The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Norm

The other day I was watching a program on PBS that was interesting. It was a family who inherited a sailboat and decided to make a life of sailing around the world. The couple had been career people with college degrees, but got tired of the American routine of have a house, two car garage, two cars, schools, soccer games and the occasional eating out. They as a family, including their children decided to take a chance and go exploring. They home schooled or boat schooled and made port frequently and explored. When they got low on cash the husband would get a job doing just about anything he could until they made enough money to move on. The children would enroll in the local public school and learn a new language. They were very close as a family because they were all they had. It was definitely close quarters, but they learned how to adjust and realized they really didn’t need all that extra space. It was very interesting.

Of course all their friends thought they were nuts. Why, because they stepped outside the norm. Anytime anyone steps outside the norm they are considered crazy. Sometimes they might be, but first you have to determine what the norm is. What is normal? It is society as a whole doing the same thing and it could be right or wrong. To step outside of this makes your weird or a freak. It could also be termed as stepping outside “The Comfort Zone.”

The only encouragement these people received was from elderly people. They told them what they were doing was great because they said, if you wait to do all of this when you retire or have enough money, then you probably won’t do it. He said it was wise to do this while they were young and could. When you are old, then it’s too difficult, but when you do it when you’re young you will have the ability and something to look back on when you get older. He said, you won’t have any regrets as many do when they look back and wish they would have done this or that.

I’m not trying to get anyone to go buy a sailboat and start cruising around the world. I for one don’t really have any interest in doing that and not even when I was younger. I have been criticized for many of the adventures I’ve had. That’s ok! It was mine to do.

What I’m really getting at is when you take a stand to follow Christ you will be criticized. I’m not talking about criticism from non-believers. I’m talking about fellow Christians. I’m not talking about becoming a radical. I’m just talking about doing it God’s way and listening to what He says in His Word. If you don’t believe me, then try it and see what happens. Christians don’t like being taken out of there comfort zones anymore that anyone else. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Jesus never said it would be easy to follow Him. The norm in the church is not the same as God’s norm. Even though He never said it would be easy, He did promise to always be with us. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Monday, January 11, 2010

What is Your Best?

The other day I stopped at a What-a-Burger to eat lunch after cardiac rehab. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have eaten there. That’s not my point. Anyway, as I was waiting for my heart healthy cheeseburger, I noticed this young woman which had Down syndrome that was an employee there. She was small and cute as a button. The more I watched her, the more impressed I was. I don’t know what all her responsibilities were, but while I was there she was constantly doing something. Sweeping, cleaning the windows or cleaning tables. I didn’t know it at the time, but she had a message for me.

Over the last year I have lost some abilities. I think I can do the same things I used to do and my mind sometimes tells me I can, but my body doesn’t agree. I know this is something we all have to go through as we get older, but sometimes I feel cheated because I thought I should have a few more good years left before I had to deal with this.

It only takes me a second to look around and realize that I’m really fortunate and I should be grateful for what I have. However, it’s still a process I need to face daily. I’ve struggled with feeling that I’ve lost worth and value because of some decreasing abilities, but that young lady taught me something.

God isn’t as concerned with us doing a lot, as much as He is concerned with us doing the best we can with what we have.

This could be financial, physical, emotional or spiritual and it is based on our abilities, talents and education and so on. Our goal is to do the best with what we have. This principle is mentioned in Mark 12:41-44 it says,

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

Simply saying, give your best with what you have and don’t worry that you may not have as much as someone else. Our best can change daily and even throughout the day. I know I’m more at my best in the morning that in the afternoon. When I’m sick my best goes way down. All of us will be judged by God on what we were given, not what we think we should do or what someone else has. This is not just financially, but in all areas of our life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

If Only...

I know that I as well as everyone else at one time or another have made the comment, “If only!” If only I would have finished school or college, if only I would have majored in something else, if only I would have never married this person and married another, if only I wouldn’t have gotten married, if I was only healthy, if I was more attractive or more popular, if only I had this job, if only I could lose weight, if only I would have never said…, if only I would have turned right instead of left. I think you get the point.

Let’s say for a minute you could go back and do it all again. Would you? What if you could go back, but you had no control on where, the time frame or who your family would be. Would you? Even if we could go back and change something we don’t like, who’s to know if that choice would be any better? Are you willing to take that chance?

Well the truth is we can’t go back. What is behind us is gone forever and there is nothing we can change about it. However, we have the ability to change the present, but not the future. Will we continue to worry and fret over matters we can never change and move on and start working on what we can?

I’m not talking about positive thinking; I’m talking about changing your focus. If you were to drive down the freeway constantly looking in your review mirror, then disaster is inevitable. It’s no different in your life. We learn from the past, live in the present and plan for the future.

I recently watched this movie called Mr. Destiny. He hated his life and regretted one fatal error he believed he had made in his past. If only he would have hit that ball. He was given the opportunity to go back and change his life. Now he was a successful president of the company he was recently fired from and now he was very wealthy. From a human point of view this was paradise. Then soon he learned that there were problems in this life too, only bigger. He realized his other life wasn’t so bad after all.

Do we keep whining about what choices or things that happened to us in the past or do we do something to make the best of what we have? It’s really not a matter of changing your mind, although it starts there, but it’s really a matter of changing your heart not as much as your circumstances. A good place to start is, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians4:11

When we exhaust all our efforts, then we realize it was Jesus all the time. The Bible talks about vain imaginations. Simply put it means, “dwelling on things that are worthless and a waste of time.” I think Paul puts it best, Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5 Happy New Year!