Recently I had a few days where I felt like I was pushing against a brick wall. I had all of these things in my heart to accomplish and had been working towards them with diligence for many months when I came to a spot where I smacked into what felt like strong resistance.
As I was driving down the road thinking things through, I passed a middle school football field. That was the moment when I was able to put my jumbled up, frustrated feelings into words. I felt like I had been pushing against one of those blocking sleds they use in football practice.
Having that picture in my head brought me relief and peace. I realized that I was actually in a good spot. Sometimes to get something off the ground you have to push. Pushing is hard, painful work. The fact that it is time to push means that something awesome is about to break forth.
When I was in labor with my first son, there was a distinct moment when the pain became so strong, that I just wanted to stop, climb out of the hospital bed, and go home. I had been waiting for that day with all of my heart for nine months, honestly for my whole life. When the pain became overwhelming I just wanted to "stick a pin in it" and try again another day.
Turn back the clock another 23 years. When my mom was ready to give birth to me something crazy happened. When the time to push came, her doctor instructed the nurses to hold her off for what turned out to be several hours. This delay caused physical damage to my mom. She had to have follow-up surgery and ended up only being able to bear two children when she would have liked to have had more.
Sometimes you just have to push! Quitting is not an option, and delay is dangerous.
This is the moment when the resistance actually works for you. Great breakthrough is imminent if you keep pressing forward.
Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. John 16:21 NASB
I'm realizing that my biggest breakthroughs come when I keep pushing.
(Please do not take this as permission to push against God or against your leaders in a rebellious way. That is definitely not what I am suggesting. If you push too early, you will birth a preemie and go through a lot of added stress.)
Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 NASB
Do you ever have a hard time making a decision? It can be especially hard if you're the type of person who really wants to get it right. The higher the stakes, the harder the choice.
Things can seem so foggy when you're looking at your own life, but when you look into someone else's situation it's often very clear. We tend to either be really hard on ourselves or go too easy on ourselves. If you can't make a decision or you just don't know what to do, imagine yourself advising someone else in your situation. What would you tell them?
It can be really hard to make a choice when you highly value doing the right thing. As long as you aren't choosing to do something in violation of God's ways or your conscience, you can move forward with courage and confidence. Even if you choose "wrong", God is able to make everything work out for your best.
When you have a decision to make:
Pray about it
If you're married, get into unity with your spouse about it
Bounce it off the people in your inner circle
Say no to fear
Pick the "scary but exciting option"
To break free from gridlock, you will have to choose to let go of all of the "what if's" and move forward. If at some point the peace leaves, you can choose to make a change.
KEY IDEA: PRAY, SUBMIT TO GOD, GET IN PEACE,
AND CHOOSE THE "SCARY BUT EXCITING" CHOICE!
Do you ever feel like you’re doing everything right but getting nowhere? If so, this post is for you!
Things may not look promising right now, but everything can change in a moment.
No matter what you’re going through in this season, I want to encourage you to hold on to God and continue planting good seeds. If you plant good seeds, you will get a good harvest in time. This is a promise from God, and God cannot lie!
No matter what God calls you to do, He will always provide the grace to walk it out. It may not always feel like it in the process, but looking back later, you will be able to clearly see His hand.
Wisdom doesn’t make decisions based on short-term results, rather it makes choices based on long-term goals.
If you feel like you’ve done everything you know to do, and you’ve asked God if there’s anything you’re missing, it’s time to stand firm. When you’ve done all you know to do, STAND.
If you feel like distancing yourself from friends and family, choose to continue to make deposits into their love tanks. You may not see an immediate change, but in time you will.
Keep on doing what you know is right. God will be faithful to finish the work He started in you!
As children we tend to absorb labels. Our parents should be the ones who brand us with good words, calling us up into our destinies. In many cases our parents carried negative labels themselves and had no clue how to brand us or that it was even part of their job description.
Some common labels are:
Maybe a doctor or other "professional" labeled you with:
PTSD or some other series of letters
These labels do not have the power to define you forever unless you let them.
