Sunday, March 4, 2018

Do What you Love: 5 Steps to Finding Your Passion

by Terri Webster

Hi Friends! Welcome. 

Thanks for stopping by. Today I'm sharing what's become a personal pursuit of mine and I believe will resonate with a lot of you.

Research shows that if you discover what it is you truly enjoy doing, and do that, you’re more fulfilled, have better health and less depression. Source: Why Finding Your Passion is Essential

In this post, I’m referring mostly to pursuing a vocation doing what you love while making a living at it. However, as a Christ follower, there’s a vital part to add, which is using your God-given, spiritual gifts and talents.

Combining the two can be exciting and fulfilling as you walk in the works God has prepared for you, (Ephesians 2:10).

What do you daydream about from your office cubicle or while sitting in rush-hour traffic? What are you most passionate about?

For some of you, trying to answer this question, only leaves a question mark sitting on top of your head.

Do you love dogs? Start a dog-sitting/walking business. Do you love to cook/bake? Then start a catering business, own a restaurant or become a chef.

If you’re like me, you’ve felt you haven’t had time to explore those things which tug your heart and draw you like a magnet. Responsibilities and circumstances may have driven you down a path, not necessarily of your choosing.

Divorce, death of a spouse, health problems, or any number of things, will decide for you what path to take. As a single mom, I just needed a job to keep a roof over me and my kids. It felt frivolous to fanaticize about having a job I loved, and to love what I was doing. 

Can we really make our passion become our livelihood and be excited about going to work every day?  

No one can answer that question for you, but yourself. I’ve known people who pursued their passion, using their gifts and talents as their life’s work and never regretted it. It might mean less money, but this kind of fulfillment doesn’t have a price tag.

I think sometimes we mistakenly believe that what we truly desire to do with our life will lead us down a selfish path; that God’s path means doing something less enjoyable.

We feel that to pursue a passion God gives us talents and abilities for, must sit on the back burner, while we fulfill daily obligations, which often leave us exhausted, with little time for anything else. I believe the term for this is “The Daily Grind” or better known as the “rat race.”

I wonder if this is what causes depression for so many?

As I’ve spent more time lately thinking and praying about this, I’ve found hope and direction from God’s word that I want to share with you. I’ve come up with five simple steps you can take now, to help get you unstuck and moving forward and closer to doing what you love.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Take baby steps.
  1. Take a skills/personality assessment. These are tests that compile your likes, dislikes, morals, values, among other traits and talents to help you determine the jobs or ministries you’d be best suited for. This is one I took and recommend, but you can search for others: Free Shape Test
  2. After completing an assessment, focus on the areas you’re strongest in. Determine if you need to sharpen any skills through more training, practice and experience.
  3. Connect with others who share the same interests and passions. Example: I want to become a better writer, so I joined Word Weavers, an international online writing critique group with local chapters.
  4. Be patient. While reality is the bills must be paid, you can block off as little as 15 minutes a day to work toward your goal.
  5. Pray and trust God to open doors. He wired you in specific ways. There will never be another you who can do what God has planned for you to do. Check your motives and desires under the light of His word.

Taking these steps are a great start to get out of a rut and moving forward. I'm doing these steps too, and must say, I'm getting excited as I've become unstuck and now ready for God's best.

I invite you to share your thoughts and any advice you might have in the comments area below.

Until next time, follow Him and stay the course,
Terri
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

From Do, Do, Do, to Be, Be, Be

by Terri Webster

Welcome and Happy New Year to you!

The holidays are behind us. Christmas decorations are down and packed away. Parties and get-togethers we had to cook for have come and gone.

This is where we can now breathe in…breathe out. 
S-l-o-w-l-y.

I laughed at myself this morning, during my quiet time with God. This time last year, I gathered all my colored highlighters, sharpies, magazine cut-outs, tape and white poster board.

I commenced to creating my first ever, vision board. Full of good and wonderful goals. 

I was going to grow my side business exponentially by means of various do, do, do’s.

I was going to become the next pushing-60, poster girl, who combats chronic pain through daily exercise, yoga and strength training.

Then there was the nonprofit ministry I’m responsible for. I had many do, do, do plans for that.

Writing goals.

Women’s ministry goals.

Goals to cultivate all my relationships and learn to love better, since LOVE was my theme word representing my daily time alone with God.

