A very long hiatus has happened…I wish I could say it’s over…but at least I’m here today!
So I begin our time together using an interesting verse: Matthew 23:12
What a verse, right?
I use this verse, because, sadly, I have seen it lived out.
Friends, I do not consider myself a prideful person. If anything, I tend to downplay any ability I may have in certain areas. I don’t really like attention, and will do whatever is necessary to kind of fade into the background in most circumstances.
So when I have read over this verse in the past, I just thought about how sad it would be to find myself in such a position that the Lord of the earth would have to humble me.
I never thought it would actually happen.
But it did.
Enter teaching. I have fought the very fibers of my being for several years, telling myself that I did not belong in a classroom. Telling myself that the tug I felt toward school was just me missing friendships that I had there. Telling myself that I could find fulfillment in other arenas. Telling and telling and telling…
Until finally, on a hike high up in the Colorado mountains, I asked, “Should I go back to work full-time? Should I apply for this job that is open at my old school? Please Lord, I need Your guidance.” And this time, I truly heard what my heart had known all along. So I applied, got hired, and started the year in my normal fashion.
Coming into a new grade level has its own unique set of challenges. Add to that being absent from full-time teaching and all the full-time responsibilities, and you can imagine that those first few weeks were crazy.
Thankfully, God blessed me with two incredible teammates who kept this struggling chick afloat, answering questions and providing suggestions to make that time easier. And it was easier…in some ways.
You see, I wasn’t going about this working thing the way I should. I approached it from the “me” perspective–I can handle this, I can do whatever is necessary, I’m a veteran teacher–how hard can this be? I was all about what I could do, how I could do. Me, me, me…
Until…one day I was sitting at home thinking about all the millions of things I still had to do at work. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get a handle on how to make things happen efficiently. I felt like I was falling further and further behind despite my best efforts. Frustration, sadness, feelings of failure, second-guessing my decision to go back to work, doubt of my ability…it was then that I heard my God. In the sweetest yet firmest of voices, He spoke to the depths of my soul–“That’s the problem…you’re relying on yourself.”
Of course I’m relying on myself. I have been given the gift of teaching, that I have been told by numerous people on numerous occasions. I’m working within my gifting, I’m doing what I’m supposed to, I’m in the job because You arranged it… Yep, I am relying on myself (I sarcastically thought).
My friend, I will always remember what happened next as one of my defining moments. Again, in the voice my soul recognizes, my Savior spoke: You cannot do it without Me.
It was as if my eyes had been opened for the first time. The realization that came with that simple yet sooooo profound sentence nearly took my breath away. I had been doing all of it within my own strength; never looking to my Provider, never seeking my Defender, never turning to my Creator. Nope, I had it all under control. No need to bother God–so I thought.
All the confidence I had in my ability had taken my eyes off of the One Who gave me the ability in the first place. I was so sure that I could do whatever was needed…and because of that, I made my life difficult. My stress, my doubt, my insecurity…all because of myself…
When I finally let the full weight of my personal inability fall on me… when I finally heard what my Lord had been trying to tell me… when I finally not only recognized but also acknowledged my need for Him… the weight of my current situation fell inexplicably and completely off my shoulders. I felt free…I truly can’t explain it… totally free. Unencumbered, relaxed, and…humbled.
I had allowed my pride to block my view of God. I had put all my faith in me. I had a serious dose of pride–thinking I was all that, and not needing any help from my Savior. No wonder I felt like I was being crushed. Pride had weaved its nasty vine in my life–without me knowing it. Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story.
I emerged on the other side of this life-defining moment a new woman: I had come face-to-face with my pride, and had experienced the disgrace of having to admit my sin and shortcomings to my Lord. But I also experienced the grace and forgiveness of an ever-present God Who only wants me to draw closer to Him. Through it all, I gained a wisdom and a sense of purpose that I would never have known had I not walked this path. Proverbs 11:2 said it best: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” I am also a living testimony of this verse–my God didn’t leave me as the person described in Matthew 23:12–He moved me to a whole new level in our relationship.