You can move beyond your childhood and be a powerful adult.
You were a child then. You are not now. You are an adult.
You really can throw off all of those old labels from when you were a child and embrace new labels.
You have generations of ancestors cheering you on!
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NASB)
Key idea: You do not have to be who you have always been.
Key strategy: Who do you need to be in order to do what you want to do? Put it into one sentence. Put it in your reminders in your phone and set the alarm to go off at a certain time each day. Read it out loud each day. Do it until it feels true and natural.
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11)
Have you ever heard anyone say they got their nose out of joint? Usually what they mean by that is that they needed an attitude adjustment.
As you probably know, I’ve been getting my health in order and feeling better than I have in years. But what you probably don’t know is I have been struggling with a pesky, painful spot in my lower back.
The muscles have been extremely tight, and that’s part of what has been causing my problem. Apparently, my hips have been out of joint, and that has been putting pressure on the other parts of my core. I’ve been getting deep tissue massages, but in addition to that I needed to make a trip to the chiropractor.
You see, the massage therapist can help the muscles relax, but if something in your frame is out of place, the relief is only temporary. Turns out my L5 was out of alignment, and I’m getting better now!
When you have something out of place, the chiropractor is a whiz at getting you straightened out. Combine this with a massage therapist and you’ve got a winning plan.
But what do you do when your nose is out of joint? Who do you call when you’ve allowed your heart and mind to get out of alignment with God?
It can be helpful to talk things through with a trusted mentor, but in the end you have to humble yourself and work with God to get your heart and mind adjusted. Your heart and mind are your responsibility. Don’t just wait for God to magically change you. You have to work with Him.
You see, I couldn’t just sit at home and expect the chiropractor to magically fix my condition. I had to get in my van, drive to his office, and humbly lie down on the table. I had to take a deep breath, let it slowly out, and allow him to push on me until everything popped back into place.
If your nose is out of joint, don’t wait any longer. It’s time to take care of business and get things in order. If you don’t, it will affect all of the other parts of your life.
Maybe you already knew this, but I just learned something in Scripture that I had missed my whole life. I grew up hearing all of the Bible stories from the time I was very little. I was even able to win Bible trivia as a kid playing with adults, but somehow I missed this!
You know how God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations? He promised that Abraham’s descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky and the sand on the earth! That, my friend, is a lot of babies.
We know that God cannot lie, but wow, Abraham and Sarah had to wrestle through and partner with God in faith, to see their one son of promise come into the world. Ok, that part I was very familiar with, but I hadn’t put it together in my mind that Abraham’s son Isaac and his wife also struggled with infertility for many years until God at last opened Rebekah’s womb. (Genesis 25:21)
Then… Isaac’s son Jacob went through the exact same thing with his favorite wife Rachel! Three generations in a row struggled year after year with the pain of infertility when God had promised to make their family into more descendants than anyone could ever count!
This tells us a couple things:
We often face great opposition in the area of our promise
Standing in faith brings breakthrough in our destiny
If Abraham and his sons had stopped believing, we would not call God the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob today.
Have you seen the Pixar movie Inside Out? It shows the inside workings of a little girl's memory bank. From time to time an annoying bubble gum commercial ditty randomly pops into her head.
Get a copy of the movie here!
This basic memory function is what advertisers who write jingles depend on. If they can plant messages in our minds, we can definitely do it to ourselves too.
It’s so great to have scripture playing in the soundtrack of your day instead of negativity. As you meditate on God’s Word, the enemy’s lies and accusations get blocked out.
When I was a kid we used to sing this verse to a fun, little tune. From time to time it pops into my head and sticks around for a while.
He that dwells in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge
and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.
Psalm 91:1-2 KJV 2000
Singing the scripture is such a great way to get God’s Word in your heart. Once you’ve learned a verse to song, it stays in a place in your brain for years. At any moment the Word can spring forth into your memory.
Do you have a certain tune that pops into your head from time to time?
