Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Contentment’

Big Enough

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

I would like to think that my ultimate measure will be how I reacted in times of struggle, challenge and controversy.  I know I often fail that test and do not react the way I should – but I would like to think that I have the integrity and strength to handle whatever comes my way.  I fail.  I have failed.  No one ever said that life was easy and smooth all the time.  It is hard at times – beyond incredibly difficult to understand why things happen as they do – but I want to be able to stand – learn something from each test and live as an example to others.

The older I get – the more questions I have.  And oddly, I’m not as concerned about the answers as I once was.  Oh I still wish I knew – but it seems that part of the mystery is also part of the journey.

Finding the secret of being content – even amidst strife, difficult things and unanswered questions – seems to be the key.  Knowing I don’t have the power or wisdom to change things.  I don’t know how many times I have reminded people who have strong regret about decisions or circumstances of their past – feeling like they would go back in time and “fix” things if they could – that it is those very things that make them who they are today – yes – even the really bad things.  And God places the right people in our lives as we journey down that road of regret and pain – to identify with us and give us just the right encouragement for that moment in time – to carry on.  I firmly believe this.  This has been my experience – to look back and see the people put in my path to watch over me and will me to continue on.  It is a daily choice to be content – not to fret – and reach past – but to just be content.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:11-13

Below are the lyric to a song by Chris Rice entitled “Big Enough”.  I was listening to it on my pandora radio this morning and thought, “how appropriate!”  These words are what many of us can relate to.

None of us knows and that makes it a mystery
If life is a comedy, then why all the tragedy
Three-and-a-half pounds of brain try to figure out
What this world is all about
And is there an eternity, is there an eternity?
God if You’re there I wish You’d show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don’t mind me askin’ the questions
But I figure You’re big enough
I figure You’re big enough
Lying on pillows we’re haunted and half-awake
Does anyone hear us pray
“If I die before I wake”
Then the morning comes and the mirror’s the other place
Where we wrestle face to face with the image of Deity
The image of Deity
God if You’re there I wish You’d show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don’t mind me askin’ the questions
But I figure You’re big enough
I figure You’re big enough
When I imagine the size of the universe
And I wonder what’s out past the edges
Then I discover inside me a space as big
And believe that I’m meant to be
Filled up with more than just questions
So, God if You’re there I wish You’d show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don’t mind me askin’ the questions
But I figure You’re big enough
I figure You’re big enough
‘Cause I am not big enough

I pray you have a day ‘peppered’ with many questions – and that you will be content in any and every situation you find yourself in today.

God Bless

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The Risk Of Being Me

“At the end of the day, the end of it all I’ll still be me! I’ll still laugh, I’ll still love, I’ll still hurt, I’ll still cry, and most importantly I’ll still live!”

If you’ve ever been criticized for being a certain way – or had people question your motives – then you know the feeling that lack of validation brings.  The “I’m just being me” loses some of its uniqueness – some of it’s spark.

But if you have people in your life that know all about the “quirks” and “moods” that make up who you are – and STILL love you – then you are blessed.

Still…if you’ve had a friendship ripped away from you – a misunderstanding of gigantic proportions and unresolved issues that go beyond insane – you tend to be really “gun-shy” about relationships in your world.  It just takes one person to entirely mess you up.  Even when you have good people to take their place – even then.

I am forever messed up.  By a friendship that went horribly wrong.  I admit it.  My personal trust arena has been compromised – I have always loved my friends deeply – so I get hurt deeply.  That is both bad and good.  Without the pain – you just have casual relationships with nothing invested – and no risk.  And that isn’t really living.  So it’s always worth it to risk the heart.  Always.  But it can also really stink!

It’s funny – you can think you’re fine – over it – and moved WAY past it.  Then something triggers a memory of loss.  Someone pulls away – or something happens to bring those feelings of helplessness again.  And like the song lyric “here I go again” – you find that it feels like it’s happening all over again.  And it’s not.

I am learning that I cannot always go on “feelings” – for they can deceive – BIG TIME!  And I cannot give in to the feeling “what if every one of these people in my life – go away too”?  I know it’s not reasonable to feel or think this way – but when we’ve been hurt – it is the emotional response.  It is not based in reality – but in fear.  And I WILL NOT give in to it.

