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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Faith Without Works (Three Word Wednesday)

My Bible slipped off my lap as I tried to balance it and my journal and write at the same time.

  • His faith cooperated with his works?
  • His believing what accounted to him as righteousness?
  • What are you trying to tell me, Lord?

My mind flashed back to the Jeff Cavin’s teaching CD (The Great Adventure) on Genesis 12-26, Rafal and I had listened to on the way to Frostburg last week. The focus of the teaching was mainly Abraham.

Abraham believed that God would give him the promised son and that belief was put into an account. The account said “righteous”. Later, after Isaac was born:

“[God] said, Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon the mountains, of which I will tell you. ” Gen. 22:2

And Abraham did what God commanded him. We know the end of the story, but Abraham didn’t. He didn’t have a foreshadowing of the ram in the thicket. The ram was the foreshadowing of the Lamb of God who took our place on the altar.

It reminds me of the words I said in church as a child for so many years (without thinking about what I was saying) “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His name for your good and the good of all the church.”

I pray that my sacrifice may be acceptable. Do I even know what that means? I am learning. How about you?

God gives us gifts, great and glorious gifts. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice, He gave up His seat on the heavenly throne to become to blood sacrifice for us. We are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. Yet, we are called to participate in His suffering. We are called to sacrifice.

“Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by His works when He brought to the altar an offering his [own] son Isaac?

You see [His] faith was cooperating with His works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression when he implemented it] by [good] works.”-James 2:21,22

My faith coooperates

My faith cooperates with my works when I am obedient, when I am willing to sacrifice my will for His own, when I am ready to lay down my Isaac for whatever He wills. I am justified through works as well as by what I believe (Tweet That)(James 2:24).Sometimes, God asks me to lay down a gift He has given me.

My word this year is sacrifice. It’s only a month in and it is turning out differently than I imagined. I pictured myself jumping around and singing, “We bring the sacrifice of praise unto the house of the Lord” while wearing a white skirt and twirling in happy circles. Instead, God is calling me to sacrifice time, to sacrifice my way of doing things and my time table. Basically, I am sacrificing my flesh on the altar of His will.

It means not doing some good things. The Lord wants me to lay them down and walk away for some better things. How about you? Have you been given a glorious gift or opportunity that God has asked you to sacrifice? Are you on the other side of it, or like me are you standing at the altar looking for the ram?

The works of obedience God calls me to are mostly in areas of my weakness, with a sprinkling of my strength and a healthy dose of my God-sized dream. Is God stretching you too? Asking you to sacrifice your comfort zone on the altar of obedience so He can be glorified?

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday, join us!

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