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finding meaning in the mundane

Tag: Emotions (page 1 of 2)

Is More Enough

Contentment

It’s easy to focus on what you don’t have, isn’t it?  I can go through every area of my life and tell you what’s missing in that area, or what I could stand to have more of. It doesn’t matter if it is finances, health, friendships, marriage, your children, or your job.  Every area of life can be easily picked apart and found wanting more.

Have you ever felt this way?  Wondering why your life doesn’t have more?  Maybe for you its more money.  Why is it that your money doesn’t seem to go far enough?  If only you had more money.  Or it could be your kids…  Does it seem like they don’t listen enough?  If they would only obey more.

More is a relative term.

More makes me feel good only until I realize that someone else has a bit more than me. The amount of more that once made me happy no longer satisfies the inner quest for more.  Beware there is a steel trap baited with “more”.  It is waiting to sink it’s teeth into you holding you captive at the allure of having more.

You would be wise to not ask how much more will be enough, rather ask the question, how much do I already have?  Do it…  Take an inventory of whatever area of your life that you are tempted by the allure of more.  Don’t be afraid of what the answer may be.

Focusing on what we don’t have causes us to easily miss what we do have. 

I mentioned that for me I could go through every area of my life and find a way to have more of it.  For example, I could say for my relationships I wish I had more friends. But let me think about what I currently have. I have two, possibly three guys who if I called right now they would answer no matter what. They would take a bullet for me and are loyal no matter what. I have people who care about me and my family and show that on very tangible ways. Somewhere along the line three guys doesn’t seem like enough. Would I want six guys?  Of course I would. But I’ll tell you what, I’m grateful for these three. So do I focus on the three that I don’t have, or the three I do have?

Your focus is your choice. It’s up to you to decide what you will choose to think about. You can dial it in however you like. For sure, some days are harder than others, but the choice is yours.

Which area of life do you most often feel nagged by the trap of wanting more?  What can you focus on today to avoid the snare of more?

~Peter

Listening to Your Pain

The other day I wrote on the value of pain.  And since then I have had so many conversations with some of you about all of the painful situations that you are currently going through, or already have gone through.  It can be so incredibly overwhelming right?  It is never easy to talk about cancer, and how that is taking the life of your dad.  Or listening to someone share how mental illness is transforming their sister who was once brilliant and vibrant and is now fading away.  Pain comes in all shapes and sizes and pain knows very few boundaries.

In the midst of pain we can respond or we can ignore it.

I’ll never forget that Saturday morning men’s breakfast that we were sitting around a table enjoying bagel egg and cheese sandwiches when someone got a call that Shelly had passed away the night before.  Shelly attended our little church and was known and loved by everyone.  She was happily married and loved on her beautiful 6 year old daughter.  Shelly was a paraplegic.  She was not only unable to move her legs, she couldn’t feel them either.  The nerve endings in her legs that were supposed to communicate to her telling her that she was in pain did not work.  So that Friday night Shelly cozied up to a gas flame heater and fell asleep.  She never realized that her legs were burning and suffering excruciating pain.  Eventually a clot formed and went straight to her heart.  Unfortunately, the nerve endings that were designed to tell her that something hurt and that she needed to do something about it were not working.  She never got the message.

Pain communicates!hurt, pain, disappointment

What is your pain saying to you?  What is the next step that you need to take to move away from the source of pain and move towards the place of healing?

There is an old Jewish proverb that I love so much.  It says, “What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.”  When I am in the midst of pain, I no longer apologize for my tears.  Those tears are as much a part of my communication process as the initial pain is.  I value the times when I have what we call in my family “a good cry”.  Don’t mask your emotions, don’t apologize for your tears.  God has given us each and every emotion so that we can properly relate to Him, and to one another.

Take a breath.  Pause for a minute.  What is your pain trying to tell you?

~Peter

Puddles and Perspective

As many of you know, my life is in the midst of a major transition.  Recently I have resigned from my position as youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Doylestown and I have accepted an associate pastor position at Liquid Church in Morristown NJ.  My life meets the pre-req’s for the term transitional to apply.  I am living in one state, and working in another.  Our front yard is decorated with a large “for sale” sign.  The attic is ready to explode with the amount of boxes that are shoved up in there.

Our life is in the midst of a transition.

Transitions are crazy right?  If you’ve been through one, then you know what I am talking about.  Some of you may have moved, changed jobs, or added children to your family–all of these things create a massive disruption to your version of normal.  I was on the phone this morning and I said, “I can’t wait to get back to a version of normal”.  See, normal is relative.  Right now is anything but normal.  That is okay–because it is a time of transition.  Right now, I can say to myself, NORMAL WILL RETURN!