From that moment on, I have prayed each day, “God, this day is a gift. I thank You for it, but I’m turning it around and giving it right back to You. I know, without any reservations, that I cannot do this day without You. I truly can do nothing alone. I cannot teach these children, love these children, lead these children without You. Take this day and use me to do what You need.”
Humbled, yes. But so much more than that. Free, relaxed, appreciative, dependent–no longer do I do my day on my own. My humbled spirit bows to the Creator of me, trusting in His plan for me. God made me a teacher; and I can only be how and who He created me to be when I lay each day, and myself, at His feet.
I choose every day to live humbled….wiser… and victoriously!
It’s the season of reunions.
Family reunions, class reunions…the pictures and invitations are all over social media.
I graduated in a class of 44 people–yes, you read that right.
Out of that 44, some are no longer with us. Some have moved away. Some are in less-than-ideal life situations.
And some just don’t really care about getting together with the people with whom they went to school (most of us were in school together from kindergarten to 12th grade–yep, we literally grew up together).
You see, sometimes it isn’t easy to look back, to reminisce.
Some of us don’t have those wonderful high school memories.
I’m one of those people. I had friends, but I lived my life in such a haze of lies and the pursuit of popularity–well, I’m not sure what kind of friend I actually was. Don’t get me wrong; I did have some fun. I did do some stupid high school stuff. But, on this side of high school, I can’t really say that those years were “the best years of my life.”
Can anyone relate????
So for me, when I think of my high school years, I prefer to remember only parts of them. That first kiss from the guy I thought I would love forever (and didn’t, thankfully). That football game when I wore a cheerleader’s uniform for the first time. The laughter I shared with friends I thought would always be there for me.
Looking back is good…sometimes…
When I think of looking back, the Bible story of Lot’s wife always comes to mind. Remember the story in Genesis 18-19? The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had become so wicked the Lord was going to destroy them. Abraham pleaded for the cities, and the Lord said that if there were 10 righteous people there, He would not destroy the cities (Genesis 18:32-33). That many were not found, so the Lord sent angels to warn Lot and his family to flee the city. Lot tried to get his future sons-in-law to leave, but they laughed at the old man (Genesis 19:14). Lot hesitated, and the angels grabbed Lot’s hands and forced him and his family to leave. The angels told them, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!” (v. 17). That sounded pretty straightforward to me! As they were running, Lot’s wife couldn’t stand it. She had to look back–and when she did, she became a pillar of salt (v. 26).
Looking back isn’t always good…
I don’t know why she looked back. I don’t know why she couldn’t be happy with moving ahead. I don’t know why she wanted one last look at the life she was leaving behind.
No wait. I do know.
Sometimes we like to look back and think of times in the past as if those times in the past could be times in our future (did you follow that?). You know–the relationship that didn’t work out suddenly seems like the best one for us. The job we left because we were miserable suddenly seems like the ideal workplace. The one place we promised we’d never return suddenly seems like the most incredible place to be. The situation we really didn’t want to leave, but had to leave, suddenly seems like the only right thing to do.
Just like Lot’s wife, we have to look back.
My friend, I am here to tell you right now, in all love and sincerity, don’t look back! Those “trips down memory lane” are nice, as long as you don’t dwell there. God moved you out of a relationship, out of a job, out of a place, out of a situation, for a reason. Don’t look back and dream of a life that won’t be–or try to make that life happen by re-living old times. While you won’t be turned into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife, the repercussions could be just as harmful.
Start looking ahead, my sweet. We can’t re-live the past–no matter how much we would like to change it, it’s already written. Stop dreaming of what could-have-been and start dreaming of what-might-be. Ask God for wisdom in your daily choices, and start looking forward with anxious anticipation. Stop putting God in your box and let Him rule in your life. When you live with abandon, with full confidence in what God will do, all the things in the past will fade into the background of your life. Those situations will become only colors in your tapestry–not dictators of your present thoughts, but rather memories that pop up every once in a while.
