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.

 

Out of the Heart

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I have been in a season of great frustration lately. I am frustrated with the health, my physical limits, my personality,  the finances being stretched and not being able to work at what I love right now, and finally the lack of some changes around me that need to happen.
I am frustrated with my reactions to those frustrations.
I am frustrated with my frustrations!

I have noticed my speech has been more negative, I have blown up more often in harsher ways and I have seemed to misplace that joy to the full that was with me constantly. Lately, my joy comes in snippets, like this morning when I was watering my flowers listening to the bird songs, yet the fatigue sets in and my joy meter seems to begin to fade.

I have been seeking the Lord on this issue lately and He reminded me of truths when I first began seeking joy and what will lead me to get my joy to the full, back in place.

1- Out of the heart, the mouth will speak.
God pointed out that just as a parrot, will repeat what it has been told over and over, so will my heart. You can teach a parrot good things or bad, depending on what you spend your time feeding it.

I have been so negative lately because my heart is frustrated. I am repeating that despair and defeat. I am letting it set in where there should be no place for it. I need to fill my heart with life rather than my situations. The fruit of that will be less negativity and criticism.
How to fill the heart to be life productive: Word, Prayer, and Worship. Less of the world and more of HIM.
The song… I have the Joy Joy Joy Joy down in my heart, comes to mind. Let’s have the Lord put some JOY in our hearts today!

2- Recognize the NO’s
One thing that gets to my heart frustrated is the conflicting political views. The anger and hatred I read or hear from both sides are contagious. This is a no for me. I need to recognize the no’s in my life. Sitting and listening to someone else’s frustrations for hours is a NO. The other day, I had a FULL 7 hours of listening and trying to minister to others. Multiple people, but it was a straight 7 hours and they just wanted to vent, not solutions! This is A BIG NO for me and I have to be prepared to say, enough let’s talk about something else. It is absolutely draining otherwise.
Another big no, Doing everything that pops into my head because I have the energy at the moment, is a no for me. I can’t do everything and be everything to everybody. I have to know when to say no, otherwise out of my heart will be resentment and frustration when I become exhausted.

3- It is okay to be me.
I feel guilty for wanting to spend so much time alone and then it plays on my mind. Out of the heart, my mouth will speak, if I am dogging myself and my personality in my heart, I will not have life and give life to others but criticism and harshness. The same criticism and hurtful opinions of myself will be put on others.

I was an only child, a latchkey one at that. Much of my time was spent joyfully alone. I am learning I am a social introvert. I love people and the ministries the Lord has before me, but too much and I am absolutely exhausted. I need to separate and reboot, and in this season it is needed more often. I need the quiet, I thrive on the quiet, it is life-giving to me and that is okay. I need to accept me.
I also have let the opinion of others that I need to be love to everyone all the time put guilt on me. I do need to love everyone, be a light to everyone, but I do not need to socialize with everyone. There are some people who are toxic and I can’t love them enough to change that, I have tried.  When a needy, critical, hurtful person begins to toxify my life, I need to be aware and put my foot down.
I can be selective in this season and for my own health that is ok and necessary.

4- Except my limits.
This is an extension of the no’s but very relevant in its own way.
I have half completed things around my house all of the time in this season. To get through doing the dishes, I have to unload the dishwasher, sit down and rest, then go back to loading it. Same with the Laundry, I can get it out of the dryer and fold but that is the end of it for me and it sits folded, while I rest. This is often the same getting ready for my day; shower, sit. Fix hair, sit. Put on makeup and brush teeth, sit. The fatigue can be overwhelming and if I push, do not rest, do not take those breaks, I can hardly walk across the room and it last for days rather than moments. I have to accept where I am, not bury the negative in my heart but the truth, I have limits, God will grant me strength in my weakness, but I can listen to those limits. Out of the heart, my mouth will speak, perhaps my healing will come faster, if I take the time to REST IN THE LORD, and speak the truth about what I am ABLE to do rather than just sit and stir about what I am not.

I am sure there are many other areas the Lord will reveal to me in the next few weeks as I seek Him on the issue. But today the biggest one that sticks out to me is out of the heart the mouth will speak. No matter how I feel, if I am feeding my heart good things, my mouth will speak good things. If my focus is on my flesh and my situation, of course, negative things will be what comes out. I need to not focus on all my flaws, to err is human, but my God is bigger than my screw ups. He can do more than what I know. He can restore. He makes all things new.
These truths are what will be buried deep in my heart. So that Out of my heart my mouth will speak LIFE things.

Matthew 15:18

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
ESV

JESUS

The Lord shared with me :
Take a few minutes to close your eyes and rest. When you do come to a place of rest, say the name, “Jesus.” Say it again…”JESUS.” Rest in  Him.

For each and every one of us saying that name JESUS will bring about a separate perhaps different feeling or emotion.
For some of us, there may be a moment of awe.
Others a moment of excitement.
You may notice a moment of Joy.
For another maybe a moment of strength.

