Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#WednesdayWisdom: Heart Strings - All-access Pass?

Hey everyone, hope you're having a blessed week and making it over the hump. Today's nugget of #WednesdayWisdom is a word on the body's most important muscle: the heart. Who, if anyone, gets an all-access pass to yours?

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. - Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Given the way the world works these days, it would be so easy to use the above Bible verse to close yourself off from relationships, both platonic and romantic. So much of culture and society glorifies being a one-man-show, the idea that we don't need anybody else and we can do everything by ourselves. The way the world works can cause us to think that we are the only ones who have our own best interests at heart, and teaches us not to set ourselves up to be "played": taken advantage of, used, hurt, etc. Of course no one wants to be played, but if we're honest with ourselves, we don't want to be alone either. Yes, it is true that at some point in life, you will be faced with the reality that everybody doesn't have the same heart as you. You can't expect everyone to treat you as nicely as you treat them. Here's the kicker, though: Even after you come to terms with the fact that you will never be treated EXACTLY the way you want to be treated, you still can't close your heart off to people in fear of being hurt, because as Christians, we are called to love everyone as Christ does. It's a tough but necessary pill to swallow. Yes, absolutely, guard your heart. Making yourself accessible to everyone can be detrimental to your emotional and spiritual health; however, make sure you know the difference between a guard and a wall. Guards can be let down, but walls, made of brick and mortar, are sturdy and designed to keep everything out. Don't protect yourself from being hurt so much that you end up hurting yourself. Sometimes, your "protection" can keep you from something great. God knows what and who you need in your life. Stop being afraid and ask Him to help you put yourself out there. Ask for discernment and trust Him enough to open your heart and let the good stuff in. #WednesdayWisdom

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#WednesdayWisdom: Stay In Your Lane

Hey everyone, hope you're having a blessed week and making it over the hump. Today's nugget of #WednesdayWisdom is a word on comparison: Stay in your lane!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

- Psalms 139:13-16 (NIV)

We've all had a moment (or several) in our lives where we're doing something we love, something we do well, and as we're enjoying it, someone else comes along who does it "better" according to society's standards. Newsflash: In everything you do, there's going to be someone "better" than you, and someone else who wishes they were as good as you. Don't worry about them. Just be YOU. Stop looking for people to validate you and tell you how great you are. Walk in your greatness & believe in yourself. Someone else's success is not a threat to your own. Another person's gifts and talents don't diminish yours. You're still enough even when they're great. You're still enough when you think they're getting the level of acknowledgement that you deserve. There's enough room for both of your gifts to be necessary. Don't get intimidated in your lane when you see a newer, more expensive car riding beside you. If that car is merging into your lane, so what? You're both going in the same direction. Even if the other car gets there before you, when you reach YOUR sweet spot, nobody will be able to do YOUR thing exactly the way YOU do it. Keep your eyes on the road, and don't get distracted! The only person you're competing with in this race is the version of yourself you see in the rear view mirror. God has tailor made your gifts to fit your purpose, so doubting your gifts means doubting Him. He hasn't forgotten about you. He knows exactly where you're going, and exactly when you'll get there. Your "arrival" time is not an estimate; your location is permanently programmed in His (G)odly (P)ositioning (S)ystem. Stay in YOUR lane, in YOUR position, and watch God work when it's your turn. In the meantime, turn on some worship music in your car and give Him a destination praise in advance. Claim the promise ahead of time! #WednesdayWisdom

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

#WednesdayWisdom: Saying No to "Yes" Men

Hey everyone, hope you're having a blessed week and making it over the hump. Today's nugget of #WednesdayWisdom is a word on friendship: how to say no to "yes" men.

"Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." - Proverbs 27:5-6 (NIV)

I don't know about y'all, but I need some more positive, encouraging friends in my life. I've always had a small but strong circle (if you're reading this, you know who you are), but in this season of my life, I find myself desiring friendships that, above all else, push me closer to Christ. As an optimist, I naturally gravitate toward positive people, but as I'm growing in my Christian walk, I'm looking for "lifters": Those who lift His name on high and who can effectively lift me up in prayer. Good friends should edify one another, hold each other accountable, and offer constructive criticism. I've always prided myself on being the blunt friend. I try to always tell my friends the truth, even if it hurts, because it'll help them in the long run. Be careful here, though. Tell your friends what they need to hear, not what they want to hear; but when you correct them, correct them with love. Constructive criticism can be tricky. It's not just what you say, but how you say it. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Don't correct so harshly that your relationships with others become negative, but be honest with people. I'd rather have a friend tell me I'm doing something wrong than to "protect" my feelings by not correcting me & letting me mess up. Don't surround yourself with "yes" men who sugarcoat stuff. If they don't tell you when you're making poor choices, they're not true friends. Those "no" friends who say 'No, that's not a good choice, situation, person, etc.' even when you don't want to hear it, those are the ones who care. Find those friends and keep them close. Lift and be lifted. Iron sharpens iron. #WednesdayWisdom

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

#WednesdayWisdom: Encouragement for Encouragers

Do you know what today is? It's hump day! Here's a little #WednesdayWisdom to get you over the hump: You can't pour from an empty cup.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else,
for each one should carry his own load." -Galatians 6:2-5 (NIV)

We all know at least one person (or maybe we are the person) who is always giving of themselves: their time, energy, love, encouragement, etc. and never asks for anything in return. This is a word of encouragement for encouragers. Self-care is necessary. It's great that God gave you motivation and inspiration to share. That's a gift! It's wonderful to be able to take a walk in someone else's shoes...but don't forget to take those shoes off at the end of the day. You'll be exhausted if you leave them on; they weren't designed to fit you in the first place. Empathy is a beautiful thing, but problems can arise if you find yourself consistently shouldering other people's pain in addition to the things you're dealing with in your own life. Carrying other people's burdens is Christ-like, but please, find balance. Find people who can pour into you as you pour into others--and if you can't find anyone to pour into you, pray and ask God to refill your cup. Help others, yes, but remember to take a break and recharge. Make time for yourself. You can't run on E. Put good in, get good out. Be the encouraged encourager. #WednesdayWisdom