Archive | November 2016

Being “Present” in the Present


Sometimes we become too focused on the “bad” that happened yesterday or  the “bad” that what might happen tomorrow. As a consequence, either anger and resentment (about the past) or  fear and anxiety (about the future) block our ability to be “present” in the present–in the moments of the day.

To be present requires our attention. When our attention is diverted or divided,we miss both the challenges and the joys of the day. All we can be certain about is today; yet, within today, we have many choices– many freedoms. 

My song clarifies some of these choices; it’s also a reminder of the comfort and help available to us in the moments of each day.

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All I Have is Now

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Verse One

All I have is now–this moment in time.
Yesterday is gone; tomorrow is not mine.
I can choose to care; I can choose to give.
Or I can choose to hide and in the shadows live.

Verse Two
All I have is now–the moments of today.
I could take a risk, or I could run away.
I could choose to change, or I could stay the same.
I could walk in faith, or with my fears remain.

Verse Three
All I have is now; in the moment I awake
I must choose with care the choice that I make.
I could choose to frown, or I could choose to smile.
I could choose to quit, or walk another mile.

Verse Four
All I have is now–this day may be my last.
I can accept today, or fret about the past.
I can choose regret–anxiety and fear;
Or I can sing a song of courage and of cheer.

Chorus
Jesus, you are good. Jesus, you are here.
I know you will provide; I’ll trust your loving care.
No problem is too great; No need I have too small
With confidence in you I can face them all.

In the time I have right now
In the moments of today
I will choose to walk with you.
Yes, I will choose to walk with you.

Jane Ault 

This entry was posted on November 17, 2016. 4 Comments

In These Sad and Troubled Days . . .

The election is over.  If we have been winners, it is not a time for us to gloat;  if we have been losers, it is not a time for us to despair. It’s a time of great challenge. Not only in this country but in the entire world, systems are broken and people are in pain. 

I hope that those of us who call ourselves Christians will not deny the seriousness of the situation.  I hope that we will not minimize the needs and pain of others. I hope that we will not come up with trite and hurtful comments, or offer thoughtless and easy solutions.

I hope that we will learn to listen with our hearts, as well as with our ears. I hope that we will learn how to resolve conflicts in ways that benefit everyone.

Do we not believe that God loves the world? Do we think that he love us, only?  To what needs are we going to close our eyes? To whom are we going to close our hearts? 

My following election day poem was not inspired by the results of the election.  I wrote it before I knew the results of the election. It was my response to the following Scripture. And it is an expression of where my hope lies. 

Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved. Psalm 62: 1-2 


In these sad and troubled daysaugust-rainbow-2
I will lift my voice in praise
For I know God is on his throne

I don’t know what he will do;
But he is faithful; he is true.
I am safe in his strong hand.

Will I worry and despair?
No!  I’ll cast on him my care — 
Write another song or poem.

I hope you’ll join me in this song.
Trust in God—you won’t go wrong.
He will keep his promises to you.

11/5/16 Jane Ault


 

This entry was posted on November 10, 2016. 8 Comments

Retaining Stability in the “Brain Fog” of Anxiety

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Although most of the leaves have fallen from the trees in my  front yard, most of the leaves on the trees in my back yard, which overlooks the lake, remain. On cloudy days their gold and yellow colors brighten my heart, motivating me to take just one more photo.  

Such was the case on Tuesday morning, when I took this photo. I could easily see the opposite shore of the lake–only about 1/2 mile from my shore. On the ice that covers the lake during some winter months, some  of my family members have skated across to that other side. 

 


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When fog settles on the lake, it’s impossible for me to see the opposite shore. Even though I know it hasn’t moved, I feel uncertain about it’s existence. The world seems smaller. The trees in my back yard appear to be much larger than they actually are. All I can see beyond them is a white blanket of fog. I feel enclosed by it. That was the case on Thursday morning, when I took this photo. 

When the brain fog of anxiety settles down in our brains, it limits our vision; we loose our ability to think logically. Issues which we normally face seem like huge “trees”. We can’t see beyond them. We become focused on the uncertainties of the situation.


Last night, after a few hours of sleep, I woke up with symptoms of anxiety. My thoughts were disconnected. My brain felt foggy. For a few minutes, I felt enclosed in a blanket of panic. Then, I found help. How? By doing the same thing that David, writer of the Psalms, so often did. 

These are the two things that he did.

  • He  acknowledged his anxiety.
  • He remembered God.

Instead of focusing on his internal discomfort and the uncertainties of the situation around him, he focused on the certainty of God’s presence and the unchangeable qualities of his character–on God’s love for him. 

Apparently, it helped, for this was his prayer of gratitude to God: “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:13 NKJV).

Last night, as I acknowledged my anxiety and then turned my attention to God, the clouds of anxiety gradually lifted and I could think clearly. I’ve experienced this many times. I can’t say I no longer feel anxious, but my anxiety is much less intense than it used to be.

Following David’s example, I often write a prayer of gratitude in my journal. In paging through it today, I found the following such prayer.

Whether it’s a tiny bit of anxiety or an overwhelming pit of anxiety, You are there. Your presence and your comforting words restore joy to my heart. Thank you, Jesus, oh thank!


Discomfort with uncertainty is the first step toward becoming enveloped in the brain fog of anxiety. Yet, in the world around us, the number of things that we can feel certain about is rapidly decreasing.  Our discomfort with the uncertainty about the outcome of the upcoming U.S. Presidential election is causing many of us to act in senseless, irrational, and erratic ways. Often, these are outer expressions of inward anxiety.

How can we retain stability of mind and purpose in these days of confusion and uncertainty? We can only do so by focusing, like David did, on the certainty of God’s presence (whether we feel it or not) and by trusting in the love and integrity of our invisible but trustworthy Savior. 

Questions for your reflection

  • When I feel anxious, which is harder for me to do : admit to my anxious feelings or remember God?
  • What could I do that would make it easier for me to acknowledge my anxiety?
  • How might writing my prayers in a journal be helpful? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on November 3, 2016. 8 Comments