Monthly Archives: January 2015

ACT by REJOICING

I was so blessed to spend the week after Christmas in one of my favorite places on earth – Virginia Beach, with my favorite people on earth – My family. My wonderful husband made the suggestion just to get away that week. We contemplated Florida, but time off was an issue. I was also blessed that work gave me a few days off just to get to the beach. I prayed and prayed that the weather in Markleysburg would be okay, i.e. no major snow storms, because we needed Bev to get to our dog to care for her. Well, the coast was clear and we left on Sunday evening. However, the weather at the beach the first two days was rainy and cold. I honestly was still okay with the weather, because I was away, watching the ocean, I could read and had no obligations. The other issue was many of our places were closed – the little mart across the street and the biggest crisis was the Dippin’Dot. It was a rough start on the attitudes. The weather continued to improve. The morning of the beautiful sunrise was the change in the attitudes. It was easy to rejoice the nice days at the beach. We also got to take a cruise to see whales, and it was incredible. We could have complained about being frozen on the boat, but the excitement over the whales was worth it.

I would be lying if I told you I loved winter. I would be lying if I told you I was not so disappointed that I couldn’t go to Ladie’s Bible Study / Tea due to our road (if Jim says its bad its bad). I would be lying if I told you I didn’t miss being with my friends and our church. I do like having my weekend evenings off, but I so miss being with our church to end/start a week. I could tell you how disappointed I was that I drove all the way to work on Sunday and there was a power outage and I had to come back home to work, or I can focus on the blessing that because I got to come home early, I didn’t have to drive home in the wintery weather in the afternoon.

So, I keep thinking of my crappy attitude. How my attitude can really take my day downhill quickly. If I am driving on crappy roads, I can let that rule my attitude. If my plan gets changed, not by my choice, I can get in a really bad mood. If I make plans to hang out with the ladies and I can’t, I can get in a really bad attitude  I can even grumble about the day or how events turn out, and my actions caused the outcome.   It would be okay if the mood change / the attitude only affected me. , but it spills over into my work, my home, my friends, my family, etc. It is also amazing how other people’s attitudes spill over onto me. How the little miserable irritants become huge deals and the negative attitude and the spouting of the mouth spills out and over. These same attitudes and continual complaints spill over on Facebook. The beautiful thing about Facebook is that I can hide those people from my “newsfeed”. I only wish that were true to face-to-face negativity. I am pretty sure I am not the only one that this has happened to.

Anyway, my word for the year is ACT – and though I can’t change many of the situations, the people I am around (because I can’t hide them), the weather, the roads, etc… I can ACT differently. At the beach I thought about this verse…. Psalm 118:2 (NKJV) – This is the day the Lord has made; I will REJOICE and be glad in it.

This verse does NOT say, this is the day the Lord has made and since it is sunny shining I will rejoice… and since my day is going perfect I will rejoice… and since the round-about in Morgantown is actually flowing as it should I will rejoice… it says This is the day the Lord has made; I will REJOICE and be glad in it.

I WILL REJOICE just because the Lord made this day… the day to count my gratitude, the day to love my family, the day to celebrate living. There are millions of people who would have loved one more day..

I WILL REJOICE and be glad in it. My ACT is to REJOICE despite the weather, the situations, and the negativity. MY ACT is to REJOICE because He gave me one more day to love, to celebrate, to count my blessings. Regardless of what happens I need to REJOICE….

 

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ACT – FINDING MY FLOW (start digging)

On New Year’s Eve I was blessed to be at Virginia Beach with my family. Last year Elevation Church did an online praise party and I planned to watch, but being at the beach, some really loud neighbors, and getting talking to Mary, I became too distracted to fully listen to the sermon. Thankfully, they record them and I could enjoy once I got home. Mary had chosen the word FLOW for 2015, and the sermon from Elevation was “Find Your Flow” – Mary even said that’s a sign because she enjoys listening to Steve Furtick as well.

So, since I have been home, I have listened to this sermon about 10 times and every time I am convicted in a new way. He preached on Genesis 26:12-18 and how the wells were filled with dirt and used it as an analogy of my life and what block my flow from God? How I allow things to block the flow between me and Christ. In verse 17 he talked about how they settled in a valley but how sometimes I grow in Christ when I am in a valley / low place. Because when I am low, I tend to look up! In verse 18 scripture talks of re-opening the wells to allow the flow. Proverbs 4:23 talks how my heart is the well SPRING of life and how it needs to be guarded. But if I allow negativity, sin, complaining, complacency, regrets constantly bombard my thoughts and life, they are stopping my well – my flow between me and God. (if interested the sermon is at this link: http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/find-your-flow)

I think it hit me the hardest when he started giving examples of things that I fill my “wellspring” with – the dirt / the things – that block my flow

