Why Doing and Saying Nothing is Not a Biblical Option

And why how we respond matters so much to God.

A tired and ragged man approached my small group sitting in the courtyard of our downtown church discussing our lesson. He asked if we could help him. We all looked at each other and back at him. None of us twenty-somethings knew what to do so, I’m ashamed to say, we awkwardly did nothing meaningful. As the man walked away he was probably wondering what the point of the church was anyway. That happened over twenty years ago and I’m still haunted by it. The Holy Spirit hounded and convicted me in my prayer time in the days following that encounter. I vowed if I God would give me a “do over” I would behave differently.

Do Something

A few months later, my friend and I were loading our car in the deserted church parking lot after class one late afternoon. I looked across the campus and walking toward us was a man who looked eerily familiar. My companion said to hurry up and get in the car, but I told my friend I would be right back. I took off across the lot toward this man as if he was a long-lost friend and I silently thanked God for this second chance.

It was not the same man as before, just another in a similar situation. I smiled and shook the man’s hand. I asked how I could help him. He seemed surprised by my eye contact and friendliness. He only wanted some directions to the nearby assistance center run by the city.

I gave him directions and asked if there was anything else I could do to help. Did he need food? Did he have a place to sleep? He assured me he was fine and just needed directions. He thanked me for helping him, smiled, turned and walked down the street toward the assistance center a few blocks away.

As I returned to the car, my worried friend asked why I had done something so seemingly reckless. I told her I wasn’t about to run away from the second chance for which I had prayed.

The man really didn’t want anything but directions so it wasn’t like I did much. But the attitude of my heart had been so different this time and I was keenly aware of having done something instead of nothing. I treated the man with kindness, dignity, and respect and provided the directions he asked for. Not much in the scheme of things, but it was far more than I had done in the previous instance of need.

I watch for opportunities now in a different way than I did back then.

When we see need, injustice, or oppression God expects us to move toward meeting the need, working for justice, and lifting up the oppressed. And he expects his children to do so in a manner that reflects his character. 

There are many Christians who provide good role models for doing this. We find the accounts of the earliest in the book of Acts. The many letters in the New Testament also record example after example. And in modern times, we have many role models as well.

MLK Blog Post FI

MLK Wasn’t Just Eloquent, He Walked the Walk

During the 1960s, “while others were advocating for freedom by ‘any means necessary,’ including violence, Martin Luther King, Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience to achieve seemingly-impossible goals.”(1)

We can learn much about living out our faith in Christ by the example set by this courageous preacher and civil rights leader.

I’ve been reading through some of his speeches, sermons, and letters and have compiled a few favorite quotes to share with you. I hope the principles Dr. King voiced and modeled as he worked tirelessly for social justice inspire you to live out your faith and calling with passion and integrity.

MLK Nonviolence

When eight Alabama clergymen directed a statement to Dr. King, he answered their questions and confronted their spiritual hypocrisy from his jail cell in Birmingham.

In this famous letter, Dr. King explains why it would be wrong to ignore the injustices occurring in their city just because he lived elsewhere. If you haven’t ever read the Letter from Birmingham City Jail, I highly recommend you take a few moments today and do so.

MLK Injustice anywhere-rev

While he spoke specifically of racial injustice, the principle applies to all types of injustice. If we ignore when someone else’s dignity and worth are trampled, we will inevitably find ourselves impacted.

Repent of Indifference and Silence

It isn’t just violence we must repent of and guard against. It is also apathy and silence in the face of injustice.

During World War II, Winston Churchill cited a quote from Edmund Burke in order to jolt those in his nation who were complacent when it came to the atrocities committed by the Nazis elsewhere in Europe.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Dr. King articulated that same thought when he addressed the graduating class of 1964 at Oberlin College. This commencement speech, Remaining Awake During the Great Revolution, is also worth reading!

MLK Repent of Indifference 

Truth and Justice Go Hand in Hand

One of the podcasts I listen to regularly is In The Loop with Andy Andrews. One of those episodes introduced me to the joltingly relevant book, How Do You Kill 11 Million People: Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think.

This book examines how the terrible injustice and oppression in Nazi Germany happened at that time in that country. And with chilling and timely insights into how such horrors could unfold again anywhere good people turn a blind eye to evil and deception.

