I was recently asked to be part of a skit. Even though I am in front of people speaking or singing, I’m rarely asked to be in a skit. I was told all I would need to do was sing “This Little Light of Mine” over and over – that was it. I agreed. The coordinator sent me the outline for the skit, just basic points, not a script or anything. I read over it, and I actually got all teary-eyed just from reading it. SO, of course, I got a little nervous thinking I might get emotional during the skit which was to be performed at a women’s leadership conference, which meant the attendees would be leaders in ministry. I was to play the part of a Women’s Ministry Director. I would be standing next to 3 other women who each represented another type of woman – a college student, a home-schooling mother and a career woman. We would all be holding candles, and we would all be singing “This Little Light of Mine” together. There would be a 5th woman who would play the role of Satan. One by one, she (Satan) would accuse us and attack us while we kept trying to sing, but one by one, each woman was to stop singing and blow out her candle. When “Satan” got to me, because I represented the Ministry Director, I was to just keep singing and not stop and not blow out my candle. Remember, I would be in front of leaders, and the message was to leaders, which meant I was slightly intimidated right from the start.
How many times had I sung this song as a kid? How many times had I sung this song as an adult? But the morning of the skit, I started to psyche myself out, worried I might sing the wrong words or mash it up with another song or something crazy like that, messing up the entire point of the skit. We started to walk on stage singing, and I didn’t fall going up the steps, so that was a good start. Then “Satan” came onto the stage. I couldn’t hear what she was saying to the first woman, so it wasn’t too difficult or distracting, and I just kept on singing. The second woman was a little closer to me, so I started hearing some of what she was being accused of. It was a bit distracting, but not too bad so I just kept on singing. The third woman was only standing about 3 feet from me, and I could hear what “Satan" was saying to her. I was getting distracted, wanting to hear what was being said and wanting to look over to see her reactions. BUT, I knew what I needed to do, so I tried harder to focus on the simple lyrics to this little song and just kept on singing. Now it was my turn.
Me: “This little light of mine…”
Satan: “Look at this one, all holy and righteous. You read the Bible every day and pray everyday. You think just because you are the Ministry Director that you are safe from me?”
Me: “I’m gonna let it shine…”
Satan: “I know the thoughts that go on in your pretty little head – I know what you’ve done in the past.”
Me: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”
Satan: “YOU are no different than the rest of these ladies over here.”
Me: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”
Satan: “You've got the same problems and same issues! You just cover them up!”
By this point, I have tears welling up in my eyes. My heart starts beating faster, my voice starts to tremble, and since I’m the only one singing, it’s getting noticeable. I had prepared myself for this; I know this is an actress, but now she’s saying stuff I really do think about.
Me: “Let is shine, let it shine, let it shine…”
Then something happened.
Satan: “You just cover them up with His Word and Prayer. Prayer – what in the world?! What do you think that’s gonna get you? You really think He’s listening to you?”
THIS was the part I didn’t prepare for. When I heard her say “cover them up in prayer” and then ask me, “You really think He’s listening to you?” I actually felt something change inside of me, and my voice got stronger. It was completely unexpected!
Me: “THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE, I’M GONNA LET IT SHINE.”
“Satan” kept talking. She kept walking around me, leaning in, pointing at me – at least I think she did. I know she was still there, but … I honestly couldn’t hear anything she was saying. I just kept singing. I was focused on my song. I was singing louder and stronger. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in a really long time. I was so focused on singing my song, hand now raised in the air, that despite being aware that she was still there, I couldn’t hear anything “Satan” was saying.
After a few minutes, I finally heard “Satan” say, “Blow that candle out." BLOW THAT CANDLE OUT!” And I just kept singing. “THEY’RE NOT WORTH IT – BLOW THAT CANDLE OUT!” And I just kept singing. Loud and right in my ear she said, “BLOW THAT CANDLE OUT!” and I just kept singing. Finally, she backed up. I heard her say she would be back, and I could tell she walked down the steps of the stage.
I just stood there singing.
