The possible missing link connecting your desire to your reality

 

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

Proverbs 13:4

Our desires aren’t enough

When I was pregnant with my first son, I planned to have a natural childbirth, free of any kind of pain medication. I told the doctor my plan and she nodded along. “Well, there’s always epidural available if you change your mind.”

My desire was one thing. My direction toward that desire looked completely different.

I did nothing to prepare for my plan. I took no natural childbirth classes. I read little on the subject. The day I went into labor, I went in with only my desire but nothing to prepare me for what was required to stick to the plan.

When the doctor entered the room to check me, she instructed the nurses to begin pitocin. Had I researched at all about natural childbirth, I would’ve declined. My contractions became a level of pain I thought could kill me from sheer pain. The doctor later laughed that she had tickets to the symphony and needed this baby delivered so she could make the performance.

Well, my plan didn’t stick for long. I quickly begged for an epidural. We had our baby, but I felt so disappointed that I hadn’t known enough in advance to prepare better to stay the course.

Initially, I wanted to blame the doctor, or the pitocin, or the slow labor. In the end, I realized all the places I wanted to place my blame were mere roadblocks, but they could have been overcome if I’d prepared myself better.

I think we can all relate to having desires for something, yet finding we don’t really do anything to help us achieve those desires. We often lack the discipline necessary to turn those desires into a reality.

Desire is easy. Discipline isn’t.

Discipline is often the missing link connecting our desires to our realities.

That is where the friction lies. Do we desire it enough to create the discipline necessary to achieve it?

Is fear of failure holding us back? This is a big one for me honestly. There are certain areas I feel I have failed in so often that I don’t have the energy to get up and try again. If I knew I’d succeed, I’d surely find the energy to try again. This is how I know it’s my fear holding me down.

On my second child to be born, I ditched the desire for natural childbirth. I’d determined it was too hard and decided it wasn’t for me.

Fast forward to my third child. I saw others having natural childbirth. If they could, why couldn’t I? I began to take notice of what they did different than I’d done.

If we want a different outcome, we need different action steps

  • They were in a community with like-minded people.
  • They became students, eager to learn
  • They “trained” their bodies in preparation
  • They found accountability
  • They invested money if necessary

I’d done nothing of these sorts my first attempt.

I decided on my third child, if it were within my abilities and decisions, I would stick to the plan. This time I did what I watched others doing who were successful to their desires.

I joined online communities and listened to their conversations. I took in all their tips and tricks. I took better care of my body in preparation for the task ahead. I read actual books on the subject.

But here was the kicker for me.

I hired a doula. I’d never heard that word before I joined a group of like-minded people. This came at a time in our life when finances were not just tight, but we truly had no wiggle room.

I still remember the cost of that doula. I don’t know what they cost now, but 11 years ago I spent $400 to have someone coach me through labor.

Could I have done it without spending that money? Possibly. But for me personally, when I spend money on something it holds me accountable to something higher. I don’t like waste and am very conscious of the money I spend.

To me that $400 was an investment not a spend.

I was investing in my deep desire to have this child with no pain medication.

When it was over, she was worth every bit of that $400. On this side of it, I know for sure I would have asked for the epidural had she not been with me. If it were Steve and I on our own, we’d have been screaming for the doctors to relieve me of the pain. I know me and my small pain threshold.

My point is not to encourage you to spend money. However, at times we have to determine what it will take to turn our desires into the discipline necessary to reach our goals.

Sometimes our desires are for things that seem out of our control. Maybe they are to some extent, but there is always some discipline we can create to walk us closer to reaching that desire.

Do we desire friends? Do we feel lonely? That might feel like it’s a desire we can’t do anything about. It may take time to find friends, but we can become disciplined in being a friend first. We can place ourselves near like-minded people, we can join groups and communities, we can develop our skills in communicating. There’s always steps we can take to move us in the direction we want to go.

It takes discipline. And that is the point many people give up.

Yet, God calls us to be disciplined people.

 

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

Maybe today is the day to get honest with yourself. To rise up to owning those desires and making new actions steps toward the reality. Daily disciplines. One small step at a time. Don’t focus too much on the overwhelming task. Just look at the habit you can create today to move you one step closer. Then practice that habit every day.

