When God Says Wait: Reignite Your Passion

I think there’s a misconception that becoming a Christian will make life easier. At least I had that misconception, even subconsciously. Following God and giving Him the driver’s seat to my life, I somehow thought that meant I could tap into His power to always have peace of mind when moving forward into the unknown. I know – how ridiculous is that? But looking back now, I realize I had inadvertently come to this belief by being passive in my faith walk rather than passionate and diligent. “If I just pray enough, if I just give God more control, I will know the path to walk and I will be fully confident in knowing the way God is trying to lead me.”

There’s some truth and a whole lot of reality to my previous beliefs about faith in God. The truth is, the more control I give up and the more prayer I engage in, the easier it will be for me to hear God’s voice and decipher His call on my life. I absolutely have access to God’s power and peace through Jesus! But does that mean I will always feel like it? I’m learning “no” is an ok answer…but it’s what I do after becoming aware of my feelings that count. The better answer is to realize that it’s ok not to always feel God’s peace, as continual trust, faith, and contentment in the Lord is something to actively choose and fight for.

Sometimes being a Christian (or just a human, lol) feels a lot like you’re stuck downstream without a paddle. Faith doesn’t always mean you have a plan, know the plan, or are certain of your life path. Faith does mean regardless of what we know or don’t know, we DO know our God. We know His character and what He says about us. We know that we are called to Him to rest in the promises of His peace. How amazing is THAT?

Ok, but I would be lying if I said to road to continual peace in His promises and being content in all circumstances is all sunshine and roses. It’s NOT! Also, the Bible tells us to “take up our cross and follow Jesus”. Does that sound like “hey, so glad you believe! Here’s to an easy life here on earth, sit back and enjoy the ride.”….LOL… I would argue it isn’t even possible here on earth to rest in His continual peace. Our world is far too broken not to lead us astray from His presence.

That being said, as a Christian, as a mother… I haven’t ever felt so sure and also so lost at the same time as I am at this point in my life. I am so sure of my call to be a mother, the call to my wonderful job, and the calling to live out my passions and gifts God has given me. But next steps in our life… so many unknowns from all angles. I am sure you can relate! Yet, even the paths I KNOW I am being called to are often the most fought over.

I am reading a new (to me) book called “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer. It is absolutely rocking my world! In the beginning of the book she talks about Passion. She says:

“Passion is what pushes the athlete to run one more lap, to crunch through one more set of reps. It’s what silences those screaming thighs and stomach muscles, making them do what their owner demands of them, no matter how loudly they complain. Passion is what keeps a piano player anchored to the practice bench when no one else is around to notice the effort or give a pat on the back for approval. Passion is what inspires the eager young employee to out perform expectations, instead of just punching the clock to earn a paycheck like everybody else. Passion is what burns up the road between a child in danger and a parent in pursuit. It glows red-hot. And goes on driving. And grows even larger, the larger the obstacles become. Passion is the fuel in the engine of your purpose. It’s your “want to.” It’s what keeps you going when mundane tasks bore you or difficult ones dissuade you. Passion is what keeps you moving in the direction your best intentions want you to go. That’s why, if I were your enemy, I’d make stealing your passion one of my primary goals. Because I know if I could dim your passion, I could significantly lower your resistance to temptation and discouragement. I could make you walk with a spiritual limp and lengthen how long it takes you to recover from the injury. If I could chip away at your zeal, at your hope, at your belief in God and what He can do, I could chisel down your faith to a whimper. Make you want to quit. And never try again. I’d cup an ear in your direction, hear nothing in your voice that sounds like anything but token prayer, and snicker at my success. Chalk another one up to my “Passion Elimination Plan” – the one with your name on it. That’s what I’d do. If I were your enemy. I’d weaken your passion, your cutting edge, knowing full well that weak, impotent prayers (or better yet, prayer-lessness) would follow right behind.” – Fervent, Priscilla Shirer. (Guys…I could keep going but just go READ the book! It’s SO good!!!!!!!)

As a believer, I know God cares for me and is the one who holds my future in His hands. I know I don’t need to worry because God cares for us. Knowing and doing are two different things. It takes passion and conscious effort to bridge the gap between knowing what I should do and actually doing it. I know prayer and active communication with God is the road to peace, but I don’t always do it — even when I need Him the most. Unless I have an active part in the relationship with Jesus, my faith is passive faith. To be content and fulfilled in the Lord it takes more on our part, and it takes Passion. Sometimes I don’t feel like praying — instead  *if I am honest* I feel like complaining.

But passion for a life well lived with Jesus moves me to pray even when I don’t feel like it. Doing that thing that’s seemingly mundane or difficult, but you know you should do it, and you choose to do it anyway regardless of FEELINGS – that’s passion, and grit. That is the type of passion that’s going to move mountains…in life, faith, business, and relationships.

