Monthly Archives: September 2013

poor in spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5.3

My church is going through a series titled “The Blessed Life.” What does it mean to be blessed?  And with this week’s verse, what did Jesus mean by “pour in spirit?” What are the characteristics of someone who is poor in spirit?

First, let me ask you this: what comes to your mind when you hear the word “poor”?

I picture the multitude of men, women and children I see on the streets of downtown Minneapolis; most of whom are toting signs. My heart aches for them, leaving me wanting to help and yet, holding back based on the mere fact that I’m a single woman in a big city.

I also picture humility. Not in the sense of being humiliated (embarrassed, thinking less of myself), but of thinking of myself less.

Poor :: impoverished, poverty, in need

My pastor pointed out that each of these beatitudes is a characteristic of being a follower of Jesus. These characteristics naturally happen if you truly follow him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. That thought alone was an eye opener for me, a girl who, must like the rest of our known world, grew up in a church where the Christian life was based on works rather than faith. Talk about a liberating truth!

To be poor in spirit is to realize that nothing we have is worth more than the kingdom of God. Knowing this, we become willing to part with anything we have if it hinders us from receiving the kingdom.

There are characteristics of those who are poor in spirit. Like with anything when it comes to following Jesus, this is not a checklist you have to go through to be saved. Works will not save you. Only faith…faith that He is good; faith that He is, was and always will be. Jesus already paid the price. Tim Keller put the gospel so beautifully: “We are most sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

If you Google the topic, you’ll get millions of hits and not all of them are based on the truth that can only be found in God’s Word.  The following are some of those characteristics, as we discussed at church on Sunday and again during our weekly Life Group meeting, and others I stumbled on during my own personal study of this one verse.

The poor in spirit:

  • Focus not on themselves but on glorifying God and ministering to others.
  • Focus on Christ; to be like him is their highest goal. It’s taking on the attitude that they are poor apart from Christ and he is their greatest need.
  • Don’t complain. They accept God’s sovereign control over their circumstances and trust that he will provide.
  • See the good in others; recognizing their own weaknesses and appreciate the strengths of others.
  • Spend time in prayer – picture a beggar begging. They find themselves in God’s presence on a constant basis, seeking his strength and blessing.
  • Will follow Christ based on his terms – filled with praise and gratitude for the wonder of his grace.

Remember, you are more sinful and flawed in yourself that you ever dared believe and, at the very same time, more loved and accepted than you ever dared hope. That statement alone has the strength to bring me to my knees. Wow…

Being poor in spirit is directly related to your faith. Without it you could never come to him, because believing that he is and that he will reward those who seek him.

We must truly believe that he is more valuable than anything we have. Without Jesus, we don’t know what it means to be full. God created us with a need to be filled by him and him alone but we constantly seek fulfillment in the material things of this world, including relationships with other human beings. We’re always hungry. We are always craving something more. Until we see our own poverty, we will never see the value of Jesus Christ. Believing that truth leads to humlity.

We must be humble when it comes to standing before God. We cannot be self-satisfied or proud of our actions….there is no room in a heart that contains self-righteousness for Jesus.

As far as the blessing of the kingdom of heaven goes…I cannot fathom it. I must sacrifice myself (give myself up) for him to gain so much more. I struggle with that concept just like anyone else. I don’t want to wait. We live in a fast-paced, give-it-to-me-now culture with the world at our fingertips….but waiting brings the greatest reward and, if we take Jesus at his word, that reward will be more than we can fathom with our finite minds.

Remember my statement earlier about my upbringing? This truth has been setting me free, piece by piece/moment by moment, from the bondage of legalism. I can’t make myself poor in spirit. Only Jesus, in his infinite mercy and grace, can…through the conditioning of my heart.

Until next week…

dancing with Jesus

Dance.

