ABC’s of 2020: Calling

First of all the topic for this week changed last minute… we are going to look at the word “calling”…. well because I felt that tug.

I have had several lengthy conversations in the past few weeks about callings. Somewhere in this complicated life filled with technology, many Christians around me attach your calling to these big, HUGE, plans. They put an incredible amount of expectations on their life. And in my recent observations, these expectations have caused a crippling effect caused from fear. At the same time, the concentration on this “big” calling becomes blinders.

Now, I am not saying that your calling isn’t huge, big. What I am saying is that in this Pinterest, instagram comparison, everyone is watching world – you may be so distracted in measuring up to others- that you are missing the many other callings.  I wish someone had sat me down at a younger age and studied callings with me. I look back at different seasons, times, experiences, where I KNOW I missed a calling. I ignored the tug. It was too small. God is so big. He has BIG plans for me- so this isn’t for me moments.

Now I find callings can be found in jobs, relationships, random street passings. My callings have changed many times and I may have multiple going on at one time. It may be something God has me start or stop. He may call me to go or stay.  I still struggle with being able to discern is it his tug or my own desires causing the tug.  Slow down. Cut out distractions. Listen. Pay attention to the tugs. His tugs (AKA Callings) will always cause  once you surrender. His callings will always be coincide by anything needed. Pay attention because I also find God sneaks in confirmations all the time if you are listening.  DOn’t focus on the Facebook, instagram, Pinterest callings – what may be small to you maybe HUGE to someone in your callings path- don’t ever underestimate that.8

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

PS- In 2020 to help hear better, be less distracted- I am focusing one day a month of no screen time. To be sure that this wasn’t “scheduled” around by wants- my husband randomly picked numbers to create the schedule. First one is later this week.

ABCs of 2020: Bitterness

So I have been hurt, you have been hurt, everyone has been hurt. I find my most hurtful memories (for the most part) were not done deliberately. Bitterness is grown when that hurt festers. And as I reflected on this topic, I realized my bitterness (or hurt) stems from the difference between what I thought I “received” and what I expected…. So another words- bitterness is all on me and only me. Ouch!

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)
Over the last couple of years, I have really worked on dropping unspoken expectations and have worked even harder to realize expectations I was holding unconsciously.
Don’t underestimate the power of bitterness- it will impact your mind, body, and spirit. When I notice my bitterness I have to pray. I have to pray for God’s help to disclose the real who, what, and why. I have to pray for God’s forgiveness of my bitter heart.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 (NIV)
I have to pray for grace and healing. I have to realign my focus to joy and love- and I have to do this purposefully.
Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.
Proverbs 14:10 (NIV)
Typically, refocusing on the joy and love, will slowly kill the roots of my bitterness.

Next week: ABCs of 2020: Challenges.

ABCs of 2020: Action

This new series is going to dig a little deeper in the Word about one word. And what a better way to start the year and alphabet but with the word action.

Leaping into 2020 – I started to think about how I wanted this to be different from 2019- the year of courage. I realized the underlying theme- was to take good ideas, good plans, good intentions placed on my heart and put into action. 

I feel God used last year to build my trust. To feel excitement about the thoughts and ideas he placed on my heart. I let fear freeze my ideas. And in the last few months God has really been pointing out my lack of action. I keep hearing “actions speak louder than words.” That was an ouch moment…. Rather moments. 

I am a master at planning- but not so good about action in areas I feel inadequate. I am really good at putting things into action when I understand the big picture. But God doesn’t always reveal the big picture and is looking for you to just take the next turn. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

The Word has so so so much to say about taking action. So let’s dig a little deeper…

Action could be to start something, taking action to stop something, or taking action to rest in something. 

Geez. So many options. 

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

John 13:17 (NIV)

So as I start 2020 off….  I am tackling all three in small steps.

I am taking action to start the weekly ABCs series and diving deeper into the word- one word at a time.

