As much as I don’t want to admit this, I’m concerned that I have a disturbing pattern in my life: leaving things half done :/
While I don’t leave everything half done, there are definitely things that I don’t finish, such as: not completing my bookshelf project, starting innumerable books but not finishing them, doing half of the ironing, writing part of a story, etc. Of course this could be very discouraging if I let myself quagmire in this awareness, but I have a fail-safe solution: God doesn’t quit!
In Philippians 1:6 it says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Be encouraged that you’re a masterpiece in the making & the Holy Spirit is continuing to shape & grow you, never quitting, getting discouraged or giving up on you! God’s not finished!
Planning isn’t one of my natural strengths, so the Holy Spirit has helped me grow in this area over the course of many years. I’ve come to appreciate that if I want to accomplish big dreams, then it’s important to develop some plans and structures for these dreams to become reality. So what happens when the plans don’t seem to work? Then what?
In the Gospel of Mark, I’ve been reading about how Jesus healed people, often not according to the human contrived plans, i.e, the Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus calls a dog, the 4 guys who break through a roof to get a paralytic in front of Jesus & the blind guy whom Jesus spits on for his healing. It seems to me that Jesus almost never follows our human plans, so it begs the question: why plan?
When you have plans to seem to go awry, maybe these ideas could be helpful:
plans help us think in constructive steps to achieve goals & dreams. No planning = no progress
planning with prayer is a massively helpful combination
consider Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
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Looking at this picture, you would likely tell me to fix it & turn it around since it looks like Jesus is upside down. However, sometimes I think the Holy Spirit wants to turn us up on end so we be right side up, based on the Holy Spirit’s perspective. Some areas where we might need some adjusting could include:
Money: getting is never as blessed as giving
Time: sometimes I need to remember that prayer can be the key for productive rather than staying busy
Mercy: being judgmental appealing to our flesh, mercy wins with Jesus!
Leadership: serving is the model Jesus gave us if we’re going to be the Jesus-kind of leader
Normally, the day before Thanksgiving our family goes skiing since we live fairly close to some epic vertical. But alas, today we are electing for the flatland because there’s almost no snow & the few runs that are open don’t tempt us enough to take the plunge.
Seems to me that change can be challenging to navigate but we need to change for lots of reasons:
Change indicates that we’re alive & not moribund in static rigamortis
We don’t grow if we’re unwilling to change
Change affords new adventures, delights, joys & discoveries
Our souls stay supple when we are willing to change, letting God love through us more thoroughly
My husband is really good at planning all kinds of stuff. Currently, he’s planning our family vacation, a roadtrip from Denver to Washington DC to sightsee and explore our nation’s capital. I deeply appreciate his skill in planning and there have been innumerable occasions where his planning abilities have bailed me out, thank ya Jesus!
On the other side of planning is non-planning, or maybe the euphemism is spontaneity. This can be a fun way to do life, but risky to be sure. Whether you’re a planner or non-planner type person, let’s be sure that we are endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit, full stop. Sometimes in our planning we can get so locked into the plan, that we shut out any guidance or direction from the Holy Spirit along the way. On the other side, the lack of planning can leave us in a place where we can’t follow the Holy Spirit, due to a lack of resources, time, energy or ability.
For the people who are planners, be careful to allow the flexibility in your plans to make adjustments should the Holy Spirit lead in a different direction. For the people who are non-planners, be careful to keep yourself with the resources where you can follow the Holy Spirit.
One of my kids is very steady & generally unflappable. They don’t freak out easily & I love that they are so level. The other side is that they can also be stubborn & resistant to change. I’ll totally give you that not all change is good. But being hostile to change can prevent a person from growing, learning & maturation.
Let’s be people who get the good stuff out of being faithful & steady. But let’s also be people who can learn, adapt & grow! Seems to me that we become moribund & zombie-ish when we refuse to learn & change. If we are perpetually changing, however, we risk the danger of not being committed, the lack of roots & absence of fruit 🙂
My daughter & I are talking about all the changes happening for us currently. We’ve got school changes, friend adjustments (saying goodbye & meeting new friends), neighborhood transitions and heaps more.
We just talked about how Jacob in Genesis underwent huge amounts of change: his family relationships, place where he lived, job functions, marriage & children adjustments and even moving to Egypt at the end of his life. Here are some things to help make change be positive in your life:
Prepare rather than deny: just because you may want to deny some impending changes doesn’t make them evaporate; preparing is more proactive than denying
Keep positive: it always helps me remember Rom 8:28-9, that as long as I stay in love with God & locked into God’s purposes, all things work together for my good
Be practical: maintain routines & schedules, drink more water & less coffee / soda, eat healthy, exercise & get good sleep
Trust God: always keep in mind that God gives us what we need or God changes our needs
Ever make plans only to see everything hit the fan & splatter in messy chaos? This is why I’m eating spicy pizza at the Los Angeles airport at 10:15am – not exactly what I’d planned for this moment. Nevertheless, the pizza is fantastic & I had a very lovely chat with Giovanni who made my pizza. He’s born & raised in LA but would like to travel & experience a wider cross section of cultures.
