Rocks in the Road

When you feel like there is a rock in your road, remember there is a greater Rock.

Last night, I was in tears as I thought about the rocks in the road. These rocks are the things that attempt to stand in the way of our joy…Things like disappointments, illness, bad grades, struggles…On and on.
Then, I remembered Who is my Rock and my tears turned to those of joy. Despite the hard circumstances of life, and life is hard, I know God is working through everything to draw me closer to Him.

Purpose

Last weekend, my son and I watched the movie A Dog’s Purpose. Despite the fact that I don’t believe in reincarnation, I think that was simply the method to drive home a greater message.

Everyone needs a purpose.

If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, it is about a dog who dies and comes back with another dog life more than once. Each life is very different. The dog questions his purpose…Why is he here?

Isn’t that what we all wonder at some time or another in our lives?

Without spoiling the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, the dog seeks to understand his meaning in each “life” he experiences. Of course, I cried as my teenage son leaned over to me and rolled his eyes. It made me think of my own dogs and how comforting they are to me.

Purpose. What exactly does that mean? The dictionary defines purpose as the reason for which something is created or something exists. 

Everyone needs to feel they have a purpose.

A friend and I had a conversation about purpose over dinner not too long ago. She shared that as she gets older, the concept of purpose has become so much more important to her… Important to the point where she is questioning… What’s next, God?

Purpose is greater than a job. Purpose is more than a title. Purpose is not bringing home a paycheck. These things complement our purpose, but they can’t be our life purpose.

From Ecclesiastes 1…”Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless! What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?”

Work definitely can provide purpose to our lives when we find meaning in what we do and feel valued. Other areas of life…Family, leisure past-time, relationships… Everything works together to create something that feels meaningful for us, our existence here.

But what about purpose?

For me, my purpose is founded and grounded in my faith. Christ is my rock.

Work takes on new meaning when I see myself as working for the Lord and not people.

Relationships take on new meaning when I value others and invest in their lives.

When I truly believe that I am enough in Christ and that He defines my purpose in life then my life takes on meaning despite my circumstances. When I can trust God through the rough spots and believe that He works all things for His greater purpose in my life, then I can embrace my purpose.

Don’t compare your circumstances to someone else’s circumstances. Believe that you were created with a unique purpose only you can fulfill. Trust God to write your story.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8

#adogspurpose #purpose

I’m a Mess…

“I’m a mess.”

She uttered those words as though something was wrong with her. I looked at the woman standing beside me and reassured her that in someway or another, we are all a mess.

Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort.

There is a song by Citizen Way called When I’m With You….  
These are the things that I need to pray cause I can’t find peace any other way. I’m a mess underneath and I’m just too scared to show it. Everything’s not fine and I’m not okay.. 

The song goes on to say that when he is with Christ, then his real person can break through .

This song has been a huge source of comfort for me. The truth is, we are all fighting our own battles. 

The other night while playing games, my son was beating his dad and me in an intense game of Spot It. He was laughing and then said, “I need a day to feel okay and today ain’t that day.” Granted, this was in the context of losing his winning streak, but his quote has been on my mind a lot.

A lot of days, we don’t always feel okay. Whether it is worry, stress, illness, or anything that threatens to steal our joy, we certainly have a lot of reasons to not feel okay.

Thankfully, God’s love and peace and joy in our life is not dependent upon our circumstances. It takes trust to say, Okay, God, I don’t feel okay, this doesn’t feel okay, but I am going to trust You

This is where I am.. learning day by day, moment by moment, to let go of my desire to control and try to fix everything and just be okay with not being okay and trusting God instead of allowing worry and anxiety to take over in my mind.

It is a work in progress. I am a work in progress.

We are all fighting battles of some sort. We all have days when don’t feel okay. We all have days when we feel like a mess.

Trust God. Be kind to others. Listen to them for you may be the person God uses to shine some joy in his/her life. And, likewise, there are people God places in our paths to brighten our days when we don’t feel okay.

Those “Almost”Moments

Ever thought about the “almosts”in your life? I am referring to those moments where you almost didn’t do something and realized later what a huge blessing you would have missed out on if you had listened to those voices of doubt.

I wrote a few days ago about being brave. I am embracing that phrase for this year.

