YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SOCIALLY AVAILABLE ALL THE TIME

Media distancing is difficult these days

When I was a young girl, the world was in turmoil. Civil Rights marches. Protests. Violence. The TV blared bad news all day. I had the sense that nothing was right in the world.

It felt like it does now. The only difference is we have more news sources, more ways of getting information, including social media. We can get the idea that we must be socially available all the time.

How about you? Do you feel the need to be socially available all the time?

To answer every notification?

Scroll three or four times a day? 

Infinite scroll allows us to endlessly swipe down through content.

“If you don’t give your brain time to catch up with your impulses,” Mr Raskin said, “you just keep scrolling.” ( A former employee of Facebook)

When scrolling our emotions can run through the gamut. One moment we are laughing, the next crying, the next depressed. It’s an odd sort of feeling we pick up. We can  pick up fear and panic when we didn’t have it two minutes before we opened the app.

You don’t have to be socially available all the time.

We feel as if it is our responsibility to be available all the time. 

Jennifer Lee says:

“Social availability has become our soul’s adversity.” 

We can buy into the lie that we must post, answer comments, and keep everyone updated on our lives and then do the same for them. It’s a farce, a fallacy, a ford we don’t want to cross. When we feel that we MUST do something, it then becomes our master and we are it’s servant. It becomes adversity we create all on our own. We can begin to think that social media is REAL connection. It’s not. It can be a ripple effect after we have relationships or connections. Social Media cannot replace human connection. Maybe that’s why some of us feel so out of sorts right now. We know:

  • Social availability or scrolling is not connection, relationship or education.
  • Scrolling, posting, photographing, reading and commenting is not living.
  • We also think we must stay on top of things by “checking” social media. What if we miss something?

Constant Social Availability is Harmful to Our Kids

Remember how I said my early childhood was? By the time I was in middle school, my mom had put the TV in the closet. REALLY. No TV. I spent the majority of my childhood without one in a time when the TV was the staple of every household. Was it a radical move on her part? Yes. Did I get teased and made fun of? Yes. Where my thoughts, foundation, and ways of navigating choices filtered by what I saw on TV? No.

My mom taking the TV away was a gift. I may have thought it was a curse at the time. I entered college basically TV- show- illiterate. Still to this day, I don’t understand some TV references. (I’ve never watched FRIENDS – just a few snippets – so I don’t speak the lingo). I have never watched most of the shows my peers digested as a regular part of their diet. I’m not bragging. We kids BEGGED for a TV. What’s the point? Media distancing practices are beneficial if done for the right reason. Mom didn’t want our minds poisoned by TV.  

Just a thoughtIt’s okay to make choices for our children’s sake. It’s okay to choose to limit social media, tv, news articles, news apps, newspapers, etc…

If we are more concerned about what friends (even church friends) or Aunt Betty say about our social media or TV restrictions  for our family, then we are looking towards man, not God.

Ask yourself – ten years from now, what will this matter? What are you feeding your mind and the minds of your children?

  • When we are distracted by social media, we are teaching our children to live a distracted lifestyle.
  • When we are too busy to look up from screens to engage, we teach our children that screens are more important than connection.
  • When we react with depression, anger, frustration, and fear, after looking/reading a post, we teach our kids that nothing is right in the world. 
  • When we react more quickly to the notification on our phone then we do to the kiddo’s request, we teach them devices are more important. 
  • When we tend to our devices more than we tend to our homes, we will be out of balance.

Here’s another way to look at Social media-

You wouldn’t indiscriminately go into anyone’s house, eat their food, listen to their worldview, absorb their theology, listen to their advice on every subject, so why go to them on social media?

Lately, I haven’t been on social media a lot. With the move to our new house, we have gained the limited ability to use wifi. It’s been an odd blessing during this season. I have to go into my office to get a signal. (So sorry to all of you who message me or comment on posts- I sometimes don’t get them for a day or two.) So, I’ve been socially distancing myself mentally and physically. I’ve taken to writing articles (here) on the website again. I’m staying in my own “house” on the world wide web as well.

Hopefully, as a result of this craziness, we will see  a rebirth of actual articles on websites. We can then choose whose “house” we go to for encouragement, edification, and information.

