Just over a year ago, I posted this.The gist of the article was about my fears surrounding taking a huge life leap–a leap that would disrupt the stability of everything in my life. Believe me, it was a turbulent time.
A year later, here I am. I’m still standing. I’m not in the same place, geographically, or in any other area of my life. (For that, I am thankful.) I have moved from fear to faith. Of course, this will be a never-ending process. Throughout our lives, we’ll continually be presented with opportunities to choose faith over fear.
A lot sure has changed in one year! Here’s my testimony:
I left the full-time job I had been clinging to, but which no longer brought me life. I knew my Father would provide for me, but I had no idea how. God granted me a job that pays the bills and also allows the perfect amount of flexibility I need at this time in my life. It’s not easy to find that kind of gig–but of course, with God, all things are possible.
God has granted me a sound mind in order to continue my studies and to excel in them. I’m so grateful to be in school, studying a subject which interests me and will allow me to be an instrument of healing for others. I’m about halfway to graduation!
The clock was ticking, and I had a short time to move to a new home. In the nick of time, God came through with a safe and positive living environment. This also isn’t necessarily easy to find, but God knew what He was doing and opened the door to the place He wanted me to live.
I’ve discovered my true friends. The ones that will stick with you even when you (or they) move away. The friends that have seen you through thick and thin and show no sign of stepping out of your life. In this season, I’ve also met new friends that inspire me to grow deeper with the Lord and to discover new aspects of my life. (I pray that I am that kind of friend for them, too!)
Now I know the truth about fear. It’s stagnancy. Fear gives power to meaningless doubts instead of power to an UNLIMITED God! Fear leaves you a shell of the person that you truly are, and that God wants to transform you to be.
Fear is a lie and keeps you from experiencing the wonders that God has for you.
Now I know the truth about faith. Faith brings growth. Faith brings life. Faith brings joy and open doors that you could never have imagined. Decisions of faith mean learning to rely on God above all, and realizing that He truly does care about our lives and care about us!
Faith is the scariest step you can ever take, but it brings blessing and joy.
If you’re struggling to step out in faith, I pray that you will be strengthened today by the Author and Perfecter of our faith! I pray that your spiritual eyes will be opened to whatever He has for you! I pray that He will release you from the spirit of fear, and pour down the spirit of faith and hope into your life! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your faithfulness!
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”–Hebrews 11:1
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”~Luke 1:37
A decade ago, I would never have dreamed of the places I’ve been and the opportunities I’ve been blessed with in life. You see, I had a picture in my head of how God “normally” worked in people’s lives. Because of this picture, I placed limits on my life. I expected my life to follow a similar trajectory. I based my vision for the future based on what I saw in other people’s lives, and even what society expected. Very sadly, I was putting God in a box and limiting an all-powerful, limitless God!
As I began to be more open to God’s work in my heart, mind, and each aspect of my life, amazing things began to happen. My Heavenly Father placed people beside me that lived with purpose and did not follow societal expectations. Miracles happened. I was presented with opportunities that cannot be explained except through the eyes of faith. My mindset shifted. My eyes were opened, along with my mind. I began to see that the only limits on life are those that we place upon ourselves. Yes, you read right–the only limits on your life are those that you allow yourself to believe.
I have crazy dreams for my future. Or should I say, I don’t have the “American dream.” (Thank God!) Other people sometimes find it difficult to understand when I tell of my dreams for the future or to understand why. I know that God has placed these dreams within me, and has confirmed them over and over again. The reactions of others and the practicalities could easily sway me from striving from these dreams. But, would God be pleased? Would I achieve what God put me on this earth for? NO. Does God want me to live within my comfort zone and let those gifts He has placed within my heart to languish? NO. In fulfilling our purpose and coming to better know our Creator, we find joy.
Thank You Jesus, that these lives You have given us are limitless in YOU! Show us the limits we have set on ourselves for whatever reason, and show us the dreams that YOU have for us and the path You have set before us to attain them. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen!
“Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.”~Galatians 4:6-7
Nowadays, self-care is “in.” However, some in Christian circles believe that the idea of “self-care” is equivalent with being selfish. Let me put that myth to rest for you right away. There are many accounts in the Bible of Jesus going off on His own for prayer and respite. (The crowds still tried to follow Him.) He was fully Divine, yet also fully human. Jesus needed that time alone to connect with His Father and to be empowered for ministry.
“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16
So if the One that we follow also needed time to refresh, how can we say that we’re above Him? Being fully human, we need to make a priority of our self-care. Every single day, we need to make time for God. We need to also be aware of the unique way that we are wired and to make time for those forms of self-care most fitting for us. Once we start making time for our needs, we’ll find ourselves better able to nurture and care for the people we’ve been gifted with in our lives. We cannot pour from an empty vessel.
