I’m fat. I’m ugly. No one really listens when I talk. I have no purpose. I have no direction. I’m boring. No one really likes me. I wish I were more like her. I wish I were stronger like him. I don’t matter.
Now that I have your attention, I want to ask you a question. Have you ever said any of those things? Have you ever wondered if you’re ever going to amount to something?
I’m talking to people of all ages here, from the teenagers to the adults. And it’s important so you’re going to want to park it for a few…
This has been on my mind for quite some time. I hear students and grown adults alike, who don’t understand their value here on earth. Too often we look to someone else’s talents, achievements, direction and assume that if we don’t have the same ambition, we just aren’t worth it. SO NOT TRUE!
There are days when we are down and quite frankly, those days SUCK! But you know what? You can CHOOSE the thoughts you allow to stay in your mind. I’ve shared that with my daughter a time or two but definitely have to remind myself often. We have an enemy out there who wants to take our joy and replace it with all those negative comments up there ^^^. And you know what? YOU HAVE TO TELL HIM NO!
Each and every one of us here on earth brings a certain unmatched charm wherever we go. We are all smart in different ways with the chance to make a difference in each other’s lives just the same. Here’s the kicker though —
1. We have to believe and know in our hearts that we’re worth it.
2. We have to CHOOSE to say NO to those thoughts that try to creep in and tell us otherwise.
3. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others because our journey is different than their’s.
4. We have to remember that we can have one of the greatest qualities a human can possess.
#4 is special. These two words were put on my heart yesterday out of no where. Many of you know how I work and so you’re not surprised to hear me say, it has to be from God. My faith has gotten me a long way, but it’s my process of being who He’s called me to be that has kept me strong.
Those two words — perhaps the greatest quality we can possess — HUMBLE CONFIDENCE. Having confidence is one thing because you can be confident but arrogant. You can be strong but ignorant. And you can be smart but not compassionate. Humble confidence describes a quality that allows us to see our strengths, to pursue using them, nurturing them, and using them for their intended purpose. Each purpose will be different, but it will be for the greater good. You may not touch thousands of lives, or you just might, but I guarantee it will be more than just about you. It’s never just about us. It’s never just about us and our chosen few. It’s about those that God puts in our path to learn from, you love on and to share with. He brings us people to help us through our ups and downs but when it comes down to it, we have to know how to reach out in our own strength and know that we DO MATTER.
Your uniqueness is what sets you apart from everyone else — from your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, siblings, parents, friends, etc. Of course you’ll have similarities and qualities that you’ll get from someone else you’re close to, but your skills, your desires, your direction is uniquely yours.
Don’t worry so much about 20 years from now — concentrate on what’s in front of you. Make the most of today and what’s next will come naturally. Realize that your strengths are there for a reason, even if you don’t know exactly what that is yet, and learn to walk with HUMBLE CONFIDENCE.
I, for one, am so glad to know you. I am so thankful that God put you in my life. Whether I see you every day or never at all, you did make some sort of an impact on my life or you wouldn’t be here. Know how important you are. Even if we don’t have everything in common or follow the same path, our paths did cross for a reason. We may travel together for awhile then wave goodbye at the fork, or we may be on a journey together that will take us through to what’s next — who knows. But I do know this…
You are smart. You are strong. You have purpose. Your life has meaning. It doesn’t matter who or how many like you. You are uniquely you and that is the best news! You will make a difference.
I want you to know how special you are. I’m praying today that this verse empowers you in your walk with humble confidence. Love you!
Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." ~1 Corinthians 15:33
In the devotion I was reading this morning, I immediately noticed the multitude of times the word PEACE had been added to the day’s reading.
From the shared verse (John 14:27) to the lesson, the word had been used 21 times. At first count, there were 20, but something told me to look again…I found one more.
21 seemed relevant but I wasn’t exactly sure why. So I looked up the significance of the number 21 in regards to the bible. Needless to say, I didn’t get the answer I was looking for. I don’t really know what I expected but since my word was PEACE, I thought I would find something a little fluffier than “exceeding sinfulness of sin”. Another source says this:
“…the great wickedness of rebellion and sin.” Later on saying, “…beginning a new level or effort that is sinful and disobedient against God.”
Guess I hadn’t expected sin and disobedience to somehow describe my discovery of PEACE. Ah! But in that sentence lies the very answer that God may just have spoken [to me] about this very message.
