“New year, new rules, new regulations!” that’s what my Grandfather used to say. Every year to his children. So I’ve been told.
I’ve made a list of the things I’d like to accomplish this year, and I noticed one thing. Everything I’m lacking going into 2013 can be resolved if I make more room for the Lord in my life. Think about it. The areas where we struggle most are the areas that we’ve submitted the least to God. What’s more is that it’s NOT His will for us to continue to struggle. But He is limited because we do not grant Him access.
Here’s are five simple ways you can be more successful in achieving your goals whether you start tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day.
I know your Facebook friends are telling you that you can lose weight if only you had more discipline, or you can manage your money better if you tithe, but start here. Let the Lord guide your path. Make room for Him and everything else will fall into place.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
Driving down Laburnum, I watched my baby girl sit in a beautiful white dress as she gazed out the backseat window. My son was several miles away ready to be picked up. I was in the passenger seat wearing a just-above knee length sundress. He was driving my car leaning against me with his right arm down my leg. This woman’s husband was touching me and was in full and total control of me and mine. How did I get into this situation?
A nasty storm cloud booms over us, and in the distance I see a tornado descend from the clouds. I start to pray and rebuke the cloud commanding it to go back up in to the sky. It yields to my prayer, and we continue driving. I asked him to prepare to pull over in case we ran into a tornado. I asked him to drive faster so we could rescue my son. All he did was leisurely drive the long route, never acknowledging my requests or concerns. He just kept rubbing my leg.
His actions made it abundantly clear that he could not care less for the emotional pain that I was suffering. He seemed to be enjoying it. He didn’t care when a smaller tornado hopped a building to our left, went directly over the car, and landed on a building to our right. He didn’t care that our son was miles away and terribly afraid of tornadoes. I tried to make conversation with the little one to ease my mind, but she was even too afraid of him to speak openly.
And then I woke up thanks to a text from Twitter. (I am not that scandalous!) And in this dream I was this man’s wife, and my children were also his children. His wife is my friend. I love her dearly, but I couldn’t understand why I’d dream such a thing, so I inquired of the Lord.
Quiet and still, He always speaks. “This is what she feels like.”
And so it follows, this is how many women feel when they are subject to a man who is insensitive and controlling. Some of these men have scars from childhood, some from other types of trauma, and others still are just big ol’ jerks. I’ve been single since December 2009, and I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in that place. But when I was married I knew it very well.
This is what I’ve learned about these challenging and often terrifying situations.
It is not my intention to break up families, but to save souls. If you’ve ever been subject to someone who is reckless and uncaring, then you know the feeling of being insecure. And as women, we want to love them out of that place, but sometimes, we can’t. And so, it is my prayer that God’s will be done in your homes and in your hearts.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
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Over the past few years I have really enjoyed Mac products. Macbook, Mackbook Pro, Ipod, Ipad, IMac, Iphone, etc; I just love the way that they work! A few years ago Apple came out with an upgrade that allowed you to take off apps that you would have open. You could now close down your twitter app or your weather app. You could close down the ESPN app or a game app that you had open that allowed your battery not to drain as fast as well as allow your device to run faster! So that once you close out things that you no longer have use for it allows your device to run a lot smoother.
I can’t help but to liken this to many of our relationships. One of the reasons that some of us are stuck, stagnant, and extremely slow with moving on is because we have so many people, or apps, that are open in our lives that have not been closed. There are relationships that we have had in our past that we have become attached to so much that even though the communication, recreation, and interaction between us and the other person may have ended…our attachment to them continues to be open. Something still jumps in our spirit when we see their picture on Facebook; we still catch an attitude when someone tells us that they have seen the person with another person; and we continue to think in our minds what we may be doing with the person if we were still dating them.
Some of you reading this have been thinking to yourself: why am I having such a difficult problem moving forward in my life, my relationships, and in life in general? Why is it that I sabotage relationships? How come I only feel normal when people treat me negatively? Why am I attempting to move forward while still attached to my past??? May I suggest that even though two people have physically gone their separate ways doesn’t mean the relationship has ended.
