Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Two Themes of My Current Quiet Times (Related?)

First of all, a completed watercolor art piece serves as my “cue” to write a blog post. Thoughts that have been swirling in my head begin to come to a focal point as I finish a watercolor and think about sharing it. Usually, as is the case today, the painting and the “thoughts in my head” are not related topically. 

A finished painting that I want to share on my blog is my prompt to also share some thoughts. Again, usually not related.

Today’s art work, however, IS related to today’s weather, coincidentally. Here in the PNW, we rarely get ANY snow, and even more rarely do we got an accumulation. It has been snowing all day today, and we may even get six inches of accumulation. While my family in Missouri is pretty much DONE with snow for this winter, I am NOT tired of it and am really enjoying it. 

The artwork for today is a Fox in Snow.

As I said, the finished artwork which prompted me to post is not really relative to the THOUGHTS on my mind. 

Sometimes it’s strange how several “elements” all point to the same topic, appearing to happen quite coincidentally.

As I wrote about in my last post, one of the current themes in my quiet times has been that Gratitude Brings Joy. Simultaneously, I am always interested in devotionals and books about stress and worry, as that is the area where I need the most spiritual discipline.

I am seeing that there is definitely a relationship between experiencing Joy that comes through Gratitude, with a resulting by-product of being able to more effectively deal with stress and worry.

So I came across a Bible study (in the Bible app) called “Breath as Prayer.” I was so taken by the devotional that I ordered the corresponding book (author Jennifer Tucker, Foreword by Ann Voskamp).

“The science of breathing and the practice of praying God’s Word can work hand-in-hand to help calm your body and reorient your mind toward Christ.”

In the Foreword, Ann Voskamp says, “…the real purpose of prayer is not about convincing God to do what we want but about awakening to what Gods already is doing and doing that redemptive work with Him. Prayer is the subversive work that defies the lie that all that is happening is just what we see but trusts that underneath, and through everything, God’s revolutionary and redeeming work is still victoriously happening.”

The first Breath as Prayer that I learned in the Bible app devotional:

Another example:

So, I like this combination of deep breathing and praying God’s Word.

Today after finishing the fox painting, I have been baking Honey Oatmeal bread and organizing a large basket full of books-in-progress, Bible studies-in-progress, prayer journals, other journals.

As I’m putting in bookmarks and trying to re-stack things in such a way that I will be able to actually finish a few of these in-progress things, I can’t help but take note of the fact that I’m seeing things on my two themes:

In my “All God’s Creatures: Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers,” the devotional for today closes with this prayer: “Father, thank You that all creation declares Your glory. Help me remember that worrying is not part of Your plan for my life. Amen.” (Well, I suppose the fox painting does somewhat fit here—All God’s Creatures, just sayin’.)

In my “As Long as I Have Breath: Serving God with Purpose in the Later Years” devotional, today’s topic is “Addressing Anxiety” and one of the suggested practices is “Keep a list of all you’re thankful for.” (See previous blog post.)

One of the printouts I pulled out of a journal to add to a “stack” has this quote that I just saw: “Willful worry amounts to rejection of God’s character and damages our capacity for the life he calls us to. It is rooted in a theological misunderstanding of who God is, the nature of life in this world and our place in the universe.

And I’ve just noticed that one of the books in my stack that I have not yet even opened (gift from my daughter-in-law) is “Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy,” by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Seriously?!

As I’m trying to organize, in a markedly DISorganized manner, these reminders of how Gratitude Brings Joy and how Breath as Prayer helps with stress and worry, and how that all of this is, yes, in fact, related—I love how God brings things together sometimes!

#GratitudeBringsJoy #BreathasPrayer #watercolorfoxinsnow #GodisSovereign

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