Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fight with Courage

Monday I shared on the Kyrie Coffee blog about starting with the ordinary. Check it out here.

People have referred to life as many different things. A journey, a process, a ride, a roller coaster, a course. So many different ways to try and adequately describe the ever-changing but constant thing we call life. It is full of so many different experiences that leave us with all kinds of impressions, which explains all of the different sentiments we are left with. Nevertheless, life is a journey. It is a process and a wild ride, often resembling that of a roller coaster. And it is definitely a course, one that we either pass or fail.

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny...
C.S. Lewis

In life we often find ourselves in a battle. I dare say we may always be in a battle (I am not sure if that is the best way to describe it). What I mean by that is, there is always something we are, or at least we should be, fighting for. We may not be taking blows to the head, but we may be throwing some punches of our own. We fight for love. Loving relationships take work. If we aren't fighting for them we are working against them. We fight for our dreams. Making dreams a reality takes hard work, it takes a fight. We fight for our faith. There are many opponents who will cross punch us with doubt and discouragement. We have to stay in the ring and fight back with the truth, with our complete trust in God. We fight for a lot of things. And to even get in the ring prepared to fight takes guts.

Sadly, we discredit ourselves more than anyone else, and we need to stop that! You may not be putting up the best fight in life right now, but if you are in the fighting ring at all you clearly are brave. If you are not in the fighting ring I hope and pray you will find the courage to get in and to fight. You see, in life there is no neutral ground. If you aren't fighting for your life that doesn't mean the fight is not happening. Even if you are hiding in the dark the fight is on. If you are not in the ring it means you are losing the fight. When we don't fight for our life it is like taking a puzzle and dumping the pieces on the table hoping all of the pieces will fall into their appropriate place. It won't happen, friend.

Today I want to encourage you to fight with courage. Don't run from difficulty, fight it. As C.S. Lewis articulated, difficulty and hardships don't define you, they refine you. Face the hard things with courage. Fight for what is important with courage. If you feel like a fighter who is hiding in the corner of the ring, looking for someone to tag in and go a few rounds for you, have courage. Turn around and face the battle because it is yours for the winning. Have courage, because you are never in the ring alone. God is in your corner, He is by your side, He is fighting with you, and He will fight the battles you can't win on your own. You've got a champion on your side. 

Go get 'em fighter.


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I shared this on Instagram this morning, but I wanted to share it with you all as well. Pray with me, will ya?


Today is a big day for someone close to me. Today my friend embarks on a new journey not knowing all that lies ahead. Today my friend puts her faith into action not knowing what will materialize as a result. Today my friend says goodbye to so many she loves without the guarantee of getting to say hello again. Today my friend chooses to trust God despite the unknown, but with the certainty that with Him she can walk on water. So proud of her devotion and complete abandonment to God's willing. She knows her life would never be as scary but as wonderful without Him. Please say a prayer as my friend, Rachel, is in the air today. Pray for her safety but also that God will continue to grant her courage throughout the day. (My friend Rachel) ‪#‎adventurewaiting‬

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Get Dirty

I was recently reminded of how messy life can be... and when I say recently I mean within the last week. I also came to the realization that I have gotten out of the practice of being inconvenienced for others' sake. We can grow accustomed to the idea of doing what is convenient for ourselves. Now that doesn't mean we only do what we want to do, but it means even in the tasks that are "work" we take the most convenient path for ourselves. I feel that I am still a person who serves others. I try to help friends and family even when I don't feel like it, but most times that doesn't really inconvenience me. It just adds something extra for me to do. So when an incident arose that completely and utterly inconvenienced me I realized I needed an attitude adjustment.

Not gonna lie, I felt pretty crummy. Here I am thinking I am doing my best to love like Jesus and be like Jesus, but didn't want to give up my plans and my comfort to help someone in great need. It wasn't the fact that I didn't help the person, because I did, but it was my attitude and secret thoughts that worried me. Goodness. When did I get so caught up in my own life that people became second class compared to my comfort and convenience? The more I dwell on it the more I desire to change.

In my experience being inconvenienced for others is easiest when you are in the practice of doing so. The deal is allowing yourself to be inconvenienced for others isn't letting yourself go, letting go of obligations, or even responsibilities. It is simply putting aside your comforts and giving up what is easy to meet the needs of someone else. It means that you are willing to get your hands dirty so to speak. There are plenty of people to throw money at problems, carry the light weight, and clean up clutter. But there aren't enough people who will get down in the trenches with people and "put their hands to the plow," carry the heavy burdens, and do the dirty work. We will all come to a point in our life when we will need just that kind of a person. I hope that I can be that person for people. I want to get in the habit of putting my comfort on the back burner and getting dirty for someone else's sake.

