How to be “Suprisingly Satisfied”

Surprisingly Satisfied
From “The Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer

Did you know that rat poison is only 3% poison and the other 97% tastes good to the rat? In fact, the poison is a slow killer, so that the rodent does not realize where the source is coming from. Ultimately, it’s the 3% that kills the rats. I’d thought I just share that random information to you this Monday morning 🙂 No really, on a more serious note, overall, life may be good for you and I, but there is a small percentage of posion that the enemy uses to slowly kill our joy, our peace, and ultimately will destroy the purpose God has for us if we are not careful.

That deadly killer… comparison.

We drink in that poison every time we compare our lives to someone we wish we were or something we wish we had. You know…those times we scroll on our facebook or instagram feeds and wish we had what the girl/guy next door has. Or that time someone on social media, we don’t even know, got blessed with a brand new car, brand new job, and went to the most beautiful island for vacation, all at the same time, and you secretly say, “I wish that was me.” We do it without even thinking! Oh friends, we think it’s harmless, but in reality, comparison is a dangerous game to play!!! When we compare, we run a race that was not meant for us and exert energy that leaves us in the same spot we started.

You may not compare yourself to others, but you wish you were in a different season of your life, hurrying and trying to get to a “better version” of your story. I remember the days of my singleness, wishing for Mr. Right to come and sweep me away forever into the sunset. There were moments in my singleness that I did not embrace the beauty of that season. Now I have Mr. Right in my life (praise God :)) and I find myself hurrying our season for the next best thing. If I’m not careful, I will miss out in the beauty of just enjoying my husband fully in the season we are in now before becoming parents or moving or thinking about grandkids lol!

Contentment is not equal to complacency. ~Priscilla Shirer

There is so much beauty where you are now! There is so much God has for you where you are now! There is peace now. There is joy now. There is contentment now. There is purpose for. your. life. NOW. All we have to do is invest fully where we are, because friends, this season we are in will not always be present. Let’s not drink the posion of comparison. “Someone else’s blessing does not mean that it was deducted from our account. Celebrate others’ blessings!” To be content is to find rest in this busy rat race called life. Pastor Larry Stockstill gives us four ways to pace ourselves and find contentment and rest:

R- RELAX: in who you are. Paul said in scripture, “I am what I am by the grace of God.” Learn to be comfortable in your own skin and who you are in God! Learn to love yourself.

E- EXAMINE: your heart for sin. Psalm 32:3 guilt shame, and condemnation will destroy your inner rest. Isaiah said, “there is no rest for wickedness.” Disease is broken down as “dis-ease.”

S- SURRENDER: to the will of God. God’s plan is contingent on your obedience. Rest in His purpose. Until God is through with you, you’re not going anywhere.

T – TIMING: Don’t try to make it happen. God is walking the path with you. Relax. God has a perfect timing. Don’t drive to keep up with the “Joneses.” Sometimes, God will allow some circumstances to prolong to show a great miracle. Don’t pick the fruit before it’s ripe. The fruit will fall off the tree when it’s ready. Timing issues cause Christians to leave their rest.

Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. ~1 Timothy 6:6

 

Go Look at the Horizon

I have a confession. I don’t like waiting…

For example, the thought of long lines, being put on hold on the telephone, and the worst…traffic…makes me want to avoid them at all costs! Here’s the thing, if you know anything about Atlanta, GA traffic, you don’t have the option of avoiding it. You learn how to deal with it. You find out that morning rush hour is from 5:00 am to noon and that evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00 pm. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Atlanta has its own. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Period. Seriously. Something worse could happen. I’ve learned to pack meals and even listened to entire book audiotapes to pass the time away. I’m telling you it’s a fine art in how you deal with waiting in Atlanta traffic.

But life has you wait for more than just long lines and terrible Atlanta traffic. You could be waiting on a job opportunity, a dream in your heart to come true, your future spouse, a change in your health, financial turnaround, or waiting to have kids. The wait is different for everyone but everyone has a wait. Waiting is a big part of the Christian life and prayer. In fact, you don’t get the option of whether you have to wait as a Christian, but you do get the option of HOW you wait. I recently listened to a message from Jesus Culture Church in Sacramento called “The Prayer of Anticipation.” It has definitely encouraged me in my own waiting process so I wanted to share some great points that will hopefully encourage you as well on waiting on God. Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

Lamentations

  • There are two types of waiting: Passive waiting and the Biblical concept of waiting. People think waiting is passive. They distract themselves with other activities and get their mind off what they are waiting for. Yet, this is not the Biblical concept of waiting. The definition of wait in the Bible come from several different Hebrew and Greek words. In general, it means to LOOK, EXPECT, HOPE FOR, LIE IN AMBUSH FOR, LONG FOR…I don’t forget about it. I keep looking. I anticipate. I lean in to prayer and expect it. Waiting on God is to seek Him and pray anticipating that what your Father said will. come. to. pass. It’s not going through the motions of prayer. We can pray and not believe. Yet, waiting on God is to pray AND believe in faith.