This was a skit, but I was so affected by it, all I could do was just keep singing … “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”
I slowly came back to reality and finished the skit by walking over to each of the other ladies and relighting their candle; they began singing again with me, and we walked off the stage singing together. Whew! I wiped the tears from my face and returned to my seat. As I sat there, I reflected on those few moments on stage. I tried to remember what “Satan” had said to me. I tried to remember anything that was said the last half of the skit, but I couldn’t. I sat there in awe of what I had just experienced. This little song had taken on a HUGE new meaning for me. In that moment, I lived that song. The song simply says I have a light and I need to let it shine, no matter what, let it shine. I know it’s talking specifically about a “light,” but for me, that day, my light shining meant to just keep singing. So I did. I had a song (my light) and I kept singing (let it shine). No matter what, I kept singing. And when I began to focus on my song, the song in my heart, I could no longer hear the lies, I could no longer hear the accusations, I could no longer feel the heaviness of the attack. Don’t get me wrong - the attack was still there, but its power was gone. My eyes were fixed on Jesus, and I just kept singing.
After that morning session, I was able to share my experience with the friends who were with me – who by the way, wanted to go punch “Satan” for what she said to me (I have great friends!). As I was telling them, it was so clear to me that this is how we need to be in life. We have an enemy! Satan will accuse us and attack us – in many different ways, at many different times in our lives, about many different things. He will try to distract us, he will try to discourage us, and he will try to deceive us so we will blow out our candles. But we must let them shine! We must just keep singing! If we can discover our own God-given song – our unique purpose, and if we will just keep singing that song, then the voice of Satan can and will grow faint, and so will his power.
It was just a skit, but in that moment, it was my reality; and since then, it has served as a reminder to just keep singing. Just keep being, keep doing what I’m doing, keep pursuing God, keep looking to Him for direction, keep trying to make a difference. Despite the set-backs, despite the doubts, despite the fears, despite those who don’t understand or don’t agree, when you don’t think anyone is listening and you think nobody cares - just keep singing. When you don’t feel adequate, when you question your ability and you question your voice, when you feel you have no reason to sing – just keep singing. Whatever it is for you – just keep singing! Sing it loud, and sing it strong - sing the song God has intentionally given you to sing!
I pray you find your song … and I pray that no matter what, you will just keep singing!
Challenging you to chase your best life,
This is me – Jenny Johnson. I’m an incredibly blessed, Louisiana-born gal in the later half of my mid-30s, married to my best friend, mother to the best kids in the world, and chasing my best life!
I’m actually the founder of Total Woman U (you can read more of that journey on our About Us page on this site). I’m very passionate about helping women uncover their unique and God-given strengths and talents and then find ways to use those strengths and talents to glorify God. For me, this is the journey of truly discovering our identity and purpose as we become all God created us to be. Although TWU doesn’t look exactly like it did at the very beginning (back in 2000), the original vision remains the same. I’m so thankful and honored to work with the ladies God has brought to our TWU Faculty, and I am continually blown away by all He is doing through us. I am very excited about the vision God has given this team for TWU. We are stepping further outside our comfort zone this year and trusting God to lead us – which is both scary and incredibly exciting!
I was born in New Orleans (geaux Saints!) to incredible parents who still love each other almost as much as they each love the Lord. My older brother, younger sister and I grew up in New Orleans, and when I was 15, we moved across the lake to Slidell, my dad’s hometown, where I finished the last 3 years of high school. After my junior year, I started dating Slidell-native Jonathan Johnson, a Godly young man I had had my eye on (from a distance) ever since I was a little girl. Jonathan was my cousin’s best friend, was 2 years older than I, and was a leader in our church youth group. When we started dating, everyone around us pretty much knew we’d end up getting married.
After high school, I went to LSU (geaux Tigers!) and in 1996, I married the man of my dreams – yes, that’s Jonathan. We had our first 2 children in Baton Rouge – Jordan in 1999 and Emma in 2002. We moved to Duluth, GA (northeast Atlanta area) where we completed our family in 2004 when Carson was born. As much as we loved our life there, we knew God was calling us back to Louisiana. In 2007, after 4 years away, we moved back to Louisiana to the Baton Rouge area, and a year later returned to Slidell. Obviously a lot of life happened over those years, the great and the down right tough, and I’m sure I’ll share bits and pieces of those stories with you in my future blog posts.