Putting scripture to song is a fun way to fight back. It really is a powerful weapon for you. Think of it as part of putting on the full armor of God.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Intentionally get God’s Word into your heart and mind, then meditate on it as you go about your daily routine!
Which piece of armor do you think singing the Bible best represents? Helmet of Salvation, Breastplate of Righteousness, Sword of the Spirit, Belt of Truth, or Shoes of Peace?
I just listened to a podcast by Joel Osteen about this very thing. It was so good, that I decided to share it with you here! After you click the button below, select the episode called The Right Recording.
It can be easy to think that other people can do things that you can't do. It's easy to look at people who are doing the things you wish you could do and think that they have something you don't have. They do: a different mindset.
You see, I can sit back thinking that I can't do the really cool things that other people are doing because I'm just me, or I can realize that they're just them.
If you want to go to Italy or some other dream destination, go ahead and get your passport. That's the first step. Next, ask Jesus how He wants to provide the plane ticket. Maybe there's a temporary job He wants to open up to bring in the resources you need for the trip.
If you want to start a business, google how to write a business plan, and then write it. You don't have to have everything figured out right away. The first step is to do some research. If you are reading this, it shows that you have access at the tips of your fingers to loads of helpful information to get you started.
If you want to improve your relationships, you can. You might have to be really vulnerable and have some awkward conversations, but what's on the other side of that is better than living with unhealthy patterns of behavior for the rest of your life.
If you want to make some changes towards good health, you can do it. I'd even be happy to coach you along your health journey.
Key idea: Don't disqualify yourself and think that you can't do the awesome things that you see other people doing. You are just as much of a person as they are. You truly can take steps towards your destiny starting today!
Now is not the time to just sit around and wait for your promised land to come to you. It's time to get up and forcefully move into your promised land.
It may seem like the process of getting to your dreams is taking too long, but the process is actually more about you becoming the person you will need to be, so you can stay and thrive in the promised land once you get there.
Before you enter, you need to pack. You need to take some steps to get prepared.
So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.' Joshua 1:10-11
This is the time to form new habits. What new habits do you need in order to be able to rock it when you get into your promised land? Maybe you need some:
- new habits of health
- new habits in relationships
- new habits in your connection with God
Some of the things I've been doing to get ready for my next season are:
- organizing my email and digital files so I have a clear place to work from
- getting healthy so I have the physical and mental stamina for the journey
- making sure I am keeping strong heart connections with my husband and kids
Do the work today, build your spiritual, relational, and physical strength now, so that you will be able to fulfill all of the things God has for you in the future.
Now is not the time to sit back and be passive. It's time to take one step at a time in the direction of your promised land!
What do you do when it's taking too long? When the things you've been dreaming about or the things God has promised you don't seem to be getting any closer. You can imagine them, but they always seem to be just out of reach.
You can either start to think God is teasing you by dangling the thing you need just out of your reach, or you can choose to trust the process He has you in.
The father of our faith, Abraham, fell into the trap of not trusting. God promised to make him the father of many nations, but he didn't even have one kid! He and his wife decided things were taking too long and decided to take matters into their own hands. If you don't know how that worked out for them, you can read all about it in the book of Genesis in the Bible.
God knows just what you need and exactly how to get you to the right place at the right time. All you need to do is submit your heart to Him and follow His lead.
Don’t worry if it seems to be taking a while, just keep doing the next thing that He sets in front of you. This is the path to living in true peace and joy!
I'm excited to let you know that my book about dating is now available on Amazon.com
I know that God says He works all things for my best, but........ things just never seem to work out for me.
I know that God is good, but........ only to other people.
I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, but.... I don't really think that applies to me.
Pay attention to the words that come to your mind after that sneaky little word "but." This is how you can tell what you truly believe.
Don't let your thought life drift along with the natural current of the world's patterns. Be intentional to make your thoughts line up with God's truth.
The Bible clearly teaches us what we are supposed to think about.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
The fact that we are given this instruction shows that we don't have to be captives or victims to our minds, but that we are powerful to decide which direction our mind goes in. God never commands us to do something without giving us the grace to do it.
