An Altered Course

Sometimes, things unravel.

Sometimes, when everything seems to be falling in place, something suddenly alters from what you thought was the perfect laid out course.

And, just like that, your “perfect” course is no more. 

Yesterday, I received news that alters my course and leaves my well developed plan now feeling uncertain. The news wasn’t earth shattering. In fact, there was an element of joy in news. It just wasn’t my personal joy to celebrate, but then again, it’s not about me.

I trust God in this. I trust I am still on the course He desires for me. I’m just not going to be traveling the course in the way I thought, but I know I need to stay the course.


I have to cling to what I know. That’s the thing about God’s Word. When circumstances alter, His Word remains constant. His grace is still there. 
Yesterday, I read this: “Here is the great irony about opportunities. They usually come disguised as insurmountable problems.” Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Today, the truth in that statement feels just a little bit more real…a little more personal.

And what is the message to me in this? 

Maybe grace is disguised in these difficult moments. Maybe, hopefully, I will look back and see how this time only served to grow me and stretch me more.

It’s not about me. 

His plan will prevail. 

Can I trust what’s next without knowing?

Can you trust your plans to God?

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We’re Not so Different…

Today, I am tired. It was one of those nights where you just lay there and try to will yourself to sleep.

I pushed through the day. Many of those surrounding me were doing the same thing. It didn’t help that the weather was somber and rainy skies.

Towards the end of the day, I had an interaction with someone which made me realize something. 

We’re not so different.

As I listened to her make a completely irrational statement and follow it with, “I guess that just comes from the anxiety,” I couldn’t help but think, I get it. I get it.

Max Lucado defines fear as something that sees a threat whereas anxiety imagines a threat.

It often takes only one thing to trigger the anxiety before it spirals into a volcano of what ifs.

It’s really not the easiest way to live. 

I know. I’ve been there. And to be honest, every day is a concentrated effort to decide that I will not live like that.

How have I traveled this far to a place where peace comes easier and sooner?

By the grace of God.

Last year, I was just beginning this journey to battle anxiety head on. Click here to learn more.

The past year has definitely been a journey. I have realized that men and women, young and old, rich and not so rich suffer from anxiety.

We’re really not so different.

God meets us where we are and loves us as we are. He is opening my eyes and heart to a willingness to be vulnerable with safe people. 
Anxiety is a journey, but He promises to be with us for the duration of the journey. 

That alone should bring some peace.

And my interaction from earlier? I simply reassured her, smiled at her, and let her know everything in that moment truly was okay. It’s so wonderful that I can now be a source of steady and calm encouragement for others who struggle with anxiety, too.

That is only by the grace of God.

Grace in Mistakes

I hate making mistakes. Who doesn’t?

Mistakes, though, can be the catalyst for change, growth, and success in our lives.

Here are some great quotes on mistakes…

  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Albert Einstein
  • Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? L.M. Montgomery
  • Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. Mahatma Ghandhi
  • We learn from failure, not success! Bram Stoker
  • The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. Elbert Hubbard

That last quote really resonates with me. I had a boss once tell me to stop second guessing myself and to make a decision and be okay with it. Why was I second guessing myself? The fear of making a mistake.

Being afraid to make a mistake can be so paralyzing for our potential growth.

As much as we all hate to make mistakes, if we change our perspective on mistakes, they can become amazing growth opportunities. Here are a few things I am learning about my own growth.

  1. Own your mistakes but don’t let them paralyze you.
  2. Talk through them with a trusted friend or mentor.
  3. Step back from the personal element of it and think how you might respond or handle it differently next time.
  4. Develop a plan to help you so you don’t make the same mistake again.
  5. Extend grace to yourself… success is progress, not perfection.

When you are blessed with the gift of a great leader, friend, mentor who sees your potential and desires to help you grow and succeed, accept the gift of their grace in your life.

The most important thing? Pray. Share your fears with God. Confess your shortcomings. Ask and seek His wisdom and guidance in your decision making and leadership. 

His grace finds us wherever we are including in our mistakes.

Unforced rhythms of grace

As I drove home from a very long day at work, I listened to the end of a recorded sermon from one of my favorite pastors.

The message focused on being worried and upset. The scripture she taught from is a passage near and dear to my heart because it hits so close to home in terms of what I struggle with.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Now as they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what he was saying. But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself, don’t you? Then tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”

Martha, Martha, Martha.

