I have had a long struggle with JOY.
There…I admit it. Joy and I have had a tenuous relationship over the years. I know it is not the sort of thing a Christian is supposed to admit, but I am done with Sunday school Christianity. I want to be real and transparent before you and those who circle my life. Although it has been a long while since I wrote a post for the Authentic Christianity series, today’s post is definitely a great fit for that series.
I know all the Bible verses about joy….all 150 or so of them, according to my Bible study tools app:
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ~~ Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. ~~ John 15:11 (NKJV)
This one makes me wonder if my joy-bucket has holes in the bottom of it!!
Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. ~~ John 16:24 (NKJV)
And then there is this gem…..
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, etc.. ~~ Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)
My ‘joy’ tree is sparse on fruit sometimes, let me tell you.
I look at people who are always ‘up’ and bubbly-happy and all ‘it’s a great day to be alive’ and think “I’m not sure what drugs you are taking, but I need a dose”. It’s not that I am chronically depressed, it’s just that I sometimes (okay, well maybe, often) see the world and the glass as half empty. I lean toward the pessimistic side of things, although I will usually tell you that I am more of a realist.
So, with that spilled out all over you, I want to tell you about something I have been doing all year in 2018 to encourage joy in my heart. I will confess that I have waited almost 4 months to share this to make sure it was going to be something that I made into a habit.
I use a Passion Planner for my calendaring needs. Late in 2017 (like, December 31st) the Lord gave me the idea of writing down at least one blessing that came my way every day…..kinda like a blessing journal. I called it “Each Day, 1 Blessing” and decided to write the blessing on my planner. So, at the end of each day I choose one thing from that day that was a blessing or joy to me and write it on the bottom of that day’s calendar page. Some days are easier than others. Some days a blessing or joy jumps right out of my heart and onto the page, while other days, honestly, I have to mine pretty deeply into the events of the day to find something that blessed me.
Here are pictures of some of my entries.
This exercise forces me to intentional about looking for blessing and joy in my life. The things I enter are sometimes BIG things like helping to find sponsors for children in poverty, but other times they are ordinary occurrences in my day like a beautiful sunset. Each entry is a reminder of God’s goodness in my life. This is one of the ways that I am being intentional about CHOOSING to grasp joy for my heart.
How do you encourage joy in your heart?
Do you struggle with joy or some other fruit? I would love to hear from you about your struggle and how you navigate it. Leave me a comment or email me at email@example.com.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Hello, I’m Leah!
I thought I’d introduce myself, because it has been a few weeks since I posted anything here. The last few weeks have been F-U-L-L of all sorts of goodness, and honestly, I just have not settled down to get my thoughts in order. I will write more about that soon, but today I am so excited to share with you something the Lord has placed on my heart for us.
As you know, Resurrection Day (Easter) is on April 1st and it is all about new life springing forth from the grave when Jesus rose! Jesus had been crucified three days before and His followers thought that all was lost. But God!!…….He did a new thing on Resurrection Day and death was defeated once and for all. Hallelujah!! (Want to know more about why I think Jesus is such a big deal? Go HERE.
What better time to start a new habit that draws us up close to Jesus than Resurrection Day and the beginning of a new month!
If you have hung around here for even a pair of minutes, you will know that I am like a dog on a bone about being in the Word. Scripture is LIFE to me, and I want it to be LIFE to you. I never knew how much I needed to be in the Word every day until I got in the Word every day way back in 2001. It feeds my heart and soul and gives me what I need to walk through this messy world. I’m hooked on Bible study for life!
Sometimes, though, for some of us it is hard to decide exactly HOW to be in the Word every day. So often I have women say to me, “I just don’t have time to do an in-depth study that requires 30 minutes or more of at-home work each day,” or “I want to read my Bible, but I just don’t know where to start.” I get all of that. I really do. So, for the month of April, I want to offer you a way to be in Scripture, AND to draw little nuggets out for your own heart.
Ta-da! My Resurrection Day/Spring/April Scripture Challenge!
