Let It Go

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I loved Frozen I and II. This isn’t a blog about that. Just the phrase “let it go.” A few days ago our pastor encouraged us to keep short accounts. Let things go. Don’t hold onto them. He also said, “if you are still telling the story, you haven’t let it go.” That one was tough to hear. I tell my story over and over. I want justice. I want others to scream at the injustice done to me by someone else. I want vindication. I was a support team telling me I am right. They are wrong. Reality is, I am not letting it go. When a 5 minute encounter lasts the whole day, I haven’t let it go and I lost all the time I spent complaining/venting about that 5 minute encounter.

Let’s say I get cut off in traffic and the person flips me off. What?! I can share that story with everyone I encounter that day. “Here I am driving my son to school and this Prius cuts me off and then the guy turns around and flips me off. Are you kidding me? I was so mad. I didn’t do anything. That guy was a jerk.” I tell a rendition of that all day long. Maybe even the next day. LET IT GO! Every time I retell the story, I am wasting my time and my energy on something that should have been released.

Let’s say my friend hurts me with her words. I call other friends. We discuss it. We agree I’m 100% right and she’s wrong. We ponder. I rally my troops. This goes on for days. When I see that friend again, she apologizes and explains what’s up in her life. I wasted days on a legit hurt but didn’t take it where it needed to go to be released. To God and then to the friend herself.

I share this stuff because I do it too much. I like to be heard. I want my story known. When I’m wronged I want a posse of friends behind me cheering me on for justice. I am not proud of this. I am now more aware of this. I am going to change this. I will still share my story, just with less people. I will share with God and most likely a friend or two. I won’t hold onto it until bedtime. My new goal for sharing the story is to be heard and then release it. I’m not going to keep wasting time on a 5 minute encounter.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ~ I Peter 5:7 NIV

Cast by definition means “an act of throwing something forcefully.” If I cast my anxiety/cares/worries/injustices/pet peeves/frustrations/petty cares on God, they will be gone. If I throw them forcefully, they will go far away from me (I’m not that strong so they really wouldn’t go too far but let’s pretend I can throw far.) When I bring my cares to God, I don’t do it forcefully. I do it like a wimp. I just whimper and say “help.” I need to forcefully cast them. God, take these cares from me. Replace them with peace/contentment/calm. That’s forcefully. Some days all we can do is say “help.” That’s OK. However, most days we can truly cast our anxiety. Let’s try it this week. I am going to. Cast them away and live in peace.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Soul care

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Our sermon on Sunday focused on caring for our soul. One thing that really hit me was when Pastor Michael Fields shared that our souls are shy. He said our soul is like wild animals that hide out until it’s quiet. Our souls won’t emerge and be cared for in the noisy life we live. We can only soul care in silence.

In high school, I studied in front of the TV. While I did my homework on the floor of the living room, I semi-watched game shows or “Happy Days”. I really don’t know how I achieved good grades in that environment. My kids have on music or YouTube while they are studying and doing homework. They get good grades too. However, as I got older, I couldn’t do that anymore.

Silence is rare in our society. Noise is all around us. We can listen to music on our phones, on the car radio, and our Smart TVs even offer a music channel. Silence is a hard choice for some of us. We like being distracted. We want to avoiding pondering. The problem is, our soul is not getting any care if we never seek silence.

If you spend time with God and listen to worship music while reading His Word, that’s a choice and not a problem. However, if you never engage with God while nothing else is playing in your ears, you will miss hearing new things. Silence brings out our deepest thoughts. Silence brings up our deepest fears. Silence brings out our vulnerabilities. Silence may feel very scary. It’s where our soul is reenergized, renewed and refreshed. Those fears, thoughts and vulnerabilities are always there. You are ignoring them. You can avoid them. Silence forces our awareness of them.

Chances are, if you begin to practice times of silence, your mind will be going 1,000 miles an hour. Silence is a learned thing. You need to practice. Some days you will hear nothing. Some days your mind will never slow down. Some days your soul will emerge and be restored.

