Have you ever been in a really tough situation? Have you been in a really tough situation and surprised yourself with how you handled it?
We have had several conversations with many of you and we know that is the case! Many of you have situations in your past and some of you are going through situations now that have forced you to be strong. This quote says "...until the only choice you have" is being strong. BUT, we all have a choice. We can cower in fear, hide in embarrassment, avoid in denial, or any number of other responses. However, when we allow God to take control of the situation, when we ask Him DAILY to guide our steps and help us control our emotions, I believe we will be left with the courage to be strong no matter what. I believe it will end up being our only choice.
I do not wish upon you any tough situation, but if you encounter one, I pray your response is one of strength based on Who is carrying you through it!
Do you have a dream? Is it a "little" dream? Is it a "big" dream? Why is it a dream of yours? What do you hope to accomplish through this dream?
Purpose behind a dream gives it life. Purpose brings reality to a dream. If you want to achieve something, if you want to be someone, make sure you understand WHY.
Look back at your strengths and skills tests from the event. See if you can attach a purpose behind some of them. If your strength is communication and a skill is writing, but you don't really know how to develop that strength and skill, put some purpose behind them. Maybe you have a specific message of encouragement you want to communicate to women who have lost someone. Maybe you want to communicate a method of decorating on a budget to help those less fortunate feel they are living in their dream home. Maybe you want to communicate instruction to younger girls about staying strong in their convictions within relationships. Maybe you want to inspire women to become all God created them to be. :) Whatever the purpose, if you have one, you are way more likely to step out of your comfort zone and set out to achieve the impossible.
I pray you become a believer in your own strengths and skills, and I pray you seek the Lord's guidance in using them to make manifest the glory of God that is within you!
How does it make you feel when you find out someone was talking about you behind your back. What if I said they were talking about some wonderful aspect about your character? Or about your ability to bring out the best in others? Or about the way they can see Jesus in you when you are kind to strangers? It's not always a bad thing to talk about others behind their backs - just make your words those that will build up and not tear down. Learn to be an encourager. It doesn't always come naturally, but what a difference encouraging words can make. See if you can find ways to talk about the strengths of others even if they will never know we were talking about them. Complete, don't Compete! Complete your friendships by genuinely building up your friends - don't compete with them by tearing them down or allowing others to do so. We all have different strengths, skills, talents, and gifts - let's celebrate those differences and empower our friends.
I pray that you would find ways to bring glory to God when you honor your friends by building them up both while you are with them and when they are not around!
You are beautiful - you are BECOMING!
Thank you for being you!
In part one of this followup, I shared a little bit about wishes and dreams. Today I want to finish up with longings.
Longings. We all have them. Those empty places deep inside us that can't seem to be filled. They won't let us ignore them, no matter how hard we try.
Webster's dictionary defines longings as a strong desire especially for something unattainable. Hmm...If longings are unattainable, then why do we have them? God has packed them inside of us. When we believe that we are created in the image of our heavenly Father, we can fully understand that He has longings, too. He longs to have a relationship with us, to be the center of our lives, and to receive our worship. If he has longings it is only natural that we do, too.
We try so hard to do things on our own. Our success in life depends on how we respond to our longings. We either deny our longings or we try to fulfill them in ungodly or unhealthy ways. In Fresh-Brewed Life, Nicole Johnson writes about different types of longings. I want to mention two of them: the longing to be filled and the longing to be known. The longing to be filled cannot be filled with material things. We try to fill that empty feeling with food, shopping and even people. Whether we are looking to be filled emotionally or physically (with food), that feeling only lasts for a little while and then we are looking to fill it again.
As women, we all want to be known. We want to be treasured and embraced. We want someone to pursue and understand us. While the men in our lives may know us, (our likes, dislikes and crazy little quirks) there is still more to us that is unknown. The same goes for men, too. No one can ever really fill our longing to be known, other than our Father. He is the only one who knows us better than we know ourselves. As fulfilling as earthly relationships can be, our relationship with the Father, will never leave us wanting.
God's desire is that none of us perish, but he has given us the freedom to choose salvation. He is waiting on us to make the choice. When we choose the world or our own desires over him, he is left longing. His purpose for equipping us with longings is to draw us closer to him. He knows longings and he is ready to fulfill our longings with compassion and understanding. Proverbs 13:19a says,"A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul...". We can trust him to be enough, because he is the one who placed the longings within us.
My challenge to you is this: Talk to God about your longings. Yes, he already knows them, but he longs to hear your voice. Confide in Him. His ways are perfect.
Are wishes, dreams, and longings the same thing? They are similar but different. A wish is a want or desire that can be easily attained. A dream is a strong desire for something that is within our reach. A longing is a persistent desire or craving that is out of our reach. Despite the differences in attainability, they all reflect what is in our heart. In Matthew 6:21 Jesus said, "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". What we treasure the most control us, whether we admit it or not.
Let's take a look at wishes for a moment. What do you wish for? Somedays I wish for peace and quiet, adult conversation and an extra hour of sleep. All of those things are attainable, but my calendar doesn't always allow for those wishes to be granted. I have allowed my calendar to dictate my priorities, thinking I can make time for other things later. Has my busy-ness become my treasure? I have to answer yes. If I truly wish to have peace and quiet, then I need to make it happen.
Dreams stem from stronger desires but are still within our reach. Think of dreams as goals. Do you have a goal? Maybe your goal is to run a marathon, to read the Bible in a year, to write a novel, or just to be the best YOU that you can be. No matter what goals or dreams you may have, you need to have a map. You need to chart your course to see that dream become a reality.
Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only does it bring new growth and warmer days, it also brings birthdays at our house. In a 2 1/2 month span, each of my daughters turn a year older. I remember bringing each of them home and thinking that we had a long time to be a family. Now, I realize that I have two years until my oldest graduates high school and goes off to college. Two years!!! Where has the time gone? There was so much I wanted to do, to teach her and to prepare her and now I only have two years left! All those years I spent thinking I have time, and now that time is running out. I can beat myself up with all of the shoulda, coulda, woulda's or I can make adjustments and enjoy the next two years.
Last year, God laid on my heart the phrase "intentional living". He has convicted me of my busy-ness, and challenged me to only participate in things that matter to Him. I have always been a people pleaser, trying to be and do everything everyone else wanted. I want to serve Him and not myself or others. I am in the process of completing a four year commitment that has left me burned out and frustrated at many times. I am learning to think and pray first before committing to other responsibilities. In doing so, I am beginning to live out the plans and purpose that God has for me. The plan and purpose that He packed me with so many years ago.
May you experience "intentional living" as you journey through your wishes and dreams!
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