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God’s Mysterious Valentine for a Child

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

~Matthew 19:14 NIV

For a few months we’ve been searching for my youngest son’s pendant on a chain he got from his school running club. It was important to his little heart, being the first extracurricular activity that has meant anything to him — and he’s a quick runner, so he’s proud of himself for this as well, which makes me happy.

We’d pray about it from time to time and often he’d sadly ask me, “Mama, do you think we’ll find it?” With his birthday coming this month, I offered to buy him a similar chain for replacement, even if we could never replace the original pendant that hung on it, but he said he didn’t want a new one, just the real one he earned.

He hadn’t mentioned it for a couple of weeks and then he asked me again yesterday morning. And then that afternoon he had earned more colorful feet shaped pendants and wanted so much to hang them next to the first one he ever earned for running laps. I told him that we’d look really hard this weekend, tearing his room apart as well as other areas of the house that he’s stored things. I wasn’t looking forward to that daunting task to find something so small, especially since we really figured that it had been somehow thrown away, but I was determined to do it to bring peace to his little mind if I could.

Last night I was getting ready to go to bed, looking forward to turning in early, but looking around for a paper that I needed when the pendant unexpectedly crossed my mind. I wasn’t trying to think about it–plus I was really in a rush to find what I was looking for in preparation for the next day and then to get some rest, but I just couldn’t shake the thought of finding this chain. I thought to myself that I really didn’t want to be walking around as it was so late, but with the thought not subsiding, and knowing that earlier that evening I had prayed to find it and that sometimes it’s the Lord when a nudge just won’t go away, I figured I’d sniff around a little.

So I looked a little in my room where the kids may put things sometimes and then told myself since I was so tired I’d give one quick glance through the china cabinet doors. In my china cabinet I have a few dishes, but it’s mostly full of things that remind me of Jesus and my faith. Since I told the kids a couple of years ago that it’s a place for special things to look at, they’ve been storing lots of their “stuff” (can’t call it anything else, it’s stuff and a lot of it!) in it. We thought maybe he had put the chain there, but when we had pulled all of the extra “stuff” out of it and searched through the pile, we came out empty handed.

Well, I looked through the glass doors, knowing I wouldn’t see anything as we’d combed it many times before. As I was about to walk away, I happened to glance down at some remnants of what was pulled out that the kids had a task to sort through and toss out what was no longer a “treasure” — the pile was sitting there waiting for them to do it or me to enforce it — I think we all were avoiding it! When I looked down, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Right on top of a drawing on manila paper and a paper plate (yes one of them was saving a paper plate as treasure!) hanging down with one side touching the carpet was the chain with pendant!

We haven’t touched that pile of things since we first took it out of the china cabinet. And even if we walked by it and our foot possibly brushed against it, there’s no way that the entire chain with pendant could have ended up relocated to sit on top of the stuff as if placed by hand from above, but rather it would have been just down on the carpet peeking out from under something.

What a mystery! No, not quite! I believe God wanted to answer the prayers and plant seeds of faith for a 7 year old boy who for the past 2 years has often asked, “Mama, why didn’t God help me with ____?” And what loving timing to do so when he had just asked me if I thought we’d find it that same morning and he had just earned new feet pendants that same afternoon and had nothing to hang them on –  not to mention today is Valentine’s Day and I was able to put the chain with all of the pendants on the breakfast table last night to surprise him this morning with his “treasure” along with 3 sticky notes saying how much God loves him, hears his prayers, and helps him!

My sons and I talked about it this morning. Without my input, they both were in awe with eyes wide open exclaiming, “But there’s no way it could have been there, Mama! We looked there. It wasn’t sitting on top!” Now that indeed was God in deed! Happy Valentine’s Day Lord! We love you!

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action: 

You are a child of God as well. What is it that you have been praying for and making plans to work hard in your human efforts to make happen…but are having no real success with it?

How can you in thought and action be like a trusting child, giving it over to God and believing in His timing for a loving surprise of His goodness? If this is a difficult challenge for you, what may be hindering you from doing so?

If you do not get what you ask for in your desired way or timing, what type of attitude can you choose to have?