What do you do in silence? Read God’s Word. Journal. Color. Paint. Pray. Listen. Absorb. Breathe.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. ~Psalm 23:1-3 ESV

Let Him restore your soul! Find a time to practice silence. Set a timer for 5 minutes. As you grow, increase the timer. The things you will hear may astound you. Silence restores our soul.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Growth

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Yesterday, Pastor Tate talked about the difference between shame and conviction. Shame is when we define who we are by the worst thing we have done. Conviction is when we define who we are by who we can become in Christ. Conviction leads to growth, repentance and becoming more like Jesus. Shame is debilitating.

 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.

~ 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NIV

I was searching for an image on shame or conviction and saw the attached image. After I read the scripture on the image, I thought Wow. Paul wrote a letter to the church of Corinth and it convicted them. They felt bad. He even says “I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while.” He confronted them in an area of life where they weren’t following God. That’s conviction they felt when they were hurting. Not shame but conviction. He then points out that this time of “Godly sorrow” led to repentance. Yes! Repentance leads to becoming more Jesus. We recognize we are doing something sinful. We feel bad. If we stop there, repentance hasn’t occurred. We sit in shame. If we continue on, we may need to apologize to someone, and to God. The last step is to make a 180 degree turn. Do the opposite next time. Pursue God’s way next time. When you do, repentance has fulfilled its purpose – led you to Godly sorrow and a new way a living as a result.

You should feel uncomfortable from time to time in how you are living your life. If you aren’t, you aren’t seeking to be more like Jesus. We are so far from being like Jesus. Thankfully, God is patient and doesn’t require us to be like Jesus immediately. Reality: we won’t be like Him fully on earth. Sin still runs through us. However, if we are seeking to be like Him, God will regularly bring up conviction in our life. We will hear a sermon or a friend will say something to us or God shows a new truth to us in His word. When we realize we are engaging in a thought life or activity that isn’t in alignment with God’s word, we repent. We change. We do it differently next time. Have you ever read a scripture you know by heart and suddenly it has new meaning? God’s word is alive and continues to reveal more of who He is every time we read it. Be in His word. Let your friends speak truth to you. Go to church and process what is being taught.

The next time you feel conviction, let it lead to Godly sorrow and repentance. Let it change you. Don’t sit in the shame of “I blew it.” Repent. Move on. Live differently. Become more like Jesus.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Vacation

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Just got back from our annual beach trip. We were blessed with visible sunsets for 2 nights (the other nights had cloud cover). We had perfect weather. It was over 90 degrees back home. We read, played smash ball, made fabulous meals, laughed, slept and all the other wonderful things you can do on vacation. It gave us all we needed to revitalize us. Now that I work full time, vacation means so much more to me. It gives me uninterrupted time with my kids. I can have no alarms set. I enjoy reading without having to stop. I am carefree. My desire is to bring vacation mode into my daily life. Here are a few ways I am going to do:

  • Continue reading fiction just for fun
  • Watch less TV
  • Sit outside
  • No alarms set unless absolutely necessary
  • Wear clothes that make me smile and feel relaxed
  • Sit with my kids and talk
  • Play games – inside games until this heatwave breaks
  • Have ice cream just because
  • Be alone with God every morning

These vacation behaviors continue on. I did set an alarm today. I am working in a few minutes so I had to get up on time. I look lovely on top for zoom but am wearing a casual long stretchy skirt on the bottom. I bought some 31 flavors ice cream for our freezer. Can’t wait to have a taste later today. I have my next fiction book ready to go. Right now I am blogging instead of watching TV. Great steps to keep me in vacation mode.

My last change has been happening long before vacation – being alone with God every morning. I started during Covid. I found that time to be invaluable. If you follow me on Facebook, you will see my regular tea with God postings. Just my mug and a picture of my view – usually from my porch. I loved my beach mornings with God. The first day I was so restless, we barely connected. The next day He began speaking and I began listening. No major revelations just affirmations of His love. He started a theme too. He is pointing me to see my limits and embrace them (probably next week’s blog). He is always ready to meet with us. I am excited for this new journey of growth He has me on.

Today as I transition back to work-mode, I keep the vacation-mode with me. I am grateful for the reminders vacations can give us. Best lesson: God is always speaking. Let’s be always listening.

Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! ~ 1 Samuel 12:16 NIV

Dream Big! Pray Big!