This has been my area of improvement for a long time. Juggling the many hats I wear is a challenge. But I can say that when I took control of my clock and calendar, and became more intentional about what balance meant for me, I began to see results.
I’ve been wanting to make sure that I produced a blog every Monday. But for the longest I hesitated because I wasn’t sure I’d have something to write about every Monday. After some wise counsel from my pastor who reminded me that if I set some time aside to ask God what He wanted me to write about, He will give it to me.
So I created a note section on my phone entitled ‘blog’ and I asked 😉 Well, He started giving me titles and stories and now it’s up to me to be consistent…..
Anyways, back to the balance thing. We are fresh back from family vacation/spring break and it was so relaxing 🙂
I lurked for the sun every morning, slept with the balcony door open to hear the waves, enjoyed our away time and especially enjoyed watching my water babies have fun…
I have always loved the morning. Maybe because of it’s clean undisturbed freshness or the hint of promise everyday brings, I don’t know, but I love it!
Most of my mornings were also spent trying not to share my writing materials with this little early bird 🙂
My daughter has always been a water lover and now her brother has followed suit. So it was a pleasure to watch them…
We had a refreshing time and baby boy and I took in a few more sights as baby girl and dad went off to see Batman vs Superman…
Had a great time and am looking forward to the next. I do believe baby Jason had the most fun time of all 🙂
Have a great week and I pray you are doing all you can to ensure your life is balanced.
Do you remember throughout your life journey people ‘seeing’ promise and gifts and talents and destiny in you before you ever saw it in yourself? Or rather, before you ever admitted it to yourself?
Things like; ‘your life story is so awesome, you should put it in a book’,
‘your fashion sense is so instinctive you should do something with that’,
‘you make the best cakes or pies or ice cream or whatever, I would totally pay for it’,
‘when are you going to preach?’
‘you are so good with kids’
‘you are so creative, you should do interior design’
I don’t know what your thing is, but I am sure if you took a second to pause and look at the bread crumbs left throughout your life you will see a pattern in your proclivities.
If you are already pursing them, praise God!!
But if not, take that step…write that business plan (again)….
enroll in school….
get that certificate…..
read some books…
find a mentor….
take that sewing class…
take that photography class…
There are so many people waiting for you to serve what only you can serve!
The other day I woke up and commanded my morning that I would have a productive day. Would you know that Satan jumped all over it? I mean all morning I felt like I was wading through molasses!
Around noon I went down to the gym, as I had mapped out for the day, determined to press through. Finished my work out, showered up and was heading upstairs when I ran into a fellow officer. A friend had recently told me that he was in seminary so I stopped to chat. Mind you, I have seen him many times over the years and even worked a case with him, but never knew this.
There are so many servants all around us, we are really not alone in our pursuit for God.
Anyway, we talked for about an hour or so and he told me a quick story that exemplifies the point that I was making in the opening;
Many many moons ago, when he was a young officer, they were attempting to arrest a bad guy who was just a terror to the neighborhood. The plan was for them to drive by in a U-Haul truck and scoop him up before there was any potential for a shootout. He was the driver. The plan was successful and no one was hurt, although several people called 911 stating the guy was just kidnapped. Once he pulled over, after things settled down, he got out of the truck and went to the back of the truck to check on the guy. When he pulled up the garage styled door the guy said ‘Man, can you pray for me?’
He quickly closed the door.
He thought for a few seconds then opened back the door and asked him what he said.
He said again ‘Can you pray for me?’
The officer said, “Of all these other guys why do you want me to pray for you?” The guy didn’t even know. Anyway he asked him what he wanted him to pray for and the guy said that he and his family would be alright. The officer said, I’ll pray for you, but I’m not closing my eyes. And he prayed.
This was just one of many breadcrumbs that pointed to the call of God on his life and he is actively pursuing it now. It’s a beautiful thing to live a purpose driven life!
We chatted some more, exchanged more ‘God’ stories, shared tips, and encouraged each other on this journey.
And, I had a productive day indeed 🙂
Go after that vision and dream that you see, write it down, make it plain and keep it ever before you. Don’t worry about the ‘how’ of it, that’s God’s job….
