Monday, January 30, 2017

What is Your Passion? What do you Want?

Many years ago, when someone would ask what I wanted, or what was my passion, my answer would be a blank stare.


I had the mindset that what I wanted didn’t matter. And passion? Passion for what? I was simply trying to survive in this world as a single mom, juggling hardships and taking care of my children.

I loved the Lord. A lot! I did have passion for Him and His word. After all Jesus is the reason I survived all those hard years. So after my blank stare, my answer would always be within the broad scope of my relationship with Jesus being my passion.

I felt it was a luxury to contemplate any specifics about what I wanted or desired. Reality was what it was and to dream or think about what I wanted or what was important to me would be selfish.

I was caught in a tangled snare.

I was bound up in living the status quo, accepting financial restriction as a way of life, succumbing to physical limitations as I age, governed by impossibilities and a can’t-do mindset. 

My walk with Almighty God has grown and matured through the years, yet I’ve always felt a sense that He wants to do more.

In 1 Kings, chapter three, King Solomon asked God for a discerning heart to govern the masses. He’d witnessed God’s fulfillment of incredible promises He’d made to King David, Solomon’s father. Solomon was young and overwhelmed with his new position in life, but his faith in God exceeded any limitations he had.

Here’s how that conversation went:
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night 
in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want 
me to give you.” Solomon answered, 
“You have shown great kindness to your servant, 
my father David, because he was faithful to you and 
righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this 
great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. "Now, Lord my God, you have made 
your servant king in place of my father David. 
But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry 
out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you 
have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people 
and to distinguish between right and wrong. 1 Kings 3:5-9

God not only granted Solomon's request for wisdom, but He gave it in abundance along with great material wealth, which Solomon didn’t ask for.

As I have prayed recently for God to line my wants up with His, and to deposit His desires into my heart, while removing those that aren’t from Him, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with His answer. 

A specific passion I’ve had for many years shifted from the bottom of my 2017 goals list, up to the top three.

My lifelong weight struggles and issues with food have led me to years of research on everything from diets and weight loss, to health and wellness through natural solutions. 

I’ve tried to subdue this growing passion, thinking it was secondary to other ministries I’m involved in. I’ve never thought of it as a ministry, but now I do.
We were bought at a price and are to honor 
God with our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
When I revealed this passion to the Lord, as if I’d hidden it behind my back, He began connecting the dots in fulfilling a dream of a new vocation and livelihood that has endless possibilities.

He will instruct him (her) in the way chosen for him (her)…He (she) will spend his (her) days in prosperity. Psalm 25:12-13

My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will 
release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:15.
Now, when someone asks me what is my passion, I can answer with excitement and confidence that as I pursue what I want and desire, I know I’m headed in the direction that pleases my Lord.

So what about you? What is your passion?

It could be that the very struggles you’ve had in life, are the stepping stones God has placed for you to step into the way He’s chosen just for you.

Ask Him to line up your wants with His and to deposit His desires into your heart while removing the ones that aren’t from Him. Like Solomon, ask God for a discerning heart. 

I’d love to hear back from you what happens next.

Continuing the course,

Terri

Monday, January 16, 2017

When Goal-Setting Becomes a Chore

Last week I wrote about setting goals for 2017, as a guest writer on another blog. I shared how I was deeply inspired about the process of writing down our goals, and then displaying them where they're seen regularly.

Before moving on, you will want to read last week’s guest post here: Say Goodbye to Procrastination then pop back over to finish this post.

Setting goals every year has been a challenge for me. More like a failed challenge. I’d start out fast and furious, then fizzle by the end of January. Before I knew it, December was here and the end of another year of unfulfilled goals.

In case you struggle with the same thing, I’m going to tell you about where I am in the process. I hope that what I share today will encourage you to do the same thing.

I feel so strongly about this, that I plan to revisit this subject every couple of months so that we can all see where we are in our goals. 

This can provide accountability, even if it’s just for me.

Last week, I was inspired and excited as I typed out my 2017 goals.
However, I didn’t complete the last step; printing them out and displaying them where I’d see them regularly.

They stayed on my computer buried deep within my documents folder.  

Why didn’t I follow through with the last step? I could say “life happened” which is the most common excuse we all use when something doesn’t get done.

