A Beautiful View of “Progress”

Just yesterday I received email notification of a fellow blogger’s post that meshes so beautifully with where we are in this “Meandering” journey that I want to turn the “podium” over to her. What she has to say is short, sweet, wise and poetic. So please click on this link to Christina Moore’s “Crumbs from His Table” for a beautiful view of “Progress.”

You can leave a comment there or here, and let me know what you think!

***

Beyond that,  I want to add a little further commentary on yesterday’s quote about beauty on the pathway we’re traveling.

If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”

-Anatole France

It never occurred to me till I read the comments on that post that the quote could be interpreted as encouraging us to follow any path that looks attractive. I see how it could. And that would be foolish indeed.

I was thinking, however, of us earnestly trying to follow the right path, the best path, but getting bogged down in the struggles and doubts and striving after goals, fearing and trying to second-guess the future. Then we need to slow down, trust God, and enjoy the beauties of the journey, with confidence in His presence, leading, help, and protection.

And that’s the basic idea of the poem linked above, isn’t it? Lovely!

*****

For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.

Let’s Not Let Goals Blind Us!

On my way meandering around town today–in a more or less orderly fashion–I passed a chakboard propped outside one of the shops, with this quote on it,

If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”

-Anatole France

My path happened to be beautiful. Sorry, no camera with me then, but I was glad I’d taken my little notebook so I could jot down words like these.  So  I did, and as I sat in the book store later, I pondered what I’d copied…

Really, we do make a bit too much of those goals and strategies for success sometimes, don’t we?

Always looking and longing ahead into the fog of uncertainty, we can miss so much beauty and joy that lies right around us now.

So, for now, let’s pay attention. Beauty can be lurking in a lot of places where we’ll miss it if we don’t!

May you have a beauty-full day today!

*****

For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.

What Does Success Look Like for You?

At the beginning of this series I posed the concept of “One:” doing one thing with focus—starting with any one thing to get motivated and going, but eventually determining the most important thing to do in a day, even seeking God’s special guidance by asking something like, “What one thing would You have me do today?”

A video I’ve referred to talks about an individual’s “Most Important Task,” and urges, “Say no to everything that doesn’t support your immediate goals.”

But immediate goals, like “the next ‘one’ thing” or “Most Important Task,” if valid and worth pursuing, should arise from core goals, heart goals, life goals, shouldn’t they?

So could it be that those of us who find ourselves “wasting time” are doing so because we haven’t quite pinpointed our personal purpose, right now, on this planet? Or, if we did have a pretty good idea at one time, did someone or something, or numerous circumstances, knock us off our course?

Success is so often displayed as acquired wealth or fame. But I doubt anyone reading this blog is aiming to be a multi-billion-dollar entrepreneur, sports super star, or US President. (Although some who visit here may wistfully dream of fame as author or artist…)

How do (or would) you define success—personally, I mean in terms of your own life situation and personal life goals? Think about this for a while today:

At what do you as an individual want to be successful, in what area of life? By the time you reach life’s end, what do you hope to have achieved?

Or, what is the most important aim for the particular phase of life you’re now living?

What you want to be successful at right now might not be the same as what it was ten or twenty years ago, or what it will be ten or twenty years from now. Once, perhaps you were a student and your idea of success might have been graduating magna cum laude (or just graduating at all!), or winning some prestigious academic award (or, just finding your niche in business, service, or one of the arts). Later, married and with children, your concept of success might revolve around your parental or marital role, being the best parent or spouse you can be, for instance.

Then there are the areas where your interests and creative talents might lie. Maybe you’ve recently taken on a new aspiration of that sort. You write or paint or sculpt or weave now and hope to get published, or establish yourself as a viable entity in your art or craft. Maybe you’ve started a business or are pursuing a ministry—or long to do one of those things—and your thoughts of success revolve around that. Or perhaps your aspirations have become more spiritual, and your longing for close communion and walk with God makes other aspirations fade, except as how they fit into that large desire…

You get the idea.

Or do you?

Do I?

If  you, like I, are not out to make millions or be known to millions, perhaps you’ve never really defined what success would look like for you. “Life” can demand so much in itself that you may have been spending most of it dealing with crises and others’ needs and demands, on even a willy-nilly basis, maybe just trying to keep your head above water financially or  emotionally, so that you’ve never really developed and defined any personal life goals. Maybe you’ve had your occasional whimsical day dreams, but not a pointed personal pursuit.

If so, how does the saying go? “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time”?

What’s your aim in life? What, for you, would be personally satisfying “success”?