A Worship Chronicle

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

~Pslam 42:1-2 NIV

I pressed play on one of my favorite worship DVDs, “A New Hallelujah” by Michael W. Smith. I’d been interrupted a couple of times, and could have given up and picked a different time. There were lots of things on my to do list in my last moments alone this week. But I just kept turning my eyes back to Jesus and the sweet music adoring Him, as I had felt Him stirring in my spirit to have a special date with Him this morning while the kids are in Vacation Bible School and we could be together just the two of us, whispering into each other’s ears.

Our date started out with me walking around with my Bible in my left hand and my right hand reaching up to hold His and occasionally turning the page as I read Psalm 119. That was significant for me because my right shoulder has an injury that is taking a while to heal, but I delight in lifting it up to Him though it begins to ache because I offer the lifting of that hand as a loving sacrifice to Him who has given His whole body for me.

My heart flutters, my spirit soars, and my eyes can’t help but well up with a shallow layer of tears of joy as I sing and meditate on the words to “Deep in Love With You”: “I’m deep in love with you, Abba Father. I’m deep in love with you, Lord. My heart it beats for you, precious Jesus. I’m deep in love with you, Lord.”

Something new always stands out to me when I meet Him in the intimate place of His Word. Verse 45 speaks to me a promise for me to speak aloud in spite of some inner challenges that I am working to conform more to His likeness: “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” A friend crosses my mind as I read this, so I text it to her as an encouragement. Then I bring my attention back to my Lord, my Love.

I feel a special connection with Him when I read Psalm 119 because it is written with acrostics, and the Lord has designed me with a natural bent towards writing…and creating acrostics as I write to serve others through Him is a joy of mine. It’s like a jointly written letter of love between us two. “Your grace shines on me, shines on me. Your grace it shines on me. Shines on me, shines on me. It’s your grace!”

I am drawn to glance at my mantle, cluttered with a clock, CDs, DVDs, mini kids toys, inspirational art, a cross, and pictures of my family. I feel compelled to pick up a tiny picture of my husband and me from back in our college days. As I sang praises, I held this picture up in my left hand. And a verse or so later I picked up the little kids picture from a couple of years ago and held it in my right hand.

Praying to become all that He wants me to be as a wife and mother, I sang “Majesty”, I lifted my family up to Him. “Forever I am changed by Your love in the presence of Your majesty. We’re singing majesty, majesty. Your grace has found me just as I am, empty handed but alive in Your hands.” I held the two pictures pressed close to my heart and could feel my heart beating through them. I thanked the Lord for my family and for my heart that beats for Him and because of Him.

I haven’t written for my blog in a while. Life’s been busy and though I’ve longed to write again, I’ve been spending some intentional time obediently working towards some goals the Lord has laid on my heart related to self-care and my home and family. Thought it’s not always easy, it’s such a blessing to submit to His plans rather than my own. My God knows best and I praise Him for His wisdom and care that give me both the passion and restraint needed to strive to continually reach for His best for me.

When I was finishing up my time with Him, the phrase “Worship Chronicles” popped into my mind.  I thought it strange, but felt as if the Lord wanted me to write about our time together. I am sharing this intimate moment with you as perhaps it may be meant to be an encouragement to someone. I know that indeed I am encouraged by the time we spent and even reliving it as I write this replaying the DVD to remain in that special place of worship.

The lyrics and my soul cry out “Oh draw me near, oh draw me near, oh draw me near, and I’ll run after You!”

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action:

1) How is the Lord drawing you near to Him today?

2) What can you change in your daily rush to schedule in more than just a checklist of reading and prayer, but a spontaneous, intimate, soul-stirring quiet (or not so quiet!) time with Him?

3) What strategies can you come up with ahead of time to be prepared to go to that place almost immediately when life gets hard and you are tempted to take your troubles somewhere other than to His arms?

Will You Give It Your All for the New Year?

Check out this news video. In what area of your life is God calling you to become a champion? Are you willing to give it all for the New Year to not just make a New Year’s Resolution, but a New Life Resolution?

Video: Runner Crawls Across the Finish Line

This video reminded me of how weary we sometimes get trying to reach our goals — or doing other things rather than what we really want to do within our hearts. But with the proper motivation from within ourselves and the support of others, we can cross the finish line in whatever area of our life we so desire with God’s strength and guidance. If you don’t want to go it alone or if you want to take more action than you would on your own to reach your full potential, consider Christian Life Coaching to help you with victorious Christian living! Read about my special gift “from you, to you” in the previous post.