There are seasons of life where we need to be firm & speak up about our needs. This is especially true of moms of young children. Moms of young children may need to let their husband know how depleted she feels. Single moms must pray for loving support and people they can count on. There is no shame in asking a family member or another trusted person to take over for a few hours once in awhile to tend to yourself. Every person has their own limits. It’s important to recognize yours and to take the steps to care for you before reaching your limit. Burnout comes after a person has given & given to others without fulfillment of their own needs. This state often leads to depression, resentment toward those one cares for, and tremendous fatigue. For most people, burnout isn’t a “quick fix,” so it’s important to be continually mindful of self-care.
Every person is the “expert” on what works for them for regular self-care routines. Here are a few ideas to get started:
Reading Scripture, especially in the context of a Bible study
Painting, drawing, sculpting
Finding a new hobby
Quality time with supportive & encouraging people
Support groups or “moms” groups
Reading “fun” books, such as novels
Time in a peaceful nature setting
Going out to eat (to a place that offers nourishing foods) instead of cooking
Make dates or intentional times to reconnect with your significant other a priority
Attend a concert, museum, play, or comedy show
Short weekend getaways or retreats
Importantly, don’t feel guilty about taking the time you need for self-care! There are people counting on you. Remember how Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment (after loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength) is to love your neighbor as yourself? (Mark 12:30-31) Jesus’ command assumes that we love ourselves! When you recognize that you were created in the Divine image, you will love yourself because you recognize WHO you belong to! When you take care of yourself, you will be much better able to care for others, and to do it well!
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.~Ephesians 2:10
I celebrated my birthday recently. I’m not going to tell you how old I am…Most people are shocked at my age anyway, since youthful genes run in my family. Additionally, I’m quite petite. Put simply, the number doesn’t matter. These days, I’m pondering life and the lessons I’ve gained more than before.
I no longer put societal expectations about age and the timeline for God’s plan for my life together. God has given us each a different story to write. It’s refreshing that none of us is exactly the same. We can always learn from one another and the different ways that God works in each our lives. It can be difficult to understand why the Father gifts one person in a certain way and not another person, but He is sovereign. Only He knows why, as tough as that can be for us to swallow.
In the past year, I had many opportunities to actually “walk in faith.” By the world’s standards, I went about a lot of things in a way that isn’t normally recommended. I think some people think I’m crazy for the peace I’ve gained from Christ about certain areas of my life. But you know what? We serve a faithful, all-powerful God. He has never let me down, and I know that same faithfulness will continue this year and forever.
I am astounded when I think upon the gift of life. Earthly life is definitely not perfect and there are always struggles of various types. Yet when I ponder that this life is a gift, and I could have never existed at all, or even not been given the chance to live…It puts it into a whole new perspective! What a tremendous gift, to live, learn, and love.
I was an idea of the God of the universe! So were you, and every other person in existence at any time. I don’t think our minds can fully comprehend it. What is also profound is that each of us were created for a specific & unique purpose!
I can’t wait to grow closer to Jesus Christ during this next year of my life and to see how He leads me further into the purpose I was created for…
Recently I moved to a city that I knew very little about. It’s truly been a seamless transition, and I’ve actually forgotten that I’ve lived here for such a short time. What has made it such a seamless and easy transition, you ask? I have been welcomed with open arms.
One great source of welcome has been my new parish community. I’d heard a lot about this parish from other people in my age bracket. I went there and saw for myself how welcoming and kind the people were. At a recent event, a woman found out I was new to the parish and quickly made sure that I knew where she was sitting and that I was welcome to sit there, and introduced me to the people she was sitting with. On Donut Sundays, I know that can I sit at any table and find new friends. (By the way, I think every church should have an opportunity for fellowship after Mass or the Sunday service. Why is it not like this? That’s how community is built!)
Lately I’ve been reflecting on how this experience is bringing me closer to Christ. By experiencing His love through the kindness of others, I am coming to know in a greater way Who He is.
The chilling truth is that many people have left the Church because they didn’t feel welcomed.Any person who is new to a church should find smiling faces and people ready to talk to them and bring them into community.It is up to us, the Body of Christ, to witness to Christ’s love.When a person is welcomed to a church, they will begin to grasp in a greater way Who Christ is. They will be more open to learning about Him. We’re called to make disciples of every nation. Let’s start in our own churches!
