PRODUCTIVITY DEPENDS ON YOUR STATE

 

Ever wonder why at times it’s so difficult to focus on a task even if we’re knowledgeable about it? And why is it at times we procrastinate despite the coffee or the energy drink we just had? 

A few years ago when I my life was all about “self-help”, I stumbled upon a few videos of Tony Robbins and Jordan Belfort. Okay, so they may not be prophets but I did write down a few facts that’s worth applying by adding a punch of Christian value into it. At least that’s what I’d like to believe.

Your productivity depends on your state.

Change your state — the way you breathe, the way you stand, your facial expression, posture…

Your state/physiology changes how you feel.

What you focus on is how you end up feeling.

Funny faces, smiling, dancing, exercising, intended sudden movements all change how you feel.Let’s apply this knowledge to Christianity. Change how you feel by focusing on God. How do you focus on God? Ask yourself these questions whenever something in you doesn’t feel right or whenever you feel even the slightest discomfort for whatever reason:

  • What am I️ grateful for?
  • What am I️ excited for?
  • What’s my outcome today?
  • What are my goals?
  • How can I leverage myself?
  • What have I accomplished today?
  • Did anything good happen?
  • Were there any good news?

When you change your state by controlling how you feel, you become more productive.

Focus your energy to take the right actions.

 

The reason why it’s hard to focus under stress is because somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten our purpose. The point of asking ourselves specific questions that get us out of our pity party and back on track is so we remember our purpose. Our purpose as a follower of Christ by the way is not for ourselves. If you don’t know your purpose must first and foremost please God, then you must dig deeper. God’s direction is most straightforward. 

We must continually learn to use our weak moments as triggers to make new action based on obedience. The action is none other than prayer. Ask those questions in the form of prayers. 

Don’t ignore any negative thought or feeling that comes by. Be alert to recognize Satan’s schemes and thwarts and take them captive to make obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). You can’t ignore them by doing the best you can for whatever you’re trying to achieve, because…

  •  You might end up burning yourself out.
  •  You might end up half-hearted about it, or lazy, and  feel more so  obligated.
  •  It’s pride when you’re relying on your own  strength. 

Face it head on.  Hand it to God. Surrender and pray, and your productivity will be full of joy, strength, energy, passion, and purpose. 

If fast moving actions change how you feel, try blasting some upbeat praise and worship, sing along, dance like crazy, or listen to calm music if you prefer. But don’t miss the opportunity to pray, pray, pray! Keep your mind stayed on the Lord to perfect humility.

You always make wiser decisions in a humble state and you can always do more when you’re inspired by Him. 

 

Questions not to ask yourself while under stress because they will only make you more stressed…

  • Why are bad things always happening to me?
  • Why do I always end up feeling bad for myself?
  • Why do I feel so tired and unmotivated?
  • Why does this suck right now?
  • Why is my life not making any sense?
  • Why am I being punished?
  • Why can’t I get it together?
  • Why is this so complicated?

If productivity is a struggle for you as it is for me, give yourself a pat on the back for coming this far, and check out these affirmative questions I’ve organized together…

>>>31 Journal Prompts for Renewing your mind & Starting Over<<<

View Free Prompts (PDF)

>>>31 Journal Prompts for Finding Motivation & Inspiration<<<

View Free Prompts (PDF)

If you enjoyed answering these questions, then you’ll appreciate these productivity helpers I’ve also created…

>>>Planners & Task Managers<<<

View Free Printables (PDF)

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

28 Journal Prompts for Taming the Tongue & Practicing Patience (February)

I had the most difficult time deciding what this month’s journal prompts would be about. Love? Well, for some reason I assigned that topic to be last June’s. But love kept resonating with me.

Sometimes I don’t say the right things or perhaps I do say the right things, just not in the right tone. Sometimes I fall short of showing compassion because I was outright inconsiderate of the other person’s feelings. And at times it takes a while when I feel discomfort in my soul that finally I recognize I was wrong to come off that harsh. Can you relate?

VIEW FREE JOURNAL PROMPTS (PDF)

It doesn’t matter what your role is in a relationship but communication is key if it’s love and respect you are expecting. If you are struggling receiving what you want from others, have you taken a look at how you’ve been communicating?