I can make you a guarantee….100% money back guarantee. If you will commit 30 days to spending time reading one chapter of Scripture each day and journaling about it, your faith will grow and you will fall more in love with Jesus and His Word. I promise. Pinky-swear! God promised that His Word will never return void, which means it will always make a difference in the heart and life of the one who interacts with it. I am living proof that this is true.
So, here is how we will roll with this. Beginning April 1st, I am challenging you to:
1) Choose ONE CHAPTER of Scripture (any chapter, anywhere in the Bible) each day.
2) Read that chapter.
3) Write a little (or a lot) about what the Lord spoke into your heart from that chapter. (Keep reading, I have a FREE GIFT to help with this.)
Easy, huh? You may want to read 30 chapters out of one particular book in the Bible, or you might want to go totally rogue and random with your chapter choices. You might even want to read the same chapter every day for 30 days. You decide what works for you!
I have created a FREE journal page to help you keep track of your chapters and your heart ponderings. You may already have a journal that you like to use for such things, but I thought it would be fun to have a dedicated sheet for the effort, for those who would like to use it. I’ve named it ‘Chapter Read….What It Said (to me)’ and I would love for you to have it. There are two ways you can get it. Either download from the green button below, OR send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you via email.
What do you say? Would you like to grow in your faith this spring? Do you desire to learn more about Jesus and His Word? Will you take my challenge?
If so, please leave me a comment below or send me an email letting me know you will taking the challenge. I am so excited to hear what God speaks into your heart and life in April.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I have been in ministry for ten solid years, and in that time I have written about a lot of topics. There is one topic, however, about which I rarely write because, quite honestly, I do not feel that I have enough wisdom to offer in that arena. That topic is marriage. After 23 years of marriage, I still do not have it all figured out and I am far, far, far from the perfect wife to Greg. Yet, today, I believe that I have stumbled upon a treasure trove of marriage wisdom that I want to offer to you.
Let me give you the back story.
Our family has experienced the joy of seeing two young men choose beautiful young women as their future wives. In 2018, our nephew, Kalem, will marry his fiancee’ Erika in May. Then, in June, Greg and I will be blessed to gain a daughter-in-love when our son, Charlie, marries Morgan.
All of this wedding chatter and planning prompted me to think about when I got married and how I wish there had been a ‘marriage mentor’ to walk alongside me and pour into me. Of course, I had my parents, but there is something different and special about having someone come alongside and pour into your heart in a specific way. Someone just a few steps ahead of you in the journey who is willing to share, and yes, even to call you out when you step off the path of truth. Now, that all assumes that I would have been willing to L-I-S-T-E-N!
Last week, the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart that there is a ton of godly wisdom on the topic of marriage within my circle of friends, and that perhaps our kids, and maybe others, would benefit from hearing some real-life wisdom born of trial and error and experience. To that end, I tossed a question out on my Facebook page, and HELLO!!!! wisdom poured onto the page. Today I want to share some of that with you because it is toooooooo good to let it get buried on my Facebook feed.
So, here is the question I asked:
Our family will be blessed to witness two weddings this year: our son, Charlie and his fiancee, Morgan, AND our nephew, Kalem, and his fiancee, Erika. We will also be blessed to have young friends who are getting married in 2018. What marriage and relationship advice would you give a young couple as they say “I Do”?
One major theme of many of the responses was the importance of good communication between a husband and wife. Check them out:
Cindy said: Do not bottle things up, talk, talk and talk some more until it’s all worked out!
Teresa M said: Keep talking with God, each other, and as needed, reliable Christian counsel.
Shelley offered: Don’t be too proud to apologize – and make it heartfelt. There will be times when you will feel out of sync, and that’s okay, it will pass. But, if you are uncomfortable with it, just ask your spouse, “Are we okay?” Then talk about it. Girls AND guys need to feel connected
This wisdom from Kathy speaks loudly: My biggie is healthy communication and determining to work completely through an issue to a healthy resolution. You may come to an impasse at times, so call a time-out and go to neutral spaces but DETERMINE to come back to it when the dust and emotions have settled. That may be 30 minutes, 2 weeks or 30 days BUT come back to it and “finish” resolution of the issue to a healthy place, and then lay it down and learn from that process. I believe one of the biggest problems is that, with most couples, nothing ever gets fully resolved but rather just pushed aside to remain alive and festering, sure to rear its ugly head again some time….
