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A Sign for the Times

No Parking

I have a lot of ideas. A plethora of them.

Sometimes these ideas cram together in my noggin until I’m certain they’ll be pouring out my ears. Most often it’s “good” ideas–story plots, art projects, web design plans, goals, wants, dreams, hopes, desires. Things I can do and be and say.

But there are stressful ideas, too–thoughts, really. The time frame I have in which to complete these projects. The magnitude of work that’s involved with them. The limitations of the resources I have at hand. My own lack of experience in certain matters.

What often winds up happening is that the overload of ideas and mounting stress cause me to clutch–I get stuck between having a ton of things to do, but not knowing how to do them all. The ideas and energy build up inside me, while I stand immobile. Imagine filling a pressure cooker with more pressure than it can handle–at some point, something’s gotta give.

Facing one of these moments yesterday, I decided to go for a nice long walk. Burn off some of that energy, clear my thinking. But I was delayed until it was too dark to walk very far; so, instead, I sprinted up and down the block.

Probably looks strange to passing motorists to see someone in jeans and a windbreaker running back and forth as if there were monsters on her heels, but I’ve long since given up worrying about looking strange.

As I ran, I was still thinking. The energy can be burned away, but the ideas remain. Tons and tons of thoughts, pouring through my mind. I puzzled over them, wondering to myself, How can I get all these things done? How can I do what I need to do?

And then I looked up in mid-sprint, and saw a road sign. It read:

“NO PARKING ANY TIME. BEGIN.”

Hit me like a blast of cold air. Keep running, keep moving. Let the energy and ideas pour out together. Just begin. Dive in and start working.

And don’t stop running.

You’ll get where you want to go.

It felt good to run; felt good to have the fresh air. I could have kept moving back and forth, back and forth, till I collapsed from exhaustion. But that’s the thing about running–you won’t get anywhere unless you have a destination in mind, a purpose. If you’re not running toward something specific, you’re merely burning energy.

So I plied my feet back toward the house. Back to my office room, back to my ideas. And I’m simply digging in.

No parking at any time.

Begin.

 

What Am I Thinking?

I’m new to Twitter—only discovered it last month—but already I’m realizing what an amazing tool it is.  Not only to help me meet interesting people, or keep in better touch with the ones I already know; not only to expand my realization of the world and current events, or to give me an outlet for burning off some of the plethora of minutiae-related thoughts that skitter through my brain every day. 

Not only all that, but one of the best things about Twitter is that…it…um…well, hm. 

What was my point again?  I’m fighting this cold tooth and nail, but it seized my thoughts.  Oh, wait—yes.

One of the best parts of Twitter is being able to track my thinking.

