Are You Flexible?

 

jason-ortego-5386

A friend once told me, “A flexible woman rarely gets bent out of shape.” I like that! Plans change, challenges arise and mistakes happen. We must remain flexible in the process. A flexible woman looks for alternative plans and wise options. A flexible woman doesn’t sit back and say, “This is the way we have always done it.” She recognizes the opportunity to jump into action instead of stewing in anger or fear. An old Japanese proverbs states, “The bamboo which bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”

How do we grow to be flexible in God’s hands? It begins in our belief system. If we believe that God is sovereign and that He loves us, we can look to Him as the winds of change or challenge blow through our lives. Our faith changes the way we respond to circumstances. Knowing He is the God who sees all, keeps us from despair.  We can respond to situations with the calm assurance that God will never leave us and that His hand will guide us. We can say to ourselves, “Although this is not what I planned, I can trust God will bring something good out of this situation.”

We can learn to be flexible and respond with grace when our eyes are on the Lord and our trust is in His plan. There are no guarantees about what tomorrow will bring, but we do know we are not alone in the battles we face. We can put our faith into action and move forward to make a difference in a seemingly impossible situation.  The following poem reminds us of the difference our faith makes in how we view our circumstances.

My Father’s way may twist and turn,

My heart my throb and ache.

But in my soul I’m glad I know,

He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astraiy,

My hopes may fade away,

But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,

For He doth know the way,

Tho’night be dark and it may seem

That day will never break,

I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,

He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much I cannot see,

My eyesight far too dim,

But come what may, I’ll simply trust

And leave it all to Him.

For bye and bye the mist will lift,

And plain it all He’ll make.

Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,

He maketh not one mistake!

Author Unknown

 

We can trust God’s sovereign grace in whatever comes our way, and live with assurance that He will walk with us. We don’t need to fret or complain, just advance with a humble trust in the God who loves us and has a big and beautiful plan. Step forward, my friend, with your eyes on Him and your faith in the work He has yet to do in your life.

 

This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women.  On sale now for $5. Click here for more info:

Healthy Self Talk

lesly-b-juarez-220845

What are the voices that tend to creep into your mind? Maybe it’s the voice of fear that whispers, “What if ……happens?” Or perhaps it’s the voice of self-doubt which scolds you and says, “You’ve made so many stupid mistakes – you can’t do anything right.” Maybe it’s the voice that continually beats you up in your brain sniveling, “You’re not smart thin enough, you’re not good enough, you never do enough.” The voices we hear come in many forms and fashions, but we don’t have to allow them to grow into weeds and overtake our minds. Instead we can pull them out by the roots and replace these thoughts with the seeds of truth.

Whether we are weeding a garden or weeding out the negative thoughts in our brains, we can apply the three R’s: Recognize, Root out and Replace. It’s amazing how quickly a weed can grow in our minds without us even realizing it. When it comes to the real flower garden in front of our house, I literally think weeds pop up overnight. Given a few days, and some of those pesky plants can grow to become the size of small trees! So we must be vigilant and alert, recognizing weeds at the point when they first appear. The apostle Peter wrote, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).”

It’s inevitable – doubts, discouragement and lies will pop into our heads. How do we recognize them? We need to take a moment to consider our own personal reoccurring thoughts – the ones that seem to grow in our own garden. For me personally, I struggled many years with self-doubt in every area of my life, from my physical appearance to my capabilities to even my relationships. I first needed to recognize that these were unhealthy and destructive thoughts. They were doing more harm than good. Often we grow comfortable with our fears and doubts, and fail to identify them as weeds. We must recognize that they are not based on God’s truth, and have a negative drain on our lives. These negative thoughts also prevent good seeds from growing.

Stop for a moment and consider, what are some of the destructive voices you are allowing to grow in your mind? Once you begin to recognize your own personal brain-weeds, then it is time to root them out at the core. If you have ever tended a garden you know that if you just whack weeds off at the surface level, then they will return. We must dig them out from the roots! For me, at the core of my self-doubt was really the doubt the God loved me. I didn’t believe that He created me for a purpose and had equipped me with gifts and talents. It was time to weed out the deep roots of doubt.

