Category Archives: Purpose

The 21 Day Fast: Part III

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.

Communicate.

Appreciate.

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.

Take pictures.

Smell the flowers.

Keep certain areas in your house clean always so you have somewhere to go when you need to feel “put together”

and finally…

Love A LOT.

 

 

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.

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!

Where Did I Go?

People wonder why I’m so happy all of the time. There’s lots of reasons actually…like the fact that I have an amazing husband, daughter, family, friends, and a church family that I love. But honestly, over the past 10 years, my reasons have been deeper, much deeper then those amazing people, things, and places in my life.

When you find out that you have a serious medical condition, your life will forever be changed. Sometimes things can get better sometimes they get worse and sometimes, well sometimes you just have no idea what will happen next…

It’s been a couple years since I’ve had any issues whatsoever until these past few weeks. I didn’t say anything to anyone, not even my family, because I wanted to wait it out. I decided not to wait any longer because it bothered me enough that I was in tears at my desk at the office one day. Of course I knew what the doctor was going to say…that he would put me on a heart monitor see how things are going. That’s what was going to happen and quite frankly  what should happen. But what happens from here, I don’t know.

It brings me back to the very reason that I wanted to share this with you today. Although I have so many reasons to be happy with my life, to be happy in my life, and to be happy each and every day, the most important reason but I’m happy is because I’m alive. I was given an opportunity to be who I am, to live through a very difficult time and to actually make it out better than I was when I first started. I don’t know about you but I’ve come to realize that life isn’t just about the things, the places, or even the people alone. It’s about the very reason that God put us here in the first place. Sometimes those reasons have to do with people sometimes they have to do with a lot of people. But know one thing folks, you’re here to serve a purpose greater than yourself, greater than the individuals around you, and far beyond anything you could have ever imagined.

Be thankful.

Be happy.

If you don’t show it on your face, people will know you don’t feel it in your heart. As the saying goes, fake it till you make it. We’ve all heard that but it’s the truth. If your heart doesn’t feel something it’s hard to make the rest of you go along with it. One day, things will catch up.

Last night I was reading James 5, something Pastor Josh had just spoken a great message on this past Sunday. I got to verse 16 and stopped cold:

“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer if a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”

I was reminded of a conversation I had had with my husband, my daughter, my mom, cousin and a friend. In these (all separate) conversations, I openly shared with them the disarray of my heart, my lack of and often times overabundance of emotions, and feelings of sheer emptiness.

On top of the heart issues, I was also feeling “off” with no explanation as to why. In one of my conversations, I shared something very important that I wanted you all to hear and that is, I need to practice what I preach.

So many times I’ve written what words that I believe God has laid on my heart for others, all the while wondering if in fact those words were meant for me. I can talk a good talk when it comes to giving advice and knowing how to handle difficult situations but truth of the matter is, life isn’t always easy for me either. I read the words knowing I should be following them myself, earnestly seeking God’s guidance yet hesitating to put forth the effort it will take to actually change the situation.

I’m here to tell you that my lack of perfection is what makes me the best candidate for God’s correction. My love of life and people is what makes my love of God and all things good produce fruit…when I’m on the right path that is.

Want to know how I know this?

It’s when nothing is going right, so many things are in disarray, yet I still feel the urge to make a difference. I get worn out, feel beat up and simply out of sorts.

Want to know how that happens?

It’s from losing track of myself somewhere amidst taking care of everyone else. My concern for others can sometimes stand in the way of the blessings God has for me. And trust me when I say, most of my blessings end up leading to ways I can bless others. So in closing off myself, I am standing in the way of God working through me to help others.

Do you see this circle I’m in?

Trying to do what I feel is right while losing track of the light. Instead of telling God I don’t know what’s wrong and asking for help, I try to find an explanation, try to fix it or flat out ignore it.

I’ve laid it out there for all to see and WOW, it feels good. Do I feel like a fraud? Nope, not at all. I feel like the person who tries to do it all, who sees the best in everyone, who finally realizes that not everything is peachy. Not everything has to be “right”. I don’t always have to smile every dang minute of the day!

I don’t know at what point I got off track but I’m certainly glad I finally admitted to myself, to others and to God that I just didn’t feel like myself.

Here’s to getting back to ME.ily10