One big language change

Research shows it takes three weeks to form a new habit.  To form a new habit, you have to start.  To start you have to have a desire to change.  To have that desire to change, you have to be unsettled from your comfort level of living.  You have to be disturbed or moved to see a need.  You have to want the change over the process to change.  Seeing the results of a change, motivates us to prod along too.

When we experience the reward it’s always worth it.  One day God broke the spirit of negative change inside of me to bring a positive result.

I wanted what my pastor had.

His message came at the right time for change.  I was searching for a better life.  God had already worked the soil in my heart to desire a change and the truth my pastor spoke right to me and kick-started my desire.

His one practice had benefited him large.

He stressed the priority of putting time aside each day, to talk with God first, through the practice of prayer and reading the Bible.  In wanting to change my pastor spoke of all kinds of changes that happened in his life.  I wanted those results myself, and I knew that I had to make some changes in the way I talked with God.  I knew I had to set aside time to let God change me.  I desired change because I saw the lasting effect it had my pastor.  I wanted the reward over the process of setting aside my own desires.

God changed me to be a morning person the day I started talking with Him every morning.  It wasn’t immediate but that one change has made everlasting benefits in my life.  I started talking with God instead of at God.

God changed my language to Him, in talking with Him instead of at Him and making it just about me.

That one change came a long time ago, but it’s a practice I still do today.

In a few small words and the practice of this discipline, change has benefited me in a large way.  Most days I can’t wrap enough words around aligning my heart with God’s voice first and foremost.

When it comes to talking with God, I only have a few words about me but many more for Him and with Him.

I still practice that change, no matter where I am or what day it is.  Yes, I am one of those girls that likes to carry her tools along as I go throughout my day.

To reach a place you’ve never been you have to do it in a way that you never done.  To do a new thing, you have to begin.

What happens when you get to the end of January and you don’t see any results?

You can’t give up or give into what you don’t see.  You have to practice change everyday until you do see the results.  Practice brings discipline, practice like it’s the first day you were motivated, practice is the key in making long-lasting changes.

Yes, change is hard, arduous and sweaty.  Yes, change is different, difficult, and demanding.  Yes, it can bring negative things out in the open.  But God….

When God is in charge of your changing, the reward is always worth it.  Let Him change your desires, let Him work His changes in  you, let Him work His love language in you and through you to be the best you for others.

His changes bring the best out of you and in you.

God’s changing language is always based on His love language for you.  For all of us.  Read that again….

I guarantee you this, when you speak your love to God everyday, many times throughout the day, and hear His love language back to you in ways that only He can say it….friends those kind of words, that kind of change is what your heart desires most.

His Word will and most definitely change you.

So what are you looking to change today, that could make the biggest change in your life?

Perhaps it’s in your love language to God, that needs to be your start to many long lasting changes.  His kind of changes help you practice more great changes.  Believe me, the rewards are SO worth it.

Need change?  Tell me, I won’t tell..but One.

How to throw off your troubles

Recently, I traveled to Africa to spread some Christmas joy to thousands of children.  I was part of a team who shared the Christmas story about birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.  Many people heard this news, some for the first time. Every child there was taught how to dance before the Lord with joy. I worked alongside Children’s Cup, an established organization, that feeds kids in South Africa and Swaziland with a regular feeding program. Christmas is celebrated in Swaziland and S.A. but not big like the western world. Think of an American-style VBS on steroids, that’s what these parties were like.

In Africa, they like to dance a lot.  Especially in church, it’s one of the ways they express their worship for Jesus.  They are born with a rhythm of the beat and literally can’t be beat in a contest.  That’s why this clumsy American was a little afraid of making a fool of herself in front of them all.

Let me tell you I danced like an uncoordinated girl who never showed up for a dance lesson.  God placed me in the middle of the dance and cake station with those Christmas parties.  Once I found out my station, I began to sweat.  I mentioned to the dance leader, Patience, that I wasn’t the best dancer. She laughed and said to me,

“We are going to throw off our troubles and dance.”

