me to quit “shoulding on myself.

Accept. Here’s where I am now, Father. It’s __o’clock. I have ___ hrs left in the day.  As I regroup, show me what is most important. Help me to eliminate and concentrate.  

[You might make a short to-do list, 3-5 things, depending on how much time is left.]

Continue.  Start out fresh, right where you are, as if it was the beginning of the day,

Enjoy  the rest of the day, free of worry and minus the self-guilt trip. God understands, and he loves us just like we are. So lighten up.  Laugh a little, and then a lot.

Distraction detours happen to all of us. Don’t let them highjack your joy. Be kind to yourself. Step back, regroup, handle them with GRACE.  Laugh a little (and then a lot) and move on!

Don’t remember the former things; don’t dwell on things past. Isaiah 43:18

Rejoice in the Lord always. Phil 4:4

Focus

7:30:16 Focusby Lydia Floren

“O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see?”

These are the first lines of a great old hymn. Even though Helen Lemmel wrote these questions decades ago, they are relevant today, aren’t they?  Here’s what she says next:

“There’s a light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

We all feel overwhelmed at times. Lemmel simply reminds us, when we get discouraged, to take some time to focus on something—Someone—else.  As we shift our attention to Jesus, our troubles don’t disappear. They just settle into a different perspective.

Turn your eyes away from your troubles, and look at Jesus.

Listen, as He says:

I love you in the mess of your life, and day by day I’m redeeming it and setting it right. It is beautiful now, and it is becoming more beautiful. You don’t have to fix anything. You just have to rest, and follow and let me work.

Live in the present, aware of God’s loving presence. The past is redeemed. The future is secure. The present is really all you have at any given time.

Perfect love drives out fear.”  1 John 4:18

Choose Life

3:25:16 Choose Lifeby Lydia Floren

Easter is all about life. Nothing says “life” like budding flowers, and chirping birds, and greening leaves, so it makes perfect sense to celebrate Easter in the spring. “I came,” Jesus said, “that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 19:10) This abundant life is not just about heaven. God invites us to experience this rich life now. Today. Everyday.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we have the option of living an abundant life. But God doesn’t force this on us. We get to choose whether to embrace God’s love and follow Him, or to continue on our own destructive path.

This is a choice between life and death, as Deuteronomy 30 points out:

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life. Deut. 30:19-20

This Easter, choose life: live the life you were created to live.
Resolve to

  • Love God
  • Listen to His voice
  • Hold tight to Him

And then keep making that choice over and over again. Because the Lord IS your life.

Real life begins with Him. Real life can only be found in Him.

Do I Do That?

Do I Do That 10:22:15by Lydia Floren

Don’t people just annoy you sometimes?  For example, maybe

  • You’re in a hurry, and someone’s blocking traffic.  Really?  There is a slow lane for a reason, buddy.
  • All your friends are talking about a great party last week, and you weren’t invited.  What’s that about?
  • Someone talks too loud at the next table of the restaurant, or crowds you in the airplane seat, or gets ahead of you in line.  Tone it down already. Keep to yourself. Wait your turn.

Annoyances can quickly change a decent day into a crappy day.

A remedy:
My sister, Rebekah, taught me a great tip to counter this tendency to let people get to me. When she starts to get annoyed with someone, she’s learned to stop and ask herself this simple question:

Do I do that?

I’ve been trying it.  When I sense my irritation rising, and I remember to ask myself, “Do I do that?”, my mind shifts gears.  That simple question prompts me to look at things from a different perspective, and to think about someone else – not just myself.  And, of course, It doesn’t take long for my answer to slam me in the gut:

Do I do that?  Yes, yes I do:

Yes, there are times when I block traffic.
Yes, I do hurt people’s feelings (albeit unknowingly).
Yes, I can be rude.  Or just plain selfish.

But wait wait wait.  This is ME.  I don’t mean to be vexing.  YOU understand, don’t you?  Don’t you?

