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 had this funny thing happen the other day. I wanted to spend time with the Lord, but my son and husband were having a “camp out” in the living room where my Bible, devotionals, and journal were. I lay in my bed wandering if I could try something new instead of being stuck in my box of “this is how I do my quiet time.” Upon which the Lord reminded me that I had noticed an old journal and some pens in one of my bathroom drawers. What was is doing there you might ask? I have no idea. Since it was so out of place I remembered it, so I grabbed it and purposed to journal there. As I opened it, I saw prayer request from 2013, and I spent some time in awe of God’s hand as I could see specifically now each one had been answered abundantly. I praise and rejoiced and my faith was once again stirred. Next I noticed that I had written a challenge to myself- get outside more. Funny, that is still, in 2017, the same challenge. Here is what I am learning, to love myself well, which consequently aligns me to love others more, I have to honor what makes me come alive, and one of those things for me is the outdoors. I am making a choice to be intentional about getting outside and doing some outdoor activity multiple times a week.
As I am slowing down to focus on loving myself and others well, I thought it would be a good idea to read the Song of Solomon. It is a book in the Old Testament filled with love poetry between and woman and a man who are deeply and madly in love with each other. However, the book is full of seeking each other out, finding each other, and then having to seek once again. Sometimes, when one would find where other was, the other one wasn’t ready to be found. The book ends with them seeking for each other once again, not the ‘happily ever after skipping down jolly lane’ we expect from a great love story.
At first I thought this was strange but I sought the Lord to teach me something new. He began to show me how love is never finding the one you love and then staying in that blissful place forever. Love is being committed to seek and find, forever. We are always changing and growing and becoming. Along the different parts of that journey, different types of love will be required. I believe this could be a true piece to every relationship, even with myself and with God. As life flies at us, we have to continue finding new facets of God which in turn unveils new pieces of ourselves. Sometimes we find something new and amazing and sometimes we uncover something hard to process. We can choose to show up and love if we choose to invite Jesus into it all. Apart from Him, I think the notion of this eternal game of seek and find would be overwhelmingly exhausting.
I’m just beginning to embrace this notion and trying to live it out. It definitely feels less ‘wrapped up in a neat box with a bow’ than I want it to. But I can tell this type of perspective on love is more genuine than I previously expected and yet tremendously less likely to set me up to be deeply disappointed than what I’ve understood before.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about love or how you plan to love yourself well this year!
Moving at a snail’s pace this year helps me to really encounter the gifts inside of the people I get to be near. It is a beautiful gift to see, you know really see, someone. To see their value, hear their heart’s cry, and engage with who they really are. I love people. I mean that. People are my greatest treasure and the only source of true wealth I know. Taking the time to focus my energy on loving others well is such a deep gift to me.
One of those people I want to love better is me. I want to treat myself kindly. I want to say nice things about me. I want to see what is right about the girl in the mirror. I want to celebrate my imperfect progress and cheer on the woman I am becoming. Maybe that sounds strange, I know it certainly feels it. However, I believe this will be one of the highest and most effective investments I can make on my journey.
I say that confidently because the fruit of small steps I have taken so far have had a broad reach in how I see, value, treat, and honor everyone else. Isn’t interesting that Jesus commanded us to love others as we love ourselves? Maybe that’s the part that has been missing. Everywhere I look, I see the temptation to hate myself a little more by comparing myself with everyone else. Well, I threw that game away a while ago, and now I’m finishing up clearing out all of it’s remains. Comparison- you are no longer welcome here.
I mentioned last time about a few new things I am adding to my life to help me slow down, but now I want to share about a few things I am lessening. Early last year I read a book where I finally learned the importance of non-productive activities. Meaning that we should all spend some time doing some things that are just fun,playful, or relaxing. I’ve shared before that I really like to work, I also love to learn, so before adopting non-productive activities into my life, I thought when people did those things that they could have been doing so much more! It seemed wasteful and wrong. But it was actually me who was wrong. So I began trying. I used that time in my life for browsing social media and watching Netflix. (Ok so maybe binge watching would be a little more honest.)
This year in an effort to connect more through slowing down, I’m purposing to shift my non-productive activities into life-giving ones. Here are some ideas I have so far- taking pictures, looking at pictures, and creating photo-books. Canoeing, hiking, and being outside way more. Painting, writing, and reading more.
I can’t wait to share with you what has come out of these shifts already.What helps you connect with yourself, with God, and with others?
A while ago I was reading something and on the page was the word ‘secure,’ but my eyes saw the word RESCUE- however it didn’t fit within the context of the sentence, so I re-read it and comprehended that I saw a different word than was actually printed on the page. I asked the Lord if that was Him- and indeed, He had a message for me- that I now have been working through and working out and living- and just now- a moment ago- He nudged me to share this with you.
Rescue- Secure- The same letters make up these two words with very different meanings, and yet, strongly linked!
As I sought the Lord, He began to show me how when I feel insecure- I run to what I think will rescue me- and inversely- when I perceive the need to be rescued- I run to what makes me “feel” secure. As I have been asking Him to highlight this to me- some of these cycles are constructive and pleasing to Him, and some are not.
