4 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
“One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.”
It is interesting to hear the stories of where people come from. I often will look at someone and just wonder where they have been, seen, felt, and endured in the past. What their lives looked like before Christ, before they were mature in their faith, in times they were scared or in a trial. This is especially true with people I admire. Powerful pastors, leaders, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, and friends. This interest was reignited recently when I was listening to a local pastor dip his toes into a bit of his testimony. Even the very little bit of raw insight he opened up with, was powerful, not only to how I saw him but to the overall message of his sermon.
After the end of the message I kept thinking through my head, what does my story sound like? What is my testimony? Many people seemed to have a pivotal moment when they decided to give their lives to Christ, but my life did not look like that. Did that make my story less impactful? I didn’t know, I had never thought about MY testimony, MY story, I cast it off as without significance, but is that really true? Could my life story significantly impact someone else’s? Every story has the ability to impact when the Holy Spirit has intervened. That was one thing I knew was absolutely true, God showed up for me time and time again. And His holy spirit was undeniable to me. I knew it was time to start hashing out my story. Now don’t get your hopes up, I am not sharing my testimony in this post (That will come soon!), but I am going to discuss 4 important things about living your life as a “Spirited Dance” rather than a “Religious Plod”, something I think goes hand in hand with Acknowledging the work the Lord has done in our lives so that not only we truly swallow what this means, but so that when were asked (and we WILL be asked) we are ready to share the relevance of the Gospel in EVERYONE’s lives. This relevance we can confirm through our stories, no matter what form they take.
These methods I am about to share are more about authenticity than they are about action steps. But really, what better action step is there than becoming authentic in your faith? So here are the four ways you can Shake off that Religious Plod.
- Encountering Your Past
Now this is not a prompt to “Contact your ex-boyfriend or hash out broken relationships from 10 years ago” type of prompt my friends. I simply mean that you should thoughtfully and prayerfully considering all you have been through to get you to your “Now”. Pray and ask God to highlight things in your past that have had significance. Capture your favorite memories and hardships, and write them down.
Why is this good to do? To keep you moving forward. The past has significance. Not to remain in the past but to use it as a catapult to learn from and blossom from. We all have roots, regardless of where they were planted, God intended them for good. This practice left me feeling overwhelmed with gratitude to God for transforming my life. Not in an instant, but still radically significant.
“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.”
- Honoring Your Present
Those who know me will giggle that this is Number two on this list. I have a deep struggle with the “Now”. It is never as fast or slow as I want it to be. I am never where I think I should be, doing what I think I should be doing, and I always feel behind. But something that I have been really trying to overcome is the Sin of not being grateful for where the Lord has planted me. I often giggle with my best friend that I feel like the Israelites wondering around in the wilderness when they were right next door to the Promise Land. She knows that I use humor to cover up the pain that I actually feel about this reference. I am constantly worrying if I am missing the mark, and if I am TRULY living in the purpose God has called me to. I analyze my life until there is no more joy to be had. Every essence of me is exhausted by worry. If this is something that you struggle with, I pray that you can break through this distractive mind and heart set with me! I have been working diligently on this with God (praying, reading books, and most importantly God’s word EVERYDAY) and I ALREADY feel so much lighter from the weight of the unknown. You, sweet friend, can feel this too when you surrender your hurt and be REAL with God. Tell Him where you’re at RIGHT NOW.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
You don’t need to be overly religious in your conversations with God (Always highly respectful) but He wants you to commune with Him! I cannot tell you how many times through out my weeks and days that I just chat with God. “Okay God, what the heck is happing in this situation right now?” or “Haha God I see where you’re going with this” or my current necessary prayer, “Lord, bring me to the end of myself right here and NOW.” “Blooming Where you are planted” is a cliche encouragement, but it is increasingly relevant in our walks with the Lord!
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
- Remove Insecurity
Whoa. The event just writing this down made me a little uncomfortable. But the reality is, Insecurity steals Joy, Boldness, Faith, Life, Purpose and brings only death and distraction. Sounds all too familiar doesn’t it?
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
This is a big area of struggle for me for many years. But thanks to the Lord, I have been able to overcome it. My wounds are still a little tender I will admit, and there are areas that this weakness has effected that I still need to address, but God met me in an intimate place in my life that I thought He could never touch. I kept it hidden because I CHOSE to not believe it would ever change. I believed the enemy, rather than the truth of God’s Loving Word!
