It’s that simple and that complicated.
Because you are just around the corner, I thought I better give you a heads up…. You are going to be different from all those other years.
I am choosing to fully abide in Christ, living in Him.
Not in my own strength.
Not in past sins, fears, and failings.
Not in other’s approval, opinion, or any other thing.
But only, always, forever… in Him.
“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 ESV
My friend, Keisha, likes to name the days with alliteration and encouragement. Well, today, I’ll follow her lead and call this a Moving-forward Monday! Let’s throw off the heaviness of past regret and take the next best step forward!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2
So… I have been thinking a lot about why we in our abundance-filled Western culture seem to be unhappy and struggling much of the time.
A couple things have recently helped me wrap my head around this a little bit more and got me thinking maybe we become so miserable because we are simply living life out of order.
We are designed to be still and centered on the inside (spirit and emotions) while being busy and productive on the outside (physical realm) in order to create more beauty in this world our Good Father God has left in our hands. The way I have gotten this beautifully-designed order all mixed up is by living much of my life with a busy mind and spirit (filled up with chatter, clatter, and worry) while my body has been motionless (stuck in the bed or on the couch practically paralyzed from stress and fear. Now I am learning the importance of staying spiritually and mentally in a state of rest, stillness, and “centeredness” while staying in a strong forward-press with the rest of me!
So what has been helping me learn recently to “flip-flop” my life operations back to a pattern of peace on the inside and productivity on the outside?
First, Derrick Golden, Pastor of my Amazing Church (yes, that’s really my church’s name – and for good reason!) in my beautiful city McKinney, Texas, has been teaching a series called Intentional Faith University (simply click the link to listen to the teaching) which has served as a timely reminder for me to focus on the faithfulness of my Father, God, rather than the seeming impossible obstacles that sometimes seem to close in on our lives.
Next, I make a point to surround myself with those who inspire and motivate me rahter than those who fill me with negativity that contradicts the truth my Father, God, has laid out in His Word (a.k.a. The Bible). And that includes being very selective about what I read and follow on social media.
But some social media contributors can be a very positive influence in your life. One of my favorite Instagram pages is @PlanetBossThings from the owner of Boss Things Apparel. And today this picture was shared on that page which went right along with all the motivation and inspiration Holy Spirit has been pricking my heart with lately.
So, I challenge you… I challenge me… let’s make our tomorrows different and better than our yesterdays by working hard to be still and settled on the inside while active and productive on the outside. I know it won’t be easy because it’s a new way of living and thinking. But I know it will be worth it.
I dare you to take this quick little challenge on YouTube to see if you get the correct answer. Few do. But more than just A #BrainGame, this is a great illustration of how easy it is to lose focus when there are distractions everywhere.
It also illustrates a beautiful spiritual truth: Just because we don’t see God in the midst of our situation doesn’t mean He’s not there waiting to be found if we only shift our focus off our circumstances and on to Him.
Know that you don’t have to go it alone.
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” – God (The Bible, Hebrews 13:5)
When it feels like people are asking more than you have after you have already given so much, God will empower you to give more than you thought was possible while blessing you to overflow. Rest in HIM and HiS example and you’ll realize no one can ever demand of you more than HE has already given. When I need to regain perspective about how others treat me or how I treat others, Philippians 2 is my “go to” chapter of the Bible when I find my attitude being pulled in the wrong direction. It’s like a #PerspectiveResetButton.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
Learning to live, love, and pray #strategically….