 

From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4 NRSV

 

  • Waiting helps us know the character of God. When I can know God in a deeper way and trust His character, it can help me get through the long process of waiting. When we do not know that God is faithful, consistent, not a respecter of persons, kind, good, etc. we can become bitter, hurt, discouraged, and stop praying in our waiting process. God wants you to get to know Him while you wait! Lean in and position yourself to know that God cannot deny His own character. If He did it for other people, He will do it for you! When fear or doubt try to cloud your mind remind yourself that God is faithful. He is the most consistent person you will ever meet. He will not fail you. Even when we are not faithful and consistent, that does not stop God from being who He is.

 

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  • GO LOOK AT THE HORIZON. When Elijah prayed for rain in the Bible, he told his servant to look toward the sea for rain. When the servant came back and said there is nothing there, Elijah told him to go back…seven times. On the seventh time, the servant responded, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” Before you knew it, a heavy rain poured. You and I need to pick-up the prayers we put down and pray with anticipation and expectation! We need to keep looking at the horizon until it comes and lean into God! It may take seven times, it make take 7,000 times but that is part of trusting that God will deliver. It’s coming and God’s timing is not our own. Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Just Go Look One More time. 

 

 

 

Power of Believing in Yourself

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In 2008, a first year head coach hung a sign up in his football players’ meeting room which had the word “BELIEVE” on it. The team was going through so many problems. They had not one ten games in a season in 18 years and had not won a championship since 1981. Fast forward nine years later and Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers football program are now your 2017 College Football National Champions. His team needed to believe in themselves, if they were to overcome a record of mediocrity (Schiffer, 2017). “Believe,” Swinney says, “is a powerful thing. Powerful enough to change anything” (Hayes, 2017).

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic of belief lately. We all have things and values that we believe in. Our lives are a reflection of what we believe and the habits we build around our belief system. Believing is so simple, we do not think about it, and often we miss it all the time. However, I want to pose this question to you. What do you believe? More specifically, what do you believe about yourself?

There are very few successful people who are not positive and confident in themselves. In many cases they are even less gifted and less skilled in what they do, they just think differently than others who are not as successful. Believing is the doorway of entry. It is the doorway to hopes and dreams and the future that you imagine it to be. Believing is a process of becoming and growing into all of the purposes and potential hidden inside of you and I. Unfortunately, I think our society has misinterpreted what it means to believe in oneself. The problem is that today, many people think that they can do anything, alone, and without any help from others. There is no such thing as the self-made man and independent go-getter. These people are trying to make a life of doing something, rather than becoming something.

As Christians, we are not only called to believe in Jesus, but we are also to believe in ourselves too. We must see ourselves the way we really are, with the help of Jesus Christ. Writer Gerald Kennedy has a lot to say about this topic. He says, “the more we understand the reality of our own hearts, the more we see the need for Christ; pride is the root of sin.” The world is full of people who feel hopeless and reckless, but they try to build up a picture that looks as if they are strong and can stand alone. I have been guilty of this as well. It is the lust of proving oneself that they are a star, to tell the world how good they are and that they deserve praise. Yet, even the very best of us fall short of the righteousness of God. The difference where we fall short and what God has for us is found in the healthy and pure form of Belief…in oneselfANDin God.

Finally, through Jesus Christ, our eyes are opened and we see the truth about who we are….children of God. We were never meant to do this thing called life alone. We were made in the image of our Father, created for Himself and for His great pleasure. Romans 8 speaks about being God’s children. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17). Then in Romans 8 verse 19, it says, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”

Do you realize who you are? You are an heir to God and co-heir with Christ! You are created a little lower than Elohim! You are a mighty warrior! You are a masterpiece, created from the very hands of God the Universe! You are above and not beneath! You are royalty and a citizen of the Kingdom of Majesty! You have the very breath of God inside of you! Do I need to continue? You are set apart, holy, and purposed for great destiny! You are whole, healed and free! You can do more than you think you can and you can have more what you think you can have!