 

 

 

 

Be Very Careful the Words You Speak – It’s Life and Death

Power of Words

If we realized the power of our words and thoughts, we’d be much more careful in the choosing of them.

What we think and believe impacts how we live and the person we become. What we speak shapes our future.

I cringe when I hear adults speak of their future teens negatively. Statements such as, “I dread the rebellious teenage years.”

Who said they’d be rebellious?

Or “Well, I know one day my teen won’t want to be around me.”

Yeah? Says who?

Why would we say these things?

I desire to create an environment my kids want to be around. I want to love them well and enjoy them. We are in the teenage years now and this is by far my very favorite season. I speak this out to my teens, telling them how fun they are to be around, how much they make me laugh.

Why would we speak fear-driven thoughts? Why would we plant these seed thoughts in our children? They are listening and absorbing. They will absolutely rise to what’s expected of them.

Speak life.

Speak power and authority.

Speak destiny.

Speak God’s Word and promises.

At some point I noticed the trace of a trait in one of my sons I wanted him to notice and build on.

He is confident in who he is. He’s not easily persuaded and he’s ok not looking like the world around him. I wanted him to see how strong of a character trait this is.

Kids and teens are drowning in a lack of identity and a strive to fit in with the rest of their friends.

“I see in you such a strength. You really know who you are in Christ. And because of this, you don’t have to try to fit in with others or be tempted to take part in what they do because you know who you are.”

It was a passing comment honestly. I spoke it in truth, but it was a glimmer I want to glisten and shine over time.

Weeks later I overheard a conversation of his. He explained to someone that he isn’t persuaded to follow others because he knows who he is in Christ.

I stopped. I stood overwhelmed at the power my spoken words held in his thoughts and beliefs about who he is.

Pray

Lord, may we choose our words wisely. May we speak life into and over our kids, our families, and ourselves. May our words be seasoned with salt. May we reflect your love and your truth in everything we speak. May we cast out fear thoughts and lies spoken from the depths of darkness. May we walk in the light You’ve shown.

Words and Stories I’ll Never Forget

10 years ago I sat in a doctor’s office. He said something I’ll never forget. “In all my years as a doctor, I’ve learned something about fear. In many of my patients with cancer I’ve found their biggest fear in life was getting cancer.”

He went on to talk to me about fear. He wasn’t really talking about cancer. Nor am I. And I’m not making any kind of health statements at all. Please hear me on this.

I’m simply sharing a statement he made that impacted how I decided that day to think. The point he made is the power of our thoughts and our mind to impact our future.

If we fear something, often we actually live into that very fear. Again, please don’t misunderstand. I’m speaking about fear and the grip and influence it CAN have. I’m not at all saying that all of our sicknesses and diseases came because we thought them into being.

Fear Not

God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear is straight from hell.

Years after this comment from my doctor, I listened to a Ted Talk on the power of our thoughts. He told a story of a patient told he was dying of terminal cancer. He was given 3 months to live. 3 months later he died. The autopsy revealed he had no cancer. He was told he was dying. He believed he was dying. He died in 3 months. This story has never left me.

Over the last year, God has brought my way more information, more books, more conversations, more sermons on the power of our minds than I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I don’t believe that is a coincidence.

Recently, one very dear to me confessed a deep fear of cancer in their future. They’ve never had a scare, but it surrounds us. Because years ago God brought people and conversations into my life on this very thing, I knew how to talk to this person. We began casting out fear knowing it’s not from God. We began praying God’s Word claiming a sound mind.

It’s Our Choice

I’m choosing to speak life, think life, live in God’s light.

Will bad things happen still? Yes. Will sickness and death happen despite our happy thoughts? Yes.

Am I saying we just think and talk happy and nothing bad happens? For sure, not. Not at all.

We live in a fallen world. Sickness, death, sadness will be all around us. One day every tear will be wiped away. That is our hope.

We can choose to speak words of life, hope, goodness, and love.