Let me leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:
Let your joyful anticipation of the future dominate your thoughts.
Don’t look back–you don’t live there anymore!
They are truly amazing creatures. Though so, so, tiny, they can seriously move across the air–when it’s mating season, they can fly up to sixty miles an hour! “Normal” flight speeds are around thirty miles an hour, though. There are seventeen species of hummingbirds (did you know that?). Like I said, amazing!
Hummingbirds love bright colors. That’s why most hummingbird feeders are red. Sometimes that attraction to bright colors gets them in trouble–locked in a garage, falling out of a nest too soon, slamming into windows. Yep, they are speedy, but can be a bit overly focused as well.
I have a summer decoration hanging on my front door. It has brightly colored flowers on it–cute I must say! Anyway, I saw a hummingbird try to find nectar out of my fake flowers! Oh, and while I’m outside writing this, another hummingbird tried to put the moves on my decoration!
Why do these crazy speedy creatures look for nectar in all the wrong places?
Singular focus, my friend. If it looks like a flower, it must be a flower–in a hummingbird’s mind, that is. While his focus may be narrow, his brain is impressive–4.2% of his body weight is brain, the largest proportion in the bird kingdom. He is very smart; he can remember every flower he’s been to, and how long it will take that flower to refill in nectar (Thanks to World of Hummingbirds for all that info!).
So, even though my fake flowers are devoid of nectar, something keeps bringing those zippy flyers to my door.
Those flowers look like the real thing, but upon closer inspection, they prove not to have what the hummingbirds desire.
We humans are a lot like hummingbirds. We can become singularly focused, to the detriment of all around us. We can zip ,zip, zip through our days–and be worn out and without anything to show for it. Though we are smart cookies, we can be deceived by things that look good, sound good, smell good.
We are often taken in by things that look like the “real thing,” but later turn out to not have what we need.
The apostle Paul knew all about that. Listen to what he said in 2 Corinthians 11: 14–“…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” Friend, our enemy knows our weaknesses. If he can’t convince us in one way to do something contrary to the will of God, he will just find another way. He will present options to us that look good, sound good–but aren’t good in the long run.
We are never immune to his assaults.
But, we don’t have to live in constant fear of being defeated by our enemy. No, my sweet. I challenge you to be more like a hummingbird. Take the time to remember where you’ve been–think about how satan has convinced you before. Put to memory any tactic he may have used to persuade you; remember, his goal is to make you less like Jesus. In order to do that, he must make his options appear good, appear ‘bathed in light’ if you will. Use that time of remembrance not to beat yourself up, for we all fall victim to satan’s ploys at times. Instead, use the memories as ways to build up your attack. Store those in your memory bank. Don’t go back and visit the same “fake flower” over and over–start looking for the real thing. For it is when we recognize satan’s tactics, and acknowledge that he has tricked us before, that we begin to have real victory over our enemy.
Stop visiting something that looks good, sounds good, but isn’t good. Take your mind off it. Step away from it. Don’t go back to it.
Instead, focus on our Savior, the One True God. He will more than sufficiently supply you with the much-needed “nectar” to get you through the day.
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (all the ways that we’ve been tricked by satan in the past). And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus (focusing on the real nectar), the Pioneer and Perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12: 1b-2a).
(Just a final picture of these amazing creatures–because I can!)
Oh yes, how I do enjoy thorns. Especially the ones that grab hold of your fingers even when you haven’t touched them–it’s as if they have their own minds.
I live in the country. In front of my house is a nicely unkempt area or two that my husband refers to as “animal habitat.”
It’s a grown-up space with weeds, mystery trees, grasses, and…wild blackberries. Animal habitat.
