Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

Bootstraps break…

We’ve all probably heard the familiar phrase, “Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” ~ or at least something like it.  Maybe you’ve said it to you someone, or you’ve had it said back to you.  It’s phrase that is supposed to muster up courage and admiration, whether in yourself or in someone else.  But does it really?

Have you ever put on cowboy boots?  They have those looped straps on the outside of each boot, so they do serve a purpose.  When those cowboys are out on the range all by themselves, they needed something to help them get their boots on…and the cows couldn’t help out!  And really….could you see a couple of cowboys helping each other put on their boots.  Hahaha!!  Those bootstraps fulfilled a purpose; and fairly quickly became a “self help” slogan.  No where in the Bible does God teach us to do anything on our own.  Even the Lord Jesus taught us that it is important to partner with each other, and more importantly, partner with the God of the Universe!

In John 7:16-18, Jesus shares these wise words,So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

Again, although this phrase is meant to be a compliment/encouragement, there are some hidden dangers you’ll encounter when you try and pull yourself up by those hypothetical bootstraps.

One of the first dangers that come to mind is pride.  The infamous verse in Proverbs (16:18) is known by most people, Christian or not ~ “pride goeth before the fall.”  When we have an attitude of pride, we cannot always see clearly the circumstances that require us to pull up said bootstraps.  We’re so busy looking down, struggling to get our feet to go where we want to go, that we will miss the path that God has for us.

Look at Jesus’ words in John 5:30-31, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.” He was Jesus!  The Son of God!  The Messiah!  The Savior of the world!  And even He knew that He could not do anything on His own…He had to commit His ways to the Father God.

John 5 verse 30 and 31

The only thing that you could even remotely say that Jesus did on his own, was His death on the cross.  However, in this action, He was given full authority and ownership to lay down His life for our sins.  Jesus, the Son of God, knew what the outcome would be and He went willingly; Jesus, the Son of Man, knew what the outcome would be but needed a charge from His heavenly Father to complete the task.

See here in John 10:17-18 the simple beauty of obedience alongside serving the Father,For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

When we believe the lies of the world, tv media, social media, and let’s face it…our own thoughts sometimes…and strike out purely on our own to accomplish something, we are not walking in the truth of God’s word.

But what if that thing, that task, whatever it is that we “pulled up our bootstraps on our own” goes amazing well?!  What then?!  My friends, these are the moments that satan uses to blind us to our need for fellowship and obedience to the Father.  We start believing the lie that we don’t need God and maybe, we don’t need anyone else.  This kind of thinking is cute when it’s a toddler saying, “I do it myself.”, but it is not cute the older we get.  As we mature in our relationship with the Lord, we are learning to lean on Him and others more and more!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help!

Yep…you heard me right!  Sure, there are plenty of things we can do on our own ~ seeing to our basic needs, driving a car, paying bills, laundry, cooking, etc.  But even in those things, there will come a time in our life where we will need help with those basic tasks as well.

To give you some encouragement to ask for help (from others and from the Lord!) let the kindness of these verses wash over your tired soul ~ from John 15:12-14, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

The more you continue to pull up on those bootstraps of yours, with your own strength and determination, the more you will wear them out ~ and they will break.  Trust me ~ you don’t want to be out all alone on the prairie of life somewhere with broken bootstraps.  Oh how much the Lord will welcome you into His arms, when you come to Him asking for direction in your life…and He will fix those broken bootstraps of yours as well!

Psalm 37:23-24, A man’s steps are established by the Lord,
and He takes pleasure in his way.  Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand.”

Blessings,

René

Psalm 37 verse 23 and 24

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Spiritual Amnesia ~ the struggle is real!

Do you remember cramming for those final exams?  Putting together material for a 10 page research paper?  Running bible verses with your little ones on the way to Awana so they get their patch? (Yes…I was “that” mom that would forget to help my girls with their Awana homework until about 2 hours before they needed to be at church.)  Let me ask you this….do you really and truly remember any of those things that you studied?  I think you can call that “Situational Amnesia.”

Or my personal favorite….after just a few weeks of driving 16 miles (which in SoCal speak = 35 minutes of drive time) on 3 freeways to get my girls to school (for seven years!), it didn’t take long for a certain type of “amnesia” to set in.  Fairly soon, I knew the rhythm of the morning and afternoon traffic, and my car seemed to “just know” how to get there and back.  It was actually a bit disturbing when on occasion, I would pull into the driveway back home and wonder, “How did I get here?”  EEK!

Have you or someone you know, ever experienced amnesia?  Or maybe just selective amnesia?  I think all young children fall into the latter category at some point in time.  A mom will ask, “Did you remember that I told you not to walk through the house with mud on your shoes?” And the child will answer, “No.”  Mom ~ “Well, I’ve told you everyday this month.  You don’t remember?” Child ~ “I don’t know.”  Good times!  Translate that to conversations we have with our Heavenly Father, “Do you remember that by grace you have been saved?” Our response, “No….I have to work hard to prove I’m worth it.”  ~ that my friends is Spiritual Amnesia!

