Tag Archive | Victorious

No Passing Zone

I’ve been throwing this topic around in my head for weeks. I’m not sure that I even have enough of a cohesive thought about it to actually make something that sounds helpful or encouraging, but I’m ready for it to leave my brain.

Transition from one very safe place into a much unknown place can be mucky and murky and difficult. I’ve encountered more “trust issues” in the last year than I have in the last decade. It’s made me think back to the old me, the one who didn’t trust people, and I had to play this out carefully to not allow myself to slip back into that place of a consistently untrusting spirit.

The definition of trust is simple: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. The act of trusting is not quite so simple, though. It isn’t just the ability to be vulnerable with another human; it’s the conscious decision to believe your safety is of interest to another human; whether it’s emotional, physical, spiritual, etc…

In hindsight, because I allowed myself to try and run ahead of God and the plans He had for me, I felt like I was suddenly not under His armor or behind His shield or allowing Him to journey ahead of me in order to clear the path. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe for one hot second that God walked away from me and suddenly left me unprotected, but I did walk ahead of Him – with an unconscious flip of my hand saying, “thanks for getting me to this point, God … I got it from here.”

And now I have s6195593_origome consequences for that. I’ve been a little dinged up, a little bit damaged, and a little less trusting. Not because of anything He did, but because of what I thought I could do without Him leading the way. God does give us wisdom to make decisions and opportunities to spread our wings, but when we’re too busy running ahead, we’re running right by the things He has for us and we don’t even realize it.

The good news is that we have a God of mercy and grace. When we run ahead, we can turn back to Him and He’ll give us a proverbial pat on the head and say something like, “passing Me the baton now, eh?” and He’ll keep it pushin.. (maybe He just says that to me… :p )

So for those of us feeling a little battered, a little bruised, a little unsure of the people in our circle, or just plain unsure of ourselves – let’s take some time to check our placement. Are we under and behind His armor or are we walking ahead trying to “handle it” on our own. If it’s the latter, I’ll be praying with you (and myself) that we might be made aware when we’re trying to run ahead and that we fall back under His loving protection.

 

 

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Blessing Reminders

Blessings are sometimes overlooked. I’m totally guilty.

A friend of mine said to me today, “blessings come very easily for you. It’s not a bad thing, you’ve been such a blessing to other people and now you’re reaping that reward.”

What? What blessings? Do you know that I’m praying for this, and this, and that? And this one thing I’ve been praying for 15 years! This other thing I’ve been praying for almost two years! I have this on my list and this and that one thing. I’m waiting for ALL of these things or at least one to pan out for me. I just need to catch a break.

Wablessed-aviciih Wah Wah Wahhhh! WAH!

I didn’t say all that. Inside my head, though, I did. Until…

I realized how right she was and how grateful I am that she called me on it.

In the recent months, I’ve been showered with blessings. Help with car repairs, birthday gifts I don’t deserve, meals at nice restaurants that I wouldn’t normally go to, even a couple trips because of the generosity of those who love me. I’ve had friends purge their closets and I’ve acquired the rewards. People have been generous and kind to my man-child.

There really are so many things! The problem is that my focus keeps being drawn to the things I’m not receiving. The things I think I *really* want/need, but aren’t coming to fruition.

Help me, God, I’m a blind, thankless woman who can’t even appreciate (beyond the immediate appreciation) the blessings that have come to me because I’m so determined to keep my eye on the blaringly obvious things that I feel are still missing.

I can’t imagine I’m the only one who has done this… right? Back me up here…

So, take a few minutes… do an internal audit of the things happening around you, to you, and for you. Those, my friend, are blessings.

It’s too easy to slip into that place of “not enough” or “why not me?” Flip that focus switch, friends. Allow God to show you the work He’s doing for you, how He’s providing, and how He’s lining up His people on your behalf.

He is a good, kind, gracious, loving God. Amen!