Maintaining that spiritual passion is not easy, especially when God doesn’t answer our prayers right away. I have found that God usually answers prayers in these ways: yes, no, not right now aka *wait* and be patient, my daughter. That last answer is the hardest for me. But that’s the one that will grow us the most! I have been in a LONG suffering season of waiting and praying….and if I am honest, I’ll tell you that I am writing this as a realization of all the prayers that haven’t been said. I am writing this because I can see I have grown weary during this battle we are walking through and at times it’s swallowed me up. Lack of spiritual passion and exhaustion left me defenseless during battle…when I needed it most. God leading us into a season of waiting is hard as heck but its an amazing opportunity to GROW in love and in faith with Jesus. If you are in a season of waiting, reignite your passions and pray about this season of life. God has a plan!

I have found that lack of passion in my spiritual life has led me into placing too much weight on my own shoulders to do it all myself. Lack of passion and an intimate relationship with Jesus has led me into searching for that intimacy in other places that no one can fulfill except Jesus. Our worldly relationships are meant to enrich our lives with Christ, not stand in place of it. If you feel continually let down by others, evaluate yourself and your spiritual passion.

Does your personal life or business feel stagnant? Evaluate why you do what you do and reignite your passion. I look at my daughter and know I push myself to work harder in order to give her the life she most deserves. That’s what pushes me to do the mundane even when I don’t feel that passion…I CHOOSE it! Motivation and passion are not something to feel occasionally, they are something to FIGHT for. Go to war for it! You deserve it, your family deserves it, and you’ll be amazed what passion can do to transform your world.

If you are in a season of uncertainty where you feel distant from God and/or unsure….I invite you to pray with me. Dust yourself off, smile and know you are loved. Put on your armor and GO TO WAR. Identify your goals and pray…this life is meant to be enjoyed but it is also greatly a spiritual battle. Prayer and closeness with Jesus is what will get us through and to our goals. Please know that you are invaluable and you are loved.

Book reference: Fervent by Priscilla Shirer – Purchase Here

(This is not sponsored or affiliated with the book)

 

Ministry in Daily Life

A huge part of my heart behind Thriving on Grace is to share with people my journey with God, sharing how I am learning to thrive in His abundant Grace.

I struggle just like everyone else, deal with things that are unimaginable, just like everyone else, and try to take up my cross and walk in faith and light, just like everyone else. To be honest, some days feel like I am carrying my cross up hill with no end in sight.

But I started this blog to share my faith, open a dialog with other believers, and hopefully be an encouragement. Here’s what God has been teaching me lately about ministry.

In our world today there is so much suffering, and with round the clock news cycles and social media, it seems as though we all have a personal view of world wide problems. As Christians, many of us are called by God to go out into the world and be the hands and feet of Jesus. I am in absolute awe of people’s selflessness to get out of their comfort zone and set out to minister to those in need all over the globe in the name of Jesus.

But I want to bring light to something for a moment. Sometimes, with evangelizing, its easy to get wrapped up in big pictures, big ministry goals, and reaching as many people as possible.  God stirs a fire in me that burns so brightly that I want to sprint toward my goals and put blinders on everything else until I reach it. There have been times where I have been so focused on my current ministry outreach project that I have neglected to care as deeply for those directly around me. It’s easy to be overwhelmed and brokenhearted by the suffering of the poor in faraway lands and miss the opportunities to minister to those right in front of you.  I read the following teaching in Galatians and it encouraged me greatly to be more intentional with the people in my daily path.

“Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith.” Galatians 6:8-10 NLT

I am, of course, in no way suggesting to not go out into the world, other countries, other cities, and faraway lands to preach the good news. What I am suggesting is we must not forget to live out our faith in our daily lives here at home. We must not forget to minister to those in our own family, family of faith, and church family. These verses begged these questions of myself:

  • Am I being the hands and feet of Christ to those who see me daily?
  • Am I being an example of Christ’s love to all I come in contact with?
  • Am I loving those in my family, community, church family well first?
  • How can I better serve my own family, loved ones, and community?

Invest in your surroundings, and bloom where you are planted. The bible teaches us that we will reap what we sow. Establish healthy roots around you and grow from there to extend your outreach. Our first ministry should be our relationship with God, then our relationships with our loved ones and community.

As a parent, my main ministry is making sure I am a healthy Godly mother to my daughter. I have big ambitions, big goals, and feel a tremendous call on my life from God. Yet in the season I am in right now, God is calling me to lay a foundation, be faithful in the current blessings I have been given, and focus on raising my child to know Jesus.

My encouragement to everyone is to not compare yourself with other Christians. Evaluate the position God has you in, evaluate the current needs around you and how you can meet them in the name of God. Everyone’s ministry may look different, and just because your current season may not have you doing ministry in the same way others are at the moment, does not mean you aren’t a valuable asset of your family of faith. We all have our own set of skills, spiritual gifts, and calls on our lives from God. He created us distinctly different on purpose! Evaluate the gifts God has blessed you with and use them for the glory of God. It will be so life giving and fulfilling to you, and pleasing to God!

