I have written posts several times referring to the fact that I have such a busy life. It’s really a struggle for me to rest, just as it was for Martha when Jesus came to her house. I’ve been reading the book of Luke along with the First 5 app, and something really caught my attention in chapter five. In that chapter, it says that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places:
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
When I first heard just the part about withdrawing to lonely places, I thought what we all think, which is that we all need to make time for ourselves–even Jesus did. But right after that thought, I noticed that the text says Jesus went to those lonely places for a different reason. He prayed.
I have been to the spa multiple times, and I’ve had massages and vacations and romantic getaways, but I never really come back totally rested in my spirit. I still have overwhelming thoughts and sometimes even depression or frustration. I think it must be that
I need to follow Christ’s example. He afforded himself purposeful rest. Yes, He needed to escape from the crowds, which we see many times in the Word. However, He did for himself what he promises to do for us, which is to give us rest for our souls. That kind of rest is never going to come from us coloring in a book or doing a relaxing craft. It’s only going to come from spending time with the Lord.
I was surprisingly convicted listening to this short little passage of Scripture, but that’s what I love about the Word. The rhema word is a word that comes alive to us in a moment even though we might’ve read it a hundred times before. This word I’m sharing I hope will be a rhema word for you and for me today.
Do you need rest for your soul? Come to Jesus, who says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Leave a comment below about how I can pray for you to find rest. I am convinced it’s for all of us.
Want to hear more about this conversation? Check out this video from our weekly Facebook Live session. It happens every week at 8:30 PM EST at my Facebook page. We’d love to have you tune in next week.
Happy New Year!
For eleven years, I taught children. They might’ve been teenage children, but they were moldable, able to be disciplined, and (even though I’m fun) generally controllable. Now I teach adults. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. What am I going to do to an adult who does not do his or her homework for a computer training class? Put him in the corner? It’s with this dilemma and memories of my own former high school and middle school classrooms that I have discovered gamification.
To gamify something means to make a game out of it. You wouldn’t believe what teachers would do to win banana pudding or two hours of me teaching their worst classes 🙂 In a recent training series, just being on teams with the same color helped teachers to encourage one another to do their best work and to do it on time.
What does this have to do with anything? To me, if there’s anything I can do to engage my willpower a little more, I want to do it. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that meeting goals is not always my strong suit 🙂 That’s why I’ve written the kind of posts I have, and that’s why my blog is named what it is, The Beam in My Eye. I know I have a lot of weaknesses. I need help addressing them, and I thought that today I would give you some practical tips I’m using to help myself maintain excitement about my goals–in other words, these are the ways I’m gaming my own motivation. I’ve talked about weight loss on here and my struggle to pray, as well as many other goals like organization that I have yet to achieve. With that being said, let’s talk about some tools I’m using to help myself reach my goals and to add that little bit of childhood play that engages my willpower.
There are so many ways to reach goals that I haven’t mentioned here. I’m just discussing a few apps, the use of stickers, and the importance of relationships to achieve permanent change. What other tools would you like to share? I’d love to hear them! Tell you what, if you share the best idea in the comments below AND you have an iPhone, I will buy you the Commit app! So let’s get this comments party started!
As of today, my blog is five months old. From zero views, it’s grown to sixteen hundred. I had no comments, and now I have over thirty. My highest views in a day were 113 on my adoption post, and half the people who read that one shared it! To any “more-accomplished” blogger reading those numbers, they might look very small, but I continue to be amazed that my reader base has grown the way it has in just a short time. If you are one of those readers, (and you are, or you wouldn’t be here, right?) thank you! And if this blog has motivated you to take the next step and start writing, I hope this second round of tips for the new blogger helps you. If you missed the first part, it’s here.