 

Hope is Him…

The fact that I wrote about hope last year, on this Saturday – the in-between day – and that God is prompting the same topic on this Saturday – the in-between day – a year later shouldn’t surprise me.hope-is-not-a-philosophy

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I’ve been writing, but not really, a post about my man child leaving home for a couple weeks now. I just can’t seem to get it done. I can’t put my feelings of joy and sadness into words yet. I try. I can’t.

This week has been especially difficult. You see, I received some bad news on Monday. It sorta rocked my world, definitely shook my confidence, and just crumpled my spirits. I was sad, bummed out, and feeling pretty defeated.

It took me all of half the day to get over it, though. The defeat was momentary. I can only give praise to Christ for that. I have too much faith in His call and purpose for me to sit and question anything for too long. I have to trust that what He says and does is for my very best.

I am living out a year with victory in mind, a year of expectation, and big, big hope. When something comes before me, I get SUPER excited about it and have a hope that seems larger than life. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty all-consuming hope. Driving to work one day, a couple weeks ago, I was so overwhelmed with hope, joy, and expectation over this particular thing that I just sobbed big, fat happy tears for how GOOD God is to me!

Imagine my surprise when that door closed. God, remember that morning we were driving? Remember how happy I was that You WERE going to make this happen? Remember how excited I was about it? He remembers. And He knows better. He knows me better. His plan is always better than my own.

Where I was stumbling, though, was how to continue standing in hope and expectation when there’s a good chance defeat will be on the other end. How do we expect the Lord to do something and not be so sad when He doesn’t do what we’re asking? When I brought this up, in my small group, I received the best, most quiet reply. “At least you still have hope.” Ahh… I DO still have hope. Lots and lots of it.

Her answer reminded me how many people walk around feeling hopeless, never expecting their lives to change or become different. Even those who know and trust Christ, fall into the enemy’s pit of hopelessness. I think back to Joshua 1, when the Israelites were told to cross the Jordan – without any clue about how or what would happen next – they were told that all things promised to them would come, they need only take the first step without seeing the big picture. It’s Hope! And it’s Faith!

On a day like the in-between Saturday, we’re reminded that when things seem bleak or hopeless, we can’t even imagine what’s on the other side of this day.

Hope Risen.

Risen Hope.

If we have the ability to believe and know that Christ was slaughtered for us. Died on the cross for us. Was buried in a tomb for us. And then rose from the grave so that we might be able to have life and HOPE in Him, then we have to continue to stand in the promises of Him.

He is good.

He is alive.

He is our hope.

Seeing me through His eyes

About ten days ago, I was given a challenge at my bible study. Of course, since one of my mottos is to never do anything alone that I can do with someone else; I challenged some of my friends to do it with me. And now, I’m sharing the challenge with you.

The leader of the bible study asked us, “what is something you wish that other people knew and understood about you?” I didn’t even have to think about it. My answer to this question is easy. I wish people knew and understood how badly I want to share my life with someone. Many of my friends compliment me on my strength, independence, courage, ability to “do it all,” and how confident I am to tackle the world.

No. I mean yes. I would like to think that God has given me some really great opportunities to grow and handle business as a mom, an employee, a student, in ministry, etc… But really… I’m mostly a mess.

I try to figure out ways, in my head, that I might be more approachable or more attractive or more looked upon or more desirable or more open and vulnerable or blah blah blah. I feel like I spend so much time trying to see me the way others see me so that I can fix whatever is so broken in me that it makes me unwanted.

Yeah.

I didn’t share all that in my bible study, but oddly the assignment I was given spoke right to that nasty place in my heart. The leader asked me if I would consider taking a few days to get still before God, just me and Him – and a pen and journal – and ask Him simply, “God, what do YOU think about me?” and be prepared to write down the things He reveals to my heart.blog-el-roi

I am open to ask God anything. Where should I go? Who should I talk to? Should I be part of this or part of that? Asking Him what He thought about me, though? The thought never crossed my mind. It’s like sitting in front of my mom and asking her the same question. Scary.

