Let Choices Lead and Feelings Follow

Help! There’s a tornado whirlwind of jeans, tops, and dresses all over my bedroom! I cannot make up my mind on what to wear so I throw every article of clothing I feel like wearing in every direction of my bedroom. Can anyone relate?? I like the idea of wearing one blouse in my mind but I like how another shirt fits and feels better on my body. So I change. After walking out the door and realizing I’m not dressed for the weather, I change again. Then I feel like wearing different shoes because they look better with the new dress I put on. This probably goes on two or three more times. Then don’t get me started on my food options. I will probably feel three different ways about my lunch today when it comes time to chow down. There are so many feelings, no wonder our culture thrives on one of the scariest ideas floating around – that your feelings are truth.
feelings face
feelings faces – bernadinia
Our culture is saturated with feelings! Do not misinterpret this. Feelings are not bad. In fact, they were given to us by God. However, to allow our feelings to dictate what we do and how we identify ourselves in critical areas of our lives is deception and misaligned. Our culture believes that those desires, those urges, and those impulses are who you are. Live how you feel! Do what you want, when you want, and with whoever you want. Follow your heart! This is a horrible existence. The reality is this is not truth. Pastor Judah Smith stated it best, “Don’t follow your heart, question your heart.”

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Don’t follow your feelings. Most of the time we cannot identify our emotions or know what we want. How can we trust the roller coaster ride of our emotions dealing with God, people, careers, etc? Yet, it is a sad reality that the same approach we have towards what we’re going to eat and what we’re going to wear, is applied to other major areas in our lives. One of the best ways to safeguard our hearts and lead a life of decision is to understand that it starts with relationship. Here are three important areas of our lives where we can be a generation of people that choose to live by decision and will, not by emotion and frill. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!
  • Our Relationship with God
    • What if God responded to us out of His feelings? We would not be redeemed today! Someone once told me that they are waiting to feel God before they start following Him. Well, that is the wrong approach to our relationship with our Father in Heaven! Friends, let me tell you that our love for God is an act of the will and selfless surrender of ourselves. It is a decision. (James 4:8)
    • Love is a law and laws have no feelings. Romans 13:8; John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Sometimes you feel like running the red light because you are late, but the law says STOP! (Myles Munroe) God has given us a command to obey, even to the point of loving our enemies. We definitely cannot feel our way to doing that. We choose that!
    • Obey God wholeheartedly – If we think of love primarily as emotional desire and not as active committed service, we end up putting duty and desire against each other in a way that is unrealistic and destructive – Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
  • Relationship with our Spouse

    • Andy Stanley said, “Falling in love is easy; all it requires is a pulse, but staying in love requires a plan.” Love is a verb. You do it. You don’t feel it. Love is an act of the will. We think love is some emotional concoction deep in the soul. However, it is a daily decision to love (verb) our spouse. Then those initial feelings we had when we were all googly-eyed during the dating season will return and stay!
  • Living Out Our Purpose and Calling
    • What is that hard thing God has called you to? Did you start out with enthusiasm and emotion but found yourself giving into your feelings of not wanting to do it anymore? Most people start out feeling one way and quit on a “bad” day. Here’s the thing, you cannot rely on your feelings to lead you to greatness. Greatness occurs through daily habits and choices. Commit, follow-through, invest, practice and deliver even when you don’t feel like it.

God Isn’t Finished With You Yet

I wrote the post “The Comeback” over a year ago and wanted to revisit it again today, especially after being inspired by Tiger Wood’s legendary comeback yesterday. Your past is not the indicator of the future God has for you; neither is the present moment. In fact, we are all in this process called life together, we just happen to be at different places in our journey. Here’s the good news:

God does not call you based on your history, He calls you based on your destiny.

