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Disclaimer up front: You're going to want to write a letter to Priscilla, slating her "GB girl" as a theologian-gone-wild after you read the next paragraph in today's post. Alarms are going to ring wildly in your head, eyes will narrow and your head will cock to the left...all as you ponder how in the WORLD I could be saying such things...BUT. If you can hold off on getting me fired for one second, I DO believe you might find your head tilt turning into a head nod...agreeing with me! Blaspheme, I know. But...let's continue:
I don't think He cares what path we take as much as that we actually TAKE a path.
"SO...What?!" you ask? I know, I know. It's foreign to all we think. We operate most of the time out of this place of believing that:
God is Sovereign (because He IS)
and He knows the best path for us (which He DOES)
because He created us (which He DID)
And He has a minutely SPECIFIC path for us (which He sometimes does!).
But sometimes I think we get so caught up in the "Oh LORD! I don't know which direction to turn! I don't know which door to walk through! I don't know what?" and we spin in all the possibilities and what if's...and...we are paralyzed. Useless. USELESS.
So in saying all this..I'm bashing your hopes for a clear-cut, "God has a very specific plan" answer for all your questions. But hopefully, I'm also allaying a few of your worries that maybe you're just not "getting it" and that's why you don't automatically and definitively know the next step. In decision making, I think the majority of the times, there's an opportunity and we are supposed to walk toward it...saying "Yes, Lord, show me the way" the whole time. I think Scripture points to this way of working out our "hearing" of God. I am reminded of Proverbs 16:1, "The plans of the heart belong to man but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord" or later on in the same passage, "Man plans his way but the Lord determines his steps." We start heading a direction, and He hedges us into the right place.
Over a decade ago, for my 21st birthday (I'm showing my age now!), my mentor at the time gave me a little James Avery necklace that looks like this:
I LOVED it and wore it non-stop til I lost it in a lake a few years back. When she gave it to me, she said, "Annetta, as long as you have Christ in the center of your heart, all you have to do is follow your heart." Now I can immediately hear some of you saying, "WHOA! None of that yogi talk here!" and to a degree I agree with you! After all, Scripture says, "The heart is deceitful above all else" and also that NO ONE knows your heart except the Lord! So I get the instant hesitation. BUT. We are renewed. We have The Triune God living and breathing and working within us. We are SUPPOSED to listen to Him speak to our hearts...to listen to the little "nudges" He gives us every day. We are supposed to dig deep and see what resonates with the Spirit's work in our hearts and lives...
Even as I write all that I recognize that He has put some systems, some checks and balances if you will, in place in my life to make sure I am operating from that place of HIM leading my life and not ME leading my heart. If you're like ME, you need a few guidelines setup to this whole "listening to God and stepping out in faith" thing. After all, I'm wrong WAY more often than I am right...especially at the beginning of this journey (but even still today!). And the guidelines that He has setup in me are to make decisions that:
1. Align with Scripture.
2. Resonate with my accountability group.
3. Are in line with godly counsel.
4. Bring peace.
5. Give me a holy excitement.
When all these things align, it's as though the stars of the universe are lining up to direct me to His calling on my life.
Now, there IS still a degree of "wait on God" in all of this...sometimes He gives us a pretty stern "Wait on me. Don't move." But I believe the majority of time, that waiting time is wrongly perceived by us. We hear "wait" and we stop in our tracks, as though God was playing a game of "red-light, green-light" with our life. But if you look at the Hebrew's understanding of the word "wait" you see such a different picture. They understood waiting to be a moving-in-place thing...a pregnant-woman-waiting-for-the-birth waiting. Many of you just started tracking with me...you've had kids, you know what "waiting 9 months" feels like. It's not a sitting still kind of wait. It's a put the crib together, read the books, attend the classes, talk with your friends and doctors and anyone-who-will-listen kind of waiting. And when we wait on God, I think it most often looks like this...with our hearts at rest and trusting in His movement.
Waiting is fluid, not stagnant.
