Friday, August 31, 2012

Regain Your Balance

A young student once asked an accomplished fighter, "Teacher, you never lose your balance. What is your secret?"
"You are wrong," the teacher replied. "I am constantly losing my balance. My skill lies in my ability to regain it."

So often we focus on the bad in our lives. We talk about what's going wrong, what we fail to do well, and the one microscopic thing that we believe is our greatest fault. Focusing on the wrong things is like rejecting a piece of award-winning cake because the frosting around the edge is crooked. Although it's great to have self-awareness, it's important not to let that paralyze us from moving in the right direction!

A couple of nights ago, I got into an argument with my husband, Jonathan. We were talking about how I many times failed to listen to him, and many times added too much input instead of simply letting him air his feelings...and he was right. I didn't mean to do it, and I didn't realize I was doing it. I could have been really discouraged or embarrassed. I could have beat myself up for talking too much and told myself I was a terrible wife, or held in feelings of insecurity and resentment. I didn't though, because those things aren't true. I know my identity in Christ, and can therefore move in the right direction because I have the greatest teacher to learn from! If the purpose of our relationship is to resolve arguments, not win them, then isn't the correct response love? Jonathan was trying to help me, and I knew it. In that instant I could have tried to change him, or I could haven't owned my own fault in the situation. I could have fallen over and lost my balance, or I could fight to regain it. So...I decided right then that I would improve 10%. I probably wouldn't change overnight, but next time we had an argument, I committed to myself that I would be intentional to listen at least 10% better than I did the time before, because before long, I would be a world-class listener, right?! :)

So here's my question. What are you doing to grow by 10%? Where do you need balance the most in your life?

What about letting go of some control? Your quick reactions? Your uncaring attitude? The finance struggle you'll never win? Your sarcasm? Reigning in your tongue? Ouch. Hurts, huh? We all struggle at different things, but what can do to regain identity in Christ is equally important.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

The real you is a hand-picked magnificent masterpiece of God and he had plans for you long before you were born. You are precious to him, and letting one small thing get in the way of knowing that would be the biggest tragedy there could possibly be. You, yes YOU, are an overcomer, and you can definitely improve by 10%! I don't even know some of you and I believe in you! Before you know it you'll be up to 80% and wonder how the change occurred so quickly. Believe in yourself, and allow God to show you where you should change yourself. You're worth the effort. Give yourself a chance.

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
 Ephesians 4:32

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Oh my. Have you read my last post? When I remembered what I had written just a few days ago, I felt such a sense of peace.

Our house got robbed yesterday while Jonathan and I were at work. Scary, right?! I don't love thinking about a complete stranger trampling through our house, knocking things off shelves, flipping our mattress, emptying our drawers on the floor, and stealing our stuff. It gives you the creeps right? Yeah, me too. This has happened to us before, and it was one of those most horrifying experiences of my life. But this time, I wasn't as shook up, and I know why. I'm stronger. Spiritually, I know where I stand with God. I talk to him daily, and I trust him more. Did I jump every time I heard a noise this morning? Yeah, but I know God holds my hand at each moment, and I'm going to be ok.

So remember my last post? I know that God was saving me from someone. I'm sure of it. That night I had called Jonathan to tell him I felt scared. I told him I thought someone was going to break into our house and kill me and Truett, and I was convinced of it, like...a premonition. Now I know why. I truly believe God heard my prayer for safety and spared us that night. What would have happened if we were home yesterday? Who knows. But I do know that God is solely responsible for our safety, our house, our life.

Matthew 5:39 says, "But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also."

I believe that God loves these people that broke into our house, just as much as he loves me, and I've imagined many times today what I'd say to them if I met them. I'd tell them to keep the stuff, and I'd ask what they needed money for, and then pay for whatever it was, no matter how much. Then, I'd invite them to church. That's what God would do, because he did it for us on the cross. These people must be hurting, or have a genuine need.

You never know the opportunities life will present, but regardless of anything big or small, I know my days on earth are numbered, so I will live each year, each day, and each breathe for a purpose. Glory to God, for he has done wonderful things!

"They do not fear bad news, they confidently trust the Lord to care for them."  Psalm 112:7

"I have told you this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I encourage you to think of something you can do for the Lord this week, big or small, and do it, just because you love him.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Psalm 56:3 (NIV)

I have this bad habit.

I worry when Jonathan is gone. Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm a recovering worrier. You could even call me an ex-worrier in counseling. I've had this struggle my entire life. 

So Jonathan left this past weekend, and of course, before bed, this thought went through my mind, "Michelle, you better check all the locks, because someone is going to break in tonight and kill you if the doors aren't secure." 

Wha?!?!?!?! I know. That's ridiculous, right? 

But my dear readers, I actually thought it might be true, and began to worry. I wasn't I-don't-want-to-see-that-horror-movie scared, I was I-need-Jonathan-to-talk-me-off-the-ledge scared. But why?

The Bible tells us that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and he'll do anything to get us off course. For me, he knows that scaring me into a worry frenzy is the best way to ruin my confidence in God, and I can choose to believe Satan's lies, or I can choose to believe God's promises. God never leaves us. If you struggle with worry or fear, take heart, because God is bigger! I slept just fine last night because God was with me, and I decided long ago that I would refuse to worry, because God holds each day of my life in his hands and knew me before I was ever born. Why would I not trust him in all circumstances?

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

Psalm 91:2 (NLT)

Friday, August 17, 2012

God is Trustworthy

If God says he'll do it, he'll do it. 

I've never had to lay awake at night wondering if God was going to come through on a promise. Have you? I'm willing to bet my life that you haven't, and you know why? Because he's completely trustworthy. In fact, he cares more about you than  you could possibly even care about yourself. He's your biggest fan.

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried through? 

Numbers 23:19 (NLT)

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Real Conversations

God, I feel like a mean person today. I keep saying things before I think about them. That's not typical me, or is it? Why is today so hard? I keep letting myself down over and over. Will you help me? I'll always help you. Stop, and remember who you are in me and stop living for yourself. You like to say what you like to say, but I have better plans for you if you'll follow my instructions. I'm trusting you to make the most of each moment. Help me God? I'm an amateur, but I want to be better. I'll help you. Just ask me first in every situation. I can't help if you don't ask. You're right. I should ask you first, because I trust you most.

Hey Michelle, you know that money you just made? I'd like for you to put that in the offering. Sure thing. How much? Half? All of it. But God, I was really wanting...well...stuff. I'm just being selfish for no reason. Gosh, red-handed again. I'm such a stingy person. You're not a stingy person. You're a generous person, and you believe so wrongly about yourself. I'm going to take care of your needs. Don't I always? Right now, there's someone that needs it more than you need new shoes. I want you to be generous, and I'm helping you practice. You don't need it, Michelle. Don't just say that you love me, prove it by listening to my voice. I trust you, God.

God, I'm lonely, and I feel misunderstood. I understand you completely. I made you and I will care for you. Remember Isaiah 46? I'm going to be with you for your entire lifetime. Do you trust that I will love you for eternity? I trust you, God. Now go ahead. I'm listening, and I'd like to hear about your day.

God, sometimes when I am working, I look up and feel overwhelmed by the time. A wave of panic rushes through my body because I see the clock and how much is left undone, and I begin to feel my body temperature rising and a wave of panic overtakes my mind. In those moments, just stop and talk to me. Pray. Ask me for what you need, because I have an endless supply of help, if you only trust me. I'm asking you to change. Nothing is too big for me to handle. If you make time for me, I promise that you will have time to finish your work. How's that for a promise? Nothing is more important than time with me. Nothing. I trust you, God.

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