New Life Resolution: Offering You A Gift To You, From You

If you…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

~Matthew 7:11 NIV

Looking back on the prior year, most of us will set a New Year’s resolution for an area of life that we want to improve either because of our own desire to finally ‘get it right’ or ‘get it done’ or because we feel God’s Spirit weighing on our heart to move in a certain direction. Sometimes we are successful and at least in that one area we expect to ‘live happily ever after’. But often the likely storyline of our resolutions may go as follows:

1) We kick off our efforts, and eventually look back one day realzing there’s been no meaningful progress because of life’s busyness, distractions and pressures, or perhaps our own perspective. And, yes, the next year we end up having the same goal again–or sometimes give up altogether.

or…

2) We move forward in our goal, but realize we are still not content within ourselves. The satisfaction we thought it would bring did not come and we don’t know how to find that elusive feeling.

I like the commercial for the Kia Soul vehicle with the roads filled with hamsters running in their wheels, going through the motions, but going nowhere. Then we see the ones that stand out–driving the Kia Soul enjoying themselves in their unique vehicle on their unique journey. We were created for more than just running around the hamster wheel day in and day out–setting the same goals over and over again, and even more disappointing, driving down a path that doesn’t lead to true satisfaction.

God designed each of us as a unique person with a unique journey of our own–and we find true fulfillment only if we stand out from the crowd and live true to who we are and what we are called to do in ALL areas of our life. So it’s not a random New Year’s Resolution, but a New Life Resolution that is the real gift that keeps on giving.

A New Life Resolution involves looking at your life as a whole to create a clear vision connecting your unique person with God’s purpose and plans for your life in every area–spiritual, relationships, career, service, finances, recreation, rest, health, etc… and then taking consistent action steps in those areas that matter most within that bigger context.

Though our life seems segmented, all areas are connected and impact one another because they are all connected like spokes on a wheel to your unique purpose that God intended for you to fulfill. God desires to give you good gifts in ALL areas of your life. All you have to do is ask!

Are you ready to go beyond just setting a goal and follow the mysterious and exciting path to reach your full potential everywhere God intended?

Why make just another New Year’s resolution? Give yourself the gift of creating the life God purposed for years to come…right now!

Reach your goals AND your full potential.
Maximize productivity, balance and fulfillment.
Close the gap between where you are and where you want to be!

Now through January 31, 2011, for every session or block of sessions you sign up for, you are gifted an equal number of sessions free! Click here to view Standard Coaching Options or personalize to meet your needs.

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action:

1) Sometimes we think we’re too old to dream. But God can do more than we can ask or imagine and He sent His son so that we may live an abundant life inside and out. Take some time to dream the dream you believe God has for your life. Write down what it looks like in detail. Where are you at? What are you doing? Who is with you? What impact are you having on others? How does it feel? What is your legacy?

2) What seems to be the gap to fill between where you are and where you dream to be?

3) What can you do right now to begin to close that gap?

Raising Your Dead

I pray…that you may know the hope to which he has called you…and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead…”

~Ephesians 1:18-20 NIV

 

Have you ever had the experience where you read a few paragraphs and then realize you don’t even know what you read? For the content of a regular novel or self-help book, we can simply go back and re-read what we missed and it probably won’t make much of a difference to us. But with God’s Word, when this happens it takes more than just going back to relook at phrases we missed. Because it is not just a story and is so much more than just a tip book, it could mean the difference between victory now, later or never in our lives.

In Ephesians 1 we are taught that the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in us who believe–the same power that not only raised Jesus, but set him above all things in this world. We may often read this and say ‘Amen!’, but when we close our Bible, we walk way unchanged, going about our daily life with no victory–being tossed to and fro by our emotions, pulled away from the father’s feet by distractions with no eternal value, lacking true joy and peace inside of ourselves, nowhere closer to discovering or fulfilling His plan for our life than we were the day before.