Years ago an elderly gentleman mentor stopped me in the middle of eating lunch...with his hand on my shoulder and a wizened look to his eyes, he said, "Annetta, there are 2 things you need to know: 1. You are going to make mistakes. 2. Always wear sunglasses." At the time I laughed, said "yes sir!" and have kept a pair of cheap aviators in my car ever since (still have 20/20 vision!). But I also walked away thinking...I'm going to make mistakes. I don't have to be so bound with fear over making a mistake, over making a wrong choice on the path I'm walking on, that I just sit paralyzed." By acknowledging that I am flawed and WILL INDEED MAKE MISTAKES, I was allowing God to transform the fear in my heart to a trust in that deeper Sovereignty of His. I realized that when I was saying I believed God was Soveriegn in my early, paralyzed years, I was actually operating out of a place of fear; fear that I would choose something He hadn't said to choose; fear that He couldn't clean up after my mess; In the end I realized:
In the name of holiness, I stood still out of fear.
NOW. There are moments (rare) that He actually says, "DO exactly this!" As a "do-er" I LOVE these moments. And in those moments, I believe He will make it abundantly clear. Look throughout Scripture and you'll discover His M.O (modeus operandus...mode of operation for all us non-military folks) for a specific call is clarity, stark clarity, when He is giving marching orders. For instance, with Moses, there was a bush. Burning. But not charred. And a Voice. It was pretty clear the direction. For Paul, there was a huge flash of light. And then blindness. And then a prophet sent to get him and give directions. Clarity. God takes the burden of passing on the message upon Himself. He recognizes our humanness...our frailty. And in recognizing our ofttimes-inability, He makes up for it...after all, in our weakness, He is strong. In our stupidness, He leads....well....clearly.
Occasionally we will start to walk forward in what seems like such a completely crazy idea. We are CONVINCED that God has told it to us. And just as strongly as we FEEL we are right, we are dead WRONG. But in the middle of that place a few things happen...
1. We hear God's Voice and leading better next time.
2. Our pride takes a whipping as we realize we don't know everything (always a good thing with me!)
3. We are actually moving and seeing God work in our lives to accomplish "what concerns us" even if it's not what we set out to do...we are seeing God's Sovereignty in action!
Suffice it all to say:
We find ourselves in Him more fully when we are making decisions.
The decision-making process is part of our created purpose.
If you're like me, the majority of the times, there is no clear-cut direction to go...no clean, concise answer. It seems that God rarely gives us an instruction manual to the ho-hum details of our dreams, and then opens doors to go with those dreams. To be honest, I think that has something to do with our created nature...our nature, created in His image, is to create, to forge a road. I'll get into the whole in's and outs of this at a later date...BUT. Suffice to say, start moving. It's messy. You'll make mistakes. But with an ear to His Word, strong accountability and godly counsel, chances are you'll be working out your created purpose.
Let me end with this story...you might have heard it, but it sticks with me and is such a clear application to this, I had to share it! Years ago a man was in a shipwreck and was stranded alone on a plank of wood in the ocean. He cried out "God save me!" A fisherman paddled by and offered the man a ride back to shore. The man replied, "Oh no...I believe God is going to save me. I need just wait on Him." Throughout the course of the afternoon and evening, 3-4 others (coast guard, scuba divers, a fancy yacht) all sailed by and stopped, offering him a ride to shore. His response was always the same: "Oh no, I believe that God is going to save me." Eventually he died. When he got to heaven he ran into God saying, "Why oh WHY didn't You save me? I waited on You!" To which God replied, "I sent countless options for you, a fisherman, a coast guard, even a fancy yacht, and you didn't take ANY of them!"
We all chuckle a little at the absurdity of the story. Of COURSE God had provided through the different boats passing by. In our own lives, it is most often not so clean cut. But I believe, if we keep Christ at the center of our hearts, drench ourselves in the Word, have godly counsel and solid accountability, we need only follow our hearts. After all, we plan our way, but He will determine our steps.
So. Start walking my sweet friend! What have you had on your heart to do for so long that it seems like a pipe dream? What is deep in the recesses of your heart that you have never told ANYone and it seems IMPOSSIBLE? Start walking toward it...pray for open doors...start knocking and praying and shouting, for HE HAS A WORK FOR YOU TO DO. NOW. It's messy. It's beautiful. You're gonna fail some and win some. SO...
Get AFTER it girl!
xxox You are loved,
I have decided that I am totally and completely spoiled in this season of my life. Weekends at home with no set plans have become my favorite these days. I do realize this is a total luxury and I'm learning to relish in it and take in every moment of it that I can, knowing that one day it won't be the same.