When we see the hint of godliness in our kids, let’s speak it out loud to them. When we see them encourage a friend to tell the truth rather than lie, speak that out to them. “You are a young man who walks in truth and honesty. I love that about you.”

When we see them wake up to their alarm on their own, we can say, “I love your initiative and self-discipline to wake up and handle your business on your own. I can’t wait to see how that serves you well in the future.”

When we see them walk away from a sibling argument, we can say, “I noticed you exercised self control over your tongue. Thank you for being a person who seeks peace.”

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21

Lord, equip us to use our tongues wisely. Guard our minds from believing lies or listening to the voice of fear, which is not your voice. Make us attentive to You. Speak life into us that we may be so filled by You that You flow out of us to all around us. Amen.

P.S.

Have you read Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf? It’s an excellent read I highly recommend. She combines the science of the brain with the Creator of our minds. It’s fascinating and unlike many books of its type, it’s not written over our abilities to process the information shared. She also has a fantastic podcast I love listening to. It’s short and impactful each episode.

P.S.S

If you are looking to experience God in fresh and intimate ways, I invite you to grab your copy of Illuminate today. It’s 14 days of devotions centered on who God says He is.

Illuminate will give you a practical way to learn to switch your focus and stop giving more attention to fear than to the One who says ‘fear not’.

If you are tired of living by fear, anxiety, and worry, Illuminate will be a sweet balm to your soul. It’s available in 2 formats: Ebook and Audio (with pdf download).

Here’s what some are saying:

ebook devotional

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Here’s how you can simply abide in Him – and a free gift for you

 

Free Gift!

I’m giving away my favorite day from Illuminate. Yours for free. I hope you enjoy!

You will be able to download the pdf as well as audio. Simply enter your email address below and it will automatically give you the links.

Let’s Illuminate

If you are new around here, welcome! In case you don’t know, Illuminate is a 14 day devotion, available in ebook as well as audio versions, focused on who God is.

What God does flows from who He is.

To walk in confident assurance, we must know His character, who He is as revealed in His Word.

Illuminate is for

  • the one who wants a more intimate relationship with God.
  • the one who feels stuck in their faith.
  • the one who needs a heart revival or a fresh touch from God.
  • those of us who are tired of seeing our fears, anxieties, and problems as bigger than our God.
  • the one ready to see God with fresh eyes.

 

 

My Thoughts on a New York Times article Raising Children Without the Concept of Sin

“My religious fundamentalist childhood was built around the fear of sin. My daughters don’t even know the word.”

This is the sentence that made me open an article from a news source I never read.

‘As my 9-year-old daughter watched them pass, her forehead knitted, and then she looked up at me with solemn hazel eyes.

“Mama, what is sin?” she asked.

The merriment of the fair receded and I stared at her, my brain spinning with the magnitude of her question. By failing to teach my child the meaning of the word sin, had I somehow failed to give her a moral foundation?

Sin. That tiny word still makes me cringe with residual fear. Fear of being judged unworthy. Fear of the eternal torture of hell. Fear of my father’s belt.”‘

This is an excerpt from The New York Times article, Raising Children Without the Concept of Sin.

As I read the author’s words, I wanted to reach through the screen and pull her close, hug her, and whisper, “You are known and loved.”

Honestly, without love at the core of everything, we can become focused more on issues than people. If I’m honest, I can lose sight of the people behind the issues they stand upon. We are surrounded by broken hearts in need of truth wrapped in love.

Our life experiences become a filter through which we see life. Had I been raised in the same environment described in this article, I can’t say I wouldn’t feel the same way about God and sin.

“God was a megaphone bleating in my head: “You’re bad, you’re bad, you’re bad!” I had recurring nightmares of malevolent winds tornado-ing through my bedroom — a metaphor, I now realize, for an invisible and vindictive god.”

Note the little ‘g’ use for God.

Oh, the deception of the enemy on this precious child of God. Raised in a home that didn’t know God yet used Him as a form of fear and punishment. And what’s a child to do?

Our natural inclination is to project our earthly father onto our Heavenly Father.

No matter how good or heinous our earthly father is, that’s not God. One man in all humanity is a picture of God. Jesus.

