Archive for ‘Body/Mind’

September 6, 2011

In the Stillness

The busyness of life causes so much noise it can be difficult to hear the Lord. Sometimes we ache to hear his voice, sit in his comforting presence, or long to draw close to him. Frantically we search for him. But sometimes, He calls us to sit and let him find us.

Quiet my child. I am with you. I will comfort you. Be still.

Being still is foreign. It’s awkward. It’s uncomfortable. We are faced with ourselves – our doubts, fears, sins, our past, our futures and our questions.  Our pain can seem magnified in our stillness. But God still calls to us into the stillness.

Listen, I will speak. I will call to you. Trust me. (He whispers.)

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know I am God.

Trust me. I am in control.

1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

Listen. I will not always speak loudly to capture your attention. Stay alert. I am as gentle as a breeze.

Do not be afraid of times of stillness. When you seek for wisdom and discernment – do not grow weary in waiting. There is a purpose in silence. Be alert to when He does speak. He will – in his perfect time.

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May 25, 2011

What Do You Live By?

I work in the nonprofit world. Mission statements, passion, and causes are what we live by. I’ve also worked in the corporate world where “your brand” seems to be king. It all boils down to this: character.

What do you choose to live by?

I attended a conference last week and went to a seminar on networking. I really thought I’d hear how to connect with others to further my nonprofit’s cause, instead I was surprised to find I was working on my personal mission statement.

In reality, why not? If I don’t know why I am doing what I’m doing then I cannot be authentic. And who wants to work with or be friends with someone who is inauthentic?

At the core of who we are we must have a personal mission – one that encapsulates our God-given gifts and abilities as well as what burdens our hearts. Does your personal mission statement give you direction and inspire you? Is it generic enough to carry you through life? Take a moment and think about yours? Write one down. Use it to guide you.

My personal mission statement is this: To make Jesus Christ known by helping the hurting and those in need by using my gifts of mercy, compassion and administration so that others have a chance to heal and experience God fully.

Now, it’s your turn. What’s your personal mission statement?

March 29, 2011

Star Gazing

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” – Persian proverb


Have you ever noticed how much junk gets in the way of hearing God or seeing what He’s trying to teach you?

Busyness.

Relationships.

Work life.

Even ministry life.

And have you ever experienced what happens when He yells your name and says STOP!? Just stop. Listen to him.

Where did you allow yourself to be surrounded by a fog? Where did the enemy creep in and say a crammed schedule was ok because it was full of good things? Or, whisper that if you just read the umpteenth book on spiritual life, you could control the great sense of guilt you carry with you? Of if you just worked hard enough at your job, it would be enough?

The sad thing is we often take half-truths and twist them just enough that even the “good” things in our lives become a distraction and even an idol. Sometimes it takes going into a dark season to remind us to look for the light. In the darkness, we remember who we are and can find truth if we look for it. God wants a relationship with us. He will allow us to go through times of darkness in order to call us back.

Are you willing to give up the junk? Even the “good” junk in order to draw nearer to Him?

Will you ask yourself who you are and who you belong to?

Will you stand for the truth?

Can you see through the darkness? Do you see the light?

Shed the fog and cling to the light.

 

January 25, 2011

Sneak Attacks

2 Timothy 2:26 “and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

I warned you I’d update you on my Beth Moore study. Here it is, still week one of homework and I feel the attacks of Satan. Do you ever notice how it’s when you are making the most progress that you feel the most attacked?

Sometimes I almost welcome the attack. Because it means I’m dangerous. God has something good in store for me and Satan can’t stand it. I make three steps forward to only make two steps back. It’s frustrating – but that’s still one step ahead of where I was.

Progress my friends. Progress.

I don’t have all the answers and feel like this Bible study journey is going to be a tough one. (I need to guard myself against the enemy’s attacks). But I think it’s going to be worth it. I’m looking forward to breaking some strongholds but this will be a battle my friends.

