Going Deeper With God: Cultivate

Perhaps there is a longing in the soul and you are not quite sure what it is that has caused this stirring or disconnect. In my earlier days when I would have this emptiness, I would seek to fill it in natural ways. A new job, a new project, reaching out to other people, or feeling there is something wrong with me. I have since learned that, the longing in my soul, is when I am desiring a deeper connection to the Lord. It is those moments that I can now recognize it is time for more… He is calling.

Just like any relationship, it takes effort on our part to go deeper in our relationship with the Lord. It is important to cultivate the relationship. God is always waiting. There are no limits to his depth. But we come to him by our own will and choice. He is not going to push us into more. But He does have more available.

Some ways to cultivate your relationship with God that have brought me to a deeper connection and understanding are:

SEEK Sometimes, it is simply a matter of seeking Him. Since God does not hold himself away from us, as we seek Him, we will find Him.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

1 Chronicals 16:11- Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

SURRENDER/OBEDIENCE As we hear God’s instructions and obey His Word, we walk in freedom. Often to know God more deeply is to recognize the areas in our life that may be holding us back. Now mind you, HE is available, but our acts of rebellion can hold us back from going deeper with God.

James 1:22- But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

REMAIN- Walk continually in the love relationship with God. Love is work and is an action. Keep steadfast in your affection.

John 15:9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

PRAYER– We can talk to God and can confidently know that He hears us.

1 John 5:14 -This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Jeremiah 29:12 – then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

WORSHIP It is important to honor the Lord as we set our hearts on him.

Hebrews 12:28 -Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

2 Kings 17: 38-39 – Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”

PRAISE Lift up your thanksgivings! Shout for joy what the Lord HAS done. Shout for joy what you know in faith according to His will that which will be done!

Colossians 3:16- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God

Psalm 34:1- I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

READ HIS WORD- The Word is a living connection to God. When we read His words, we are allowing Him to speak to our heart.

Psalm 119:130- The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Hebrews 4:12- For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

One of the most valuable revelations for me these past few years was to find the value of communicating with the Lord in many different ways. I am a worshiper in my very being. I think I must have been born singing to the Lord. This was most often my go-to for connecting with the Lord. It wasn’t until, through conversation that I understood not everyone feels the most connected this way. My friend feels her deep connection through prayer, my husband feels the most connected to the reading of the word. I would find reading the word a blur at times as I tried to remember the chapter and verse, or I would read scripture that would strike a chord and start singing again.
Many times, I would start praying and the prayer would almost always turn to worship.
Now I don’t find that there is anything wrong with connecting to the Lord in the way that is most natural for me. I have no concern or guilt over the fact that I would slide into what was my favorite form of connection.
However, if I want to hear more from God, perhaps entering into communication with Him in different ways could be beneficial. I have all kinds of expressions to communicate my love to others; touch gifts, service, time, etc. So is it possible that by stepping out more from our comfort zone that we can experience God?

When I started being mindful to focus on reading the word, I found my spirit rejoicing in new ways as the words leaped off the page at me.
When I started being mindful to focus on my prayer time, I found again that my spirit would stir with his answers.
Lifting praise and thanksgiving to God, completely change the mindset.



I have learned that results are not found seek after the deeper, as much as I seeking after God. The deeper comes as a result.
He is already there waiting to take us to our more with him. It is often us that can get complacent or comfortable.

Going Deeper with God: Let’s talk limits

Infinate: limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate.

I think it is common in our humanness, to see God through our abilities and limits. But the truth is, God is infinite. He is limitless in His ability to bring us deeper into the relationship. He is immeasurable in His ability to love, forgive, and draw us in. His power is beyond boundaries.
In reality, it is us that sets the limits of God’s abilities through our own experiences and understandings.
We often link our relationship with God and His abilities to our limits or the limits of others.
For example, God can’t love me if I did _______ , because I could never love Sally if she did _____.
Or, My parents thought I was worthless, therefore God must see me as worthless.
The scenarios are plentiful for us, and those scenerios that run through our mind that stop us from surrendering for deeper with God, is our hangups and life experiences on this earth. This is not how God works. He is able and available for us always. Often if we want to go deeper with God, we need to change our mindset on who He is.