Have a great week.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear ~ Buddhist Proverb
Do you believe this? I do.
Since the beginning of this new year I’ve been focused on accomplishing everything that God had in mind when He created me. Using every gift, talent, treasure, my personality, experiences (good and bad), attitude, humor, passions, hobbies….you get the idea. I want to go back to Him empty.
There is a venue that I love to use for my Junk in the Trunk sessions (another post all together) and the price has gone up. I was a little irritated by that so I asked God to let me know if I should even bother. Even though I already knew the answer (I just hadn’t settled it within me).
Well, the other day the clip on the case of my work phone broke. So I went to get a new one from the person that handles our phones. She’s a little lady, very unassuming, with stringy hair and frumpy clothes. I’ve seen her for years heading to her car, head down and going about her life. Never really talked to her and only knew her name by the placard outside her door.
As I stood waiting for her to get the clip, my eyes were drawn to a photo collage on her left wall. One particular photo caught my eye again and again. In the photo was a little dark skinned boy and she was holding a stethoscope to his chest.
As I was standing there God said “Ask her about the photo.”
I was like ‘I don’t want to be all in her business about her photos, I’m just here to get my clip.’
Again God said “Ask her about the photo.”
So I was like “Fine.”
When she bought the clip back I said “Ma’am, that photo with the little boy, where is that?”
And it was like she was waiting for me to ask! She lit up in front of me. She went on to explain that the photo was taken in Jamaica on one of the mission trips that she and her husband go on every year. And they had been doing it for twelve (12) years! She said they go every year for about two weeks. She said the mission field in Jamaica was their heart. The area they go to has no running water and no medical treatments available etc. She said they pack their suitcases to the max and leave everything they bring.
She said at the end of the trips they are told to leave their dirty clothes. She said the first time she didn’t want to leave her dirty clothes for someone else to wash, but once she found out that someone could wash her clothes for money that would enable them to eat for a few weeks, she gladly left them.
One year she said she and several women from her church went and spent the whole two weeks in a room sewing uniforms. It was like Christmas morning delivering the uniforms to the children. She said she even left her sewing machine so someone maybe could start a small business and have a way to feed their family. She said she always has a hard time living in the excess we live in here when she comes back; taking so much for granted.
She told me about so many stories of how God showed Himself on those trips and stopped herself several times to ask me ‘if she was being too personal’. I told her ‘no, I’m right there with you.”
We talked for about 45 minutes and then she said ‘I’ve shared so much and I don’t even know your name.” I told her, but it really didn’t matter.
Anyway I told her about how I was debating about paying the extra to host my sessions and she said “so what are you going to do?”
I told her “You have blessed me, I will confirm the date for my session.”
I am always moved when I see people who find themselves and their ‘thing’ in life and are going after it with gusto. Honestly the extra I had to pay was in no comparison to what it would cost to go to Jamaica, take supplies, take off from work for two (2) weeks etc. When we are on purpose, we throw everything we have behind it.
Have you found your niche in God’s Kingdom? Is it a business, writing a book, studying to be a better teacher, studying to be more versed in His word, finishing that degree, blogging, photography etc? Or just maybe you need to start getting ready because when the opportunity presents itself, there is no time to ‘get ready’ then!
There is something that we all already have in us to give.
Have you become distracted, unfocused and discouraged? Well please be encouraged to know that there are several of our brothers and sisters around us who are living on purpose. And I know that when we ask God to show us who we are, why He made us the way He did, why we had the experiences we did, why certain things anger us and certain things don’t, why we gravitate to help children or elderly or animals or hug trees etc…..He will show us.
Have a great week, and be looking for all the opportunities coming your way!!!
It’s been a while 😉
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few months now….continually shuffling it around on my ‘to do’ list. Right now it is about 3 am and I have been up for about two hours now. Sleep is elusive.
I went to my spot and sat there talking to God. Asking Him why I haven’t been consistent with some of my responsibilities and why keeping up the momentum to keep on being productive is so hard? I even shed a few tears. God simply said “You already have the tools.”
Don’t you just love Him? You don’t get anything else until you complete that last thing.
So, I wiped my face, virtual pen in hand and now listening to the taps of my key board while my people are sleeping. Determined to cross this off the list.
