Not Alone

Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.

Gandalf – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers J.R.R. Tolkien

In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the battle of Helms Deep looked grim as the enemy surrounded the only entrance and there seemed no hope for victory. It was a long night, but at dawn, Gandalf arrives with reinforcements just as he promised. The Bible is full of God’s promises to His children, but sometimes we have to wait for it to be fulfilled. The waiting time can see like an eternity, but if we keep our eyes focused on God, we will always have hope.

When we are waiting, it is easy to get distracted by the world around us. For example, in 1 Kings we find the story of Elijah who has just prayed down fire from Heaven and wiped out the prophets of Baal. When he hears of Jezebel’s threats, Elijah feels like he is alone in a battle he cannot win and he hides in despair.

14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away…18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

1 Kings 19:14, 18

After some rest and nourishment, God tells Elijah that he has seven thousand who are still loyal to Him and that he is not alone in the fight. From our vantage point, we might wonder how Elijah could go from boldly confronting the prophets of Baal to hiding and whining, but it is often after great victories that the enemy will attack us with doubts. Winning a tough victory takes a lot of energy: physical, spiritual and mental. We need to remember that like Elijah we are not alone.

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

Psalm 68:11

Being a writer is often solitary work, but I am not the only one writing the word God has given. He has many other writers, each with their own message to share. Writing groups allow writers to share and encourage one another so that we know that there other people who have been through some of the same issues and some who have had success. By sharing our stories, we build each other up. The trick is to find the right community for you.

Besides finding a like-minded community to offer support and accountability, we also need to ensure that we also take care of ourselves. First, we need to rest because we are more vulnerable if we are tired. Also, we need to make sure we have proper nourishment because hunger is another point of attack. Finally, or maybe firstly, we need to pray so that we are connected to our true source of energy.

Once you have strengthened yourself, then it is time to get back to work. If we sit idle too long, we are subject to remaining idle, which can lend itself to wallowing. This weekend I battled another round with those pesky fleas, which included wrangling two angry cats into carriers and to the vet followed by a thorough cleaning of the house. I took Friday and Saturday off from writing this blog as a result, but I rested, I ate, and I went to church. Now, I am finishing my assignment. So eat, rest, and pray, but don’t wallow. If you lay down with dogs, or cats, and wallow you just wake up with fleas. So, get up and get back to work. It’ll make you feel better.

Unplugged

When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.

Billy Graham

Just about everyone knows that if you are having issues with a piece of electronic equipment that if you unplug it and plug it back in, it will usually reset. The same principle works for humans. We are often told to unplug from social media or electronics to reset ourselves. For me, it was not about the electronics but about remembering to take a break when I needed it.

I set myself a tough deadline for October, and I was doing pretty well, partially because I would take breaks. When the deadline started approaching, I felt I needed to double-up. I started getting more done but it also wasn’t my best work. This past week I developed a tic in one eye and an attitude, a clear sign I needed a break but I thought if I just push through this week, I will be done, and then I can take a break. Yet, if I looked at the schedule, there wasn’t really going to be a break in the next two months with other projects and the holidays approaching. But, I pushed on.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Colossians 3:17

Then, a little storm called Zeta dropped on my doorstep. The wind and the rain blew and blew, keeping me up half the night. The power went out, but I got up and went to work, expecting the power to be back on when I got home. It was not. I had a bit of a melt down with anxiety because I was tired and the alarm system was beeping because of a dying battery but not the kind of battery you can remove, and I couldn’t reach the company because it was after hours. Add to that my phone, my one access to the world, was dying and running out of minutes. I reached out in desperation to a couple of people.

My best friend suggested plugging my phone charger into my laptop which was fully charged. She also said her alarm system, which is the same as mine, eventually quit beeping. The phone charging suggestion worked; however, the beeping was still unnerving me. A writer friend suggested putting in ear plugs and going to bed (Read his thoughts on burnout by clicking on the link below). At first I thought I can’t do that because I don’t have ear plugs, but then I remembered that my sister had gotten me some headphones last year that I had barely used and my Kindle Fire was fully charged. I got ready for bed, plugged the ear phones in, and listened to the sound of the ocean until the battery died and the system went silent. I rested and even napped during that time, and then I went to sleep and slept until the sun was fully up. This disturbed Young Man who is very attuned to schedules, especially treat times, but he survived just like I did.

God had to send a storm and unplug my entire town in order for me to take a break. I mean my entire town was dark for a day and some, as in my case, for two days. Yet, in that darkness was when I saw the light. Usually that is how we find our way to Jesus, the light of the world, in the darkness. When we come to the end of ourselves, then we come to the One who can fill our world and spirits with true light.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12

So, I suggest you take time to unplug and reset, or you might just find yourself unplugged with a beeping dying battery and grumpy cats.

Recharge

Wings Like Eagles

I am thankful for two days in a row off from work for Thanksgiving. It has given me a chance to catch up on cleaning and working on some projects for Christmas, but it also has given me a chance to recharge. I got to sleep past daylight and to just sit on the couch with my cats without thinking about what needed to be done next. Since I work part-time in retail, we have been working every afternoon to get ready for the busy season, so I have come home later than usual each day for the last few weeks and my batteries were getting low.

BatteriesBatteries have a limited amount of energy and will eventually run out of power if they are not recharged. We have a multitude of electronic devices that run on batteries these days, and they all come with a cord to plug into a power source in order to recharge them, sometimes on a daily basis. The other day I was working at my computer and the screen got dim. After several minutes, a warning came up about low battery. I had to stop and plug the computer into the outlet to recharge the battery. The screen was immediately brighter. The same is true for humans. When we recharge our batteries, we work better, both physically and spiritually.

When we feel like we are lagging spiritually like the screen on my computer, it helps to stop and recharge our batteries. The Holy Spirit is our link to the ultimate power source. We just have to plug in to the source through prayer, reading the Bible, or just taking a moment to worship the Lord. Ephesians 3:16 says, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”All we have to do is take the time to plug into the power source.outlet

Some days may require plugging in multiple times, but thankfully there are no blackouts with this power source. While everything in the earthly sphere is subject to break down and decay, God’s power is infinite. When we are weak, He is strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” We will never need an alternate power source.

In order to recharge, we need only rely on the Lord. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” When we give Him all our cares and burdens, He lightens our load so that we can rest in His strength.  So, take a moment and wait on the Lord, and He will recharge your batteries so that you can soar with the eagles.