Reflecting Our Maker Involves Defining Who We Are

So… Since I’m pretty transparent with my history of struggling with codependency (aka boundarylessness aka #ApprovalAddiction) and depression, I will share that one of my first “missions” after starting my great new job in an amazing new-to-me city was to get established with a great Christian counselor. This is priority for me: to have someone at my side who can look into my life objectively and help prevent me from falling back in to old destructive patterns.

However, I am not sure I got money’s worth during the hour I spent with her this week. Or, perhaps – better said: I DID get my money’s worth – but it was all packed in to the last minute of the session. You see, after 59 minutes of mostly me rambling about trying to conquer all my issues and live a more defined and disciplined life – she closed the session with a prayer. And in that prayer she said, “Father, help Tracy to define who she is because she wants to be like You and You define who You are.” Wow. That right there was worth the entire counseling fee.

That one statement got me thinking about how so many of the great #GodQuotes in the Bible are of Him defining Himself. If you doubt me on this, just do a #BibleStudy or a #GoogleSearch on the #NamesOfGod.

God makes it #CrystalClear who He is and Who He is not. And since we’re designed like our Maker, it is no wonder that when we don’t take time to define who we are and let anyone or anything else define us – we are absolutely miserable at our core.

So, my “homework” from my counselor this week is to put two columns on a piece of paper to define who I am and who I am not. And… I’m thinking I may not be the only one who needs to do this – so I thought I’d share. We live in an age where so many things from marketing campaigns to social media are vying to define us. But let’s spend some time with our Maker and define ourselves instead!

Labor Day Irony: Our Most Important WORK is RESTING in HIM

On this Labor Day holiday, I feel compelled to blog about the importance of resting all of who we are and what we do in the unending strength of all HE is and all He gives.

I woke up with the song “I Am Who He Says I Am” by Hillsong in my head and heart this morning. (And you can listen by following this link: https://youtu.be/lKw6uqtGFfo). And it was a sweet reminder that true rest and meaningful work can only be known when we truly embrace the truth in these lyrics.

Who am I that the highest King

Would welcome me?

I was lost but He brought me in

Oh His love for me

Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free

Oh is free indeed

I’m a child of God

Yes I am

Free at last, He has ransomed me

His grace runs deep

While I was a slave to sin

Jesus died for me

Yes He died for me

Who the Son sets free

Oh is free indeed

I’m a child of God

Yes I am

In my Father’s house

There’s a place for me

I’m a child of God

Yes I am

I am chosen

Not forsaken

I am who You say I am

You are for me

Not against me

I am who You say I am….

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” –Isaiah 40:31

Don’t be a squirrel.

Ok, so…. When I saw this, it made me laugh. But it made me think, too. Could our lack of decision-making actually be a lack of faith in the fact that God is still God if when we don’t make the best decisions?

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” –James 1:5-8 (The Message Paraphrase)

Let Love Lead

So… I’m typically not into the whole Royal Wedding thing.

I believe our culture’s fascination with pomp & circumstance, celebrity, and fame causes us to miss out on encounters with the everyday amazing in our own hometown.

That being said, it really was an amazing ceremony!

Preach!!!

In our families, communities, and careers – it’s time to

Let love lead the way!

Seize the Day!

As I flew back from Atlanta this weekend, I realized that I have been in 7 different states (Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, California, and Georgia) in as many months.

Some of that travel was for difficult things like being at my Mother-in-Law’s bedside as she transitioned to Heaven. Other trips were for adventures like my first Interim Nurse Leadership assignment or hiking trips with a dear friend. Other journeys provides much needed reconnection with family I have seen much too infrequently over the years: my Dad, my sisters, nieces and nephews, and most recently some awesome cousins-by-marriage during my trip to Atlanta.

I have worked hard at my current assignment in Virginia while doing phone interviews during lunch breaks to see where God wants me next. The few weekdays off I have had have been to fly to on-site panel interviews. Each step of the way I have seen God provide for my husband and I and even grow our relationship through the increased intentionality (planning trips to see each other and long reconnecting phone calls) that a successful relationship across distance requires. Along the way I have reconnected with old friends and made new friends.

I had someone say to me recently, “I don’t see how you do it – how you keep up the pace and do all you’re doing. Aren’t you tired?”

Sure. I get tired at times… Exhausted at times, actually. But those times are countered by the fact that this whole recent whirlwind-of-a-journey has actually been quite invigorating. You see, I have done more intentional, purpose-driven living during the past several months than I have in decades. I would do it all over again and I am not planning to stop anytime soon. Every moment is a gift and it’s time to make the most of each one. It’s time to Seize the Day.

All these thoughts have thrown me back to a song from the 1990’s by Canadian singer/songwriter, Carolyn Arends. Check out the awesome lyrics below or checkout the song on YouTube by clicking this link

SEIZE THE DAY

I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan

She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin

She is an author, or maybe a poet

A genius, but it’s just this world doesn’t know it

She works on her novel most everyday

If you laugh she will say

Seize the day, seize whatever you can

‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand

Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand

Then nothing will stand in your way

Seize the day

Well I know a doctor, a fine young physician

Left his six figure job for a mission position

He’s healing the sick in an African village

He works in the dirt and writes home to the cynics

He says “We work through the night so most every day

As we watch the sun rise we can say

Seize the day, seize whatever you can

‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand

Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand

Then nothing will stand in your way

Seize the day

I know a man who’s been doing some thinking

He’s as bitter and cold as the whiskey he’s drinking

He’s talking ’bout fear, about chances not taken

If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking

He says “One day you’re a boy and the next day you’re dead

I wish way back when someone had said

Seize the day, seize whatever you can

‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand

Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand

Then nothing will stand in your way

Seize the day

Well one thing I’ve noticed wherever I wander

Everyone’s got a dream he can follow or squander

You can do what you will with the days you are given

I’m trying to spend mine on the business of living

So I’m singing my songs off of any old stage

You can laugh if you want, I’ll still say

Seize the day, seize whatever you can

‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand

Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand

Then nothing will stand in your way

Seize the day

Songwriters: Carolyn Bernice Arends

Seize the Day lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group

Happy Moving-Forward Monday!

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 ‭