Do Less This Year

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Yes, you read that right: do less this year. You stand a better chance at success if you do only a few things well than too many things poorly. God is a God of order and His agenda can be a lot to do, but He gives strength to do only what He calls you to do. Perhaps in the past you (like me) have misappropriated that strength on good things at the expense of the best. The new year is a perfect opportunity to look at your list of goals and shave them down. No need to worry about what that means for the the things that end up on the shaving room floor. God is capable of assigning someone else to those things and you both can be ok with some things being incomplete. Excluding things from your life does not mean you will never be able to do them; they just need to bow to other things right now. If your goal is to glorify God with your life, prioritizing is a must. Even Jesus did it (John 5:19).

How can you know what God wants you to do and what He wants to eliminate? Ask Him. Watch His activity in your life and keep your spiritual ears open when you read His Word. Do not make this a painstaking activity, hearing from God is a natural part of walking with Him. Keep your heart yielded, and He will show you what to do and what not to do.

Doing less is not being lazy, it is allowing space for God to do much as you abide in Him. Jesus said you bear much fruit as you abide in Him (John 15:5).

As the year wears on, other things may try to crowd out God’s priorities. Consider writing down what needs to have top rank and putting it in a place you will see everyday. Distractions are like pests: the best way to combat them is through daily maintenance.

May this be a year of watching God do amazing things in you, for you, and through you, My Friend. May you look back and marvel at how much you accomplished by doing less compared to what your natural self and the world around you demands.

Happy New Year!

Your Third Eye

“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sara’s womb was also dead. Yet He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. ” Romans 4:19-21

My heartbeat speeds up every time I read the passage above.

Everyone one loves a story where the underdog triumphs over incredible odds. I have noticed that overcomers use their two natural eyes to look at the bare naked facts. They don’t dabble in denial and tell themselves they don’t see what is staring back at them. But while they view the facts with their natural eyes, they also have a third eye, the eye of faith.

Do you have three eyes?

People call us crazy, pie-in-the sky Pollyanna’s because of our third eye. They think we are not living in reality. But we are more realistic than the pessimists because we know once God has said a thing, it is as real as if it already happened. We remember that God sees the past, present, and future simultaneously. Humanly speaking, it’s like seeing yourself as a baby in one room (that’s the past), your present age in the next room, and you living in what God has promised just one door down. Because God cannot lie, what He has promised has already happened. You’re just not in that room yet.

What has God promised that you are tempted to doubt? Resist the temptation to look at your present circumstances only with your natural eyes.

Maybe your third eye is getting blurry? Is your faith faltering? Verse 19 says that Abraham was strengthened in his faith. Where did his faith find its strength? In the power of God! You don’t have to muster up faith if it’s faith in God because God’s promises are backed up by who He is!

If your third eye is getting blurry, you may be looking too long at the circumstance and not enough at the One who is greater than your circumstance.

Maybe the exercise below can strengthen your third eye if it is growing weak.

Put your name in place of Abraham’s and your circumstance in place of his and see what happens!

Without weakening in her faith, (your name) faced the fact that (insert your facts here). Yet she did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in her faith…being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.

Talk About It: Share what your third eye sees that is just one door down. Or what promise has God made that has already been fulfilled? It may encourage the rest of us who are still waiting.

God Says It’s Time to Forgive Yourself

You did it. You let yourself down. Worse, you let God down when you committed that sin you never thought yourself capable of… you just can’t seem to get past it. Like walking on a foot that didn’t heal right, you feel pain everytime you remember what you did.  If someone else had done what you did, you might find it easier to forgive them, but you cannot seem to extend the same grace  to yourself. You may even know that God forgave you the moment you asked, but you cannot stop holding yourself hostage to your own sin.   I struggled with this same issue until I realized that forgiving myself was just as much an act of obedience to God as forgiving other offenders.

                                              “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” -Colossians 3:13b

Why do we forgive OTHERS? Because the One who calls the shots in your life says you are to forgive. It really is an act of the will, a choice to open the Grudge Cage and let the offender go free. Why then, is it OK to lock YOU in that same cage?

It’s not OK.

It is an offense to the One who sets captives free. You are a part of the world God so loved and gave His only Son for, so for you to call “unforgiven” she whom God calls “forgiven” is to disrespect and contradict Him.   It even suggests that your sin is so much worse than anybody else’s and undeserving of forgiveness. That’s pride, My Dear Sister. Besides, who said anything about deserving? If you deserved forgiveness, it wouldn’t be grace but a payment in exchange for a service rendered. Your sins cost blood, they already have been paid for in full, so why make extra payments?

But…But

I know, I know. You say it’s hard to forgive yourself because what you did was so terrible. Well, God agrees with you. You have taken the first step by agreeing with God about the ugliness of your sin. It’s called confession. But then He moves on from that and so must you. If His desire was for you to stew in a pot of your own boiling, He would not have bothered with the cross. His plan was to do a jail break for your soul so you could get on with the business of glorifying Him. How are you bringing Him glory by flogging yourself with unforgiveness? Martyrdom is not a good look on you, especially since Jesus did it so much better than you (gentle smile here). By His stripes you are healed.  It is for freedom that Christ set you free.  As a woman who has been where you are, on the authority of God’s word, I am standing on the outside of the cage and pleading with you to come out. The freedom and purpose are so wonderful out here!

So, What Do You Say? 

You Can Pray: Dear Father, forgive me for the pride, disrespect, and disobedience of not forgiving myself. I have mistreated the woman you love so much and that woman is me. Right now, as an act of obedience to you I forgive (say your full name)  for (name those specific offenses). Help me to love myself the way you love me… because you love me.

Let’s talk: Have you decided to stop mistreating the one God loves? If so, what way have you been mistreating and punishing yourself that ends today?