When you understand and BELIEVE who you really are through Christ, only then can you truly be REVEALED.

You won’t get anyone to believe in who you are until you believe in yourself. Break off the old mindset and up your game of self-perception! It is those who know their God that can truly know themselves. It is those that believe in themselves and God that will truly do great exploits.

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God just wants your belief. God cannot use your unbelief. Look at the countless examples of people in the Bible that believed. Abraham was counted righteous because he believed God. Moses led the people out of Egypt because he surrendered to a belief in himself and God. Esther saved a nation because she believed. The woman at the well in the New Testament believed in the coming Messiah and as a result went to witness to her town about the Christ who was there. So my question to you again is this. Will you simply… just…. believe? Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

 

 

Dare Greatly. Take Creative Risk.

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I’m “jumping” right to the point (no pun intended). We need to jump. I don’t know about you but I have been passively looking over the cliff wondering every “what if” and fearing my life’s outcome if I was to ever take the leap. Yet, in doing so, I have chosen DEATH to a life of “what if” when I stay on the edge. What am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? Why are we not jumping? It’s time to get in the game.

Author Brene Brown has stated in her book, “Dare Greatly” that one of the reasons we are afraid to take risks or try new things is because we have become disengaged to one another. It’s easier to stay quiet than to share stories, experiences, and ideas, than it is to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. We rather experience other people’s creativity than experience our own. Well, I’m here to tell you that what you have is enough and what you need is already inside of you to do, innovate, or make the very thing stirring inside of your belly.

I was listening to a video from Steve Harvey and it propelled me to write because I am passionate about this topic. I wish I can tell you that when you jump you will immediately experience the most incredible time of your life. I wish I can persuade you and myself into thinking that when we jump, everything will get better. I’m not here to sell a pitch or buy your applause. THE TRUTH IS THAT JUMPING IS SCARY! I don’t even get on roller coasters so why would I even consider cliff jumping on a regular in my life?! The truth is that when we jump, we will get cut by some rocks and our parachute will not open right away. The truth is….if we don’t jump, we will never have the opportunity to soar. The truth is….if we don’t jump, we will never know what can be with all of the potential locked up inside of us.

There’s a story in the Bible about two sisters Mary and Martha in Luke 10: 38-42 that helps illustrate this point. Most people would not consider this text related to a topic such as this because many use this story in regards to Martha being too busy with serving and ministry while Mary choosing the better to sit at the feet of Jesus. It’s a story of choosing the ONE THING, a continued focus on Jesus, while also knowing how to serve. But hear me out. I think it’s more than Mary just choosing… Mary discovered a great TREASURE and she DARED and RISKED to engage Him. In the context of her time and situation, it was not common for woman to sit under teaching, nor was it known when she will ever get a chance to see Jesus again. She chose the better, and what she did will not be taken from her.

In your context and situation today, will you DARE and RISK to seize the treasure hidden inside of you? The job demands will always be there. Your daily chores will always be there. Your bills and other important obligations will continue to pop up. Life goes on. But will you dare stop and enjoy Jesus instead of trying to serve Him all the time? Will you risk starting your own business? Will you dare talk to that neighbor that’s been on your heart for a while? Will you risk your reputation to possibly look like a “fool” for believing in a dream that only you can see? Will you take creative risk in this moment of time and Jump? It’s not going to be easy, but it’s well worth it. We need creativity and authenticity more than ever and we won’t get it unless we all jump.

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I want to leave you with some nuggets by Tiffany Shlain that will help you and I in the process of creativity to jump the cliff and explore the adventure that God wants us to have. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

  • Act on and go off your “Hunch”
  • Talk about it with your community! Yes, this means you have to be vulnerable.
  • Be a sponge. Read voraciously and ask a lot of questions.
  • Endure the confusion and darkness stages. You will have to wrestle and rumble with somethings.
  • Take a breather.
  • Make room for grace and receive criticism.
  • Celebrate your small victories.
  • Review and find the missing link to bring it all together.
  • Know when you’re done. Repeat 🙂

“There was a very cautious man, who never laughed or cried. He never cared; He never dared; He never dreamed or tried. And one day when he passed away, his insurance was denied. For since he NEVER REALLY LIVED, they claimed he NEVER DIED.” ~ Jeanne Mayo

Lovesick Bride

Lovesick Bride Quote.pngWedding bells are ringing and engagement rings are blinging. Do you hear the sound of blissful laughter and celebratory music in the air? Can you see the joyful tears and the expressions of satisfaction from friends and family? You have waited and waited and the long anticipation of the “One” has finally arrived; and you are about to become “One” in the formality of the ceremony and in intimacy. What a beautiful sight….What a beautiful invitation….