I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly”
I treasure that these two sentences are side by side in scripture. God gives us the antidote to the paralysis that the enemy hopes to create within us! Where do you have a struggle in your life that you believe will never change? Come on girl, lets be real right now. I was not able to make any headway on my self-image until I let down my wall, peeled away how I saw myself, laid it all at the feet of God, and Prayed for him to forgive me for listening to the enemy. I prayed that He would search my heart, remove the lies, and awaken me to MOVE in His might and in the purpose He designed me for. You catch that? Insecurity steals purpose and living it out vibrantly! Don’t we all WANT a vibrant and purpose-filled life that positively affects others!? So as soon as that creep (yes I call the enemy a Creep!) starts to infiltrate… you SHOUT OUT John 10:10 if you have to! People will think you’re crazy, but OH WELL! You remind the enemy that you know exactly who he is and what he is doing. But most importantly You remind that Devil WHO YOUR GOD IS AND WHAT HE IS DOING, and he will have no choice but get the heck outta Nashville. (Or in my case, Oahu haha)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
This is the moment we all were created for. Do you believe that? Right now right where you are God has manifested. On top of that, God is OMNIPRESENT! He is with us, within us, and alive in His word. Our God is intimately intertwined in the smallest of moments in our lives! The mundane is not so when you realize that God always shows up!
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
Acknowledging that God’s word is alive is vital to our walk. For the longest time in my walk, I chose to skim, to read words, and not take to heart the breath of life within each passage. (Yes, even the sections of 50 names of descendants is alive with the power of God!) I had to recall when I first experienced being on fire for God. I was 13 and I was a girl on a mission. I would hunker down in my room, open my bible and marvel at His word, excitedly jotting down every scripture that resonated with me. With that intensity and excitement about God’s word, every scripture jumped out at me. That enjoyment and fulfillment of reading His word is when God gave me the vision of my calling to be a full-time Missionary one day. Clear as day, I would not just go on missions. I would live with a mission as a FULL-TIME missionary. I want to be back in that place! That childlike wonder that Christ loves so much opens the doors for us to embrace the Word of God and allow it to penetrate into an event the thickest of heads! When my mind gets muddy, I remember the crystallized visions and passion I had in those times I genuinely LOVED God’s word.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
You catch that? If we do not get this Child like wonder back, we WILL miss out on the Promise Land. We will be frantically stuck in the “Religious Plod” of trying to earn our way to heaven. We SHOULD know that salvation is NOT going through the motions, its acquired through a faith-filled surrender. Spiritual Maturity stems from that surrendered heart space, and marries righteous diligence in fulfilling the Law of The Lord, which primarily is to LOVE and LOVE HARD!
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”
Indeed, it is time to Hunt. We are to hunt after God’s word, His presence, His will, His Holy Spirit. We are to seek out those who need His salvation, who need HOPE. We do this through sharing OUR stories of salvation! We are to hunt after new eyes that see and new ears that hear. Friends, we are warriors in this life. We have the battle to fight. Until we regain the wonder back into our walks with The Lord and an awe at the Word He has left for us, we are stuck wondering in the wilderness.
But sisters! If we Seek Him we WILL find HIM! Can you believe that!? He knows our hearts and if we want to know Him, then He WILL give us the desires of our hearts! Share your story and others will not be able to deny the delight you have in The Lord!
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
So lets dance! And praise that we have a God that is a LOVING GOD, who wants us to WANT Him! He always shows up when we need Him. He has the power to move mountains, raise the dead, and transform lives of the lost.
Believe this, live this, and you will have no choice but to dance!
Have Grit Sweet Ones,
Here I am, that all too familiar place. A place where my passion for people, health, wellness, and above all else, connection with The Lord boils inside of me. Sometimes this Surge in me is overwhelming. So much so that I try to find ways to release it. I try to put all that bottled up energy in me towards something, ANYTHING, because I feel like have to do something with it. And yet, as usual, I end up back in this same place, spinning.
I feel like the more I try to release this “surge” in me the more unsuccessful my attempts are each time, and it leaves me feeling like all of these attempts are in vain. The more I sit down at my computer with so much to say and this deep desire to reach the masses, the more aimless and confused I feel at what i really need to do to put this passion into action.
