Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Let Faith Lead the Way

Sometimes I think that having faith is almost too easy. I mean if we really trust God at his word, then that means everything is going to be fine no matter what. But what happens when things are not fine? In spite of our best laid plans, the things we desire and work hard for do not happen when or how we envisioned? Husbands and boos start acting crazy, that job we wanted gets passed on to someone else, that debt we have been working to payoff gets doubled by an unexpected expense, we've been living right and minding our own business but still can't catch a break...the list could go on.

Faith should be easy but it takes work.

I have been listening to Joel Osteen radio everyday for the past week or so and it is a continuous loop of messages of hope, faith, encouragement, and challenges to live better and walk in faith. I did not think I would be into talk radio because I love listening to music in the car but it has been amazing. It almost the opposite of what we do to ourselves some times--constantly replaying the messages of past hurts, bad breaks, and negativity instead of the truth of God's word.

I encourage you today, the same way that I have been challenged this week, to play the word of God over and over in our head instead of letting your mind be the devils playground. The bible tells us to "fix your thoughts on what it true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

I don't want you to feel that whatever your situation or past is does not matter because it does. We all have a story and a journey to going on. But know matter what is happening, ultimately we control our thoughts and we are equipped to win. Disappointments are inevitable but misery is totally optional.

The next time negative thinking tries to bind you, ask yourself am I thinking about what is driving me crazy or what is praise worthy?

Be lifted my friends.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hurrying Isn't Helpful

I hate when I have to rush somewhere. Chaos does not suit me well. I always forget something, lose my car keys, stub a toe, and break into a sweat. Hurrying isn't helpful to me at all. I actually move the fastest when I slow down and pace myself. Prepping things the night before so my mornings aren't chaotic does wonders for me. Setting a timer for the endless amounts of work I have to do helps me to not try to hurry work that I have time to do well.

I believe that this is the same in our lives. Trying to hurry or counting our chickens be for they hatch almost never turns out well but still we try it. We want that new car, that promotion, those shoes, or that vacation even if our bank accounts or credit are saying "have a seat ma'am". Nothing that we get in a hurry is for the long term. I think about the testimony of friends who have struggled through unemployment for years only to land their dream jobs or jobs that were better than the ones they had in the end. 

I say all that to say, take some time to slow it down. Not all people like to slow down but sometimes doing so may be best. Don't let your mind race 100 miles per minute. You don't have to do everything right now. Set your goals, make your plans, and most importantly do the work and growth you need to reap your harvest but don't hurry the process. There is a reason you don't have whatever it is you want and possibly even need right now. In fact it may be very ugly and gloomy for you. However, I challenge you to not pray that your valley passes quickly, but to pray that God will guide you on your journey. Take note of what is happening around and within in you and most importantly enjoy what you have and are doing in the meantime. 

Whatever it is, it will pass.

Hurrying isn't helpful.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Patient Endurance

Somebody get me this mug! 
Hey! I know it has been far too long. I have been drafting blog posts for months and never making the time to finish them. But this week, after much inspiration, I am finally compelled to write and post. Two of my devotional readings recently talked about patient endurance. I must admit that I am very, very impatient with some things. I partially blame the microwave/gotta have it right now culture that we live in but mostly on my lack of discipline in some areas--yes me the over achiever and recovering perfectionist lacks the discipline to follow through on some things *gasps*. Most of the time, when the "go getter" in me decides what it is that I want, I just go for it. But that hasn't helped me to reach all the personal goals that I have for myself in the past. My endurance for slow progress needs work because the most important things that I want to achieve will take time.

As we stand at the start on another year, I decided to pull out my goals from last year to see how I did. Just looking at this list quickly lets me know that I really need to work on being more patient and having some endurance. I am often so busy some times that I am literally just trying to get through each day. I really want to be present in the moments that I'm in and always keep my end goals in mind. That means that as 2015 progresses, I will need to look at my goals multiple times throughout the year and make adjustments as needed. I also have some accountability partners in place this year which was a crucial step that I missed in 2014.