Cathy gave us four rules of communication.
1 be honest
2 keep current
3 attack the problem not the person
4 act don’t react
And this from Larry: The men need to learn 3 phrases – 9 words: 1.) I was wrong. 2.) I am sorry. 3.) Please forgive me.
And all God’s women said, “Amen!”
Another theme that emerged was conflict resolution in marriage. Kathy’s comment from above was on this theme, as were these:
Gloria reminded us that: You don’t always have to be right… it’s okay to admit that you are wrong. And fight fair.
Karen said: Tell on your spouse to God and not to others. Always do this. God is the only way for change either in you or your spouse.
Once again, Kathy added a wealth of wisdom with this: Make it your daily practice to try to “out-serve” each other…and i think that speaks for itself. Can you imagine how many things would never even make our “grumble lists” if, as couples, we were trying to serve the other the most while they have that same goal?!?!?!? About the only thing we’d have to fuss about would be being served and loved TOO much!
A third major theme of finances emerged. This one is huge because research shows that the NUMBER ONE thing couples fight about is M-O-N-E-Y. Let’s take a look at some of the comments on finances:
I said: Since money is the number one issue about which couples argue, do not get into debt (the borrower is slave to the lender).
Teresa T said: Start a nest egg for retirement as soon as you get married. Don’t buy everything you want and see, save your money and pay cash and you might realize it wasn’t needed, after all. Follow the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace rules. Stay away from credit cards! Have a joint checking account and decide together what you will spend your money on.
Beth echoed Teresa with this: No separate checking accounts. Full disclosure in finances will keep everyone accountable.
The issue of romance and dating your spouse also garnered a couple of comments:
Kathy T said: Keep dating. Even after children, time with your spouse is crucial.
Anna, who is celebrating 50 years of marriage this year said: Marry someone you like first and then fall in love with… enjoy doing things together but also have your own time for hobbies.
Lori offered: Know and understand your spouse’s Love Language. Learn to “speak it” if you don’t have the same one. (See Amazon link below to Chapman’s book, ‘The 5 Love Languages’)
Alysa said: I cannot express how important it is to keep dating… Having a child throws a huge curve ball however, we are closer now than ever because we still date!!!
Another topic that elicited some wonderful feedback was the issue of praying for your spouse:
Natasha said: Fight for your marriage daily. We each keep a prayer journal and every day we pray together and separately and I pray to be the best help mate for my spouse and to help mold me into being a better wife and mom. For so long I prayed for change of him, when really it was me who needed changing!
Martha gave some incredible wisdom in her comment: Many many years ago as a teenager, my Pastor’s Wife taught us to begin to pray for our future husbands. I began to pray for him very specifically. I prayed he would learn the things that would prepare him to care for me and our children. I ask God to build my husband and equip him long before I ever met him. Now I recognize the Holy Spirit was preparing me to accept and respect who He was assembling for me. When trials and hardships come as they often do. This truth has been a constant encouragement to me. When my son was in the second grade I began to specifically pray for his wife in the same fashion. I cannot began to tell you how this has impacted our relationship. Now I pray in this manner for my grandchildren. I expect great things from my God because I have invested Great Confidence in Him in prayer. The most amazing thing to me, is for almost 40 years He has been Absolutely Faithful to every prayer I’ve ever prayed.
I want to leave you with a comment from Paula that blessed and challenged me so much as a wife. I hope it will bless and challenge you, too.
Recently I did an online study on the book “YOU & ME FOREVER, Marriage in Light of Eternity” by Francis and Lisa Chan (see Amazon link below). It was soooo good and so eye opening! The main thing I took from it, is we have to remember, God joined us together in marriage as an illustration to the world the love of Christ for His bride. How I treat my husband and vice versa is SUPPOSED to reflect the love, grace and forgiveness that Christ gives His Church.
