Category Archives: Love, God

Posts by Amy

The 21 Day Fast: Part II

You may not have figured out your calling overnight or between reading Part I and Part II in this series, but you’re well on your way.  Want to know how I know that? Because I’m praying for YOU!

You see, sometimes we don’t know what to ask or how to go about it at all.  Those are times that two things can and will happen:

  1.  The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf.  The cool thing about it is, we don’t have to do anything other than sit quietly with God.
  2.   Others can pray for us.  This does require that we reach out to someone we trust in order that they may also include us in prayer.

Before I set out on this [what turned out to be] 21-day journey, I had written down some things that I wanted to work on — pray over for myself.  The list included things like let go of controlstop planning everythingtrust in othersrespond not reactto not be so easily distracted, and the list went on down the page.  You see, these are things that I wanted God to change in me but in order to see that change, I needed to make some changes.

I am happy to say that I have made improvements in some of the areas I prayed about but not all.  I’m a work in progress and SO ARE YOU!  We can’t think that just because we are feeling motivated to make changes that every, single thing we dislike about ourselves is going to disappear overnight.

So during those 21 days, I prayed the most at the end.  In the beginning, I am honestly not sure what I was waiting for…maybe for someone else to change me?  Or like I said yesterday, for something miraculous to happen.

One of the main things I had hoped to come out with was a better sense of direction in terms of my health.  And I am so incredibly proud to say that I have.  I’ve been doing a study with some friends from church, learning more about the things that I CAN do to create lasting changes in my health. I’ve been exercising regularly – both inside and outside – making healthier food choices and even incorporating supplements that have great health benefits.

In those 21 days, I lost 7lbs and gained so much insight into the how’s and why’s.  One of the most important things I got out of it all is my WHY.  I kept thinking of all these reasons I needed to lose weight, exercise and put the right foods in my body but none truly made an impact like reading this scripture did:

Ever since that verse discovered me (yes, I said that right) I have had a renewed focus.  I even put it on the wall where I can see it when I’m on the elliptical.  Every time I pray, that is one of the first things that I thank God for reminding me.

Remember when I said I didn’t pray as much until the end of the 21 days?  Well, I’m now on Day 24 because God’s not done with my journey yet.  I may be back on social media because I feel it’s time to start writing again, but God isn’t done with me yet.  And He’s not done with you either!

You see, I was reading every morning, doing my devotions just not praying like I felt I should be.  Then when that scripture went up on my wall, it was as if God was speaking to me every time I exercised.  I wanted that feeling more.  So, I decided that instead of doing the same old thing on the elliptical, which was listening to music, I would watch sermons that spoke into my life and then pray when I was nearing the end of my workout. I would be in this “cool down” stage until my prayers were done and you know what?  My workout ended up being at least 10 sometimes 15 minutes longer than I had anticipated but it never felt like it.

God wants to meet us right where we’re at.  Whether it’s on the elliptical, in the shower, while driving to work or laying in bed.  He wants to catch us where He has our greatest attention; where He can do His greatest work.  The hard part is…we have to remember to meet Him there.

I encourage you today to find that place where the presence of God is most prevalent and go there — often!  Let Him speak to you.  Go to Him with gratitude for all of the things He has done, is doing or will do in your life.  Speak those things that you’ve been praying for as if they’ve already been received and I guarantee, you’ll begin to have a different outlook on so many of those situations.

I still haven’t gotten to the meat and potatoes of my 21 Day Fast so I hope you’ll come back to hear more soon!

The 21 Day Fast: Part I

I had no idea how long it would last, but it ended up being 21 days.  I went in with no plan other than just being me and focusing on whatever was going on for however long it would take.  How long it would take for what, I don’t know.

I’m not sure if I was looking for some magical thing to occur or a profound realization but something good did come of it…

I figured out that as personal as social media makes us, it can also break us.  There are so many days that, unknowingly, we are having an “off” day and turn to our favorite site(s) just to see what everyone else is up to.  On a good day, it can make us smile.  On a bad day, it can make us envious.

Whether you want to admit it or not, this happens to EVERYONE! We see some people enjoying the bright sunshine while others play in the rain and we sit, with no plans in particular that day.

