Flow

flow

Every January I choose a word on which to focus throughout the year. I actually take time to ponder, pray, listen and consider the direction the Lord is leading me. This year I kept coming back to the word flow. Now that may seem peculiar at first glance, but let me explain. Often when I am writing or speaking, I ask God to allow His love to flow through me and touch the lives of others in a powerful and personal way. I want to be a vessel used by Him, inviting the flow of His Spirit to work through me. That’s why flow makes sense.

Funny thing, but every year as I choose my word, I instantly start noticing the word everywhere. As I’m in conversations with friends or reading a book or listening to a podcast, my mind is more attentive to the word, and I tend to perk up and pay attention when I run across it. Just in the first few weeks of January, I’ve discovered stories, quotes and Bible verses all referring to flow in various ways.

One important aspect of flow, is that it implies movement. It’s not stagnant, but dynamic. It reminds me to never grow stagnant in my faith or my relationships. Flow stimulates me to be thankful for the blessings I have received and to look for ways to be a blessing to others. Certainly there is a time to rest. To be clear, flowing doesn’t necessarily mean we are busy all the time. It simply means we are a conduit of God’s love and grace no matter where He places us. As we lay down our lives we invite God to flow through us. This week, let’s be intentional about allowing God’s Spirit to flow through us bringing rivers of blessings to others.

John 7:37-39 New International Version (NIV)

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

 

If you haven’t already done so, take some time to consider and choose a word to ponder this year.

Over the next few days, I’ll share on my facebook author page, some of the ways the word “Flow” has been showing up in my daily conversations and study.

7 Positive Habits for the New Year

New Year

The start of a new year allows us to reset and rethink our actions and attitudes. It’s a great time to stop and consider our hopes and dreams, as well as what we may want to change or do differently in the coming year. Resolutions or setting goals may not be your thing, but a few positive habits added to your daily routine can potentially last a lifetime. Here are seven doable daily habits that will help your attitude and your overall well-being in 2018.

Focus – It’s easy to focus on the negatives in life, but it takes a deliberate effort to look at what is good, true and right. We can change our focus by creating new habits such as writing in a gratitude journal every morning as we enjoy our first cup of coffee. Another way to turn our thoughts toward the positive is to read and memorize scriptures from the Bible. Choose one Bible verse to memorize as your focal point for 2018 and review it every day.

Fuel – Consider the types of foods you are putting into your body – is it life-giving fuel or will it have a negative effect on your health? Food not only affects us physically, but it also has an impact on our mind and emotions.  Start a habit of a healthy breakfast to set your day in motion. Instead of strict diets plans that rarely work, think in terms of more and less. Determine this year that you will eat less of the unhealthy foods, like sugar, white flour or processed foods, and you will fuel your body with more of the healthy goods, like greens, whole grains or berries. Make your motto, “Eat clean in 2018.”

Fitness – Exercise is a stress reliever. A brisk walk or work-out can do wonders for you both physically and emotionally. Discover ways you can add exercise to you daily routine five to six days a week. Begin small with something that you enjoy and gradually increase your time and intensity. As your find a time and place each day that you can exercise, commit to it for at least 21 days to form the habit of fitness. Have an accountability partner to help you stay on target.

Faith – There is great comfort in knowing that we are not alone – that the Lord loves us and is with us. As we grow in our faith through prayer and reading the Bible, we begin to sense that there is a bigger picture, a more eternal one. Our faith gives us hope through trials and gives us strength through difficulties. Set aside some quiet time each day to spend alone with God, seeking His guidance and wisdom as well as giving Him your cares and worries.

Fun – All work and no play makes Jack or Jill a little dull and boring. Create opportunities for laughter in your life. Whether it is getting together with friends and laughing about old times or watching a funny video or doing something that generates a good chuckle. Every day you have the invitation to look for the sunny side of life and enjoy a bit of fun despite the challenges. Never laugh at the expense of another person, and also remember to not take yourself too seriously either. Certainly there is a time to laugh and a time to cry, but I think we miss a whole lot of opportunities for laughter. Allow it to be a part of your daily routine.

Forward – Pay it forward and look for ways to invest in the lives of other. Every morning, ask yourself a simple question, who can I bless today? When you turn your heart and thoughts to serving the people in your community, you move your focus off of your own challenges and begin to experience the joy that comes from contributing to something bigger than yourself. Serve one another through your kind actions and loving deeds and make the world a better place one day at a time.

Forgive – If you want to live a happier and healthier life, learn to let things go. Keep short accounts, do not hold grudges and learn to forgive those whom you feel have wronged you. Forgiveness is not an invitation for someone to hurt you again. You must set wise boundaries. Forgiveness is choosing to let go of the right to hold something over another person. Most likely, every day you will encounter situations that call for grace and forgiveness on your part. Make it a habit to continually live with forgiveness.

