Monthly Archives: January 2015

Natural Instincts

Dogs can be our best friend and even feel like part of our family. They live with us and we take care of them. We let them go for rides in the car, just to be with us, and take them for walks or the park. In my case, I take my dog, Annie, for walks in the woods or to do chores around the farm. Her instinct is to be a dog. She herds the cattle, whether they need it or not. She chases the deer and turkeys that come close to the house. And she like smells.

While outdoors, she searches out every new or intriguing smell she can find. She isn’t happy to just leave the smell where it is found. No, she wants to smell the same way and bring her prized odor home. That is just what she did the other day. Annie may have been proud of herself but I wasn’t. She went straight to the bathtub, which made her very unhappy. She may have been doing what dogs naturally do, but if she wanted to live in my house with me she needed cleansing.

This may be the way God sees us; His cherished, adopted children. He loves us and wants us with Him. However, we can’t hang onto the habits which He cannot allow in His house. Much like Ephesians 4:22-24: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (instinct*); to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” NIV

God accepts us the way we are, no matter how dirty or smelly. He guides us to clean up our lives as we grow closer to Him. When we fall back into old ways, we need to seek forgiveness. Annie didn’t like her bath, but it is what she needed to get what she wanted; to eat and sleep in the house. Sometimes God allows things we don’t like in order for us to end up with what is best for us. He has our best interest in mind which is often different that our own desires. Changing our habits may be as hard as Annie changing hers, but with God’s help we can do it.

What habits or desires do you have that get in your way of living the way God wants you to? How have you learned to deal with those natural instincts?

*I inserted.

The New Normal

I listened to the pastor’s message one Sunday after Christmas as he talked about The New Normal. He mentioned Christmas ornaments that read “baby’s first Christmas,” or “first Christmas together.” But he pointed out there were none that said “first Christmas without…” Milestones in our lives aren’t always positive experiences.

His message hit home because it was something I had just talked about with a friend. My friend had spent his life with grandparents, parents and siblings, all centered around his grandfather’s business. Then one by one, he lost his grandparents, mother and older brother and his father became estranged. The business was lost. There was no foundation for normal. Or at least what was once normal.

Family, friends and circumstances change throughout our lives. What is normal one day may not be the next. Transitions are hard because normal is vague and subjective. It makes a shaky foundation.

Foundations should be firm, constant, and unchanging. Like building a house, our foundation should be strong enough to withstand the storms of life. It shouldn’t change with challenges but protect us while we negotiate them. That foundation can only be found in one place. “God’s solid foundation stands firm.” (2 Timothy 2:29 NIV) God is not normal. He is solid and consistent. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)

What is normal in your life may change but when you trust God your foundation is unshakable.

Have you had to establish a new normal? How did your foundation in God help the transition?