But I am learning to be “me” – even when I had to “pull in” to please people who didn’t like what being “me” meant in their world.

I am also learning to embrace change – look at things and friendships in a new way.

I am learning to appreciate the little things about the kind people in my life that daily encourage me – and who are walking with me through my own journey called life.

I am learning not to compromise what I believe in – and to not give in to the negative.

God made me unique – with special abilities that no one else has – quite in the same way.  You are also unique and special.  When we remember that – and know that He has His hand on our lives and places the right people in our path to help us through our journey – then we realize that it’s okay and safe to be “me”.  Fearless and unafraid.

I am praying for each one of you today.  That you will also realize this.  That you will embrace the people around you that the Lord has placed in your life for a reason – to help you – to encourage you – to bring out the best in you – and that you will feel “safe” and “unafraid”.

God Bless

I Am Expectant

I was being deep and reflective this morning and posted something on my status update on facebook – something about “feeling a new expectancy” and feeling pretty good about it – when all of a sudden – facebook being what it is – a number of comments came through teasing me and asking if I was “PREGNANT”!!  I laughed at this and it became a joke that Greg and I have been having much fun with today to and from the gym where we both work out.  But being that as it may – I was keenly aware of how the word “expectant” has everyone always assuming that it means a woman is expecting a baby – or in other words, “pregnant”.  So I looked up the word and here is what it said:

Pregnant

adj.

  1. Carrying developing offspring within the body.
    1. Weighty or significant; full of meaning: a conversation occasionally punctuated by pregnant pauses.
    2. Of great or potentially great import, implication, or moment: “It was a politically pregnant time in Poland” (New York).
  2. Filled or fraught; replete: “This was, from the Party’s point of view, both deplorable in itself and pregnant with danger for the future” (Robert Conquest).
  3. Having a profusion of ideas; creative or inventive.
  4. Producing results; fruitful: a pregnant decision.

I like that there are different meanings for this GREAT word that describe so much!  But it is also a complicated word – and you don’t just go throwing it around in a sentence.  I can’t imagine, for instance – using it in a sentence when teaching my Junior High theater students, “Oh Monica – I see you are pregnant with great ideas!!  Let’s see if we can make that happen!”  Can  you just imagine the looks and laughter I would get?  And yet – to be “pregnant” is an adjective and has such great depth of meaning.  It is highly overlooked because of the bias surrounding it.

I also looked up “expectant” – the word I used this morning on my status update.  Here is the definition:

Expectant

adj.

  1. Having or marked by expectation: an expectant look; an expectant hush.
  2. Pregnant: expectant mothers.

Now I really like this.  Have you ever experienced “an expectant hush’?  I know I have!  That is what I am feeling today.  It is a feeling that there are AWESOME things ahead – and somehow over the last year – I have lost sight of that.  I have some great friends in my life right now that are reminding me of this fact.  I am in daily communication with them as we encourage each other and keep each other grounded and full of expectancy and lots of love and laughter!

I challenge you today to be “open” to receive some “expectancy” in your own life.  Allow others to speak to you words of hope and wisdom.  Be open to love in ways you never thought possible as you give away some love to others today.  There’s nothing better for you – nothing healthier than a kind loving word between friends and nothing else that will make your heart “pregnant” with new ideas and challenges – as you spur someone else on – in love!  Two hearts that carry a heavy load are always better than one.  Find some laughter to help lift that load today.

God Bless

All Will Be Well

Cheer up people!  Easter means: whatever is wrong – will be right.

Pastor Greg Daulton

Heard a fantastic and moving message this wonderful Easter morning – as we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.  Our pastor said the above statement  in his opening thoughts this morning.  We continued to sing songs of praise and worship as his statement began to slowly sink in.  What a simple thought – what a profoundly deep and moving thought.  Nothing is so wrong – that won’t someday be fixed.  No more tears.  No more wondering.  No more heartache.  Jesus has won the battle – and we are victorious!  That’s something to get excited about!!