Anyways, my point is that in the middle of changing plans & with uncertainly aplenty, let’s be sure that we hold more tightly to God than our plans, trusting that God works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with God & surrendered to His purposes & will 😉
Please be sure to stay tuned to my blog – I’m doing some really fun travel in the next week with Saving Moses & I want you to come with me so we can have fun together on this adventure! Remember as well that you can easily subscribe to my blog – some kind of button things in the right & it’s easy ,)
America has this very civilized concept called speed limits & they’re very nice in theory. Speed limits are supposed to keep us driving at a safe speed & help us get to our destination in an orderly fashion.
Me, not so much. It’s not that I’m rebellious, I just like to go fast & not only with driving. With my “go fast” mentality, here are a few things I’m learning lately from God
*Slowing down isn’t failure it’s the space you need to marinate: time is often a necessary ingredient for a thorough outcome & not just something that’s half-baked, or good enough
*pacing enables me to go farther, longer & finish rather than burning myself out with each beginning
*sometimes I speed to excuse a lack of discipline in my life or to compensate for not being proficient at something; some people use the same idea but for going slowly & maybe being obstinate 🙂
*I’m learning to trust God for the various seasons & paces in my life – growing & learning
When my kids were very little, they trained me to get better at being prepared. Truth be known, I’ll often get super excited about something & throw preparation out the window for the sheer pleasure of adventure – but with babies & toddlers, this strategy backfires more often than not. A mom with babies & toddlers has to be prepared for all kinds of unexpected twists, most of which you probably don’t want to read about ,)
So my kids have helped me with that whole being prepared concept, mostly.
When it comes to Jesus, it’s also important to be prepared and here are a few helpful thoughts on what that might look like. Be prepared:
to love well – far beyond your natural limits, letting the love of God be poured out in your heart through the work of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5)
to give an answer for your faith & belief in Jesus – be that through rationale apologetic defense, philosophical rigor, miracles (1 Cor 2), prayer and / or personal experience (1 Pet 3:15)
to surrender to God’s plans & priorities – Jesus modelled the surrendered life with the Gethsemane prayer, “Not My will but Yours be done.”
to resist temptation – Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations in Matthew 4 & Paul encourages us that God always provides a way of escape in temptations (1 Cor 10:13)
I like progress, improvement and growing. I like being better today than I was a few months ago – and this is in every area of my life: physical health, intimacy with God, quality relationships, effectiveness with Saving Moses and LOTS more! I don’t like to be stagnant or stationary and I totaly LOATHE going backwards. So here are a few things I’m learning of late about progress:
sometimes progress is incremental and gradual rather than gigantic and massive
progress can happen in different contexts: doing PT with a recent shoulder surgery, I’m learning that progress happens in several ways (getting stronger, more flexible, getter ability to use, etc)
progress requires committment to change – if you don’t want to change, don’t expect to make progress
celebrate progress no matter the size or context: acknowledging progress breeds more progress
sometimes what seems like a step backwards is actually progress moving forward – don’t get discouraged
encourage others who are trying to get better
keep going: sometimes progress seems to be stagnant, but often these seasons of pause are nothing more than plateau set ups for greater progress if you’ll just keep going
progress requires truth; deception is the enemy of genuine growth & development 🙂
We all gravitate to what is comfortable to us, often at the expense of trusting & depending on God – pause & think about what that means in your life.
For me, this means that I enjoy experiencing God in a sunrise, hearing the whispers of God’s voice in the Bible alluring me to come closer & losing my self in experiencing God on a snowboard or walking among prostitutes in a red light district in Asia. What isn’t comfortable for me is being intermingled with hyper extroverts, amped up on caffeine & red bull. It also stresses me out to have innumerable “weather conversations” without some deeper anchors & topics that get my feet in the dirt with substance & authenticity.
Even though I like a conversation that’s earthy & grounded, often when I want to walk closer with Jesus, I have to leave the ground & boat, joining Jesus on the water – away from whats comfortable & cozy in my natural leaning.
When we walk with Jesus, it’s not always where we are most comfy & cozy but rather upended & transformed. Let’s keep walking, even when it’s on the water, as long as it’s with Jesus 🙂
Ok I’m totally adapting from Jesus’ beatitudes so don’t think I’ve suddenly become a heretic – I just think there’s a boatload of value in staying flexible. I think it’s important to be flexi in lots of ways: time, our talents & how we use them, relationships, various foods & even how we use our money. Being flexible is easier in life than rigidity & the unavoidable breaking that goes with being inflexible.