Before I give some solutions on how you can truly move forward, let me give some suggestions on why many of us cannot move forward:
This is not an exhaustive list, but just a few things that won’t allow a person to move forward. Now, let me offer some things that a person can do so that they can positively move forward.
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We fall into two categories when it comes to temptation: “Struggling” and “Not Struggling”. To dig a little deeper those who are classified as “Not Struggling” are either totally delivered from a situation OR have no desire to fight against the very thing that’s keeping them bound. For those of you who see no wrong in indulging in your vices, this post is not for you.
I’ve struggled. In some ways, I’m still struggling but I’m definitely not falling like I used to. So you’re in good company, and I won’t tell your secrets if you won’t tell mine. Here’s what I had to learn about myself in regards to my weak (read “sinful”) areas.
Lust brings forth sin and sin brings forth death. And lust, in this case, is not just a sexual term. Lust is any desire that takes you outside of God’s perfect plan for your life. It may be sexual, abuse of substances or people, cursing/cussing/complaining, gossip… fill in your blank.
So how do you tip the struggle scale to your favor? Start here.
READ YOUR BIBLE!!!
If I don’t offer any other steps, this piece alone is sufficient. Prayer does not work once you’re “in” the situation because your will is already compromised. The only way to stand in trying situations is to strengthen your spirit by reading the Word of God. As your spirit becomes stronger, your will becomes more aligned with God’s plan for your life and your desires start to change. You won’t see yourself or those shameful situations in the same light after some time. The Word is a lamp to show us where to go (and where not to go) and a light to make the truth evident. If you don’t read your Bible, you’re navigating your life in the dark!
Know your weakness & avoid it.
Remember God does not tempt us (James 1:13). Temptation comes from within us. For example, put a fine chocolate-y, muscle-y brother in front of me, and I might be tempted. Pour a glass of Crown Royal and dangle it before my eyes, and I won’t blink twice. My lust is not for alcohol, so I cannot be tempted by it. I plead the fifth on the former situation, however. So until I’m able to stand, I should not put myself in those situations. So many folk have criticized me by saying “Don’t you have any self-control?” Well, no, I don’t. And bless God, I’m honest with myself and therefore I can avoid trouble.
Check your fellowship.
Somewhere in the Bible it says that we should not fellowship with brethren that we know are fornicators (in the KJV) and acting against God’s ordinances (1 Corinthians 5:11). By brethren the Scripture refers to those who identify themselves as Christ-followers. There is a two-fold purpose here. We cannot condone the continual sin of a person who calls him or herself a Christ-follower, so they must be given some space to allow God to change their hearts. A STRONGER reason is that eating with a person (and fellowshipping in general) is a way in which soul ties are formed, and wherever there are soul ties spirits and desires will transfer. (Bad company corrupts good manners, don’t you know?) Though your friend may not be malicious, the enemy certainly is. You’ll have to limit your ties with such a person to preserve your own soul.
Love God MORE!
Who I am to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like? Feelings in and of themselves are not evil, but actions are what bring judgment. You might like to smoke a little “reefer” (that word makes me snicker), but you have to love God more to find your freedom. There are times in our walk when we find ourselves halfway between a place of sin and a place of prayer. Just choose to love God more, and He’ll handle the rest. Remember where sin abounds grace SUPERABOUNDS!!! (Romans 5:20– This is truly one of my favorite Bible verses.)
No one likes to do this, but nothing will break your nasty habits better than fasting and praying. I can fast for 3 days and see major changes in my most basic desires. Sometimes you have to literally starve your desires, and you do this by overruling your flesh with your spirit. BE HUNGRY FOR GOD!!! This also means that any influence that glorifies your lust issue should be cut off until you can handle it. Personal example… I haven’t watched music videos or listened to most secular music regularly in years because I cannot handle its content. It drives me want to sin, so it must go! A proper fast will bring about a lifestyle change ultimately transforming your desires so you don’t even want to do the same things anymore.
