Let the good times roll

Recently I have been in a very good place in my life, work is good, Being pregnant, my husband got a new job. We have no complaints over here. Its been a long time since I have been able to make this kind of declaration. It’s an exciting time in my life with lots of changes and growth. I must admit that its been going to my head a little bit. Its very easy to spend time with God everyday when things are not going well. When you are in a PIT (personal intense trial, Wendy Pope) all you have is the Lord.

I talked about this some previously in Using your gift about not doing what I knew I was supposed to be doing because I was so sick. I had a decent excuse then. I was so giddy and happy that it was hard for me to focus on my bible reading and nothing was holding my attention for very long. I knew I needed to get back on track but I just didn’t know how. I asked this question in the leadership class I take at church.

How do you maintain the same level of personal relationship with God when things are going well? 

We have seen many fall in the bible fall victim to their own success, Saul, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, just to name a few. I don’t want that to happen to me. A young lady in the class gave a great answer to my question. She talked about Asa a king in the Old Testament. Asa was king during a time of peace and what he did during peace time was tear down idols and prepare for war. This makes perfect sense! This brings up another set of questions.

How do we today tear down idols? How do we prepare for war?

Clearly we don’t have physical idols to or battles that we need to prepare for but what spiritual idols do you need to tear down? What spiritual battles do you need to get ready for? I am going to talk about how to do this in my next post.

 

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Keep that same energy

I just got back from vacation and it was amazing. My husband knows how to show me a good time. It was exactly what we needed after having a rough winter. I love to travel, going places doing things, just being out of my house and doing something new. Research shows that it’s easier to get through your days if you are planning a vacation or have something to look forward to. Why is that? Shouldn’t we have joy in our day to day?

Keep that same energy is Teyana Taylor new album title. I haven’t listened to it but the title really got me thinking. How do you do that? Once you get back from vacation why is there such a plateau, such a crash? It literally has a name…post vacation blues. When you are on vacation there is such a high and when you get back home its like, uh, let me get back to the grind. I want to break that cycle.

When I got home I didn’t get all sad, like man my vacation is over. Instead I’m making the best of my time here. I’m taking that just go with the flow vacation vibe and carrying that into my work week. I dont want to be down and just waiting to leave again. I want to enjoy my time in my home and in my city, just like I do on vacation.

I want to keep that same energy. I want to be carefree and let the stress roll of my back.

How am I am going to do that?

1. Be here now- when I am vacation I’m not on my phone. I am just enjoying each moment. I will continue that philosophy when I am home, limiting my time on social media and group chats. This way I am in control of what I take in.

2. Quiet time- when I am on vacation I dont have to rush through my devotional. I really get good one on one time with God. It is harder to not rush my devotional at home but it can be done, I just have to be more intentional with my time.

3. Be active- if you can believe it, even though I did a lot of laying around on vacation I actually exercised every day too. Definitely not something I do at home nor will I necessarily be able to duplicate but I can get close. Being active puts me in a better mood than laying around. Instead of getting off work and trying to catch up on shows or social media and I am going to try to do some physical activity.

4. Try new things- best thing about vacation is trying stuff you wouldn’t normally do at home. That can be anything, new food, drinks or experiences. Why can’t we do that at home? I am lucky that I live in a city that I can find all kinds of new things. So once a month I am going to try and find something or someplace I have never been before.

I know none of these things are super hard but it is the small things that make vacation great. If I bring all the small things I like about vacation into my every day life then I can bring a little bit of vacation back with me.

Broken

 

Broken-
having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order 

(of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.

I used to think I was broken using both definitions. That I was living a lie, that I was going out in the world and acting like everything was ok when it wasn’t. I felt like something inside of me was broken and could not be fixed. I had a hole in my heart that was irreparable. I tried a lot of this but nothing could fill it, not partying, not work, not my friends, not my husband, everything I was trying to do wasn’t working.

So in my last resort I turned to God. I’m glad I did. I learned I’m not broken. God made me this way. He has plans for me that are good. I didn’t always believe that or understand but I stayed in the word. It made a huge difference on my outlook in life. There is beauty in my brokenness. I wouldn’t have grown in my relationship with God if I wasn’t broken. Everyday is practice in reminding myself that I have to meet no one expectations but my own.