I’ve always loved watching people beautifully and gracefully move from one end of the dance floor or ice rink to the other. I’ve even come to enjoy watching Dancing with the Stars this year, particularly Amber Riley, who plays Mercedes Jones on the hit TV series Glee. You see, she’s not what Hollywood defines as perfect. She’s not skinny. She’s not morbidly obese either. She’s real. She’s genuine.

And she’s not afraid to show it.

I love that!

I wish more celebrities were like that. The list may be short, but they impact their world more than they know, including Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen DeGeneres, Denzel Washington, Emma Stone, Jennifer Hudson, Tyler Perry, Zooey Deschanel…just to name a few.

Anyway, before I go too far with that tangent…

Have you ever watched professional dancers or skating partners? There’s an intimate dynamic that occurs between them. The crowds ooh and ah over each turn and spin, cameras flash, but the two at the center of it all don’t see it. They are focused 100% on their partner, attuned to the slightest signal, responding instantly, beautifully and effortlessly.

There is a part of me that hopes to actually experience dance one day outside of the walls and privacy of my apartment. I remember wanting to learn the art of it when I was a child but my parents couldn’t afford it…then again, I never mentioned it. I didn’t want to be a “burden.” Looking back, my choice in not voicing that dream also had to do more with fear than anything else.

You see, I lack a certain amount of physical grace. Then again, perhaps an accident-prone young woman would be gifted in that area. I might just have to find out.

Dance:

  • Noun: an artistic form of nonverbal communication
  • Noun: taking a series of rhythmical steps (and movements) in time to music
  • Verb: move in a graceful and rhythmical way

Life is a dance. We get to choose the type: divine or worldly. In choosing the latter, it can be easy to perform for the applause of those around us. Girls dress a certain way to get the attention of boys. We talk a certain way because our friends do. Parents send their children to certain school because it’s what the neighbor or community does. We sometimes even watch certain TV shows or listen to a specific style of music just to fit in.

I’ve been there. I’ve done that. In high school, I dressed a certain way and listened to Limp Bizkit and Metallica (even though I secretly hated it) just so I could fit in or get a little attention. I wanted them to genuinely like me. I was sick of being the outsider, always looking in.

Thing is – any attention and most of the conversations or invitations I received were not genuine. I came to that realization when I began to learn what having a real relationship with Jesus meant…in college.

There are times I find myself riding that same carousel. Around and around I go on a seemingly endless cycle that leaves me empty and never heading anywhere.

But it doesn’t take long for me to realize that I really crave the former: a lifetime spent dancing with Jesus.

I’m wired to.

Remember the description of dancers/skaters in the midst of their act; the intimacy of it?

What if we knew God that intimately? What if we were so focused on Him, so in tune with Him, that like Jesus we could say, “I do only what my Father wills.”? What keeps us from that? What keeps us in angst; keeps us striving and experiencing burnout?

I use to focus solely on me. I sometimes still do.

And I’ve learned, and continue to learn, this important truth: human beings can only serve one thing at a time and we should not have any other idol before God (Exodus 20.3). If I’m going to proclaim I want to worship God with my life, I can’t and shouldn’t esteem the opinions of my friends (or what people in general think) more highly than God’s opinion of me.

Affirmation is a huge thing for me. Encouragement means the world to me. Those things leave me feeling full, flying “high as a kite” (so-to-speak), and feeling better equipped to take on anything that may come my way on a daily basis. They are not sinful things in their own accord, but when I begin to make them my ultimate goal in life, it becomes an idol, or a sin, and therefore, a serious problem. That feeling equipped thing is an illusion…I can’t do anything apart from Jesus (John 15.1-8 , also see Philippians 4.13).

I can either dance for His applause or I can dance for man’s applause, but I can’t do both at the same time.

This is something I’ve been wrestling with for the last couple of years (thank you Beth Moore and two of my dearest friends) and probably will continue to for some time. I know that He’s giving me more than I can handle in this morning, but there is beauty in the fact that I don’t have to face that junk alone. He’s there with me, swinging me through that next dance move.