Does it involve money? Be honest here. Where might money be a crucial factor—or seem to be?

Does it involve fame?

Does it involve creative expression?

Does it involve attaining a certain level of faith and spirituality?

Think about these things, and come back tomorrow, possibly with a definite springboard to spring off of, and we’ll pursue our pursuits further, and maybe with clearer direction.

 

For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.

Rest Your Way to Success?

I find it interesting that those “highly successful people” we’ve been hearing about don’t keep driving themselves 24-7, nor do they work 18-hour days. They quit when they’re tired, and they stop amid work and take regular breaks. More than that: they block time for rest and relaxation: time reserved for family and friends, time just to stop and relax and let strength and purpose replenish.

I found it interesting, a couple decades ago, to hear on a regular, secular radio newscast about study results reporting the most beneficial rhythm of training and rest, training and rest, for atheletes in heavy competition: Six days of training and one day of physical rest from the training schedule. The sports medicine researchers had arrived at this formula by trying out all kinds of different patterns of training and rest to determine the one that resulted in best performance.

I find these things interesting because these humans discovered by trial and error exactly the same pattern that God prescribed for his people when He led them forty years through the wilderness. They didn’t go on relentlessly, day after day, but “rested on the seventh day,” as God had prescribed in His Mosaic law, and as He had ordained right at the culmination of creation.

Jesus said that the world often “gets it” with good common-sense principles enough to be examples of practical wisdom to Christians!  This seems to be the case with the purposeful establishment of “time off” from the busy race to high achievement.

The purposeful practice of a weekly day of real rest is just one way to “Rest Your Way to Success.” There are two more that I can think of. One is recognizing when you need to step back from outputting and “come aside.”

Jesus demonstrated this principle Himself, personally, when He dismissed the crowds clamoring for healing, feeding, and teaching, and withdrew to a quiet, secluded spot to draw near His Father–not necessarily on the Sabbath–and instructed His disciples to do the same thing themselves. ‘

The other way is by resting in God in the spiritual sense all the time. “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of/from me… for my yoke is easy and my burden is light, and you will find rest for your souls.

In the Old Testament also, God declared through His prophets that

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;

in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

So, taking a cue from all that, I’ll be taking the weekend off again from blogging. even in this series commitment. I’ll just make up the missing posts next month.

And may you enjoy quietness and trust this weekend in Sabbath resting in Him.

*****

For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.

What to Do with your To-Do List (Might Surprise You)

Toad (in Frog and Toad Together) had a to-do list, and when it blew away, he suddenly became helpess, sat down and did nothing. I make to-do lists and lose them, too, and sometimes feel almost the same way.

How about you?

Did we ever need them in the first place? That, apparently, is the question.

When these video makers, interviewing highly successful people, asked them about their to-do list, their subjects laughed! Seems they don’t have them!

Hm.

Well, then, how do they get things done so effectively?

Seems they use calendars. They almost invariably carry a notebook around with them and are often jotting things down—words, ideas, reminders, sketches, charts. But not to-do lists.

According to researchers, 41% of what goes on our to-do lists never gets done. Some astute folks call it “the graveyard of the important, but not urgent…” and a great waste of time!

My inner jury is still out on this—because I can be absent-minded and forgetful. I fear I’ll forget something important if I don’t have it listed somewhere—especially when I’m going into stress about having everything prepared for an event coming up or something like that. My mind can get very distracted and fragmented at such times. But maybe a lot of what I list isn’t actually important! I have to think about this further, but I suspect they might have some great wisdom for the rest of us here.

It may also be that they have much more balance to their lives than we squirrely, scurrying folks have. Maybe they know how to disregard the unimportant and not allow interruptions and distractions to throw them off whatever important focused course they’re on. Maybe our to-do lists are stop-gap measures that we use to keep track of all the “fires” we have to run around and catch up on and put out, and they don’t get themselves in many such situations because they maintain better boundaries and keep a steady, disciplined course all along.

I’m going to leave this one open for debate right now. Maybe I’ll be able to make a better judgment by the end of these 28 blog posts.

I might say, however, that I have begun to carry and use a helpful unlined notebook. Today I jotted down a few things: titles or ideas for future blog posts;  a Thomas Jefferson quote I saw on a piece of  Fraktur-like artwork on view in a library display case; another, longer quote from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, as I read it during the lunch out I treated myself to… But no, I didn’t jot down any to-do’s…

What do you think of the to-do list? Do you use one? How often and when? Would you like to be freed from it? (Methinks I would!) I’d love to read some comments on this.

*****

For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.