“Always remember to fall asleep with a dream and wake up with a purpose”
I wonder to myself frequently, “Why do I get so close to breakthrough, and then for some reason it never comes”. Is there a reason that I have such intensity and Vigor now? Is there a purpose that I am needing to fulfill in my own unique way that I am missing the mark on? Because I definitely feel like that. I also believe that I am so close to it, and yet for some reason, it is still not in my line of sight.
I know that my role in my home is crucial, as a mother, as a wife, and as someone who wants to spread the Gospel. Yet, I feel like I have the capability to pursue dreams, and business and intertwine all of these things together to innately form, this “Purpose” that I know is from none other than God Himself. I am compelled more and more to find presence in each moment.
These thoughts, emotions, and urgencies drifted around in my mind as I was driving to a networking meeting with my toddler in the back seat. Then suddenly I heard her humming the tune to a familiar song. We both knew this song, but, this time, I “HEARD” this song, and what God was revealing to me through the chorus.
“When you don’t move the mountains, I’m needing you to move…
When you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through…
When you don’t give me answers when I cry out to you….
I will trust, I will trust, I WILL TRUST IN YOU!”
Yes, Lord. I hear you now.
These moments flooded me before the Arise Conference here on Oahu at Inspire Church created by Lisa Kai. Women, POWERFUL WOMEN, like Lisa Kai, Lisa Bevere, Dawn Cherie, and Janine Kubala all were scheduled to speak at this women’s conference. Lisa was given a word for this conference by The Lord and placed it on her heart to share with all of us who attended.
Wow. At first, I did not really know how “NOW” would resonate with me in my walk with The Lord. I knew I wanted a breakthrough NOW, I knew I wanted a clearer path NOW, I knew I wanted to get rid of these condemning voices in my mind NOW. But The Lord knew exactly what He wanted to plant in the hearts of women at this conference, and it extended far beyond myself. The word “NOW” was more than a word for individuals. It was a call to action, to rise up as a womanhood, and each Pastor wove together this intricate and life altering message beautifully.
Lisa Kai Spoke the first evening that I attended. Her lead in immediately set the air for my mind to put aside seeing “NOW” in a selfish and self-serving light. Lisa urged that “If we knew the NOWNESS of God, we would sense the Urgency of NOW.”
2 Corinthians 6:1-2
“We are working together with God. We ask you from our hearts not to receive God’s loving-favor and then waste it. The Holy Writings say, “I heard you at the right time. I helped you on that day to be saved from the punishment of sin. NOW is the right time! See! NOW is the day to be saved.”
Lisa called us to return to our first loves, above our children, husbands and businesses. A Love that is intentionally devoted to God, day in and day out. If we re-establish our relationships with God as first in our lives, then we are setting up ourselves to allow God to deposit on our hearts our assignment. Then, and only then, priorities in place, can we boldly answer, “YES, LORD.”
Lisa continued to explain that there is an urgency that needs to be intertwined in our obedience of answering the calls that God lays on our hearts.
I took a deep breath, exhaled it. I agreed with everything that was said. Most importantly I could feel my spirit in complete agreeance with what was being stirred within. I deeply desire to be called, and boldly answer “YES”! However, I still had this block. I could still feel it lodged in my throat. I kept wondering, what is it, God? What are you calling me to do Father!? But I knew I needed to place that frustration on the side, for now, and press into the message.
Perfectly timed, Lisa Kai brought up Purpose and Calling. (Haha very funny God) Clearly laid out. Mission, she expressed, was our duty to bring Heaven to Earth. Hebrews 4:3-11 cushioned that call with a steadfastness that is necessary when living out this purpose. Additionally, never to be overlooked, Disobedience is a HUGE barrier to us really fulfilling our mission.
“In the Holy Writings, He said this about the seventh day when He made the whole world, “God rested on the seventh day from all He had made.” But God said this about those who turned against Him, “They will not go into My rest.” Those who heard the Good News first did not go into His rest. It was because they had not obeyed Him. But the promise is still good and some are going into His rest. God has again set a certain day for people to go into His rest. He says through David many years later as He had said before, “If you hear His voice today, do not let your hearts become hard.”