Romans 12.1-2 has been extremely helpful to me during this time (among others) in my life:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

When we offer our lives to God as living sacrifices, He considers that worship. Dancing with Him is worship. Letting Him into your life is worship. Trusting Him with your life is worship. Life itself should be an act of worship.

I’d like to share a poem penned by Amena Brown that inspired this entry and God has also used it to further the progress Jesus is currently making in the dimly lit corners of my heart and in my life:

Dance with Him ~ Amena Brown

Dance with Him
He puts His hand on the small of my back
Two fingers pressed into the center of my palm
He pulls me close
Steps with His left, my right
I focus on His eyes and try to ignore my feet as they clumsily count one – two – three

I recall that first moment quite beautifully. The only difference is that then, I can envision placing my feet on His, as a daughter would on her father’s, as He took me around the dance floor. Oh, how easy it was to simply trust and believe then.

I can also relate to those clumsy feet. They still are, most days anyway.

Have you ever watched someone learn to dance? Watch this video – see that little girl in the middle? I can relate to her…in more ways than one. 

I’m often like that with God. I’m so focused on what I think needs to be done or on what I already know to do, whether that be reading my Bible, leading a Bible study, fulfilling other responsibilities to those around me and my church; it’s easy to take my eyes off Him. It’s easy to turn what should be an act of intimate surrender into role behavior which ultimately leads to burn-out and ineffectiveness. That happened yesterday…

Nothing went as planned and that just goes to show Who is in charge and it’s definitely not me.

When I surrender to Him, forsaking my ideas and agenda, clearing my mind of everything but Him, everything flows.

I’m trying to trust Him
He knows this dance better than me
I’m still a novice and it’s obvious
I have yet to lean in and let Him control the turns

God knows I’m trying. He definitely knows this dance better than me, little “Miss Know-It-All” that I am. This patience thing is tough.

He takes His time and even when I miss a step
It’s fine
He knows I’m learning

His patience blows me away. I can’t even fathom the depth of it all…

He wants me to put my hand in His
Close my eyes and trust Him
With my life
My heart
With worry
And “I’m so scared”
With hurt
Worth and unworthy
Loving and unlovable
And my heart has been hurt before
I have been burned before
Loved
And endured loss before
I am in no mood for a dance
No mood to be romanced
I have become a grace cynic
And love’s worst critic

This world is a beautiful, broken mess and the echoes of Eden affect every part of it . Life isn’t easy. Life hurts. And that fact makes trusting hard.

Do I trust Him with my life?
With my heart?
With my worries?
With my fears?
With my worth?
With my identity?
With my life’s purpose?
With the pen of this beautiful, broken story; the story He’s given me?

I can honestly say that most of the time, no…I don’t. There’s a huge part of me that wants to, but, in my human condition and the world I’m in make it difficult to simply make that move.

I will continue to strive to trust Him, and, by His grace, I can…One day I will…when His strength has been made complete in me (2 Corinthians 12.9).

He sends me invitations every day
And even though I have yet to RSVP
He doesn’t remind me
He keeps pursuing
Taking steps in spite of me

I always dreamt of being pursued this way. What a wondrous thing it is to realize that I am! If only I would accept this truth each and every day.

He is a songwriter
Composing the notes that hold together eternity
And He wants to teach my limbs to sing
He’s been waiting to watch me let go of woe
And worry…until my soul
Sings in that beautiful voice He gave me
That I have someone come to think
It not so beautiful

He wants me to let go. Will I? When? And I’m guilty of buying into Satan’s lie that the voice God gave me isn’t beautiful. It is!