Just a thought – Maybe it’s time we stepped back and did some more thinking in our upstairs brain

We could camp out there, dust off the books and put our thinking caps back on. We can enter the land of literal, logical, and linear. We can leave the survival brain downstairs. We can leave behind the fight, flight, and freeze, reactions. 

Of course, I’m not bashing social media altogether. Just as in my house example, we don’t randomly run from house to house when we aren’t socially distancing, don’t run to everyone’s “house” on social media now. Here are three simple tips:

  1. Instead of scrolling, go to a page. If you are checking on family, just go to their page to see what they are up to today. If someone has been putting out some encouraging content during this time – go straight to their page. My favorite page during this season has been Marcy Holder. (She was on the podcast recently – find it here – scroll down to “Show Up for Your Own Life”). She’s a spiritually- focused coach. Every day, I feel as if her message of encouragement is just for me. 
  2.  Instead of checking notifications, turn them off. I don’t have mine on and even if I did, they wouldn’t work in my house. It’s too much of an emotional roller coaster to answer the ping. Just a thought – Did you ever think we’ve been trained by social media to respond? Like little mice, we run for the “food?” Let your friends and family know the best way to reach you, text, email, phone call, or snail mail.
  3.  Don’t get your news from social media and don’t believe all the news you see. PERIOD.  As Winnie the Pooh says -Think. Think. Think.

Frances Schaeffer said in How Should We Then Live:

“Actually TV manipulates viewers just by its normal way of operating. Many viewers seem to assume that when they have seen something on TV, they have seen it with their own eyes… For many, what they see on television becomes more true than what they see with their eyes in the external world.”  

Remember every minute of TV and social media news has been edited by someone with a subjective viewpoint. We are in essence, seeing the image someone has decided we should see. Media is manipulation. 

Again, I’m not saying social media is all bad. It’s a great time to pull back from all the extraneous use and think about the ways we are impacted. Just as I know going into random people’s houses is not a great idea, going into their “houses” indiscriminately on social media isn’t either.

I’ll end with the Message Translation of Psalm 1, I’m usually a die hard Amplified Bible girl, but this one made me laugh. And it fits the bill.

How well God must like you—
    you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,
    you don’t slink along Dead-End Road,
    you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,
    who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
    unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.

Write Or Type Up A Plan

Write or Type Up a Plan

You knew it was coming, right? We can’t just dream big dreams, write out our perfect day, the rewards we will receive for living our purpose, and not have a plan. Tommy Newberry in his book, Success is Not an Accident says:


“Investing the time and brainpower to set meaningful goals in each area of your life will produce internal, permanent, motivation. You’ll become inner-directed rather than outer-directed or other-directed.”

We want to be inner-directed, right? Outer directed is reactionary. We can live our lives like a ball in a pinball machine, getting bumped, hit, and sometimes hitting a random goal. Or we can have a plan.

Remember your perfect day?

  • What would it take to make that happen?
  • What habits would you need to form?
  • What kinds of things would you need to do differently?
  • How can you break those goals down into easy to accomplish objectives?
  • How will you handle obstacles?

There will be obstacles.

Yep. Writing down our perfect day doesn’t mean we won’t have things to overcome. You can’t be an overcomer if you have nothing to overcome.
Often we don’t set goals because we are afraid we can’t achieve them. Other times we set super safe and easy goals because we know we could probably do them in our own strength. Neither of those options will get us where we want to go.

A Simple Goal I set


I’m going to share a super simple goal I set years ago that seemed impossible to do with seven kiddos. Our food budget was tight. I couldn’t spend all of our grocery money on cereal. I also didn’t want my kiddos eating cereal for breakfast often. Remember my perfect day included cooking breakfast? I needed to move from scrambling in the morning to get my kids’ food to sitting down to a hot, healthy breakfast. I decided to make a repeating breakfast plan. French Toast, Oatmeal, Eggs and Bacon, Muffins or frozen waffles, Cereal, Pancakes. We had cereal on Fridays because that was our busiest day and I knew I would peter out towards the end of the week. Saturday was pancakes or homemade waffles because we had the time. Once I had the plan written down, it was easier to implement. I didn’t stress in the morning because I knew what we were going to eat. Did we do this perfectly? No. Did I have opposition or obstacles? Yes.
Maybe you’re wondering why I’m talking about breakfast as a goal or vision. Guess what, whatever makes your life easier, more manageable is a great place to start with measurable goals. Maybe after you have developed some baseline habits, you can pursue those other things you wrote down in your brainstorming session. Maybe now you can add half an hour of sewing, quilting, photography, art, writing, home design, baking, playing games, reading a book, or fill in the blank.

