10 Ways to Bless away the Stress

I mentioned in a previous post that by being a blessing and serving others, the focus was off of me and my ‘issues’ that were leading to anxiety. I literally was able to bless away the stress. To be quite honest though, that was not my intent, but it was the fruit of it all.
Now mind you, the motive is key.  If you bless others hoping to get something from them in return, you can be very disappointed and if you are not careful it can sow seeds of resentment.

10 ways to Bless away the Stress

1. Get involved in a local fundraiser in your community.
If you are not able to give financially, you can see if there is an area that needs your involvement through volunteering.
My favorite events from the past have been fundraisers for child abuse prevention, cancer research, rare disease awareness, newborn advance screening efforts,  youth groups, pregnancy counseling, school supply drives, and holiday gift baskets.

2. Send texts, cards, or letters of encouragement.  One of my hardest seasons left me very lonely, so I wrote letters to strangers. I encouraged them and shared what was on my heart. I had a PO BOX set up specifically. Remember the key is to encourage and edify, building someone up.
I had many replies back and corresponded for some time. I even obtained a very close friend as an added joy.
If strangers are not your thing, perhaps a pen pal to soldiers, prisoners or the many efforts asking for cards to those that are ill.

3. Leave flowers or your favorite craft on a doorstep to surprise someone. You may want to leave them for a friend, neighbor, or even local business that you frequent.

4. Serve someone that is ill or has a recent loss in the family. Meals, babysitting, dog walking, and house cleaning are all ways that you could bless someone with this need.

5. Give health packs to the homeless. I have handed out packs with water, wipes, soft granola bars, feminine products, socks, hand warmers, etc.

6. Visit the elderly. You could ask the staff at your local elder care facility if there is anyone that has a need for visitors. Or you can offer to set up activities in the common area. We have held Christmas Caroling in the lobby.

7. Far and away. It can be life-changing for you and a blessing to those you serve, to go on a mission trip. There are many options out there to serve all interests. If you are not one that feels comfortable or able to travel, consider supporting someone else’s trip financially.

8. Purchase gift cards and give as the needs arise. Often if families are out of work or have loved ones in the hospital, receiving gift cards can ease the burden.  Grocery stores, Gas stations, and restaurants are some of my favorites. If you know someone that has been under the weather, gift cards for self-care are great too!

9. Engage in conversation. Some of my most blessed moments are conversations in the grocery store with the clerk or encouraging my waitress in some small way. You don’t have to talk for hours. Just a kind word and a thank you can go a long way.

10. Host a community event giving others the chance for connection: Christmas caroling followed by hot chocolate,  lead a bible study or book group at a coffee shop, organize a block party for your neighborhood, or host a game night at a local meeting place are some examples.

I would love to hear more creative ideas, so please share!

Beyond the Limits​

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Definition of Limit: a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass. Synonyms: restrict, curb, check, place a limit on, cap, keep within bounds, hold in check, restrain, put a brake on, hold, or freeze.

We all have done it. We have all dreamed of something big and so far beyond our reach. However, many like myself, first see the limits and often won’t pursue farther than the dream. I have had seasons where it hasn’t mattered if the limit was imagined or real. I would just stand frozen, looking at the desire of my heart and not know how to pursue it. I look at every angle and then get perplexed on what in the world to do.

Other’s will pursue wholeheartedly their life, dreams, and ambitions, but then stop as limits rise up against them. They had momentum for a season, but the wall rose up and they stand immobile, not sure how to move beyond that limit in front of them.

Then there are those victors. Those people that seem unstoppable. Everything they put their hand to is golden and all falls into place for them. Or does it?  I believe most beyond the limit people, are just that, they live beyond their limits. They have things that rise up, they have things in their way, they have things that could hold them back, but they have learned how to move forward, taking steps into the further and pushing on harder, not because of those limits but in spite of them.

I want to be one that propels forward with expectation and boldness. But first I had to identify those limits that were restricting me, that kept me within my bounds, and held me frozen. I had to identify not only limits for my own self but for others as well that may rise up in the face of pursuit. I am sure that I will not cover all that everyone would face, but recognizing the vast walls before us is key to overcoming and moving beyond the limits that hold us back.