It has completely changed my perspective in many ways. Now, if I feel like John isn’t acting in a way toward me that I like, for instance maybe he’s had a bad day and is being hateful. It may be quite irritating to me because I know it’s not my fault. But rather than get mad or pout, now, my first thought is…how many times have I acted this way toward God? And how many times has His grace and mercy loved on me through my bad attitude? So how then can I be Jesus to my husband, and extend grace and mercy to him and love him through this like Christ loves me?
To me, this just changes everything!
Then secondly I ask myself, as the world watches how I respond to my husband when he isn’t really my favorite person, or when I feel like he has treated me wrongly, am I showing the love of Christ to the world? Do they see grace, mercy, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (this is a concept that too many people only attribute to what God has for us, but we are called to love others this way, and we even VOWED before God to love our spouse this way)? Does my marriage reflect the image of the Gospel of Christ? Am I willing to serve my husband when he doesn’t deserve it? Am I willing to always put His needs first, even if I feel my needs may have been neglected (because that’s what unconditional love is… giving and loving as a choice, not because it’s earned and not as a reward to them for meeting your needs)? Am I being Christ like to my spouse?
These are hard questions, but, if we put our focus on the Gospel, and realize the world is watching us and the message of the Gospel is at stake based on how we act, then our marriages will be changed, and our lives will be changed. And most importantly, we will bring glory and honor to God in the process.
I hope this post has been a blessing to you…or maybe if you are like me, it has been a bit uncomfortable because it shines a light on areas in our marriages that could stand a little, or a lot, of tweaking. Whatever the case, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us in to husbands and wives that look more like Jesus.
What marriage advice do you have for young couples? Share it in the comments.
Have a great week!
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I am a lover of lists. In fact, I pretty much live and die by a list.
Daily to-do items list
All kinds of lists in my head
Lists are my friends! You, too?
One of the most popular blog posts I have ever written (that was not published on my own site) was one that detailed my top 10 Bible studies for women. Here is the link to it over on my friend Arabah Joy’s site. It has been a while since I wrote that post and I have delved into many more Bible studies since then. So, I thought today would be a very good day to offer a new list of what I consider to be some wonderful Bible studies that would be worth your time and effort to dive into.
May I share with you that I believe studying the Scriptures is as vital to life as the air that I breathe? I know, I know…that seems a bit dramatic, but it really is true. As a Christian, the only way that I can know the heart of God is from the letter that He wrote telling us all about His heart, what pleases Him, those things that He hates, and how to draw up close to Him. God’s power, available to us through faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible, offers us ‘everything we need for life and godliness’. (2 Peter 1:3)
This issue of Bible study is one of the things in this life about which I am absolutely dogmatic. You and I cannot have an intimate relationship with Jesus without regular time hearing from Him through Scripture. Nope! Ain’t gonna happen!
I want to make it easy for you to find a Bible study that gets your head and heart into God’s Word. As your mentor and a Titus 2 ‘older woman’, I long to see you grow in the faith and knowledge of Jesus, and it is my biblical mandate to offer you whatever help I can to aid you in that journey. I hope this list is a blessing to you and I would love to hear back from you about any of these studies, or any others, that you have done.
Allow me to offer a few disclaimers before I begin my 10 (more) Bible Studies to Savor list.
Disclaimer #1, this list is in no particular order, and it was a huge challenge to stop at ten.
Disclaimer #2, this list does not supersede or discount the first list, but rather, adds to it. So, just because a study that I listed in the first post is not on this list does not mean that I no longer feel it to be a study of worth. I’m simply seeking to give you more whipped cream to add to the banana pudding!
Disclaimer #3, this post is chock-full of Amazon affiliate links. You may click any Amazon product picture in this post and be taken to a site where you can purchase the book. If you decide to purchase using one of my links, I will receive a small commission from Amazon. It is just one of the ways I help keep lights on and food on the table. Thank you!
