Preaching to myself today! Maybe it will bless you too!
We can break chains of defeatism.
Step ☝️: Stop thinking about giving up!
When those old thought patterns that lead you into a negative spiral start- say NO! You get to decide what and how you think! Choose different thoughts!
Step ✌️: Start planning how to rise up!
Come up with some small steps that lead to the bigger change you desire. Change something- anything- to move forward. Just for the love, don’t keep doing what you’ve been doing and expect someone else to change.
Step 3️⃣: Be actively grateful for what IS right.
Gratitude gets our focus on all that’s right which produces momentum in that direction! This isn’t hollow, it’s where the power is! Try looking for 1000 gifts and see if within that journey- your life isn’t transformed!
Step 4️⃣: Help someone else.
There are always others who need what you have- when you give freely, you’ll receive freely! Look away from you, see who needs you, and become their blessing!
Step ✋: Move your body in the outdoors!
Go getcha some of that good fresh air, vitamin d, and help the blood get pumping to release all of those wonderful happy hormones in your brain! It’s worth putting shoes and socks on for- I promise!
I’ve been doing a lot of ocean listening, star gazing, and remembering. I’ve been remembering how big the ocean is and how much bigger it’s Creator must be. I’ve been remembering how many stars I can see each night barely touches the beginning of how many we cannot yet, in this moment of time, see. I’ve been listening to the tide come in, and watch it go out again, just to return yet again, and I’ve wondered, does anything really change? I’ve enjoyed watching the dawn of a new day. My soul has danced with each sunrise, unique in it’s own push and pull with the clouds and sea, wondering what show will be displayed that morning. (What a marvelous event to have a front row seat to!) Surging through my being was the hope of a new day, a new beginning, as light pierces darkness. I’ve also longingly witnessed day turn into night, bringing forth its own beautiful nature that I can’t seem to get enough of. Light and dark. Sunrises and bright twinkling starlight. Light and dark. Once again I find myself convinced, it takes both to behold beauty.
So what is beauty? Why do I long for it so? How can I bring it? Embrace it? Then I remember that the greatest light in the darkness is Jesus. I remember that He has called me by name,and I answered, “My life is Yours Lord, send me!” But how and why was I able to? It was because of others who had heard about Him and received His great love, and were shining their light into my darkness. Now that the Light of the World lives in Me, it’s my time to bring light into other’s darkness. What could be more beautiful than that?
Isaiah 52:7 proclaims,”How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” As beautiful as the stars in the night sky or the sun breaking night’s darkness, ushering in new beginning are to us, our feet going out to bring His light into the darkness in anyone’s life that we are connected to, is so entirely beautiful before the Lord! Light and darkness. It takes both to behold beauty.
This beauty of the oceanfront changes me. It changes my demeanor, my thinking, my hope for the future. It beings me peace and tremendous joy. God’s beauty poured out through us into the world, has similar but vastly greater effects on anyone who can see it, and begins to find themselves longing for it.
Tide comes in, goes out, and comes in again. Does anything really change? I’ve truly pondered that, and I arrived at a resolve, its us who change. We change all of the time, but it’s only by wisdom that we steward our change by choosing to be transformed through God’s Word, yielding to His leading and authority. Change is always happening, even though many things occur without fail, many things do not. I’ve decided, I want to be the change. I want the light I carry to pierce darkness with such power, that not only a new day, but entirely new creations are made.
2 Corinthians 5:17 encourages us, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, the new has come into being.”
Lord, as the beautiful sun you have created breaks darkness and brings us a new beginning, allow me to so reflect your Son, to pierce darkness and cause a new beginning in other’s lives. May my life shine as bright as the stars in someone’s darkness bringing the relief of beauty to a soul long sickened with grief and suffering. May I not fear darkness, but rejoice in an opportunity to shine Your tremendous light into it.May I take courage to share the dark seasons of my soul that led me to this Great Light to encourage the hurting, God is not afraid of your darkness! May Your great love flow through me so purely, that all the old will be washed away as the tide goes out. May the rising tide coming in bring FREEDOM. I see You everywhere I look. I feel you in the breeze. I hear you as these waves roar with power. And I’m lost for words by Your might and Your beauty. All I can utter is, I need You Lord! Help me! I love You! In Jesus’ name I ask these things, Amen.