Anyway, I have an abundance of wild blackberries bushes in my yard. They offer food for the many birds, rabbits, deer, whatever animal that decides to bound through… But, they also offer food for the humans living on the property.
If…you can pick them.
Here’s where the thorns come in. They are tiny little things, and they shouldn’t be so painful.
I have foolishly tried to pick the luscious black fruit without gloves. I have cried.
I have tried picking the yummy berries with gloves. I have fussed.
Why can’t these bushes be less thorny? In truth, the whole bush is one big thorn!
I’m no biologist or plant expert, but I think the bush is trying to protect the fruit. The seeds that will enable more thorny little bushes to grow are in that hard-to-get berry. Mr. Plant doesn’t want anyone or anything to prohibit the growth of more bushes.
You’re welcome for the science lesson (or science guessing, as the case may be).
But…the reward for going through those thorns…is worth it. The fruit is sweet, and burst in your mouth like a tiny piece of nutritional goodness. I don’t, however, get many of those fruits–because of the thorns.
Think of life. We all have “thorns” that inhibit us in some way. Maybe you have a co-worker that never sees the positive. Perhaps a family member is constantly “nudging” you to do something. It may even be that you have a physical “thorn” that prohibits you from doing something you once enjoyed.
Paul, the apostle who wrote 2 Corinthians, knew about thorns. “Therefore, in order to keep me (Paul) from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me” (2 Corinthians 12:7). There was something that Paul wanted to do, but this “thorn” kept him from doing it. Did he just sit around and wait for the thorn to disappear? Nope, he continued on his God-given journey to spread the fame of Jesus to the Gentiles.
His reward for going through the thorns was worth the price.
Perhaps you are going through a thorny time. Maybe you are so scratched up, so beaten up, so bloody from the events of your life that you want to give up and let those thorns win.
Oh my sweet. Keep fighting through the thorns.
Hold in your hand the “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Rely upon the Creator of the universe to get you through the thorns. Fight, be active, keep going. The thorns are hard; they hurt again and again. Your body and spirit may want to stop fighting–but you have to battle on. In your life, in your soul, all around you, is the One Who loves you more than anything, is the One Who fights your battles, is the One Who will give you victory over those thorns.
Your reward for going through those thorns will be worth the price.
I have just come inside from ANOTHER long, tiring morning of…weeding.
I’m going to make a confession–I hate weeding.
No, not hate. Despise, abhor, loathe, detest, disdain..yes, a thesaurus is still a useful tool!
Because I soooo detest this task, I put it off. And put it off. And put it off.
Yes, I know I should do it more often. Yes I know putting landscape fabric down would minimize weeds. Yes I know more mulch would prohibit weed growth. Yes I know there is such a thing as a weed killer spray. Yes, I know.
But I don’t do it.
As I was sooo enjoying weeding this morning (sarcasm, my sweet), I was also spending awesome time with my Lord (no sarcasm!). I thought this task might make a great topic for writing, but how would I tie in weeding to the Bible? My God didn’t let me wonder that long. Check out these verses He gave:
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing…” Philippians 2:14
How could this be the same house? Only hours before, it was filled with laughter and conversations.
We work and fuss and cry and fuss and clean and fuss and nurture and fuss and discipline and fuss and sigh and fuss and …
What do we get in return? There are days when the only “get” we receive is to go to bed exhausted. Vowing to never do the things we did that day again. Wondering how we will ever survive this stage of childhood. Imagining the day when we won’t have to do these things. Wishing our children were older.
Then, in the blink of an eye, they are. With their own lives. With their own apartments. With their own food choices. With their own laundry (and they do it!). With their own bills to pay (and they pay them!). With their own careers (or in preparation for them).
It’s at that point where motherhood is supposed to get easier, right? This is the moment we dreamed of when we were knee-deep in: tantrums, toys, puke, poop, read-this-book-one-more-time, ball practice, ball games, sibling arguments, missed curfews, having “the talk”, driving lessons, fender-benders, first dates, second dates, vacations that didn’t seem like a vacation… This is a great place to be… isn’t it???