If Joshua had led those people into God’s rest, He would not have told of another day after that. And so God’s people have a complete rest waiting for them. The man who goes into God’s rest rests from his own work the same as God rested from His work. Let us do our best to go into that rest or we will be like the people who did not go in.
Hmmm…Disobedience. What form has this taken in my life and my walk with my Savior? She urged us to ask ourselves these cutting questions, evaluating if we had ever REALLY asked God WHAT our calling is. Had I done that?
I give you a new Law. You are to love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. 35 If you love each other, all men will know you are My followers.”
Lisa then prompted us to LOVE the NOW. FORGIVE NOW. and LET GO NOW.
LET GO NOW… of the things that we reintroduced into our lives that take us off path every time, let go of people that do the same and let go of allowing ourselves to be the ones that get in the way.
Yup, I needed that…. Ouch… a good ouch. I had been CHOOSING to be frustrated. I chose to allow the enemy to have room in my mind. and I CHOSE to LISTEN TO HIM instead of GOD and HIS TRUTH in my mind. I had been listening to LIES!! This was the root of it all. I knew that NOW I needed to give that space to its rightful owner, GOD.I knew I need to press in harder than ever before to pursue God and His Word. I had to stop the Enemy in His tracks and send him packing with the Filling of The Holy Spirit and The Word of God in my Mind and Heart!
It may seem like a minor triumph. But the struggle in the mind is the reality of Spiritual Warfare and it is no way minor. So if this is an area that you struggle I urge you to get with Sisters in Christ and have them pray for you and with you. And on top of that seek counseling with a woman in your church who can mentor you! (I still need to do this) But lets not wait to overcome this so we can pass on Victory to our children.
The mind blooms into action, or in my case lack of action. The enemy shut me up, made me hate myself, and riddled my life with doubt, questions with no answers, and a sickening anxiety and depression that made it impossible to connect and KEEP good friends, let alone healthy relationships with a man. Choosing to listen to the enemy made me insecure instead of BOLD, fearful instead of FAITHFUL, worried about judgment instead of fixated on ETERNITY, selfish instead of SELFLESS, and hopeless instead of OVERFLOWING WITH JOY AND LAUGHING AT THE FUTURE.
Get up. Stand on your feet. I have chosen you to work for Me. You will tell what you have seen and you will say what I want you to say. This is the reason I have allowed you to see Me.
NOW I realized that is was time to claim the victory of the Cross over my life, and my family’s lives canceling out any power of sin over the generations before me. It was time for me to change what the next generation would receive. Righteousness and victory over sin is what will be the trademark of our generations to follow, seasoned with a beautiful and rich relationship with The Father.
Dawn Cherie was another penetrating Woman Pastor at the Arise conference. She brought up a reality that I needed to adopt into my own life. She said that the Cross is not to be treated like a teeter totter. It is a bridge to our Savior Jesus Christ. We cannot go back and forth, once we cross then we NEVER go back to our old ways of being nor thinking!
I heard my spirit realizing that this is exactly what I had been doing. I knew I could not lose focus because when I do my sight becomes self-consumed instead of being focused outward.
Janine Kubala pleaded with us during her sermon that it is time to change the channel in our minds. Wow. Yes, it sure as heck was long past time for me to grab the remote and hand it back over to The Lord. Janine also made a pertinent connection for me, which gave me a powerful tool to resist slipping back into destructive thinking patterns. She said, “Freedom is our ability to overcome our giants,” that “Freedom is not our destination, rather it is our farm of mind.”
Boom. That was the last thing I needed to push my spirit to the point of breakthrough. God knew that things would boil down for most of us like this. Getting to the root of where we relinquished power to the enemy instead of Insisting that every aspect of our lives be molded and entrusted to our creator.
This was my chance to acknowledge and MOVE FORWARD! Man, did it feel good to peel away years of self hatred that led to my addiction to self-mutilation, alcohol, marijuana, pride, and self-absorption. They all washed away through the power of The Cross. I think that as I was walking in my faith I forgot that the power of the Cross is not just for new believers. It is accessible to us and NEVER loses its strength! IT actually becomes stronger as we allow it to reign in our LIFE! Hello!!
These women had messages for every woman at the conference I have no doubt. Life changing messages. So if you didn’t catch my “NOW” here it is.
“NOW” it is time for me to look beyond my past pain, and deploy the Victory of the Cross to touch the lives of those who need healing.”
