Thursday, July 24

Thankful Heart

Jesus Calling
July 24th 

"Thankfulness opens the door to My Presence. Though I am always with you, I have gone to great measures to preserve your freedom of choice. I have placed a door between you and Me, and I have empowered you to open or close that door. There are many ways to open it, but a grateful attitude is one of the most effective.

Thankfulness is built on a substructure of trust. When thankful words stick in your throat, you  need to check up on your foundation of trust. When thankfulness flows freely from your heart and lips, let your gratitude draw you closer to Me. I want you to learn the art of giving thanks in all circumstances.See how many times you can thank Me daily; this will awaken your awareness to a multitude of blessings. It will also cushion the impact of trials when they come against you. Practice My Presence by practicing the discipline of thankfulness."

Psalm 100:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

It is no secret that I have been struggling to have a positive spirit or a positive outlook at my job. Lately I've dreaded every single day going into work and it's just a miserable experience until 5 o'clock rolls around. I find myself in a pit of complaints: complaints about the work, my boss, the commute, the strict new rules we must follow…definitely not a very Christianly spirit. I haven't been grateful to God for the things I should be thankful for and goodness knows I haven't expressed them to Him. 

After reading this mornings devotional in Jesus Calling, I prayed that the Lord would help me to have a grateful heart, recognize the blessings He has given me, and verbally praise God for His goodness. I went about my morning like normal and while driving to work the heavens opened up and it poured monsooned rain. Guess whose umbrella was in the trunk of her car- this girl!! I absentmindedly prayed that the Lord would let the rain stop when I arrived at work so my hair wouldn't look liked a drowned rat going into work. Pulled into the work parking lot and -poof- rain stopped for 4 minutes to let me get inside pretty much dry. Blessing #1 

Later in the afternoon I got an e-mail from my boss and in an uncharacteristically kind and thoughtful gesture, she had sent me a Starbucks gift certificate to 'thank me for all my hand work and dedication lately'. Considering I have little interaction with her anymore, the fact that she went out of her way to send me the gift card was a kind and thoughtful gift.  Blessing #2

On my afternoon lunch break I had to take my car into the shop for an oil change. I thought I'd be clever and book it for the late afternoon so less people would be there and it'd be quick. Well an hour and a half later I was still sitting in the lobby! Finally the technician came in and retrieved me and brought me back out to my car. He apologized that it took so long and told me that because it took so long, this one was on the house today. Blessing #3

I got back into my car and headed back to work, going back to my devotion that morning: "See how many times you can thank Me daily; this will awaken your awareness to a multitude of blessings. It will also cushion the impact of trials when they come against you. Practice My Presence by practicing the discipline of thankfulness." Blessings can be small and tiny things throughout a day from a rainbow, a singing bird, a breeze on a hot day, but when you start viewing them as blessings from the Lord they become that much sweeter. There are seasons in life when it doesn't feel like Lord is blessing you but maybe if we start praising Him for the small things in life, that season will become more bearable and positive.  The Lord is good all the time, and all the time the Lord is good. 

Sunday, July 6

In Christ Alone

"In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song"
It's incredibly easy to get caught up in the world. The world tells us women that our worth is found in our relationship status, job title, GPA, pant size, our clothes or are outward beauty. As a sorority mentor for years and a Bible study leader I've witnessed many girls that struggle with self-worth, a subject I personally have struggled with and I know many others have too. 

In my morning devotional (Jesus Calling) it said: 
"My children make a pastime of judging one another and themselves. But I am the only capable Judge, and I have acquitted you through My own blood. Your acquittal came at the price of My unparalleled sacrifice. That is why I am highly offended when I hear My children judge one another or indulge in self-hatred. 
If you live close to Me and absorb My Word, the Holy Spirit will guide and correct you as needed. There is no condemnation for those who belong to Me."
Luke 6:37; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 3:4 & Romans 8:1

What a humbling reminder that when we are so hard on ourselves, judging and picking at every little thing, it literally makes His heart ache. Someone once explained it like this once: if you were an artist and put your whole heart into a masterpiece you were so proud of and then you put it out into the art world. Then people start picking it apart ruthlessly and tirelessly. Here you have made this perfect piece of artwork and people ridicule your heart and soul. God loves us just the way we are because He made us in His image, even though that is hard for us to comprehend sometimes. 

I am the worst culprit of this myself! I am highly self-critical, nit-picky, judgmental and hard on myself. It is a daily conscious effort to choose to be loving, accepting and not so critical on yourself, an effort that takes time to consciously choose. 

Once you understand that your worth is not tied up in your job, your boyfriend, your behavior, the friends you choose to hang out with, your number on the scale, or your clothes, you become free in Christ. Your worth is greater than gold, more precious than the finest jewels, and more lovely than you understand. Your worth is found in Christ.
"We can’t choose what people say to us or about us, but we can choose whether or not we listen to them. You see, we have to remind ourselves that we are so very precious in God’s eyes. He loves us. deeply. We are very special to Him."
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

Saturday, July 5

Ordinary to Extraordinary

It has been a while since I've actually finished a post and actually published it- a sad thing considering I used to love writing and blogging. In the past four months my work life went from busy to chaos. I would leave work, hit the gym, come home and be so emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted I couldn't even find the motivation to open my laptop or look at a screen for one second longer. As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, my life turned into a draining monotony of busyness.

Recently a few things have around me that make me realize how incredibly unpredictable life can be; things can change so drastically that it made me stop and ask myself it what I was doing was worth it? No.

A woman at work had an honest conversation with me, about how short life can be and how we need to forget about the fear of the future and the unknown and find joy in the moments we have with those we love. It's pivotal that we choose joy, find joy and pursue the dreams we dream about only to ourselves.

When I get busy, one of the first things to suffer is my quiet time reading the Word. Ironically, the Word is one of the most important things we can stay in to keep grounded,  rooted in His promises and cling onto the hope that He promises us. Deciding to take 5 to 10 minutes of your day to spend with Him and reading the Word can really set the tone for the rest of it. Life gets messy, busy, chaotic, and plain stressful but by rooting ourselves in those few blissful moments of quiet, peace and joy it can really turn your day around and make an ordinary day into an extraordinary day. So I choose to find the time, to make the commitment and to make completely ordinary days into fantastically extraordinary days.

"A busy life makes prayer harder, but prayer makes a busy life easier"