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.

 

A generation screened to death

(9 minute listen)

When life loses its wonder

When one of my boys was young elementary, I chaperoned a field trip to an aquarium. Everything we encountered was magical and enchanting, yet a little boy in my group continued to complain, “This is soooooo boring.”

Initially, I ignored him. But he wouldn’t stop.

“When are we leaving?”

“This isn’t fun.”

Each comment he made sucked the joy right away from all the other kids. The rest of the group quieted down their own excitement. I saw these other kids question what they thought was cool and exciting.

Negativity is like that. Spreading like the vicious cancer it is.

I asked the little boy, “What do you think is fun?”

“Video games.”

A rock wrapped my heart and pulled it straight to the depths of my stomach.

Of course this kid was unimpressed with life. His brain was being rewired. He was being screened to death.

Video games seem innocent. They are not.

The goal is to addict

Dig in, do some research on how these games are created. The goal of the developers is to addict our kids. This should be common sense to us. It’s a business. If they can’t hook you, they lose money.

Many tech developers send their kids to tech free schools and their kids aren’t living on screens. They only put them into the world for our kids. Not their own. What does that tell us?

It’s only getting worse. Each new fad game released has to up the bar. It has to beat the game losing its grip.

These games do NOT have your child’s best interest in mind. They have a mission to entertain all the way to addiction.

We are screening our kids to death.

We are killing what could be in them and our families. You may think I’m being overly dramatic.

Listen, satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And he comes as an angel of light. And he’s a master deceiver. In other words, we will see and encounter life threatening choices and see them as no big deal.

Parents, we are modeling peer pressure to our kids.

I can’t tell you how many parents have said to me the reason they give in is because all the other parents give in. Lord, have mercy on us.

We are stronger than this, parents. How often do we tell our kids, “Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to.”?

Yet, what do we do when we see all the other parents letting their kids feast on these games? We follow the masses. We let peer pressure decide.

We need to be stronger than we are.

Do you know what I’ve never heard a parent say to me? “I wish smart phones and video games were this popular when I raised my kids.” Never, not once have I heard this.

I am constantly overhearing conversations on this topic. I have to literally bite the sides of my mouth to keep from piping into a side conversation. I listened to a mom and a dad (not married to one another) discussing the problems they were facing with their kids’ attitudes and behaviors they believed linked to video games.

The mom ended by saying, “But the games are really good for them. It teaches social skills because when they go to school they have something to connect over and talk about with each other.”

We’ve bought justifications.

In the history of the world has social skills ever been a mainstream issue? Nope.

You know why? Because we were created in the image of God for community and relationship. This is what we were made for!!!! We don’t need to be taught how to connect with each other. Especially kids. Kids are so natural and innocent as they enter friendships and relationships. They talk about everything and nothing.

Screens are killing our ability to connect socially.

Screens are creating death in so many forms in the life of our kids, and we must wake up before an entire generation is lost.

Kids need to be bored.

Boredom is a friend of childhood. It is not our role to remove boredom and keep our kids entertained, occupied, and busy. Yes, they drive us crazy when they are bored, but so what? If they see we don’t budge, they will figure out their own boredom issues.

Kids can’t solve problems because we are too good at solving the problems for them. Oh, you are bored, here watch You Tube, play the XBox, watch movies.

In this state of constant screening:

  • imagination dies
  • invention never gives birth
  • insight lies in a dark cave never discovered.

A mind screened to death.

Something powerful happens in boredom. We become still and quiet. Inventive and creative. Deep thinking begins.

A mind never bored never has the opportunity to discover deeper insights. And we all suffer for it.

We are exchanging long term joy for short term convenience as parents when we put a screen in the hands of our kids.

It’s not easy to grocery shop with babies and toddlers. But how else do they begin to learn the world doesn’t revolve around them and their needs and their entertainment. So much life to see at the store, but more often than not all I see are glowing faces of kids head down in a cart.

They don’t encounter the smiles of strangers or small talk with the bagger. They don’t have to worry about developing patience in a long line. They can simply bury their head in a screen, entertained as the subconscious thought develops that their needs, their entertainment is of utmost importance.

As these kids are screened to death, they are numbed to real life. We all lose in the long run.

We are setting up patterns of addiction.

Kids are living on dopamine hits they are saying are as powerful as any drug on the market. We can’t live with our head in the sand over this issue any longer. The research is available. The resources to understand what is happening to their brains is astounding. The question is – do we want to know?

We are partly living not wanting to know. When we know, we suddenly are faced with making choices and decisions we’d rather not deal with.

When we know, we can’t un-know.

Say cocaine was legal, yet I know the ramifications it would have, would I allow my child to enjoy it simply because all their friends were? That’s ridiculous. Of course, I wouldn’t.

