Four distinct meanings.
All so, completely different.
Four simple words.
Yet, all four are so difficult to act out, in real life.
These words (which are actually a title of an album from a group I love) have been running through my mind for DAYYYYYYYS, now.
Yet, when trying to make sense of all the thoughts that accompany these words, it becomes increasingly difficult to put them into something the resembles a blog.
Let’s start at the beginning…
“a repetition of sound produced by the reflection of sound waves from a wall, mountain, or other obstructing surface”
Doesn’t it seem a bit odd that an echo is merely a “sound” created by silence?
One will not hear an echo in a room full of people, or when many others are cheering or talking. No, you “hear” an echo when it is still, quiet…there is no other sound. It is very helpful to take stock in one’s life, do an inventory if you will, of what changes need to be made, in order to continue a healthy life. My own list of “changes to be made” is quite long. There are many things to work on improving, or remove completely from one’s life. But, changes are not easy.
The “professionals” who spend their life researching these things, say it takes 21 days to create a habit. That’s 3 straight weeks of doing (or not doing!) something before it becomes normal. That’s a long time! Still, the effort is there.
For a while, life got so noisy, so loud, so chaotic, from all the fighting over the election of our latest President. Whether for or against, all everyone did was loudly share their opinion of who the leader of our country should be. It’s noisy everywhere – people fighting for “peace”, screaming for people to listen to those who didn’t have a voice, for whatever crusade they were on for equal rights, freedom from or for something or other, and on and on. It got so loud that we couldn’t hear the echoes. Echoes of innocent children crying to be loved, of kids who are bullied begging to be accepted, for freedom, for understanding, for love. Everyone needs something.
We need to stop being so loud, sometimes, and listen to the echoes.
Maybe you’re in a place like that right now. You’re trying to cling to the promises of God and keep moving forward in faith, but difficult circumstances are shouting SO loudly in your ear, daring you to doubt the goodness of God, and inviting you to call Him forgetful or even unfair. Tempting you to panic and give up hope. Do you want what YOU want, MORE than what God wants for you? I do, much of the time. I am trying to work on surrendering MY plans, dreams, hopes to the Lord and trust that He knows what is best for me. Let’s listen to the Echoes from God.
Silence: It is a really good idea to allow silence to become part of everyday life. Moments of reflection and quiet are necessary to think, and process all the noise and chaos that surrounds every square inch of life. Someone or something is always vying for the attention of humans everywhere. Radio demands we listen to the newest “it” song. TV plays never ending news cycles and pop culture “gossip” so that we never miss a beat. There is always something trying to break the silence. Yet, we all make a choice whether to give in and listen to the noise or remain in the solitude that is silence.
Much of life is a choice. Why do people not eat the same foods everyday? Because, even though you may love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s ridiculous to think you’d want to eat it every single day of your life. No, we have salads, steak, fish, and so on, for choices. Mankind wants options. We CHOOSE to go to work everyday. Because there’s nowhere else we’d rather be?
No, probably not.
It is a choice we make because we know the outcome if we CHOOSE NOT to show up. There are repercussions for everything in life. Some good, some bad. We choose to have friendships – why? Because we know by not having people around us who care, we end up alone. Nobody wants to be alone, or lonely. When loving others we won’t always get it right. Sometimes the laundry is piled up, the kids are crying/fussing, our spouse didn’t say the right thing we needed to hear in a difficult moment, and so on. Despite our best intentions and efforts, sometimes we just don’t get it totally right. Some days space happens that breaks the cycle we are used to – the cycle of love. God designed our hearts to desire to be loved back. When someone loves us – truly loves us – we respond by loving them in return. But on those difficult days when we don’t feel loved – how do we love first? We don’t.
Some days we need reminders for simple things like how to love and listen to others. We must be intentional. We must not be silent in sharing and showing our love for others.
Being bad at something is the first step to being good at something.
Patience Have you ever worked hard for something, waited for something, prayed, wished, hoped, tried everything you could to make something happen, but it didn’t?
It can be so frustrating when things don’t go according to what OUR plan is. However, I’m grateful that God doesn’t always give us what we pray for. I do think that, at times, God gives us just a bit of what we ask for, so that we can see how damaging our desires can sometimes be.
First and foremost, we must learn to seek God FIRST and make our relationship with HIM the most important. Then and only then, will our thoughts and desires line up with HIS. Our choices will eventually come from a heart so devoted to Him that we can finally be entrusted with all He has for us.
I came across this quote recently and thought it would be perfect to share, here. “Start believing that things are going to change for the better. God knows what your silent heart wants. Even if you don’t include it in your prayers. God hears what your heart whispers. He may not give it to you now but someday, when you least expect it, things will happen in the best possible way. God has not forgotten you, He is closer to you now more than you can imagine, because He loves you very much, and the best is yet to come for you.” WOW! Such a beautiful encouragement.
The most beautiful things in life come about when we have a patient heart, willing to wait for the very best – in EVERY scenario in life.
Grace This is a hard one… Even when we care about someone – parent, sibling, family member, friend…It is really hard to offer then grace. We may often feel overlooked, forgotten, unwanted by people in our lives. Humans have a way of hurting other humans, whether intentionally or unintentionally. It is important to always remember, no matter who hurts us in life, we are handpicked by God. He loves us unconditionally, and perfectly. In the ESV translation, John 13:1 says “…He loved them to the end”.
Take a moment and think about those words and let them soak in. Jesus Christ, King of it ALL loves us to the end. Think about how much your parents love you, how much you love your children, spouse, friend, etc – and its just a drop in the ocean compared to how greatly God loves us. Now, think of how POORLY we love, most of the time. We get upset too quickly… We get irritated by little things… We get hurt by everything…
Think of who you KNOW loves you to the END. No matter what.
Now, think of who YOU will love to the END. No matter what.
The list is pretty short, isn’t it?
This quote is in a little book my mom keeps on her kitchen window.
I hope one day to be able to offer grace AND patience, like this quote suggests…
“Love is like a violin. The music may stop now and then but the strings remain forever” ~Bacher
No matter how difficult the situation in this moment, don’t let yourself believe it’s over for good. Things will always, ALWAYS look up if we believe in grace, in second chances, and in forgiveness.
Those 3 things will take you far in life.