Taking Time for Yourself

Beloved Brews Linkup

 

Taking time for me is something that keeps changing over the years. In my earlier years, taking time for me was not even on my radar.

While growing up, I was really busy trying to find someone who would stay by my side and be my friend. I ran hither and yon to find them. I did not know that Jesus wanted to be that for me.

As a young mom, I was of course immersed in the goings on of my small children, and trying to build a household. It was popular thought at the time that as a woman, you could “Have it all.” I was living to find ways to get it all done. I did not know that Jesus had already provided a way for that to happen.

My children grew up and began their own families, and I was frantic trying to find ways to fill the time. The way I did that was to fill my mind (and my house) with projects to keep my hands busy. That turned into many unfinished projects and guilt for not finishing. I finished some, and got rid of the rest. I did not know that it was Jesus who had already made it possible for me to fill up that creative space in my heart.

All the frantic, caused my physical body to break down. That began a time when all I did was take care of myself, i.e. nap, nap and more nap. I did not realize that Jesus had just the right prescription for what ailed me.

I was a believer. I knew God existed, but maybe for someone else, but not me since I was so lazy. Desperation led me to question His love for me and if He really meant all that He said in His word. The thought then crossed my mind to actually sit, in a chair, by the window, and just think of Him. Just think about what His word says. Decide if I really believed it all or not.

I spent much of that time dozing off, feeling guilty for dozing off, waking up, trying again, and dozing off some more. Time passed, and I began to call it “Resting in the Lord”. Jesus began to make me realize that if I did not take care of myself, then there would be nothing left for anyone else.

Over the weeks and months that followed, I found myself actually being more awake, more alert, and fuller of God’s words. They began to seep into my spirit and give me strength. Strength enough that I actually joined an exercise class that began to strengthen my body. That was five or so years ago, and that class is still a part of my life. God had revealed to me that if I wanted to do His plan for me, I would need to be as strong in my body as I was in my spirit.

2014 was a year of great introspection for me. I knew by Holy Spirit’s prompting, that I would need to spend a mass amount of time with Him, and myself, excavating some hurtful things in the past. Normally, spending that much time just with myself would have seemed selfish, but I found myself sure that if I did, then I could stop being tripped up by the things in my past. There was no guilt for this time, and it paid huge dividends. There were two resources provide for this time, and Bonnie Gray’s book “Finding Spiritual Whitespace” was the first. It opened the door for the second. 2014 brought my dark spaces out into His glorious light.

Now in 2015, He is allowing me to share my experience with others.

All this to say, there will always be some thought, someone, some thing that will try to keep you from taking care of yourself, spending time on yourself, being with yourself. Make it a priority. Make it an appointment for your calendar. It is important for your mind, spirit and body.

In the end, it will be important for the people that are in your sphere of influence. Only God knows how big your sphere will become if you only take the first step!

What I Love to Do That Feeds My Soul

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What I love to do that feeds my soul.

I love to sit in the big chair next to my window.

There is much to do there; journal writing, Bible study, reading whatever read is striking my fancy. It is most always quiet.

If not total silence, then quiet piano playing in the background. I find the solitude very useful. 

Simply gazing out the window and noticing the great beauty that God has set before me quiets my insides.

No matter what I choose to do there, it makes my soul quiet, so I can hear His spirit speak.

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Beloved Brews Linkup

What’s your One Word for 2015?

I’m joining in with the Beloved Brews writing challenge.

You can read about it at http://www.faithbarista.com/category/belovedbrews-linkup/

She gives the prompt, and writers write.

Easy enough right?

We’ll see.
What’s Your One Word for 2015?

EXPECTANT

Adjective. Excitedly anticipating something. Excitedly aware that something is about to happen. Expecting something, especially something that will bring success or wealth.
Eager, hopeful, in suspense, hoping.

