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Which Path?

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Jeremiah 6:16a – thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is, then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

As my retirement date draws closer and I consider how I will best spend my time for the next 20 or 30 years, I am thankful that the Lord already knows and has a plan for me. Retirement is not the end of the journey; it is a new beginning. As graduation is not an end but a commencement, retirement is not an end but a new opportunity. Unfortunately, the dictionary definition doesn’t reflect that. It defines retirement as withdrawal or pulling away. But when we withdraw from something, we are going toward something else. Hopefully, it will not be seclusion.

For Christians, retirement should be a time when we can finally and fully devote our time to our number one boss—God. When we no longer have the demands of a full time job, we have more flexibility to go wherever and whenever God calls us. But there are so many paths. How do we know which one to choose? Jeremiah 6:16 provides some direction. And this direction applies to all stages of life.

The Lord says, STAND by the roads. Notice it says roads not road. We are standing by roads that indicate choices or paths. And we are to STAND. Not move. We should not move forward without consulting God. Since there is more than one road, we must wait until He directs so we know which one to take.

The Lord says, Stand by the road and LOOK. Look at the roads or choices that are available. Look them over carefully. Consider where each road might lead. Perhaps consider what is known about each path. Consider our own talents and how they might be put to use on each path, BUT we can’t rely on our own thoughts because the verse says look AND ASK.

ASK for the eternal paths. Notice the plural again. There is more than one path. Why? What does that mean? It means we will have to stand, look, and ask at each crossroad; it means some paths, though different, may get us to the same place. God does allow choices for His children’s lives, but we need to ASK for guidance to choose the eternal paths because some paths may be deceiving. They may look like they lead to eternity, but they don’t. We need to choose eternal paths by the good, old way.

The GOOD, OLD WAY represents the way of those in the past who followed God faithfully. That is why studying God’s Word is so important. We can learn from those who have made choices and see where those choices led them. The good, old way may also represent our own pasts. We look back and see our own choices and reflect on God’s faithfulness in our lives. The good, old path represents the righteous path, not necessarily the easy path. The old way may represent tradition. This is not to say that new things are necessarily or always bad, but old ways have been tried, and history shows their effectiveness. Finally, we must make a choice. This is implied because the next part says, and THEN.

And THEN, WALK—ask and then walk. The implication is God has provided the direction we need and now it is up to us to move. The time for standing still and looking and considering has come to an end. Now move and WALK. Don’t stop or hesitate. Proceed down the path. But WALK, don’t run. There’s no hurry. Just WALK.

When we run down a path, we are concentrating on the end result and may miss the beauty along the path. The destination is not the only good thing. There is beauty in the journey. And there are probably some really cool things along the path—perhaps surprises or lessons or people or opportunities. If we run, we might miss them. When we walk, we are moving steadily forward, but we still have time to notice and enjoy our surroundings. We have time to appreciate and savor the journey. We will not pass this way again. At the end of the journey, not only will we have arrived at the appropriate destination, but we will have more memories and more lessons to look back on as “old” ways because we took time to observe. And we will also find something.

AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS – The “then” is implied in this clause. Now that we’ve made our decision and chosen our path based on God’s direction, we move forward or walk. That is the result of our standing, looking, and asking. Since we are to walk, our decision has finality. It’s not maybe or possibly. It’s decisive. Once the decision is made to move forward, don’t look back. We shouldn’t second-guess ourselves or cast glances over our shoulders at the paths we didn’t choose. They are not for us—at least, not at this time. If one of those other paths is something God has planned for us, then the path we have chosen will wind around and connect with that other path at a different point in our journey. Because we have chosen God’s path, the right path, and God is our Guide, our souls are at peace knowing we are following the eternal path God designed just for us. And we will find REST—rest for our souls.

Our souls can rest because God’s yoke is easy. Our souls can rest because His burden is light. Our souls can rest because He gives peace. When we are walking with God, peace is a by-product.

So rest in Him, and just keep walking.

Until next time,

CKWidmayer

A Perfect Fit

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 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord is taking me on another new adventure.  This blog is an adventure in itself.  I think it has helped me more than anyone else.  I said from the beginning that the size of my audience doesn’t matter.  If I am writing, I am accomplishing the task God has set before me.  Writing about God’s word has helped me to grow in ways I can’t even describe to you.  And now God is teaching me about the healing power of the essential oils He created.  I’m learning about plants and oils and healing and prayer.  God is awesome in the way He brings things into our lives at the perfect time, with the perfect people. . . but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Two years ago, I began feeling like it was time to retire from full-time teaching.  I love teaching, but the demand of the schedule was starting to weigh heavily.  I felt like I didn’t have time to live my life because I always had so much to do for school.  Anyone who has ever taught, or had any kind of demanding job for that matter, knows the struggle it can be to try to balance home life and work life.  But with kids out of the home and five grandchildren nearby, I began praying about what would be next in my life and seeking God’s timetable and direction.