Then there’s of course, my part-time job. And also taking care of my precious granddaughters 2 days a week. (I’m down to one day now).

I stood back and admired my completed 2017, first-ever vision board. I was inspired!

I won’t waste time telling you which goals were reached and those still hanging around waiting for my attention.

By March, life happened, the unexpected, in addition to the everyday expectations I showered on myself. All with good intentions. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. Vision boards are a great tool.

For me, personally, as I’ve shared before, I struggle with over-commitment and saying yes too much. 

My vision board became burdensome. I’d look at it throughout the year and feel a failure. Again.

What about you? Do you start off each new-year with big plans and goals? Maybe you’re the type of person who thrives when setting big goals.

Or do you struggle with over-planning and over-commitment? Do you develop lists and plans, only to wind up frenzied and disappointed?

Turns out the 20 pounds I need to lose (still a goal), God wasn’t as concerned about it as I was.

While God is extremely concerned with my health and daily pain management struggles, He has a greater concern, a bigger plan. 

God promises us successes, as we commit our work to Him. He wants us to succeed. But His successes and our successes sometimes, if not mostly, are different.

He’s more concerned about what flows in and out of our heart. He’s more interested in what thoughts rattle through our mind, causing distress.

When I ended up in a grieving, frenzied state by May, His plan and words to me were to stop and be still.

Be. Still.

So I did.

He accomplished more in me last year than I could ever have expected or planned. Not through me, or because of me, but in me. It has nothing to do with what I do.

But has everything to do with being with Him. Not do, do, do, but just be.



The process continues.

We women are prone to society’s pressure that the busier we are, the more productive we are. We’re led to believe that to be respected by our peers, requires full, hectic schedules. We feel guilty if we aren't busy.

I’m here to tell you, that is a lie.

Whether you have small children at home, are married or single, or like me, an emptynester, we somehow manage to fill up our plates with busy stuff.

I used to think there wasn’t anything I could give up. God is showing me that I’ve only just begun to clean off my plate.

Maybe it’s my age and I’m feeling it a little. 

If you’re much younger than me, take it from an older person. Trimming your busy schedules, deleting items from your do lists, and making more time for Jesus, will prove the most productive thing you’ve ever done.

Imagine this: The Great Creator of your heart’s desires, the One who called you first, unto Him, He who relentlessly pursues you 24/7, the Originator of your very existence, waits for you.

“Just stop a minute,” He says. “Come unto Me; learn from Me,” He says.

Instead of rushing past Him, to the next thing to do, be with Him. It won't be a waste of time. 

This is how we stay the course.

May you have joy and rest in knowing Him deeper still, this year!

Be-ing,

Terri

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Quiet Entrance

by Terri Webster

What king has ever left the comforts of his throne for the good of humankind?

What god has ever so fully and richly satisfied that which we can’t, than what the One True Almighty God has?

There’s no denying we humans are incapable of being good enough to satisfy our deepest need for life on earth and then life eternally.

No one is. Ever.

The moment when Jesus stood up, removed His royal splendor, then stepped into our world, everything changed. He became God's gift to us to satisfy our deepest need for salvation.

The heavenly realms loudly proclaimed gloriously, while hell quaked and shook, as He quietly stepped down. 

Planted in a virgin’s womb.

Growing for months. Then passing through the birth canal, His own hands created.

Entering our world just like you and me.

Surrounded only by a handful of people, in a smelly barn with animals.

Even I was born in a nicer facility than my Savior.

No one had room for Him. This wasn’t how the expected, fore-told Messiah, King of all kings was expected to make His entrance.

While spiritual and political leaders expected a different entry; loud, commanding, powerful, and in full view for all to see…

…they missed Him.

In the loud, busy, in-full-view celebratory events we enjoy as we celebrate Christmas, let’s not miss Him.

Him, our long-awaited Messiah, God’s gift to mankind. Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift; free for anyone who will accept, open and make yours for life, now, and forevermore.

To all, from my heart and finger tips, to yours, may you receive and enjoy the greatest Gift ever given, while celebrating Him with your friends and family.

Have a bright and merry Christmas, 
Terri

 (photos courtesy of www.pixabay.com)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Depending on God

by Terri Webster

When I was a single mom, depending on God became tangible.
Meaning, I depended on Him for the basics of necessities; food, shelter, water.

