endurance

Failure or Practice?

Are you good at makeup, organizing, decorating, math, cleaning, cooking, exercise, socializing, baking, talking, etc?  I believe that God gives each of us unique talents and abilities, which we often take for granted because they seem “easy” to us.  

On the other side, I’ll bet there are some things that you’re good at doing now, but probably not very good when you started doing these things.  For example, when I first started ironing shirts, I was awful.  But over time, I’ve become more proficient with practice and now I’m much better.  

Instead of framing things from a failure and quitting perspective, let’s consider that most of the stuff we do is practice and we are on the journey of continual improvement.  For me, this helps me stay away from shame, discouragement and even quitting.  Let’s celebrate practice and stay away from failing 🙂


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Posted by Sarah, 1 comment

Keep Getting Better!

I make a pretty good roast chicken, but this hasn’t always been true. Indeed, for countless years, my roast chickens were “dry & tasteless”, to quote one of my offspring. I tried lots of different things to make it taste better: stuffing the cavity w herbs, water in the pot w a lid & lots of other stuff. Alas, I almost quit trying, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided to try getting better even just by little steps.
I’m the type of person who wants to see big steps of progress & when I only see millimeters, I can get discouraged. So I want this blog to encourage you on little bits of better if you’re discouraged w the absence of giant leaps of progress. And remember that a little better can apply to heaps of areas in your life: exercise, discipline, Bible reading, relationships, school grades, etc.  Gal 6:9 🙂
And my giant leap progress for doing an awesome roast chicken happened when I cut out the backbone, seasoned both sides w salt / pepper & broiled it on the bottom rack 🙂
I no longer make dry & tasteless roast chicken 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, cooking, enemies to intimacy, family, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Weightlifting

I used to despise weight training, particularly in high school when it was gross to be in a weight room with bulked out guys who were dripping sweat and grunting all the time.  That was super disgusting to me & so it wasn’t until my forties when I even considered the possibility of doing weights again.  On this go around, I began to enjoy weight training because I had a friend who trained with me & we had some expert coaching.  Then I got really excited about the idea because my clothes started to fit better!  I also learned some helpful principles:

  • Form is important:  the wrong form can result in harmful injuries and weights that are too heavy are counterproductive.  This reminds me to cast my burdens on Jesus because He’s strong enough to carry the heavy weights in my life
  • Strength grows with consistency:  when I’m consistent with weights, my strength improves.  And with Jesus, being steady in my daily quiet times helps to strengthen my interior life
  • Weakness can be changed to strength:  at the end of doing a rep, my muscles are often tired & that’s when it’s the weight most difficult but also beneficial.  Leaning into Jesus in our weakness is where we can have the most strength!
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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Keep Looking

“Where is Jo-Jo?”  I’d circled through the stark malnutrition clinic in Angola with Saving Moses, looking for the struggling little baby that I’d met just before we took a break for lunch.  I remembered seeing Jo-Jo’s mom: she was extremely tired and her nerves were obviously frayed.  But I was hopeful for Jo-Jo, since she was in our clinic now and could receive some medical care and a steady supply of the malnutrition formula that has kept literally thousands of babies from dying.

I talked with my friends about Jo-Jo over lunch and I was eager return to the clinic and  encourage her mom that we would do our level best to help her frail daughter to survive and even thrive.  I walked through our clinic again, slower this time, looking for little Jo-Jo in her bright red shirt.  I couldn’t find her so I asked our translator to check in with the nurse to see where Jo-Jo was.  “Her mom took her and left,” was the nurse’s reply.  “We have to find her!  She doesn’t stand a chance of surviving without our help!  Where’s her file, find her address, call the phone number, let’s go to her house, let DO SOMETHING!!!”  I was really upset and I could tell the nurse was also very disturbed.  We looked at Jo-Jo’s chart, found a phone number and only the name of the neighborhood where she lived, since Angola doesn’t use an address system like we do in the US. There was no chance of finding her in the neighborhood listed, it was HUGE.  When we called the number listed on the chart, there was no answer.  So how could we keep trying to find Jo-Jo?  Could we send someone to her neighborhood in the very remote chance we’d find her?

We did this and we kept calling the phone number, but we never found Jo-Jo and given the extremely frail state of her little body, I would suppose that she died.  This has really bothered me for a very long time because Jo-Jo’s mom seemed to have given up all hope for her daughter to live.  What kind of hell does a mom go through to get to the point of giving up hope for her baby to live?  Could I have been more sensitive to the mom’s exhausted state?  What would I do differently in this situation for the future?

