less than half

Hey y’all!!

I’m not sure if you’ve ever read the About Me page ….. so, I’m going to give you a quick snippet. (It’s relevant I promise!)

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I’m a middle child introvert but Myers-Briggs says I’m an ENFJ… which basically means I’m an “Extrovert” (high energy, easily distracted, likes to do lots of things at one time, acts then thinks kinda gal. read: passionate!), iNtuitive (big picture thinker who notices new things, trust her gut, and likes to figure things out on my own! Read: self-reliant!) , a Feeler (decides based on and is convinced by feelings, values harmony, motivated by appreciation. Read: emotional!), and Judger (likes things settled, very responsible, prefers finished products, serious, rule lover, who finds comfort in schedules. Read: planner! & it’s Dead on!)!!
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That’s me all day. So, I’m tried learning to wing things a bit but that really doesn’t work well for me. Yet, while I like a plan, toooo many details stress me out. Give me a general direction of where we’re heading and we can make semi-planned, spontaneous stops along the way!

Me being who I am, surprise surprise to know that I’ve already begun asking myself and a couple of my close friends where we want to be come Dec. 31 of this year. Professionally, relationally, financially, etc. This convo is pretty exciting and necessary for me because I believe it helps usto make better choices about what we need to do in order to move towards what we really want. Granted things change, but again… I need a plan, general direction & a goal. It’s fun!!! It gives me something to look forward to, something to work towards, and a way to build & have accountability with likeminded people.

Plans are pretty much equivalent to the scent of the air changing as cupcakes are baking in the oven.  

As a teacher, I do this weekly, every 9 weeks, every semester, & every year. My students have to be at a certain place at each of those points in order for us to end the year prepared to achieve on state tests and advance to the next grade. Planning helps me to set a pace as their teacher/leader and also lets me know if I need to speed up, slow to a cruise, or make a U-turn and start all over again. My students’ educational history and ability also have be considered if I want them to go with me. They have to be more important than my goal, or we all lose come May, right? Regular check ins and evaluations are necessary to know exactly where we are and what needs to be adjusted!

The end of calendar years are typically re-sets for many of us. Times to reflect and adjust. I like to do that daily, weekly, or whenever things feel a bit off or things need to change.

“A man plans his ways but the Lord directs his path.”
Proverbs 16:9

As we are officially nearly a month into the second half of the year, how do you handle your plans? Do you go revisit your resolutions or go back to the prayers you set before the Lord at the beginning of the year and compare them to what is happening right now? Are you further ahead or a few steps behind? Maybe right on track?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we have to be intentional about our lives. We can’t just “wing it” and hope it turns out okay. We have to be so focused on what we’re doing and ensuring that each decision is pushing us towards our goals and it holding us back or diverting our attention. Remember, I’m emotional….. not a robot. So this can be pretty hard for me but the planner in me won’t allow me to get too of course. That planner ruling my life also won’t allow me to deal with too many distractions. Too many commitments on my plate fills me with anxiety!!

There’s also nothing more disappointing than to wake up in a new year with the exact same debt, savings account balance, health issue, personal/emotional baggage, & professsional drama that you went to sleep with the year before.

So! If the first half of the year didn’t end too hot, now is the time to adjust a few things and ensure that the year ends before than the first half of the end did!

How can you do that?

1. Dream big & decide what you want! Figure out where you want to be, what you want to accomplish within the next 5 months! Ask the Lord exactly what he wants you to do for the next few months! This question could literally change the direction of your life, but wouldn’t that be amazing?!

2. Make a plan to get there! Work your fanny off to get where you want to be! Start at the end, and work your way backwards! Ask the Lord to show you exactly how he wants you to accomplish what you’re asking him for!! Another life changing question, but one that could yield some pretty incredible results!

3. Discipline yourself! Being able to control ourselves is the only way we will be able to cover ground and continue progressing! Put whatever necessary boundaries and “rules” in place  to make sure you are successful! Whew! Ask the Lord to teach you discipline, to remind you of tasks, and to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind! I promise he will do it!