Perfect, spotless, righteous, kind, just, loving, tender, merciful. He alone is the only one who can give us a picture of the Father.

“At 17, after being caught “fornicating” with my high school boyfriend, I was sent to a Christian reform school where children were beaten in the name of God. It was there that I learned that religion has nothing to do with goodness and there’s a strong link between zealotry and hypocrisy.”

I agree with her statement. Religion has nothing to do with goodness. The “religious” killed Jesus. Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship.

“I lost my faith by fits and starts.”

“Religious brainwashing imposed from infancy is hard to shake, and I continued to confuse “Christian” with “trustworthy” and “moral.”

Again I agree, religious brainwashing is hard to shake. So much evil has been birthed in the name of religion.

Because someone proclaims to be a christian doesn’t make it so. At the same time, I have done and said things that misrepresent Christianity.

“When my husband and I contemplated having children, I wondered how I’d teach them right from wrong without a church. I toyed with the idea of dropping them off at a Sunday school, where they could ingest bite-sized chunks of morality in catchy songs and coloring books. But my husband — Catholic by culture, atheist by intellect — wanted nothing to do with organized religion.”

Implanted deep in the heart of every human is a hunger and thirst for truth, goodness, and love. We were all created in the image of God with a heart designed to love Him and long for Him. That’s why we spend our lives searching for meaning and significance. When we finally encounter the God of the universe, we find our place. Right in His arms, the ones outstretched toward us since the beginning of time.

“As a girl, my focus was on gaining admittance to heaven. Now I believe that this life is the only life we’ll know; this planet, our only existence. I am no longer motivated by fear of an unproven hell, but by real-world concerns about injustice and inequality.”

God, too, is concerned with real-world concerns and injustice. So much so that He sent His only Son to the cross on our behalf. To right the wrongs and defeat evil and death once and for all.

You know, I was once a girl focused on working my way to heaven too. I worked my entire life to be good enough. That was an impossible feat. At various points I’d throw my hands up and say, “It’s just too hard.” And I’d go my own way. At 23 I had an encounter with God. A switch flipped in my brain shining light on the darkness that surrounded my false beliefs of living a perfectly holy life to work my way to God.

I remember saying, “That’s it, God! I get it now. It IS impossible for me to be good enough to make my way to heaven. That’s why you sent Jesus to die in my place.” A lifetime of the knowledge right before my very eyes that I never understood.

It was a word I’d never understood, used in church circles by “good” people. Grace. What in the world did it mean? I thought I knew, but until that light bulb moment, that word lived in the dark of my understanding.

This life isn’t the only life we’ll know. If so, what would be the point of it all? If it simply just ends and goes away. Why? There must be more. There is more.

The author refers to an unproven hell, choosing instead to place her faith in her unproven belief that this life is all we’ll know. Both beliefs require a level of faith. She didn’t lose her faith. She simply took her once faith in a God and placed it her own ideas and thoughts.

But I don’t fault her. The one I fault -Satan. The one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The one who is out fighting for souls. To blind the people into believing heaven and hell isn’t real is to win them to the darkness. A forever eternity void of all hope.

“I gazed into Davia’s upturned face and felt a rush of love and happiness. I had raised her without sin.”

None of us are born without a knowledge of sin in our souls. We all know. Deep down we know. While her daughter might not know the term and definition, inside she knows.

“An explanation of sin could wait.”

It was the closing sentence that caught my breath. “An explanation of sin could wait.” It can’t wait. We aren’t promised our next breath. We don’t know the time or day that will be our last moment on this earth. And when we depart, life continues after. The choice is ours. Will we choose heaven or hell? The choosing happens now in this life. Once we depart this life, it’s too late.

This New York Times article reflects the real beliefs of thousands and thousands of people. Would you join me today in praying for the ones who have believed the enemy’s lies? Let’s ask God to intersect our lives with these people who need to hear that God is not an invisible, vindictive God. Let’s wrap them in love and pour into them out of the overflow He’s poured into us.

Time is fleeting.

 

Ready to go deeper with God? To push back the dark? Illuminate is a 14 day devotion to help you focus on who God is as revealed by His Word. It’s the only way to counter the lies of this world- to know Him, His voice, His character. He loves you like crazy.