Some things, however, aren’t up for the agility treatment, things like Jesus staying number 1, loving well, forgiving proficiently & keeping a generous heart – all of these are deep pier non/negotiables
So how to stay flexi? Here are a few ideas:
*be up to try new things (foods, experiences, meeting new people, reading different books, etc) without a negative predisposition
*think of mistakes & failures as practice rather than options to quit
*consider some ways that you could do things a little different than what’s common or normal (fasting, come to Cambodia with Saving Moses this July, volunteer in a way that you can’t be repaid)
This picture is my breakfast 🙂
Some people love change & others hate change. But no matter what is your preference, we all have to deal with change because that’s the nature of life. So here are a few helpful thoughts:
*mindset – consider what your thoughts are about change because bad thinking automatically creates bad results
*flexible – it’s been my experience that when I’m rigid & inflexible that it’s usually more difficult to manage change
*pray a lot – when I try to deal with change without asking for God’s help, it often turns out awful
Feel free to leave a brief comment on anything I can pray about for you & feel free to share this blog with all of your friends who are struggling with change 🙂
Yesterday, I made the mistake of posting a poem that I thought Dr Maya Angelou wrote. I received lots of helpful & gracious feedback so I edited my post at the bottom to acknowledge my mistake. I left the poem, nevertheless, because I think it’s a really good poem & I found it to be very encouraging, no matter who wrote it.
But the topic of mistakes is a tricky topic. We all make mistakes, pretty close to everyday. We make mistakes as we drive, when we cook, saying things we shouldn’t, not speaking up when we should, work / school mistakes, . . . . . So here’s some that help me when I make mistakes (feel free to chime in with your own ideas as well):
**be quick to admit a mistake & apologize
**try to make new mistakes & not the same ones ,)
**the only person with no mistakes is Jesus
**mistakes often have more lessons than successes
**be quick to forgive mistakes even if the person doesn’t ask forgiveness
**if pencils are mistakes, grace is the eraser
**let your mistakes be more constructive than destructive
Just when we think we have everything planned & locked into place, God will often shake it up baby, causing us to twist & shout, sometimes in glee & sometimes with pout. It seems to me that human planning is the place God starts for divine upheaval. This makes me really appreciate when Isaiah says in 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”
Let’s be mindful to keep a tighter grip on God more than our plans 🙂
“You can do it!!!!” I like working out & stretching for new challenges. As I’ve looked at some of the latest workout trend stuff, crossfit, it looks really cool!! They say that the crossfit is about high intensity, constantly varied & functional movements.
To my way of thinking, these 3 ideas for crossfit coincide with what Paul said in Gal 2:20 about being crucified with Christ – crossfit:
high intensity: Jesus’ crucifixion was possibly the most high intensity experience any human could endure & He invites us to live a crucified life with Him, surrendered to His leadership
constantly varied: I find that following Jesus has lots of variety – serving, listening, relationships, forgiveness, faith, trust, doing dishes, loving, cooking and LOTS more!!!
functional movements: in crossfit, they want to emphasize movements that we could possibly do everyday and the same is true with being crucified with Jesus, crossfit. As we lived crucified with Christ, His life affects our daily priorities and how we engage to include His resurrection power through us.
To celebrate this Good Friday, let’s be truly “crossfit” 🙂
My dad hated surprises – particularly bad surprises, but he wasn’t too keen on good ones either. I learned very quickly that I needed to give him lots of forewarning to avoid the “surprise fallout.” I also learned from his reactions that not everyone thinks that surprises are fun. Indeed, some people completely hate surprises, which can be kind of tricky to navigate when raising children (who are FULL of surpises). So here are some helpful thoughts about surprises:
no “surprise” catches God off-guard, since God is all-knowing
since God is all-knowing, we get to trust that God’s plans are always better than anything we could consider
it seems to me that staying calm is a good way to navigate surprises for the best outcomes
despite our best efforts, there is always the unexpected in our lives so it’s better to be flexible than resistant 🙂
it always helps me to remember that God is sovereign & nothing makes God jittery!
Don’t forget to stay in touch with Saving Moses over the next month for some GREAT SURPRISES!!!
I was eating a really tasty homegrown tomato this morning & it reminded me of my dad, who totally loved tomatoes! One year, I remember he planted more than 100 tomato plants, hoping for a bumper crop!! Some things never changed with my dad: strong coffee with cream & sugar, loving people, finding a priceless treasure for cheap, homegrown tomatoes & lots more. As my dad aged, he seemed to appreciate change less and less. That’s the tricky part – life is all about change: our bodies change, the government changes, we have to change cars, sometimes our clothes stop fitting & LOTS more!
But here are some things that NEVER, EVER, EVER change:
God’s love for you never increases or decreases – it’s continual & consistent
time – it doesn’t stop nor slow down no matter how our perceptions change
the need that humanity has for God – humans always need genuine love, full stop
When I find something I like, I tend to keep going back for more of the same & my weakness can be that I don’t try new things. But from having lots of different travel experiences, I’m forced to try new things & more often than not, I LOVE it, as long as I don’t self-sabotage by comparing the new thing to what I’ve known or expected. I find this to be true with God as well – there are many times when I want God to something like the past or I had these expectations & then God does something different. And here’s the way cool part of that – God always does WAY BETTER than what I think of expect, but I just need to be open to different. Lets remember that God’s ways & thoughts are higher than our ways & thoughts 🙂