As you practice these seven simple daily habits , you will discover a fresh new joy and vitality for the year ahead. Make it a great 2018!

 

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Thrive – 25 Positive Words, Day 16

16 thrive

 

Sometimes I hear people say, “If only I can just survive the holidays…” Well, I suggest we choose a different perspective. Let’s choose to THRIVE during the holidays, rather than simply surviving them. Yes, I know there is added stress during this time of year, but it is up to us to decide to have an attitude of love and strength, rather than defeat. We can ask God each day to direct our steps and give us the strength and wisdom we need to face the challenges of the day. We can also ask Him to love through us in a powerful way to bless others. Thrive in the power of His Spirit.

3 Things to Forget, One thing to Remember

cala-140220

Thanksgiving is all about remembering. It’s about reflecting on what God his done and His blessings in our lives. When it comes to life, we never want to forget the goodness of God. Our thankful hearts show that we trust His love and believe He can bring good even out of the worst situations.

As important as it is to remember and reflect on God’s goodness and blessings, there are several things we need to forget. The apostle Paul put it this way, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

So what past things should we forget? Here’s three that come to mind:

Past mistakes – Most of us tend to beat ourselves up over mistakes we have made even years ago. We must recognize that we all make mistakes, but we can always learn from them. Don’t let your mistakes define you. Move forward and be who God created you to be.

Past sins – As believers in Christ, our sins are forgiven. Paul wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s not a license to continue to sin, rather with a thankful heart we turn and repent and go a different direction. Christ came to free us from the burden of guilt and allow us to live in the joy of forgiveness.

Past offenses by others – It’s easy replay the hurts people have done to us in the past. Bitterness, anger and unforgiveness can fester in our memories for years. Let’s stop replaying the hurts and wounds. As forgiven people, we too must live a life of forgiving others. This Thanksgiving, may we release the right to hold past offenses over someone else.

I love to see the pictures on Instagram of Thanksgiving tables as people gather with family and friends. Although the food and decorations are lovely, keep in mind that there is nothing more beautiful than a thankful heart, and nothing more ugly than an unforgiving heart (whether it is not forgiving yourself or others). May your table be stunning as it overflows with thankfulness this year, leaving the negatives of the past behind you.

 

Photo by Cala on Unsplash

Facing the Mountains in Your Life

samantha-sophia-34224

 

When I was in high school, my mother took me to a lecture presented by Sir Edmund Hillary. I must admit, at the time I was not overly excited about hearing some old guy talk about how he climbed a mountain. It wasn’t until he started speaking that I realized this man had accomplished a feat that was considered unconquerable. This was a man who faced the seemingly impossible, pushed past the limitations and climbed to the top of Mount Everest. Before his successful expedition in 1953, numerous groups had tried and failed to reach the summit. Even within his own expedition group, all but two of the climbers turned back because of exhaustion at the high altitude.

Despite the obstacles, discouragement and even abandonment of his group, Sir Edmund Hillary persevered. His accomplishment was celebrated worldwide and his influence inspired many others to reach toward their own personal goals. Oddly, Sir Edmund originally earned his living as a beekeeper in New Zealand. He started climbing mountains in his own country as a bit of a hobby. Little by little he progressed to climbing the Alps and eventually the Himalayas. The small mountains led to bigger mountains, preparing him to conquer the highest mountain – Mount Everest.

What are the mountains in your life? Mountains come in all shapes and sizes. They may be in the form of a difficult work relationship or a rebellious child or an overwhelming project that keeps you up at night. Some mountains may develop in our lives in the form of financial issues or a troubled marriage or even trying to lose weight. Actually, there are also mountains in our lives that aren’t expressly negative, some of our greatest mountains may include starting a new business or learning a new skill set or language.

Each mountain that we scale in life, strengthens us and prepares us to face grander mountains ahead. Whether we choose the mountain or the mountain chooses us, we still have a choice as to how we will deal with it. We can either look at the mountains in our lives and grumble and complain about them, or we can choose to begin to climb them and conquer them. The secret to rising to the top of any mountain rests in our attitude and ability to persevere. Sir Edmund Hillary said, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” From beekeeper to record breaker, Hillary conquered fears, discouragements and failures. It didn’t all happen at once, but he grew from each experience. We too can look at each mountain in our lives as an opportunity to grow and become stronger as a person.

 

I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way,

I can choose to respond in one of two ways:

 I can whine or I can worship!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

 

positive_leadership

This is an excerpt from Positive Leadership Principles for Women. On sale right now for $5. Order yours today. Click Here for more info.

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash