How do you handle when someone else gets what you want?

Have you worked so hard on a project only to watch someone else receive credit for the work hours you labored through?

Have you watched a co-worker receive a promotion you felt was undeserved? Maybe you wonder if the powers in charge realize how much time she wastes on Facebook on company time?

Have you poured your heart and soul into a career path only to watch others receive what you can’t seem to reach no matter how hard you work?

Have you done all the “right” things but can’t seem to catch a break?

Depending on our mindset, if we aren’t careful, our thoughts can lead us to grow bitter heart roots. At the very root is often envy and jealousy. I recently listened to a devotion on the Abide app on healing from jealousy. I shared this, which I heard on this app, on Instagram. “At the root of jealousy is the belief that God is not good. It says ‘If God is good why won’t he give me what he’s giving other people.’”

Jealousy leads to bitterness.

I attended a convention recently where the keynote speaker, Bob Heilig, gave this challenge. Get better not bitter.

If you follow me on Instagram and my personal Facebook page, you know I’m passionate about proactive, natural health, particularly gut health. I spend a good deal of time corresponding with people who reach out to me. I send videos, ingredient sheets, testimonies, basically whatever they are requesting. This typically leads to the person deciding to try what I’m suggesting or deciding it’s not for them right now. Occasionally, something else happens.

At times I spend time answering all the questions and helping them however I can for them to respond something like this. “Thanks so much! I have another friend who does this so I ordered through her.” When I first started, this drove me bonkers. I wondered if they didn’t understand that I get paid commissions and bonuses but not a salary.

Recently, I experienced this scenario with a twist.

Turn vent session into prayer session

When the person thanked me for all my time and help and informed me they reached out to a friend they knew who represented my company, I felt immediate disappointment. I vented for a minute then prayed. I’m working on praying out my vents to God so He can speak to me in the middle of the feelings and thoughts I need help with.

My prayer went a little like this: “Ok, God, I’m super frustrated. You know how much time I spent and how I’ve prayed to help more people. She wanted help and now I feel I wasted that time that could have been helping others I could continue working with toward their health goals.”

Immediately Bob Heilig’s words popped in my head, “Get better not bitter.”

“God, don’t let me grow bitter roots. Thank you for all the people you’ve brought my way. And I pray blessings over this person and the friend she will work with. I pray blessings over her business. Thank you that with you there is always more than enough.”

God steered my thoughts instantly by showing me a picture of a gal like me. One who is praying big goals and big dreams. He showed me I don’t know the whole story.  He reminded me that He loves me and cares for me, and that is enough.

He is enough.

The company I’m part of is unlike anything I’ve experienced. The culture is of true oneness with generosity at the very core.

If I had stayed frustrated and focused on the negative, no good would come from that. What we focus on expands. I heard this multiple times at convention. I find it true in my life. When I focus on what I don’t get, my feeling of lack only grows. But when I focus on gratitude, my joy increases.

After my vent turned prayer session with God, I walked away feeling free and light. I felt true joy, true happiness. I didn’t have to carry the burden of jealousy and bitterness in my heart. I was free to walk hand in hand with God knowing He is for me not against me. He is the giver of all good things to all His children. And I really love that about Him.

 

Go deeper with God

Are you looking for a way to connect and grow with God? You are invited into a 14 day journey to know Him better, His character and His heart for you. Illuminate is available in audio and ebook versions. Grab your copy today! Maybe one for a friend as well!!

When death and life happened at the same time

About a month after moving into our Nebraska house years ago, in a hot second, all chaos broke out as one of our boys began crying out that dead bunnies were in our backyard. It all happened so fast. Boys screaming and crying. Us trying to figure out what killed all the bunnies. Seeing blood on our sweet dog’s face. Us screaming at the dog. The confusion of how something like that could happen.

Then one of my boys began to cry as he relayed the sadness of the mama bunny nearby watching all her babies die. He was t0rmented by the sound of their death. To Bristol’s ears, it was nothing more than a squeaky toy he might play with on any given day. To us, it was pure sadness.

A nest of bunnies lived in the protection of one of our hosta plants. A freshly sprouted and blossomed spring hosta. A place of new life, for the plant and the bunnies. And in a second’s time, death happened where new life lived.

I associate that particular hosta with the death scene of that day I wish I’d never seen.

Spring arrived this year as it faithfully does. I walked by this site and stopped. In the middle of the dead from last year, new growth sprouted. It happens every year. We know this. But I felt the Lord remind me that I can focus on the death or I can focus on the new life.

