Monday, December 01, 2014

Separating the Voices and Finding Peace



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At one time or another, I think we all look introspectively at our lives to consider if there is something more, better, or worthwhile we should be doing with our lives.

There are many theories out there.  Some seem so very motivating.  Take these well-used statements for instance:

"You can do anything if you try"
"If you dream it, you can do it"  

Marathon of Hope creator, Terry Fox, suffered cancer and with an amputated leg set out to run across Canada to raise awareness and funds for cancer cures.  He is quoted:  

“I just wish people would realise that anything is possible if you try. Dreams are made if people try.”

These are all fine-sounding statements.  But, I believe they need qualifiers.  They just aren't completely true.

If I have a dream to be a star on a soap opera, I can pursue acting, move to LA, etc., but just because I've dreamt it, does not mean it will transpire.  There are many variables involved, including needing a producer or director's offer to include me.

If I am paralyzed from the waist down, I can dream about walking again, I can participate in trials, but I can't necessarily make it happen.

If I'm a lousy singer, I won't win X-Factor just because I've dreamt about it and tried out.    

Get the picture?



THINK OF OUR ANCESTOR EVE

I'm reminded of Eve in the Garden when Satan tempted her.  Her giving in was both a result of falling for her own ideas combined with believing the ideas of Satan--that she could be God-like and knowledgeable.

The cost?  To go against God.  In essence, to follow her own dreams and false promises.

Did it work out?  Did she become God-like?  No.  She sinned and the entire world was condemned as a result of her choice.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?

We are bombarded with ideas that appeal to our flesh.  Some are from other humans, some are driven by Satan.

Then there are dreams and ideas driven by God's Holy Spirit at work in us.  Dreaming is not wrong.

When we find ourselves feeling like there is something better, it's important to consider where the voice we're hearing is coming from.  

The world is so competitive.  We see others succeeding and we want what they have so badly we're tempted to not only listen to them, but to follow them. But is this wise?

I believe comparing ourselves to others is a recipe for depression.  We will sometimes fight against who we are and God's best in an effort to become something not intended.

WHAT THEN IS THE ANSWER?

The answer is:

  1. Recognize the potential of being deceived.
  2. Check for what comparisons you're making.
  3. Check which of the world's voices you're listening to (TV, magazines, teachers, professors, friends?)
  4. Dismiss wrong guidance or desires.
  5. Seek the perfecting offered by God.
  6. Ask him to align your life.
  7. Make the changes he requires.
  8. Listen to his voice.
  9. Learn to live in trust of his direction.
  10. Learn contentment and accept where he moves you to (both in work and geography).
  11. Bloom where you're planted.
  12. Warn others.
 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What's Your Life Story?




Don’t worry if you aren’t quite sure of your life message.  God knows, and as long as you abide with him, he will work out every detail and bring his purposes to fruition.
The story of your life is written on your heart at conception and develops through time.  Seeing the bigger picture of it always comes through progressive revelation.  Ideas or themes emerge as you progressively make choices and live through experiences.
Though your purpose has been written on your heart from the beginning, it may not be fully revealed or understood until much later.
Life coach Tony Stolztfus suggests there are several methods of uncovering your life message. One may be as simple as examining the why behind your actions—asking what the task is supposed to accomplish. There is always a motive behind what we do. I believe stopping to ask why ahead of time will help you clarify if it is something on par with your perceived calling or if you could spend your time better elsewhere. 
Here is Stolztfus’ list of questions to ask about any activity:
§   “Why do you want to do this task? What is the purpose of doing it?”
§  “Why is this important? Why does God care about this?”
§  “What part of Christ’s heart is this task meant to convey to your audience?”
§  “If the total of your impact was that people ‘got’ something that Christ built into your own life, what would you most want that something to be?”
§  “If you strip away all the externals—the actual acts of service, the organization, the planning, the finances—and all that was left was the message you want to convey, what would it be in one sentence?”

I find this last question very helpful recently.  As women, we are very task-oriented.  Last night I hosted our small group.  Of course, I spent time cleaning, shopping, and preparing to receive guests.  I thought of the story of Mary and Martha as I worked, and I felt conflicted in how much “fluffing” I really needed to do.  But this last question gives me relief.  

When I strip away the shopping, organizing, any money spent, I can examine the message I wanted to convey through it all.  Would the message be that I wanted to impress people?  Would the message be that I wanted to outdo anyone? Was it one of self-importance?

