Tag: discipleship

Walking in the Brilliant Unexpected

When I was a little girl, I looked forward to the daily mail delivery. I grew up in a very small 2-bedroom bungalow that had both a mail slot and a vintage milk chute. Everyday, the mail would come sliding through the little door, spilling to the floor if we didn’t catch it in time. Sometimes, the mail would be left in the milk chute instead, where it sat stacked neatly until we retrieved it (which was much less eventful than watching the mail fly through the little door on the wall).

The daily mail delivery was a source of such excitement even though it wasn’t addressed to me, but I loved seeing all the mundane bills, advertisements, catalogs, magazines, and occasional greeting cards. I enjoyed the different sized envelopes, noticing the address (labeled or handwritten?) —and, once in a while, I was allowed to read the contents inside!

As a grown-up living in a neighborhood with cluster mailboxes, retrieving the mail is a lot less exciting, but even now, I still enjoy discovering what’s in the box. For me, the excitement is in the possibility. In this almost boring daily ritual, I expect the unexpected. Every moment holds the possibility of brilliance.

Webster’s dictionary defines the word brilliant as “very bright, glittering; striking, distinctive; very good, excellent.”

When we come expectantly to find God…transparently…with all our heart, He always shows himself (Jeremiah 29:13-14). It is God’s brilliant love – His very bright, glittering, striking, distinctive, very good, excellent love for us that creates all these unexpected gifts for us like the painted sky, an endlessly breathtaking horizon, a rainbow that appears out of nowhere, a phone call from a long lost friend, or even a surprise greeting in the mail.

What about you?

To step out of the comfort zone of your boat and live your mission with your eyes fixed on God and what He’s asking you to do, is to walk in the brilliant unexpected – drawing closer to Him with every step of your spiritual journey as He continues to reveal deeper truths about His love for you.

Are you walking in the brilliant unexpected?

Comment below or message us to find out how to apply step forward to your life or how a coaching relationship can help you on your faith journey.

Start Walking in Courageous Change

We are more accessible and wired than ever before — in fact, some of you are wired on caffeine and carbs right now trying to read this post.

You know it’s true and I’m with you.

How is all of this accessibility helping you stay on task with what God is asking you to do? Are you walking on the water with your eyes fixed on Jesus, totally slaying it? Or have you started to sink?

At the beginning of quarantine, I dreamed of all the projects I was going to get done, resulting in a veritable cornucopia of happiness and creativity — because, after all, everyone would be home now, no drive time, all of the hours of the day available, etc.

That dream quickly died as I grew more stressed with each passing second, trying to cram in all the things I thought I could — or should — accomplish.

Even though my kids are fairly efficient at their online school work, I’m still needed all the time… breakfasts and lunches (cleaning up said breakfasts and lunches), providing endless snacks, answering questions, issuing a 100 million hugs (pretty awesome!), cramming in household chores, attending various online classes and newly added meetings, and attending to creative ventures, etc.

By way of a coaching conversation, I came to the realization that I had less hours in my day than ever before.

What? How could that be possible when I kept hearing media messages like, “Now that we’re all quarantined with extra time on our hands…there’s this great opportunity…sign up for this group…watch this webinar…” etc.

How could I be home all day and have less hours?

I sat down and took a hard look at my life (insert harsh bucket of ice water):

  • The daily task schedule (breakfast, lunch, etc.).
  • Household chores that needed to be completed to stay afloat (laundry, financials, etc.).
  • Project work that I either needed to work on or wanted to work on, including immediate work, creative projects, and dream ventures.

Courageous changes were needed quickly, and that last bullet point was where things really got dicey. I am a highly creative person who doesn’t have a lot of hobbies per se. All the stuff I love to do, I’m pretty much doing in one capacity or another. So, having to whittle these projects down into something more manageable resulted in A LOT of distress.

As my dream of endless hours of creativity and happiness began to die a painful death, a new, even brighter picture of a less chaotic life began to emerge. I could see hours of relaxation and bunnies running through the field backed by a soundtrack of swelling strings…

OK, not exactly like that. Just kidding!

But seriously, I care about the projects I work on and the people associated with those projects. It was really difficult to have to put the brakes on some things I was really looking forward to spending time on. Not only did I have to prioritize for my own mental health, I also needed to make space to stay focused on the stuff God really wanted me to work on NOW, in the present. Let me emphasize that:

Making courageous changes creates space to stay focused on the stuff God really wants me to work on now, in the present.

Do you remember the old saying, “the devil is in the details”?

Those little details of being extra busy, and being constantly inconvenienced or frustrated can keep you from realizing the blessing God has for you when you focus on Him, and the blessing that others will receive through the work He’s given you to do.

This quarantine-constantly-plugged-in environment will steal away opportunities for the spiritual practices of rest and time with God, and the focus you need in order to stay on task with what God is asking of you.

