What Does God Want From You?

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message…

Sometimes I think we’ve made our relationship with God far too difficult and confusing. We strive so hard to draw closer to the heart of God. And all the while, God’s outstretched hand is reaching to draw us in.

For more than half a century, I have been striving, pursuing, and seeking God. And like a cat chasing her tail, I’ve been going in circles.

Circling in the wilderness with the Israelites, if you will. Saved from slavery, for sure. Headed to my own personal Promised Land, hopefully. But somehow stuck in the wilderness wandering ever circling but not quite reaching Jordan’s shore.

And I am not alone. Statistics show that one of the top desires of Christians is to grow closer to God. During a recent poll, 65 percent said they were declining or on a plateau in their spiritual growth. On the other hand, Peter wrote: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

We have everything we need to experience the ever growing, continually maturing, abundant life, so why aren’t we? Why are most of us languishing on the desert plateaus of mediocrity and complacency? Why are most of us satisfied munching on the predigested truths of teachers rather than pulling up to the banquet table and feasting with God at a table set for two?

“God, what do you really want from me?”

I’ve pondered that question since the genesis of my relationship with Christ. Perhaps you have too. When you boil down all the water from the diluted soup of questions men and women have simmered in their heart through the centuries, this is the one question left in the pot.

And somehow, we feel that if we could answer that one question, we would discover why that glory ache persists and how to satisfy our yearning.

I had asked the question a thousand times, but one morning, I got quiet enough to listen. And then, in the stillness, He showed me that my busy sisters and I have been asking the wrong question.

Rather than ask God what He wants from us, we need to ask Him what He wants for us.

I meditated on Acts 17:28 throughout the following year after the day God whetted my appetite with the possibilities wrapped up in those eight little words: In Him we live and move and have our being. I came to realize that what He wants for us is to sense His presence, experience His love, and delight in intimate relationship as we live and move and have our being in sacred union with Him. And when we do, He opens our eyes to His glory all around and the ache for something more is soothed.

So today, I encourage you to be still. Just get quiet. Breathe deeply. Jesus in. Worries out.

Don’t make your faith about what God wants from you, but what God wants for you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You Overwhelmed?

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It is about a week before Thanksgiving.  Many schools just got off Fall break due to the Elections, Veteran’s Day and Teacher’s Convention.  Moms everywhere (or at least I always was) are feeling the stress of all the things to get done BEFORE the holiday in addition to who they are going to handle the proverbial “I’m bored” statements from the kids.

As a mom, it’s easy for us to reach the overwhelmed state and it can be difficult to get past it.  I mean when we are in the midst of it, who can really see the light at the end of the tunnel?  It is there but it may be so far away we can barely see it.

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Here are 5 practical ways you can overcome the feeling of overwhelm and actually have a happier day.

Breathe

Sounds pretty basic, right?  The truth is we need to take some deep breathes to calm down so you can think clearly.  When things spin out of control,  our first instinct is to try to accomplish as much as possible in a short amount of time but this only makes things worse.  Once you calm yourself down, you can return to the busyness with a better frame of mind.852f65964ac14908994e75e2618fb7a1

Brain Dump

A ‘brain dump’ is a journal exercise where you write everything currently on your mind. You can write individual words, make lists or write out your feelings. It’s a fantastic way to clear your mind and organize your thoughts so that you can move past the overwhelm.

Focus

Everything is out of your brain so choose one task which will make the biggest difference in your life right now.  I know it is tough.  Our list is long and EVERYTHING could possibly make a difference.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Clear a table covered with papers and other stuff.
  2. Clean up the pile of clutter in your living room.
  3. Start on the mountain of laundry.
  4. Create a meal plan.
  5. Ask a friend to watch the kids at her house so you can take a nap.
  6. Clean the kitchen.
  7. Clear a counter.
  8. Say no to a few upcoming obligations.
  9. Make some meals.
  10. Call a friend to chat.

Relax

Okay, I can see the eyes rolling like I am totally CRAZY!  Who could possibly relax when there is a million things to do.  Actually, sometimes the best way to deal long to do list is to forget the list and do something fun. When you return, you will have more energy, motivation and creative ideas to work on the list. You might actually accomplish everything needed to be done in record time.

Prioritize

No, not your list – create a quick list of what is most important in your life. Now, go back to your brain dump and circle the tasks which have to do with your most important list. Work on conquering them and the other stuff can wait for now.13726574_10208957067301151_2459943727636367299_n

Can I guarantee you will go from overwhelmed to focused?  No but what I can tell you is by consistently practicing these tips, it will be a whole lot easier.

I challenge you to take a few minutes to create your MOST IMPORTANT LIST. Write down your top values and priorities.  Then post this list where you can see it for those moments when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Do Your Negative Thoughts Spiral Out of Control?

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TGIF!  Yes, I am glad it is FRIDAY!  I may be working all week-end at my part-time job BUT it is a chance for me to breathe.  Yesterday was CRAZY!  It was the final day to get orders in to guarantee Christmas delivery.  You would have thought it was Black Friday or something.

As we get closer to the holidays, do you find that some days you are more positive than others?  Maybe the stress of holiday shopping or not having enough money or your job are getting you down.  Maybe it is a health challenge or being away from family.  I will admit that some days I have to STOP the negative talk before it spirals out of control.  Being on the verge of a Negative Nelly has you on the road to sabotaging your success, ruining relationships and even sinking into depression.

Valerie Burton shares five techniques to keep negative thoughts from spiraling out of control:

1. Breathe intentionally.

Research shows that proper deep breathing –  you breathe from your diaphragm rather than shallow breathing from your chest – reduces blood pressure, anxiety and stress. Take one minute and focus your thoughts on your breath. Feel it enter your nose, fill your belly and exit through your mouth. Center yourself in this moment. Relax.

2. Anticipate the negative and be ready with the positive.

Expect negative thoughts to cross your mind, especially when you are dealing with stress. But choose not to dwell on them.  Instead, meditate on the positive. Focus on what you are grateful for. Focus on the opportunity you have for change and improvement. These are things within your control.

3. Get out and about.

Sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for your mood. Being stuck physically – whether at work or home – can leave you stuck mentally. So get out. Take a walk. Ride your bike. Run some errands. Stand on the porch or patio for a few minutes and soak up the rays. Sunshine helps your body produce vitamin D and has been shown to be a mood lifter.

4. Do something fun.

We know that negative emotions are more powerful than positive ones, right? Did you know that you need at least three positive emotions to overcome the negatives you face. So when you are particularly challenged with negative conversations, one way to counter them is to have some fun. What do you like to do for fun? Go do it. What brings you joy? Incorporate more of it into your life today.

5. Get around funny, happy people.

Happiness is contagious. And when Negative Nellie is knocking on your door, it doesn’t help to be around other negative people. Who makes you laugh? Who always puts a smile on your face? Who knows how to find peace and joy even in the midst of chaos or challenges? That’s who you need to hang out with. Give them a call, stop by their desk at work, or get together for dinner tonight. You won’t have time to let those negative thoughts spiral out of control – you’ll be too busy laughing and enjoying good company!

What is YOUR best tip for negative thoughts from spiraling out of control?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!