 I listened to Joel Osteen via my temporary free subscription to Sirius radio yesterday morning. He was talking about the favor of God. One of the things he said really resonated with me. So many have this image of God where they are afraid of God being mad at them if they mess up. I have lived with that image for a long time, but God has been revealing to me His love is just because He loves me. It’s not about my performance, my attempt at perfectionism, or anything I do. If I am living in integrity seeking to serve God, He will bless me. It’s all about taking those little steps of faith.

Blessings come in various ways. For me, it is in a friendship, a stronger marriage, moments with my son and daughter, quiet mornings, a supportive work environment, and the growing confidence to be brave.

I am growing professionally, personally, and spiritually at my job…A job I almost didn’t apply for because I thought it would be too far to drive and maybe I wasn’t qualified.

Yesterday, I received word that something I submitted for possible publication was selected… Something I almost didn’t submit because I wasn’t sure if it fit what they were looking for.

When you hear those voices of doubt, those voices that tell you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, creative enough, pretty enough, confident enough…Those voices that threaten to make you second guess your worth and your purpose…Silence them. Pray. Trust. Almost moments are telling you something. They are asking you to be brave. To trust. To believe. 

You are enough in Christ. Embrace that.

Old Fashioned Fun

Having spent a week without my phone, I reconnected with some entertainment that normally mindless phone time would have occupied. 

I read.

I journalled.

I savored the quiet.

I listened to God for His lessons in this time.

Thankfully, a new battery and less than $100 later, my phone is back good as new. No lost pictures. No permanent damage. No huge expense. I am grateful.

The time without my phone has opened my eyes to how people, myself included, spend our time. The act of everyday conversation is becoming a lost art. People don’t engage with each other as much. Just look around a restaurant. Unless, just maybe, you are at Cracker Barrel.

The other night at Cracker Barrel, I observed table after table engaging with one another over a friendly game. I love these little wooden peg games. In fact, my grandfather made me this one years ago. I will always cherish it.
It was refreshing to see so many people interacting and not on devices. I know that our world has shifted just in my short life to be more focused and centered on technology and various forms of media but breaks from all of it is a great thing.
Spending time with older adults daily in my work is also another great reminder of the need to engage and interact with one another in meaningful conversation.

Our family is planning a media free day for an upcoming weekend. As we look forward to this time to connect undistracted, we are very aware that we need to be intentional about our plans. 

The world that God created is too amazing of a place to let everyday moments pass by because our attention is focused downwards on a device.

What are your ideas for old fashioned fun?

Being Brave

Being brave doesn’t have to be a huge heroic act.

Being brave looks different for everyone.

Being brave might mean…

  • Being honest in love and truth with someone about something that is bothering you
  • Taking communion to shut-ins when you feel unequipped
  • Saying no to something you don’t feel right about even if everyone else is saying yes
  • Submitting a writing piece 
  • Choosing faith over fear
  • Not retreating into your phone because it is easier than engaging in conversation

Being brave means you are ready to accept the unknown. You are saying with courage that this feels strangely uncomfortable.

For me, being brave is telling my mind that I will not second guess my decision. I will trust my instincts, make a decision, learn from it, let it go, and move on. Instead of second guessing myself and being anxious, I will choose to be brave.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Today, choose to be brave. Trust God and take that first step into the unknown.

Worship Wednesday

On my commute home from work tonight, I heard a woman who had called into K-Love say that she was declaring Wednesday as “Worship Wednesday.” She was going to take  5 minutes of her Wednesday to simply worship God…to thank Him for all He is doing in her life.

What a great idea. No prayers of God…please I need this but simply taking time to reflect and thank God.

What am I thankful for today?

I am thankful, God, for the lessons You are teaching me in these moments of quietness without my cellphone. I am thankful for reading books again when I may have mindlessly flipped through apps on my cellphone.

I am thankful for really good sleep last night after working a 3rd shift with my staff.

I am thankful for resisting the temptation to drink pop today.

I am thankful for friends and family who listen and who care.

I am thankful for a great Christian resource I found on anxiety.

I am thankful for continued progress step by step, day by day in this work life balance.

I am thankful for a job that I love despite its challenges. I am thankful for all the ways You are using it to grow me.

Most of all, God, I am thankful that You love me despite my flaws, my imperfections, my mistakes…You love me for simply being me.

work-for-the-lord