Christ had to die before He resurrected. We celebrate His resurrection power every day we take a breath. I ponder His death. But daily I raise my heart in praise over His resurrection.

How often in my life am I focused on the death of something rather than the life produced later?

When God renews something in my life, I typically find something had to die first. A sin pattern perhaps. An idol. A false belief about who He is. Something died to make room for the life God desired to grow inside. If I stay focused on what died, I fail to celebrate what lives. I miss out.

I see this in relationships at times. They change over time. We change. People change. Life shifts. Parts of us die. Parts of us are refined or renewed. In the process this can be painful as we look back at how things “used to be”. Sometimes we realize that something has died and will never be again. Despair enters when we fail to mourn and then look at the new growth opportunities taking place.

So God reminded me to focus on the life blooming before me rather than the death that took place first. For too long I see that spot and think death. Yes, death happened, but new life comes over and over with each year.

When a relationship or situation shifts seasons, maybe it’s time to properly grieve what we’ve lost. And then. Open our hands to the new thing giving birth. Sometimes in that very same relationship or situation. Sometimes in something completely new altogether. Wherever our paths lead, if we are holding hands with Jesus, we can trust He will keep us steady along the way.

How a simple song can shift everything

When I hear God

I seem to hear God the clearest when I’m in the shower or on a run. Maybe because I can’t multitask or fall into distraction with the ding of the phone or the hum of life. On one particular day, I lingered in the shower as the Lord dropped in my mind images and instructions from His Word.

I recently found myself in situations that felt like a constant assault from the enemy. One thing after another. I found it so easy to fall into despair and discouragement.

When I don’t like what I hear

I felt the Lord say, “Sing.” My initial thought went something like this, “I don’t feel like singing.”

I heard the words of a friend saying to do the right thing doesn’t have to come from feelings first. In fact, often we must make a choice to do what we don’t feel like doing. It will feel uncomfortable at first but over time, the feelings may follow. I’ve pondered that because my feelings stop me from doing the right and good thing far too often. When that person is wrong according to me, I don’t feel like showing love. Yet, I should.

Sometimes I have this interaction with God where it’s a back and forth volley. I am giving all my reasons and justifications for why what He says makes no sense to me. Yet, He patiently listens then offers maybe a word, or a picture, or a scene, or a song.

On this day as I told Him I didn’t feel like singing, He brought to my mind the scene from the Grinch where Christmas was stolen and they gathered and sang. It wasn’t circumstance that propelled them to sing. It was from a place of deep contentment and satisfaction. God wanted me to sing from a place of trust.

But there’s another part of that movie I’d forgotten, the part where the Grinch is describing his disdain for the Whos and their love of Christmas. The Grinch says, “And then they’ll do something I hate most of all….” He describes the Whos gathering close together and doing what he hates. “They’ll start singing.”

The Grinch envisioned them singing and became more agitated as he leaned into his dog, Max’s, face saying, “and they’ll sing and they’ll sing, and they’ll sing, sing, sing, sing, sing.” The narrator goes on to say the more the Grinch thought of the singing the more he realized he must stop the whole thing.

We are familiar with how the story goes. He steals Christmas but he couldn’t steal their joy. He couldn’t steal their singing. The material Christmas gone, they gathered and sang anyway.

What God speaks is for our good

The enemy hates singing. Singing is a proclamation that we are firm and steady despite the current situation.

Within minutes of God reminding me of this scene, a song came to mind. I raise a hallelujah. Side note: Do yourself a favor and play this song.

I looked up the lyrics.

Verse 1

I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies

I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief

I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody

I raise a hallelujah, Heaven comes to fight for me

Chorus

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm

Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar

Up from the ashes, hope will arise

Death is defeated, the King is alive

Verse 2

I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me

I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee

I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery

I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me

Bridge

Sing a little louder

In the presence of my enemies

Sing a little louder

Louder than the unbelief

Sing a little louder

My weapon is a melody

Sing a little louder

Heaven comes to fight for me

Tag

I raise a hallelujah

 

What My Singing Actually Proclaims

I remember reading Beth Moore’s book Praying God’s Word and her saying our peace is a secret weapon. When we sing despite our storm, we proclaim our peace out loud.

As I read the lyrics to this song, I realized what I was singing is who God is. He is King. Our hope is alive. He reigns, no storm I face is bigger than my ruling and reigning King. Our hope is in Him not our circumstances here.

