Confessions of a Quitter and Giving It 51%

Confessions of a Quitter and Giving It 51%

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An early morning a few months ago I found myself standing in front of my kitchen sink that was once again full of dirty dishes. I was talking to my sister on the phone just staring at the task in front of me.

(I’m not sure who breaks into my house every single night just to dirty every single one of my dishes—leaving me to clean them in the morning—but if I ever catch the dirtying culprit, I’m popping him right in the nose. And I have raging pregnancy hormones right now, so it would be epic.)

My one year old hadn’t slept for oh, her entire life. Which meant this momma hadn’t slept for her entire life. Every night for the past 15 months had been broken up into sleepless segments. And then the entire previous week, 3am had become our I’m-Up-For-The-Day.

I wasn’t just sleepy, I was e x h a u s t e d—physically, emotionally and mentally depleted. I think most mommas know the place I’m talking about. And boy oh boy, I was in that place.

And on this particular morning as I stood in front of that sink of dirty dishes, I became totally overwhelmed. That sink was just the beginning of what I needed to get done. I don’t remember exactly what our topic of conversation was, but it wasn’t a serious one. However my response to whatever she said just burst out of me—and with a shaky voice attempting to hold back tears, I said,

“I don’t finish anything. I just quit…everything…all the time. I start and then…I quit.”

My vision began to blur with tears. And then I began to go down the list of all my failures and all of the projects I had started but for one reason or another, had quit.

Nothing like an early morning, lighthearted conversation with your sister, right?

My physical and mental exhaustion had stripped away my excuses (along with my good attitude and normally happy demeanor). And that rawness had suddenly and violently stirred up this regret and frustration about things I had quit.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve battled procrastination and quitting—always wishing to trade in those habits for ones of persevering and finishing. I’ve written about my journey of recovery before. This struggle isn’t a new thing for me.

Big life events…small every day tasks…friendships…ministries…workout programs. You name it, I’ve quit each of them at least once.

I would feel alone in it all. I’d watch other women who seemed to have it all together. Every detail in their lives seemed to be in place. Every project completed. Always on time. Always floating, not walking. And I would wonder why I couldn’t seem to get my act together since others seemed to do it so effortlessly.

And honestly, I still feel that way sometimes. Why the heck can’t I just figure this life thing out? Not just with keeping up with dishes (which would be a beautiful miracle), but with…projects…dreams…life.

Shortly after my dish-hating/I’m-such-a-quitter meltdown in my kitchen, I heard about a book called 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit and got an early copy of it. I love the author and the title practically screamed my name so I was eager to dive in. The book follows the life of Ruth from the Bible and pulls out truth and examples of how her steady faithfulness changed countless generations.

This book has been such an unexpected game changer for me. You know those times where you don’t need advice, or a coach or a teacher or a drill sergeant…you just need a friend? Yeah, this book has become my friend. The kind of friend that says, “Yep. I’ve been there. I’m still there. I’ve not figured it all out, but I’m on my way. Let me share with you.”

There have only been a handful of times in my life where I can look back and honestly say I feel pleased with how I stuck to something. I’m talking about the kind of somethings that took a lot of time, a lot of energy and…gulp…a lot of persistence (for like, more than a week).

But what if my definition of success simply meant staying consistent?

This book is jam-packed full of goodness. But 3 of the things that I walked away with after reading 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit:

1.) I am not alone in my struggles

2.) There is hope to change my quitter-habits and replace them with finisher-habits

3.) If I can’t give 100% that day, give 51%

That last one was a big aha moment for me. And looking back at the times I actually did finish well with large tasks, that’s sort of what I did. Even if I couldn’t hit some amazing goal that day, I did just one thing that kept me moving towards my main goal. And sure enough, enough days of doing one little thing led me to finishing that big thing.

In her book, Nicki writes about the power of 51%:

If success can be redefined as “not quitting,” it’s this idea that if we can just stay 1 percent above 50, we are heading in the right direction.

So, while you determine in your spirit you can’t handle Jillian Michaels’ bossy commands today, you choose the 51 percent route and go for a quiet walk. No, you didn’t give everything you had, but you gave it 51 percent, and so that’s a step in the right direction.

