Watch Your Step!

“Our messy past, current disasters, and most recent failures can teach us and help us grow into the kinds of people we were born to be.” Jeff Goins

stepping stones2Those problems that are constantly vying for your attention, begging for a solution are the actual means that will carry you to your destination. Each one is a special stone cut out for you to stand on. It was designed to keep you on the pathway and give you that piece of ground that moves you forward. All you have to do is accept the Truth about that issue and stand on it. Each challenge faced will advance you and be your stepping stone.

How else were you going to have opportunity to practice trust in the Lord? How else were you going to release your faith in the desired end result?  How else were you planning to develop your character? It is only done by taking the discomfort of a challenge given you and learning everything you can from it, knowing that God has the answer and it is available to you. With His help you, can step on that stone and move forward.

stepping stones1Today’s Verse: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Try This: Get happy when you think about challenges you face. They are your stepping stones to the life you want! There’s no other way to get there. Dare to be happy today!

Five Minute Friday: Fly

This is my first time on “Five Minute Friday.” The timer is set for five minutes. The clock is ticking. Oh what have I gotten myself into? Well, I am sure to meet some nice folks who can say a lot in five minutes. I am sure to get some inspiration. I am probably the only one who is doing this for the first time. Maybe some of these good folks will be coming over to see my blog and will find some encouragement and a new friend here, so what have I got to lose?

When I think of “Fly,” I see an airplane, hot air balloonand there’s Superman, and then there’s the Fly, the movie that scared me. “Help me!” said the little voice with the man’s face. Did anyone see that? But in my writing, I must use this topic to encourage someone, and reveal myself, and be brief and to the point using powerful words. My fingers have stopped flying over the keyboard, while I ponder the message. And I hear the song, “Up, up and away, in my beautiful balloon.” And I am blasted to the past hearing that song, but then rocketed to the future where in my imagination I am riding in a hot air balloon. I am riding high above the challenges I face amidst the comfort of my life. I get a new and fresh perspective. I can see God’s hand in how it all fits together and creates a beautiful landscape of hills and valleys, rocky places and beautiful green meadows, and I have peace.

I’m Hiding, Come Find Me!

writing1 I have an announcement to make. I am taking a writing course. Yes, you heard that right! I know many of you are thrilled to hear that! There is hope, I might get better. I have just completed my third assignment and since it affects you, dear reader, I am posting it here. It was fun, it was a little different, and it was revealing. The assignment was to write about something that bothers me about myself and to write it for myself. We had just heard a message on being transparent so here is my rough draft about that. Keep in mind that this was to be written as if no one would ever see it, and then, our teacher, Jeff’s final words were, “Now, share it.” Such is life.

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I do not want to be transparent. This lesson is on being transparent and I don’t want to be transparent. I’m not sure I even know how to be transparent. To make matters worse a friend I had invited to critique my work said, “You might consider being more transparent.” Thank you, friend, but I don’t want to be transparent. I would like very much to talk about your problems and tell you what to do about them. I can easily see what you need to do, and I am sure you will be a much more successful and happy person if you will just listen to me and do what I say, but let’s don’t talk about me. Yes, I may have failures and shortcomings and idiosyncrasies, but let’s talk about you and yours. Okay? Good, now what else do you want to talk about? That was me running from being transparent.
I am being transparent about not wanting to be transparent. Here’s more transparency: Now I am afraid my little paragraph is too short, and no one will comment on it, but that is okay because I’m writing for myself, and it was news to me today that I need to be transparent. I am beginning to see that I have been hiding. I don’t want anyone to see my imperfections, failures, and inadequacies. I look through rose-colored glasses, always looking for the good in others, and so I do the same for myself. I see the best in me, but now I’m hearing that you sometimes might need to see the worst in me. My message has been that we should focus on what we want, not on what we don’t want, and I am very good at that. It really does work for me, but I am today realizing that folks need to know that I have had struggles and pain, and weakness and I constantly deal with missing the mark. I write encouraging words because I need them. I really do want to help people, and because I really do I will try to be real, and to admit my struggles more and be specific in how God’s principles have worked and are working in my life. This is a good thing. So what do you want to know. I’m an open book. If you’ve ever had trouble being transparent, please tell me, and tell me how you overcame it. I think that’s the whole point, and I can do this, can’t I?