Maybe this month is a sign that you should pay closer attention to how you show your love. If you could simplify your speech/language beginning with your thoughts and temperament, imagine the integrity you would genuinely be known for.

VIEW FREE JOURNAL PROMPTS (PDF)

VIEW FREE JOURNAL PROMPTS (PDF)

Proverbs 15: 1-2 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.

Proverbs 17:9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Proverbs 17:27-28 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

Matthew 15:11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

* IF YOU EVER TAKE TIME TO ANSWER ANY OF THESE DAILY QUESTIONS, I’D LOVE TO KNOW WHAT SOME OF YOUR THOUGHTS WERE. LEAVE ME A MESSAGE.
* IF YOU WOULD LIKE JOURNAL PROMPTS ON A SPECIFIC TOPIC, DON’T HESITATE TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS FOR ME.
* IF YOU ENJOYED THIS & WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE FREE CONTENT LIKE THIS, THE SIGN UP IS A POP-UP WINDOW.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

Makes Sense to Me

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

– Steve Jobs

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2

“Think differently. Stand out. Crazy is okay, but get crazy in love with God, so you can change the world. Your genius is according to His will.”

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

Temptations are good for You! (Devotional)

Have you ever gifted someone something that you later on asked to be returned you? Similarly, when we choose to do what we would rather do instead of letting the LORD have His way with us, it’s like we’re asking God to return the words we lifted up to Him in prayer or praise. Are you ever tempted to take back your words long after your passion for God fizzled or are you ever just tempted to live as if Jesus never touched your heart? It’s okay if you say “No, not lately”, but can you at least relate?

This post will not be what you probably expect it to be but I do have a point. I definitely had those moments when Christianity wasn’t my daily lifestyle and even a few instances years later when I finally committed. I had been so confident to say “never again” and sure enough there I’d be wishing I hadn’t made that vow whether it was because it bruised my ego or made me feel unworthy. I hated my temptations. And I can’t remember exactly what tangible thing I gave to a loved one and then took back, but I’m almost positive I’ve done it at least once as well as the fact that I’ve probably been a victim of this unfairness too.

I’ve read from a devotional a few years ago that it doesn’t matter how long a Christian has been on the journey; there will come times of temptation to want to live as one had lived before they gave their life to Christ. Satan’s good at shaking his victims around, and it begins with little nudges that become persistent overtime.

HE ONLY BECOMES SUCCESSFUL WHEN YOU CONFIRM BY AGREEING WITH THE MEMORIES OF GOOD FEELINGS HE WILL BE COMFORTING AND REMINDING YOU WITH. HE WILL NUDGE YOU IN AREAS YOU HAVE GROWN STRONG IN BECAUSE IT’S THOSE PARTS OF YOUR LIFE YOU THINK YOU ARE CONFIDENT HE WILL NOT TOUCH.

But you are wrong. If you’re only concerned about your weaknesses, he’s got you where he wants you — blind-sighted.

Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Scary, no? But I’m not afraid. You shouldn’t either. At least not right now. God is the only One whom you must fear. It’s your fear of the LORD that gives you wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), because I believe if you fear anything else, many things will terrify you. I just know that whatever comes my way, I am a better person today than I was then, and it’s because I’ve chosen to make a habit of looking at my temptations a different way.

1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

IMG_6838

 

If you’ve been hating, blaming, or running away and fearing your temptations, then they can absolutely ruin you and your mental health/emotional well-being. It’s time to change our views about them. Let me explain. TEMPTATIONS ARE PART OF A HEALTHY SPIRITUAL WALK. God allows them because they contribute to how He will be disciplining you. Remember the LORD loves so much to correct wrongdoing. What parent’s love comes without discipline and how much more with the Father’s? If you recognize temptations and what its goal is, that means you acknowledge your relationship with Jesus, and so they can actually build you up so long as you respond with the right attitude.

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

The right attitude is stepping back and paying close attention to where those temptations could possibly lead you and exactly how the outcome of giving in can mess with your thoughts and feelings later on. There would be no need for a right attitude/response if temptations do not do their part in testing you, and therefore there would be no acknowledgement of victory and moreover, growth, and furthermore, blessings and praises. So yes, God is responsible for allowing this, but He is also the one responsible for rewarding and equipping you with a little bit more confidence and resilience you can put to work the next time you are ever tempted again. But how can you teach yourself not to give in when you forget He’s already equipped you? You must practice by being thankful for them.