I can honestly say that having grown children is a crazy place–but it’s an awesome place. I just had my two boys home with me–and the joy in my heart was nearly uncontainable. I cooked large meals (and most of it was eaten!). I cleaned lots of dishes. I listened to witty conversations. I enjoyed the playful verbal teasing. I picked up cups. I picked up coats. I cleaned up messes.
And…all of it was absolutely wonderful! No grudgingly picking up for the millionth time. No exasperated sighs as I gave instructions for the billionth time. No, those days are past. I don’t look at the things I do through the eyes of a weary, sleep-deprived, teetering-on-the-edge-of-insanity mom. No, now I am a mom who “gets” to do the types of things that once drove me nuts for my kids. Being on this side of parenting is tough because I don’t see them every day. But when I do, I realize the blessing. With adult kids come adult responsibilities and sometimes they just can’t make it home. But this weekend, they did. My kids chose to come here and spend time with me (and their dad of course). And all was right with the world.
So for those of you still knee-deep in daily parenting, take heart. One day you will not be doing the things you are today. One day they will go to the bathroom by themselves. One day they will pick up their own toys. One day the kids will move away. One day your house will be quiet. One day your floors will be clean.
And you will be waiting anxiously for the day when messes once again cover your home and laughter fills your hallways.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3
Here are a few pictures of our boys–with our goats, on vacay, and recently as grown kids with their dad and me. Every moment is precious, my friend. Enjoy them all!
Welcome to Wow from the Word Wednesday. On this day, I hope to share some Scripture that really spoke to me. My prayer is that God will use what I have learned to help you as well.
So, for my first installment, I will rely upon Genesis 22. Let me set the stage for you. Abraham is living life, going about his business. He and Sarah had a child LATE in life, but through his faithfulness to God, Abraham has been assured that his line will continue for many years. Everything is fine and dandy.
Until this chapter. As you see, I am using the first verse. The Scripture says, “some time later…” God calls out to Abraham, the NIV actually says “God tested Abraham.” Abraham’s response is our target verse.
If Abraham knew what was coming…I don’t know if he would have said, “Here I am.” If I were in his shoes and knew what was coming…that would be tough. You see, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. The son he and his wife had longed for. That beautiful, sweet, answer to prayer boy. But, without question, up the mountain Abraham and Isaac went…
The Bible tells us that Abraham readied his son for sacrifice. He placed Isaac on the wood and, with knife in hand, prepared to offer his son to God. At the very moment when all looked hopeless, God gave him a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac. An angel of the Lord called out to Abraham, and once again, his response was, “Here I am.” The Lord provided–and that is where we first get the mention of one of the names of the Lord–Jehovah Jireh.
Even when the answer could have cost him his only son, when the Lord called out to Abraham, he said, “Here I am.” Perhaps he remembered God’s faithfulness to him in the past. Maybe he remembered God’s promises to him. Maybe he simply believed and did what God asked without question (Genesis 15:6 says, “he believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”). Whatever his reason, Abraham’s great faith has made him a role model.
I want a faith like Abraham’s, so I’m asking you to join me in this. I have taken on the idea of whatever God puts in front of me, I say, “Here I am.” So far, it’s been quite the adventure. I, like Abraham, can look in my past and see how God has worked. I, like Abraham, can remember what God has done for me. I, like Abraham, can trust God to lead me in paths that are the best for me.
Have all of my “here I am’s” been easy? Noooooo. Have I wanted to say, “I’m not here?” Yeeessss.
But this is what I’m learning. When I say “here I am,” I get a little stronger. A little stronger in my faith. A little stronger in my bravery. A little stronger in my self-control. A little stronger in my prayer life. A little stronger…
All of us have areas where God is calling to us. We can find lots of excuses to not answer, or to say not now. I am asking you, my friend, to stop with the excuses. Take the time to actually listen to what God is calling you to do. Spend time at His feet, getting more confirmation in that area. And when He speaks your name, have the courage and faith to stand tall and say, “Here I am.” Your life will never be the same–and all you have to do is answer Him.