Many thoughts run through my head on a minute-by-minute basis. The sunshine sure does look pretty today, makes me feel brighter inside. I hope @susanreynolds is doing well, my heart is heavy for her but my faith is in the Lord’s healing power. I’ve seen Him do as much for others I know. Thank heavens for peanut butter, it really gives me a boost…and the two heels of bread aren’t really so bad together, it makes it kind of like a sweet roll. Oooh, Tree 63’s playing “Look What You’ve Done,” it’s soooo totally awesome. Those lyrics—I wonder that so often myself. What a pretty melody. Okay, I really need to get working on the book—I need a final target date by February, and that’s a lot closer than it seems. Been a couple months since I sat down and wrestled with it, since I’ve been working on the art and charity things. Wondering how I should start—I want to do a word count and recap, but feeling the pressure, wonder if I should fire in with writing first off? No, recap would be better, probably—get a big look at it, “see” it all at once—where it should go, how it should be—I remember working on my sci-fi book five years ago, just being able to “see” the entire thing all at once…not that I knew what all was going to happen, since ideas came as I worked along; but I could see it. It was clear. No matter how I try to push myself to be normal, sometimes I just wake up and realize what it’s like to have brain damage…it’s not the same as it used to be. It’s all furry in my head…I have to squint to see the stories now. LOL, I need brain glasses. Ah, that would be coffee. Coffee’s here, bless my Mom for bringing it in. Love my family—every one of them. But Lord, I wonder when I’ll find “HIM” and we can start a family of our own. I just know my brain will be better, come that day…not being unrealistic here, I just know. There’s something about happiness that makes everything clear. You can think with your heart, not your grey matter. I probably shouldn’t start thinking about that…I get too sobby. But it’s my heart, what should I do, lock it inside so that it can’t feel anything? Numb it like my nerves after the CO poisoning? I get into that habit sometimes…I’m so used to trying to control wild emotional swings after CO, that “emotion” has become something like “headache.” When you get a headache, you take something to make it go away. My body does the same thing with my emotions nowadays. The minute I start feeling something in my soul, my instinct wants to quickly “take an aspirin,” so to speak, to make it go away. Be strong. Steel the heart. Calm down. Think of something else. By all means don’t break down. But heartfelt longings aren’t the same thing as a mood swing. You’re supposed to feel, you know. You need to. So okay, back to square one: Lord, how do I make my day mean something? How do I not wind up wasting time bobbling around aimlessly…okay, aimlessly, that struck a chord. Write the goals down…keep following the plan. “This is my desire, to go deeper into You,” Tree 63 is singing right now, this very moment. “I am always in your heart. I am not my own.” Whoa, Twitter update, @susanreynolds is out of surgery and in recovery…bless the Lord, Hallelujah, as Tree 63 happens to be singing right now. Oh, no, don’t sing A Million Lights right now…Lord. Sob fest. No, wait, don’t turn off the heart, right?? Just grab a Kleenex. Sigh. Yeah, I knew it, crying. Blink, gulp, take deep breath. What was I thinking again? Oh, yes—oh, that melody is so pretty—I was thinking of Twitter. I read through my month’s worth of—Twitter update, @hackerjay, my baby bro, 6-foot-some-odd hunk of guy, but all baby brother to me. :-);-) Leaving work now, it sounds like he has Christmas Vacation. We had Christmas at Thanksgiving with him—wondering what he’ll be doing for Christmas Day? Gotta remember to ask. If not for IM and Twitter, I’d never know what’s going on with my siblings. :-):-) Ah, and there’s @war2d2, other younger brother, chiming in with “Merry Christmahanukkwanzaka everybody.” hehee. We’ll see him and his wife right after Christmas…oh, dang, I still have to get presents for them. Twitter update—good news about @susanreynolds! Praising the Lord wholeheartedly for that. Okay, back to the thought of Twitter…except I just thought of my book….man, I need to get going on that. I just know it will flow when I sit down and do it…get over that hurdle of facing it. Always does. Man, that will be exciting when it’s done! Will I even know what to do with myself when it is??? Uh…yeah…yes, I will. :-);-) Good Lord, there’s so much to do….writing, website, promotion…okay, yes, that voice inside just said “and WORKING,” bless it. :-):-) That means, GET BACK TO WORK RIGHT NOW. Okay, that reminds me what I was posting about to start with…Twitter gives me a way to track my thoughts in print so I can see what I need to change to make better use of my time, and make improvements in my life. Moment by moment, thought by thought, it’s hard to see the big picture. But when all those thoughts and moments are strung together, they weave a pattern and begin to make some sense. It’s not really my pattern…the Lord has a plan that He’s making. I can’t see it minute by minute…well, that’s not true, yes I can. I know the visions He’s given me for what’s in store for my future…I get too focused on my own failings and weaknesses, and don’t see that He can handle it, He can make something beautiful out of my screw-ups…I just need to keep moving, to work at it. But then I get so afraid…I feel so helpless. I don’t know where to go or what to do…

 

And that’s when all the words stop.

 

And He just embraces me in His love.

 

And He tells me everything’s going to be all right.

 

I’ll see it when it gets here. Like Tree 63 is singing: “Something invisible has become so beautiful.” And it will be more beautiful than I can possibly imagine.