That line has stuck with me since because isn’t that we should all do when we come before the Lord? Oh we throw off our troubles, but we tend to pick them back and add weight to our dance.   There is not only great peace in leaving our troubles in the Lord’s hands but also by leaving them on His dance floor, that act of releasing adds great joys to our dance.

The world is full of problems, we make bad choices that have consequences.  We mess up and make messes.  We try to get it right and keep going back to what gets us into trouble.  We try, we worry, we carry our troubles to the cross and then pick them back up again to carry a load that we were never created to bear.

When we take up our daily cross, and we need to lay down our problems for God to handle.  How often do we think He needs help in solving those problems?  Helping God manage our problems often waltzes our souls into thinking that God should consult us about what the solution should be.  Let me remind you….God knows what he is doing.

Now this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray about our woes or the concerns of others.  We should talk to God about everything.  And talk often.

And His response every time?  “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

There’s a peace that we can bend low to when we completely leave our problems at the feet of the Lord.  There’s great joy we can take away with us to know that we are in safe hands.  And God, who loves us independent of our behavior, is a good God.

God is good and is always working good on our behalf.

Are you troubled today?  I know I have a few too.  What I have to remember is how to carrying a lighter load.  I wasn’t built to carry so much on a tiny frame.  Neither were you.

When someone is looking out for my best, I will trust them to the forever degree.  God is good and works good and solves good.  The peace and joy that are exchanged at the cross are what we want in this life.  So why do we carry them away with us again?

We forget to throw them onto the capable shoulders of God.  First we have to go God to cast them His way, to transfer the burden, to lighten our load.  Before give them over to God we have to trust Him.  Jesus showed us the true model of trust and carrying loads. And he went to the Father often.  He was strategic with His time in fact.

He sought the Father out first.  First we have to come to God.  Then we have to release those concerns and troubles to Him.  Then we walk away lighter knowing that our Father, who has no needs, provides for all our needs.

Read that again…

God has no needs, but He yet anticipates all of ours.

We can carry an expectancy as we believe He is working for us, and have the peace that comforts our minds.  Plus the assurance that someone is beside us and not leaving us alone.  I can trust God who cares.

Trust is huge when it comes to intimacy in relationships, closeness in spirit, being real, authentic and honest with God.  It’s important to trust your dance partner if you are dropped in a strategic move or an extreme dance.  When I receive God’s peace and joy in my daily morning dance with God, I come away with a lighter load knowing He’s got this day just like yesterday.  And just like I anticipate He will tomorrow.  There’s great joy in knowing He takes lead and I can walk away ready to dance anytime like I just don’t care.

What are you troubled with today?  Have you danced freely before the Lord with it?

Where God doesn’t belong

Once I wrote this post.

I don’t know if you struggle with confidence.  Truth be told I think we all do.  Confidence and arrogance can look the same to the common man.  Only God knows our hearts and knows the intention in which we plan, accomplish, and speak of the things that we do and respond to.   Only God knows.

Knowing from the intention in which I respond and make decisions isn’t necessarily the same for the next person.  I’m grateful to know that God does know our very thoughts.  If I am clean before the Lord, I have nothing to hide.  If I am in error, I can depend on the Holy Spirit to check my thoughts to know the difference.

So when you strike out and do new things, they will look different to others.  This new blog for me is  my heart’s response to what God has asked.  I don’t have anything to prove but my heart of obedience back to a request that seems only right to the Father.

Actions we take often don’t make sense to others.  The reason for this?  God’s telling you what He’s only telling you to do.  With His instructions, one can never go wrong, but we can go forward in confidence because we know the Plan-Maker.

We can’t put God in a box.  There are times when He asks you to something that might look completely out of the normal for you.  We have such a creative God, I don’t want to think of Him as only having boxed parameters.

