My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for May, 2010

Worthwhile Warfare – The Fight Against Injustice

It seemed strange, though these movies were totally different I was left with similar emotions of horror, disbelief and repulsion. I had just watched “Lakota Woman – Siege at Wounded Knee” and it brought to my mind the battle that took place in the movie “Avatar”. Different indeed, one based on real events, the other on fantasy, but the things that led up to the battles seemed so similar Greed – one group willing to fight for something that belonged to someone else; Fear – taking the things people fear and don’t understand and feeding them to build hate; Anger – emphasizing the need to protect against those whom we fear and destroying before we are destroyed.

There is injustice all around us on varying scales (from the employer who fattens his bank account while his workers struggle to exist on minimum wage, to a race of people who were driven from place to place and almost destroyed). It becomes easier, I guess, when we don’t see others as human as ourselves. So, we degrade them, call them names, remind ourselves that they are not like us, and as in “Lakota Woman” we call the people we don’t know or understand – savages; in “Avatar” – monkeys; we call our blacks the “N” word; our women the “B” word and everyday it becomes easier for injustice and violation to abound.

After seeing “Avatar” I remember thinking that I will never view war in the same way, and though I believe there are some battles that needed and still need to be fought, and this memorial day I honor the men and women who gave and are giving their lives for freedom and the fight against injustice, I believe that some battles are founded on greed, hatred and division.

So as our soldiers bravely fight our battles overseas may we look around us and willingly face the challenges that need to be confronted in our midst. Where we see injustice and others being violated in our workplaces, our homes, our neighborhoods, our entertainment, and even in our churches may we fight not with the destructive weapons of guns and bombs but may we speak out against it, call it out so it does not remain hidden and live out justice because this indeed is worthwhile warfare.

Chasing beauty

Challenges can beautify us, strengthen our character and make us men and women of virtue if we endure and learn from them.

"Beautiful in God's Eyes"

It’s Sunday about 11am. I pulled up to the table, though I was sick, I was famished, a fever always seems to increase my appetite. I had prepared scrambled eggs with bell pepper, spinach and onions, cut 3 slices from a loaf and with a bowl of fresh fruit consisting of papaya, pineapple and orange placed next to a cup of hot tea I was ready to satisfy my hunger.

On the table was a book I believe had been there for several months. I reached for it and opened it. It was a 3-in-1 collection by Elizabeth George and I had turned to the second book “Beautiful in God’s eyes.” I sighed when I realized from the first few lines that this was a study of the Proverbs 31 woman. I had a vague recollection of wanting to be like her sometime ago, but I had not thought about her in years. As I continued to read, Elizabeth reminded me that this woman was real, her standard of excellence achievable, her care for others genuine, her love and commitment to God and family possible, and her kind of beauty attainable.

As something in me resisted, telling me that this was an unrealistic goal for any one, I felt blessed because I realized I had a few living examples around me.

My play-mom is 87 years, from her I’m learning about service and selfless living. She’s a woman of much prayer, still teaches Sunday school, holds an in-house bible study, is in charge of the Angel’s food ministry at her church and lends a listening ear — her phone rings constantly, day and night. Her special gift, she loves people. Directly across the street is a couple,  I have never witnessed anyone else so open, selfless and genuine, their gift — helping others.

About 3 weeks ago I finally realized that I have been exactly where I needed to be to learn some valuable life-lessons, for though I love physical beauty, their beauty, my play-mom’s and my neighbors’ are the kind of beauty I seek. All too often we spend time praying or wishing away the things needed to shape us, the challenges necessary to develop us and we miss opportunities to grow. For indeed, who can find a person of virtue? I pray it can be found in me… and, in you.

I Want To Live Like My Sunday Morning’s Praise

The drums rumbled, softly, then with increased fervor. The room seemed to shake with the shouts of praise. It reminded me of the shouts that brought down the walls of Jericho, the kind of shouting that captures heaven’s attention and causes God to respond — there’s SOMETHING about that Sunday morning praise.

