What More?

I’m currently sitting in the Angola consulate to finish my visa application & this is always a jittery experience. It’s stressful in lots of ways because it’s a really complicated process & even when I’ve done everything right, there has been an occasion when my application was denied. 
So I can get stressed out as I wait or I can chose to trust God. These words, “trust God” are easier said than done. But when there’s nothing more that I can do, then I need to actively chose, even moment by moment, to trust God. 

Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to coach our mental game & help us get better at trusting God 🙂

Let’s Practice

“That was practice,” I said with a smile to the Post Office guy when I swiped my credit card too soon. I was shipping a book to someone & was in hurry because of all the things I needed to accomplish that day. The Post Office guy chuckled & I was glad he saw the humor in my weak explanation for being impatient. 
There are lots of things I’m not good at such as being patient, planning, follow through and loads of other stuff. 

I’m not ok with just accepting these shortfalls, nor can I afford to dismiss them as irrelevant. The other way I try to let myself off the hook sometimes is by rationalizing that these weaknesses are too big for me to overcome. 

Maybe you have some weaknesses that might seem insurmountable to you as well. Here are two things for your encouragement:  

  1. Think in terms of practice – the way we get better, even in small ways, is by practice, a process of continual improvement. 
  2. With the Holy Spirit living in us, nothing is impossible!

Let’s keep focused on the Helper & keep practicing!

Lifestyle Learning

One of the things I greatly admire about my mom is that she is continually learning & her learning isn’t limited to just small pockets of interest. She’s recently started using emojis in her text messages & she’s more than excited about using periscope in her latest social media adventure. 
Learning is a BLAST, particularly when you have a good teacher – my first major at college was physics because my high school physics teacher was so amazing! Having a good teacher is half the battle in getting to enjoy learning & Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be our teacher. Truth be known, there’s no one in our lives who can teach us better than the Helper. 

The other half of learning is the determination to be a good learner. You can have the best teacher on the world & learn virtually nothing if you decide not to learn or grow, full stop. 

So let’s decide to be awesome learners! Here are a few suggestions about how to be a good learner:

  • Be flexible – decide to learn regardless of the “classroom” or the lesson 🙂
  • Don’t let shame or discouragement color your learning
  • Buy my book, Heavenly Help, and learn about the Holy Spirit, your Teacher, Comforter & Helper 🙂

  

overcoming fear

A very nice friend asked me today about overcoming fear & I felt encouraged that I should write about this today 🙂

In relation to fear, there are lots of things that could trouble us:  fear of failure, fear of getting hurt, fear of something from the past, fear of falling down, fear of the future, fear of relationships, . . . . . .   The Greeks used the term phobia and attached all kinds of things to this word (agrophobia, necrophobia & my personal favorite, snake-o-phobia).

So here are some strategies that could be helpful to overcoming fear:

  • do it scared – I stole this outright from Joyce Meyer;  she’s uber cool!
  • face the fear a little bit at a time rather than to look at the whole thing
  • consider that the devil uses fear to control us & that God created us from the very beginning to have authority, dominion & power
  • catch fear in the early stage so it doesn’t go stupid
  • choose to trust God & reject fear – yes to trust and no to fear
  • keep trying – failing is more like practice if we take out the fear ingredient
  • remember that 1 John says that perfect love casts out fear!

Feel free to add your own advice & pass this along to your fam & friends! 😀

a quick secret to stay happy :)

When I woke up my son today to get ready for school, he wasn’t happy by a long shot.  He was cranky & grumpy and unfortunately, by the time he got in the car, he was still in the doldrums – a very yucky way to start off on a Monday morning 😦

We all have times, seasons, days and moments when we are grumpy & here’s a potential quick fix:  be thankful.  Rather than looking at the grumpy stuff (back to school, bills, tired, physical pain, hardship, emotional stressors, relationship difficulties, job / school challenges . . . . ), take some moments to be thankful.

Thank God:

  • that the sun came up this morning
  • for the oxygen that we breath
  • that God’s love is vast yet personal
  • that God is both faithful and good
  • for a nice blog to give you this helpful reminder ,)

a secret for transformation

Seems like all of us want to grow & improve in at least a few ways.  We want to be more skinny or more muscular.  We want to be smarter, more athletic, less impatient, . . . . . .  All of us have things in our lives that we want to improve.  If there was a magic wand that we could wave to make the wanted improvement appear, we’d go to great lengths to get that wand & ultimately the improvement that we want.  But alas, there is no magic wand.