Have you ever tripped over shame? One minute you’re fine, all is good, and the next you are swirling, having a hard time remembering anything true, and you just feel……That’s indicator number one- you begin being held captive by thoughts that are purely emotional. Play gets pressed on the shame tape, beginning these cyclical thoughts of how much you aren’t, how much everyone else is, and what you’ve wasted, maybe you start looking for someone to blame, and soon there you are, beat up and exhausted. Done. You might hear at the end of this battle you believe you’re losing: “Now look, you’ve even wasted this time, you loser!” YUCK! Shame is a liar!
I went through a bought of this hard earlier this summer. It seemed like everywhere I looked, everyone was doing better than me in every facet of life. All I could hear in my mind was how much I was lacking in comparison to everyone else. I felt alone, stupid, empty, and ashamed of being me. Indicator number 2- comparison. Comparison will always lead to death. A slow, horrifyingly painful, murder scene of who you truly are, what you’ve been called to do, and the gifts you bring to the world. Satan comes to steal- and comparison is a crafty con-man who needs to be caught and sentenced for LIFE!
So how do we catch this con team of shame, swirling emotions, lies, and comparison? The Lord has given me a arsenal, that I am hoping will be helpful to someone else.
1) STAY IN GOD”S WORD! The only was to discern a lie, is to know the Truth. And God promises, the Truth will set you free. This will feel like the last thing you want to do when you are feeling so bad about yourself, but its the first and most important thing you can do to stop the lies from having a place in your mind.
2) Journal with Jesus. Sounds simple, but this one step has proved to be one of the most powerful, freeing, aspects of my life. For me, I simply pour out my heart on the page, sharing it all with Him (He knows it all anyways, no use trying to pretend with God!) And then I ask Him, “What are you saying about this? What is true? Would it please You to share anything with me?” Then, I just start writing what I hear. I do not worry at that time, if it’s just me making it up, or if it is really Him. I just freely write what I’m hearing in my mind. I then ask Him to confirm what was Him, through His word. And He does! There is no pressure to get it right, to be a perfect listener. He is so much bigger than our need to be perfect! He promises, “If you seek me, you will find Me!” So drop the perfectionism, and just seek.
3) Thanksgiving wins the war! I actively offer thanks to God! I look all day for what I can be giving thanks for! And I consider and pray for others all around the world who might not have as much to give thanks for as I do. THAT IS POWERFUL! Is your health fading? Pray for others who are suffering to! Is your money tight? Pray for the poor and needy and hungry around the world. Are your loved ones not following Christ? Pray for them, and for the nations where Christianity is unlawful. Look up, give thanks, consider then entire globe- cry out to God for your needs, and the needs of others!
4) Worship! When my thoughts are being attacked, and I can’t seem to slow them down. Worship usually unlocks peace, which unlocks gratitude, which unlocks JOY. From a place of Joy, by worshipping the God who IS in control, which means I don’t have to be, then I can begin to gain some victory over my thoughts, and fix my mind on only what is true, as we are taught to in Philippians 4.
5) Community. Pursue friendships with people who have God’s opinion of you. Know who is truly in your corner. Cultivate relationships that are deeply meaningful and spiritual. Not sure how to start? Find a small group, and start studying the Bible with other believers. Pray for God to send you the right friends. Pray for the friends you have. Humble yourself and ask for prayer and for help from friends. He will provide these gifts as you follow Him. We are part of One Body, and we all need each other!
If today, play has been pressed on the shame tape in your mind, let me encourage you right now, press stop. Tell God that you desire to get rid of that tape all together. Ask Him to open your ears to what Holy Spirit is saying over you and about you. Ask Him to show you His truth in His Word and through the saints in your life. Choose that today every time the tape tries to play again, you will meditate on a scripture, sing worship songs, offer thanksgiving, ask others to pray for you, and pray for others around the world.
Shame may come armed with some friends, but you have The One True God, King of Heaven and Earth, The Most High, Almighty God with you! He wins the war! We are victorious in Him! He cares for you! And we will triumph together! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Rush. Rush from wake-up to the gym. Rush from wake the kids up to get the little one off to school. Rush from the school to back home to homeschool the bigger one. Rush to pick up the little one. Rush home to make lunch. Rush to have “quality time” before nap time. Oh, I have to work during nap time, rush to get that all set up. Oops, the house is a wreck, quick quick, hurry hurry, clean it up before anyone comes. Rush to clean up after work, and then to get them fed. Laundry, oh theres always laundry. Did you really just spill the entire container of ____________. No we don’t glue that to walls! Now where is my magic eraser? Little brother has a stinky diaper. Is this day over yet? Wait, now I have to prepare for tomorrow. Rush to get it all ready. Rush to fall asleep so I don’t start tomorrow tired.