Here are 3 reasons to be grateful for your temptations:

  1. THEY BUILD YOUR CHARACTER. They help strengthen your convictions whether you give in or not. They will absolutely strengthen your convictions more than break you if after giving in to those temptations your repentance is genuine and you thanked God for that test/trial, because now you have even more hate for your sins (not temptations), and now you value obedience towards God even more.

  2. THEY ARE NOT SINS. They attack your mind posing as ungodly desires that have not yet become sins. Your awareness is key. The more aware you are that it is only a test/trial, the more successful you will be at remembering to surrender them to God. But the more aware you are of how good it makes you feel, then your tendency to be entertained by them will more likely lead you to commit to the next step, which is sinning.

  3. WITHOUT THEM DISCIPLINE HAS NO VALUE. Think about it, it’s because of where temptations have led us in the past that we choose and want to choose better for ourselves. So the more temptations you have the more God is saying “This is good for you because you will be trained by it”. The LORD’S love comes with much discipline and He sure does love us a lot!

Self-control is ineffective and not long lasting unless there was a specific moment in the temptation when the situation was handed over to God. If He was not acknowledged enough in the struggle, the habit you are trying to control will control you. “Will I choose to take God’s grace for granted or can this growth opportunity really bless me right now?”

THE LORD IS QUICK TO SHOW HIS FAVOR WHEN YOU SERVE HIM THROUGH OBEDIENCE AT THE TOUGHEST TIMES. WHY? THE LIFE OF HIS SON JESUS INSIDE YOU IS PLEASED WITH THE FREEDOM AND PEACE YOU RECEIVE. HIS JOY IS YOUR STRENGTH (Nehemiah 8:10).

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

At the moment of temptation, pay attention to where your heart leans more towards — the desire to glorify God or the desire to glorify your feelings? Remember, Satan nudges by using your feelings. Temptation becomes sin at the moment when the spirit is quenched because the flesh is fulfilled by our participation to commit. PUT YOUR FAITH ABOVE YOUR FEELINGS.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

  1. What is something this past week or two that has really challenged my integrity?
  2. If I pay closer attention to any temptations around this, will it help me live with more purpose and passion? How would my life improve if I consistently prayed more about this?
  3. Have I been praying about this and what can I add or say differently in my prayers about this one particular temptation?

>>>GRAB YOUR FREE, PRINTABLE MONTHLY JOURNAL PROMPTS HERE<<<

 

PRAY:

Heavenly Father, You’re so good to discipline me using my temptations. Thank you for loving me as I am and I am not even perfect. With Your guidance I know I can always improve. Each temptation is proof to me of your Grace. Forgive me for all the times I have taken your Grace for granted, for focusing on myself and my feelings every time I’ve given in instead of focusing on You. Help me to count it joy that my temptations are chances to humble myself and surrender to You who protects my integrity and my oneness with You. LORD, I ask that You guide me by reminding me of Your presence convicting me to do the right thing as I obey and glorify Your Son when I am faced with temptation again. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

Character/Integrity, Temptations, the Full Armor of God (Devotional)

Matthew 5:28 ‘Do not let your heart turn to her ways [the adulteress]’

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Proverbs 7: 1-3 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

There is a big connection between heart and mind. It’s said that desires and ambitions stem from the heart. But aren’t those concrete thoughts? And our thoughts on the other hand can have a big impact on the health of our hearts. Like literally.

I believe that God wants His children to operate from the heart, knowing that Jesus is in there. When we accept His Son we accept Him with our minds, but we accept Him into our hearts. And when He is nourished in our hearts, our spirits are lifted, and we can also begin to see things from His point of view. Our minds then adopt His perspective and character/integrity is built in us.

The bridge between heart and mind is character/integrity. When this is more prominent than personality, righteousness is the result. Righteousness is always something to receive no matter how many years a Christian has been following Christ, otherwise it would never have been paid for on the Cross.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Who or what is at the center of your heart? Is it Jesus or is it something else that may be causing you a lot of confusion?