Someone receives a promotion or goes after something they’ve been called to do and we have mixed emotions.  Are we enough?  In our mundane lives, are we living purposefully enough?

I watched a sermon the other day that my daughter shared with me called Through the Eyes of a Lion.  

Click HERE to watch

In this sermon, Pastor Levi Lusko shares so many great words of wisdom but none that stuck out as much as these two.  And when it came to this 21 day (social media) fast, they couldn’t have been more true!

CALLING ENVY

Most of us have never thought of that before but it’s the truth.  Even if we don’t verbalize it, we are often subconsciously so envious of other’s callings that we fail to recognize the very one in our own lives.  The significance we can make here, right where we are is often greater than we could make wherever anyone else will go.

Someone is going on a mission trip. Why can’t I?

He/she received a promotion. Why didn’t I?

They have started a new ministry. Maybe I should?

And the list goes on and on.  Often times we don’t realize that we are getting tangled up in feelings that won’t last.  The very presence that we can and should be experiencing right where we’re at is so far away because we’ve managed to pull someone else’s calling into our own lives.

Maybe, just maybe, God’s calling on your life is right inside your own home. Why do so many feel the need to reach beyond their immediate grasp for something that is right there in front of them.

I’m not saying that those who are called into certain ministries, to a new position or on a mission trip aren’t supposed to be doing those things, but what I am saying is that maybe you’re not.  Is it such a bad thing that we may need to focus on what’s around us before moving to what’s beyond us?

I’m going to continue to share more about this 21 Day Fast with you but first, I want you to take some time to think about the calling on your life.  If it’s not profound, I want you to make it profound in your own way…in God’s way.

Go Back to Picking Up Starfish

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s what I read this morning at 4:15 am. Of course, I had to read on. What stood out next might surprise you.

“But somewhere along the line I stopped saving starfish.”

The fact that this particular sentence stuck out to me reiterated my need to be right here, right now in this very moment. I didn’t need an explanation of this sentence, I came to my own conclusion and it was very personal.

We are so distracted by the things around us that we are beginning to miss what it is that gives us what we need the most. We turn on our minds when we need them the least and turn our heads at what needs us the most.

We’ve become inundated with technology, ignoring its place in sociology.

Our time, which used to be a hot commodity, has been freely given to things that can disappear, that mean nothing, that will not make a significant impact on our lives or the lives of those around us.

The author of a book* that I’ve been reading on and off for about 6 months (yes, I get distracted and it takes me that long to read a 200 pg book!), really hit home with this chapter. I think you’ll see why here:

“Healthy parameters provide the structure, motivation, and insight to say no to the things that can harm what is most precious to you. But be warned. Establishing boundaries is not always easy. It means having to reject mainstream trends and expectations to be true to what you believe is in your best interest. It means having to to stand up for yourself and make difficult decisions that may not please those who want your time, energy, and attention. Yet by creating limits on the excess that can flow into your life at any given time, there is space to laugh, live, love, pray, play, and breathe. Establishing boundaries allows you to go to sleep at night knowing you did your best to protect your one precious life from the corrosive elements associated with worldly distraction and pressures.”

You see folks, it is all around us. Those distractions that you will argue don’t take away from your life, yet are allowed to each and every day. You want to pretend that by prioritizing, you’re actually doing it right, but putting things into place on paper don’t put them in the right place in your life.

Maybe it’s time for you to step back and look at the bigger picture so that you can see the tiny, intricate pieces that are put together to make it a beautiful masterpiece. You may not recognize some things because you’ve pushed them so far back that you’ve forgotten about them, or just don’t remember what to do with them.

It may not be starfish that you’re trying to save, but there’s something that needs your attention before it’s too late.

I’ll close with this, “What we breathe life and energy into will thrive; what we neglect and abuse will suffer.”stars

*Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distractions, Living Better, & Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford.

Using the Sun Again…

As I was driving to work, God spoke to me through His sun again. Isn’t it funny how He uses His Son and His sun, often for the same purpose? God uses that big, bright ball in the sky to give that “feeling” to people who’ve yet to know Jesus. He uses those of us who know him in the same way. We can brighten lives of those around us simply by showing kindness, forgiving, not judging and reaching out of our comfort zone to connect with another. Think about the little things that God does to remind you of His presence then show those who don’t know Him who He is through your own, subtle ways. He’s counting on you!

