Do You Have Four Minutes?

Right now seems to be a season of flux for me. It looks like some changes are coming. For one, I’m taking a break right now from working on any novels. I am still writing daily using a writing prompt, and I hope to work on this blog a little more. But I will need to make some decisions about what direction I want to go with my career soon.

As a Christian, I want to follow God’s path for my life. I want to  use the gifts He’s given me for His good, not mine. Most of the time, I feel like I just need to get out of the way and quit overthinking everything.  There are some very simple mantras that stick in my head, like “Do the Work.” Or “Take Action.” Both of those are great and exactly what I need to do. But when you’re lost on which direction to go, it’s easy to just stop. And that doesn’t feel right either.

hourglass-1703330_1280Sometimes, though, it’s okay to stop. Take a break. Just breathe for a moment. And that’s where the title of this blog comes in: Do you have four minutes?

Recently at church, one of our teaching pastors, Ryan Leak (@ryanleak), talked about our prayer life. In this fast-paced world, we’re not always stopping to pray, and most certainly aren’t taking time out for quiet time with the Lord. We all know the passage in Psalm 46 that says “Be Still and know that I am God.” Yet most of us aren’t still. So, Ryan suggested an experiment. For four minutes, you sit still. Set a timer (because yes, it feels strange at first). But quiet yourself. You can start out praying, but God knows our hearts. He hears from us enough, but do we take time to hear from Him? So be still, for four minutes. And absorb the silence.

Now, you may not hear the booming voice of God. You may not hear anything. The answers may not come, but for four minutes, you focus on God. You quiet your heart. Maybe you find peace.

As I’m struggling in this season where I’m purposely taking a break, I’m going to try to be still for four minutes a day. Will I find the answers I need? Will my path suddenly appear before me? I don’t know. But I do know that for four minutes a day, I will revel in the quiet. I will settle my racing thoughts. I will have a peaceful moment. Maybe the answers will come, maybe they won’t. But I do know they certainly won’t come unless I stop long enough to listen. I’m setting aside four minutes a day to listen.

What about you? Do you have four minutes?

The Need for Community

This blog is entitled “Talking Among Friends” for a reason.  I want it to be a safe place to talk about friendships, relationships and life in general.  Originally, this blog started out as “Rebecca’s Journey,” where I wrote about my experience with cancer.Friends Silhouette

After a while, I didn’t want to talk about cancer any more.  Life started again, and I wanted to break away from that dreadful disease.  Relationships are what matter in this life, whether it’s your relationship with God, your family, and your spouse and kids.

Sadly, cancer is still a fact of life for friends around me.  It’s much too prevalent in this world, and I’m sure we all know someone who has had cancer or even passed away from this awful disease.

A friend of mine is recovering now, and has finished all of her treatments of chemotherapy and radiation.  She’s finding her way back.  At a recent gathering of friends, her first in a long time, she said something that struck me.  In the midst of her treatment, all she could do was sleep and focus on getting through it day-by-day. During that time, she said she couldn’t even pray.

For those of us who can’t get through the day without praying, even sending up the so-called “arrow prayers,” then we know what a dark place she was in.

As her friends, we had been rallying around her as best we could, in whatever way we could. Mostly, by prayer, emails and phone calls.

She also said something else.  She said, “Others held me up when I couldn’t.”

Talk about the power of community and friendship!  She could feel our support for her.  When I was fighting cancer, I could also feel the prayers of many.   What a comfort that was and how helpful it was in my own recovery.

Can you imagine not having friends or any type of community around you?

When life throws us curve balls, or when you’re celebrating a joyous occasion, how would it feel to celebrate alone?  Or to face the darkness alone?

We all get busy with our own families and careers, but it is so important to take the time to find that community, that fellowship and friendships in which to share your life.

We all need to make the effort, me included, to reach out more or deepen the friendships with those already in our lives.

What are you doing to take the time for friends? To find that community?

 

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted on my blog. It’s titled “Rebecca’s Journey”, but I’m certainly not sharing very much of my journey. Maybe I’m not meant to be a blogger. I’m too private. LOL 🙂

God is certainly leading me down interesting paths right now. I know I’m called to write, but yet I struggle to finish my manuscripts. And the ideas keep coming! When I do get into serious writing mode, I absolutley love it!

But I also love serving American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) as its Vice-President.
At the beginning of the year, this is the last place I thought I’d be! I was already on the Operating Board for ACFW, happily serving as its Membership Director. I was also volunteering in church, and with my local ACFW chapter as Secretary (shout-out to the DFW Ready Writers!)

Earlier in the year, I felt nudging, I guess nudging from God. (Wouldn’t it be great if God used neon billboards!) I needed to reign in my focus. I was over-committed, over-volunteered, etc. So, I took a step back. I un-volunteered from my church, which was very difficult to do. And I knew my term as Membership Director with ACFW would end in December this year, as well as my term as Secretary for my local chapter. So, I made preparations to serve out my terms faithfully and focus on writing.

It was time to get back to what I was supposed to be doing — writing stories. But that didn’t happen!

I was appointed Vice-President of ACFW when our wonderful sitting V.P. had to resign, and shortly after I stepped back from my other volunteer duties.
So, this appointment keeps me on the ACFW board until 2010, and takes up a great deal of my time.

My focus still isn’t writing, but I felt that my un-volunteering was God’s way of preparing me for this position.

I continually pick at my work-in-progress, but for some reason, God wants me right where I am. And if I have to not write as frequently as I’d like, at least it’s for the wonderful reason of serving our Lord via ACFW, and trying to give back in some way for all that this organization has given to me.

I’m still not quite sure what God is up to, but I trust and pray, and keep learning and growing through ACFW. I can’t wait to see what He brings after 2010!