Psalm 91:11-12 “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

 

January 19, 2011

29 Before 29

My commitment to intentional living and my One Word 2011 word of the year, “faith” (read more here), encapsulates all areas of my life. I want to live a well-balanced life because it allows me to live as God desires – working hard but also seeking to enjoy what he has given (read Choosing Joy and In Pursuit of Joy).

As a part of this new journey, I decided to create a “29 Before 29” list to guide me. I was initially inspired by my friend HopefulLeigh to complete a list of goals before my next birthday. She recently completed 31 Things Before Turning 31 and is now working on her next list. It’s been fun to see how she’s lived her life with intention, freedom, and challenge through her goals. I want the same for my life.

My next birthday is in just a few months so I’m giving myself until May 2012 to complete this list (though I may finish sooner).  I’m excited to see how my “29 Before 29” will challenge me and I’m looking forward to a fun-filled year plus. I expect to find that I will grow, live in faith, freedom and grace. Periodically, I will post on my progress. Hope you’re up for accompanying me on this journey!

Without further ado, here’s my “29 Before 29:”

1)      Take more risks (i.e. engage strangers in conversation, do things by myself, do something out-of-the-norm).

2)      Take an exercise class.

3)      Read 75 books.

4)      Get involved in a Bible study.

5)      Run a 5k.

6)      Develop blog (help me by commenting and spreading the word).

7)      Go on a vacation.

8)      Find an art project.

9)      Look for a new ministry opportunity.

10)   Go coffee tasting.

11)   Attend 3 concerts.

12)   Cook more (try 10 new recipes).

13)   Find a treasure at a thrift store.

14)   Attend a conference.

15)   Test out my GPS.

16)   Move.

17)   De-clutter my life (deep clean, minimize unnecessary time and money-zapping activities)

18)   Hike through a forest preserve.

19)   Host a dinner party (a REAL one, for grow-ups).

20)   Get health insurance and go see a doctor for a routine checkup.

21)   Be still and know that He is God.

22)   Be a mentor.

23)   Be mentored.

24)   Fast regularly.

25)   Bake a blueberry pie from scratch.

26)   Live as a missionary would – with intention, sacrifice, purpose, and seeking opportunities to share the gospel and be where God has called me now -not later.

27)   Spend more time with children.

28)   Dance.

29)   Be open to new adventures and lean into what God has in store for me!

Do you have a birthday bucket list? Let me know and I’d be happy to link to it.

January 18, 2011

Intentional Living

I’ve been writing this post in my head for months. I can’t seem to get it right but here it goes. Please bare with me (or is it bear? Either way – love me just the same).

I’m a planner. Many of these posts and musings occurred as I realized I was at the end of my plan. But I’m at the beginning of something new. Something beyond my grasp and understanding. I don’t like change. It scares me. But, God is up to something. In the turbulence, He’s given peace. I don’t like risks but He has begun to cultivate a love for adventure in my heart. Today, I can honestly tell you I’m excited about what’s to come. I have no idea what the next year will bring or even tomorrow but I’m ready to take a risk and seize the adventure just the same. The ‘Type A’ in me is softening. I want to grow less rigid and accept the fact that life is fluid.

I want to surrender my will (which has so frequently caused me anxieties, stress, and so much wasted energy) and embrace God’s will for my life.

A part of embracing God’s will for me is for me to live intentionally where I am. He has me where I am for a reason. I’ve been fighting too hard to get to a place I might not suppose to be. In the past months I’ve considered relocating, massive career changes despite just finishing my graduate degree, and taken an honest look at my faith. Praise God for allowing me to wrestle through the hard questions.

Here’s what I know. God loves me. He has a plan for my life. He knows the desires of my heart BUT that does not mean I should be sitting around twiddling my thumbs until lo and behold – the situation of my dreams arises. Nope, He said GO and make disciples. Not, wait until you have your life figured out. Go.