 

Start With Love

I want to let you in on a little secret. I really want to save the world. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone because they’ll think I’m crazy! My heart hurts for all the things that are wrong with our society. And I don’t mean poor choices or lifestyles or anything that people deem as wrong based on their beliefs.

No, folks I’m hurting for all the people treated poorly, unfairly and just plain bad. I don’t like everyone, never will, but my time here on earth is meant to love. Living and loving is what it takes to feel fulfilled. I see people being mean because they don’t feel love. I see children acting out because they’re lacking LOVING parenting. I see companies shifting around because employees stopped loving one another and lost focus on their purpose. I’m not saying every mean person or misbehaved child is lacking love but more often than not, if you see a person of any age acting out, I guarantee the root is missing one key thing. Learn not to write people of right away.

You see, it isn’t about how strong we are, how much we can take or even how much we make. It’s about the difference, the impact, the LOVE and the things of this world we CAN change. It’s about focusing on our similarities rather than our differences and leaving our footprints in the sand, even if there’s a chance they’ll wash away. Sometimes we try and fail. We may have good intentions that are perceived as bad. Does that mean we should stop doing good? Give up on those who just don’t “get it”? Let that person sit alone time and time again because we just don’t know what to say?

You have what it takes to impact lives each and every day. If you start there, I promise you’ll end up filling a void that you didn’t even recognize.

So here’s to the opportunity to change the world. However big or small, it makes a difference to us all!

 

Changing Your Perspective

Ever have those days when you feel like you could change the world with all the thoughts and ideas in your mind?

Those days can go one of two ways…

1. They can end very badly, causing overwhelming stress and anxiety because we cannot change the entire world in one day.

2. They can go extremely well, leading to a second, third and even 20th day of wanting to “be the change”. ‪#‎motivation‬

We have a choice each day whether to go with one feeling or another. Life just doesn’t seem fair when we look at it one way when another, we realize how blessed we truly are. Things aren’t that bad in the grand scheme of things but it’s all in how you look at it.

I choose a different perspective. I want more God moments and less stress. I want to show more appreciation and less worry. I want to be humble and not afraid. I want to live and not regret.

You see, it doesn’t matter what I did yesterday, last week, last year or many years ago. I am a new person today. Does that mean that my past didn’t happen? No. But it means that I don’t have to dwell on my imperfections, that I can look past those in others and I can live the life I’m supposed to live by working through the challenges.

My perspective is changing because I’m allowing Someone much stronger to guide my life. When I do that wholeheartedly, I find peace amidst strife. Here’s to faith. Here’s to Friday. Here’s to living life!

Is Being Comfortable Making You UNcomfortable?

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you didn’t know what to do next?  If you’re not a planner or someone who likes to have a schedule or at least a “to do” list, this might be somewhat hard to understand but follow me here…

Recently I have been out of sorts, mind wandering, not knowing what the next move was supposed to be.  I was simply getting by each day with no clear direction as to what road to travel or even if there was going to be a road around the next bend.  I waited, often confused and overwhelmed that I didn’t have more of a clue that I do.

Feeling like I was out of place almost everywhere I went, no matter who I was with, yearning for that comfort that I typically always had. I wasn’t unhappy, just *blah* and not really even sure why.

Aside from making better food choices, I started exercising with my family outside.  We went for walks, hikes and bike rides nearly every day lately and boy, did that feel better!

Then, as if someone hit me with a brick, a conversation with my husband made it all come together.  Ironically, we were feeling somewhat of the same way!  Although he doesn’t have the female hormones that make my brain somewhat questionable (yes, I will admit that!), he did feel kind of complacent and wondered what is next.

Ever since we met, we dreamed together, talked about our future and up until recently, had goals and a list of things we needed to do in order to reach those goals.  Although we haven’t reached them all, we are well on our way and fairly confident that what we’re doing, if we keep on keeping on, we’ll accomplish each of them right on time — God’s time.

