What’s Next?

Have you ever thrown you hands up in the air?

2015-03-09 09.29.23As if giving up in despair? Throwing all your frustrations away and feeling like it must be time to simply “give up”?

Sure. All of us have felt like this at one time or another. The load seems to be larger than one can bear, or, the feeling of being tossed to the side and viewed as no longer needed. Or, even that feeling that all your hard work is no longer worth your effort.

As I looked at my lengthy laundry list, and tried to get the bigger picture in focus, I wrote this note to myself….

What’s Next?

The longer I live, and the harder I view the sacrifice we make on various home fronts of life, the easier it is to let the tiredness dictate a negative response.

Throw in the towel = Quit, give up, admit defeat or failure.

This is not a familiar feeling. I seldom ever contemplate giving up. Sometimes, all I need is a break, a breather, a respite from the long day.

So, what do I mean? How do I handle this situation?

One way is to simply look ahead and work on trying to find out what’s next? For the sake of my family, I want a positive “next step”. For the sake of my church, I definitely want us to be ready to “step up” to the next level. For the sake of my retiring years, I want my health, resources, and family to be comfortably established so there is future enjoyment.

I came across a Tweet last week that set me to thinking…

“Its quite difficult to start the next chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” ~Todd Adkins

It’s like reading a book, and yearning for the next chapter, but unwilling, or unable, to move away from the last section of reading.

We were challenged some years back to take a month of reading the entire book of The Acts of the Apostles. That’s the 5th book in the New Testament. It’s just 26 chapters and takes about 2 1/2 hours to read, on the average.

  • That first day of reading, Finished!
  • The second day, I got bogged down in Acts 16 and could read no further. Something grabbed my attention and I had to stop and study it for awhile.
  • The third day, again, I got bogged down, only in Acts 10. For the same reason.
  • The fourth day, I could not leave Acts 1 behind. There was simply so much to absorb!

Essentially, I quit the challenge! Acts became a book that was alive and there was no way to simply enjoy it as a reading exercise!

This became a representation of how I enjoy studying the Bible. Quit looking for that entire completion, and focus on the details of individual thoughts.

Yet, you can become lost in the details and forget the bigger picture. Every so often, the next step is to simply step back and look at the bigger picture. Find your place in the cosmos, recenter your direction, and then bury your head back into the fray.

How do you survive this? Come up for air every so often… Try it… It works.

I think about the Apostle Peter. After denying Jesus three times during the trial, he flees into the darkness. Cursing. Crying. Feeling helpless. Lost. Hearing the words of Jesus echoing in his heart.

Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” (Matthew 26:34 ESV)

Even with foreknowledge, I am sure Peter felt like a failure at that very moment. It is only after His death that Peter worked out his own salvation and made a comeback. He is one of the first to arrive at the tomb of the risen Lord. He has a private conversation with Jesus after that long day of fishing. Then, he takes the reigns of the burgeoning new covenant group in that Upper Room somewhere in Jerusalem and preaches that first message to the New Church.

You may think a failure can never bounce back. But I differ with you on this.

Every failure is simply a success waiting to happen!

To every plodder or visionary out there, a place is found for you to struggle and bounce back! Praying for you…

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