Letting Go Of Anxiety

Why is it that I get so caught up in my day sometimes that I forget what I should be focused on?  I let little “emergencies” at work get me anxious and stressed and they are so small in the grand scheme of my life.  All I can do is my best, and worrying or getting anxious really helps nothing.

I need to memorize this verse and say it over and over to myself when I have those kind of days.  (Today was one of those days)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6 

It’s hard to always think this way and focus on following Jesus.  Remember the story of Jesus sleeping in the boat while the waves were crashing all around them?  I want to be like that.  He had nothing to worry about because He knew that all of this is temporary and NOT worth getting stressed over.

I think that is a great image to bring to mind when I feel anxious.  Jesus sleeping in the boat while things were a bit chaotic.  I don’t plan on falling asleep on the job, but I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me stay focused on what matters and not let these “little” things get to me.

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What Do You Turn To?

When we get scared, lonely, worried, and bored we all turn to something. What do you turn to? What bad habits do you have?

Some of us turn to food, some to alcohol, others to isolation.  Shouldn’t we only turn to God in these times?  I’ve decided to be more intentional. When I want to eat something unhealthy just because I’m bored or worried, I will turn to God.  I will use that urge to pray.  When we have that need to make ourselves “feel good” we should pray and ask God to take away whatever feelings are weighing us down.  Instead of just wanting to “feel good” for the moment, we should want to DO good for God.  Turn that desire into a need to honor God.

I also thought about boredom the other day.  What if every time you felt bored you looked up some sort of volunteer activity you could do?  Some way to serve others.  Then eventually that feeling of boredom would be your internal indicator that it is time to serve.

Just think about turning all of those bad habits into GREAT God honoring habits instead. Think through each one and how you react, then create a new reaction that turns you to God.  Isn’t that what he wants us to do anyway?  When we stop wasting time with things of this world and we turn our focus to God, imagine what is possible!

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”  Romans 12:2

Getting Uncomfortable

Yesterday during my Bible Study we talked about always being desperate for God and what that looks like.  At first we talked about times in our own lives where we’ve been desperate for God because of our desperate situation, and how trusting him helped us to grow in our relationship with Him.  Then we talked about what it means to ALWAYS be desperate for God, not just in those troubled times.

If you step out of your comfort zone and do things for God that seem a little scary, then you will need to rely on Him or be desperate for his help, right?  So, being desperate for God all the time should involve stepping out (in faith) and doing  things that God calls you to do that initially seem scary or uncomfortable.  Putting ourselves in these situations will require more faith and trust in God and will ultimately strengthen our relationship with Him. 

My goal this week is to put myself in an uncomfortable situation for the glory of God.  I told my Bible Study group this and they will be holding me accountable next week when we meet again.  At this point I’m not sure what it will be, but I’m leaving that up to God.  I’m going to pray, listen and obey no matter how scary it seems or how uncomfortable I feel.

I once had a Christian mentor that told me I should do something scary every single day.  He wasn’t talking about jumping out of a plane or white water rafting (two scary things for me) he was talking about this very topic, getting uncomfortable every single day of our lives and staying desperate for God.  I’m going to start with weekly, then I’ll move to daily.  I know God will give me the strength I need.  (and the words too)

We should be excited when we feel uncomfortable when doing something for God.  It means we are stepping out in faith and growing!

Envisioning Greater Things

Our pastor just started a new series yesterday entitled “Greater Things”.  He showed us the vision for our church and where he feels God is leading us to go.  He put up on the screen some very cool pictures of what our church and the kids ministry will look like once the project is complete. It is amazing.  It will allow for our children to learn and grow in a bigger setting, but it will also allow for more and more new kids to come in and learn about Christ, maybe for the first time.

Being able to see the vision really motivates you.  We want to help make that vision a reality.  He asked us to pray daily, consider how much we feel led to give over the next 3 years and just to expect greater things.  In our own lives and in the life of our church.

This really got me thinking.  I know I’ve talked about a Life Vision, which I believe in wholeheartedly, but this made it more real.  He not only showed us this great visual, but he gave us daily to-do’s.  He gave us daily prayers to pray for our church, the leaders and the members.  He is asking us to commit to how much we can help out. 