When you’re faced with doubters and critics in your journey of life, keep believing. When you’re faced with setbacks, keep believing. When you’re alone and your circle of friends no longer is with you, keep believing. When you think you’re past your prime, God’s time is always better. You have to teach yourself to hope when others default to despair. You have to develop grit and deepen that passion on the inside of you. There are no gains without pains. Just keep believing. “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16) Get back up again. Fight again. What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger if you choose.

comeback 3.jpg

We are all going to come to a point in our life where “we need a fresh start, a new beginning, a spiritual turnaround, a change of direction”… we need a comeback. Comeback and underdog stories are what I love. In fact, the ultimate comeback story belongs to our Heavenly Father when He conquered death, hell, and the grave and is alive today! No matter what circumstances or situations we are facing or have experienced in the past…hope is still available to us and we can overcome through Jesus Christ. Still believe! Still trust! Here are a few appetizing points from this book I read by Louie Giglio, “The Comeback: It’s Not Too late and You’re Never Too Far.” Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

  • God is always good, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.
  • Jesus is always there for us. He doesn’t stop healing us. He never stop forgiving us. He won’t stop restoring us. He refuses to stop loving us.
  • He melts the grip of sin and dire circumstances and leads us back to his springtime full of life and growth, productivity and beauty.
  • God isn’t finished with you yet. Jesus is a dream restorer.
  • We are in the plan of God and not the plan of men.
  • It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone, what you’ve done,or where you’ve been. God always throws the door wide open and says, “Welcome home!”
  • His grace comes in oceanic proportions.
  • Nothing gets in the way of God’s great plan.
  • Sometimes we try so hard to cheat death, but Jesus wants us to beat death.
  • He wants us to understand our constant need for the extravagant grace of God.
  • The thing we need most is not to be perfect but to be in love with Jesus. All the condemnation already fell on Jesus.
  • We need God’s saving grace to be made alive. We need God’s transforming grace to be made alive every day.
  • There’s more at stake than what happens in your life. What’s at stake is how God wants to raise up hope in a community, a nation, and the world to the point where people look around and see what God is doing in people’s lives.
  • He is the person our hearts and souls were made for. Jesus is enough.
  • Give it away. Give God your dreams. Give God your intense feelings. Give God your little and see what he does with it.
  • We all have an ability to have a relationship with almighty God.
  • In the unpredictable places in life, we learn that the one thing we can predict is that God will come through.
  • He doesn’t want our dreams. He wants his dreams.
  • Keep doing the very best at whatever God has put in front of us.
  • God is still at work. God has not forgotten you. Your comeback will probably look different that you have imagined it, and that’s okay. Wait and believe.

 

comeback 2.png

Start Your Day with WWJD

wwjd

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

You remember the “WWJD” phrase? This was the most popular Christian saying back in the 1990s. In fact, it was so culturally iconic, you weren’t considered cool or Christian unless you wore a WWJD bracelet (maybe not that extreme lol)! However, the motto, “What would Jesus do?”  does hold so much truth in how we demonstrate our actions in every situation and circumstance as believers. I also believe it can be a catalyst for how we shape our mindset to start our day.

This is an encouragement for you this morning to start your day with God. Let me ask you this… did you wake up with a worrisome thought about life? Did you wake up with thoughts of fear? Or how about thoughts of extreme lack of motivation for the day…dreading the work hours ahead of you? Did you wake up feeling rushed, too busy to think with all of the work you HAVE to get done today? If any of those scenarios didn’t fit, then you probably were the one who walked mindlessly to the bathroom or kitchen, possibly contemplating if you could sneak in five extra minutes of sleep. Yet, in all of these scenarios, if we’re not careful, they can be the catalyst to how we go into the rest of our day, with a filter being worried, doubtful, tired, stressed, or without purpose. But what if we woke up thinking WWJD?

Remember that worrisome situation that was on your mind when you woke up? “If you’re tuned into God, the first thing you’ll do in any worrisome situation is lift it up to Him.” When we wake up in the morning and devote the priority of the day to our King, we do what Jesus would have done…go to the Father in prayer. I find setting time each morning to pray before anything else, is the most important part of your 24 hours.