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My good friend who advised me on transparency was right, and I appreciated the other kind and helpful things she had to share. One of our advisers also gave me feedback which shed a whole new light on my dilemma. She pointed out that being transparent “doesn’t mean I have to show you all my flaws.” She said that being transparent doesn’t mean just dealing with negative stuff. “Victory stories are worth hearing instead of being a victim. Just the short time I have read your posts, I think you are called to share joy, so keep sharing how that works in your faith journey through trials and triumphs and I think you are being transparent. Another word I could use interchangeably is ‘authentic.’ You are a real person, with a real life. Spread your joy even when you don’t FEEL happy.”

Now that’s more good advice. Stay on board, this writer is being stretched and, hopefully, more pliable in the hands of my heavenly Father so that I can be real and help others in some way to be all they can be in this fascinating adventure called life.

Have a great day!

SharySignature

Do Something Part II

something3You are looking for the answer to your problem. You have stared it in the face and looked past the problem. There it is! There is the solution. It may be a little dim, and you can’t quite make it out, but you know it is there. It is in God’s hands. You take a step in the right direction, and it becomes clearer still.

He has the answer, no matter how big the problem or how long it has been going on, He has the answer. Now how do we get it from His hands into your life?

The answer is clearly given in Mark 11:23, “Whatsoever things you desire when you pray, believe you receive them and you shall have them.” I have meditated on this verse thousands of times over my life. It is a friend of mine! Here’s how to apply it to your problem in five steps.

Step 1: What do you want to happen? What do you desire? What do you want?

Step 2: Pray. Ask God to bring this to pass. Don’t skip this step, ask Him for the answer.

Step 3: Now believe you have it, really believe.faith3

The Difference Between Hope and Faith

The scripture doesn’t say believe you are going to have it. This is where most people miss it. It is easier to say it is going to happen, but that is not what the scripture says, and it is not faith; it is hope. Hope is good, but faith is the substance of things hoped for. Faith is bigger and better than hope. Faith is when you believe you already have it. It is real to you.faith2

How Do You Have Faith, When You Don’t Have Faith?

If you substitute the word “think” for believe, you will find how amazingly simple faith can be. The scripture would read “Whatsoever things you desire when you pray, think you have them and you shall have them.” This means feeding the new thought. Accept it as true. Let it roll around in your mind. Give it strength. Use your imagination. When you think you have it, you have it. This is not new age or Scientology. This is FAITH!  Here’s how you get it: Think about having it until you think you have it.faith4

The scripture doesn’t mean, pretend you don’t have a problem, it means “pretend” you have the answer. Focus on the answer, not the problem, but you must focus on something. If you focus on nothing, you will have nothing.

Step 4: Do Something. While we continue to think we have it, we act like we have it. We do something. We DO something. We do SOMETHING! We take a step. Procrastination is an enemy of Faith. If there is something, anything at all that you can do to move even a tiny step forward, do it. While thinking that you have the answer to the problem, take the next step, do whatever you can, and God will direct your steps and bring about all that you dreamed of. This is how we grow. This is how we solve problems. This is Faith.

Step 5: You have it. You have your answer. What so often happens is that through the process, we accepted what we wanted as true and when it happens, it doesn’t seem miraculous. That’s okay. That’s the way God planned it. We live by faith, and we receive what we believe. We get answers to our problems with just enough time lapse that it doesn’t seem like a miracle, nevertheless we get our answers, and as soon as we realize it was Him, we give Him praise.

Today’s Verse: “Whatsoever things you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them (think you have them) and you shall have them.” Mark 11:24

Today’s Action: Follow the five steps to bring your solution from God’s hands into your life. Remember it is your faith that pleases him.SharySignature

Somebody Do Something!