Complaining: Monday was a perfect example, the weather was COLD, there were internet connections causing major delays in me getting my work done, Jim wasn’t feeling well, we had to start back to school, I had an interrupted night’s sleep, I didn’t get up as early as I wanted, and the list could continue.   When I start a day like that – it truly stops any positive flow between me and God (and positive flow between me and everyone I come in contact with honestly).   Instead, my focus should be how BLESSED I am to be able to work from home, I am able to have the kids school from home, I got some sleep in my bed (versus a hospital bed), I got some extra rest by sleeping in a little later. Once, I focus that direction, my heart is less heavy, my stomach less knotted, and my hands unclenched.   I generally really focus on blessings / gratitude, but it is so easy to let one thought destroy a moment, a day, a week, etc..

Regrets: Ouch! So, it is New Years and well… last year I did not… lose the weight, read the Bible, work on my prayer life, fulfill my goal for encouragement, unclutter the house, control my spending, write enough blogs, and I didn’t OVERCOME (my 2014 word) everything I had planned. HOWEVER, the past is truly the past and I can’t change any of those things. I can stay in the past, or make progress toward the future.   S. Furtick mentions how some regrets are many years’ worth of “dirt” filling our wells. I can tell you that losing weight has probably always been on my New Years list. The beautiful thing is by choosing a word, I don’t focus so much on the list. The regrets, for me, are an attitude issue as well. I can focus on what I haven’t done or what I did accomplish. Sometimes I can accomplish big things, and sometimes I over estimate and have to take it in smaller “digs” to remove the dirt that stands in the way between me and God. I just have to ACT today to change the regrets, which isn’t easy, but in small shovel amounts, it is possible.

Complacency (another OUCH area): I call them my Eeyore moments. Where I excuse my responsibility by saying that is just how I am.   Or don’t do anything to change because it is easier to stay just the way I am. I also am great about making a list of excuses why they stay the same (I don’t have enough time to exercise or read the Bible, etc…) S. Furtick says how sometimes it is easier to dig a new well, but we really should be cleaning out the ones we already have (like broken relationships – instead of fixing the ones we have we make a new friend; like broken marriages – instead of fixing the one we have we get a divorce and a new spouse; like financial issues – instead of paying off what we already owe we get a new charge card).   I have been known to build new wells – my generally in the sense of taking on one more commitment. The bad thing is some of my wells (spiritual life well, self care well, friendship/family well, finances well, etc..) could use some clearing! I may have just a few shovel of dirt/ things in them getting in the way of the flow, but wouldn’t it be easier to remove a few shovels of dirt than a truck load full of issues. Some things have gone years without tending, and they are honestly major stressors for me (they would be on my “it drives me crazy list”). The stress of not taking care of them has / does / can get in the way of my relationship with God (and others).

  1. Furtick said something that really hit me as a nurse – if I don’t fix my heart issues, my flow between God and me, I will be living this year in a state of Spiritual Cardiac Arrest. As a nurse cardiac arrest leads to death, and I do not want a spiritual death because of everything I have allowed to block my flow.   So, what’s this girl to do?!?!? ACT by FINDING MY FLOW – I have to get busy digging. It may be something like an
  • Saying no to new wells
  • Taking care of me (now that is a really buried well – just saying!)
  • Creating a plan for neglected wells
  • Pick an accountability partner
  • Focusing on relationships
  • Rediscovering some of my passions
  • Reprioritizing my wells
  • Eliminating unnecessary for important (how I spend my time)
  • ACT by FINDING my FLOW!

Proverbs 4:23

  • (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
  • (NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
  • (ESV): Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
  • (NAS): Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Matthew 6:21

  • (NIV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • (NLT) Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
  • (ESV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • (KJV) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

It is time to ACT

2015… makes me almost want to cry… as I count my blessings I am humbled, as I think of things I didn’t overcome I am saddened, as I think of things to come (like Mary turns 16, I turn 45, etc…) I am hopeful! For the last several years I have chosen ONE WORD instead of a list of resolutions. This is my fifth year – my words in order have been 2011 – RENEW, 2012 – PREPARE, 2013 – INTENTIONAL, and 2014 -OVERCOME.

I always create a huge list of words that come across my path and I start considering. I had a friend who read an article over the summer of a great word and sent it to me saying it maybe her word for 2015! This ONE WORD is infectious. I have tried to support people that choose a word, because as with any choice, as the days/weeks/months pass, so does one’s strength. I post my word everywhere and when I am in a tough situation, I think of my word. It is like having a crazy eight ball that every time I shake it, the reply is my word (oh I may have to create one of those). I have also been blessed to have friends share with me their words and watch my friends words come to life in their lives as well.

