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Delighting in my God, I desire to dwell in His pleasure and to help others experience true delight.

"Delight Yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.  
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;..." Ps 37:4-7a

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Joy Pain Offers


Though when in the midst of pain, its positive benefits may not be our primary focus, perhaps they should be.  Tolerating, and perhaps even welcoming pain, may also be just a delight away.  What can we do to foster a productive view of pain while seeking to endure it, move through it, and overcome it to the greatest degree possible?  There are probably multifarious answers to this question, but I would like to explore it just a bit from my own experience.  Pain comes in all shapes and sizes, from mild discomfort to torturous torment.  Much of it we bring or have brought on ourselves as a result of choices we make or have made, choices which may have been good or bad. 
Some obvious bad choices, like smoking, can have immediate negative consequences, and down the road, long term painful effects.  The short term negatives are painful as well, though we may not define them as such because the magnitude is minimal.  If we are self-aware and responsive to that self-awareness, that discomfort brought about by the negatives of smoking, even if minute initially, could act as a catalyst to bring about change which would help us make better choices.  Pain combined with self-awareness then can help us move out of poor choices and into better ones - one thing to be joyful about. 
Though I know people who smoke who I wish would gain some self-awareness from their discomfort to redirect their paths, it isn’t my personal pain problem.  However, there are irritations and even significant tribulations which I have been party to creating in my own life.  Eating too much and eating the wrong things have added burdens to my body that left their mark in unwelcome and even agonizing ways.  Failing to floss as sedulously as I should, I have suffered with multiple misfortunes of the dental kind.  Impetuous decisions and actions, as well as letting emotions guide me, have resulted in significant loss, unnecessary conflicts, and other consequential troubles, which have been problematically painful.  None of these self-inflicted wounds were joyful in themselves, but when viewed  rightly, they did cause me to grow in fruitful ways.  I have learned that knowledge IS power and so have sought to acquire all I can to address and conquer my infirmities, empowering me to take actions to deal with the source problem as well as the symptoms that resulted.  I need not be defeated because I have issues of age or ailment or anything else.  I can move from defeat to triumph with sagacious reflection and action.  
Some of the problems with which I will have to continue to contend are not in and of themselves a joy either, but they can be a reminder of all that there is to be joyful about.  Developing a heart of thanksgiving helps deflect an attitude of bitterness, dejection, or anger.  “Rejoice in the Lord always, Again I say rejoice.”  Philippians 4:4.  This verse is prescriptive as is this whole chapter of the book of Philippians in the Bible.  When we can learn to turn our thinking around, count our blessings, if you will, we can gain perspective on our problems and deal effectively with those issues that will pull us down.  We need not give in to a downward drift if we can foster an attitude of gratitude which will pull us up and perpetuate a delight-directed life.
Of course pain is not always self-wrought.  We encounter a myriad of painful emotional trials and physical tribulations which assault us without any provocation.  These too, however, can be dealt with in similar fashion, and those outside our control often offer the greatest benefits.  
Self-awareness, perspicacious action, and deliberate contemplative, and celebratory gratitude will empower anyone to address whatever we encounter.  There is no substitute for God’s prescriptions from which these three principles flow.  As pain leads one to spend more time in His company, we attain the greatest benefit of them all. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Joining the Five Minute Friday Challenge - Wasted Energy




One of the first pieces of furniture that I purchased was a combination book case, tv stand, kitchen stand.  Shortly after I made the purchase, it was discounted even further.  I could have saved an additional 30 dollars.  I stewed over that 30 dollars for the longest time.  It bothered me.  I could have saved 30 dollars more, and I couldn’t seem to let it go.  Then one day I realized how much that 30 dollars was robbing me.  I was losing so much more than the 30 dollars emotionally and spiritually which ultimately meant physically as well.  I determined then that I was not going to let it take any more away from me.  
That piece of furniture still stands  in my house.  I use it for storage in our cellar closet.  It reminds me each time I look at it how we can waste time and energy on some pretty futile thoughts when we could be focusing on valuable delights.

Monday, May 21, 2012

From Pain to Natural Healing


My journey into blogging began with my journey into better health.  I have suffered with several pain issues over the past several years, most recently a debilitating bout with back pain.  Two herniated discs, one bulging and putting pressure on nerves leading into my arm, kept me in excruciating pain.  After more than a month of chiropractic care, several different medications for pain, and physical therapy, the spine surgeon said, “It’s time for surgery.”  He explained the surgery to me, and I went home to think about it.  It did not take more than a few days for me to agree; the pain was just too unbearable, and I could endure it no longer.  
After my decision, however, I began to have moments of relief.  The moments turned to hours, and I began to question the wisdom of running to surgery.  I talked with a number of people who had chosen to do it and a few who had decided not to, who had chosen to wait.  Then I would have days of misery which would send me back to considering the operation as the only option.  As the day drew near though, I seemed to be bearing the unbearable more tolerably.  I noticed that my good days were becoming more frequent and my bad days less severe.  Just a few days before, I decided to hold off on surgery to give me time to investigate healthy alternatives and natural healing methods as I continued physical therapy.  It was 2 and 1/2 months since this particular episode of back pain had begun, and I felt like I was improving.  I could wait.
One night as I struggled to sleep, the idea of oil pulling popped into my head.  It had been 20 years since someone had mentioned this idea to me.  At that time, a friend who had suffered with disabling fatigue to the point of being bedridden told me someone had suggested to her that she try oil pulling.  Since she was willing to try anything, it didn’t take much convincing.  She told me after just three days, she had more energy than she had had in years and was on the road to recovery.  This person was one of the most energetic people I knew at the time.  I couldn't imagine her with chronic fatigue. 

