Change is hard. Change takes a conscious effort on our part. When our circumstances are chaotic, and we desire change in the people or circumstances around us- we often need to start with ourselves.
How many times have you wished that a person’s annoying behavior would stop. A co-worker? A friend? A child? A spouse?
We all know someone. We are all that someone! Gasp! Yup, I said it. You and me. We are that annoying person with an annoying behavior. We are all that person that needs to work on something. Have you ever found yourself grumbling: “Ugh, I wish _______ would just. . .”?
Here’s the thing. . . We can focus on what every other person is doing wrong. We can grumble, and complain. We can point out the speck in other people’s eyes. Or, we can do the heart work. We can do the work inside ourselves, and wait. Wait and see how our spheres of influence, and our circumstances change.
And the best way we can do that is to give abundant grace to ourselves and others. That takes what I like to call: Heart Work. Making changes within our own hearts.
So, let’s do the heart work!
If I’m honest, I can do a great job at pointing out all the ways everyone else is doing all the things wrong. Just ask my husband!
To be honest, I’m excited to start working on my heart, again. Yes, I said again. I go through seasons of my fair share of grumbling and complaining. Let’s face it. . . heart work is a life long journey. When I’m working on having a gentle spirit, I feel more at peace.
Read 1 Peter 3:1-7. (If you don’t have a physical bible with you, I love reading from The Message version on the YouVersion Bible App).
In 1 Peter 3, the Bible says, in short, that our husbands will not be won by words, rather our actions. (Re-read 1 Peter 3:1-6)
In the Message version, verse 4 starts off “Cultivate inner beauty. . .” I love the picture this paints. When I think of inner beauty, I think of someone who is at peace. She is graceful, gentle, and elegant. What does inner beauty look like for you? Write that down, and put it somewhere you will see it on the daily.
What I love about the Bible, is that I can often take what I’m reading and learning, and apply it other places in my life. Even though these verses are referring to the husband-wife relationship, here, we can apply this to all of our relationships-working on yourself and how you respond. Work on your inner beauty, and it spills out into not just your relationship with your spouse, but it’ll spill out into all areas of your life.
Again, 1 Peter 3:4-6 refers to creating an inner beauty within yourself. For me specifically, that looks like uprooting my impatient and angry responses.
Is it ok to feel these emotions?
However, I’ve learned that reacting from these emotions only hurts my relationships. And being someone who struggles with cultivating relationships, I’ve learned, the hard way, how important it is for me to communicate in a healthy way. To breathe, think, and process before I respond. To take a re-do on any given situation. To apologize when I’m in the wrong.
In my opinion, a lot of changes we desire boil down to communication: how we speak to ourselves, how we speak to others, and how we speak to God. We also have to be willing to release other people from our expectations. That’s not to say that we don’t have healthy boundaries; rather, letting go of the thought that things need to happen a certain way. Letting go of feeling we need to control every aspect of a situation.
I’ve noticed that when I’m working on these things, it’s easier for me to find my gentle, quiet spirit.
Think of a way that you can practice having a gentle and quiet spirit. Do you lose your patience with your kids? A co-worker? Your husband? Think of a strategy you can use to rewrite that habit to turn to a gentle and quiet spirit amid the chaos. Write it down. We live in a world of chaos, and at the end of the day, our husband, our kids, and the people in our spheres need us to be a place of gentleness and quietness.
Thank you for this beautiful day. Thank you for change. Thank you that even though every day brings change, every day- you remain the same. Father, we need you. Fill us up. When we struggle, send us a whisper to remind us to respond with a gentle, quiet spirit. Help us to make time to spend with you each day. You are the gentle spirit we seek. Help us to be more like you, each day. Amen.
These last couple of years, I let go of “Words for the Year”. Those statements and values to help you decide what kind of life you’re going to live that year. . . Typically, at the beginning of a New Year.
I felt like something different was needed. Looking back, maybe there was a word/phrase that I lived by. But, I definitely didn’t give it a “stamp of approval”. I kind of, just did it.
Looking back, I’d say my phrase for the last two years has been: “Just Be”. That looked like loving myself and loving the moment I’m at, finding a space to accept ‘what is’, and just living in the moment. Not forcing anything, and letting life just happen.
As we have been inching closer to the end of the year, I have felt like I wanted words to live by this year. But, I didn’t want to force it. So, I waited on God.
And today, it hit me. I felt a small whisper.
Begin, again. Outdoors More. Intentional.