This is for those who have any problem, very small or very large. It may be anything from needing more money, to a job, a new friend, or even healing of a serious illness.

Yes, you have a problem. Yes, you have to deal with it. Yes, God will solve your problem. Yes, you have to have faith. Yes, you have to do something.mark1124

I just recently realized I had a mistaken idea about faith. I like to fix things, and I like to be happy, so if something is broken or someone is not happy, I am immediately looking for the answer. The great news is I have found that God has all of the answers. I have also found that He doesn’t give them to me just because I need them, and often He doesn’t give them to me just because I ask for them. He wants more, and there is no way around it. I have to do something.

The mistake I made was in believing that ignoring a problem was faith. Just shutting down the thoughts about it because it brought me pain was not faith. Turning from the fear to think of something else wasn’t the answer that would set me free. It was like taking an aspirin, it could dull the pain, but never fix the problem. When a problem looms up in your life, you have to face up to it. That is how we grow.

prayer1Ignoring the problem does not make it go away. I thought it did there for awhile, but now I can see we must look that thing in the eye and get a picture of what we are really dealing with. Remember, you are not alone when you do this. Let God help you sort it out. What needs to happen here? What do you want to happen? What are my fears, and where did they come from? I can face my fear. I can face my problem. I don’t have to live with it; it won’t go away just by ignoring it. You must face up to it and with His help, you can do it. This is how you grow. His strength is made perfect in weakness, and He will not let you down.

Pretending it is not there, and saying, “Whatever” will not make the problem go away. It will go on and on for years and will keep you in the same place without having all that God has planned for you. It is overcoming adversity that makes you strong, not just ignoring it because it makes you feel uncomfortable and then just living with it and perpetuating it.

action1You do not have to let fear, depression, or any bad feelings overtake you when you look at your problem. You will feel uncomfortable at first. The enemy does not want you to face the problem. He pretty much likes things just the way they are. He can string you along and keep you down, making you feel miserable and trying to scare you out of doing anything at all, but there is a better way. Face the problem and any bad feelings associated with it, and plow ahead. Remember, you are not alone. God is with you! He will not fail you. All He needs from you is your Faith, your belief, your trust.

So if you must do something, what do you do? First, look your problem in the eye. See it for what it is without the drama the enemy wants to attach to it. It’s real, but it isn’t as bad as he will make you think it is. After you have faced it, then look past it to the solution. How will you feel when the problem is resolved. Finally, ask yourself what step you need to take to move in that direction. You are not going to be solving this problem yourself, God is well able to meet your need, but He does want you to take a step of faith in the right direction. Just try to do something each day that will keep you focused on the solution and will release your faith that God is solving it. Yes, somebody must do something, and you are the one to do it!

In “Do Something Part II,” you will see how exactly to develop the faith you need to face your problem and vanquish it from your life forever!  

action3Today’s Verse: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

Today’s Action: Choose one problem, big or small and look at it. Sort it out. Think about what it would look like when you have the solution to it. Think about how you will feel when it has been resolved. Think what the first very small step would be. Take that small step. In other words, do something.

Special Note:

I know what you are thinking: You simply cannot do it. The fear is too great. There is no way you can change. There is no way you can do the thing you know you need to do. There is no way this will ever change. Just do two things for me, please. First, consider the idea that what if you could do it? If you could do it, what would be one tiny step in that direction. You can always step back. Secondly, take that tiny step into the scary place and then reevaluate.

SharySignature

Do you Dare to Be Happy Today?