Not sure where to start? Check out Ruth Soukup’s article –
10 SIMPLE HABITS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Another Example from my life

Here’s an example from my life. When I’m writing a new novel, I set a goal for when I want to finish. Then I break down the steps.

  • Brainstorm mind map
  • Outline
  • Character sketches of all characters
  • Defining traits of the main character
  • Plot and Subplot


After I have those down, I decide how many chapters the book should be, break those down into writing times.
I schedule writing times on my calendar.
After I finish the first draft, I print the book and move to another set of goals!
Do some of my deadline dates change? Yes. Does that mean I failed? No. What I used to do is not write at all because I was living an outer-directed life. I didn’t have a plan. I just hoped one day I would have time to write. That didn’t work. It took me 12 years to write my first book because of that “hoping” sort of philosophy (plus I was homeschooling). Now, I make writing a priority just as I made finding some breakfast options all those years ago!
Take some time today to write down one goal then break it down into simple achievable steps. Then make sure you write down what you will do when you (and you will) run into an obstacle.

List The Rewards

List the Rewards


Yesterday, we planned our perfect day. Wasn’t that fun to write down? Maybe you included some of the same things I did the first time I tried this exercise. Or maybe yours were totally different because you are in a different age and stage of life and that’s okay. My perfect day exercise looks totally different today then it did all those years ago. We all go through different seasons of our lives. Our seasons lead us to new purposes.
You may be ready to break down your perfect day into habits and goals. It’s not time for that yet. We can’t skip the important step of writing down the rewards of living the way we envision. If we skip this, we will lose our motivation quickly.

Don’t skip this step!

For instance, getting up before our kiddos get up to do Bible study yields the reward of more peace in our day. If our perfect day includes time for exercise, then the reward is a more healthy and energetic body. Right now, part of my perfect day exercise includes writing first thing in the morning after my Bible study. I wake up at five and then begin writing at six. The reward is, I get the most important thing about my purpose finished first. I am a writer. Writing is what I do. If I have my writing time accomplished, the reward is I have more articles, books, and content available to help others. What rewards will you receive if you live life the way you envision it? Will you have more peace? More satisfaction? A cleaner house? More free time to play with your kids?

the Problem with Just Hoping it works out.


When I have presented this material to women before, some say they aren’t organized and don’t want to be. Others just tell me why they can’t do what they want to do. Some people like to fly by the seat of their pants and hope it works out. I was listening to a teaching by Isabel Price about time management today. She shared that putting your workout clothes on in the morning and hoping you might workout without putting it on your schedule is just wishing it would happen (my paraphrase). This post isn’t about time management, but you know it’s coming. If you stop after you dream out your vision on paper, you will never get where you want to go. If you don’t list the rewards for living out your vision, you’ll be less likely to even try.

Ruth Soukup sums up the good life we seek well:


“The Good Life to me is this: a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity. It is a life full of the richness that God has to offer; a life spent building treasures in heaven rather than here on earth. It is not a life of laziness and greed, but one of discipline, hard work, and self-reflection. It may not always be easy or comfortable, but it is always full in abundance and completely secure in Christ.”

Take a few minutes today and write out your rewards for living out the day you envision.

What Do You Want Your Life To Look Like?

What do you want your life to look like?

Often instead of focusing on what we would like our life to look like, we focus on what is wrong with our lives.
We say things like:
My house is a mess.
I really need to lose this weight.
I should do some laundry.
I need to have a quiet time in the morning before the kids get up.

Even if all of those things are true, thinking of them in the negative only stresses us more. Instead of thinking “I am more than a conqueror” or “I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency” we begin to think “I can’t” or “I’ll never have the life I want.” No one wants to live there.