I’m really excited about the tools I learned from 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit. Particularly learning how to identify why I quit and then figuring out how to reform habits that have become obstacles. (I highly recommend snagging a copy if you too struggle with finishing things. There are too many gems in it to talk about in a short post, but it really is worth the read.)

Some days, I just don’t have the energy or time I wish I could fully devote. But instead of an all or nothing mindset on those days, I’m excited now view consistency as success. Eventually all that movement forward, despite the speed, will lead me to that finish. And I’m already seeing the benefits of those newly formed habits! How awesome!

So to all my fellow recovering procrastinators and quitters, we can do it! One habit, one step, one word, one consistent forward movement at a time.

Click here to buy a copy of 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit, by Nicki Koziarz.

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Life Lessons & What Remains

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I’m going to tell you about a few things I’ve learned in my 29 years of life so far.

At the age 2, I learned gummy worms are delicious, but the ones in the backyard are not. And being the thorough 2 year old I was, it took me biting into 2 of the little squirmers to come to the conclusion that these were not the rainbow colored treats that grandma brought over when she visited. To this day, I prefer gummy bears.

When I was 4, I discovered that my baby sister was not a real life baby doll; she did not need Audrey Hepburn bangs, therefore I shouldn’t practice my hairstyling skills on her. I thought I did a fantastic job and deserved an award. Mom didn’t agree and thought I deserved a time-out.

When I turned 6, I discovered that boys throw dirt at you when they like you. Why this happens, I still don’t know. All I do know is that my favorite Winnie the Pooh shirt was terribly mud-stained from JP’s crush on me in kindergarten. Tragic, I know.

When I was 10, I began to realize my parents didn’t know everything. The immediate years following this realization were an interesting time for my mom and me. I became Miss Sassy Pants and started thinking I was right all the time. I was shocked that everyone else didn’t agree.

When I turned 16, I discovered that no matter how hard my parents tried to teach me to drive a manual car, I was not at all coordinated enough to do so successfully. If stick-shifts were that great, then please tell me why automatics were invented.

At age 18, I realized being considered a “legal adult” didn’t at all make me feel like one.

When I was 20, I experienced how wonderful being in love was & how painful it was when it wasn’t with the right person.

At 22, I discovered how incredible it was to fall in love with my best friend at summer camp; and at age 23, what a fairytale it was to marry him.

At 26, I knew the heartache of losing a baby. And for the first time, I experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding.

At the age of 27, I was consumed by the beautiful experience of giving birth to my daughter and having her move from my womb straight in to my arms. Oh, that moment. I also discovered that the hospital doesn’t hand you a baby manual nor do they give a list of do’s and don’ts when it’s time to go home. I remember buckling her in to her car seat and looking at the nurse like, “You’re coming home with us, right? You do realize I’m not a grown up, right? I’ve never done this before. I can’t even keep a houseplant alive.”

Yep, I’ve learned a lot of lessons. Some of the lessons made me cry. Some of them changed my life. But the truth that has gripped my heart the tightest, has been this:

My God remains constant.

As an inquisitive toddler making important discoveries in the backyard, my God was there. Now as I’m raising my own toddler and trying to teach her that the toilet is not a pool for her baby dolls, my God is here.

Through heartbreak and joy, sending babies to heaven and holding babies here on earth, in brokenness and in restoration, He has remained faithful. He has remained good.

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalms 36:5

When my emotions are unstable, when my circumstances feel unsure, when my life changes, He remains constant. He is my anchor. He is my strength. He is my God. He remains faithful in every moment.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations… Deuteronomy 7:9

A Love Note To Who I Used To Be

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To the girl I used to be,

I know you lay in bed at night and cry. You are surrounded by people, but feel so lonely. Your heart feels empty, yet it still aches. It’s constantly seeking love, but only finds counterfeit versions and temporary highs that make you feel loved in that short-lived moment.

But you are loved.

You long to be cherished, but you think the only way that will happen is if you keep pretending, keep acting like the girl you wish you could be. You don’t show them the real you, because you are terrified that it’s not enough, that you are not enough.

But you are enough.