“Here I am, Lord. What’s next?”
Dear God, thank You for not allowing me to be stagnant, for not allowing me to stay stuck in one place. These calls that You place in my life are not easy, and at times are even scary. But I trust You to lead me in paths of righteousness, to keep my steps steady, and to be my constant companion along this journey. Grant me the courage to both hear Your calls and to answer with complete certainty, here I am.
Happy Monday! Our verse for today is Psalm 42:2—“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
If you know me personally, you are well acquainted with the fact that I always have water. Everywhere I go, no matter how long I’ll be away from the house—I always carry a water bottle. In fact, I get a bit crazy when I can’t find it, or I happen to forget to bring one (oh the horror!!). Why am I so obsessive about this? I’m not exactly sure, but I think it’s because I can’t stand to be thirsty. If I get a dry throat, it’s so comforting to know that I have something to relieve it. Maybe my water bottle is a grown woman version of a security blanket??? Let’s not go there…
(This is my workspace currently… Notice the ever-present water bottle!)
My aversion to thirstiness makes me really look at our verse. Do I have the same drive to cure my thirst for God? Do I long for Him? Do I want to know His ways? Do I yearn for His presence? I wish I could say yes…and a lot of the time, the answer would be yes. But not all the time. You see, my sweet, the daily demands on my life sometimes “quench” my “thirst.” I’m busy enough, I’m away from the house enough, I’m “social interaction-ed” enough, I’m _______ enough. I have enough “other things” and my soul’s longing don’t always get first billing on my “want list.”
That is, until recently (like seriously recently, like the past few days recently). God has been working on this chick’s perspective. He’s uncovering some facts about my life that need changing—or rearranging. My God is opening my eyes to…thirstiness. Not the physical kind (I’ve got that covered with my trusty water bottle!). No, this is a different kind of thirsty. I am finding myself wanting more from my life with God; and by wanting more, I mean more of Him. When I read devotionals, I see myself in them. When I see Christian memes about walking closer with God on that popular pinning site, I’m shaking my head in agreement. My friend, I am becoming a walking, talking, mistake-making example of our verse. And…I’ll be honest. It’s a bit scary.
What will my life look like if I live in soul thirstiness for God at all times? How will I move through circumstances with such fervor? Am I capable of living a life of constant yearning for a deeper relationship with my Creator? I don’t know the answers, but I do know that this is the deeper level into which my Jesus is calling me. I can’t say no…I don’t want to say no. But this chick who makes satisfying a physical thirst a priority is nervous about stepping wholeheartedly into an area where soul thirst is constant. Even in those moments of uncertainty (and there are many!), my God whispers words of encouragement—“I (God) am here,” “You need more of Me,” “Seek Me and you will find Me.” My Jesus takes my hand, and leads me down this unknown path of thirstiness—and I only say, “Yes, Lord.”
Won’t you join me, my friend, in this incredible adventure of running after God with zeal? Come with me as we let ourselves thirst for the fullness of God. Allow the parched areas of your soul to be drenched with the Living Water that flows from the fountains of our Savior. Never be satisfied with “status quo” living again… I’m tired of moving through life routinely; now is the time to yearn for Christ and all that He has planned for me. Will living in thirst be comfortable? Nope. Will running hard after Christ be easy? Definitely not– the world and our enemy will try their hardest to distract us or get us to slow down. Can you and I afford to not to pursue Christ with fervor? Absolutely not. We were not made to live life without passion, without zest. Come with me—this is sure to be the adventure of a lifetime! I am planning to stay thirsty…
…but my water bottle will be there with me!!
Hello and welcome to…confessions.
I consider myself a “go-getter.” I try to get things done in a timely manner.