I am taking action to stop Turing to sugar to comfort and energize. Today will be the first day of 40 for a faith based sugar fast. (Want more info go check it out- Wendy Speake’s 40 Day Sugar Fast)

I am taking action in resting (and praying) in his desire for this blog / community and the speed I take my ideas, so that they remain manageable and in His glory. 

At the end of the day, action is all about obedience to God. Take action even if that means action in being still when he calls you to. How do you take action in His glory?

Next week: ABCs of 2020: Bitterness.

Leap: January

I have this little corner desk area in our bedroom. On the wall I always post my word of the year. I see it multiple times a day and often stare and ponder what it means in that moment. What is the next leap?

Yesterday when I removed my 2019 word – courage- I felt a bit of sadness, “empty nest-ness.” I have been doing word of the year for 4 years now (balance → faith → love → courage). I can honestly say this is the first time I had trouble of letting go of a word. Who knew? Not sure what that means. But, I do know that it doesn’t mean to abandon my word leap. This was handed to me. I shared with my husband how back around Halloween I felt it – but fought it. I was convinced that wasn’t the word. Fear was driving that. I knew what it would mean to commit to leap, to commit to fully trusting him. I also shared that when I really committed to leap – it wasn’t long after I realized this year is a leap year. I laughed, looked up, and said allowed “funny, you got jokes.”

Part of my leaping year… I have chosen to use a monthly quote to help guide, motivate, and/or narrow my focus. The above quote by Seth Godwin is a great way to start the year.  The first part… “It always feels too soon to leap”, reminds me of,

However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ — the things God has prepared for those who love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

Hard truth – we absolutely can not enjoy, we can not participate, we can not even see what he has prepared… until we leap.

Throughout the Bible, God has required believers to leap.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31 (NIV)

Even knowing this with all my heart – one of biggest flaws I am trying to conquer – is fear paralysis caused by the what if? Must recite this over and over,

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Noah leaped and built and arc, Abraham leaped and prepared to sacrifice his son, Rahab leaped and sheltered enemy spies, David leaped and confronted a giant, Peter leaped (well stepped) out of a boat… the list could go on. 

Do you have a time you leaped… trusted without seeing… a moment that you went from “you” to remarkable? Share your story… it just might be the push for my leap one day. 

Life Doesn’t Work in Silos

This past weekend I traveled for my sisters wedding. It entails a long drive, through mountains, and past lots…. I mean lots of farms. As we rode, the silos kept grabbing my attention…. and it got me thinking…

I don’t know how you live life- but I am a complete Type A. Details matter, over analyzer, efficiency is the name of the game, teeth grinder, stressed-slightly anxious, can’t sleep over thinker, to-do list maker, with a sense of urgency person. For a long time people (even those closest to me) thought it was because  because I truly care… about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. As I pondered, I realized, this is not technically an underestimation. I ABSOLUTELY care about the big picture… but the details why?

Let’s look at what a real silo’s purpose is. It is to protect the grain from the elements and increase the storage life of the grain. So why do some of us live life in silos. For me, I often default to this way of living when I am overwhelmed. The structural comfort of living in my silo is comforting. But doing this day in and day out can also be lonely. Silos can easily cause us to mis align priorities. When I had a very demanding job- I completely lived life in silos. I thought my priorities were aligned with scripture. But it limited my collaboration with others and while my to do list would shorten, I lacked the socialization needed to keep my soul happy, to stay creative, and to stay inspired.

God didn’t create us to live this way. He himself is a community – the father, the son, the Holy Spirit. God didn’t leave Adam alone – he created Eve. The scripture continuously interweaves the thought of community. Galatians talks about how we are to carry each others burdens. Proverbs talks about how we are help better each other.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

While pondering and passing all these silos, I realized, at fast glance they appear to stand alone but with another look they are connected.

Really living life as a community takes time, takes maturity on all different kinds of levels. It is a process. To truly trust each other, trust God and the people he put in our path, to love each other, to forgive each other, to regard each other more than ourselves.

I struggle with that last one, how about you?