Invitation? What do I possibly mean by invitation? I have a confession. As someone who desires to be married one day, I do not desire the wedding day as much as I desire the one I plan to spend the rest of my life with. There is a difference. I wonder if as a culture we have put so much emphasis on the wedding day, that we have actually failed to prepare to love and be loved by our spouse to be. It’s not too much to think that we as Christians have also done the same thing with our Bridegroom Jesus Christ. I was recently listening to a few messages by Damon Thompson and I was motivated to write this message that was on my heart.

You see, the wedding day is only an invitation to go deeper, higher, and into a more selfless life with the “One” you confess your love for. It’s just the beginning. It’s just the start to something beautiful and sacrificial. Yet, we have made the wedding day the ending. The result. The finish line. Thus, you have marriages falling apart because there was no vision, no effort, and no motive to go further than the day they said “I Do.” The wedding day is so glorified in our culture that we have shows called, “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Bridezillas,” and expos for Bridal shows. We have conditioned ourselves to value our “YES” to the dress over our “YES” to the Bridegroom.

It is no different in our relationship with God. As devoted Christians, we have become more infatuated with sacraments and religion than being in love with our King. We have loved our duties more than loving our Beloved. In essence, we have been saying yes to ministry, and yes to trying to save the world, and yes to our busy and ordinary lives, that we have missed the only “YES” that will set us free from it all…

We are closer to the conflict than we are to the ANSWER. ~ Damon Thompson

The ceremony lasts only a few hours, but the marriage is meant for a lifetime. We are so insecure about God’s love for us that we try to cover ourselves up with “BUSY.” We are flawed and imperfect people but God has such a furious and unrelenting love for us that when we finally get rooted in it, disappointments no longer matter. God’s thoughts toward us are filled with extravagant emotions of desire and this crazy love becomes the theme for our lives. It is never ending. It is never failing. It always protects, hopes, and trusts…

Be warned. There is a danger in not saying “YES” to the King. As Christians, we will have successful ministries and organizations, but the glory will not be given to the King. We glorify our efforts and grind rather than living in the grace that God has equipped us for being in covenant love relationship with Him.

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I love Queen Esther in the Bible. That woman right there was beautiful, bold, and brave. She was perhaps one of the greatest warriors in the Bible and I say that because she got close to the King. It was more dangerous for her to approach the King in His bed chamber than for her to go and swing her sword out in the public. It required more preparation to be found more favorable and irresistible to the King, than to just go and try to save the Jewish Nation on her own. She even said, “If I perish, I perish.” You just don’t walk into the bedchamber of the King…even as Queen.

She knew that her nation needed to be saved. Just as we know that our nation is in critical moments…new election, social and racial injustice is prevalent, domestic violence, human trafficking, and the list can go on and on….but Queen Esther chose to be irresistible to her King versus swinging her sword. She got so close to her Bridegroom that all she had to do was whisper to him her request and He moved without hesitation. Do we dare risk to get so close to our King Jesus that all we have to do is whisper for Him to move? Do we not understand that it is only YAHWEH that can save? How is the shouting working for you? How is the sword fighting working for you? How are your own efforts working? Could it be that our risk is getting so close to the King that all He needs is a whisper from us?

God desires our company more than we desire to further His cause. ~ Damon Thompson

I pray that we become LOVESICK BRIDES! That we fall in love with Him this fall more than we ever have. Let our hearts become in rhythm with His heartbeat and not the cadence of the world. Let us yearn and ache for His presence and be saturated in His kisses. I pray that we don’t ask for greater influence but greater capacity to feel God’s love for us! (Damon Thompson) It will be overwhelming, but He longs for the affection of our hearts. Let Him see us fully naked and transparent before Him so that we can forever become captivated by the fire in His eyes. We are called to be irresistible to the King. He is waiting for us to take our seat and authority as queens and brides so that He can give us what we desire. All we have to do is get close. All we have to do is whisper. We won’t get there because of our greatness; it will be because of the softness and yielding of our heart.

Just love the King. Just love the King. Just love the King. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

 

 

They’re Cheering You On.