I follow through with my commitments…most of the time (this is where the confessions start!!).
You see, I follow through with the commitments that I know others will see–church ministry, work, home responsibilities…with (sometimes) just enough effort to get it done.
But friend, here’s what I want you to know. I don’t always follow through with the things that only I and God know about…yes, I guess you could call me a “closet quitter.”
What do I mean? Well, let me give you some examples:
- I make a commitment to eat better–then snack on chocolate (at least it’s dark chocolate!🙂 )
- I make a commitment to work out–then call cleaning my house my “workout” (it’s not really!)
- I make a commitment to read my Bible each day–then spend four hours trying to catch up with the week’s worth of reading I missed.
- I make a commitment to work on my writing–then leave the blog unattended for weeks at a time.
Shall I go on?? I didn’t think so.
Yep. I just continued through my “make-a-commitment-then-do-something-else” life, thinking no one was being harmed by my “think-it, not-do-it” attitude. But then, a book came into my life.
I became part of the Launch Team for 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit, and all my thinking changed.
I started reading this book thinking it would be a good read, I’d have the chance to be on the “inside” of a book launch, and I’d have some fun in the process. Never would I have thought that I’d find myself on the pages!
Through personal stories, Nicki Koziarz (author of 5 Habits), took me on a ride that I wasn’t prepared to take. She spoke of things she had started and quit, the ideas behind the quitting, the justifications she made…
She could have just as easily been writing about me…
Oh my! What????
I’m not a quitter. I see things through to the end…most of the time.
A section in 5 Habits is called “The Quiet Quitter.” Though I had seen myself before, from that part of the book onward, I saw my face, my life, my excuses, my “quitter-ness” on the pages.
I was completely shocked!!!
And…might I say…a bit discouraged. After all, this go-getter chick had never thought of all the things she had quietly left behind as being stuff I had quit. I had to take a few moments to digest this new knowledge about myself. I was tempted to quit reading this book (yep, another “quit” in the making…)
But then, along came my God…
And just like that, He used Nicki’s words again to encourage me. In 5 Habits, Nicki utilized the book of Ruth from the Bible to counteract those “quitter tendencies.” I found myself drawn to the points that were made from Ruth’s story. I began believing that I could change those habits and ideals that kept me from being a person that people could count on to complete a task–and by “people,” I mean myself and God (because most of my quitting impacted only me (so I thought), and as this book helped me see, it impacted my relationship with God as well!).
I am so thankful that I read this book. God used it in a mighty way to show me some truth about myself…but He didn’t leave me there to wallow in self-pity. Nope, through the words of 5 Habits, God showed me how to become a “woman who doesn’t quit.” Using Ruth as a guideline, Nicki brought out those qualities that I want to have both privately and publicly. I want those 5 habits shown in Ruth’s life to be evident in mine as well. Being able to look at Ruth and see how she didn’t quit–well, this book has totally transformed how I will view her story! I loved the tenacity of Ruth before I became a 5 Habits girl. Now I will see the similarities of her life and mine–both stories of perseverance through obstacles and obedience to the great and mighty God!
Reading this book has opened my eyes to the wondrous world of possibility–to actually finish things I start! Are you finding yourself saying, “yes, I’d like to be a ‘non-quitter’ myself”? Then I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you. It’s an easy read, with lots of “underline worthy” quotes, practical applications, and a Biblical foundation that will ground you more fully in God’s word. Join the revolution–became a “woman who doesn’t quit” by reading 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz today! Finish the book–you’ll be sooo glad you did!
Until next time, my sweet…
Thanks to a sister blog, Promises for the Broken Hearted, for our graphic today!
Welcome to Friday’s post on Be Very Well Fed!
Have you ever really thought about our verse for today?
Yes, we ask God for guidance, for protection, for renewal, for strength, for victory…but do we really think about the fact that He has His “loving eye” on us?
