How You Can Alter Your Life’s Path

Forty years ago, almost to the day, I went into the woods with a blank sheet of paper, my trademark red Paper Mate Flair pen, and a willingness to open  my life to truth.

I have been known to save the most obscure things of my life. Somewhere, that blank sheet of paper, thoughtfully filled with red-ink honesty, is buried inside an attic foot locker.

I did, however, find the notes from the speech which prompted my life-altering introspection.

Life Changing Notes

The perplexing (at the time) story of Martha was a true lesson for my young college self. According to the notes I had taken that October day, I had been challenged by the Fall Retreat speaker to:

1.) Look up scripture.

2.) Ask Jesus for action points to change my life.

3.) Tell God about higher priorities (than Him) in my life – Ask God to make me want to   change.

So, I made a list of my most important “life things”. And, all I remember is that God did not make it to the top ten. I remember being surprised at the honest results of my “self survey”.

Honesty has a way of illuminating things we don’t truly want to face.

Sitting on a log, in the woods, with no one else around, I began to prayerfully relinquish my life’s most important priorities one-by-one to the God who already knew what a self-centered wretch I was. I truly don’t remember this relinquishment being a painful exercise. I had already been through some depressing days of realizing how futile my earthly life had become.

Pause here.

Does anyone in our fast-paced, self-absorbed, living only-for-the-moment Instagram universe even ask any more, “What is the purpose of my life?” and “Why am I even spinning around this globe?” Sadly, I think not. But, if you are taking the time to read this post, maybe you are one of the few left who even cares…

to live a life of purpose beyond yourself.

Please, please, PLEASE do not think I am better than any one else because I pondered the meaning of life and someone else has not. This chapter of my life was a long process which God Himself led me through; it had nothing to do with me. Trust me. If I had to look at that list right now, I would most likely gag at my superficial, self-centeredness. And, for real, if you saw my list, I don’t know if you would ever read another word I ever write.

Whew. Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

Pause again for a beautiful symbol of God’s light illuminating my dark, purposeless world.

Beautiful Fall Morning

Back to the log: Simply put, I  admitted to God what a pitiful job of running my own life I had been doing and asked Jesus to take control. On that autumn day, I understood that Christ had paid for all the sinful, self-centered attitudes of my heart when He died on the cross. I also understood that as I was accepting His payment for my sin debt because, no matter how good I could be or how hard I could work (Ahhhh… back to Martha again.), I could never earn God’s favor, and I would always fall short of God’s perfect standard.

(Refer to previous blog post.)

Did you do the homework of making the list of your life’s priorities?  Now is the time to take an even more honest look at your, hopefully, already honest assessment.

I encourage you to prayerfully give all that stuff to God. Ask Him to take it all and bump Himself up to the top.

I have no idea what your list contains. Some of it might be awesome, great things! Everything in my life took on a new purpose when I let it all fall beneath the great plan that Christ has for me.

Paul sums it up much better than I ever could in Romans 12:1-2:

“I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

What a beautiful October day it was when I realized I needed to present my life before Christ!  I was changed from the inside out and was finally able to know God’s good, acceptable and perfect will for my life. I finally understood why I was even living and breathing!

The actual photo from that actual day… and, yes… my mouth has been wide open for 40+ years… sorry.

October 21, 1978

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2Corinthians 5:17

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How To Live With Purpose

Having promised you a lot in my blog’s  intro description with statements like: How can you live with purpose? How can you know why you are even spinning around this globe? The time has come for me to deliver.

You may already know the answers to the aforementioned questions. But, maybe, you are like me when I began to think introspective, deep, whats-the-purpose-of-my-life thoughts. I had no answers to my questions. All I knew at the time was:

work hard, be nice, have fun.

In my fun-seeking quest, I found myself at a Christian retreat center on a crisp Autumn  weekend, my sophomore college year.

BTW….I LOVE Fall.

The speaker told a bible story I had never heard. (Which was not difficult because I knew like-zero bible stories.) The story was about two sisters called Martha and Mary. The sisters were working hard (High value for me!) to prepare for dinner guests, and Jesus was one of the guests (Yikes! Work even harder!)

Martha was my kind of woman. She was getting after the preparations. She was moving down her to-do list like a boss. She was cleaning and cooking and making floral arrangements and checking Pinterest for cool tablescapes. Suddenly, she paused, looked around, and her sister Mary was no where to be found.

A Pinterest-Worthy Tablescape of which Martha Would Have Approved

Sweat was pouring down Martha’s face. (Kitchens must have been super hot in those days.) And when she finally found her sister, Mary (the slacker!) was seated at Jesus’ feet listening to Him teach. Martha’s head nearly exploded. She probably would have given Mary the Martha- Evil- Eye, but Mary wasn’t in a position to see it, so Martha decided to appeal to Jesus instead. (Oh… this was gonna be good.)

Martha was beyond trying to appeal to Mary. She went straight to the top, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” (No need to wait for Jesus to respond. After all, it had been a rhetorical question asked to make a point. His answer, of course, would be “Slacker Mary, get to work.”)

Martha continued,”Tell her then to help me.” I imagined Martha giving Mary a very smirky smile.

The Lord answered Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

WHAAAAAAAAAAA??????

Now MY head was exploding. How in the world would anybody  eat when everybody is just sitting around? How would the table be Instagram-able? Martha was my hero. She was…

me.

This story made no sense to my I-am-building-my-resume, I-join-every-club, I-am-a-perfectionist-over-achiever mind. Martha would totally get the best job upon college graduation. Martha probably ran the entire community with panache. Martha was so good she made work seem like a cinch.

How could Jesus have praised Mary… over Martha?

The speaker’s application that fine autumn Saturday was for each of us to take some time alone to ponder our life’s priorities. He challenged us to make a list of the top ten things in our lives. (Cool! I lived for lists!!!)

So, into the woods I went. And while sitting on a log, with my notebook and red Flair pen, I began to make my list.

Rifle Paper Company is My Fave Place for All-Things Paper

Let me pause right here and ask you some questions:

1.) When was the last time (if ever) that you have taken time away from your busy and very noisy existence to evaluate your life? Not time away to make your “to-do” list but time away to evaluate “your entire life trajectory” list.

2.) Before I return to finish this story, now would be a good opportunity. I encourage you to take a very introspective look at your life. Make a top ten list of your life’s priorities. Most importantly… be honest.

Come back next time to hear about “the list” and how I began to answer some tough life-altering questions.

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Sweet View from the Mountain


Gotta Love This Character!