Once you start to realize what your true belief system is, you can start to cooperate with Holy Spirit to transform your thought processes.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
KEY IDEA: READ THE WORD OF GOD EVERY DAY TO REDUCE THE SIZE OF YOUR BUT.
Your life is a journey. It's a marathon, not a sprint. God gives you a dream, a glimpse of your future, and then you have to go through a process to fulfill it.
The process can be a lot like a roller coaster ride. You better hang on because there will be lots of twists, turns, ups, and downs.
I don't know about you, but I personally hate roller coasters. You couldn't pay me to go on one. I think it's lots of fun to watch other people ride them though. I'm happy to walk around an amusement park for the day and hold my friends' stuff while they ride, but don't try to get me to climb on board.
When it comes to the intense adventure of living for Jesus, I'm all in. Nothing else matters or truly fulfills.
When you lean into the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, you can follow by obeying each prompt He gives you. Some of them will make no sense to your mind, but you will have a deep, peaceful knowing in your heart that it's the right path.
This is how He leads us: step by step.
Some personalities seem to be more okay with this than others. If you are a planner, it might be harder for you. It requires letting go of being in control. But as you know, none of us are truly in control of what happens anyway.
Jesus said, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. John 10:27-28
There will be days when you will want to give up. There will be times when no matter how much of an optimist you may be, you will come to the end of yourself.
There will be swirling accusations and confusion. Your head will feel foggy and you will wonder why on earth you ever thought it was a good idea to start down this path.
This is all a part of the process. This is the battle that qualifies you for where you are going. God is building you for your future.
When you get to the moment where it feels like something breaks inside of you and you are ready to let go of your dream, don't let go. The breakthrough is right around the corner.
Remember that guy who gave up? Yeah, neither does anyone else.
When David went out to fight Goliath, he didn't just go up against a huge, strong fighter. That giant was also hurling accusations at him. Not only was Goliath dressed to strike fear, he was running his gigantic mouth trying to intimidate the courage out of David.
It was at that moment that David stood his ground, boldly declaring who he was and what he had come to do. He didn't stand back hesitantly; he ran to the battle and won a great victory! Imagine if he had succumbed to the intense intimidation and given up!
Victory is right around the corner if you stand your ground. Remember who you are in Christ and what He has called you to do, and never, ever give up!
Lately, I've been reading Joshua chapter 1 over and over. It talks about the time after Moses died when Joshua was installed as the leader of God's people. God instructs Joshua three times to be strong and very courageous.
- Verse 6 - Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
- Verse 7 - Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
- Verse 9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
The fact that God repeated this command three times so close together tells us that Joshua was about to face some extremely overwhelming circumstances. The fact of the matter is that he was about to lead a massive group of people into their promised land.
They weren't going to be able to just mosey on into the promised land, they had to slay some giants on the way!
That's the way it is when you move into your promise. There's always work to be done. You don't just stroll on in; you have to fight bravely. You have to know who God is in your life and act from that deep knowing.
Take the Scriptures and prophetic words God has given you seriously and meditate on them so that they strengthen you for the fight ahead. You might want to set a daily reminder of them on your phone.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed when problems and challenges seem to be piling up in front of you, but remember that God has a solution for every problem you face.
Remember Moses? He was a rock star of a leader. The Bible tells us that since Moses there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land.
In spite of how amazing Moses was, when it came right up to the point of the fulfillment of his life's mission, he wasn't allowed to enter the promised land. Why? Because he had gotten angry and hit a rock with a stick instead of speaking to the rock like God told him.
That's intense. It shows us that God really means what He says. In spite of the unique relationship Moses and God had, God didn't let him enter the promised land. Moses had to settle for his descendants inheriting the promise.
As I was reading this story the other day, I was struck by the fact that when Moses died his eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished. To me, this means that it wasn't actually time for Moses to die. His strength was not used up.