Moving beyond the limits we place on ourselves:

1. Qualification:  This is the biggest struggle I personally have faced over the years. I never felt qualified or validated to finish my pursuits. I would start something, and see my failures more than possibilities. Let’s face it unless one is touched by the divine, and everything they do is perfect, most have to work for what we want to become, or accomplish. It takes hard work and faithfulness. I finally have learned that we are often called to do that which we are not qualified for. It is in the faithfulness, living beyond what we see, and honing our craft/skill, that shines far beyond what we lay down unfinished by giving up and staying frozen out of lack of discipline.

2. Opinions or lack of support: Often we look to other’s approval to validate that what we have to contribute is valuable. When other’s mock us, ignore us or roll their eyes when we share our vision, we can feel like what we have to put out there has no worth. It is very important to know who is your true supporters, and believe it or not, your support may not come from your closest circles. You see, many people in our lives, don’t see the hard work behind the scenes that we are putting in. They may only see where we have been, not where we are going. They have preconceived notions about our ability and our reach. This is not always the case, but if you share your heart and others are not supportive or even silent, perhaps you should hold your treasure a little closer to your heart, and protect it. Pursue, strengthen and equip. Show those that doubt that you are able and move beyond their limits. You see they can not support that which they can not visualize themselves.

3. Pride: Society has us constantly aware of how we are perceived. Nobody wants to appear foolish, unqualified, unsupported or exposed. So many times, I have stepped away from my passion because I have not been able to do what other’s expectations of me were. I walked in embarrassment, rather than the truth of my calling. Going live was one of my biggest challenges. I have such a low opinion of myself at times, that seeing those lives have left me embarrassed, even though I know personally others have been encouraged. If I let pride and vanity stand in the way of my calling, I am never going to reach my destination meant for me.

4. Fear: There are so many ways fear can limit us in pursuing that on our heart. Fear of failure, fear of time wasted, fear of unknowns, and fear of others, etc. You name it, there is probably a fear in the face of it. I have found one of the best ways to move beyond fear, is to identify it, and walk through it. Fear often only holds us back, because real or perceived, we allow it to. Think of every fear you have had that you have overcome. What did it take to overcome that fear? For me, it was action. It was the doing, no matter what. It was stepping out of what was safe and comfortable and saying, I will move beyond this limit. It will not hold me. Fear will not be the force that keeps me from the plan for my life.

5. Time: This is such a trial in the pursuit of callings and dreams. Because the truth is, we all face a certain amount of hours every day, and we all have responsibilities within those hours. However, when you have a passion and a dream, you must etch out some time to hone the skills, and pursue that dream. Otherwise, like me, 20 years later, I am still looking at the undone. I put the kids first, which was great, it was my season, I put the church first which is great it was my season, I put so many things first and in the seasons that is okay. But looking back, I could have definitely etched some time in to pursue things that would lay a foundation for my now. If you have it on your heart to write, but there is just no time, record your musings and thoughts on a voice memo on your phone when you are doing other tasks. Keep those thoughts on record for a day, when you have more time to actually write it all down. Think of that which you truly want, and seek where you may be letting time be wasted, or how can your time be extended in a day. Yes, time can be a limit, but only if we don’t see the possibilities of conquering. Sometimes it is just an evaluation of how your days are being spent.

6. Finances: Money or lack of, can be a very real challenge in living beyond the limits. We were a one income family most of our marriage and with 3 little ones and no health insurance for most of those days and a one year lay off where we lost everything, I can honestly say that finances were definitely a limit I put on myself. However, I am seeing the older I get, how those limits sometimes are also a mindset. I wanted to paint for years, but good quality canvas and paint is expensive, well while learning, I could have used cardboard, cheaper materials and practiced away.
I get it sometimes it is hard to even put bread on the table, and when our mind is around survival it can be hard to dream. BUT… there are resources. Get creative. Barter, research, visit a library, free education online, my unemployment offices have resources for learning and possibly ask to apprentice with someone skilled in your passions. I know many people that have had dreams with little finances and completely self-educated their passion and pursued to full success.  If something is burning in you to be accomplished, do not allow finances to hold you back. Become creative in the pursuit of living beyond the limit.

