Friday, November 16, 2012

Fog and FROG

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

In the fog it is good to remember FROG - Fully rely on God 
If you have ever had to drive in the fog you know that you can only see what is immediately ahead of you. Its taken me a while to figure this out but I have been experiencing a kind of spiritual fog lately. To be honest I have been a bit put off and frustrated by it. This morning I was read the November 16th page of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. She writes "The fog is a protection for you, calling you back into the present moment." Then I recall recently having prayed for the Lord to help me stay in the present with him. I've spent a lot of time in the past year allowing Him to heal me of past brokenness. Generally it is easy for me to see ahead, sometimes like with my art work the Lord gives me a mental picture of what the finished work will look like. I generally try to get as much of the idea down in a quick sketch or in words. Those brief mental pictures help me know where I'm heading. The Lord does that for me with life sometimes too. Particularly as I am praying He will sometimes let me see the roots of a problem or a future purpose. It is as easy to overly focused on either the past or the future.

The tendency with the past is to not let go  and have to deal with the weight of regret, shame or guilt. In working through the past I have had to forgive and repent and put memories away clean. One has to leave all the whys and what ifs in the hands of the Lord. One has to face the lies that have been believed and look at various situations with the help of the Lord from his perspective.
With all healing there is a time when surgery has been preformed, and a recovery period has passed.  For a time getting well is your entire focus. Eventually you are well enough to go back to daily life.
For me what followed was a desire to try and map out the future. For a time hopes and dreams became my focus. Actually trying to sort out what hopes and dreams were the right ones to pursue.
Even with my art when I see a brief mental picture one still has to figure out the best way to get there. It is a journey and along the way there are happy accidents. There are things that I try that I don't like a and I paint over them, or I have to chisel off the glass that I'm not happy with. In the end my version of the project is never exactly like the mental image I first saw. It has evolved and become my own expression of the idea that I briefly saw. So I think even when I think I see where I'm going I realize that along the way it will become my own life expression. I will try some thing and not like how they work and I allow myself the freedom to experiment. If something does not work I don't consider myself a failure. I evaluate and learn what I can from it. I come up with a new way of solving the problem. My best guess of what may work given what I presently understand and given what I presently have to work with. I try that realizing it may or may not be the final solution that I go with in the end.

Anyway recently I realized I was to easily distracted by both the past and the future. I asked the Lord to help me stay in the present with Him. Interestingly I am realizing His answer has been to give me fog. Fog is forcing me to stay in the immediate present. It is forcing me to trust him to lead so that I won't walk off a cliff. Part of me wants to look and the fog and thing oh know there are unknown dangers ahead that I can't see. I just know they are there and I can't mentally gear up to prepare for them. Then it dawns on me that even with the fog I am still allowing myself to focus on the fears of the unknown future ahead of me rather than the present. I stop and check myself and my situation is there anything else I can do in this moment. I could stop worrying about the unknown. I could stop spinning various outcomes.  I could stop resenting the fog. I could learn to know the Lord in this moment. Is He presently with me? Am I presently with Him? Can I allow Him to just hold me till I feel safe again?

The fog is not something for me to fight. I have no power over it. I can't make it lift. What do I have control of in the fog?  My attitude. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). I can bind fear, doubt. I can loose His peace. I can rest knowing that fog does not last forever. If the Lord has given me fog, he must know that I need fog presently.  We put those side blinders on horses so they won't be spooked but keep their eyes only where the handler is directing them to go. It might be a particularly tricky or treacherous leg of the journey and I need to trust the Lord to lead me through. He knows how he wired me. He knows what will spook or overwhelm me. He knows what is too much for me to bear.

Funny so I was trying to find a photo of fog to put with this post and I came up with nothing except a frog. The only photo that jumped out at me was one of a frog mosaic that I had done a while ago. So I started working on a card using that image. As I started thinking about what text I could add to the card. I remembered that FROG stands for Fully Rely on God. Which is what one really needs to do in the fog. God leads me like that with little bits of humor to lighten things up a bit. I can be way too serious at times. Hope my FROG card will brighten your day and make you smile.

Dear Lord, I know not everyone reading is dealing with fog. Some have a clear vision of the path that lays before them. Help them not to become complacent but to stay near you and to not think they can do it all by them self. For those facing fog, I pray that you will give them your peace. I pray that you will reveal yourself to them in a new and deeper way. I pray that you will give a greater revelation of your love and care for them. Be near us Lord allow us to know you more fully today. Thank you for this present situation and the places and people that will fill our day. Help us to take the hand of that friend or loved one. We may not know the answer but we can pray and encourage one another to not give up. To look to you Lord even when we feel confused, disappointed, discouraged. To know that its ok to put a name on how we are feeling or facing but in the end help us to stand on your truth.

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