I find a key to going deeper with God, is to recognize that He is able to take me further than where I am right now. And that ‘further’ is always changing. As I get comfortable, and ready for more, He is always right there ready to meet me with more! He is without limits, but I have to let Him minister to my heart in my growing, that there is more. There is always more! This is exciting. The word says, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
So every time we thirst for more of God, He is RIGHT THERE to quench it. We get the gift of a limitless supply of God. It is our gift. Freely given to us by the very one that created us for relationship.

So let’s talk about what deeper with God may look like and how we cultivate it!
Join me for the rest of November as we “Go Deeper With God”.
Ready to break free from our limits and press into the limitless God.

Join me in the Ladies Ministry Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/youministries
November 14th at 9 am (PST) to discuss “Going Deeper with God.”

Going Deeper With God: The Relationship Factor


Ugly confession time, but I know that hidden things coming to light can bring life to not only myself but others as well.
Many years of my marriage were wasted as I held my love for my husband back. I didn’t even consciously know I was doing this until the revelation came that I was waiting for my husband to leave me.
I was always on edge, expecting him to see all the ways that I did not measure up. I would even lash out in fear, pushing him away and retreating to what I thought was safe, behind a wall of pride and control.
Thankfully my husband took the words in scripture literally and followed the call for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.
He would patiently and gracefully walk me through all the emotions and pain. Even when the hurt was so evident on his face he would not take his love away from me. He would also show his love, by letting me process my emotions and give me what I needed at the moment.
Suddenly one day I realized I was equating my husband’s compacity to love me to those that would not. I was waiting for him to leave me like the others that chose to walk away, mock, or torment me. I was doing this in other relationships as well and destroying good things the Lord had in store. But it wasn’t until I recognized it within my marriage that the blinders came off.
When this revelation came, I also realized I had believed this was how the Lord’s love for me worked.
I always thought I had to do everything right. I thought if I messed up too big, the Lord would retreat from me. I waited for God to leave me as well. But through my husband’s amazing love, I suddenly saw with my own eyes, how God’s love worked and the key was understanding my identity. I am HIS child. I am wanted. I am created for fellowship with God almighty!
He always wants the relationship. He never retreats. He always waits.

We are created FOR a relationship with God. When we have repented and come to Him, He is there. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Romans 8:38-39
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can’t go deeper with God until we realize we were created for a deep relationship.

We can’t go deeper with God until we let the walls be removed that try to separate us from His love. He does not love us with a human capacity, but a GOD capacity. It is us that retreats. It is us that hides behind walls (sin and disobedience). 

In the beginning, God created man. Sin separated man from receiving all that the Lord had in store. 

SO… God in His great love, sent the very one that could bridge the gap for all of our shortcomings. We can not measure up, but God sent the one that made it so that we would not have to.

This is how Grace works. The unmerited ( free and not deserved) favor of God is a gift for his CHILDREN

He so loved us that He made a way that we would not have to retreat behind a wall of ugly to avoid being exposed. He already knows all of our mess and STILL wants us. 

So to go deeper with God, I pray you to realize how valuable and wanted you are. He is waiting with His arms open, with no condemnation (strong disapproval), for there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ. 


Now it is with great joy and freedom that I am blessed to love my husband. It is in this kind of freedom that I get to love God and allow His love to wash over me.

This is what we were created for, to fellowship in His goodness and glory.
We were created in the likeness of God. We don’t need to stay in the ugliness but walk into the freedom of a relationship. It is important to realize that just as I want to do the things that bring great joy to our marriage, I want to bring joy to my heavenly father.
I want to serve him. I want to bless his day and see a smile on his face. When we are rejoicing over the good things the father has for us and are eager to love and serve him it is then that we can go deeper and not focus on every action, but the one that gives us the ability to stay in freedom.