The idea that someone would embrace your quirks, your imperfections, the real you, almost feels like a silly dream. But still, you dream. You work tirelessly to be beautiful, because you desperately desire for someone to think that you are beautiful.

But you are beautiful.

You will give in to fear and run away. You will not finish your college degree with everyone and I’m afraid that’s something you’ll regret for years. But it’s ok. Because of that, you will learn to work harder for what you want. You will learn to appreciate time, money and perseverance much more. You will have moments of feeling like you’re not as academically smart as everyone else, but you will soon realize the truth.

You are smart.

While many others take the direct route in life, you’ve always taken the scenic route. It may not be like you imagined, but please look around and enjoy the scenery. Don’t get caught up on little details.

You whisper to God through your tears, “Why are You holding on to me so tightly?”

But He will always hold you tightly.

Sweet girl, life is going to get hard. There will be a time where your world falls apart. But I promise, it will be ok. You will feel like a wanderer, like you have no home. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. One day you will look back and see that it was those first painful steps that set the direction in your wild adventure. With every step, even the ones you hesitate taking or the ones that make you stumble, your legs will grow stronger, your heart will become braver and your spirit will feel freer.

He will always hold you tightly.

You will marry your best friend. Don’t panic about not knowing how to cook, he loves cooking and you will not starve to death. You will find out that marriage is hard, but so worth it. Fight for it everyday. Focus on Jesus and your marriage will be clearer too. (And keep doing your impressions and telling your jokes. He secretly finds them hilarious.)

You will have babies. You will lose babies. You have never known heartache like you will during this time. But remember, He remains faithful. You will be able to more fiercely love others who are hurting because you too bear wounds. You will experience the heart of Jesus in ways you otherwise wouldn’t have. And it will change you. You will taste bitterness, but you will also taste the sweetest of blessings. Your babies will teach you about yourself, about God, and unconditional love.

He will always hold you tightly.

No matter what, love Jesus. He is your compass. You will see His fingerprints all over your life. So stay close to Him. And if you ever need a reminder, just listen. The constant rhythm of His heartbeat echoes His steadfast love for you.

You are loved. You are beautiful. You are enough. And He will always hold you tightly.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”  John 10:27-29

…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Shadow Monsters

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Do you remember waking up from a bad dream as a child?

In the first few seconds after waking up, my room always seemed darker. And suddenly I was aware of every single shadow being cast on my walls. They towered over me like some child-eating monster out of a storybook. If you were like me, your first reaction was to cover yourself with your impenetrable shield of protection…your bedspread. Absolutely nothing could infiltrate it. The only flaw in your bedspread-defense is that the air starts to run out. First it gets hot, then it gets heavy, and then runs out completely. So you had better figure out your next strategic move before you pass out and get eaten up by a shadow monster.

As I took shelter under my sheets, I strategized an escape plan. But just the idea of letting my toes dangle over the edge of my mattress sent shivers to my completely rational, undramatic core, much less actually making a break for it. Ask any child and they’ll tell you that the moment your feet hit the floor, you have exactly .264 seconds to start running to the door, because something will grab your foot from under the bed. It’s just a fact.

The fear would grow and grow until there was only one thing left to do. I would work up enough courage to pull the covers down, just low enough to expose my mouth, then shout into the horrible blackness…

“MOMMYYYYYYYYYYYY!”

I needed her. I needed the comfort and peace that presence brought. And we all know that a mommy’s presence vanquishes any fear from bad dreams or shadow monsters.

I truly wonder how my mom got through my terror stage of the “Half Man, Half Monkey” (Thank you Sci-Fi commercial, thank you.) It didn’t matter if I was awake or asleep. If it was dark, I was scared. She had her presence requested (that’s a nice way to say I screamed bloody murder for her) countless times. To make things worse, I also discovered the movie, “Harry and The Hendersons.” AWESOME. I went to the kitchen one night for some water and as I sat at the dining room table, the realization hit me. Bigfoot was under the table. I should have just stayed parched in my bed…under my bedspread. I thought to myself, “So this is the end. What a way to go. So long, world. It’s been a great seven years.” To this day, I’m thankful that I was brave enough to look under the table. I’m convinced I would have had a heart attack if I had just sat there an longer.