Saturday morning I woke up and ran one of the hardest runs I've ever done before. For whatever reason I was mentally struggling and it was not my best. I think Annetta and I have told you that we are training for a marathon in less than a month? Pray for us.. we are going to need it =)
Due to my not so awesome long run, I decided that I needed to have some friends over for dinner to celebrate being FINISHED - and what better way to celebrate being done running than EATING! I made one of the most delicious things you've ever put in your mouth... and it's called "Chickan" (named and originally made by my sweet friend Britney who so graciously shared her recipe with me). It's sort of like chicken salad wrapped in crescent rolls. They.are.AMAZING!
If you are having people over for the Super Bowl or going to party soon, let me just say that you are going to want to make these. Here is the recipe:
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese - I usually use 1/3 less fat
2 cups cubed cooked chicken - (sometimes I use a rotisserie chicken)
1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can crescent rolls (I usually use reduced fat)
1 Tablespoon of butter
3/4 cup croutons or bread crumbs
Heat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and 1 tablespoon of softened butter; beat until smooth. Add chicken, chives, salt and pepper; mix well.
Seaparate or cut dough into 4 rectangles. If using crescent dough, firmly press performations to seal. Spool 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto center of each rectangle. Pull 4 corners of dough to center of chicken mixture; twist firmly. Pinch edges to seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops of sandwiches with 1 tablespoon melted butter; sprinkle with crushed croutons.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Hint: you can add different spices to the chicken and make the recipe your own. The main thing is just making sure you have good flavored chicken and cream cheese. You can't go wrong with that combo baked in a crescent roll. YUM!
It was a perfect night: delicious food, good people (I'm convinced my friends are the best), good conversation and somehow we always end up having our own little dance party.
Who knows how long I will be able to enjoy leasurely weekends like this past one, but I'm grateful for the here and now and hope that we can all find sweet moments in each different season that we are in.
Enjoy the yummy Chickan!
I'm a learner. I've got an innate desire to figure things out, dig for insight and ask questions. My curiosity can be annoying sometimes I'm sure. Often I catch my husband staring at me blankly as I toss question after question in his direction.
Whether in Bible study or just regular life lessons, I enjoy "not knowing" then trying to come into the "know". And yet, I've gotta admit, there are several segments of my life where I've stopped being a student. Actually, I didn't even realize I had but then one day it dawned on me that I'd become a bit sedentary and routine in some ares of my life - reverting to my own skill set and comfort zone instead of tapping into new possibilities and opportunities because of the energy I'd have to exert to learn about something unfamiliar.
You've probably done this too. Shoot, we all do. Sometimes, it's easier to cook the same thing you make every week for dinner rather than take the time and energy to look up a new recipe or use that unfamiliar ingredient . . . which is only sold at that unfamiliar market . . . the market you don't want to go to in the first place because you'd have to wander up and down the aisles looking for the things you need. . . the things you could find with a blindfold on in your usual grocery store.
Too much work.
Or instead of considering a new occupation or volunteer opportunity that would require starting at the bottom and working our way up, we opt to stay put where we've always been - comfortably, complacently.
It's easy here. Where we aren't being required to stretch. In the zone of familiarity that doesn't require us to learn new things and reach into unfamiliar territory. This zone doesn't demand a full investment of our mental energy because muscle memory from yesterday. . . last week. . . last month . . . kicks in.
Whew. Off the hook. No need to learn or do anything new.
So, we choose to go with the familiar instead of becoming a student again.
I've recently embarked on a few new endeavors that have caused me to sit in the seat of a pupil again. As soon as I sat in it, it dawned on me how long it'd been since I'd been there. I immediately felt a surge of excitement and anticipation that I'd unknowingly exchanged for the ease of familiarity. It felt good. Hadn't been here in a while.
I walked in to an organic market in Dallas and just stared blankly. I'd heard about this place and all the fresh foods it could offer my family but had never ventured inside. But now, with a friend well versed in all things whole and all things food, I walked up and down each aisle listening to her explanation about why this meat, those vegetables and these seasonings would be so much better for my family then some of the options I'd been currently serving them. So, quinoa could replace white rice and Rice Syrup could replace sugar.
My head hurt and my mouth let out several sighs of annoyance at the thought of revamping our eating regimen but armed with a full cart, a knowledgeable and willing friend at my side, I've launched forward into a new world of eating. . and cooking for my family.
And, let me tell you, I am definitely a student again.