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

If my story resonates with you and you’re trying to get through the chaos, try applying that Scripture to your life this way:

Be on your guard against the enemy of busyness. Stand firm in faith and belief in the work God is doing in your life and the path He has called you to. Be courageous; be strong, knowing that it’s okay to say ‘no’ to projects that don’t support the overall mission you are called to.

  • What is God asking you to focus on?
  • What courageous changes do you need to make to create space in your schedule?
  • What strategies can you use to become less busy?

Comment below or message us to find out about the benefits of a coaching relationship and how it can help you on your faith journey.

Start Walking: Facing Discouragement?

As you begin to walk on the water, you might feel unstoppable: your faith is firm, your eyes are fixed on Jesus, you have stepped into your gifting, God is equipping you, and you’ve got this!

And then along comes a harsh word, or a subtle taunt thrown your way…

“How are you going to balance everything?”

“If God wanted you to do that, He would…”

“You might be okay at X, but you’ll never be as good as X.”

“Are you sure this is what God really wants for you?”

The list goes on an on of potential remarks and encounters with people whose sole purpose is to undermine your faith journey. There is a difference between Biblical wisdom delivered with kindness and genuine concern versus the know-it-all-watchdog who does not want you to succeed or feels threatened in some way.

Remember Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”(NIV)

As you walk deeply in faith, don’t let the World (i.e., naysayers, Enemy, etc.) hold you back and discourage you.

  • What discouragements are you facing right now?
  • Who can help you on your journey?

Comment below or message us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Step Out: Be Who and What God Called You To Be

We are working our way through stepping out of our comfort zone and becoming a disciple. This week we are focused on being who and what God called each of us to be. Our Scripture this week comes from Matthew 5:14-16:

“You are the light of the world!
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Let your light shine before others.

In the first part of verse 14, we read “you are the light” – and “you” is each one of us. We are the “light” (Greek phṓs), which is literally “the manifestation of God’s self-existent life”. (Strong’s Greek Lexicon).

As Christ followers, our very existence points to God who created us. Just like a city on top of a hill cannot be hidden, our very existence — the words we say, the actions we take, our lives as a whole — shine brightly, illuminating God’s work in the world.

What does this mean for you?

To step out of your comfort zone is literally to step fully into the person God has created you to be, doing the work that He has prepared for you to do.

  • Who are you in Christ?
  • What is God asking you to do?
  • How can you shine brightly where God plants you?

Comment below or message us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Step Out: Explore and Serve

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day when Jesus gathered with his Disciples for the last time, and the day that was just the beginning of events that would lead to his eventual death and resurrection. The term “Maundy” (Latin: Mondatum, Commandment) represents the ceremonial Washing of Feet – a religious rite of washing the feet of the poor.

After the last supper, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34) Preceding this command, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, exemplifying His love for them and offering us a beautiful demonstration of serving one another.

As you step out of your boat and explore what God is calling you to do, how can you serve the people God has placed in your path?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Step Into Your Power Source

On this Good Friday, at noon, a few centuries ago, “there was darkness over all the land” as Jesus died on the cross. (Matt. 27:45) At the moment of His last breath, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, and the earth shook, and the rocks were split. (Matt. 27:51)

At the moment of this cataclysmic event, it appeared the power had ceased and the light of a son…teacher…master…healer…had gone out of the world. The disciples would soon learn that the Power of Jesus was just getting started.

A couple days ago, storms and a tornado ripped through our area, resulting in a power outage for around 18 hours. There was much rejoicing among our children when the power – and all electronics – were restored. I posted to my facebook status, “Electricity is back on!!” with some happy party emojis. Some of our friends were still waiting for restoration in other areas of our city and county, so it was a huge surprise that our neighborhood “beat the deadline.”

I chose my status update word carefully: Electricity. In fact, I never posted that our power had gone out, except in private text messages, or comments on various friend’s discussion threads.

Why?

It’s because I never felt that I had lost power. The loss of electricity was an inconvenience. It also caused concern and efforts were made to preserve the food in our refrigerator. The loss of electricity was also irritating and a point of contention for our kids who were trying to navigate quarantine with a sudden loss of a day’s online school and the all-important leisure-time video games and TV.

I felt I never lost power because I never lost Jesus. I know some of you might be rolling your eyes at this point, thinking that sounds a little cliché, but stay with me on this idea. This week, we’ve been exploring the concept of praying about everything. Jesus is the source of power and strength (Isaiah 40:29). I tap into that source of power anytime just by praying – and I wrote yesterday about how prayer is just a little conversation with God.

So, no matter what I’m facing, whether I understand it or not, whether I’m hunkering down in a basement with a violent storm overhead, whether I lose a job, whether I’m sick, whether I… [fill in your own blank], I know without any doubt that God will work all things out according to His plans and purposes. I know this because of the work He’s already done in my life, and because of His promises to me in His Word which are forever true and unchanging (Isaiah 40:8).

