PDL – Week 3

pdlOkay, I know it’s late for week 3, but it seems we were all struggling a bit to keep up. Since this is my second (or is it third?) time trying to make it through PDL, I know your struggle. My only advice is not to become a slave to the book, but focus on the process. And don’t let the process overwhelm you. As the scripture says, “the sabbath was made for man” not vice versa. So don’t take something that was presented to help you turn you into a slave. OK? Enough of that.

This week’s readings made me consider a couple of things: how little I think about heaven and how much I depend on myself. Neither one of those are anything to brag about.

About heaven. . .I don’t spend a lot of time meditating on what life will be like in heaven and how things will be done there. I think if I did this more, it would drive home the temporary nature of our stay on earth so that things here wouldn’t stress me as much as I allow them to do. Okay, I know I’m living here on earth so I need to focus on things here, but I need to have a greater expectation for life after here. I think that’s how we (Christians) keep our perspectives straight. What do you think?

Second, the readings made me think about about how much I depend on myself. Now this is a thin line for me. I believe that God meets my needs, but I also believe He expects a certain diligience and responsibility/accountability from me. That said, sometimes I believe you can cross that line. Where do I stop and God start? Now that’s probably the wrong question since there really should be an integration throughout the process, with me and God working together, with Him in the lead.

That’s how it should be. But I tell you that as a single woman with no children approaching the 50-year mark, I’ve spent a great deal of time in the last year or so thinking about retirement and old age. At one point, I was thinking on it too much. Even though I’m planning for the future, I have to continue to live in the day and trust God for today and tomorrow. Easy to say. . .

About the present. . .You all know I made a move back in the summer. Well, my old house is still on the market. I was pretty proud (I can’t think of a better word) of myself for not stressing out about this too much. I’ve been able to see the Lord open doors with money so that keeping up the mortgage on the house hasn’t been an issue. As the time on the market began to draw close to six months and I began to look out and wonder how long I could keep this up financially, I could feel the itch of stress began to bubble. But I kept thanking God for the way he had made and I didn’t become overwhelmed.

Well, I have good news. As of yesterday, I have a contract on the house. Hallelujah! I ask that you pray the buyer’s inspection and then the closing go without incident. I certainly look forward to not having to pay that mortgage anymore.

I guess that’s it for me. I’m off to another week of PDL. I may take longer than a week to post to give us all time to get in a rhythm, but I will continue to post.

Have a great week and an even greater weekend!


8 thoughts on “PDL – Week 3

  1. I had a hard time with week 3. What would others say is the driving force of my life???My classmates would probably say getting good grades. My sister to whom I complain about not having enough money to live would probably say money.

    But my PERSONAL GOAL is to be the best Christian I can be!!! I don’t always feel that I am reaching my goal and sometimes I see other things getting in the way but that IS my focus/driving force.

  2. Well, I’m way behind in this book by now. I admit that I haven’t even been trying to keep up for the last couple of weeks. I still haven’t got the whole apartment cleared out downstairs but we’ve had some unusual occurrences like the pipes for the water heating freezing and then one bursting. Monday this week, which was probably our coldest day this winter, was also the coldest in the apartments never mind the main floor. They were trying to thaw the ice in the pipes.

    Luckily there seem to be two different systems so that we got the heat going in the apartments.

    Anyway, I’ll just respond to what you’ve been saying, Angela and Charlotte, without any preconceptions on how things should/could be.

    First of all, I pray that your house will sell. From my sister too I know it’s no fun paying the mortgage on two properties. Never having had a house of my own I can only imagine what it’s like. I’ve had enough trouble with finances as it is.

    Some of my family members especially would say that is one of my main goals. Maybe it’s a form of envy. All three siblings are doing well financially while, as noted, I don’t even have a house to call my own. That’s never really been important for me except that I’m getting tired of being caught up in the vagaries of others as to where I can live. Certainly I still have some dreams as to where I’d like to travel but they’re not burning goals.

    I would also say that there are too many people around me that tell me what my life should be like–some because I’m a Christian, others that I should learn to have more “fun”. Being single like you, Angela, I was told by one family member that I should concentrate even harder on working to win souls. Isn’t it marvellous how easily we can always solve other people’s problems but rarely our own?

    I know that I don’t know what heaven *really* means to us Christians: to be able to lay our crowns proudly before Christ feels kind of strange to me. I’ve always been very deprecating about my achievements–maybe because in the back of my mind it is not really *my* achievement but Christ who helped me. I’ve been accused of false humility. I guess I really must become aware of what heaven truly means to us as Christians: being governors of others and other tasks like that. The things seem very strange to me. And yet I’m always under a lot of stress. Everything seems to be a source of stress no matter what it is.

    About depending on myself: I admit that I prefer doing everything myself. On the other hand, as a single, I’m being forced to do a lot by myself where I would prefer to have some help. I’m thinking here of things like simple carpentry that has to be done and I can’t do it and don’t know whom to ask. Moving my furniture and large boxes was all a part of that. I finally broke down and asked the church if they could find someone to help me. Again it seems like a double-edged sword. On the other hand, I do rely on God for many of these things and the question is where to draw the line. It becomes especially important when certain family members have told me not to ask them for *any* help. God still needs agents to help me do these very earthly tasks. Do I just pray for God to send someone or do I go and approach people myself? Again, a very fine line for me and others as well, I suppose.

    So, Charlotte, here you can see what some people think of me and my supposed driving forces: laziness (when I have pain so that I can hardly move); being negative (when I tell people I hurt or can’t afford something they think I should have; etc., etc. But can they see inside me? Can we see inside anybody to see the true person as God sees us or them?

