Stay True to Self

When a new year comes, there are so many things we notice about ourselves, that we consider changing everything about us.  We consider changing our physical selves as well as our outlook.

Sometimes in the process, we lose the purpose or reason why we thought we needed to change in the first place.  Are we really that bad of a person that we need to change our whole self? Inside and out?  Should our thoughts and actions meet someone else’s approval?

You were created by a Heavenly Father who made you fearfully and wonderfully.  He chose you to be the way you are:  His!  We grow in and out of God throughout our lives trying to fit the standards of what other people think we should be or act.  If we would just Stay True to Self, you know, the one God created us to be, then we wouldn’t need to fix whatever we think isn’t right with our lives.

Be honest with yourself.  Who are you changing for?  Is it just you or someone else?  What are you trying to prove?  Who are you trying to prove it to and why?  If you feel you need to change, you need to ask God to help you and make sure it’s for you and Him.  God can help you discern what you need to change and why.

Staying true to self is hard work!  You have to believe in yourself and who God created you to be.  You have to have high standards and stand by them.  You have to ask God to guard your heart and body from people who want to change you into the standard of the world.  You have to have morals, character and Don’t Settle!

You are too precious to God to think you are less than His Princess.  He loves you just the way you are!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:14-16 NIV

 

Two Words 2018

Every year I choose one word along with all the other people who choose one word to work on during the new year.  During our life groups (bible study groups), we create momentos to remind us of the one word we choose or God chooses for us.

This year, I prayed asking for God to give me my word because of course He would know what I need!  Well, he gave me trust, love, believe, hope and faith!  I kept seeing these words everywhere, sometimes together and sometimes separate.  It drove me crazy!

This morning in church, where I always have time to listen to God and after really contemplating the words he gave me, We together came up with two words.  Two words that encompass trust, love, believe, hope and faith.  My two words for 2018 are Seek Him!  Two words, one thought!  Wow!

Seek Him in prayer, family, relationships, business, serving, church, children, worship, friends, purpose, dreams, praise and scripture.  Seek Him for every area of my life.  Pure obedience to God!  It has been my desire for so long now to really know who God is and what His promises mean for me.  I’m glad He knows my heart and chooses words that are just for me. Boy, do I need that.

I hope you Seek Him and ask Him to help you find your word if you’re choosing to have one.  Remember He has your best interests at His heart.  If you follow him, he will lead you to unbelievable places where you will meet remarkable people and live an incredibly abundant life!  

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20.

Happy New Year!

Become The Change!

Wow!  It’s almost 2018!  Happy New Year!   Most of us want to set resolutions for the new year, but if you’re like me, you’ll break them before January is over.  I resolve the same things every year:  get out of debt, save money, lose weight, exercise, etc.  Blah, blah, blah!  

There are things this year I want to resolve (the firm determination to do something) and I’m sure, maybe, I will, maybe.  But it’s hard to focus on changing yourself!  You are your worst critic.  So it’s easier to give up and no one really knows anyway; unless you tell them.  

This year, let’s change our mindsets.  Let resolve to focus on others this year.  When you focus on other instead of yourself, you forget all about what you need to resolve.  Begin the change by sharing a smile, a handshake or a hug.  Choose to listen instead of talk, let someone go ahead of you in line, help someone with their groceries, pay it forward in the drive-thru line, invite someone to dinner or the movies, volunteer to babysit a busy mom/dad’s children so they can rest, take someone to church and introduce them to Jesus, make a gift basket for someone who doesn’t get out much and shower some love on a pet.

Simple, but effective.  Not for you, but for others.  It doesn’t take a lot to add to someone’s  life.  It isn’t rocket science.  You don’t have to get out of debt first or save money.  You don’t have to lose weight or exercise first.  You don’t have to be rich and successful.  You just have to be kind, good, faithful, gentle, lovable, peaceful,  joyful, patient and have self-control.  These are the Fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22.  

We want kids in school to change their mindset from “I can’t do it” to “I can try it.”  It’s called the growth mindset.  If we expect kids to change how they think, why shouldn’t we?  You can try to change yourself or you can let God change you while you are being the change for someone else who then can change another and so on.

What do you resolve to do this year?  Is it for you or someone else?  Here’s a tip:  If you let God have control of your life and lead you where He needs you to be, your resolves will be resolved.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Let God give you your future, your new year, your new you!  Your resolves will change, your life will change, you will become the change!  

 

Look Back Often

I know there’s a saying, “Don’t ever look back!” But as a Christ-follower, I look back often. I look back to see how far God has brought me from. How far He has protected and provided for me. Before I was ever born, God destined me for GREAT things. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. (Psalm 139:16)

I’ve lived a life where I’ve contemplated murder, suicide and running away. I’ve had depression. I’ve ruined relationships, friendships and made some really bad choices. And even though these were times I wasn’t a Christ-follower, God was there for me. He was just waiting for me to need him. Waiting for me to call to him, so he could run to me, hug me and remind me that I am destined for GREAT things. Now as I look back on these choices I’ve made and places I’ve been, I praise the God who saved me, protected and provided for me. The God who loves me in my trouble and in my joy! The God who leads me into greener pastures and hides me under his wings.

Look Back to see where you’ve been. Take a moment. Where has He brought you from? How has He protected and provided for you? Your life is not lived by your own strength, but His. You get to make choices, but alone we don’t always make to best ones. We need God to help us make the best choices for our lives. Remember, He ordained our days way before you came to be! We need him to lead us and show us the way.

I still have troubles and sometimes make bad choices, but God is never far away. I call on him more. I’ve learned to pray before making a choice. I’ve learned to wait, be still, and worship. I’ve learned to be content and calm. I’ve learned that being destined for GREAT things requires GREAT patience and GIANT steps!