Change your Mindset


Although I can’t promise the exercise I’m going to prescribe will make all of your obstacles go away, I do know it can help you change your mindset. With a more positive mindset, it’s easier to pursue your purpose. Remember yesterday, we spilled our dreams onto paper? Today’s exercise will help you visualize what that looks like in real everyday life so you can start working towards that vision. I’m not talking about some hokey pokey incantations and incense burning. I’m talking about imagining your perfect day and writing it down. The first time I tried this exercise, I was still homeschooling and trying to make the days as efficient, effortless, and educational as possible. That’s saying a lot, I know. But if we aim for nothing except surviving, that’s all we will do.


Nobody wants to just survive.


It had been my God-sized dream to homeschool. I was doing it! The only problem was – my vision and my reality weren’t synonymous. They were opposites. I decided to give writing down what I wanted my life to look like a try.
My perfect day looked pretty simple.
I wake early, make coffee, have Bible study time before the kids get up. I make breakfast for the kids and we eat at the table. We have fifteen minutes of chore time before we start school. We do Bible study and other group subjects together first. We have a snack together at 10 am. Then we divide into individual subjects.

I won’t share the whole day. You get the picture. The point is writing down what my perfect day looked like gave me something to aim for. Many times we just get up and hope that things will happen on their own and we beat ourselves up when they don’t. Then we feel powerless and as if we have failed. How can we say we failed when we don’t even know what we are aiming for?

“Do what you love, and you’ll stop being your own worst enemy.”

– Tommy Newberry, Success is Not an Accident

Don’t confuse what you love with entertainment. What you love is living your purpose today and doing it in the best way possible. Living your purpose starts with writing down what it looks like on a day to day basis.
Take the intersection of what you wrote yesterday with what you imagine your perfect day looks like (realistically) and write it down.
Don’t stress about goals and objectives just yet!

Brainstorm Your Dreams/Vision

Brainstorm Your Dreams/Passion

If you read and did yesterday’s assignment, you’ll have at least one of your passions pinpointed. Today, I’m going to list some questions to help you do some brainstorming. Brainstorming is a no-judgment activity. When brainstorming your passion, write down your ideas no matter how crazy they sound!


“How you see yourself on the inside sets the ceiling for what God can do with you on the outside. Your life here on earth is your special, unrepeatable opportunity to magnify the greatness God has placed within you.”

Tommy Newberry, Success is Not an Accident


We are designed to have a deep sense of purpose. When we live contrary to design, we end up feeling frustrated and lost. The problem is, most of us don’t take the time to dream. We don’t take the time to write or speak what we are called to do. We can get so caught up in living other people’s God-sized dreams that we don’t even acknowledge our own.


Here’s an example from my own life. I dug out an old journal to find this just for you!

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.

– John 15:16

“Thank you for your Word. Thank you for the word “steadfast” (my word of the year in 2017). Thank you that even though my body is tired from this new schedule, I can remain steadfast and form new habits that make things more manageable… Thank you that this whole thing -writing-is not about me or how much I can do or how organized I can be, it’s about You, Your plan, Your ways.”

I was in a major transition in 2017. My homeschooling career had come to an end and I was transitioning into becoming an author. I had a new purpose but it took my habits a while to change. My body had to adjust to my new purpose. If you are wondering if I stayed the course, yes, I have. I wake up early to write with no problem now.

If I can do it, you can. Take some time today and brainstorm your dreams! (Don’t worry about goals and objectives right now, just dream!!) Below are the questions I promised to get you started!

What have you secretly always wanted to pursue?
What is the one activity you immerse yourself and lose all track of time?
What does your heart yearn to do more of?

*This one may take some quiet time. Block out what you see on social media or even what your church friends are doing. Looking at what others are doing can cloud our vision. Step away, find somewhere quiet, and be honest with yourself.

Plan Out Your Vision/Goals Through Journaling

*Week 2 of a month of journaling

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”

-Psalm 127: 1

Before we even start with this week’s topic, I wanted to share the scripture above. Planning a vision isn’t about exotic vacation homes or thousand dollar purses. It’s about what your purpose on this earth is. It’s about building a life that will bless others. Having a God-sized dream is all about God, not us. He has given us gifts, talents (see Matthew 25: 14- 30), and life experiences. He wants to use them in a specific way. This also doesn’t mean you’re going to be Insta famous (unless God wants you to). This is all about where ministry, mission, and motivation all intersect. Think about this for a moment. With no time constraints, financial constraints, or health issues, what would you do? I’m not talking about vegging in front of the tv, I mean what would you work at? What excites you? Home design? Baking? Photography? Writing. Homeschooling? Organization? Running a food pantry? What is the thing you do which makes you lose all track of time because you are so into it? This can be different for each season of your life. And here’s the kicker, it should be something that lines up with the Word of God. Right now, where do you park your passion? Take a moment and write down the answer.