There's another endeavor that has recently crossed my path - one that has required me to take to the internet, scouring it for examples and definitions and insights. One that has required me to make phone calls, ask for advice and read articles on topics that have never peaked my interest before. This new adventure is pushing me to reach into an untapped area of creativity that my previous experiences haven't required. I've considered the option of letting it pass me by - handing it over to another who is already familiar with this type of thing. Shoot, I've been tempted (especially when I think about how much time cooking those new recipes is going to take). But why would I do that - why would you - when opportunities to become a pupil are really a disguised ticket into a bright future pulsing with new and amazing opportunities.
Just like any ticket. . . it'll cost you but the ride you'll get in return will be worth the expense.
So, I'm a pupil again. . and loving every minute of it.
Daniel was willing to become a student again.
"Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men," [King Nebuchadnezzar] said. "Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.
. . .God gave these [Daniel] an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom." - Daniel 1
Do you see it? Daniel had been snatched out of his culture and thrust into one that was completely foreign to everything he'd ever known. Yet, he willingly, humbly submitted himself to the education of his new surroundings.
He didn't eat their food or worship their god but he did learn their culture. He knew the power of being a student. . . again.
Being teachable is one of the foundations for success. The most wise and well-versed people I know are individuals who consistently and deliberately put themselves in the position to learn as often as they can. It's so unfortunate to meet a sassy, know-it-all who has a stock pile of potential but no humility. They don't even realize that their unwillingness to be teachable is keeping them from reaching the pinnacle of their own possibilities.
So, the next time a new and fresh opportunity presents itself to you and you are tempted to brush it aside for something easier, quicker or more comfortable - take a second look. . . and decide instead to become a student. . . again.
Tell me something you're learning about right now?
It's snowing. In Texas. No, for real...SNOW. And the heater is broken in my house. For 3 days now...the 3 coldest days in Texas this winter. Murphy's Law. Personal space heater you say? YES! Except for when our electricity was knocked out yesterday....hilarious really. No heat. No hot water. Stinky and cold.
I'm living in a 1st-world country feeling incredibly grateful for 3rd world luxuries: electricity and water.
It's the little things..which are really not so little.
The Little Things Sidelined
I sometimes think this is true in my spiritual life...I'm just coasting along, enjoying time with the Lord...then the days get crazy busy. And in the crazy busyness, I wake up a little later than normal. And then my quiet time is shortened to reading a little devotional I keep on hand for just these moments...but while my eyes may be reading, my heart is a million miles away...making lists of all the things I need to do that day, reliving conversations, dreaming of a future event...in that place, that place of complacency.
Slowly but surely then, the basics of my life as a Christ-follower become fuzzy and peripheral...these "little things" which are not so little, are sidelined in my heart.
Delighting in God,
Being His kid,
Receiving His Love,
and living in this world as an expression of my love to Him.
My flesh and satan do a pretty stand-up job teaming up on the Spirit living in me. And when I say team, I mean team...my flesh is pretty quick to make choices that dull feelings...just as satan is as quick to make these suggestions oh-so-persausively. He has a gilded tongue that serpent!
But that ugly duo's problem is, Jesus. He stompled the serpent in the garden and vanquished my flesh on an crude wooden beam, as The Father wept.
And now? He woos. Constantly. Calling me back to Himself...calling me deeper into His Story, deeper into this lovely place of knowing and being known by Him Whom I Was Created To Know. With Him I am more "annetta" than at any other time.
So, while the battle is sometimes lost, with a complacent, world-weary decision that lifts up the enemy, I KNOW that the WAR iS WON in the end. The end of the story has already been written.
Making The Little Things, Big Things
Yesterday, I picked up a copy of a new worship cd...our friends at The Oaks in Red Oak, TX just came out with this gorgeous, faith-lifting music that woo's your heart to things of The Lord. We first came upon The Oaks Worship stuff when we did an Awaken event with them last year...and we are BEYOND EXCITED to team up with them again (May 23rd!) for another Awaken. So it was pretty natural for our team to scoop up a copy of their latest stuff...what wasn't natural was the way we kept it playing on repeat ever since it was purchased. It has become the soundtrack for the GB offices. Hilarious really. 24 hours later and I am singing it all, word-for-word.
And, something beautiful happened...a few listens in, and the "battle" I was fighting just became little easier. I was reminded again and again of the basics, the "water and electricity" if you will, of walking with Him. Even the title track "War in the Waiting" renewed my perspective on this place we all inhabit:
In the end, the little things are the big things.
So this morning, I am grateful for electricity (it was fixed!) and water. I am grateful for The Hero of my Heart, Jesus. I am grateful for The Oaks Worship (Yay Clayton, Candis and Ross!) melodies that woo my heart to a place of victory in this battle...reminding me, the great war was already won!