“NOW” I am taking vigor into my offensive position, it is time for women to Rise. Lisa Bevere Urged us to “STAY AT OUR POSTS.” She told us, “DONT YOU DARE ABANDON YOUR POST NOW.”
“IT IS TIME FOR US TO COMBAT FEAR SO THAT GOD CAN BRING FORTH HIS PROMISES!”
What is your “NOW”?
I could not possibly capture all of the amazing scripture, intimate moments with The Lord, and wisdom that was shared by these amazing women, and imported on them by our Almighty and Loving Father. So looks like you just have to come to next years Arise Conference!
Here are some of the main points that I was able to capture that were important to me!
- Have Urgency in pursuing God
- Live for God only
- Stop abusing Gods grace
- Be obedient and Submit to Being Led
- Talk to God about Everything
- Echo His Voice and Share my story
- Get into the Lives of people Genuinely
- Use my mouth to Glorify God
- Speak God word over mine and my Family’s lives
- Speak the Truth Always
- Tell people what God is doing in my Life
- Stand at my post and Never Back Down
- Keep our home sacred and Honor God with it
- Separate the Precious and the Bile
- Stop putting Question Marks where Exclamation Marks belong
- Stop Comparing myself to others
- Be the type of woman I want to see more of in the world
- Keep my Channel on God and His Word
- FIGHT BACK against negative thoughts
- Be available
- Speak Hope
- Know Gods Word
- The Cross is a Bridge NOT a Teeter Totter
- Press on and Know that Nothing is impossible with God
- START NOW
Thank you to Lisa Kai and the other amazing women who lifted us up and awoke the power within each and every one of us. I will NEVER be the same and I could not be more thrilled about it.
“But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!”
Have Grit Sweet Ones,
Corporate America is full of great opportunity and deep land mines. As you climb the corporate ladder, it’s critical that you learn the career pitfalls through shared wisdom instead of personal experience. Although experience is the best teacher, learning from others can help you miss the mistakes and mishaps that could be avoidable.
Here are five words of wisdom that were passed on to me from career mentors and professionals:
- Stop asking if you can have it all. Men have been doing it for years, so the question is unnecessary. Just go after what you want and just do it.
- Balance is not only important but it’s necessary. Don’t spend so much time investing in work that you forget the ones and things that truly matter.
- Attire does matter so dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.
- If you’re in the midst of a difficult conversation via email, it’s best to type your response and hold off on sending it.Walk away or come back to it later in the day to review the draft.This will allow you the opportunity to ensure the appropriate tone and response. When in doubt, save draft.
- Do not participate in gossip. Simply don’t do it. People that you think are not paying attention, see and hear it all and your association with the drama can become detrimental to your career growth.
What are some words of wisdom that have helped you navigate your career?
Ever since I have been a Christian I have felt this tug on my heart and a sense of action needing to be taken. Whether I was walking strongly with the Lord, or if I had taken a selfish turn away from Him, that sense of calling never left me. It is something I think we all feel if we really take a good look at our hearts and I think it is by design. Mother Theresa has long been someone that has inspired me to live more closely to how Christ has called us to live; selflessly. While reading her book “No Greater Love”, she really helped me to refocus, once again, on the importance of living out our calling.
In the United States, we are in a position where we live in the excess constantly. We have excess food, resources, money, and even excess opportunity. We often see ourselves as untouchable, however, in almost every situation, we are completely unaware of the immense blessings we have and yet, still do not use them to bless others. We have become hoarders of blessings, of love, respect, and even of the Gospel. I know that this may sound harsh, and I myself often get told that I am overly critical of myself. However, I do not see it as criticism…. I see it as a call to action and a wonderful opportunity for us all to take up the TRUE meaning of what being a Christ follower is! Mother Theresa said that “There are thousands of people who would love to have what we have, yet God has chosen us to be where we are today to share the joy of loving others. He wants us to love one another, to give ourselves to each other until it hurts. It does not matter how much we give, but how much love we put into our giving.” I have never thought about giving…. “Until it hurts”. That is a degree of love that instantly makes me uncomfortable…. I don’t like it…. but I have no doubt that the work the Lord could do through someone as minimal as me could be MIRACULOUS, IF I could give of myself this much!