Five Helpful Tips for Running a Fringe Ministry

A fringe ministry is extreme in relation to the rest of the church. A fringe ministry is on the outer edge, often considered secondary.

*If you missed the first in the series, you can find it here.

If you are part of or run a fringe ministry, you may feel isolated, alone, frustrated and sidelined. People my run the other way when you ask for help. It’s hard. Let me just tell you friend, Jesus understands. He started a fringe ministry. He preached a message of UN-comfortability:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross[expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].

Jesus spoke of denying ourselves, setting aside selfish interests and being willing to endure whatever may come. The religious rulers of the day preached adherence to rules, not acts of selfless love. When Jesus didn’t adhere to their way of thinking and doing, he was chased out of towns, questioned, whipped and finally crucified. YIKES.

So, how do we fringe minsitries handle rejection or being put on the back burner? How do we respond in Christ-like ways?

 

  1. Don’t take people’s reactions personally. When you offer a message that God has placed on your heart and your only return is blank stares, don’t take it personally. I delivered a whole message on adoption being part of God’s plan and one of my friends in the audience looked angry the whole time. I approached her afterwards and asked her if I had offended her (whoops, my insecurity slip was showing). She said, “No, that was my thinking face. I was thinking deeply about what you were saying.” Turns out, the message was new information for her and she was processing. This is just one example, there have been other instances when people have totally rejected the message. That’s okay too. When you are being obedient, that’s what counts. Ministry is not a popularity contest. Not everyone will jump up and down about your God-sized dream. Just remember, obedience is better than sacrifice. Don’t sacrifice the call on your life to be liked. Your ministry is not about you, it’s about helping others and heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  2. What does Jesus say about your ministry? Look up verses that support what you are doing and circle them. Write them done. Post them everywhere for yourself, not others. Before my family adopted, God have me a set of scriptures to pray, circle and write down. They were the foundation of my home mission. Isaiah 61 was my framework, prayer and full-time job for my family, especially those kiddos from hard places. I had to believe I was anointed and commissioned to raise kiddos from hard places. I needed to remind myself of it often.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,
 
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,

3. Let God do the heart work. You can’t shove compassion down someone’s throat (believe me I have tried.) You can only deliver the message and show compassion to the person yourself. Some days I would love to round up the big “C” church and tell them all of the statistics on foster children and have them sign on the dotted line to adopt. It doesn’t work that way. I’ve found from personal experience that a message doesn’t produce the fruit of understanding the first, second or even third time I hear it. So, don’t lose heart. Keep kindly sharing and pray that God draws the heart of those He wants to participate in the minsitry. You certainly don’t want a bunch of foot-dragging disciples on the front lines of your ministry. You want people who have a revelation from God and a holy spark in their britches.

You certainly don't want a bunch of foot-dragging disciples on the front lines of your ministry.

4. If a person, church, organization or fill in the blank doesn’t receive the ministry God has placed you in: Shake the dust off your feet and walk away. This is a tough one. I know. I’ve bloodied my knuckles on the doors that don’t want to hear the message of adoption/foster care. I’ve been alotted my “placate Kathleen” moments when people give me a moment but have predetermined they don’t want the message. It’s hurtful. Painful. The truth is, those people, organizations and churhes are not rejecting me, they are rejecting the message. That’s on their conscience. Not mine. It’s best for me to shake the dust off my feet, that means the negative feedback, the denial of the message, the condescending looks and walk away. Don’t argue about theology and quote the Bible, just walk away. 

5. Find a group of friends who will cheer you on. This is super important. Jesus surrounded himself with twelve disciples, three of them were His inner circle. Find your inner circle. This inner circle must believe the God-sized dream you are serving out is meaningful, important and helpful to the kingdom. This doesn’t mean these friends do everything you do or serve in the ministry every second of every day. These friends are your prayer partners, your support, your encouragers and you do the same for them.

