Just for you, I offer simple reflections and inspirational memes that can help you blossom and grow spiritually. Enter into the peace of The Sanctuary Garden blog and let Jesus speak to your heart. Unless a seed falls into the garden soil, it will not grow. A seed that is swallowed up by the garden will sprout many flowers.
“I went to a quiet place hoping to meet God.
But God was already there, waiting just for me.”
The Sanctuary Garden
A Reflective Blog
Let’s hear it for fortune cookies! Who hasn’t gleaned at least a kernel of wisdom from these sweet gems? Recently Calvin and I visited our favorite Chinese restaurant. My fortune said, “If you keep too busy learning the tricks of the trade, you may never learn the trade.”
Wow. I don’t know if the all-powerful fortune cookie writer across the sea realized that he or she was actually dispensing spiritual advice. But that’s exactly what it is since many of us work incredibly hard at our Christian lives. We go to church, do Bible study, read theology, and attend prayer meetings. And don’t forget about teaching Sunday school, organizing the church picnic and singing in the choir. Whew!
But even as we perfect the “tools” of our spiritual lives, could we be overlooking the main reason for our devotion – being together with Jesus? It’s possible. So rather than trying to fit in even more activities, why not consider a change of focus. Try slowing down and remember to keep the main thing the main thing!
Recently I came across boxes filled with our newspaper and magazine articles that had been published through the years. I also found a box with three years of cassette tapes from my 1990’s radio show.
I didn’t know what to do. If I threw them away, I couldn’t prove my accomplishments. But honestly, who is going to care about a bunch of old newspapers and tapes when I’m gone? I finally realized that the value was in the people who were helped at the time. I ended up tossing them – just keeping a few as souvenirs.
So what was I thinking – that I’d hand Jesus a bunch of tapes after I die as proof of my worth? On some level – yes! This little exercise showed me how far I still have to go in appropriating God’s love to my life. A challenging lesson!
Where is your struggle?
Lately I’ve been pondering dishes. We have a nice white set that we use every day. We also have my grandmother’s dishes, but I’m giving them away since they aren’t really appropriate for us, plus we want to downsize. But sometimes we need an extra plate or two for company. So I found a cute white set on a Thanksgiving sale.
Then I realized the new set has 24 bowls and a lot of other pieces we don’t need, which would clutter up our house again. So we bought four plates in our original pattern instead. But I felt sad knowing I wouldn’t be unwrapping lots of new stuff!
I have an actual vow of simplicity. Even so, it can be a tough choice – but a necessary one. Guess we need to remember that when we clear away the clutter, it’s often just that much easier to see God!
What’s your simplicity struggle?
Are you a perceptive person? Are you fairly aware of what’s going on around you? Do you notice the details of your surroundings? I think we all pride ourselves on knowing and understanding our little piece of the world. But perhaps some things are hidden from our sight.
A friend recently mentioned that as a child she often visited the south and remembered the water fountains that were set aside for “colored folk.” She just looked right past them, never stopping to consider what they signified to both blacks and whites. The fountains just “were.” There was nothing to do and nothing more to see.
Remember all those stories about Jesus healing the blind and helping them see clearly? We’re actually no different. With him as our guide, we can start to see clearly what was shrouded before. Placing our trust in him, we can find the courage to bring to light what has been hidden and restore what has been broken.
What aren’t you seeing?
What have you lost? The longer we live, the more likely we are to lose something that matters to us. Some of us are only lightly touched by loss. Others bear great sorrow through significant, gut-wrenching pain. Yet loss visits us all.
One of the hardest losses to bear is the rejection of a loved one. Perhaps that’s because this person knows us intimately, but now chooses to be with us no longer. When the depths of our souls have been revealed in relationship, any parting of the ways cuts to the core of our existence.
A great loss can spin our world out of control. Our anchor is gone and we’re cast into space. Many times we don’t understand why. We just know the hurt is overwhelming. Still, when we open our eyes and survey the wreckage, a familiar figure sits perched on the ruins, beckoning us near.
Jesus was no stranger to pain and loss. He suffered just as we do. But there’s one loss he has promised will never happen—the loss of those who belong to him. He protects all the sheep in his fold. He binds up the wounds of those who are hurt. He heals all the bruises and gashes of life. The loving shepherd tends his flock.
By Lisa Are Wulf ~
Being thankful can be a challenge! Here’s what he says:
“Lord, I give you thanks for this mess! I give you thanks for all of the frustration and upset that I feel. I give you thanks for this person on the phone who seems to know absolutely nothing about the program that I am supposed to be enrolled in. I thank you for this person who seems totally inept in his or her work and still wants to help me. I thank you for my brothers when they don’t get up in the morning. I thank you for my brothers when they have no idea that they are singing off key. I thank you for the patience of all these people with me, especially when I don’t want to speak to any of them again.
Being grateful is not about pretending that we are just fine. It is about identifying all the situations that upset us and push us and demand more of us that we want to give. Then we thank the Lord for all of this with truth. We might even feel a bit better afterwards, but we might not. The important thing is to pray and to give thanks.”