I really want you to be happy. In fact, “I dare you to be happy.” I know that you are always up for a challenge. You will hold your head straight up and reach deep inside to draw on what is inside of you to accomplish something that you wouldn’t normally tackle. You’re up for the task. You will take the dare. Why should you dare to be happy? Because you can!

thoughts4You control your happiness! You can do it! Most of us have believed that our happiness follows our circumstances. We will be happy when we meet the right person, have the right job, have more money, get out on our own, or take a vacation. In reality, the opposite is true. Our circumstances somehow change in response to how happy or unhappy we are. If we are happy, we attract the right person. Sometimes even the job we have becomes the “right job,” or we are better equipped through our happy and positive attitude to be chosen for the promotion or better job. Money seems to come more readily to those who are happy and expectant than to those who are complaining about the price of everything going up and how little money they have, or how bad things are. Money seems to run from them. These are all strange but true phenomenon. Circumstances follow our feelings. But how can I control my feelings? Our feelings follow our thoughts, and we can control our thoughts!

thougths2You can go ahead and be happy today because it is a choice. We get in our car and decide to turn left or right. In the same way, we choose what thoughts to accept as true. And this, to a large degree,  determines how happy or unhappy we are.We don’t always do this consciously, more often we do this subconsciously. Very subtle thoughts come to us by the thousands throughout the day. We don’t even realize we are thinking. It is simply the dialogue that continues in our minds.

thoughts7The big lesson we must learn in daring to be happy is  that just because we think it, doesn’t make it so.  Sometimes we accept thoughts that really are not true or relevant to us, but because we accept them as true, we begin to feel unhappy, even miserable just because we gave weight to something that wasn’t necessarily true. We choose whether we will accept a thought and how much weight we give to it. The more we feed that thought the more weight it has. If we dismiss a thought as irrelevant or untrue or unwanted, then it goes it’s merry or not so merry way out of our mind with no effect on us.  Thoughts are just thoughts. We are the ones that give them power. Which thoughts do you want to empower today? Your happiness depends on this!

thoughts1Here are some suggestions:

“I am happier than I’ve ever been!”

“God is with me today. God is helping me today. I am someone very special to the Lord.”

“Everything is working out perfectly for me.”

“I trust in the Lord with all my heart and He directs my steps.”

“I am full of the love, and joy, and peace of God today.”

thoughts5Today’s Verse: “See, I have set before you today life and  death,  good and evil.” Deuteronomy 30:15

Today’s Actions: Choose the thoughts you want to feed today, and dare to be happy.

Be Like a Tree and Prosper

tree1Trees get their nourishment from the soil. That nourishment comes up through the root system in the form of water and minerals into the leaves. Chlorophyll in the leaves uses sunshine to convert the water and minerals into the food needed to produce the fruit of the tree. Over a hundred gallons of water may be brought up daily carrying vital nutrients to the tree causing it to prosper.

“Fill up with My Word, and My life will flow into every area of your life.”

I heard this years ago and I have meditated on this many times, yet it came to me fresh and new this week and sprang up within me with new life. I kept finding verses that whispered the Truth of these words to me. I found it first in Psalm 1 where the psalmist tells us if we but meditate the word of God day and night, “We shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth his fruit in his season. His leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper.” In other words, His life will flow into every area of our lives, just as water and nutrients flow up from the roots of a tree.

How can we fill up with His Word? Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. Take a verse or portion of a verse and simply repeat it silently or out loud and picture what it is saying to you. Fill up with it.

tree2For example, I took Proverbs 3:5,6 and broke it into four parts. The first few days, I just meditated on “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” I asked what that meant and kept repeating it in my mind. One evening some brand new worry thought came to my mind. It was something I could do nothing about. It involved other people. I wanted to keep thinking about what I could say or do to fix it, and then I realized what trusting in the Lord with all my heart meant. I had to turn that worry over to Him. I had to let go of it. As I did, I received peace, and do you know, He took care of it!. I filled up with His Word, and His life flowed even into a situation that I had no control over.

Today’s Verse: But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:2,3 (NKJV)

Today’s Action: Choose your verse, or part of a verse and keep it with you all day. Go to sleep with it on your mind and wake up with it. Make it yours. After you have made that verse your friend, choose another. Over time you will see that truly His life flows into every area of your life, and you are like a tree. You are prospering in every area of your life.