Every month I hand in receipts and figures to my accountant. Invoicing, accounting and everything needs to be on time. Taxes have to be paid. Plural. I am happy to have a very thorough accountant that really goes after all the details. I do not want to be investigated by the tax office.
3 or 4 years back I logged my hours the same way. My professional hours are always logged, but for a couple of months I reported how I spent my time. In an Excel sheet I put down who I was spending time with, what I did and where I was. I didn’t pay much attention to the list during the days or weeks. I did not use it for planning. I lived my life the way I was used to. I just noted down everything towards the end of the day or week.
After approximately two months I studied the list. I was curious to see if I had spent my time in accordance with my ambitions and goals. I believed I had control over my priorities but I wanted to verify it. So I summarized the number of hours spent on babysitting, self development, exercise, dinner parties and so on. I was happy to see that there was balance in my accounting. I was more or less in line with my goals in that period.
Time is valuable. I do think it is important to think through the priorities some times. And similar to what you find within spending money it is not always the things you think are expensive that really cost you. You might be surprised.
“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Bible ref;Psalm 90,12
One of the things you get when you move is a new view. From every window you’ll see something new or the same things from a new angle dependent on how far you move. Having a fresh new view is inspiring.
This is one of the great things about climbing a mountain too. To hike to higher altitudes and watch the view from several hundred meters above sea level is fresh and gives a sense of overview and control. I believe it is the wide perspective that impresses me the most along with the fact that all the small hills just flatten out.
To get a new perspective I need to change position, move my body or just climb something. It is almost impossible to look at something from a different angle without changing position. I have to stretch my mind, meet new people, open new doors and generally be curious.
I wonder how it all looks from God’s perspective. Yes I know he knows everything and doesn’t really get surprised by anything. But how would I understand things if I managed to see things from his angle? I am trying to do this. I believe the Bible is telling me a lot about God’s thoughts, intentions, ideas, opinions and perspective. Therefore I dig in to the stories and words trying to understand him. He says he wants the best for us. How would he like me to respond to that? And what does he really make of me and my life these days?
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I aim to be open to new views.
Bible ref; Romans 12,2
View from my new roof top
I remember the sentence from English class, Primary School: “No news is good news.” The point made was that it was singular. News is a plural word that takes singular. But there is also a point made about the meaning of the sentence. If you don’t hear any news you should think that everything is alright.
I know this has been tried as comfort or encouragement for many that has been worried sick; If you don’t hear news you can trust everything is going to be fine.
A few days ago I spoke with a young man asking him if he had had a nice summer vacation; “No, not really. It hasn’t been good. I lost my father.” Over the phone he started to tell me about his father. I have just met the guy through some work he has done and don’t really know him. Still he shared with me about the sickness of his father, how they had to deal with the sudden death this summer and the grief. A couple of days later I met him in person. He shared a bit more, and then he told me that he had become an uncle for the first time just a few days ago. He expressed wonder on how life could hold both deep grief and great joy in such a short period of time.
Life is a mix of good and bad. There are bad things happening to good people. There are good things happening to bad people. Things happen.
The meaning of the word gospel is ‘good news’. The good news is that there is a greater plan. There is hope. There is a place for everybody.
Bible ref; Proverbs 25,25
“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”
Quite often when travelling I have been asked; ”Business or pleasure?” If the question comes from a hotel concierge I know the intentions are to improve the service related to my stay. He wants to give me the best information to make my stay smooth, pleasant and comfortable.
If the question comes from a complete stranger in a bar I know it is just something to kick start a conversation. And if the question comes from a taxi driver I know it also is just for small talk.
I tend to travel for both business and pleasure. I guess I also could say I want my travel through life to be both business and pleasure. In my everyday life there is a lot of business, but there is also pleasure. I enjoy working, I enjoy meeting with people and I enjoy accomplishing something; Even if it is just preparing lunch for some friends or picking up somebody at the airport.
Life is full of both. Business and pleasure.
I decide to take pleasure in my everyday life. I am not longing for the Fridays to arrive. I want to enjoy the workdays as well. Do I get tired? Of course. Do I get bored? Of course. But I can also get bored on holidays or when I am supposed to be amused. It is a matter of enjoying the moment. I guess we all are challenged by the phrase; ‘Carpe Diem’.
“Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.”
Business or pleasure?
Bible ref: Proverbs 6,6-8
My to-do-lists can sometimes be overwhelming. They are too overwhelming and definitely too ambitious. Number of tasks and time available don’t match. At the end of the day I have to move quite a few tasks over to the next day, next week or next month even. Rescheduling is a privilege. I find email as the perfect tool for postponing things. Postponement is a blessing. By sending an email I feel like doing something even if I’m not really. It is similar to texting to tell I’m late for a meeting.
Furthermore I find that I tend to put down all the mandatory things on my to-do-list if I make one. Not things like sleep or eat, but close. And to feel I am really accomplishing something I also put down the tasks I just finished. Just so I can check some of the elements on the list right away.
Some of the things are not really important or necessary tasks. If there was some kind of an emergency I would leave out a lot. I think we are sometimes doing stuff that really is insignificant and boring. But of course it still might be important in some ways. I don’t know really. Can it be that it is just healthy for man to work? That we just need to be active? I also know some are addicted to work.
I am glad there is work that really makes me happy; Meaningful and inspiring tasks. It is like food. Some vitamins and food is vital. Some food is just for pleasure. Some food is both.
Jesus once said something about this;
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
Great work – good food.
Bible ref; John 4,34
Everybody likes to be invited. Nobody likes to be left out. If there is a party going on and I think I am a natural guest I sometimes find it strange if I am not invited. And every now and then I am invited to parties that I am surprised and happy to be invited to.