10 (More) Bible Studies to Savor
Precept Upon Precept – Romans by Kay Arthur
My Tuesday morning small group has just begun Part 1 of 4 parts of this amazing study. Part 1 has us studying Romans chapters 1-5 for fourteen weeks. Seriously, y’all, we are digging deep and really learning these five chapters. (this is truly separate 4 studies, but I’m listing it as one.)
I was super excited when Kay led us to examine Romans 1:16-17 and told us that these verses were the theme verses for the entire book. Why was I so excited? Because, well…my tattoo is symbolic of Romans 1:16, so I bear the mark of the book forever on my body.
Can I be honest with you? I resisted Precept studies for many years because of some interactions with a few women who were rabidly adamant that if you studied anything other than Precept you were not really studying the Bible. God bless their ministries!! But, eventually I moved past it all out of necessity to find studies that my small group had not done. When I did, I found a wealth of opportunity for being deep in the Word. Precept is a very different format from many in-depth Bible studies, yet it offers an opportunity to really dig deeply into Scripture.
Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance by Charles Swindoll
If you have never gone through trials, then you can skip over this particular Bible study. However, if you are like me and have a few gray hairs in your head and wrinkles on your face because of trials and difficulties, then this study is one you need to get under your belt.
I am a major Swindoll fan and he did a marvelous job of teaching what is a difficult book of the Bible. In typical Swindoll fashion, there are lots of quotes that stick to your ribs and offer comfort for future trials. This study is appropriate for men and women.
Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright
I get it. This is not a typical Bible study, but sweet mercy, there are tons of Scriptures in it that pertain to communication, both in marriage and in other relationships. If you have a desire to improve your marriage communication this is the book for you. It is SOOO good.
Precept Upon Precept – Revelation by Kay Arthur
Okay, so I offer this recommendation with a sizeable caveat. This study will eat your lunch and your Little Debbie snack cakes, but man, oh man, is it ever worth it!! It, like the Romans study mentioned above, is a four-part study that will take the better part of 2 years to complete. It stretched me in so many ways unlike any study I have ever done, yet sister (or brother), I learned so much about the book of The Revelation from it. No longer does Revelation frighten me. Rather, it is a source of encouragement and blessing. Find a Precept group in your local area and JUST DO IT!!
Finding I AM by Lysa Terkeurst
In this study Proverbs 31 founder, Lysa Terkeurst leads the reader through a study of the I AM statements of Jesus. The at-home work is rich and can be done in a short amount of time. As you study these statements, they become very personal to your heart and life. Jesus said them for our benefit and we are wise to delve into them.
What Love Is by Kelly Minter
What is not to love about a study of the books of 1, 2, and 3 John? There is so much goodness in this study by one of my favorite authors. The themes of love and light echo stunningly in a culture that has lost its way in the dark. This study, too, is time-efficient and pertinent to your life today.
Entrusted: A Study of 2 Timothy by Beth Moore
In recent years, Moore has added a delightful component to her already great studies. That component is writing by her youngest daughter, Melissa. I totally enjoy Melissa’s very scholarly portions of Beth’s studies and this study of 2 Timothy is no different. In 2 Timothy Paul is writing to his son in the faith to encourage him to not be ashamed of the calling that God has on his life. Is this pertinent to you and me? I think so. God has entrusted the gospel message to those of us who name the name of Christ. Let’s do this thing well.
The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
Okay, so I’ve got a confession to make. I never studied the armor of God before this study. I think somewhere in my sub-conscious I felt like it was not really something I needed to study. Why? I have no idea! But, y’all, we all need to study this passage of Scripture, and Priscilla Shirer knocks it out of the park with this study. She makes practical application easy for the student and you will know the armor of God when you finish.
Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World by Shelly Miller
This is not an in-depth Bible study like others mentioned here, but IT ROCKED MY WORLD last year and I would be hugely remiss not to include it in this list. I had never been obedient to observe a Sabbath rest until God had enough of my disobedience and put me flat of my back, quite literally. He forced rest, and on the back side of all, I can say that it was good. This book contains a world of Scripture and wisdom about the topic of rest and Sabbath. I’ve dog-eared and highlighted this book until it looks like it is twenty years old. Please, do yourself a favor and order it today.
