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Faith

What’s With All The Waiting?

Snowy mountain with quote from post
How do you keep despair from settling in when the doors you’re knocking on quickly shut or don’t open? How do you remain hopeful when you keep hearing “no?” Harder still, how do you continue looking forward when you don’t hear any response at all?

I realize as I’ve been hanging out in this place that feels like endless waiting and unanswered prayers, I’m not the ideal model of patience. I turn into this agitated, irritable, crazy woman who barks orders at others to “clean the house” and “pick up their things” just so I feel in control of something. Let me tell you, I’m a real peach to be around! You, too? (Oh good, I thought it was just me!)

The thing is, the longer I walk with Jesus, the more waiting I seem to encounter.

Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”Psalm 27:14 with a snowy background

What does it look like to wait for the Lord, and how long does the waiting last? How long do I continue crying out my frustrations and worries and hopes and dreams? What’s with the delay anyway? And why do all these questions just add to the turmoil?

After many restless nights and cry sessions in my car, I knew I had to figure this thing out – or at least identify some steps to help me along the way. Although not always easy to practice, here is what I discovered:

Praise –Remember what God has done in the past. Recall the time(s) God rescued you, redeemed you, reestablished you, and praise Him for it. Click To Tweet If it’s difficult to remember these times for yourself, recall His character in Scripture and the promises He fulfilled through Jesus. Praise Him for Who He is and all He has done! Praise Him as if you have already seen His answer!

Prepare – Prepare your heart to hear His response – regardless of what it is or when it comes. Click To TweetRelease what you thought you could control and trust Him with it. This is why I start with praising; when I focus on Him, my soul finds peace and my perspective on my circumstances shifts. Somehow, my recognition of who God is, and who I am not, reminds me His timing is best for me. I might be petitioning for something better, but He is preparing me for His best.

Pray - With a thankful heart present your requests to God (Phil. 4:6-7). Click To Tweet Believe that He is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will. If you are holding onto truth from Scripture, a particular Bible verse, speak it out loud. Pour out everything before Him – even the things you don’t want to admit to anyone else. Tell Him about it. He really does care about every detail because He cares about you!

Play – Once you’ve placed every angst at the feet of Jesus, leave it there and go play. Click To TweetTrust Him to take care of it. He always does and He always will. Don’t let worry, anxiety, or fear steal the joy of this day He has for you! Go and live your life to the full – trusting and believing the best is yet to come.

I’m still in a season of waiting. I still lose my mind from time to time (as my family can attest), but as my patience grows, so does my excitement. I know God is doing a greater work in me because I see it in the peace transpiring from within. Even though it’s hard, I know in the end He’s making me to look more and more like Himself. And that, my friends, is worth waiting for.

What is God saying to you in this present season? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and make sure to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

graphic for studyWe also invite you to check out our free Christmas Bible reading plan on Back to the Bible. You can find it HERE. And make sure to join our next online study led by Jennifer Henn. Register HERE.

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Every dollar counts! Click HERE to donate now.

Intentional growth

This Moment Is Your Life

Winter image with quote on worry.

I live in my head too much. I get lost in worrying about tomorrow, regretting the past, and the fantasy of wants and wishes: so much so that I easily miss what’s in front of me. Life happens in the moments, and I too often miss them.

Worrying about tomorrow is easy. It’s almost natural to fret about what might happen. The “what ifs” of life lure my mind into focusing on the unknown future:

What if our son gets sick or has an accident? He hopes to become a police officer: what if he gets shot? What if he loses his joy in life from seeing all the evil? What if my husband gets hurt? What if the country falls apart because of the political divide? Will life ever be the same after this pandemic?

Another trap is fantasizing about the perfect life I could have if only:

If only I were smarter. If only I were more outgoing and bolder. If only my husband did exactly what I wanted him to do or my child lived his life according to my plan. Others might say: If only I were married. If only I had children. If I could get that job I want. If I had more money. If I were healthier.

None of these scenarios are real: they may or may not happen. But reality is what’s happening right now. My husband is with me and needs my love. Am I fully engaging with him? Our son is well and needs my support. What can I do while I have the opportunity?

I can keep living my life and enjoy what I have. I can make the most of the opportunities and resources God has given me right now.

Other times, the past haunts me, reminding me of all I said and did. Regrets attack my mind:

Why didn’t I speak to the person God brought to me yesterday? Why did I say what I did? I wasted so much time last week. What if I’d made that decision when I was a teenager? I blew it when my child was little. I should have… Why did I… I can’t believe I…

The truth is the past no longer exists and the future isn’t here yet. We can become so obsessed with our past regrets and plans for tomorrow that we aren’t experiencing our present lives.

Reality is the heartbeat I’m living right now.Reality is the heartbeat I’m living right now. Click To Tweet

Life is happening as I take this breath where I am. Am I loving the person in front of me? Am I communing with my heavenly Father? Are my hands busy with the task God has given me? What can I snow-covered mountain with quote on worrydo right here and now to speak life, honor God, love others, and use my gifts?

I need to live in the present remembering Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).I need to live in the present remembering Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Click To Tweet Life is happening this second. I don’t want to miss it.

But living this way is hard. Last night my mind was bombarded with memories of failure from the past and fears of future loss. Our minds are the battlefield. We can’t suddenly have complete victory over all debilitating thoughts. We must take one thought at a time. We must begin by replacing the lie in our minds right now with truth. Using Scripture, prayer, and praise, we must resist the pull to yield to this way of thinking and submit our minds to Christ. We must keep fighting. We must turn our focus to our current reality and live in it.