Parts of us that used to be alive and full of excitement about life have had the life drained out of them. Dreams we used to chase or relationships that used to thrive are now dead to us. Those things which we should enjoy in life have become dead weight. Where is that power-full life He promised us? In the spirit of 1 Corinthians 3:3, are we “not acting like mere men?”…though in truth we ARE so much more!

Even if we do see every word on the page, we must go beyond just reading, and even beyond just thinking, and in mind, heart and spirit seek to interact with the Holy Spirit around the Word because it is “living and active…penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit…judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12). One goal of interacting with God’s Word can be knowledge as we must ‘know about Him’, but even moreso we must ‘know Him’ by creating the type of open and humble atmosphere within ourselves that welcomes Him without resistance to enter and examine and cleanse and indwell every part of our being and living.

Anecdotes and self-help books are inspiring and helpful; however, the Word of God is our complete instruction manual and if we do not take to heart…literally…the truth of our identity and power in Christ, the nature of our relationship with God, and the journey of character and behavior transformation, we will be unable to reach our true potential in person and calling, or the level of contentment that we desire and were meant to experience in this one life that we have been gifted.

Without diving deep into the abyss of God’s Word and His very being to take hold of His power available to us only through relationship with Him, we will also be unable to effectively and permanently address those things within ourselves and our lives that we have been longing to give new life to or bring back to life (those same things that we often blame for our inability to connect with him more often or deeper…but ultimately need Him to be first to conquer). We need His power to indwell us more fully so that we can raise our dead as He raised His son.

That incomparably great power IS at work within each and every one of us who believe…truly believe not only in God, but also in who we are in Him, and despite whispering doubts or shouting fears, dare to step outside of ourselves and take hold of His promises with a bold and unwavering expectation of becoming and fulfilling all He has called us to.

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action:

1. Where within yourself or your life do you feel powerless? What has been ‘dead’ inside of you, your life, your relationships for a long time now?

2. What does God’s Word say about that? What is your vision of what it should be?

3. What do you feel led to do to begin to change this powerlessness?

Fill in the Blanks

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

~Joshua 24:15 NIV

At any given moment when something is undesirable to us, when we feel unmotivated or tempted to procrastinate, or when tension between one thing and another is tugging at us, though we may not be aware of it, we can make an intentional choice whether to serve the flesh, other people, the world, distractions, or God to move forward in His will for our life.

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action:

1. What is it that has been nudging you in the back of your mind and depths of your heart lately to newly commit or recommit to?

2. In light of Joshua 24:15, what a convicting, yet empowering, exercise it is to fill in the blanks of choice in our own lives. Fill in the blanks:

“But if ________ seems undesirable to me, then I choose for myself this day whom I will serve…As for me and my _______ (body, mind, time, resources, relationships, etc…), I will serve ________.”

3. What internal or external obstacles have been holding you back from moving forward in this area? 

4. What steps must you take to keep this commitment?

5. How can you hold yourself accountable for this spiritual, personal or life change?

Something’s “God”da Give! - A VIP Offer for You!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

~Proverbs 13:12 NIV

What is it that you most long to BE, DO or FEEL differently this year?

What would make the biggest difference in your joy, peace and fulfillment if you transformed it, launched it or just got rid of it?

New Year’s resolutions are good intentions, but don’t often last. Why? Even if we are diligent and disciplined enough to make a plan and begin to take actions, with all of life’s responsibilities, distractions and challenges, not to mention the enemy’s schemes to get them off track, sometimes efforts to move towards a compelling vision for ourselves or our life become stalled or even come to an end. We may lose focus as we get busy with other things, give up hope when we encounter obstacles that seem too hard to overcome, or perhaps fall back into patterns that keep us stuck in the same place.

Are you ready to close the gap between knowing and doing–ready to get motivated, set tangible goals, resolve problems and make a plan to move forward to step out onto the path of increasing levels of Christlikeness, effectiveness, productivity and fulfillment in your life?

When something’s gotta give, that’s when we should replace “gotta”, which is based in the strength of our own flesh and earthly resources, with “Godda”, which taps into God’s power as our partner and provider so that we can leverage His wisdom, direction, strength and provision to BE, DO and FEEL in alignment with what He intended–with joy, peace and fulfillment as the norm instead of the exception!