Aaaah.  I get it. If I am not trying to annoy YOU, maybe – just maybe – YOU aren’t trying to annoy ME either.  And you know, maybe – just maybe – I am on edge for an entirely different reason.

Asking “Do I do that?” prompts me to give grace to others, and grace to myself.

Try it.  The next time you find yourself getting annoyed with someone ask

Do I do that?

Let us know how it goes!  We’d love to hear from you!

No Shadow of Turning

noshadow

by Lydia Floren

It is so easy to doubt God in a crisis.

Is God really going to provide?

Is He really going to take care of my current situation?  Or is it all up to me? 

In his song “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” Thomas Chisholm answers these questions with a remarkable image:

Great is your faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee.

There is no shadow of turning with Thee. 

What is a “shadow of turning?” When you are walking in the sunshine, you have a shadow.  Every little motion you make is reflected by your shadow.  Any time you turn a little to the right or left, your shadow also turns.  And if, as you are going along, you notice that your shadow has changed, you can be sure that your direction has also shifted.

When Thomas Chisholm says “there is no shadow of turning with Thee” he is pointing out God’s consistency.  God is steadily walking toward the light, toward Truth, and He invites us to follow.  As we do, we are, naturally, in His shadow.  If God were to get off course—to turn to the right or left—we would no longer be directly in His shadow.  The shadow would have turned.

In whatever crisis we face, we can count on God.  He will lead.  He will provide.  He will see us through.  100% of the time.  There is no shift—not even a slight one– in God’s faithfulness to us.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.   James 1:17 NIV

ThomasChisholm

Related Posts: Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Recent Series: NOMB Part I, NOMB Part II, NOMB Part III

 

 

 

Live Grace — Invite God In

 

live grace, invite god in squareby Lydia Floren

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelations 3:20 NASB

At some point in your life God knocks on your door, and you recognize that knock. You realize that He is real, and that He loves you, and that you need Him.

You have two choices:
1. Keep Him out. You can choose to keep the door to your heart shut tight. He will respect that choice. He is a gentleman. He won’t force Himself on you, no matter how self-destructive your decision might be.
2. Let Him in. You can choose to open the door to your heart. Maybe the reality of your need–and of God’s presence—has eclipsed your hesitation, and you decide to open your life to Him. Here is a way to do that:

Open the door by praying GRACE:

Live GRACE: Invite God in.   GRACE:  Give thanks, Release, Accept, Continue, and Enjoy.

Give thanks:
Thank You, God, that You are real, and good, and powerful, and loving,
Thank You for giving me life, and the ability to make my own choices.
Thank You that You are committed to loving me and every other person You have created, whether I choose to accept
or reject that love.
Thank You for helping me to see that I need You. That I can never make myself perfect. Thank You for showing me
my sins, not so that I can beat myself up about them, but so that You can free me of them.
Thank You providing a way to make things right with You, by sending Your son Jesus, and allowing Him to die so
that could be free of shame.

Father thank You that You are real, and that You love me.
I choose to invite You into my life right now.

Release:
Thank You for releasing me from guilt.
Thank You that You know every wrong thing I have thought or said or done, and that You have loved me through it all.
Thank You that You have made provision for those wrongs through Jesus’s blood sacrifice.
Thank You that Your forgiveness is complete: You wipe everything away.

I choose to release my sins to You.

Accept
Thank You for accepting me just like I am–right where I am–and loving me.
Thank You for accepting me as Your child, and protecting me and caring for me.
Thank You for accepting the reality that, as much as I would like to think otherwise, there will be times in the
future when I will wander away from You, and will need a fresh dose of Your grace.

I choose to accept Your love and forgiveness, which frees me from guilt and shame.

Continue
Thank You for Your continued presence with me and within me throughout the rest of my life.
Thank You for Your calling– to love You with all my heart, and to love myself, and to love my neighbor as myself.
Thank You that You will continue to guide me in fulfilling that calling, and redirect me if I head down the wrong path.

Father, I choose to continue, to follow You every day.