I urge you to read this book. Don’t worry, it’s not a politically slanted tirade. Regardless of whether you are a Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, you’ll be captivated by the careful reflection on why we must demand truth and justice.

Read it to your kids (I did) and discuss with them our responsibility to take action and speak up when we see injustice and to use our votes to support people who tell the truth not just what makes us feel good.

In the book, Andy recounts the eyewitness testimony of a congregation member at a church near the railroad tracks on which the Jewish mothers, fathers, children, and grandparents were packed and transported like cattle to the death camps.

We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.

This very kind of indifference was addressed by King Solomon in Proverbs. He challenged the people of his day (and through the Scriptures, us) to speak up to rescue people in situations precisely like those on the trains in Nazi Germany, in the firebombed churches of Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement, and anywhere people trample over the vulnerable.

If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited. Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we didn’t know about this,’ won’t He who weights hearts consider it? Won’t He who protects your life know? Won’t He repay a person according to his work?”Proverbs 24:10-12

Let’s open our eyes and ears. Let’s repent of our inaction in the face of injustice. Let’s repent and repudiate violence as a means of protest.

10 “King Rules” That Guided MLK

Alveda King, Dr. King’s niece, shares the principles that guided her uncle and the entire King family in her book, King Rules: Ten Truths for You, Your Family, and Our Nation to Prosper. I found it to be quite compelling and insightful.  She tells the story of seven generations of her family through the lens of ten biblical principles that have guided and directed each generation. It was these ten truths that gave them courage to work for change in an unjust society, strength to overcome immense tragedies, and joy through the good and bad.

It is noted in the book that while the title “King Rules” conveys the fact that the King family was guided by these principles, these are really the rules of the King, Jesus Christ. These values endure and empower because they are eternal.

I’ve made you a cheat sheet of these ten principles. If you’d like a copy, just click the image or button below and I’ll email you a copy right away.

I’d like the FREE Cheat Sheet!

Your turn: What helps or hinders you from taking action or speaking up in the face of need or injustice? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

(1) http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king

Make 3 Mindset Shifts and Get Out of Your Fearful Funk

3-mindset-changes

When we are depressed, anxious, or flat-out afraid many of us tend to retreat into hiding. We go to our comfortable spots and hunker down. For me, I tend to burrow into the sofa and escape to the land of Netflix.

STILL WATCHING Netflix

But hiding like that doesn’t solve any of my problems, it just distracts me from them. And far from improving my situation, my passivity almost always makes things worse.

I’ve found my key to getting off the couch is a shift in my mindset. Once my thinking tacks, I find it easier to move forward with action. And the more action I take, the less depressed and hopeless I feel.

Israel’s Cycles of Ups and Downs

The book of Judges records the long years of conflict and oppression God’s people experienced after entering the Promised Land. The stories you’ll find in this book represent a time when the nation of Israel seesawed spiritually, physically, economically, and emotionally from highs to lows.

The story of Gideon, in particular, illustrates the impact of internalizing and living out of a godly perspective. When we internalize biblical truth we are empowered to emerge from our hiding places and walk in God’s strength.

When the angel of the Lord initially seeks out Gideon, he finds him threshing wheat in a winepress. (Judges 6:11) This would be kinda like an angel coming to call me and finding me swaddled in a blanket on the sofa three hours into a Netflix marathon.

Nobody threshes wheat in a winepress. One has to be out in the open where the airflow can seperate the wheat from the chaff. Gideon was clearly hiding out in fear.

The first mindset shift Gideon needed to make in order to come out of hiding and take action are revealed in the words of the angel.

1. Recognize the Lord is with You

The very first thing the angel said to Gideon was, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” God sees in him strength, courage, and capabilities Gideon is oblivious to while focused on his troubles and fears.

judges-6_12

When we remember that the Lord is with us and promises to never forsake us, we begin to shift our thinking toward God and away from the strongholds that drag us down.

Gideon’s response to this first message demonstrates he isn’t yet ready to come out of hiding. He questions the messenger as to why all these bad things are happening to him and God’s people if the Lord is with them.

The angel’s response is the key to our second mindset shift.

2. You Have Strength, Use it!

The Lord’s response via the angel is to the point:

Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)

Our strength is God. And on this side of the resurrection of Christ, we have something eternally that Gideon only had temporarily: God within us.