You are a VIP (Very Important Person). Why? Because you were created with a unique, special design with a VIP (Very Important Purpose) in mind. And in order to walk in that calling and feel the internal abundance God longs for you to feel, you’ve got to tap into His vision for your life, start to truly believe in it, in yourself and especially in God’s faithfulness to bring it to realization through his VIP (Very Important Power), without which you cannot ever truly BE, DO or FEEL what you were made to. And if we are seeking His will, surrendering to Him, Godda’ll give! He loves you and wants to give you the best. What better time to believe, receive and achieve!

So if something’s Godda give inside of you or your life in 2010, let’s take some intentional steps to get it done! I’m offering you the opportunity to take advantage of a special offer, not for a New Year’s Resolution, but to take steps towards a “New Life Resolution”.

Personalized 90 minute VIP “New Life Resolution” Coaching Session

- clarify your vision for what’s “Godda” give
- set realistic goals that work for you and your lifestyle
- develop an effective action plan
- prepare to intercept internal and external obstacles

Special VIP rate - $35 (over $100 value)

Now through February 28, 2010

Why wait? Contact me today to kick off your new life and kick old habits to the curb! Where there’s His will, there’s a way!

How can I help you make 2010 “your year”?

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action:

1. What have you been holding back from God that He is asking you to let Him be Lord over?

2. What have you been pulling back from doing that you know you need to so your life will change?

3. What do you keep turning back to look at in the past that’s keeping you from your future?

4. What do you keep dreaming about that you haven’t taken the time to move forward on?

5. How would life be different if you started doing it today?

6. What are you going to do about it?!

7. More importantly, what does your Father in Heaven say you’ve “Godda” do about it?!

The Case of the Squeaky Shoes and the Blues

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

~Ps 119:71 NIV

It was a moment when I felt self-conscious, but had to keep on walking. The problem was that my walking was the thing causing my embarrassment. I’m always around noise when I’m wearing my tennis shoes. But this past week not long after I walked into a silent building, when the doors closed off the sounds from the noisy street, I began to hear it. With every step…left, right…left, right, left. Squeak, squeak…squeak, squeak, squeak. It was similar to the type of sound you hear when you walk on a hard floor with wet tennis shoes, except mine weren’t wet at all. Or perhaps it was like the sound in a scarey movie when the old floor squeaks when you step on a loose board.

I tried to adjust my feet, but it didn’t help. With each step through those extra quiet halls, the rubber soles sent Morse Code messages, saying, “I am shoe, hear me squeak!” to those I passed to the left and the right. How at that moment I wished my kids were with me so the sounds of their giggles and feet pattering would echo in the halls to drown out the beat of my S-tunes (sneaker tunes!).

In this moment, the Lord reminded me of another time when I noticed squeaking I had never heard before in the midst of my noisy life. It had been a “squeaking” inside of me! My husband had changed jobs and we had just moved to a new state, leaving the comfort and familiarity of my friends and surroundings behind. 

I was alone at home all day with a toddler and his new baby brother, trying to figure out chores, errands, grocery shopping and cooking dinner for the family with two children now, and having no local friends for support–which is not a good place to be in when you’re already an introvert and fairly shy. We were still searching for a church home, so there wasn’t really anyone to outreach to or to reach back out to us for a while.

The good noise of my full life in my prior home and town was all gone–doors closed, and that life replaced by the silent, echoing halls of this new place and situation. During that time, with my husband working a job that kept him unavailable by phone most of the day, there really was no one to turn to during the day when I was feeling down or pressured while I struggled in the wilderness by myself.

I finally got to a point where I was allowing (yes, I said allowing) and enabling (yes, I said enabling) myself to be constantly attacked by not only the enemy, but my own self, with the “squeaking” of negative thoughts, unrealistic expectations, feelings of inadequacy and discontentment, and a desire to just press a “make life easy” button. And everyone around me could hear it–and feel it too.

It was at that moment of seemingly unbearable internal affliction that I gave up trying to fix anything in my own strength. I was silenced in my mind because I had no solutions. And in that silence, I heard God speaking. He had been whispering all along.

In 1 Kings 19:12 the Lord told Elijah to stand on the mountain and await the Lord’s passing by. “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave…” This is when the voice of the Lord spoke to him.