In John 14, Jesus was preparing his friends after their last supper together. Perhaps one of the greatest things he reminded us is that we can experience a “sense of well-being in the midst of hardship.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do no let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
When I thought about what the Holy Spirit might trying to reveal to me, I thought of two, very important things. Both have significant meaning to me at this very time in my life.
The first thing He revealed is that He has given me a Spirit of PEACE. Amidst the turmoil in the world, I am able to have PEACE – true and total PEACE – in Him. Any time I let the problems of this world affect my mood, I must remember this gift that He gave me in such a time as this.
Secondly, He reminded me that sin and disobedience do affect my PEACE. Distractions and deterring from a plan that keeps me alongside Him strips me of the very PEACE He so graciously promised.
So now what?
God’s trying to tell me something and I really want to listen. It’s like an old television show with the word of the day. My word of the day is PEACE and I will carry it with me today, just like it was part of my outfit. Then tomorrow, I’ll get up and do the same thing, maybe even writing a card and sitting it next to my bed so that the first thing I see in the morning is a note that says PEACE.
I don’t know if this message was just for me or if it’s meant for you as well but I certainly do believe that God’s PEACE is promised to us all. Regardless of your situation or the outcome, you have been given a PEACE beyond all understanding. Take that gift and use it to set your mind free – free of distractions, free of disturbances and free from the disobedience that is bringing you farther away from your Heavenly Father.
I pray that today, you experience PEACE like you haven’t found in so long.
This was a difficult time for many. The flooding brought with it destruction, devastation and heartbreak. For some, it wasn’t about displacement but inconvenience. For others, it wasn’t about loss but about impatience.
At a time such as this, when one could choose to have an attitude of gratitude, instead, focuses were on the traffic, the cancellations, the things we weren’t able to do because of the flooding. I just nodded my head as a lady referred to our “island” just as so many had done before…making a joke of it all, while all I could think about was how blessed I was to be one of those who lived on said island.
How quickly we forget about those in need when we have to take detours — when we have to sit in traffic — when we can’t do all the things we want to do but have all we could ever need. Sure, I’ll admit that I was bummed about all the school days missed, but I prayed about the outcome and I know that God will come through in His way.
We made the most of our days together — enjoying free lunches out, getting caught up on some things, sleeping in a little. My husband went to work in the city each day, despite the continued rumors that there was no way out.
People made excuses for their poor attitudes, shared in complaints, joining together to talk about how inconvenient this all was when so many have lost so much.
As the waters recede, I’d like you to take a few minutes to reflect on this past week. Did you spend more time complaining than you did helping? Did you feel more sorry for yourself than for those who truly experienced loss? What have you learned that you can take from this week to share with the next generation?
Let’s stop complaining about the rainy days when they’re few and far between.
Let’s not focus on what is a momentary inconvenience when so many others are hurting.
Let’s take some time to give back when we can instead of staying to ourselves.
The next time you start to get frustrated and feel the need to complain, think about those who really have something to complain about. Most of them aren’t wasting their time talking, they’re getting their hands dirty. Maybe you should to.
I’m crying. I mean really crying. I’m a girl and it’s not the “typical” time when you’d expect me to be emotional.
What’s going on…
I just realized how incredibly thankful I am. My tears are of gratitude. It’s been SO long since I’ve felt like that.
I’ve been minding my own business, praying through things that used to frustrate me, praying while I exercise, listening to music that helps my mind stay focused, choosing the thoughts that I allow in my head. I could go on and on about all the things that I’ve been working on lately, but we don’t have that kind of time.
This morning, I woke up, read the verse of the day and immediately started to get distracted. Then I got out of bed, got on the scale, grabbed a cup of coffee, then got back into bed to write a few things down. I left my job about 2 months ago to pursue writing and focus my attention on being the woman, wife and mother that God has called me to be. Since that day, just over 2 months ago, I’ve lost 15lbs and found my WANT TO right in the middle of my do I have to?
It’s been a whirlwind of emotions ever since then. Some days I feel great, others I feel like I’m missing the mark. But something felt different this morning. I felt different this morning.
After I got up and made my daughter and I our typical breakfast smoothies, we laughed through our goodbye hug and she left for school. When the bus came, she texted me (like she normally does) to have a great day but then she added something…
“Go stand outside, the birds sound really cool chirping so much!”
Well I didn’t go outside because I had some devotions to finish, but I did open the windows before sitting on my bed to read my morning devotions.
Afterward, I wrote in the two books that I write in daily. One is a 5-year journal Aubrey gave me close to 3 years ago. The other is a set of books I started when I met my husband 7+ years ago. I’ve written one reason I love him each day since that very first day.
