Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Get Out of the Ruts of Life
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Nelson Mandela
Lackluster. Dull. Uninspired. Sometimes these words best describe how we feel.

While we try to live an inspired life; a life full of promise, love and meaning, the reality is it’s hard to keep our spirit consistently positive. Tires go flat, appliances breakdown, relationships struggle and the good news we were hoping to hear comes back less fantastic than expected.
These disappointments cause ruts – ruts that derail even the most optimistic attitude.

Ruts cause us to veer off course. We see them and the natural tendency is to swerve. By getting off track, we lose sight of the direction we are heading. When this happens, our journey gets delayed.
Ruts can be repaired, however. We can stop and fill the grooves with methods that will get our spirit back on track. Feeling like you are in a rut? Here are 25 soulful ways to get out of a rut and back to your journey.

1.     Love the imperfect you. Love everything about you. You were not made to be perfect; you were made to be you – warts, blemishes, ruts and all.
2.     Clear your mind of negative thoughts. Toss aside the head trash about what you should be doing and focus on what’s right in your life.
3.     Compliment more; complain less. You create positive energy by being, well, more positive. Replace negative talk with words that are more encouraging and then use this positive energy to fill in the ruts.
4.     Give yourself a break. When will you stop beating yourself up? Give yourself what you give to others – the right to be human.
5.     Smile. You can take away a rut’s power with your smile.
6.     Seek the company of positive people. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who drink from glasses that are half full. Let these folks inspire you to keep moving forward – no matter how deep the rut may seem.
7.     Save yourself first. Give yourself permission to take care of you, first. Breathe from the oxygen mask before helping others. Being at full strength is you best chance of getting out of a rut.
8.     Find an accountability partner. Seek a friend, a relative or your partner to help you navigate the ruts by asking them to make you accountable to never give up; to keep trying and to believe you have the strength to get back to where you want to be.
9.     Stay strong. Don’t forget who you are and don’t forget you are stronger than the deepest rut.
10.  Join a cause. Sign up for a cause that speaks to your heart. Fight hunger, shed light on domestic abuse or walk for a cure. Being passionate for a cause will help you rekindle the passion needed to address your personal circumstances.
11.  Take action. It’s your choice: Live in regret or embrace your life and begin steering it in any direction you choose. The choice begins by taking action; it begins today; it begins right now.
12.  Do one thing each day. Change doesn’t always happen in gulps; change can be sipped, too. Begin with one small sip of change.
13.  Change your routine. Take a different route to work; turn left, not right, on your evening walk or order from a different menu. A change in your routine can provide the spark to begin thinking differently about how to get moving again.
14.  Do what inspires you. Read, write, exercise, hang out your partner, do whatever inspires you. From inspiration comes action and from action comes progress.
15.  Appreciate what you have. When our focus is on gratitude, the ruts seem more conquerable.
16.  Challenge yourself, when you say, “I can’t.” Think back to a time when you said, “I can.” Confront self-doubt with and dare to say it again.
17.  Find a new environment. When you fell the rut growing deeper, walk away from where you are and go to a new place. A new environment can lend a fresh perspective.
18.  Upgrade yourself. Take a class, learn a new skill or begin a new fitness routine. When you invest in yourself the payoff is always more than you expected.
19.  Rest. Fatigue can cloud your thinking. A fresh mind begins with a fresh, renewed body.
20.  Remember the reason why. When it feels like you are simply going through the motions, pause and remember the reason why you do what you. Often the reason lives in a dream that just needs to be dusted off.
21.  Lean on hope. When things feel bleak, know this: You have come too far to lose your way now.
22.  Nourish your spirit. Wherever your personal tabernacle, spend time there to reconnect your mind to your soul and your soul to your spirit.
23.  Make a list. Make a list of the things you need to do to climb out of your rut. Select one item each day and make that your priority. When an item is completed, mark through it. When the entire list is completed, save it. The list will serve as a reminder of what you are capable of doing.
24.  Celebrate.. When things appear off track, celebrate what will always be front and center in the Universe, and never hidden in a rut – you. Celebrate the beautiful you.
25.  You are free. You are free to make mistakes, to have bad days and to fall into ruts. You are free from the pressure to have to get it right all the time. When you trip, you are free to fall flat on your face. And when you’re ready, reach for the hand that will be waiting for you.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 
Most of all trust God to lead you and sustain you.  It is He that CAN and WILL carry you through the ruts that come your way. We can't control all of the ruts ahead of us but we can look beyong them to see what we can learn from them and then practice these 25 ways to get back where we should be - where God can use us. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I´ll have to bookmark it for reference!