To dance with Him
I must give in
And give up
Plus
The trust it takes to really love
And I want to love Him unbridled
Believe in Him with a faith that is unshakeable
Like tree roots centuries deep
Until I learn to follow His time
Take deep breaths
Rest my head on His chest
And my cares at His feet
But I never fear –
As long as I depend on me

“As long as I depend on me…” Funny how that works, isn’t it? It’s funny how, when we depend on ourselves, we think we’ve got it all figured out and something happens, forcing us to realize that we don’t. It happens all the time. I really should fear when I find myself making plans without Him. Yesterday is a prime example and still sticks out like a sore thumb. I had planned on coming into work early and was looking forward to an awesome new upgrade to my computer (Windows 7!) prior to the start of my shift. That didn’t happen, nor did the rest of my day go according to plan:

  • Creative juices were flowing and I wanted to finish this post – didn’t happen.
  • Project work needed to be completed – didn’t happen.

I was frustrated, found myself thinking rather negative thoughts (which is not usually the norm for me) and annoyed with the world for raining on my parade.

But…

God spun those plans on their heads and in turn brought a fullness into the midst of that chaos with opportunities to serve my boss, my co-workers and my neighbor when I finally arrived home, not to mention those on the other end of the line on the calls I take on a daily basis.

Countless opportunities.

The frustration ebbed and my general annoyance vanished almost immediately.

God is in control.

When I live in constant surrender to Him, forsaking my ideas and agenda, clearing my mind of everything but Him, everything flows.

Take His hand
Take a chance
Fingertips in the palm of the One who holds galaxies
In His hand
Hand on His shoulder
Heart in His hand
We dance
To a down beat
That keeps time with His heartbeat
Sometimes
It feels like He’s letting me go
When He’s only letting me turn
And sometimes
It feels like He’s letting me fall
When He’s only letting me learn
Sometimes
It feels like He’s letting me go
When He’s only letting me turn
And sometimes
It feels like He’s letting me fall
When He’s only letting me learn
His is the song that never ends
His love
Sinners become friends
He wants to dance with you
Until the only Song you hear
Is Him

To be filled, we must first bet emptied – of ourselves, our sin, our wants, our desires. I believe that anytime we cling to anything – even good things – other than God, they become a hinderance to the working of the Holy Spirit. That job we fear losing, the ministry we can’t let fail, that relationship we’re afraid of letting go, whatever it is…when we begin to strive only for that thing(s) – hold tight to it – we begin to operate in our own will. To be overshadowed, we need to stay surrendered completely, focused on our Savior and not the dance itself. Our actions will otherwise lose power because we’ve left Him behind.

I’m nearing there. I’ve taken His hand. I’m learning to surrender. I’m learning to trust Him with my heart. I’m learning to let Him lead…bending, twirling, twisting, turning, falling…until the only Song I hear is Him.

a blessed life

Blessed.

What does it mean to be blessed anyway?

From the dawn of time (i.e. creation), God has “blessed” those who chose to follow Him into the great unknown, trusting that His ways are better than anything mere humans could concoct on their own.

What does it mean to be blessed?

My church – the Vine (here) – has been camped out in Matthew 5 for the better part of the last two months. We started out combing through what it means to be salt in a world that is decaying before our very eyes and needs and incredible amount of healing, but have since moved on to what we call The Beatitudes where the phrase, “Blessed are…” starts each statement.

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’” Matthew 5:1-12

What does it mean to be blessed?

In the coming weeks, I’ll be delving more into each one as I take part in the study of Jesus’ words with my church. Make note to check back.

But before I move on to that first statement, I’d like to point back to the account of Abraham in Genesis (12.1-3 to be precise), where God introduces us to this man and the promises God made to him. The verses that follow are not only key for the story of Abraham, but of the entire Bible. They establish God’s plan for his people:

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

In those three verses, bless/blessing/blessed is used five times. It’s obviously an important word, but what does it truly mean? Sure, we utilize the word like crazy in our Christian circles, but that doesn’t mean we fully understand its meaning.

Upon further inspection of the verses above, we can see that blessing is the opposite of cursing (vs. 3). We also naturally assume that it is a good thing, and it is. It is a very good thing coming from a God who is ultimately good.