Rush. Somehow, it has become my lifestyle and I did not even notice the switch. You see, I am not a natural rusher. I like to go slow and take my time. Like so slow, and usually in the left lane, and I make rushing people even more stressed than they were. (It’s ok if you hate me a little more now. I get how bad that habit is. I’m in process people!) Usually, I allow things to go undone so I can cherish the people in front of me (because like all of you incredible multitasking women,God did not give me that gene.) I tend to play on the floor with my kids, create art, build towers, play silly games, and be in the moments. This is the only way I know to be.
But something happened this week. My husband took my older child with him, so I did not have to rush home and get school started. I dropped my little curly headed cutie off, said my, “Good Morning, how are you,” to all the women I wished I had time to get to know, and began rushing back to my vehicle. That’s when the Holy Spirit nudged me, “Where are you rushing to?” I literally just stopped walking, and realized, I had no where to be. (Sure I could always find plenty to do, but nothing I particularly HAD to do at a certain time.) He continued, “Go back to that woman you wished you had time to get to know, and see how she is doing.” So I did, and we had breakfast,and we cried a little (maybe I cried a lot) and it was like finding hidden treasure. I began to ask the question, “Jesus, what’s with this rushing stuff?
He gave me this acronym:
He began to show me that He has been trying to teach me to be, “Patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.” Well I’m learning that to me, trouble is anything that feels dangerous because it’s out of my control, which happens to be (ahem) L-I-F-E. So be patient in life, and always be prayerful? He began to show me that rushing through all that has to get done, is a (dangerous) way of coping with the fear that you will fail at it all. He began surrounding me with women who were feeling led of the Lord to “remove a plate,” in their lives so they too, could slow, and release the overwhelm a little. So the next question was a simple, natural progression: What is stillness then?
So now I’m returning to the land of allowing the Holy Spirit to have control over my moments. I have a plan, but its flexible. Lord, here is what I think I’m doing today and who I am doing it with and for, but You get to write this story. In the midst of these important pieces being handled, if You want to send me help, help me to accept it. If You have a divine interruption, help me to recognize it and let go of my control. If I can let go of something to be more available to my moments, show me and give me the courage I need to lay it down. Help me to let go of the notion of failure/success like those are my only two options. Help me to see, admit, and embrace, that it’s always both. I’m growing, I’m becoming, and that is beautiful.
So friend, I’m not sure if rushing has snuck its way into your life too, but I want to encourage you to ask the Lord. Ask Him to show you where you are missing the beautiful in order to not fail. Or if you are being drained dry anywhere and He wants to fill you up. Maybe see if you need to slow and learn the relief of stillness. I am actually being amazed by how much more I “accomplish” when my rhythm and pace matches the Lord’s. There is no life to be found where He isn’t present, so I’m officially done trying to race ahead of Him. Join me?
The ocean seems to be a place of rest for my soul. It seems while I walk upon the shore, feel the sand all round my feet, and hear the constant melody of the waves breaking, I can really exhale. I can release the pressure from the day-to-day, clear my whole self, and just be.
In this place of emptying out, I often find myself being filled. It seems as though when I release all of the yuck from the faster-than-the-speed-of-light life stuff, and I loosen my grip on everything I’m inevitably trying to maintain, that I can really receive.
The last time I was in such a position, what I found myself asking for, was for God to take my thoughts and transform them into His thoughts. I was intrigued by hearing myself ask for this. I just wanted to think about the things He was, and to see them through His heart, His perspective. I began to encounter His presence as I asked, and what I understood was that I was asking for the Mind of Christ.
I knew this wasn’t a one time prayer, and I determined to ask and keep asking. This has become quite honestly one of the deepest desires of my heart. But what I didn’t fully expect was how this prayer would begin to change everything about my life. I want to share 2 examples that have marked transformation to me personally.
One morning within a matter of moments, our air conditioner broke, our toilet overflowed, and our vehicle wouldn’t start. The thought arose, “Does this stuff happen to everyone?” And then immediately the truth came, “No! It doesn’t! The majority of people living on the earth do not have air conditioning, indoor plumbing, or their own vehicle. They aren’t lucky enough to have enjoyed these gifts in the first place to have to endure them needing to be repaired.” As my husband and I spoke of these truths, instead of growing overwhelmed, irritated, or frustrated, we began to give thanks to God in the midst of it for all that He has so freely given to us. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! As I asked the Lord why were we able to have such a different experience than has been our norm, He showed me that it was an answer to the prayer to have the mind of Christ.
