In my Bible study, recently (No Other Gods by Kelly Minter), Kelly was talking about the biblical story of Jacob, Leah & Rachel, and how both of these women had their sights set on their (functional) ‘gods’: Leah’s ‘god’ was Jacob (his love), and Rachel’s ‘god’ was bearing children.

What stood out most to me, though, was this:

How many of us settle for so much less than what’s available to us, simply because our sights are set on the wrong Source?

Leah’s sights were set on what Jacob could do for her, rather than on how God was answering her desires and healing her pain… in His way.

Rachel’s sights were set on the fact that her lack of children made her feel ‘less than’, rather than being grateful to God that she had the love and devotion of her husband, Jacob.

Both of these women were consumed by their false gods. They couldn’t (wouldn’t) see how God was actually present and active in their lives.

I think, then, of my own life… and the things that I’m focused on or striving after. Where am I discontent? What am I looking to for satisfaction and fulfillment?

… Leah thought that ‘if only’ she could have Jacob’s affection, then she’d be satisfied.

… Rachel thought that ‘if only’ she could bear children, then she’d be satisfied.

I often think, ‘if only’ I could …

  • be successful in my business (earning money)
  • have a better house
  • have a more reliable vehicle
  • lose the excess weight…

then I’d be satisfied.

I’m striving. I am looking to earthly things and accomplishments for satisfaction, fulfillment, and peace.

Yet, I’ve had these things that I wanted, before… but I’ve not found satisfaction.

Reason being, God alone can fully satisfy. No person, place, thing, or accomplishment will ever suffice! Only God being our everything — above all else — will ever bring the kind of fulfillment we seek.

It’s okay to want those other things — a healthy home, a loving marriage, a well-cared-for body, a thriving career — so long as we don’t seek them more than we seek God… so long as we remember that the only thing we truly need is God, alone. Everything else is merely icing on the cake — an added blessing! (“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God… and all these things will be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33)

As long as we feel we need anything other than God, we will be discontent, striving, and chasing ‘idols’. But if we believe that we need nothing but God to be satisfied, then everything else becomes simply a blessing given to us from Him! (not earned of our own merit or action).

I don’t need a thriving business… because God has promised to provide for all of my needs. Yet, He has blessed me with this gift of being able to use my talents and skills in service to Him. God gave people work so that they could have a sense of accomplishment over the work of their hands, and something with which to fill their days. I, personally, am blessed to be chosen to use my gifts for Him in this way!

I also don’t need weight loss in order to be acceptable or loved or admired, as God loves and accepts me as I am. However, God also calls us to be good stewards of these earthly bodies so that we can carry out His Kingdom plans, and He wants us to seek Him for comfort — not food. Food has also become a false ‘god’ for me.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Father, forgive me for setting my sights on all of these other things — looking to them for satisfaction — when only You are the true answer! I praise You for Your grace, mercy & patience with me, Lord. Thank you! Amen.

One of my favorite things to do is to recommend books! I used to read –on average– 80 books per year ((grins)). So, I’ve got quite the collection to pull from.

Here are 14 amazing Christian Living books I’d recommend:

  1. Crash the Chatterbox – Steven Furtick
  2. Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s Been Hiding – Leanna Tankersley
  3. Girls With Swords – Lisa Bevere
  4. What Keeps You Up At Night? – Pete Wilson
  5. If: Trading Your If-Only Regrets For God’s What-If Possibilities – Mark Batterson
  6. Grace For the Good Girl – Emily P. Freeman
  7. Practicing the Presence of Jesus – Wally Armstrong
  8. Battle Ready – Kelly Balarie
  9. The God-First Life – Stovall Weems
  10. Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God – Gary Thomas
  11. Girl Meets God: A Memoir – Lauren Winner
  12. Jesus in the Margins – Rick McKinley
  13. The Beautiful Fight – Gary Thomas
  14. The Jesus of Suburbia – Mike Erre

(Note: This post contains Affiliate links. Please see my Disclaimer page for more information).

We live in an age with an abundance of information. It comes at us from everywhere — home, church, school, work, online — it’s no wonder so many of us have lost sight of / gotten so confused about who we really are!

For a lot of my younger years, I attended church and Christian schools. It wasn’t until college that I started to learn that there were other worldviews that existed.

