Tag Archives: Sarah Young

Gaze or Glance?

Problems are part of life. We have them in our families, jobs, country and world. We have health problems-mental, physical and spiritual. We have neighborhood problems and church problems. The problem list is long.

I have a tendency to glare at the problems that come my way, usually angry, frustrated and dismayed that they are happening. I over analyze them. I then bring my best resources to the eliminating of those problems. I’m a good fixer.

Just this morning as I walked, I mulled over the Problems of the day. I played out different scenarios and solutions. I pictured myself addressing and repairing what seems broken. All this a familiar and comfortable pattern for me. I was in my element.

The only difficulty in what happened today was that I had just read a devotional from Jesus Calling Evening by Sarah Young. Yes, I read the evening entry in the morning. I’m a 100% morning person.

Sarah Young’s writing always cuts to the core of my very real issues of the day, surprising and sometimes convicting me. Today’s words: Gaze at Me; Glance at problems-this is the secret of victorious living. I have called you to live supernaturally, and I have empowered you to do so. Ask My Spirit to help you fix your gaze on Me. p. 395  And this, 1 Corinthians 4:18 We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.

As I walked, I kept thinking about the Problems. And then I refocused. I kept having to repeat the mantra and asking myself, “Are you going to gaze or glance? What are you going to focus on?”

I found myself complaining internally because this gazing verses glancing directive was hard. Then, I realized that’s why it requires God’s supernatural assistance.

Gaze at God? Glance at Problems? or will you Gaze at Problems? Just Glance at God?

Problems are a part of life. Where we focus is the secret to everything.

My prayer today: God, I need your help. I cannot, on my own, keep my eyes off my problems and on you. Help me to refocus so my gaze is on you. Amen    

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller and Pace, breast cancer survivor and part-time problem solver.

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A Soul on Tiptoe

Writer Sarah Young often captures my imagination with just a few words. In a recent devotional in her new book, Jesus Always, she writes of a soul on tiptoe as it looks up to God in hope. On tiptoe is the posture I’d like to adopt.

Our eight month old grandson has learned to pull up to standing. I like to sit on the floor on the other side of whatever he is pulling up on to be ready for his facial expression the moment he sees something new from his heightened perspective. His blue eyes glitter. His smile shows both wonder and radiance. His whole face says, “Do you see what I see way up here?” It is the baby version of a soul on tiptoe.

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When life gets hard we are told as people of faith to “look up”. A soul on tiptoe is already looking up. In Lent, Christians pull back a bit, look inwardly, pray, give up things and we wait on God. We wander around in the wilderness knowing something spectacular is on the other side. New life is being born in tomb-like places.

How is your soul? On tiptoe? I hope so.

PS After my last blog, A Bucket of Skunks, my son-in-law asked me to clarify to everyone that he makes very good, non-skunk like coffee. In fact, even if there wasn’t a sweet baby at his house, I would just show up for the coffee.

New

For several years now, I’ve chosen a word to guide me in prayer, study and focus. This was not my idea. It is a different kind of Spiritual Discipline suggested by the work of Rachel Olsen and Mike Ashcraft. You can read more about it at http://www.myoneword.org.

At the end of each year, I start making a prayerful list of words that simmer to the surface of my consciousness. I believe God guides this process.  Past words for me have been Radiance, Enjoy…last year’s word was Release. That one was powerful. I released a ton of clutter, my overbooked schedule, a ministry position I’d held for almost 2 decades. I released stress. In the wake of all that releasing, I found so much room to concentrate on the gifts and joy in my life.

My word for 2017 surprised me. It is so simple; so short. I chose the word New. When I told my husband my word, he just stared at me blankly. At first I thought he was thinking, “new? As in new year? new month? new? How boring!” Actually, now that I’m writing this I don’t at all know what he was thinking because I didn’t ask. For all I know he was just trying to figure me out yet again.