Without further ado–
My blog is not perfect, and it probably never will be. But that’s exactly the point. I wrote this blog to face the weaknesses in my life (or beam in my eye) head-on, with God’s help. [Tweet “I wrote this blog to face the weaknesses in my life (or beam in my eye) head-on, with God’s help.”] Everything you will find me writing about is my struggle and God’s triumph simultaneously on display. I am hoping that this blog is blessing someone, and that these tips help someone else to use blogging as an outlet for creativity and even faith.
Is that new blogger you? I would love to hear any questions or comments you have about your new blog journey. Hope the tips get you started!
Prayer should not be hard, but I’ve spent much of my life wrestling with it, as I shared in my previous post, “Get Down on It”.
And the struggle must be real, because my friend Jamie just wrote about very same thing. I was challenged this week to spend an extended amount of time in prayer, longer than I’ve ever spent. If I’m not anything else, I’m dependable. As long as I don’t forget what I’m supposed to be faithful to (ha!), if someone’s counting on me, I will be there. There was an ongoing prayer chain, and when one of us was done, another would be taking over. As I write this, one sister is taking up her link in the chain, and another will start this evening. I knew the night of my “assignment” was coming, and yet, I struggled with knowing if I could make the whole time matter. Jesus’ disciples felt the same way; on the most important night of their friend’s life, they fell asleep repeatedly when he asked them just to pray with him for one hour.
[Tweet “What if all of us stopped looking at prayer as a chore and started looking at it as a date?”]
When I am out with my husband or with our best couple friends, Chris and Toshia, hours pass and I don’t even look at the clock. I enjoy being with them. And the whole time, I’m talking and listening. None of that bores me. What are we doing when we pray? We are talking and we are listening, the same as on a night out. Better than that, we are spending time with someone who can actually solve our problems, not just hear us discuss them. That’s amazing and should be spur us to pray to the one who wants the greatest intimacy with us!
The thing about me and prayer is that once I get into it and fight through my flesh, I love it! However, would I be able to fight the flesh for that long? That question led me to think of ways I could sustain my energy, focus, and enthusiasm throughout this time I was asked to join the prayer chain. I thought I might share some ideas birthed out of this concern with those of you who struggle to pray as well. Ready for the list? Here it is!
This list is great, but may I say something else? Prayer is not a gimmick. As I said in my “Season of Seeking” post, God only cares about our prayers if we care about them. There is no substitute for blood, sweat, and tears in our sustained time with the Lord. God knows when I have five minutes to sincerely pray, and He will move in that, but He also wants to see me pray until something happens, and that may take years, not just hours. Want proof? Just check out these stories of how both Daniel in the Old Testament and the disciples in the New tarried on the answer from God, and in both cases, the answers were worth it! I promise the same will be true for you.
So will you join me on this prayer journey? Comment below with your thoughts AND the numbers from the list that might reinvigorate your prayer life.
What does that title mean? How do I waste time on youtube and still do it efficiently? I am going to give you some tips in this short(er) post.
1. Watch with a purpose. I will confess I have an Alejandra.tv addiction. If you have never watched “my friend” Alejandra in action, you will love her. She seems so sweet and unscripted…and so unlike me in the clean and organized department. I don’t sit around and look up funny animal videos, nor do I click on every video I see posted on facebook. Where do people find time for that? Instead, when I do have some time to watch videos, I find myself returning to these subconscious questions:
2. Make a list. If you’ve ever found yourself sucked into the blackhole of YouTube or the Internet in general, you know that you can spend a lot of time looking at nothing. Even if the search starts innocently and with total purpose, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the sheer volume of what is out there. I started to notice that habit with myself, so I started making a list. For instance, with every Alejandra video I watched, I would start writing down good ideas from the videos. Here is the link to my good ideas from several of her videos.
3. Use the ideas. By definition, useful means that, um, we are able to use something. If I watch a video and never use the ideas, I am really just wasting time and turning my brain into mush. What I do to make sure the ideas are used, aka useful, is that I have the Google Sheets and Google Drive apps on my phone. Both are free, so that I can take my inspiration list everywhere I go. I feel a trip to The Container Store coming on:) With that said, like I advised in my Pinterest-related blog post, budget has to be key. We can’t go hog-wild at a store buying stuff we can’t afford to organize the mountains of stuff we should probably donate anyway. I want to use the YouTube ideas to both get tasks done and bless others with my financial responsibility.
