I Chose

every year for Lent loads of Christians, no matter the denomination, choose to give something up for 40 days. we do this in remembrance of what Christ did for us. a sacrifice of some sort, although we could NEVER come close to what He sacrificed for us. this “lack” is supposed to help us press into Him more. It’s supposed to help our prayer life and cause us to rely on Him when we miss what we give up. 
for some years now i’ve tried something different, instead of something physical or technological i’ve been choosing some type of mental awareness or mindset. 

this year: i give up the spirit of poverty! now i know He has ALWAYS taken care of all my needs and that will NEVER change and my faith has never wavered in regards to this. but in my head it’s really tough not to look at the situation I am in and let it not affect me. i will strive for a consistent headspace that reminds me God always has more than enough. He always provides!

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 

see also:
Stop It
If You Can’t Say Anything Nice

“If we were here to be obedient, wouldn’t Jesus have been delighted with the religious leaders of his day?” ~Susan Cottrell

wOw! in my opinion beautifully stated! 

to me, this really drives home ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-3‬:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Susan Cottrell is dedicated to “helping LGBTQI heal from family, religious and community wounds; and helping those in the faith community love and include.”

her entire article follows:

“One of the biggest lies perpetrated throughout Christendom is that God is primarily interested in our obedience. Not true. Patently false.

To say our first responsibility to God is to obey is a big fat lie and distortion of the relationship God wants with us. God’s paramount interest in us is a relationship. Didn’t Jesus say simply, “Follow me!”?

How quickly we complicate things by adding cherry-picked list of right and wrong behavior and focus our attention on that. By the way, focusing on EITHER list is still eating from the same tree – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, instead of focusing on the Tree of Life.

Let’s say that a couple is about to have their first child, and you say to them conversationally, “What is most exciting to you about having a baby?” and they answer, “Making sure this child obeys!” You’d be shocked. Really? That is the main point in having a child?

You would wisely identify that something is seriously wrong, and you would suggest they run, not walk, to a qualified therapist who could help them unravel this unhealthy obsession with power and rule.

The amazing thing about bringing a baby into the world is the new life this person gets to emerge into, and the astounding relationship we get to enjoy with them! That’s the main point. Anyone whose primary interest is that their child obey them is a narcissistic sociopath.

Do we want them to learn to heed our voice, lest they burn their hand on the stove or dart in the street and get smacked by a car? Of course! Because all of that protects them and facilitates relationship. But that is not the same as enforcing “first-time obedience” in some sort of patriarchal power structure so they know who’s boss.

Humans in their folly can be very drawn to fortifying their power this way. Some of us endured parents (or coaches, teachers, pastors) who imposed their will in the name of “obedience to authority.” And we wonder why many of us have “authority issues”? Yeah, we can stop wondering!

This path leads to death – of the soul of the one made to submit, and to the relationship itself.

God created us for community.

If we were here to be obedient, wouldn’t Jesus have been delighted with the religious leaders of his day?

They were extremely obedient, but without love. Indeed, they were the only group Jesus blasted, for their selfish, prideful and loveless focus on legalistic adherence to rules without relationship, and for marginalizing, oppressing and excluding those who did not adhere to the list.

Remember, it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Kindness is relational.

We are here on planet earth to be in relationship – with God and others. Period.

Blind obedience to parents, to a pastor, to the Bible, is not healthy. It’s idolatry.

Set your heart free… focus on relationship.”

FreedHearts

FB post from 2/22/13

I want to share that yesterday I experienced a glimpse of victory over my fear! although I wouldn’t call it a “success”, was certainly a step in the right direction. actually, not a step, I’m going to call it a leap! too much to get into here. I’ll just say I wasn’t going to let the “all consuming” fear paralyze me. I accepted the challenge, posted sticky notes (pic to follow) to remind me Who was in control and hit it head-on. I read once “what you fear reveals where you trust God the least” (Craig Groeschel)… not today!!