4. Commit & persist! Commit to your plan, commit to your boundaries. And, recommit every difficult moment and at the start of each new day! Commitment & consistency are the only ways you’re going to end the year better than it started! Ask the Lord to place people around you that will encourage you and support you in going after your dreams! Ask them to hold you accountable!

5. Find an accountability partner! There’s no better way to make sure you’re moving in the right direction than giving someone permission to help you stay on track! Let that person know what your goals are and what you’re struggling with! Then, allow them to walk with you. It’s scary, you’ll have to be vulnerable, but you will also have someone helping you make hard choices and someone to lean on when you need a shoulder. Nothing keeps you moving in the right direction than having to look someone in the eye and answer for moves made that you said you didn’t want to make and that you agreed you wouldn’t! There is no wiggling from underneath that!

6. Celebrate your wins! Big wins deserve big celebrations, but the smaller wins do, too! I mean, without the smaller wins, there wouldn’t be any big ones anyway, right?! Thank the Lord for his guidance, & get ready to start again at number 1 when you smash every single goal that you’ve met!!

I’m so exited about the end of the year and I hope you are, too!! Jotting down my goals and praying deeply for the what, how, &  who!! I don’t know the Lord’s plan, but I do know he’s there already… I know he’s with me now.. and I know everything from now until then will work out for my good and glory!

Today is July 31st……. where will you be on December 31st? Time to revist our goals and adjust our plans to make sure we accomplish those things we dreamed about at the beginning of the year!

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biggest blessing, deepest frustration

I love music. I learn lyrics very quickly and can listen to the same song on repeat for days. Music hits me to my core; not sure if it’s my two years of middle school cello and violin (which I adored), but it stirs my soul.

One of my favorite songs is “Find Rest” by Dara Maclean. It’s a insanely beautiful song (from chords to lyrics) that remind us that in the chaos of life, we are not only capable of fighting (with the Word of God), not only are we protected by our God, but we can also find rest in our God.  One of my favorite lines (I thought) said “…our dreams are yours”, but actually says “the victory is yours”. Anyone else completely destroy lyrics?! lol. Needless to say, we even have victory in Christ. Which actually belongs to him and let me tell it, our dreams (and children) do, too!

When I ‘heard’ our dreams are yours, tears began to fall as I started worshipping in my shower. My very firm belief is that the Lord plants hopes, dreams, goals, and plans in our hearts. We may not fully understand them, we may be afraid of what we are led to do with them, or even mishandle them…but I ultimately believe that those things he gives us are our ‘work’ to do. He gives us a task that will serve others, build up the body, mature our faith, and allow us to encourage one another as we bear each other’s burdens. So for me, when I think of my goals and the things I’d love to accomplish I recognize that they aren’t for me. Reaching those goals and winning those victories would be to the glory of God and the edification, in some way, of his people.

….that sounds great, right? It is. It’s beautiful.

thing is this….. it is so easy for my biggest blessings, joys, and gifts to become my deepest frustrations and sore places! I get so fixated on our goals and plans, the details and ‘need to do’s’, that serving and loving is overshadowed with stress and pride! I forget that the victory is Christ’s, not mine. That when I honor the Lord with my effort, when I work as unto him, and do everything within my power to accomplish what he has given me, all things work together for my good and his glory. YES!!!!! the Lord said he would give us the desires of our hearts (and he will!) and that we are overcomers (we really are!) and that we will receive victory (yeeeesssss!!!) that it’s not actually us who wins! Because of that truth, we can find peace in the Lord and rest in the shadow of his wings. Rest for our broken hearts, for our weary spirits, and new life for our dreams we may have given up on.

We don’t have to be frustrated, worn out, weary, angry, disappointed, envious, or and hopeless because things aren’t going the way we want them to go or people aren’t doing what we want them to do. We forgot that this isn’t our circus. These aren’t our monkeys. This isn’t our plan and our will to be done. We are doing more running than resting. More monitoring that submitting. More dividing than gathering. More complaining than praising because of our perspectives.

We are so consumed with the what than the how
and inn those moments we  are not longer honoring the Lord.

But, it’s so easy, right?!
Becoming frustrated while preparing dinner and attempting to put a decent meal on the table while every single child in your house seems to have completely lost it. for the love, it is easy.
Becoming short tempered and feeling anxious when you’re experiencing complete overwhelm is fathomable when no one seems to appreciate you or even see you.
Acting and speaking in anger when we’ve been hurt deeply. Consistently.