But here’s the golden ticket for the improvements that we want:  routine.  Yep, the nitty, gritty and daily incremental efforts that we can integrate into our daily routines can produce life changing transformation.  Diets, fads, trends, cool & swanky techniques and mental gyrations often lack the power to improve that comes from just the daily, small decisions that we incorporate into routine living:  

  • A deeper walk with God:  plan to go to bed 30min earlier everyday for two weeks, so you can get up 15min early to read your Bible & pray – spend some time training your body & soul to make spiritual investments
  • being more healthy:  chose to decrease or eliminate a cup of coffee (gasp), the afternoon treat, the evening snack for two weeks;  
  • physical fitness:  chose to walk more (rather than the drive for that close errand, park in less conveninet places that require more walking, take a walk in the evening rather than watch the 30min of TV that turns into 2hours, . . . .)
  • be smarter:  reading is a great path to help us with the smart stuff;  consider joining a book club, get a library card – check out a book;  read something that you don’t agree with or isn’t in the normal interest list (broaden your horizon)

Small but steady changes often create the sustained improvements that can seem elusive.  You can do it!! 🙂

decisions that empower

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All of us make decisions every day and as adults we get to manage the consequences of these decisions.  If you want to get the best mileage or results from your decisions, consider making these “power choices”:

  • hope rather than despair
  • focus more than distracted
  • grace over scorn
  • forgiveness rather than revenge
  • love more than apathy
  • gratitude over complaining
  • honor more than insolence
  • compliments more than sarcasm
  • respect more than ridicule
  • compassion more than callous

Wise decisions create wise results 🙂

what looks like failure

I hate the word “fail” – it almost makes me have a visceral gagging reaction, borderline puking.  Thankfully, if I take a minute to pause, evaluate and collect myself, I don’t puke.  But if I’m not careful, I can easily throw things into the “failure” column and in a nanosecond find myself back to mental wrestling mat, almost down for the count.  As God & I were talking about this whole failure thing this morning, I was reminded about how Jesus looked hanging on the cross, beat to a bloody pulp and possibly personifying the ultimate failure.  He was betrayed by his friends, completely helpless, physcially obliterated and even yelling at God, “Why have You forsaken Me?!??”

Hanging on the cross, Jesus looked more like a failure than anything I’ve ever experienced & yet from God’s perspective, perhaps Jesus had never been more successful in His earthly existence, up to that point.  Let’s be careful that we don’t frame failure in the context of defeat, permanent or hopeless.  Jesus rose from the dead and living in our hearts, we have resurrection potential every day.

Be sure to pass this along to anyone you know who is struggling with seeming defeat or failure 🙂

sometimes my kids don’t like me

This Summer, I’m undertaken the adventure with my children of training their weekly domestic organization skills, translation:  house cleaning.  To make progress on this adventure, I’ve organized some checklists so that it will be clear to the responsible individual when they’ve adequately completed their assignments.  Needless to say, the checklists aren’t popular & sometimes, they don’t even like the domestic organization adventure, imagine that ,)

All of that is to say that I guess it’s not really that strange on occasion that we may not like some of the things that God does.  At bare minimum, Hebrews 12 tells us that God disciplines us because God loves us.  Discipline, correction and training aren’t always pleasant but most of the time, we like the outcomes, just not the process.  So let’s stay in love with Jesus, keeping walking with Him through various processes, training and development.  For me, staying in love with Jesus helps make everything better, even training my kids through the exciting domestic organization adventure 🙂

making mistakes

Yesterday, I made the mistake of posting a poem that I thought Dr Maya Angelou wrote. I received lots of helpful & gracious feedback so I edited my post at the bottom to acknowledge my mistake. I left the poem, nevertheless, because I think it’s a really good poem & I found it to be very encouraging, no matter who wrote it.
But the topic of mistakes is a tricky topic. We all make mistakes, pretty close to everyday. We make mistakes as we drive, when we cook, saying things we shouldn’t, not speaking up when we should, work / school mistakes, . . . . . So here’s some that help me when I make mistakes (feel free to chime in with your own ideas as well):

**be quick to admit a mistake & apologize
**try to make new mistakes & not the same ones ,)
**the only person with no mistakes is Jesus
**mistakes often have more lessons than successes
**be quick to forgive mistakes even if the person doesn’t ask forgiveness
**if pencils are mistakes, grace is the eraser
**let your mistakes be more constructive than destructive

Whoops can be whoopee! ,)