Not sure you are capable or qualified to minister to others? If you seek Jesus with a whole heart, He will equip you and meet you there. God can use ANYONE for His glory, all it takes is a willing heart and faith in Jesus. Through Jesus, we all have access to God’s power to do wonderful things for God and through God. 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s power works best in weakness! I know this first hand to be true because I am WEAK without Jesus, I have crumbled under the pressure of trying to do life without Jesus as my focus.

Clinging to Jesus and accessing God’s power will sustain you in all situations. I am praying for all those reading this to step out in faith and love for Christ and make a positive difference in the position God has you in today. I am praying all these things for myself as well.

 

 

 

 

My Daughter’s Inner Voice

This morning started off as just an ordinary morning with my 9 month old daughter, yet it will always have a profound and lasting impact on me as a mother.

After our morning kisses and cuddles, we got out of bed and I set her up with a few toys to play with while I brushed my teeth and got myself ready for the day. While standing at the sink, I found myself feeling a little  discouraged about my body and where I am physically in my postpartum journey. I had expected things would be going back to normal faster than they have. I expected I wouldn’t be as tired as I have been as a new mother and would have had the energy for the workouts I’d love to do. Yet, as I stood at the sink, I found myself lifting my shirt to examine with disappointment the battle scars I have on my lower abdomen from late in my pregnancy. The negative thoughts I had quietly in my head were screaming so loudly through the look on my face. Feeling two little eyes gazing up at me, I looked down to see my baby girl standing there, with one arm holding herself up against the bath tub and the other holding her own shirt up as she examined her own tummy.

Oh, my. What am I doing?

Sure, she’s just 9 months old and was just innocently mimicking her mama as she loves to do lately. But make no mistake, my actions were ultimately teaching her that it is ok to have negative thoughts about yourself and to give into the pressures of this life to feel you are anything less than uniquely beautiful in God’s eyes – no matter how you look.

Although it is reasonable to want to lose a little weight and wish away the marks on my abdomen, the problem was my heart behind it this morning. I was trying to live up to unreasonable expectations based off of other people that do not match up with my reality. I am recognizing this morning that as her mother, my voice  and attitude about myself will greatly influence my daughter’s inner voice about herself. I want to treat myself better in order to teach her that beauty is not the sum of your gravitational pull and overall outward appearance. Beauty is what flows from the heart through your actions. It’s how you love yourself and how you love others. I was not loving myself well this morning and it is a blessing I have had this revelation while my daughter is so young.

This is just one small part of the endless journey to try and thrive on grace! This is MY journey! I needed this reminder to be grateful for the amazing body God has given me that gave LIFE to my daughter. Every mark is worth it. It was an important reminder to love myself, accept the things I cannot change, and work harder with a positive attitude to change the things I can. But most of all, it was a reminder to always be confident and kind to myself, as little eyes are looking up to me.

Grace – You Are Enough!

As a woman, a mother, and a fellow human being, I find that it’s very easy to compare myself to others and sometimes come up feeling inadequate. In this day and age, with the rise of social media, we find ourselves living in the fakest reality world – ever. Everywhere you turn someone is using a filter, an angle, a clever saying, and the right lighting, to get you to think a certain way about them. I fear that this is perpetuating a problematic thought among us – that maybe we just aren’t enough. At times I have felt the need to edit things to the point where I’m almost editing reality out! But what I’ve learned is that when I edit out too much of my reality, I lose ownership over my authenticity, which is insulting to me and insulting to the ever-loving God who made me! Now, of course I still use filters and Chrisclever sayings! The point is, I’ve learned to be more mindful of social media and the trap of obsession with perception.

But unlike obsession with perception and thirst for other’s approval, grace tells an entirely different story. Grace says, “You are enough”, because God says, “You are more than enough.” God’s grace and unconditional love has saved us while we are still sinners and that is truly a free gift to whosoever believes in Him. Knowing who I truly am, (behind that Nashville filter and natural sunlight from that window I’m facing in hopes to hide my tired eyes) God says, “I choose you, all of you!”

Now, this of course has eternal implications but for the purpose of this blog post, let me get to the daily – minute by minute – application. Here it is, because God’s grace tells me that I am more than enough – I AM ENOUGH! So I must treat myself as such. This means that every day I choose, to the best of my ability, to extend grace to myself and not be too hard on myself. This means I fully accept myself as I am! This means that you not only extend grace to yourself but to others too. I’m choosing to think the best of others, and give more benefit of the doubt. God loves us all. He extends love and grace to us all. I am flawed and also trying my hardest to thrive on this sometimes uphill climb of life and gracefully love myself and love others in a passionate and genuine way!

I don’t want to just survive on tough days. I want to thrive! I want to thrive on the fact that God’s love and grace have covered me. It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to my new blog, Thriving on Grace.