I Should Be

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Daily I hear the words wringing in my head, “I should be.”
I should be doing x rather that y. I should be farther in my writing. I should be earning money by getting a job. I should be healed by now. The onslaught of the I should be’s can be so distracting that I am missing the I am’s.

This afternoon I wanted to be working on some projects around the house and cleaning. The dog was whimpering to go outside to play as it has been cold and finally the sun was shining. She just had a bath, so of course I had to go out with her so she would not cover herself in mud by digging again. If we didn’t go outside to expel some of her energy she would get into all kinds of mischief while I tried to accomplish my list.

This is one of the moments the I should be’s would usually creep in, but as I sat in that moment outside as my pup roamed and discovered the yard, I realized how incredible the sun was feeling on my face. I heard the rustling leaves falling from the birch tree. The crackle as they fell from the tree top through the branches was a new sound for me. For the first time this week, I was taking in the full moment rather than thinking of all the things I should be doing that I was not. If I had being doing those other things, I would have missed this beautiful moment. Then I wondered, how much have I missed?

The “I should be’s ‘ often come at a time of rest, reflection and recovery. They become so distracting that I can’t take the moment for the gift that it is. There is much to be learned in the process of taking in everything that He has for us.

By being so focused on the next thing I should be doing that I am missing what I am taking effort in, is a form of discontent and comparison. I am comparing myself to that which I think I should be. I am discontent with where my efforts lie.
This is another lie that I am not enough. That I can’t accomplish enough.
Mind you, I know I should be doing everything on my list, but the lie is that I can accomplish it all at once and am failing if I am not. So I have decided, I will take the moments as they come. I will put effort and focus to the task at hand and the other should be’s will be right there waiting for when I can get to them.
I will not miss the moments of accomplishment, because of a lie that it wasn’t enough.

There is only one thing that I should be…. That is what the Lord has created me to be,  nothing more and nothing less. Seeking Him first will give me the clarity of what to pursue and when.

As I reflect, I am reminded of Martha and Mary. I want to chose that which will not be taken away from me.

Luke 10: 38-42

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

 

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.

 

Can I have a Do- over?

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I remember playing games when I was younger. There were times that the dice didn’t roll the way I wanted it to or a play didn’t quite go the way that was planned, and I would ask, “Can I have a do-over?”

I don’t know how many times in the last twenty years I had asked God that question. My prayers have often included, ” Lord if only I could take that back!” or ” Please let me try that again, I will do better next time.”  After the question leaves my mind or lips, I always had to face the reality that there was no do-over.

All those opportunities that I either had taken for granted or thrown away, I can not grab those same opportunities back. I find that no matter how big the regret of my mistakes, and the mess that they made, I can not erase the consequences of something I did.

One thing I can do is pursue from this moment on a life full of joy and promise. I would rather have a life filled with joy and hope for my future than looking back and always wishing I could have done things differently.

Living a life full of joy is an action involved in a journey. I can not live in joy if I am constantly walking in shame or regret. I can take those moments that I messed up and say, “Well, I hope not to do THAT again!”, ” Or how can I grow from this?” and move on.

There is a season of growing and learning from these past wrongdoings, mistakes, or foolishness, but I am not to allow it to hold me down or hold me back. When I have repented and done what I can do to make a situation right in His eyes, the Lord forgives us from our sins and our past mistakes, the slate is wiped clean. I do not have to keep rewriting the mess out over and over again. I too can let it go as the Lord has.

When I am walking in the question, “Can I have a do-over…..PLEASE!” I am walking in condemnation. I am not walking in victory. If I have taken my issues to the Lord and asked for forgiveness, then I am forgiven. The Lord does not want us bogged down by regret and shame, constantly looking back at, “what if” and “if only I had”.

If I have missed an opportunity because of foolishness, I can trust my God is good enough to bring new opportunities my way. It is important I learn, grow and then let go.

Walking in a life with Jesus, I don’t have to ask ” Can I have a do-over?”, because He already finished the game and gave the victory to me!I just need to stop and remember to accept it.

Psalm 103:12

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

( NIV)

Ready to Fly

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2 Corinthians 5:17- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

When we come to the Lord in surrender, ready for the new life that only He can give I see His arms wrapping us like a caterpillar in a cocoon. It is in the moment of surrender that God begins the transformation. He prepares us to be ready to fly.