As I wrote this morning, a feeling of thankfulness came over me and I started to cry. I wanted to pray then but all I could do was cry.
God urged me then to come here and write. It has been so long since I’ve had (and followed) that urging. He is so good to me and yet, I still fail to follow His lead, even at the smallest things.
I sat here for a moment and just cried like a baby. My prayers of gratitude were my tears; something I didn’t even know was possible.
Oh how I want to stay right here, right now, in His presence with thanksgiving. So often we walk right past the very thing He’s trying to show us. We don’t listen when He’s calling our name. We go our own way for so long that we begin to think our way IS the way. Then, when we find the way again, things start to become clear.
Fear is pushed aside.
Self-control becomes easy.
Anger isn’t an issue.
Forgiveness comes easily.
Our minds are no longer a way for the devil to control us.
Gratitude is in the forefront and we truly experience things.
I am feeling the release of pressure and the gift of expectation.
The gift of expectation may not sound right but it’s so true.
Psalm 5:3 (NIV) says this:
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
The gift of expectation simply means that we are not to be worried about tomorrow. We are IN today and we’re expecting that whatever God brings tomorrow, He’s going to see us through.
Think about it…
Consider it a great gift that God gives us; that we can lay our prayers at His feet and wait patiently with expectancy.
I want you to give it to God today. I mean really give to Him whatever it is that’s burdening you. Then wait expectantly AND with gratitude for however He answers you.
It’s never really THE END but I think next week it’ll be time to focus my blog on something else. Time to just get Beyond the Fast and on to what lies ahead.
We tend to stay where we are [mentally] for as long as we can until pressured enough to make a move. Why do we wait often for something significant to happen before we choose where we’ll go next?
God’s timing is everything but so is our follow-through. In order to stay in a certain state of mind, we must keep moving forward or we’ll start to get behind.
Those changes you’ve made, however big or small, they did make an impact on your outlook. You are now seeing things through a clearer set of eyes and in a way that gives you an opportunity to look beyond your current situation.
You can’t beat yourself up for taking a step back or over indulge in whatever your weakness is just because you made a mistake. Pat yourself on the back (because you certainly can’t wait for someone else to do it!) and say, “It’s going to be alright.”
Then just start where you left off and don’t turn back.
In James 1:2, we see that our perfection isn’t and expectation. We are going to have trials, tribulations and temptations along the way. It’s what we do when in those situations that tells God where your heart is. And where your heart is makes all the difference in the world.
I don’t know who this is for today, but I sure hope whoever you are, you’re reading this with an open mind. I’m praying for you today because something inside is telling me that you’re hurting and all you need is a hug to take that next step. So consider this prayer your hug from me!
Dear Heavenly Father, your child is hurting. Their choices haven’t always shown your best work in them and they recognize it. Their path has been curved for way too long and they are ready to surrender to whatever it is that You have prepared for them. Show them the direction they should go. Give them the wisdom to know when they have arrived and lead them continuously so that they may grow to be the son/daughter you’ve called them to be. When the moments are difficult, I pray that they remember you’re there. When the temptations come, and I know they will, I pray they remember you’re there. When the path seems to curve more than they’d expected, I pray they remember you’re there. Today is a day that they will make a choice to follow Your voice; Your voice that You so eloquently chose just for them. Thank you for helping me to hug my friend. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
If you haven’t read Part I & II, that’s okay, but I would encourage you to go back just to see what it’s all about. Starting here is a good point though, because I’m getting ready to share some of the things I accomplished while fasting from social media.
First, I want to share a very important truth that I read this morning. This morning’s devotion was titled Knowing but Not Applying. As soon as I heard those words, I cringed. Sometimes it’s as if the author, Lysa Terkeurst, is talking to me specifically. Today, she was talking to the person I was and am trying so hard not to be any longer.
Without spoiling what could be a good devotion for each of you, I will share the most important part…
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
There is a big difference between ingesting and digesting.
Hmmmm…now read this…
Too many times, I’ve been one to ingest without digesting: reading truth, but not applying it; liking a message I hear at church, but not living it; knowing what I must do to experience life change, but never putting it into action; taking in knowledge, but never letting it make a difference in my life.
After I read this, I wondered if she had been with me during the first part of my 21 day journey, when I was learning but not applying; trying to find my “want to” but not really knowing how to.
At some point in those 21 days, I started listening to the still, small voice that was quietly urging me to do more, to be better, to find myself again amidst the cloud of fog I’d buried myself in. I didn’t know how I got there but God was offering me a way out by focusing on the things I could change and praying for the things only Hecould.