    My sister-in-law’s mother passed away Jan. 30. Unless my sister-in-law was able to convince her mother of her need for Christ during the Wednesday chats with her mother during the time off work that she got, we don’t really know if she accepted Christ as her savior. This is the first funeral that I was at where someone I loved did not seem to be a Christian. But I can’t know that. It made it hard for me to reassure my nephew that he would see his grandmother again.

    I concur with your goal, Charlotte, and feel the same way: that we often let other things get in our way. But he has not finished his work in us yet and won’t on earth so that nobody can boast. We are all works in progress. Sometimes we have to remember that about other people, other Christians as well. *None* of us have been perfected. Even the greatest preachers and theologians are still prone to sinning.

  3. I don’t know if any of that makes sense now that I reread it. But I was afraid my computer might freeze on me and so decided I’d better save it before that happened.

    I’m sorry if there’s something inscrutable in it. I really was just expressing my thoughts and reactions as I thought of what you two have realized from that week. I have no idea what Rick Warren wrote and am not even sure exactly where my book is at the moment.

    But it’s been very pleasant having a chat with you even though it was essentially one-sided. Thanks, for letting yourselves be used by God in expressing your feelings. I hope mine were true expressions as well.

  4. This ‘hit the nail on the head’ (laziness (when I have pain so that I can hardly move); being negative (when I tell people I hurt or can’t afford something they think I should have; etc., etc.) in so many ways Sigrun. I was talking to my mother yesterday and made the mistake of responding to something she said by saying, “We can’t afford to do that” and she started in withh how I just don’t manage my money right. I have one sister who understands but I try to keep away from the subject of money with my family. They insist on telling me how they ‘were poor once, and had to struggle for years.’ They don’t remember that when you cannot ‘look back on poverty’, it’s all you can see. They don’t understand that ‘you are blessed to be a blessing’ and if you can help a family member who is trying to help herself, you are passing on a BLESSING – not giving a handout. They don’t see that you are to stressed to see other opportunity’s around you because you have grabbed onto – focused on – this will get me out of this hole. I pray that I will be blessed financially soon so that I can be a financial blessing to others.

    One sister who makes a six-figure income, flew me from Kentucky to Atkanta, where we stayed at the Westin Hotel for 8 days – then flew to Miami and boarded a cruise ship for 4 days. Then we came back to Miami, spent the night and flew back to Kentucky. During this time we ate at a hotel or some classy/expensive restaurant for every meal. My husband and I could have eaten WELL for six months – normally for nine months or more – but the purpose was to sooth her conscience by doing something, not to help me with my needs. That was 4 1/2 years ago and since I stayed with my husband – nada since then.

    I will always love my dysfunctional family but to me there is something wrong with your Christianity if you; have retired from the army after 20 years, gotten a job making $175,000 a year, live in a $300,000 home, have a PAID-FOR 2003 Jaguaur and Ford Explorer, but cannot help your sister because she did not do what you wanted!!!

    There’s another book Angela:). And Sigrun, you got me at a bad moment. I try to reconcile my life by doing what God tells me so that I don’t dwell on what I see as wrong.

  5. Since I was made to last forever I should stop ‘critiqing’ others I see in this temporal world and focus more on improving the part of ME that will live forever.

    I do NOT mean ignoriing other peoples spiritual needs but the Lord has shown me a tendency in myself to notice ‘imperfections’ in my husband and others but not in me.

    I need your prayers.

  6. Sigrun, thank you so much for sharing your hear with us. It was very clear and touched my heart. I won’t even mention PDL since I’m probalby more behind than you.

    I will comment on something else you said. You know, I think we learn to try to do everything ourselves because we think that others should see our need (unless they’re blind) and help without us having to ask. And when the giving comes, there are the questions that come with it.

    I’ve been blessed to be on the giving end more than the receiving end, at least when it comes to money, but there are times when I’ve needed a shoulder to cry on. But it seems people, family included, think my shoulders can handle anything.

    Slowly but surely, I’m showing them that they need to “be there” for me, too. I found that I was building up hostility towards them when I felt like they weren’t there for me.

    Sometimes we do act as if God blesses by dropping support out of the sky when, in actuality, he uses others to do His blessing. We just have to remember that “we” are the “others” He uses.

    So I’m learning to let my needs be known, and most of the time when I have, those around me have not let me down. When they do, I’m learning to just look around because it means that God has provided another way, or “a ram in the bush.” I just have to keep looking for it.

    Thanks, again, for sharing, Sigrun. This has been good for me.

  7. Charlotte, it seems Sigrun’s post touched something in both of us. Your story about your sister saddened me. When I hear something like that, I always look inside and see if I’ve made those kinds of horrific errors like your sister. Do I give with strings attached? Do I give according to my guilt or according to the need of others? Those are tough questions, but ones that we have to ask.

    You know, God doesn’t give with strings–He blesses the just and the unjust. He gifts are out of love for us, not out of any guilt since He doesn’t have any.

    I know it hurts to see waste when you have such need, but remember that your sister is operating from her own framework. She’s seeing things through her lens and not yours. And you’re seeing things through yours and not hers.

    I’m trying to get in the habit of trying to look at situations from others’ perspectives. Sometimes it helps; sometimes it doesn’t. It’s just one way that I keep hostility from building up. “Cos once hostility builds up, now I’ve got a problem.

    Let’s pray for each other.

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