As you are moving forward on this great journey of life, remember to Look Back Often!

 

 

Children and Technology: What is Appropriate?

In our technological society today, we pick up a child from school and give them a phone or tablet and we don’t have to engage with them, talk about their day or even speak to them. I am so guilty of this also. It’s so easy to do this, but what happens is we allow our children to learn from the internet. Do we really want our 3-16 year olds watching YouTube videos of whatever in the car or in their rooms all alone? Do we really know what they are watching? Do we want to have to re-teach simple skills to our children because we were too busy or to lazy?

I find myself in this web (literally) every Sunday afternoon. It’s my quiet time, my me time, time to myself. But when my grandson is finished playing outside with friends, he goes into his room to play video games and watch YouTube. I’m not saying YouTube is bad, I’m saying we need to monitor what our children watch and listen to. They can learn a lot from what they see on the TV, internet and video games, but not in a good way.

Then they bring this knowledge to school, church, shopping, etc. And it is not appropriate. They can’t separate from what they see because they haven’t been taught the difference. Some children believe that what is happening on TV is real or what is being said they can say. But they can’t!

Children need to see us, hear us and listen to us. We need to see our children, hear our children and listen to our children. The worst scenario is at a restaurant where mom and dad are on the phone and the children are bored because they aren’t doing anything. So they are fighting with the silverware, sugar, ketchup or whatever they can find and get reprimanded because they are making a mess.

Talk to your children, find out what they are interested in and let them know what you’re interested in. Have a conversation! Make up a story! Sing songs, make up songs, read a book together or tell a joke and laughed so hard you want to pee on yourself. Be all there! I know, that’s me too! My grandson and I have the most fun doing this at bedtime.   And what really funny is we are not getting ourselves sleepy by doing this. We are actually keeping ourselves awake, but we are having fun.

Find some way to connect to your child and keep them away from things you know are too old for them and things they spend way too much time on. The internet is an interesting and helpful place, but only if used appropriately.

 

Teach your child at home!

I know this message will step on some toes as well as mine. But this needs to be addressed.

Children are born with no knowledge of how to do anything but cry, eat, sleep, poop and pee. Everything else is taught! Not by the teacher, but by the parent. Your child learns everything from you and the people they are around, good or bad! The Bible, written a long time ago said, “Start off children on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Before leaving home to attend school, with exception to special needs, children should know how to sit in a chair and at the table, respect adults, eat with a spoon, treat others nicely, listen to adults, use the bathroom by themselves, wash their hands, put on their clothes, say please and thank you, maybe “Yes, mam” and “No, mam” or (Sir), wait their turn, and clean up after themselves. This only names a few.

I teach and some kids can’t do these things. A teacher has more than just your child in their class. They have a lot of children who also cannot do these things. Our job is to enhance skills already taught by the parent. Not to teach skills that should be taught at home.

Think about the way you were taught! Someone, before you came to school, taught you how to do these things and more. No one comes to school not knowing how to walk unless there is a medical issue.   Teaching basic need skills are taught by parents from babies all the way to forever.   You will know what your child is learning by what you are teaching them. I know what the children in my class can and cannot do. I know what they need and don’t need. I’ve only had them for 6 months. You have your kids forever, do you know what they know or don’t know? Do you know what they need and don’t need?

A child does not know how to do anything unless they are taught, good things or bad things. What we teach them is what they give back. What someone else teaches them is what they give back. Words, phases, gestures, body language, etc. are taught to them. They see and they do, they hear and they say, we act and they react. If something we do or say or act is wrong or inappropriate, we have to let them know it’s wrong and why. We can’t just laugh it off or ignore it. It will continue until they are taught it’s wrong. We don’t want it to be too late.

Our kids will one day be adults who live on their own and have jobs. What will we see then? Young adults with manners, integrity, honor and respect or rude, jobless, live at home, rebellious children. I chose to believe that wrong can be made right, but it takes more than just the one teacher in a classroom full of children to set the record straight.

As the saying goes: It takes a village to raise a child (African Proverb) that means it takes everyone!

It’s not me, it’s you!

Valentine’s Day can be thrilling and scary! Thrilling if you have someone to share it with and scary if you don’t. But I’m here to tell you that your Valentine’s Day can be thrilling whether you have someone to share it with or not.

Valentine’s Day isn’t you getting something from someone; it’s you giving to someone. St. Valentine’s didn’t get something from the people came in contact with, he gave them something. Love isn’t about what can I get, it’s about what I can give. When you don’t have someone to share this day with you feel lonely, insecure, unloved, ugly and unwanted; I know I’ve been there. I’ve been single for 16 years and felt like it, most of my married life. I have felt this way for many years. But this year, I realized it’s not about me. It’s not about my feelings and insecurities. I don’t have to feel this way. The devil made me do it! He makes me feel this way, not love!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Love will not fail you if you use it well. You don’t love to get something, you love to give something. You are wonderfully and beautifully made. God made you out of love; his love for you! He knew you would be this exciting, creative, beautiful, prosperous, loving, fruitful, caring person. He knew because he created you!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

You are not mistake; you were made on purpose for a purpose. You are not unloved; God loves you and will give the desires of you heart.   You are not ugly; you are wonderfully and beautifully made. You are not unwanted, God wants and loves you! Be free, my friend, of the scariness of Valentine’s Day! Get a box of Valentine cards or candy and share it with your neighborhood or take it to a Nursing home/Retirement home. Invite a neighbor or someone from work/church to have dinner with you. Spend time loving on your kids and take them out all dressed up! Give back, pay it forward. The love you’re looking for doesn’t come from someone else; it comes from you and what God has placed inside of you! Share that love with others and you will forget all about the scariness of Valentine’s Day.

Remember, It not about me, it’s about you!