Life Change

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Why is it that when I want to have good habits, healthy habits, interesting habits…it is so hard? Sigh. Oh, the bad habits, I’ve got that covered. They are not a problem, I know those habits, oh so well. I wish that was not the case. Sigh, again.

I want to eat better, exercise more…be healthy. I want to read more and travel more. I want to try new things and meet new people. I overwhelm myself with all that I WANT.  Now, I’m not saying wanting these things is all bad. It’s not. I think God wants for me to have an exceptional life and to live abundantly…but, what does that really mean? For, me? For, you? On a daily basis, where habits are formed?

What, out of my myriad list of things that I’d like to change from once in a while, hit or miss attempts, into habits, do I choose? What is the habit that is the most important? The one habit that, if I’d stick with it, would literally change my life?

 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV 

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV

Obviously, as a believer, Jesus has things planned for me. Good things. Things that will make me more like Him, and after all, isn’t that the goal? To be more like Him, every day?

To know Jesus, more.

How do I do that? In practical ways? In meaningful ways? In real ways?

1. Communicate- Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2. Celebrate- Colossians 2:6-7  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

3. Emulate-  Philippians 2:5  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus

 

 

 

Keeping The Faith -Part 2

A new notebook and pen

Image by paulcapewell via Flickr

Here’s the topic:

How is God challenging you to keep faith fresh?

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Finally, brothers, 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  NIV

The everyday is difficult. Chaos reigns. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. It doesn’t make sense. Life is hard for everyone. It is easy to complain about all that isn’t.

I was heading into the hard, dark winter months when I read about a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I’ve blogged about her book before and have given it rave reviews. The truth is that book helped change my perspective. I’m not perfect, never was, but this book caused me to look to the One that is…and always has been perfect. I believe God used the words of this humble woman, to draw me back to Himself.

How can I be thankful in the everyday? How can I look at moments in life and appreciate them for what they are? Not needing the excitement of the world, but the calm assurance that I already have all I will ever need, in Him.

I have been on a journey of “eucharisteo” for the past six months. A journey that has encouraged me to look at each day with my eyes wide open, in order to see all the things that God has blessed me with. It has given me a vision for the things that are true, pure, lovely and admirable, and through that, it has given me a clearer vision of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, focusing on the good is not easy. I wish it was. I struggle on some days more than others. Why is it easier to keep a mental list of the day’s problems and complaints than it is to choose to focus on the times that give us a glimpse of what Heaven will be like?

In the meantime, I journey on. I thank God for all that is good. All the moments that matter. All the things that He has so richly blessed me with. With each of the “thank you’s” I draw closer to Him.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17  NIV

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Hard Thanks…

~Did She Cry ~

Image by ViaMoi via Flickr

All the reasons to be thankful….Click on the Multitudes On Mondays graphic on my right sidebar to read more.

Dear Reader,

I’ll be honest with you. I’m not feeling very thankful today.

Mondays are never my best day of the week, and today seems especially “not very thankful”. I feel guilty. I struggle.

Right now I’m seeing all “the holes” in the canvas of my life.  When concentrating on the holes, the rips, the tears… I find it difficult to see the beauty. I know that is a poor attitude, you don’t have to remind me. Believe me, I know.

All the things I wish were….and aren’t.

All the things I want…and can’t.

All the trying to measure up….and falling short.

All the dreams…dashed.

All the little things….that become BIG things.

All the words thought….but never said.

All the wishing….not coming true.

All the obstacles….not overcome.

All the life beautiful…is really broken.

We live in an imperfect world.

 

Life IS broken. Isn’t that true for us all?

Aren’t there days when we each wonder, the why?

When our vision is full of gray, and the colors seem dulled?

When we want so much more, but get so much less?

 

God knew we’d have days like this. Hard days. Painful days. Days of longing for something else. Something that is seemingly just out of reach. The frustration. The grieving. The seemingly unfairness of it all. He knew. He always knew.

Giving thanks through the difficult times. The broken times.  Ann Voskamp calls it the “hard eucharisteo”. The giving of thanks when we are searching through the darkness. The saying “yes” to God, when we don’t understand. The trusting that this hard place we are in, is not the final destination.

Ann goes on to say, “Grace + Thanks = Joy”.  She’s right, you know

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything. Not about life plans. Not the wondering. Not the worrying. But in everything That is a big, all encompassing word. By prayer and petition God hears us!  With thanksgiving Always thanksgiving…even when it is the hard eucharisteo. present your requests to God. He wants us to talk with Him. In the good times and the not so good times. He is there.

And on a day when it seems dark, not just because of the storm clouds, I can say thank you. I can give the thanksgiving to the One who hears me even when the words aren’t spoken aloud. I am thankful.