I mentioned in my previous post, think of a bride hiding behind a veil her whole entire marriage. What if this bride never let her husband see her true self or feel her lips on his lips without a barrier? Not only would she be hindering her husband’s joy in connection to her, but she would also be limiting her great joy as well. This was exactly what I had been doing.

Ask yourself if perhaps you are hiding behind barriers that hinder you from going deeper into your connection with God. Do you see your relationship through judgment, fear, and a master waiting for you to do wrong? Or do you see your relationship as one of a great connection that is to be treasured, revered, and rejoiced over? Because I know the gift is there for those that are willing to receive.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom

This season has been one where I just want to rest in worship and prayer. Everthing else pales in comparison. I go about the daily and the musts but in my resting I just sit and open my heart to an awareness of Him. I can sit in those moments for hours and it feels as if only moments have gone by.

The words that have been rising in my heart these last few weeks are;
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”

When I am stressing over the medical testing, finances, politics, COVID restrictions, family, my next, or whatever other thing that comes to my mind at any given moment, I stop and just acknowledge that presence that indwells me.

It is not about the ‘rules’ but the relationship. I don’t have to have everything figured out in the coming. I come and He meets me, every single time. There is freedom no matter my mess as the atmosphere is changed when I am aware that He is in it.

The amazing thing about the new relationship with God that we have through Jesus and what he did for us on the cross, is that the veil has been torn. We don’t have to go through all the hoops to enter into the glory of God. We have access to the father at any moment that we are taking the time to be aware of Him.

Think of a bride. How would the intamacy in marriage be if she wore a veil over her face at all times? What if her groom had never felt the tenderness of her lips without the barrier?
So often we keep our walls up because we are afraid we are not doing everything right and don’t want to be exposed. But never forget that the father already knows and still waits with his arms opened wide.

Now mind you there are things that we can do to enhance our intimate times with the Lord, and I will be going over that this month on the topic “Going Deeper With God.” But, we have access to Him at all times. We are the ones that let the barriers rise. He has given us FREEDOM in His Spirit. He has given us access to the glory. The Spirit of the Lord is our gift and connection.

As for me, I am going to drink from that life. I will stop and let the concerns of this world fade away as I just commune with the Father and rest in His glory.
He is a good good father, that desires us to recieve the freedom that he has offered us.

Lift your veil my friends. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom!

2 Corinthians 3

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[b]

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one[c] turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord[d] is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[e] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.[f] For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Hope in Times of Uncertainty

Epesians 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
There is no doubt that in some ways we are living in one of our worst moments this generation has experienced. We have been hit with the ugliest fight in politics that I have ever seen. There are enormously heavy hidden things coming out that are often too much for the mind to absorb. We have had unprecidented natural desasters, wild fires, and hard hits in the economy (again).
Not to mention the required isolation during COVID-19, and an increase in major depression and suicide.

There is so much on the shoulders of mankind in 2020. So how can we walk in hope with the weight that is baring down on us?

We must stir our hope up!

We stir up hope by walking in an expectation for a positive future. We stir up the truth that we will see the victory. We rejoice. We declare and walk with our head on what we are expecting rather than what we are having thrown at us.

We must not look at these times, and sit back with hands thrown up declaring it is hopeless. It is not hopeless!!!
There is so much in these situations to learn and grow. Businesses are being birthed as people are home and needing to redesign their income. People at home are becoming more creative, getting things accomplished that before they had no time available for. Families are valuing their time together in new ways. We are now longing for true connection, that without COVID-19 we allowed to go dormant. Communities are coming together to help those that have faced loss and disaster.

It is important to remember that in our waiting God is there. We are not forgotten. We have a purpose and in this time some of us are just now awakening to what that purpose is.