Throughout my twenties and thirties, a lot of time was spent maybe not “unlearning” the things I was taught, but rather seeking to take hold of what was true, and releasing what wasn’t. I needed to come to my own conclusions about what I believed, instead of blindly accepting everything others had taught me, without questioning it.

And yes, through this process of questioning and choosing, my life was transformed. It brought a maturity and a strength I hadn’t previously had.

LEAVE A COMMENT and tell me what you need to “unlearn” (or question) in order to grow.

Yesterday, I started reading, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The very first lesson is that “rich people don’t work for money… they make money work for them.” And, within this lesson, another said, “we need to learn to control our emotions — to think before we act”.

Robert shares that most people (the 99%) are driven by the emotions of fear & greed… fear of not having enough money, and then greed about what things they will buy with the money they do get.

These two fears never completely go away. So, we need to learn to control them … to respond (after thinking), rather than react (without thinking).

After finishing chapter one, I set the book aside, needing time to let it all sink in. And, as I put some of my other books back on my shelf (ones I’d been reading the day before), my eye landed on “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard. So, I pulled it down and started skimming through it, as something in my gut prompted me to do so. And, sure enough, there was a whole chapter titled, “On Fear”. So, I sat down, and read through that chapter.

Where I started off, it talked about the “weaklings” — those who fear effort — calling them “worshippers of ease” and “escapists” (all of which struck a nerve). It talked about them having given up their power to absolve themselves of the responsibility of living a remarkable life. Ouch.

Brendon writes, They don’t have the resolve to pursue their highest selves, or any meaningful purpose … [But] what good is a life without struggle? … What mastery can there be without real effort…?

This made me think, again, about how I’ve never been driven towards “mastery” or “excellence” in anything. I’ve never cared to excel; good enough was good enough.

Yet, I’d also researched “work ethic”, this morning (along with what the Bible says about this topic), learning that it’s about dedicating oneself, and giving your all toward somethinghaving certain principles that guide your work behavior. And, in combining that with these two new insights from these books, I’m starting to see that the value of all of this isn’t the outcome or the result. Its value actually lies in the fulfillment that comes from knowing you gave it your all, and –more importantly– that God is glorified by our dedication, integrity, diligence, and commitment to the task at hand.

For me, the outcome has almost never been worth the effort I’d have to expend; it wasn’t worth me forfeiting things I’d rather be doing with my time.

But that, there, is also faulty thinking: that “my time” is my own!

God says we are to be good stewards of this life, including — maybe especially — our time… because my whole purpose for existence is to know God, love God, and to make Him knownto do as He calls me to do… not to whittle away my days, being comfortable, scrolling social media, and gluttonously feeding my ego with motivational quotes.

So, the true fulfillment isn’t in what we get from the work we do (eg. the money, or all that it could buy). True fulfillment lies in giving our all to the work, itself, because that honors God — which is the whole point! In using the gifts and talents God gave us, in service to others (with a good attitude, and with excellence), we are bringing glory to God, and being –proving ourselves– set apart for the Kingdom.

And, honoring, and bringing glory to, God is FULLY worth my time… it’s the only thing that really is!

By knowing that our joy and fulfillment come through doing the work, it seems all the more imperative to me, too, that we choose work that best uses the talents and gifts God has given us… choosing work that brings us joy.

Do you know what work best aligns with YOUR talents & gifts? If not, feel free to set up a time to chat with me (30 minutes, no obligation), and we can get you some insight on that!

Do you ever just get so tired of trying to move forward? Do you have times where you’ve gone at things with such intensity for so long and, all-of-a-sudden, it hits you and you feel bone-weary? I do, too.

I’ve got a feisty, stubborn, independent spirit, so I tend to fight long and hard for what I believe in, and/or am passionate about. Yet, every now and then, I hit a wall, and I just cannot summon the strength to keep going.

Can you relate?

I’m not saying that I’ll give up entirely. Definitely not! But I think that life has a way of telling us that it’s time to slow down, step back, rest, and refresh. If we don’t pay attention, and we don’t take a breather once in a while, life seems to force us to do so, whether we want to or not!

Some of the ways I’ve found to help me slow down and regroup include the following:

LET IT GO

Instead of fighting to continue, I recognize my soul’s need for a time-out, and I mentally tell myself that it’s okay — that I have permission — to let things go for a while. It’s not forever. And, by taking some time off, I know I will come back to things with more clarity, and renewed energy, later on.