I'm grateful for the little things, which turn out to be not-so-little.
What reminds YOU that the little things are the big things?
You are loved!
This past weekend was such a sweet time for me and I wanted to tell you a little bit about it. Over the past six months, our worship team from my church has been writing and preparing to record an album. Hours upon hours were spent practicing and raising money in hopes to get a CD made to offer to the public for free. Amazingly enough, I got to be a part of it all.
Being in the recording studio was a huge dream come true for me. When I was little I used to pretend that I was in a studio and I would record myself on my little tape player singing all kinds of random songs in my whiney, northern accent. I know, kind of silly.. but it's the truth. It's just that I never really thought that dream would actually come true.
So when I stepped into the room at the studio in Ft Worth, put on the huge headphones and started to sing into the mic, it was sort of like my life stopped for a moment. I started to see images in my mind of myself back when I was that little girl, totally unaware of what life had for me in future. Everything was flashing before my eyes and I had one of those moments that I will never forget: I felt like God was saying, Linnae, I created you, I KNOW you even if you don't fully think I do, and not only do I want to give you your deepest hearts desires but also way more beyond that.
No, it wasn't this huge, glamorous type recording scenario that you may be picturing in your head. No, I'm not trying to be a rockstar. This was just a one time weekend deal. But to me, it meant the world. It was a gift, a huge gift. A totally fun experience that I will never forget.
God gives us space to do the things we love, my friends. You have gifts that have been given to you and will be utilized differently at different points in your life. Enjoy the process, and learn to accept and enjoy the unexpected gifts that are given along the way!
(just being silly in the studio)
My feet are different this year.
I spend time looking at them every single year on my birthday. Not sure how or why I developed this silly habit but for at least twenty solid years I’ve had a tradition of looking down at my feet while I shower on the morning of my birthday. Of course, I see my feet every time I take a shower but on my birthday it’s different.
I study my feet.
Sounds strange, I know. But I bet you’ve got a few strange habits yourself, huh? Strange habits are like weird relatives. . . everybody’s got at least one.
So, I stand underneath the flow of water, look down the five feet-seven inches to my toes and just stare. I guess I’m curious to see if age will cause any variations that I’ll notice from year to year. Most every single birthday yields little to talk about. There is nothing life changing or soul altering that happens during my feet-staring ritual. God doesn’t usually speak to me or give me a mission and vision for the next year of my life. Usually, it’s uneventful.
They are uneventful.
They look the same.
Not this year.
I stood in the shower on my 38th birthday and for the first time noticed they were different. These nearly 40-year-old feet were flatter than the ones I’d remembered seeing before and the right one had a faint 2-in scar running vertically underneath it’s big toe – honestly acquired during a minor surgery. My eyes widened as I realized that for the first time in this 20-year-old habit, something had changed.
I picked up one leg and pulled it upward so I could get a closer look and grabbed a pinch of the thin skin on top. It wrinkled up between my fingers and then took its sweet time getting back into its place when I let go. This skin was different. Not nearly as elastic as it had been when I was eighteen.
For the 1st time ever, in all these years of looking and wondering if there’d be a change. . .there was one.
Uh-hem . . .a few.
Well now, this personal epiphany of age started a poking and pinching mission. After I dried off and put on my pajamas I stood in the mirror and looked – looked – at myself. Soon, I dug out a photo from a decade earlier for comparison and realized quickly that my feet weren’t the only things that had changed through the years. As I suspected, the wrinkles that show up on the side of my eyes when I smile now were nowhere to be found near those grinning eyes in the photo. My lower tummy that is in a consistently distended and softened position was much flatter and firmer in the photo. The younger version of my thigh muscle was much more defined compared with the cushion I felt there now. And my feet . .my feet looked, well. . .younger. The veins weaving there way around underneath the skin weren’t nearly as visible, that’s for doggone sure. And, my feet appeared smaller - a bit more dainty somehow.
I know these changes haven’t happened overnight. It has been a slow and gradual process but, on this birthday, it all came down like a ton of bricks on my head. I wasn’t sad about it. . .just thoughtful and pensive . . .
. . . in a scream-at-the-top-of-my-lungs kind of way.
