When life doesn’t have an easy button…

“It’s so hard, you know?”  I hear this all the time used as an excuse for making bad choices.

Let’s keep this honest. I don’t know what is hard in your story or how hard it is. We all face hard things and I can only live my own story.  Every day I am challenged to choose differently and not use difficult things in my story as an excuse. I often wish I could just push a button and make this situation or that personal relationship easy, or at least easier!

As I get older, what I continue to learn is that sometimes our choices make life harder.  This is because sometimes what we choose is sin. We try to justify our sinful choices with the excuse that making good choices is somehow beyond our reach.

We go left when asked to go right.  #disobedience

We eat junk when our body says, “eat healthier”.  #rebellion

We stay when we are asked to go.  #NotJustJonahAndTheWhale

We spend more time talking about what we want to do rather than doing it.  #procrastinating

Nike had a slogan of “Just Do It” that made them billions of dollars. They chose well, but choosing well is easier said than done, eh?

Not if you have the right tools.

Spiritual Tools:

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength”.

Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these other things will be added to it.”

1 Timothy 7-10, “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promises for both the present life and the life to come.  This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.  That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

Could God’s Word be our “easy button” for choices that lead to strength, peace, patience, endurance, perseverance…whatever you need to make your load lighter?

Physical Fitness Tool:

Finding the right fitness plan for you and your body.  For me, I have learned that I need people with me when I exercise to help me stay consistent.  Not just a gym full of fellow strugglers but one or two people who will come alongside and exercise with me but also push me to get better.  Sadly, I have yet to find such companions.

Emotional Mental Tool:

A trusted friend is great but sometimes we need more than that to carry the heavy stuff up and away from our path.  A counselor, Life Coach or Spiritual Director that will give you a different perspective to help lighten your load.

The Gospel:

The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for you and for me. I am guessing that having nails pierced through hands and feet and donning a crown of thorns for the sake of another…IS HARD.  Every hard thing I have ever experienced in my life, pales in comparison.

For those of us that claim that “we are hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3), this means we are to take up that cross and follow Him…regardless of how hard the situation is.

I don’t recall hearing that Jesus grumbled or complained about how hard it was to take our sin upon Him.  He prayed.  He obeyed.  He did what His Father asked Him to.  He wanted God’s Will.

Having trouble obeying?

You are not alone! However, choosing to obey (with God’s promised help) will give you the freedom and peace you seek and bring clarity of what God’s Will is for you.  The more you grumble and complain, the further you get pulled away from intimacy with God.

Neil Anderson puts it this way. (RE: temptation)

  1. Lust of the flesh draws us away from the Will of God (destroying our dependence on God; John 15:5) When we give into this lust we trust more in our own ways and ideas than we do the Holy Spirit.
  2. Lust of the eyes draws us away from God’s Word (destroying our confidence in God; John 15:7) We allow the world, the flesh, and the devil to fill us with their thoughts and words instead of God’s truth.
  3. Pride of life draws us away from Worship of God (destroying our obedience to God; John 15:8-10) We embrace our idols rather than find comfort in the presence of God.

*italics mine

Do you want to obey God? Are you struggling with knowing His Will, with being in and understanding His Word, or do you lack Worship? Maybe it is lust and pride that is distracting you.

REFLECTION:

Question is… “what are you willing to do about it?”

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Kinita

Shake It Up

Summer is here!! The kids are home and the competition for my time has begun. I don’t know about you, but I welcome the change of seasons. Our kids are a little older so they don’t need a lot of attention. For the most part they find things to do on their own. They mostly just need me available. There is one area in my life, however, that is also often challenged at this time of year as well. However, I don’t give into it because it really has become a non-negotiable priority in my life.

My Quiet time, time alone with God, devotions whatever you prefer to call it.
A time when it’s just me, Jesus, my Bible, my journal and a hot cup of coffee. I’m a morning person so the best time for me is really before the kids get up. There is such an incredible love story between the covers of The Holy Bible and my desire to hear it is one thing that draws me to it everyday – BEFORE I get into my story of the day.

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John 15:5, “I am the Vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Now, before you get upset and defensive that “you don’t have time, your kids are smaller and they always need you, etc.,”. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. When my kids were little, I was overwhelmed because I thought I was supposed to have at least an hour of “alone time with God”. That was an expectation put on me that re-enforced my inadequacies and once again gave me the message of not being good enough. Not cool. It was an expectation put on me by people. A mentor / friend at the time encouraged me to start with 5-10 minutes of focused time with God. Just with a scripture. She was teaching me how to live out Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all other things will be added to you”. That includes time. Before I knew it, I was up to an hour and loving every minute of it.

Have you ever judged a book by it’s cover? Assuming you know what the book is about by its title. For example, if you saw the “Holy Bible” (which, by the way, has often been shortened to the “Bible”…makes me wonder if someone took the “Holy” away in hopes it would remain a secret??) Would you assume you knew what was between its covers?..sadly, many Christians do.
Spending time in the Word showed me how to live a life as a God-pleaser and not a people-pleaser. Along with several other life lessons I didn’t know I needed.

Please know that I’m not putting any expectations on you. I believe, as a follower of Christ, it is crucial that we spend quality time with God. Undivided attention to our Creator God. Let me just ask you, if finding time is a struggle for you, could it be an issue of time management or priorities?
Let me assure you, we all have time, we just choose to use it differently. We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

Maybe it’s time for you to start something new, perhaps you need a SHAKE UP of your routine.
I have some ideas that might help you in this stressful season of your journey and help you SHAKE IT UP!!!

Perhaps one verse a day till you get through a whole chapter or book of the Bible.
Scripture is always key, but how you receive it and apply it to your life is what makes the most difference.

Maybe understanding your learning style will also help you to grow intimacy with Jesus.

For auditory learners, you might want to listen to scripture or a sermon on a CD or downloading a podcast. For some people it works to exercise and listen to a download at the same time. Personally, that doesn’t work for me because it doesn’t allow me undivided time with God. I have (undiagnosed) attention-deficit-disorder (ADD) and it makes it harder for me to concentrate. Don’t get me wrong, I love to multi-task so I add my favourite worship music to my workout playlist so I can continue growing my intimacy later in the day.

For visual learners, journaling or writing out prayers is a great way to express what we are learning after we have read a passage. For me, it not only helps the passage “stick” in my heart better, but as I listen, the Holy Spirit helps me see applications to various areas of my life.

Tactile learners (if you don’t know what that is, you aren’t one :)), ok so you like touching things as you learn. While I do the dishes I like to pray. Often it’s a time of confession because the soapy water on my hands reminds me that God has cleaned my heart with His blood. I do “thank-you” prayers for all those that have used those dishes. I ask God to grow “servant hearts” in my children (that’s probably on the days that I’m grumbling that nobody is pitching in for the cleaning!!)

Don’t just listen to my suggestions, seek God’s direction for your own journey.

Whether you choose to “shake it up” in your spiritual routine, or crack open The Holy Bible for the first time to find out what The Author is really saying, remember God loves you very much and is waiting with open arms to greet you………Your Sister At Heart……Kinita