The reason we all will experience the Lord at that moment in our own way is dependent on our need. We serve a living God and He knows each and every one of us in a way of no other. When we call on His name, He meets us at that moment. He supplies what our hearts are needing.
He says; “Seek ME first and all these things will be added unto you.” Seek Him in a new way and let Him do what He does best, supply our need.

A New Dawn

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The new dawn arises day after day
Afresh and renewed I awaken with joy
Nothing can rob the peace that I have
If I only choose not to let it
For the dawn arising is a gift of newness
A day with only fresh possibilities await
If for some miserable reason I let it
And the day unfolds a mess
I can smile as I lay down my head
In this I can rest
Tomorrow is a new dawn

Pray for others

I have a friend and every time I greet her and am embraced in one of her hugs, I just get a wonderful sense of peace. She can calm my fears with a simple prayer and encourage my heart when she shares Gods truth.

A few weeks ago, as she gave me a hello hug, I saw a picture for her. This picture stuck with me for a while, and when we had the prophetic paint night I painted it real quick for her.

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I saw clearly that as my friend covered all of her hurting and broken loved ones in prayer, the spirit of God bubbles forth within her and He brings about victory to those that are surrounded by seas of sorrow.
They turn from dead and dying to life full of the Spirit.
While my friend may feel many times her prayers are not answered, God says “they are not answered yet, but I know they are there! I hear your prayers. In my time you wills see the overflowing waters of life. Keep praying.”

So as you are praying for victory over a loved ones situation or life. Rest assured the Father hears! He knows your heart as you come to the throne room on behalf of others.

Recently I was woken from a dream that someone very dear to me was in danger. I had no other knowledge or thought on this path as I laid to sleep the night before. But God woke me,and I knew I was called to pray. I don’t know the outcome yet, but I can rest in the knowledge that God heard my cries and already He has begun a work protecting those loved ones.

Don’t give up. Keep pushing on faithful one. Pray for others.

 Colossians 1: 9-13

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously read more.
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

 

Ephesians 3: 14-21  

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Knowing when to rest

One of the hardest things for me while balancing fibromyalgia, working full-time, church and my family, is how much is just flat-out tired and how much could be depression.

For years I have blogged, taken medication, exercised, worship & danced, painted and photographed away the ‘blues’. But in this season with work and medical changes, I am doing less and less of those things and see that there is less and less energy for the things that brought rest from stress.

I love my job, I find it very inspiring and joyful to work daily with my preschool kids. But I must find a good balance to manage everything. I have decided to take on even more with obeying the Lord’s call to carrying my friends baby/babies and I wonder, God really, can I do this?
This is when God spoke to me this morning and said, “no, you are not limited or depressed, you are tired. You must know when to stop and rest your body and lean on me for strength.”

If I am working full-time, there is not necessarily the energy to run all weekend every weekend and right now that is my reality. I have been running and pushing far too much for far too long.

Also during the week, I can not reach for the quick and easy bite on my lunch break going to the nearest fast food joint. This makes me ill and fibromyalgia flares. I must take time and plan out my meals, do the shopping in one stop and put together those meals, for a better week. I often fuel on coffee and skip the water, so bad for me. I can be consistent with supplements and then forget them for a season until I can’t go anymore because I am deficient in critical vitamins and minerals. I must make the effort to take care of me. Again, this takes time and energy but in the long run will give my body what it needs to encourage health.

When one battles with fibromyalgia, there comes a point when your pain becomes your normal. You just keep pushing through it, knowing the pain itself will not kill you. It isn’t until you keep pushing and can hardly move anymore, that you realize, oh no I did too much. It is a fine balance between living and recovering.

It is time to remember the instruction to REST. The Lord God almighty himself RESTED.
Why do I feel I must do it all. I must make the decision, work full-time which I love, or bring down my hours for more time to keep up with it all and pursue other interests.

In the meantime of pondering this decision. I say yes Lord, I will hear you and I will take the time to REST.

Rest

My grandfather probably teased all the kids with the same exact line; ” You are going to have three boys, and their names will be fart, fizzle and stink.”  I wish he would have lived to see the day that a smile crossed my face at the remembrance of these words when my third and final son was born. Years later, I can see how often the nicknames would fit perfectly for my  boys.

I will never forget where we were at our moments of sharing and teasing. Most often it was in the summer months and sitting beneath an old established oak tree. Our backs would be pressed against the trunk and we would share stories and apparently prophecies. I drew so close to my grandpa in these moments of quiet rest in his presence. Listening, taking in his experience,laughing together and sharing what was on our hearts at the moment.

 It is on todays reflection that I am reminded how important resting is for the soul. That we need to stop and rest and spend time in the presence of God to reach that full potential of joy. Allow the Lord to speak to your soul. Life can get away from us, even with the most important tasks.

Challenge this day my friend:  Take a moment to breathe in the Spirit of God and just rest for a moment.

 

Psalm 62:5-  Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.