Monthly Archives: May 2015
Monthly Archives: May 2015
Written By: Amber Lawton
“Give your self a break,” a friend of mine said to me over lunch. “It’s okay that you don’t know how to do it all, just start somewhere,” a relative said at dinner. “Don’t worry if you don’t finish today, you will have time tomorrow,” another friend said to me days later. Sound familiar?
Heading into the halfway mark of the year I began recounting conversations of disappointment. Over the past few weeks I found myself sharing how little I felt I accomplished in the span of 6 months. With great persistence friends and family members reassured me I was right where I should be, while the perfectionist in me tended to disagree. These conversations made me realize I am in an abusive relationship with myself.
I don’t say this to diminish the reality for those who experience physical, emotional, or mental abuse from another individual. I do, however, see that the perfectly straight white line of a bar that I set for myself is extremely high and way too straight for me. Actually, instead of one bar I have two perfectly lined bars set in front of me as uneven bars to a gymnast. Every day I jump to the lower bar already thinking about the high bar. I don’t relish in the victory of completing a full grasp, or finding strength to propel my body upward to stand. No, I am hanging onto the lower bar staring at the high bar as if I am still on the mat. Thinking from this place of ‘perfection’ means I am not good enough, and my accomplishments pale in comparison to that very high bar.
To be perfect is to be without mistake or flaw. Perfection is the state of being perfect. Yet, when I personalize perfect the definition expands to a vision. Perfect would mean: never having an awkward moment, speaking and writing with expressive freedom, being in my best health (spirit, mind, and body), publishing a magazine, and making a salary that covers my needs and wants. I would be married to my athletic, God fearing, world traveling husband (who, by the way, is at the top of his career). We would be bicoastal, raising our 2 children together. Although my career is demanding, I expect I would be afforded time with said children to read bed time stories, bake cookies, make lunches, learn languages, attend games etc. Of course perfect wouldn’t be complete without me sharing all of these experiences through my blog and a fabulous Pintrest account.
This idea of perfection though is void of reality, and could use just a little more Jesus. In my mind, the type of perfection needed to achieve this list is built on pride and says it’s only achievable if “I can” do/succeed. The elaborate list of what a perfect life looks like is accompanied by an even longer list of accomplishments I must achieve flawlessly.
My perfect is covered in condemnation, and wrapped in fear. This kind of perfection can lead to rejection or ridicule (from self), depression, a feeling of worthlessness, or a victim mentality. Add to this a myriad of items that fall under the umbrella of fear (i.e. anxiety, shyness, etc.) that attempt to leave me powerless. Even now, this kind of perfect would have me believe I am wasting my time sharing with you friend.
As a Christian woman I know God did not give me fear or self doubt, but the struggle is real. How do I get up, put my big girl panties on and face the day? When will saying ‘thy will be done’ become easier than putting on my version of Sasha Fierce and attempting to slay the day? Instead of chasing caviar dreams and Oprah-esque mansions I should be giving all of myself to Him. Why does this feel so difficult to do?
My issues with being perfect go deeper than the inability to surrender all to Him. The continual feelings of not being good enough reflect how my interpretation of ‘perfect’ does not match with God’s. I try to start the day by asking “what are we doing today God?” God’s perfect is bonded by love Colossians 3:14 says But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. His perfecting is a process. I am complete and spiritually made mature in Him (2 Cor 12:9). I can only attain the final goal through Him (Heb 10:1-10), and as I do so love increases and fear diminishes (1 John 4:17-18).
God’s perfect isn’t about being flawless, or without error. My perfection is not contingent of what I think, how I feel, or respond. Nor will it ever be based on the criticism and pressure I place on myself. God’s perfect is what allows me to live a life after Him, finding new beginnings, and immense joy. Being perfected in Him is what allows me to live whole.
Grace or gracious- showing kindness, courtesy, and compassion.
Mercy- compassionate and kind treatment, merciful
Favor- a helpful or considerate act; the condition of being held in regard, approval, or support.
To support or approve; to treat with special care. I thank the Lord every day for His grace, mercy, and favor on my life. The more obedient I become, the closer I walk with Jesus, the more I see His grace, mercy, and favor on my life. I don’t deserve it and I can’t earn it. Let’s focus on His favor.
Job 10:12 You have granted me life and favor, and your care has preserved my spirit.
Psalms 5:12 For you O Lord will bless the righteous; with favor you will surround him as with a shield.
Psalms 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment; His favor is for life
Proverbs 12:2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord
One day of favor is worth a lifetime of labor. Look at the life of Joseph. He was sold into Egypt as a slave and then he worked his way up in the house of Potiphar. That is favor. The wife of Potiphar attempted to seduce him, but he stayed true to God and Potiphar. She accused him of rape and then Joseph was thrust into the dungeon. He needed favor. He became the model prisoner and after several years Pharaoh called for him and the current of favor followed. Within 24 hours, Joseph went from the prison to the palace.