HOPE– Let us pursue with expectation God hears us and meets us where we are at.
Jeremiah 29:12- Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

HOPE-Let us pursue with expectation we DO have a purpose in all this. We have been created for such a time as this. Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

HOPE– Let us pursue with expectation the kind of person that we want to be on the other side of this weighty and heavy time in history.
Colossians 3:14- And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

HOPE – Let us pursue with expectation that there is a victory ahead of us. We will overcome and be stronger because of what we have grown through.
1 Peter 5:10-  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Hope moves us forward. It pushes into our next. When we are feeling all is lost or we are miserable in our situation, it is up to us to look to where our HOPE comes from. We cannot afford to stay dormant and hide. Others need us and we will not function in our best if we hang our head down and walk in hopelessness.
Psalm 121:1- I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.


One way to generate hope is to invest in others. With Covid-19 this may mean some creativity. I have seen all kinds of online support groups and opportunities to connect.
Book clubs, bible studies, hobby interests and ministry pages. There is opportunity even at home to socialize and take the time to instil hope into others. Stirring hope for others stirs hope within our own hearts. Ask yourself if you are called to contribute in a new way to a social outlet. Perhaps start something that has been on your heart for some time. Now is the time to go after it!

God is a God of HOPE. He genertes hope within us as we give thanksgiving.
Start today, thanking for that which you expect and want to see.

I just know we will begin to see great things!


A Time to Bloom

87296431_10221670393374114_5608707198101225472_n Awakened Arts

Luke 12:27 
“Consider how the wildflowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these.” 
 

As spring is approaching, I can not get the word “bloom” out of my mind.
I feel a tugging in my spirit that the long-awaited time will one day be over and the beauty of what God has planted within me will come into fruition.
I do not know what that will look like. But I am reminded that it will be in HIS season. Just as each flower has the perfect time to display her glory, so will I have a perfect time to share what is unique only to me. It will be my time to bloom as assuredly as the sun will rise.

Bloom: 1. a flower, especially one cultivated for its beauty.

A flower can be wild and free. But still needs to be planted on the right soil to flourish. She will still need to take root. She will need to be nourished. She will be cultivated (refined) in her process.

I find that I have had many seasons in my life, where my blooming process has seemed to be delayed. Sometimes this is the hand of the Lord, refining me, cultivating me and preparing me. Sometimes it has been a harder year and I am reminded of a late frost delaying spring, as life circumstances swirl around me.
Lastly, there is also the factor of the soil I have been planted on. In order to bloom, we need proper nourishment. If I am not growing in the areas the Lord needs for me to grow in, I will not find my time to bloom.

I am one that will need a bit of coaxing to step into the unknown and unfamiliar. I do not like change, or trying things that I feel less than qualified for, and honestly, I feel less than qualified in every area.
I have dealt with the lies of the enemy that nobody wants what I have to offer. I have viewed myself as the weed instead of the bloom to be.
I have sulked and hidden away when I am called to weather the nitty-gritty and to grow a nice strong stem. For without that strong stem, it is impossible to hold the bloom up high.

There have been times I am called to step out and ‘transplant’ to the proper ground for the cultivation needed to bloom at the ideal moment.
I am so thankful for the seasons, for the gardener that knows what I need, even before I do.
The Lord is the master gardener. In His care, I do not have to toil and spin.  He cultivates and uses the tools to give me the strength to become what He is calling me to.
He brings those beside me, that helps nourish the soil that builds strong roots.
It is true that in the process of growing there were times I wasn’t sure what I needed.
But the gardener was.  He will bring along all the right influences, encouragements and opportunity to bloom when it is my time.

The very meaning of bloom is to peak at an ideal moment.

I won’t rush. I will wait for the gardener. I will not labor and spin. I will rest in the knowledge that He already sees the day of fruition.
Just as it is supposed to, a time to bloom will arrive.

My 7 Truths to a Victory Mindset

66693161_10219523614665988_5838398995369558016_nDigital art by awakened_arts

I remember the first time the lie that I was less than crept into my mind.
I remember the first time that my illness had begun to define me.
I remember the time that my husband was laid off and we lost everything.
I remember the loss of my father and the sick filling that he is really not on this earth that hits the pit of my stomach whenever a memory comes to the surface.

All these things and more at one point overwhelmed my mind and kept me swirling in discouragement.