Legacy: It’s What You Leave Behind by……..ME!
Please forgive me for tossing in one of my own studies, but there is a method to my madness. In 2017 I revised and re-published this 2010 study with the help of a sweet friend, Jen Stults. I adore the new cover and interior design. In my previous Bible studies to savor list, I had included the first edition of this study, which is now no longer available, so I wanted to offer the link to the new and updated version. This study encourages the student to be intentional in the creation of their legacy through examining their faith, their character, and their holiness. It is packed with real-life examples of legacy building that will encourage you in the creation of your legacy.
I would love to have you share your favorite Bible studies in the comments, OR share how one of these studies has impacted your life and faith. Friends, we will never be sorry we spent time studying Scripture. Never!
Have a great week!
Perhaps I am just getting old….or maybe 53 years of breathing earth’s air has planted a bit of wisdom and caution in my heart. Whatever the cause, the wariness I feel toward social media these days is very real and a cause of legit concern. Our devices are impacting us in so many ways that are good, but also in an equal number of ways that are not good. Today, I want to ponder the selfie phenom that has taken over our world.
Let me state at the outset that I am NOT pointing a finger at anyone with this post. If the shoe fits your foot, then wear it. If it doesn’t, leave it in the box for someone else to put on. I am simply sharing what the Holy Spirit has been working in MY heart.
Have you ever looked up the definition of a ‘selfie’? Check it.
Selfie: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera, especially for posting on social networks.
In my heart, there is a great deal of discomfort with this ‘selfie’ obsession that has invaded social media. Have you ever Googled the word ‘selfie’? Sweet mercy, I did not just fall off the turnip truck yesterday, but what I saw shocked me. It is incomprehensible to me that people would take such pictures of themselves…AND POST THEM ONLINE. It is also hugely disturbing to me the sheer number of ‘selfies’ that many people take and post to social media in a 24-hour period.
An article published by the American Marketing Association in November 2015 entitled, Social Media Triggers a Dopamine High, tells us that there is a physical component to social media. Who knew? The neurochemical dopamine, known as the ‘reward molecule’ is “released after certain human actions or behaviors, such as exercising, or setting and achieving a goal.” Apparently social media activity is also a trigger for the release of dopamine according to a study of Australian consumers.
“Every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation online, we are creating an expectation,” according to the AMA study. “We feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self through sharing.”
Nowhere is this more true than with selfies. Although the word ‘selfie’ is a relatively new one, the impetus behind the action is an age-old one. Obsession with, and glorification of, self. Taken to the extreme, that’s what a ‘selfie’ is…and it runs so counter to God’s desire and command for His children.
Let me clarify one thing, please. I am not talking about the occasional family/friend/group picture. Those are great, and I totally enjoy seeing them. Even the occasional ‘selfie’ posted to social media is acceptable. What I have become so leery of is the repeated pictures of self that are posted to social media. Five, ten, twenty or more ‘selfies’ in a day.
John, the beloved disciple, said that Jesus must become greater, but I must become less. (John 3:30). Paul emphatically stated that ‘to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21).
As Christ-followers, we are called to humble ourselves, look like Jesus, and ultimately, draw other people to Him. If my calling is to point others to Jesus, it is virtually impossible for me to do that when I am so focused on taking a dozen pictures of myself each day so that I, and others, can see my face on social media.
Psychologists have discovered that, taken to the extreme, the ‘selfie’ craze can lead to a psychiatric problem called body dysmorphic disorder, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to some studies, more than 3 selfies in a day might signify a mental disorder. Seriously!!
Hebrews 12:2 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and Him only. I fear today’s ‘selfie’ obsession places self in the spotlight and dethrones Jesus in our hearts. Remember the definition of ‘idol’….anything that takes the place of, or occupies more of our heart than God is an idol. Y’all, I want my relationship with Jesus to be what other people remember about me rather than endless selfies that point to Leah.
