“When you don’t feel like it, do it anyway. Discipline creates desire, not the other way around.”
I recently came across this quote and thought it was perfect for my goals for the summer. I started my very first week of summer break with the goal of working out a minimum of 4 times a week. Now, throughout the school year my alarm tears me out of sleep at 4:30 every morning. And here I was setting a goal to get up at 5:00am (sleeping in for a half hour) at least 4 times a week in order to get in shape and change my lifestyle. Which leads me to why this quote seemed so appropriate for me this summer. There have been many mornings that I do not feel like it. Many mornings. But I kept telling myself that the more disciplined I could become toward my goal, the more desire I would have to keep at it. It has truly been a phrase that I believe has made a difference…but not just toward my physical goals. Another goal that I have set for myself (and I think most Christ-followers do) is to be more immersed in God’s word – in order to be closer to Him each day. I love to read and study and learn…and I cannot even name the closeness that being in the word has brought me. But I’m not going to lie – sometimes it is hard. At times the frustration that I feel trying to “understand” outweighs the feeling of closeness that I get. One of my Bible study groups right now is studying the book of Isaiah. Let me just say that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know so much. It has been such a challenge. But the same principle that I have applied to my physical way of life has been so beneficial to me growing my spiritual side. There are times when I don’t feel like sitting down and trying to understand or to apply the word to my life. That’s the truth (and I feel guilty for saying that)…but the more disiciplined I become in my time with God through his word, the more desire I have to do it more. God has planted that desire in my heart to learn and study and spend time with him. It has been an amazing transformation for my spiritual life. The times that I don’t feel like it are few and far between in both my workouts and my study time. I see and feel the physical benefits of my early morning workouts, and I see and feel my relationship with God and the conviction in my heart growing as a result of my time alone with His divine teachings. My desire to serve God and to share Him with others is stronger than ever before. So glad that I came across this quote and that it has made such an impact of my every day.
I heard a woman on the radio the other day – I knew I would forget her name) talking about battling depression and the highs and lows that come with it. Since I suffer from depression myself I tuned in to listen more closely. What she said about the valleys made sense to me – that with God being the center of my being, the valleys are not as low, nor do they last as long. She also talked about how when no one else in her life can really “relate” or help her out of the valley – it is so comforting to know that Jesus is there – a constant – surrounding her with his love. I could totally relate to the ideas she expressed. But what she said next really made me think about my perspective on things. She said when she wakes up each morning, she asks the Lord where he is going today… Continue reading →
I heard a saying once – or maybe I read it on a magnet at Cracker Barrel – and I didn’t really commit it to memory intentionally, but I have never forgotten its words and the power of it message in my life. The saying was “Jesus accepts me for who I am, but loves me too much to leave me that way.” Lately this phrase has become really important to me as I seek to continue to grow in my love for the Lord and in my desire to bring people to Him. Through my lowest lows in recent weeks, I keep asking myself why in the world Jesus would want to use me for his work. I’m not the smartest, the most well-spoken, the strongest…I’m broken and often afraid of losing my way. I feel like sometimes I’m not worthy enough to call myself a child of God. And in spite of my broken state, God loves and accepts me for who I am! I don’t have to be anybody else but me. But it gets even better (do I sound like an infomercial…?) Jesus does accept me for who I am – but through his mercy and grace he loves me way too much to leave me like I am. Since I surrendered myself to his will, He has begun to change me. In small ways and in BIG ways. I am His work in progress. He is transforming me, renewing my mind, using me to further his Kingdom, placing amazing people in my path, and allowing me to grow in my faith and in Him. He showers me with mercy and grace in my daily walk. He listens and he speaks. He teaches me to believe when I doubt, to ask for his help when I’m hurt, and to rejoice in him when he has made me glad. He does not turn his back on me when I slip and fall, but rather opens up more to me to help me learn each day. I know that Jesus loves me, and I know that He is working in me to make me a better person every day. He accepts me and keeps changing me with his love. And He’s not finished with me yet.
Recently Brian and I started a small group in conjunction with a series called “Fearless” we had been doing at Foundation Community Church. The study is based on a book of the same name by Max Lucado. So far there have been so many things that have really stuck with me. I’ve been asking myself what it is that I am truly most afraid of. Where do those fears come from? And on and on. And as a follow up to all of those questions, how do I react when my fears control me. There is a story of Jesus and his disciples climbing onto a boat one day. Jesus took a nap. While he was sleeping a violent, fierce storm blew up. The disciples immediately questioned Jesus by asking him if he didn’t care if they died. This reaction has always interested me. They knew what he was capable of…they just wanted to know why he wasn’t helping them. They were questioning his character. They were frustrated and angered even. My big take away from this lesson is that Jesus knew all along what was going on. He didn’t “accidentally” fall asleep. He purposely slept – for the disciples to grow in their faith and understanding. It makes me wonder how many times God has gone to sleep so that I could grow. How many times have I become angry at God for seemingly not caring that I was suffering? I know that he has slept through some of my storms so that I would come out better on the other side. That’s a lot of love. I see my responses in the words of the disciples. I have questioned God and his love for me. And through the course of each of those storms, my faith has grown. God loves me enough to sleep through my storms.
This morning one of my co-workers said something to me that has resonated in my head all day long. She was telling me about her break and how nice it was to be off, but that she had had some things on her mind and she couldn’t shake them. She said that she felt those worries and issues had robbed her of much of her time and of her peace. Those words painted a strong mental image for me. And they hit very close to home. How often have I let worries rob me? How many times have my insecurities stolen from me? When was the last time I allowed my fears free reign over my time? That one simple sentence made me really stop and think. It’s not like I wasn’t aware of my fears or my worries. I know they are there, and there are times when they are worse than other times. I had just never thought of the fact that I was allowing those feelings of doubt to take away precious time. I really did some soul searching, and I’m sad to say that I have lost countless hours of my life and my precious time worrying, stressing, and being fearful. Its not rare to hear people say that there’s just not enough time in the day…or if I only had more time. Time is precious. Time is a gift. Time should not be wasted – or stolen – by worries for tomorrow. I’m so thankful for those simple words spoken by my friend. As I strive to be the best version of myself in 2012 and to be authentically me, I will no longer allow myself to be robbed by fears and doubts. Rather, I will focus on being present in each moment I am given.
Life is frustrating…especially when you’re a control freak (that word is harsh..but appropriate). When things don’t go the way I think they should, it gets under my skin. It affects my mood, my outlook, and my motivation. I know all of this and yet I still let myself get frustrated. Hmm…guess that means I’m not perfect – life’s not perfect. Sometimes lessons have to be learned the difficult way. I think that God puts me in situations that will allow me to grow in areas that He knows I am lacking. Continue reading →
Today I am feeling a bit guilty. I feel guilty for letting myself get caught up and run down by my “problems.” Guilty for worrying about stuff that really just doesn’t matter. Guilty for allowing the frustrations of my world cause doubt and fear. The reality is that my problems are nothing. While my daily challenges may seem like moutains, they really are insignificant in the big picture. I work with children every day who deal with more than I could even imagine dealing with – even as an adult – and yet they are trying to navigate their way through minefields as children. Continue reading →