What we know of God should be enough to trust what He tells us to do.

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

I’ve often thought why there are verses that give great encouragement in reminding of God’s faithfulness.  Those truths certainly help in more ways than I can describe here.  But in this verse Isaiah encourages us to forget the things of the past.  I believe that is his way of saying that God is going to do things in such a different and new way that we shouldn’t compare to how God has worked in our past.  By doing so we put God in a box.

We know God doesn’t change in His love for us, it’s not dependent on our behavior.  When we put God in a box, though we limit what God can do only through our obedience.  And when it comes to matters of my response back to Him, I want all His wild and crazy plans I can get.  That’s when it gets empowering, exciting, and difference making.

Besides there isn’t a box big enough to hold my God.

Today is a good day to have a good day

I have a journal that has this encouragement spanning it’s spine.  “Let it be today”.  On the front cover it says,

“Sometimes your life is defined by a single moment.  Let it be today.  Go boldly in the direction of your dreams.”

It’s about this time of month of trying, that new motivations begin to lose grip on your resolutions.  God has been teaching me one thing about today.  Today is not a restart if you tried yesterday.  Tomorrow won’t be a restart if you tried today.

Everyday is full of choices full of steps that will take you closer to where you want to be or back to where you have been.  I went back into my journal to read where I was 365 days ago.  I chose to have a good day that day.  I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with an attitude of gratitude.  What’s amazing is at that time of day I was so thankful.  After reading what I wrote I was even more thankful that I chose to move from that place where I was.

A first choice of that day was to make it a good day.

“So heavy-hearted with all the changes that needed to be made, but so excited about how you… God are making me more like you…”

In those pages of changes God helped me make everyday gratitude a priority that day.  This morning and most mornings now gratitude is a habit instead of an after thought.  My heart is less heavy with but more joy-filled because of the choices I made….yesterday.

I have overcome many things in the past year but one thing continues, I have a constant priority of prayer.  Because of letting my life be defined by a single habit, it helps every day be a good day.

I don’t want to say that change is easy.  It’s not.  But when you make changes God’s way, HE makes them easy.  Yesterday, I thought about the statement that I have posted on the walls of my heart.  Today is good day to have a good day.  We all have a choice to choose to step toward change.  

Today can go forward or backward.  So what is your choice today?

The fact remains our choices matter and shape our attitudes and motivations.  One thing about changes, is that they become contagious and soon you have the domino effect in other areas of your life.  Sure, there are days when it feels like you aren’t doing much but don’t discount small beginnings, don’t think a tiny step forward is nothing.  A step forward is a step away from where you were.

Keep moving, keep climbing, stay the course, and keep your eyes on the prize.  Let change start with you and see how contagious it can be.  The results are worth it.  You may not see the difference right now, but if you are good with today, your tomorrows are better if you tried your best today.

Let today be your day to have a good day.  Just being grateful for all the good over bad will change you.  I promise!

Photo credit by Paul Chausa

When you are waiting on God to fill in the blank spaces of dreams

God is teaching me freedom in seeking His dream for me.  Yup, I just put that out there.  God dreams for us too.

This is a beautiful telling of how God can create freedom in your dreams too.  You see, God has plans for you.  Big plans, grand plans, and plans to do amazing things through you as well in as in you.  You were designed with a purpose.  Some of you know well your purpose driven life course.  Some of you are still trying figure out what you are made of, some of you have no clue what what God is planning for you, and some of you are just confounded with a vision that God has laid before you.

If you fit in any of these categories, please feel free to lift your right hand in agreement right now.

I’ve been there too.  There are days that I have given up on thinking that God is working on my behalf in the first place. Then I quickly lose faith in my lack of evidence of seeing His plan in place.  Then I quickly lose a grip on His promises.  Next, I quickly lose sight of who He is.  Then I soon lose.  Period.

And there you have it, I’m bound by fear and doubt that God has even thought of me, ever.  Now will you raise your hand if you have been to this place?