And while, I have a feeling that I know what that means. . . I’m going to incorporate these words to live by, with what I have learned over the past few years.
Begin, again. Outdoors more. Intentional.
While I’m living life this way- I’ll also “Just Be” and allow life to happen in the moment.
I’ve spent a lot of time, these last few years just waiting. Waiting on God.
In some instances, in the waiting, I have felt like I couldn’t trust God any more. I have felt hurt. I have felt left behind. I’ve even been plain mad at God. And this past week, I have felt the most anxious I have felt in a very long time.
A lot of things don’t make sense.
I can’t even count any more, how many times, since 2020 that I’ve said: Life just doesn’t make sense right now.
But there are some things, that I am confident of:
* I’m confident that whatever you’re going through, you are not alone and you are loved. There are sooo many people out there sharing their stories. They share their stories, for many reasons. Know that one of those reasons, are so that you and I know that we are not in this life and journey alone. And you are loved. There is a tribe out there that loves you, even if you haven’t found them yet. There is a person out there that loves you more than anyone ever could. And He will leave the 99 to come find you!
*I’m confident that while the waiting sucks, there’s a purpose. And then waiting is painful sometimes, but God can use that pain. He can use that pain to help other people. You can (although not always) use what comes from that pain, on the other side of that pain, and sometimes even in that pain to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
*This one is hard for me to say, right now…but, I know it as a truth- because God’s word is true, and because I’ve seen Him work over and over and over again. I’ve seen it happen in my life, in my friends’ lives, and in complete stranger’s lives. All of that to say: God’s plan and timing is perfect. It’s better than anything you or I could ever dream. And, while I know this to be true…it’s a truth that I’m struggling to hold onto, at this moment.
Honestly, I could keep going on. But, please know, this last week of the year…If you are still waiting on God for His perfect timing, if you are feeling alone, if the pain is too much to bare, right now. He is the light in the dark. He loves you more than you could imagine. I know it’s hard, right now…but, keep holding on!
Have you ever been waiting? Waiting on a promise of God? You can see right behind you, the old is gone, yet, in the same breadth, the new is just out of reach. Your fingertips are touching it, but you can’t quite grasp it, yet. Oh, that place is such a hard place to be.
In Isaiah 43, the Bible says: “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. see! I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams In the wasteland.” ( v 18-19).
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.”
We hold onto the past, and still hold onto hope for the future. But..we can’t have both. We must come to God with open hands and say: Father, I lay down who I was. I have sinned. I repent, and I choose to walk with you. I choose your ways over my ways, Lord.
This week, thank God for who He is. Thank Him that He blots out your transgressions. Thank Him that He remembers your sin no more.
Repent to Him. Repent for the ways you have sinned, known and unknown. Lay it all down at his feet, with open hands. Don’t pick it back up. He’s already forgiven you. And if you do pick it back up…because we’re human. Repent again, and put it right back down.
Now, look up. Look for the new things He is doing. When you see it, jot it down in your journal. Or save it on your phone to jot it down later.
Talk with Him about it: God, give me wisdom. What is my role in your plan?
Thank Him, again.
Thank you God that your promises are true. Thank you, God that you are faithful.
It’s almost December. Like, tomorrow. I really truly want to be in the Holiday spirit, but today. . . I’m not feeling it.
My husband is out of town.
I miss my family.
I miss my friends.
We’ve had 6 different illnesses run through the family in one month, and it’s looking like this winter is going to be a rough one.
And, I’m just weary from waiting on God. I’ve been processing this waiting period, and it just doesn’t make sense. Maybe it never will?
So, you know what? I’m just going to let myself feel all the feels.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in life, it’s this: Feel All the Feels.
Let yourself think about the frustrating things. Be sad that life doesn’t look the way you planned. Feel hopeful for the future. Laugh at the funny things in life, and allow yourself to have fun. Feel happy, when you find joy in something. . .
It’s when you hold those things back, that you’re not being your true self.
And, just remember to not camp out in one space for too long. If you’re mad or angry for too long, you run the risk of only thinking negative. And, if you pretend to be happy, when you’re not- and you shove those feelings down. . . They’ll find a way out.
That doesn’t mean you have to display every emotion, publicly.
But, allow yourself, and love yourself enough, to process those feelings, privately- or with a trusted person!
If you’re also not feeling the Holiday spirit, today. . . I’m sending you love. Know that you’re not alone. This world needs you.
Malachi 3:6-11 throughout the Bible and throughout time, scripture shows again and again that God is an unchanging God. He remains the same. When we feel distant from God, it is not God who is distant, it is us.