(Note: I want to begin with a disclaimer that I am very much still figuring things out in this area. However, I’ll leave you with words from the Bible and some thoughts and ideas I’ve gleaned through sermons, readings, conversations…Please feel free to add your thoughts and what you’ve learned in the comments as well!)
Finances are a tremendous source of stress for people all over the world. In fact, I’m sure that if you were to survey people about their biggest sources of stress, finance would be in the top 3 for the majority of people. Finance equates in a big way with our ability to survive and achieve a certain quality of life. It even affects our relationships; one cause of marital discord and divorce is disagreement over finances. As with all aspects of our lives, the lenses with which we view finance is influenced by our faith.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ” Matthew 6:25-33
Jesus tells us clearly that our Heavenly Father is looking out for us. He will provide for us, and we are valuable to Him! We are to place our priorities on the Kingdom of God first.He also warns us that worrying is not productive. Worrying doesn’t take away our troubles or find a solution. Instead of worrying about your situation, pray for solutions!
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24
Did you know that Jesus was not talking about an actual sewing needle? He was talking about a narrow gate into Jerusalem, which was named “Eye of the Needle.” In order to get through this gate, all of the possessions that a camel was carrying needed to be unloaded. The camel could then get through, but would also need to hunch down and go through very carefully in order to fit. It seems then, that we must rid ourselves of attachment to material possessions. Wealth does not disqualify one from the Kingdom of God. It is what one does with the wealth that makes a difference. I believe that peace will come to our minds and hearts when we stop trying to keep up with others, and we realize that our greatest treasures are not to be found materially. When we learn to find joy in our relationships with God and other people, and find the beauty that surrounds us in our lives, we will be free from much stress.
However, we know that we cannot survive without food, shelter, and the other necessities of life. God provides, as we read in the passage from Matthew. Though God provides for us, we cannot simply sit idle and wait. We need to do our part. He has given us many gifts and talents to be used. In certain economies, jobs may not be available in the area you studied or have experience. Learning a new skill and finding a creative way to apply it can be a great way to increase your income. It can also be a good way to lessen your stress level and learn not to rely on one employer. (And sometimes, despite our efforts, God does provide in amazing ways without our expecting it!)
Many times, one’s workplace, boss, or coworkers can negatively affect their mental health. Finding a new job isn’t always feasible. In these cases, a counselor can be helpful in dealing with stress and areas of concern. Finding healthy ways to cope for as long as you are in that environment will be of benefit to you.
One last point: get rid of debt, and stay out. Debt can cause great stress. Depending on one’s level of debt, it can also take much money away from the other needs of life and cause you to be overworked. Dave Ramsey‘s books can be a good place to start in learning more about living debt-free and how to go about the process. Additionally, some loans will also allow you to pay based on income; look into this if you need to.
Pray for and actively work toward financial solutions. There are many aspects to this. Perhaps you could start with very small investments when you have a little extra money. You could also start carrying a business card and be prepared when networking connections come along. Learning new skills that can lead to more income is another aspect.
Curb worrying and turn to prayer instead. Train yourself to turn your worries to prayer.
Find healthy ways to deal with workplace stress. A counselor could help you with this. Thesearticles also have some good ideas. Sometimes an environment is toxic, and you will need to find a healthier workplace situation for your mental health.
Free yourself from debt, and don’t let yourself get into debt again. When you think about it, debt is actually a form of slavery! Too many people are in debt beyond their means, causing great distress.
Learn to find your greatest treasure in God, relationships, and the simple beauties of life.
Next up: food and mental health! (It will be the last post in the series!)
An exciting possibility recently surfaced in my life, quite unexpectedly. Immediately I began to play out what might occur, when, and how all the other aspects of my life would be affected by this possibility. In my mind, I began to manipulate everything to work out nicely. Essentially, I began to try to take the reins and to plan out each detail.
Especially for those of us with leadership abilities and tendencies, it can be difficult to give over control of our lives. In fact, it can be difficult even to see when we are seeking control, since it is part of the very fabric of our nature. However, all this planning is in vain. You see, GOD is ultimately in control. Though it’s important to have a direction…It is all “God willing.” No amount of planning or manipulation on our part can accomplish what God has for us.
The good news is, I don’t need to plot out every aspect of my life! I can let go of stress and anxiety as I learn to simply trust.My Creator knew my path and all the beautiful twists and turns it would take before I was even in my mother’s womb! I could never have imagined the beautiful experiences I would have in my life, the connections I would meet that would shape my life, and how so many details would seamlessly meld together at a perfect time. As I look in awe over the numerous miracles in my life, I look forward to seeing how He will do it again!
Isn’t it amazing the miracles that happen….When we let God, be God!
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”~Ephesians 3:20-21
Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.