We must not wait until all our circumstances are ideal. We need to take action now with what we’ve got and trust God to fill in the gap between our insufficiency and what is needed to fulfill our calling.

There is a reason the Almighty uses weak people like me and you: so it is clear the power is not ours but is God’s within us. The power and the glory belong to God.

2-cor-12_9

We can’t boast but we also can’t hide. We’ve got to get off the couch and go in the strength we have. To do this, we need our third mindset shift…

3. Get God Back on the Throne

In reality God actually never comes off his throne of sovereignty. However, when our thinking gets out of wack, we can allow other things to crowd out his rightful place on the throne of our heart and minds.

We must recognize God’s rightful place: first place in everything. (see Colossians 1:17-18)

Colossians 1:17-18 NRSV

Right Thinking Leads to Right Actions

In Gideon’s case, wrapping his head around these three truths capacitated his ability to take action.

His first task: tear down the idols the Israelites had been worshiping instead of God.

Do you see the transition from internal change of thinking to external action?

Taking action is scary. In Gideon’s case (and often in ours) new thinking initiates new actions which brings conflict with his friends and family. We will begin to live differently and in ways that impact those around us. Conflict or disapproval from those around us can be navigated successfully if we have firmly fixed in our mind the three concepts conveyed to Gideon by the Lord.

Gideon tore down the idols. However, please notice, he didn’t do it gallantly. (Judges 6:25-27) Yet, he did it nonetheless. (Judges 6:27) His courageous action originated in his shifted thinking.

"Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway.--John Wayne

 

Seek Reassurance from God When You Need It Then Saddle Up

Over and over again, we see Gideon express his fear as he takes bigger and bigger action in response to God’s leading. When he is scared, he asks God for confirmation and reassurance. God patiently provides. (Judges 6:17, 36-40)

The fear doesn’t go away but Gideon doesn’t allow the fear to have the final word. He gives that to God.

We aren’t action heroes, we are children of God. We don’t have to be graceful, confident in ourselves, or even unafraid. We just need to take action with what we’ve got. And remember, as a believer, what you’ve got is the Lord with you!

not-action-heros

 

If you’re in fearful funk right now, I encourage you to read Gideon’s story in Judges 6. Let it help you incorporate within yourself the three biblical truths:

  1. Recognize the Lord is with you.
  2. You have strength, use it!
  3. Get God Back on the Throne

Then put your new way of thinking into action. Seek reassurance from the Lord as you need to, and come out of hiding. Walk in the knowledge you are a mighty warrior capable of living out God’s call on your life because He is with you.

Fear-Fighting Checklist & Scripture Verses

3 Mindset Changes LM FI

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Quick & Easy Overview of Number Symbolism in the Bible

Get a free printable of the infographic!

Have you ever noticed how certain numbers sure do seem to show up a lot in the Bible? Well, there is a very good reason. In the ancient culture of these texts, the rhetorical use of numbers was accepted cultural convention. Using extremely large numbers of soldiers, for example, was a hyperbolic way of communicating the strength of a king’s army or kingdom. And certain numbers had specific concepts associated with them.

Number Symbolism Featured Image Blog

Familiarity with the concept of number symbolism will help you notice important ideas conveyed in the biblical text.

However, I want to caution you: Be sure to consider the context (literary genre as well as the general context of the particular passage) before assuming a number is used symbolically rather than literally. You can check the notes in a good study Bible or commentary to help you assess the deeper meaning (if any) of a particular number in a particular passage of Scripture.

I’ve made you an infographic cheat sheet of some of the most common numbers. Again, these numbers are not always symbolic but being aware that they can be communicating additional ideas will help you get the intended message from the text.

The infographic is really long, so I’m not sure how it will work on mobile devices.

However, you can get a free copy that is designed to print on letter-sized paper if you click on the image of the infographic (or click the button below it). The printable is actually nicer as I was able to create it using my InDesign software rather than Photoshop.

I hope this information is helpful to you as you study the Word. If it is, please consider sharing this post with your friends and social media networks.

My mission is to help as many people as possible see how God’s truth and grace intersect with their real lives. You can help by sharing my posts using the share buttons above (and in some cases below) each post!