I’m just being real here.  In just a few words, in just a few thoughts, in just a few doubts we quickly spiral to a lonely child who has been smitten with doubt over what she believes God is up to and what His words say to us.

In a matter of moments, we quickly give up when don’t see our prayers activated towards our dreams.  News flash:  God is not in the business of instant dreams come true.  That would be too easy for us, and then we would become self-reliant and prideful, arrogant and full of ourselves and claim that we made our dreams become a reality.

Being self-sufficient is a place I never want to be.  Does anyone besides me see that we need freedom from doubt and the lies that bind us about trusting in God for His greater good on our behalf?

I liken God’s plans a little like a fallen purple angel food cake freshly baked in high altitude.  Let me explain.  Every year as a child we got to choose our own birthday cake flavor to make the day so much more about all our favorites.  My cake of choice is always and still is a white angel food cake with rainbow colored sprinkles baked inside.  I remember celebrating many birthdays with that kind of cake and just the smell of it cooking in the oven brings back so many celebratory moments.

One year my daughter, who lives in Denver, wanted to make me a birthday cake.  She knew just what cake to buy at the store.  She went expecting to find the cake of choice but only found a plain angel food cake mix.  “That’s ok,” she thought.  She had some rainbow sprinkles at home that she could use.  I trusted the results of cake to her hands.

When it was time for the cake to come out of the oven, it was purple, not white.  It was fallen, like a anvil had smashed the “meat” of the cake batter like cement instead of a fluffy, puffy, white marshmallow-melt-in-your-mouth texture.  Basically it didn’t bake out like she expected it to nor did the cake look like it was supposed to.

Needless to say it wasn’t Pinterest perfect.

She was so disappointed in the looks of the cake, she vowed to start over to make it right again.  She wanted to go to the store to get a whole new batch of birthday batter.  I reassured her that it was ok, and that it probably tasted great.  And that  even though the cake didn’t turn out like it was supposed to, it would still be great for the purpose she had baked it for.  I gave her assurance that it was okay to serve the cake like it was.  We gathered around the table and gave thanks for birthdays and then sliced the purple flat-as-pancake-angel food cake for a birthday treat.

Guess what?  Even though it didn’t look like what we expected, it tasted as delicious as we remembered it.

So it is with God’s plans for us.  They never come in a manner like we think or design, don’t come soon enough, nor do we feel equipped or prepared enough.  I’ve never anticipated the “big enough” factor either.  It’s a ideal my heart grapples with all the time.  Have you lost some hope in thinking you will even be in line for His plans?

I’ve been there too.  I once believed that because I didn’t see God’s plans for me, that he was running out of dreams for me.

I gulped hard the doubt instead of having faith in God who planted a dream inside of me.

Don’t define God’s infinite plan for you.  Let God define His definitive plans for you.

God is always working good in your behalf.  He never forgets the passions or the design he has put inside of you.  Read that again and raise your hand in “Amen”.  When we let doubt steam-roll over our hope, and it feels like all the faith inside of us has fallen flat, that we’ll never see our dreams become a reality, you have taken your hands off of His grand plan of trust and embraced doubt.  Pick yourself up right now, and dust off those crummy lies that God hasn’t designed you with a divine purpose.

God’s future for us is so big that we can’t pin our hopes on doubt, but keep our hands on hope that leads our hearts to trust God, the Plan-Giver.  Seek with a hope-filled heart, not a doubt ridden soul.

Get ready to celebrate small victories along the way!  Don’t discount small beginnings.  You only need a little faith to begin again and bring a believing hope alive.

What lies have you swallowed about God’s plans for your life?

(Photo credit:  Cindee Snider Re)

I would certainly hope so!

Ever asked yourself that all-consuming question?  Ever found yourself at the end of yourself and wondering if there is a light at the end of an emotional tunnel?