In fact, it seems that beautiful things can come from dirty places.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Do it for Jesus

The other day I shared on something that I have been trying to live out, "Doing it for Jesus." You can read that post here. When we see all of our efforts as work for God it takes the weariness out and it takes the bad attitude out of our heart. So today I am going on with that thought and sharing some reasons we should change our mindsets and let it revolutionize the way we see work.

First of all, do it for Jesus because His opinion matters.
People can have their opinions. They may think we don't do enough, or we do too much, but their opinions aren't supreme. It's God's opinion that should be the motivation behind everything we do. And it is important to remember that God sees it all. He sees what we do, but He also see how we do it.
"People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart."
Proverbs 21:2

Secondly, do it for Jesus because He alone is worthy.
We can get hung up on doing things for people who deserve it. They may not deserve it, but Jesus does. When we are doing it for Jesus we will never feel as if we are working in vain. You know, we can't get caught up on what other people are doing or how they are doing them. You don't have to answer for their action and attitudes. You have to answer for your own.

"And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."
Colossians 3:17

Finally, do it for Jesus because He cares.
Don't get discouraged by all you have done that seems to have gone unnoticed. While they may not have acquired the recognition you would like, just wait. God sees. He knows the sacrifices you have made. And He cares. He cares about the hard work. He cares about what you have accomplished. He cares. People may not care, but it needs to be enough that God does. And when He is who you are doing it for, that's all that will matter.

So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.
Galatians 6:9

Keep doing what you're are doing knowing you are doing it for Jesus.

'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
Matthew 25:45


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Revolutionary.

There are things that none of us want to do. But we have to.

There are things that we are asked to do and don't want to. But we have to.

There has been a huge movement towards the lifestyle of "being your own boss." I love small business. I love to support small businesses. They are the symbol of freedom and chasing down dreams. But the reality is, whether you work for yourself or for someone else, there will be things  you have to do even if you don't want to do them. It may be at the request of a client, a co-worker, a family member, your boss, a neighbor... plenty of people make requests of you, be it your time or otherwise. I can say there have been times when I have been asked to do something and just want to roll my eyes and respond with a firm "no." But I don't. I may mentally respond in that way, but in reality I give a "sure, no problem," kind of response.

We will all be asked to do things we don't want to do. We will all be asked to do things we don't think are necessary or important. But as I am learning, we must do them anyways. Not begrudgingly, but joyfully. Why? Because we're not doing it for them.

Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Ephesians 6:7

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24

With those two scriptures in mind, work ethic and work attitude is revolutionized. All of those ridiculous tasks are no longer so ridiculous. That annoyance that creeps in when asked to do something outside of your job description is silenced. Why? Because we aren't working for our boss or even our clients, we are working for our Lord. 

I have been mediating on these verses. Anytime I get frustrated I remind myself, "I am doing it for Jesus.... I am doing it for Jesus." I challenge you to do the same. It may not change anything at work, but it will change you. It transforms your heart and revolutionizes the way you work. It isn't about working anymore, it is only about serving. Serving God.


**Be sure to check back! More on "doing it for Jesus" on Thursday. 







Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Never, never, never...

I think we (modern society) over-glorify the idea of starting things. We encourage each other to do what's hard, do what is a little scary, to take risks, and to be brave. Which we should, because stepping out into the new and the unknown is difficult. It really is. However, I would propose today that sticking with something that you have already started in your life is much, much more difficult.

I am sure that some of this can be contributed to different personalities, so it may be completely different for some people, but it seems to me that being consistent, faithful, and passionate can be a major struggle. We get excited about the idea of something new. Sure it can be scary, but the excitement can help us bypass a lot of that fear. So starting a new business, hobby, or some other venture can be exciting, but there comes a time when that excitement wears off... and usually that happens when there is some push back coming at us. It happens when the real work sets in. We may kick off a new business with a bang, but when it gets down to the numbers and expectations that aren't met, we start second guessing ourselves.

"Maybe this wasn't such a great idea."

"Maybe I should quit before I have too much invested."

"This is just too hard."