I sought the Lord , and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalms 34:4 NIV84)

there really is so much more to come on this topic… I’m done with letting this fear stop me!! yesterday was a breakthrough. with the help of a very dear friend (who just happens to be a Life Coach) I was able to get in touch with a childhood memory that has plagued me long enough!! all having to do with my fear of crowds, and even more so, my fear of speaking!

postits

 

Get Out Of MY Way

when the Lord speaks these words it is best to step aside asap. the choice to do so is the difference between receiving good consequences vs bad. the decision is up to us.

i can’t tell you how many times He has had to teach me this lesson. and every time I end up getting in my own way. one day i’ll grow up and not have to be the perpetual student when it comes to this. in the meantime, i press on toward the goal He has for me! i’m just glad He keeps speaking!

may Your words turn from “get out of My way” into “good, now I can work!”

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”‭‭
Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.‭‭
Philippians‬ ‭3:14

Getting Unstuck

now that we are letting Him lead the way, even in the ugliest of times (see Stuck below), how do we actually become unstuck?
He does it!
how do we let Him lead?
[peace]
how will we know what He is telling us to do?
[peace]
what if the answer that is bringing you peace doesn’t seem like it’s the “right” fit?
that’s My God! He doesn’t abide by our rules, we should abide by His! search your motive and if your motive is pure and you are receiving His peace: it doesn’t matter what the world or anyone in your life says. He has provided exactly what you’ve been praying for: the path He wants you to step on!

always follow His Peace!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah‬ ‭58:11‬

Stuck

have you ever been stuck in a situation or circumstance or life scenario that you don’t want anymore? you know the ones, all you want to yell is “uncle! i give up!” of course you have, that’s a silly question.
maybe the question should be: how did you cope when you were stuck? or what did you do to get unstuck? as much as we may hate where we are or what we have to do at the moment, the Bible promises He is with us, guiding us. we just need to let Him lead the way and not get stuck in what we think is going on or not. look for Him even in the ugliest of times, He is there and wants to help!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.‭‭
Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew‬ ‭28:20‬b

No Fear

some time ago a friend spoke of a study she was doing, so i apologize for not knowing what that study was. in any event, she shared with me something so profound that almost immediately i disagreed with her. that is, until i stopped to really think about it. it went something like this:
“the areas of our lives where we have the most fear, are the areas we trust God the least.”
“wow, how can this be true?” i thought. it sounded like a complete contradiction. of course i trust God, especially in those areas! why wouldn’t i? they mean the most to me. i pray the most for and about these areas! 

what i figured out: praying doesn’t actually mean we fear less… we have to also release it to His care. it’s only when we have our hands completely off it … that He can do His thing and fill our [now empty] hands with His love and care!

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?‭‭
Psalm‬ ‭118:6‬

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians‬ ‭4:7

A Knowing

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm‬ ‭9:10‬

that’s the key: seek Him!

i love this verse. i love the use of the word never. if we seek Him in all we do, He promises to guide. look for Him in every circumstance, setting and situation, in what we’re pursuing or even if we are just going about our mundane day. He is our Director and doesn’t leave as long as we are trying!

Default Settings

one time when I was describing myself I said, “I am a rule follower to a ‘default’.” as quickly as it was coming out of my mouth, I corrected myself and proceeded with ‘fault’.
but that got me thinking… is it so bad to default to following the rules?
Webster defines default as “a selection automatically used [by a computer program] in the absence of a choice made by the user.” I’m not saying we are computers but what a concept: to automatically default to positive characteristics. what if our defaults were set on the Fruit of the Spirit? our every moment would look so different.
what are your defaults set at?

But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a NCV)

see also:
#exactly

#exactly

from Christine Caine, and i quote…

“… fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:2 MSG). 

We are called to be.

A cycle of listening to an inspirational message, doing the right thing for a week then falling back into old patterns of behavior happens when we try to act our way to a good, Christian life.

But we are called to be.

Cycles like the one I just described can continue for years because we have not allowed Jesus to permeate the very core of our being and true transformation hasn’t occurred. We haven’t really undergone conversion, just a partial behavior modification. Essentially, we’ve become actors in a drama rather than pilgrims on a journey.
So today, allow God to work in you from the inside out. Allow Him to perform that heart-work so He can work through you in awesome ways and you can just be!”

see also:
Default Settings