I can relate to Martha. I am the busy one. I find it hard to even sit still and watch TV with my son without doing something else with my hands… folding laundry, flipping through my phone, sorting through the mail…you get the picture. 

In turn, I find myself holding those same expectations of others. It’s like I expect people to be busy all the time. 

As I listened to the close of her message, something captured my attention deeply.

She talked about being still, in His presence, in the unforced rhythms of grace.

Unforced… obviously means to not force something

To take that one step further, it means to be free….

Rhymth…a strong repeated pattern

Grace…the undeserved favor

When I think of it all wrapped together, it comforts and amazes me. 

And to be completely honest, convicts me.

Why?

I find it so much easier to wrestle in the unrest of anxiety and fear instead of rest at the feet of Jesus. I ask Him to please take my burdens, but I so easily take them back as I play through the game of what ifs and conjure up a multitude of circumstances.

In the famous words of Dr. Phil…. how’s that working for you?

Um, well, actually not so well. 

What if instead I chose to rest at the feet of Jesus like Mary?

How different would my life feel if I trusted in the unforced rhythms of grace?

As anxiety tugs at the deepest places within me, I ask myself those very questions.

What if I trust Jesus with my worries and fears enough to let Him keep them instead of me trying to take them back to hold onto them just a little while longer?

Could I finally find the quiet I yearn for in the unforced rhythms of His grace?

I believe I could. And you can, too.

It’s a sweet surrender…a little more dying to self. If we choose to trust Him, He promises to be right there with us.

Grace Beyond the Lines

Recently, at a writing conference, the speaker talked about how we as children learn these beliefs about ourselves and  then we carry them into our adult lives.

As he spoke, an experience from third grade popped back in my mind. I had completed a worksheet for English. The content was absolutely one hundred percent correct; however, I had not stayed within the lines. My freshly learned cursive writing had extended beyond the given lines. I was required to stay inside from recess and fix my “mistake.” For a quiet, shy young someone who already aimed to do the right thing, this only fed into my drive for perfection.

This perfectionism has been a constant companion into adult life. It drives my performance, my anxiety, and my fears.

Last fall, God really began unravelling some of this root of the need for perfection. It has been a slow unravelling, but I no longer believe that perfection is the goal.

At work, we talk about redefining success as progress not perfection. I may not like mistakes, but I can embrace them as part of my growth.

Today, I am grateful for the grace of second chances. I am grateful for the freedom to not be perfect. When we walk in His strength, His grace is sufficient.

Sometimes, following a God given dream involves taking a risk. You may just have to look, write, or walk beyond those “safe” lines. What the world views as a mistake may just be the very path He has set before you. Pray, listen, and trust.

Just Enough…

I attended a wedding last night. It seems like Friday night weddings are becoming more popular. As the pastor delivered the wedding message, this phrase really resonated with me…

May you experience just enough failure that your hands stay tightly in His and may you experience enough success to know you are following His calling for your life.

I think we underestimate the importance of failure. I think we forget the value of learning from our mistakes. 

If we are brave enough to honestly look at our lives and allow God to peel back the layers, the areas where we need to surrender and grow are exposed.

Some of my most difficult moments in life have been wrapped up in failures. Yet, some of my most rewarding moments have been unraveled through those very same failures.

Enough failure to lean closely into God and enough success to smile and know…yup, God is working through the mess in my life.

I am reading In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. He believes that our trials have a way of helping us rediscover our purpose in life.

I have seen that play out in my life time after time.

Trust God. Embrace failure. Celebrate success. Seek your purpose in Christ. And chase those things you believe He is calling you to chase. Discover all you were created to be day by day!!


Rooted Trust

What do you root your trust in?

For He shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:8

Those two words jump out at me…fear and anxiety. 
I heard a pastor reference this passage and I have been reflecting and praying over it.

It’s not about our circumstances. Life is messy. It is about our response and where we root our trust. We don’t need to fear the situations that complicate our lives (the heat) because God can and will use these situations to produce good things in our lives. We need not be anxious when life feels like it is falling apart (the drought), because God sees the whole picture and is working in our lives.

It is easy to trust when things are going well, but this verse reminds me to keep my faith rooted in God despite my circumstances.

He can create good stuff in my life.