One of the phrases we hear the most is, “How in the world do you do it? If I were you I would go crazy!”
Well, there is a fine line between crazy in a good way and crazy in a…well… not so good way 🙂 Living passionately can sometimes appear crazy and a little nuts (is there a difference), but we know that it is fully different than feeling like you are going crazy with what you have on your plate.
In a world full of change, growth, love, loss, challenges, hard times, abundant blessings, and everything in-between, it is of the utmost importance that we “keep ‘our’ hearts with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life”. The longer you have been around, then the more you read that verse and shout “AMEN!”. You know deeply that it is true.
We try to manage stress, find peace, relax, organize, enjoy, fellowship, serve, and grow– sometimes all at once. There is a saying, “First things first”, and now is when it holds true. Managing our lives will only become a band aide if our hearts are not kept right with God. David knew this first hand when he wrote the Psalms. As a man in leadership, a husband and a father, he knew all the levels of “life that gets in the way” between us and God. That is why he tells us to keep our hearts.
How then shall we live? A checklist of sorts for summer time and life.
8) Keep perspective. David constantly reminded himself of all the things God had done in the past. Giving himself perspective on life and the way God worked in it.
8) Give thanks. Paul exhorts us to give thanks in all circumstances and David also tells to praise God for WHO he is and WHAT he does and has done.
8) Know the Truth. In a world full of opinions and great ideas of what we should and should not do, we MUST know the Truth. Paul reminds us that the truth will set you free. At many levels, truth is the key to freedom from believing and living trapped by lies.
8) Pray. Sometimes you hear people say, “I am sorry I can’t help, but I can at least pray”. Oh, it should surely be the opposite. “I can SURELY pray, and maybe I can lend a physical hand too”!!! The power of prayer is bigger than most of us give it credit. We are conversing with the Creator of the entire Universe here!!!!
8) Surround yourself with a cloud of witnesses. What we do and who we are with effects our habits and attitudes. Spend time with people that build you up and challenge you.
8) Get fresh air. Seriously. God made creation full of beauty and wonder for a reason. If it was not important, then the whole world would be beige. It is not! It is vibrant and full of life- go enjoy it!!!
8) Feed your mind wholesome food. Read scripture every day. Even the same section over and over. God tells us that His word is alive and active and sharper than a two edged sword. THAT is powerful. But you can’t know it to be true unless you try it for yourself. Try reading the PSalm and Proverb of the day. If it is the 2nd of the month, read Psalm 2 and Proverb 2.
8) Get a good book. Sometimes we like to relax to a “good book” or movie. But what are you REALY gaining from the book or movie you choose. NOTHING IS NEUTRAL. What goes in must come out. Be careful what you let in there!!! Here are two great books to read. One is old and one is new. Both are great in different ways.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – This is book is a challenge of gratitude in the very deepest sense in the midst of severe loss and pain. As my friend put it, the first chapter is rough in a raw heart wrenching way, but life grows out of it. Very personal, very honest. This link tells you more about it as well as the author. Well worth a read. A great book for you alone or with a close friend.
Keeping The Heart by John Flavel A pastor from the late 1600’s, Flavel charges his congregation to keep their hearts with all diligence. Full of wise advice and practical living. It’s age does NOT outdate it, it makes it all the more impressive that it is perfectly applicable today. A great book for small groups as well as individuals.
8) Honor the Sabbath. A day of rest is vital in this busy world. Finishing a list of chores is NOT resting. Playing in a hockey game (or any other organized sport that now meets on sundays) is NOT resting (sorry sports fans- I know you probably disagree here). Spending time with family and friends, worshiping, and truly resting. It will replenish your soul and your body. Try it and see– I promise you God knew what He was talking about when He told us to do it!!! I trust His wisdom on the issue 🙂