What am I expectant for? Good question. Something. What? Not sure. When will this something take place? Don’t know. I do not know where or how. I only know that it will.
There are two things I know for sure. Who. That would be God. And why. Because He knows the plans He has for me. Plans for a future and a hope.
2014 was a year of great introspection for me. Every year is really. This year was very different though, and there was one book responsible for the trip back inward. A trip I thought I was finished with.
The book was “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”, by Bonnie Gray. I had been reading her Faith Barista blog sporadically for quite a while. I did not want another book. I did not need another book. But when I saw the little video about THIS book, it beckoned me.
Amazon one-click purchasing is so fast, and usually I can have my book selection in hand within moments on my Kindle. This time, I was compelled to purchase the real book. My intent was to read the book, oh so quickly, and put it on the shelf with all the others. That did not happen. Instead, pen in hand, purple ink began to show up in the margins and all along certain sentences. Way too many to just fly past. I found myself reading and rereading some passages and wondering if this woman and I had been perhaps separated at birth. Not so much by the EVENTS that took place in our lives, but by the shadows that they left behind. The shadows that followed me around even after I thought I had exposed them. The shadows that were holding me captive in ways I did not have language for. This book began to expose yet another level of pain/hurt/history that needed to be excavated.
The blockage, like writers block, has kept me from writing the words I want to write, to help the ones I want to help. I know what God has done, and continues to do in my story, and my heart is to share it. The block is that I do not know how.
So maybe EXPECTANT is the word that tells me that God will show me and allow me, to share my story in some meaningful way this year. Knowing what is in your heart, and getting it said, are two different issues.
I long to share it, but not if I cannot share it well.

Coming Up Higher

When I considered beginning to blog again, I pictured myself crashing back on the scene with such intensity that I might even surprise myself.

Well, I surprised myself, but not in the way I had imagined.

Instead of dazzling everyone with my new found wisdom, I came back instead, full of knowledge that I am not the only one who knows stuff.

In fact, the more stuff I know, the more apparent it appears, that I don’t know half as much as I thought I did, and that much of what I knew was only good for a season.

The past several months have been spent on a variety of different issues. As I have stated, so long ago now, there is always an “Inside job” to be done.

Well when you think you’ve finished all that inside work – look out! Rest up.

You will need it for your next season, the one where Holy Spirit comes and says “Come, let’s dig a little deeper”, so that you can “Come up higher”.

My first response was a bit like kicking and screaming, I was really comfy there, however that response didn’t last long because I really want to know what God has for me, comfortable or not.

The simple act of saying yes to God brought on several months of digging deeper, it was an excavation deeper than I had ever known possible, and months of uncomfortable-ness on my insides.

It all began with a “random” conversation with a good friend that I had not seen in a long time. The conversation went from one topic to another, you know how they do.

I began telling her about a book I had recently finished, and the effect that a certain chapter had had on me. This brought her to tell me about a college course she had just finished. Since her major goes right along with what is on the insides of people, her class work fit right into the conversation, and my current comfort level.

                       Even though it was quite comfy, it was in fact getting a tad boring. “Move along, nothing to see here.”

Within a day or two, I was in possession of her school books, and beginning the long dig into my past.

Make no mistake, I had been back there before, and was pretty sure I had worked it all out, because remember, I know stuff.

All the questions I never knew to ask were there in those books. Plunging me deeper and deeper into why I was the way I was, and why, even after all the “inside” work I had done, there was still so much left to do.

Eight months. That is how long it took me. Digging and digging and then having to take breaks because the emotional toll it was taking on my heart was so exhausting.

So here I am. I will never say “Done with that” again, because I have seen what the effect can be when I think that.     I will just say that that part of my journey is over, and for now, I do not carry all the weight I carried before.

For now, I am comfortable with the past, and ready to see what is next.

I can’t say how this blog will go on, but I can say that it will, at least for now.

I’m traveling lighter now, and I’m not sure where to. God knows that.

A bit like Abraham before me, I will trust that He knows the way, and that it is good.

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If you are at all interested in doing some “Digging” and “Inside work” and seeing what God has next for you –        Here are some helpful tools;

Finding Spiritual Whitespace – written by Bonnie Gray – Especially Chapter 22

The Ultimate Journey – Phase 1
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Heartbeat – Let Your Heart Not Be Troubled

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These words have been on my heart for a while.

I believe they are key to our survival in this place that is not our home.

