Excuses

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Hello! How is your new year going so far?  How are those resolutions progressing?  I had made a few–one of them being to make more creative and different meals.  I signed up for something called E-MEALS.  There was a Groupon offered and I thought it would be a good way for me grab some fresh new recipes to help with my resolution.  So far I have made one meal off the new list, but hey, it’s a start!

Here are my excuses–we went on vacation for about a week-no cooking there.  My husband has been traveling before and after our vacation and I don’t cook new or elaborate meals for the kids and myself (if it bombs, at least Jonathan will eat it so don’t want to take the risk when he is not present at the table).  And finally, I am trying to use all the food we already have in the freezer before I start stuffing it with new bags of chicken breasts and frozen waffles.   But, I am excited for the recipe list to pop in to my email this week to press onward!

Excuses aren’t really a bad thing.  They are just reality sometimes.  However, when the excuses continue to push back the goals you have set for yourself, it’s time to evaluate two things.

ONE, are you avoiding accomplishing something hard but rewarding by continuing the same behaviors over and over?  In other words, if you don’t act differently in some way, you will never move toward your new goal.  I started a new financial program this year which I will share in another post soon, but it required me to change my patterns and thinking in 2014.  I am now doing some things differently than I was before.  But, when the change is challenging, we often push our timeline of success just far enough in front of us to sabotage our efforts. Our thinking looks like this: “I’ll get to it next week when I have more time, money, energy, etc. ”

TRUTH: To reach your goals you must do things differently, today, even if they are uncomfortable.

TWO, are your goals not completely lined up with your heart?  For example, if I really didn’t want to change how I cooked for my family but just plowed forward with forcing myself to be different, I probably would never be successful.  The excuses would continue week after week.  For me, I really do want to continue to expand my ability to cook and have my family try new things, so my goals are lined up with my heart, and hopefully I will be successful!

I just had a talk with my oldest daughter today about her goals for playing golf this season with her high school team.  She is not sure she wants to continue with this sport, and has some other great opportunities knocking at her door.  I encouraged her to pray about it, but not to continue with golf just to please us or because she feels guilty about quitting–she will only be pursuing the goal for the wrong reasons, and will most likely not successful in the end.

TRUTH: When you set unrealistic goals, or ones that don’t line up with your true heart, you will either not be successful, or be unhappy in the process.  Change toward a goal should feel rewarding, even if it is difficult.

As you re-evaluate some of the goals you maybe set for yourself this year, give yourself grace, but walk in the truth that God can give you the strength to grow and change if you want it.

Blessings!

Amy

Next Post: Spiritual Resolutions for the New Year.

 

 

Hope For The Future

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No eye has seen, no ear has heard

no mind has conceived

what God has prepared for those who love him.

~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

Is your future uncertain?  Here on earth, yes.  We don’t know what is coming tomorrow, in 6 months, in 5 years.  We can predict, plan, pray, and try to maneuver our lives in a certain direction but ultimately we just don’t know.  How does that feel?  For me, it feels mostly OK, until life throws a curve ball and then I realize that all the planning and preparation for my future may just not apply in the particular situation I am facing.  Stress and worry creep in, and the peace and certainty about my future begins to fizzle out.

It is during those times that I seek my footing again with the one constant I know.  God.  I have spent most of my life getting to know him, his character and his word.   And yet, I still feel there is so much more to know.  It is not because he is a mystery, although there are parts of him that are, but because his character is so solid, so unchanging, so ‘knowable’ that I can’t seem to get enough.  It’s like when you are with someone who you really enjoy–you just want to be with them all the time, because knowing them, and them knowing you, fills you up.

This is the God that has prepared a “certain” place for us in our eternal future.  And the more we know him here on earth, the more we can look forward to our uncountable years together in heaven.  The notes in my Application Study Bible say this about the verse above:

“We cannot imagine what life has in store for us, both in this life and for eternity.  He will create a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah:17, Revelation 21:1), and we will live with him forever.  Until then, his Holy Spirit comforts and guides us.  Knowing the wonderful and eternal future that awaits us gives us hope and courage to press on in this life, to endure hardship, and to avoid giving into temptation.  This world is not all there is.  The best is yet to come.”

Can we begin to believe that each and every day–that the best is yet to come?  It can lessen our discouragement in this earthly life–this is but an appetizer of the feast before us.

Have a blessed week,

Amy

 

 

Moving Into Your Future

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Jon and I have been having many discussions about our future this summer.  We have had decisions to make, about his business, about my work life, and about where we want to be with our time, family, and finances.  After much thinking and talking we think we have things “figured out for now.”  Yet, throughout all, our prayer to God has been, “Please direct us in YOUR path.  Give us wisdom.  Show us the doors you want us to walk through and close the ones you don’t.”

I want more than anything to have wisdom from God.  For with wisdom comes the ability to choose the best (not necessarily the easiest) path for my life, the path that stretches forward before me with just the right amount of shade and light. One that I can walk with confidence knowing that God has plans for me along the way, and things to teach me.  To be honest, I don’t know if the decisions Jon and I made will lead us on the right path.  Our best laid plans may not really be the best, or possibly they are.   But we will continue to pray and stay tuned to that gentle whisper or nudge that we have come to recognize as God’s voice in our lives, and as we journey,  we will ask for courage to turn our heels in the dirt and head a different direction if led.