 

 

Breaking & building habits – Word before the worLd

I continue to take a look at the habits in my life. The thing about bad habits is how they can sometimes form with such little effort and feel so difficult to break. Yet, the ones most beneficial to us take considerable energy to develop and we break with ease.

I listened to a sermon series by Craig Groeschel titled Habits. He shared that by Valentine’s Day, 92% of people have quit their New Year’s goals and resolutions.

I wrote a post in case you missed it titled 6 steps to fail proof goals and habits.

Apparently, I live and write in themes. You know that about me by now I think.

A Slip of Habit

Over the last several months I’ve felt my morning quiet times becoming stale.

“Staleness is an indication of something out of joint with God.”

Oswald Chamber, My Utmost For His Highest

I’ve not heard God with the same clarity. I’ve approached my time with Him like any other ordinary task, something to be checked off a long to-do list.

As I listened to this full series, I began to think about my morning habits. In the past nothing came before the Lord and my time with Him. But now, I reach for my phone to see what time it is. I brush my teeth and scan my phone to see what I missed while I slept. I walk to to the coffee pot, I scan Instagram. Are there notifications or messages I missed in the night?

I pour my coffee, grab my Bible, pick up my phone and respond to messages, scroll for a minute, decide what I need to post, think about my day. Then I see the time. Where did all that time go? My quiet time is nearing an end without me giving my fullness to listening to God. So, I quickly open my Bible, pray, read, journal, and basically squeeze God into the tiny space left over after checking in with the world first.

It’s a habit I’ve created unintentionally.

The exact opposite of how I’ve always treated and protected this time and space.

“Guard jealously your relationship to God.”

Oswald Chamber, My Utmost For His Highest

I’ve been placing the world before the Word.

It starts with a decision

I knew what needed to be done.

I made a decision that God would receive my all in time. God would get the very first of my time, energy, and focus. He will receive my first and best.

When we make a decision to step back on the right path, it won’t come easy. The enemy is there distracting. So we fight.

The morning following my decision to break this habit, my eyes opened and I saw His Word first thing on my pillowcase. It was the reminder I needed about the decision I made.

Word before world.

I read the verse on my pillow and repeated over and over again, “Word before world.” I prayed before stepping out of my bed. “Lord give me strength to give you my first fruit time and energy and focus today. Set my feet on your path. I surrender.”

Surrendering the old

Before I can create a new habit, I must surrender the old. I open my hands and raise them to Him.

Surrender. The word God gave me for 2019. The word I didn’t seek or ask for. In His mercy He delivered anyway.

The world brings distraction and chaos and worry. His Word brings peace, love, and comfort.

What have I been doing to my soul?

With each step of my morning quiet time, I realized how firmly rooted this bad habit had grown. I had to force my mind back to Him. My hand wanted to reach for my phone so I put it in another room so I couldn’t cheat and pick it back up.

It wasn’t easy, which showed me this is a fight worth waging. I already knew that though.

Do you know what happened that morning? I received a fresh word from God. I received clarity on some worries I’ve been holding. My mind felt more stable and calm.

My King never left. He was there speaking all along. I’d just filled my eyes and ears with sounds and images that shut Him out.

The enemy steals in the stealthiest ways. Therefore, we guard. We protect. We choose. We aren’t victims of our habits. We own our choices. It’s not easy, but in His strength we can break the habits needing breaking and create the habits waiting to move in their place.

I once heard a sermon about the idols in our lives. He said when we discover an idol and decide to remove it, we must replace it with something good. Otherwise, that empty spot will find something eventually. Well, he said it better than that, but you get the picture.

We have the power to choose.

Here’s the steps I’m taking.

  • Place my phone in the bathroom at night rather than my nightstand.
  • I use my watch to tell me the time (what an antiquated idea. Ha!)
  • I look at my pillow and remember to pray and start in the Word.
  • I pray before getting out of bed to set my mind and heart on Him.
  • I preset the coffee pot the night before.
  • I have all my Bible study materials ready in my spot before going to bed.
  • When my quiet time is up, I check my phone. But I have to walk to another room to get it.