His message this morning was full of joy and hope – as he told us that Easter was all about laughter! How often do we forget?  Church can become about rules and duty – appearances and posture – and eventually we can lose sight of what really happened as a result of Jesus overcoming death.  It meant that we don’t have to fear ANYTHING – even death.  He has made it so there is peace surrounding this event for us – and there is deep joy and yes, laughter in the midst of trials and pain.  We can not only laugh in the face of all of this – but we are free to laugh at ourselves.

I know something about laughter – having a very healthy sense of humor – as my family and many friends can testify to.  But I also feel things like hurt and pain – rejection and betrayal most deeply and can cry quite easily because of a broken heart.  I believe both of these are healthy expressions of the emotions that God gives each of us.  To experience and drink in all of life to the fullest.  To be unafraid of being me.  Jesus gave me permission to be me.  He has won the battle once and for all over death.  He brings a safety blanket for me – as I trust and walk with him.  Others may walk away from us – but He never will.  He whispers to me – “one day there will be no more tears – all will be well.”  We are free.  Free to laugh – free to relax in this amazing grace of His.

What I find interesting is this:  When Jesus rose – he told the women at the tomb – “Go tell my disciples and Peter”. Why Peter?  Because Peter was the one who failed.  Interesting.  I could very well insert my name there – and you could your name.  He called him by name – the one who failed him.  There is nothing that you can do that is so bad – that He will not seek after you – and make it right. I’m sure the disciples weren’t crying anymore when they heard the news!  And I’m sure Peter was laughing the hardest – knowing all was well.

Below is a video of the late Keith Green – one of my favorite Christian artists.  He is performing “The Victor” live in 1978.  His amazing passion and talent leave me breathless.  Take a listen – you will be inspired today – as you begin to let what Christ did for you on that Easter Sunday some 2000 years ago – bring back some of the lost laughter.  Let Him begin a new deep work of joy and laughter in your life today – with no fear – no worries – as you discover, some day, all will be well.

Swallowed into earth’s dark womb
And death has triumphed
That’s what they say
But tried to hold him in the tomb
The son of life
Rose on the third day

Just look
The gates of hell
They’re falling
Crumbling from the inside out
He’s bursting through
The walls with laughter (hah!)

Listen to the angels shout

It is finished
He has done it
Life conquered death
Jesus Christ
Has won it

His plan of battle
You know it
He fooled them all
They led him off to prison to die
But as he entered hades hall
He broke those hellish chains with a cry

Just listen to those demons screaming
See him bruise the serpent’s head
The prisoners of hell
He’s redeeming (oh!)
All the power of death is dead

It is finished
He has done it
Life conquered death
Jesus Christ
Has won it

Just look
The gates of hell they’re falling
Crumbling from the inside out
He’s bursting through the walls with laughter (hah!)
Listen to the angels shout
(listen, oh, listen)

It is finished
He has done it
Life conquered death
Jesus Christ
Has won it

It is finished
He has done it
Life conquered death
Jesus Christ
Has won it

Keeping It Real

“Care more than others think wise. Risk more than others think safe. Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible.” Howard Schultz – CEO of Starbucks

I love this quote.  We are nothing without the ability to dream and challenge ourselves to things greater than ourselves.  I’ve been accused of caring too much – so I understand first hand what Mr. Schultz is saying here.  I’m also one to take risks and dream beyond what “normal” people think I should.  I’m a BIG possibility thinker and I’m sure that makes me quirky to most people around me – but I can’t help it.  I love a good challenge and love the people in my life that push me to areas that I may not be as comfortable in – but that believe in me and won’t settle for mediocrity or “safeness”.  That encourage me to “risk” myself.  To be nothing but authentic and real.  And yes – I will always expect more – and keep dreaming.  And I’m hoping that you will do the same ☺

Have an awesome day!

God Bless

How Do You Define Success?

