Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Filling Empty Spaces

As I surrender my life to God, it requires a letting go of things of this world. This is not an easy release. I have taken years to develop these habits. I walk in the house and immediately turn something on, my head gets plugged right in and before you know it my time is gone and I have allowed all things worldly to saturate my mind and our heart.

Many times I would push myself to change those habits. I wouldn't turn on the television. I would leave the computer sitting and off. However, it doesn't take long before I am back where I left.

Why? I left that time idle. I did not replace it with things that will bring me closer to God. I didn't replace my activity with things that are purer. I needed to fill those empty spaces.

I need to build new habits. I want to wake in the morning and get my coffee....settle down, open His word and pray. I want to listen to His whisperings to my heart.

In the evenings I want to spend some time reading books of inspiration and challenge of my walk.

I want to write and spend time reflecting on His work in my life. I want to share with others the struggles of this walk. I want to have an army surrounding me to fight off the enemy.

I want to get into His Word and study it, get to know Him more. I want to hear his direction for me. I want to hear Him reveal my sins and show me where I need change. I want to understand who He really is, fall more deeply in love with him.

I want to spend time building relationships of accountability and ministry.

I want to spend time just praising Him.

I want to be doing worthwhile-life-changing-actions to change the lives of others.

I have plenty to fill those empty spaces. I'm making changes...SLOWLY. My eye is on the prize. I continue to run the race.

The world is much heavier to carry...filling those empty spaces with things more pure and holy...it is uplifting and invigorating.

Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God-what is good and well-pleasing and perfect."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Slippery Slopes

I am linking up today with Juana Mikels

Don't you love to count your blessings? I wake up and just smile sometimes at the life I have and the way God has blessed me.

An amazing husband...

An incredible job....

4 children and 7 grandchildren....

An amazing and loving church....

All gifts from God. Each a blessing and a reminder of His favor in my life.

And each one...a time requirement from my life.

Ouch! I know right...not sounding thankful there, am I? But I am, I truly am. But it is a slippery slope to have all these blessings. All these things that demand time and attention.

You see, they are NOT number one, but I slip too easily into making them number one. When that happens...I move God from where He belongs...down the slippery slope, they all slip so easily into His position.

As I seek to surrender my life to Him, I know I have to keep Him in first position and I can't even allow His blessings to get in the way of that. I need to give him my utmost time, energy and devotion. He shouldn't get the end of the day energy. I shouldn't be searching for ways to fit Him in. I shouldn't come to the end of the week and realize I went the whole week and didn't open my bible since Sunday morning in church.

How do you balance it all? How do you give your family all the attention and love they need, fill all the expectations of your job, and do your part in the church family? That isn't mentioning the opportunities you don't want to miss out on with others around you...ministering and making connections. And YOU, taking care of you in all that mix.

I can't help but think the enemy sits back and smiles when we get caught on these slippery slopes. He must smile and rub his hands together as we get so caught up in the blessings God gave us, and we forget the one who provided it all. Sometimes we make it so easy for him.

I am working on this. I'd love to hear how you do it.

"You will show me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. " Psalm 16:11

My prayer is that my words be used to bring light and salt to you.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Surrendering Requires Discipline

I chose the word surrendered for my one word focus in 2014. I knew I had changes to make if I was going to live a life of surrender. Seven days in and I am seeing this word is the one word that represents a Christian life. It is a giving up of oneself. It is giving it all to God. Everything.

The first change I find myself working on is time. I had become a selfish user of my time. It was all about me. Of course, we all have things on our schedule that aren't all about ourselves, but what I found was when nothing was on my schedule, I took all that time and spent it doing simple, foolish tasks. I filled my time with nothing of value. It wouldn't help anyone. It wouldn't grow or change me. It wouldn't show an almighty God I love and am so thankful for Him and His work in my life. I was filling my life up with empty-void-minute-filling-tasks.

I had every excuse in the world. I am too tired. I just need to do brainless activity after such a full day. I deserve some down time. The excuses and the activity all revolved around ME.

To change that I had to initiate some self-discipline. I looked at my time and created a schedule that is filled with much more valuable items. I scheduled time I would spend in God's word, time to write, time to pray, time to read and time to be quiet and reflect. I will do the brainless activity still, but it will come after more time is spent on the best things.

I am quite certain God will continue to point out more changes I need to make. He will point out other things I need to surrender. I am realizing that this life was the life I was meant to live every year. Every day. Every moment. Surrendered to God's will.

In my devotion this morning was this, "Believing and trusting are hard work because they involve a surrendering process, a giving-up of control."  I have more to give up, more to set before Him that I have hung on to. He owns it all.

I know I have a year ahead where I will be learning how to surrender more.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Word 2014

One day I made a choice to follow Christ. I decided to commit my life to Him, no longer wanting to be in charge, I wanted Him in charge. Then began the journey. I made a decision that day and He took hold of my hand. But like any child, I pulled from His hand and attempted to move my way, make my choices, turned away from His plan....and He has allowed it for a time, allowed me to taste the consequences of those decisions. But He knew the commitment I made, and knew I would realize over, and over again I needed Him. I can't get it right. But that tug of war continues. Like many Christians I always hang on to things. I still make decisions that are selfish, cowardly, trying to fit in here. I never really give totally. I reflect back on 2013 and I see I've come a long way from that young teen who made that decision. I pull less, and look away less....but He continues to show me areas I hold back. Which led me to choose my word for this upcoming year...surrendered. I want to daily seek out His will and make a more conscious effort to seek Him first...not myself.

So what will that look like?

My time. I eat away time doing silly, foolish things that make no difference. I need to surrender more of my time for things that shine God's light. I need to be in His Word, study it, understand, seek Him out. I need to see all His plans for me. He gave me a love for writing...maybe a little talent. I hardly write any more, I need to write more.

Building relationships. I don't give anyone enough of my time. My time is not intentional enough. I need to be more focused on those I know, those he places me with, those who may have needs I can meet. I use to be great about phone calls, letters/cards, spending time talking and listening. I need to be willing to sacrifice more. I need to be more Christ like...He was there, all the time, for everyone.

Prayer. My prayer life has grown...a lot. But, it isn't where it should be. My moments should be full of intentional prayer.

I want the work of my heart and my hands to bring others to know Christ as I know Him. I want many to experience the relationship I have.

The rest I know He will reveal to me. I need to be open and ready. Ready to see what He wants me to surrender. I need to be ready to do what He wants, when He wants and how He wants. I need to just follow where His hand leads me.


Want to find your own one word for 2014?? Check this out One Word