Having a vision is a very important step, but we must make daily to-do’s to get there.  We must see the vision and map out what we think we need to do next to get there.  Now, you may feel like your vision is far-fetched.  You may feel like it’s a bit out of reach, or even a lot out of reach.  You must remember, God can do ALL things.  Not some, not a few, ALL things.  He can perform miracles. 

If you are doing what God is leading you to do and you are doing it for the glory of God.  It can and probably will happen in spite of you.  God has your back. 

You must see those greater things he has planned for your life.  What do you feel led to do?  What do you see in your head when you daydream or imagine your greatest goal?  What things can you do today to help that become a reality?

Every single day do “the next thing” towards those greater things.  Even if you can’t figure out how in the world it will happen.  God is how it will happen.  God knows and that is all you need to believe in.  Trust God.  Period.

At the end of the service yesterday they passed out these green bracelets.  They say “Greater Things” on them.  We are wearing them constantly as reminders of the “Greater Things” we are expecting to happen in our lives. 

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Expecting greater things requires greater faith and greater courage.  My husband and I have committed to working hard, focusing on our vision, and trusting God every single day.  We are moving closer to greater things with God right by our sides. Does it get any better than that?

Do You Love Others As You Should Be?

Love-2Jesus gave us our two great commandments in Mark 12:30-31.  The first is fairly easy for me.  “…love the Lord with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength. ”  I can do that.  He is so worthy of my love.   That one is easy for me.  The second command is to “Love your neighbor as yourself”.  Wow.   I will be the first to admit that I definitely need some work on this one.  The Bible even says that if you do not love others, then you do not know God.  Ouch. 

God is serious when He commands us to love others as ourselves.  We are to treat others exactly how we want to be treated. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31

The Bible doesn’t say you only need to love those that are easy to love, or those that deserve love, or those that are nice to you.  No, the Bible gives a blanket statement of “love others as yourself” and that is how God intended it to be.  It is for everyone. 

Now, if someone is untrustworthy, or mean, etc.  You must forgive them and love them as yourself, but you do not have to be friends with them or hang around them.  That would not be smart.  So God doesn’t expect you to blindly trust people.  That is not one of His commands to us.  He just wants you to forgive others who have wronged you and love them.  Do what you can for them, but if they treat you badly, then you can stay away from them as much as possible.  Do not get that confused.  You can forgive and love others from afar.  God does not want you to harbor any hatred in your heart.  It only ends up hurting you.  Loving others and forgiving others frees you of that hurt, but it doesn’t mean that you then allow those people to hurt you more.  I have struggled with this concept in the past so I want to make it clear.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2.   This verse is a call to not only love our neighbors, but to be patient with them.  Aren’t we all guilty of being harder on others sometimes?  I definitely have been guilty of getting frustrated or even angry with someone for doing something I myself have done.  How does that help anyone, including me? 

Start today and practice loving others, forgiving others and being patient with others.  Reach out to someone today, show that you love them.  Do not let others frustrate you today in line, or in traffic, etc.  Just love them, forgive them and realize they may be having a rough day today.  Be the smiling face that changes their day, not the frowning face that just adds to their pain or sadness.

Can you imagine what the world would be like, or even your neighborhood, if we all adopted this philosophy?

‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. – Leviticus 19:18

Do You Fear Commitment?

Did you get a little nervous with that question? When I hear this question I immediately think of marriage. You hear of so many people (mostly men) who are afraid of committing to marriage. But fear of commitment is a problem in many other areas of our lives.

Our pastor spoke today about this fear of commitment, and it was the second sermon in his “Faith vs. Fear” series. He talked about all the areas of our lives where we need to be committed. Our faith, marriage, parenting, friendships, church, work, and rest. Yes, rest. We even need to be committed to resting. God commands us in the Bible to rest on the Sabbath day. I am not so good at this one, but that is one of my goals.

