failures

New Day, New Year, New You!!

“I got a new car!!!”  I’ll never forget my first new car nor my enthusiasm and commitment to take very good care of my new car!  I was massively devoted to doing the regular oil changes, using good fuel, doing a routine fuel injector and driving to loud music and the sunroof down to accentuate the cool factor.  This car was really special to me because I had a chance to do everything right that I’d done so wrong with my first car.

The first car I bought had about 65,000 miles on it and was more than ten years old.  It was a stick shift and the color was burnt orange – pretty ugly, but good for a sixteen year old.  On this car, I learned about grinding gears because I’d never driven a stick shift before.  I had no clue about fuel choices nor regular oil changes.  I accidentally drove over a concrete parking stop but didn’t know enough to look at the oil pan for a possible leak, which of course became a costly repair after most of the oil had drained through the leak.  I learned a lot about car maintenance on my little burnt orange treasure and I’ve put my mistakes and lessons to good use ever since.

I’d like to suggest that we could use the same strategy from last year’s lessons for this new year.  Before we leave this year and close the chapter on this decade, we would be wise to ask Holy Spirit to teach and show us lessons and mistakes so that this upcoming year and new decade can be better or at least different.

When I think about a new start, it reminds me about Jacob in Genesis 32 and his experience of leaving Laban (his father in law) after working for him for twenty years.  In this chapter, Jacob is making a fresh start in his life, having closed out the preceding two decades.  In his fresh start, Jacob had an all night wrestling match with the Angel of God.  Jacob was overpowered in this wrestling match, having his hip dislocated, but he refused to let go of the angel, who changed his name from Jacob (deceiver) to Israel (one who wrestles with God).  With this name change, I’d propose that Jacob became a new person, in a new place and settled in his homeland.

Looking at this new beginning for Israel, I see that he deeply valued God’s presence even at great physical expense to himself.  I also see that he let go of Laban and any expectations or links he had with him – he totally closed that chapter of his life.  When Israel looked forward into starting a new chapter, he came to terms with the wrongs he’d done to his brother twenty years earlier and we see him walk in a steady commitment with God for the rest of his life, no matter the twists, pains, joys nor losses.

There are lots of lessons we can learn from the past and good lessons, if we let Holy Spirit be our teacher.  But if we don’t let Holy Spirit be our teacher and just settle for self-education, it’s very possible that we could learn the wrong lessons.  Additionally, no one knows you better than your Maker, so letting Holy Spirit teach you is essential to being your true self – the real you!    As we finish out this year and decade, let’s make two resolutions:

  1. To let Holy Spirit be our teacher, being committed to learning lessons from Holy Spirit
  2. To stay committed to God, no matter what the future has. We can do this by taking one day at a time.

Feel free to share this blog on your social media stuff to help others have a great new start!

Happy new day, Happy New Year, New Decade and New You!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 1 comment

3 Helpful Steps for Growing

I’m firmly convinced that God has made each of us to be growing individuals and not merely in girth or width 🙂

We can grow in lots of ways that include:  emotional maturity, relationship skills, intellectual acumen, communication improvements, spiritual development, self-control enhancements, budgeting skills & heaps more!  And if I’m fully honest with you, I like myself better when I’m growing rather than when I’m stagnant.

Here are 3 helpful steps for growing & feel free to add more ideas in the comments!

  1. Always Learning:  learning new skills, exploring new topics, reading a variety of books are a few ways that we can position ourselves to be life-long learners.
  2. Permission to Make Mistakes:  mistakes and failures seem to be the complementary counterparts to growing and success.  Indeed, I think I learn more from when I fail than when I continually succeed.
  3. Rest and Run Rhythm:  When I’m always going, I get worn down & I find it harder to learn and grow because I’m tired.  On the other side, when I rest too much I get lethargic and my ability to grow and learn seems to dwindle.

Let’s be committed to grow into the person God has made us to be!  Eph 2:10 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

When You Fall

I hate to fall but moreso I hate the possible injuries that come from falling. We can all remember those times as kids when we scrapped up our hands & knees from falling. And as adults, it’s even less fun to fall.
Where – But falling happens. We fall physically & maybe injure our wrists. We also fall in other ways – like having a mishap / fall in a hostile interaction with a co-worker. Or maybe we fall from an emotional struggle & go back to some bad habits. We can fall when there’s an area of pride, possibly our work performance, achievements, intelligence, beauty, etc.
Why – We fall because we aren’t paying attention to where we’re going. We fall because we didn’t see an obstacle. We fall because we might be in pride. We fall because we’re going faster than our abilities allow.
Help – So when we fall, what are some do’s & dont’s?

