Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Beware of This Invisible Competition!

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message:

As Christian believers, we are called to live set-apart lives. To be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:7). To be in the world, but not of the world. God is the source of all holiness, and in order to live set-apart lives – to be sanctified – we must spend time with Him and allow His Holy Spirit to lead us.

God loves us too much to leave us as we are. He wants much more for us than that! God’s plan is to make us more like Himself… to sanctify us. He is Yahweh M’Kaddst, the Lord our Sanctifier.

Let’s take this street level. I don’t know what your days look like, but mine are pretty full. They start early and end late. Once the sun rises, it seems that coffee isn’t the only thing brewing in my house. An invisible competition brews daily that vies for my time and attention. The competitors are often “good things” that end up to be “time-robbing things” that keep me from God’s best and God’s presence. When I’m kept from God’s presence, I’m also kept from growing in His divine grace: major loss for me.

Have you been there?

Does an invisible competition brew in your home and heart too?

I’m thinking: Yes. We all struggle with this.

So what are some of these “good things” that end up being “time-robbing distractions”? They look different for each of us. We are all like snowflakes and fingerprints: unique. A few good things that come to mind are over-commitment, activity overload, electronics, excessive shopping, volunteering at church or community service. Yep. Went there. Again, none of these things are bad in and of themselves, but they can become a hindrance to sanctification if we allow them to take precedence over our personal growth with Christ.

A big one for me is electronics. Let’s put our computer lives under a spiritual microscope for a moment. I’m an e-girl. I love my MacBook Pro computer, my iPhone, email, instant messaging, and the World Wide Web. Though I’m admittedly fully immersed in the e-life, I’m also cognizant of the fact that the e-world has become a dangerous addiction and spiritual deterrent to many.

I struggle with this personally. These electronic forums host a powerful and efficient opportunity for us to connect with other people 24/7. While much of social media, online surfing, and emailing is innocent, encouraging and fun, they also present us with opportunities to sin and to become distracted from set-apart living.

Over the past several years, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, games and texting have replaced many of our face-to-face conversations. For some of us, time with electronics has replaced and/or diminished our devotion time with the Lord. Online activities have become a new source of temptation for us, an opportunity to live a fantasy or a momentary escape from the daily grind.

A friend of mine recently said, “My computer whispers to me.” Yikes! Mine does too. I readily admit, at times I don’t manage my time efficiently because I give in to the lure of e-life by responding to an audio alert indicating “I’ve got mail,” or to a notification that someone has left me a message on a social media site. As a result, I waste time because I have spent it unwisely – therefore, robbing myself of productive time.

We are warned against this in Scripture. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV).

Now, hear me clearly on this: I am not saying that electronics or computers are bad. In and of themselves, they aren’t bad. I’m simply suggesting that it would be wise for each of us to prayerfully consider the amount of time and energy we devote to these things.

How can we be set apart in our e-life? How can we establish healthy e-boundaries that will protect our purity and our time with God? Perhaps we could start by taking an honest look at the amount of time we commit to our social e-lives versus the amount of time we commit to spending in God’s Word and in His presence each day. (Did that sting? Rest assured it stings me, too.)

The good news is that we can turn to God for direction in all of this. His Word points us to a vital promise of wisdom that will guide us in holiness. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NIV). How awesome is that? God loves us so much that He offers us an endless supply of wisdom. We just need to ask – so that we are enabled to walk in His wisdom and to live each day in His holiness.

Are you holy as God is holy? Do you want to thrive in His divine grace?

When we determine to grow in sanctification and allow God to lead us to deeper places of divine grace, those around us will see the hope of Christ in us. Isn’t that where we want to be?

No matter where we find ourselves on the path of sanctification, it is encouraging to remember that God’s not done with us yet. God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6, NLT)

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Celebrate and Connect

What is Your Addiction?

We are addicted to our thoughts.

We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.

In a recent blog entitled, “9 Addictions that 90% of Us Struggle With”, I was intrigued by how my addictive ways have transformed into other (non-obvious) areas of my life.

Almost every one of us is an addict.  I know, you are probably saying I am not a drug addict or an alcoholic, right?

Here are a few addictions which resonated with me, what about you?

1. COMPARING and COMPETING WITH EVERYONE ELSE.images

I will admit, this has been me for LONG time.  Just when I think I let it go, it pops up in another way in my life.  It used to be about “stuff”, then it was money and prestige, and when I started my own business, it was about whether or not I was “as good as” someone else in the company.

UGH!  It is so foolish to compare ourselves to everyone else, I mean we don’t know what their story.  When you stop comparing, you free yourself to accomplish what matters most to you. You may have to remind yourself time and again you don’t have to always be and do what everyone else is.

Instead of competing with others, how about competing with a previous version of yourself, so you become better. It’s as simple as that. You are not in competition with anybody except yourself; plan to outdo your past.

2. SECRETLY WISHING FOR EVERYONE’S STAMP OF APPROVAL.727fc1ebe7e510a479d45917c494accf

WOW!  I am a people pleaser – always was and work hard to not be one every day.  The truth is you don’t need anyone’s affection or approval, to be good enough in your own eyes.  When someone rejects or judges you, 99% of the time it isn’t actually about you. I know, hard to believe, right? It’s about their own insecurities, limitations, and needs and not their opinion of you.

Your worth is inherent. You are alive, and therefore you matter. You’re allowed to think things and feel things. You’re allowed to assert your needs and take up space. You’re allowed to hold on to the truth you are worthy. And you’re allowed to remove anyone from your life who insists on making you feel otherwise.

3. BEING MORE LOVING TO OTHERS THAN WE ARE TO OURSELVES.

Believe it or not, life gets easier when you are your own best friend. I LOVE this line! There’s absolutely nothing selfish about self-care. If you don’t take good care of yourself then you can’t take good care of anyone else. Because we can’t give what we don’t have. Treat yourself right and you’ll be life-giving to others.

4. BELIEVING WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TO GIVE BACK.

You may not have it all, but you have more than enough so don’t be scared to share.

Generosity isn’t just to help others, it’s also to liberate you. Which is why you cannot live abundantly until you have done something nice for someone who can never repay you. Know this and live graciously. There is no exercise better for your heart and mind than reaching down and lifting people up.

5. DREAMING OF WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN, OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

Before you can truly LIVE today, a part of you has to die first. You have to let go and bury the shoulda, coulda, woulda of your life.  You can’t change a past experience, opinions of others, or outcomes from their choices or yours. Go ahead! Let go. Forgive. Be present and free.

If you are struggling with any of these things, you are not alone! Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly and leave a life free of ALL addictions. The bottom line is, it’s never too late to take a step in the right direction. It’s never too late to break free and become the person you are capable of being. Addictions of all kinds CAN be beaten!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!