But, during this time of transition, life is crazy!  I am driving more now than I have ever driven before.  I am learning a whole new language, a new organization, and a new work culture.  I am farther from home more often than ever before.  Things do not feel normal.

In the midst of this transition there are several things that are constant.  I am still a dad to my three kids, and I am still a husband.  This has not changed, nor will it ever change.  The hard part is trying to figure out how to balance being the best daddy to these three precious children and being the best husband to my wife all while living in the midst of crazy amounts of commotion.

Daddy and KidsStarting last week our church kicked off a Wednesday night worship and prayer service as a part of our Revive Series.  It will run up until the week before Easter.  The idea is that on Wednesday we would fast and pray and end our day with corporate prayer and worship.  (Aussie Dave blogged about it here.)  Last week was my first week at Liquid, and my first week participating in the church wide fast.   We were challenged by Pastor Tim to pray about what we should fast and bring before God.  I knew quickly what I was fasting for.  It was clear, and obvious.  I was to be fasting for my wife and my kids.  I specifically was asking God to watch over and protect my family.  I was asking God to meet their needs since I couldn’t.  Simply put, it was me asking God to do what I couldn’t.

That Wednesday afternoon I had to walk to the store to get some ice for the evening, and I was praying for Grace, my 5 year old.  She was having a particularly hard day emotionally.  I was on my way back from the 7-11, awkwardly carrying three bags of ice when I noticed several common sparrows flitting about on the ground ahead of me.  I paused to watch them for just a few brief moments and then I noticed what they were doing.

Birds on the SidewalkThe sparrows were dancing around a small puddle that had formed in the low area of the sidewalk, and they were drinking from this pool.  I watched one sparrow in particular crane its neck forward in order to swallow up a small amount of water.  I was reminded in that moment how much God cared for these sparrows.  Those sparrows were being taken care of by God through that puddle. I thought of my daughter, Grace, and how much I wanted God to take care of her emotions.  I thought of my wife, Tiffany, and how much I wanted God to give her strength.  I thought of my son, Noah, and how much I wanted God to protect him and watch over him.  I thought of my 1 year old daughter, Leah, and how much I wanted her to know that her daddy loves her.

And then I thought of how much God takes care of these sparrows.  I was reminded of what Jesus says in Matthew 10:29-31,

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

It was in that moment that God comforted me and reminded me that they are really his children, and He’s got it all under control.  Even when I don’t feel it!  Tiffany is His daughter whom He values more than I ever could.

It still feels crazy.  But I am thankful that God is a God who handles all of the transitions.

~Peter

Fatherhood

Yesterday and today I had the privilage of watching both of my kids close their eyes and enter into a time of rest.  Much like their dad, they like their back rubbed in order to fall asleep.  (to Noah’s future wife: I’m sorry, if this is setting you up for countless nights of back rubs…)  So I was gladly rubbing their back and watching my little 3 1/2 year old and 2 year old fall asleep.  It really was amazing.  If you aren’t a parent you may be wondering why this is so inspiring.  I didn’t get it till I became a dad.  (so, hold onto your hat…)

There is nothing that disturbs me more than when my child is distressed.  Crying in fear, crying in pain, and crying in panic.  I hate that.  I want nothing more than to wrap my arms around them both and protect them from feeling that way.  So, as I watched their tears turn to calm steady breathing, turn to resting, it was a beautiful picture; one which I will not soon forget.  

Noah and Grace, it is a joy to be your daddy.  I love you both so much.

At The Five, we are in a sermon series called Plan B.  This is looking at what do we do when life doesn’t go our way?  How do we react and respond?  I couldn’t help but think about how God must feel when we are all in a panic, and we are running around like crazy people.  Don’t you think that if God created all of our emotions, and we are made in His image, that we must be feeling a portion of what He would feel?  I wonder… if God gets as much joy and pleasure out of watching us rest in Him?  I’m willing to bet He does.  

Take a break.  Quit trying.  Rest in God.  

~Peter

Prayer

Thank you for praying for us as a family.  We are really going through the thick of it right now.  Now that the funeral is done, the guests have left, things are going “back to normal”. It is difficult.  Emotions come up at unexpected times, and it truly just keeps bringing me back to my knees in prayer.  Thank you for meeting me there!

I am glad to be here with my family in Texas.  It has been good to be here for an extended period after the funeral.  We have had an opportunity to be together, reminisce together, laugh, and cry together.  I have been so impacted by the words that people have written about my dad over here at the caring bridge site.  It has been great to read about the ways that my dad has made a difference in people’s lives.  There are even some people who didn’t know him that well whose lives he has touched.  Like this one here.  

It is hard walking down this road.  I have come to hate the word “was”.  I hate using the word was.  I wish that I could still say is…  

Thank you for your continued prayer support.  We are so thankful for each of you!

~Peter

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