Posted in Christian, Confidence, Devotional, Encouragement, Faith, Life, Living in Truth, Resilience, Women in Leadership

She Believed God Called Her, So She Did.

Beloved, what if we took God seriously when we’re invited to “Be Strong & Courageous” and “Go Do”? How would your daily life be different if you actually believed yourself in Christ to be strong, to be able, to be gifted?

What would be different for you today if you absolutely believed that God called you to teach, speak, show hospitality, be a stay-at-home mom, farm, feed the poor, proclaim the gospel in restricted nations, go to Bible college in your 40s or 50s or 60s or 70s, lead a not-for-profit, open up a business, travel as an evangelist, be a productive team member on mission with others? Take a moment and just imagine what that might look like. How would you show up?

“I’m not enough” and “I can’t” are lies that I believed for far too long. I lacked the confidence to step out and try new things and to be brave enough to steer my life in a direction that allowed me to grow the gifts that the Holy Spirit has placed within me. And I know I’m not alone in believing a lie because I often see and hear other women say “I can’t” – demonstrating it in both actions and words.

Today, I want you to understand this: God Calls, so YES.YOU.CAN. Will you have to grow in your gifts? Yes. Will you make mistakes? Yes. Will you have to be ridiculously in charge of your life and its’ stewardship? Without question. BUT, you.can.do.it.

One of the things that I’ve done in recent months is this: I daily write out TRUTH affirmations about myself. Truthfully, up until a few months ago, it was so much easier for me to encourage others, speaking words of truth and life and believing it to be true…for them. BUT, for me to fully believe and embrace that God has Called Me so I Can, I started a daily practice of gratitude and speaking truth to myself. (I am currently using the 5-Minute A Day Journal, which I share about here and which I highly recommend.)

I’m still growing in faith and confidence, but where I was a few months ago and where I am today are radically different, and I know that believing in myself because of God’s call makes me able. I’m done with the critics who want to argue about whether or not a woman can. I don’t have time for ignorance or conversations that are meant to heap shame and condemnation or tell me “I can’t.” Carmen believes God called her, so she does. She pursues the God-opening doors, and she prays for new ones to open. She says “no” to things that would be harmful to her soul and relationship with Christ, and she takes seriously stewarding the ONE life she’s been given. She loves God, embraces the journey of evolving, and loves, equips and encourages others.

That, my friends, is how I’m moving forward – with confidence in God and a deepening confidence in myself.

If you lack in confidence, here are a couple things you can do for yourself:

  • Daily be in your Bible and ask God to speak truth to you, then write it down. Chronicle your journey!
  • Find a person who is willing to speak encouraging truth into your life (be wise) and ask them to hold you accountable for your commitment to building your confidence. Yeah, you can own this journey!
  • Lead or participate in a Zoe Group. I led one a couple of years ago, and among participants, we still talk about it. Check out Zoe Network here, their mission is Helping Women Thrive.
  • Get yourself a 5-Minute A Day Journal and begin a daily, life-transforming practice of reflection and speaking the truth.

I believe in the Almighty God who called you, and I believe you can do ALL and BECOME ALL he’s purposed for you to be.

Believe it!

Carmen

Posted in Christian, Devotional, Encouragement, Life, Monastic, Spiritual Discipline

Yearning for God…intentionally

Prayer was a continuous way of life in the desert. It was intentionally cultivated until it became second nature. Prayer involved the hard work of learning a new language – the language of heaven. For the ascetic, prayer was not merely the speaking of words. It was the yearning for God, reaching out in hopeful openness to being touched by God. Prayer was for the Holy Spirit breathing through the inner spirit of the ascetic and returning to God with yearnings of intimacy. (Laura Swan, The Forgotten Desert Mothers; Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women [Paulist Press, 2001], 27)

I do not know where you are at today, nor do I know what your journey this last year had been like. For me, it has been a year of getting to know myself, of sitting in my “cell” and facing myself. And it has also been a year of intentionality, of yearning, of longing for God to breathe afresh and anew in my life – and He did not disappoint.

It has been a year of discovering that I am ridiculously in charge of my own life and that I alone bear the responsibility for its stewardship. It has been a year where I came to grips with the fact that there will always be circumstances that are out of my control and which have the power to shape me, if I chose.  It has been a year where I embraced the truth that I have choices. Moment by moment, day by day, month by month, I can choose how I will spend the gift of time and how I will react to the things going on around me.

The desert fathers and mothers, whose writings I have been reading since last summer, taught me that their intentional choices influenced their personal growth and their relationship with God. Prayer was “intentionally cultivated,” solitude was “intentionally cultivated,” yearning for God was “intentionally cultivated.” How they chose to live was intentional.

I think too often we give away our power and numb our senses which leaves us crippled and confused about who we are, what we are feeling, and what our soul yearns for. In some cases, we have allowed technology to become our master, telling us when to drink water, how many steps to take, what our heart rate it, and we wear our fitness devices as some sort of reminder that we want to be aware. But somehow in that wanting, we have stopped creating spaces for silence and solitude. We have stopped taking the time to be present to God and present to ourselves. And perhaps for some of us, if we are really honest, we have become expert runners who run from ourself and try to run from God.

So today,  if that’s you and you long for something different as I did last summer and still do, join me by reaching out your hands towards God and saying: “God, I yearn for you and you alone. I take back the power of choice to steward my own life, and I commit to intentionally cultivating the behaviours and thoughts that allow me to be present in life.”

A special note of thanks: Dear David, a soon-to-be-new-brother-in-Christ, thank you for courageously picking up your phone today and reaching out to a stranger (you happened to get me) to ask about how one becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ – you confirmed for me that this blog post matters. I hope you’ll call again and am praying for your wholehearted “yes” to Jesus.