Lately, I have noticed them every where.

In movies.

In people’s speech.

In photographs.

And digging their roots deeper into my heart with each passing day.

They are the heart of God.

The words are His.

Written to us in a love letter.

Won’t you click the links and let them seed themselves into your heart as well?

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

3:00 – 3:20

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

2:30 – 4:04

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

3:52 – 3:50

There is much in this world that would cause us to be afraid.

We must be strong and courageous,

not afraid.

We must not let our hearts be troubled.

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You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Heartbeat – Show and Tell

hartbeat

 

I once believed that if I “thought too highly of myself” it was a sign of selfishness.

                I was told I thought more highly of myself than I ought.

I once believed that stating my abilities was bragging about how good I was.

                I was told I was a show off, and that I needed to stop it.

I once even believed that if I tried to show any of these talents, then people would tell me I was wrong, and that I actually had no talent at all.

                Sadly, they told me this, all through my life, and I believed them.

Many times these declarations came from those who were either supposed to look after my well being, or if not them, then from someone I had dared to step out of myself to trust.

I was taught that “I” statements, should be phrased as “we” statements.

Hence, I would not be attracting too much attention to myself.

Even my journals were phrased in this way.

I may not know you, but I do know something about people, and even a little bit about what makes them tick.

May I just start by saying that when we are small, and then even as we grow, we have the ability to be either weak or strong, healthy or sick, bright or dim, positive or negative.

Of course a lot of this comes from our genetic code, but I believe much, much more of it comes from what we are told as we grow.

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford

 

Here is a bit of what I already knew, I knew it because these scriptures said it was so;

                Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

                2 Corinthians 10:5 says that – We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.

                The Living Bible translation says that we can capture these rebels (thoughts) and change them into thoughts whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.

By re-working how I think in this way, I can choose God’s thoughts for myself.

I have it on good authority (God’s word) that it is ok for me to declare what God has put in side of me.

By declaring this truth, I am actually strengthening and re-strengthening the fact for my heart to know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am choosing an obedient thought instead of a lie.

When I capture all those negative thoughts placed in my mind, I literally take them, and trade them in. I don’t like those thoughts, and like returning a purchase at the store, I’ll choose some other thoughts.

I’ll choose the thoughts that God has thought about me all along.

I’ll choose the ones I was not able to hear for all the untrue ones that were loudly going off in my head!

 show-and-tell

If we choose rightly, the way we think of ourselves,

- The way God thinks of us -

We become His “Show and Tell”.

What day was more exciting than “Show and Tell”?

When we could share our most prized possession with the class!

WE – Are His story!

He is excited to show us off!

He absolutely loves what He has created!

He wants the world to see!

When we reflect HIS image,

People will see and know that we belong to a loving Creator God.

 

Now you may or may not know much about this God of whom I speak.

Whatever the case, please allow me to give you some of God’s own words to let you know and realize the way He thinks of you, the way He sees you.

Please allow God’s words for you, seep into your heart.

Please allow them to marinate your person with His extreme love for you.

I’ve given you a dozen verses to consider.

Then you may even wish to consider your own.

(Perhaps there is a little private “Show and Tell” between you and God in your near future.)

  • ·         Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship (poem, creation, show and tell), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

 

  • ·         Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,(nothing!) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

  • ·         Psalm 139:13-15 (NIV) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully madeyour works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (You are not a mistake!)

 

  • ·         Isaiah 49:16See, I have written your name on my hand. (He knows your name!)

 

  • ·         Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (His plan is for you to CHOOSE hope by loving Him!)

 

  • ·         Luke 4:18-19 (NIV) The Spirit of the Lord is on me, (If you love Him, this means you!) because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free (That’s you too!), to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (You get to proclaim Him, you are not tied to the negative proclamations that the world believes.)

 

  • ·         1 John 3:1-2 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (Tweet that!) The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.All who have this hope (Yep. You again!) in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

 

  • ·         Psalm 103:17-18 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. (Forever for you and your children if you love Him.)

 

  • ·         Psalm 28:7 (NIV) The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. (Even if my body is weak, He can keep my spirit strong! The joy of the Lord is our strength!))