Something else happened too. This goal-setting document that I completed with such fervor was quickly falling into the memory banks in my brain, titled, Forgetfulness.

Several days ago I ran into the pastor who inspired me to write out my goals. Small talk led to the subject of goal setting and I realized I was already forgetting and moving on with my life apart from my God-inspired goals. 

I knew if I didn’t revisit this very important document, I’d find myself in the busyness of the Christmas season again, without having met any of my goals for 2017.

When I read my goals document, I realized something very important that I left out. It was something the pastor urged us to also write down.

What is it I really want? 
What is important to me?
What do I value? 

I’ve prayed and asked the Lord to line my wants and desires up with His, and lesson those desires in my heart that aren’t from Him. As I prayed this, things began to shift.

Some things that I assumed I should be doing fell to the bottom of my list, while those things at the bottom moved to the top.

This was a surprise to me. An even bigger surprise is the relief I felt; like the lifting of burdens. The burden of what I assume other’s expectations of me are. The burden of trying to push open certain doors that maybe God isn’t wanting to open. The burden of frustration I’ve felt by trying to accomplish certain goals and projects because I thought I had to.

Today I trust God’s answer to my request to line my wants and desires up with His. I can now set goals based on what I value most and on the desires God has now stirred in my heart.

As you sit down and write out your 2017 goals, I encourage you to first, get quiet and still with the Lord. Ask Him to line up your wants and desires with His. 

Let go of all preconceived notions and ideals you’ve had, and lay them down before Him. He will surely answer and clarify your priorities and goals He wants you to reach for 2017.

As He stirs your heart, and quickens desires in accordance to His will, then it’s okay to set your goals based on those desires and what's important to you.

This process has been freeing for me. I hope it will for you too. 


I invite you to share in the comments below. If you have any questions, of course, you can also contact me by email by filling the email form on the right side of this page.

As you set your goals for this coming year, may you find renewed vision and purpose, as God refreshes and fills you with His desires for your life.

…staying the course,
Terri



Monday, January 9, 2017

Snow is Coming! Be Prepared...Stay Alert

I live in the southeast; Georgia, to be exact. At this writing, weather
forecasts are predicting snow and ice with possible accumulations of two to four inches.

This is a big deal for us folks in the southeast. So much so that everyone is rushing out to the store for last-minute food items and supplies, just in case the forecasters are right.

My inbox is filling up with severe weather alerts, detailing the predictions and what to do to prepare and stay alert.

Social media is blasted with winter storm warnings and we’re all strongly advised to get and stay off the roads.

As you all know, we southerners, are not as skilled at driving in these weather conditions as our northern friends.

We’re the brunt of many jokes. Many of them are us joking about ourselves. We say things like, “better hurry and get that bread, milk and toilet paper before it’s all gone.”

You see others buying comfort foods, stocking up on junk food and ingredients to make big pots of soup and chili as if we’re going to be stranded in our homes for days and days.

Grocery store shelves will quickly become bare. Finding a loaf of bread and gallon of milk will be a challenge.

The panic is real.

Meteorologists can’t get their predictions perfect every time. There have been times when snow predictions turned into nothing but rain or a dusting at most.

Then there have been more times than not, when those who didn’t take the predictions seriously and stay off the roads, are the very ones who had to abandon their cars on interstates and side roads. 

They’re the ones we see on the news, sliding and crashing into each other in their cars, while those of us who stayed alert and prepared were safe in the comfort of our homes.

They laughed and made light of it. “What’s a little snow”, they’d say? “It won’t stick on the roads.” Others would brag about how well they drive in icy, snowy conditions and made light of predictions.

As I listen to the forecasters right now and read headlines concerning the inevitable snow storm, I will prepare myself accordingly and make sure we have plenty of coffee because we can't run out of coffee in case we're homebound for days. 

Seriously, though, I’ll take precautions, stay alert and be prepared.

The excitement and panic over the weather predictions cause me to think about another prediction that is clear to us. It is given by Almighty God, in His written word, the Bible. 

This prediction is Jesus’ return. It’s also called the Second Coming or you hear people say, “Jesus is coming back.”

