Ordinary Places

Photo Credit: Dario Valenzuela on Unsplash

By Joan Kelley

“The discovery of God lies in the daily and the ordinary, not in the spectacular and the heroic. If we cannot find God in the routines of home and shop, then we will not find Him at all.”  Richard Foster

I just got home from a vacation in the lush forests, mountains and endless beaches of Oregon.  It was quite easy to see God every time you turned around in the extraordinary views and incredible landscapes.  I was literally tripping over his grandeur all day long.

Vacation ended yesterday. It was a bit more difficult this morning among the piles of email, laundry and an empty refrigerator to see God in the ordinary routine places.  I had to relearn how to find Him in the post office line, along my normal walking path and in the conversations with my family.  I learned the discovery was part of my growth this day. Somehow the hunt, the seeking and the exploring of what God had put right in front of me made the ordinary treasures I found today even more precious.

How might God be inviting you to find Him today in the ordinary moments, people, tasks?  What are you learning about God and his character in the ordinary?  How is it different from the extraordinary places we see God in more obvious ways?

 

 

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Photo Credit: Brad Neathery on Unsplash

By Joan Kelley

“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”  Proverbs 4:23 NCV

If I stopped you in your tracks, mid-stream in your day and asked you, “What’s running your life?”  What would be your initial answer? Would you say - your schedule, your work, your finances, or your relationships?

If someone looked at your life with an unbiased opinion, what might they see that is running your life?  If someone looked at your time, your spending and your calendar, what clues would they find about what is dictating your day?

When we look at the deepest parts of our lives, the root of what is running our life is our thoughts – the places we let our mind intentionally and unintentionally go all day long.

What needs to shift in where you place your thoughts? What if we placed our thoughts on God first?  What if that’s how we started our days, lived our moments and ended our evenings – thinking on God and his ways for our lives?  How would our story line change?

Prayer:

Father, help us to direct our thoughts throughout our days to You.  Guide our minds to things that are from You in our relationships, work, ministry, finances and calendars.  Let our time be spent intentionally focused on You.  Amen

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Joan Kelley

By Joan Kelley

This picture is a tree in my neighborhood.  It appears the owner of this property is trying to save some money by taking the dead tree down piece by piece in a rather creative way.  It looks like they tried the first ladder, then decided maybe a taller ladder would help. Since that looked unstable, they tried some bungee cords for support. They found a way. 

 

Does your life ever feel like this?  Things are going smoothly until you run into something that needs to be addressed and you make an attempt to find a way. You add one more support. You make a new attempt. You judge quickly and only look at what is directly in front of you. You try to reach higher. You do it alone. You don’t ask for help.

 

Might God be inviting you to seek His way?  Might God be saying He can provide a support that has a firm foundation?  Might God be inviting you to look up into His grander story?  Might God be inviting you to include Him and His people in finding a way? How might you be seeking other ways before seeking God first?

 

Scripture:

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  Matthew 6:33

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Kelvin Balingit on Unsplash

By Joan Kelley

I have spent a fair share of my life in waiting rooms – waiting for grades, test results, job interviews.  To be honest I’m not very fond of them. Probably because I don’t usually like the answer at the end of the wait and also because I’m simply not good at waiting.

Have you noticed how often in scripture God gives us one thing to do… “to wait”?

He calls us to reflectively wait – to take a look back at where we have been and to notice where He has been in it.

He asks us to expectantly wait – looking ahead with hope in Him for what might be next.

He asks us to actively wait – to be present right where we are and to acknowledge Him as Emmanuel – God with us.

There is simple yet profound power in learning to wait - past, present and future - in God’s story and in our own.

Question

  • How might God be inviting you to wait in new ways in His Story – past, present, future?

 

Prayer

Father, help us to pause and take in a fuller perspective of the Story as we learn to wait together with You.  Amen

 

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Milan Surbatovic on Unsplash

By Joan Kelley

I sat with a friend recently who was frustrated with a relative. I listened and then said, “It sounds like their extreme reaction to you is stealing your joy.” My friend teared up immediately. My comment had opened a place of vulnerability, of sadness, of a desire for something more, and a grief for what was unjustly taken.

Later that day I sat with a question for myself. “What do I allow to steal to my joy”? Is it another person — their desire for power or control, or to simply be right? Is it comparison to others— as I look at others in real or virtual life and desire to have, to be, or to do something that I see in their lives? Is it fear, shame, or regret - as I look at my past, present or future? Is it insurmountable grief over a loss  - of a loved one, a dream, a job?

God desires that our stories be filled with joy. In fact, He promises a time when joy will never be stolen. Recognizing those places of stolen joy allows us to name more fully who we are in Christ.

What do you allow to steal your joy?

What new choices will allow you to take back your God-given joy?

Scripture:

“So will you also pass through a time of intense sorrow when I am taken from you, but you will see me again! And then your hearts will burst with joy, with no one being able to take it from you”! John 16:22

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

By Joan Kelley

“People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the circular motions of the stars and they pass by themselves with out wondering.” Augustine

What have you wondered at lately in God’s creation — a hawk sailing through the sky, a lily pad on the pond, the brilliant colors on the horizon at sunset, or, perhaps, the sound of the creek gurgling in your own backyard? All of these creations point us back to the master Creator.

But, I wonder, have you spent any time wondering in awe at God’s finest, most precious creation that He called “very good” — you?

What might you learn about Him by wondering about you?

 

 

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Photo Credit: Fancycrave on Unsplash

By Joan Kelley

If you do not transform your wounds you will transmit them.” Richard Rohr

The other night at dinner we each shared about a childhood injury and resulting scar – a literal one still present on our bodies. It was interesting to note we all had one and an interesting story to go with it. Scars remind us of the wound that happened long ago. They mark us.

But there are other wounds in our life from words spoken or unspoken, messages we have carried, abuses done to us, abandonment.  The list is long, too long.  But we have some choices with these wounds – to transform them or transmit them.

 

  • How might looking at your wounds be an invitation to a deeper awareness of God and of self?
  • How might listening to your life help you transform your wounds for the good of ourselves and the world?

 

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Photo Credit: Kevin Delvecchio on Unsplash

By Joan Kelley

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
― Thomas Merton

Loving with pure intentions and right perspectives is no small task.  Seeing others as God sees them is a daily challenge.  And it is the beginning of love.  It starts with opening our eyes to fully see people for who they are and not our flawed reflection. It starts with opening our hands from the hard squeeze we have on the image of others in our lives. It starts with opening our hearts to the beauty found right before us in those people God puts on our path each day.

  • How might God be challenging you as you read the Merton quote?
  • Who comes to mind?
  • How might you open your eyes, your hands, your heart to those people?

 

 

 

 

If you have already benefited from knowing your Enneagram type and you are ready to learn more about how the tool can help you grow spiritually, join us for a one day live workshop in South Barrington, IL focusing on the harmony triads.

Learn more here:
“Enneagram: Pathways to Freedom for your Soul and Story” Workshop
June 27, 2018 • South Barrington, IL

https://www.onelifemaps.com/product/june27-2018_enneagram_workshop/

 

Here’s a free audio recording on why you may want to engage with the Enneagram as a spiritual growth tool: https://soundcloud.com/onelifemaps/why-engage-with-the-enneagram

 

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Photo Credit: Joey Kyber on Unsplash

By Joan Kelley

“Listen to My Life is like your personal third base coach.”. –Sibyl Towner

The third-base coach stands in foul ground, just behind the third-base bag, and helps relay signals from the dugout to both batters and base runners. Additionally, the third-base coach is responsible for advising base runners on whether to stop at the second and third base or to continue running home.

The third base coach is critical to the baseball game. They provide guidance on the way toward home. Looking at your story together with God is a bit like that journey home in the baseball game. Your story together with God’s guidance provides hints and road signs about your journey home. It’s your third base coach in the game of life.

What have you learned about your journey home by looking at your story?

 

 

 

If you have already benefited from knowing your Enneagram type and you are ready to learn more about how the tool can help you grow spiritually, join us for a one day live workshop in South Barrington, IL focusing on the harmony triads.

Learn more here:
“Enneagram: Pathways to Freedom for your Soul and Story” Workshop
June 27, 2018 • South Barrington, IL

https://www.onelifemaps.com/product/june27-2018_enneagram_workshop/

 

Here’s a free audio recording on why you may want to engage with the Enneagram as a spiritual growth tool: https://soundcloud.com/onelifemaps/why-engage-with-the-enneagram

 

OneLifeLetters

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Photo Credit: Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

by Joan Kelley

“If you fail to remember who God is in his power, glory, and grace, and you forget who you are as a child in his family, you will always mismeasure your potential to do what God has called you to do.” –Paul David Tripp

I vividly remember the family I grew up in. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch. I remember my mom and my dad and what it was like to be their child. No matter your family situation, most of us remember who our parents were.

It seems almost silly to say, but sometimes I forget who my heavenly Father is and who I am in Him. I have a good, good Father. My ability to walk through whatever this day holds can stand firm because of Him and because I’m his child!

Reflection:
Take a moment to read some scripture today to affirm your place as a child of God. Be reminded of who your heavenly Father is in his power, glory and grace. Ask God in prayer for the courage to walk boldly in your identity found in Him.

Scripture:
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
Galatians 3:26

 

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