Imagine it’s 6:00 am Monday morning and your alarm just went off. What is the first thing you do? The standard grunting and groaning, covering your head with the comforter – trying to come up with an elaborate excuse to get out of work. You eventually come to your senses, both feet aggressively hit the ground and the cloud of grumpiness you created follows you until the last drip of coffee enters your system.
This Monday morning scenario is just a small example of how we allow negativity to set the tone of our days, weeks and even years. When we start there, we miss out on what God truly has in store for us.
What would happen if we approached Monday in whole new way? What if when the alarm went off, the first thing we did was praise Jesus for the sunshine coming through the blinds? Instead of contemplating ways to get out of work, we look forward to the day the Lord has planned for us. Instead of being grumpy because we don’t have our coffee yet, we are joyful because we have the luxury of even having coffee.
Hebrews 12:2 (MSG) “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.”
Keep. Your. Eyes. On. Jesus.
This is something most of us have heard before, one of those verses we skim over because we think “Yeah, of course!” But it is those verses we need to dive into even deeper. We pass by these verses because we are familiar with them…but are we really practicing them? If we are living in a place of discontentment, frustration, and lacking peace, it’s safe to say we aren’t.
Keep. Your. Eyes. On. Jesus.
The trials of life can easily consume us. It’s the human condition to allow one negative thing to blind us from everything great in the moment. We hold onto negative memories like they are the only ones we have. Why do we let them define us? Why do we idolize our pain? An idol is
something you worship, and worshipping something is holding it in the highest regard, keeping all your focus on it and allowing it to rule over you.
When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can’t help but to be in a position of thanksgiving and praise. We see a shift in our mindset, and the trials turn into lessons. When we know God, and genuinely trust Him, the growing pains become a blessing. Life’s most painful moments transform us into stronger versions of ourselves, with newfound knowledge, experience, and empathy for others.
Gratitude can become as second nature as taking a breath, but it does take time. We have to train our minds to choose it, and many times this requires a major shift in our perspective. When you drink a glass of water, are you praising Jesus that it is clean? Are you grateful that you didn’t have to walk miles and miles to a river, only to carry enough back to wash the four items of clothing you have? When you lay your head down to sleep at night, are you praising Jesus for a pillow and a mattress, knowing there are little ones all over the world who have never felt the comfort of being wrapped up in a blanket? When you turn on the AC in your house or car, are you praising Jesus for the escape from the heat, recognizing that there are millions of people who do not have that luxury? These are just a few of the things that we take for granted daily, but when we keep our eyes on Jesus, our perspective shifts. Everything around us becomes a blessing, and we can properly praise our heavenly Father for his continued love, grace, and provision!
Thank you, Lord, for the abundance of blessings you pour out on us every single day, especially the ones we turn a blind eye to. I pray for a change in our hearts, that every moment will become an opportunity to praise You. I pray that our thanksgiving will become contagious, showing the world who You are, Lord! Thank you for Monday mornings
I can still remember being seven years old, walking into our little apartment with my dad and five year old brother, and realizing that the lights wouldn’t turn on. Our microwave was off, and the hall to the bedroom that my brother and I shared was very dark. I didn’t understand what was going on. But when I looked over at my dad, he was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands, looking a way I had never seen him before. Defeated. I learned years later, that during that month, my dad had to choose whether to pay the electricity bill or buy groceries.
My whole childhood, I grew up having to carry burdens that were never mine to carry. Having to fight battles that were never mine to fight. Having to be tough skinned and strong, when in all reality, I was just a kid. I was raised by a single father, with my one younger brother. My mother left when I was five, but that’s a story for another day. I was not raised in church, but I had a strong father that even though at the time he did not know the Lord, raised us to be kind, thoughtful, hard working and generous.
I lived a good part of my childhood in the “bible belt”. I saw churches on every street. Knowing my friends during the summers would go off to church camp, but I was never a part of any of this. And to be completely honest, I didn’t care much because I just simply didn’t know what I didn’t have. It wasn’t until I was seventeen years old, I was invited to come to church on a Wednesday night to a youth group. I was living in Destin, Florida, no family, rebellious, difficult and living on a friends couch in their flea-infested basement. No one cared where I went, when I got in, who I was with, or what I was doing. So, to say the least, I walked into that youth group desperate and not knowing what for. It was the first time I had ever heard the message of Jesus. It still brings me to tears thinking about that moment, because I was so alone and lost. He filled me with a love that I didn’t know existed. He rescued me from the literal pit I was living in and turned my whole life upside down. Which in all actuality was now right side up.
I’ll share the details in posts to come, of how He restored and healed me. How He saved and restored my family. How He broke generational curses, and delivered me from bondage I was so accustomed to living in. How He showed me the power of His love and of His Holy Spirit. I simply cannot live without Him, because I still so vividly remember my life without Him. I am PASSIONATE about sisterhood. Doing life together, and loving each other through our highs and lows. Leaving the fear of the ninety-nine and reaching out for the one. Walking in the supernatural power of His Holy Spirit, so that others can see that He is real and alive. I don’t have it all together, but He does. And I trust Him. I want to encourage you today, dear sister. Who is the rebellious, difficult, lonely and hurting one around you? No one would have ever guessed that I was walking into that youth group with the background that I had, but I am forever grateful that someone reached out anyways and simply just, INVITED ME IN. All it takes is you opening up your life, laying yourself aside and being Jesus to the ones He has placed around you.
We have a MISSION to tear down the boundaries, the facade of perfection, the fear of man, and walk in the power of His love for a dying and lost world. Ask Him, I dare you, to break your heart for what breaks His heart, and it will cause you to stop thinking about you, and to see through HIS eyes. To take the focus off of yourself and see that there is a mission He has for you today. I’m glad a sister said yes to the mission of me on that summer day of 2005. Who would have guessed that little ole me, would one day be writing and ministering to some many others, telling them about what Jesus did that day in a little youth service. For the past year, the Lord began to birth in my heart, Simple Sisterhood. It is not just to share my story, but the stories and tools of the sisters around me. The Titus women who have recipes and testimonies that we need not only for ourselves, but for our children. The single mom who has the strength of ten, and words of wisdom that came with a price we all need to glean from. Or the teenager, who if just given a bit of time and patience, can fill us with words of passion that encourages us to keep praying for a young generation. Sister, we need each other. It’s not nearly as complicated as we make it. So let’s shake off yesterday, take a deep breath, and link up arms. Welcome to sisterhood.
If we are going to run our race and finish our course, we must approach life more like a marathon than a sprint. Most of us fall into bed at night utterly exhausted, because we spend all day frantically running around trying to survive.
A few years ago, I literally hit a wall and realized that if I was going to make it to the end, I would have to change the way I did things. I could not thrive in life if I had no margin or reserves.
To flourish in life and reach the end of your race full of joy, you have to create margin. Here are some ways to start creating margin in your life –
As we approach the end of 2018, I want to encourage you to make a decision that you are not going to become overwhelmed by all of the things that you have to get done, and instead do something counterintuitive. Change your pace, breathe, smile, do your best, and trust God with the rest.
Propel Women Magazine