Favor will bring you to places money can’t buy. The woman with the issue of blood had great faith. Jesus favored her and she received her healing. Favor produces miracles you cannot perform. Favor is promised to the obedient and the Godly in Psalms 5:12 Favor can increase in waves in your life. Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. In Ruth 2:13 Ruth pursued the favor of Boaz. In Esther 5:2 we see that favor is the ingredient that turned a crisis into a miracle for Esther. Proverbs 3:3-4 says that your personal integrity influences the flow of favor toward you. Doing your job well brings favor toward you from your boss, favor causes the greatness in you to blossom and flourish, and favor will take you further than money. Favor brings increase and multiplication. In Acts 2:47 when the disciples had fellowship and walked in joy praising God, favor flowed. Favor turns enemies into friends. It takes more than gifts, talents, or good intentions to generate favor! Favor requires God. I find myself thanking the Lord more and more for His mercy, grace, and especially His favor in my life. I am so thankful. I do not have a thing that God has not given me. When we want favor, we must sow favor. Favor is the attitude of giving to another. Favor is when you sow into the life of another. Start showing favor to everyone close to you. Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Sow words of kindness and love to those around you. Expect favor everyday of your life. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Please take the time to look up and review the scriptures in this blog. May God’s unmerited favor be on your life, every day of your life.
I was so consumed with unforgiveness and denial that I would not accept a sincere apology when my Mom apologized for abandoning me during my childhood. I dismissed her apology and told her it was not a big deal. Unbeknownst to me, I was in denial. Looking back, I believe that I was not ready to face the pain and my true feelings regarding her not being there. Instead I lied to myself and minimized the issues. I wanted to believe the lie that it was no big deal, so I did.
Fast forward a few years and my brother apologized. This time, I was all too aware of how I felt. Truth be told, I should have apologized for my behavior as well but I didn’t. Instead I was bound up in unforgiveness and I refused to accept his apology. I thought to myself, “how DARE you think you can just say I’m sorry after the hell you put me through!” I was livid and scared of what might come out of mouth so I just said “ok.” Except it was not ok because I refused to forgive him.
Sometimes people can do the most horrific things and never apologize. Whether they apologize or not we have a choice to make. We have the choice to do what God commands us to do: forgive, and forgive, and forgive again. Or we can hold on to unforgiveness. I chose unforgiveness for years. It turns out unforgiveness has some close friends- their names are bitterness, rage, and resentment. When I chose not to forgive I placed myself in a prison of rejection, self-pity, and victim mentality.
Whether or not we receive an apology, we can choose to forgive. God has blessed us with free will and that means that we have the power of choice. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days;” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) When I refused to forgive, I chose death. There is a saying refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die.” While I clung to unforgiveness my peace died, my joy died, and my hope died. My relationship with God suffered because everything He said or showed me was filtered through my heart of unforgiveness and bitterness. The person most affected by our unforgiveness is usually us.
When we choose to forgive, we choose life. Sometimes the wound is so deep that true forgiveness seems nearly impossible. But with God all things are possible. God empowers us to forgive through His Spirit. It’s not by might, nor by power, but by HIS Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6)
God is faithful and because He loves us He brings conviction when we are harboring unforgiveness. I had repeatedly asked Him to help me forgive over the years but I was unwilling to let go. I remember someone told me that I had to forgive my Mom even if she did not change. I wanted to slap that person for suggesting something so asinine. Like I said, unforgiveness’ friend is rage. That person was right; I simply refused to accept that truth. During those years of unforgiveness I decided that I would not forgive my Mom unless she changed. I lived with unforgiveness for several years before I was finally willing to let go. At that point, I went to God and earnestly asked Him for help again. This time, when I asked God for help I let go of my vow not to forgive unless she changed.
Forgiveness must be unconditional. If I say I will only forgive if she does this or if he stops that, then I am saying that I only have to forgive sometimes. The Word says that we are to forgive every time. Forgiveness is not condoning the behavior or subjecting oneself to abuse. Forgiveness is letting go of the resentment and the belief that they must pay, and cancelling the debt. Forgiveness opens the door to healing.
Written by Ruby Heaton
The world does not own us,
The culture does not define us,
The times do not invent us.
Man does not control our actions,
Social Media does not tell us how to interact.
We won’t fold,
We won’t sell out,
We’re not weak,
We’re not puppets,
We’re not foolish,
We’re not gullible.
We won’t conform,
We won’t believe lies,
We won’t follow pack mentality,
We’re not blind.
We are true believers,
We are many,
We are mighty,
We have authority,
We have power,
We have the mind of Christ.
We are a mighty army, we are his children.
We are his ambassadors, we are his servants.