Well, now I’m the mom.

My sweet toddler is in a stage where everything is “scary”. She’ll run up to the door where there is some chipped paint and theatrically scream, “Ahhhh! A big bug!”. Or she’ll run up to her daddy and then yell, “Ahhhh! Daddy scared me!” So yes, everything is pretend scary right now.

But an airplane flew right over our house yesterday. I must admit, it was pretty loud and startled me too. She ran out of her room yelling, “Mommy! It scared me!”

I took her by the hand, starting walking towards her room and said, “It’s okay, sweet girl. It was just an airplane. Mommy will go with you.”

She tenderly looked up at me as she took my hand. Once her hand was locked in mine, she had an instant boldness; a courage that comes along with simply having her mommy with her. The thing that scared her before, wasn’t so scary anymore. I was with her.

I feel that’s how our God is with us. We can run up to Him and tell Him that we’re scared; scared of the situation we’re in, scared of the unknown, scared of the future, scared we aren’t enough.

And His heart…His wonderful daddy heart whispers to us,

“It’s alright, sweet child. I’ll go with you.”

When we hear His voice, when we feel His hand wrapped around ours, we can move forward with boldness and peace.

It may not always be easy to walk into unknown territory, and let’s be honest, it’s usually scary most of the time. But we do not have to walk in fear because we are not alone. His presence allows us freedom to breathe, freedom to keep putting one foot in front of the other, freedom to find courage where otherwise there would be none.

What a beautiful thing.

So today, lock hands with Him. Find your courage in His presence. Walk in His presence. Keep moving forward in His presence.

Shadow monsters are scary, but they all disappear in the presence of Light.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

The Freedom Trap

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There’s been this “thing” that’s really been bother me for a few years. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason I was feeling the way I was, but recently was I able to put my finger on it. I desperately want to be clear on this subject & make sure I’m coming across the way I mean it. I don’t have judgment for any one person or group. There isn’t one thing that I’m focused on or trying to rant about.

But this “thing” is real & we as believers are allowing it to happen. And we must stop. We are being called to a deeper level in our faith. I truly believe the Lord is preparing His children right now. And we must cut away things that are hindering us, harming us or simply just not beneficial to us.

So here is what this “thing” is.

I think we sometimes focus on the “liberties” we think we’re entitled to, more than the One who has freed us.

We think if we show restraint in something that we’re “allowed” to do, that it means we’re thinking legalistically or needlessly missing out on something enjoyable. But I’ve watched many believers, including myself, become imprisoned by something because our definition of “freedom in Christ” is wrong. Too often our cling to a “freedom” that is completely self-centered. And most of us, don’t even realize this has happened.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.                                1 Corinthians 10:23

I think we can all agree that each of us is constantly sending out messages to the world about who we are. The way we dress, the way we talk, what we eat, what we drink, how we love, how we serve, how we treat one another. It’s all a part of our message.

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:6-8

I think it’s an utter tragedy when the way we act & represent God’s name differs depending on what environment we’re in or who we’re with. Oh how wrong that is!

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 6:1

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. Titus 1:16

 

I want to be genuine no matter where I’m at or who I’m with. But if I represent myself one way when I’m within the four walls of my church & very differently when I’m not, which one is the genuine me? What is my heart truly focused on if my actions & words waver so easily? We gravitate towards what we love. So what is it that we love? Most importantly, who is it that we love? Ourselves? Or Jesus?

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

As we focus on Jesus & seek Him daily – wholeheartedly seek His heart- we become more like Him. That truth leaves me speechless. We don’t have to use behavior modification on ourselves & just try to make habits of the things we know are “right” or “holy”. No. He will transform us from the inside out! His likes will become our likes. His words will become our words. His heart will become our heart! Wow!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37

Is there something in our lives that we cringe at the thought of giving up? Do we get angry or defensive at the the idea of showing restraint from something? This quote from Tim Keller says it perfectly I think: “The sin that is most destructive in your life right now is the one you are most defensive about.”

We’re only deceiving ourselves if we desperately hold onto something but are convinced it isn’t effecting our hearts. Or others.