Sin has a heavy price tag. Obedience, however difficult, is always worth it in the end.
This a matter of the fear of the Lord. When we walk in the fear of the Lord, we walk with an awareness that the things we do today have a direct effect on our lives in the future.
The fear of the Lord is not an Old Covenant concept only. It is still important in our lives today. It could be that your sin won't end up keeping you out of your promised land, but I promise you it will delay your progress. Don't waste time making laps in the desert. Purpose in your heart to obey God today no matter the cost.
Regardless of how exciting dream chasing is, life will always be full of boring moments. We all have basic maintenance things we have to do each day. We have to clean our homes, feed our dogs, and fill our cars with gas over and over again.
Personally, I find it tedious to wash my face and brush my teeth every single night. I choose to be faithful to these little things because I know that they are important in both the short and long term.
These maintenance moments are some of the basic building blocks of life.
Sometimes God leaves us in a place of boring repetition because He has us in a holding pattern. Regardless of how boring our lives may seem, people around us are watching.
There will suddenly come a moment when all of your steadiness will pay off. Your consistent choosing to have a joyful attitude in the midst of plain normal life will open up the door for a "wow" moment.
You never can tell when your faithfulness will open the door for you to make a forever impact on someone's life.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Slow and steady wins the race!
I recently had the opportunity to share on a podcast from Australia. Here's what we discussed:
- You can accomplish the most amount of good if you operate from a place of inner peace that comes from absolute obedience to Jesus Christ.
- If you want to do anything great, you have to start somewhere. You have to be willing to do something poorly in the beginning.
- God doesn’t get any glory from you hiding your light. It’s time to own who you are and shine.
LISTEN NOW: If you reached this post by email, click here to listen.
I was traveling with a group of people. We were at the airport getting ready to go home. After a week of hanging out with a new friend, she tells me that she's an introvert. I was like, "NO, you're not. You're so friendly and adventurous. You've been talking to everybody and taking pictures of everything."
Her reply was, "I'm totally an introvert. I'm very shy."
I was very skeptical. My mind just couldn't quite process this new information.
Then she said, "Just because you're an introvert doesn't mean that you have to come off as an introvert."
What?! It had never dawned on me that someone who's an introvert could break out of it and be really friendly and engaging. I had always thought that if you're born an introvert or beyond that born shy, that was your personality, and you were stuck with it.
That conversation at the airport changed everything. All of a sudden the chains around my belief system fell off. I realized that I didn't have to be shy. I actually could break free from it.
Being the person who people have to come up to and start conversations with is a lot of work for the people who you're wanting to influence. This is especially important if you want to be in leadership or if you have a message you want to get out.
Certainly, all of us introverts need alone time to recharge. That's not a problem. We need to value that. But when you get around people, you really can start to break out of that reservedness and go up to people and engage them. This takes practice.
Start by introducing yourself and asking them questions about themselves. Maybe ask where they're from or what line of work they're in. Most of the time people love to talk about themselves.
Breaking free from any bondage that goes along with being an introvert isn't a matter of not being authentically you. It's a matter of really caring about the people around you and trying to make their lives really wonderful.
Do you ever struggle with figuring out what God's will is for your life? Sometimes we make discerning God's will more difficult than it has to be. In our sincere desire to carefully obey Him, we can over think things and get really bogged down in decision making.
I have good news for you! It really doesn't have to be complicated.
Let's dial it back to the big picture. I would like to propose to you that discovering God's will all starts with GRATITUDE.
IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS;
FOR THIS IS GOD'S WILL FOR YOU
IN CHRIST JESUS.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:18
Our family takes time to sit at the table and eat dinner together most nights of the week. At every meal, we go around the table and share one thing we are thankful for from that day. This is actually a form of "saying grace."
Gratitude and grace go together. As you take time to give thanks to God, grace comes to you in every area of your life. This is a definite pathway to living in peace and is the first step to finding out more specific details in regards to your destiny in God.
As Madam Blueberry says, "A thankful heart is a happy heart."
How thankful are you?