How to Waste Time in One Easy Lesson

      The other day I wasted an hour of my life at work. We had a meeting. It was a complete waste of time. I learned nothing. I spent my own gas money. I left with burning sixty minutes of my life that I will never have back. I left the meeting mad for the time just wasted.

            I was so mad that I needed to waste more time. If my boss thought he could waste on hour of my life, I would show him I was able to waste multiple hours. I went to work with a “to do list” that was only growing. After I was done, it seemed insurmountable. I coupled all this wasted time with anger and a bad attitude.

            That’s what happens when I feel sorry for myself and pout. Just wondering what could have happened if I was mad and directed it toward my “to do list”. Wonder what would have happened if I would have chosen the right attitude. Next time I think I will choose not to pout.

Why I Tell Stories

              I write stories for a few reasons. Someone once said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I believe stories paint pictures with words. A well crafted story leaves a mental image that the unadorned word cannot leave.  That is a technical reason why I tell stories. However, the heart of the matter is more complex. Stories help me to overcome. As I tell stories I am reminded of God’s faithfulness in the past. In my mind if God was faithful in the past, it stands to reason He will be faithful in the present.

                I recently thought of another reason why I tell stories. The reason is adventure. Let me explain. Some people stockpile stories to use in the future. I see the reason for saving for the future.  When a person communicates regularly, it is a challenge to stay fresh. The mundane has a tendency to come and steal vitality. I want to be a good steward of the experiences which God has entrusted to me. That is why I share the experience. My experience might encourage someone else. Someone else might just need my experience. Maybe it would be sin for me to hold on to it. I want to be faithful to praise the Giver of my experiences. I feel like, if I am faithful He will be faithful to give me more experiences. So the reason I tell stories is because I will never be able to give more than God. He has given me so much that it will take an eternity to express my gratitude to Him. Plus, when I give He always gives more. That is what I call adventure.

Hard Times and Hard Drives

In July my family and I went to Guatemala with a group from our church. I wanted to provide some written meditations for each day for the group to focus on each morning. I was not asked to produce this information. However, I felt like God wanted me to write some thoughts He was showing me from a story in the Old Testament. The purpose was to encourage the individual reading, and perhaps spawn later reflections for the group as a whole. I enjoy communicating with people. I have an equal passion for writing and speaking. Therefore, I was taking this task very seriously. Then, my hard drive crashed. The timing was perfect. I was already running late. The clock was favoring victory for the enemy and defeat for me. The crashing of my hard drive reminds me of hard times. Hard times never seem to come at a time when we are ready for them. I had resigned myself to not being able to finish my writing project. Actually, I was starting to write them by hand. Hard times test my resolve. If you ever want to know how committed someone is to a task, put an obstacle in front of them. The size of the obstacle I am willing to face is equal to the size of the determination I have to face a task.  

I have no expertise with computers. A crash of the hard drive is fatal for me. Everything was lost. All my pictures, documents, and on and on the list could go. I asked a friend of mine how to fix it. He agreed to look at it for me. He sent a text to me to say my hard drive was gone. No hope for recovery for this dead, expensive paperweight I had in my computer. Then, a couple days later he told me my computer was fixed, and I could pick it up. I was able to finish my writing project.

As I went to pick up my pc, he explained what happened behind the scenes. He checked my flash drive, and saw no sign of life. As he was about to quit, he noticed it blinked with life. He propped the drive up with pencils, pens, and a wallet. As it was propped up on its side, he was able to withdraw all my valuable documents. Everything was that was lost had been saved. I asked him what he put back into my pc. He told me it was a birthday present. He bought a hard drive for me on my birthday. I fought to hold back tears and told him to keep it because I was unable to repay him. He refused because it was a gift.

That day I was reminded that encouragement is a gift from God. My passion to offer something to God is minor compared to what I received from Him. The encouragement that I offer comes from the source of encouragement. God’s interest in encouraging people is far greater than my interest. It costs Him greatly, but He gives it freely. All we can do is receive it. During hard times remember that God is able to restore any and everything that is lost. I am sure someone in Guatemala was encouraged by something read that week. All because hard times do not last and because experts fix hard drives.

Sometimes a Zip Tie is All you Need

         Have you ever been hit with something so unexpected that you truly sit in a place of loss? You are so off guard that solutions seem to be unavailable. My computer crashed a few months ago, and I was totally unprepared. We prepare for some things, but others come knocking on the door of our life unannounced and usually unwanted. You really were not expected the doctor to tell you what he told you. You wanted to retire from your current job. Instead, it was ripped from your hands by someone who is younger and selling out for less.

            A couple weeks ago I had a situation that left me without answers. My car broke down! I put the car in reverse to back out of a parking spot. When I put it into “D”, it never went into “D”. It stayed in “R”. Let me set the scene. My car has no air conditioner. It was July in Houston, Texas. Luckily, it was only a few degrees above 90°. I have no mechanical ability. I have even less money. So I did what anyone else in my situation would have done. …  I began to panic. I would be late to work. So I did the first thing that came to mind.  I called my friend. Let’s just call him Bob. (He knows who he is, but I did not ask permission to use his name. Thanks brother. Love ya.) Bob can fix anything mechanical. Bob is a leader of mechanics. He is only called when the regular, certified  mechanic can not fix something. Bob is also a friend of mine. We have spent many moments laughing and crying together.

                I called Bob, and told him of my predicament. He told me to call my insurance company, and see if I had towing on my policy. He answered that he was in a meeting, and to call him back when I found out about having my car towed. I called my insurance, and a tow truck was there in less than an hour. Later that evening Bob came to my work to look at the problem. I thanked him for answering me in my predicament. He was going to try to make sure I could get home from work. He looked at the problem and said, “Oh, that’s easy to fix.” What happened next was supernatural in my eyes. He fixed my problem with zip ties. He tried to explain it all, but I only understood a little of the diagnosis.

                I learned a few things that night. Like Bob, I can turn to God in my panic. He is never interrupted by my request. No meeting with Heavenly host is more important than when my Heavenly Father’s Son calls upon Him. I learned that zip ties in the hands of a master can go a long way. My mess is never so big that God does not have resources to fix it. The Master only requires a zip tie. I had no idea that towing was covered on my insurance, but because my premiums had been paid towing was available to me. My Heavenly Father paid a high price for me. I am His child, and therefore, I have a lot of benefits that I simple have to use. Why should I be afraid to ask for the benefits that are rightfully mine? They are already paid in full. Plus, the tow truck was my rescue. Jesus death on the cross paid for my rescue. All I had to do was accept it and ask for it.

                Sometimes all we need is a zip tie in the hands of the Master.  Zip ties make a great story. This is the story God has given me. I wonder what sort of zip tie story God wants us to share.