The picture you seen is of a little silver doojiggle that my dear dear friend from India gave me a few years back. I recently re-discovered it while cleaning out some boxes of old college crap in my attic, so it is safely dangling from my bedroom fan pull again. The tapestry/wall hanging behind it is from Romania. Right now my life is at an all-time low as far as International friends go - I haven't had this few Internationals involved in my daily life for the last 7 years. But whenever I pray about it (such things really do distress me. Not sure why but I feel life is incomplete without exotic accents surrounding me - either that or I must be part of a Deaf church. Yes I'm weird. Get over it) I am reassured that this is just a season.
It takes a while before I realize that such arguments aren't from the Voice I should be listening to. I will work again, and I'm always reading or learning something new. But it is also good to REST. Right now God has blessed us with ENOUGH, which is more than I can remember having - ever; unless I was on the mission field. And even then a couple of times I squeaked by on nothing more than Heavenly Grace.
Work is a discipline, and a good one. But rest is a good and godly thing also. Do you know how hard it is to be still and know that He is God? That, my friends, is discipline. Right now my struggle is learning how to be disciplined in rest. Its like learning a new yoga pose and holding it without pulling a muscle. Its a bizarre balance of relaxing your muscles and also squeezing them firmly into place while taking deep cleansing breaths. When done properly it both loosens my tense muscles but also strengthens them - and some days I'm sore after a few hours in a very refreshing way. (yes I talked about listening to the Holy Spirit and doing yoga in the same few minutes - I don't do the religious aspect of yoga and I pray while stretching. If you'd like to know more send me a comment and I'll write a post on it).
The other thing I've really been trying to discipline myself in is gratitude. I've felt gratitude at people for all my life. But expressing that gratitude was... how to put this... not emphasized as much as I now think it ought to have been while growing up. So I'm trying to learn how to do that. The other aspect of gratitude is an antidote for bitterness. There's been a couple of areas that, over the winter I noticed I was growing bitter in, or had become bitter in. Stuff from years back even, towards people I don't even interact with anymore. So I started praying about it. A lot. Not as in hours spent kneeling at my bed - more like I'd catch myself swirling in a mental cesspool of anger and resentment and I'd start frantically begging the Lord to take it away and heal me... and then I'd force myself to think about something else. It was really starting to worry me, as I've seen bitterness ruin a few people's lives who are very close to me, and I've seen it isolate several different parts of my family in really painful ways.
Then I discovered a friend's blog where she wrote about her struggle with bitterness and how she overcame it. Her cure was thankfulness. Every time she caught herself in that bog of anger and bitterness, she'd stop and find something to be thankful for.
So I tried it. And I've been trying it ever since. And you know - it works! Its not a quick-cure. Its a discipline. It takes time and patience and work. With a few people I have to pray and am still praying for God to show me what to be thankful for. Its not a one-time deal. Forgiveness isn't always a solitary action. Rooting out bitterness is like rooting out weeds in your garden. You think you've got it and then it rains really hard and you discover there's a taproot going down - further down than any kind of normal plant and to get to it you have to either transplant a few flowers over or crush them in the process of getting that durn taproot out.
But it is worth it... because eventually you'll get that weed and the others, and you can enjoy the blooms again.
Alright I'm done being profound. Hopefully the internet will continue to work like it ought to in 21st Century America so I can share my lighthearted and playful thoughts as well again.