Just little tweaks and changes to help me stay the course.


Maybe you are like me and need visual reminders to fix your gaze on Jesus first thing in the morning.

Maybe you’d like to break your habit of checking in with the world with the first of your day via Facebook, Instagram, the news, email, whatever the source may be.

Maybe you are like me and you are tired of starting your day from a place of anxiety, worry, and fear and you are ready to claim the peace He promises if we seek Him first.

If you could use help in this area, I have one small tool that is helping me. Scripture pillowcases.

It’s the trigger I need to force my mind back to the decision I’ve made to start in the Word. I see His Word with the first and last of my day now. I pray that verse as I literally rest on His Word. Then I get up renewed by His strength, ready to stay focused on creating new, better habits.

You can see the full collection on my shop page right here. Do you want a custom verse? I do that too.

 

If you’d like to receive posts in your inbox, simply click here. It’s the best way to be sure to see all posts without the distraction of scrolling social media to find them. Insert winking emoji.

Let’s keep marching towards our most intentional year ever!!

When she dove in a dumpster for me

For the first 5 years of Jacob’s life, he had a well-loved, treasured baby blanket. It had a name. Boppy.

The shiny new beginnings.

When Andrew was born, Jacob passed Boppy down to his new baby brother. Boppy became Andrew’s prized possession. Everywhere Andrew went, Boppy followed. To bed, in the car, outside to play.

As time and life wears us down.

Over the years this treasured possession began to look more like a torn, worn, and forgotten rag. The once silky edges were no longer present. The body of the blanket began to show its age with little holes. But it wasn’t forgotten at all. It was loved very well.

No matter the condition of Boppy, Andrew’s love remained unchanged. Smelly, stinky, holey – it mattered not. Andrew faithfully loved his prized possession.

When life turns.

One dreadful day of errands, my three little boys and I ventured to Costco. As we stood in the checkout line, Andrew cried out rather loudly, “Where Boppy go? Where Boppy go?”

His cries began to rise as panic set in. I frantically searched the stroller, the buggy. Boppy was nowhere to be found. I grabbed the hands of my little boys and drug them around the store as we retraced our steps. Every last step of that enormous warehouse.

Andrew’s cries escalated as he loudly called out Boppy’s name over and over and over again.

Feeling defeated, the 4 of us gave up the pursuit of Boppy and made our way to Customer Service. I looked for someone I thought would understand. She stood before me like an angel. A mother, a grandmother. She might as well have been an angel.

I explained the situation, but there was no way I could possibly convey the value of this tattered rag. It didn’t aesthetically appear valuable. It appeared worthless. By the way I acted, I’m sure she envisioned a baby blanket covered in jewels.

“Ma’am, at one time this baby blanket was soft, edged in perfect white satin. The print was full of little yellow ducks. But now, the cloth is full of holes. Not one little duck is present. They’ve all been worn, rather loved, right off that cloth. But ma’am, if anyone finds this blanket, they will think it’s an old dust cloth. It looks like it belongs in the trash, but it doesn’t. It’s my son’s prized possession.”

What appears as trash to one is treasure to another.

Andrew’s cries never softened or lessened.

I saw compassion in her eyes as she promised me she would do everything she could to find Boppy.

We left in tears, knowing Boppy was somewhere in that store and not with us where it belonged.

For 2 solid days Andrew cried in fits. He skipped all naps crying out for Boppy. At night he’d fall asleep then wake crying out for Boppy.

We were all exhausted. My heart ached watching my baby hurt.

On the third day, my phone rang. My angel clothed as a Costco employee informed me Boppy had been found. I burst into tears, scooped up my boys, and raced to Costco.

The woman handed us a ziploc bag sealed tightly.

“A customer found this blanket on the floor. Thinking it was an old dust rag, he gave it to an employee. The employee thought it was trash and tossed it. When I described the blanket as you did, the employee remembered throwing it out. But the trash had already been taken out back to the dumpster.”

When someone goes on a rescue mission.

Ya’ll, she went to the dumpster on our behalf. She went to lengths most can’t imagine. All for the sake of love and reuniting my boy with his prized possession this lady went dumpster diving.