As the caterpillar goes through a transformation before release, so do we as His children. He begins a process. He speaks to the innermost parts that need to hear His whisper and makes us new, ready to fly.

So many times, as the Lord is transforming an area in my life, or renewing my mind, I want to hurry the process. I have tried to fly before I was ready and equipped. Just as if a caterpillar tries to exit the chrysalis too soon, it will not be fully ready for what is to come. If I try to walk out plans the Lord has in store before I am equipped, I will be discouraged and often have to land before the target is hit. I was not ready to fly just yet.

Then the beautiful happens. His transformation and molding, perfection is done. I have seen new life, I have new hope and I hear His voice say, “get Ready for new things. Ready for a new plan. Ready for a new path. Ready to fly.”

It is work to break free from that cocoon. I have to work my own wings, I have to take my own lessons and break free from old behaviors and patterns, to emerge fully transformed and ready to fly.

Romans 12:2- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

By spending time wrapped in His arms, renewing our mind, and listening to His plans and directions, we have a flight plan when we are ready to fly. We have a purpose. We have a mission.
Allowing Him to transform every area that we need to be transformed for the preparation for our next destination. We are called to accomplish a work only HE has for us and in that process to accomplish, He equips us with all that we need for His pleasing and perfect will.

Now I have to ask, have you ever seen a butterfly return to the chrysalis and take on her old form?
Have you ever seen a butterfly revert back to her caterpillar self?


I know I am human. I know that life happens. But I shudder to think how many times, the Lord has transformed my mind and situation and I have returned to old ways.

I now hang out in the old ways far less, but the distractions still come. But thankfully each time,  the Lord will wrap me in His arms like a cocoon ( I can return to Him and His process and protection) and work on my heart in new ways. In deeper ways, He takes me and  prepares me for my next.

As I have grown I have learned that it is imperative I walk out living out that transformation every single day. This means I must be intentional about what I allow to impact me.
I have been made complete in him, I surrender to His best plans, I am ready to fly.

Give a Listen : I surrender 

Heart Connection- Intimacy

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The truth of the matter is, you can know someone, know all about them, even be in a relationship with them and still miss out on the deep heart connection of intimacy.

There is head knowledge of our salvation: This is the same as walking in life with someone, knowing they are always going to be there, but stopping at that and continuing on with your life without the heart connection. A knowing without intimacy.

John 5:24- Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me, has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.

You can have the head knowledge that you are saved. You can know because you dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s that you will enter heaven. But what good comes from a relationship that has begun, but has not been cultivated.
You can miss out on a deep-rooted heart connection intimacy with the Lord and all the glory that comes with it if you do not seek it.

♥ Heart Connection takes investment:

So often in life, we become distracted in the different seasons that we face. We become overwhelmed, feel inadequate and exhausted. Often our messes in life become our focus, and slowly without meaning to our hearts grow distant.
Just like any earthly relationship, you must invest in your relationship with the Lord.
For a deeper heart connection get to know Him by spending time set apart only for Him.

Invest in:

Prayer
– is our communication with the Lord. An opportunity to talk and share. Cry out and be real.

Word-
The Bible reveals His heart for us, His plans, and His hopes. Loved saved, thought of and not forgotten.

Praise and worship
– Reveals our heart for Him. This is our chance to pour out our love on Him and lift Him up.

When you are feeling lost, disconnected, frazzled, and overwhelmed, make sure to slow down and set time to be settled in your heart connection. It makes all the difference.

♥ Heart Connection takes pursuit:

In this life, you must pursue the ones you love. Lack of pursuit and interest leads to stilled relational growth. At times lack of pursuit can lead to opening a door for another to enter.
It is in our lack of pursuit that the enemy comes in with lies. When we are not fully pursuing the Lord, it is easier to believe that we are less than or lacking. We are not building our relationship on His truths.
Then life comes and smacks us in the face and we can begin to develop resentment. We risk growing angry with the Lord when disaster and hurts have stood to in the way of pursuing him. Resentment turns into resistance.  Examine what is holding you back from pursuing Him. Is there anger, bitterness or distrust there? In order to overcome, you must pursue His heart for you, and not listen to the lies the enemy is trying to win you over with.