So today, I ask God for clarity in our minds & hearts. I pray that His children would become more desperate for Him. And that what we desire to eat, drink, say & do will pale in comparison to our desire to love & glorify Him. May we be sensitive to His voice as He shows us things in our lives that we have placed above Him. And may we have the courage to abandon everything that hinders us from running after Jesus with all that we are. Because HE is all that matters.

I declare our God as faithful!

Life’s Broken Promises

I was recently told, “Thank goodness you’re out of the scary part of your pregnancy.” I replied with a smile & a “yeah”, but to be honest, that’s not how I felt. When we lost our first baby, we were past the “scary part”. I know painfully well that making it to a certain day doesn’t guarantee anything in life – whether it’s with pregnancy, a job or a relationship.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

I don’t want that concept to be discouraging or fearful, like it doesn’t matter what we do in life because the chips will fall wherever anyways. My point is this. God’s faithfulness & my desperate need for Him do not increase or decrease depending on whether or not my circumstances look safe.

Relying on Him fully, trusting in Him fully & declaring Him faithful fully, isn’t a backup plan or a safety line when my heart hurts or my circumstances are shaky. Instead of making it optional to acknowledge God’s control & faithfulness, it needs to be the foundation on which I do my entire life. Jobs. Relationships. Dreams. Family. Everything.

I rely on Jesus every day. And as easy as it can be to sit back & loosen my grip on Him when it looks & feels like things are going to be safe or reliable, I want my grip to stay desperately attached to Him.

We are not guaranteed anything if we can just make it to a certain point in life or wait a set amount of time. Even if we reach our goals & get to the comfortable, safe & reliable circumstances we work so hard for, we are not guaranteed to keep them. It doesn’t somehow secure us in life.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Storms will come. Hearts will break. Circumstances will change. Jobs will be lost. Relationships will fail. Dreams will fade. People will leave.

But instead of focusing on avoiding the storm, let us take refuge in our God who promises to protect us. It won’t matter how hard the rain falls, or how powerful the storm becomes – because we are covered. We are covered by His protection. We are wrapped in His safety. We are filled with His steadfast love.

…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Life will break it’s promises, but our God will not break His. Our only guarantee is through Him. He is the only anchor that will hold fast when the waves get higher & the storm gets violent.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

So today, at this very moment, whether you are in a season of abundance & happiness or walking through a valley of drought & despair, desperately cling to Jesus. The Lord your God is in every detail. He is fully present in it all, so be confident in His sovereignty & refuge.

I declare my God as faithful!

A Voice in the Silence

I wonder if the Lord chooses to whisper sometimes so we will listen for His voice with more intention & with greater desperation.

I know that’s how it has been for me. When I feel like the Lord isn’t speaking as loudly or as clearly as He usually does, it makes me pause & listen a lot closer. The interesting part is, the silence I feel has usually come to me during times in my life that are “good”. And I think the “silence” has a lot more to do with me than Him. I allow my situations & emotions to be the things satisfying me, instead of staying in a constant state of hunger for Jesus.

But listening for Him in the silence can be just as sweet as hearing His words. Because even in the silence, He is there & He is working.

 

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:1

 

I love that about Him. He is constantly guiding me, like a Father. Constantly correcting, instructing & teaching. I envision a little lamb walking with her Sheppard. He is always nudging & directing her along the winding & sometimes dangerous terrain. He keeps her safe & guides her.

 

My sheep hear my voice, & I know them, & they follow me. John 10:27

 

I have to remind myself that just because I don’t feel emotionally passionate or energized, doesn’t mean He’s not speaking. If I am reading His Word, I am hearing His voice. And just because I’m not experiencing life-changing revelations every day, doesn’t mean He isn’t working & transforming my life. If I am meditating on His Word & spending time with Him, I am becoming more like Him.

 

So faith comes from hearing, & hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

 

The voice of the Lord is so sweet. His whispers can bring alive even the driest of bones. How precious is His Word. We never have to question if He is speaking to us. All we must do is consume the words He’s given us & continue to listen. He promises to answer.

He will always answer.