7. Physical: I know this one well. I have physical limits. However, I have been looking at so many others that live beyond their limit physically and are extremely successful. Sometimes when we have limits with our bodies or situations, we need to become creative. Just because something is in our way physically does not mean we can let it limit us and keep us frozen. It is just a new challenge to see how we can move beyond what we face and overcome those obstacles. I think of those I have seen with far more physical limitations than myself, rise above and do so much. Not only are they pursuing and conquering their dreams and passions, but they are true inspirations to others like myself, that get tempted to give up and just coast in life. I don’t want to be one that just gets by in this life any longer, but I want to thrive and bring others along with me.

Ultimately the dreams and passions within our hearts are for the taking. We just have to overcome and live beyond the limits placed on ourselves. This is how true victors become victorious. They do not let their limits get in their way.

 

Dreams: prepare in the waiting

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“There is just a moment between the mundane to the extraordinary. Don’t give up the pursuit before you reach what is intended for you: Press in faithfully and see what He will do.” SA

Where the God-given dreams are concerned there is a time to pursue in the waiting.
We are called to sow and cultivate those promises in our hearts. Those dreams will come to pass in their due season if we do the work in the waiting. If we try to hurry that which was planted we will end up with underdeveloped fruit that doesn’t reach its full potential.
If we give up and walk away we end up with a fruit that is rotting and laying waste.

I don’t know how many times I have had a dream for my future and taken action thinking it was for right now, only to find out I was in the wrong season of that dream and the actions I was taking were nothing spectacular. Literally, I have sat looking in the emptiness wondering how in the world did I miss it? Only to realize it was a dream not for that moment but for a time to come. I should have been preparing in the waiting instead of jumping ahead.

The dreams and passions that the Lord has placed on your heart and have been there for so long you may have even forgotten them or let them go, have not been placed there in vain. Often when we are dreamers, we see long before it is time to walk in that dream.

The Facebook LIVE  yesterday was about seasons and perfect timing built on Ecclesiastes 3. I shared how some of the things I was believing for, for over 20 years, are finally starting to gain momentum. Talk about seasons of waiting! I fully believe if I would have prepared and pursued the Lord more in the waiting, I would have walked in more confidence and joy, than I did when I let the enemy rob me of what was planted deep in my heart. NO MORE, I will keep walking with expectation, knowing the dream is being going to flourish at just the right time!

I urge you to meditate on the word and allow the Lord to work in your heart concerning the dreams that you are called to pursue. Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged in the waiting but keep working at it. When you, put the time in, it will be beyond what you, yourself could have imagined!

Ecclesiastes 3: 3- 15

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

 

 

Unwavering Part 1

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When I was a small child, I had a teacher write on my report card; “She is like a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower.”
For years, I looked at that as a positive, seeing a beautiful butterfly gracing everything with her presence as she touched her soft wings to it.

I laugh at this memory as I still dance around with my head in the clouds and a song in my heart.

However, self-evaluation recently allowed me to see myself with a teacher’s eyes.
She was saying in a polite way, ” I wish your child would land and complete her tasks before moving on to the next.”

There are times, I jump on my dream entirely too early. Then I get discouraged and I move on to something else. This is something I have known about myself always. I dream it way before it is time.

There is a treasure in knowing when you do not see fruit because you are planting on unhealthy soil and when your fruit just hasn’t bloomed yet.

I have sat alone in an empty building wanting to share my heart for joy in the mess, to other ladies and week after week for six weeks nobody came, my heart was broken so I gave up working in women’s ministry, even though that holds a huge part of my heart.
God will put a dream in my heart and I will jump on it, without preparing myself for the fact that it may look completely different than what I am believing for.

Out of insecurities and preservation, I move on. When I see no fruit with my own eyes, I give up.

But what if I had waited one more week, maybe someone that needed to hear how to ease anxiety and obtain joy would have walked through those doors.
Or perhaps, just by being willing and diligent I would have unlocked something new in the journey I had yet to see.

I have been writing this blog for some time, this is the most diligent work I have ever practiced in my life ( besides worship team), this is the only time I have remained unwavering. Yet, I was ready to pull the plug recently. I feel my ministry within this blog is non-existent as I can’t see it, and I ask the Lord, “Why do I continue this work if I don’t get anywhere?”

The Lord gently reminded me, “this blog is for you, and the work I am doing in you that is not complete. Keep being faithful, remain unwavering with this one.”