God can do more when we allow Him with our day, then we can do on our own. Give Him control.

Praying prepares our hearts and minds for whatever may come at us that day. Prayer allows us to cast every burden and weight on the Lord so that we can start each morning free and joyful. Prayer is setting the thermostat for our day. When we set it, we carry the presence of God that has the power to influence people and situations for His glory. When we don’t set it, well…we can be subject to the people and circumstances around us. So let’s hold true to the motto WWJD. Let’s start each day communing with Christ in prayer and reading God’s Word, even if its just for a few minutes. I’m telling you, your life will change all for the better! Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

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

 

The Comeback

comeback 3.jpg

We are all going to come to a point in our life where “we need a fresh start, a new beginning, a spiritual turnaround, a change of direction”… we need a comeback. Comeback and underdog stories are what I love. In fact, the ultimate comeback story belongs to our Heavenly Father when He conquered death, hell, and the grave and is alive today! No matter what circumstances or situations we are facing or have experienced in the past…hope is still available to us and we can overcome through Jesus Christ. Still believe! Still trust! Here are a few appetizing points from this book I read by Louie Giglio, “The Comeback: It’s Not Too late and You’re Never Too Far.” Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

  • God is always good, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.
  • Jesus is always there for us. He doesn’t stop healing us. He never stop forgiving us. He won’t stop restoring us. He refuses to stop loving us.
  • He melts the grip of sin and dire circumstances and leads us back to his springtime full of life and growth, productivity and beauty.
  • God isn’t finished with you yet. Jesus is a dream restorer.
  • We are in the plan of God and not the plan of men.
  • It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone, what you’ve done,or where you’ve been. God always throws the door wide open and says, “Welcome home!”
  • His grace comes in oceanic proportions.
  • Nothing gets in the way of God’s great plan.
  • Sometimes we try so hard to cheat death, but Jesus wants us to beat death.
  • He wants us to understand our constant need for the extravagant grace of God.
  • The thing we need most is not to be perfect but to be in love with Jesus. All the condemnation already fell on Jesus.
  • We need God’s saving grace to be made alive. We need God’s transforming grace to be made alive every day.
  • There’s more at stake than what happens in your life. What’s at stake is how God wants to raise up hope in a community, a nation, and the world to the point where people look around and see what God is doing in people’s lives.
  • He is the person our hearts and souls were made for. Jesus is enough.
  • Give it away. Give God your dreams. Give God your intense feelings. Give God your little and see what he does with it.
  • We all have an ability to have a relationship with almighty God.
  • In the unpredictable places in life, we learn that the one thing we can predict is that God will come through.
  • He doesn’t want our dreams. He wants his dreams.
  • Keep doing the very best at whatever God has put in front of us.
  • God is still at work. God has not forgotten you. Your comeback will probably look different that you have imagined it, and that’s okay. Wait and believe.

 

comeback 2.png

Jack Kelly Scholarship Fund — Nicci Kelly, LLC

Hoop Dreams

I was blindsided. You know that feeling; that one breathless moment of having the wind knocked out of you. I never saw the hit coming and I’ll never forget the pain. During my 8th grade year, my basketball team went on a perfect undefeated regular season. We were the favorites to win the championship game against heavy rival Bruner Middle School. My father was in remission from leukemia. He missed the majority of my games due to his chemotherapy treatments, so it was only right for him not to miss my final game. He was my number one fan. In spite of the doctor’s orders, telling him he should stay home and rest would have been like trying to stop a bull from charging a red flag. My daddy was blinded from the consequences because he made up in his mind to see his little girl play. Friday night came and the small middle school gym was packed out along with people standing on the walls. Yet, for some particular reason, beyond all the excitement and anxiety of the game, deep down I knew something was not right. We lost that game at the buzzer by one point; the pursuit of a perfect season crushed.