Have you heard the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none"? Well, that’s me! I love finding different venues to explore and express my personality and creativity. I’m an artist, a musician, a photographer, a jewelry-maker, a video-maker, a decorator, (most recently) a certified Christian Image Consultant; and because of TWU, I’m a graphics designer, event planner, writer, speaker, and blogger. I’m a big sports fan and will always be a cheerleader at heart. I love words – not that I always have the right ones, but I love using lots of them … oh, and I love ( ), … , -, and “ ” in case you can’t tell! I have the greatest friends and a crazy-cool family - the family I was born into, the one I married into and those who married into the family. I have a beautiful heritage of love on both sides of my family as well – a love for fun, fellowship, food, family and our Heavenly Father.
I love my life! I’m married to my high-school sweetheart and best friend, and we have 3 incredibly amazing kids. We are living a purposed life, dedicated to our God and our family. And as my hubby says to me, “As long as your swinging arms aren’t knocking anyone down as you run, chase your best life,” … and that’s what I’m doing. I hope to meet you along the journey!
Challenging you to chase your best life,
Hello wonderful ladies! I know - it's been TOO long since our last post!
We had an absolutely AMAZING event this past September for the women and an equally AMAZING event (in slightly different ways) for the Teenage girls this past August. I'm so super excited about all that God seems to be doing with and thru TWU. I have experienced a whole new level of being wow'd by God over the last few months.
I can't wait to share it all with you! Thank you so much for your patience. I'm posting a great message from Suzanne. She wrote it a few months ago, but I think you will enjoy starting your year with it. (Sorry I didn't post it sooner.)
Thank you for your patience as we are growing and focusing our efforts with TWU. Looking forward to our year together!
From Suzanne Pichon:
It is hard to believe that it has been a month since we spent time together at the Dare to Believe conference. Since that time, my life has been a whirlwind. As usual, everything I spoke about has been road-tested in my life. That seems to be the usual routine after a SHE Event for me. I know the struggles and battles I have faced have been for my good because it has allowed me to clear away the cobwebs of untruth and lies and replace them with HIS truth.
When Claire and I began speaking, we posed the following questions to you.
1. Who do you think you are?
2. What do you think God thinks about when He thinks of you?
We then asked: Is Scripture your basis or is the world your basis?? I spent a very miserable, LONG week basing my answers on what the world thinks. I worried about my performance and gaining the approval of others. It was not a pretty picture. I am so thankful for friends who got my perspective back on track. Looking back on that time a few weeks ago, it reminded me of a few quotes:
“Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.” Neurotic Notebook
I heard this quote this summer while listening to a sermon from 1 Peter. Wow, that is what Father wants us to know when we are in the midst of a struggle…..HE WILL HAVE THE VICTORY. We still have HOPE!!
“Challenges can define you, destroy you, or strengthen you.” Tricia Edmundson (Senior Executive Director with Thirty One Gifts)
Wow, this is so true too. In the midst of my challenges, I believed they would destroy me. I can tell you that they did not, and I am now strengthened in a way I was not before. You see I was leaning on my own strength and not His; therefore my perspective was skewed.
At the end of the conference, I asked you to consider your spheres of influence . To the right is the diagram for you to think about and possibly draw or print out yourself.
In the inner circle, write Jesus and your name. (You are not in this alone….He is living through you.)In the next circle write the names of your immediate family members and people you are in contact with on a pretty consistent basis (people at work, neighbors….etc.) Then, in the outer circle think about people who could be impacted by those in the second circle.
I will give you an example from my life. AS YOU READ THIS DO NOT MAKE COMPARISIONS……REMEMBER, Jesus is the one doing ALL of this in and through those in this example.
One of my main goals as a parent is to make sure that my two precious children know that they are children of God who are deeply loved by their parents and their God. I want them to know that even when they mess up or make a mistake that they are not bad kids….they are children of God who made a mistake. Ok….now that you know that…..here is the example. I hope and pray that people will see Jesus in my kiddos. I want them to SHINE His light to those around them. I am a public school teacher, and my children attend public schools. It can be EXTREMELY difficult to SHINE in that environment. Well, last week I had other school employees coming up and telling me stories about my son and his special friend in class. Camden had been interacting with a little girl at school who has some challenges with communication. He had been her buddy out at recess and in the classroom. Other people saw it and were blown away. I had no idea this way going on because I do not encourage my son to do that, it is just a natural overflow of Christ’s love flowing out of him onto others. Then, I received an email from an administrator at my daughter’s school telling me that, “She was beautiful inside and out.” My daughter struggles constantly at school dealing with people who treat her poorly, but she still SHINES His light to all those around her. Are my kids perfect….of course not….they struggle just like all of us. On the days they remember whose they are and are grounded in that truth, it overflows to all they interact with as they walk through life. My hope and prayer is that I will do the same thing. The people who were impacted by my kids are in that outer circle. I pray those people will go out and impact the lives of this around them.