A song changes what is happening in my heart by redirecting my attention and affection to God. Off myself, onto God Himself. A song proclaims His goodness. A song sends the darkness away. A song allows Heaven to fight on my behalf.

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

Psalm 100:1-2

 

When Your Child Tells You He Wants To Be In Control Of His Life

“Mom, I have a very important question for you.”

I climbed in the bed, sitting as close as possible. Bedtime. The time they open up and want to talk about all the things.

“You know how I like freedom and independence right?”

I nodded. He continued, “Well, I wondered. Can I make all my own choices for my life from now on? Can I make my own decisions without you guys choosing for me?”

Because he was completely serious, I knew not to laugh or even chuckle. Anyway, I never want to belittle his ponderings.

“Well, Andrew, making choices and decisions for your life comes with great responsibility. It takes much practice and failure to learn.”

His question actually sparked an important conversation I hope he tucks away.

Andrew began to question why his 15 year old brother stays up so much later than him. Why he can’t choose his own bedtime. I explained that Jacob has established trust with us over the course of 15 years. He’s not perfect. He’s made mistakes. But he’s begun the habit of making wise choices. With wise choices comes greater freedom. With greater freedom comes greater responsibility.

“Andrew, you aren’t prepared to carry the load of responsibility that will come with so much freedom. Not yet. I believe one day you will. But we need some practice in smaller areas first.”

He nodded with a heavy sigh.

The following day, I shared the conversation with the older boys. I explained that Jacob has proven we don’t need to dictate a bedtime. He doesn’t misuse the freedom. I explained that when trust is built, it’s a beautiful thing. Freedom in the hands of someone who guards and protects how they walk that freedom out is lovely.

I believe it’s Dr. Kevin Lehman who never gave his kids curfews. He let them choose what they thought was acceptable and found they always came home earlier than he would have even required.

We all long for some breathing room.

Andrew was quiet for a moment. A moment is about as long as he can remain silent.

“Well, are there some choices I can make on my own at least?”

“Yes, I think we can come up with a few. Let’s spend some time thinking about it and discuss in a few days.”

Now I need to shift gears on you a bit. I can’t leave this post here and allow you to walk away thinking it’s merely parenting advice and a sweet story. God has been doing a very deep work in my heart lately. I can’t say I’ve handled it so well either.

But God in His kindness has allowed enough circumstances to press in on me to force me into a place of dealing with what’s easier to stuff in the the dark closets of my soul.

Shame lives in the dark. And it’s time I allowed His light to bring out areas I’ve never surrendered to Him.

Do you remember at the beginning of the year I shared how I didn’t want a word for the year but God gave me one anyway? It was surrender.

You see, Andrew asked a question that if I’m honest, I hold in my heart as well. And maybe you do too? I can resist God when I fight to maintain control. When I have to have my way. When I want to essentially be in control of my own life.

It’s pride. And the thing about pride is that is has so many faces.

I did something that was harder than I realized it would be. I made an appointment with a christian counselor. It is something I’ve felt God nudging me to do for a very long time. But I’ve become a master at telling myself everything’s good and I’m fine. To make that call, I had to admit that I’m actually not fine. I’m not ok.

But maybe it’s ok to not be ok? I’ve spent my life being dictated by an inner perfectionist, even as a child of God. I’ve felt a need to have everything right. And when it’s not right the controller inside me kicks in to make it all right. And then I leave no room for the Holy Spirit because I’m elbowing Him out of the way.

Man. What a gracious God we serve! So good beyond what we fathom. So patient. So kind.

The very day Andrew posed this question, I found out Steve and I would be teaching a lesson on pride vs humility to the kindergarten thru 5th graders at church. I laughed. This is so like God. The very thing He has been trying to refine from my heart is the very thing I’m going to have to teach on?

God didn’t place me in the role of teaching because I’ve figured out how to walk in humility. Nope. It’s so I can lower myself to student and learn. Surrender. Let Him teach me.

Lastly, He told me to get down. Literally, physically lower my physical body. On my knees, on my belly. Get low.

Humble myself before Him. Surrender fully to Him.

Lord, thank you that you love us too much to leave us in our selfish pride and arrogance. Thank you that you will go to extreme measures to shape and mold us into the vessel You desire. We open our hands to You in surrender. We love you, Lord.

 

Does God even hear my prayers? Will this ever happen?

 

7 Minute listen

Does God hear my cry?

