There is often a misconception that peace means everything is going well. Peace is when the storm is raging, but the impact of it does not harm you as much as it could. Peace is not external, it is internal. It requires work. It involves you coming to the conclusion that no matter what is happening around you, you are going to shine as bright as you can. Is it easy? No. But is it possible? Absolutely.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the years in marriage is the importance of focusing my time and energy. For those who do not know the difference, let me break it down for you real quick. Time management answers the following questions- what do I need to accomplish? When do I need to have it done? When is the best time for me to do that? Where do I need to go to achieve this goal and how long is it going to take me to get there? Whereas energy management looks at the focus and attention you’re going to devote to the task or project. It asks, how am I going to accomplish this? What distractions do I need to address in advance so I can increase my productivity?
In my marriage, I had to reassess and ask myself- Am I just putting in time, or both time and energy? I realized that if I wanted the outcomes I was looking for, I had to do more than just show up everyday. No, that’s not enough. Instead, I needed to show up and do something. Have you ever attended a conference or an event and you got nothing out of it? It started at 6pm and you were there at 6pm. You stayed until 9pm and walked away knowing nothing new and not even sure of the purpose of what you just attended. This is a typical time vs. energy dilemma. Now think about where this has shown up in your marriage, friendships, and other relationships. How many times did you show up (time), but did not engage or was not committed (energy)?
Remember, time and energy, while different in function, do not have to be exclusive. In fact, you’ll find that you feel most accomplished when they take place together. So, with this new information, what are you prepared to do next? How are you going to bridge these two together in your relationship?
The quote is self-explanatory. If you’re not happy with where you are, change it. Only you have the power to make decisions about your life. At one point in my life I would just dream about all the things I wanted to do. Then I started over analyzing things. I would “think it through” to the point I wouldn’t act on anything because I felt like I had more questions about my goals than answers. My aspirations didn’t scare me, I did. The final straw was when I was making too many excuses and was blaming other people for why I couldn’t move forward with my goals. Seriously? Why do we give other people so much power over our lives? Not anymore!
My life isn’t perfect, but I have decided that I am going to show up to the masterpiece everyday. I am committed to adding brush strokes of determination, grace, and umph until it becomes what I desire.
I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. – Phil. 4:13
I have recently discovered that my mind is capable of taking me places that I do not want to go. More specifically, my mind has told me that things are tough and I am not going to get through it. My thoughts have also said it’s going to take years for me to conquer the challenges before me. I have decided to challenge that voice that has put limitations on me. Is it going to be tough? Absolutely! Will I want to quit here and there? You know it! However, I am reminding myself that anything worth having is worth fighting for. I know it sounds cliche and you’ve heard it quoted a thousand times, but it is true. Take a second and reflect on your current obstacle. If you’re thinking – I wonder if Starbucks will be open when I get there or I really need to get this paper finished on time – you’re staying on the surface. No, I want you to think about that thing that has been a pain in the butt. Consider the thing that keeps you up all night running through scenarios and options in your mind. The thing that makes you anxious or want to (insert strong action) when it comes to mind. Yeah, that thing!
Do you have it in mind yet? I am in no rush, I can wait. (cues background music)
Now that you have it, read the next sentence slowly. It will not defeat you and you will get through it. If you don’t believe it for yourself, that’s fine because I will believe it for you! I have faith that it is going to work out and if you need to borrow or even take some of my faith for the journey, take it. Now, I am not saying that everything is going to work out the way you want it to, but I am saying that you’re going to get through it no matter the outcome. And getting through it doesn’t mean you’re not going to struggle with it, be indecisive at moments or cry about it. It is completely normal to deal with an array of emotions, maybe even some setbacks, when dealing with a serious situation. Getting through it just means that you have perspective. Perspective manifests in two ways: 1) you know that you’re going to make it to the end end and 2) you’re committed to learning from it.
It’s easier said than done, but try to learn the lesson from the struggle and not just the pain or frustration. If you want to grow as a person, I admonish you to ask yourself: Who was I when/before this started? What have I noticed about myself in this? How do I want to be different at the end of this? I cannot guarantee that things will miraculously change as a result of focusing on those three questions, but I can tell you that perspective is more powerful tool and can drastically change how you go through situations.