Let me end with this, a prayer for productivity:
Lord, you know the purpose of this blog is to chronicle my journey of becoming more Jesus-dependent and less independent. I often feel convicted about wasting time. Help me, Lord, to “redeem the time, for the days are evil.” I don’t want to waste a minute that could be used to change the world. In Jesus’ name, amen!
What do you do to become more productive? Are you inspired by the ideas I’ve shared? Let’s get the discussion going below.
A few years ago, my husband posted on Facebook that he had lost his wife to Pinterest. Other men quickly concurred in the comments section. I LOOOOOOVE crafts. I always say to my mom, “I saw this thing on Pinterest. Let’s do it. It’s so easy!” Can I get a witness that it’s never that easy? And that it never looks like the picture? My mom and I have a jingle for our failed projects. We pretend we’re on a craft show (that no one would actually watch except to laugh!), and we’re singing, “Crappy Crafts with Suzy and Sally.”
I say all that to say this–Pinterest is addictive! If you’ve never been on it, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Really. It’s an online bulletin board of every craft, recipe, tip, or idea you’d ever want to tackle. All by people who seem to have it together:) I “pin” away day after day, but the deal is, I never do most of the projects I’ve deemed pin-worthy. While off on Christmas break, I decided that I needed a system to deal with all my pins. I must have chosen them because I wanted to do them, right? And so I should do them, right?
Here’s my system. Go ahead and open Pinterest in a new tab on your browser so you can do this now. I’ll wait…
Number One: Create a new board. Call it “Make Over Break” or “Make This Week” or whatever fits your timeline. I’ve found that goals are attainable only if they’re tied to a specific time. “I’ll get to that sometime” is a thought that is debilitating to me. I would also consider your budget now; those make-your-own-wood-floor posts look great and all, but I don’t even have the money (or inclination) for cheap wood right now. So you have your board ready to go, right?
Number Two: I don’t know about you, but I really like a sense of accomplishment. Make another new board, and name it something like, “Made It on Pinterest.” We are going to use this board to pin the things that Pinterest has actually helped you complete.
Number Three: Go through each board you have and look at every pin. As you look, you will repin to the two new boards you’ve made. Decide which of your pins can be accomplished with the budget and time framework you established for the “Make Over Break” board. As you look, repin just those pins to the first board. If there’s something you’ve already done, pin it to the second board. I found that I had done sixty-two things!
Tip! Your phone doesn’t always show all your pins, so this step is best done on a tablet or computer.
Tip for a tablet! Fast fingers! Rather than clicking through to the pin and repinning from there, slide up to see the pushpin symbol for quicker repinning. You may do the same on a computer using the PIN IT quick button.
Number Four: Start to accomplish the tasks on your first board. Then, if you have the urge, you can repin those tasks to the second board. (I know I’m not the only one who sometimes adds items to a to-do list after they’re done just so I can cross them off.) Make sure to take great pictures of all the projects, especially the failed ones. Share them with me–then I won’t feel so bad about myself, and Mom and I might let you on our show once it hits the big-time.
I had to share this Pinterest fail, and I will apologize to McKenzie later. I have no idea what it was supposed to be, but not this–thing.
I want to end by connecting you back to this blog’s purpose. I am allowing Jesus to help me with everything. Everything I spend my time on and everything I struggle with. If you went through the steps above and realized that you are not using Pinterest to accomplish any goals, stop using it. It is a waste of your time. However, if you find that you are like me and have used it to bless yourself and those around you, maybe the system I shared will be one you can use to make that area of your life more productive.
Please comment below to let me know how the system works for you and YOU MUST share pinterest fails:)
This blog is all about depending on Jesus for everything. If you missed the why behind my organization, read this post.