  • Do clean out any wounds to prevent infection – don’t tolerate unforgiveness
  • Do get up & keep going – don’t quit
  • Do learn the lessons that come from falling – don’t repeat the exact same fall or mistake
  • Do keep trying – don’t find excuses for getting rigid & moribund
  • Do lean into the Holy Spirit to teach you how to walk together & prevent some mishaps & falls 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Selective Memories

Who is someone you’ve known personally who has inspired you? I can think of a slew of people and all of them have had unique flaws, regardless of how much they inspired me. For example, my former neighbor across the street always inspired me with her devotion to raising her children to love Jesus & how she continuously treats her husband with respect & dignity. With those noteworthy accolades, she had lots the the same flaws that I have. We can be disorganized, scatter-brained & sometimes irresponsible. Nonetheless, I chose to remember her excellent qualities & minimize her shortfalls.

I would suggest that this is a good strategy for lots of our relationships, so that we bring out the positive in people rather than maximizing their negatives.
On this Memorial Day, let’s be grateful that we get to live in the land of the free because of the brave!û

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

my 999 plan

 Someone told me about a new tax plan – something about proportional taxation.  Seems like an interesting idea & I can see that our economy has some challenges & we need to make some changes.  From these 2 sentences, please don’t project that I’m advocating any political position, party or platform.  Rather, my point is that we need to always be learning, growing & adapting – this is my 999 plan:  to continue growing.

I want to always be growing, learning & maturing.  Along this line, I want to always be growing in my relationship with God and truthfully, I never want to say “no” to God.  I don’t want my intellect to be a limit to God.  I don’t want my desires or will to be a hindrance to God moving in my life.  I don’t want my past failures or successes to impede God’s presence in my current daily living.  I don’t want my pride to cause a separation from God.  I just don’t want to say “no” to God in any way or context.  I don’t want to say no to God in my marriage, finances, relationships, with Saving Moses, my values, perspective, thinking,  or in any area.  Simply put, my 999 plan is this:  Yes, God 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, family, fasting, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, saving moses, spiritual, 0 comments

r-e-s-p-e-c-t

When I was growing up, I felt super free to give my raw & unabbreviated opinion without much prompting.  I even had a pastor tell me how when I was a teenager, I told him that I thought the vision he had for his church was worthless & that he needed to find something more meaningful to do with his ministry.  I thought I was being challenging & insightful, when in reality, I was only being disrespectful.  Ouch!!  I still cringe when I think about the uber stupid things I’ve done & said.  If I had to summarize the lion’s share of my regrets today, it would mostly come from being disrespectful & dishonoring.

 Consequently, I’ve come to a few conclusions that you might find helpful as well:

  • I would rather error on the side of being over-respectful than being under-respectful or disrespectful.  I’ve lived with the consequences of both choices & I’ll take the consequences of respect over the consequences of disrespect, any day!
  • I’ve noticed that when I treat people with respect, they tend to rise to the level of honor that I give to them, even if they start off being less than respectful.  I’ve found that when I give respect to others, usually they will be respectful back to me.
  • On the few occasions when someone continues to be disrespectful with me, I want to always make the decision to be a respectful person, regardless of anyone else’s choices or behaviors.
Cheers to R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!
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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Holy Spirit, living, spiritual, 0 comments

my gracious family

  No seriously, you’ve gotta read this one 🙂  I recently had a cooking fiasco & I want to brag on my family.  Lately, I’ve been trying to get more fish into our diet as a means for low fat protein consumption.  The honest truth is that I can’t cook fish to save my life, but that doesn’t stop me from trying – hence the fiasco.  So here’s how it went down:  I went to the fish part of the store & was looking for the cheapest & freshest fish they had, which was flounder.  Flounder is a really weird looking fish – it’s skinny and flat with the eyes on the top of its body.  Because it’s so skinny, its hard for a fish monger to de-bone (which I discovered after their kind attempt to honor my de-boned request).  So I bring home these thin strips of fish & try to cook them – it was AWFUL!!!!  But here’s the beauty of this disaster, my family ate the fish with absolutely NO COMPLAINING!  No one said a word – we all suffered in silence 🙂  I will not be cooking flounder again, unless Jesus visits our home personally & has a nice chat with all of our family on this topic.

So here’s a thought for your consideration & application:  my family was EXTREMELY gracious with me, I think mostly because they love me.  Perhaps a really effective way to express love is to refrain from complaining or pointing out failures and weakspots when they are so glaringly obvious.  Being gracious is a really inexpensive way to be loving 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in cooking, family, living, spiritual, 5 comments

fasting failures

Have you ever tried to fast, from a spiritual premise, only to feel like you failed?  One time, i was fasting & there was a point where i hit the wall & just didn’t sense any life – it was more than just being physically difficult.  it was like i hit a dead end.  i tried to power through it, but after a few days, i just felt drained, empty & lifeless.  i came to the conclusion that God’s grace had lifted from the fast & that He intended me to finish my fast, but i was trying to “power on” without His grace or help.  Consequently, my efforts were flat, futile & even energy draining.  big learning from that mistake.

I’m giving you this example because i’d like you to share about your fasting failure(s), so we can hopefully learn from each other & not repeat someone else’s mistakes.  honesty will make this invaluable for both you & others.  🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling, 2 comments