Then one day I was awakened to the truth that I don’t have to let a thought of past hurts, discouragements or defeat be the focus of my mind. I realized I did not have to live in the swarm of messy thoughts. I could remember my promises in the midst of the noise. I have learned how to take steps to a victory mindset.

 

Here are the 7 truths to MY Victory Mindset:

  1. Feel the moment and move on
    I am not saying I never remember the hurts and broken moments. But I have learned to let myself feel the moment and acknowledge that it is painful.  Then I move on to truths that bring about victory.
    For example; if I wake up in a fibromyalgia flare of pain all over my body, instead of being defeated that I am in a flare and all the panic that had once overwhelmed me, I now remember the truths that I have victory over this. I will not stay in a flare. The flare gives me the chance to slow down. I take the time to let my self be frustrated, but I then I move on to victory mindset instead of discouragement.

    2. Fill my mind with the truth that brings life-
    Let’s be honest, sometimes life on this earth can be less than amazing.  But for me, life stays in the gutter longer if I focus on the mess rather than the blessed around me.
    When I am intentional to fill my mind with truths that bring life my whole atmosphere can shift.
    So what kind of truths can bring life when you are surrounded on all sides? How do you train your mind to have a victory mindset?
    I write encouraging affirmations and keep them where I will see them. On note cards or post-it notes. I take the time to remember what I can do, what I have accomplished or my dreams and desires. When a negative thought comes if it is not something that needs addressing I will immediately replace it with a positive thought. If I don’t have my own positive thoughts at the moment I remember other peoples victories. Or I remember my simple victories no matter how small they may seem, even getting out of bed some days is a victory and I can be thankful for it!

    3. Speak the life instead of the mess-
        Oh, boy how this one has been a lesson! I am still having to work on making it a habit of speaking life around me rather than speaking about all the junk I am going through all the time. People will avoid you when all you have to talk about is your mess. I have learned this the hard way and it made my struggles worse to feel so alone. In the season of mess talking, I was trying to explain why I was limited because you can’t always see when I am ill, or I would vent my hurts because I wasn’t sure how to process them. But when the mess became all I saw it became all I talked about. How fun I was to be around… NOT.
    I want to be an encourager. I want to be one that speaks words that encourage and lift up. This may take practice but it can be done. It starts in doing until it becomes your habit. When I have nothing positive to say, I can start by speaking about what I WANT to see. I can prophesy my victory mindset. 

    Prophesy means to pronounce.
    Prophesy your Promise: is a great listen at the end of the post!

    4. Be aware of your influences around you-
    Just as it is important to be aware of your own speaking. It is important to be aware of the words and attitudes of those around you. Let’s face it there are times you may not be able to change your atmosphere. You may not be able to move, or change jobs, or leave a situation that is overwhelmingly negative. But you can be aware of the influence, and when that atmosphere has become draining, put more efforts into your own victory mindset. If you are in an atmosphere that is constantly negative, unhealthy and destructive and you do have the ability to change it, then change may just be necessary for your best mindset.  Surround yourself with people that encourage, lift you up and inspire.

     

    5. Speak life into others-
    One of the biggest tools in my toolbelt for victorious mindset has been to speak life and encouragement into other peoples lives. For me, it was easier to believe great things for others and it was easier to see their worth. By speaking into their lives not only am I speaking the truth and blessed to encourage them, but I also begin to hear back that I too am worth such thoughts and blessings. To see a shift in their day brings victory to my own mindset.

    6. Invest in Spiritual Health-
    I can not emphasize this one enough. I was born to spend time with the Lord. When I forsake that part of me, I just do not function mentally the same way. I get discouraged, frustrated and deflated so quickly. It is much harder for me to walk in the truth of victory when I am not reminding myself of all that has been gifted to me. I find new hope, dreams and fresh vision after my time with prayer, worship and reading the word. This is my must for a victory mindset.