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Albert Schweitzer

Heard an excellent message on Sunday morning.  The topic: “How do you define success?”  Pastor Greg was speaking from the book of Luke – the portion on “The Beatitudes” – where Jesus is speaking “Kingdom” concepts to the crowd and especially the disciples.  He was speaking things that were in direct contradiction to the way human nature and limited senses allowed them to comprehend.  They always had trouble understanding what Jesus was trying to teach them because it went against everything they were taught – everything they knew.  They saw Him with people – heard Him teach  walked right there beside Him – working crowds of people with such grace and mercy – healing people and dealing with things without impatience or crankiness.  But they still did not understand Him – and they were right there with Him.  Today we still don’t get it – even though we have the Bible – and many writings from scholars and very wise intellectuals to help us be  “enlightened” and “informed” on what scripture said and what Jesus really meant when He said it.  Our ways are so much different from His.  Our definitions of “greatness” have more to do with “power” and “being the best” than it does with being “meek” and “humble” – even “poor in spirit”.  We care more about how we look to those around us – than just simply doing what’s right.  Even though we know from what we read here that the “last will be first” and that success here on earth is very different from success with God.

This led to the question – “how do you define success?” – and more importantly, “how do you define your success?”  What will people say about you will you die?  My husband deals with this all the time when he councils with grieving families – preparing to do a someone’s funeral service.  He will meet with the family and hear their stories.  How does their family remember them?   Was it their spotless house?  Their finely manicured lawn and beautifully landscaped yard?  Did they have many possessions but no happiness?  Did they invest in people?  What do their friends and family say about them?  Do they even have anything nice they can say about them?  Sometimes – there isn’t much nice to say.  Sometimes the person was never able to give love – never showed any compassion to anyone – never had any friends.  Sad, sad, sad.

But the happier funerals have been where the one that passed on was a positive influence – and a happy person – one who had found the secret of success in their own personal life – and lived it out.  Creating a legacy from personal success – a relationship with Jesus – the giver of ultimate joy and peace – and one who surrounded themselves with good people in their lifetime – who learned from mistakes – pulled themselves up time and time again – who would not give in – or give up.  Who loved people and had love returned back to them.  Who was happy in what they did – and was content.

I love the quote at the top of this article – because  I would have to say that success for me is doing something that I feel I have been gifted in – and doing it with my whole heart and soul – loving God,  my family and friends with everything in me – being a positive encourager and lover of people – and finding that all the joy and happiness that is given away – is again brought back to me full circle and running over. That to me – is success.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

And like Paul in this scripture – I want to do my best to live this out in my own life.  I know I do not hit the mark all the time – but it is my ultimate goal. I am still learning.  I am still on a journey.  A journey to learn to be contented – and find success through contentment.

I am praying for you tonight – that you too would find the secret of “being content” and also be able to write your own “personal” statement of success.

God Bless

A Moment

I had a moment the other day.  A moment that I knew ranked up there with all those special frozen “moments” in time – that I have experienced throughout my life.  It happened the other day in  theater class – where I have the privilege of teaching and investing in students through music.  When a student discovers how great they can be – then it is a moment for me.  A student came ALIVE during a scene from “Beauty and the Beast” and I gasped!  It was an incredible moment that moved me.  This so rarely happens during an early rehearsal – I just sat there smiling, knowing this production will be the best one yet – thanks to students who push past the limitations of their age – and give it their all. I have had many such moments since I started being a music teacher – some 15 years ago now.  These moments make the “job” not seem like a “job” – and more like a pleasure. It makes all the icky times worthwhile.  All the blood sweat and tears – bearable.  Just knowing that the price we pay – is HUGELY worth all the frustration, yelling and short tempers.  In the end – the production and experience of playing to a full house at the Civic Theater  is what all the students remember – and the teachers never forget.

When was the last time you had a moment?  When did something or someone really move you?  Do you invest in people and friendships?  Do they bring you joy and make you smile and even laugh?  Are you helping to create a moment for someone else?  Do you share your time, humor and kindness with others?  When was the last time you made someone’s day?  When was the last time someone told you – “you just made my day”?

I want to be that kind of person.  I want to invest in people.  I want my friends to like being around me – and be richer because I am in their life.  Don’t you?  Start by being that kind of friend to someone today.  Bring humor and love to someone’s world today.  It will bless their socks off.  I promise.

God Bless

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