Is it tough? Yes! But do you got this? (insert answer -hopefully it’s a yes)!
I can’t stress enough how important is is to show compassion for others. While grocery shopping today, we came upon this woman and her mentally disabled daughter. The daughter saw me and wrapped me in an embrace and attempted to lick my face. For those who know me, I’m not too keen on being touched by strangers, but the hug didn’t bother me (I moved my face so I didn’t get licked). I hugged her back and you could tell her mom was relieved that I didn’t lash out. Her mom said her name was Olivia and told her to “make good choices”. She let me go and smiled, but then hugged me again. Her mom apologized for her behavior, but I really wasn’t bothered by it. Her joy and smile was so contagious. I imagined a mother trying to have some normalcy while out of the home and hoping her daughter didn’t do anything to offend or bother others. After getting about 5 high fives, I walked away from that encounter smiling. I was grateful to have met Olivia and her joy. I learned today that joy is not measured by your circumstance, but in how you DECIDE to deal/ handle your circumstance. Thank you, Olivia. Until next time, make good choices.
While at church for a meeting, the Lord visited us and spoke to our hearts. The words were simple but powerful – I decided to believe again. These five words summed up 2015 for me. I have had a lot of wonderful things happen this year, but I have also experienced heartache and loss. I had some exciting days and some exhausting days. I’ve smiled some days and I cried on others.
It amazes me how strong and overpowering some negative experiences can be. These soul-shattering events cause us to forget about all of the other great things that have happened. The bad days take you on a journey and plant you somewhere on a desert island and if you’re not careful, you’ll stop hoping for a search and rescue and will just adapt to your surroundings. You watch life pass you by and even though you yearn to be a part of it, you can’t. It’s like an invisible chain anchored in the earth that keeps you from moving.
If you have felt this way at any point this year – I understand. I have been there. And what I can tell you is that regardless of what you’re experiencing (or have experienced), it will get better. And your recovery is not going to start with an apology. It’s not going to start with the wrong being righted. It’s not going to happen with retaliation. No, it’s going to start when you realize you are better than that. It starts with you realizing you are deserving of great things; you are stronger than you appear in the turmoil. And you are destined for greatness, despite of it.
Heartache and loss often cause us to erect walls around our hearts and our emotions. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re doing it, other times we do. These walls hold in forgiveness, bitterness, resentment and eventually hate. If you’re not careful, the vortex of misery with suck you in and pull you to places you did not want to go and make you do things you do not want to do. You may find yourself in situations that are out of character, all because you decided to avoid, rather than deal, with the situation at hand.
So, my friend, it is my prayer that today will be your day! Today is the day you let go of him, her and it. You can do this. Is it going to magically happen? No, it’s not. But it’s going to start with you deciding to believe again. It starts with you wiping the fears and doubts away. It starts with you squaring your shoulders and declaring you refuse to be an outcast in your own life. It starts with you finding your voice and letting it be heard. And, it’s going to start with you, trusting that God will work everything out.
What do you need to start believing in? What have you lost faith in? Regardless of how big or small the circumstance is, it all starts in you believing in yourself. You have to make the decision to believe you can and will be better.
Thank you for my friend who reads this message. You said we’ll find rest for our souls when we cast our cares on You for Your yoke is easy and Your burdens light. We are so thankful for Your promise and your care for us. We pray that as we enter into 2016, you will make room in our hearts for You to dwell. We pray that Your peace will cover all of our worries, doubts and fears. You said that You’re able to do exceedingly and abundantly, above all we could ever ask or think. We take You at Your word and we receive the healing that You so freely give. Show us how to release all things that are contrary to Your will for our lives. We ask all these things in your son Jesus’ name, amen.
I love you with the love of Christ!
There is a big difference between agreememt and understanding. Thanks to the constitution, everyone has the right to not only believe what they believe, but say what they believe. It is this freedom that allows many of us to live in our truths. Maybe your truth is that you believe people should be kind to others, that women should be treated equal to men, or that this country is in need of a Savior to correct all the wrongs. It’s even possible you believe the opposite of everything that you just read. And in case you haven’t heard it before… that’s OK. Yep, I said it. It’s OK.