So now I’m going to get back to work. And I’ll start thinking again.

 

But a little more quietly now.

 

Looking Within

'View of the Show' by mousewords

 

In light of my previous post, this is very ironic! Here is the Daily Word for today:

~~~~~~~~~~

Today’s Daily Word – Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Let Go, Let God

I am a living, loving expression of God’s spirit within me.
In cleaning my house or clearing off my desk, I release items that no longer serve me. The result of less clutter around me brightens the very environment in which I live and work.
It’s just as important for me to do an inner clearing away also, releasing past hurts, negative feelings, uncertainties, and worries. As I release and let go, I open my mind to thoughts of God’s presence. I understand that God is my sufficiency in all things.
Letting go and letting God, I go about being the wise and loving creation of my
Creator that I am meant to be. Centered on the spirit of God within myself and others, I experience and express love, peace, joy, and understanding. I am a living, loving expression of God’s spirit within me.

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”—2 Timothy 1:7

~~~~~~~~~~

Good advice. Now that my closet is taken care of, I’d say it’s time to take another look inside my spirit.

The Kingdom of God is Within You

 

An eloquent writer in the WordPress community recently posed the challenging question: “If you didn’t know anything about the Kingdom [of God], how would you define it?”

When defining the Kingdom of God, the first verse I think of is part of Luke 17:21: “The Kingdom of God is within you.”

I always drew great hope and comfort from that verse. “The Kingdom of God is within you.” I felt it was a treasure hunt of sorts—it was the Lord telling us that we can look within ourselves and find the holiness of His perfect Kingdom, through the Presence of the Holy Spirit. It made me feel comforted to think of this, because there are times when I feel so inadequate. But then I think to myself, the Kingdom of God is within me, waiting to be discovered! I can do more, through Him Who strengthens me!

Yet who am I, and who’s to say I know what I’m talking about? As I read different perspectives on the subject, I began wondering, what if I’m wrong? When you question something you believe in, and face the thought that it may not be exist in the way you thought it did, it shakes you up inside. It really “rocks” your world, in the earthquake sense of the word.

So I turned to the wisdom of others. I belong to a discussion group in which we discuss the works of 19th/20th century author Grace Livingston Hill; and to this group, I asked the question, “Am I wrong?” Their answers have uplifted, enlightened, and inspired me.

One friend had this commentary, which has helped me find peace and confidence in my own opinion:

 

“As for this one particular verse, the best way is to go to the original Greek or Hebrew
texts to see what they say. Often, words and phrases in the original text could not be easily translated to English because there just wasn’t anything comparable. I believe it is a mistake to assume that English translations are the final word.

The connotation of a particular phrase can change from Greek to English, or even from Grace’s time to our time. So “within you” may mean something different to you and I than it did to the KJV translators in 1611 and something else to those who wrote down what Jesus said. The huge number of translations is proof that not everyone agrees with everyone else’s interpretation of the original text.

Do you want a perfect example of changing connotation? If I told someone of Grace’s day to “reach out and touch someone”, they would physically touch another person. However, someone from my generation [look out, I’m showing my age] would probably pick up the phone and call someone! There are many other words and phrases that have changed meaning dramatically just in our lifetime—Just read a GLH book to find more! We have to be very careful about reading today’s meaning into yesterday’s writing, especially where the Bible is concerned.

Here’s what I’ve found on BibleGateway.com after reading your post :

Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible by Robert Young is an extremely literal translation that attempts to preserve the tense and word usage as found in the original Greek and Hebrew writings. Here is Luke 17:20-21 in this version, courtesy of BibleGateway.com:

And having been questioned by the Pharisees, when the reign of God doth come, he answered them, and said, `The reign of God doth not come with observation; nor shall they say, Lo, here; or lo, there; for lo, the reign of God is within you.’

The Amplified Bible covers both —the brackets are part of the translation and are not mine. “Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].

American Standard Version: neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.