    7. GET TO DOING-
    Ultimately this is the most important aspect to walking in a victory mindset. To be victorious you must take action. You will not achieve anything by staying in the negative, staying in the same old position and making no changes. You want to find those things that bring about life for you and then do them!
    Serve others, find your dreams and interests, take the time to practice your victory mindset. Start with just one consistent action a day, and then add more as you have made that one a habit.  Taking action will propel you forward to living in victory instead of shadowed with defeat.

    This is what has helped me become blessed instead of focusing on the mess. I encourage you, my friend, to share with others what has helped you.
    Feel free to leave a comment on your victories!!

    Prophesy means to pronounce. Get to pronouncing LIFE
    Prophesy your Promise by Bryan and Katie Torwalt

     

Endurance: Follow up on “Painful” post

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Yesterday I had blogged on the issue that making a change is often painful or uncomfortable. The post can be found (here).
I now want to address maintaining our endurance when the pressure is on while making those changes. When we are hit from every side and when things become uncomfortable or we feel week there are tools that can help us keep us pressing on without giving in to defeat.

ENDURANCE: The power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.

I look at the strong athlete, able to overcome his opponent in victory and the sheer satisfaction on the face, the release of tension in the body and the knowledge that their endurance saw them through. They would not have become the victor over another seasoned athlete if they had not prepared for that victory and fought through the uncomfortable. We were created to be overcomers. We have it within us to overcome the things that are weighing us down and holding us back. We were built to be victorious.

How I will endure the difficult:

Desire: Do you really fully want that what you are working towards? Having the desire to overcome and obtain your victory will help you keep your mind on the reward rather than the struggle. If you want a change and if you want the victory, purpose to make it a desire of your heart that is bigger than the comfortable.
I’ve made sure my desire lines up with the word of God and His will for me. Then I can know with all my heart, soul and mind, that I can obtain my goal even in the midst of pain for the moment. He will go before me, as I stay steadfast on the path.

Psalm 37:5- Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Confidence: Being bold enough to know that you will see victory, in the end, as your flesh comforts rise up and you want to give in, having a deep knowledge that you can, will go a long way to keep your head in the race until the end. HE is my victory.

Philippians 1:6-Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Focus: Know what you want. Know the goal. Keep your eye on your victory. If I look at the here and now, I may give in to what is more comfortable. Yet, when I keep my eyes on being the overcomer in my present uncomfortable situation, my moment pales in comparison.
Know it, see it, and do it.
For me, I focus on the fact that God is faithful. His ways are higher than my ways. I know He will remain with me and I find my endurance in His truth for my life.

Colossians 3:2- Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Strength: Le’ts face it, we get weak. We want to give up. So building our strength in the downtime, keeps us ready to fight and walk-in endurance during the difficult process. We can build our self up physically but I also must remember that the true strength to endure the difficulties in this life, comes from my Lord. He is my strength and shield. Building myself up in the Spirit is very much as important as building up my physical self.

Colossians 1:11- being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

Philippians 4:13- I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
These are the few truths that I am thinking on today, as I face the race ahead of me. I desire the change, I desire the health and I desire the victory. I am confident that these desires, are the same desires of my God and He will remain faithful to strengthen me to reach the desires of my heart. I will remain steadfast and strengthened in my endurance despite the unpleasent. One day I will have that smile of victory on my face, the shoulders relaxed from a job well done and I will be able to say that I overcame.

 

Beyond the Limits​

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Definition of Limit: a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass. Synonyms: restrict, curb, check, place a limit on, cap, keep within bounds, hold in check, restrain, put a brake on, hold, or freeze.

We all have done it. We have all dreamed of something big and so far beyond our reach. However, many like myself, first see the limits and often won’t pursue farther than the dream. I have had seasons where it hasn’t mattered if the limit was imagined or real. I would just stand frozen, looking at the desire of my heart and not know how to pursue it. I look at every angle and then get perplexed on what in the world to do.

Other’s will pursue wholeheartedly their life, dreams, and ambitions, but then stop as limits rise up against them. They had momentum for a season, but the wall rose up and they stand immobile, not sure how to move beyond that limit in front of them.