She handed the torn, ragged, worn, smelly rag to us. Andrew didn’t see the holes and stains. He saw that stained rag through eyes of deep, unconditional love. He saw it whole and new.

It was his prized possession. His special treasure.

God created man in His image, perfect and whole. But man chose to disobey God. Because of this disobedience, sin entered the world. Because of sin, we have heartache, disease, death, and sadness. And this separates us from our holy, perfect God.

God set out on a rescue mission. One no man could fathom. He went to lengths unimaginable because we are His special treasure. We are his prized possession. He was willing to dig us out of the dumpster and save us when we were unable to save ourselves.

God went dumpster diving to find us in this heap of a mess.

The great rescue.

Here’s how the rescue mission went down. God sent His one and only son, Jesus, to be born on this Earth as a baby. He was fully God and fully man. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life and was crucified on a cross, bearing the full weight of our sin on Him. He died and resurrected after 3 days.

Jesus defeated death. Death lost its grip on us that very moment. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, union between God and us is restored.

Apart from Jesus, we are a worn, torn, smelly rag of a blanket. Yet, we are God’s treasure, and because of Christ, He sees us as a perfect, spotless, prized possession.

Boppy had a name.

We have a name.

We are children of God.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praise of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9

6 steps to creating fail proof goals & habits

Inspiration to set goals and habits.

I was so inspired by all the motivation I saw on my Instagram feed last week, the first week of a New Year. It seemed each post was filled with determination, clarity, and focus. I read grit in those posts.

For me the start of something new is exciting and challenging. I’m on fire because a part of me is addicted to new and change. I’m much less inspired to keep moving forward when that newness wears off or when others fall off the excitement wagon, or simply….when the plan turns down a difficult path.

Quitting when it’s hard

When Andrew was younger, he overheard me telling his brothers I planned to fast on that particular day.

“Mom, I’ll fast with you today!”

A couple hours later, I found him in the kitchen enjoying a snack.

“Andrew, I thought you were fasting with me today?”

“Oh, I decided to fast until I got hungry.” He turned his attention back to his fast turned feast without skipping a beat.

I can relate to Andrew. Without the proper mindset before moving down that path, at the first bump, I’m ready to jump off the wagon.

How long does it take to create a new habit?

I’m currently listening to the audible version of Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt.

In his book he talks about the lack of science behind the idea of a new habit taking 21, 30, or some variation of these days to create. The rest of what he explained in this chapter really stirred my mind to think about the habits I’ve created and the ones I’ve wanted to create which I’ve failed at.

The struggle is real

I began thinking about the people who have reached out to me about wanting to get healthy and how they’ve tried and failed so many times they don’t want to fail again. My heart aches because I know the genuine struggle they are facing.

I can see how we could feel hopeless if we expect a habit to take root after a mere 20, 30, or 40 days. Maybe some do. But not the more challenging ones.

As I underwent the torture of allowing heated wax to cool and rip off my eyebrows, I chatted with the gal about habits and such. We talked about our sleep habits.

She asked how many hours I sleep and I told her how I am asleep by 10 and wake at 5:00.

“Is it easy to get up at 5:00?”

Before I answered her, I paused. It’s easy for me now. But it wasn’t easy when I started to create the habit.

In fact, it was so difficult I knew I needed to handle it like I would handle a very important priority. If I had a client meeting or a doctor’s appointment, it would go on my calendar. I would set my mind that I would make that appointment. There was no doubt about it. However unpleasant it might seem, I would show up.

When I gave birth to my 2nd son, I struggled to find time to read my Bible and pray. I realized if it was going to happen, I needed to wake before my kids. Because once they were up, I was done with any hope of quiet time. Plus, I found when I had time to wake, reflect, read, and pray before I stepped into mothering, I was a much better mom.

6 steps to creating habits that stick

Step 1: Schedule it. I scheduled my wake up time on my calendar. Literally. I wrote in every day: 6:00 am Quiet time with God. Set a reminder on your phone or your work calendar or whatever you use to help you remember.