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FYI, if you want to look up the passages mentioned in the graphic, I recommend using BibleGateway.com! It makes it super easy and fast to find a specific passage or look at multiple passages.

Number Symbolism Actual Graphic

You made it through that long image!

I hope you learned something helpful. If you want to look up the passages mentioned in the graphic, I recommend using BibleGateway.com! It makes it super easy and fast to find a specific passage or look at multiple passages.

I listed my sources but wasn’t sure how to make an active link inside the graphic itself. If you’re interested in those here are active links:

Dr. Bob Utley (http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/symbolic_numbers.html)

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (ISBN: 978-0-8054-2836-0)

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (ISBN: 978-0-3104-3158-9)

NIV Bible Commentary (978-0-310-22020-6)

Get a printable version!

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Question: What would you add or change to the infographic? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Are you resolving or surrendering?

When we place our trust in Christ, He places His power in us.

Have you ever noticed how the theme of surrender shows up over and over in the Bible? From Abraham, Moses, Joshua, the prophets, Ruth, the Apostles, as well as Mary and Joseph (just to name a few), the common thread of surrender to God’s will and power weaves its way through the story of each person’s relationship with God. None of them were qualified for their calling. None were worthy. And obedience was usually a bit inconsistent. Maybe you feel that way, too? I know I do. But we can learn much from those who trusted God and moved forward in His power.

trusting-in-christ

Click the image to request a 4 x 6 digital print. MORE FREEBIES AVAILABLE BELOW

In every case the power to fulfill their calling, and the knowledge of the next step of obedience to take, came not when these frail and flawed human beings resolved to accomplish the goal with their knowledge and power, but rather when they confessed their lack of understanding and ability, and declared their need for and trust in God to empower their obedience.

The same is true for me and you. God calls us to much bigger, scarier, sacrificial lives than any resolution or goal we could ever set for ourselves.

How do we respond to God’s call?

We don’t have to know every step we will take in obeying God, we just need to remember the crucial first two steps:

  1. Remember who we are called to follow.
  2. Surrender to Him.

Believing the One who is in us is greater than any obstacle, lack, or opposition we will face equips us to entrust ourselves wholly to the One who calls us out of the comfortable and known and into the uncomfortable and unknown.

One of my very favorite expressions of this kind of surrender is voiced by John Wesley in his Covenant Prayer.

covenant-prayer

⇑ CLICK THE IMAGE TO REQUEST A 4 X 6 DIGITAL PRINT OF THE COVENANT PRAYER. ⇑

Obedience is tied to surrender.

Praying those words of Wesley reminds me of how dependent I am on Christ’s ability to empower me to even say those words, much less live them out.

You see, I know (sooner more likely than later) I’ll think, “I’ve got this!” and begin to trust in my ability, knowledge, and sufficiency to walk out my calling.

Whenever I respond in this fashion, I come up far short of where God desires to take me. Or, more likely, I fall flat on my face in humiliating failure.

I’m not alone. I see this familiar pattern recorded in the Biblical accounts of people who sought to follow God. And I know it from my own past experience.

We need God in order to obey and follow him.

That is why no resolution will be as effective as complete surrender when it comes to trusting and walking in faithfulness to God.

Will we respond like Mary or Zechariah?

Recently I read Timothy Keller’s book, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ. In chapter five, he guides the reader in a detailed examination of Mary’s call and her obedient response. Keller contrasts the responses of both John the Baptist’s father (see Luke 1:5-23; 57-64and Jesus’ mother (see Luke 1: 26-38).

Zechariah’s response illustrates the struggle to believe God’s message when we are not willing to relinquish control to Him.

Like many of us, Zechariah’s response focused on his own ability to bring about the results God promised. Zechariah’s pride doesn’t block God from bringing about his purpose, but it does result in God humbling Zechariah as the Lord reveals how His strength is made perfect in Zechariah’s weakness.

2-cor-12_9

Mary, on the other hand, models what a faithful Christian response entails.

The message and calling the angel conveyed to to Mary went against all she had ever been taught about God. She wrestled with questions, but there was a crucial difference in her questioning and that of Zechariah. Mary’s “How can this be?” was clearly an attempt to understand God’s revealed truth rather than an attempt to stay in control.