In October, our life as a family had some changes given to us, that were not by my choice. At first, the thought of the changes were quite overwhelming, but I used my word OVERCOME to face the situation and come up with an attitude adjustment! One of the last things I did before the big change was to attend a woman’s conference. A few words were placed in my arsenal to continue at that time including BRAVE, COURAGE, and QUIT. There were a few pivotal messages I got from that weekend, that I thought for sure would be my word. After that weekend, I read a book by Annie Downs “Let’s All be Brave” because I was sure it was the word. My sister-in-law shared a blog about Brave being listening to the small voice inside your head. What that convinced me of was not brave, but the scripture that kept playing over and over in my head. But, I will have to be BRAVE to take this word on, especially for me!!

I had a great list of other words I was considering..

  • Replace (bad habits/attitude/food with good/positive) ,
  • Eliminate (but this meant getting rid of without adding something to my life) ,
  • Authentic (also from the conference I attended to become the authentic version of me) ,
  • Balance (because face it I have a lot of plates in the air at any given time),
  • Notice (I love the book the Noticer, the Noticer returns and recently Lysa TerKeurst one of my favorite authors did a blog about being one who notices). How many times do I not notice a need because I am too busy
  • Whitespace /Margins – this is from a blog I enjoy about not leaving enough empty space to have for God, people’s needs, unexpected needs, etc… Lisa TerKeurst also talks about in her book The Best Yes. I know there are days I fill to the brim and leave nothing open for God, to take care of me, for my husband or children…
  • Mindful – this was a word a friend of mind chose after an article about how we are so busy multi-tasking that we are not truly mindful in what we are in. This is so true for me, the multi-tasker.

And then, my friend, Johnetta, had a ladies bible study / tea and the first week was about “She did what she could” (Mark 14:8). (at the tea I joked that the scripture that should have been chosen was Why are you bothering her! Mark 14:6). Elisa Morgan talked of how these 5 words made such a huge difference in her life. It is the story of Mary who pours a whole bottle of very expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus. She just did it… didn’t worry about the crowds’ opinion (which was very negative)… didn’t worry about the costs… didn’t worry about others reactions… didn’t make excuses why she couldn’t or shouldn’t…. she just acted!   I bought the book from that study and read it this past week. Really I was trying to avoid reading it, but have been so convicted since that session.  The book is full of examples of the power of the people’s actions.

  • I have the weakness of procrastination, the strength of working well under pressure (probably because I usually procrastinate so have to perform at the last minute), the strength of planning but the weakness of implementing the plans.
  • Yes, I want to NOTICE people and needs as I mentioned being a word I considered, but is it enough for me to notice a need and do nothing about it?  I want to ACT on what I notice
  • Yes, I want to eliminate things that are not good for my life and replace them with good / positive things. I can make a huge list of items that fall in this category, but they mean nothing if I don’t ACT to eliminate / replace.
  • Yes, I want to balance my life better. I want more whitespace. I want to be more mindful. My family time, me time, God time definitely gets less time than they should… I can plan the balance/whitespace on paper, with my calendar, but if I don’t follow through and ACT on balancing nothing will change.
  • Yes, I want to be more brave, have more courage, and quit things to become more authentic. Again, I have to ACT on them.
  • I also just finished 2 books by authors with cancer… The Hardest Peace (Kara Tippetts), and Napkin Notes (Garth Callaghan).  Both talked of the importance of acting on life.  Garth especially said we spend so much time getting ready and not enough acting on things.
  • ACT means assuming responsibility, not sitting back and just adding to my list to do (yikes).
  • It is not making excuses of why I can’t but ACTING with what I can.
  • I can’t just make promises.. I need to follow through – ACTIONS speak louder than words.
  • I will never complete my 45 by 45 list if I don’t ACT
  • I need to strengthen relationships – with God, my husband, my children – but they can’t just be an item on my to-do list that gets moved week to week. I must take ACTION.
  • I need to take care of ME (hasn’t that been on many list), but without ACTING with the first exercise, first healthy meal, the quiet time –  it just remains an item on the list.
  • I think of times I have avoided people, sometimes because I didn’t want to get involved or know what to say… in the book, she talked about we may only have 10 minutes, but I can give the 10 minutes – it doesn’t mean I have to take on someone else conflict but I can listen.
  • Move past my moving things from one list to the next, to the next week, to the next week, without completing. The sad thing is many could probably been ACTED on and completed in the time I wrote them on my list… I am the great procrastinator.

I really didn’t want ACT, but I can’t shake the conviction.  This will require me to take an active part in life, in relationships, etc… that I have successfully sat back and watched and put on my list.  I pray with God’s strength and wisdom at the end of each day, each week, each month I want to say I did what I could…

 

My song – Matthew West “Do Something”

My scripture for the year is Mark 14:8 ” She did what she could”

but also love – James 1:22-25The Message (MSG)  22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.