My dependence grew exponentially, as I also relied on Him for justice, healing of my broken heart and sanity for each day.

Those were tough years, putting it mildly.  

Today, while I know all my provision flows from and through Him, I no longer am in the posture of daily exercising that faith muscle. I take care, though, not to let it become flabby because I hope to never need to work it out like I did in my younger days.

However, if not for those years, I’m convinced there is no other way for me to know the intimate, compassionate, care and unfailing love of the Father’s heart, the way I came to know Father God’s.

Experiencing all I did during those years, also led me to the heart of Jesus in a fresh way, as I said yes to His proposal to be my Husband.

I was already saved, born again, but those dark days caused me to know Him in ways I wouldn’t know Him otherwise.

I stumbled and fumbled through. Made my share of mistakes. Struggled with doubt, unbelief, fits of rage and distancing myself from God.

Thankfully, He never budged. His love never changed in my ever-changing world.

Are you walking through dark times today, through a whirlwind of changes?

Dealing with a broken heart, injustice, loss, sorrow?

I write to you from the other side of a life forever changed by pain and hardship with nothing but encouragement and hope to offer you.

First, there’s no way you can muster up enough strength, self-will or spiritual ability to endure. Maybe for a day or two. But that isn’t lasting endurance. That may sound like bad news to you.

I have far better news!

Dear friend, you were never meant to dig deep within yourself to find all of that, as the world will tell you. Eventually you’ll come to the bottom of yourself. Then what?

Your shoulders weren’t designed to carry the weight of others AND your own burdens.

In a world completely void of stability, God’s unfailing love is unchanging. The shifting ground under your feet and unpredictable circumstances you’re in, are no match for His power to settle and sturdy you, as He walks alongside you.

How does this become your reality?

In His Word, the Bible; that book the world tells you is not worth your time, you can take hold of and apply His truths to the depths of your need, permeating, going where only He can go.

There was a time when I wasn’t sure I would ever say this, but joyfully, the time has come. God’s Word, the Bible, full of His rich promises and truth, has been tried and proven, over and over again in my life. His promises can be trusted. (Psalm 12:6)

I’ll share just a few with you today (there are too many for one little blog post).
  • Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Placing our burdens on Jesus, results in rest, even while in the storm.
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
The darker the path, the brighter His truth shines.
  • But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Waiting isn’t easy, but the promised rewards are priceless.
  • Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
Today, whatever state you’re in, dark, light, good, bad, come to Him, just as you are. Pick up Your Bible, and allow Him to tell you deeper things you otherwise wouldn’t know.  

Dependently staying the course,

Terri

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time Alone with God

by Terri Webster

How is your year going? Are you ready to see 2017 fade away and start 2018 with a clean slate?

For some of you it’s been a tough year. Some hard stuff mixed in with the good.

This is the time when I begin asking the Lord what my word/theme will be for next year to represent my quiet time with Him. 2018 will begin year three of intentionally setting aside time alone with Him every day.

It’s not because I’m so godly and mature, but because I was hungry and desperate.

Are you hungry? Feeling empty; like there must be more to this life; more to this Christian life?

A year ago I shared with you about this new venture with the Lord, which began two years ago. In my blog post titled, Color Your Year, posted December 19, 2016, I explain in more detail.

Before reading further you can catch up by reading Color Your Year here, then pop back over for today’s post.

Color Your Year

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quiet time, devotion and Bible reading. We call it different things, but it’s that daily block of time set aside for time alone with Jesus.

This is something I’ve discovered I’m desperate for. I must have it.

Like water is necessary for my body, so is my time alone with Jesus, His word, prayer and writing in my journal.

The past two years have been life-changing. My life’s circumstances haven’t changed, but I have. The change isn’t complete, but will take the rest of my life.

It’s a process.

Throughout the years of my life with Jesus, I’ve always known I needed to spend time with Him. At times my efforts were minimal. I thought as long as I opened my Bible, sat in His presence, read a devotion of the day, then prayed a little that this was enough to grow and change me; enough to know Him.

It wasn’t until the end of 2015, that I became aware of my great need. I couldn’t continue doing the same thing and expect change.

January 1, 2016 was a new day of a new month of a new year. I was focused and ready to make my time with the Lord top priority and yielded to Him in a fresh way.