Other religions even recognize that if we were living out Christian lives as Christ has designed, then they would be unable to deny the power of the cross! That says something! How powerful this change could be, and it would be simply through us losing the focus of ourselves and putting it in those who need Love in action. Mother Theresa got a quote from Gandhi that confirms this, he said “If Christians were to live their Christian Lives to the fullest, there would not be one Hindu left in India.” Wow. People are admittedly desperate for Christ! Are we going to be too selfish to give them that promise, something that is not ours to even withhold? This flips the script when viewed from this action based standpoint. Do you feel that burn in you yet? If not…. you will.
I want to make sure that I am not confusing things here. There is nothing wrong with the American Dream. We all have to work and take care of our families. Working hard to do so is not a bad trait or even desire. In fact, that is our first step in being disciples, caring for those who are nearest to us. However, I think that the American dream has morphed from bettering the generations to come and stumbled into the pit of Pride and Selfishness. Focusing our love on those nearest to us with the intention of serving is amongst the most hardest of our callings. However, Mother Theresa explicitly used a viewpoint that really changed how I looked at serving those who are nearest to me. “Since we do not see Christ we cannot express our love to him. But we do see our neighbor, and we can do for him what we would do for Christ if He were visible. Let us be open to God, so that He can use us. Let us put love into action. Let us begin with our family, with our closest neighbors. It is difficult, but that is where our work begins.” This statement is what started to crumble down the lies that I had been fed… and the lies that I have started to believe.
As a mother I am aware of the war against our roll in our home and with in our families. Mother’s are under the microscope no matter what she chooses to do and how she chooses to mother. Yet, the reality is, is that mothers are in a wonderful position to live out the life of a Christ follower in a beautiful way. Who serves more than a mother? This reinstated how important my role to my family is…. and the Legacy my husband and I hope to leave to our next generations. This movement will start with me, being present in our family as someone who puts love into all of my actions. “Mothers are at the heart of the family.” How powerful is a mother who helps children build foundations of love and selflessness into their lives? This is a powerful calling, calling to change the values of the World.
It is so easy to get caught up in “Getting ahead”, in the “Prosperity Gospels” that are spread all over this generation, the “Get Rich Quick” Schemes, and they all feed into one thing: Ego. These ideals create “Work-a-holics” that do not spend time with their families, or serving the Body of Christ! “Do not pursue spectacular deeds. We must deliberately renounce all desires to see the fruit of our labor, doing all we can as best we can, leaving the rest in the hands of God. What matters is the gift of yourself, the degree of love you put into each one of your actions.” I love that Mother Theresa deflates that whole mentality by revealing the Truth that God is the one who deserves all the Glory because… well, He is the one in control and he controls what bears good fruit! I had a dear friend tell me that God’s will is “None of my Business”, it is my job to be faithful and continue serving the Body of Christ in every way I can. I still have to tell my self “ITS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS BRAIN!” That helps me to move on and allow God to do the work He needs to without me getting in the way. Mother Theresa went on to examine that, “Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches. Children have very little time for their parents and parents have very little time for their children and for each other. So the breakdown of peace in the World begins at home.” I do no believe that this means to stop being ambitious, or intentional about your goals in life. In fact, those things are very good, so long as you are doing them with a heart full of love and you’re focus is to serve others and glorify God.
Being called to live this way should not make us sad, or make us feel deflated. In fact, there is a tremendous sense of purpose and joy in realizing how important this work really is! Mother Theresa encouraged me when she wrote, “Jesus is going to great things with you if you let Him, and if you don’t try to interfere with Him. We interfere with God’s plans when we push in someone or something else not suitable for us. Be strict with yourself, and then be very strict with what you are receiving from the outside. People may come with wonderful ideas, with beautiful things, but anything that takes you away from the reality of what you have given to God must remain outside.” This, I believe extends into our careers, our social circles, and our extra curricular choices. There are so many decisions that come across our tables, but they are people or things that do not push us along the path that serves the Lord most closely. If this happens then we need to take a pass and choose to not take it on board in our life! This is a REALLY hard thing to do, and something I honestly feel cannot be done apart from the Holy Spirit and intense prayer. However, when done to its full extent resisting things that are not for our lives as a Christ follower is extremely liberating, and I know makes God smirk.