“Lord, how long must I keep praying this same thing?”

“Lord, do you hear me?”

“Lord, will this ever happen?”

“Lord, did I hear you wrong?”

Any of these questions sound familiar? Have you found yourself praying so long for something that you eventually stop praying for it?

Maybe you assume God is only good sometimes or to some people or in the right situations.

Where we focus matters

At some point we shift our focus off who God is, and with all intensity, focus on that thing we are praying. All our passion and focus directed at the cry of our heart.

This is the moment doubt is given a voice, fear takes a bold stand, and discouragement hops into the front seat.

A key verse for us to brand into our heart is found at the end of Isaiah 60:22.

“I am Yahweh; I will accomplish it quickly in its time.”

Friends, He isn’t slow to respond.

God is perfect, patient, and right on time.

When the time is 100% perfect, He will act quickly.

God isn’t

  • ignoring us.
  • unkind or cruel.
  • bothered and too busy.

He will accomplish all things quickly in its time. He is perfect. He is Sovereign.

When doubt and fear creep in, we must remind ourselves to take our eyes off ourselves and desires and place them on who God is. This is the secret. This is the key to perfect peace.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Isaiah 26:3

When something begins to weigh heavily on my soul, I have to make a choice. Will I allow what the Lord has defeated to overwhelm me? Or will I choose to remember who He is?

But the Lord.

Sometimes when I read scripture, one or two small words leap out to me. I underline them and toss them around.

Isaiah 60:19 “….but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor.”

But the Lord.

  • When discouragement tempts me to fall prey to its power, I can say, “but the Lord.”
  • When fear screams in tantrum, I can say, “but the Lord.”
  • When doubt whispers in the dark, I can say, “but the Lord.”

Friends, He is good always. Do you believe that with everything in your soul?

If I’m honest, I don’t always believe this to be true. I do in my head, but I don’t let it connect to my heart. I live in a way that conveys the opposite to be true. That God isn’t good always.

What the Bible doesn’t say

A popular misinterpreted passage of scripture tells us God won’t give us more than we can bear. This is not true. We live in a fallen, sin-filled world. Do you mean to tell me the mother who buries her child can bear the weight of that grief? So what happens when she is drowning in the darkest pit she’s ever known? Is she to believe she’s somehow supposed to bear that weight?

When people tell her God won’t give her more than she can handle, what will she begin to think about God?

He promises to be our strength when we are weak. We can’t bear what this world offers us. Only God can do that.

God didn’t say He’d not give us more than we could bear. No, this is what He said.

What the Bible Does Say

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

  • We will face more than we can handle.
  • But Jesus overcame it all.
  • So we must choose to remember “but God”.
  • We must remember His Word tells us He will act quickly in its time.
  • We must remember He is our Healer and our Comforter.
  • By His stripes we are healed.
  • One day He will wipe away every tear.

I’m a part of Community Bible Study. This year we are studying Isaiah. What a book. This is my 3rd time studying this book, and I still struggle through each passage. Today’s commentary is so good I had to share it with you.

“Jesus knew that we tend to give up when prayers are unfulfilled. But God will act on His own timetable, not ours. So we may need to talk with God repeatedly about the same issue. As we do, we get to know Him better. And as we know Him better, we begin to understand how He wants us to pray – “at all times in the Spirit, with…supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18)”

Community Bible Study, Isaiah Vol. 2 page 144.

Some practical help

I wrote a devotion to help us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. It’s so easy to focus on the problems that seem bigger than we know our God to be.

We find ourselves

  • overwhelmed
  • worried
  • and fearful

….because we can’t see a solution or a happy ending in sight. But we look at the wrong spot. We have to teach ourselves a new habit.

Habits are hard to break. I recently read a book The Power of Habits. It was pretty thought-provoking as I considered my thought habits. My worry habits. I bet you have a few as well.

The good news is the brain is pliable and is able to be retrained. We have to retrain our thoughts to focus on who God is rather than what we worry about.

This is why

ebook devotional

Illuminate will take you on a 14 day journey into a more intimate walk with God. It’s gentle and kind to your soul. One day at a time to reflect on His nature. When you see Him by the light of His Word, all the darkness you face will begin to fade.

If you haven’t purchased your copy yet, maybe today is a good day.

Maybe you have a friend you want to encourage? Send her a copy by purchasing and entering her email address.

One final thing

And before I forget, I’ve started a new Instagram account. I’d love if you’d follow along if you are already on IG. And tag a friend or many.

