FISH are FRIENDS, not FOOD! Shark Infested Waters

Did you see the adorable Finding Nemo? Remember Bruce, the Australian Shark, who reminded his buddies that  FISH ARE FRIENDS not FOOD? It was the perfect example as I contemplated how to go about writing Shark Infested Waters. A big shout out to Atlanta’s, Bishop Eddie Long. NOT!  As if those of us in the fishbowl bowl aren’t food for fodder..we didn’t need help from you.

My statements may offend, but this is the way it is..I’ve met more people than the average person my age. Sometimes I wish GOD’S plan had been for us to settle in Mayberry, U.S.A., live in the same house, on the same street, with the same neighbors for my lifetime, but, that’s NOT what HE planned, so I don’t waste my time pining for What Might Have Been Land. What I’ve learned from my travels & experiences is, not all church people are nice people. I’m not judging; their conduct does it for them. If you’ve been involved in a church more than a month, you know it’s true.

Speaking of telling the truth..there are people who can’t keep a bridle on their tongues even if they try! I’m not putting myself above talking when I need to hush, but, as a general rule, I learned a long time ago..there are church mice in every church who hang around til the lights go out, hoping to get a tidbit they can scurry home with to share with the rest of the family.  That behavior is unbecoming and the Bible warns us not to use our tongues this way.

I grew up hearing; there is no such thing as a little white lie.  Agreed.  Little WHITE LIES are a sin and nobody should tell them.  But, I’m here to dispel the sin is sin…lies are lies…but a BLACK LIE is a greater offense. Search the scripture & you’ll find a list of  SEVEN THINGS GOD hates, the ABOMINATIONS.  Most church people can’t list the seven. They know some of the ten commandments & so they mention lying, stealing and murder. EVERY church should study the SEVEN.

A worthless person, a wicked man, is he (or she) who goes about with a perverse (contrary,wayward) mouth; He (or she) winks with his eyes, shuffles his feet, He (or she) points with his fingers (to mislead and deceive); Willful and contrary in his (or her) heart, he (or she) devises trouble,vexation and evil, continually, He (or she) lets loose discord and sows it.  Therefore upon him (or her) shall the crushing weight of calamity come suddenly, Suddenly he (or she) shall be broken without remedy.

These six things the LORD hates, YES, seven are an abomination to HIM: A proud look (spirit that makes one overestimate oneself and underestimate others), a lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies (even under oath), And one who sows discord among his breathren.  PROVERBS CHAPTER 6…Read it in its entirety, it will do you good!

THERE’S a reason we should study the WHOLE truth of GOD and not pick and choose.  We are told a couple of verses on down to bind GOD’S words to our hearts and tie it around our necks. It says we should KNOW GOD’S WORD so thoroughly that when we sleep, it will keep us and when we wake, it will talk to us.  I LOVE THAT!

Idle gossip is wrong, it’s sin…but, gossip is not always lies, it can be true, but it’s information that we have no business spreading.  We need to be reminded to DO UNTO OTHERS as you would have them DO UNTO YOU …. enough said. I stand to say that TELLING BLACK LIES is a serious offense..not for the one lied about, because GOD’S WORD promises that HE’LL avenge wrongs done to HIS children. I say woe to the one who stands in GOD’S HOUSE and lies on a brother or a sister, and when confronted in the manner that GOD’S WORD instructs us to confront a liar, that person tries to do it half way; secretly confessing to the one or ones offended, but never telling anyone else that they made the admission, thus leaving the church waters murky with their lies.

The reason I brought up how many people I’ve known in my lifetime is so that I’d have a reasonable comparison chart. Without bogging down in the sand, let me sum it up like this..I’ve had my fair share of dealings with the church gossips.  But, when it gets down to it, Chatty Pattys are usually good people who are loved, in spite of themselves.  Everybody knows that these dear souls don’t mean to hurt anyone on purpose…they just don’t do secrets.

I had fun looking up shark species when I started this piece.  It reminded me of a popular illustration that went around years ago where the speaker would pull out all kinds of potatoes to represent personalities in the church. One glance and you’ll understand why a WRITER who minored in drama would find this enthralling! TIGER SHARKS,  ANGELS, HAMMER HEADS, BONNET HEADS, MEGA MOUTHS, NURSE SHARKS, BASKING SHARKS, BULL HEADS,  WEASEL SHARKS, SLEEPER SHARKS, and the most feared of all, GREAT WHITE KILLER SHARKS.  One thing I found  fascinating about them- they work together to feed..I never knew that! All I had to go on was JAWS and that bad boy owned the ocean!

I’ve encountered about every kind of shark out there….I’ll tell you about a few of those attacks but the ones I want to focus most on are KILLER sharks,  those willing to annihilate whoever is in their way in order to survive.