Ultimately, she chose to embrace the mystery of God’s plan and surrender to His sufficiency to accomplish it by using her in all her frailty and humanness.

Use these FREE PRINTS to remind yourself from whom your power comes…

As we seek to obey God and fulfill our calling, it helps to remind ourselves often why and how we will be able to reach the goal. It is by the grace and power of God that we can go where He sends us and do what He calls us to do.

I’ve made a few freebies based on the images in this post. You’re welcome to request a copy of any that will help you deepen your trust in Christ.

Freebie #1

By the power of His Spirit-2

If you want to print out and frame the above photo as a memory jogging tool, just click the button below and I’ll email you a link to the file. You can either print it at home on your printer or upload it to someplace like Walgreens or Target and have a 4 x 6 photo made.

Send me that photo!

Freebie #2

Would you like a 4 x 6 print of the Covenant Prayer by John Wesley? Click the button or image below and I’ll email the image file to you.

Send me the prayer!

Freebie #3

Here is a vertical adaptation of the featured image at the top of the post. It is also 4 x 6 so it will be easy to print at your favorite photo processor or print at home. It should slide in a standard frame or just pop it on your fridge, the dash of your car, or put on your mirror as a little reminder of what trusting in Christ is and is not!

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Are you intentionally nurturing your most important relationship?

I have several ladies whose friendship means the world to me. We’ve been friends for nearly two decades (wow, I just felt old saying that). We’ve traversed the topics of conversations from potty training to preparing for college. We’ve weathered the loss of loved ones, career changes, marriage maelstroms, and tensions with our teenagers. While we used to see each other almost daily when our kids were in pre-school, these days face-to-face meetups are a rarity and require intentional planning. But the effort is so worth it! And the same holds true for our relationship with Christ.

i-am-the-vine

No relationship is more important than the one we have with our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. So it is imperative that we are intentional about nurturing our connection with Him.

When the girls and I get together, our fellowship really doesn’t center around the place, the length of time, or even the topic of conversation. While some thought goes into those details, what really matters is we are with each other. Spending time, listening, laughing, crying, or whatever. It is the being in each other’s presence that matters.

true-friends

 

Same applies to my time with Jesus.

I need his presence. And it really is less about where we gather, what we talk about (or if we even talk at all), and how long I get to spend with Him in one particular encounter. The important thing is that I am intentional about communing with Him and soaking up His presence.

I’ve found some of the sweetest times occur when I am purposeful about inviting Jesus to accompany me in the everyday moments of my crazy life. Driving to pick up the kids, shopping for groceries, doing laundry. Mundane, day in day out moments strung together like the macaroni necklaces the boys used to make me when they were little—and just as precious.

Being purposeful is about making something a priority. It is about being a thermostat, not a thermometer, when it comes to living your life.

Thermostats determine the temperature, while thermometers merely react to their environment. One is proactive, the other reactive.

Be the thermostat! Set your expectations and act on life to make them a reality!

When it comes to our most important relationship, we must be deliberate. We don’t have to be formal, complicated, or perfectionistic about it, but we do need to be proactive.

I don’t know about you but if I’m not purposeful in deciding what to spend my time on in my “cuckoo for cocoa puffs” life, I will just bounce around willy-nilly. I’ll get stuff done, but at the end of the day, I will feel like I accomplished nothing and neglected the most essential elements of my life.


If I want to maintain the relationships that are most important to me, I need to put some thought into how I spend my time and with whom. And the One at the top of my list needs to be Jesus or everything else will start spiraling out of control.

Get the Free Guide to Simple Ways to Connect with Jesus

I’ve put together a few ideas for cultivating a closer walk with God. These are strategies and tips I’ve found helpful in my own busy life. If you’d like a copy, just click the image or button below and I’d be happy to email the ideas to you right away.

i-am-the-vine-discover

This two-page guide gives you some ideas for deepening your bond with the True Vine throughout your day. I hope you enjoy it!

Yes, send me the free guide!

I'd love to hear your ideas, too! Share in the comments something you have found helpful for nurturing your relationship with the Lord. Or, share some things that seem to get in the way of your time with Him. (No judgement! If anyone gets it, I do!) You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Is the cost of surrendering to FOMO worth it?