In light of this, I want to live my life with intention. I want to seize the opportunities presented to me today. I want to talk to strangers. I want to speak openly about my faith. I want to love those that are “unlovable.” I want to live in freedom. I want to be an example.

And as I live my life with intention – I am trying to follow His command and GO.

More on intentional living tomorrow.

January 11, 2011

Sweet Dreams?

Harnessing our thought life can be difficult, but if we take a step back and examine our thought life we may realize how it impacts our outward demeanor and our feelings of contentment. Discipline in our thought life should not escape our notice.

Author, Alicia Britt Chloe wrote the following:

“Watching children exercise their imaginations to picture themselves as mommies, doctors, or astronauts is delightful; we call it playful pretending. As adults, though there is a difference between using our imaginations to build a better tomorrow (being visionary) and mentally self-medicating through self-aggrandizing daydreams.

Disciplining our imaginations can be an enormous challenge especially when we perceive ourselves as deprived of affirmation, attention, or acceptance. But in those seasons – perhaps even more so than in applauded seasons of influence – it is absolutely critical that we not live out in our thoughts what we know we should not live out in our lives. The principle we examined in layer one (when tempted by immediate gratification of our appetites) is still true in layer two (when tempted in our thoughts by the attention and awe of mankind): we will reap what we sow, even in our minds (see Galatians 6:7-8).

For example, consider a new parent drowning in diapers who daydreams about freedom and time he would have if he were still single or childless…who wakes up with less patience and more resentment toward his spouse and children. Or a woman lost in daydreams of being swept away by an attractive Prince Charming…who wakes up, rolls over, and wonders why her husband is looking more and more like a frog. Or a young professional smiling, lost in a daydream about high-profile companies fighting over him with ever-increasing pay scales and benefits…who wakes up somehow less satisfied and motivated in his current job.” Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years And Yours, p.121-122

Do you find yourself struggling with contentment? Wishing for the next best thing? A new job? A better financial situation? Do you crave the applause or attention of those around you? Cast it aside. Focus on what is true (Philippians 4:8) and what God has laid out for you today. Trust God to provide for all your tomorrows and hold your hopes and dreams. But do not lose focus on what He has given you today because it is a unique gift.  Even in your times of struggle, God is giving you the opportunity to lay the foundation of your character and trust in him. Ultimately, do you trust him? Yes? Then focus on today. He has already been to your future and He has given you your present situation – so be faithful to pay attention to it and do as he leads. Just as the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), God desires us to be faithful and utilize what he has given us. If we are always dreaming, wishing, and hoping for the next thing – we miss the opportunity he has given us today. We lose contentment and fail to see the goodness of God. And we wonder how we got stuck? Hmm…

 

January 9, 2011

In A Word

I try not to jump on the band-wagon too often but this is just too great to pass up. I first heard about this interesting “year-long experiment” on my morning commute but later reconsidered it when my friend and fellow blogger, HopefulLeigh, recently wrote on about the One Word 2011 project. I had to pass the word on (and also say if you don’t read her blog you should its great). The One Word concept is simple. Instead of making a list of goals, think of one simple word to live by for the next year. Let this word guide you in your decisions and goals. Build your commitment to it throughout the year. Do you want to stop gossiping? Maybe your word is “speech.” Do you crave adventure? Try “risk.” Do you struggle with worry? How about “trust?” Focus on your word to help you stay centered through the year. I think we’d be amazed to see how God can show up and move in our lives through a simple word.

My word is “faith.” This is an area of my life I’d like to see myself grow in and cultivate an increased dependence on God. I’m excited to see how God will move in my life this year – in my career, spiritual walk, relationships, family life, etc. This year will be the year I depend on God even more than last year and expect Him to show up because He will. I’ve also chosen a passage of Scripture to accompany me on this One Word journey (Hebrews 11:8-12). Though I also created a list of goals in addition to my word, they all exercise faith. I’m eagerly anticipating a year full of growth and adventures as I use my one word, scripture passage, and smaller goals to guide me on the path I believe God has revealed for me this year.

