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Posts Tagged ‘encouragment’

I recently thumbed through a 10+ year old journal expecting to be entertained, if nothing else.

Good grief. IRS instructions are more riveting.

The pages were filled with tedious moping about all the things I longed to change about myself. On and on and on, like a broken record. Just skimming over that stuff now is depressing.

Journaling is healthy, of course. I’m all for it, especially when it comes to keeping track of answered prayer and God’s faithfulness—that’s important to remember. But some journaling, while good for getting gunk off your chest, is just self-centered, navel-gazing pathos (yeah, I know, it’s probably just mine). What I find sad about those years is how long I pined for change—to be a slimmer woman, a holier Christian, kinder mom, more pleasing wife, truer friend, etc. How sad that I clung to such a singular focus for so long, especially when the journals show no indication I ever arrived at the changes I so desperately sought.

At some point I quit journaling. Maybe I finally got fed up with the monotony of repeating myself and the despair of continual failure. Who has time or energy to change when you spend all your time in front of the mirror cataloguing all your flaws?

Actually, I think God finally lured me away from such a self-centered focus. I think he wanted me to stop believing lies about who I was supposed to be, and start making the most of what I have right now. Begin accepting who I am, cellulite and all. Embrace the gifts and interests and purposes God placed in me when he made me. ME, not some air-brushed, magazine cover girl.

I haven’t journaled in well over a decade now. Looking back, I can see many positive changes that have occurred over time. Quiet, lasting changes that came after I gave up trying to bully that unhappy woman into being someone else. Somewhere along the line, God gave me a truckload of patience. And grace. And a great peace in knowing that “he makes all things beautiful in its time.” (Ecc. 3:11)

Maybe it’s a Rapidly Nearing Five-O thing, but now I find the things I stressed about for so long don’t really matter all that much. What matters to me now is to live and love people today instead of putting it off. Listen more. Pray more. Care more about what Jesus thinks and less about what people think. See eternity in every moment. Live each day like a heaven-bound soul.

Q: What about you—have you ever needed to let go of some elusive longing in order to embrace life now?

 

 

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This previous post suggested you don’t have to be a rock star to use your gifts for God. Have you figured out a way to use your gifts? If not, keep looking. If you’re prone to crushing self-doubt, ask Jesus (and have the nerve to believe him). You’ll find it.

As for me, I can safely say I’m a communicator. An “imparter” of words, such as they are. But I’m no Apostle Paul and I don’t have all the answers. Psyche! You thought I did!

I’m not here to dazzle anyone with my two-cents’ worth of wisdom (read: management assumes no responsibility for your bedazzlement). I am simply a traveler who wants to invite mutual encouragement in the faith with the help of God’s life-giving, life-changing word.

What I do know is I’ve always loved to write. Currently I am working toward publishing my faith-inspiring romance novels. Lord willing, it could happen through traditional publishing that produces lovely printed books with stunning covers, or maybe as e-books, or something super innovative and cool that my puckered little brain has yet to imagine.

And I’m okay not knowing because I will continue to write. For me, writing is a lot like being a seed-sower: I scatter seed, but I may not be the one to water, cultivate or harvest the fruit of my labor. Some kind, wealthy landlord (traditional publishing house) may come along and help me produce a crop large enough to feed tens of thousands from my carefully sown words.

I’d like that.

Or . . . one tired, hungry little kid may come along and find the sustenance he needs in my words to make it the rest of the way home. I’d like that too.

Either way, my goal is to do what I was created to do to the very finest of my ability with God’s gracious help.

Remember the prophet Jeremiah? I’m pretty sure he didn’t get nominated Prophet of the Year or score 4.5 stars in Prophets Weekly. He didn’t get many “likes” on FaceBook (though, come to think of it, he did get published…) but being popular wasn’t his goal. He did what he was created to do regardless the response.

I’ll keep sowing “word seeds” and pray God steers me down the paths He has prepared, whether rich or rocky, trampled or tilled. Whether on that path I’ll meet a rich landlord or a homeless kid, who knows. Maybe both.

Here’s the Apostle Paul’s word of encouragement to us:

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”  Romans 1:11-12

Question: Do you know your strong suits, what you were created to do? Have you recognized the unique, recurring spiritual gifts in your life? Please share!

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