But, there is so much more to that one word.

To bless, or blessing, is about being in relationship; in a right relationship. It’s being able to truthfully say that you are friends with God, that you are one of his people; his child. Receiving good things is not the goal here. No. The more important thing is the relationship. The good things we receive in life (i.e. family, a job, home, etc.) are by-products of that relationship.

Note: anyone can receive these good things/gifts and this is not to be confused with “earning” God’s favor. We can do nothing apart from him to earn his grace/his favor. Nothing. It’s a free gift, received through faith and not by deeds so no one can boast (Ephesians 2.8-9).

And did you catch the last part of that verse from Genesis: “all peoples will be blessed through you…” All peoples.

Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross (Jesus, a direct descendant in Abraham’s line and the fact that he is also fully God), we have been immensely blessed. When he died on that cross for us, he did the impossible and mended the relationship between us and God. We went from being enemies of God to being his adopted children. Because of that momentous act in Jesus, we know that God will look after us, both in this life and in the life to come.

And, it is because of this restored relationship that the characteristics of being a family member of God come into play: Pour in spirit. Those who mourn. The meek. The hungry and the thirsty. The merciful. The pure in heart. The peacemakers. Those who are persecuted because of righteousness. The insulted. The lied about/upon/to. You. Me.

Be blessed in that relationship. The rest is just details.

Happy Autumn

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feeling inspired: a fall bucket list

Good afternoon friends, family and fellow bloggers (or blog readers)! With the storms rolling through the Twin Cities metro area and the change in temperature the last week, I’ve been filling just a tad bit inspired.

Autumn is by far my favorite season.

Sure, I love bits and pieces of the other three – one has to if they choose to live in Minnesota/the upper midwest – but fall…I just love it. Everything about it.

And while I was sipping my pumpkin chai this morning, I felt this sudden urge to write down a bucket list of things I would like to do this year, during this lovely season:

My Fall Bucket List

  • Go apple picking
  • Bake a pie
  • Go on a fall picnic – by myself – this should be fun!
  • Take a scenic drive to see autumn foilage
  • Visit a local pumpkin patch
  • Carve/Decorate 1-2 pumpkins, save the seeds for next spring
  • Take multiple nature walks with a camera
  • Bake and decorate leaf cut-out cookies
  • Host a fall dinner party for my friends
  • Decorate my mantle with a fall theme
  • Buy locally-made apple cider
  • Experience a corn maze, hay ride, etc.
  • Collect leaves, acorns and pine cones
  • Watch football
  • Take in a bonfire — with S’mores
  • Take in a fall festival in a nearby subhurb/small town
  • Bake bread
  • Make soup/stew
  • Enjoy it!

What’s on your list this fall?

Shared Post: Yes, God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle by Michael Hidalgo

Yes, God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

Life will give us too much, and the promise is in the midst of it.
 
ecently, I was going back through my journals and I read words I had written years before: “God, I can’t handle this anymore. I don’t know what to do, but I can’t do this.”The circumstances in my life had become overwhelming, everything was crumbling, and my world was falling apart.

To be honest, if someone had come alongside me at that point and tried to reassure me by saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” I may have punched them square in the face.

That tired, old phrase often sounds more like a taunt than a comfort. When we are down and out and feeling discouraged, hearing those words can cause us to feel like we are not measuring up. It causes us to ask, “If I am supposed to handle this, then why can’t I handle it?”

The truth is, God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle.

The truth is, God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle. There will be times in life when you will feel like you are drowning and there is no one to help you.The words that are meant for encouragement can often serve to only create discouragement. Worse yet, this phrase can tempt us to ignore our suffering and pretend it’s not there. It can lead us to believe the lie that we can do it ourselves; that we can handle it. Which raises the question, “If we can handle anything that comes our way, then why do we need God at all?”

We need to realize that sometimes we can’t make it on our own.