Where is the glimmer of hope that everyone talks about?  Is it truly something you can touch in a tangible way?

I have asked this more than once in  my lifetime.  I’ve come up with many blank pages with no answers.  But then again, there are days that I have had my hands on true hope.  It seems that it is elusive at best and shimmery at each end.

It all hinges on how hope is defined.

Here lately I’ve been trying to harness hope because I realize there is so much power in this one little word.  I’m not talking about the power of wishful thinking, but the hope of truth that comes with a true definition in an idea where there isn’t any hope at all.  A resurrection, a new glimmer of change, of a restoring resurgence of life, or a healing long time coming.

Hope defined comes in talking more about it. And conversations bring many hope elements to light.  It’s hard to capture hope in many aspects of this life.  A quick search on Google will garner many quotes of hope like this one:

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. ~ Martin Luther

Words, feelings, spoken hope.  I would like to borrow  a phrase from one of my great heroes, Anne the maid, in the Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Maybe you know role as the maid for the main family in the story. She said through the kitchen door, after hearing George Bailey and his dad having their last conversation face to face, “I would listen if I thought I had anything worth listening to!”  She was waiting to hear hope from George.  She was waiting to hear George say it to his dad.  He said it, but I don’t know that it she heard what he was really trying to say.

Hope is always searching for the “right” answer.  Hope is always searching for something…

To those of you who speak hope and keep hope silent inside, let me encourage you to share it.  So much life and death can be spoken in the silence of the unspoken and the absence of truth.  A little bit of hope knocking on our hearts door opens so many scars and offers so much healing.

Many days I find myself lacking in the hope department.  I trace that back to my perspective of how I greet each day.  I trace the beginning of my day with the wide gamut of choices I have upon waking up.  I trace my daily options back to my continual perspective on life.  I do a lot of backtracking and tracing of hope.

All Truth leads to hope.  True hope.  The things, events, dreams, and occurrences in my days bring many opportunities to see who puts the best hope IN my day. There is a light at the end of our tunnel folks.

There’s True Hope, Jesus, at the end of every tunnel.  Will you run with perseverance to the end of your tunnel today?  I know, it’s dark and daunting, and one of the hardest things to admit openly.  Yes, we all face those times.

Even I do.  There is darkness in everyone’s tunnel of life that we deal with.  But we have a Hope “worth listening to.”  God’s hope…even though everything, every last little thing on your mind right now, seems to be unraveling, you can be hemmed by the one thing worth listening to.

God’s hope for us.

Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. ~ 1 Peter 1:21

No, it won’t all work out according to our measly little plan but to know that we are a part of God’s greater plan?  There’s the hope in that!  To be a part of something bigger than ourselves, or beyond our abilities?  Great hope!

Whoa, that’s big, that’s awesome, that’s life-changing hope.  That’s hope at it’s finest and most powerful.  When it comes to chasing truth, friends, I am all over it.  Everyday my faith journey is filled with hope.  So what goes wrong on those days when I feel like I don’t have much hope?

I take my hands off of God’s hope and put them around my own self-defined, small idea of the word.  Have you lost hope?  Have you let go of a resolution already?  Have you given up on yourself?  Perhaps….you just need an extra dose of hope right now.

Hope is a place of healing, I have found a significant amount of hope that anchors my soul in Jesus.  There are many days I have a lot of options to choose fear, anger, hopelessness, and despair.  Please don’t judge me.  I have a deep faith, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wrestle with the same emotions that you do.

Everyday is full of choices and I shall not list them all here.  But we can choose hope, life and grace just like the next person.  I choose it just like you have to.  And there are many days I don’t want to choose it, but God calls me to give grace as I have been given.

So I choose to listen to hope, over the circumstances around me.

Oh wouldn’t it be easier to choose pride, arrogance and self-pity?  Yes, those feelings are far more comfortable.  But there is something that erupts within that begs me to choose God’s hope, which helps me rise up above all of that tries to steal it away.  Hope also helps me invite more of God in my situations over the hopelessness of circumstantial evidence.