This year it was time.  My final year as a full-time teacher concluded in June.  My official retirement will come October 1, but I won’t be opening my own classroom this fall; I will be filling in wherever there is a need.  September 30 will be my last day.  I’m sure the feelings will be bittersweet; however, God is opening a variety of doors, and one has taken the front seat for the time being—Young Living Essential Oils.

I have been seeking specific leading from God for the last year about what to do when I finish teaching.  I really need something to continue to supplement the household income.  I have looked into a lot of things related to teaching, but I really didn’t want to trade full-time teaching for part-time teaching.  I have also looked into online teaching from home and signed up with a website that allows you to set your own price and hours, but I didn’t get any solid leads.  It seemed to be a closed door.

I also considered being “nanny” as well as “Nana” to two of my grandsons, and I may still do that.  But I would really rather do that part-time and for free. I’d rather not be paid for caring for my own grandchildren.

In the meantime, I have also been personally exploring diet and new recipes to learn more about healthy eating.  My husband and I have always tried to plan wisely, but we are continuing to learn about unsafe and toxic ingredients in foods we had considered “natural and safe.”  For Christmas, I received The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren—a really great book on food, faith, finances, friends, and fitness.  I was learning new things about foods I had never even heard of. . .and let’s be honest. . . some foods I had heard about from my husband (and resident chef) but had been unwilling to try.  I made a commitment to eat whatever my husband cooked—even if it meant trying new things I didn’t think I’d like.  And life continued along, until. . .

One day a friend invited me to learn about, and perhaps purchase, essential oils.  What are essential oils?  They are the aromatic, volatile liquids of plants, which are generally extracted through steam distillation.  They are highly concentrated, which makes them more potent than dried herbs, due to the distillation process.[1]  I had never heard of essential oils, but I did some research and discovered that essential oils have been used by people for hundreds, even thousands of years, to promote health and natural healing.

I continued to research essential oils in general and the company Young Living specifically because I wanted to be sure I was spending money wisely.  But I was attracted to the oils designed to relieve pain and promote sleep.  Finally, I attended a class at my friend’s house to learn more specifically how Young Living oils work to promote healing and health.  I was pretty close to jumping on board, but attending the class confirmed my decision to move forward, and I purchased Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit.

That decision was a good one!  By using essential oils, I have eliminated over-the-counter pain relievers from my daily intake and have been getting solid nights of sleep.  Using these oils was a natural progression from other things I had been learning about eating healthy foods and watching for harmful ingredients on packaging.  All of it is about staying healthy naturally, which is what God designed our bodies to do.

But God wasn’t finished.  Not only did He bring these essential oils into my life for the benefit of my own family.  He also opened a door for me to establish an at-home business.  At first, I was surprised because of all the subjects available for study in school, science was the one that never “clicked” with me.  I guess God decided it is time for me to learn science.  J Seriously, though, God is so awesome!  As He led me to into this new business, I realized that it has all the characteristics I was looking for as a way to supplement income.  I can do much of the work from home, I don’t have to adhere to a regular work schedule, I’m able to interact with people socially, and I’m available to my children and grandchildren, and yet it still allows an outlet for my teaching ability.  I’m teaching people about essential oils!  And if you haven’t noticed it yet, I’m writing about oils as well.  And best of all, as I talk about the oils that God created for our use, I have an opportunity to talk to people about God, the one who created them!

Praise God! His creativity in His plan for my life overwhelms me.  I could never have thought of this myself. God has designed a job that creatively uses all my gifts, but in ways I could never have imagined.  It is exactly what I asked for when I prayed—something that would utilize the variety of talents with which He has blessed me.

When we pray for God’s direction, He leads us in paths He has designed for us, and they are a perfect fit.  I am so excited to see where God takes me on this new journey with Young Living Essential Oils.  Every day I am learning new things. Every day with God is a new adventure.

Until next time,

CKWidmayer

[1] “Yesterday’s Wisdom, Tomorrow’s Destiny.” Essential Oils: Pocket Reference. 5th ed. USA: Life Science Pub., 2011. 1. Print.

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