The beauty in all of this is that God loves us, NO MATTER WHAT. And NOTHING can separate us from that love. Even if we stay exactly as we are we are able to access eternal life, and forgiveness and an amazingly intimate relationship with Christ if we want it. Mother Theresa revealed her angst for following Christ by admitting, “With our will that is whole I will love God, I will opt for Him, I will run toward Him, I will reach Him, I will possess Him. But it all depends on these words: “I want” or “I do not want”. I have to pour all of my energy into “I want.”” We do not HAVE to live out the Gospel, it is free for the taking. But if we truly believe in the power of the Gospel and what Christ has called us to do, and what He has already done for us on the Cross then how could we not want to spend our lives sharing that with others, and loving on our brothers and sisters in this world? They go hand in hand, I know now that one cannot exist with out the other. “We are collaborators with Christ, fertile branches on the vine.” This work is not easy, and the enemy will be absolutely be out to stop you, but we cannot be discouraged if we feed our fire with the word of the Lord and a faithfulness that cannot be broken. Mother Theresa urged her readers that, “What we need is to love without getting tired. How does a lamp burn? Through the continuous input of small drops of oil. What are these drops of oil in our lamps? They are small things of daily life: faithfulness, small words of kindness, a thought for others, our way of being silent, of looking, of speaking,and of acting”, and “Let nothing disturb us, so fill us with sorrow or discouragement, as to make us forfeit the joy of the resurrection.” These two statements really set that vision and yearning in me a blaze! I hope it does the same to you!
I hope that this encourages you to honor this life by using your amazing gifts and passions from God to expand the kingdom! No matter who you are or what you do, you are someone of amazing value, and your life was designed to touch the lives of others and give them a joy that in turn gives them strength! Don’t wait to live out this calling! I had a friend who was told that her spiritual gift was Joy (It radiated from her, and was undeniably from The Lord), but she felt like that was not a powerful gift. But I hope that her, along with all of you (and even myself) truly can meditate on the power of a being a Joyful giver….. of ourselves. We have the power to strengthen one another, and to truly raise each other up to be warriors! And it all starts with Love.
“I shall keep the silence of my heart with greater care, so that in the silence of my heart I hear His words of comfort from the fullness of my heart I comfort Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor.” -Mother Theresa
“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” -Jesus Luke 22.27 RSV
Have Grit Mighty Ones,
Prayer “O Jesus”
You who suffer, grant that, today and everyday
I may be able to see you in the person of your sick ones
and that, by offering them my care, I may serve you.
Grant that, even if you are hidden under the unattractive disguise of anger, of crime, or of madness
I may recognize you and say, “Jesus you who suffer, how sweet it is to serve you.”
Give me, Lord, this vision of faith, and my work will never be monotonous, I will find
joy in harboring the small victims and desire of all the poor who suffer.
Dear sick one, you are still more beloved to me
because you represent Christ. What a privilege I am granted in being able to take care of you!
O God, since you are Jesus who suffers, deign to be for me also a Jesus who is patient, indulgent with my faults
who looks only at my intentions, which are to love you
and to serve you in the person in of these children of yours who suffer
Lord, Increase my faith. Bless my efforts and my work, now and forever.
While I have not yet been blessed to be a Mom, which I know will come in the future, I have been fortunate enough to be a big sister to two young men and three young ladies. And as much as we fight and they certainly can get on my nerves, I would not be the person I am or be as happy as I am without them. So to express my love for them since siblings don’t usually do that, I wrote my young queens a little letter. (The one for my brothers is coming a tad bit later)
To my darling younger sisters,
Let me start by saying that each of you holds a special place in my heart.
You are spontaneous, caring, funny, loving, optimistic, intelligent, and beautiful.
DO NOT let one single soul, male or female, steal your joy or devalue you.
There will be naysayers and haters, because they are jealous of all the things that you can and will do.
NEVER doubt yourself, because anything that you think you can accomplish, you will.
KNOW and BELIEVE that your skin, body and hair are beautiful! I know you may not see many people that look like you, but you are perfect the way you are, no matter what anyone says.
Embrace the fact that you are different, because that is what makes you so special.
And most importantly, if you feel like you have no one, understand that I love you more than words can explain and that I am always here for you.
My life was a lot less fun before each of you entered my life and I am determined as your big sister to make sure that no one ever breaks you down, because the world and most definitely me needs each of you.