Ten minutes a day turned into 30, when before I knew it, my “dates” with Jesus became the fastest hour or more gone by of every day!

The room above our garage has become my HAPPY place, even with the hard, disciplining, pruning and burning off the dross by His refining fire. 

I’m nowhere near where I need to be, but learning to simply BE with Him, and let Him do His work in me is priceless. It’s not my work, but HIS.

What relief it is!

How is your daily quiet time with God? If you don’t have a regular time set apart for time alone with Him, I encourage you to begin plans to make this a priority in your day. This is where you’ll find direction, healing and peace that the world will never provide. This is where the change you’re longing for takes place.

The Lover of your soul waits for you. He will never NOT show up.

I encourage you today, to step outside of the noise and busyness for a moment to ask Him for a word/or theme to represent your time with Him for 2018. When He shows you, (and He will), set up your personal space that’s just for you and Jesus. Let Him surprise you!

I invite you to share your thoughts too and how you spend your time alone with Him. Also, feel free to email me by using the form on the right side of this page to ask questions or request prayer.

Staying the course from surprise to surprise,

Terri

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What Am I Responsible For?

What am I responsible for?

At what point do I let go and turn over the reins to the Great I Am? And how do I know when it’s time to step up to the plate? And swing?

Where is the balance between working as if it all depended on me and releasing the burden of it all on the One who initiated this thing to begin with?

Where does the inspiration and fervent desire to work for Him come from? It was once there; where did it go?

And will it come back?

And… inspiration to do what?

Go back to school?

Start that ministry?

Change careers?

Paint?                                                       

Write?

Make music?

Today I read an awesome blog post written by my long-distance friend Julie Dibble. I encourage you to read it here: 


She asked this question at the end of her post:

"Do you feel responsible for things belonging to God?"

My answer was a resounding, “Yes!”

I learned at a young age how to shoulder everyone else’s responsibilities. It’s very difficult to stop. I did stop, but at some point in the middle of rush, took it back.

Maybe that’s what depletes my inspiration and fervent desire to fulfill His plan and purpose for me. 

Maybe that’s when depression comes.

What about you?

Are you carrying the burden of responsibility of something that belongs to God? Or someone else? 

That thing that you must make sure turns out the way it’s “supposed” to?

In addition to the responsibilities that really ARE yours?

Feeling overwhelmed now?

This is the point where we may need to let go of some things. Those things we THINK we have control over, but really don’t. And never will.

So we might as well cut ourselves some slack; let it go into His more-than capable, big, strong hands.

Now to Him who is able to carry out His purpose 
and do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask 
or think, [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, 
or dreams], according to His power that is at work 
within us. Ephesians 3:20 (AMP)

Stop here. Breathe. Now let’s go back and slowly read the above verse again.

This covers just about everything, doesn’t it?

This is where we find balance. Letting go.

As we let go, the scales begin to tip back toward the side that Jesus holds.

Ahhh, I feel a sense of relief. And a glimmer of inspiration and desire.

With all the fervor and love that fills my heart for you, I pray you do too, and that the floodgates open up for you.

I'd love to hear from you if you feel comfortable commenting below. Or you can always email me using the form on the right side of this page. 

We can stay the course together,
Terri


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Arkansas Adventure Part 2-The Dirt Road


Hi friends! Welcome back. 

This is Part 2 of Arkansas Adventure. To catch up with what's going on, visit my post from August 24th here: Counting the Days...and hours

Today I'm sharing a poem I wrote that was inspired by the dirt road running in front of my grandparents' old rock house in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. 

Stay tuned for the last part of Arkansas Adventure that I promise will take you back in time when life was less complicated and moved at a slower pace.

Until then, I invite you to wander the nearest dirt road for what I call "dirt-road therapy".
Very few people and cars pass by,
This long winding passage under the sky.
Its quiet seclusion gives relief and rest,
From the stresses of life’s daily test.
Lined with wild flowers, grass and weeds,
They welcoming flow in the gentle breeze.
There was a time when this 
scene wasn’t so rare, 
and wandering the dirt road 
was common fare.
These days this pleasure is 
only a daydream,
While urbanization grows with relentless steam.
More effort and time is required to discover, the lost treasures on the dirt road left to uncover.
So the next time you need to escape the rat race,

Seek out the nearest dirt road to calm your busy pace.