 

Open the eyes of my heart LORD,

Open the eyes of my heart,

I want to see YOU

I want to see YOU…

 

This song by Michael W. Smith speaks to me a lot. As a Christian it’s so important to realize the connection between Father and Son, and not just once but several times a week. It’s not enough as knowledge in the back of your head. It must be a realization, a rediscovering, a habit to remember again and again.

In my perspective, this song is sung to God, the Father. When I sing it, I am asking HIM to open Jesus’ eyes in my heart. I’m basically inviting Jesus into my heart all over again because I trust His perspective on things. Then in total surrender, when I am aware that Jesus is very well alive and awake in me, I can see through His eyes and He is looking straight to God. I find peace and oneness with HIM here as I am humbly reminded that my righteousness is only there because He made this connection with HIM possible. I am nothing without my relationship with HIS Son.

Is your relationship with Christ making you aware of your temptations?

James 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Temptation becomes sin at the moment when the spirit is quenched because the flesh is fulfilled by our participation to commit. As long as you’re battling temptation with your own strength, they will always seem too great for you to overcome. The secret to faith is finding strength not in ourselves but in Christ’s confidence in God. Armoring yourself with the LORD’S Truth is your weapon for warfare. So what is God’s Truth and how can we overcome one temptation at a time?

In matters of temptation, God’s Truth is found in Ephesians 6:10-18. It talks about putting on the full armor of God, which is the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

The breastplate of righteousness is the righteousness Christ paid for on our behalf, so putting it on (receiving it) is what will protect our heart. Self-righteousness is not good enough to protect ourselves; we must put on Christ’s righteousness. This is that realization/rediscovering I was talking about earlier; we have righteousness only because of the relationship between God and Jesus.

The shield we must have with us is faithfulness…the same faith He had in God, which strengthened Him with confidence. During those 40 days and nights when Jesus was tempted in the desert, He responded to Satan’s schemes by referring to God’s truths (Matthew 4:3-4, 4:6-7, 4:9-10, Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16, 6:13). The faith He had as He relied on the Father helped Him to resist temptation.

Then there is also salvation that we must not forget. I believe it is called the helmet of salvation since our righteousness in Christ protects our hearts, our salvation in Christ must protect our minds. Salvation is not a one time deal just like righteousness. Salvation is nothing without righteousness, vice versa, and since what is in the heart must match what it is in the mind, it is our salvation in Christ that reminds us of this connection. With the helmet of salvation, we can “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Last but not least, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17) is something we must carry with us at all times. A doubled edged sword can pierce any heart. This is true just as with God’s Word, and if we deliver His wisdom with humility and righteousness, it is the ultimate Truth that convicts and protects against anything that threatens our relationship/oneness with Him. It is the righteous weapon we have which means we must use it to convict and not condemn.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

  1.  Is my character/integrity mostly made up of convictions or condemnations?
  2.  What thoughts and feelings am I allowing my character to be built on?
  3.  Is my righteousness Jesus at the center of my heart or is it something or someone else? If it is not Him, could it be the reason why I feel miles away from Him if I give in to temptation?

>>>GRAB YOUR FREE, PRINTABLE MONTHLY JOURNAL PROMPTS HERE<<<

 

PRAY:

Heavenly Father, You created my heart and mind to worship You, so I am surrendering them again. God, they belong to You. Take this heart and make it pure. Take this mind and transform it. Help me to use them for Your glory and honor because it’s righteousness I am after. LORD, I am declaring again that Jesus is my integrity. In His name I pray, Amen.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

Makes Sense to Me

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

– Albert Einstein

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

1 Peter 3:15

“Ask the Lord and put your hope in Him. He has all the answers.”

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

WHY PRAY?: 5 Benefits of Prayer

I got prayer all wrong in the past. I thought if I prayed and focused long enough for something like confidence I would be confident for the rest of the year at least if not for life. But sooner or later my doubts would creep in and I would wonder, “Where did my confidence go?” My prayer worked but my confidence only lasted for a while.

The thing I realized was that my confidence had an expiration date. I thought maybe I’m not being faithful enough. So then I would pray for faith thinking that if I prayed for it religiously for a week I would have faith for the rest of the year or for a couple months at least and that I would never have to pray for it again until when I was desperate enough.