Then there are those victors. Those people that seem unstoppable. Everything they put their hand to is golden and all falls into place for them. Or does it?  I believe most beyond the limit people, are just that, they live beyond their limits. They have things that rise up, they have things in their way, they have things that could hold them back, but they have learned how to move forward, taking steps into the further and pushing on harder, not because of those limits but in spite of them.

I want to be one that propels forward with expectation and boldness. But first I had to identify those limits that were restricting me, that kept me within my bounds, and held me frozen. I had to identify not only limits for my own self but for others as well that may rise up in the face of pursuit. I am sure that I will not cover all that everyone would face, but recognizing the vast walls before us is key to overcoming and moving beyond the limits that hold us back.

Moving beyond the limits we place on ourselves:

1. Qualification:  This is the biggest struggle I personally have faced over the years. I never felt qualified or validated to finish my pursuits. I would start something, and see my failures more than possibilities. Let’s face it unless one is touched by the divine, and everything they do is perfect, most have to work for what we want to become, or accomplish. It takes hard work and faithfulness. I finally have learned that we are often called to do that which we are not qualified for. It is in the faithfulness, living beyond what we see, and honing our craft/skill, that shines far beyond what we lay down unfinished by giving up and staying frozen out of lack of discipline.

2. Opinions or lack of support: Often we look to other’s approval to validate that what we have to contribute is valuable. When other’s mock us, ignore us or roll their eyes when we share our vision, we can feel like what we have to put out there has no worth. It is very important to know who is your true supporters, and believe it or not, your support may not come from your closest circles. You see, many people in our lives, don’t see the hard work behind the scenes that we are putting in. They may only see where we have been, not where we are going. They have preconceived notions about our ability and our reach. This is not always the case, but if you share your heart and others are not supportive or even silent, perhaps you should hold your treasure a little closer to your heart, and protect it. Pursue, strengthen and equip. Show those that doubt that you are able and move beyond their limits. You see they can not support that which they can not visualize themselves.

3. Pride: Society has us constantly aware of how we are perceived. Nobody wants to appear foolish, unqualified, unsupported or exposed. So many times, I have stepped away from my passion because I have not been able to do what other’s expectations of me were. I walked in embarrassment, rather than the truth of my calling. Going live was one of my biggest challenges. I have such a low opinion of myself at times, that seeing those lives have left me embarrassed, even though I know personally others have been encouraged. If I let pride and vanity stand in the way of my calling, I am never going to reach my destination meant for me.

4. Fear: There are so many ways fear can limit us in pursuing that on our heart. Fear of failure, fear of time wasted, fear of unknowns, and fear of others, etc. You name it, there is probably a fear in the face of it. I have found one of the best ways to move beyond fear, is to identify it, and walk through it. Fear often only holds us back, because real or perceived, we allow it to. Think of every fear you have had that you have overcome. What did it take to overcome that fear? For me, it was action. It was the doing, no matter what. It was stepping out of what was safe and comfortable and saying, I will move beyond this limit. It will not hold me. Fear will not be the force that keeps me from the plan for my life.

5. Time: This is such a trial in the pursuit of callings and dreams. Because the truth is, we all face a certain amount of hours every day, and we all have responsibilities within those hours. However, when you have a passion and a dream, you must etch out some time to hone the skills, and pursue that dream. Otherwise, like me, 20 years later, I am still looking at the undone. I put the kids first, which was great, it was my season, I put the church first which is great it was my season, I put so many things first and in the seasons that is okay. But looking back, I could have definitely etched some time in to pursue things that would lay a foundation for my now. If you have it on your heart to write, but there is just no time, record your musings and thoughts on a voice memo on your phone when you are doing other tasks. Keep those thoughts on record for a day, when you have more time to actually write it all down. Think of that which you truly want, and seek where you may be letting time be wasted, or how can your time be extended in a day. Yes, time can be a limit, but only if we don’t see the possibilities of conquering. Sometimes it is just an evaluation of how your days are being spent.