And one more thing, I don’t take for granted you spending your time here with me. In a world where so much pulls for our online attention, you spending this time here with me reflecting on God’s glory means a lot. Blessings to you!

 

 

When time management means learning to become less productive

Work Hard, Rest Well

I’m a doer, a worker. I love efficiency and productivity. I thrive on accomplishing tasks and seeing my tangible, physical progress. The problem is I work better than I rest. The second problem is that I’m rarely satisfied that my work is complete. I set high bars and expectations and can always “do more”. But for a human being, that is chasing something with no finish line in sight.

Perfection isn’t reality. At some point I must choose ‘good enough’ and be satisfied.

God’s Model For Work

I love how God looked at His work, found satisfaction, then rested.

 

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”

Genesis 1:31-2:2

My nature in my work is to simply keep moving forward. I rarely stop, assess, find satisfaction, and rest. Instead, I complete, I plan, I analyze, I re-assess, I work harder, I complete, I move harder and faster. And when I rest, my mind isn’t really at rest. So is it really a rest? Likely not.

When a strength swings to a weakness

When I was a CPA, my boss frequently commended me for my efficiency and productivity. I could knock out some work. That was great for billable hours. But that very strength in my previous career can be downright detrimental to my relationships without careful attention.

Without being mindful of this bent in me, I can mark off my to-do list and miss my most important task of the day – loving and serving the ones right in front of my eyes. Loving them in the ways they receive it, not the way I receive. Not with acts of service, but maybe with quality time or a gift.

Without intentionality to my time, I can complete a long list of chores, yet miss the invitation to conversations waiting on the tips of tongues.

Without planned stops in my day, I may set myself up to be perceived as too busy for anyone to “bother” me.

A little experiment in productivity

I keep a to-do list like most of us. My problem is that I have no problem adding as the day marches on. If I complete everything, I keep working and adding. Then I find myself believing I can never get anything done when in reality, I got more done than I needed to.

I listened to a podcast about tracking time. It was geared towards people who find they waste too much time. Initially, I tossed the idea aside of tracking my time.

I did an experiment one day.

I set timers and wrote down everything I did all day long. At the end of the day I was simply amazed. I honestly found myself unable to believe I really did all I did that day.

The results

Here’s the part I want you to pay attention to. If I had not written all that down, I would have beat myself up over all the things that didn’t get done. I would have focused on the things I planned to do that I was unable to get around to. Things added more than likely as the day moved forward.

We tend to focus on the negatives quicker than the positive. And we can be so harsh to our own selves.

And this is where I felt God drawing my attention. He wanted me to notice how hard I was to myself, how unkind I spoke to myself inside my own head.

He showed me this towards the end of this little experiment of tracking my time. Day one went so well, I tried it a 2nd day. I didn’t want to learn to become more productive. I wanted to learn to be more satisfied in what I’d done and stop trying to do more than is necessary. The reason? I want to enjoy this life with these people in this little pocket of time we’ve been given.

I don’t want to be known when I’m gone as the most productive person they’d ever known. I want to be known for how Jesus shined through my life. I want to be known for how God was glorified in me as I found satisfaction in Him and the life I’ve been given.

On the 2nd day of the experiment, I noticed my thoughts regarding my time. It was always in the negative. Rarely satisfied that I’d done the best I could do, now it was time to rest.

Where I’m headed

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of you. How I’m “supposed” to write in such a way that helps you solve your problems, but I rarely write from that perspective. Instead, I process my life with you right here. Aren’t you lucky 🙂

I find myself in a place, I find what’s a struggle and what’s a help. I don’t always have a solution, but I can share what I’m finding along the path.

The first step in making changes is simply noticing where the problem is. For me, the problem isn’t that I’m a productive person. It’s that I don’t allow myself the freedom to rest free of guilt and I don’t stop and find satisfaction in the work completed.

God shows us this model in His creation. He said it was very good each day. At the end of 6 days, He was satisfied. On the 7th day, He rested.

If the God of the universe can work, find satisfaction, and rest, then we as humans can follow His footsteps.

What a God we serve.

Time is a gift not a dictator.

Time is precious. It’s a gift. Rather than fighting the clock and running myself into the ground exhausted, maybe it’s time I open my hands and surrender the time to the Lord. Time doesn’t get to be the boss of me unless I allow it. I’m choosing to see each day as the gift it is.

“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”

Psalm 90:12

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.