after some time in prayer, you want to minister to someone else who is struggling. We work best when we work in community. I believe it is the perfect example of how our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit work.
I had some great reminders today as I ministered to some folks. As I encouraged them, I heard God speaking to me. When I first started this journey months ago, I had some real fears. I was afraid of drawing. My heart pounded at the thought. It was something I had never done before and was sure I had not talent for it.
Eight months later, the thing I feared has become my love. I love drawing.
So whatever you are afraid of.
Whatever you think is about to overtake you.
It is the thing that is going to bless you the most.
By facing this fear and trusting God, He has blessed me beyond what I could have ever imagined. Stop struggling and go help someone who can’t do anything for you. You will find in those moments, God will speak clearly to you.
Let go and Trust God.
Let me warn you now, any good you see in me is really Christ because there is no good in me except for Him.
15. I did not set out to do this, but as I looked back on it, I have to say I am impressed with God. I did stuff for others and required nothing in return. Atleast once a quarter I donated blood or platelets. It may have been more because sometimes went when they called. But atleast once a quarter I gave so someone else could benefit. This year I also reached out to my friends and we raised money for a family that adopted 4 children into their family of five.
16. I learned to do new things on social media. I started sharing my art on Instagram. It challenges me to see the world differently and use the things I learn. It makes me tell a story in a few shots.
I.love.twitter. There are some of the most wittiest and clever people I have never met. But there are also some of the most stupidiest. I have found hope and joy in the words of others. I have found laughter that almost stops my breathing. And I relish the moments I can join the fight. There is absolutely nothing like when twitter goes in on a person. ( If they ever go in on you, shut up. Do not respond you will only feed the fire.) i.love.twitter.
17. I took some great photos this year and surpassed my goal. There was a good combination of families, individuals and events. They all made me look good. Thank you.
Doing 17 things that I had not done before was not easy. Sometimes it was really hard to do things differently or step out of my comfort zone. I had to think about what I was doing because it is easy to do the same things you are comfortable with, but what does that really get you. What new thing are you learning? How are you stretching your current skill set? Since next year ends in 18, there will be 18 different things on my list. I look forward to what the year brings.
I challenge you to look for 18 new things to do next year. As you accomplish these things, take a photo and share it with us.
Peace and Hairgrease.
Before life gets crazy, schedule an appointment to capture the moment before it is gone. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who knows me, knows that spend my life encouraging others. So it only makes sense that Encourage is in the middle of everything I do. (But it will be funny) Be Encouraged!
The final section for this series is Emotional. It speaks to making social and meaningful connections with others. These are the people you encounter and who influence your life. Sometimes is it family, sometimes it is friends, sometimes it is strangers on the street.
Do I think I can walk out of the house in my pajama pants to run some errands? My sisters and daughter would kill me.
Do you ever really leave BSF leadership? I have friends who still taunt me with “We sure miss you in the mornings.”
The other day I encountered a woman who tried to hold it together while she told me how her life was falling apart. I could not put words together to console her. After she had walked away, the Holy Spirit gave me instructions and I followed His wisdom.
The last couple of years of my life has focused on the connections that influence who I am. One of the things I learned was that the only thing that last forever is your relationship with God. All of our other relationships on earth come to an end but everything else builds on that relationship with God. If you want to have peace, allow God to have the most influence in your life.
If God takes someone from your life, trust Him. He knows what is best for both of you. I had too many influences or the wrong influences. God showed me through a series of trials that things that I thought were true of people was not. People who I did not like, He taught me to love and cherish. People who I loved, He cut from my life.
When I was younger, I had a good friend who I met in college. She had a great deal of influence in my life because we were friends. She was intelligent and well connected. She had a lot going for her. She also had some things going on in her life that God’s word did not approve of. At that point in time, God did not have the influence in MY life to counter the influence she had. God removed her from my friends list and began to teach me His ways. Looking back over my life, He was right.
So today when He starts removing people from my friends and family list, I roll with Him. When He adds people, I roll with Him. I know it is not about me. My influeners list is short. All of the people on this list KNOW God and LOVE Him.
Take a serious look at the people you are connected to. This area of your life can take all your energy and drain you if you allow the wrong people to have influence. I look at the stop signs God has placed in my life and I know He was right.
I remember one time He gave me a “go” sign and I thought He was tripping. I was doing a small group study through my church. I remember sitting at the little table for sign ups. I had one person from church interested in joining my group. Then I watched God surround this Ph.D student with a bunch of seasoned social workers. I remember thinking, “Wow, God that is soo cool.” We have all been praying for each other ever since. Trust Him. My small group is better than your small group.
The only thing better than my small group (and yes my sisters are part of my small group) are my sisters, Pooh and cousin Kisha. I am going to send a shout out to the travel group, WWC because I do not want anyone smothering me with a pillow on our next trip.
I spend time with these people and share life together. We don’t always agree, but we do lots of laughing. Make sure the people who influence your life can make you laugh, support you when you cry and point you to the Most High God all the time.
These are the people who influence my life. They say “That’s stupid, don’t do that.” Or as my younger sister says, “I have friends in this city and do not want to see you on a episode of Cops.” We are family.
I know lots of people going through struggles and difficult times right now. What I have learned from my own struggles is that God is using these adversities to strip things from me that keep me from being what He’s created me to be.
As I reflect on many of the struggles I have had this year, I have a new found freedom. It is a blessing. There is nothing like peace that comes from heaven. It will not go away when the heat turns up in your life. People will look at you funny, like why are you not freaking out about this? When you know the One who controls all things, and you spend time with Him daily, you trust Him.
Sometimes God is trying to get you out of situations or away from people that poison your spirit. Many of us fight it because we have grown dependent on those people or situations. God has to wrench these things from us and it hurts because we have been holding on to them so tightly. God is our only source and He wants us to know it.
We will stay with a job until it destroys our health. We will stay with people who destroy our self esteem. We are physically broken, mentally broken, spiritually broken, yet we want God to do something great in our lives. We are not giving Him anything to work with. We continually fight against the good that God has for us because we do not understand it. When He rips these things from us, we are sad and depressed, but it usually for the best.
This week I began looking at the poison people in my life. If you are one of those people hanging on, watching, not adding anything to my life, your days in my life are numbered. If I have asked you for something and you have ignored me, your days in my life are numbered.
As long as we live in peace, you don’t have to like me. Today’s bible verse confirmed it “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24. Some of the folk who are struggling are trying to keep those many companions and wondering why their lives are in ruin. Focus on the one who will stick closer than a brother. Stop worrying about your haters and think on the one who loves you.
One of my morning readings is The Secret of the Vine by Bruce Wilkerson. God is constantly pruning vines in your life to see that you continue to be fruitful. Stop second guessing God’s decisions. If He has ushered some people out of your life, let them go.
Stop allowing people to drain you and not put anything back. When God cuts them off. Let them stay cut off. Test every person in your life for what they are adding. Even God gets rid of branches that don’t produce anything good.
I am not going back to the way I used to be. I am not going to let people poison me by not valuing the vessel God is molding. I am going to trust the God who leads me. He knows what I need.
God is creating something beautiful and I am going to value it.