Cries and shouts of victory and thanksgiving, the release from what may have troubled us that week, that morning, that minute. The surrender and peace that comes from focusing on someone more powerful. The joy that washes and refreshes. The love that softens us and makes us sweet, forgiving, and frees our hearts and arms to reach out and embrace. I WANT TO LIVE like that Sunday morning praise!

In a short while, the music will stop, the singing cease, the sermon will be over and the prayers will end. We will be heading back to our everyday lives. Many will be forced to face the realities they had escaped for a few hours. They’ll remember the sickness that has invaded their bodies, their marriages that have fallen far below their expectations, the failure they feel because their children are making unwise choices, the weariness of taking care of a sick loved one, the boredom of seemingly purposeless lives. WHAT WILL HAPPEN to that Sunday morning praise?

For you see, that Sunday morning power, is also Monday morning’s power. In fact, this everyday power is a transforming kind of power. Walls come down, seas roll back, sightless eyes see, lame legs leap, a woman caught in adultery receives forgives, a man living among the tombs gets his mind restored;  and, you and I, in the face of our challenges receive the power that changes our lives. FOR WE’VE GOT TO LIVE like our Sunday morning praise!

Knowing your own strength

The lessons we learn during play time can always be applied to life, for challenges present themselves on all levels. But they are excellent opportunities for learning and growth

"Tennis Challenge"

“I want you to know I’m not chasing any balls today,” he grunted, as my return swing sent the ball falling short and off the court. I ignored him, we had just started playing and he was already annoyed. He’s a grumpy fellow, grumbles and complains a lot, but an excellent tennis player, way above my level. As we continued, my game did not improve, “I have one word for you,” he shouted, “PUSH-UPS! You look good but you have no upper-body strength.”

I listened, annoyed, but did not say anything, after all there was some truth to his statement. So after the game I went home and started doing push ups. Nine and half push ups later I had reached my limit.

His statement, however, reminded me of the story of Samson and the part that talks about him, Samson, not knowing that the source of his strength had departed from him.”

It occurred to me that when we are in “the game”, at the time when we are tested and pressed is not the best time to find out that we are not ready for what comes at us; that the area in which we need strength is in a weakened state and we have no support to draw from.

I hate self-deception, not acknowledging where I am, not knowing my strengths or weaknesses. But being attuned to where we are in life requires alertness, constant evaluation, openness to the truth and a resolve to change course as needed.

It’s almost mid-year, as good a time as any to pause, reflect and make needed adjustments, for I would hate to get to the end of 2010 and then realize that the plans I had made, the path I had taken were not designed for getting me to my desired destination.

A command to move

Change your attire, commitment to obey and start stepping

"WOFLC Banquet, Come Forth"

Recently, the WOFLC celebrated its 5th anniversary with the theme, “Come Forth.” This command always reminds me of the story of Lazarus. Remember the story? Lazarus is sick, and even though his sisters send for Jesus hoping that He would come and heal Lazarus, Jesus does not show up until after Lazarus has died and has been buried. When Jesus appears on the scene, the family and friends of Lazarus are in mourning, but, He asks to be taken to the gravesite, instructs them to remove the stone, then commands the dead man, Lazarus, to “Come Forth!”

What happens? The dead man obeys.

But the more I thought about it, I realized that this call to action is more for the living that it is for the dead. It’s a command that demands change, the willingness to  move from one situation or place to another, the willingness to grow.

It means though, that we must first be aware of where we are and where we want to get to. Because you see, constant motion does not necessarily mean advancement. Some people are always moving, always seeking something new, moving from one thing to another, but never really CHANGING. You know — different location, different person, a new position but things are still the same.

Understanding that a change for the better does not necessarily bring ease and comfort may help prepare us to accept and obey the call to action to “Come Forth.”  The challenges to grow and change are sometimes awkward and painful, but moving from dead, unproductive situations promise great rewards.

So, like Lazarus, get rid of your grave-clothes, adorn yourselves for your new life, renew your commitment to obedience, trust in the same power that raised Lazarus from the dead, start stepping and “COME FORTH!”

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