When Your Whole Life Stinks


Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message.

Do you ever have a hard time seeing the bright side of things?

I do. After pulling all of our luggage, pillows and boxes from the car, I plopped on the couch in my brand new home, in a brand new city.

It’s not safe enough here, in this neighborhood. They are doing construction right next to us. There are no families around.

The anxious thoughts were eating my moment of joy.

The previous night didn’t help. Our train ride to the new home was horrendous. We slept in the passenger car. My three-year old daughter pleaded in 30-minute increments for a tissue for her nose. The door rattled. The train leaned in, then out, as it went down the track. I slept for half an hour.

It’s easy for me to see what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Things that stress me instead of what God has put there to bless me. Everything annoying, disturbing and wrong instead of the things that are right.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

What about you? What does your mind go to? What do you reflect on?

You know, that morning after our horrendous night on the train, I saw a woman I’d met earlier. After smiling, I asked her, “How was your night’s sleep?”

Her answer? “Good, I got some naps in.”

She chose to speak what was good rather than sinking into what was bad. She still smiled, her eyes looked happy and her face seemed ready for the day.

Later, I passed by my cabin neighbor. She recounted the night by saying, “Last night, I was awake. So all I did was stare at the beauty of the wide-open skies. You should have seen the stars. They were magnificent.”

Again, this woman chose to find the find the good in the bad.

What is the good in your bad?

God has left it for us, if we choose to see it. We can see Provider God over our anxiety. We can see hope rise above uncertainty. We can see little lights shine out from our vast darkness. We can give thanks for spurts of goodness when everything else is blah.

We can always:

Praise God’s character.
Give thanks for eternity.
Remember the good times.
Dwell on God’s promise that He’ll always be with us.
Decide to truly believe God is our Provider.

When Jesus came into this dark world, He brought goodness. And even better, He left it. Our job is to search it out, to draw it near, and to return to thinking about it, even when we’re prone to forget. This keeps our head up and our hope strong.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

5-Step Plan to Godly Thinking

Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message….

Some days, it feels like a woman’s work is never done.

These words coursed through my mind as I swung left and right around the kitchen tossing dishes into the dishwasher, removing food stains from the floor and shoving ketchup into the open nook in the side fridge door. I exhaled. I’m nearly there – nearly to the moment I fall back and put my feet up.

Trash still lined the counters: a paper towel by the sink, a wrapper by the coffee maker and an old straw that was nearly too grimy to pick up. I surveyed it all. I considered what to grab first and how to do it most efficiently. I had a plan! The kitchen would sparkle.

Yet, somewhere between laying hands on the grimy straw and the half-used paper towel a thought hit me: Why don’t I survey my mind the same way I do my counters?

God says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)

Do I think this way? Do you?

The power of thinking is much like the process of cleaning.

We must:

1. Identify the dirty stuff. We must look for anything that does not belong in the temple of God. We must recognize our stuff.

Gossip, negative thinking, complaining, nit-picking, and judgement don’t belong in a shiny bright, glory-filled temple of God. Take notice of them.

2. Decide it must go. Pick up on what doesn’t belong and make a decision to do things differently. Head that very thought towards the trash can. Be done with it!

You do this by telling yourself: This thought is not helping me, but hurting me. When I fill my mind with the what is not good, I miss the goodness of God.

3. Replace what was missing. When we clean, we usually remove stuff from the counters first, so can wipe the whole surface. But, after we’ve cleaned, we replace items. We put back the vase, the coffee maker and the pot.

TIP: Put the P.L.A.N.T. back in location.

Simply, think a good thought as it relates to these letters (see sample below):

Pure: God loves me.

Lovely: God has a sweet moment for me after I’m done with this counter.

Admirable: I feel good I didn’t put this cleaning off until tomorrow.

Noble: The King of Kings sees my work.

True and Right: I have a family that loves me.

Will this process work perfectly every time? No way. What does? We live on earth, after all. Mean thoughts, annoyed words or debilitating self-proclamations still sneak in on occasion, but be encouraged, the more you clean and survey your mind, the more it comes alive to joy and contentment.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

You Really Can Do It With God

Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message:matthew17_5Matthew 17:20

It looked like an impossible task – a no way, no how kind of thing. I had no time, waning skills and hardly a resource to actually make it happen.

After all, I am not a star candidate. My follow-through record is usually pretty poor, my attitude often defeated and my belief in myself is hardly at mountaintop levels. How could I actually follow through on what I knew God wanted me to do?

Everything in me wanted to tell God to check the earth for another holy roller and remind Him that He had picked the wrong gal.

And, I nearly did.

I would have if it wasn’t for the other “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) I couldn’t seem to shake (despite my best efforts) to ignore. The one that whispered, “With me, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). You can’t, but I can. Where there is my will, there is a way.”

His Word broke through my hard exterior, to speak life to my interior, asking: Will you choose to believe that I can do exceedingly abundantly more than you can ask, think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) or will you believe I can’t?

When God hits you like that, you start realizing there isn’t much middle ground. You start realizing that He either is great and mighty like you confess in church, or He isn’t. You start realizing the job is far less about you and far more about what He can do.

You start moving toward belief, real belief, the kind of belief that works out incredible, hopeful and wild-things. The type of faith Jesus says moves mountains, even in when administered in the smallest doses.

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

What mountain before you seems impossible to shake, quake or break? What do you stand hard-pressed against? What hurts to be near?

Have you considered with your small words of “God can,” He will? He will do something life changing, effective and significant. Why? Because He promises.

Will it look exactly as you think? Probably not.
Will it look better than you can think or imagine? Yes.

Will it always be according to your timeline? Hardly.
Could it be something you have to witness, one day, from the safety of heaven? Possibly.

But, our God will do what He says he will do.

Believe.

Tell your mountain to move.

Ask it again.

Believe it again.

Ask it again.

Believe it again.

Do not grow weary, worn or restless.

God is working for you, loving you and leading you.

Take heart, He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
He can overcome everything and anything that is coming against you.