God has made promises to me. If you are listening he has promises for you. He has called us to remain faithful. Keep pursuing, keep hoping, be unwavering in your pursuit.

What dreams do you need to pursue and hold tightly to?
Even if it does not look like we expect, If He has called you to it, He is faithful to make sure you reap your harvest!

His faithfulness is unwavering. He knows the plans, the purposes and if He has placed a work for you in your heart, keep at it, don’t let the DREAMS flitter away.

 

 

Out of the Darkness into the Light

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I am my beloved’s.

My God has called me out of fear and placed me in confidence.

My God has called me out of anger and placed me in love.

My God has called me out of despair and placed within me joy.

My God has called me out of worthlessness and lifted my face to the heavens.

He has placed me in my position as His daughter and declares I am loved.

My God holds my inheritance and gladly bestows His great gifts upon me.

I make a choice to step into Kingdom standards and not my earthly limits.

He has called me out of the darkness and placed me in His light.

I take my place and lift the praises on my lips to reach His throne. He is faithful. He is good.

He is mine.

 

On my way…Bethel Music Worship School

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Proverbs 3:6 –
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

The Lord amazes me, how he cares for every desire of our heart. For years I have wanted to visit the Bethel church and learn from some of the most talented people out there.

We had been told about this year’s Bethel Music Worship School pretty close to sign up deadline. We went ahead and applied but when we were excepted to the school, we only had just enough deposit and first payment for one of us that had come in unexpectedly at just the right time. We had the heart that if we were meant to go it would be excess of our normal budget as I no longer was working.

My husband had so much to learn on workshops and a desire to be a better teacher, I had said, “well the school is for you this year and I will wait until next year.”  I thought I had missed the deadline so I began to make plans of my own. But at every turn, those doors would close. Just as I was not sure what in the world I would do with myself for two weeks in Redding, I got a notice from the school that I could still go.  But now there was the matter of the cost. So I began to pray and had remembered a correction I had gotten a few weeks back, ” Why did you not ask! We would have been happy to support you in that and felt lead, but you said you had other plans.” It was a reminder you have not because you ask not! So, I went ahead and asked them to pray if it was still in their hearts I would like to go.

NOW I am going. We leave for the adventure of my life today. Here I have felt so ill the last six months I have done nothing, to be healed and ready for the amazing! He gives me strength just as I need it. Obedience brings LIFE and I am ready to live it. My best life. His best plans!!!

Never have I been away from home for two weeks, let alone left the house and my kitty to my adult children for two weeks. Never have I stayed with people I hardly know for two weeks. Never have I been in such a busy atmosphere for TWO WEEKS…with SO many awesome people. But my introvert mind is asking God…. “Are you sure?”

I truly am excited to be stretched in this new way and to see what the Lord downloads into me and the dreams and passions being cultivated to new heights. I am so excited and overwhelmingly blessed that my Heavenly Father and earthly Dad have made this possible.

My plans may have faded away, but the Lord lays the path straight!
Keep your eye out for updates. It is going to be an epic ride, I do believe.

One of my favorite Bethel Worship Songs … a song deep in my soul cries out for such a time as this. Anxiety and fear have me no more! I am taking my mantle.

If You Let Them

 

 

I once thought I was beautiful until the others only looked at and mocked my flaws.
Then my flaws were all that I saw.
I once felt that I was meant to lead worship until the others pointed out every sour note, and left me embarrassed to open my mouth and continue trying.

The opinion of others can tear down all that the creator created us to be.

They can use half-truths and turn them into the ugliest of lies.

The opinion of others can
mar what you know to be beautiful… if you let them
tarnish what you once thought shined… if you let them
talk you out of what you know to be right… if you let them
Be careful of who you are listening to.
Ask yourself, does it line up with the Lord’s TRUTH?

You see, these individuals only view with their natural eye, not with the eye of the creator. The one that knew us from the beginning and KNOWS the plans He has for us. They only see our now, not our final destination.
God knows what He has for us to accomplish. The enemy is deceptive, with a goal to stop you doing what you are called to do. Will you listen to what is deep in your heart truth, or will you listen to the lies of the enemy? He only comes to distract and destruct, if you let him. Time to overcome and not let them!

Psalm 139:13

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.