Screens are legal, but lethal in many ways. Over time, they kill so much of what could have been. They kill moments. They kill memories. They kill relationships. They kill creativity and imagination. They kill passions and desires.

They are killing families. Suicides and teen depression at record highs. When will we pay attention? When it’s our own kid? Then will we care more?

We have a choice.

  • We can choose to create a culture of connection in our home.
  • We can share with our kids the whys behind our choices. When kids understand the why, everything changes. They understand.

It’s never too late to make a change.

It’s easier to set healthy boundaries and patterns when our kids are young, but it’s never too late either.

The last thing I’ll say in this post. I get many letters privately on this topic. I’ve cried over some of them. It’s why I just can’t stop talking about it. One theme I hear repeatedly is that mom and dad aren’t on the same page. I don’t have an answer to this. All I can say is pray. God desires unity.

 

For more posts on this topic, browse through the Electronics category of my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Scrolling through life – Are we living distracted by screens or focused on life?

Living distracted by screens?

I sat behind this family. A pre-teenish aged girl, head down except for brief moments coming up for air, or rather, back into real life. Head back down.

Scroll.

Scroll.

Scroll.

I struggled to disengage following her phone habits. Her distraction from life around us was totally distracting me. The thing is, this is the norm for many teens today. But let’s be fair. The struggle is real for us adults as well.

When she engaged in real life, she complained to her parents about being bored. When she was bored, she picked up her phone.

Scroll.

She bounced from one social media platform to the next.

This isn’t unique to this girl. It’s all of us. It’s me too.

How often do I reach for my phone out of boredom, looking for that next hit of entertainment or distraction?

How often do I reach for my phone for the high of escape?

When I don’t feel like listening to one more complaint or argument, I pick it up.

Scroll.

When I feel awkward waiting for a friend to meet me, I pick it up.

Scroll.

We watched an entire family sitting at a table at a restaurant never looking up until the food arrived. 2 parents, 4 kids – scrolling through life. Missing the life of each other right before their eyes.

What stories went untold? What laughs never broke free? What impact or influence never passed one to another?

Real life vs fake offering

So much life missed trying to stay up on the fake life a screen offers.

We are missing the best and accepting the counterfeit.

This is nothing new.

‘When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”’

Exodus 32:1

They were tired of waiting, so they reached for the counterfeit.

They chose fake over real. They chose immediate gratification over lifelong satisfaction.

The very next verse shocks me.

‘Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.’

Exodus 32:2-5

Aaron so quickly went along with the people and not only joined the masses but led them in their rebellious desires.

We do too.

We know we are trading real life, real connection for the false idol. Yet, we follow. We accept what never satisfies.

As we scroll through life, we are indulging our flesh. We indulge our desire to be entertained. We’ve created our modern day golden calf. We worship at the altar of our screens.

We have a choice to make.

These screens we scroll through will never give us what we truly crave. It’s like eating a diet of candy. Over time we will become sick.

I believe at various times God brings us enlightenment and we have a choice in what to do. We can continue down a path or make corrections.

When we find our scroll is invading our life, maybe a break is what is needed.  A fast in order to refocus our attention and reclaim the moments we’ve been missing.

Focused on Life?

There have been moments that happened I’ve looked back on and thought, “If I’d been buried in a screen, I would’ve miss that completely.” At the same time, I know for a fact I’ve missed countless moments as I’ve lived distracted by the scroll of my phone. I’ll never know what I missed. But I have a choice in each moment to claim it or let it pass.

I want to live a life full of beautiful moments. I want to have relationships that can stand the test of time and life. I want to create memories we can talk about around the table in 20 years.

Living an intentional life means looking ahead at what we desire and choosing today the steps we need to take in order to arrive.

It’s looking ahead and deciding what we want our Thanksgiving table in 20 years to look like and realizing it takes action today to achieve that. Meaningful relationships and moments take nurturing.

Intentional living is living life on purpose rather than scrolling through life mindlessly.

What are we nurturing today?

If you’ve followed along here for some time you know I’m passionate about guarding our families from screen intrusions. When I started writing online my goal was to encourage others to live an intentional life. Ironically, this was before screens were at play. It didn’t take long for screens to begin to dominate in homes and I’m determined to keep preaching this message.

The first post I wrote on this subject circulated into millions of homes. I received messages from parents who felt alone in their desire to raise children who could live with heads up and eyes ahead focused on life. They realized they aren’t alone. If you’d like to read that post you can find it here A Letter to My Sons – The Real Reason I Say No To Electronics.

You can can find other posts I’ve written on this topic by clicking here.

And if you aren’t subscribed to receive posts via email, click here. I rarely post more than once a week and promise never to spam you. I count it a privilege to encourage and inspire you to live an intentional life.