Choose just a word or your word plus a list of goals, but join me in making this year different from last year. Live with intention in 2011. Take some time to seek out what God has for you this year. I believe He’ll give you a few of his own words. What is your word? What will God do in your life this year?

 

December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus

This Christmas season has been a bit different from years past – not necessarily because anything has really changed but because my perspective is changing. December began and shortly after I learned about The Advent Conspiracy (see earlier post) – a deliberate challenge to decrease consumerism and focus on relationships and Christ. The message of The Advent Conspiracy “struck a chord” with me and I found myself thinking about it all month. This past year I transitioned from near-destitute-graduate-life to near-destitute-non-profit-life (yes, I exaggerate but I do not live a lucrative life at the present). This reality was difficult for me to face in light of the Christmas season. I love buying gifts for the ones I love. However, the reality of my wallet made me realize the way I usually show love, appreciation and gratitude for those in my life just wasn’t possible. I’ve also been seeing how these exuberant gestures weren’t necessary and I too was fueling the consumerism of Christmas and minimizing the true focus. Because I had a smaller budget for gifts this year, I tried to seek other ways to show friends and family how treasured they are to me.

But the best part of being “poor” this Christmas is that I had to stop and think about what Christmas was all about! (You’re thinking, “duh, so simple!” And you’re right but we all need to be reminded don’t we?) Christmas music seemed sweeter this year. The snow looked whiter. I didn’t spend hours at the mall but enjoyed baking cookies with my family and spending time with friends. I mulled over Jesus’ birth and life – not just the scene at the manger but the implications of the cross. Because he was born, I have a healer, a counselor, sweet freedom and magnificent grace. Jesus came and gave me unmerited mercy! Sweet mercy that I do not deserve. He came to die. That’s not something I’ve often thought about when I set out my nativity or even sing Christmas songs. He came to die. Whoa.

Tonight as I sent off the last child from my church’s nursery after our Christmas Eve services, a little boy proclaimed proudly that tomorrow is Jesus’ birthday. Jesus, who once was a little boy just like this little one, came with much to accomplish, to love, to heal, and to redeem. Celebrating him on one day with presents to each other barely seems enough. As Christmas day quickly approaches, I hope that we all can pause and think not only of Jesus’ birth but of his death. He came to die – so that we might live. He gave us the ultimate present of forgiveness and eternal life when he was born so many years ago.

So, happy birthday Jesus! I am forever grateful that you were born and that through your life and death I can live. Merry Christmas!

December 5, 2010

Refuel, Energize, and Inspire

In a previous career life I had the opportunity to be exposed to great Christian resources. Some might benefit you in your ministry or personal spiritual journey. Here are just a few of my favorites. Visit. Explore. Refresh.

Personal Life

Boundless Webzine – A ministry of Focus on the Family for young adults. Read articles on a wide range of topics from relationships to career to theology.

Relevant Magazine – You may have heard of the magazine but explore the website for additional articles not found in print. Up for another challenge? Sign up for the “Deeper Walk” devotional emails.

Christianity Today – Browse the main website for articles and inspiration. Explore sister websites for ministry help, training and more.

Christianaudio.com – Podcasts, audio books, sermons and more to help you grow.

Ministry Life

SmallGroups.com – Find help and inspiration to create life-changing small groups.

UniqueComformity.com – Check out this new resource dedicated to make disciples and remove financial obstacles to ministry.

Kyria.com – A resource for women on topics from marriage and family to spiritual formation.

SermonSpice.com – Get loops, backgrounds, countdown, video illustrations for church services, outreach events, and general ministry use.

Know of other great resources? Let me know. I would love to feature quality Christian resources to help others grow in faith, live out the Gospel, and rejuvenate their souls (books, websites, ministry, music etc).

 

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