This week is Holy Week and on Sunday we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection — the centrality of the Christian faith. Easter is my favorite holiday as I’m humbled that God chose to die for my sins and filled with hope of eternity through Jesus rising from the grave. Our God is bigger than death and the grave.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the big-ness of God. When it comes to faith and grace, I’m amazed that the God of the universe sees me, loves me, and knows me. I believe that God can do great things…but my prayer life doesn’t look that way.
When it comes to my prayer life, I’ve made God small. I don’t pray for the big things and then wait in expectation for his answer. I move through my daily life, compartmentalizing as I go, sending out small, easy prayers along the way. Sure, sometimes in the moment there are bigger prayers, but there’s not a lot of faith behind it.
Jesus said that with faith as small as a mustard seed, you could tell a mountain to move from here to there and it would! (Matthew 17:20) Jesus’ disciples were able to heal the sick and raise the dead through their big faith in God and his promises. Do you pray big prayers? Prayers that can only be answered through the work of God?
My desire it to live fearlessly, praying BIG prayers with BIG faith to my even BIGGER God who can do all things. How big is your God?
I’ve been thinking a lot about honesty lately, specifically in relationships. For the most part, I consider myself an honest person. When I worked in retail, my customers appreciated that I would give them honest feedback and let them know if something worked for them, instead of just trying to make a sale. I joke around that if you give me a just a little alcohol, you will be sure to know my opinions about any and everything. 😉 However, when it comes to people who are close to me, I have a harder time being honest.
I can be honest when it doesn’t matter — even when it is with people I consider my friends. I think because there isn’t as much at stake — if they judge me, get mad, or walk away, it doesn’t really matter. I know that I was honest and I can move on in my life.
However, with those closest to me, I’m careful to keep things close to me and compartmentalize instead to sharing how I honestly feel. There’s way more at stake. Yes, I know that the people closest to me should be and are the ones who won’t walk away or leave me, but I clearly struggle with trust.
One of the things that I am working on this year is being more honest with people — those closest to me included — and sharing when I am disappointed or hurt, etc. See, I’m also a people pleaser and want everyone to be happy (that’s a whole other post about how I need to let people feel…), so even when I feel rejected or hurt, I tell people that it’s okay and move on. But by doing so and not being honest, people don’t see how I value them and our time spent together. Clearly, if they mattered, it would bother me.
So, if you have known me for years, be aware that I’m going to be more honest with you. Yes, life happens, so if you cancel a lunch date, I’ll understand, but I’m also going to let you know that I was looking forward to hanging with you and adjusted my schedule so we could spend time together — not to make you feel bad, but to let you know that you are valued…and maybe I won’t be the person that you know you can always cancel on. 😉
My quest to be more honest has already lead to some tough conversations with people closest to me. You know what? They still love me. They didn’t walk away.
How about you? Are you good at being honest with people when it really counts? Who do you need to be more honest with today?
I was listening to a podcast the other day by Marie Forleo and she was talking with someone about determining your worth in business. They were talking about how when you are looking at your worth, whether business or personal, you can’t allow other people to determine your worth. Their thought was that you determine your worth in life.
Yes, other people don’t determine my worth in life and not hearing from someone doesn’t determine my value. My worth is not based on what other people think of me but, honestly, I don’t believe that it’s just about me determining my own worth. See, I don’t trust myself. I’m my worst critic and don’t always believe my true worth. Oftentimes, I dwell on thinking I should have done more or that I’m a crappy mom, etc. Clearly, I’m not good at determining my own worth. So, even though I don’t want others to determine my worth, determining my own worth feels like a big weight as well.
Here’s what I have found: My worth is founded in what God thinks of me. God, my Creator, loves me as I am. I am a Child of God. He made me and I am worth SO MUCH because of Him. And. So. Are. YOU. Whether people believe in God or not, He created them and He loves them. He loves each and every one of us. And all of our worth is vast beyond what we can even imagine.
So, what does this mean for your own life? I have two takeaways.
1. How do you treat yourself if you truly believe that your worth is based on what God thinks of you?
Guess what? You are worth taking time to feed yourself well. You are worth spending the time to feed yourself well/exercising/taking the mental break, etc.
2. Since our worth is based on God and we are ALL loved by Him…how does that change how I treat other people?
Not only do I have worth and am invaluable, but those people walking down the street, even the person who honked at me or cut me off while driving, all of them have worth as well. And they are loved by a Creator who loves them more than they can imagine. I think if more of us thought about other people’s worth when we respond to the environment around us and what we see on social media, it would change how we would respond to them.
So, what is your worth? Where do you find your worth? Are you showing that in your own life and the way you treat yourself? Are you showing that in the way you treat other people?
2020 has been quite a year and now we’ve reached Thanksgiving. Pretty sure we thought life would be back to normal, but as I write this things all around me in my state are shutting down again because of the COVID. As mentioned in my previous blog post, there is always a way to find gratitude through the hard. In fact, gratitude is good for your health and helps with stress levels, etc.! So, I’m choosing to find gratitude in everything. Here’s what I’m grateful for this year:
-When everything shut down in March, we got so much more time with our family…and realized how busy we had become with all of our sporting events. The time allowed us to re-evaluate what we wanted to do as a family.