When you think about the lives you impact around you, do not use this as an exercise to condemn yourself. Use it as an opportunity for Father to show you the lives HE wants to influence and impact all around you. WOW….what a blessing to be used in that way!
Next time, I will share more about the SHE Reads Truth devotional and Jeff Henderson.
I love you my sisters and I DARE to BELIEVE that He can make a difference through us in the lives He allows us to touch around us!!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- Jeremiah 29:11
What does your life look like? Does it look like you expected it to look at this stage of it?
Maybe you are in the middle of a situation right now. Maybe you just can’t seem to shake those negative thoughts from your past and fear-based worries for your future. Maybe you KNOW all the "right" things and all the "right" scriptures, but you just can’t wrap your arms around them to make them a reality. If that's the case, then ... CHOOSE HOPE!
Jesus is not a magic potion. You don’t become a Christian and never have another problem. You can’t just say, "I believe in Jesus" and magically everything in your life is now clear. We aren’t promised everything will turn out the way we expect. And I'm not encouraging you to wish for some magical change to take place. On the contrary - I'm challenging you to be proactive with your life and to Choose Hope grounded in Christ as your Foundation.
We won’t have all the answers and we won’t find some new and perfect equation to solve all the problems in our lives. But, what I know we can all Choose Hope.
When you struggle with guilt from the past, choose hope. When you struggle with fears about the future, choose hope. When you can’t yet believe and claim the promises you read in the Bible and hear about from others, you CAN choose hope.
Take responsibility for your life and Choose Hope. Put your hope in Jesus and He will carry you when you can’t take another step. He will set you on solid ground and help you build anew. He will guide you along the path of becoming and give you strength to make the best decisions. He will teach you how to fly again and will even breathe new air under your wings.
He’s cheering for you,
even when nobody else seems to be.
And like Kari Jobe's song, "Steady My Heart" says, "Even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart. I will run to You, 'Cause I know that you are, Lover of my soul, Healer of my scars.
You steady my heart!"
Choose to let Him steady your heart today!
Thanks for being a part of my journey!
Are you busy? Several years ago, I had an awakening to what it means to be busy. When my oldest, now 14, was a little guy, my husband owned his own delivery business. He delivered documents, groceries, prescriptions, t-shirts, flowers, King Cakes ... you name it. He delivered all over Baton Rouge and New Orleans and worked 12-15 hour days. I would run deliveries for him most days, packing our son into a carseat and driving all over town. I was nursing, running between naps, keeping up the house, keeping the books for our business, leading a small group for church, attending a small group at church, and building a house 30 minutes from where we lived. I felt rather busy. One night at our small group, a friend of mine who was newly married and very young, didn't work a job, was taking 9 hours in college, and her parents had given her a house for her and her husband to live in, said, "I almost didn't make it tonight. I'm just SO BUSY." I about came out of my skin! I gotta tell you, I was not exactly sympathetic with her that night - I didn't say anything to her, but I certainly wasn't going to console her for her "busy" schedule of taking 9 hours in school with NOTHING else on her plate and no mortgage.
For the next few days, I actually stewed over her innocent statement and then I came to a conclusion. We are ALL busy in our own ways! We can't compare our schedule to the schedule of others. God gives each of us what we can uniquely handle.
Just to let you know, this beautiful young lady now has 2 kids and has worked very hard to finish school, build their own nice house with almost no mortgage, and stays active in church leadership. She WAS busy, in her own unique way, at that time in her life. I'm sure she feels a different kind of busy now. :)
So, I ask you again, are you busy?
I'm positive we are all busy in our own ways. Different seasons of life bring different schedules and different types of busy. Marriage, kids, career, homemaker, caretaker, work relationships, church relationships, leadership - all require us to be "busy." And it can be difficult to find time to even sit down and enjoy a moment of silence. For this reason, we have got to be intentional and proactive with our relationship with Christ, especially during our busy seasons. It can be very obvious when that relationship gets pushed to the back burner because of our business. Our attitudes, our moods, our perspectives, our self-images...the way we work, the way we mother, the way we lead and manage...our emotions, our responses, our reactions. Everything can suffer if we allow our
Spiritual life to suffer.