 

Call to me & I will answer you, & will tell you great & hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3

 

My beautiful friend Amber, recently wrote this on her Facebook status:

It’s okay to be in the quiet place. To be still & learn & soak & sit & wait. And not think about your own worries but to think on who Jesus is & ponder this, & soak in the amazing reality of who He is that He desires to live inside of us and do everything to enliven us supernaturally. And not only that but that He wants us to have our very nature be transformed by His grace alone; to have His desires; to have our heart beat as His. That we would be driven by what drives Him! Amazed. Simply amazed. In awe. And thankful.

So as you sit in the silence, my dear friend, know His presence; feel His heartbeat. And may your heart be totally sensitive to every breath & word that comes out of His mouth. He will answer. And when He does, may His life pour into that place in your life that you desperately need it to.

I declare my God as faithful!

Honestly

I have to honest with you.

I’ve been working on a happy post for you. But the more I wrote the heavier my fingers felt. They got so heavy that they finally stopped typing. I couldn’t force it. I didn’t want to. You are too important to me.

The reason that this post changed isn’t a dramatic one. But here’s the truth. For the past few weeks I’ve been in this place of emotional & spiritual…sluggishness. I’ve felt less passionate & more worn, less motivated & more distracted. I’ve been here before. And the moment I realize where I’m at, I want out.

I love when my feet are moving steadily in life. I love when passion moves me so greatly that it causes me to start running. There are also times in life when something will happen & I have to crawl for while. But at least there’s forward motion.

That’s why I dislike this place so much. I feel like I’m trying to walk while I’m knee deep in mud. Does that make sense?

I haven’t been consistent submerging myself in God’s word. And that’s what I need – to be consistently submerged. Not sprinkled to feel good but drenched! But when I’m not consistent in this, it causes my heart to start drying out. I know what the result will be if I put my guard down, but I allow myself to passively slide down into this ditch. And the thirst grows greater.

My focus then becomes fixed on what is wrong, instead of the One who renews & refreshes us daily, the God that changes hearts & the Savior that transforms lives.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5

Yep. That cycle.

But He is here. He is always where I’m at. And He continues to demonstrate the endlessness of His grace. When my feet become bogged down, it causes me to look up more intensely. When I’m having trouble moving on my own, it truly makes me rely on Him more fully.

He is showing me that it is ok to be still & to even feel stuck. Even if my feet don’t feel like they’re going anywhere, I can stay focused on Him. That is what matters. That is what He wants.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Proverbs 4:25

What a beautiful, merciful & gracious God.

What love.

Have you been in this place I’m describing? Maybe you’re there now. We might be sitting next to each other.

Well, we are not alone. Our God remains faithful & is with us. And this is my prayer for us – for you, dear friend.

Lord Jesus,
We come to You right now feeling empty, stuck & even frustrated. You are acquainted with our hearts & see into the depths of our souls. There is no hiding from You. So we honestly express the weariness we are feeling & we desperately cry out to you for the freedom that only You can give. Please come into these places in our lives & hearts that feel so dry & motionless. We know that if we keep our eyes focused on You, You will guide us out of every ditch, over every mountain & through every valley. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I declare my God as faithful!

The Year of Awesomeness

It has arrived – 2014 is here! There’s something refreshing about beginning a new year, is there?

That new number brings with it endless possibilities for the upcoming 365 days. I tend to dream a little bigger & more colorfully at the start of every year. A new year means a fresh start & that in itself, is a great feeling.

It’s exciting to get motivated & dream & make plans for the year, but I know many of us make “resolutions” only to become overwhelmed or discouraged & ditch them by the second week of February. We vow to work out more or lose weight, write that book or learn to play that instrument, break out of our comfort zones or reinvent ourselves. None of those things will happen overnight so we’ll have to stay consistent & persevere. And let me tell you, those two things completely clash with my natural ability to procrastinate & give up. If you’re looking for someone to do something consistent for about 2 weeks but then get distracted by something shiny, I’m your girl. But if I want to make changes or accomplish my goals, I know it’s the small decisions I’ll make every day that will ultimately get me there.

So along with asking God to help me stay consistent & to persevere this year, I’m also asking the Lord to show me areas of my life where I’m using my time & energy incorrectly. There are projects & even relationships that take more energy & emotion than what is healthy to give. Sometimes we just need to step back & rethink some things. Re-prioritizing can be a really good thing. For 2014, I’m going to focus in on a couple of things & give them the dedication & energy they need in order to complete them well.