This is a devotional from Stormie O’Martian that speaks into my journey, and maybe yours:

Moving Into Your Future

“Lord, I ask You to be in charge of my future.  I don’t want to dream dreams if you are not in them.  I don’t want to make plans that you will not bless.  I don’t want to work hard trying to harvest something that will never bear fruit because I did not receive the seed from you.  Help me not to waste valuable time getting off the path and having to come back to the same place again.  I do not want to get to the end of my life and regret the time I spent not living for you.”  The Book of Prayer, p.241

 

When I Say That I’m A Christian…

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Words so true!  Worth printing and taping to my bathroom mirror:

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When I say, “I am a Christian” I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”

I’m whispering, “I get lost sometimes That’s why I chose this way.”

 

When I say, “I am a Christian” I don’t speak with human pride,

I’m confessing that I stumble – needing God to be my guide.

 

When I say, “I am a Christian” I’m not trying to be strong,

I’m professing that I’m weak and pray for strength to carry on.

 

When I say, “I am a Christian” I’m not bragging of success,

I’m admitting that I’ve failed and cannot ever pay the debt.

 

When I say, “I am a Christian” I don’t think I know it all,

I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught.

 

When I say, “I am a Christian” I’m not claiming to be perfect.

My flaws are far too visible but God believes I’m worth it.

 

When I say, “I am a Christian” I still feel the sting of pain,

I have my share of heartache which is why I seek God’s name.

 

When I say, “I am a Christian” I do not wish to judge,

I have no authority, I only know I’m loved.

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

Is “No” An Option?

Hello!  We are busy at our house getting ready for a week long houseboat trip with Jonathan’s parents and sister.  I look forward to sharing pictures from our trip!  In the meantime, I wanted to pass on a beautiful devotional that my mother-in-law, Liz just shared with me.  It is SO true for my life where saying “no” is one of my biggest challenges….unless I realize who am able to say “yes” to. 

Is “No” an Option

Jun 13, 2013 01:00 am | Anabel Gillham

God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I Corinthians 1:9

I remember reading an article about marriage, “Does Your Husband Need You?” The gist of it was something like this: Of course, you do fix his meals-but he could hire a cook if you were not around. You do clean his house and iron his clothes-but he could employ a maid who might be more efficient. You did give him his children, but maybe he doesn’t want any more. What are you giving your husband that only his wife can give? Does your husband need you? It is so easy to fall into the trap of emphasizing the doing for him rather than being to him.

Christianity is a relationship. I know that you’ve heard that, but what does it mean? It means that I have been created for fellowship with the Lord and no one can take my place in His life-I’m His bride-His wife! Anything that separates me from Him, His presence, or His companionship is damaging our relationship. Having too many duties to do can actually hinder loving my Husband and separate me from Him. I can be so busy “doing” for Him that I am not filling my role of “being.”

I spent many long hours “working for God” and “livingfor Jesus.” To me that meant being at the church house every time the doors were open; believing that “no” should not even be considered as part of my vocabulary when asked to perform some extra duty at the church; feeling super guilty when the announcement was made about a shortage of workers for the nursery or teachers for Vacation Bible School, work-day on Tuesdays, and visitation on Tuesday evenings. I know that people won’t come back to the Church if they don’t feel like the nursery is well-staffed, and statistics show that so many children make decisions during Vacation Bible School. Yet, every spare moment from my family responsibilities was already being spent preparing lesson plans for Sunday School and keeping in touch with my fourteen class members, choir practice, and mentoring a new Believer.

Is “no” an option for me when there are so many things that need to be done? Good things. Necessary things.

But I wonder if Jesus would like to spend some quality timewith just me? It’s difficult to accept the fact that I am so special to Him that He longs to be alone with me. I know. He is with me all the time and I could have close communion with Him while painting at the church or stacking cans in the food pantry. I mean those rare times when I’m not telling Him about all my problems or pulling out my list of names that I’m praying for. Times when I am focusing only on being with Him-watching the sunset and praising Him for His art work; smelling the flowers and thanking Him for letting me smell; looking at the moon and stars and reveling in His creative genius. Realizing that we are walking together. He tells me that he is holding my hand. Difficult to comprehend, isn’t it? Walking along knowing that Someone is right beside me and holding my hand but not being able to see Him?

The Lord Himself is my inheritance, my prize. He is my food and drink, my highest joy! You have let me experience the joys of life and the exquisite pleasures of your own eternal presence.” Psalm 16: 5,11 (TLB)

It is inside this fragile body that life with Him is lived to the fullest and His love becomes our food and drink.

Reflection:

Lord, I want to be your wife-not Your errand boy or a servant in Your house. I want everyone to see us together-watching the love exchange between just You and me. Oh, there are a lot of chores for me to do, but don’t let me get so wrapped up in chores that I don’t have time to sit in the swing with You.

 

 

 

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