What is at the root of the negative voices that pop into your head? Dig deep for a minute and consider the core. Dealing with the root system of the weeds in your mind, allows you to dig them out and then turn in a new direction. We must replace the old ugly weeds with healthy, vibrant truth. Where do we find that truth? The Bible reveals that God is love. His very nature is love. He is good, and He is faithful. He is able to do all things. Oh what powerful and life-changing seeds we plant in our brain when we know God’s word! I recommend choosing at least one verse to memorize in order to help you crowd out the weeds that want to grow in your mind. Ask God to lead you to just the right verse to help you.

Next week, I will give you some of my favorite verses which I have memorized to help me plant seeds of faith and strength in my mind.

9780736950114_p0_v1_s260x420

This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women  on sale this month for $5!

Five Steps to a Happier You

clarisse-meyer-159582

We all tend to define happiness in different terms. For some, it’s a euphoric feeling when circumstances are ultra-fantastic. For others, happiness may be on the scale somewhere between joy and delight when we are with people we love or in a job for which we are passionate. Still others, may define happiness as a clean bill of health or a pain-free day. Whatever your definition of happiness is, you don’t need to wait for the right set of circumstances to experience it. Here are five positive steps to help you create your own happiness right where you are.

 

Gratitude Journal – Begin a daily routine of writing down at least five things for which you are grateful.  Be specific and think about the people you met or the small joys you experienced over the last 24 hours. Go one step further and consider the blessings you can find in the challenges you are currently facing. Your mindset and perspective will begin to change as you choose to focus on what is good in your life, rather than what is frustrating to you.

 

Kind Actions – If you want to do a happy dance, do something to make another person happy. When you elevate others through your words or actions, you can’t help but experience a sense of delight. Whether it is a smile, or holding the door open or helping a co-worker or neighbor with a project, when you give kindness it will be returned to you in heaping doses of happiness.

 

Regular Exercise – Get up and get moving. Whether you go for a walk in the park, grab a short jog on the treadmill or stretch and do Pilates on your bedroom floor, exercise has a proven track record of releasing endorphins (the happy hormone in your brain) and providing a release from stress. As you form a habit of exercising at least five days a week, you will not only feel better physically, but you will experience emotional benefits as well.

 

Alone Time – In our overconnected culture, we rarely have time alone to relax, think and pray. We must take deliberate measures to disconnect from technology and have some time to communicate with God and listen for His direction. Stillness rejuvenates our soul. Set aside at least ten minutes a day to put away your phone and devices and spend some alone time with the Lord. Praise Him for His greatness, listen for His direction and cast your cares at His feet.

 

Forgiving Heart – In my opinion, one of the greatest robbers of joy and happiness is a bitter heart, filled with unforgiveness. Every day we have new opportunities to forgive others because every person we encounter has a few flaws or shortcomings. As followers of Christ, we reflect His forgiving nature as we forgive others. Release your resentments into the hands of a just and understanding God. He will heal your wounds and set you on a new path of freedom.

 

Start this week with a new mindset! Fear, anger, self-doubt or a critical spirit are just a few mental attitudes that diminish our joy in life. Identify the negative attitudes that you are allowing to dominate your thinking and make a deliberate effort to change your focus. Begin to live with a mindset filled with victory and hope, rather than defeat and negativity. Apply these five steps to your daily life. You don’t need to sit around and wait for happiness to happen – you can begin the journey on the road to happiness now.