Perhaps on a Monday, when I don’t know where you are at in all of this, that maybe you just need to pray for God to invite Himself into your hopelessness, your despairing situations, those situations that are wearing on us all.

Pray, invite, wait upon the Lord, and have hope.  Hope comforts us to know that as we come to God, He will faithfully intervene with His true hope.  I have found that is the best kind of perspective that I need everyday.

Where do you need a little more of true hope to get you through?

Oh the places you could go

My friend once said to me, “Just imagine what it feels like.” I couldn’t get my heart wrapped around it. It was so big, his idea of living free.

It’s one thing to know God’s freedom based on the truth of His Word, it’s completely liberating to live free.

Imagine how your heart would feel to step outside yourself and see yourself as God sees you.

Many of you are listing the changes or results of last year but for me it’s taking me a while. I can’t summarize all the changes that happened to me last year in a single post. I can tell you though my life feels like I’ve taken a 180 turn in the absolute God direction.

But first I had to imagine what it would feel like….this freedom, before I could live free.

Imagine having assurance you are always doing right.
Imagine having a peace that passes your understanding.
Imagine having joy that has you smiling as your head hits the pillow.
Imagine the freedom from guilt and shame.
Imagine that kind of free lifestyle.

That’s what living in God’s truth brings…is THAT kind of living free.

Imagine saying “no” to the tyranny of the urgent. Imagine saying “yes” to “Follow Me”.

Imagine the victorious feeling of accomplishment or the arm pumps at taking on a challenge and succeeding.

Imagine the chains that are binding you right now.

Imagine the freeing feeling that you are in control of your health and emotional wellness. Imagine that you are honoring God with every part of you. Oh the places you could go if you were a little more free.

Imagine if you didn’t have to run to food for comfort or have to complain constantly. Imagine the changes that it would take to make your world a better place to live in.

You can stop dreaming about this kind of life. It’s available for us all. First you might have to let go of things that will never be, and stop trying to change others.

Perhaps you need to be the change you want to see in others.

Imagine the pleasant conversations you might have when you aren’t keeping a record of wrongs or using your words as stones against others. Imagine the relationships where you don’t have to prove yourself right first to be heard. Imagine how encouraging you could be as you speak life instead of gloom and doom.

Imagine the possibilities if you loved people right where they are first and then showed them Jesus. Imagine…those possibilities.

Imagine never questioning your decisions and always having clarity about what your next step would be.

Imagine loving and seeing yourself as only God sees you. You are pre-approved, loved and valued. You are….now imagine Jesus dying for you to know that truth today.

All of this freedom is within your grasp. Imagine…living free as you have been freed. Step outside yourself to find out what God has for you today.

What change can you be that you want to see in others?

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Why resolutions don’t work for me

I find myself in beginnings a lot. I love to start things. I love to cast vision about projects. I love to think I can accomplish. I love to motivate others to start. I love to stir things up. I love new beginnings.

I love do-overs and re-dos.

I love to embrace the challenge of doing hard things. I remind myself of the “Little train that could” book. I love to consider the possibilities of what could be.

For you.

I love all the details and step taking it takes to make a change. I find myself even motivated as I am motivating others. I know this about myself. What I forget about myself is that I can do more than I think I can.

My friend, Pam, is in the details of a church ministry. There are many days that she, like me, is overwhelmed with all that God has placed in the hands of leadership. She tells me that her husband, a pastor, reminds her that “you can do more than you think you can.” She doesn’t like that about him. She doesn’t like to be reminded that ministry is work. Sometimes I don’t like that reminder either.

Why don’t we like that reminder? I think for me, it’s because it forces me to overcome my tendency to procrastinate. When the going gets tough, I like to tuck tail and run. I easily give up and not give myself a chance to succeed. I look to my own strength to achieve or accomplish and come up short many times.