I’ve only seen the killer sharks on three occasions…I want to tell you about one attack at length….explain how the waters were at the time, where we were swimming, and what provoked the Killer SHARK to come in for the kill.  This shark had been swimming in the same waters for years and years…so, I had no reason to think we were in such dire straits.  I was wrong. Very… very wrong.

JEALOUSY, that green eyed monster, as old as Cain and Abel, had begun to feed that shark and some of the others who swam with it. I knew the sharks were circling closer and closer to the shore…I’d seen their activity with my own eyes. But, I didn’t stay out of the water..and not only that, but I allowed my twenty four year old, daughter to wade into what I knew was dangerous territory, right beside of me. I found out that fateful SUNDAY why:  In shark infested waters, you don’t GO SWIMMING AT DUSK.

Shark Waters is a five part series available upon request, until I upgrade my FREE blog space-I’m running out of paper space! 😀

It’s too STRESSFUL to RELAX!

For me, relaxing really isn’t very relaxing.  I have to work at doing nothing.  You have no idea how much restraint it takes for me to leave the dishes in the sink until after the company is gone!  My poor family can’t even finish their meal before I’m clearing the table.  They eat with one hand while holding onto their glass with the other!

I don’t know why, but it’s a painstaking ordeal for me to overlook scattered papers around my Chipper’s chair or the unmade bed in our foster daughter, Tammy’s, room.

Yet, those same two who irk me with papers and unmade beds are thoughtful enough to unload the dishwasher almost everyday…and how do I say thanks? By getting up in the middle of the night to redo what they’ve already done, I know…that’s not really saying thanks at all, is it?

Please don’t tell them, but, I kind of wish they’d just let me do it.  That way, I wouldn’t have to get up in the middle of the night when they’re both sound asleep and redo it.  See, I like all the green glasses to line up, then the gold ones, and the clear ones go on the outside.  And, you buy matching cups for a reason..so that they match in the cabinet.  Don’t even get me started on the silverware!  Those trays made for silverware are divided for a reason….why, oh why, don’t they understand that long forks and short forks are entirely different utensils?

I don’t mean to seem ungrateful for their help, but, it’s hard to figure out why, if they’re going to do it anyway, they don’t just do it right.  Why?  Because what’s right to me…doesn’t seem right to them.  If the truth be known, they probably think it’s wrong for me to expect everything to be done right.

You know what?  Inflicting my peculiar ways and obsessions on anybody but me causes me and them a lot of undo stress.  Why do I start an argument over a trivial thing like hanging the bath towels over the towel racks as opposed to over the tub?

The very people I’d lay my life down for are usually the very ones that I give “what for” most often.  That’s wrong and sad that I’m more likely to accept unacceptable behavior from a stranger, than I am my own flesh and blood.

We’d have a lot more harmony in our homes, if we’d just let the little things go sometimes.  My personality traits are just that..mine.  And, my Chipper’s are his…and Jena’s are hers…and Joshua’s are his…and my mother’s are hers….and my father in law’s are his… and Tammy’s are hers….perhaps if I could remember that, long suffering and self control wouldn’t be so difficult.

I have a bad habit of nit picking about stuff that irritates me…and the main irritation is that I’m the only one whose irritated.  You know those fruits of the Spirit talked about in Galatians?  Well, the self control and long suffering varieties are my lemons.  But, I found out a long time ago that unless I got a handle on those two, it was going to be an uphill battle to grow the rest.

How can I possibly exemplify goodness, kindness, gentleness, joy, peace, and love…if I’m always criticizing and finding fault with everything someone else does?  How can I walk in the Spirit, if I’m angry, stressed out and unable to relax?  It’s hard to exude any joy when I’m so tense and uptight that I can’t even sit down and enjoy a conversation without fretting over the dishes.

So, I’ve been working harder at “relaxing” and slowly, but surely I really have seen progress.  For going on a week now, when I wake up at my normal time, 3am, instead of tiptoeing down the stairs, turning on the stove light and dish by dish, rearranging the cabinets, I’ve refrained from my longstanding ritual.  Let me tell you.. it’s a nightmare to lie awake in the dark, imagining all those cups randomly sitting in the cupboard.  It takes every ounce of strength I can muster to stay put….it’s more work not to work…than it ever was to get up and work!  I still wake up but, I haven’t been getting up.  At least I’m climbing upwards instead of slipping backwards.

Today, I was about to make a snippy remark about the bazillion papers that my Chipper had strewn at his end of the couch, but, guess what?  I walked right on by! Yes I surely did!

And you know what?  When I walked past them without nagging my husband, I won a round in my battle with long suffering and self control.  I fixed myself a cup of tea, grabbed a Better Homes and Gardens and headed to the deck, giving myself high fives and a round of silent applause.

And, the most wonderful thing happened.  My Chipper noticed my restraint. He came to the door and gave me a thumbs up.  You should’ve seen that grin on his face.  It was like a domino effect..by choosing to avoid an unnecessary quarrel, I not only got a gold star for long suffering and self control but love, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, gentleness…just sort of fell into place. 😀

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