Hope you enjoy Podcast 2!
Grace and Peace!
Productivity has been on my mind lately. I have a list of post-it-notes and journals that are laying on my desk. They are flipped open to random pages that are filled with notes, reminders, checklists and to-do lists. I have two planners; one for my goals and my business and the other for school and work. I’m constantly looking for ways do improve my productivity and to get more things done. I honestly hate wasting time. This can be a good mindset as God calls us to use our time wisely. Although sometimes, I catch myself obsessing over productivity and it can get unhealthy.
Let me be clear. Productivity is very important but putting it before God makes it an idol.
God emphasizes the importance of rest in the Bible. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jesus calls out Martha for being overly productive, distracted, and busy. Mary decided to sit at Jesus’ feet and simply delight in Jesus’ presence. So simple. Yet at the same time, it was spiritually productive. She was seeking first the kingdom.
It’s so easy, in our microwave culture, to compare ourselves with others and want results fast. This can sometimes lead to overloading our plate and cause us to not fully understand that results take time. This mindset can lead to burnout. I am learning that I have to surrender my goals to God and do the best that I can, but ultimately leave the results up to Him. The Bible says that God will establish those that love Him. I will put works into my faith but I will not let my works consume me.
To have a healthy balance of life and work, I have learned to simplify productivity. When I started simplifying productivity, it allowed me to think long term and to trust God in the process. I’ve been able to set aside quality time for family and time for my other passions like reading, stretching, and drawing. Simplifying productivity also allows smaller steps to be taken each and every day instead of large projects every now and the then. Simplifying productivity also creates a lifestyle of balance and grace.
Keeping things simple and consistent has a greater effect over time than doing large amounts of work at random times. Stay encouraged by taking smaller steps.
Hopefully this was helpful and an encouragement to you.
Grace and Peace.
Can we talk about storms. Storms are rough, messy, scary, unpredictable, and loud. I have never been in a terrible storm. I have experienced the occasional downpour with lightning, but for the sake of this illustration let’s compare the word “storm” to a natural disaster type of storm. I’m talking like hurricane Katrina Level. Why are we using the word ”storm” to this level? Because in life, a downpour with lightning can not equally compare to the intensity of a natural disaster. In the moment, hardships, loss, and tragedies seem more like natural disasters than a rain storm.
Now that we have the correct illustration of the word ”storm”, let’s talk about life and how change, tragedy, or loss produces hardship that can we beneficial. People can be unpredictable. Anything can happen at any given moment. Things can happen in a heartbeat. Life is like sand. Things are always shifting. As Christians we have an unwavering hope. The Rock on which we stand. Our Rock is Jesus.
In these last 8 years on my life, I have experienced a lot of loss and heartache. To give you a little idea of how much pain my heart has gone through, let me give you a brief overview. And please note, this is not for self pity but it is a testimony of how God’s grace and love can heal a broken heart and continue to give endless hope. So to start off, I lost my family as a whole. Divorce and financial hardship took a toll on us like never before. I grew up in a home and to have that taken away was shattering for me. I lost my dreams of a future that had anything to do with sustainability or success. My friends looked at my family like we no longer exsisted. I didn’t bother reaching out due to shame. I also didn’t reach out because of how emotionally exhausting it was; constantly having to explain your worst living nightmare to people over and over again. My grandma got sick. She was my literally my BFF. I moved three times in two years. I became distant to my parents because they were dealing with the realities of our situation. We all starting working. We didn’t have ample time to really process or plan for all that had happened to us. I was desperate for love in these times of brokenness.
In high school, my journey with God was complicated. I didn’t know anything about God freshman year, so I started going to campfires where people sang worship songs and made cheeseburgers . I enjoyed the kind people and the music. Sophomore year my curiosity began to grow, so I decided to join a small group. I listened to how the leaders talked about God’s love, read their bibles, and said prayers for each other. I loved the community of people and how encouraging they were. At home, I was never fully taught the Bible. I just went to a Catholic church on occasion growing up, and I was baptized as a baby. I always new God existed but I knew there was more. More love and more of God that I hadn’t fully experienced or understood yet.