Choose today whom you will serve.
Will you serve a calendar? An emotion? A sleepless nite? A lesson plan? A client? Your checkbook? Your family? Your job? None of these in and of themselves are bad things, but when you serve them and put them above your personal growth and relationship with Jesus, they become idols. Even good things can become idols when they are put above God. Build your life on a solid foundation, THE solid Foundation.
Maybe He's already your Foundation, but maybe that's all He's allowed to be. Maybe you’ve been focused on asking God for things and asking Him to be on your side. Maybe it's time to ask what can you do for Him and evaluate whether or not you are on His side. Ask Him again what He wants you to become for His glory, and spend time listening to His answer.
It’s a choice and you HAVE a choice – it’s up to you! We are all on a journey of becoming. It’s ok to reevaluate our lives and discern when we need to tweak some things. We have a choice to
stay where we are or continue growing.
Choose today whom you will serve.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Thanks for being a part of my journey!
CHOOSE to be Present!
This may seem rather obvious, but many times, this is one of the hardest things to do. We spend time looking back at our past, with regrets, dwelling on what’s happened to us months ago, or even years ago. We spend time pining over what we feel we’ve lost or missed out on. Sometimes we even allow our past to dictate what we think we can accomplish today and who we think we are.
While it can be healthy to REFLECT on your past, it can be very UNhealthy to dwell on it. Reflecting on the past can help us learn from our mistakes, and learning from situations and circumstances in our past can help us grow and help us understand more about ourselves. However, dwelling on it can cause us to stay focused on the things that are OVER. You know you can’t change the past. And hopefully you believe that God wastes nothing – there are No Wasted Moments! So, TURN THE PAGE! Learn from yesterday but live for today.
For some of us, it’s not our past that preoccupies our minds, it’s our future. We are so concerned and worried about every detail, that we miss the beautifully intricate details of our lives now. God’s word tells us not to worry about tomorrow, it will take care of itself. It even reminds us that we are not promised tomorrow. It’s healthy to plan, and plans can help you avoid missteps. Plans and goals can help you stay on track and stay on the path God has set before you. When you have a clear identity and purpose for your life, you can even avoid some bumps in the road as this helps you avoid bumpy paths you weren’t meant to travel. However, when the focus becomes the future, you again miss today!
We’ve got to Choose to be present, and choose what we focus on. Not in past, not the future, but on what Philippians 4:8 says – what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Set your expectations on what God has in store for you today – in the PRESENT! Don’t miss what He has for you today! What is God doing in your life TODAY? How is He using you? What opportunities is He setting in front of you. EXPECT Him to use you! EXPECT Him to bless you!
And, as you spend time with Him today, as you take time to listen to Him and build that relationship with Him, you can EXPECT to learn more about who you are and who He created you to be.
Thanks for being a part of my journey!
Keep your windshield clear!
It’s hard to see out of a dirty windshield. Plain and simple. But, one little bug here and there, or a little dirt doesn’t necessarily keep us from seeing out of our windshield, right? And sometimes, we can even let things build a little – maybe even a lot – before we actually realize we can’t even see where we are going.
There are so many issues when we can't see clearly - we might turn down the wrong path, we may even go off the path all together, we might end up traveling down a road we were never meant to travel. If we can’t see to keep our journey in check, we definitely can’t help anyone else along their journey. And heaven forbid we steer them in the wrong direction because we can’t see what’s in front of us.
So, what’s our windshield? We see, feel, touch…we experience life, we filter everything through our emotions. How we feel any given day at any given time for any given reason. As women, we tend to be quite influenced by our emotions. When we are living an honest life, the little bugs that seem to splat on our windshields can easily be wiped away. They still hit the windshield, but you have enough water in that little button in your wipers to clean it off. Even when it rains cats and dogs and we just want to pull over, when we are prepared with sharp wiper blades, the water brushes aside almost as quickly as it hits the glass.