♥ Heart Connection takes vulnerability:

Vulnerable – To be exposed.

We are taught to hide the ugly. We are taught to toughen up, don’t be so sensitive, shake it off and to be good. We have learned that when we show our true selves, anywhere that we are lacking others will reject us or ridicule us. We have been hurt in unspeakable ways, rejected and unwanted. So we build walls, we hide, we self-protect.
It has become a habit to hide away anything that is not perfection. The danger in this with relationships, you are holding back your full self. Everything that is hidden, is becoming a barrier between you and the one you love.
The sin areas in our life that are standing in the way of our growing need to be exposed. We do not need to self-protect with the Holy Spirit. God knows our mess, He wants us to be able to trust Him enough to let Him love us through it.
The enemy wants to keep you bound up and hiding. He does not want you to experience the full heart connection that comes from being raw and real with the Lord. It is through exposing all my junk to the Lord, that He is able to come in and do His work. It is recognizing I need Him in a way only He can fill. I can’t do the cleansing and the healing on my own. His amazing power comes in and does the work and I get to rejoice. For being exposed, leaves me open to being held.

As I am held close in the Father’s arms, there is hope. HOpe builds within the Spirit man within us as we experience the Father’s love.

ROMANS 5:5- Now Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us.

It is in our weakness that makes us whole. He wants all of us, not just what we think we have together. He wants our ugly, He wants our flaws, and He wants our weaknesses. For In Him He makes us strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10- But He said to me my Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ then I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecution, and calamity. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When the Lord makes us strong in our weakness, all the glory goes to His power and not on ourselves. I tried to do it all myself for years in my own strength.  I got nowhere, except broken and exhausted. It is our testimony to what God accomplished when we have overcome in Him.

Reflection- Often times we base how we have been treated by others, on how we think the Lord will receive us. Others judge harshly that is how we see the Father. Others reject us or abandon us, we may expect the Lord to turn away when we are a mess. BUT His word says;

Psalm 27:10- “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”

No matter who leaves us, or abandons us, hurts us and betrays us, the LORD is ready and waiting to embrace us. Arms wide open. Ready for a deep heart connection intimacy. One that does not forsake.

Give a listen to this song:  INTIMACY by Jonathan David Helser

The Sparrow

Sparrow Blog Instagram: awakened_arts

The Sparrow has been on my mind so much lately. In fact, I drew this Sparrow weeks ago when I gave one of the characters in my Middle-Grade book that I am currently writing a mark of a sparrow.
I find it interesting as I looked up sparrows, once I knew my main character bore the mark, that a sparrow often symbolizes joy. This is perfect, as it lines up with the call of my character in the story.
Here I have had sparrows on my mind, and they can often symbolize the very gift of Joy the Lord has given me to share with others.

Today I discovered, I have a new Facebook friend that calls her ladies, Sparrows. I asked her why the sparrow was so relevant to her and she stated;
“Knowing that when God takes care of the Sparrows as they didn’t value much according to man; HE would always take care of us the same.” (Valerie Miller)

Luke 12:6 –  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
This verse turns my mind to think about one of the causes of depression. Not knowing our worth. Not seeing ourselves through the eyes of the creator. How often can we look at nature and think it is so beautiful, or look at a young animal and think how precious, yet we can not look at ourselves with the same value?
Has not the masterful creator held you with a great value?
How can you look upon the face of His wonderful creation and only see the lack?
He only sees the great value, not the flaws.
He sees your full worth and call.
A call He set aside only for you to do, and if the enemy can entrap us in feeling like we have no value, then we hold back from doing all we are created for.
What if the sparrow, saw her wings, but never understood their value?
What if she never put them to use because she thought they lacked worth?
She would be a target for prey as she would sit vulnerably and not fly away.
She would miss the beauty her wings would bring her as she took flight, soaring over the earth.
What are you missing out on today, because you are not seeing your full value of your gift?
What part of yourself are you hiding because you think it lacks worth, that another needs to see in order to find their own?

Today my friend is the day you see yourself in the eye of the creator.
Far more valuable are you to Him than even the sparrow who is remembered and cared for.
Ask Him today, to see yourself with new eyes. Hold fast to what you are shown and take flight!

Matthew 10:31- “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Song: His eye on the sparrow 

 

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.