 

This is the last week to order A Woman’s Secret to Confident Living DVD for $5 only available on her website. Click Here for more details.

colossians video

https://positivewomanconnection.com/books/#monthlyspecial

Press on Through the Challenges

martins-zemlickis-57243

 

Bad starts don’t always determine how you finish. I’ve had a few rough starts in my life, and I’m sure you have too. Take for instance the one and only marathon I ran back in my college days as a student at Baylor University. When I lined up at the starting line of this momentous marathon race, I somehow didn’t realize there would be thousands of other people joining me. I guess I assumed there were not too many people on this earth who would choose to run in a 26.2 mile race. Well, let me just tell you there were so many people that I couldn’t even see the flags marking the starting line.  I began the race way, way, way back in the pack, and it took what seemed like an hour just to get beyond those first flags. Of course I couldn’t even think about stopping to tie my shoe or taking a look behind me. One false move and I would be trampled by thousands of Nikes.

Eventually the crowd began to thin out, and I worked into a pretty confident stride until I began to face new challenges like blisters in places I never imagined a person could have blisters and my socks feeling like sandbags around my feet.  Four hours and thirty-two minutes later I crossed the finish line with a smile of victory and a hearty sense of accomplishment (and relief).  I made it! I can’t begin to describe the feeling of excitement I experienced in knowing I set a goal and achieved it. The point is, I didn’t have such a glorious start to the race, but through persistence and perseverance there was a grand and sweet outcome.  At dinner that night we celebrated my triumph with family and friends, and of course I fell asleep in the middle of my mashed potatoes.

No doubt it is easy for any of us to become discouraged when we have rough spots in our lives, especially if they happen at the beginning of our journey. Maybe your marriage started off on a negative note, or your career got off on the wrong path or your childhood years were a disaster.  It could be that you simply had a bad start to your day and you felt defeated even before you got out the door.  The good news is, no matter how you start your journey, the beginning doesn’t necessarily determine the outcome. There are tremendous possibilities up ahead. Sometimes we must press through the challenges and keep our mind on the goal.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Forgetting what is behind me, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God is calling me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” God has a wonderful purpose for you here in this world. The marathon may get tough at times, but don’t give up. Press on.  God is not finished, and He has a plan that is bigger than your troubles. What may seem like a mess, could simply be the beginning of a beautiful masterpiece.

Remember, God is the God of hope, and He brings redemption to even the worst of situations. This week let your mind be filled with hope and possibilities as you face both victories and hurdles. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

download

This is an excerpt from A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God. Check out Karol’s DVD on sale for $5 only during the month of March!

Are You Enjoying Life?

In the melody of our life, the music is separated here and there by rests.   – John Ruskin

img_8694

In music, as in life, a rest or a pause is a part of the making of the music. There are times when we must take a deliberate pause from the activities of life and the rapid pursuit of our dreams in order to rest and be still.

 

Recently, my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii with his work. I must admit, at first I felt guilty for enjoying such a beautiful respite. As I sat by the pool reading one of Chip Ingram’s books, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, I came to chapter 8 entitled, “Enjoy Great Moments.” In this chapter, Chip expressed the importance of balance and the beauty of enjoying life. He wrote, “If heaviness is always the tone of your life, you’ll be out of balance, and a lot of other areas of your life will be negatively affected.”

 

He went on to say, “Here’s a question many Christians will never ask you: Are you enjoying your life? Are you deeply satisfied, drinking in rich experiences with people, places, and circumstances God is providentially surrounding you with?”

 

How kind our God is to allow me to read those very words as I took a rest from the rush of daily life and ministry. I needed a fresh reminder that it is not only good, but necessary to embrace the respite God provides in our lives. Yes, He leads us beside peaceful streams as our Good Shepherd (Psalm 23).

 

This week, I want to encourage you in two ways:

  1. Be deliberate about times of rest in your life. Don’t be afraid of the pauses, rather embrace them and allow yourself to enjoy them.
  2. Rejoice in the Lord. No matter what your circumstances, you can take joy in the fact that your Heavenly Father is with you and cares for you. He never changes. Take joy in Him and the love He has for you. The joy of the Lord is your strength.

 

Chip reminds us, “Being happy and finding satisfaction in life are gifts from God.” Don’t wait to enjoy life, embrace the blessings and great moments God gives you each and every day.

pursuing-god-in-the-quiet-places

Don’t miss out on our $5 special this month! Click here to find out more.