I have reached a point in my life where I seek to understand, not agree. I was invited to attend an interview for a position in someone else’s office. Being that we have a partnership and the new hire would work closely with my staff, I was invited to give my opinion of the candidate. Afterwards, we went around the table to talk through pros and cons, areas of strengths and areas of concern. I recognized that I was an outsider in this office and that my opinion was from where I was sitting-distant. However, in true Shae fashion, I provided my thoughts based on my observation.
Although many agreed with what I had to say, some did not. And for a second we went back and forth and it was evident we were frustrated with each other’s views. After the discussion was done, I went around the table to greet and embrace everyone, even the one I just had a disagreement with. We hugged and caught up on family happenings. You see, I did not have to agree with what she said to respect her. I recognize that just as I am entitled to my opinion, she is entitled to hers. To an immature person, our friendly embrace and chatter would have seemed odd. Were they not just disagreeing? I know Shae, she’s mad and faking it, pretending as if she likes her. This could not be any farther from the truth.
God designed us to be different individuals. I can’t celebrate our differences one day and then hold it against you another. In this situation, and even more serious circumstances, I seek to understand, not agree and I hope that my conversation partner would do the same. Even if the truth hurts, it’s their truth. Even if the truth is a direct threat to my belief and values, it’s still their truth. And in some instances, even if their truth causes a divide between us, it’s still their truth.
So what do you do in these situations? Listen. The Bible tells us to be swift to hear and slow to speak. We win hearts and wars when we seek understanding over being right. We can’t force others to believe and think like we do. All we can do is pray. Pray for their understanding and yours. Pray that a compromise can be made, or you can agree to disagree and have peace with that. And as equally important, don’t deny who you are and what you believe because you think you stand alone.
I never quite understood what Paul meant when he said in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being conformed to His death”. “In the fellowship of His suffering”? What exactly does that mean?
When we fellowship with others, we’re enjoying their company and often partake in some group activity and/or experience. Maybe you’ve fellowshipped around someone’s birthday or watched a game or TV show of some sort. The foundation of the gathering was not in what was being viewed, but being able to partake in the comradery and bond each individual shared with one another. That is fellowship.
So when the scripture talks about Christ in the fellowship of His suffering, it’s referring to us being in a position where we can empathize with Christ. Christ’s suffering had nothing to do with what He did wrong, and neither was it His consequence. Instead, it was a burden he carried that was placed on Him by others. He was sent by God to carry this burden, and although he struggled with it by asking the cup to pass, He quickly accepted the burden by saying, “Not my will, but let Your will be done”. Through His obedience, he was able to “destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).
This leads me to you. What suffering or burden has the Lord put upon you? What weight are you carrying that is not your own, but instead was given to you because the owner of it was not capable of carrying it? Or has someone wronged you and has hurt you to the core? Is the burden/suffering placed on you so heavy that you can barely move and are not sure how you’re going to get through it?
If any of those questions struck a nerve, great! You’re right where God needs you to be. We often talk about wanting to know the mind of God, and few of us are brave enough to ask for His heart. But can you truly handle His heart? Sure, we want the warms and fuzzies. We want the compassion for humanity and the optimistic belief that people are good deep down inside. Well, there is another side of God’s heart. The side that withstands backsliding. The side that is often told He’s not powerful or capable of changing bleak situations. And then there’s the side that’s often wounded by our rejection. Every time we reject Him, He thinks about what He took His son through for our sake. When we experience these same feelings of rejection and doubt, that’s fellowship in His suffering.
Like a social gathering, our suffering draws us closer to God and teaches us other ways we can lean on Him for support. You may know Him as a keeper, but do you know Him as a way maker? Your current suffering may require you to call on the Healer. Or maybe you need strength. Or is it a miracle? Regardless of what your need is, He has it. Fellowshipping through suffering also gives us a greater appreciation for what His son did for us on that cross. And just imagine that the suffering and burden you feel is only a portion of what He had to bear. So the moral of the story is this – your burden/suffering is not intended to take you out. No, instead, this is an opportunity for you to get closer to the Father. Think of it as a special invitation to understanding His heart.