True Positive Day 9 – Courage

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How willing are you to step out of your comfort zone? Whether it is trying something new, facing a fear or reaching out to people you have never met before, it takes courage to step into the unknown. Let’s be honest, it is easy to remain safe and stick with what you have always known. Part of being a positive person means moving forward and exploring unchartered waters in our life.

Some of us need to move forward from discouragement or self-pity. Others need to step forward in faith to follow God’s calling. While others need to step across the street and meet their neighbors. Where do you need the courage to get moving? Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” Do not let the negative qualities of fear and worry hold you back from moving courageously in a positive direction.

May God give you the courage to step forward!

Why Do You Worry?

Relinquish Your Worries

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Worries and fears can pop into our thought-lives as constantly as the pitter-patter of a spring rain. Whether it is the kids, the budget, the job or even the small stuff, each day is filled with opportunities to worry. It takes a deliberate effort to turn our thought patterns in a new and faith-filled direction. I like what Charles Spurgeon wrote about worry:

“Why do you worry? What possible use does your worrying serve? You are aboard such a large ship that you would be unable to steer even if your Captain placed you at the helm. You would never even be able to adjust the sails, yet you worry as if you were the captain or the helmsman of the vessel. Be quiet, dear soul – God is the Master!”

I like Spurgeon’s boat analogy. It reminds me that I’m not the one steering the ship – and what a relief that is! God is not only master, He is with us. I think about Jesus in the boat with the disciples as the wind and the waves overwhelmed their vessel. Jesus was with them the entire time, yet He allowed the storms to come to show that His power is greater than our storms.

Spurgeon went on to write:

“Do you think all the commotion and the uproar of this life is evidence that God has left His throne? He has not! His mighty steeds rush furiously ahead, and His chariots are the storms themselves. But the horses have bridles, and it is God who holds the reins, guiding the chariots as He wills!”

Our God is still the Master! Instead of trying to hold on to the worries, hold on to Him. Remember His unfailing love for you and listen to His voice that continually says, “Don’t be afraid”  (Matthew 14:27.

Creating Calm

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4 Tips for More Peace and Less Stress

Need a little calm in your life? Between the gazillion emails hanging over your head or the crazy amount of activities in your life or the unexpected daily challenges and distractions, perhaps a little peace sounds like a good thing. Although we may not be able to change our circumstances, we can learn to experience calm despite the chaos. Here are four ways to decrease the tension and increase the peace.

Walk and Talk: A simple walk can do wonders for your perspective. Not only does exercise increase the endorphins (one of the happy hormones in the brain), but you can also benefit from enjoying God’s great creation. Sunshine and nature have a calming effect on our emotions, and help us relax physically. As you walk, talk  (not aloud of course) with the Lord and praise Him for His many attributes.  In the Old Testament we read about Enoch who walked with God.  When we praise the Creator of all things, a deep delight wells up in us and replaces the anxieties, worries or fears that may be rumbling around in our minds. Praising God is an exercise of rejoicing in who He is, and reminding ourselves that our great and loving Heavenly Father is bigger than our cares.

Guard your Mind: Often our thought-life robs us of experiencing peace. Despair, worry, bitterness and anger can plague our minds if we let them. But we don’t have to be a slave to our thoughts. We decide what we will dwell on, and we have the ability to change our focus. The Bible reminds us that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Recognize when you are allowing negative thought patterns to creep in and make a decision that you are not going to continue to replay those tapes.

Fill Up with Truth: If we turn our minds away from hopelessness, then we need to fill our minds with something positive. Paul told the Philippians to think on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable. Nothing brings more calm and peace to my mind than reading the Bible. Scripture reminds us of a powerful God who loves and cares for us. For me personally, there are certain passages that I have memorized (Psalm 23, 103, 121), and they have become a refreshment to my soul when I review them. Isaiah reminds us, “He will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are stayed on Him.” Open up your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to nourish your hungry soul. You will be amazed at the peace and strength you find in His living Word.

Surrender: What are you holding onto with clenched fists? Are you willing to pry your hands off of it and surrender your cares, your will or your attitude over to the Lord? You are not surrendering your heart and your cares into oblivion or nothingness, rather you are surrendering your cares to Almighty God whose unfailing love for you can never be quenched. Recently, I ran across an interesting term that seems to illustrate what I’m trying to say. It is an equestrian term – the German word, Losgelassenheit. This term is not easily translated into English, yet it is rich with meaning and motion. “When a horse is losgelassen, he is working but without tension, active without tightness, enthusiastic without evasiveness, he allows his energy to be shaped by his rider without offering resistance. He is lively, yet submissive.” (TrainingTree.net/Losgelassenheit)

Author Martha Beck calls this motion “a joyful and fluid dance” in which the horse is completely relaxed and trusts his rider. The rider (or master),  on the other hand must be experienced, caring and observant. Isn’t this a beautiful picture of our relationship with our Father, who knows us, loves us and cares for us? We can work without tension, as we allow our lives to be shaped and directed by our Father. When we realize that we are not running the show, but that we can trust the one who is, there is a sense of peace and joy that consumes us as we move through the daily chaos. Take a moment right now to surrender your heart, your will and your cares to Him and invite Him to lead you, guide you and comfort you.  Always remember the same Spirit that brought order from chaos in creation, is the Spirit who lives within you.

If you want to get to know your Bible better, read Becoming a Woman of the Word.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Positive Women Connections this week!

Prestonwood Country Club in North Dallas on Tuesday, Sept 22

Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in Allen on Wednesday, Sept 23

Downtown Dallas Thursday Sept 24 at First Baptist

 

Here’s a Positive Encouragement for today.

Most of us have experienced those times when we feel as though we just don’t have the strength, energy or ability to go to accomplish the tasks ahead of us.  It may be an overloaded schedule or responsibilities with an aging parent or chasing several preschoolers around the house.  Perhaps a tragedy or trial in your life has gripped you with anxiety and fear.  I want to reassure you and encourage you that you are not alone.  Take one day at a time and begin to turn your eyes off of the overwhelming circumstances and onto the God who loves you.

God will not leave you in your darkest hour, although you may feel as though He is far away.  As a believer in Christ we have the reassurance that His spirit dwells within us and will net leave.  Jesus said to his followers, “I am with you always.”  There is a peaceful reassurance in knowing that God is with us.  Look to Him for strength and wisdom as you face your challenges.  Day by day, give your anxieties to Him and thank Him for what He is doing in your life.

You are not alone, because others have walked similar paths.  You are not the only one who has gone down this road.  Find comfort in the fact that others have made it through and you can too.  You can find strength and comfort in connecting with people who have journeyed down these similar roads through support groups and friends.

Take steps forward.  Don’t stay in a rut, and don’t allow yourself to be gripped with fear.  Move forward asking God to lead you,  guide you and equip you.  You may not be able to conquer everything, but you can do something. One step at a time. You remember how to eat an elephant don’t you? One bite at a time!

Day by day, one step at a time with eyes on the Lord (not on your circumstances) you will get through this.  David said, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62