If you feel broken just know you don’t have to stay that way. There is a way out. You won’t be able to do it on your own, not long lasting. Getting out of your head and closer to God is the only long term solution and potentially seeing a therapist.

Updated: since I wrote the above words Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have both committed suicide. This has sparked debate about what role does prayer and God specifically play in mental health. I think that God is our first resource in working on our mental health. Getting into your bible, prayer, fasting, meditating, it’s all an important part of the healing process. We can’t do it on our own and believing you can may be a fatal mistake. You need tools to overcome things you have been through. Seek help if you need it.

Idol making

The bible describes idolatry as the worship of an image or a created object.

Hair became my idol because I skipped my devotional to do it. Didn’t iron, almost was late to work. All to make sure my hair looked good. It was bigger than hair though. I was listening to Joyce Meyer the other day and she asked, Do you care more about your earthly clothes or your spiritual clothes? Does it take you longer to put on your earthly clothes then your spiritual clothes? I really had stop and think about that. My hair isn’t my idol anymore. We have come to an agreement. I still sometimes take too much time on my appearance and overall look before I walk out the door, rushing to make sure I’m not going to be late. I am getting better but some days it is still a struggle. I never am rushing out the door because my quiet time went too long. Even when my quiet time goes too long, somehow, I am never late for work. Thanks God!

What is your idol? What are you putting in front of your relationship with God? Is it sleep? Is it tv? Is it work? A relationship? Anything you put in front of God is an idol. I never really thought about that before. It’s startling when you get this conviction at first. I know I was shocked but when you start paying attention, it makes a lot of sense.

Don’t let anything become an idol. In the end nothing is as important as your relationship with God. He just wants to spend time with us. I talked about that in this post, Is God your friend? Anything can become an idol, especially when you aren’t paying attention. Stay diligent, the devil always wants you to get your eyes off God and on to yourself. Spending time with God is something you are going to have to be intentional about, just like spending time with your friends or your spouse.

A routine isn’t necessary, he just wants a some of your time. Take some time this week and pray to God to remove anything that is getting in the way of spending time with him.

For more information:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2015/08/17/what-does-idolatry-mean-a-biblical-definition-of-idolatry/

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/idolatry/

Meditation

Meditation is combination of reviewing, repeating, thinking and analyzing. It’s a physical, intellectual and emotional activity, it involves our whole being.

For some reason people seem to have issues with mediation. I’m not sure why. Jesus mediated. We also are told over and over in the bible to meditate so I’m not sure what the big deal is. I guess when people think of meditating they think of someone sitting cross-legged, with incense lit, going hummmm…I’m not sure where this misconception comes from but it doesn’t have to be that way. I feel like meditation is just slowing down your mind and clearing out the junk to let God in.

One of my biggest problems is that I think to much, so mediating before I go to sleep helps me relax and I often wake up more refreshed when I do it. The most common way I meditate is to repeat a verse over and over depending on what was going on that day. Another thing I like to do is put on soft music while I do my devotional or journal. The music doesn’t have words typically. Its not jazz or classical but soft sounds or waves, things that will slow my thoughts down and allow me to drill down more into God, not into myself. I can block out what happened at work or what I saw on tv and just focus on what I’m trying to do. You know how sometimes when you are trying to pray and or read your bible and your mind keeps wandering to everywhere else than where its supposed to be? Listening to this soft music definitely helps. One album I like is Kim Clement Sweet Moments, another is Dreamy Vibes by Spotify. Meditation is way to add some spice to your prayer life and variety. God doesn’t care how you to spend time with him He just wants you to do it.

In doing research online these are some things that I saw about meditation. I do most of these activities on a regular basis but there are few that I would like to do more often such as memorizing verses. I have them written on notecards already but I fall short on the memorization side.

-read a verse over and over

-memorize all or part of it

-personalize it by putting it in first person

-write the verse on a notecard and memorize throughout the day

Do you have misconceptions about meditating? Think about what is stopping you. Meditating could vastly improve your prayer life, your sleep, your overall deposition. When you get a spare 10 minutes try it, I think you will like it.

I just discovered this Abide app through the YouVersion Bible App and I really like it. You have to pay for the longer meditation but I found them on Youtube for free! The guys voice is nice and relaxing and he asks insightful questions to really get you thinking about God, the verse and yourself. I am trying to incorporate these into my quiet time every week. Let me know if you try it.