That brings me to THE conversation…

What do we want? Why don’t we have clear direction?  What are we working so hard for every day?  It’s not just to work so what is it that we’re working hard to achieve?  For either of us, it’s not success.  We could care less if our names are in lights as long as we make a difference right where we’re at.

Then there’s the question of finances.  If we’re on the right path, saving and spending wisely, what is it that we’re going to do later?

We used to dream — a LOT! It’s not that we aren’t dreaming, we just don’t know what we’re dreaming about at the moment.  We’re going through the day to day, knowing that we’d like to have property, that we want to be further in the country, have cows, chickens and more dogs but what else?  For either of us, it doesn’t just have a happy ending in the grand scheme of things.

When we retire, or before that if we can help it, we want all of these things but there needs to be a purpose.  WE need to serve a purpose.  That’s where we feel that things have changed lately.  We know that we want our resources to help others and that, once we have this dream home on our dream property, that it will serve a purpose to help others but we just aren’t sure in what way.  We don’t know where to look or, for that matter, where to start.

That’s when he said it…those words that I didn’t realize I would dread.

“Maybe God has us here because he wants us to rest.”

“Rest?” I said.  “Neither one of us likes to rest.”

He knows as well as I do that even on the days we plan to do nothing, we end up doing things that need to be done.  It’s just how we are.  We can’t sit still.  I can think of only a handful of days in the 6+ years that we’ve known each other that we have actually sat down and watched tv or movies all day.  We just don’t stop and that’s all for good reason.  As much as we don’t like being busy, we do. We’re go-getters and I’m pretty sure that’s how God intended it to be.

If we want something, we work for it – or – we think about it and decide if it’s really a want, a need or something that eventually we’ll get over and wish we wouldn’t have bought.  We analyze only because we want to be sure that we use our resources wisely.  But most importantly, we have been in a place where what we are doing or planning to do is making a difference.

The unclear picture for our future as to what we’re working for and why is driving us both crazy.  But here’s the deal — maybe he’s right — he probably IS right.

We work so hard all the time for something that God just wants us to take some time to just be right where we are.  He wants us to chill out and be OK doing so.  It’s a lesson of sorts.

In the  meantime, while we are trying to find out what’s next, we connect with one another by simply knowing we’re on the same page, incorporating more prayer and being open to what God reveals to us.

When I searched the word “comfortable” of course a lot of things came up but a portion of this one struck me:

“However, sometimes comfort can be a stumbling block.  Sometimes comfort can rob us of our strength and dependence on God.  Think of a man who is so comfortable in his life with so few problems that he doesn’t do much of anything let alone worry about anything.  He relaxes and enjoys life.  He also becomes weak and dependent upon his routine and life.  So too the Christian who is very comfortable in his life, can also become weak and dependent upon the securities of life instead of the Lord.  There is nothing wrong with being comfortable, unless that comfort makes us depend on God less and cause us to become complacent about the lost around us.”

So this is where we are.  We may not be able to identify with the entire piece, but we are here, in this very paragraph, praying that God will show us what we can do with our future that will bring about change in others by allowing us to use our gifts as a blessing.

We really want to help people.

We both have unique skills in which to do so.

We have wordly dreams that we fully believe can play into the idea of helping others.

So what’s next?  Do we rest where we’re at? Pray for direction and a clear mind?

The end of that same devotional that I read summed up some ways that just might help. I’m sharing them with you because I don’t doubt that there are others out there feeling the same way.  As Christians, we aren’t supposed to simply feel comfortable for long periods of time.  We are supposed to step out of our proverbial box and do something — daily.

“…. pray to the Lord and ask Him to reveal your sins to you.  Confess them and do your best to repent as you continue to rely on His grace.  Second, read your Bible regularly and ask the Lord to apply to your heart what you read.  Third, ask God to put a desire on your heart that is in accordance with your spiritual giftings so that you may not only grow and edify the body of Christ, but also to reach out to the lost.  If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, that’s okay.  God will show you.  Fourth, don’t be afraid to take risks for the Lord.  Don’t be afraid to become a little un-comfortable.  Tithe.  Pray.  Intercede.  Read the Word.  Confess your sins.  Speak the gospel.

Remember, our life is not about our comforts.  It is about loving God, loving others, and spreading the word of God.”