What would make me think of this now, I didn’t know?  I could barely remember what it even was, but like my friend, I was willing to try anything -- within reason.  The next day investing some time in searching the internet for oil pulling, I was not disappointed with the wealth of information I found there.  I would try it.
Taking into my mouth a tablespoon of olive oil, I swished back and forth for 20 minutes, then spit it out.  Surprisingly, I DID notice an elevation in my energy level.  I continued to do this for several days, but decided to also continue my research both of oil pulling and other natural health approaches.  If I was going to heal my back, I knew that weight, sleep, and better eating were part of the key, and I also knew that God, the author and finisher of all things good,  ultimately had the answers.  What started as a vague thought about oil pulling became an all out delight-directed search for truth in healing.
It occurred to me then that I could be successful in any area if I would let delight direct my path.  First, I got excited about seeking out the truth regarding oil pulling.  I found a book, Oil Pulling Therapy by Bruce Fife, and consumed it.  So thrilled about what I was learning, I shared my message with everyone who would listen.  I bought several copies of the book so I could lend them out to friends who asked for more as well.  I immersed myself in learning all I could learn about oil pulling, then moved on to the tangents of natural healing that branched out from my study - coconut oil, detox methods, healing crisis, and more.  The point is, as I poured myself into this education and actively decided to stir this passion, it became my delight and directed my course to successful healing.
I am so grateful to God for a new-found comprehension of not only healthy healing alternatives, but in my growth of understanding of delight’s role in success.  Working to motivate myself was as important as what I did to heal, because it was fuel for being able to carry it out.  I could be an active agent in healing my body and stirring my delight.  About three months since my decision began to hold off surgery, I was eating better and lost 30 pounds.  I was sleeping better and had additional energy.  I was off all medications and had relief in my back like I hadn’t had in 6 months since my most recent occurrence began and years since I started having back pain originally.  I felt like a new person.  Answers are available and the move towards health - spiritual, emotional, physical - is just a delight away.  

Update:  Now a year since that bout of back pain occurred, I am still holding it at bay.  I do have to be sure my exercise includes stretching or I feel it creeping back into the danger zone.  I do use my neck traction devices a couple times a week or more if it is acting up.  A tens unit, which can be purchased for as little as about $30 on Amazon, has been great for helping with pain.  I have had to resort to medication on an off, but no longer do I live on ibuprofen.  Natural methods are still providing relief from pain and delight in the journey.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Involved in the Choice


We all know those someones who lighten the atmosphere wherever they happen to be.  Something about them lifts you when you are with them.  Rather than a chore to be around, they energize you, almost relieving your own burden of cares.  Just thinking about people like this makes me want to take a deep breath to breathe in the fragrance of delight they exude. 
However whether or not you are one of those people who lights up a room, you still have the choice to be someone who is vitalized or drained by existence, who is an energizer or a drag to themselves and others, who delights in life or chases happiness with discontent.   We make choices with each thought we allow to cycle and recycle through our minds.  We recycle thoughts more than we think new ones.  And much of what we rethink is negative.  
Knowing that about one’s thinking empowers and helps one to be more attuned to one’s inner self, to identify what is undermining one’s successful direction, and to make different choices.  One need not be stuck in a malaise.  We can adjust our thinking and change our condition.  One of my husband’s frequent one-liners to recalibrate our children’s thinking is, “It’s not what happens to you, it is what you do with it.” This is key to delight-directed living.
I think that concept is the reason my favorite books brought to screen are Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea.  In the movie Anne epitomizes someone who delights in living no matter what comes her way.  In one scene, Anne invites a boring, unhappy, spiteful schoolmarm to come home with her to Avonlea for the summer.  Sure that Anne must not be sincere, the schoolmarm spews out about her miserable existence, then taunts Anne, insisting Anne can’t possibly understand since she has always had it so easy.  Of course the miserable spinster doesn’t know the difficult rejection and trials Anne has experienced, yet persistently overcome.  What happened to her made her stronger, wiser, better, because of what she did with it. 
I am constantly in the middle of the process of gauging my own responses and evaluating my own mental rumination.  Am I letting myself get bogged down in the muck and mire of negative recycled thought?  If so, I have a choice;  I need not believe the lies;  I can change directions.  If I am to live a delight-directed life, then I must be actively engaged in my responses, my thinking, and my living.  
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 10:5)  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beginning with Delight


Too many folks suffer from a lack of joy.  There is hope.  It resides in learning to delight, learning in what to delight, and then letting that delight guide your living - thus delight-directed living.