Well golly, I guess I should pull out some hidden spiritual principle for you to consider now or at least pinpoint some deeper profound meaning behind my aged feet for you to ponder before you click your way to another site. And Lord knows that I can indeed see some - like how we should all be encouraged and consistent in our walks with Christ because change is happening all along the way even when we don’t notice it until later. Or I could encourage us all through that Scripture verse that tells us about the inward renewal of the spirit when our outward body is decaying.
Sure. . I could.
But, I don’t think I want to. I’d rather just tell you that I’m getting old and my body is telling me so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I am old. Just acknowledging the passage of time and the residue the years are leaving behind.
This body is changing - Lord have mercy, it’s changing. Not just in theory but in a way that is bold and stark and unashamed to make it’s presence known.
Lord help me – help us - to age with grace and dignity, poise and pride. Help us to maintain our fervor and passion; our zest and zeal; our humility and modesty.
Teach us to be comfortable in our own skin – even when it wrinkles, scars or thins.
And help these feet of ours to carry us steady until they carry us – flat footed - into glory with you.
Going to get a pedicure,
Bible study! It's a must for any woman who wants to live victoriously. I'll admit that I spent many of my younger years feeling like church attendance was enough. Goodness gracious, I was sitting under the unbelievably anointed teaching of Dr. Tony Evans. Every Sunday he would expound the Word with such clarity and power that our hair would part straight down the middle and blow backward like we were riding in a red convertible with the top down.
It was strong! Always.
30 years later. . .it still is.
But I'm grateful that the Lord has been patient with me as I've matured enough to realize that my Sunday morning experience is not designed to replace my daily experience with Him.
Him and Me.
This is where our Bible study comes in. It's the time when we soak in His Word, where He reveals His presence and where He makes His will for us more and more clear. So, here at the start of a brand new year, I want to encourage you to dive in deeply to God's Word. You can just choose a book of the Bible and march straight through it from beginning to end or you can use a Bible study that covers a particular topic or Bible study character.
Right now, I'm meditating on and memorizing the book of Colossians. It has been rich and rewarding and I'm looking forward to everything the Lord will teach me through it.
My sisters from twitter-land chimed in with the studies they are engaged in. I thought a compiled list of some of them might help you to make a selection and get going right away! I simply gathered the titles sent by the first couple dozen responses to my twitter request but there are so many other amazing teachers and writers who are making an impact in God's Kingdom. If you have another great study to add, please leave a comment. The more the better!
Bless you - you Bible toting Jesus girl!
We do some of the same things every day...we wake up. Some of your mornings consist of shoving a glass of milk down your own thrat while busting out cold pop-tarts for your elementary school kid as he waits at the bus stop. Oatmeal might be healthier, but it is more likely to get air-missiled and lodged into your hair from the toddler happily enjoying his "throwing" stage. You manage to brush the teeth of your school children but foget your own until mid-day. And by that point, a stick of gum seems to do the trick with less mess!
Others of us have a very organized morning of spending time with Jesus as soon as our feet hit the floor. We might even manage to get a walk or jog around the block before carefully choosing our attire and heading out for a job.
The stories that make up all of our lives are as wide and varied as the earth is round! But the whole point of it is....there is some "same"-ness in all of our lives. And the rote, day-in, day-out ordinary, can easily breed a sense of stagnancy in us. We've done carpool before, we can coast through it. We've done this Bible Study or read that passage before, we can breeze over it.
We can realize: we are given today for a reason. We are doing these same things again, for a reason. It's not so that we can grow numb and forget we are alive in this moment. And to be honest, we might never know why the days of kid's potty training, or waiting for a husband, have stretched far past when we learned the lessons of patience or acceptance or contentment. But we DO know that He gave us this day. And He has allowed the things in this day to happen to us. Moreso, He has things He wants to do THROUGH us this day.
So. As this new year has barely peeked her face at us, let's set our eyes to the North. Let's zone in on what He wants to speak to us today; what He wants to do through us today. LOOK! LOOK! Open your EYES my friend! He is at work all around the world...let Him transform your world...with YOU!
What do you want to see Him do this year? How do you want to see Him work...IN you? I'm dying for Him to transform my idea of Him...to be more like HIM!
Can't wait to do this year with you...to see all He is going to do in and through us.
Oh my goodness, I’m full!!
That’s the only way I can explain the way my stomach, my house, my mind and my life feel right now.
Somehow, I feel like you might be able to relate.
