Saturday, January 4, 2014

Not Every Other Tuesday...Rejoice Always

"Rejoice in the Lord always."
                     Phil. 4:4

It's not that I ever make a conscious decision to NOT rejoice in God. That's just silly.

But some days (more days than I'm proud to admit) it's the cut off notice on the counter that makes the most noise. Or maybe my youngest has decided to cut tooth #2,176 (what is she? part shark?) Or what about the morning my truck had a flat tire I didn't plan on? (Do you ever plan for those?)

Rejoicing isn't always easy, especially when you lose sight of what's above and concentrate on what's around and what's going wrong.

But the scripture is clear when it reminds us to rejoice in the lord always. Not twice a week. Not when you finally finish that novel. Not when you get all your bills paid off. Not when you've had more sleep.

It's pretty clear that keeping your mind open and focused on the glory of God is 24/7/365 sort of job. One with the greatest of benefits and pension plans.

post signature

Friday, January 3, 2014

Confidence...And a Lack Of

"Such confidence as this is ours through Christ."
                                 2 Cor 3:4-5

Are you confident by nature? Do you command attention just by walking into a room?

I think I used to be that girl. I remember times when I felt like I shined, inside and out. I smiled and I beamed. I bounced through life with a light heart and really felt like I encouraged and helped others do the same.

Nowadays? Not so much. Between bills and appointments and Dirty Clothes Island out there in the hallway, I more of a long to-do list without many checkmarks. All the stress and the doubt makes it harder and harder for me to look past my insecurities (and maybe even my envy of how I perceive others and their lives?) and shine on.

Often I am nervous because I feel unworthy. I feel I'm not interesting enough to talk to. I feel like my blog isn't on the same level as another's and so, what's the point of participating in events and conferences? Nothing  I have to share would be valuable to others, so why bother?

No part of who I am is what they're looking for in a writer, a friend, a business partner.

I'm pretty tough on myself, aren't I? Does any of that awful self talk look familiar in some way to you? We can be so nasty to ourselves, can't we?

Thank goodness I can call on Christ when I feel my backbone turning to mush. Through him, my confidence is based on grace, love, and perfect acceptance of who I am.

That's a powerful combination and it's one that makes me the obnoxiously optimistic and happy girl that I normally am.

If Christ has accepted me and thinks I'm generally a worthy-type of girl, why shouldn't the lady sitting next to me at church think so? Or the kids I teach in my writing classes...why shouldn't they think I'm interesting enough to listen to for a half hour or so?

With Jesus' acceptance and love, I have what I need to be confident and let my light shine. And it takes all the pressure off my need to be witty and dazzling when meeting new people (it never works out that way, in case you were wondering)...instead, I can be myself and let the love of Christ shine on.

...happy, happy...

post signature

Thursday, January 2, 2014

God Has All the Answers...And I Want Them!

"It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you..."
                                        (Acts 1:7-8)

Do you wish you could have a peek into God's plan for your life?

I know I sure do.

I'm a list maker. A task planner. A worrier. A nail biter. A brow furrower.

I go so far as to break my grocery list into aisles and sections because with four kids in tow, I hate nothing more than having to double back when I realize I passed over the paper towels my husband had scribbled onto the list at the last minute.

I dislike surprises. Especially life surprises.

Money surprises. Job surprises. Broken water pump surprises. Raging fever overnight surprises. Dead car battery surprises.

I've spent more time praying for glimpses into how I'll get from one point of a problem to another without really praying for the solution. I want to know the when, why, how, and who of God's plan and the bottom line is that's usually not information I'm privy to. None of us are.

You know what I've learned (slowly and painfully sometimes!) from all that time spent asking for answers that don't belong to me?

The answers don't belong to me, the blessings do.

My job on Earth is not to stand with the answer key and make myself feel better about all those anxious days ahead. We endure challenges every single day, and to date, God hasn't let me land flat on my back matter how much I might deserve it.

My job is to obey Christ. And to trust that the one who died to set me free isn't letting me flounder, suffer, or waste away.

He's opening doors and tempering my spirit in preparing for something bigger, better, and already on it's way.

Have you prayed today for answers? Maybe take a minute and say thanks for the ride so far and to ask for a little more trust in your days. God's got your can depend on it.

...happy, happy...

post signature

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Inoculate Your Soul

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
                                  (Proverbs 17:22)

I hate needles.

Not just sort of dislike the things, I mean really, really, hate them to the point that they make me a bit queasy. Whenever one of the babies needs a shot of some sort, Daddy usually has to take them because, for the life of me, I can't help but squirm and grimace as much as they do. And as much as I hate them, I do my best to keep current on my own preventive medicine and keep the kids up to date on theirs.

I'll never forget the year that all of us got the flu shot. All of us except my husband, that is.

I didn't think much of it until sometime in the midst of the grays of an Alaskan January when he was struck by the flu bugs of all flu bugs. Suddenly I understood why the flu is such a big deal for vulnerable populations (say, the elderly or the very young). Poor Patrick lost 20 pounds and a few days' worth of memory that winter and while I braced and held my breath for the sickness to make its way through the rest of us (five!), it never did. The flu shot had done it's job that year. (Praise Jesus!)

I think a close relationship with Jesus and a general happy outlook on life is a lot like that flu shot. While vaccines protest us from nasty infections, a joyful heart deeply rooted in the Father protects us from many burdens of the soul the enemy would be more than happy to heap on us.

Have you taken a moment today to inoculate yourself against fear, anxiety, or frustration?

It doesn't have to be an eloquent prayer that goes through four rounds of edits, either. A simple "thanks" for the sunshine, or your children's laughter, or even just a few beautifully quiet moments you found for yourself.

A quiet moment with our Heavenly Father can be the difference between a day worth living and a day that goes down the drain in no time.

Say a quick prayer of Thanksgiving and bask in the glow of His love and protection. And don't forget to wear your best smile today. They're contagious.

...happy, happy....

post signature