It’s easy and understandable to focus on what is happening, but that’s not where the fight is.

We become irritable, impatient, and so (do you give me permission to  say it?) so self focused that we are missing the Lord working right in front of us, we miss moments how the Lord is putting things together for us. We’re missing moments that are worthy of so much gratitude and praise, we’re missing moments to soften our hearts and really be with our people. We’re missing moments to share the heart and love of Jesus to those who need it most.

I am guilty, guilty, guilty of all of this but I am so thankful that I am forgiven and freed in Christ. That I am called righteous and holy. And, that the Lord continuous to refine me. So grateful for the grace that holds me close, presses me up against him, and urges me to abide so deeply within him. {Blameless by Dara Maclean}

Because I believe that I am a child of God and that his heart is for me, that he cares deeply for every concern that burdens my heart, and that he will provide every single need I have…..

I can rest. I can have peace. I can live joyfully, serve well,
be forgiving, look to the future with hope and joy,
and love all people as Christ loves me.
Because he loves me.

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…quiet the noise

… in the event you were wondering, these people are not just two years old, but two and a half.
a whole half.
I’ve been a mama for 30 months… and, sometimes it’s still doesn’t seem like it’s fully sunk in yet. 

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Life is noisy.

With kids or without kids, with a spouse or without one, life is loud, chaotic and hard. We have so many things fighting for our focus. So many people vying for our attention. We are constantly distracted. Constantly pulled away. Forever engaged in a never ending battle of deciphering what’s important and what’s priority.

I am the teacher that can’t take a lot of noise…. makes for a really difficult day for everybody.  Tapping, running pencils over spiral notebook bindings, all of it drives me crazy. I literally cannot focus in a noisy environment. I don’t typically watch TV.. I don’t even have cable… but even when I did, I could go all day without turning it on. Unless there was a specific show I wanted to watch on at that moment, why is it on? NOISE! YUCK. vomit. Just turn it off. I can’t deal.

Unless there’s background music.

In quiet or chaos, background music somehow helps my brain balance the irritations and the focusing effect it has on me. It helps my mind to focus on something else besides what is actually causing me to be unloving, impatient, and on edge.  My students already know that there’s going to be music playing and they quickly learn the songs. It’s so sweet to hear them sing along (they have no  idea that they’re worshipping!) as they get to know the music on my Pandora stations. But, let me clarify what I mean when I say “noise”. We aren’t talking party noise or baby shower noise, not even chit chat before church noise….. Not the structured class activity noise or even the playing outside nose. I mean the bickering, the fussing, the I’m-not-listening-to-you-because-I’m-so-engrossed-in-my-noise kinda noise…. Not the girlfriends at dinner clinking glasses, laughing, and catching up noise. I mean the tearing down, the comparing, the trying to fit, the feeling unloved, the negative, the unloving, the judgmental, the unsupportive, the lies…

the noise cousins sun

The noise that I have allowed to overtake my Savior’s quiet voice. The noise that kept me burdened and feeling like walls were closing in on me. The noise that kept me from believing in myself, from seeing me for who I really was. The noise that kept me from doing what I love and “feeling like”doing much of anything else. The noise that kept me on this hamster wheel trying to be enough, do enough, be more than enough, special enough, and whatever else enough that would allow (or force or make or justify) me to be accepted, loved, pursued, wanted, cherished… all of that. It was noise and the noise was suffocating me. I couldn’t breathe or move freely. I couldn’t focus.

That soft, barely there background music is my peace and steadies me …. very much like the Lord in this crazy, hard world. When we are bridled with so much fear, hurt, rejection, and brokenness that the darkness of the night is the only place we sense enough safety to truly feel, when we are caring less and less for people but are going out of our way to do more to out do and hurt them, when we’re ignore their pain and choose not to care, when we need “something” but have no idea what that is….. we have a focusing problem. We’re distracted. There is too much noise. Just like outward noise can distract us and cause us to make mistakes and go off course; allowing the wrong things settle into our hearts and minds, it’s what is repeated over and over again. It’s what we eventually believe is important, it’s what we eventually accept as our own identities and put on as our very own qualities that can very well led us down the wrong path.

