”If you’re comfortable you’re not growing.”
This is the quote that keeps popping up over and over the last week or so. Not sure who first said it but as I am thinking about where I was, where I am now, and where I dream to be…..and with a New Year quickly approaching I have decided to use it as a reminder and motivation when I start to feel lazy or apathetic about those things I was once driven to pursue. I have heard this saying both in speaking on growth in your personal walk with Jesus and when trying to grow your business or move forward in your career, education, or whatever your passion is. It also got me thinking about continuing to take those baby steps even if it feels as though you are moving at a snails pace. Don’t give up! If you trip and fall on your face…Hey guess what?!?! Your still moving! It’s too easy to stay in “pause” mode. Always waiting for the right time. Counting on things to line up before you take that leap of faith. Embrace that uncomfortable feeling of the unknown and step out and in 2017 just do that thing that you have been wanting to do. Pursue that dream that has been tucked away waiting patiently for you to kick your fear to the curb. Take that trip…..write that book…..shed that weight….quit that job…..start that new business venture……forgive that person…..mend that relationship. Give it your all. Put your whole heart into it and you don’t have to worry about failure! If it doesn’t turn out how you expected you have still grown. You went for it instead of waiting another year and being at exactly the same place. The beauty of pursuing a dream and having it not work out is that you get to pick a new dream!
You will never find the perfect church full of perfect people. We are easy to forgive our family and close friends whom we love. Why? Oh why then do we seem to expect perfection and give less grace to our church family? I know it was rainbows and sunshine when you first walked through those doors. I know you felt as if you had found the one church in the whole world that was full of people who felt the same way you did about everything. Never would your opinions clash or feathers ruffle each other’s. Much like falling in love even the little annoyances seemed cute.
*It’s so obvious to me, now at this point in my life, how our humanness gets in the way of God’s work for us.
Maybe it’s because of the bad taste I had in my mouth for years after I left my childhood church. I held a grudge so strong that the mere mention of its name would send me into a rant of all the wrongs they had done me. How they made me feel inadequate or judged. How it was there fault I had fallen away from my faith. I wrote off all church. I said things like “you don’t have to go to a building on Sundays to worship God” and the all popular “I am not going to join a church full of hypocrites.” Ahhhhh the devil smiles at that one. Using the truth of what church is to keep people away. That is what he does though. A little truth and a little twist to cover the big fat lie that he sells to make you feel better about you neglecting fellowship with other believers. What does he whisper to you……
*The music isn’t upbeat enough.
*The music is too upbeat.
*The pastor doesn’t preach enough of this that or the other or preaches too much of this that or the other.
*Too much attention to this or not enough attention on that.
*Not enough young people or too many young people or too many old people.
Have I hit one yet?
*How about too missional…not missional enough.
I could go on and on. Why? Because I’m human too and so incredibly flawed that I can even understand these excuses. I may have used them…..I have heard them and I just want to go on record to say that there is no perfect church, perfect pastor, perfect congregation of people who are all on fire and ready to serve 100% at the same time. You say “duh stupid lady that’s obvious.” Well is it? Really? If you claim to be a christian then get your backside into a church. Not because I say but because God does. (Hebrews 10:25, Matthew 18:20,Colossians 3:16, Acts 2:42,etc) No its not about just being in the building on Sundays. I highly doubt, however, that if you are not there on Sundays you are there any other day of the week……and if you aren’t accountable to anyone about how your faith walk is going….or growing then are you really spending daily time with Jesus? I’m guilty! For sure and it’s so easy and yet I fail again and again. The farther away I get from my church (like missing Sundays) the more I forget to pray……the more I forget to open my Bible…..the more the world consumes me and the more the devil uses these excuses to try to get me to stay away. I know what his plan is ultimately…..to keep me from walking in the Holy Spirit and off the path God has set for me. Hey I’m saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and that can’t be taken from me. What can be taken from me are the blessings and beautiful experiences of living a life totally sold out and on fire for Jesus. What shall we say then…….stay away from the church because we may have to serve….we may have to deal with differing views of how things should be done, spent, handled, etc.? Don’t blame people for the lack of warm fuzzies you feel when you have only warmed a pew for a few Sundays here and there. In many cases it all starts with that church building……that leader or Sunday school teacher…..that sermon that stabbed you right in the heart! I spent too many years out of fellowship and I know for a fact that without it I quickly slide down a slippery slope. The church to a believer is like AA to the alcoholic. You don’t always want to go but you NEED to. Skip the excuses and find your church family and once you have found them don’t give up on them when the “honeymoon” phase fades away. All wonderful relationships take work, honesty, love and forgiveness. ❤
Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man. –Dwight L. Moody
Every year adds another layer to my story
Every day another chance to be and to do
I give God all praise and glory
Each morning His blessings renew
Waves of love like the ocean
From my God to me
His grace deserves my devotion
This is the only place I need to be.