I wonder if it is time for us to examine our motives in the area of ‘selfies’ and social media? Why are we posting selfies? What is our reason for being on social media? As I have done this self-examination recently, I decided that, for me, the right decision was to delete Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat from my mobile device. I’m not saying that decision is right for you, but for me, it was the right move. And you know what? To my surprise, I don’t really miss them. You may recall that my #OneWord365 for 2018 is ‘Christ-like’. I believe that as I seek to make much of Jesus and less of Leah I will become more like Jesus.
I would love to hear your thoughts on selfies and social media. Would you share in the comments?
This post contains affiliate links.
Eat your vegetables, and then you can have dessert.
It is mantra of moms everywhere. The plate is colorful with broccoli, carrots, corn, and a side of cornbread. Oh, and don’t forget the meatloaf. Definitely eat the meatloaf! And if you eat all of everything that is on your plate, then you can have dessert.
It is bribery of the highest order. That delicious coconut cake is sitting in the corner, calling my name, tantalizing me so much that my mouth waters just looking at it. But, in order to get to that little slice of heaven, I must wade through the green, orange, and yellow on my plate. Every bite of those vegetables is a little bit of torture for a girl with an incurable sweet tooth. Yet, because I am a Type A who has to do everything well and right, I rip my gaze from the coconut cake and focus on the vegetables and meat loaf. Let’s get ‘er done!
Meatloaf. Check! Check! (I do love me some good meatloaf.)
Now, the pièce de résistance. Coconut cake!
For a girl who is very much a productivity addict the idea of ‘finish your vegetables before you eat dessert’ can be crippling?
Oh, I see you frowning and wondering how I turned vegetables into a handicap. Let me explain.
As you know, if you have been around these parts for more than a few days, I am on a journey toward rest (it was my OneWord 2016) and observing Sabbath regularly. Part of that journey is navigating the tension of completing my checklist of things to do each week before my Sabbath begins on Saturday evening. I’m doing really well at it now, but that has not always been the case. You see, as a productivity junkie I reasoned that there were things that needed to be accomplished (i.e., all the veggies eaten) EVERY. SINGLE. DAY or the world might implode! So, while I desperately needed a day to rest (coconut cake), the veggies that needed eating (tasks on my to-do list) never ended. Which meant that I never set aside a day to rest (enjoy my piece of coconut cake).
Is that clear as mud? What I am trying to say is that the eat-your-veggies-before-you-eat-cake principle works well with a child, but for an adult with a need to always be productive, it doesn’t work so well. There has to be a point at which I say, ‘enough veggies!’ and settle down to enjoy my coconut cake.
May I share with you the part of all of this that makes me clap my hands in praise to my Jesus?
When I am obedient to carve out that Sabbath rest, the world does not implode, nor does my to-do list become an unmanageable Goliath. In fact, quite the opposite takes place. I am much more able to do what needs to be done in six days, and I do it with a greater measure of peace than I had when I was frantically striving seven days a week.
No one on the planet has ever had a greater agenda and to-do list than God:
Monday – Create light
Tuesday – Create the heavens
Wednesday – Create the earth and the seas, plants and trees
Thursday – Create the sun, moon, and stars, and set the seasons in order
Friday – Create sea animals and birds
Saturday – Create livestock, beasts of the earth, creeping things (eekk!), and Man
Then, on Sunday, the seventh day, God blessed His work and rested. If God decided to rest on the seventh day, who in the world am I to decide that I do not need rest? The Sabbath is for me, not for God, because He knew that I would need that rest. And oh, how desperately I need it! I need that time to slow down so that I can hear His voice in the stillness and silence of rest. I need that time for my physical body to decompress and relax. I simply need that time…..and so do you!
I want to encourage you to make Sabbath rest part of your week. I promise you will be glad you did.
Tell me about your Sabbath observance. How do you prepare? What does it look like?
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I am linking to two books that have been great influences on my life this year in regard to making good choice and to observing a Sabbath rest. I hope you will check them out!