Most recently, there was a public attack against my character and as my husband presented it to me, the words that came out of my mouth were victory and love, even though I was not experiencing that emotionally. There was so much power in my response of truth that it totally diffused the anger that was trying to entangle us into being offended. As I later processed through what had taken place, the Lord showed me that again, I was equipped to have this response as an answer to praying for the Mind of Christ.
I share this testimony not to boast about myself, but to encourage you to join me. The reason these were notable is because for the past 30 years I have responded to similar circumstances in much different ways. This is a miracle to me to have reactions that do not devastate myself or those involved. It is growth that I mark personally as miraculous and give God all glory, honor, and praise for.
There have been victories in my life recently that I have never even believed to be possible. In fact, most areas that God is dealing with right now, I have for years just believed it was my lot in life. But as He is growing my vision and perspective to be united with His, I am beginning to really believe everything is possible with Him.
Will you join me? What areas in your life have you just settled into defeat about? Is there anything you aren’t willing to talk about with God and give Him the authority to be Lord of in your life? I want so deeply to continue to grow in His love, His truth, and His purpose for my life. It is so refreshing to actually believe that is possible! Praise God!
Eyes open, first thought, I’m still tired. Next, oh well, you must keep marching on. Then, ok- I have so much to do, where do I even begin? Upon rising and brewing up hope for energy in a cup, I begin- already feeling behind. My whole day seems in the deficit. Not enough. Not enough energy, time, patience, self-control. All I see is lack. Everywhere. I hear the ‘shoulds’ in my mind. My children should know better. I should have exercised more. My house should be cleaner. Maybe I should be working. Should I wear this? Should my marriage be more? Should I serve others more? Should I have said that? I’m plagued, worn down, depleted. Day after day, the exhaustion, the frustration, just piles. I don’t even have energy to sort my piles. The piles eventually become a mountain. The mountain becomes hopelessness. How did I get here? How do I get out of this? Is this just normal life? Am I ever going to feel good again?
I sit with Jesus, and I say, “Lord, why do I always feel exhausted, frustrated, running behind? Is there hope for my future? Can I make a change? Is this what life will be like from now on?”
He showed me that He has poured out into my life blessings of every kind. He has given me salvation, life, health, food, shelter, friendship, love, hope, purpose, amongst many other things. He said that it was His delight to pour it out over my life, but that He cannot make me rejoice in it. He cannot make me actually enjoy, notice, celebrate, or rejoice in all that He has freely given me.
OUCH! As I heard this from the Lord, tears silently streamed down my face. I realized that, just like the Israelites, the Lord has provided abundantly for me and yet, I still find things to grumble and complain about. My heart broke and I repented before the Lord. I asked for grace to cover my selfishness and sin.
Repentance has two parts, turning from is first. Turn from any destructive activity, belief, or motive that is less than the Truth. Then, turn towards something true, constructive, and motivated by love for ourselves and God. My very next question, as I dabbed the tears from my cheeks, what how Lord? How do I replace my grumbling and complaining to rejoicing? What am I called to rejoice in? All I know to do, to find the answer, is search the scriptures.
First things first- He showed me that the word rejoice actually means to make oneself glad. It’s an action. It is up to me. None can make me glad but me.
Next He showed me was that the Scriptures call us to rejoice in the Lord, in our salvation, and in the righteousness we have been given in Christ, which makes having an intimate relationship with the Father possible. That alone, in my heart, is plenty to rejoice in for all time.
Finally, for my practical application, He gave me this scripture:
“There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.”
I have to share that as I read this passage, my current perspective on the undertakings I’m tending to was in stark contrast to what this was calling me to. I was feeling like, “I have to ………” You can fill in the blank. Now as I read these words I saw that the things God has trusted me to tend to were actually blessings and to be rejoiced in doing. So my perspective shifted from I have to, to wow- God trusted me to do this.
He reminded me of all of those times I prayed, “God use me. Send me.” And showed me right now, this is the answer to that prayer!
I’m definitely not declaring that I never have bad moments or days, but I can say I believe this key of rejoicing is turning around my anxiety. Now a morning might look like this:
Wake up- Thank You Lord for another day of life. I have a lot on my plate today Lord, I admit right now that I will need You to do any of it well. Would you go with me and help me? Brew my coffee and anticipate what treasure He has for me in His Word that morning. What truth will I have to cling to as I live a life unto Him that day?
After my time with Jesus, the tape begins playing in my head of not enough. Now I am equipped to take whatever is not enough yet, and give thanks for it and ask the Lord to bless it. To thank Him for what I do have, and to hopefully expect an increase. In my rejoicing, the thoughts that used to defeat me, now lead me to prayer.
