How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Detox for the Distracted Soul

Well, I think it is finally time to admit it...I am growing older.  Over the past five years, I have begun to love gardening and watching birds and these are tell-tale signs for sure:) Hummingbirds are some of my very favorite birds to watch because they are just so different from any other bird on the planet.  The very first spring I spent in this home, I found two hummingbird nests in my backyard.  One was right outside my bedroom window at eye-level, so my kids and I had a "bird's eye view" as we watched two teeny-tiny eggs hatch and mature from naked, pink and unidentifiable, to a lovely grey and flashing metallic green.  Soon they were too big for the nest, and one morning, they were gone.  From that moment, I wanted to always have hummingbirds near, so I bought a six "holer," very highly rated feeder off of Amazon and hung it right outside of my bedroom window.   

Having the feeder outside my window has given me a new view of these beautiful "sweet" birds.  First of all, I have never...let me say it again NEVER seen six hummingbirds on the feeder.  One time I saw two, but that is it...and it wasn't for long.  Believe me, it is not for lack of hummingbirds that my feeder stays empty or nearly empty throughout the day.  It is solely because hummingbirds are mean to each other.  They viciously fight over the feeder.

Usually there is one bird who is "the big bird" at the feeder.  Last year it was actually a little guy who was  unmistakable...he had a little black spot on his chest.  My granddaughters and I called him "the hummingbird with the black heart."  He was stinkin' ruthless.  He would perch himself in a tree, and if any other bird came near the feeder, he came at them in lightening speed making a LOUD chattering noise.  One afternoon I watched "Blackheart" chase a wasp from the kidding.

Here is the bizarre part, I have a beautiful trumpet vine that blooms all throughout the spring and summer.  It has the "real" stuff.  My feeder is filled with one part plain old sugar and five parts tap water...that's it.  But the hummingbirds are soooooo intent on the feeder...especially whoever is the boss bird for the season...that most of them miss out on actual real nectar from the flowers!!!!!

Recently I was given a Kindle by a dear friend.  What a blessing!  Funny thing is I bought Soul Detox:  Clean Living in Contaminated World, by Craig Groeschel as a Kindle book that week, and I didn't have a Kindle...yet:)  I think God really wanted me to read Soul Detox.  
Twenty-eight pages in and I know why.  Craig gives an example I could completely relate to...growing up in a smoke-filled home.  The odor of smoke permeated our was everywhere...IN the furniture, the curtains and every piece of clothing we owned.  When you live in smoke like this, just as Craig relates in his story, you don't smell it anymore.  It's not until you are in a clean environment and someone says, "Man, you stink!" or you have been out of it for so long that when you come back, it hits you in the face, that you realize how bad everything, including yourself, stunk.  Interestingly, now that I have been out of the smoke for decades, I cannot handle smoke at all.  It literally burns my nose and hurts my chest after I have breathed it in for awhile.  Times like these, I can't imagine how I managed to survive in a smoke-filled environment year after year.  But I did and I thought it was normal, and I had no idea I "stunk to high heaven" as my grandmother used to say.   I did not know there was a better, cleaner way to live.  The words in Soul Detox pretty much take you by the shoulders and shake you back to reality.  Craig wants you to see that you are living in a "smoke-filled," sin-immersed environment and, if you are not diligent, you will live "in sin" like it is will actually think this is the way Christians live.  What deception.  This is how Craig says it:

I believe our spiritual enemy blinds us with a smoke screen of poisonous distractions.  Just like I lived unaware of the smoke in my home, many people aren't fully aware of the forces stunting their spiritual growth.  Without realizing the impact on their faith, people embrace harmful relationships, consume toxic media, live with addictive habits, and remain oblivious to the long-term effects.  We think the way we live is perfectly fine, normal, harmless, or even positive.  Some people don't want to take an honest look at the way they live, claiming, "What you don't know wont hurt you.
 Unfortunately, this just isn't true.  Many individuals who inhaled secondhand smoke--not to mention all the millions of smokers--have suffered permanent and painful effects.  The truth is this:  what many people don't know is not just hurting them but killing them spiritually.

Sometimes it is not that we "don't know" as much as it is we don't want to know or  pretend not to know.  Kind of like a little kid who sticks his fingers in his ears and yells "LA LA LA LA...I CAN'T HEAR YOOOOOUUUUU!!!!!"  

Kay Warren in her book, Choose Joy, in the chapter "Nurturing Joy in Yourself," gives us the same lesson just from a different vantage point.  She, too, warns against the distractions that keep us from a joy-filled life of obedience to God.  Her perspective alerts us to worry and busyness, among others, as places of subtle rebellion that steal from us the God-given joy we could have.  Joy through a truly soul-edifying life is as available to us as trumpet flowers are to my hummingbirds.  But just as the birds buzz at hyper-speed past the real to the fake, so sometimes do we rush past all the wonder of a God-filled life to the self-indulgent, sin-filled pseudo-life.  We can sit on the branches and defend our choices with a zeal unmatched by anything we use toward pursuing and defending the God-honoring, or we can start identifying sin in our life for what it is...sin.  We can fill our lives with the real and life-giving or excuse the life-defeating, joy-sucking and keep walking along life's path with our finger's in our ears singing "La La La La" to the top of our lungs.

One hard truth we have got to remember is this:  Our choice to identify ourselves as Christ followers and then redefine sin will have repercussions on many.  Here's the fine love with grace, live righteously without being self-righteous and still not compromise when it comes to sin.  Our focus has to be on Jesus, His life giving Word, and His will for our lives.  

Love and a truly cleansing detox to you,


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