Following the Whole 30 eating plan…..
It’s actually much easier to say what can be eaten than what can’t. Lean cuts of
beef, fish, chicken, veggies (there are exceptions) and fruit. You can search Whole 30 to get the specifics.
Let me just say that I have been here before….only once on this specific plan but many other times on many other diets, fads, supposed life changing workout routines, and I have thrown my (and my families) hard earned money in the garbage chasing after that magic trick, pill, drink, DVD, or other amazing secret thing that was going to give me my dream body and make that number on the scale go down. All of them leaving me only a few pounds lighter (or none at all), feeling guilty and worthless. I think of myself as a happy and positive person. I just have very bad eating habits which I have acquired and fine tuned throughout my life. In my late thirties and with two energetic boys I don’t want to feel tired all the time. I am fed up with being overweight and bogged down by fat. I am done with knowing the unhealthy things I am doing but only talking about what I could and should do to change. I am seeing my own children becoming addicted to sugar and beginning those same habits. There is type 1 diabetes in my family, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, etc. In the last few years I have experienced migraines, shortness of breath, sleep disruption, stomach issues, frequent viruses, etc.
I have been here, once before, at the beginning of this 30 days. I made it 9.(yes I realize that isn’t even half way) I was feeling wonderful….really I remember the feeling of energy and alertness. I was more focused on my day to day than I have ever been. I was 8 pounds lighter (even though I was not suppose to weigh….I had to….what can I say I am a rebel). So what happened?! I happened! I had a late night and slipped up in the morning and it snowballed by the end of the day I was inhaling everything I gave up the 8 previous days and then I was mad at myself. So to get past those times that I want to give in I have decided to journal my experience. What better place to do it than my blesseddaily blog. What a better time than right now to tackle this issue in my life. I am not posting my weight because we are all so much more than that number. I will share pounds lost but most important I will share the changes in my health and life. The only $$ I am spending on this is towards food. I have listed my reasons for wanting to do this and will come back to this list when I want to give up, which I know will happen because I know me!
2. To be the example in this house especially to the boys.
3. Because Philippians 4:13!
4. To feel better about myself.
5. For the love of clothes and all things girly.
6. To look and feel younger. (not that I am old:)
7. More stamina and endurance in everything I do and to begin exercising again.
8. I could say not for others or for attention but Hey! everyone loves to feel
attractive and I would love to hear someone say that they can tell I have been
doing something good for my health and to keep it up. So YES for positive
attention and feedback when it comes to how I look.
9. 1 Corinthians 6:19
10. To prove to my children that if you are determined to do something and you
work hard and stick with it you can accomplish anything!
Start date July 4, 2016
I will be updating soon…..
The fire that burns inside a patriot will never be quenched. Their loyalty to country and kin echoes long after their last breath. Liberty is seared into the heart of the person who fearlessly supports the foundations that this great and wondrous nation were founded on. The power the patriot holds inside is what will incinerate the enemy. The fire that flashes and flickers behind their eyes are the stories of pain and loss. Family, friends, and moments they have willingly relinquished to serve while we sit in front of our TV screens and over indulge on pizza. It is because of them we snicker at the thought of an invasion. Rolling our eyes when another speaks of an uprising or battle in our borders. Their sacrifices have allowed for our comfortable illusion of safety and security. Always prepared…..Always vigilant. They exist with one half of themselves focused on their day to day lives and the other half alert to the ever developing threat growing in our country and pushing in from the outside. Dear Patriot, I see you with your torch. Standing watch while we sleep so soundly. Thank you for your dedication. We know you by your flame. If a time arises when fancy words and politics are not enough to keep our country from tyranny you only need to raise the flag and shoot a flare. The inferno will follow and we will be with you. God Bless America!
Not my pleasure but yours Lord…..
