Sunday, January 11, 2015

Storing Up

This is the season of the New Year’s Resolutions.  We are encouraged to purge, set aside, shed, de-clutter and free ourselves.  What I’m going to suggest is the opposite.  I’m not saying, “no worries, hoard and eat to your heart’s content.”  But in some instances it is imperative that we “store up”

Relationships can be hard. 

Have you ever been in a challenging relationship?  It could be business, social, immediate or extended family.  What about intimate relationships?  I’m not only talking marriage, but that’s certainly included.  In marriage and with the relationships we have with our children we can experience intense love and closeness as well as some of the most difficult, painful seasons. 

Have you ever experienced a wonderful season in a relationship but found that instead of enjoying that time of peace and joy you were waiting for the storm clouds to come?  You acknowledged the positive, but it wasn’t fully experienced or embraced because you just knew it would soon be coming to an end?  I know I have.  And I have come to realize what negative effects that type of thinking has on my heart and mind as I maneuver through the relationships in my life.

I am reminded of the Prophet Joseph from the Old Testament.  Joseph was brought to Pharaoh to interpret a dream.  The Lord showed him that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven long years of famine.  Joseph, in his God given wisdom, came up with a plan to be prepared for the lean times by “storing up” during the times of plenty.  

What would it look like in my relationships if I were to store up instead of waiting for the famine?  If I know the famine is coming, because we all go through these cycles, why wouldn’t I preparing for it.  If Joseph had not planned for those seven LONG years of drought he, and his people, surely would not have survived.  We want to do more than survive our relationships we want to thrive in them.  We want to have a reserve to ration out when there seems to be nothing more to give.

Storing Up:

1. During the “positives” enjoy the moment you’re in.  Take a mental 4D picture noting your feelings, the smells, sights etc. around you and thank God for the moment.

2. Write it down.  Having a journal to look back at when life is challenging can be a great reminder of God’s goodness in the past and help of focus on his goodness during the trials.

3. Practice THANKFULNESS!  Gratitude goes a long way.  If, during the times of plenty, we practice thanking God for His goodness and mercy then we’ll have some experience under our belts for those lean times acknowledging God is good ALL the time!

4. Practice prayer.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  Our Father Who art in heaven…  O Lord grant us to greet this new day in peace…  Practicing prayer throughout the day, whether memorized or spontaneous, helps us to strengthen our “prayer muscles” so they are ready and available when the path starts heading uphill.  While we can learn to swim once we’re in the water, it’s much better to practice swimming before the swim meet J 

5. Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  Even when we have stored up we may feel like we’re running on fumes.  Thankfully God’s reserves never run dry.  He will always answer.  He always provides hope. 
I just finished watching a documentary about Corrie Ten Boom and just this moment I realized she “stored up” the precious time she had with her sister. She had years of plenty before the Nazis came to her country.  And there aren’t many places “drier” than a concentration camp! Through the grace and strength of Christ, her sister’s words about sharing their story motivated her to travel the world spreading the truth of Christ.  The truth that “There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still.” – Corrie Ten Boom

Matthew 6:20 (NIV)
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

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