Categories
Christian Living

Circle Back

Ever driven through a round-a-bout? I guess some traffic engineer thinks sending people in circles is more efficient than a stop light.

After he retired from teaching, my father ferried racing greyhounds to New England. One of his favorite stories involved being stuck in a traffic circle near Boston, pulling a 20 foot dog trailer! Here’s how he described it: “A bunch of people going in circles trying to make their turn by taking turns.”

Whose turn is it anyway?

I’m sure it’s in the driver’s manual, but in practice the round-a-bout has no hard and fast rules.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Ah, the classic stop light; now here’s a simpler solution! Red means stop. Green means go. And yellow means wait (even if you’re late).😇

Yet when it comes to walking with God, the experience can feel more like a round-a-bout than a red light. It’s not a precise stop, go or wait; rather, it’s a keep-circling-until-it’s-your-turn reality.

Yes, there are places in the Bible where God gives specific “stop light” style guidance (Numbers chapter nine is a good one), but these aren’t the every day norm.


Picture all the Bible heroes whose lives didn’t travel in a straight line. Moses comes to mind. I mean, forty years on the back side of the desert?! Sounds like a round-a-bout thing. Or brave queen Esther. Her’s wasn’t a “stop light life;” she kept circling–waiting for the chance to make a big difference.

So if it seems like your life is on ⏸, maybe you’re not stuck at a red light after all. You’re just coming back around to make your turn.

There now. Feel better?


Here are a few of my favorite “Circle Back” scriptures. Please share one of yours!


“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)


“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 (NIV)


“He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3b (NIV)


Categories
anger Christian Living

Let the Boo-Boo Breathe

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” — (Proverbs 14:29)

As a teacher at an elementary school, I’ve heard young children say some pretty profound things. I was out on the playground one day with the kids, when a little guy came up to me to show me his fancy band-aid. It was a big purple one that covered half his little forehead. He pointed to it and said, “My mommy says this is a magic band-aid. It let’s the boo-boo breathe.”

Let the boo-boo breathe

Not long after my conversation with the enlightened kindergartener, I was called to my principal’s office for a meeting with an upset parent. Before the mother arrived, I asked my boss how I should respond.

I’ll always be grateful for her advice. She told me that the less I said the better. “Most caregivers just want to be heard,” my principal said. “They need to know that you care about their child.”

So I listened. It was hard when the mother made unfounded accusations–based on false information from her child–but I held my peace until it was my turn to speak. Calmly, I said, “Maam, we each want the same thing; we both want what is best for your child.”

Instantly, the icy wall between us melted. The mother began, with tears in her eyes, to tell of her struggles as a single parent. Like my principal said, an overwhelmed caregiver just wanted to be heard. She needed to know that someone understood.

I wish I could say this is how I’ve always approached interpersonal conflict. The reality is, many times in my life I’ve lost perspective and overreacted in frustration or anger. This has usually only made things worse.

Here are a few ways I let the “boo-boo breathe,” to give myself a buffer zone before acting:

  • Do No More for 24 – When you’re super angry, whatever you say or do is unlikely to help the situation. Give yourself 24 hours (or more) to cool off, and then calmly state your grievances (if necessary) with the other party.
  • Just Don’t It – When you aren’t sure how to react to a situation, do this: NOTHING. Like the old song by the Beatles says, 🎶”There will be an answer. Let it be.”🎶 Okay, this one is almost the same as Do No More for 24, but not quite. Maybe it’s not necessary for you to DO anything.
  • Talk With a Trustworthy Friend – Sometimes it can be helpful to take the decision out of your own hands. Share your dilemma with a trusted friend–someone who is not so close to the situation–and let them help you decide.

Finally, here are a few of my favorite “Magic Band-aid” scriptures to let the boo-boo breathe. I’d love to hear some of yours. Or maybe you have a story about how a relational time-out saved the day. Please share!


“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” — (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

“The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hot headed and yet feels secure.” — (Proverbs 14:16)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.” — (Psalm 37:8)

A parting thought:

The power of a particular emotion doesn’t necessarily determine it’s value.

Regular David (me)

Photo by Luca Severin on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Blog Prayer

Let Down Your Ear

When our oldest son was about four years old, he came up to me one day. Motioning with his little hand he said, “Daddy, let down your ear.”

I knelt down and he told me something–about one of his toys–and I nodded in agreement. But the rest of the day I kept thinking about what he said (let down your ear), until it dawned on me: that’s how it feels sometimes with God! I have something to tell Him, but I can’t tip-toe that high. It’s feels too far. “Father, let down your ear.”

My neighbor is an avid cyclist. One day last year, out on a ride before dawn, he hit the end of a concealed culvert and went over the handlebars of his bike–breaking his neck.

He was care-flighted to a trauma center. Things did NOT look good. Three upper vertebrae were broken when he smashed face first into the pavement, and because he only had limited use of his arms, spinal cord damage was suspected.

I remember thinking, “God, this just can’t be happening. My friend goes on 100 mile rides–just for fun–and now he can’t even feed himself!?”

Our little town quickly mobilized in prayer and support for my neighbor and his family. What a pastor friend calls, “carpet chewing” prayers were going up for my injured friend, but were they reaching God’s throne?

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:14 (NIV)

Of course, He hears our prayers, but have you ever been desperate for good news that was slow to come?

“Father, let down your ear!”

My cycling buddy underwent surgery to fuse the broken vertebrae, and after months of physical therapy, made a almost complete recovery. However, he now rides a three wheel recumbent bike (like pedaling a recliner) on orders from his family!


Young children say the most profound things! Their innocent, literal thinking brains aren’t fogged over by adult cares and responsibilities. At times, they even speak for God (1 Samuel 3).

As a line from the song, Thank God for Kids says, “🎶The closest thing to heaven is a child.🎶”

A few months after my son said, “Daddy, let down your ear,” I opened my bible to Psalm 86, and there it was–almost word for word:

Bow down your ear, O Lord, hear me; For I am poor and needy.

Psalm 86:1 (NKJV)

God used a four-year-old to say the same thing King David prayed over 3000 years ago!

Amazing!