Four Question Friday on Monday

 

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It is gorgeous outside. So nice,  in fact, that I opened the windows all around the house. Ahhh. Fall is most certainly in the air! How was your weekend? Mine was fine, thank you for asking. We talked with our daughter who lives in Northern Arizona. She has been making some big life changes and it was good to hear how peaceful she sounds about them. Our son came to visit. He just recently moved to Northern Phoenix. Not quite as far, but it’s still nice when he comes by. He is attempting to sell one of his project cars (that is still in our garage), so he still comes by pretty often. Our oldest son made a big, adult decision this weekend too. Our children are growing up. It happened right before our eyes and so fast I can hardly believe it. They are all really good people, so at least maybe we got that right. There is so much worry that comes with parenthood. I often think about the fact that our God doesn’t worry about us. He knows the outcome, the end game, what’s going to happen to us. No worry needed. He already knows who wins and it isn’t the one who causes me to stay up late into the night worrying or praying that I’ve done enough or didn’t screw something up too badly. I want that kind of perspective. I want to remember that my Father in heaven isn’t up there running through scenarios about what might happen and questioning if He didn’t do the right things at the right times. I did what I did at the time because it was the best I could come up with. [sigh] I want to remember that more. Do you think a tattoo might help? Yeah, probably not. I’d regret that too.

img_4826-3Speaking of regrets. I realized on Saturday that I didn’t do my Four Question Friday to end If Only: Letting Go of Regret. Okay, so it’s a work in progress. I’m guessing just from that comment you can tell this book didn’t change my heart. I don’t know why I can’t let things go. I am struggling with this right now. I think I’ve recently become more aware of it (from this book) and now, I can’t seem to stop noticing. Blech. On to the other questions. Did the book drive me deeper into the scriptures? Not as much as it might have, but it was enough to give it a yes. If Only does have a lot of scriptural support and, finally, did it draw me closer to God? It did in an unexpected way. As I mentioned above, I am much more aware of this regret problem now, so I spend more time in prayer and pondering how God feels. That has most certainly changed my relationship with Him. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like an idea of what regret looks like in normal, everyday life.

Now, on to New Book Monday! img_49231This time a book called befriend picked me to read it. It just called out from on the shelf. It has short real-life chapters that I am finding interesting. The introduction (by Ann Voskamp, whose writing I adore) had a ton of good information that I am going to turn into quotes, so watch for those throughout the day. The book is by Scott Sauls. Amidst all of the church information in his bio, this caught my eye, “Formative experiences have included being an athlete, living in a global city, and suffering through a season of anxiety and depression.” He’s a normal guy just going about life trying to do some good. Just like the rest of us. He just happens to be an author of this book and another one, Jesus Outside the Lines. Scott also has numerous ways to reach him: the usuals – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a mailing list – but he also has a couple of unique ones – iTunes (sermons), CPC (Christpress.org), and even a link to his other book at Amazon. Scott is well into social media, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find him. Oh, don’t forget he has a website (scottsauls.com) where he blogs. I found this book at Barnes and Noble this time, so it is within easy reach of anyone interested in reading along.

Scott’s explanation of befriend –

We live in a world where real friendship is hard to find. Suspicious of others and insecure about ourselves, we retreat into the safety of our small, self-made worlds. Now more than ever, it’s easy to avoid people with whom we disagree or whose life experiences don’t mirror our own. Safe among like-minded peers and digital “friends,” we really don’t have to engage with those who can challenge and enhance our limited perspectives. Tragically, even the church can become a place that minimizes diversity and reinforces isolation.

Oh boy, this sounds good and I can’t wait to delve deeper. Please join me for the next two weeks as I read, ponder, and pray my way through befriend.

In addition to befriend, there was a lot to like about my studies this morning. Mondays are such good days to start off new. If you haven’t been doing any scripture study, a Monday is a great place to start. If it’s hard to keep going, then just commit to reading on Mondays. Then, when you’ve got that down, add Tuesdays or however adding works best for you. I am a firm believer in little things equaling big things in the end. Just start small and keep going. You’ll surprise yourself.

So, OA book. These readings are just one tiny page in one tiny book, so they pack a lot of punch for their size. Today is no exception. It is this, how I feel about myself only resides within me. I am the only one that is so harsh on me. Certainly God isn’t. Neither are my family or friends. Just me, which means only I can solve the problem, with a lot of God’s help.

AA – The emotional messes I get myself into (see above) guide me from selfishness to selflessness. I suppose that has a caveat like “if I let them.” Yeah, yeah. I know in my head, but my heart can’t quite catch the idea.

“Serve as I am able” was the theme of the General Conference talk I read. It was the last one from the last conference in April. I’m excited to start with last weekend’s conference tomorrow. My husband and I watched it (on my iPhone! in bed!) and there were some messages. So, let me explain this conference thing. It’s not like normal church we go to on Sunday. The officials in the church gather together twice a year (April and October) to give us counsel for the next six months. The talks are assigned out by the General Authorities (our Apostles and Prophet) and they take months to prayerfully wait for inspiration and guidance from Father in heaven. The talks are very good and, amazingly, timely. Not so amazingly I suppose. After all, God does know what’s up next on the agenda for us.

I finished reading Mormon in the Book of Mormon over the weekend, so today was the first chapter of Ether. Ether is the record of a people God led away from the Tower of Babel at the time of the confounding of the languages (that sounds like a Harry Potter reference). This tells of their crossing the ocean to the Americas and their turning away from God. This morning, it was the beginning of their story and about all of the petitions to our Father that they and their friends and families would still be able to communicate with each other. God said yes to them and led them away from all of the wickedness to be a righteous people who served and obeyed Him.

Then, Scott Saul’s words in the first two chapters of befriend, can be summarized by the following: God loves me and I need to have faith that I am enough. Back to the same message. There is a lot of conversation about this topic, which leads me to believe that Satan is going crazy trying to tell us otherwise. I want to cast him away and have more faith about this. Care to join me?

 

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