GET CREATIVE

I got into the whole adult coloring trend, a year ago, along with the practice of Art Journaling. And, while I don’t pursue these things daily any more, I do find that they are very relaxing, they allow me to “zone out”, and they get me into a creative “flow” state for a while.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

Along with getting my creative juices flowing, I also love to put my earphones on, crank up my favorite music, and tune out the world for a couple of hours. Combining my coloring time with listening to music has a really beneficial effect on my state of being. It calms me and brings me joy.

READ FICTION

Because I’m such an avid nonfiction reader, I’m constantly soaking up knowledge, and learning, usually taking notes while I read.

So, every now and then, I find I have to force myself to dig into a novel (fiction) in order to just relax with my book, and “escape” the world around me. I am always happy after having done so, too!

Now, because everyone is unique, the things I do to step back and relax may be different from the things you would enjoy. The point, though, is to find what it is that helps bring you a sense of calm, and then make time for that in your day-to-day.

How long you take time off for will always depend on your unique circumstances. If you pay attention, your body and soul will let you know when it’s time to pick up where you left off. If necessary, you can always set yourself a flexible deadline — once that date comes, you can then check in with yourself, see how you feel, and decide whether you need a bit more time, or if you’re ready to roll.

We aren’t meant to always be “on”. Even the Master Creator (God) took time off after creating the world! Follow His example, and take a break when you need to.

How do YOU make the time to relax? What are your favorite downtime activities that help you feel refreshed?

Have you ever tried to ignore something, but just couldn’t seem to escape it? I most definitely have. Let me tell you a story…

For my 10th birthday, an older friend gave me my very first diary. I still have that book today. It’s got a mint-green cover, and the pages are heavily perfumed. It has its own lock and key.

I remember, as a young girl, weaving stories in my mind as I drifted off to sleep each night. Often times they included living in a mansion, and/or horseback riding through the woods on my grandparents’ property.

Sometimes I would even speak my stories into my brown Fisher Price tape recorder.

In grade school, one of my favorite things was when the teacher would fill all three chalkboards with notes for us to copy into our notebooks… then erase it all, and fill all three boards again. I loved taking notes! And I still take notes from every nonfiction book I read, actually!

I completed NaNoWriMo in 2006. I wrote 50,911 words in 28 days. My novel still sits on my shelf, unfinished.

To this day, I keep a journal. I don’t write in it daily, any more — only when I desperately need an outlet for my emotions, and/or I need to sort through the tangled messes of my thoughts. Writing things out almost always brings clarity.

I oftentimes “pray” on paper, as well, seeking God’s take on the issues I’m dealing with. I’ll write out what I feel He’s saying to my spirit, in response, also. This practice has truly helped to deepen my faith, and draw me closer in relationship with my Lord.

Also, I’ve been a blogger since 2005. It started as a way to record the books I was reading, then morphed into a community of others who loved the book-related memes I posted each week, and then evolved over time into a place where I now teach others the things that I’ve learned, thus far… and what I am still in the process of learning.

You would think, on reading all of the above, that I’d classify myself as a Writer. Yet, for the longest time, I’ve fought that title. I’ve even told God that I don’t want to be a Writer. And yet, the thread of writing has been woven throughout the tapestry that is my life, and it seems that I, like Jonah, must surrender to the call.

I realized something, this past week, that has truly helped me to start the process of accepting this: that I don’t actually hate to write. In fact, I have to grudgingly admit that, yes, I even like writing. As I said earlier, writing is how I sort through my thoughts; it’s always been how I am best able to express myself.

The “aha!” came when I saw that what I don’t like is writing for others… and, in asking myself why that is, it all came down to one thing:

PERFECTIONISM (aka: Fear)

…I don’t like writing out posts for my blog because I feel like my writing has to be “perfect” and “polished”, or else I won’t be seen as the professional that I’m aiming to be.

Yet, every professional was once a beginner. And God even tells us to not “despise the days of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10).

I guess I need to learn to give myself more grace — to accept my “beginner” status when it comes to writing, and to not mentally kick myself for being so inconsistent.

After all, I teach others that practice makes progress… and I think progress is as close to “perfection” as we’re going to get, this side of heaven. So, if I want to feel more confident in this role as a Writer, I just need to keep practicing. The more I do it — the more I write — the better I’ll get.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I’m curious… is there some title or calling that you’ve been trying to run away from? Share in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not alone in this!