Help me, Jesus. Help me to live in the present and accept the reality in front of me. Help me to know the past is covered with grace and the future is in Your hands. Dear Holy Spirit, focus my mind and heart on You and listening to how You want me to live now.

Are you missing the life that’s in front of you? What steps can you take to live more in the present?

 

If this post encouraged you, consider giving to our mission to see women worldwide experience the Logo Image for DM Financial Servicessoul-reaching freedom of Christ. Thanks to the generous donation of D M Financial Services, your gift of any size will be matched, up to $500! Giving Tuesday grpahic Donate HERE!

We also invite you to check out our free Christmas Bible reading plan on Back to the Bible. You can find it HERE.

freedom

A Call to Freedom

bird soaring with quote on freedomWhenever I consider our nation’s freedom and the men and women who sacrificially served to ensure liberty for you and I, my thoughts immediately jump to the freedom we have in Christ. If I were to daily reflect on all this entails, I’m certain I’d never reach the depths of this gift. And while I’m super thankful for the precious promise of heaven, where sin and pain will no longer exist, there’s also much I’m celebrating today. I'm rejoicing in the girl that's dead and gone. Click To Tweet The woman once so enslaved to fear, her defense mechanisms rose up much quicker than her love. The woman who once got drunk on Friday, Saturday, and maybe Sunday, too. Who nearly fought her way to divorce. The woman who could’ve––who would’ve––created a ripple effect of hurt and dysfunction, but didn’t.

The woman, who thanks to Christ, began taking firm and steady steps toward healing, relational health, courage and confidence, and impact.

You see, when God calls you and I to freedom, this gift isn't meant for us alone. Click To TweetHe loves us and wants to see us free, absolutely! But He also knows all the lives we’ll touch, the culture we’ll change, once we fully live and then embrace His freedom mission. Like 1 Peter 2:9 states, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

You and I are chosen, royalty, God's special possession. Click To Tweet

Okay. I have to stop there.

God’s special possession.

Why? So that we might declare the praise of the One who called us out of darkness, out of slavery, and into the freedom of His marvelous light.

You and I were created to proclaim––through our words, our lives, and our giving.

This Giving Tuesday, will you partner with us in this freedom call? Will you help us reach and encourage even more women for Christ? Giving Tuesday grpahicYour donation will be matched up to $500!

Donate HERE.

Together we can change families, neighborhoods, communities, and our culture for the better. Because life is far too short for any of us to live enslaved.

Loving Others, Resting in Christ, security, wisdom

Learning to Turn My Gaze Outward

My shyness was almost painful and certainly debilitating. As a little kid I’d hide behind my mom, the couch, a tree, whatever was handy, willing myself to disappear into the very earth if possible. Don’t look at me, I’d plead inwardly. Don’t make me speak.

Over the years it grew worse, not better. I’d settle into a new class, then the next year I’d have to change schools and start all over again. Eventually I learned to hide in a book and create my own safe zones.

Yet today people laugh when I say I used to be shy. “You?” they ask, giving me that surely-she’s-joking look. “I don’t think you’ve ever met a stranger.”

It’s true—somehow over the years I’ve transformed from an excruciatingly shy girl into a confident, friendly, and outgoing woman. The sort of woman who sees another timid woman, grabs her by the hand, and tugs her along for the ride. The sort of woman who used to help me.

The transformation wasn’t sudden but gradual, a combination of theater classes and career training and leadership transitions, of becoming a mom and getting so busy I didn’t have time to think about doing my hair or whether I was “good enough,” let alone worry about other people’s judgment of me.

Recently, a friend asked me to explain to her exactly how I did it. Her questions stumped me, and I needed some time to really think them through.

My answer, when it finally came, hit me hard: I got over my shyness by getting over me.

I’m sure we all have different reasons for being shy, but mine were rooted in issues of self, from fear to self-consciousness to, later, self-worth. Because all of my attention and energy were focused inward, I agonized whenever attention turned my way. It was like a giant searchlight was pointed directly at me, and I couldn’t escape.

But when life naturally brought responsibilities my way—at first a sister to tend, then friends, then small jobs, then big jobs, then pets, then children of my own—I wasn’t the center of my world anymore. Others were. And I certainly didn’t have time to worry about little-old-me when I needed to be focusing on them!

And when my faith in Christ grew to the point where I realized I needed to put God at the center, not myself or others—well, forget shy! Who has time for that when you’re living for the One, the Lord, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End?

Today, my soul is thriving because my energy is focused on God and loving others instead of being all wrapped up in myself. That was my ticket out of shyness.

Today, my soul is thriving because my energy is focused on God and loving others instead of being all wrapped up in myself. That was my ticket out of shyness. Click To Tweet

Of course, not everyone is shy because they are self-focused. That was just my experience. But looking around me, I’ve noticed a theme. Focusing outward, not inward, is often the key to success—or at least perseverance. Churches that are focused inward crumble… until they begin to focus outward, live and reach beyond their own walls, and start to soar and grow for God. People who are ill but rally the strength to care for others end up achieving an ability to do and be beyond their pain or infirmity.

Focusing outward, not inward, is often the key. Click To Tweet

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the early church in Corinth, knew how important accountability in one’s personal faith journey could be. And he knew the Corinthians needed to focus on Christ to get through their struggles and adversity.

As he wrote, “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9 NIV).

When our goal is to please God, to be acceptable to God, that’s our focus—not worrying about ourselves or our shortcomings. It’s about God.

For me, concentrating on God instead of self has made all the difference.

Do your insecurities or self-worth issues get in the way of being all you can for God? Pray on this, and ask God to help you push your gaze outward.

Share your thoughts here in the comments below and make sure to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram!

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