Here are some of my goals for 2015:
  1. Set up saving to be automatic once per month and not dip into it. 
  2. See one Broadway show a season (4 times per year). 
  3. Read at least 6 books. 
  4. Reduce credit card debt by 50%.
  5. Increase my retirement contributions by $25.
  6. Write at least 2 blogs per month. 
  7. Reduce my weight by 10%. 
  8. Take a swimming class.
  9. Read the word every day (a scripture, a devotional, anything!!).
  10. Take piano lessons. 
My motto for 2015 is: the journey is far more important than the destination. I have a lot of places that I want to get beyond 2015. So, I want to have the patience and endurance to see things through and learn the lessons I need to learn so at the start of 2016, God willing, I will be further along the path that God has called me to. 

When you get a chance, read 2 Peter 1:2-11. The first verse really moved me this week: May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. ~2 Peter 1:2 NLT

We are called to do great things. My pastor said on Sunday, it is always too soon to quit! So lets working on having patient endurance in 2015 my friends--there are great things ahead.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mid-Week Boost: Strength and Endurance

This is a busy and hectic season in the life of a graduate student. As the semester is winding to a close, major assignments and projects are due and before we know it, it will be finals time. It would be great if the world around me would take a pause during this time but everything else is in high gear as well. I am often tempted by frustration to give up but instead I have challenged myself to pray for strength and endurance during this time. I know that what I am working towards right now has a purpose and is a part of the vision that God has showed me for my life. Therefore, while I would love for God to take something of my plate, what I really need is strength to stay the course so I can not only continue to get prepared to really live out my purpose but so that I know what this season of preparation is like so I can share it with someone else who may be discouraged. The road to success is not a straight path and people will try to knock you off it and distract you along the way. Things that would seem trivial to you under normal circumstances are now amplified tenfold because of the stress. I pray not only for my strength and for strength and patience for those around me. I often think that people should feel obligated and really want to support me in the work that I am trying to do but the reality is, it is probably taxing on them as well and at times my patience is too thin to acknowledge that fact. We all need strength and endurance for everything that we do so don't give up--pray for it.

What do you do during busy and trying seasons to keep your eye on the prize? Let's talk about it!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Worst Can Make You Better

It truly fascinates me that on beautiful bright sunny days that in an instant, things can happen that change your life forever. You know how it is, you get up, eat breakfast, head to work, and press through your day as normal. You laugh with a few friends, get excited about upcoming plans and trips, and then BAM something happens that literally knocks the wind out of you. It could be an unexpected death, a medical diagnosis, job loss, a car accident, home break-in, or really anything. The world seemingly moves ahead as if your own world didn't just come crumbling down.

What do you do in this moment? Well at maybe you're in shock or disbelief. You might cry or get down right angry. Like really was that person in that much of a rush that they had to cut you off and make you get into a car accident. Or you feel like you have been an upstanding Christian and feel like you shouldn't have to endure such a hardship. You might think I can't afford to lose my job, husband, or _____________. We can not possibly live without _____________.

In this life you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome th world. -Jesus John 16:33
But in these moments, as gut-wrenching as they may be, are real opportunities for us to show what we are really about. Yes, you might be devastated, hurt, angry, or flat out pissed off but, especially, if you are a believer you can not wallow in it because we know who is in control. We are not exempt for tragedy or heart ache just because we are believers. NO ONE wants pain, sickness, cancer, devastation, or loss but it is the way of life.

It is the way of life.

No one is exempt.

Resiliency is something that we talk about a lot in my family therapy program and at the school that I teach at. Resiliency is at the heart of our faith walk too. When you are operating in a faith zone, it's all or nothing. I believe God's word so everything will be all right even if something might temporarily blur that vision. It might be ugly at times but it will be all right--period.

Isaiah 66:9

God is the potter and we are the clay. Even the best potter has to smooth out the rough patches. 

Live everyday as if it is going to be your last and love the people important to you while you can.

Tomorrow is not promised--that is a fact.

Check out this song by Kierra Sheard 2nd Win