Unless we have background music.

...He will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will quiet you with his love.
he will rejoice over you with singing…
Zephaniah 3:17

When we are rooted and build our thoughts, minds, beliefs, and lives on something solid, on what will never crack, change, or weaken, we can withstand the noise. We can have something keeping us focused in the midst of the enemy telling us lies about who we are, people being their <intentionally & unintentionally> meanest selves, and our own minds struggling to believe the best when it may be constantly fed the worst. That solid ground makes it a lot easier for the junk to roll right past us. It’s easier to drown out the lies when you constantly have the truth resounding in your mind

The truth is
you can do it.
you are capable.
you can learn how.
you are worthy.
you are enough.
you are smart.
you will do it.
AND….
You are strong enough, patient enough, enduring enough, and brave enough to wait it out until
the Lord brings all of your needs + efforts + sacrifices + opportunity together at the same time
to create the right time.


rhy 30mths

Even in all of the busyness, doing, traveling, working, driving, and mom’ing so hard….. we get lost. We get lost in expectation, in isolation, in fear, in discontent, in frustration, in weariness and we feel alone. Our glorious imaginations (combined with tricks of the enemy) create so many elaborate scenarios that cause us to feel deep rejection when there is none… deep failure when success is on it’s way…. we feel guilt for doing what we know is right (anyone ever try discipling the cutest 2 year olds ever?) … yet struggle with believing who God created us to be and who he promises He to be to us. (He is good, he is good to us, he plans good things for us! and is with us when struggles and hard times come!)

It’s like the Lord is saying,
“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my sweet girl.
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my son.
Can you hear how loved you are?
Do you see how pleased I am with you?
Allow me to celebrate you, simply because I created you & am delighted in you.
Do you know how much I love you?
Do you know how much I value you?
shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….
Listen to me. Focus on me.”

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I wonder what would happen to our self-talk, to our mindsets, to our friendships and our families when we listened more to who the Lord says we did the noise of the world. If we allowed ourselves to be calmed by the voice and peace of the Lord rather than running around like a crazy person chasing down our fleeting feelings with temporary fixes. When we begin speaking life into others because of the life inside of us rather than using our words to respond with hurt or worse, not respond at all.

hello brokenness.

Wonder how much more fulfilled and confident we would be if we looked to the Lord and enjoyed listening intently on his rejoicing and singing over us… if we worshipped, prayed, and read a bit more and allowed the Truth to dictate how we felt and how we saw ourselves. How much more equipped and joyful would we be when the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy our children & their futures, our marriages and friendships, our hopes and dreams, our own self esteem and views of ourselves. I believe they could stand more of a chance……. and, if they don’t. When things are broken and people go astray, we would still be left laying, kneeling, standing on The Rock. Even if we’re crying (really bawling… let’s be honest. If we cry, it’s a bawl.), left alone, feeling empty, and at what we believe is the end of our rope.

Can we quiet the noise?  Sometimes. Not always. Can we shift our focus so that the chaos isn’t as loud? Absolutely. Noise is inevitable. There has been, will, and forever be an endless list of things and people craving our attention and competing for our love. BUT, when we are rooted in the one love that will never end, that will never push us to the side, or hurt us, it is so much easier to drown out the bad and hear the good and see what’s possible.

My prayer for you…. especially us single mamas…. is that we won’t get lost in the noise. That we won’t lose hope or forget how valuable and loved we are. That we will allow our hearts to be captured by the Lord and filled to overflowing with his peace and joy. That we allow the Lord to quiet our fears, sadness, negative thinking, disappointments and worry with his love. I pray that our background noise keeps us focused and able to be wholly who the Lord called us to be in this crazy, dark world. That we allow ourselves to hope and dream big… give those dreams to the most creative Maker of the universe then give him room to gives us the desires of our hearts.

Your mind feasts on what it focuses on (Lysa TerKurst) so focus on the those things that bring joy, happiness, a positive outlook, Godly perspective, and comfort…. those things that are right, noble, true, lovely, admirable, and excellent…..

focus and feast on the goodness of the Lord.

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