Let me explain. We all have a “default” that we fall back on regarding what we know we can accomplish and or take on. In regards to getting fit for example, we plan a training regime around the time we have available, the ability in which we have to commit to training, the resources we have at our disposal, etc.

I don’t know what your default is. But we all have that line that we tend to not let our wills cross. There is always a line of commitment to cross when trying new things. There is always the idea we can do more than we currently are doing. There is always the idea that we can improve. I push myself to that line but don’t always give myself a chance to actually cross it.

So it is with our faith. We have a “ceiling” on what we believe, based on what we have seen, or what we have experienced. We all have our own limit to where we have given permission to grow or not. We have given permission to what we will believe or let doubt erode our faith. We all have to be honest with ourselves and give permission to forward or not.

We never should stop growing in our faith. We can raise the ceiling of our faith if we give ourselves permission to grow strong, instead of growing weary. We can do more than we think we can when it comes to debunking the lies that we have swallowed about our journeys.

We can. Because God’s Word says that we can do more.

1 Thessalonians 4:1 “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.”

I share this as an encouragement that we can do more than we think we can. We need to be reminded that when God is asking hard things of us, or easy things, or just consistent obedience in our walk of faith that we can do more because HE has already done more and more for us that is still to be discovered if we would just give ourselves permission to think about God’s strength instead of our own inadequacies that come calling loud into our lives.

What do you need to grow in instead of growing weary in?

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Let this year be the “year of you”

Over a year ago there was a one line prayer that I said out loud, from the depths of my soul. It was all I could eek out. Strange coming from me who seems to have so many words for many topics. I could only utter what I needed from God in my moment of need.

“Lord, I want to be whole.”

I don’t know if you have ever prayed that kind of prayer but saying those words out loud changed me. It started a healing inside of me and the continual restoration of my soul.

It was the year that I found “me”. I had to step out of my own little small shell and find out what God thought of me. I took initiative to find what made me tick. In finding myself, I also discovered some things.

I am not who I thought I was. In finding me, I also found out who I wasn’t. Once you find your identity in Christ alone, listen friends it changes everything.

Why is this so important? It was in the understanding of how I was made by a Holy God, completely imperfect, I saw the recovery of the good work He started in me. It’s how we work out our own salvation.

It’s how we have faith. I believe that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, not by the works of our hands. So when I say it’s how I worked out my salvation, that means the changes from within to be like Christ.

I am a Christian, a believer in Jesus’ work on the cross for my salvation. His work was completed through victory over death and the grave. When I die from this life, I will live eternally in Heaven with my Savior. This is the Gospel, the good news of God for each and every one of us who believe and confess His work of salvation.

As believers, we understand we have been created for a purpose. That purpose is to give glory back to our Creator who made us to reflect His image. So everything we say, everything we do, everything we work on and at should be pointing back to God. Everything.

Including ourselves, the body of Christ. If our identity is anchored in what our hands produce, then we are identifying with the flesh. If our identity is connected to the likeness of Christ, then our hands will produce Christ.

This is where it gets confused in the world today, as we work out our salvation. Paul addressed it too when he wrote to the church of Philippi.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” ~ Philiappians 2:12-13

When I left my job of 13 years to write full time, all I had to rely on was the works of my hands and a strong faith that God had a purpose for those words that He put in my hands. I was wrong about that idea.

I needed to be healed of who I was first before I could see God’s purpose.

In praying to God, my identity stopped being connected with the works of my hands. My wholeness is the product of the Spirit and my identity is anchored in Christ alone.

I can’t begin to tell you how this has brought healing to my life. The desire to be whole put my inner critic to rest, and in a position to receive a healing that can’t be put into words.

The one line prayer put my desires in motion to see God for who he was to me, so that He could affirm His purpose in me.

Granted this seemed like such a small beginning and a place you might have thought was already in place. But I realized I needed some help in finding myself. The best place I knew to start was to ask God. His healing came over me so that I could discover the truth of me over my flesh.