One day I was feeling really low about some truly hard bumps I was hitting and I found the urge to run to something I normally would turn to to make me “feel” secure- and the Lord highlighted this destructive cycle to me, and I had the thought, ” I could deny my flesh right now and run to Jesus and start to break this cycle.” Unfortunately that day- I chose to continue in my quest to satisfy my desperate need for security- a quick fix, if you will.
Shortly after, as I was spending time in His presence, He showed me this. He also began to show me the negative effects these cycles have had on my life and how far reaching the outcomes are when we choose anything other than Him for our security. How when we buy into false comfort or security in one area of our life- it slowly seeps in undetected to all the other facets of who we are. With this wisdom before me, I repented and asked Him to help me break the cycles that keep me temporarily satisfied and quickly depleted- when I could be filled to overflowing with no lack. I asked Him to come alongside of me and help me in becoming a woman who would settle for nothing less than His best for me- and to be willing to wait upon, yearn for, and rest in Him alone.
Am I still struggling? Sure. Am I making progress? You betchya! Me and Jesus are celebrating this new season of breaking through yuck that I have just been accepting for a long time.
So, I am sharing this with you and I wonder what are you settling for? Is there anything in your life you are leaning on for security that is really sinking sand? Is there anything you expect to rescue you which could leave you stranded? He alone is our source and if we place our trust and faith in anything apart from Him- we will be disappointed. But God- our Almighty God- is faithful and we can trust with Him as our foundation we are firmly placed.
Hebrews 6:13-20The Message (MSG)
God Gave His Word
13-18 When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.
18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.
New Scripture to memorize: Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! (Romans 12:12-16 NLT)
Today’s Focus: Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
The other day I woke up so weary, so heavy-laden, and downtrodden about some current circumstances in my life. I woke up trying to think of how I could fix it, what could be a possible solution, what could I do to cause the others to see the truth? In trying to figure it out on my own, I quickly felt hopeless and defeated. And then the Lord gave me this (see above) scripture. I was to first of all rejoice in Jesus- which took my focus off of me and my understanding. The next step was to be patient.
Is this hard for anyone but me? I want to see things resolved. I want to see a resolution reached and everyone come into agreement somehow and be able to move forward in harmony. I do not LIKE having situations that are not figured out and filed away. YUCK! But the Lord was saying to me- it’s not the time or the season- you have to be patient.
But what is awesome about this verse is we see scripturally that being patient is NOT a passive stance- we are called to be patient AND keep on praying. So I chose His way yet again. I laid down my sense of urgency- I decided to trust in Him and His timing and keep praying for the perfect will of God to be done in this set of circumstances.
You know what? I didn’t get what I wanted out of that process- I wanted resolve- but I got MORE- I found Jesus, and His ways, and another portion of His love for me.
Today will you join me? Will you ask Him to show you where you are trying to hasten His pace? Will you choose Him and His ways? Will you keep praying and choose not to try to FORCE your agenda to happen? It will go well for you if you wait upon the Lord!
Jesus, waiting and waiting patiently is something we cannot do without YOU! Lord, I want to experience every last drop of what You created me for- and I praise You for intercepting my destructive cycles with Your word and Your instruction which brings life. I choose to go Your way and live on Your path. I need more of You Jesus- I need more of You. I love you Lord and today I choose to freely receive all of Your love, protection, blessings, and goodness into my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!
There is no emotion too high, far, wide or deep that by entering into the presence of God cannot be brought under His authority and made to be obedient to His truth. This hurt will be transformed from not serving you and your journey, to be a catalyst to the very things which you were uniquely created to do. Everything which comes wrapped in pain can be an opportunity for an upgrade in character, if we surrender it to Him at His feet and ask Him to bring us into even further alignment with His perfect will, plans, and purposes through the Truth setting us free by allowing HIm to excavate the root of our emotions.
For example, “Lord, what is it in my heart or spirit that comes into agreement with the accusation made towards me? Show me what You say about me and set me free from this lie- take it out by the root and replace that territory with Your truth.”
Our emotions are not always the truth, they do however tip us off that something out of the ordinary is going on. We have a choice then- as we always do- to lean on our own understanding and draw conclusions that are probably going to cause us to remain wounded or wound others- or take it to God- trusting Him completely- and become more like Him and be further equipped to bring life to others.
Not easy- but WORTH IT! He said I was worth it when He journeyed to the cross- I declare HE IS WORTH IT as I journey to the foot of the cross again and again- laying down my flesh- and choosing Him over being right, being justified, being known, or being heard. I trust completely that my Defender alone is Jesus!