No, my message is and most always has been, to bless those who come to my home—to provide an experience—an inviting environment where my guests can relax, open up, and exchange God’s truths. 

I don't like housework, cooking or baking, but as an artist, I can’t resist decorating and fluffing now and then—it’s who I am—a very visual person.  I don’t do it for show, I do it for personal pleasure and always with a goal to delight others.  It’s the way I express myself.   


Try this list for yourself.  Apply it to a variety of actions you take this week. 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Advice for Living as a Christian Woman


"Dramatic Beauty" - acrylic on Paper by Rosalie Garde
prints available at Fine Art America 


I'm going to write here some advice for Christian women in search of direction.  Call it, offering a new perspective.  Much is based on my personal experience and research.  Your path may benefit from this advice but, as always, I recognize your path or way of processing life may be far different.

Here are some tips I believe following will help Christian women:

Invite God into everything you do.  Commit your way to him and listen for his instruction.  Ask him to give you faith so you will be confident to take steps on what you hear.

Keep a journal.  In it write you feelings and thoughts, heart's desires, prayers, helpful Bible verses and writings of other believers.

Take on the armor of God.  Watch for the temptation to slip into gossip, worry, anxiety, despair, self-harm.  At the first instance of sensing any of these temptations, ask Jesus to intervene.  Then change your thoughts, actions, and so on so that you will be busy doing helpful things while the battle is fought.

Don't entertain negative self-talk.  Always focus on what is working in your life.

Live as though life isn't paid in earthly commodity, but kingdom commodity.  That is, do what God wants you to do whether it includes earning pay or not.  Build up your treasure in heaven instead.  Trust God to provide.

View life as a journey not a destination.  In any given moment, things can change.  Walk through each day doing what you discern God wants you to do.  Then walk through the next.  Carry on while maturing and growing.

Those are but a few tips.  I'd be happy to walk alongside your journey further by email or telephone coaching.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

An Organizing Tip for Life's Schedule

Whether you work from home or out of your house, chances are your agenda carries with it multiple responsibilities.  Us women tend to be organizers of many things, yet feel distressed when met with too many options to use our time for.

The result is, we default to the most fun thing, like say, Facebook, or television.  Or we muddle through with piles of stuff around us we'd rather not look at.

I don't know about you, but I have a feeling of a heavy weight on me if my home, office, and schedule are disorganized.

TIP FOR PROGRESS

Here is a tip you might want to implement if you are looking for a way to cut through the myriad of choices in your day.

Today I did this with home care responsibilities because my paid work tends to fit in between it all.  The more I'm on top of my personal responsibilities, the more time I have to write, paint and coach.


  1. I took a pad of sticky notes and marker with me to my basement storage area where I had to take meat out of the freezer anyhow.
  2. I asked for God's help, and then wrote on each sticky note the things I needed to attend to.  One by one, as I wrote each, I felt the burden shift.  The surface of the storage cabinets was perfect to hold the notes. Here's a photo of what it looked like.





From the dozen plus of sticky notes, I chose the top five or six that really needed attention.  Those I took upstairs where I placed them on a kitchen cabinet. 


Then I began to work through them.  I had no other errands to run, but I forced myself to put my shoes and sweater on and drive to the vet's office to get the cat pills I needed to pick up just so I could move that sticky to the next section.

After completing each task, I moved the stickies to the next cupboard door pictured.  When my husband comes home I'll say, "This is what I did today."

When finished all the tasks it's tempting to go pick up more.  That's how we become overwhelmed though.  Instead, I'll go do the fun stuff or the business-building stuff with the remaining time.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prayer for Grief and Loneliness

Prayer for Grief and Loneliness

I occasionally have down days, do you?  I just read this prayer by Joyce Meyer Ministries and thought it was very appropriate for women who are feeling pain.


Prayer for Grief and Loneliness: 

"Lord, I am crying out to You right now. I need You, my heart is 

broken, and I am overcome with sadness. You have sent Your Holy Spirit to comfort me, so at this 

very moment I open myself up to Your presence, Your peace and Your love. 

Thank You, Lord for 

filling me 

with Your overwhelming comfort, holding me in Your arms 

and surrounding me with Your healing  love. 

Father God, the Bible says that because I am Your child, that You suffer when I suffer. Your Word is 

true, and so are You. With You by my side, I am never alone, and I have strength to face each day 

ahead. 

Thank You for holding me in the hollow of Your hand and for wiping away my tears. You are 

always here for me, and You will never leave me. In Jesus' name, Amen."