I’ve been reading the book, The Shack, by William P. Young. An interesting read, a relatively quick read, and a thought-provoking read. “Coincidentally,” if you believe in those, my devotional reading went right along with the underlying theme of this book. The main character in this book, Mack, has an encounter with all three parts of the Godhead. Through this time, our verse is absolutely shown–and made “real” by various situations that are played out in the book. If you are looking for a book that makes you think a bit, I would recommend The Shack.
Laying the book aside, I began wondering about how I live my life. Do I always look to God for guidance? Do I sometimes just think that I can handle whatever is in front of me? Do I live in such a way that shows utter surrender to Him and His will? Do I really, really, really, really, listen to His instruction and teaching? Do I even pay attention to God when I know He’s trying to show me something? Do I?????
I wish I could answer “yes” to all of those questions. Truth is, I can answer “no” to some of them. Now don’t be thinking that I’m some rebellious Christian chick who claims Christ on Sunday but lives like she wants Monday through Saturday–I’m not that girl!! I realize my need for God–it’s just that I don’t always act on my need for God. For example, I don’t always ask for God’s guidance in personal situations–like a hard discussion with a friend. I don’t always wait for His words to fill me before I speak–I just speak. And there are times when I jokingly say, “Lalalalalala…I don’t hear You God!”…but truthfully I just don’t want to hear Him. Ok, that’s enough confession for today!!
So how does this verse play out in my life? Well, I can honestly say (I know, more confession!!) that I have been in situations where I don’t know how the words that came out of my mouth came out of my mouth!! I may have felt one way, but the words that came out were in complete opposition to my feelings (in a good way!!). I have also spent much time in prayer (some would call it arguing) with God before I have gone into certain situations. Recently, I have been involved in that prayer/argument time, and God finally broke through in such a way that I could understand–and that led to a real, heartfelt discussion with people whom I love and do ministry. It was a cathartic, freeing, healing time that my soul soooo desperately needed.
But here’s the kicker, friend. When we allow God to instruct us, teach us, counsel us, He uses what we are experiencing to help others. In that prayer/argument/ discussion time, I wasn’t the only one who benefitted from that battle/surrender/release. No, that’s not how my God works. He used that time to not only minister to me, but also to minister to others who were there. Tears and soul-stirring words were also present–and those things were necessary for those involved. By opening up and surrendering to a passion that I had pushed aside, God came in and worked a mighty movement–all because I finally listened to the instruction and teaching and counseling. I shudder to think how long I kept that from happening–all because I didn’t like how things were going, and wanted to “take my marbles and go home.” In other words, I didn’t live in the freedom and knowledge of our verse AT ALL!
Today, my sweet, I ask you to stop. Stop arguing, fussing, pouting, because something isn’t as you think it should be. Let my situation be your inspiration to make a change. We humans think we have it all figured out, and we don’t need to “bother” God with our petty stuff. Through my recent situation, the book, and this verse, I realize that there is no such thing as “petty” to God. He wants to be involved in our day-to-day–our decisions, our discussions, our annoyances, our frustrations, our pains, our hurts, our disappointments, our jealousies, our chaos.
Truth is my dear, He just wants to be involved with us because He loves us. No matter what, no matter what, no matter what!!! He’s there when we encounter “big stuff,” He’s there when we encounter “little stuff.” He’s just there–all we have to do is be ready to hear His instruction, His teaching, His counsel. Have the courage, the self-discipline, the humility, to bow before the God of the universe and ask for His leading in your life. Be ready to give everything to Him, and be ready for an adventure that is yours alone.
Lord, I thank You for not giving up on me. I know I need to stop relying on myself. I have seen how You work in my life when I simply surrender to Your teaching and instruction. I ask for Your counsel to guide me in anything and everything I encounter today and every day. May my heart, my mind, and my soul remain open to Your leading. Most especially, I ask that You keep Your loving eye upon me–and that I live in such a way that shows my dependence upon You and Your ways.