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There was a time in college I woke up late for my team’s 6:00 am mile run. Yep, I slept right through my alarm and rolled over in the comfort of my bed as my teammates ran the mile early in the morning. I awoke to the sound of a knock on my door. It was more like a banging. As soon as my eyes opened, suddenly the realization of where I was and where I was supposed to be hit me like sirens going off in my head. I ran to open the door and see who was banging and it was my head coach.

With my hand still on the door handle and my eyes locking eyes with my coach, I did what anyone else would have done. I slammed the door back shut. Then proceeded to run to my bathroom to try to figure out how to explain what just happened. My coach came in and followed to check on me. In the most understanding way, she simply told me to get dressed for the run and head over to the track.

When I arrived at the track, all of my teammates were still there; finished with their timed run. So I stretched and stepped up to the line…alone. My coach had a timer in her hand and told me to go when I was ready. I took off. I had so much adrenaline built up from being late and having to be timed, I ran the first lap faster than my natural pace. Lap 2 came around and I noticed myself getting tired early. Then the most interesting thing happened…

I heard the sound of my teammates cheering me on to finish. Mind you they already finished their race. Yet, two teammates joined me on the second lap and my energy picked up. My determination increased. My wind came back. Lap 3 came around and other teammates joined me and the cheers got louder. By the time I was on my last lap, my entire team was running with me pushing me to finish strong to the end.

I will never forget the power of teamwork and love in that moment of my life. I was late, I was tired, I was defeated before I even started and finished my race. Yet, I had people who went before me and cheered me on to the finish line.

Life will often happen the same way. We mess up. We get tired and our faith will get weak. Hope seems lost. Yet, scripture says that we have a cheering section ready to inspire and motivate us to the finish line. They did it. Most importantly, Christ did it and so can we.

Sometimes we win because we have strength to finish on our own. Other times we win because of who’s watching us. You’re not alone. You have teammates cheering you on!

Hebrews 11:1 also talks about the weights and sins in our lives that can slow us down and get us off track. What are you willing to give up in order to get where you are trying to go? What are the weights you need to lay aside to be the champion you need to be? It’s a daily struggle to lay aside the sin in our lives and live as the champion in Christ that we are. Paul in Romans 8 speaks about this internal battle we have that we as Christians struggle with. However, in the very next chapter we get clarity that we are winners, even if we don’t feel like it.

 

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Olympic Gold: USA Women’s 4×100 team. Photo from SB Nation.

We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37) and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because He has set us free from the law of sin and death (v.1-2). So when your faith gets tired and your hope seems lost, remember that you are not alone in your struggles. You have a group cheering you on to the finish line because they know you can make it. Christ already won. There’s a champion, fighter, builder, and thinker in you! Get focused again and push yourself to the limit! In Him we are winners and in our weakness, He is made strong.

It’s time to run again. Be Blessed family. Be Revealed.

 

 

 

 

Wake Up and Enjoy the Moment!

Ah…. the smell of roasted coffee or bacon in the morning can awaken my senses! I used to not be a coffee drinker until I started graduate school and then I was hooked! As I was thinking about what to write about this morning, my thoughts centered on these words…”WAKE UP.” Ephesians 5:14-15 MSG Bible says this:

Wake up from your sleep. Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light. So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

I believe many of us are sleep walking through our lives and not able to enjoy the moments and the season that God has placed us in. Just as coffee can awaken our senses, I believe that God places miracles and blessings in our lives to awaken us to His goodness and  purpose for us. However, if we are asleep, and not recognizing the urgency in the time which we are living, then we can very well miss our moment.

It’s hard to enjoy the moment when you are always looking for the next one. When you are always trying to get to the next level or the next season in your life, you could very well sleep through the season you are in now and miss all that God has for you NOW. You are where you are for a reason. The truth is….how you exit one season will greatly determine how you enter the next season. If you can’t wait to get to the next season, you will do the same in that season and miss what God is trying to teach and show you even then.

So how do we wake up from our sleep? How do we climb out of the coffins and SEE what God is trying to do in this season of our life? The answer is given in the verse above.

CHRIST WILL SHOW YOU THE LIGHT!

We need to allow God to do CPR to our hearts so that we can become alive in the NOW and see all that He has for us in the moment. I don’t want to miss the lessons in this season. I don’t want to look back on life and say, I missed it or I wish I would have slowed down some more and got that life lesson or that event. Or I wish I would have enjoyed my singleness more or even appreciated my relationships more. Our hearts are our spiritual eyes and when we give God our hearts, He gives us sight to see (Proverbs 23:26). I hope this encourages you this morning. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!