There’s a common phrase often uttered in times of distress, fear, or hopelessness, “all we can do is pray.” Instead of waiting for an emergency, I invite you to begin each day and tackle every moment by tapping into your power source through prayer.

What would your day look like if you began with prayer?

Who is the source of your power?

Comment below or message us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Step Out: Pray About Everything

As we embark on this Holy Week journey of expectation of Christ’s death and resurrection, it’s a joy to explore prayer with you! Our scripture comes from Jeremiah 33:3, “‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ (The Message)

One way that we call out to God is through prayer. Prayer can take on many forms, and there are quite a few spiritual practices that can also assist us. However, prayer in its most basic form is just a conversation with God.

The concept of “Conversation” implies two-way communication. While one person speaks, the other person listens. If we spend all our time talking at God instead of resting in His Presence and listening to Him, we miss out — we miss getting to know Him, being comforted by Him, being directed.

As God pointed out in Jeremiah 33:3, He wants us to call on Him, talk to Him and seek Him so that He can direct us toward ‘things we could never figure out on our own’ —but if we don’t make the space available to listen for His answer, we miss the mark of going deeper with our faith and receiving that revelatory information that can fulfill us, restore us, heal us, and possibly set our lives on an incredible course.

Does your prayer life need a boost?

What can you do to make space for God?

Comment below or message us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

 

Step Out: Identify and Overcome Obstacles

Welcome to April 1st! Our theme this month is no joke: Step Out – Grow in Faith…Become a Disciple. For this first week, we are looking at identifying and overcoming obstacles.

In order to achieve your goals, you need a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish. If you’re attempting to step out of your boat and explore, but you haven’t heard clearly from God, then we invite you to review Step #1: Stand Up – Did God Speak to Me?

Once you have clarity about what you’re exploring, it’s time to assess what’s in your way. Obstacles might be tangible such as time, money, or resources – but obstacles can also be perceived such as fear of failure, fear of success, or feelings of inadequacy.

Let’s take a look at the current situation: In these historic days, you might be faced with a myriad of obstacles that are affecting your schedule, your time available, your mental and physical health, and your resources. Remember, your obstacles – both tangible and perceived – are not a surprise to God. He might use them, move them, or help you navigate around them!

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

You might view the current Pandemic as a huge obstacle – but what if you view it as an opportunity?

  • How is God using you and growing you spiritually and professionally right where you are?
  • How is God speaking to you right now?
  • What is God asking you to do?
  • What does God want you to hear?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Stand Up: God Speaks through Situations and Events

Throughout the month of March, we are exploring Step #1 of the step forward lifecycle: Stand Up and recognize that God is speaking to you. One way that God speaks to us is through situations and events.

Nothing that happens in our lives is by accident. God knows every detail of every second and nothing is a surprise to him. The current Pandemic is a great example. It may have been a surprise to us, with massive changes in lifestyle, income, education and health seemingly overnight, but God already sees the whole timeline of these events.

You might be wondering: So how can God speak through a situation like this?

When we’re going through a trial in our lives or experiencing a hardship, pain or loss, it’s easy to blame God: “Why is God doing this TO me?” It makes sense that if we are feeling something or experiencing something, we feel that it’s happening TO us — but that’s not the 30,000-ft. view.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
— Isaiah 55:8-9

Everything that happens to us is part of a much larger picture and it’s one that only God can see and walk through with us.

That’s a key point: God wants to walk through each situation with us.

When difficult times come, just like this unprecedented time we’re facing now, it’s an opportunity to ask this question, “What can I learn from God?”

Whatever you are facing now…

  • What is God trying to teach you?
  • How can you make more space to spend time with Him and hear from Him?
  • What can you thank God for?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Stand Up: Seek Wise, Biblical Counsel

Dear sisters, during this month of March, we are covering the first step of the step forward process: Stand Up and recognize that God is speaking to you. One way to more clearly understand how God is speaking to you is to seek wise, Biblical counsel.

We look to Jesus as our example.

Jesus always sought to do the will of His Father: “For I have come down from Heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38). When he had a big decision to make like selecting his twelve disciples, “…he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.” (Luke 6:12-16)

It’s easy for us to discuss our plans and opinions with everyone we know, but that’s not the life Jesus modeled for us. There are no accounts of Him receiving directions from His Father and discussing them with the disciples or anyone else. Instead, He showed us the power in retreating to silence, prayer, and boldly following where the Father led.

So, what does this mean for you?

Once you realize what God is saying to you, and you have a sense of direction from Him, ask God to show you someone who will provide you with wise, Biblical counsel such as a Pastor, or a church elder, or a Godly friend with a deep faith walk. You might also consider meeting with a Spiritual Director – someone who will walk alongside you, who can help you tune into the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, and can help you discern God’s work in your life.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your biblical community?
  • Who in your life can you seek wise, biblical counsel from?

If you don’t have that person, how can you go about finding that person in your life?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.