In Malachi, 3:6-11, we see that our actions can keep us distant from God. We rob God our time and our resources.
Read Malachi 3. Meditate on verses 6-11.
Have a conversation with God.
Ask him: “God, where in my life am I robbing you of my time and resources?”
Write it down. Whatever He speaks…it may come later, while you are working, doing chores, watching TV…stop what you are doing and write it down in your journal.
Now. How can you reconcile “that thing” with God? Spend time with God this week asking Him how you can give back to Him and His kingdom. Once you’ve figured it out, with God. Tell your spouse, mentor, accountability partner, or friend. Make sure to check your heart, before you do. This is about accountability, and God getting the glory…not you. Got all that done? Great. Now go do it.
Verse 11 shows us what will happen when we reconcile with God, what will happen when we are honest with God. He basically tells us “Child of mine, I’ve got your back. I will defend you”. Meditate on verse 11.
Repent and ask forgiveness: God, I have robbed you of ___________. Father, I repent and change my ways. Please forgive me for _________. I want to draw near and close to your heart.
Follow through- Do the thing you said you would change.
Thank Him and Give Him the glory. Thank Him before, during, and after. When God is faithful to do what He said He would do, your story is now His story. Share what happened with someone who needs to know. Invite God into that process. Ask Him who needs to know. When you share what He has done in your life, He gets the glory.
Wow. Have you ever looked back on a time in your life…a time where you thought you were happy. You thought things were the way you were wanting to live, and even though you thought you wanted to live that way…things just didn’t feel right…Only to come out of that season and think…Man, I was not happy. There was a lot going on there. Those aren’t the things I wanted. That’s not how I wanted to live. I am coming out of one of those seasons.
I needed it though. Without trial, we don’t appreciate the things in life that we have. We don’t grow. We just stay right where we are. And sometimes, it’s ok to be content with where we are. And it’s also great to want more out of life. To do more. To be more.
I found myself waking up each day. Going to work. Picking up my kids. Coming home. Repeat. Day.After.Day. Sometimes, routine like that is great. That’s where you should be…but for me…I wasn’t living. I didn’t make time for myself. And it wore me down. I was doing for others…but not doing for myself. And we have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. (this is where I am always reminded of the flight attendant coming over the intercom, explaining that in case of emergency to place your breathing contraption on before you can help others.)
I found myself slowly depending on God more and more. He brought me to a point where I needed to depend on Him to live. He showed me that His love is what fills me up. That I can get my joy from Him.
And now, I feel like I am living more in the present. I look forward to living life. I have more joy. Some days I fall flat on my face. And my savior is there to pick me up. I’d rather it be some days…than most days. I’d rather depend on Jesus most days. I try for all days, but I’m human…
I’m glad to be back. I’m glad to be myself, again. I have a lot to say, a lot to share, and I’ve found my voice again. I can’t wait to walk this life with you!!
A new season has begun.
Can I just end on one note. If you are reading this…and you don’t feel this way…know that you ARE loved. Whatever you are feeling like you are not…you are. Can I challenge you? Whatever you are feeling like you are not…will you go look at yourself in the mirror and say: I am ( fill in the blank with whatever you are thinking you are not)… I AM enough. I AM a good mom. I AM smart. I AM peaceful. I AM joyful. I AM loved. You ARE!
Giving God control is one of the hardest things to do.
By human nature…we all want to have control over our circumstances in life.
Add any kind of anxiety…and multiply that by ten.
When I have a situation that I am hoping will change…it usually doesn’t happen as quickly as I would like. So, I get impatient. I start grasping at everything, and try to control the situation. And…9x out of 10...I only make matters worse.
*just end up making myself more anxious..leaving no space for peace.
*causing problems in my relationships…often times, unaware that I’ve even done so.
* put my promises on hold.
This week, I had a light bulb moment.
As I was going through devotionals in my you version bible app, and towards the end of the week, I gave up a few things.
I’m no expert on fasting. In fact..I’m quite the novice.
But, I felt led to give up these things for certain periods of time during the end of the week.
And just today, I gained some clarity on something I was seeking wisdom for.
But first, I had to give up control. And that was extremely hard to do.
You have to go through your own journey with giving God control…but, I love to forward resources that have helped me.
In the comments, I’ll leave links to the Bible devotionals that I went through this week. I’m not really tech savvy, so if I can’t get it to work…I’ll post the names of the devotionals and the authors..and hopefully that’ll make it easier.
They are really great. I hope you are blessed by them.