Enjoy
Thank You for enjoying me.
Thank You that You value my company.
Thank You that You that You love to give me good gifts, and that You scatter them throughout my day and life.
Thank You for inventing laughter and joy and love and relationships.
Thank You for the gift of hope: that I can welcome the day with anticipation, knowing You are working all things to
good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.
Thank You that with You I need never be afraid.

Father, I choose to enjoy each day with a grateful heart.

Just so you understand: praying GRACE is not something you just do just once. It is something you do over and over again. And every time you pray GRACE, God refreshes your faith and restores your soul.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-3

Living Grace

living grace titleby Lydia Floren

Do you ever feel bogged down? Not by anything external, but by what goes on inside your head?  I know I do. Regrets and  hurts sap my strength. Worries and  frustrations drain away my joy.

Lately I’ve been figuring out a cool way to get back on track every day, so that I can go forward refreshed and energized:  I’ve been learning to pray GRACE.

Pray GRACE:

Give thanks

Release

Accept

Continue

Enjoy

 

For example, in the morning I might pray something like this:

 

Give thanks

Thank You Father, for life that is in me and in the world around me. Thank You for air to breathe, a beating heart, five senses and four limbs. Thank You for the past, present, and future. Thank You for You:  Your goodness, Your commitment to be with me and within me, Your love and care. Thank You for the particular situations that are on my mind, that You work all things to good, that You understand and will lead me in the right way to look at things, and how best to proceed.

 

Release 

Father, I know I have been carrying around all kinds of baggage, and right now I just want to leave everything right here at Your feet.  I release

  • my self-reliance: those times that I have gone my own way instead of your way.
  • regret for what I have done that may have hurt myself or others, and
  • any hurt that I am experiencing as a consequence of someone’s actions for what has been done to me.
  • my habit of beating myself up over stuff. Thank you that you do not want or expect me to live under condemnation, a slave of shame or guilt. That is precisely what you gave your life for.
  • grudges I am holding against others: resentment and/or unforgiveness
  • things dragging me down that I’m not consciously aware of: You know even more than I do what those things might be.

Accept 

Thank you for my life

  • where I am in time and space,
  • my unique gifts and talents, my incredible value, and belonging to you and the family of God
  • the privilege of joining with You to love those around me, and that you use me just as I am, not “perfect” by my own false standards.

Thank You for You

  • You being with me and within me, and never leaving me.
  • That You are committed to me: You have my back.
  • that you are Truth, and You have freed me.

Thank you for the freedom

  • of your forgiveness
  • from hanging on to hurt, condemnation, and the expectations of others.
  • From fear as I leave my worries with you.

Thank you that every day is a new day that I can embrace with anticipation.

Continue

Help me to continue moving forward in the direction You’ve already led me.

  • According to the plans carefully—and prayerfully– formulated.
  • Utilizing the habit(s) you have led me to establish
  • keeping the commitments you have asked me to keep.

Thank you that you fill in the blanks of my imperfect efforts with your perfect sufficiency.

And as I go, thank you that you will show me what  changes you might want to make in those plans, habits and commitments.

 Enjoy today

Thank you for the constants in my day:  your love, your presence, your commitment to provide and protect and lead me, your working in this world.

Thank You for the unexpected:

  • the gifts You give me throughout the day:  a beautiful sky, a smile, a connection, a new friend.
  • the surprising ways You work sometimes. ways I don’t anticipate or understand.
  • opportunities to love and bless those around me.
  • unique ways You communicate with me through your still small voice, your word, circumstances, your creation, and other people

Praying GRACE—it’s a great way to live!

PS:  I am really excited about this GRACE model!  I am finding all kinds of applications for it.  Expect to hear more about Living Grace in the near future!  Below is a tool that can be printed on a 4×6 card so you can try Praying Grace, filling in your own blanks. (You can also find this on our Pinterest page)

Take a moment and share with us:  How are you living grace in your day?  

grace workpage 4x6