So, where did the phrase about God not giving us too much come from? To answer that question, we need to go back 2,000 years to a small church in the city of Corinth. The Apostle Paul wrote them a few letters, and in his first letter, he reminded them that all people are tempted and often choose to do the wrong thing. Paul’s warning is tied to the reality of temptation and sin that meets us everyday.

With his warning he also gave a promise. He wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is the verse that is so often misquoted.

With regard to temptation and sin, Paul pointed out that we always have a choice: engage in sin or run from it. The promise is that God will always provide a way for us to run from it.

Let’s be clear: Paul was talking about temptation, not suffering.With temptation, we have a choice, but with suffering we often don’t have a choice.

A few months ago, I sat with a good friend who had just learned of his son’s terminal diagnosis. He wept and said, “I’d do anything to give my life for him.” It was one of the most powerless feelings I have ever experienced. All we could do was sit together and weep.

He did not choose this.

In moments like these we feel ground to dust. Rather than stand and proclaim that we can handle it, we should imitate Jesus.

The night before Jesus was executed, He cried out in the garden, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Jesus told His father, “This is too much for me!” We see this kind of thing in the Psalms, too. The Psalmists ball their fists in rage, and shout at God, “Why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22) In their sadness they say, “darkness is my closest friend” (Psalm 88).

What these verses teach us is that it’s OK to feel like we can’t handle it, like we are going to give up. We can cry out, “My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death.” And when we do this, we find God—the one who, in the person of Jesus, suffers with us.

When we become aware that life will give us more than we can handle, we find a promise: God is faithful to meet us in the mess and in the pain.

When we become aware that life will give us more than we can handle and come to grips with this, we find a promise: God is faithful to meet us in the mess and in the pain.And when He does, we learn to recognize our constant need to depend on Him. This is why Peter instructs the Church to cast our fears, worries, suffering and pain on God. He reasons we can do this because God cares for us. When life deals us more than we can handle, we can rest in the reality that God can handle it.

But, if we’re honest, even this can seem like a tired old phrase. Because when it really hurts, God can seem so far away. This is where you and I come in. We need each other to move ahead, and we need far more than tired old phrases.

In times when life becomes unmanageable, we need to be willing to walk alongside one another. When we do this, we put flesh and bone on the person of Jesus. We can be with one another in the midst of suffering, helping each other carry the weight. Which means, that we, as the Body of Christ, have an opportunity.

When we are willing to sit in the pain, to walk with one another when life’s path is difficult and to shoulder one another’s burdens when they are too heavy, we become an embodied promise. We become living proof that while life can sometimes be too much, through the goodness of our loving of God displayed within us, we can move forward together.

 

Credit: here

 

a new adventure

Adventure

Some call it thrill-seeking. Some think that only certain things or activities would qualifiy: climbing Mt. Everest, sailing in the Caribean, going to a foreign country, rock climbing, parasaling, etc. The list goes on…

What comes to your mind when you think of hear or see that word?

For me, it’s my living-breathing-feeble existance. I find it by taking a different route to work in the morning. I find it by exploring a part of the city I haven’t seen yet. I find it by taking a random day trip, driving along any of the scenic highways here in Minnesota. I find it when I return home. It’s everywhere.

Adventure.

I seek it. I thrive on it. I dig it.

When I was a child, I would spend entire afternoons exploring the grove that surrounded my parents’ meager acreage. I’d find mushrooms, bugs, rotting carcasses (I can hear the collective “ugh(s)” and “ew(s)” coming from most of you), and many other things. I collected pieces of wood, stones and colored leaves; creating the greatest of all art projects, some of which my mother still has. I let my imagination soar, pretending that I was Lady Miriam in Robin Hood’s latest quest through the woods or perhaps even Queen Guinevere waiting for King Arthur and his knights to rescue me from the dangers of the trolls that lived in the trees. I also remember building forts with my younger siblings. A smile spreads across my face at the memory.