However, when we hide what’s going on inside, when we don’t surround ourselves with close confidants who can “tell us like it really is,” stuff inevitably starts building up on our windshields. We push our feelings down and let the hurt build. Someone hurts you and you push it down, you pretend you aren’t hurt but really, you ARE hurt. Or maybe you get let down by a friend. Again, you push your feelings down and hide them. Maybe you find out your co-worker was recognized by your boss and you weren't. You know you SHOULDN’T be upset, but you are. You aren’t willing to admit that such seemingly insignificant things bother you. You lie to yourself. You don’t let anyone else know what you are dealing with. You don’t let anyone else help you get to the REAL root of any of those issues. Now your windshield isn’t only dirty, but the jealousy and bitterness that is building has caused you to take your eyes off the road entirely.
Now I’m NOT saying you SHOULD allow little things to bother you. As believers, we need to be spiritually minded and try to see the bigger picture. However, we ARE human and there will be things that hurt us in this life. What happens when you allow something that genuinely hurt you to sit? Something begins to grow. It grows and it develops roots. Then one day, somebody says or does something and you explode – you look up and you can no longer see the road, so much so that you now run the risk of wrecking the car. What grows is ugly and it’s dangerous. Jealously and bitterness are 2 emotional cancers that can destroy much more than your ability to lead.
Most of the time, it is easier to disguise what’s going on inside than to admit we are struggling with something. But, we have got to keep our windshields clear! Try your best not to hide your feelings and let disappointing emotions build up in your life. And don’t deny them in an effort to make them disappear, either. We’re talking about being transparent. You can’t pretend nothing is bothering you so you CAN pretend to have a clear windshield. The truth WILL come out – one way or another, your true emotions will emerge. Don’t simply DENY that you are struggling. That doesn’t keep your windshield clear – it only adds mud to it. And in the end, it will take a lot more to get your windshield clean.
Sometimes you can clean that windshield all on your own. If you admit what’s been going on, maybe even go to the person you are upset with and let them know they hurt you – they may not even know it. Sometimes, simply praying and confessing to God how you feel can make you feel better. Sometimes writing a letter that you trash when you are done helps – it’s a safe way to vent so nobody but God has to hear. :) Sometimes, praying for the person who hurt you will help since it's hard to stay mad at someone you are praying for.
But sometimes, you just can’t do it on your own. I wouldn’t suggest you share your challenges with just anyone, but find some peers, friends, mentors that you CAN be honest with, who make you feel safe to be transparent. These women can help you keep your windshield clear. They can encourage you as you cry and they can challenge you to see the big picture. It’s not always easy to get that windshield clean. It may take a little scrubbing – it may even take someone else helping you to scrub. It may be a little embarrassing that you weren’t able to clean that windshield on your own, but it’s ok. God has given us those friends – allow Him … to work thru them … to help you.
Being a "Christian" doesn’t mean you never struggle, never have questions, never lose your cool, and never make a mistake. Being a Christian means that even when you are struggling you have the hope in Jesus that you can grow thru your struggle and become a better person on the other side of it. Being a Christian is recognizing that you can’t do things on your own. It is discerning who to ask for help and then having the courage to do so. Being a Christian means keeping bitterness and jealousy off of your spiritual windshield so you can not only see your own path, but so you can help guide others as well.
Praying for us all to have clean windshields!!!
Thanks for being you,
and for allowing me to be me!
Pressures are everywhere and we deal with different pressures every day of our lives. It's important to acknowledge the fact that, just as tires lose a certain amount of pressure over time with simple wear and tear, so do we.
Let’s look at a few ways to make sure we have and keep the best balance of pressures in our lives - the best balance of pressure to keep us productive and effective for God.
First, when it comes to tires, we need to learn the recommended tire pressure for the actual vehicle, not just the tire. This isn’t found on the tire, but is found on the vehicle itself (or in the manual).
Remember, we are each UNIQUE! We are all different! We are created that way! We all work differently and we can all handle different amounts of pressures. YOU need to learn how much YOU can handle. Don’t overcrowd your schedule or take on more than you know you can handle, just because someone else seems to. Be honest about how much you can handle. Be honest with yourself and be honest with others. Just as the vehicle’s recommended tire pressure is on the vehicle, YOU are the only one who can decide what your schedule should look like. Listen to what the Lord tells you – He’ll guide you!
2ndly, choose a time to check your tire pressure regularly and stick to it. You can’t check it once and never check it again.
Situations change, so does our ability to handle pressures. Keep evaluating your life, your situations, your job, your family's needs, your needs, your areas of contribution in the community and all of the things in your life. Again, you won’t be as productive or effective as you could be if you take on more than you are created to take on, OR if you choose to take on responsibilities that someone else is better suited for.