Okay ~ we’ve read our bible during our morning quiet time; we’ve read over our scripture verse of the week to memorize; we have our time of prayer with the Lord.

Then….

…..we walk out the door to begin our day (and sometimes don’t even make it that far) when we are hit with a situation or person, which causes us to forget everything we just did!  WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN??? How can we so quickly forget the goodness and grace of God!?

I think partly this happens to me because I’m not really spending time in God’s Word, I’m speeding through it to check it off my “to do” list.  I’m being honest here.  I’m not proud of that and I don’t recommend it all.  Now, I don’t think there is anythign wrong with putting “Quiet Time” in your planner or on your iPhone calendar ~ but right now, please join me in choosing to enjoy this time spent with the Lord instead of as just something we have to get through to get on with our day.  That’s the attitude that causes spiritual amnesia.

Amnesia literally means: loss of a large block of interrelated memories;complete or partial loss of memory caused by brain injury, shock, etc.

**In no way in this blog do I mean to diminish the reality of amnesia that some people may have to live with everyday.  It’s very serious, and I do not wish to make light of it.**

That said, what could be a “brain injury or shock” that we can encounter as a Christian that causes us to forget who God is and who He has created us to be?

*You prayed for a loved one to be healed and they died.

*You lost your job and it’s been months or  years since you had full time employment.

*Your child disobeyed you AGAIN for the same reason.

*Your marriage suddenly erupts with the uncovering of years of being lied to by your spouse.

*Your child tells you that they don’t want to see you anymore.

*People you thought were your friends have been gossiping about you behind your back.

And I’m sure you can add a few more to the list.

But guess what ~ as horrible as those things are, they don’t have to define you.  These are the moments in time when it is imperative to have been having true time with the Lord and allowing His living Word to saturate your soul with HIS TRUTHS!  So that when we come across those incredibly mind-bending experiences of pain, grief, aggravation, or fear ~ we can call out to the Lord and ask Him to remind us of who HE is and who we are in Him!  But we also have to be mindful of keeping scripture first and foremost in our mind.  The only we can do that is to be reading the Word everyday!  We may not always be able to think of the book a scripture is in, but when we need to reign in our negative thoughts, turning to God’s Living Word is the only way to redirect our thinking to that of what is positive and pleasing to the Lord.

Here’s just a few of those reminders to get you started:

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

Right here ~ God is reminding us that what He thinks about is totally different than what we think about.  Meditating on His Words are the only way to make sure we are making at least an effort to think how the Lord thinks.

**Please know the context in which I’m using the word “meditate.”  If you have a picture of someone sitting cross-legged on the ground with their hands in a funky position, chanting….STOP!  That is NOT biblical meditation!  Eastern mysticism & meditation tell you to “empty your mind.”  That is the exact opposite of what God calls us to do when He tells us to meditate on His Word.  Biblical meditation calls us to FILL our mind with scripture and to think on how we can be obedient to the Lord by weaving those scriptures in and through our daily life, to live a life honoring to Him.  If you spend time emptying your mind, the enemy is waiting nearby to fill it with his version of the truth…and you will be led astray.**

I Corinthians 2:9-12,However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

Hebrews 4:11-13,Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

2 Corinthians 10:4-6, The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”

I hope these verses are encouraging to you ~ they are key verses in understanding how and why we need to keep our thoughts focused on the Lord and not on the circumstances or situations around us.  Not to go blindly walking around saying, “The Lord will figure it out.” (He will by the way…but He wants to work with us!) Our Heavenly Father wants to join with us, His children, because He loves us!

When you are tempted to give into fear, sadness, or anxiety ~ make a choice to run to God’s Word.  Speak out loud the truths of scripture.  Give the devil his notice that he cannot control you.  Praise the Lord that He is good and that He has called us to be His own!  We are create in HIS image and He was happy and satisfied in His creation! You are royalty ~ all the negative think and feelings of guilt and condemnation are not who you are…so toss that all in the garbage!  Rejoice that He calls you by name and He loves you so very much!!

Hebrews 4 verse 12

Blessings,

René

 

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Distracted and Procrastinating!

So it’s very late on Wednesday night….and I’m determined to finish this post that I started on Monday morning….hence the title of this Blog today!  This week has been a string of choices that left me distracted and procrastinating!  There have been a few things that I did accomplish but many more that I haven’t.  “I’ll do that tomorrow.”  Sound familiar?  Do you find yourself distracted?  Do you find yourself procrastinating?  I’ve lived long enough to know that I’m not alone in this!