Compare the cost of FOMO with living within our God-given limits

FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. We don’t want to miss anything. We want it all! And we want it all, NOW! (Well, at least I do. Maybe you’re that rare creature who never resists the the reality that we are finite beings operating within the limits of space and time. If you are that unicorn of self-control, you can quit reading. However, if you, like me, regularly put too much on your calendar, plate, desk and the first flat surface you see when you enter the house, then you’ll want to keep reading.

adam-and-eve-fomo

The First Experience of FOMO: Adam and Eve

When Adam and Eve surrendered to the fear of missing out on the supposed benefits of the forbidden fruit, they experienced the consequences of their choice. (See Genesis 3.)

What the serpent tempted them with turned out to be a twisted version of God’s reality. The illusion that they could ignore the limits God set for them were just that: an illusion.

You know what else proved to be an illusion? The lie the tempter told them:

You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Adam and Eve chose to listen to the shrewd snake and doubt the goodness of God in setting the limit. They believed the lie that God was holding out on them by setting the boundary of not eating from that particular tree.

Adam and Eve were the first to surrender to the temptation of FOMO. They used their freedom to fight against God’s reality. Then they fled from that reality as if they could hide from God.

They couldn’t.

Their choice had consequences that could not be escaped. Our choices do to.

And while God offered them grace to help them endure the consequences, the truth still remained true and the consequences still came to pass.

What happens when I push God’s limits?

I have a tendency to push my limits and think I can handle more than I really was built to balance. An example of this bad habit is my tendency to let more and more stuff pile up on my desk. “Tidy, schmidy. Ain’t nobody got time for that! This mess is not a problem,” I rationalize to myself as I stack another paper or book on the pile of piles.

Then, finally, I reach the point where I can’t find what I need when I need it. I miss deadlines. I run late to meetings. I don’t have any space to work, and it totally stresses me out.

My cluttered physical space causes my thinking to become cluttered and chaotic. When I ignore the obvious need to set reasonable limits on how many things I can work on at one time, I inevitably end up with a desk that looks like this:

messy-office

And as bad as my office gets, my mind and body are worse! Stress, irritability, over-eating to distract myself from the stress. It’s not pretty!

The fear of missing out on trying to do everything all at once is just one of my FOMO fallout stories. What’s your flak from falling for FOMO?

Maybe you resist limiting the number of commitments you make to help out at church or school.

Maybe you take on too many work assignments?

Maybe you struggle with spending outside the bounds of your budget.

While our capacity to function as God intended is limited, the ways we can rebel against our limits is seemingly limitless.

We stress ourselves out in many different ways but the common underlying cause is resisting our God-given reality that we are finite beings operating in a finite world.

Fight or Flight Aren’t Our Only Options

I can fight the reality of the finite space on my desk and finite focus of my easily-distracted brain. But that only works for so long. Actually, it doesn’t work but I have become really good at convincing myself that my way is working.

But I’m just fooling myself by adding more than the desk or my brain was created to handle. God created us to operate (this side of glory, anyway) within a finite space and time.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who is going to win in a fight between me and God. He and his way wins every time! So that leads me to try my other option.

I flee the reality of the consequences of my fight. Yep, I just pick up my laptop and leave the room. As I close the door on the chaos, I feel a sense of relief. I think this figurative fig leaf is hiding my rebellion quite nicely.

But as soon as I’m downstairs working on the kitchen table, I’ll realize I need something from my disheveled office.

I dread the sight of the piles I will see when I open that door. I convince myself I know exactly where in that clutter the one thing I need at that moment is located.

Twenty minutes of digging through piles of books and papers later and I’m as overwhelmed as my office. My attempt at hiding is as successful as Adam and Eve’s in Eden. (See Genesis 3.)

My flight only temporarily puts off the frustration. The overloaded office (and mind, and calendar, and plate…) is really just a symptom of my real problem: I don’t like living within the limitations God created me to live within.

I convince myself I can keep adding more and more stuff to my space, appointments to my calendar, tasks to my to-do list, and food in my mouth without experiencing the consequences.

Heads or Tails? Our Choices Come with Consequences.

As a team captain, my son would be asked by the referee to call heads or tails before the coin flip. There was no changing his call once the coin was flipped. His decision led to the natural consequences once that coin hit the ground.