My Lord taught me that I had been creating and fighting internal and external winds, earthquakes and fires in my own life trying to fix things. But until I calmed myself, I had not heard the whisper. Through prayer, self-examination, scripture meditation, studying thought life and opening my heart to friends from my prior town for support and accountability (thank you Lord for unlimited long distance!), the Lord (yes, I said the Lord, not I) released me from my self-made prison. He exposed the lies in my mind put there by my own thinking patterns, the expectations of society and other people, as well as the enemy.

I learned that my rescue did not lie in my husband coming home early or my friends calling to offer encouragement, me filling time with fun distractions, or constantly coming up with new strategies. When those things ended, so did my peace. Yes, those things are helpful, but not the source of a true and lasting solution.

I learned so much about the care and promises of God during that time–more than I ever would have had I not gone through my own silent, dark halls and heard the squeaking of the rusty thoughts and attitudes inside. He and he alone was the provider of peace, joy and contentment.

Oh how “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71) There was purpose and promise in that difficult time. Being in darkness and seeing my own darkness allowed me to see and take in God’s light.

So now I don’t only listen for my shoes, but I also listen to my mind and take intentional steps to keep it renewed so that instead of hearing squeaks from the right and left, whether I walk to “to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action:

1. Think of a recurring negative emotion. What is the typical situation that causes your reaction? What are the exact thought statements that are “squeaking” in your head when you are feeling this way? What do you find to be true vs. false about what you are thinking? What can God (yes, I said God, not you) do about it?

2. The next time you are in a situation where your emotions are about to cause a negative or ungodly reaction either internally or externally, stop in that moment before saying or doing anything or thinking any further. Write down what you are telling yourself about the situation, about another person, or even about yourself.

Keep a log of these reactions, negative thoughts and limiting beliefs for several days. Look for patterns. Find God’s truth and promises about the situation. Write down verses directly related to your need or challenge. Ask God to help you to apply them to your life.

3. Romans 12:2 teaches, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Think of practical and simple steps you can take daily to begin to renew your mind. If you feel it is too big to go it alone, ask a family member, friend, or Christian Life Coach to help you to move forward in this area. “I can do everything through him who givecs me strength.” (Php 4:13)

Set Your Captive Free

…for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

~2 Pe 2:19 NIV

Where in your life do you feel powerless–held captive? Have you seen the face of your captor? Is it the same face you see in the mirror? Sometimes there are external circumstances that leave us struggling or stuck and in these times we need to lean on the Lord to help us find what He would have us do to master the situation.

However, there are many times when internal circumstances leave us struggling or stuck. In these times, if we do not recognize that we are our own captor and take action to escape without giving up, and then we can remain enslaved, shackled, mastered by something for what could be a lifetime. What shackles hold you captive?

Maybe you are a captive to your own perfectionism such that when you need to move forward or make a change in your life, you have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality and either do nothing if you can’t meet your own expectation or become overly critical of yourself feeling defeated even if you are gaining victory. What is the truth? “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise…For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2 Co 10:12, 18)

Perhaps you struggle with a negative ‘I can’t be used’ self-image and do not believe that you are as valuable and powerful as God designed you to be and so you do not intentionally access the promises and power that He has for you. What is the truth? “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Co 1:26-29)

Or you could just feel out of balance and so tired that you lack the energy to be a good steward in the areas that you know the Spirit is urging you to improve. What is the truth? “To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (Col 1:29)

It could be that you are stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ or ‘readiness steadiness’ because you do not feel you are prepared to do what the Lord is calling you to. What is the truth? “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Co 3:4-5)

Whatever your captor, all of these have one common source–your thoughts. Our thought patterns are mirrored in our words, actions, character and ultimately our destiny. So it is very important to examine our spirit, heart and mind to see what is being reinforced regularly in our lives that is mastering us–whether it be related to our personality, learned patterns, wounds by other people or experiences, or false truths we tell ourselves. It often is not easy as it takes much prayer, perseverance, intaking of God’s truths and practical strategies. But apart from your relationship with God, this is the key to victory in all other areas of your life.