The coming of the Son of Man will be like what 
happened in the time of Noah. Matthew 24:37

There are some who laugh and mock; those who ignore and those who give no thought to these predictions.

In the days before the flood, people ate and drank, 
men and women married, up to the very day Noah went 
into the boat; yet they did not realize what was happening 
until the flood came and swept them all away. Matthew 24:38-39

Ladies, may we be ever mindful, watching for His return, ready and alert. Let’s not succumb to the temporary cares of this world so much so that we lose sight of His coming again to take us unto Him for eternity.

Are you among those who take God’s word lightly, half believing what He’s revealed to us? Or are you getting prepared and ready like the bride that you are; watchful and alert for your Groom? 

More than ever, I am seeing women rise up to the call to pray and seek the Lord, being watchful and alert. We can’t afford not to in these days we’re living in.

Let’s all together, near and far, begin today, with a new and fresh intention to set our eyes and hearts on eternity, preparing and watching for our coming King, Heavenly Husband, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I can’t wait!

Staying the course with eyes on Him,

Terri

Monday, January 2, 2017

Life Transitions: Brace Yourself

When your life’s foundation shakes beneath your feet; your world, as you know it, shifts and changes against your will, changes for which you have no control over, how do you brace yourself?

Life transitions are hard enough when you’re grounded in a sturdy relationship with Jesus, our Lord Almighty. I can’t imagine walking through this unpredictable life and world without His presence, power and assurance of my position and future with Him.

He moves through these unbearable transitions with us, ever present, never leaving our side.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep 
over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not 
be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

During some of my life’s biggest earthquakes, out of desperation, I held on tight to God’s promises of comfort, peace and hope. Each time, He fulfilled those promises.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 
who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort 
those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves 
receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

As we visited with my dad over the holidays, I thought a lot about the reality of life’s constant changes. He lives eight hours away and I’ve made this same trip to Mississippi for over 36 years. 

My stepmom, Mama-Jean, passed away July of 2015, drastically changing our visits to Mississippi.

Mama-Jean was a strong woman and wonderful homemaker. She always spiced up our times together by spoiling us and making sure we left five pounds heavier than when we came. 

Now, trips to Dad’s feel more like we’re on borrowed time, as he’s 81, and I’m not very young myself.

Transitioning through my mom’s death in December 2014, is ongoing. As I put away Christmas decorations, memories behind specific ornaments and displays that were mom’s flood my mind. 

Many times I stop and ask God if He can let her know somehow that I’m thinking about her.

Grieving loved ones, going through divorce, illness, financial loss, etc., can be overwhelming to the point of giving in to complete hopelessness.

But you don’t have to live in hopelessness if you belong to Christ. When your world falls apart, you don't have to crumble beneath its weight. 

Why? Because Jesus Christ is our Rock. Refuge. Hope. He’s our Guide and Comforter. He steadies us when the ground underneath shakes and shifts.

Are you experiencing big transitions in your life right now; facing changes that you have no control over? 

Are you trying to maintain a “stiff upper lip”? Are you forcing down emotions that can be expressed to your Heavenly Father instead? 

Are you looking for others to provide comfort and hope? Even our most devoted loved ones are limited in what they can provide during difficult transitions.

As 2016 is now behind us, and today we begin a new year, will you stand firm with me on God’s solid foundation that’s sealed with the following words: 

The Lord knows those who are His…2 Timothy 2:19

And if you’re not sure if you belong to Him and feel hopeless in the midst of your earth-shattering transition, then know this: You are not reading this post by mistake. He loves you with an everlasting love and draws you to Him with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

Jesus came to provide a way for you and me to know Father God intimately.

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus 
and believe in your heart that God has raised Him 
from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Opening your heart’s front door to Jesus Christ opens up a world of hope, comfort and peace. He will forgive all your sin and indwell you by His Holy Spirit.

You can know joy and peace in the midst of life’s most difficult times.

Best of all, though, is when you transition from this temporary life on earth, to eternity with Him forever!

I pray all of you have a wonderful new beginning with Jesus today, and throughout this year, as you trust Him fully in all of life’s transitions, whether good or bad.

May you find joy, peace and comfort as you trust Him more for what only He can provide. 

Staying the course through transitions,

Terri