Photo by Chris Cutler CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (I blurred faces and cropped to resize) Austin is #35.

Photo by Chris Cutler CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (I blurred faces and cropped to resize) Austin is #35.

Same for us in life. God created us with a free will and the freedom to make choices. But every choice comes with its consequences.

We can fight that reality and/or try to flee the inevitable consequences, but sooner or later the coin hits the turf and we have to face the fallout. There are inevitably real consequences whenever we pay no mind to our limits.

The better choice: Surrender to God’s Reality

When I surrender to God’s reality—to the limitations he has set and operate within those boundaries—I find peace, order, and joy.

I can stop adding to the clutter. I can make time to clear out the non-essentials and accept I can’t do it all right now.

Yes, I will miss out on the illusion of being more productive. But that’s all it is: an illusion.

And I can make peace with the fact that I will have to say no to some opportunities. But the reward of living within my limits is worth the cost of missing out on some lower priority activities.

I can either surrender to the temptation of the FOMO and reap the consequences of overwhelm and stress. Or I can surrender to the Creator’s design of 24 hours in each day, only so many square inches of desk space, and only so much capacity for focus and reap the reward of peace and order.

Let’s Learn from Adam and Eve

If only Adam and Eve had chosen to live within the limits God gave them. If only I will choose to trust that my Creator has my good and the good of all of us in mind when he decided to create us with limits.

So, I’ll keep reminding myself that the temptation to surrender to the FOMO will never pay the dividends of surrendering to God’s good limits. I pray you will experience the peace, order, and joy of doing so as well.

What situations trigger your FOMO? How do you make peace with your limits? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Praying For You This Christmas Day

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I pray you are vividly aware of the glorious presence of our Savior this Christmas. My message today is grounded in Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

I know many who are experiencing great joy today and others who are feeling low and lonely. Whether you find yourself at either end of that spectrum or somewhere in between, I am thinking of you and praying for you today.

Rejoice with Those Who Rejoice

If you are rejoicing in the fellowship of family and/or friends this Christmas day, I rejoice with you. When we recognize the fulfillment of the prophet’s words from so long ago, we can’t help but rejoice. Our Immanuel is with us always.

Mourn with Those Who Mourn

If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a job, or something else dear to you, I mourn with you. It can be hard to be bombarded with the merriment of the Christmas season when our hearts are hurting.

My prayer for you is you’ll remember our God is full of compassion and all-sufficient grace. Lean into his comforting strength this Christmas Day. Remember the words the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to pen in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

 

Your God is All-Sufficient

As we wrap up a year that has seen both chaos and celebration, uncertainty and confidence, and all manner of history-making, life-changing events, I pray you’ll remember we worship the One who is both on His throne and at the same time with us in our hearts.

Isaiah’s words declare God is both willing and able to provide for our need. He is truly our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

He is sovereign and yet so very personal. Jesus Christ loves so completely that though, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-7).

And the babe laid in a manger that first Christmas day, is the Messiah laid in the tomb some three decades later.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:8-11 NIV

This is the One we worship this Christmas Day. May you be blessed by his presence with you today! Merry Christmas!

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Are you’re reading this before Midnight December 15 (PST)?

If yes, you can still make 2017 your Best Year Ever

If you’re a subscriber, I’ve emailed you about this. But if you are not and you’ve just happened by the site today, you are gonna want to check this out!

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If this timer is not yet at zero, you can still grab my exclusive bonus package when you enroll in Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever.

So basically, I’m offering you $319 in value just for enrolling via my link. That’s not counting the bonuses Michael is offering. And I can tell you from my experience as a participant these past couple years, this course is LIFE-CHANGING!!

I did the independent study my first year and last year I bumped it up to the VIP level. It was worth every penny.

In fact, you wouldn’t be reading this now if I had not been part of the VIP group and benefited from Michael’s coaching and the advice in the private facebook group. I had a lot of obstacles come up in 2016 and I honestly believe I would’ve shut down my ministry had it not been for the quit-proofing I got in this course and the FB group.

Check out my special bonus package and get enrolled before the timer reaches zero!

Enroll Now!

If the timer is at zero, I’m sorry, but you missed out on this exclusive offer. But I’d still love to work with you so check out my coaching page and book a free consultation!

