A day off

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Most of us have the day off from work today. If you do, enjoy. If you don’t, enjoy as well. You see, yesterday, the pastor shared about how work is a place God plans to use you. Work is not just work. It’s part of your calling. So today is a good day to relax and reflect. First, be thankful for those who gave their lives for America so we can have the freedoms we enjoy. Second, ask yourself, how can God use me at work?

In order to get an answer to that question, you may need to reflect on how God has already used you at work. Have you encouraged a co-worker? Did you send an uplifting email to a client after they shared they were having a bad day? Did you solve a problem that has been plaguing your workplace? Did you pray for your boss without him/her knowing it? These are all ways God has used you.

The key to treating work as part of your calling is to view it that way. Look for ways you can input God into the situation. If you can’t openly do that, you can pray. I find myself saying, “I’m just praying, I want to do more.” It’s never JUST praying. Prayer is effective and powerful. God is listening. Pray when you can’t speak up.

Listen to God’s promptings. If He is nudging you to connect with someone at work or one of your clients, do it. See where it leads. Sometimes, your peaceful presence is enough to brighten someone’s day. They will notice you are different. You see, the Holy Spirit living in you makes you a unique being. Those that don’t have Jesus, are lost and have a hole in their soul. You don’t. Others will notice.

On your day off of work, reflect about work. Find out how God can use you. When I started my current job, I was told by a friend, “your students are going to be so encouraged by your presence.” I take that with me every time I teach. I may not lead them to Jesus, but I am encouraging them with His presence in me. When you discover how God is using you, your work will never look the same again.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

True Colors

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Have you ever discovered someone’s true colors? Usually this term refers to a negative trait discovered in someone. It is shocking. Overwhelming. Saddening. Heart-breaking. Relationship defining. It stinks!

I have had far too much experience discovering “true colors” in the past several years. Part of it comes because as I grow and get emotionally healthier, I see the dysfunction around me more clearly. Part of it is due to the fact that I give people the benefit of the doubt and far too many second chances. Compassion and understanding have a limit on earth. When “true colors” are discovered, a choice needs to be made. Stay in and work toward a resolution/acceptance or get out.

I have chosen both paths. Both are painful. Both require time and emotionally energy. Both require hard conversations. Both are equally Christian. Both are opportunities to grow.

I continue making new relationships and investing in old ones, because my identity, my source of strength, is based on the One who will never show me His “true colors.” They just don’t exist.

” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 NIV

He is my rock. He is my strength. He is who I turn to when once again “true colors” are revealed. He is consistent. He is trustworthy. He is my God.

If you recently found out someone’s “true colors,” turn to the one who will  never shock you with who He is. For He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Our hope.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day to my mom friends. Happy celebrating your mom to my non-mom friends. Today is a day that can be complicated for many. Most of us have a good relationship with our mothers. Not perfect but good enough. For some, not so much.

I had a season with my mom where I was learning to love her as is. Just as I hope my kids will do for me someday. When I looked at cards, they triggered all my wounds. Maybe you too have had this experience at Hallmark. “You were always there for me.” Maybe she wasn’t. “You  sacrificed so much so I could accomplish my dreams and you always believed in me.” What if that isn’t true? To this day, I usually grab a purple card (mom and my favorite color) with little words. The sentiments written are so grandiose, they don’t apply to many moms. I love my mom. I appreciate the way she loved me. I understand her more and her upbringing. I am grateful for time I get to spend with her. She’s my mom. I love her.

For those of you who want to be a mom and aren’t yet (or may never be), I am sorry for the pain this day brings you. The reminder that your dream may or may not happen is what Mother’s Day means to you. You haven’t “succeeded” yet in life because you haven’t had kids or adopted a kid. The pressure to be OK with it is monumental on Mother’s Day. To those friends, I encourage you to self care today. Do what you need to be in a place of peace and contentment. God loves you as is and isn’t surprised by your situation in life. He has compassion and understanding. Lean on Him today.

To those of you who love Mother’s Day and can’t wait to spoil your mom, go for it. Embrace her, celebrate her, shower her with love. If you are the one being spoiled, soak it in. You deserve it. You see, none of us are the perfect mom, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, etc. We are doing the best we can. Today is a day of celebrating those that did the best they could to raise us while they were battling their own health issues, marriage issues, financial issues, etc. Wow. They did it. We are here. We did it. Our kids know we love them.

In our complicated, emotional world, celebrate Mom.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Chivalry

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“Chivalry is dead” many say. I say it’s not dead but it’s very hit or miss. It is also discouraged because some feel it’s chauvinistic. I had two encounters with chivalry this week.

As I walked out of the parking structure, weighed down by several bags, a man was entering the building I was headed to. I was across the courtyard from the door he was entering. He saw me, and my load, and waiting with the door open for me. I thanked him and said it’s nice there are still gentlemen in this world.

The next day, same location, I emerged from the parking structure at the same time as a man. We were walking side by side to the door. I dropped a bag and paperwork fell all over the courtyard. He stepped around me and said nothing. I set down my other bags, picked up my mess and continued on. A missed opportunity for chivalry.

In both cases, I didn’t need a man to help me. I did appreciate it fully the one day and felt sad for the man’s lack of consideration for others in the second situation. A woman could have done the same for me in both situations too. However, we are talking chivalry here which by definition is a male trait.

Dictionary.com defines chivalry as

The methods of training and standards of behavior for knights in the Middle Ages. The code of chivalry emphasized bravery, military skill, generosity in victory, piety, and courtesy to women

Chivalry now usually just means “courtesy to women.” However, I was pleased to see that piety was also a part of chivalry.

pietyreverence for God or devout fulfillment of religious obligations

A man who loves God and gives courtesy to women is a rare thing these days. If you know one, thank him for being counter-culture. If you have a son, raise him to be chivalrous. Have him open the doors for his sisters. Teach him that Jesus loves him with all His heart and has great plans for him. Pour into him an appreciate for women and the unique way God created us.

This week, as you walk through life, look for acts of chivalry. If you are a man, perform these acts. Women, thank the men who live this way with a sincere expression of gratitude. Men, when you are thanked, receive it and let it build you up for those times when your way of living is mocked. Let’s make sure chivalry never dies.

Dream Big! Pray Big!