Day 21: Second chances…

31dayssquareaddressIt was pretty audacious of me to assume I could waltz into the blogosphere and just write for 31 days.  I make brash assumptions like that frequently.  Sometimes it works out.  Sometimes I crash and burn.

I feel a little scorched right now.

I’m a week behind and everything in me screams “QUIT.  Just quit.  You were never going to finish anyway.  You really never finish what you start.  You don’t plan things out well enough.  It doesn’t matter.  No one will even notice….”

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I’m willing to bet I’m not the only person who hears that voice.  Am I?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

The voice of insecurity is designed to keep up living in lack.  Never trusting we are who God says we are and that He is, too.  Lysa TerKuerst says it this way in ‘The Best Yes’:  “Whether we feel insecure and limited–or we feel secure because we intentionally limit ourselves by staying in only those places where we feel naturally secure–either way, we are stunting possible growth.”  

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Stunting possible growth.  Wow.  Not the place I want to be.  No more lack, thankyouverymuch.

Thank goodness we serve a God of second chances.  And third chances.  And fourth……well, you get it.

We need to get intentional about putting truth into our minds and hearts and getting the trash out.  When we are saturated in the word, full to overflowing, there’s just no room for lies and nonsense the enemy would like to speak into our delicate souls.  That’s when we win and start taking back what was ours all along.

Second chances.  He’s really good that way.

I don’t know what your do-over is today.  It may be small like mine….I’m going to finish strong even if it takes longer.  Maybe for you it’s a huge thing.  What I do know is this:  God is there.  In the beauty and the sorrow.  In the inspired writing you do and in the messy breakfast table and towel strewn bathrooms.  He’s there.  Reaching out to you, for the second, third, nine hundredth time….

It’s a new day.  You have a new chance.  Take it.  Live it.  Go.

“Sow for yourselves righteousness,

reap the fruit of unfailing love,

and break up your unplowed ground;

for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes

and showers you with righteousness.”

~~Hosea 10:12

This post is written in conjunction with the #Write31days Challenge and linked up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday crew here and Nester Smith’s friends here.

He knows me

31dayssquareaddressIn my quiet time this morning, I took five minutes and just poured over a verse or two of scripture.  Life is chaotic and busy and my head is noisy.  Even when I’m supposed to be still.  I tend to feel that Im doing something wrong if I’m not pounding through several chapters of scripture every day.  More is better, right?

As if, God, Himself, gave us one and only list of how to do it ….the Holy Expectation of Bible Study….to be a good Jesus girl you must read from the Old Testament, the New Testament, a chapter of Proverbs and a couple Psalms every day.

We might make up our own expectations but He doesn’t do that.  He hasn’t set up those rules.

So I’ve been slowing down and pondering one verse of scripture today.  And this is it:

“My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me.”  John 10:27

So often I focus on my part of this verse.  The listening part.  And in that I can get wrapped up in how I might listen wrong.  Or mishear.  Or not hear anything at all.

But today, what spoke to my heart was this…..”I know them…”

Ahhh.  He knows me.  The God of the universe, the Shepherd of my soul knows me.  He knows me.  Me.

Drink that in and understand that wherever you are, whether it’s in trial or joy, whether you’ve got dirty dishes stacked up in your sink and you forgot to run the overfull dishwasher and there is laundry strewn on your couch and the beds aren’t made…..He knows you.  He sees your need.  He wants to meet you right where you are.  If you’ll slow down and let Him.

Jesus is a gentleman.  He calls.  But we often forget to listen.

He knows you.  Listen to His voice.  It’s there.  Only slow down long enough, breathe that tender mercy into your soul rather than jamming another chore in there, and listen.  And then follow.

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This post is written in conjunction with the #Write31days Challenge and linked up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday crew here and Nester Smith’s friends here.

Day 2: The View

31dayssquareaddressWherever we go, I tend to take my trusty camera with me.  Or at the very least, I’m not afraid to whip out my phone and use that camera instead.  Now that my daughters are no longer babies and not so apt to pose or allow pictures without a fuss, I find myself looking more and more at the world around me and enjoying the view.

Looking outside, rather than being so much in my head.

And as I look at the scenery, the majesty which God has created, it often takes my breath away.  And it causes me to think on God Almighty.  On the sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf.

How do I view the abundant life I’ve been given?

So often, when a difficult season presents itself, we can hyper-focus on the immediacy of that situation.  Of the needs it presents.  How it makes us feel.  And that can cause us to spiral to a place we were never meant to be.  I know that has so often been true for me.

Someone says something to you and you being to inspect the ways it has wounded you.  And you begin to assign intentions and motives that someone never said.  And the more we focus on that, the more hurt we feel.  And we think about what we could have said.  And what we shoudl have said.

ANd so rarely are those things what Jesus would like us to say.  *sigh*

In those moments, I have to reign myself in.  In the difficult times.  Both the small ones and the big ones.  ANd I have to decide.  Who is God *really* in my life.  What’s the big picture?

Are these trials bigger than God?  When we hyper-focus, it sure seems like it.  But if I can step back and really set my eyes on the God of the universe, suddenly the view changes.  Oh, the situation didn’t change, but my view certainly does.  Take out the hurt.  Take out the emotion.  Stop assigning blame and motive and value things of this world simply don’t have.

Take a look at the view.  Who is God to me?

My dear Abba, who tends my hurts.

Sweet refuge in the middle of life’s storms.

Like no one I’ve ever known.

Marvelous mystery, He is.  And I am so glad.  Because that’s a God I can invest in.

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This post is written in conjunction with the 31 Days Writing Challenge and linked up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday crew here and Nester Smith’s friends here.

Day 1: Who moved?

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Confession time.

There are days or even seasons in which I feel really close to God.  I hear Him clearly.  I see His hand all around me.  I just have this sense of His leading.

Today is not one of those days.

It’s been a long week, full of unexpected busy-ness.  When I have a full calendar, I can usually adapt to that fairly well, but when unexpected things creep in, it’s something else entirely.  I start forgetting things.  Sometimes I’m so busy, I forget to meet up with God.  It’s never intentional.  But with this Jesus girl, it happens.  *blush*

And in those moments, He becomes a bit distant to me.  And I wonder.  When did God move?  Why did He move?

In her new book, “The Best Yes”, Lysa TerKuerst reminds us that living with an overwhelmed schedule will cause us “to ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”  And it doesn’t take long for this to happen.

Can you relate to that?  It’s amazing how quickly life gets away from us and how fast it seems that God moves from us.  But God is unchanging.  He didn’t go anywhere.  If anyone moved, it was me.  I moved into a place where I let the demands of life come first, promising God that I’d sit with him later.  Or I slam through a few quick prayer requests in the pick-up line at the high school.  Or quickly glance at my Bible app in the orthodontist’s waiting room.

When that sort of thing is happening, it’s for sure a sign that there was movement.  But it was me.

I moved.  And I didn’t move to a good place.

The Word reminds us of many attributes of God, not the least of which are His benefits, found in Psalm 103.

He forgives my sin.

Heals my diseases.

Redeems my life from the pit.

Crowns me with love and compassion.

Satisfies my desires with Good things.

And renews my youth like the eagle’s.

Did God move during this season of busy and rush and doing and running?  No.  He didn’t move.  But we drift quickly when we lose focus.  So press in, dear friends.  The road is a long one, but praise be, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

Pace yourself.  Give yourself grace and keep moving nearer to His abundance.

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This post is written in conjunction with the 31 Days Writing Challenge and linked up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday crew here and Nester Smith’s friends here.