That hurt was only a fraction of what I was about to lose.

Not even 36 hours after losing my championship game, I lost my hero. My daddy died Sunday morning from an infection he caught most likely from being at my basketball game. I was blind sided again; hit by a blow so hard I became paralyzed from the sudden shock. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I questioned everything…my faith, my purpose, my gift of basketball, my dreams… I wanted to play professional basketball and my dad was the reason behind it all. It seemed without him I had nothing, because he believed in me.

I knew giving up would not be the thing my dad wanted so I kept playing. I kept grinding through the difficult days and even the joyous days because he was not there to celebrate with me. I never thought I would look back all these years so thankful for all of the experiences in my life and how far I have come. God allowed me to live my dreams through overcoming what seemed like impossibilities. I know what it’s like to have a dream that you want so bad that it keeps you focused and working when no one else sees you. You wonder if all the work will one day pay off. Most importantly, I had people to come into my life and take me under their wings. Family, friends, coaches, and teachers..they believed in me and prayed for me even when I couldn’t do those things for myself.

I want to do the same for others. This scholarship is dedicated to my dad, Jack Kelly, to help fund high school girl basketball players that have hoop dreams. Out of nearly 500,000 girl high school basketball players in the nation, only 6.4% make it to play any level of college basketball. Less than 1 percent go on to play professional basketball. Although the stats may seem daunting and against you, it’s not impossible. Sometimes, all it takes is one moment of a person believing in another to see a dream come to reality. This scholarship will help fund a high school girl during the summer to pay for camps, summer league, travel, etc. Right now it is limited to one player but we will look to expand the scholarship as it continues to grow. If you would like to know more and even be a part by donating, please click the link below. Thanks for your time family. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

Jack Kelly Scholarship Fund — Nicci Kelly, LLC

 

 

The Dream Chaser by Tony Gaskins, Jr.

The first book to jump start this year off is a great read from Tony A. Gaskins, Jr., titled, “The Dream Chaser.” It’s certainly well worth your time and will inspire and encourage those with an entrepreneur spirit in them to keep believing in their dreams. In my own journey towards transformation, I want to share some of the insightful nuggets that stood out to me from the book. Don’t just rely on these few quotes though, go pick it up for yourself! Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

the-dream-chaser

The Dream Chaser

By: Tony A. Gaskins, Jr.

  • You have to question the path.
  • While studying in school, you should spend just as much time studying yourself.
  • Don’t sleep on your dreams. There are natural gifts inside of you that could change your life.
  • If you want to sleep through life, then get comfortable; but if you want to be great in this life, then you’ll have to stretch yourself.
  • Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not and miss out on who you can become.
  • A fantasy is rooted in pleasure. A dream is rooted in purpose.
  • Don’t wish, just work.
  • Have a vision so big that certain parts of it are blurry and it only clears up as you walk by faith toward it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the system so much that you fail to do what you were born to do. Tap into your gifts and use them to help make your life better.
  • You have to follow the calling, not the crowd.
  • How can God trust you with the world when he can’t trust you with your own home?
  • There is a lot of growth in the climb, just as there is growth in the valley.

    I guarded my eyes and my ears very closely because I was growing.

  • You can’t delegate your destiny.
  • Success is made in the oven. It takes time to become successful, and you have to work for it like there is no tomorrow.
  • It was family time and grind time.
  • Confidence comes from strength. Arrogance comes from insecurity.
  • Don’t settle for mediocre people if you aren’t a mediocre person.
  • Don’t compromise your value, your morals, or your beliefs.
  • You constantly have to be creating and innovating, whether that’s new materials or new products. You have to keep working.
  • Make it simple as possible but not one bit simpler.
  • I knew there wasn’t a downside to having self-respect.
  • Learn something about every aspect of your business, and be consistent in your gift.
  • Three C’s: Confidence, Content, and Consistency
  • When you learn how to love, you learn how to live. Your family should be your first priority.