 

Being part of a fringe ministry is exciting, exhasting and exhilarating all at the same time! God doesn’t call the gals that have it all together (are there any of those?) He calls those who feel incompetent, have imposter syndrome complexes and yet have a huge heart for the kingdom of God. If you are part of a fringe minstry, could you share one word that describes it? We’d love to hear from you!

Stay in Your Lane to Fulfill Your God-sized Dream

Have you ever sat back at the end of a day, a month and year and felt unsatisfied or fulfilled with your life? It’s not that you don’t have blessings, or some good things coming your way, there is just something inside that says, I would really love to fill in the blank.

Maybe you have a God-sized dream and you don’t want to say it out loud because someone might hear you and hold you to it or worse, laugh at you. But your dream is there, deep inside just waiting to be birthed.

May I tell you a few things that help us live out the vision God has placed within us?

1. Define your dream.

Often we don’t live out our God-sized dream because we don’t define it.

We might say some vague things such as:

  • I would like to help people.
  • I enjoy being a servant.
  • I love encouraging other people.

Those are great things to do. We should all aspire to do those. What is it that you love to do that makes you lose yourself? You lose track of time. You are so energized and engaged that you have no idea that four hours have passed. For me, it’s writing, research and teaching.

Once you answer that question-

What is it that you love to do that makes you lose yourself? 

Then you can define your dream by writing it down into something measurable.

I’m going to encourage women through teaching a Bible study.

I’m going to serve by opening up a food pantry for the community.

I’m going to practice hospitality by hosting a monthly coffee in my home.

Now, take your statement and break it down into steps that you can walk through and check off your list. Don’t be intimidated by this part. We often skip this step because for some reason we just think they will magically happen for us because we want it to.

God can open doors for us, it’s true.  In order for God to open a door, you have to drive to the building, so to speak.

God may redirect you a few times during the defining phase. It’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Taking the step to define your dream/vision is one step closer to doing something. Do something, lest you do nothing. Stay in your lane.png

2. Stay in your lane.

I think many of us (myself included) would sometimes rather coast in someone else’s lane and watch their God-sized dream come to fruition. It’s fun to be the helper and cheer someone else on until you reach the top of the mountain peak and realize your mountain is on the other side of the valley. All of the accolades for your friend will not fulfill your purpose. I get it. It’s scary putting ourselves out there and saying, “I want to write the book, not be on the launch team for the 100th time.” It sounds selfish to say we have dreams (I’ll get to that in a minute).

I would never say don’t help your friends. That’s a great investment of your time. Just make sure you drive in your own lane more than your friends’, neighbors’ and everyone shouting at you to join their cause. There’s a reason.

God gives you sufficient energy to do what He has called YOU to do, not what every lady in your church is doing.

God is not responsible for the physical and emotional consequences when you drive out of your lane. You will never arrive at the destination of your God-sized dream if you are driving aimlessly.

I’m preaching to the Guire here. For years my life was ordered by what all the other church ladies and my friends were doing. We were doing great stuff, guys! Serving and encouraging. Blessing others. My problem? I used my energy envelope on that good stuff and then was too exhausted to do my real job well. For awhile that job was exclusively mothering, homeschooling and running a co-op. When my kids got a little older, God directed me to start writing. After doing all the other good stuff, I had nothing left. No energy to write. Nothing. And that was not God’s fault. Or the other ladies. Or the church’s. It was mine. All mine.

3. Your dream isn’t selfish. It’s not about you at all.

Read that one more time. Often we don’t pursue our God-sized dream because we think it is selfish. If your God-sized dream is to run away to a tropical island and sip fruity drinks all day, then maybe it is. The truth is, I have never met a woman who hasn’t had a big dream. It takes time for us to own up to this because we don’t want to seem as if we want to make a name for ourselves. That’s not what God-sized dreams are about. They are about taking something that you can’t possibly do on your own, and giving God the glory every step of the way.

Your God-sized dream is about other people. It’s about God’s plan being lived out on this earth because you are obedient.

Years ago I was taking an online memoir writing class. Things were going great. I felt as if my writing was getting better. The teacher seemed to think so. She wrote me some encouraging words. I was feeling pretty comfortable with her…so, I told her my God-sized dream of helping a million orphans and of a vision I had. She told me I seemed unhinged and not to put that in my memoir. (*Just a note- don’t tell everyone your God-sized dream, not everyone gets it). If my God-sized dream includes helping orphans, is it really about me? Nope. Just like your dream. It’s about the people on the receiving end.