I think the author hit the nail on the head for me when he got to the third part of his suggested prayer.  I know you may not be in the same spot as we are, but I guarantee we could all use a little prayer time to determine what it is that God wants us to do.  We sometimes focus so much on what we want that we forget to bring God into our dreams.

After all, He should be in the driver’s seat, don’t you think?

Next time you pray, ask God what He wants you to do then be patient and wait expectantly.  Sometimes He reveals a plan that seems far out of reach but I guarantee, whatever it is, if God is your driver, then you’ll always be right on track!

 

No Worries!

Do you know that there is literally no help in worrying? I would say there’s no reason either, but there’s always a cause for our concern, even if we know there’s nothing we can do about it.

If there is something in your life that you cannot change, I encourage you today to let it go. Give it to God and let Him do His work on the situation. I know this is difficult, but your worries are going to be no help in the situation. Just because you think you’re “right” or that your advice might help, doesn’t mean that you should insert yourself into the situation.

Maybe it’s time to pull back. Maybe if you gave less of yourself and more to the One who’s trying to direct your path, you’d start to see that the worries and concerns lie only on the surface of the situation. Deep down, it’s all getting worked out, it’s just not happening as quickly as we’d like for it to.

Let me ask you this. If you were to not worry for just a bit, do you think the situation would seem better or worse? Do you think that, if you took your eyes off of that very situation for just a few moments, that things would get worse? I think not!

So why don’t you try that today. Take a step back. Remove yourself from the line of fire, take your heart back and refocus your mind on what you know to be true. Then pray that God does what He does best in the situation. Give it to Him and be thankful for His leadership. After all, isn’t this His baby anyway?

Hope this helps someone today!

Is It Really That Bad?

Is it really as bad as we make it out to be? Is life really that difficult or are there just times that what we don’t understand begins to consume our thoughts?

I often wonder about those times when I was really struggling…what if I were to have taken all the worries, all of the “what if’s” and all of the bad feelings and put them in their place. Would I have come out ahead any quicker? Would it [the hard times] have ended any sooner?

There are so many times when we’re hurting and all we know to do in those moments is hurt. What if we try to feel something different? What if we try to worry less about the feelings altogether and focus on what’s next. If we carefully thought out our next move rather than huddling behind our feelings, do you think our difficult times might soon begin to be a little easier?

This week I feel like I’ve been speaking to the struggling; those who are going through a time in their life that they just wish was over. Know that I’m praying for you friends. I know it’s not easy but it definitely could be worse. There is such a bright future ahead and now is the time to turn your focus towards that. Don’t turn back or wonder what you could have done different because all you have is every step you make moving forward. Place your eyes upon the prize which is a life full of love, happiness and blessings in abundance. If you know that is what’s next, why would you ever look back?

You were meant for more than this moment.

‪#‎dontlookback‬ ‪#‎lifeiswhatyoumakeofit‬

Just a friendly reminder…

Every now and then we all need a little reminder as to why we’re here, why we do what we do and how we can get back on track.

You see, it’s easy to start letting everything around us take our attention. The little thief is there, stealing our thoughts, whispering in our ear and determining our feelings has been guiding our paths for too long. It’s time to refocus, to get back in the game and to see all that we can do right where we’re at.

Stop worrying about all those around you – what they’re doing wrong, how much time they’re putting in and what we think they should do different. Let’s bring this back to YOU now. Why are you here in the first place? My guess is because you want to make a difference. Guess what? I believe you can, God knows you can because He gave you all the skills you need to do so, now it’s up to you to put it into action.

Don’t feel bad that you went astray for a bit. Just use that to fuel your passion even more. All you can deal with is what you have right now and where you are headed from there.

I am confident that today is going to be a good day for you. You have what it takes to make a difference in so many lives but you have to believe it too. You have to make the choice to work harder, put first things first and desire the end result so much so, that you will feel as if you can accomplish anything.

My desire for you today is to become all that you have inside of you to be, that you stop worrying about everyone and everything else around you and that you honor the position God has called you to be in, right where you are now. You have so much potential. Now prove it!

Happy Friday!

‪#‎getit‬ ‪#‎youvegotthis‬ ‪#‎youaremorethanyouvebeenshowinglately‬