We start singing quite the different tune. It is the age-old idea that we, for some reason, believed only applied to kids. They want to take gymnastics.... after a few months it is karate.... then swimming lessons to become an Olympic swimmer... then music lessons to become the next superstar.... then... Kids are not the only ones who do this. Grown ups do it too. All the time. So let's change that.

I would like to propose we stop putting so much emphasis on someone's courage to start something / do something new, but rather on their courage to stick with it. Let's congratulate their zeal, but let's celebrate the dedication of someone who doesn't give up... even when others would. Because that is real bravery. Riding into undiscovered territory may be scary, but riding out the storms is too.

As Winston Churchill said, "Never. Never. Never give up."

I couldn't say it any better myself.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Live Full


You can truly learn something from just about anyone and anywhere. I say that to elude to a short video I recently watched that challenged in such a good way. I was watching a short interview of a recording artist who was giving the back story for one of her new projects. In this interview the artist talked about something she had been inspired to do to keep her life focused and strong. She made a list of things that she had to have in her life to function fully. Things that were essential to keeping her spiritually, emotionally, and physically strong. This list included many things most people would agree are essential, things like time with the Lord, time with her family, and time with uplifting people. I think we would all agree those are important things, so we should certainly be intentional about planning them into our lives.

I decided to use her concept for myself. So I too made a list of things that I have to have in my life. I put down the essentials, but then I took time to take inventory. I thought about activities that may not be essential, but they refresh me; to put it simply, they make me happier. You know, I think just as we need to be intentional about the essentials in our life, we need to be intentional about making time for things that refresh us, things that keep us inspired, and renew joy in our hearts for life.

So I reflected. I took inventory. What are things essential to keeping me strong spiritually, emotionally, and physically? What things make me 100%? Personally, I made two lists. One was for things I needed in my daily routine and the other for the things I need in my weekly routine. Yes the essentials are in there, but I realized I need to make time for the fun stuff, for the stuff that will keep me inspired. I needed some hobbies and adventures in there! So I made ANOTHER list (and all the type A personalities said "Duh, what else would you do??"). In this list I complied things that I currently do or have done that I really enjoy. Things like graphic design, painting, coffee tasting, writing, hiking, concerts/events. Then I added things that I would like try. For which I included knitting/crocheting, handwriting classes, kickboxing class, painting class, learn a foreign language. Silly, unnecessary things, but all things that help me try new things and stay inspired so I can always be at 100%.

What are some things you currently do to keep you inspired and keep you at 100%? 








Tuesday, June 23, 2015

God is Able

A few months back I shared a deeply intimate post that I wrote the morning after my uncle passed away (You can read that here). The post was raw emotion. I had to stop between phrases and release the tears that were filling my eyes as I wrote. It was filled with honest heartache. There were so many pictures in my mind characterizing my uncle, I wanted to describe them perfectly so they could never fade or diminish. To me it was one of the most real posts I have written. Here is a little exert I would like to revisit today:
A familiar voice comes over the phone with news and a call to prayer. So we do. We pray. After all, God created us so He can fix us. Faith united. Faith multiplied. He is able.
He is able. 
You know that has been a common sentence in my personal communication. God is able. It is something I say not only as encouragement to others, but I even say it in prayer, "God, You are able..." as if I am reminding Him. God doesn't need reminding, but I sure do. 

I remember my prayers that night after hearing that my uncle was in need of a miracle. I remember praying with a kind of boldness, "God, You are able. It isn't even hard for you. Do a miracle..." But then I questioned in my mind, "But will He?" I say I questioned in my mind because my lips would not let me utter those doubtful words. However after experiencing how different God seems to work things out compared to the way I would work them out, it causes me to question, "But will He?"

My uncle did pass away. I prayed, many people prayed, for a miracle, why? Because God is able. But still, the miracle was not the one we had expected, and to be honest it wasn't the miracle we had hoped for. But I know it was the miracle my uncle Bill's soul hoped for, and even longed for. The prayer I was praying wasn't answered in the way I had imagined it should be, but guess what.... God is still able.

Can I encourage you today? No matter what you are facing today, God is able. The prayers you have been praying, God hears them loud and clear and is more than able to answer them. The difficult situation that doesn't seem to have an escape plan, God is able to bring you out of. Whatever you have need of, whatever situation you find yourself in God is able. Remind yourself of that. As someone recently encouraged me, "Ask again. Trust again." 

He is able. Just ask. Just trust.
Again and again and again.