Friday, September 17, 2010

Why in the world did I wake at 4:30 a.m.???

I've had an incredibly busy week - three 12 hour days and a regular 8 hour day and since Friday is my day off . . .I had planned to sleep until at least 6 :-) At 4:30 a.m. my eyes popped open and would not close. I finally crawled out of bed and fed the cat and grabbed a diet Pepsi and my bible and two study books and started to read. We are starting a new study in the John Wesley Sunday School class this week and it is the newest Max Lucado book, "Out Live Your Life." I am also taking the Beth Moore class at our church - Jesus the One and Only. The two combined is a lot of reading. (that doesn't count two more weeks of facilitating the young adult study but it is DVD driven and not as much reading plus we just finished it in our Sunday School class so I am a little more familiar with the material)

That is my Bible in the Discovery 2004 book cover. My mother-in-law (or should I say mother-in-love) gave that Bible to me for a Christmas gift in 1994. It is literally held together by that book cover. I don't want a new Bible. I love this Bible. There are dates written in the margin and things are underlined and highlighted.

ok - back to 4:30 - it is still really dark outside!! I usually get up at 5:15 on work days and I've noticed in the last few weeks that it is dark outside for a long time. I love days where we have daylight from about 5:00 a.m. until after 8:00 p.m.

Anyway, this morning Beth Moore challenged us to find a NEW word from God in an old familiar passage. Luke 1:26-38 You know this story - a virgin pledged to be married . . . and a visit from the angel. I never noticed this before - the angel didn't leave until Mary agreed. Beth Moore also compared/contrasted this scripture to the scripture where the angel appears to Zechariah. Both Mary and Zechariah "questioned" the angel . . .but Zechariah was unable to speak after the visitation. I never thought about that before. Was Mary's just the questioning of a young girl - explain it better to me? How can this be? Was Zechariah's question, "How can I be sure of this?" more of a statement of disbelief. I've been pondering that all morning.

Then I continued (had started earlier in the week) reading the new Max Lucado book. It is good. I hope that God will give me the words on Sunday to express my excitement and my "ah ha" moments to the class. Look at the picture. See all those little purple sticky notes - those are things that I've marked that I think are important. I'm doing the little Bible Study along with it. Max (sounds like I know him, doesn't it? I would like to - he seems like a neat man) starts the lesson for day two with this question. "How do most people around you define success? What is your personal definition of success?" Those are two pretty powerful questions. Success from a worldly stand-point . . .a job with a six figure income (or more); a big preferably new or remodeled house decorated beautifully; two new cars and a pick-up truck for hauling stuff (sorry - the southern girl in me); a lake or beach house or maybe both (also decorated beautifully); owning your own prosperous business; being able to buy anything we want. What else? How does the world define success? Now how do I define success? One side of me says all of the above. Yes, I won't lie. I want all of those things. Not on a daily basis but sometimes. Sometimes the "jealous Lisa" wants those things (but I don't really want all that upkeep). But in my heart of hearts - in that place where Jesus resides - that part of me that hungers for God's word . . .I know that is not the definition of success. Success for me would be knowing (or maybe not even knowing) that I have helped one person find Jesus . . .that maybe I have been instrumental in leading one person into a closer relationship with Jesus. Success means that each day I get up and I fail miserably at many things BUT that I count on Jesus. Success means that I am surrounded by friends who love me for who I am, not who they want me to be. Success means going to Mouat Chapel and spending half an hour in prayer yesterday for the ministries of our church and for the folks on our prayer list and for my own friends and family. Success means spending over an hour in Bible study this morning. Success means making a whole BUNCH of teeny tiny diaper shirts for those babies in the NICU. Success means starting a ministry for young adults in our home and that folks are still coming and we are now on our third session. These things that I call success have nothing to do with me. Nothing at all. The true success in life comes from Jesus Christ himself. Today I know this. Today I am confident in the grace of Jesus Christ. You might need to remind me of this on another day :-)

****This addition . . .came to me just now in the shower so I had to jump back on here and add . . .I do have much for which I am grateful (and these things fit into those worldly successes) - we have a home that is just right; we both are gainfully employed (and I LOVE my job no matter the salary), we (actually Mark and his family) have a farm that includes a lake for fishing; I can buy all the groceries I want - even enough to feed others, etc. etc. - but my definition of success above still stands ******

So how do you define success? I would love to know.

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