New Life Version: It will not be said, ‘See, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For the holy nation of God is in you.”

Wycliffe New Testament: neither they shall say, Lo! here, or lo[!] there; for lo! the realm of God is within you.

Worldwide English New Testament: People will not be able to say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is! That is because the kingdom of God is inside you.’

Many versions (like NIV) include both “within” and “among” with one or the other as a footnoted possible translation. On BibleGateway, some are saying within and some are saying among, so it looks like the jury is still out.

Jesus did, after all, say specifically that His Kingdom was not of this world in John 18. In Luke, the pharisees were asking about a literal kingdom on earth, but Jesus seems to be pointing out that it couldn’t be seen here or there, it was somewhere that it couldn’t be seen.

Be encouraged and listen to what God is speaking to you. After all, He’s got the FINAL, final word.”

 

Another friend shared this definition of the Kingdom with me:

 

“The kingdom of heaven is the church living out the purposes of its king Jesus while we wait his return to rule his kingdom on earth.”

 

A third friend summed up both perspectives beautifully with her own:

 

“The Kingdom is within each of us who are true Christians, and the Kingdom will also be an actual happening/place one day in the future for those of us who believe.”

 

I’m grateful for the question, the challenge to my beliefs, and the wisdom of others. I do believe, as I always have, that Christ’s kingdom will come on earth some day. In the meantime, I hold with confidence to the notion that his Kingdom truly does exist inside us, too.

I know it does, because I have seen it, in all its glory, within others.

 

Starting with Me: Peace on Earth

Today is World Day of Prayer.  Individuals the world over are coming together as one in their hearts and minds to pray for the goal of “Peace on Earth.” In churches, communities, homes, and between their ears at work, people are focusing on the thought of peace. The thought has an impact—you can feel the very vibrations in your soul. There is power in prayer, and power in positive thinking. Realizing that a blanket of this power is enfolding the earth right now gives a feeling of community and comfort—and strength.

When I awoke today facing a bout of depression, I had forgotten what day it was. I spent way too much time trying to swim through a dark pool of sludge in my emotions and thinking. It’s a side effect of chronic carbon monoxide poisoning—I never know when it’s going to hit me. In a case like this, self-esteem is nonexistent. All I can feel is failure. Hope is there, but I feel unworthy of it. Not only do I feel unable to do the work that is mine to do, but my thoughts tell me I will tank miserably if I even try.

This was my thoughtset as I forced myself to start working. I had to, otherwise I knew the self-condemnation would be worse than ever if I didn’t get anything done today. I sat down at the computer, began checking e-mail, and saw the announcement of World Day of Prayer. At the thought of all those people praying together in the world, I immediately felt the strength of Spirit. And at that, I felt condemned—because, after all, I had spent my morning in pathetic misery, while others were praying for peace with faith and hope. I was worse than worthless.

But I read on, and came to a compelling article by Rosemary Fillmore Rhea. As she spoke of young people from South America and Jamaica who are living in a word plagued by turmoil, I was instantly reminded of the children of Africa, who face the same danger. These children had touched my heart, and I’ve started to try to do my piece to help them. But that was part of the work that I now felt so inadequate to.

Rosemary’s words, however, shook my thinking awake. They told me that regardless of how I am “feeling,” there is necessary work that needs to be done. I need to work despite the darkness or my weakness.

God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) I never used to like that verse very much—back in the days when I felt strong within. Oddly, though, now that I am without strength of my own, that verse radiates a hope that makes me want to cry with gratitude. Good Lord, I don’t need to do it myself. “Oh, my God,” my heart mumbles. “It’s going to be all right.”

It’s World Day of Prayer. Someplace, somebody is praying for me. And they’re praying for you, too.

The lack of peace is endemic throughout the world—and really, it always has been. But it won’t always be, if we work together. One by one—cause by cause—and prayer by prayer—we truly can win the race, and establish peace on earth. With God’s help, all things are possible.

Even for me.