Naturally, I shouldn’t have been surprised when the conference I attended the weekend right after this assignment was given was all about what God thinks about us. It’s like He lined it all up – just so. Isn’t that how He always tends to do things?

I confess that I haven’t done it yet, but I will this week. And I’d like to challenge you to the same thing. Take a few minutes, over a period of a couple of days, and just sit before God and ask Him – what do You think about me? And wait for Him to reveal His vision OF you TO you. Write these things down and at the end of the days you set aside to do this, go back and read all the things He’s shared with you. I’m pretty sure we’re all going to walk away seeing ourselves a little bit differently.

God saw us precious enough to send His own Son to the Cross for us. I’d like to see myself that way for a while. And I bet you’d like that too. Let’s do it!

Being Victorious… and that’s okay.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB) But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Our founding pastor gave us a project this morning. Write.

Well, okay. That’s easy! His purpose is to start writing down things that are a vision for us throughout the year. Once they’re on paper (or blog), then they become easier to realize because they aren’t thoughts that are just trapped in our head. We are allowing others to see our vision and to support us until the vision is brought to completion.

I have so many visions, friends. So, this post won’t be about those, but about me and the vision I have for myself over this coming year. Because of my becoming, though, I hope that some of the other visions start to take shape and those things that make up my heart dreams will come to life in a way that I never even hoped or expected.

I’ve shared my word with all of you – victorious! I am in *love* with that word, y’all! And I am working in quite a few areas in my life where I want those victories to shine. This morning, though, another thought came to mind (thanks, God!). Not just being victorious in things and certain aspects, but really BEING victorious. Wha?

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Here’s the thing, we all know it’s a really – really – fine line between being humble and being proud. Being sanguine and being haughty.  I like to accomplish things. I feel like God has gifted me with the ability to lead. I like to know that goals are being met and I had a part in doing it. However, I do not like the limelight or the public recognition of it all. I prefer a quiet “atta girl” and being done with the whole thing. I feel like God has given me some really great gifts, but I want to be mindful to not take those for granted or to come off as being boastful and arrogant. But I do want to be confident.

I remember teaching a lesson once about accepting compliments and recognition. I taught it because I struggled (still do!) with it myself. I hoped that by teaching it, I would get better at it. I maybe did, a little. But I also didn’t, a lot. Just a couple weeks ago, I had to go to my manager, who had graciously handed me a few very nice compliments within a matter of a couple days and I ungraciously deflected them, and apologize for doing that. She was being kind and I was unaccepting. Ugh, I hate that about myself! Humble, proud, humble, proud… it’s like my head spins.

Because of the message I heard at church today and one I saw on Facebook after church today, I had to realize this is still something in me that needs a lot of work. The Facebook message was a full-blown encouragement to me and my walk over the last year. I was complimented on my courage and told that I was an inspiration. And that I was loved. My first thought was, “whatevs… I’m just doing what God wants me to do, no big deal! It’s nothing really.” Instead, I typed, “I love you,” and left it right there. It all kinda came together, in that moment, that people (not a lot granted, but a few solid ones! lol) are watching me. They are watching my journey, watching my faith being walked out, and looking at me in a way that’s a little bit scary for me.

And that’s when it hit… God is trying to make ME victorious! Say whaaaaat? He is using me in a way that I didn’t consider before today. Man… part of me has been so confused about this whole journey and how it was supposed to work and why it had to happen this way. And, gosh, if ONE person can see courage in what the Lord has brought me through this year, then it’s all worth it. Every hard thing. Every scary thing. Every challenge. It’s all worth it.

But the very best thing for me to know and to walk in is that if He wants me to be victorious, it means He also wants the very same thing for you. Each of us is being equipped to walk out His mission for our lives, to find the victory He is calling us toward. It isn’t prideful. It’s not being arrogant or conceited. It’s being confident in the work He’s doing through us for His Kingdom! Now, go get all victorious and stuff! :p

1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finding Financial Victory… or really trying to anyway.

Financial victory is amazing, right?! Well, I’m about to find out! A few weeks ago, Dave Ramsey offered a great deal on his total money makeover package and I grabbed it!

Since it’s been delivered, it’s been sitting on my dining room table.

Box opened.

Just sitting there.

Like, I know Dave… I know. Stop bossing me!

It’s funny because I’m not one of those people who has debt racked up in credit cards or anywhere else for that matter. I have one secured credit card for the sole purpose of renting a car, if I ever need to.  And that’s it. The last time I went over my finances with anyone, and I was clearly distraught about them, the couple took one look at my “sheet” and kinda looked at me like I was crazy. Their words, “you realize you have no debt and you’re really not in a horrible place, right?” Well, no. I feel like I’m in a horrible place!

In reality, I’m not in a horrible place. However, I do live paycheck to paycheck. When I moved, I was hopeful to secure a job so that I’d have a bit more breathing room financially, but as of now, that isn’t the case. So, while I’m not worse off than I was prior to the move, I’m really in the exact same place I was before. Paycheck to paycheck. I’ve sat back and asked God about this…”why can’t I be in a place with more financial stability? Why can’t I feel what it’s like to not have to live paycheck to paycheck? Why can’t I just have a wee bit more, God? Not a lot, just a little.” Doesn’t that sound so whiney?? Like, “hey, God, thanks for that job you provided me. But could You please do a little better next time?”

Ugh. I’m an awful person sometimes.

So here I am, trying to find my lesson in all of this. I feel like I’ve cut out lots of things that weren’t necessary, but I’m also holding onto things that I “deserve” because I work really, really hard and NO ONE is gonna take it away from me! *stomps feet!!* (insert awkward, in my heart temper tantrum)

Back to finding that lesson…a890fb13f5cdbe263bd0df1267049d77

How and WHY would God give me more if I don’t always manage well what He’s already given me?? It’s not even that I’m frivolous or living outside of my means because I don’t think I’m either, but I’m clearly not a good manager. In fact, I would say a good bit of my financial stress is brought on by my generous heart toward others and not wanting that person (or people) to want for anything. The problem is that I don’t have the kind of income to do that. But I really try to live like I do. I’m really trying to get a grip on that. I am. (I know my friends reading this are giving me the eye roll, like yeah yeah… heard it before. I’m totally serious this time, guys!)

In the end, today, I know this is one of those areas in which I want to become victorious. It’s one of the areas in my life that God doesn’t want me to struggle and He’s just waiting for me to learn this lesson. So today, as soon as I pay my bills for this month, I’ll begin a new journey to financial freedom.

If you’d like to do the same, so many people I know have gleaned great wisdom and tools from Dave Ramsey’s ministry. Check him out here. Let me know what you think!

I am Victorious because God is Able!

One of the areas in my life in which I’d like to become victorious is scripture memorization. I’m really pretty terrible at it. I think it’s because I try to memorize scripture that others choose for me or by following a plan that someone else created. Yesterday, I came across something new that Beth Moore is doing on her blog called Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2015.10385309_10204173332271968_7915259727223994481_n

In the plan she is offering to anyone who wants to participate, there will be a total of 24 scriptures memorized over the next year. That’s only two a month. I can TOTALLY do that! And what I really love is that she encourages us to pick our own verses and that it’s something that is resonating with us, right now, at this time in our lives. It makes it so much easier to grab ahold of it when it’s carrying a great meaning for us.

For me, I’m posting my very favorite scripture as my first to memorize. Because, well, I know the verses mostly… but usually I say it the way I want to say it and not really the way it’s written. That’s how I do scripture, I summarize it. I want to actually KNOW it, word for word.

How about you? Wanna join me? Join Beth? Follow that link up top and go get added to the group y’all!

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NASB) 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations [a]forever and ever. Amen.