-I got a new job as the P.E. teacher at Covenant Classical School! The interview process started right before the shelter-at-home began, so we had to get creative with interviews and I was finally hired in June. The job allows me to teach at my kids school and only work during their hours. In October, I left my coaching position at Orangetheory Fitness so that I could continue to be here for my family and stay focused on my new job. It has saved my sanity!
-I’m thankful for our school — the amazing education my kids are getting, the awesome friends and faculty, and that we are IN school full-time!
-My son broke his elbow the beginning of July and needed to have surgery to put three pins in it. That’s not the positive. 😉 Honestly, there was a lot of it that sucked and we called it his “bummer summer”. He missed out on A LOT of stuff. However, so many people were dealing with disappointments in 2020, so he wasn’t alone and the only one doing life differently. My son and I still talk about the sweetness of hanging out in my room and watching movies while he recovered. And again, we were forced to slow down.
-I’m thankful for my son’s baseball team and the amazing boys on the team. They have all become the best of friends and are incredibly encouraging and supportive of each other. Their support when Edmund broke his elbow was HUGE.
-Today, as I celebrate my son’s 11th birthday and the day I became a mother, I am INCREDIBLY grateful for the gift of my children. Every day with them is a blessing and I’m humbled and thankful that God chose me to be their mom.
-I’m thankful for the gift of my marriage that continues to grow stronger day by day. Again, the pandemic has allowed us to have more time to spend together and not rush around…although we have had to learn to be more intentional with our time. 😉 I’m thankful that I’m totally content just hanging around with my husband all day and talking with him. He makes me laugh and smile and is my safe space.
Every time I look back on my life, I can see the obvious ways that God has been working and continues to work in my life. He has used every situation and event to mold me and prepare me for the future. I’m overwhelmingly thankful for his guidance, provision, sacrifice, and love for me — for sending Jesus to die on the cross and take the penalty of sin for me; for the assurance of salvation and an eternity in heaven; that nothing is out of his control; and that, even though I am sinful and fail, I am loved.
“Gratitude not attitude” became my mantra during the beginning of COVID-19. During that time, I would go for long walks — listening to music and spending time in prayer. Sounds fine, however, often during my “talks with God” I would find myself complaining about something someone said and how it hurt me or some other situation. I realized that I could continue down that road or end the negative thoughts. So, I would stop myself in the middle of my pity party and say “Gratitude not attitude.” I would then think of all the things I am grateful for about that person and/or situation. Was it always easy? No. Worth it? Yes.
As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, are you needing to switch your negative attitude to one of gratitude? Where are the blessings in e-learning? In this political climate, where do your thoughts go when thinking about Democrats or Republicans? One party is not all positive and one all negative. BOTH parties have positives and negatives. Find the good in both. You’ll be a much happier person and more able to trust God, when you can see the positives.
How about the Holidays? One of the blessings of COVID is that we are all a lot less busy with parties and gatherings. Maybe this is a chance to focus on your family and the real meaning of Christmas that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle.
It’s not always easy to be grateful…especially in the really hard times. But if you start practicing gratitude now, finding things you are grateful for every day, it’ll become easier and natural to spot the negative attitude and turn it to gratitude. Where do you need to find gratitude today?
The world is a crazy place right now and trust has been on my heart and mind. Whom do I trust? Do I really trust God as much as I say I do? See, with the political climate and divisiveness going on in our country, here’s what I’ve learned: no matter who become President and what is decided, God is in control. He already knows who the next President will be — it’s all a part of His plan for the world. Do I trust Him?
When I am overwhelmed with the arguing around me…I remember that He is in control. When I see the divisiveness on social media, I remember that He is sovereign. When I put my trust in Him, the weight is lifted from my chest and I can rest. I’m thankful that my God is in control and I don’t have to be. That even as I vote, He is determining the next steps for our country and what will bring revival in the hearts of His people. God has not given up on His people and He has not given up on me. This time has also forced me to look at how I trust other people. How many times am I grasping for control of a situation instead of trusting the people around me?
Do I trust God with my kids? Do I trust that my kids will be okay and grow up to love Jesus, even when my husband and I mess up or feel we are lacking? Do I trust that my family will love me when I fail to be the person I desire to be or when I let my emotions get the most of me? Will my friends still want to be my friends when I say or do something stupid?
And I realize that this lack of trust is at the heart of my fears — fear of letting people down because I don’t trust that they will still be there/support me/care for me if I’m less then perfect; fear for my children because I don’t trust that God loves and cares for them even more that I do; fear for the future, because I don’t trust that God is sovereign over all. But God is in control and I can trust him.
On this election day, I find myself at peace, no matter what the outcome. Did I vote? Yes. Do I care about people and our country? Yes. But, I am choosing to trust God and His sovereignty — knowing that nothing is out of His hands. And I am at peace.