To be distracted means:  having the attention diverted; rendered incapable of behaving, reacting, etc., in a normal manner, as by worry, remorse, or the like; irrational; disturbed.

And the meaning of procrastination: the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.

Um…hello….welcome to my week!

My Thanksgiving decorations that I began collecting on the dining table (on Sunday by the way)….still there.

My laundry that I started putting in the washer….still there because I haven’t collected all the baskets in the house (water shortage means…cram as much as you can and still get it clean!)

An extra table that we used for Thanksgiving dinner with the family…still up in the kitchen…collecting new items that I haven’t put away.

Okay…you get the picture.  So where do I go from here ~ sit down at 11:30pm at night and finish this blog!

So when does distraction, or procrastination, turn into disobedience?  Oh!  I got your attention, eh?  Me too!  I was reminded this week of a sweet new friend who told me earlier this year (when I wasn’t pursuing the passion of my heart in writing this blog), “Sister, you gotta get right with God.  You are living in disobedience.  You are not doing what God has told you to do, which means you are missing out on the blessings He has for you!”  Whoa!!  That got my attention.  Between her tender discipline and help from my oldest daughter to create a plan, I moved forward!

I absolutely LOVE to write!  I love to share what God has taught me with others.  I have an ongoing “blog ideas” list on my phone and I had ideas to it several times a day.  So why has this week been different?

I know exactly why….I was allowing my brain to be distracted by outside forces that were completely out of my control.  And some that were.  Long story short, I was finally able to quiet my soul today and realize that I am writing for the Lord.  I cannot write for myself.  I cannot write in hopes of success.  I cannot write hoping to receive the proverbial pats on the back.  I must write what the Lord has put on my heart.  I must write FOR Him and for HIM alone!

Psalm 119:36-38Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.  Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.”

Is this verse great or what?  Totally sums up what has slowly become my prayer this week.  Oh dear Lord ~ keep me focused on You and not on the distractions of this world.  It’s different for everyone ~ TV, Facebook, relationship issues, home life, housework, daily tasks, etc.  When I keep my focus on the Lord, He is most assuredly going to help me put into proper perspective the things on my calendar in such a way that all that I do will be a reflection of His goodness and His graciousness.

Mark 7:21-22  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.”

I saw a posting on the infamous Facebook the other day that said, “It is in herself she will find the strength she needs.”  Please hear me when I tell you that I absolutely believe that women have been created so uniquely wonderful, and we are capable of doing A LOT of things that surprise us!  What I want you to see is in the above quote is that the strength it speaks of is from within the woman.  But when we check this quote against what God’s Word says, we can see that this will never work.  I cannot do anything by MY own strength (any doubts here…check back at that list I wrote in the beginning of this blog post.)  🙂

Left alone to our own strength, to looking at our own heart for guidance, trusting our own mind to determine our path ~ we are paving the way to a life of disenchantment and disappointment.  When that happens, the distraction and the opportunities to procrastinate seems to increase ten-fold.

Deuteronomy 10 verse 12 and 13

Psalm 96:9Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!”

God’s Word is beautifully written!  He is holier than holy!  He is clothed in splendor and calls us His child!  God’s Word applies to our life today as much as it did to the original audience it was written for.  Proof that God’s Word is alive! We can look to scriptures to encourage us to focus on the Lord, and as the above verse in Deuteronomy speaks to, we will be able “to walk in all his ways.”  When we are walking in ALL of His way, we can more easily pursue a relationship with the Lord.  To daily learn how to love and serve the Lord with greater intensity, everyday.  My heart and soul must be full of HIM ~ not full of my own strength.  Because if that is all my heart is full of of ~ then I will be limiting the future plans that God has for me.  I will miss out on the blessings He has intended for me.  How sad is that!  Yet that is EXACTLY what I’m doing every time allow outside distractions to encourage the spirit of procrastination in me.

Praise the Lord that He is patient.  Praise the Lord that He does not get distracted where I’m concerned.  Praise the Lord that He does not procrastinate when it comes to making sure that I return my focus to Him.  Praise the Lord that He sees me and knows my name!

And now…I am recharged.  My focus has been reignited on the face of my Heavenly Father.  The distractions of my heart have eased as I give them up and allow God’s plan to take first place in my mind.  I’m thankful for a new day…which by the way…it technically is now because it’s 12:15am.  Time to go and rest in the peace and calmness of the Lord.  Trusting that when I wake in the morning and give the day back to the Lord, asking for His guidance to see what is important, He will answer me right away ~ because He will be waiting for me to start the day.  He will be enthusiastically anticipating the arrival of the sunrise on my day to show me how much He loves me and how great the plans are that He has for me.

God bless you with clarity and responding with first time obedience when the Lord ask you to do something.

Blessings,

René