The 3rd tip is to use a high quality pressure gauge and ck the pressure when the tires haven’t been driven more than a few miles, AND when the tires are at the same temperature as the air around them, in other words, not in extreme temperatures.
Find quality women who can help hold you accountable. They can help you gauge when you don’t have the proper balance of pressure in your life. And don’t be pressured by extreme situations that can influence you to make extreme decisions.
Lastly, remember to check all 4 tires. Don’t assume any one of them is ok bc the others are. And don’t forget to check your spare tire – that’s just plain good advice. :)
I’ll end with a quote:
“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” - Thomas J. Watson
Again, we are going to lose some steam at different times of our lives simply due to normal wear and tear. Whether you realize it or not, others are watching you and you have influence in their lives. We need to make sure we aren’t out of balance with over or under-inflated tires. It’s our responsibility to make sure we don’t get in our own way by overcommitting and underperforming so we can be as productive and effective as we were created to be.
Thanks for being you!
If you've been to any of our SHE events, you've know we love the JOURNEY concept. We are all on a journey - this life is our journey. It's not as much about the exact destination we are trying to reach as it is about becoming who God uniquely created each one of us to be.
So, if we are on a journey, then we must have a vehicle. I'm not referring to the vehicle you have to get you from your house to Hobby Lobby or Lowes or your church. :) I'm talking about your very own personal vehicle that God designed for you in which to travel thru life - YOU! Sometimes our “personal vehicles” need some maintenance - an adjustment, a tweak, a tune up. While there is definitely a need to maintain our physical vehicle - our body itself, we want to discuss some maintenance for our Spiritual and Emotional vehicles. For the next few weeks, we're going to be blogging about this type of "Maintenance" and we hope it blesses you!
Our first area for maintenance is TIRES.
How many of you have ever experienced a flat tire? We all know we need to have some air in our tires, but did you realize that just as under-inflated tires can slow you down, over-inflated tires can keep your car from traveling at its best and can even be dangerous?
Many things can affect tire pressure. Some things include normal air loss thru the tire itself, payload, temperature and damage to the tire. Tires lose a % of air every month just due to regular wear and tear.
What happens when the pressure is too low? Pressure that’s too low leaves too much of the tire in contact with the road. These tires wear early and have the potential to overheat. That under-inflation can lead to tire failure or reduce the tread life by as much as 25%!
Tire pressure that’s too high results in less tire touching the ground. This can create a harsher ride as well as compromised traction. The tires can be damaged more easily when they run over potholes or debris. And, over time, over-inflated tires lead to excessive inner tire tread wear which can decrease the overall life of the tire.
Balancing pressures in our lives works much the same way. We need pressures in our lives, but we need to make sure they are balanced - we can be neither under-inflated nor over-inflated. We automatically have a level of pressure on us daily. But we can allow these pressures to help us grow personally and help sustain us or we can allow unncecessary pressures to overwhelm us and keep us from becoming all we were created to be.
BALANCE is the key!
We can choose to highly reduce pressures in our lives by reducing the things we do. We can delete everything from our schedule, sit at home, and do nothing. BUT, this kind of lifestyle could leave us UNDER-INFLATED, and we weren’t created that way! God, Himself is relational. God, Himself created, Jesus walked the earth and did miracles and spoke and led others. But we see God and Jesus both set examples of balance for us. God rested on the 7th day and we see Jesus pull away from the crowds plenty of times.
Yes, we are human “beings” and there’s a time for just BE-ING, but we need some level of pressure to help us grow and become all God created us to be. Under-inflation (too low of pressure) can significantly reduce our productivity for God.
On the other hand, OVER-inflation (too many pressures) can create a much bumpier ride and can reduce our effectiveness for God. Putting too many things on our calendar and not knowing how to prioritize can leave us feeling overwhelmed and frazzled.
Again, BALANCE is the key! We each need to find the balance that will work best for us! We were created unique and we each have a unique amount of pressure that we are capable of handling. It takes time and intentional effort, but if we can take the time to figure it out, we will be further along our Journey to becoming ALL God created us to be!
We'll talk more about ways to stay balanced next week. :)
Thanks for being on this journey with me!
Thanks for being YOU!
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!
Meet the Authors