Junior and early senior year I decided that I fully believed in Jesus. There was just one problem. I didn’t fully deny myself and give up my whole life for him. I didn’t understand that I needed Him every moment of everyday. I wasn’t a new creation. I wasn’t pursing the things of God. Until one day in the middle of senior year, I told God that I had it with my way of life. I told God that I’m done with my way and I want everything to do with His way. I ditched friends, colleges plans, parties, and I even threw away my art that I had been working on all of high school. It’s seems like a lot, but I was just done. I said, “God all this means nothing.” I made a statement and my statement was that I just wanted Jesus. I wanted Gods way for my life. I wanted His plan for my life.
After praying these things on a Saturday, on Monday a random kid that I never talked to, walked up to me and said, ”Jesus loves you.” My eyes were watering. Long story short, he introduced me to another person who I met at a college service. This guy ended up talking with me for 3 1/2 hours after the service answering all the questions I had. We ended up praying and I had an encounter with God that I will never forget. Gods love changed my life forever. That same love is still in my heart and it’s His love that creates a massive hope for every area of my life.
When I begin to think about how much God loves me, I am filled with hope for my future.
I understand that my future is in His hands. So next time a storm rushes in your life, think about God’s love for you. These are the “in between” moments that are purposed to grow and stretch us for long term endurance. God has a reason for the pain and suffering. Right now we may not understand how it will benefit us, but it’s doing something important. Hardships enable us to look to God for guidance and support. Hardships teach us and grow us. When we are journeying through the promise land it will be uncomfortable at times, but the end result is worth it. Jesus fights for us. Jesus cares for us. God’s love for us gives us the confidence we need for the hard seasons in our life.
A helpful song to listen to in a hard season, that has helped me, is “Glimmer of Hope” by Hillsong Worship.
I hope that this post/small testimony was an encouragement to you.
Grace and Peace.
I just can’t escape these words. Zeal and Commitment. Think about what these two words mean.
Why these words?
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
a noun- the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself.
Zeal is almost always associated with a strong desire. As Christians, we have a strong influence on the next generation. Today, people are seekers of passion, power, and anything that has an ounce of adventure. This becomes a problem when passion, power, and adventure come from unhealthy sources and bad motives.
We need to let the next generation know that passion, power, and adventure were created for the Christian walk.
Jesus is passionate about people. Jesus is passionate about justice, making His name known, and letting His healing power transform others lives.
There is power in the name of Jesus. Jesus breaks chains, sets the captives free, and transforms lives. The real power is with Jesus.
There is a lifetime of adventure with Jesus. We live by faith and not by sight. We get the blessing of trusting a God who is for us, who loves us, and who will not leave our side. The Psalms state that God establishes the righteous. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THAT IS AWESOME! A relationship with Jesus is super exciting. Jesus is making all things new. Jesus is the ultimate source of satisfaction.
All these things make up zeal but in healthy ways. The next generation needs to see that we are zealous about the things of God. We need to stand out. Our love must stand out. Our reason for why we love will always be Jesus.
We don’t need 20 qualifications or a perfect family to serve or love people. We just need to commit.
Actions speak louder than words. This generation needs people that are are going to stay. We need to stay engaged and involved. People need people to rely upon. As Christians, we need to be those type of people. We need to go the extra mile and be there. Sometimes we might not even know what to say or do in certain situations. We just need to know that being present is enough.
Some examples of being committed would be:
(Please note: First commit to trying your best and learning from your mistakes. We are all learning. We are not perfect, but we can commit to giving our best everyday. It’s a mindset.)
I don’t know about you, but the people that are zealous and committed have a lasting impression on my soul.
Let’s be a generation that has zeal and commitment.
Grace and Peace.
I hope you all can enjoy this resource! I’m super excited about it. I’m hoping that it will encourage people. There is an E book as Well!
Grace and Peace
Church last Sunday was so good that I ended up writing the sermon notes down.
The sermon was simple.
Who we are matters more to God that what we do.
This really hit me because it reminded me about the importance of motives.
It’s so tempting in our culture to focus on the what. What we are doing. What we did. What we are going to do. Or who did what or who is doing the next awesome thing.
While our actions, career choices, and what we do with our life has significance. Who we are is more important.
Our character matters more than our circumstances.
Because of this, it’s important to have questions ready to test our motives in challenging/tempting circumstances.
Who we are and why we do things is very important. These questions can help us make wise decisions when we are unsure about our motives.
Grace and Peace