In the undertakings I’ve been blessed with, I’m so often aware that I alone am not enough. He has called me live a life beyond myself so I would need Him and others. Living out what I am called to leads me to relationships, which require love. The call on all of our lives is to love God and love others. I need Jesus, and I need you. And now, I rejoice in that! Join me?
Yesterday was a day where my phone was blowing up with prayer requests. It is my absolute delight and honor to lift my brothers and sisters up in prayer before the Throne of Grace. I LOVE TO PRAY! I love to be with God, asking Him for wisdom and if He would share His heart and perspective with me. I LOVE being a part of the miraculous taking place on the Earth. I love people, and especially when they are first hand experiencing God caring about them and the details of their lives. I love watching the prayer requests transform over time as the person has experienced God and is sure of His love for them. What an honor to be a part of that journey. It is not a burden. No, not at all. It is one of the greatest joys, thrills of my lifetime.
Two people in particular who had requested prayer in the early hours yesterday has received an answer by the end of the day. What is better in the whole world than rejoicing in the Lord together? Nothing I can think of. So I spent my morning just before the Lord here and there as I went about the duties of my day as a wife, mother, housekeeper, writer, coach , and other things I have been laying my hands to. And as the answers poured in throughout the day, I got to spend my evening rejoicing. I thought, “this is living! THIS IS REALLY LIVING!’ The joy of seeking, waiting, believing, and then rejoicing and/or growing together when the answer isn’t what we wanted is life to me.
Together wasn’t always on my list of desires or even in my opinion, my needs. I was going to take the world by storm, and increase the Kingdom of God, ALONE! I didn’t want to need anyone else, I only wanted to be needed. But now, as I have journeyed through the process of laying my life down daily, and saying the hard yes when He bid me to come closer and leave more and more behind, and actually through doing that finding myself, as I was originally created to be, I am ever aware not only of my increasing need for others to be able really live, but of my desire. What joy there is in relationship, communion, and fellowship. Now I recognize this as the gift it is, and I have actually placed great value on true, genuine, real and raw relationship. THANK YOU JESUS! This is one small facet, for me, through which He is teaching me to love, and to keep loving, and in that way I am being transformed more and more into His image, which is actually the greatest reward!
As I was thanking Him for allowing me the honor of serving His children by praying for them, my heart was moved towards the little girls in the nations on the world who do not value females. I began contemplating how they probably have no notion that they are an individual, that they were created in the image of God, that it is ok to dream. They probably can’t fathom being given a voice, or even an education. Furthermore, do they even know that they can pray to a loving God and find hope in how BIG, ABLE, and WILLING He is? Will they ever know true friendship with no agenda other than love? Even harder to consider, do they or have they ever known love?
I know for a fact that most of the girls and women in the world are treated as objects to be used. The majority of women in the world are oppressed, and kept down by the lies of their culture. Most women are seen as workers and bearers of sons. But if they cannot do either of these things, they are worthless. They also are treated as a means to an end for the fervent sexual appetite of the men surrounding them. Used as you would use a power tool, and then put away on a shelf until the next time, which even more abhorrently, isn’t likely a long break in between being used. Work, work, work. There is no joy, no laughter, no value, no peace. Turmoil, pain, and shame day in and day out.
But there is hope. I believe with all of my heart that HOPE is alive in the blood that was shed for me, for the world. Every time I close my eyes I see their faces. The beautiful shades of brown skin, yellow skin, redskin, white skin, deep ebony skin, and my heart overflows with His heart, His love for each and every person on the face of the Earth. He shows me that we are called to be His hands and feet on the Earth, and Jesus never turned away any who came to Him. I see these faces and I see Jesus and I know that nothing is too hard or too big for Him.
I have a birthday coming, and I have a dream. I have a dream of giving my birthday away and allowing the celebration of my life to pour forth into the world. My dream is to rescue 30 girls for my 30th. I have sweet friends who run an alliance mission where they fund missionaries who are ministering in their own nations, in others words, native missionaries where the majority of the population is unreached by the gospel of Jesus. They have orphanages, and just need proceeds to be able to support the children who need rescued from the painful lives which until now is all they have ever known. For only $25 a month we can rescue a girl from being raped every night and give her the opportunity to know love, to know Jesus, to know friendship, to get an education and be raised up as a missionary for the coming generations. Want to help me help them change the world?
Please visit their website or check out my video to find out more! I really believe the answer is in the together. It is only together that we can change this world! I need you and you need me. And by the way, can I pray for you?