Some things are deeply disturbing and this is probably a good thing because such experiences can interrupt our comfortable living and provoke us to bring genuine love and life to the world in which we live.  Let’s keep looking for ways to let God love the world through us.

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keep on keeping on

We have all had our share of setbacks & mishaps, no matter if you’re the best or worst planner in the world.  When something bad happens that you didn’t expect, it’s not the time to have a melt down.  In fact, in the face of adveristy & setbacks, it’s often the best time to test your grit & resilience.

For example, this morning I read about how Jesus delivered two men from demonic possession & instead of their town being excited about such wonderful news, the town turned out to demand that Jesus leave their vicinity.  While the town’s rejection could have been framed as a debilitating setback, Jesus chose to move on to the next town.  The town’s rejection didn’t affect His identity.

Don’t let setbacks, rejections, shortfalls or the unexpected poison your soul.  Get up & keep going because Gal 6:9 says that we’ll receive a reward if we don’t quit or give up!  Don’t forget that Heavenly Help can be extremely helpful with strengthening your soul!

 

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Posted by Sarah, 0 comments

secrets for making progress

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 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, India, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, values, watch, 0 comments

Hot topic: overcoming adversity

Have you ever had a season where it seems like more is going wrong than what’s going right?  Job had this experience. In a short amount of time: he lost all of his kids, all his wealth evaporated, his health took a plunge & his wife went rogue & didn’t encourage him. Job totally went through an awful season & you can read his book in the Old Testament to hear his thoughts & emotions in the thick of all these difficulties. Going through hardships & difficulties isn’t something new in our human experience but here are some ideas that might be helpful:

*in difficulties, be honest with God (Job was super upset, disappointed & frustrated with God & didn’t hold back nor withdraw from talking with God)
*consider the people who you allow to speak into your life: do they affirm God’s work, do they hear your heart, do they strengthen your faith?  Job’s friends were kind of sketchy on these points
*keep your focus on God because a continual eye on the hardships can be very unsettling
*there are brighter days ahead – Jer 29:11 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, hot topic, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, values, watch, 1 comment

Time to Quit

When I was growing up, I had this really strong value about not quitting. Even when things might be discouraging, I didn’t quit. I didn’t quit taking piano lessons for 9years, despite burning through like 7 different teachers. When I started playing basketball, I didn’t quit even though I was thoroughly uncoordinated, slow, couldn’t jump & had no athletic ability (lots of heart but no natural gifting). I didn’t quit.
Now that I’m older, I’ve decided to start quitting stuff. Some things that we should all consider quitting include:
*achieving for the purpose of feeling significant & valuable – you’re inherently valuable because God loves you, full stop
*trying to please people – that’s a dead end
*trusting in human wisdom – consider reading 1Cor 2 for some interesting ideas related to wisdom

What else is worth quitting?

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, values, watch, 2 comments

earthy

Living in America has the very subtle & sneaky attempt to be blinded by glitz, glam, image, shiny, trendy and veneer.  Whether we realize it or not, our culture bombards us with airbrushed faces, glimmery white teeth, body images that are almost physically impossible and lots more.  If we aren’t careful, we can be seduced by image and forget that substance, character and integrity are very important.

With this in mind, I find it very interesting that the person who heralded Jesus’ arrival was the antithesis of image conscious – John the Baptist was very earthy and for that matter, so is Jesus.  The Son of God, robed in splendor, glory and the ultimate glitz put on our skin, lived among us and was often mistaken for a mere man.  May the Holy Spirit help us to reveal Jesus through our daily and earthy living 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, 0 comments

some help with opposition

I’m currently reading the book of Nehemiah & I was encouraged this morning when I read about Nehemiah’s reaction to his enemies (Sanballat & Tobia) when they severaly opposed Nehemiah & the Jews.  Instead of quitting, Nehemiah split up the people & let half of them keeping working to repair the wall & posted the other half to protect those who were working on the wall.  By splitting up his work force into 2 groups, he probably lengthened the time it took to finish the project, but my point is that he didn’t quit.  They kept working, even though their progress slowed down, but they didn’t quit.

Slow progress is better than no progress 😀

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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, saving moses, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 1 comment