 

  • ·         2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God has not given us the spirit of fear; (Fear not, listed 365 times in scripture – One for each day!) but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

  • ·         Psalm 57:2 (AMP) I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!

 

  • ·         John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Trouble is inevitable, Peace is available!)

 

This is all I have for you today.

It is enough for now.

God so wants to make these truths real to you.

Won’t you give Him a try?

 

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

Significant Encounters – Valuable

Significant Encounters – Valuable

I was talking to a friend today about her recent visit to Aldis.

She was telling how the last time she was there; there was this mom with two teen daughters in tow.

Down every aisle, this mom was demeaning her daughters. Saying rude things about them, loudly.

Their eyes were downcast to the floor for the entire visit, and at the checkout, the berating was still alive and well, and the daughters were completely tuned out. Vacant eyes, unhearing ears, they have heard it all before.

My friend and I noted that if this is how they behave in public, then imagining a life for them at home is far from where our brains could even take us.

Here’s the concern; if this is what these two lovely daughters hear from the one who is supposed to love them the most, and protect them from evil, then whenever a boy comes along and says they are lovely, they will buy it.

They NEED to hear it. They will give away ANYTHING to hear it.

Moms! Beware! Be aware that you are poisoning your children. Your behavior is toxic, and sending them into the arms of evil – wherever they can FEEL loved.

How do I know? Because I was that daughter, the one who never heard the words she needed to hear. For me, it was not my mother, it was my father. He caused so much shame in me by the words he used, that I of course gravitated towards anyone who would just “Talk nice to me”.

Moms! I’m not getting on your cases. I’m pointing out a destructive behavior.       I know you love your daughters (and sons) However we are products of our environments.

There is no way you, specifically you, can teach or treat your children any other way than the way you were taught.

Oh wait! There is one way. Just one. HE is a person. He is THE Way.

I will be forever grateful that God, the Creator of the Universe, sent people across my path with a different way of doing things, a different way to be, and an actual set of steps I could take to be released from my prison.

He sent His one and only son Jesus to absorb all that evil that was tossed in my direction, for the most part, unwittingly by those who did not know any better either!

Here is what scripture says;

Matthew 12:34b (CEV) so how can you say anything good? Your words show what is in your hearts.

If you have never been taught differently, how can you ever know the difference?

2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEV) Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.

When I acknowledged what Christ did for me that day so long ago, giving His own HOLY life, so that I might be saved from my own yucky one, He was then able to come alongside of me, and help me to transition into a healthier, more joyful and fulfilling life.

Please note; He will not come in uninvited. He is ever a gentleman, and will not encroach where He is not wanted. He is definitely “Invitation Only”.

Colossians 3:6-8 (CEV)  God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things.  7 And that is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way.  8 But now you must stop doing such things. You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.

These words are from the Bible they are in direct contrast to how our society operates today. Our culture is one who thinks of themselves first and someone else second, if they think of them at all. In God’s culture, He only wants the best for us, all of us, but there is one requirement, and that is that in order for His culture to be in force, you must choose it. Choose it of your own free will. If He forced you, you would then be a slave of a different kind.

Isaiah 55:8 (CEV) The Lord says: “My thoughts and my ways are not like yours.

However;

2 Corinthians 10:5 (CEV) and every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God. We capture people’s thoughts and make them obey Christ.

We CAN change the way we think. We CAN make our thoughts more like His.

How you ask?

Four things that will help;

1.       Ask God to help you. He loves to answer this prayer! His desire is or you! His desire is to love on you like you have never been loved before! He only wants your heart!

2.       Find a local Bible believing church with smallish groups of people who are willing to walk by your side. (Ask the Pastor there, he can help you)

3.       Get a Bible. Your Christian bookstore person can help you find the one that is right for you. If you cannot afford one, ask that Pastor for one!

4.       Read that Bible! Just a little at a time. Beginning in Psalms and Proverbs in the Old Testament, and the book of John in the New Testament (This will tell you about the life of Jesus – Use the table of contents, it’s ok)

This will be the most Significant Encounter of your life!

God values you, your children and your life, more than words can say.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.