Commit your work to the LORD, & your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

One of my goals is to finish a children’s book I’ve worked on little by little over the past couple of years. I’m down to the “cleaning up” stage which requires a lot of time & yes, perseverance. Again, this is a tricky task for me because there are a lot of shiny things in my house. The process can be tiring, but if I’m going to be tired from doing something, it better be from doing something awesome & finishing it 100%. Am I right or am I right?

Above all else, I desire to constantly seek God & know His heart more. I can make good plans, admirable goals & have good intentions, but staying focused on Him will keep my priorities in the right order & my energy renewed each day!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, & he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5&6

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Let me ask you- is there something that you’re excited to do this year? Maybe it’s finishing a project or investing more time in a friendship. Is there something that you have been meaning to do, but just haven’t taken the time to do it? Who have you wanted to get coffee with, but haven’t yet? Well, my friend, it’s 2014 & this year holds so much potential! So get out there & be the awesome you that you are!

And let’s remember to keep encouraging & motivating each other along the way! It’s the small decisions we will make each day that will lead us to that super-duper-amazing-accomplishment!

Happy 2014! I declare my God as faithful!

Just Like Mommy

So I had an “oh boy” week. The kind of week where you literally say “oh boy” out loud at least a dozen times. The kind of week when you realize your child is no longer a baby, but is now a little girl & is watching you…very closely. Everything you do, every word you say…that adorable little sponge is soaking it up. OH BOY.

My first “oh boy” came shortly after our dog had cozied up with my daughter & was an inch away from the delicious snack she held in her hand. His nose started bobbing up & down. His eyes were completely focused. And then his mouth started to open oh-so-slowly. He’s a beagle & his nose bosses him around & tells him what to do. At least that’s what he’s always trying to convince me.

So after realizing what was about to happen, I told him “no” in a stern voice, pointed my finger at him, then tapped the top of his head a few times.

Well, my daughter proceeded to do the exact same thing. In fact, for the rest of the day, our poor dog endured countless “no” taps on his head. Each one was followed by belly laughs from my daughter.

“Oh boy, it has begun. She’s copying what I do now. OH BOY.”

The tricky part about having a 16 month old is that I really couldn’t apologize for what I had down & explain why we need to love on our doggy instead of telling him no all day long. I tried, but I’m sure all she heard was, “Akjsdifjdoa DOGGY asldkjfoidjadf MOMMA.” All I could do was ask her to pet him or kiss him when I saw that sneaky little glimmer in her eye of needing to tell the dog no. Again. For the 400th time.

So by the end of the day, that was pretty much under control.

It wasn’t a huge deal, but it was definitely a huge realization. If she watched, absorbed, then copied my actions in such a small situation, the day is arriving when she will be completely focused on my actions, words & tones for things that truly are a big deal.

I don’t know about you, but that scares me half to death.

I feel like I’m constantly asking God for forgiveness & thanking Him for His grace. I know I am a flawed person. But now, I have an extra set of precious little eyes on me.

The following day, my little one unloaded my makeup case. That’s nothing new. She loves all the brushes & do-dads. But this time was different. She grabbed the eyelash curler & brought it to her eye. I have never shown her that. Well, I suppose I have, but unintentionally. She then grabbed my blush brush at dusted her sweet little cheeks.

Yep, this kid is watching my every move. Even when I have no idea that she’s paying attention to something as trivial as putting on makeup.

OH BOY.

Like I said, I know these situations are not dramatic ones, but still, they have brought a new awareness to me.

Our words, actions & “tones” are being watched, even when we think we’re secluded in those decisions. Not only by our kids, but by our coworkers, friends & even strangers.

So may we do the right thing even when it’s dark. May we speak kind words even behind closed doors. And may we be honest even when we’re inconvenienced. We truly don’t know the extent to which someone’s life can be touched by the quietest of our whispers.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp & put it under a basket, but on a stand, & it gives light to all in the house In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works & give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Our lives affect those around us. So may they affect others in a beautiful way & point them to Jesus.

I declare my God as faithful!