Fear is what holds us back from committing to most of, if not all, of these areas of our lives. When we are nervous about committing to someone else in marriage, it is based on fear. Most of our fears of commitment come from these questions we ask ourselves:

1. What if I lose or get hurt? (just plain fear)
2. What’s in it for me? (selfishness)
3. What am I missing? (options)
4. What’s my track record? (past experiences)

So pay attention next time you are scared of committing to something you know God is leading you to commit to. We should not base any decisions on fear, selfishness, or our past. We should TRUST God and know that he is constant no matter what. He commands us to commit to those things that are important and without fear. He asks us to trust him and to remember he is ALWAYS there for us no matter what.

So what if you do fail, God is still there and He still loves you. What if you make the wrong decision or you get hurt? God is with you always and will always love you. What if you don’t get what you expected out of something? Maybe you needed to learn something, and guess what? God is still there for you and still loves you.

It’s more important to remember that God is always there for us, He loves us so much that He sent His only son to die for our sins. We need to trust Him and not be so hesitant to jump in. When we feel passionate about something, go for it, and don’t step away from commitment for any of the reasons above.

Commitment is a choice, it is about relationship, its unconditional, and it’s costly. Just as God sent Jesus to die for our sins….that was a choice, it was for His relationship with us, it was 100% for us, and it cost Him Jesus’ life.

Next time you face a commitment, trust God and what He tells us in the Bible, then make your decision. Start with that, and see what happens.

“Empty Me” by Chris Sligh

If you are an American Idol fan like I am, you remember Chris Sligh from a few seasons ago.  He was really good, but didn’t make it to the finals.   He has a new single out right now, called “Empty Me”.  I love this song.  He has such a great voice, and this is a great message for all of us.  Here is a video of him singing it live, and below that I have the lyrics.  I want to begin using these lyrics as a prayer, and pray them daily to God. 

I’ve had just enough of the spotlight when it burns bright
To see how it gets in the blood.
And I’ve tasted my share of the sweet life and the wild ride
And found a little is not quite enough.
I know how I can stray
And how fast my heart could change.

Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with you.

I’ve had just enough of the quick bites of the best lies
To know how prodigals can be drawn away.
I know how I can stray
And how fast my heart could change.

Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with you.

Cause everything is a lesser thing
Compared to you, compared to you.
Cause everything is a lesser thing
Compared to you. So, I surrender all!

Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me so I can be
Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with you.
Oh, filled with you.
Empty me.

Thankful Thursdays

I follow Lisa Welchel on Twitter.   Yes, she was Blaire on “The Facts of Life” TV show.  She is now one of the speakers with Women of Faith.  Last week or the week before, she mentioned that she has Thankful Thursdays.  On Thursdays, she makes a point to express the things she is thankful for.  I think that is a great idea, so I’m starting today. 

I’m thankful for so many things in my life, but today I’m going to focus on a few blessings that stand out to me at the moment. 

First of all, I’m so thankful that I have a husband who I can talk to, confide in, laugh with, share with, and have fun with.  I know I can talk to him about anything.  Even if it seems silly to me, he always makes me feel as if it’s not.  I trust him completely and I feel 100% safe in our conversations and in our relationship.  That is something I never had in the past, and I thank God everyday for bringing him to me.  He only helps me to be a better me. 

I’m also actually thankful for Thursdays.  Thursday is the day that my husband and I have together.  I call it our “date day”.  Once we drop the kids off at school in the morning, we have a day to ourselves.  Both of our kids are with their other parent on Thursday nights.  So it is the one day we do not pick them up from school, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, we love our kids more than anything….but….we really enjoy and cherish the time we have together.  It’s just our day.  And I’m so thankful we have it.  As I type this, I’m here at my husband’s office with him.  I’m usually at home working, and he goes to his office.  On Thursdays, I come with him to work now….and it’s a great day.  We can discuss work related issues, or just anything that comes up during the day.  Then at night, we have our date night.  We sometimes just go to dinner.  Or we make dinner at home, and watch a movie.  Sometimes we go out on the Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck together or we go see a movie.  It’s important time for us to strengthen our relationship and become closer.  Everyone should have a date day or night.  I believe it’s part of a good marriage, and essential for a great marriage.

What are you thankful for today?