As happens when you choose a word, things start catching your attention. Today is only January 2 and already several scriptures have danced in front of me, aligning themselves with my word. Revelation 21:5: “Behold, I make all things new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!.” And this line in a devotional, “I am working newness into your life.”  Jesus Calling Evening by Sarah Young.

This morning I did a word study on this little word, New: fresh, what has not been known or seen before, unfamiliar, untouched.

Yes, it is simple, easy, short and I’m so excited about it. It will be my guiding word. Where will it lead? That is yet to be revealed.

This morning when I walked, I noticed how fresh everything was after our morning storm. I stopped and watched the water rushing by in a creek. The sky was the brightest shade of blue. Everything around me, new. 2017…new.  Yes! .

 

I Get to Do This

Because technology is awesome, I’m on my back porch, with my dog, listening to my soothing fountain, blogging. I’m drinking a peach mango sparkling water and all is right with the world. We had fall for like one day and now it is sort of summer again. But it is good because it’s not like a Texas summer since it is only 83 degrees. I’m also out here because there are at least four men in our home working on things.

Today begins the third week of people in our house working on things. It is the third week of not being able to find any piece of clothing at the right time because everything is in the garage. We keep asking each other “Have you seen my khakis, my black belt, my sweatshirt?” The answer has been no every time and the hilarious side effect is that we each end up wearing each other’s clothes.

My husband and I keep going to the pantry for things and remembering all over again that there’s nothing there. To say we are disoriented is an understatement. I keep saying “It’s like camping without s’mores or a campfire or views.”

So imagine my delight when something I read actually helped me. In the new devotional book by Sarah Young, “Jesus Always”, a line jumped out at me last week. “As you go about your work, perseverance is essential. If you start to grow weary or discouraged, remind yourself, ‘I get to do this!'”

Isn’t that great? Not I have to do this; I get to do this! In counseling, we call it re-framing. I get to sit outside and blog. I get to have new ceilings and floors. You can apply it to anything. I get to exercise and am grateful to be healthy enough to do so. Not, oh no, the holidays, rather I get to celebrate with family and friends.

I shared this insight with my husband as I do all of my insights. Now we are correcting ourselves with a smile every time we complain. I get to wear my high school football player’s sweaty hoodie. I get to prepare dinners from the food I can locate in the garage. I get to improvise all the taken for granted basic comforts of home. We get to move our furniture from room to room as the men work.

Life is good. We are so blessed. Oh, and tonight I’m going with our 18-year-old son because we get to vote; him for the first time. Please, no matter how you feel this year, vote! Sacrifices were made so we could do that. I’m so grateful.

What “have to do” can you re-frame as a “get to do”?

 

 

Healing

Two years ago this week, I found a lump in my breast and began a journey with breast cancer that I never signed up for.  In spite of never signing up, I was lucky.  It was caught early, small, not in my lymph nodes.  It required surgery, radiation and now a five year course of medication that my body is still reeling from.  As the two year anniversary came and went this week, I spent some early morning time reflecting on healing.

I am healed from cancer.  It took 5 doctors, invasive and not so invasive treatment plus drugs.  I’m on 5 medications to counter the side effects from one.  No kidding.  But, along with that cancer healing, I’ve experienced other layers of healing.   My spirit seems healed.  I feel I’m in God’s hands and I trust God’s hands.  I’ve had healing in my relationships-past and present ones.  I’ve had healing in my daily routine.  I no longer believe I am invincible and should just push on through when my body, mind and soul want to stop and rest. I respect my limits. 

And this is probably the best healing–I savor life. Right now, it is nearly 100 degrees outside.  I’m inside and it is cool.  I’m eating frozen red grapes, drinking ice tea and writing.  I’m 100% aware of each of those gifts.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young has seen me through the last years.  On August 20, the second anniversary of my “unplanned journey”–these were the opening devotional words, “I am a God who heals.”  Yes.  Yes.  Amen.