We are anointed to serve and to teach,
To reach the lost and the hurting,
To move mountains and to crush barriers,
To trample the enemy, And to exalt the King.
Life Builders is here to equip and empower us, to build us up into the women God created us to be, and to activate us into our gifts and calling. With that in mind I want to challenge you today to take that step into your God ordained destiny with me. Decide with me to take on the challenge and to start moving in the direction of our dreams and our destiny. Can’t you hear God calling? It’s time for us to move. Perhaps you started to step out and as you moved you scared the enemy with all your potential, so he came at you full force with fear and doubt. Then when that wasn’t enough he tossed in some anxiety and worry, which caused you to procrastinate and put things aside. This happened to me. I had started to write a couple of Christian books and I had several editors interested in my proposals. But I never finished them. I’m going to get back to writing. I don’t know what you put aside or what you never started. Maybe you can share it with me? But I do know that the enemy has held us back long enough. It’s time to unite as God’s army and move forward together!
God has a plan for us and He has given us the key. Here are some tips that have helped me move forward:
· We must discipline ourselves.
· Ask God for His plans for us, and write it out.
· Keep focused on God and work the plan
· Stay connected to the vine, by spending time daily with God.
· Pray and then stay silent so we can hear God.
· Read the word daily, out loud, so we can hear and believe. Even if it’s just one verse.
· Praise God and thank Him daily for what we have and what we will have.
· Guard our words; no negative words, speak only life.
· Worship God, sing out loud. Be aware of the words that we are singing.
· Repent as soon as we sin. Forgive quickly. Keep our hearts pure.
· Remain united- avoid competition, comparison, jealousy, and gossip.
· Find a good accountability partner and people to encourage and pray for us.
Prayer: God guide us, bless us, and unite us as we step out and meet the challenge for your kingdom. Give us dreams, visions and strategies. Strengthen and encourage us. Let us have joy and laughter on the journey. Send confusion to the enemy’s camp. Empower your daughters and protect us. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.
Written By Lynn Waters
Have you ever started planning the day and find you have more to do than you have time to do it? Well, I have. When this happens I look at all the tasks I have to do and then prioritize.
1. I prioritize the “have to do” items.
3. The things that don’t take long to do. I do this because it encourages to me to see my list quickly dwindle down.
4. Then I prioritize the items that will take time to do.
I used this system daily when I was working. I took one day each week to complete the small tasks because I had to research files for information. Handling the small tasks first and then taking on the more time consuming items helped me to accomplish everything in a timely manner, and avoid falling behind. This process can be applied at home or work. With my Spring Cleaning the daily and weekly items are not on the list as this list consists of less frequent tasks. After completing the everyday tasks I look at my Spring Cleaning list and do one or two items when I have time. Eventually everything gets done.
Every year I focus on a certain area. Last year I went through my closets and this year I went through my cookbooks and decided to get rid of quite a few. The year before that I got rid of all of things in the house that I felt we didn’t need. You know what; I have never wanted any of those things back. I spent so many years working and being gone 12 hours a day that I never really did anything but cook, wash clothes, buy food and keep the dust off the rugs so the house looked clean. I had little time for deep cleaning. I am a great planner and like to schedule items to complete each week. I have certain days I clean, days for yard work, etc. Now that I don’t work anymore I find I have things to do every day. I never sit around “twiddling my thumbs” or mindlessly watching daytime TV. Housework is not one of my favorite things to do, but I like a clean house. I have a husband who demands my attention to do things with him and he also makes work for me to do.
I don’t know why God puts two opposites together. I love clean and shiny, while my husband has an office with papers all over the place. I have gotten to where I don’t speak to him about his messes any more, I just pray. Why argue about it. There are much more important things in life than a perfectly clean house. My husband and I always put God first. Our individual prayer time comes first each day and then I like to go on Facebook. Don’t laugh. I find out what my family and friends did the day before and what is happening today. I connect to the world and go through my emails. Then I start my tasks for the day. Right now my husband and I are listening to CDs together, at least one hour a day. No matter what happens during the day, I rarely go to bed with a dirty kitchen. I appreciate stepping into a clean kitchen every morning. When I don’t wash the dishes and clean the counters it is because I am too tired and just want to go to bed. When that happens the first thing I do is wash the dishes so the kitchen is clean before I do anything else for the day.
We all have to set our priorities and plan our time. When you have children it is even more important to do this. This will also set an example for their lives if they are responsible for chores. I had chores as a child and some of them were because I wanted to know how to do them, not because I had to do them. Because I had chores growing up, when I moved out on my own I knew how to cook, clean, wash clothes, iron, and shop for groceries. I had no problems living on my own. I knew I had to get up at a certain time to go to work and to wash clothes and dishes after meals. I had learned how to prioritize by example and by practice at home.