Our Father in Heaven never meant for us to come to Him asking for specific things just once or even twice. He knows just how needy we are. He wants to have a connection with us all the time that’s why He uses our lack, our imperfections, and our weaknesses to drive us back to Him. But our human nature usually opts to wait for those desperate moments to bring them up in prayer when we can make a habit instead to pray about them throughout the day. Our faith and confidence expires for a reason and that’s because God’s does not. Isn’t His love so amazing to call us back to Him when our cups have run dry?

Prayer is undervalued because not everyone around you will see exactly how you’re benefitting from it as it’s usually a private activity. Only you will know more often than even the closest people to you that it actually works.

SO, EXACTLY HOW DOES ONE BENEFIT FROM PRAYING?

1. PRAYER PRODUCES CONFIDENCE. If it’s self-confidence you want more of, placing it in God is your best move. Sure you’ll find confidence in other things, but do those things build your integrity? When your hope and trust is placed in your Creator, your confidence becomes a firm faith, and you’ll be more positive and optimistic about where you’re headed in life, which means your worries and anxieties lessen, you gain more focus, and become more aware of the opportunities around you. Confidence says a lot about a person’s worth and without knowing your worth, who is going to believe you?

2. PRAYER STRENGTHENS OUR BOND WITH GOD & PEOPLE. The joy and peace we give to and receive from our relationships greatly depend on the strength of our relationship and oneness with the LORD. Our meditations to Him manifests as our internal dialogue, which has a great effect on the way we communicate with others. Prayer helps us make connections with people we have a hard time understanding or just getting along with because it builds patience within us as we realize how patient God is with us. The overall quality of life is enhanced through healthy relationships.

3. PRAYER HELPS US TO LIVE IN GOD’S WILL. Discernment is important if we want to make good decisions that keep us in alignment with God’s plan. As we become consistent with prayer, we are able to know quickly what ideas and suggestions are from Satan and what ideas and suggestions are from God. The wisdom we gain will help us to be more aware of the difference between conviction and condemnation that we might save ourselves from pain and suffering later on. His will becomes ours the more we accept it.

4. PRAYER HELPS US TO VALUE DISCIPLINE. Our confessions and repentance produces humility to continually welcome righteousness into our hearts. Prayer reaffirms that our goal is to have the characteristics of Jesus because when we display His qualities we attract like-minded people who help us make life a little easier. Self-control is such an important quality if anyone wants to make it far in life.

5. PRAYER HELPS COMBAT STRESS/ANXIETY & DEPRESSION. When the mind and body suffers, it is often the spirit that is overlooked. Prayer produces relaxation that is very well an alternative to medicine. Our God and Creator made us for Himself, and that is why when we worship Him with all our being, He really is everything we ever need. Prayer encourages us to forgive easily, which protects us from anxiety and a host of others mental illnesses as well as cardiovascular disease. He heals our hearts and minds as we live more for Him.

Mark 11:24 – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

WANT THOUGHTS OF LOVE FOR YOU OR A LOVED ONE? DROP A PRAYER REQUEST OR TWO ON OUR PRAYER WALL

 

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

KEEP WALKING (Devotional)

I remember being 12 years old and thinking “When I’m 16, I’ll have my first boyfriend and I’ll get my driver’s license, when I’m 25 I should be married, and when I’m 30 I should have my first child.” Okay, so none of my predictions came true. By the time I turned 25, I still couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be in life. There’s a one hit wonder by 4 Non Blondes and it goes….

       Twenty-five years and my life is still

Trying to get up that great big hill of hope

For a destination

………

And I try, oh my god do I try

I try all the time, in this institution

And I pray, oh my god do I pray

I pray every single day

For a revolution

………

And I say, hey hey hey hey

I said hey, what’s going on?

………

That was my song. I sang it quite well actually. I was one of two vocalists in a cover band performing weekly at a bar not far from the Vegas Strip. I didn’t pick the song, the members chose it for me but they didn’t even have a clue I was only a few months away from turning 25. I remember that year clearly. I thought I had a very good standing relationship with God, but I look back and I was actually more on the self-righteous side blinded by my own self-confidence, yet I didn’t have a clear focus on how God wanted to use my skills and talents and I was still chasing after worldly gains.

