Overcoming, Peace

Gratitude Over Grumbling

Fall brings the excitement of a new school year, fun holidays, and reunions with friends.

As great as all this sounds, it can be tainted with a flood of overwhelm. Shopping for school supplies, costumes, and turkeys when combined with a super-sized schedule of games, meets, and concerts can leave our summer energy quickly depleted.

Grumbling can creep into our daily routine, as exhaustion enters and restoration departs. It steals our joy and reshapes our minds, blinding us to the good that still abounds all around us.

But there is something simple we can do to combat our griping. We can push out our negative thoughts and replace them with gratitude. Giving thanks can take place in a crowded carpool line or at a game. Better still, gratitude sends signals of reward to our depleted brains. Dopamine floods our weary minds, a chemical that gives us a mini-energy boost, lifting us out of our complaints.

What are you grateful for today?

The time it takes for a simple praise might just be the gift you need to make it through the day.

Connection, hope, Love, Overcoming, Power in Christ, Purpose

Responsibilities Illuminate Our Abilities

If we’re honest, when we hear the word “responsibility,” we sigh about the impossible length of our to do list, how tired we are, and how we’ll never get it all done. Our days can be long and time always seems short.

But what if we viewed our daily mundane duties as gifts and opportunities? As Ann Voskamp so beautifully puts it, they’re response-abilities. The opportunity to respond and the ability to make a difference. The ability to help, serve, care for, and react to the needs of others. A source of heart connection. An act of love in the name of Christ.

What if we viewed our responsibilities as gifts and opportunities? As the opportunity to respond and the ability to make a difference. @allison_wixted

When we appreciate our abilities, gratitude moves center-stage. We’re more thankful for things our minds and bodies can do and our hearts beat in rhythm with his grace. We cherish our hands that can wash dishes, load laundry, and prepare meals. Our feet that drive and chase children out of the street. Our minds that make the decision to move our hands and feet even when they’re weary.

Sometimes it takes a loss of ability to fully value our daily responsibilities. An injury, a job loss, or simply aging can jolt us back to gratitude for our former obligations. When we find the need for others to do what we once could, it can leave our servant hearts longing for past abilities taken for granted.

What response-ability are you thankful to be able to take on today?

Help, hope, Overcoming, Self Control

Align Yourself with His Help

Are you in need of rescue? Feeling neglected ashore of the life you wished for? Seeking a life preserver from the life you’ve let fall apart?

Friends, I often find myself longing for help too. Life has tossed me a time or two, and the residual liquid that jumps up and chokes my lungs without notice can wear on my resolve.

So what are we to do as we hold back the tears of our hurting hearts?

Sometimes chips look really tempting. Or scanning our credit cards. Or clicking on Netflix.

But each time I reach for one of these empty idols, I remember that I have more to gain from going to Him than stuffing my mouth, my wardrobe, or my mind with distraction. That the hole I feel was meant for Him to fill.

That when I’m in need, He will strengthen and help me (Isaiah 41:10).

That He stands ready to offer us hope in the face of fear. (Jeremiah 29:11).

That He is our ever present help when trouble strikes (Psalm 46:1).

Christ is all the help we will ever need, anywhere, any time, and under any circumstances. Let’s let Him in and drop the chips, friends.

Growth, hope, Overcoming, Power in Christ, Purpose

Obstacles or Opportunities?

How are you feeling about our post-pandemic world? Are you half-happy and half-stressed? Struggling to release the restorative rest of quarantine, while relieved to move forward into the distraction of pseudo-normalcy?

Honestly, it has been a bit of a bumpy ride for me, friends. The tension between under-stimulation and over-stimulation is real. But what I’m finding is that hidden under all my angst about the seismic shift in our daily lives, there are saplings of significant growth.

The pain and strain we survived made us raw. It stripped away the veneer we usually wear with the world to reveal our most primal desires, needs, and wants. At the time, it may have felt like a root canal with a blunt butter knife, but looking back, we’re able to see the seeds of progress…

The tears we cried turned into advocacy and action.

The anxiety we felt channeled into innovation.

The deprivation we despised transformed into greater gratitude.

The obstacles we overcame became opportunities.

Opportunities to see ourselves and our lives more clearly. To view relationships and kindness as essential, not just add-ons in our busy lives. But most importantly, to seek our Creator as our constant True North, not simply a safe haven on Sunday mornings. To let Him seep into the searing pain and bind our souls’ wounds as we mourned lives lost, schools closed, and events cancelled.

To remind us that when we are weak, we are strong. That in that moment, we were meek, but still blessed. That when the world threatened harm, God meant it for good.

And there it is. God’s promise to be our light in the darkness and transform what human eyes often see as hurdles, distractions, pain, and obstacles into a glorious gift filled with goodness and love. And for that, I am forever grateful to the One above.

Boundaries, Growth, hope, Overcoming, Peace, rest, Self Control

Boundaries Make Us Better

Are you struggling with overwhelm? I’m definitely in it with you, friend! 

I’ve noticed a growing number of us struggle to keep up with the blistering pace of modern life. Technology has blessed us with convenience, but cursed us with hurried hearts. And combined with pandemic overload, we’re all swimming in a sea of sharks ready to attack our peace on a moment’s notice! 

One way we can prevent overwhelm is by creating boundaries. We can set boundaries with our time or with family and friends. Are you missing sticky notes from your paper planner or snapping at family and friends frequently? That might mean it’s time to set some boundaries in your life. 

“But how?” you ask.

Admittedly, it isn’t easy. When we set boundaries to protect ourselves, sometimes they encroach on or offend those around us. But that’s when we have to rely on God’s leading to help us navigate that inevitable tension.

He taught us that boundaries keep us safe and protect us from harm. He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). As branches, to thrive and produce fruit, we must be pruned to prevent overgrowth, disease, and death. We are also dependent on Him for our sustenance, as water and nutrients can only reach the branches via the vine.

So, for us to thrive and survive, we are meant to be cut back. Likewise, as Christ’s image-bearers, we are meant to mirror His example and prune our own lives. Clipping our calendar commitments might actually be an act of worship. Saying “no” to another invitation might be God’s whisper to spend more time with Him. Not responding right away to that text could give you time to pray about your response and better mirror His love. 

When the pushback to our limits comes from the loud world around us and even some well-intentioned people we love, if we put Christ first, we’ll find that standing firm is worth any temporary pain. If we cling to His life-giving love, perhaps we’ll see that the boundaries others might deride actually bring us closer to our Source, our Creator, and our Guide. And friend, that’s a cure for overwhelm we can trust every time, everyday. 

Growth, hope, Overcoming, Patience, Peace, Purpose

Go with Growth

Hi Friends! Thought I would share this little nugget from my instagram microblog with y’all today! I hope it helps heal your heart and brightens your day! If you like quick reads, feel free to follow me on instagram for more!

If we’re honest, growth is forged through trials. And trials are definitely not my jam. I’d rather run from the pain they produce than dig in my heels and persevere.

But our trials prove purposeful if we pivot from our present pain to the future strength we’ll gain…

Lessons learned.
Skills honed.
Connections made.
Love gained.
Prayers practiced.
Minds renewed.
Faith restored.

What if we begin at the end? If we see all the beauty and strength to be birthed from our pain first, perhaps we’d view our emotional labor with love?

Friend, in the name of growth, let’s walk together through the pain with God as our Guide. Ultimate Destination: Eternity. That’s growth more than worth the short-term suffering.