On June 17th we welcomed to our family the sweetest baby boy 🙂 He came promptly on his due date, which just happened to be my mother’s birthday (wonderful gift 🙂 ) and he is my father’s name sake. There is a 13 year gap between him and his sister so this felt like a new and not merely different experience.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned from his birth and since….
It’s offering time!!!
Many have been turned off or avoid the church because of methods employed for giving and offerings. Yes?
Sometime last year I took part in a focus study group for my pastor as he was completing his doctoral project on GIVING. We were given a handbook and a diary to write our reflections, thoughts, and feelings after every session. Like everyone else, the sacrifice of time was worth it to show support and love. As a Christian, the topic of giving is not unfamiliar, so I was expecting more information as a refresher. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
The first two sessions covered rudimentary information; Old Testament faithfuls like Abraham and Jacob, tithes, agrarian vs monetary systems etc. But I believe it was the third session that caused a massive struggle. We learned that Tithing was NOT required. Huh? What do you mean? I’ve always known about the 10% that I was supposed to give, and within the past few years had gotten to the point of giving that consistently, so what was this all about?
I looked at the scriptures in my handbook Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and Malachi through different eyes. I felt a little flustered as I read because it is very nerve wrecking when something that one believes as foundational is challenged.
Leviticus 27 talked about being able to redeem one’s tithes if the giver so chose. In Deuteronomy the giver was to have a celebration with the tithe as thanksgiving to God. And also to take care of the Levites since they had no land (they served in the temple). In Malachi? Well, the key here is not “Will a man rob God?”…..but “How shall we return?” (v.7). God was done with the Priests and was not going to accept any offerings from their hands; they were bringing Him lame and sick animals etc. The priests were not upholding the laws of what was to be sacrificed to God. We no longer sacrifice animals….Jesus was our sacrificial lamb.
At this point I was thinking of every place in the bible that I could find something about tithing; Abraham and Jacob! Well, I looked at that and obviously they both chose to give a tithe before there was any law. Abraham in Genesis 14:20 and Jacob in Genesis 28:22. They both did it out of love for God and his faithfulness. I couldn’t find anything that substantiated mandatory tithing in the New Testament. There is nothing to redeem….Jesus already DID that!!
I went home grappling with what this meant. I did some more research and realized that this information is out there but I have NEVER heard anyone speak on this. Understandably so, because there is a fear that if people know they don’t HAVE to give, then they wouldn’t!
I sat on my little foot stool in my closet and thought to myself “Man, if I don’t HAVE to give I can save a lot of money!”. As soon as the thought left my mind God asked “Were you giving because you LOVE ME, or just because you thought you were obligated to?”
I sat there for a long time digesting this.
Obligation never equals love. Love is doing it when I have a clear choice not to.
My heart changed in that moment. God has been so good to me! And especially faithful.
I have the opportunity to appreciate God just as Abraham and Jacob did when they decided what they would give without a legal standard.
I thanked God for the opportunity to check myself. It’s easy to SAY we love and trust God until we are faced with putting it to the test. I couldn’t imagine the courage, trust in and love for God that my Pastor had to work through to first embrace this information and then share it. He risked people stopping their giving, because they didn’t HAVE to. But, giving is a form of worship and must be as natural as singing, reading scripture and prayer. There is a basket at the door and you can drop an offering of your choosing (if you so choose), on the way in or on the way out.
Ten percent is merely a barometer. Some choose that as their minimum offering to God, but it can be more or less. Plus whatever the Holy Spirit prompts.
There is SO much to say in this post, but it is better summed up in the book Cheerfully. A book prompted by this study after more research and a compilation of the findings.
Our pastor graduated as scheduled but completed the doctoral process a changed man.
We each completed the study, experiencing a myriad of emotions with this new knowledge. Some anger, some acceptance, some struggling with sharing this information to their own congregations.
The TRUTH is what it is: God loves a cheerful giver! Giving to God based on love is Worship. A cheerful giver is motivated from within not based on any external stimulation.
SO, that thing about GIVING…? Make sure you do it CHEERFULLY!!! 🙂
Have a great week!