I always believed having a goal meant that you’re counting on yourself to achieve it one day. YOU SET IT, YOU GET IT. And it confused me so much because the Bible says that God establishes a man’s steps, no matter how much he plans his own life (Prov. 16:9). So what did He want from me?!? Why did He give me so much passions and interests and I can’t even focus on one to set me for life?

He brought me back to square one. And not just once, but quite a few handful of times. Square one was a corner as I had always pictured it before. And whenever I came back to this place, I always lost hope and complained “Well, I’m going to have to work extra hard now just to gain back all the strength I just lost, because now I have to start all over again.”

It might have been the hundredth time of returning to this place that I finally realized it is not a corner but the center of where everything begins. It is now the place where the LORD always reminds me I am nothing without Him and have nothing without Him. And I have no complaints but praises and thanks. I have to make sure I’m still on the path. He brings me here to remind me it doesn’t matter how much I have been pushing myself just to walk a little faster than before because at times I felt I was so behind. What matters is that I’m walking in faith. What matters is that God is my ultimate Goal. 

adobe-spark-post (12)

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

  1. Do I have a practical short-term goal concerning my spiritual growth?
  2. What improvements have I made (big or small) since taking the LORD more seriously?
  3. How has this blessed/benefitted others besides myself?

>>>GRAB YOUR FREE, PRINTABLE MONTHLY JOURNAL PROMPTS HERE<<<

 

PRAY:

Heavenly Father, You made me to worship You, so my goal is to please You. If my strength comes from Your joy because You are pleased with me, then I ask that You make me more aware of opportunities to be a blessing to others. Show me LORD small miracles that lead me back to the bigger picture which is You. I trust in Your perfect will and plan because You do not fail. Help me to press on and keep walking with faith if it pleases You so. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. 

 

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”

Earl Nightingale

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:6

“God is my Goal.”

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

Signs of Spiritual Maturity

My dad was the substitute for our pastor one Sunday and he asked me for some thoughts on spiritual growth. Here’s a few I came up with…..

  • When you are able to say “Thank You Lord for the struggles” and truly mean it.
  • When you grow concern for others’ spiritual maturity besides your own.
  • When you understand the difference between happiness and joy.
  • When you recognize times you could have surrendered or are able to surrender right then and there during a time you were impulsive or a time you were tempted. You favor the Lord’s discernment even over your common sense.
  • When you realize patience, forgiveness, and compassion are just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Your spiritual health is biblically intertwined with your physical and mental health.
  • When you find yourself talking/praying to God not just about the big decisions in life but also about the smallest details. His wisdom is more important to you than your own understanding.
  • When you receive confidence, peace, and joy by resisting all kinds of temptations instead of feeling dissatisfied, resentful, or vindictive. You see growth opportunities in your daily struggles.
  • When you become generous of the things you are grateful for in life. Even if it’s as simple as joy, you will spread it.
  • When your alone time with God becomes more and more important to you.
  • When you’re able to see God’s blessings towards others who bear good fruit. You are also aware and able to see the blessings that come from God because of your obedience to Him.
  • When you become less sensitive about yourself and more sensitive for others.

Colossians 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

Ephesian 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

2 Peter 1:5-6 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;

This list was not made to make anyone compare themselves to other Christians. Everyone is at a different level of spiritual maturity because everyone is responsible for their  own growth. That’s why patience, love, and understanding are some of the most valuable qualities to have. We don’t know how far along some Christians have come, Christian or not. Let us not compare ourselves to them. Let’s not judge them. Let’s pray whether that comparison was out of self pity or pride. Let’s bring whatever that judgement was to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

A Psalm of Sheela

My heart it aches, I suffer in my youth,

My groans and moans speak for me the truth

But if my grief is caused by Satan’s lies,

What reason have I to cry and cry?

My heart it grows faint within me,

My spirit is far from free

But if my agony should lead me back to Your glory,

Lord, let my restless soul rest in Thee!

 

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

P.S. No worries, I am not depressed. Just felt like writing this for anyone who might be going through something heart wrenching. I’ve been there friend.

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits