Tension On The Line

One of my all-time favorite kids carnival games is “The Fishing Game.” That’s the game where you hang sheets up over a frame of some type, and tape fish to them on the outside. An adult sits behind the sheets with bags of goodies. Kids walk up to the “pond,” and are handed a broom handle or other stick with string tied to the end of it, which acts as their “fishing pole.” Tied to the end of the string is a clothes pin to serve as the “hook.” The kid then tosses their “hook” over the sheet “into the water,” and the adult behind the sheet clips a prize of some type to the clip. Then the adult pulls the string, putting some tension on it, thereby letting the child know that they have “caught” something. The child pulls back and lifts their prize “out of the water,” over the top of the sheet and cheers with excitement over their “catch.”

The thing I love about this game is that you are guaranteed to catch something good every time you play. It’s fun for the kid. It’s fun for the adult sitting behind the sheet creating the sense of joy for the youngsters. No matter how many times you do it, it never gets old.

I was reminded of this game the other day as I was digging around some online study tools while looking into a familiar verse of Scripture, one of the most famous promises in the Word. The verse is Isaiah 40:31, and the first part of it reads…

But those trust in the Lord will find new strength.”

Some versions say “wait on the Lord.” And it was the word “wait” or “trust” which got my attention. In the original language, it is a word picture of a rope or cord… especially one which is under tension.

That’s what waiting and having to trust the Lord to come through for us feels like, isn’t it? Tension. If we aren’t getting what we feel like we need or want, we tend to get tense… concerned… worried… stressed. We can begin to wonder if the rope we are holding onto is going to hold. If it does hold, is there anything good at the other end. Tension on the line.

This is where the rest of the verse kicks in. That phrase, “new strength,” refers to a rope that has been braided for extra strength and is guaranteed to hold up under the tension. In other words, when we hold onto the rope knowing the Lord is on the other end of it, the tension tells there is something to look forward to, and we can be sure it is strong because He has braided the rope so that it will hold up under the tension. It’s just like the “fishing game.” When you feel the tension, and you know someone good is on the other end, you know something good is coming.

Perhaps you have thrown your line over the sheet today in life. You can’t see what is on the other side. You hope you come away from this season of life with something good. If you feel the tension, that’s actually a good thing. It means God is on the other end giving it a tug, showing you it’s strong enough and that He is sending something good your way! Accept the tension. Give it a lift even. You’ll win every time… if you just trust in God!

Who’s Making Your Supper?

It’s Simple, Really

It’s a simple concept which I choose to live by.  After all, I choose to live simply.  You don’t have to wonder what I mean when I say something because I say what I mean, and I mean what I say.  There is no manipulation or hidden meaning.  I’m not passive agressive.  I just live simply.
Rule #368

Ok, so I made up the “#368.”  See?  Simple.

And when it comes down to a simple-living tip we could all use, I like #368… “If I didn’t have to do it, then I don’t get to complain.”  I’m sure someone out there will find some situation in which this doesn’t play out, but generally speaking in life, this has worked out well for me.

It’s best illustrated by who’s cooking at our house.  PR31 basically does all the cooking.  The only time anyone wants me to cook is if she is not feeling well and unable to make it to the kitchen.  Apart from that, we love eating her cooking.  She is a terrific cook!  I’d rather eat her cooking than any restaurant around.  It’s down-home cooking, too… southern goodness with a somewhat whole-food twist.

Now you would just have to know her to understand what I’m about to say… but she wants to make sure what she cooks for us is just right.  She is not okay if something gets a little overdone on an edge… She would rather re-make something than to serve her family something less than wonderful.  It’s probably what makes her cooking so delicious.

But when she is forced to serve something she is not completely pleased with, she offers an apology for the bacon being too crisp or the cookies being a little underdone in the middle (which is my favorite way anyway).  And without fail, my response to her apology is a question…

Me: Hey, did I have to make it?

PR31: Well, no, but…

Me: (interrupting her before she can finish her reply) You know the rule… If I didn’t have to make it, then I don’t get to complain.

PR31: Yeah, I hear ya, boy.
Good For Supper, Good For The Soul

I don’t just apply this principle to meals cooked by my sweetheart.  I believe it applies to other acts of kindness by others toward me.  And it doesn’t stop with those I can see with my eyes, touch with my hands and hear with my ears.  I apply it to my salvation.

I didn’t pay for my rescue from hell… I didn’t earn my adoption into God’s family… I didn’t work hard enough or long enough to get God to bless me so abundantly.  God did it for me.  So I don’t get to complain when He gives me some guidelines to live by.  And I don’t get to complain when He asks me to say something to someone in a store… or when He asks me to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone… or when He asks me to give some money which I think I’d prefer to hold onto.  I didn’t have to do salvation for myself, so I don’t get to complain when the journey doesn’t play out exactly the way I envisioned it would.

Some people can’t fathom living this way.  They want it their way, right away.  And then they want to complain if it’s not absolutely perfect.

Leadership experts say that a good leader will hand off tasks that their team can accomplish at 50%-80% of the ability of the leader who assigned it, and the leader has to be okay with that because it freed them up to tackle tasks that were more important for them to accomplish.

It’s about having an attitude of gratitude.  It’s about appreciating those who help do something for you so that you don’t have to.  So, if your kids fold the clothes and don’t get them perfectly straight or put them in the wrong drawer… Rule #368.  If your spouse cleaned the bathroom and missed a couple spots… Rule #368.  If your administrative assistant filed something in different way than you would have… Rule #368.  If the volunteer serving at your local church didn’t get the bulletins folded perfectly, but it saved you from having to do it and you were able to spend time with someone who really needed you… Rule #368.

What if we all began to live by Rule #368?  What if we complained less and appreciated more?  Hmmmm… Seems like life might run a little smoother and people would have less stress in their lives.

The call to action today is to complain less and appreciate more.  And one simple way to implement that in your life is to apply Rule #368.