Step 2: Set the environment. The night before, I set the environment so nothing would hinder my time. I set the coffee to brew at 5:55 am. I had my Bible, a journal, and a pen at my chair. I’d light a candle, turn on a lamp, cozy with a blanket and cup of coffee.

Step 3: Set your mind. I didn’t give myself an out. I didn’t say “If I’m not tired, I’ll get up.” I’d always be tired. And satan will do anything to get in the way of this appointment. Tired or not, I’d already determined I was getting up. (PS. Days I failed at this, God woke me anyway.)

Step 4: Refuse failure. I failed some days for sure. But I refused to give up saying it wasn’t for me. I just tried again the next day.

Step 5: Give grace for falls. Falls aren’t failures. It’s a stumble. Get up and keep going. Rather than beat myself for the times I chose sleep, I told myself I did a great job on several days. Now, I could build on those successful days.

Step 6: Move the bar. Over time, I set my alarm earlier and earlier. I now wake at 5:00. But when I first started it was 6:00.

You know it took me years for this habit to become so much a part of me and my life that I never even think about it now. Years, my friends. Not 30 days. Not 1 year. Years.

We quit too soon.

Most things worth doing take time.

Is it easy?

So when I answered my wax gal, I told her it wasn’t easy when I started, and it took me years to create a faithful habit. But yes, now it’s very easy. My body wakes on its own. I race to meet with God each morning because I know He is faithfully waiting for me and our intimate morning appointments.

Part of why I race to Him is the fact I’ve come to know Him differently now. I now understand He isn’t shaking His head in shame at me when I failed to meet Him with my coffee in hand. Instead, He touched my shoulder, pulled me tight, and said, “I love you. You can’t make me love you more or less. I’m faithful, not dependent on your faithfulness.”

Hearing His whispers of love, I’d raise my eyes back to Him. No need to hide in shame over my failures. He loves me despite my shortcomings. He’s perfection when I’m not. He’s love when I’m not. He’s everything I need. And over years of spending time with just Him and Him alone, I’ve come to know Him in ways I never knew Him before.

As I’m finishing up Michael Hyatt’s book, I’m learning the difference in types of goals. He says some goals are not achievement goals, rather they are habit goals. It’s good to have both, but not too many. Too many diverts our focus.

That’s what typically happens to me in a new year. I go too wide and too strong. Then I quit.

He also talks about making the goal specific. Christy Wright talks about this quite a bit as well. Both emphasize not making goals so general. Instead of “get healthy”, make it “Drink 4 glasses of water by noon.” Make it specific, set time limits on it.

One of my habit goals for this year is weekly writing. I used to write all the time, but now I’m running 2 businesses and homeschooling. So, writing takes a backseat. But writing is a passion of mine. It’s good for my soul. It’s a creative outlet.

I want to write once a week in a free flowing way. With no real agenda. Just me and pen and paper.

Rather than my past goal of “write more”, I’m setting a specific goal with time frames. “Write every Saturday morning from 6:00am to 8:00am.”

How about you?

Do you have a habit goal you want to create this year?

Can I suggest writing it down? Just focus on one right now. Don’t look at this big whole year of 2019. Just look at this month. What’s one new habit goal you’d like to set?

  • Make it specific
  • Set a time frame
  • Write action steps.
  • Make those steps small steps. Not giant leaps. Baby steps.

Babies stumble and fall. But eventually they walk on their own.

When you begin taking your baby steps, you will stumble, trip, and fall.

Just get up and keep trying.

Falls aren’t failures. They are simply opportunities for do-overs.

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Maybe one of your habits is a daily time with God. Or maybe it’s reading more this year. Or maybe you’d like to grow in your faith and get to know God better. I have a resource just for you. And it’s 100% do-able. In fact, it’s only 14 days long, about 10 minutes a day.

I’ve written Illuminate – Seeing God by the Light of His Word as a 14 day devotional to help you overcome your fears, anxieties, and worries by learning to focus on who God is before you focus on what He does. It changes everything.

Illuminate is available in 2 formats: audio and ebook. Both are only $10 and yours forever.

The audio version comes with a pdf transcript and arrives once per day over 14 days in your email inbox. The ebook version is a full download you receive right away.