So how do we escape this captor–by intentionally reversing our role of captive to that of captor. And yes, it is war, one that you must win. “We demolish arguments and every  pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought  to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Co 10:5)

And how do we know that we can do this? “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Ro 8:37)

And how do we know that it is worth the effort? “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…” (1 Co 2:9)

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his  power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout  all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph 3:20)

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action:

1. Eph 2:10 states, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” What thought and behavior patterns in your life are hindering your transformation to Christlikeness? your discovery or fulfillment of your calling?

2. Consider the area of life that you most want to change right now. Take some time to reflect on what that area of life would look like if it were ideal–not merely human ideal, but what God intends it to be. How would life be different and how would you feel different if you reached your full potential in that area of life?

Satisfying Your Thirst

He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.

~Ecc 5:20 NIV

Sometimes I wish the word ‘housework’ was not in our vocabulary (along with ‘cooking’ and some other domestic tasks!). But I guess it’d just be another word, spelled and pronounced another way, but with the same definition. I understand the purpose in doing housework and cooking, but those things do not have deep meaning for me or give me pleasure when doing them. They are what they are, just necessary tasks–as some of the things I enjoy doing may be to other people. We  have different likes and dislikes, finding meaning and joy in different things.

This morning I knew I had to do a lot of cleaning and organizing since I had a busy week. I also knew up front that I would rather be doing something else, anything else! One of my two kids were out doing a service project with their dad and other church members and the satellite TV was out awaiting a service call later in the day. So the house was pretty quiet with just one child home (my quieter one–God is good!) and no cartoon repeats blaring through the speakers. So I was ecstatic that I had time alone, though a little disappointed that I wasn’t about to do something that I ‘wanted’ to do rather than ‘had’ to do.

I guess I could have chosen something else, but I knew I had to be a good steward of the home this weekend…and yes, you guessed it, the service tech would be there just after lunch in their 12 to 4 window–but I had to be done by noon just in case! (I’m giggling as I write this post since my other son is home now with his signature high decibel shrieks during play.)

Though the satellite was out, my DVD player still worked and I put in Michael W. Smith’s newest praise and worship DVD “A New Hallelujah”. It was keeping my mind on praising God through my stewardship of the home rather than on the actual work I was doing. And I have some carpal tunnel type hand injuries that make certain tasks involving the hands very uncomfortable, but it didn’t faze me one bit. I worked right through the mundane and the discomfort feeling joy and a different type of meaning greater than housework.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Col 3:23)

According to the commentary for Ecc 5:20 in my NIV Bible, life has meaning and true pleasure only in God. Because without Him nothing can truly satisfy, but with him we find satisfaction and enjoyment. In recent years God has shown me that whenever I mix God with anything, praising Him through it–whether it be housework, exercise, giving grace in a situation where I am being mistreated–I find satisfaction that I could not get in the situation alone. Yes, our loving Savior makes bitter things sweeter and sweet things sweeter! We’ve just got to look for Him in it–because He is there, always.

On a practical note, an effective thing to do when confronted with a negative thought or situation is to interrupt the pattern, to do something that takes your mind off the situation and feeds your mind, heart and spirit with something positive. What better thing to interrupt than your loving Father?! His grace, goodness and power will fill us when we are empty, but not just to the top, but overflowing. But you can’t fill your cup if you don’t pour something in it. Filling our time with things of the world or the flesh cannot completely satisfy.

This is why we as a people are always looking for the next “if…then” scenario to bring us contentment. But all other things we pour into our cup just evaporate or spill in time, if not immediately. The only thing that faithfully remains to quench the thirst of our mind, body, heart and spirit is intentional, consistent intimate fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness…” (Ecc 2:26) True happiness is not found in the things of this world or even inside of us. It is found in God the Father, Jesus the Son and the great Guide, Comforter and Counselor within us that is the Holy Spirit.

Christian Life Coaching Call to Action:

1. What is it that you have to do or deal with regularly that brings you discontentment?

2. What have you tried to combat those feelings? How  has that worked long-term?

3. Where do you feel an empty void, sense of being stuck, or lack of clarity in your mind, heart, or spirit? in the major areas of your life: Spiritual, Relationships, Physical, Financial, Career?

4. Invite God into even the simplest, seemingly insignificant or biggest, seemingly impossible situations. Trust Him and see what He will do. “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (Ps 107:8-9)

 


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