I Need Less Talk And More Walk

Life’s Simple Guide To God is turning out to be a creepy book.  Seriously, I’m getting jumpy and starting to look over my shoulder so often that my neck is getting stiff.  It’s like the authors have a window into my mind and wrote this book just for me.  I know that sounds egocentric, but the world is flat and all roads lead to ME, right? [For those who haven’t grasped my humor, this was my unruly sarcasm coming through.]

Okay, I’m back.  I was having trouble coming up with a topic for my Sunday post.  I thought I’d write about the women’s retreat I went to a couple weeks ago, but right now, none of the topics are begging to be written.  I opened up my Life’s Simple Guide To God book and flipped a couple pages (I haven’t read it for several days) and found this subject:  Practice More Walk, Less Talk.

In this topic, the authors point out that while our words are good, they are not enough.  If we encourage others to put their faith in God, our lives should reflect that we have put our trust in God.  If we tell others that we should love each other, but don’t follow through by loving people in our lives, then we are hypocrites and our words are diluted, if not meaningless.

This is so true – our actions do have so much more impact than our words.  With my kids, I am constantly talking to them about manners.  I remind them to say “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”; scold them for interrupting; lecture them that burping doesn’t belong at the table; and nag them to use napkins instead of their shirts.  Still, in nearly every social situation, they need a nudge to shift their manners into gear. 

A few weeks ago, we took the kids to a theme park.  I spent most of the day in the kiddie section with my younger son.  I noticed that many of the ride operators looked bored and that not many people acknowledged them, so I made a point to say “thank you” as we exited each ride.  To my surprise, my younger son started saying “thank you” after a couple rides.  I practiced the walk with my manners, and he took notice – more so than me telling him to be polite. 

Kindness Can Brighten Someone's Day

After I returned home from the women’s retreat, I was so excited to read more of the scriptures that were referenced, continue with my reading of Matthew in the Bible, and possibly learn more about myself.  I learned more about myself all right.

I discovered that I’m a lazy procrastinator.  Well, to be honest, that’s not a complete surprise – procrastination runs in the family, along with stubbornness and diabetes.  Now, if I can’t make time to do these things I really wanted to do, you can imagine where this leaves the tasks I don’t want to do, right?

I’ve talked about embarking on this spiritual journey, but this week, it was all talk – there was no walking.  I felt farther from God than I have in a long time.  I’m left with a vague sense of failure because this week, I let others’ negativity bring me down, my patience went missing, I worried about the state of the world and spoke in anger – and I did this all by myself.  At no point did I say a prayer and ask God for strength, patience, peace or understanding.

Acknowledging failure is the first step to unburden myself from it.  I truly dislike the idea of scheduling every detail of my day, but I’ve seen that left to my own devices, important things won’t get accomplished.  So that my spiritual journey doesn’t stall, I’m going to have to schedule reading and reflection time every night. 

I don’t expect perfection from myself, but I do challenge myself to put forth my best effort (which I did not do this past week).  I won’t dwell on this because I look down this past week’s long tunnel of failure, and beyond that, I see the hope of next week and the opportunity to be a better “me.”

How do you get yourself “right” after a week that’s gone “wrong?”

Daily Inspiration

Earlier this week, I started reading Life’s Simple Guide to God.  The cover of the book sums it up best when it describes it as “Inspirational Insights for Growing Closer to God.”

I bought this book last summer, along with about fifteen other books, during a great online sale at Barnes & Noble.  It’s small, so I dropped it into my laptop bag (which houses my laptop used for work) and thought it would be great lunchtime reading.  You guessed it:  I’ve never opened the cover until a few days ago.

Each “inspiration” is a 2-page spread, beginning with a scripture reference (which is good, so I can read more in the Bible.)  The first day, I opened the book to find an inspiration titled “Be On The Lookout For Miracles.”  Luke 19:37 was referenced: 

As they reached the place where the road started down from the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

I found this a bit amusing because I recently wrote about miracles, so you know I believe in them and search for them like constellations in the city sky.  (I find more miracles than constellations, in case you were wondering.)

On day 2, I flipped the page to find “Adjust Your Priorities” and a reference to Matthew 6:33:

[Jesus said,] Put God’s kingdom first.  Do what he wants you to do.  Then all of those things will also be given to you.

I laughed (am I supposed to laugh at words of inspiration?) because I’ve been writing recently about life’s demands eroding away my writing time.  The message was to seek God’s presence for the strength to face each day.  A part of me wondered if it was possible that I’m not supposed to be writing.  I hope not, because I enjoy writing.  (If my computer is destroyed by spontaneous combustion, I’ll take that as I sign I should be doing something else.)

It was a little eerie to have the first two days be so relevant, so I scanned the topics for the next couple days:  Let Go Of Self (they pose the question, “what have you done lately for someone other than yourself?”) and Give Up Your Grudges (with the question, “whom do you need to forgive today? Do it.”)

I think God is trying to tell me to get over being mad about the empty toilet paper holder and to go replace the cardboard cylinder with a new roll.

Have you found any books of inspiration that have meshed with your life?