6. Finances: Money or lack of, can be a very real challenge in living beyond the limits. We were a one income family most of our marriage and with 3 little ones and no health insurance for most of those days and a one year lay off where we lost everything, I can honestly say that finances were definitely a limit I put on myself. However, I am seeing the older I get, how those limits sometimes are also a mindset. I wanted to paint for years, but good quality canvas and paint is expensive, well while learning, I could have used cardboard, cheaper materials and practiced away.
I get it sometimes it is hard to even put bread on the table, and when our mind is around survival it can be hard to dream. BUT… there are resources. Get creative. Barter, research, visit a library, free education online, my unemployment offices have resources for learning and possibly ask to apprentice with someone skilled in your passions. I know many people that have had dreams with little finances and completely self-educated their passion and pursued to full success.  If something is burning in you to be accomplished, do not allow finances to hold you back. Become creative in the pursuit of living beyond the limit.

7. Physical: I know this one well. I have physical limits. However, I have been looking at so many others that live beyond their limit physically and are extremely successful. Sometimes when we have limits with our bodies or situations, we need to become creative. Just because something is in our way physically does not mean we can let it limit us and keep us frozen. It is just a new challenge to see how we can move beyond what we face and overcome those obstacles. I think of those I have seen with far more physical limitations than myself, rise above and do so much. Not only are they pursuing and conquering their dreams and passions, but they are true inspirations to others like myself, that get tempted to give up and just coast in life. I don’t want to be one that just gets by in this life any longer, but I want to thrive and bring others along with me.

Ultimately the dreams and passions within our hearts are for the taking. We just have to overcome and live beyond the limits placed on ourselves. This is how true victors become victorious. They do not let their limits get in their way.

 

The Empty Box

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I got this prayer box necklace from my aunt years ago and recently it got me to thinking.

Looking at the empty box, I could have worn this as just a pretty necklace over the years, or I could take my prayer and place it in the box, close to the heart. I chose to write my favorite scripture and put it in the box and whenever the necklace moved or I saw it in a reflection I would meditate and believe that word was qualified in my own life.  The empty box did not remain empty.

I use this, as an illustration, to show how we may take the time for our empty box during our downtime. We have spent all day, pouring out our energy and when we stop we are depleted. When we take the time to recharge,  we make choices. Those choices are to leave that box empty, fill it with distraction, or fill it with life.

For a season I found myself filling the empty box with distraction. Such as binge-watching Netflix or spending hours on my social media accounts when I wanted to just ‘chill’. Not before too long it became habitual and without any thought, I pick up my phone first thing in the morning and throughout the day, all day, and mindlessly scroll.
Then there is the other box in the room that grabs my time. As soon as I sit on my couch I would reach for my remote and scroll for an hour looking for something to watch.
Then one day it hit me, did I really just waste an hour (or hours)  scrolling nothingness?

There is a danger for me personally to use ‘nothing’ or distraction during down time. Before too long it becomes same old’ same old’ and if not careful I slip into the melancholy of nothingness and the empty box turns into a life of meh.

Think of your own life, are you working and going home and doing nothing? Is the place that you want to be in 5 years? I ask this because if you are filling your free time with nothingness or distractions, then in 5 years time, you will accomplish only keeping your box empty.

I know this may be an extreme thought, but for me it became extreme. I was created to write, paint, minister and to be present, yet I filled up a season of my life with nothingness and wondered why I was not getting anywhere. It all turned so quickly and without notice went from a few minutes of decompressing daily, into a lifestyle.

I am being exposed here. Not because it is fun to admit it, but because I know I am not alone and my hope is that others will see before the melancholy or time thief sets in. The thief of your time can also be a thief of your joy.

So what can you fill the empty box with?

I am determined to fill my life with things from the Lord through prayer, worship of all forms and pursuit of my future that He has planned for me. I want my empty box to become filled with life. So that I may pour it out onto others and not be running on a nothingness.  So that I may remain young and strong.

Psalm 103:5- He fills my life with good things so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.