A message from the Father today-
Today is not a hard day. Take it moment by moment and enjoy the moments. I am sending you gifts today- provision and wisdom for the road ahead. Go and receive all that I have for you. Do not lean on your own understanding or place your trust in your physical body- just rest in Me. I Am your source, and I Am more than enough. Your joy is in Me- Your hope is in Me- You will find everything You need in Me. Keep Your heart and eyes steadfastly fixed on me and you will see how I have placed provision ahead of time right where you need it. I have placed more than enough- take what you need and give the rest away. Receive freely, give freely. That is the rhythm of love. Stay at my rhythm and pace and do not try to go faster, be stronger, or do more than I have asked of you. Rest, trust, worship- this is the only way to succeed. Rejoice in who I have been to you. Rejoice in the promises I have made you for your future. And rejoice in what you are believing I Am doing right now. Rejoice in all things. Nothing is too hard for me- press into me and find all that you feel like you lack- for the truth is there is no lack in Me. I love you.
One of the best choices we can make to succeed in life- is to know the Word of God. This is a major game changer- He is what gives us directions, wisdom, guidance, and teaches us the highest way to live. One thing for 2014 that the Lord has placed on my heart is returning to the discipline of memorizing scripture and choosing to deliberately base my actions and reactions upon the scripture I am currently memorizing. Then, I felt that He wanted me to share this journey with you- would you like to join me? We are going to memorize one portion of scripture a week, and deliberately act upon it morning, noon, and night.
We start Monday- so begin thinking upon and working on memorizing this portion of scripture if you want to join along! ( I am so excited because I can’t imagine the ripple effects and how much more we will become like HIM!)
Just follow this link, and like the page on Facebook to join along.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
In this recent season of my life, I have had to rest more than I believe I ever have in the entire 28 years I have been on this earth. This pregnancy has been much harder on me physically and emotionally than I could have imagined, being as though my first pregnancy was a dream! Here is the cool thing, as I entered into this pregnancy, I asked the Lord to spend the duration of it preparing me and equipping me for the next season of my life. Soon I will be a mom of two, and I have no idea what that will look like or feel like- and unchartered territories can always be kind of intimidating. Also, the last time I had a baby, was one of the hardest season’s of my life and I am asking Him to shape me, mold me, prepare me, and equip me so that together we can overcome and I will not go back into that dark place. And the result of those requests- rest.
This resting stuff has been an interesting evolution. At first, I was resting and had to work less. That involved an onslaught of negative thoughts and beliefs that rose to the surface. I had NO CLUE that at my core, I thought my worth came from my work. The harder I worked, the more I was worth. However, the current problem was, I couldn’t physically work- so did that mean I was worthless? That is what I felt like. I felt like a disappointment, a burden, a loser, a let down. OUCH! Why was this such a big deal- I mean I could rationally tell you that I HAD to rest, my body would not let me do anything else, however my spirit believed that meant I was not earning my keep and this was effecting my identity. WOW! Thank You Jesus for purging this wrong thinking from my spirit before all I am able to do for a season is rest, feed a baby, be a mom, rest, feed a baby, be a mom, and not “EARN” any money, respect, accolades, or significance. I have discovered through this process that my worth and my value are full simply because I AM HIS, and none of my identity or worth is contingent upon how much I can make happen. THERE IS SO MUCH RELIEF AND JOY IN THIS TRUTH! He has shown me that working hard, making money, enjoying success are all wonderful and beautiful things- given that they are not a sign to us of how important we are- what we are worth- or what we deserve- but enjoyed out of a place that knows if it was all gone- I WOULD STILL MATTER! I think this is one thing the Apostle Paul touched on when he said,
Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT)11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.
As a result of this first lesson, the Lord has asked me to continue to research rest. I believe what I am uncovering is that resting in God is a place of total trust. I can only rest in Him if I have no other agenda than His. So long as I have my own plans, my own dreams, my own way that I want to go, and I try to somehow fit God into my plans, there will always be this struggle. But if I keep everything with an open hand and loudly declare, “With or without this, Lord, I HAVE ALL THAT I NEED IN YOU,” I can rest no matter what the outcome. In relationships, if I am resting in God, I will be able to release others from unnecessary expectations and allow them to be in process with the Lord, loving them at whatever stage they are in. In work, I can relax when I make more and when I make less, knowing that it all comes from Him, and ultimately it is NOT UP TO ME to provide for my daily bread. I simply go where He tells me to, and enjoy doing the things I was created to do, and watch Him cause that to make provision. These are just a few examples of the fruit of the shift in perspective that truly resting in the Lord gives.
I believe this is the only way we can,
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus
Also, I believe that if we trust Him we can truly keep first things first, such as;
Matthew 6:33(NLT)33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Which will help us to;
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek his will in all you do,and he will show you which path to take.
I really desire to learn how to live from a place of rest. Making all of my decisions out of that place, working from that place, worshipping from that place, relating to others from that place, mothering from that place- really LIVING EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE POSITIONED FROM RESTING IN GOD!
To me, living this way is the truest form of trust. I want to trust Him more. I am asking for more faith, more trust, becoming more and more like Him. This is just the beginning- and I will share with you as I uncover more. Will you join me in seeking Him for wisdom of a small step to take out of worry, anxiety, being overwhelmed, overstretched and into peace, joy, and love? That’s where I want to be found- resting in Him- in His Holiness, His Completeness, where lack does not exist!