I’m sure you have a God-sized dream. It may be staying home and raising kiddos (that was mine for a season and then they grew up). It may be hosting a Bible study, writing a book, serving at an outreach, or fill in the blank. Take some time today and write down your dream. Make some measurable objectives so you can start driving in the right direction. If you, like me, know what your dream is and you need to get back in your lane, start putting up some boundaries. Many times, saying “NO” is the best thing you can do. A “Yes” that is accompanied by frustration, whining, complaining and dragging your feet the whole way is not producing any good fruit. And remember, your God-sized dream is not about you.

  • Thanks to Amy Breitmann for the “stay in your lane” idea!

 

My Typewriter Journey

I sat at my desk waiting, while the  little circle on the computer turn around and around. The words seemed to be on a two minute delay. I shut the laptop and went on to something else, frustrated and at a loss. I had been working on two, no three writing projects. That moment, I was working on revisions on my second book, a series of articles on adoption issues. I am writing my first novel for teens.(More info on upcoming books in a later post!) Number three is my website. I write articles on adoption, childrearing, organization, family and also type up my workshops or notes for speaking engagements. That’s a plethora of words to say that I rely heavily on technology every day.

After that particularly frustrating moment, I had an idea. Why not get a typewriter?  Hubby Jerry was  outside working on some yard work and I went out on the deck and yelled, “hey, do you mind if I order a typewriter?”

“Sounds like a great idea!” I ran back up to my office with visions of Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) floating in my head. I couldn’t wait to start typing on a typewriter!  I ordered a manual. I didn’t want to be dependent on electricity or the internet in order to write. I just wanted to write. I had reverted to pen and paper going through yellow legal pads like my toddler grandchildren go through wipes.

My typewriter arrived (thank you Amazon Prime) and I did some practice sentences to warm up and realized my hands needed some more muscles. It didn’t take me long to get the hang of it and I pulled out the latest chapter I had written and typed it up. No distractions. I couldn’t pop open another tab or do some last minute research. I couldn’t tweet, fiddle with Pandora or check Facebook. Just type. It’s been one of the best disciplines for me. I make note when I need to look something up. I don’t look it up then.

The truth is, several people have tried to help me get back on technology. My daughter lent me her Mac. I brought it home and plugged it in, the cord popped, smoked and fried. Are you trying to tell me something, Lord? Then my son’s girlfriend loaned me a hot pink computer that I am typing on right now. Interesting thing, I did not touch the computer for a week or so. My website has been pretty silent and all I keep hearing in my head is WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. So, I have been, plunking away, chapter after chapter. Only three left to write (and two of those are outlined).

This portion of Scripture kept coming to mind:

If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.– Matthew 18:8-10

Sometimes things happen in my life and I view them as punishment, when they are actually discipline. I needed to step back from my technology habit and cut it off for awhile, it was causing me to stumble in my daily walk. I wasn’t viewing porn or watching R rated movies, I was just wasting time. And wasting time can be a sin. The Word says that we should not be vague, thoughtless or foolish, we should instead be diligent.

Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], 16 [b]making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is.- Ephesians 5:15-17

I was deceiving myself into believing that flitting around through social media and other people’s blogs was sensible and diligent, when in fact it was robbing me of the true will of the Lord which was and is WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.

Maybe you seen the handwriting on the wall clearly and aren’t as hard headed as me, if that is true, than God bless you, sister. This article isn’t about the evils of technology, it’s about letting anything get in the way of what God has placed in your heart to do. He has given each of us a God-sized dream and a measure of the talent we need to complete it. It our job to walk carefully, making the most of our time and increasing our talent through thought, study and discipline.

I pray that my mini lesson has helped you in some way. Although my webpage has been on pause for awhile, I know it is a season. I will come back to it when the time is right. Don’t be afraid of seasons. They are natural and normal. Don’t look at what everyone is doing to measure yourself by, use the ruler of the Word and you won’t be led astray. If you need to, cut some things out. Re-evaluate. Write down your mission statement and your goals and pray over them. Study. Pray. Don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit directs you to do something that no one else is doing!

Joining Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday!  Join us!

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