When I started doing that, I found the things I struggled with to be a little easier. And I no longer dwelled on things I couldn’t change, only allowing myself to think about them for a few moments before moving on. God was speaking to me more when I applied His truths than when I simply heard them. I was recognizing in the little things, all of the BIG things He was trying to show me.
Now to the cool part!
In those 21 days, I accomplished more than I ever would have thought. Instead of sharing on social media the things I was proud to have done, witnessed or been a part of, I started writing them down.
In the 3 weeks since I left social media I…
- lost 7lbs.
- Worked out on the elliptical for 300 minutes, traveling nearly 32 miles
- Walked for 170 minutes outside, bringing my puppy along with most of the 7.8 miles I managed to travel
- Went on three “Wellness Dates” with one of my best friends, hiking 8.5 miles in the 198 minutes we met up
- finished reading one book and started another
- found scriptures that I plan to study and memorize
- planted flowers
- made crafts that I never thought I’d be good at making and found out that I could easily become addicted to Michael’s craft store!
- went on two dates with my husband
- continued to write in my “Reasons I love you” journal, highlighting all of the things he is and does that make me love him even more (I started this the day we met and am now nearing 2,500 entries!)
- prayed with my husband
- prayed for my husband
- watched my daughter get inducted into the National Honor Society, to later be chosen as the Junior Rep for her entire class!
- in the same day, I was able to celebrate her also being chosen to attend the Missouri Scholars Academy where she’ll choose a major and two minors to study while on campus at Mizzou for three weeks this summer
- listened and watched as my daughter sang her very first solo at church in front of all her peers. WOW!
- encouraged my daughter as she drove on Hwy 44 and 270 for the first time ever…and she did fantastic!
- Went on 2 mother-daughter dates shopping and out to eat and also to the Cardinals game
- Went on a school field trip with my daughter, which I never thought I’d do again since she’s in high school
- Gave blood with my daughter on what was her very first time
- Watched three 80’s movies (incidentally, I told my daughter that she could not go off to college in 2 1/2 years unless she got her fill of 80’s movies. So far, she loves Big, Sleepless in Seattle and Mystic Pizza.)
- was able to be there when my little cousin receive a life-saving award in what was only her first year of being a police officer!
- hung out with some awesome ladies at a comedy show in Farmington
- hosted a weekly small group study with three women I’ve been blessed to get to know better
- attended 7 church services
- sang at 3 church services (Easter)
- packed lunch for my family every day of the week
- drank at least 20 healthy smoothies
- pinned 50+ new recipes
- meal planned for the month
- made several, new healthy recipes
- swept my house 5x
- learned that podcasts and sermons by some of my favorite evangelists are great to exercise to
- prayed A LOT!
- came up with 1/2 dozen titles to blogs I plan on writing, one of which is called Cilantro 😉
- cried, laughed, yelled, apologized
- learned that sometimes God wants you to be right where you’re at for a little while
- determined that distractions can come in all forms because if the devil can’t get you one way, he’ll come after you another
- had countless conversations with myself and with God
- decided to just “do me” for a bit
As much as we think we’re doing certain things for ourselves, most often, if we do them with a glad heart, they’ll end up being for someone else.
I left my job at the end of February for two reasons — to pursue my passion in writing and to be the best woman, wife and mother that God’s called me to be.
Over the past three weeks, without certain distractions, I’ve been able to learn more about enjoying right where God has me than ever before.
And ironically enough, this topic I wrote on several days ago to share came up in several sermons I’ve heard in only the past two days, reminding me that God is here listening, watching, waiting to see if we’ll be obedient to His calling for our lives.
You see, doing ordinary things doesn’t mean you can’t be impactful. Learning to listen, let go of control, and trust in the abilities of others is hard. We may see it one way but wish it were another. Or focus too much on one thing and not enough on another. Our direction isn’t always in the way of our heart by means of a straight path. Sometimes the curves, bumps and parts that are under construction on the road take us to the same place, just the long way around.
Believe in the journey.
Know that nothing happens overnight.
Recognize your areas for improvement.
Apologize as often as you need to.
Smell the fresh air for goodness sake!
We must learn to not take even the slightest things for granted or become distracted by the things others are doing that we are not.
Smell the flowers.
Keep certain areas in your house clean always so you have somewhere to go when you need to feel “put together”
Love A LOT.
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:
- 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.
- 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 control, stop planning everything, trust in others, respond not react, to 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!
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.
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!
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.