Dare I ask a question? Have you ever prayed that prayer outloud to God? Do you need to be healed of what the world says about you? Your past? Your inner critic?

If you struggle with those issues, and seem fractured or confused, know that God knows who you are and has been dying to tell you. When you are conscious of spiritual weakness, do not wait for your flesh to remind you of your strengths. That will only foster false humility and pride.

Don’t wait any longer, but assume the responsibility for your weak places and ask God to show you how to see yourself, as if your salvation depended on it, because it does! God wants to change you too! You have to put the desire to change in front of Him, and His grace will do the rest!

Let this be the year you find “you” and who God says you are to Him. You’ll never go back to being who you were, but you will be working on your wholeness for you.

What do you need prayer for today?

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Why I needed to learn last year’s word first

Many of you know that last year’s “word” for me was “freedom”. As I have emphatically stated before, there are different levels of meaning to whatever you put before God.

I had no idea what kind of freedom God would show me. But first He had to take me to India.

This course may not make sense to you. I still ponder on the many things that God showed me from the loving people I met there. But what I came back with is that God will go to any extent that He needs to you show your own poverty from the lens of someone else’s.

Every time I step out my own “comfort” zone and ask God to show me what I need to learn, well, that is a prayer He will answer in the most creative ways.

God showed me true hope in the Dominican Republic.
God showed me true compassion in Africa.
God showed me true desperation in India.
God shows me truths when I search for true Truth.

So back to freedom. I had to learn God’s freedom first to prepare me for what He had for this year. What can freedom in Christ offer you? The truth. Plain and simple truth.

John 8: 31-32 “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Many of you don’t know that you need freedom, but to gain a fresh perspective on truth God will go to His measures to show you. In fact, He already has shown us truth that comes through the life and testimony of Jesus.

Freedom can bring back the fear of God to your life, and you are free to not care what people think. I don’t have to cower behind the fear of your opinion anymore. Fear is of the enemy and holds us back. Fear comes at us in many forms. Fear kills the good work that Jesus’ truth has already taught us.

So when you discover freedom in fearing God over man, you are not bound to the opinion of others. In this freedom, comes liberation of many lies I have swallowed about others and myself.

Freedom brings the ability to reject the lies of the world because I am clinging to God’s truth.

Freedom also opens the door to a deeper trust in God. It enables me to stay the course to my true calling. That is to be His voice of truth in my personal life and to my family. And to encourage those He brings in my path. So in this freedom, I know that whatever He calls me to do, in every season, He has already equipped me to do what He is asking me to do.

When you pray for God to move in your life, whatever it takes to accomplish His will, He will answer that prayer because He can see your heart of desperation to respond to His call in a way that will glorify Him alone. Yes, He asks us to do hard things, but He knows that it will take more of Him to accomplish it? Yeah, He’s “all in” on that answer.

Freedom unbinds my thinking that I have to rely on me to accomplish what God wants. I can rely on His Truth that is much more reliable, Jesus. He is my Overcomer, so as I am becoming more grace-filled, I rely on His grace to accomplish what is before me.

Freedom is liberating.

I can’t sum up all the freedom that God showed me from last year in this post, but I can say it this way: God is working in new areas of freedom to accomplish the good works that He has provided ahead for me.

And to know that freedom is preparing, exciting, and enticing. I want all the truth-based freedom I can get. God is always sovereignly directing, re-directing, protecting, prioritizing, and pruning me. He is deepening my simple trust and drawing me near.

He is my Freedom. I know that brings Peace and assurance and perfect order in a holy confident way.

Maybe you need order in your life. Ask the One who can bring order to your peace by asking Him what you need to learn in this year. You will be blown away by what He shows you. Take my word for it. Freedom will pave the way.

One thing I know is this: “So if the Son makes you free, you are free indeed. John 8:36”

What do you need freedom from this year?

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