I think back to a certain relationship when the person kept wronging me in the same way over and over again. After some time, sorry didn’t mean anything to me because I realized he was making a choice to give in to temptation. How much more does God hurt when we continually choose our lustful desires over Him, knowing that in the end we’re still broken and unsatisfied?
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
A few of you watched my first video which included the announcement of a year of no dating. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the link.
In these sixty days, I can’t say that I’ve been terribly lonely. I can say that I’ve already begun to see myself differently and I’ve learned there’s so much more to life than the happiness that only exists (apparently) in romantic relationships. Like family. And money. And peace. And the abiding presence of God.
I would not have believed this if not for the hell I’ve been through the past two months.
In the effort to not over-share (i.e. embarrass anyone), I’ll just say that I’ve had to stand. And by “stand” I really mean kneel in prayer seeking God’s will and provision for me during this season. I’ve had to call on others to hold me up because, at times, my faith just wasn’t enough.
So instead of telling stories of grief and heartbreak, I’ll share those of minimal disappointment… with a moral and happy ending of course.
Maybe six weeks ago I started looking for a new home. My apartment is lovely, but I miss having a big, spacious kitchen with granite countertops where I can make lavish cakes and dinners to feed my friends and family. But I didn’t find a single house that I liked. The seller pushed and pushed and even put a great deal on the table, but I heard a quiet “no.” So on I went to look at homes elsewhere. Found one, fell in looooooooove, and came darn near close to signing the paperwork. Again, a “no.”
I couldn’t understand why He kept telling me “no” but since God seems to know what He’s doing, I passed on both opportunities. Just two weeks later, I found out a third of my monthly income had been lost to someone else’s mishaps.
What if I had signed that contract? Selah.
I relied heavily on that money. Double selah and a “Lord, forgive me.”
With little money in the bank and no guarantee (from what I could see in the natural) of any more coming in, I was excited to hear about a job opportunity– and when I say opportunity, I mean the job I’ve been wanting for the past two to three years. I knew God was telling me “no” but I wanted to be sure, so I checked in with my mentor. He made it easy for me to write an apologetic email thanking the folks for considering me, yet respectfully declining.
Then…. (oh I’m not finished yet)…
My daughter became ill. I don’t know what kinda bug she picked up but baby girl went from having a mild case of pink eye to having a roaring temperature of 104 degrees. Her body temperature was as high as my bank account was low. God gave us favor with the doctors because with the loss of that aforementioned income went the insurance too. But I had to face a real challenge when I heard the cost of her medication… $84 for the full prescription. There was exactly $60 in my wallet. I purchased half the prescription and a bottle of ibuprofen and walked away with only twelve dollars in my wallet. I cried at the checkout counter, yet God showed me mercy. By the third day, I noticed that the pharmacist had given me 3 full doses instead of two and a half!! God bless that man!!! After a few days of pushing liquids and analgesics down her throat, baby girl recovered.
All this with minimal family support due to other circumstances which I cannot even bear to mention here…
I’ve come to a place where I realize that God’s “no” is not a denial of what I want, but moreso the way in which He protects what He wants for me. Had I signed those papers, I would’ve ended up with a house that He didn’t want for me and unable to pay for it.
What did bother me was that I wasn’t hearing any “yes’s”. Well today I heard more than a few! I can’t share at this point, but I will say this…
There is nothing in this life that we will lose for Christ’s sake that He will not return and multiply to us. Can you even imagine the house he has for me? The job? The husband? No??!! Neither can I…
And that’s the point…
For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 10:11
Sixty-down. Three hundred to go…
Looking back, when did God’s “no’s” protect you?
What’s keeping Him from saying “yes” in your toughest situations?
With love, sincerity, and hope for your (and my) future,
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