December is over but the residue remains. I woke up this morning, gathered some food to make my family for breakfast and realized, about half-way through scrambling the eggs, that my stomach was still pretty stuffed from my December overdose. I didn’t even want breakfast. . .or lunch for that matter! I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve overdone it. My family tends to gather around decadent dishes on every conceivable occasion during those 31 celebrative days. We invent reasons to have a holiday party.
And then we eat. . . again.
To top off our gatherings, we always seemed to migrate to a mall. We window shopped mostly – walked around in the midst of the shopping-bag-carrying crowd while sipping on a sugar-laden Starbucks drink. Even on the occasions we didn’t buy anything, the atmosphere of excess and advertising seemed to seep into our bones to the point where we’d had our fill of shopping as the holiday season came to an end. Going to another outlet or boutique or department store sounded exhausting.
What? Enough of the mall?
Look toward the east. The return of Christ must be happening soon.
I tripped over a little unopened bag of Legos this morning. It had been in one of the boys’ stockings for Christmas. The stockings, the tree and all of the season’s trimmings are still in my living room and the boys’ gifts are cascading out from underneath that tree. We opened presents in the early morning hours on the 25th but then hurried off to my parent’s house for breakfast and Christmas Day festivities. Since then, we’ve haven’t been home much – a few sleeping overs at grandparents' houses with cousins and a trip with extended family in east Texas kept us busy. So, the gifts are still tucked away in their original home. Now, school is back in session so the few gifts the boys did receive will be opened and played with slowly, gradually . . .eventually.
My home is full.
My mind and life feel much the same. I’m looking forward into 2013 and see good things in store. Our calendar is planned out twelve months in advance. Every thing from the boys’ baseball season to our ministry events are written down in an attempt to balance everything with some sense of sanity. As far as I can tell, life is full.
It’s only January and it’s full already.
Now, before you go getting concerned for me, I should explain that full doesn’t mean I haven’t factored in any margin for the Shirer’s. I’m not saying that we are deathly busy and have no time for rest. I’m only implying that it is interesting. . and sobering. . to realizing that 12 months of your life is simply waiting on you to arrive.
Full. . that’s what my life is.
Yours too, I bet.
So, yesterday I went grocery shopping and bought some foods that will help my family and I come down from the sugar high we’ve been at the pinnacle of for an entire month. Some fresh meats, veggies and fruits should do the trick. . or at least help to get the trick started. And, while the chicken baked today, I spent some time emptying bags, throwing away crumpled tissue paper, sweeping the boys play room out and cleaning out a closet so that we can giveaway some gently used items to folks who could really use them.
My house seemed to thank me. Somehow, when the heat turned on it sounded like an enormous sigh of relief bellowing out from the foundations. As little bits and pieces went out into the garage the house seemed to relax a bit. My stomach is thanking me too – relishing every gulp of water that comes streaming into it.
Now, for my mind. . . my life.
These two seem a bit more complex to tackle. They are more introspective and theoretical than the others. Any steps taken won’t be immediately noticed or appreciated.
But it’s possible. I know it is.
Better get to it.
Thanks for listening to my thoughts today =)
It's the time for reflecting and pressing ahead friends...it's the New Year! And as I look ahead, with one eye remembering the years before, I keep thinking: I want this to be my BEST YEAR YET.
The only way it will be that is if I prepare for it to be my best year yet.
So how do I prepare? How do I position myself and get ready for the best year of my life? I sat and thought about this and gathered thoughts from those wiser than myself and here's what I've come up with...
Do something you've never done before. We talk about "ONE day..." quite often..but how often do we really DO "one day..." type of activities?
Say no. It's time to stop the people-pleasing. God gave you just enough energy in the day to accomplish what He has for you to accomplish. If you keep doing all that He has for you PLUS what OTHER people have for you...well, you're gonna be burnt-out and worn-thin in NO time. Spend some time with the Lord outlining His priorities for you...then start saying yes and no to activities based on those priorities!
Take action. There's a dream in the back of your head for years. YEARS. And you've just let it sit and soak. Now is the time to start moving in it...otherwise it'll go SOUR! So friends...figure out the first step, no matter how small, that is required to accomplishing your dream! Wanna own a bakery? Meet with your business wiz friend and draw up a business plan or perfect your scone recipe! Want to write a book? Start blogging. Regularly. No, REGULARLY!
Ok, so what do YOU think? These are just a few of my thoughts...I'm stoked about seeing how these little things can shift my year to be the best year YET!
Let's press in and hold on for our life's sake!
THE BEST IS YET TO COME.