Can you believe its already the THIRD week of Advent? I know you’re busy so I’m keeping it super short today.

Just wanted to share this little (less than a minute) video I made for you. Hope it brings a little joy to your heart as we reflect on the reason for our joy this season: Jesus, the King of Kings.

Merry Christmas,

LauraSignatureBlog

 

 

Feel free to share it if you like it. Maybe someone you know needs a little joy today.

P.S. Need a last minute easy gift? Print out these pretty lyrics to the full hymn, Joy to the World, and pop in a frame. Easy-peasy!

Send me that artwork, please!

More FREE Advent Resources for You. Enjoy!

Plus an opportunity to get 4 free personal coaching sessions with me in 2017!

I pray you are having a peace-filled week this second week of the Advent season. I’ve got a little something for just about everyone this week:

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Resources for Advent Week 2: Peace

Inspiration from the Scriptures

If you’re wanting some inspiration, you’ll like the Scripture verse image. If you want to spend a little more time meditating on this verse (and the surrounding verses) check out the Coloring Page I’ve made for you down below.

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5 Simple Steps to PEACE if You’re Anxious

If you are feeling anxious rather than peaceful (very common this time of year), grab the cheat sheet with the summary of 5 simple steps to PEACE and replace your worry with worship. Click on the image or button below to grab the PDF.

Get your Step-By-Step Guide

Stressed out?

Download the coloring page I’ve made and spend a few minutes meditating on Luke 2:9-11. 

Coloring is no longer just for kids. There is mounting scientific evidence it reduces stress in adults. According to Dr. Joel Pearson*, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones. Try it! Click the image or button to get your coloring page.

SEND ME THAT COLORING PAGE!

Need Some Help With Challenging Relationships?

Is the thought of spending time with some challenging people got you dreading an upcoming event? You’ll want to grab the Boundaries Cheat Sheet and 7 Step Process for Solving Your Boundary Problems. I’ve got some tips to help you prepare for those office parties, family gatherings, and neighborhood get-togethers. You also might like my previous posts about boundaries and dealing with those who know just how to push your buttons.

Get your FREE Boundaries cheat sheets!

Are you beginning to make plans and set goals for 2017?

Then you will want to attend this free training by my mentor Michael Hyatt. They’ve added some more times because the sessions are maxing out, so I recommend registering ASAP to get a spot!

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I’ve enjoyed and found so much value in the past two years of Michael’s course 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever! In fact, Matt and I are going a step further this year and taking a day this weekend to create our Life Plan (using Michael’s book Living Forward). This will give us even more perspective and clarity on our goals so we are ready to dive into Michael’s course 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever when it starts later this month.

The webinar is totally free and packed with practical strategies you can put to use right now! You don’t have to buy anything to attend this master class that will equip you to set and achieve better goals in 2017.

I know the importance of personal coaching in getting you better results, faster and easier than trying to do something great on your own.** So, I’m offering 3 FREE live one-on-one coaching sessions with me in 2017 to anyone who decides to participate in Michael’s full-scale program 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever through my link. That is a $195 value for FREE!

I want to help you make 2017 your Best Year Ever! And I know Michael’s program plus some personal coaching will get you awesome results! So check out that free master class he is offering. There are several times to choose from so you can make it work with your schedule. Register for the FREE Master Class by clicking here.

A Plan for Getting in the Word this Advent Season

If you’re anything like me, you find it helpful to have a Scripture reading plan to guide your time in God’s Word. And in this extra-busy season, I need that more than ever. I’ve made a plan and am happy to share it with you. If you’d like me to email it to you, just click on the image or button below.

Send Me the Reading Plan!

Hopefully at least one of these resources above will help you have a great week full of peace!

P.S. The spots in Michael’s master class are going fast. I don’t want you to miss out of this free goal-setting advice from one of the best leaders and achievers I know.

*http://www.medicaldaily.com/therapeutic-science-ad…

** Check out my Coaching page for more info. You still get a free consultation if you’re a new client plus the 3 bonus free sessions if you purchase Michael’s course 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever via one of my links on my blog. The 3 bonus coaching sessions will be offered after February 1, 2017. The initial free consultation sessions are available via my online booking calendar. If you register for the webinar and decide later to buy 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever you’ll still get my bonus coaching session package free!