Normally I would not turn up in a party where I am not invited. Normally I also would understand if it is a party where you need an invitation or if I can just join some of the people going there. It is not a big problem really, but over the years there have been situations where I have been unsure what to do or how to interpret the expressed invitation.
This also applies to situations where I am getting to know people. Are they really open to more contact or should I hold back? When it is my own initiative it is for the most part easy, but there has to be some balance in the initiatives as well.
As a sales person I am not afraid of getting a no or be turned down. I know there are millions of reasons why people seem to turn my offers down. Also I know that I can adjust my offering to something that I am sure my client would go for. That’s when I get surprised if I get a refusal. I am happy to know for sure that the invitation from God is an open one. No limitations. He makes it clear that he is interested in every person on this planet. No exceptions. But the invitation can sound like this;
Bible ref: James 4,8
“Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”
The Norwegian singer Elvira Nikolaisen had this hit a few years back. The Egypt
song is describing a feeling of getting out and breaking free:
‘But now I’ve found my way out of Egypt
I’ve found my surprisingly obvious way out of here
You are my way out of my dangerous, proud mistakes
And now Egypt seems so very far away.’
I remember enjoying the lyrics and the music so much. The feeling it gave me corresponded with what happened in my life those days. I was leaving something behind and entering a new phase.
Sometimes it is really good to leave something behind, to cross the border and know that
you will never return. And if you return it’s going to be different. You are never going to be captive again. If the boundaries and captivity is sneaking back onto you, you should stand firm, neglect it and not accept any tendency of the old stuff.
I guess this could be applied in a lot of different situations. I know I have my own
I have left Egypt. I have broken free. I might still be in the desert in some ways, but I
am not returning to the place where I was.
When the children of Israel was 40 years in the desert there were moments when they
longed for Egypt. They complained and the Lord responded:
‘The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.’
I am not going back.
Bible ref: Exodus 16
I could possibly be a professional party crasher. I like to join different types of
parties or gatherings and can easily be invited if I happen to walk by. This happened
today. I was on my way to the golf course, but was stopped by a group of
people; “You should come and meet my oldest” the elderly lady said. I met the
whole family. Three generations were gathered. I don’t know them actually. I
have only met the grandparents before.
I like to observe and be a part of a family gathering. I enjoy observing the
grandchildren communicating and try to be part of the grown up’s conversation.
I like watching the resemblances between the relatives. They look the same,
they have some of the same moves and they express themselves the same way.
Suddenly I understand things I haven’t understood before. I get to know people
fast that way. And I enjoy getting to know them and letting them get to know
me. I enjoy how I can sense that I represent fresh air in the conversation.
There is something beautiful about a family that stays together but shows
interest for the newcomer or foreigner.
But mostly I like observing the love and care between the relatives. If the opposite is
the case it is of course sad. But often there are elements of care even if
there are conflicts or discussions. I enjoy it. In fact I enjoy the fact that I
don’t feel like an outsider even if I am. Maybe it is the hospitality or
plainly the family love that hits me. I don’t know. And hopefully I bring some
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers,
for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing
Bible ref; Hebrews 13,2
It has been less than a week since the tragic and terrible terror attacks in Oslo and Utøya. The exact numbers of young people assassinated is still not known. We don’t know all the names yet. But the streets are full of flowers and people all over the country and all over the world are mourning.
In Norway we can sense what I would describe as national mourning. It is not arranged or decided for. There has been no official proclamation saying these are national mourning days. It just is.
I met with an elderly couple today. The woman described how this just hit her heart so hard and how her own experiences from her childhood came to life. She was three years old when a major explosion went off on a ship in the harbor in Bergen. It was in 1944 during the war. Her husband added; “I remember us going downtown with mummy. We walked on glass in the streets. All the windows in the center of Bergen were smashed. “Our house was destroyed” the woman told me. The memories from the war come alive again.
Completely not understandable disasters, tragedies and deaths of innocent people and children lead to deep, honest and sincere grief where our words feel hollow and empty.
Throughout the history there has been many similar situations. After Jesus was born king Herod feared for his kingdom and he killed all small children under the age of two. What a tragedy! I believe the reactions were similar to what we experience today;
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
We might react and show our grief in different ways but these are National Mourning Days.
Bible ref; Matthew 2,18
I have never watched the series ‘Lost’. I have only seen the teasers and understood the storyline – people lost on a tropical island after a plane crash. A very exciting plot. What will happen? Will they survive?
You can get lost in the urban jungle. It is possible to feel lost. Situations in life can be pretty challenging some times. The other day I spoke with a middle aged man that described a very challenging situation in his life. Everything is at stake. It could all go well or it could all go to hell. Well, not really. He is hopefully far from going to hell, but still it is a critical time in his life.
The financial markets are shivering these days trying to adapt to the crisis in some countries. When Greece is facing almost bankruptcy it affects the world around and it affects the economical balance. The same goes for individuals or companies. People around you get affected if you get financial problems even if you’re trying to cope on your own.
“There was no money left” another friend told me. “I actually sat down and prayed to God. I hadn’t been worried but now the bank accounts were all empty.” She had bigger projects going on and it was for sure a tough situation. She went on; “The next day 50.000,- Norwegian kroners appeared on the account! I had told nobody. The money came from some friends. We’re not even related!”
God reveals himself as ‘God our Provider’ (with the name Jehovah Jire in Hebrew) in various ways in the Bible.
We’re not lost.
‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”’
Bible ref; Heb 13,5