Adventure.

I tend to get tired of the same-old, day-in-day-out “mundaneness” of everyday life (not all of it, mind you) and refuse to settle. That was evident as a child…I was always moving on to the next thing rather than taking the time to enjoy a current situation or season in my life. I couldn’t wait to graduate high school and get out of that small town/away from the farm. I’ve since learned to appreciate the here and now and take time to live in the moment and enjoy it, but I still prefer change and growth in this beautiful mess of a life I’ve been blessed with and challenge myself in getting there. I probably always will. It’s not always easy and this new endeavor definitely won’t be any different.

My entire life up until this point has been full of adventure.  From those adventures in the “woods” on my parents’ farm to moving to Minneapolis in 2011 to be a part of an active, thriving, living and breathing church and everything in between, I wouldn’t have it any other way. And now, I find myself at the start of yet another in the midst of the ongoing adventure that is my life.

This last Friday, September 13th, I hosted a Party Lite party. This was not my first dance with this company as I have hosted shows/parties with them before, but this time….

God

Iin His ever-constant loving way

had His hand in it.

For the last 3-4 months, I’ve been contemplating searching out another job or some other form of income to help make ends meet. With the cost of living continuously going up and inflation on the rise, we all have to manage this at some point in our lives and that’s where I’m at currently. I’ve spent the majority of that time tossing around ideas of working as a barista at a coffee shop or heading back into retail, both of which do not really appeal to me(outside of the fact that I do love my coffee). Now, I understand that sacrifices need to be made and that this wouldn’t last forever, but my involvement at church and at my main gig need to be brought into consideration.

And boy, have I prayed about it.

Enter in this past Friday evening’s event.

I originally scheduled that party to earn credit towards getting a few new pieces for my decor collection (a hobby, for now), but God had other plans.

Through the help and support of some of my closest friends and my consultant’s personal story on how she got started with Party Lite (which was also totally brought about by God), I had some serious thinking to do. My party sales exceeded what I had hoped for and my consultant graciously laid out three different options before me:

  1. Make like your average host and walk away with credit and rewards.
  2. Become a consultant and make like a host…and then some.
  3. Pay $99.00 for the smaller kit and earn similar rewards like those in option one.

Now, the last two options gave me the ability to start working as a Party Lite consultant right away while setting my own hours. Plus, I get the perks of having an online website and great earning potential should I choose that route.

I spent the next couple of hours praying, talking this over with a trusted advisory, adding a lengthy entry to my journal and reading scripture when Luke 17.33 grabbed my attention:

“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and the one who’s prepared to lose his life will preserve it.”

My beloved Jesus spoke those words over 2000 years ago and they still apply to so many things today. He is basically saying, “There are two ways to view life: as something to protect or something to pursue. The wisest are not the ones with the most years in their lives, but the most life in their years.”

I prefer the latter more. While I do hope to live a long life, I want life in the days God has ordained for me more, no matter how long that is. I can choose to take the safe route or I can embrace the adventure God is laying before me.

I may not know what tomorrow will bring, but I know Who holds my tomorrow. If this is one way He’s helping me realize a dream and make it real, along with everything else He’s given me, in this life, I’m all for it. Dreams are becoming reality…and home decorating is just one of the many things I enjoy doing in my spare time. He gave me passion in that area for a reason. Maybe it’s time I realize the full potential He’s given me. And while this new adventure terrifies me on some level, I’m excited too. I’m embracing this. I’m embracing Him.  

You can too. Take the adventurous route. Adopt the child. Teach the class. Change careers. Make a difference.

It isn’t safe, but, what in this life is? Take the chance on Him. He promises that it will be worth it.

**And for those of you who are wondering what Party Lite is or simply want to browse/shop, please check out my website here. If you are in the Minnesota/South Dakota/Iowa or Wisconsin area and would like to book a show, please let me know.

You can also like/follow me on Facebook: here.