Saturday, January 19, 2019

Refuse to Worry!

Do you worry about almost everything—and everyone? I tend to do that, but I’m really trying hard to stop it. My mother was a worrier, as was her mother, as was her mother.... 

Although I come from a long line of worriers, I’m hopeful that the worry “gene” has not been passed on to my daughters, since they don’t seem to worry as much as I do.

While it’s good to be concerned about ourselves and others and the challenges we face, it’s not good to fret about them. One person likened worrying to rocking in a chair. “It gives us something to do but doesn’t get us anywhere.” 

In Luke 12:25-26, Jesus pointed out the futility of worrying when He asked, “Can you add a single cubit to your stature?” (Some translations say, “Can any of you add one moment, one hour, to your life span?”) Since no one can, Jesus went on to say, in essence, “Then why are you worrying about all sorts of other things?” 

Instead of walking the floor or tossing and turning all night or talking endlessly about how awful a certain situation is, why not spend that time talking to the One who CAN do something about it? Then, trust Him to handle it in His way and in His time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Although I don’t always attend the Burgess family reunion every year, I do think about the experiences I've had with many of those who might have been there (and those who’ve passed away).

I especially think of Daddy and Mama and the sweetness of the life we shared before his death in 1982 and hers in 2011. Although we struggled financially, we were rich in many ways. Love filled our home, our church, and our community. Family and wonderful neighbors lived nearby and always helped us, as we did them. My sister and I always felt we had TWO homes, ours and Aunt Delia and Uncle Howard’s home, which was “up the road” about a quarter of a mile from ours. On weekends, when my older brothers and sisters often brought their families, our house bulged at the seams and happy voices mingled in the air.

As I think back on those days with those dear people, I thank God for the blessing they were to me then—and now, for as the writer of Proverbs 10:7 (NIV) so rightly says, “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Too Much on the Plate

Note: While working on a special project I came across this article I wrote in 2002. It's relevant today since "overwhelm" rarely goes away!

For a time, my eleven-month-old grandson Bailey sat in his high chair and munched happily on his Cheerios and little slivers of an apple.  When I noticed that he had eaten nearly all that was on his tray, I gave him a little more. Suddenly he began to smash his “yum-yums” with his palms and to swipe them off his tray onto the floor.

“Bailey! No! No!” I said.

His mother cleared the tray immediately, and together we wiped his hands and cleaned the floor. As we did so, she said, “That’s what Bailey does when he feels overwhelmed.”

I laughed. “I understand! All too often I feel as if I have too much on my plate.”

Realizing that I was referring to responsibilities rather than to food, Jena nodded knowingly, since, “like mother, like daughter,” she, too, normally has more going on than she should have.

As I reflected on that experience, I realized that at least Bailey had the good sense to get rid of the things that were overwhelming him! While we adults ought not to dispense with our responsibilities as quickly as Bailey did his food, we can learn how to admit that we are becoming maxed out and to ask for help. (Actually, we have the option of saying “no” before we let people put more on our plates than we want. That is our best line of defense.)

Even after we accept certain responsibilities, we still have options. 
One, we can hold on to and perform our duties even though our stress reaches dangerous limits. (Not a good choice!) 

Two, we can learn time management and organizational skills that will help us juggle all our jobs more efficiently and effectively. (Better.) 

Three, we can delegate some of the tasks to others.  (Great idea for us, but perhaps not good for the persons to whom we pass part of our load!)

Fourth, we can spread out our calendars and our commitments before God and say, “These are the things I have agreed to do. But, my ‘plate’ runneth over! Help me know which ones I should keep and which ones I should let go of in order to regain my sanity and to renew my joy in serving You and others.”

You know what? He will begin to instruct us. He may speak through others as He spoke to me years ago when I was wearing not only my “Super Mom” hat but also several others. My boss at that time often said, “Johnnie, you don’t need to do things the hard way.” For example, after I’d made a batch of homemade cupcakes and delivered them to the school, he smiled and said, “You could have bought them.”

He was right, of course, but that thought almost never occurred to me. Even so, God continued to send gentle reminders to me via that dear friend, as well as others.

God also speaks through our circumstances. Sometimes we get to the point where we are absolutely unable to continue doing a particular thing. Thus, we have no choice but to remove it from our plate. And sometimes God allows us to become so miserable in a situation that we have to let go of it even though we’ve always felt we couldn’t or shouldn’t.

God also directs us through His Word, especially when we come honestly and humbly before Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 (New Living Translation) tells us the steps to follow if we want to know what we should or should not do. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.”

Monday, January 14, 2019

Proclaim the Glory of God!

1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens
and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
(Psalm 19:1-6, NLT).

After I'd read those words and reflected on them, I said to God, "May all that You've enabled me to be proclaim Your glory. May I, like the rest of Your creation, display Your workmanship. May all that I am continue to testify of You day after day and night after night. May I make You known throughout my sphere of influence.

May I, like the sun You created, "burst forth" (eagerly begin) and successfully complete the course You set for me each day. May I, like a well-trained athlete, be ready to run the race You have marked out for me...."


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Good News!

Ever feel that you're a mess? That your life is a mess? That everyone around you is a mess? That the mess is impossible to clean up, especially by yourself? 

Well, there's good news! There's hope. As Matt Chandler said, "God is at work in the mess. That's the message of the Bible" (Our Daily Bread, Nov. 20, 2018).

When we cry out to Him, He will help us, as He did David, who said:
"In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears."
(Psalm 18:6, NASB)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Take It Good

Today I've thought so much about my sweet mama who died eight years ago on this date (January 9). It's hard to believe she's been gone that long. Sometimes, when the grief is deep and raw, as it has been today, it seems that she died days ago. Sometimes it seems that she's been gone much longer than 8 years.

As brokenhearted as I was to have to let Mama go, I was also thankful that God had called her home, thereby releasing her from the ravages of Alzheimer's. As much as I loved her, I could not wish her to come back--under the circumstances. Although her last years were not easy, Mama remained sweet and gentle, never argumentative or combative or complaining or demanding or asking, "Why me?"

As I remember Mama's last years, I realize that "She took it good," as my mother-in-law used to say. I am so thankful she did. I pray that when I am in difficult circumstances, I will remain sweet and "take it good," like Mama did.