I need a daily reminder (ok maybe hourly) of how living life with my own pleasures locked in my sights always, always ends up not so pleasurable. I’m left feeling empty, unsafe, exposed, and restless. As a Christ follower I think it is a continual struggle to live in this world of self love, pride, and gratification and extremely hard to stay away from the “do what I want or what pleases me” mentality. I am a planner at heart. It pleases me to make plans and lists of things I need or want to do and how I am going execute them. Not considering at all what God’s plan is. Writing down my hearts desire for today, tomorrow, and down the road. Hearing the approval of people is something that, even as I get older, I can’t shake. The praise of others is a lovely sound to my ears and fills that empty space for a moment. Shortly after the attention, however, I am left alone. Seeking another way to fill that void. What a silly girl I am to think that anything other than God’s perfect attention and affection would be enough to satisfy. This selfish world is filled with empty pleasures. Hollow things that disguise themselves as beautiful, delicious, and meaningful. Once consumed their talons dig deeper into you. Like a serpent wrapped around you, every breath you exhale is an opportunity for it’s grip to tighten. Soon there seems to be no hope to release yourself of that suffocating grasp. It is a choice we face over and over. Close your eyes and give in to whatever it is that has a hold of you or use the power God has given you to break free.
If you could plan out your child’s life for them would you not go over every fine detail? Exhaust yourself with making every single day perfect for them. Fine tune little moments here and there as you see their personalities develop and their interests change. As parents we worry over our children’s futures. We worry over their health, relationships they will have, and if they will fit into this world’s idea of a valuable member of society. If we as flawed parents can wonder and contemplate and even attempt to plan our children’s lives how much more does our Heavenly Father carefully and strategically map out ours. Once you have met Jesus you have the freedom of giving over the steering wheel of your life to a God who loves you more than you can imagine. I find myself confessing my selfish wants and calling upon God to bring me back up out of my own mess. Then I again get to feel the pleasure of knowing I am right where He wants me to be. I am so thankful for a patient and forgiving Savior. Psalm 16:11 (ESV) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. I can have so much more pleasure in every moment when I allow God to make the plans and trust Him with my life and the life of my family. Psalm 18:30 (ESV) This God-his way is perfect;the word of the Lord proves true;he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Last night on our way to dinner I caught this picture of the sun breaking through the clouds. It reminded me of a few years back when Noah and I were driving and the sky was all clouds. Suddenly there was a hole and the sun blasted thru. It was one of those moments where if you weren’t outside or if your attention was on something other than the sky you would miss it. Before I could say a word Noah exclaimed, “Mom, Look is that Jesus coming back!” The excitement in his little voice made my heart soar. It also reminded me of being a little girl and looking up at the clouds. I was certain that heaven was hiding on top of the biggest, most fluffy, pure white cloud in the sky. As children our little world’s don’t stretch out much farther than what we can see and yet a child can imagine the most beautiful images of heaven and with an absolute and undeniable trust know that Jesus is real and coming back someday. Perhaps breaking through the clouds with rays of light that put our sun to shame. As this world becomes darker and angrier towards the light we can have hope that the ending has already been written. Pure love and truth will conquer all and every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Our children are the best example of faith without sight, love without gain, and trust without doubt. Matthew 28:3 (KJV) “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.Clouds – http://wp.me/p23sd-12xu
I am a tourist in this life I have been blessed with. Just passing through this world on the way to my final destination. There is so much to see and learn. When I think about the places I have yet to discover I am filled with anticipation. Even in my own town there are restaurants and shops I have never stepped foot in, people I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, stories not told, and connections not made. If you could train yourself to consider your life the ultimate vacation where everyday is a new tour or excursion; would it not be impossible to wake every morning excited and alert to the adventure and beauty you would surely discover? Negativity and doubt cast their shadow all around. They are relentless and they creep into our lives, unnoticed at times, until we feel ourselves being swallowed by the darkness. This journey is much too short to wallow in doubt and fear. Just as any dream vacation has mishaps and imperfect moments this life will too. When you remember your favorite vacation do you remember the imperfect moments? Most would say to remember those they would have to really think on it. Instead comes the memories of a beautiful sunset, the kids squealing in delight over a new roller coaster ride, or a romantic evening with your significant other. So in light of this life being our ultimate getaway why then do we hang on to those imperfections? Those past mishaps and failures that we allow to drag us down. As a tourist on a dream vacation I would awake in the morning eager to tackle the days possibilities and completely forget about yesterdays wrong turn. This is the life of a sinner bought by the grace of Jesus Christ. The past is behind me and eternity is before me. Today I will pray to have the mindset of a tourist and let God lead me. I have a passport stamped “Heaven” so at the end of this journey I know the eternity tour will begin and oh what a vacation that will be. Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Tourist