Truth Tuesday #1: Keeping Our Goals God-Focused

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Hello my sweet friends, and welcome to the first edition of Truth Tuesday.  I hope you are as excited about New Year’s as I am, but I’m going to be honest.

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In a conversation with my husband the other day, I told him that I was not excited about the new year coming. I think the problem is with me that I set goals for myself and then I don’t follow
 through. That’s the reason I started this blog in the first place. I wanted a spot to hold myself publicly accountable. And I’ll be honest, I think I’m a pretty good writer too. I wanted to force myself to do some writing. However, just like many of my other goals, consistency has fallen by the wayside on my writing. The problem that I have to keep reminding myself is that I am trying to do everything on my own. But newsflash..I don’t have any power. The good news is that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. So it’s really a compliment to myself that I don’t have self will or determination or willpower. That’s God’s job. It is he who works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. With all that being said, though, I do have some goals for myself this year. What are they? Well, let’s start with the silly ones first. Might as well 🙂 So predictable.
Number one: It is official that I am busting out of not only my skinny pants and my fatter pants but even my fattest pants. If you’re counting, that means I’m three sizes up from where I’d like to be. Let me take a minute to say that if weight is an issue for you, we can’t compare ourselves. What I’m happy being and what you’re happy being are two totally different things. So let’s remove that little offense that might have come in when I mentioned my weight. Okay, now we’re ready to be friends again. So, my first goal is to get fit and healthy.
My second goal is to start attacking our debt. We have a serious foundation issue and credit card debt which amounts to… let’s just say lots of thousands of dollars. It would be unrealistic to think that we could get all of that debt down this year even if we saved and sold and ate ramen noodles. However, I would like to at least attack it, like I said.
Third, I would like to work on some family situations. I want Dusty and I to cherish the time we have while we don’t have kids and not let that slip away. However, I also want to make sure I do everything medically that I can to assure that we can have a family. You can pray for us about that, or any of these goals for that matter.
Fourth, I would like consistency. I don’t think I have ADD, although that certainly is a possibility, but I do bounce around from one thing I’m excited about to another. The problem is that if something doesn’t excite me, I’m not going to do it. That’s very childish. Adults should know that not every moment of our lives is going to be exciting. We have to do the faithful things, not just the fun things. So I want consistency in my prayer life, my Bible study Life, my weekly schedule, my eating habits, and oh, lots of things.
Final goal: When I was an English teacher, I taught my students to save their most important points for last, so that they would stick out in the reader’s mind. My overarching and most important pursuit for my life, not just this year, is intimacy with the Lord. I know in my head and my heart that if I will give Him everything, He will give me what I need. After all, it’s no surprise to him that I have debt or no children or that I’m overweight. And he is completely capable of taking care of all of that. In Matthew 6:33, he tells us to seek Him first, and He will add all the other needful things.
I don’t know about you, but I have been like a strong-willed horse. God has to put a bit and a bridle on me and turn my head because I’m constantly pursuing how I can do and accomplish and meet all my goals…queue the Martha post I wrote a while back. I’m trying to think of how to raise money. I’m trying to think of what I have done wrong to prevent me from having kids. The key word here is I. And when I listen to podcasts that tell me how somebody else is accomplishing and making it happen in her world, I start to feel anxiety. We know that anxiety is not from God either. In Philippians 4, Paul tells us to be anxious for nothing. God is capable of everything.
So this year, I reset myself again. I ask God to center me on His will and his pursuits, and I know he will take care of the rest. I’ve seen him do it. But I’m just like the Israelites when I forget that He has done it before and that He will do it again, whatever “it” is.
Here are a couple more scriptures to motivate both of us to make sure that we’re pursuing God’s goals:  In Mark 8:34-37, Jesus talks about the peril of gaining the whole world and losing our souls. Remember that He has an upside down kingdom, and in Mark 9:35, we see that the one who wants to be first needs to be the servant of everybody. So if I align those two together, Jesus is telling me to make sure that my goals are the ones that have His heartbeat at the center. If I will press my ear up against his heart and listen, I will know what I’m supposed to do and what my purpose is. I will stop trying to make everything happen on my own, because it’s not going to work anyway and because it will make me depressed, and because it will make me feel like I don’t measure up to anybody.
The cycle has to stop. I have to make my goals the ones that will put Him in the center and put people first. I want to pause here and say to that doesn’t mean that you exhaust yourself so that you’re no good to anyone else. It’s not a martyr complex, Suzy Lolley. However, if we are just self-focused, that is never going to lead to success. I pray along with you, my friend, that we will pursue the right things this year and that we will pursue them with God’s power. We neither pursue nor achieve anything without His very breath filling up our lungs.
Will you do this for me? Will you pray about some God-centered goals for this year? And will you leave them in the comments below? I want to pray with you and believe with you that God will do what he says he’s going to do and that we are going to arrive at the verge of 2019 empowered and hopeful and thankful that we turned it all over to Him.
Much love,
www.thebeaminmyeye.com
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Wisdom from the Wilderness: Enjoy the Moment.

This wilderness that I’m in seems like it will never end.thebeaminmyeye.com
As I’ve been studying my kindred spirits, the Israelites, and the beginning of the Bible, it’s easy to see why it took them forty years to get where they were going. It’s not like they exactly behaved while they were on their exodus.  God had made them great and precious promises, but all they could see were their circumstances. Forty years of them. Without the food they wanted. Without the land they had been promised. Without a God they felt like they could see and connect with.
I sometimes feel that same way and I act just like they did. With that being said, it’s time to give myself a pep talk. As I used to say to the students in my class, it’s time for a Life Lesson with Lolley. The life lesson in this instance is precipitated by the fact that just about once a week, a different well-meaning and wonderful friend asks me how I’m doing. I can hear the questions behind the question, which are, “What are you doing? What is your next step? Has anything new happened?”
And to all those questions, I have to say, “No.” I don’t see any writing on the wall. I don’t know where we’re headed. However, and this should never be a cheesy statement, my God knows where I’m going and he’s holding me in the palm of His hand. So I’ve decided to take some wisdom from this wilderness. My first piece of wisdom is this.   I am going to enjoy the moment. I had a revelation sometime last year where I told my husband that we were never going to have these moments back that we have right now. These moments when we’re undistracted by a child and can focus on each other. These moments unhindered by a specific ministry, where we can really listen for the call of God for our hearts. I don’t want to miss those moments. So my sweet friends, if you’re wondering what I’m doing these days, it’s mostly nothing. Yes, I’m Suzy and I’m busy, and I’m a Martha, but I’m not really doing a whole lot that even I would call purposeful right about now. But there is purpose in that. I’m looking for the grand adventure that could be just around the next corner.  I don’t want to miss this moment, that moment, or anything in the here and now. I want to relish the walks I’m taking with my husband, the peaceful trips in our new kayaks, and even evenings on the couch.
I want to celebrate the fact that I have something to cry and mourn and pray about. I want to allow myself to be pulled into my heavenly father’s lap and rocked when I need it.
And not feel guilty that I’m wasting my life.
And not feel embarrassed that I’ve shared grand visions with people that haven’t yet come to pass.
I know my God has got me and that whatever plan He has for me will come to pass, even if it takes my version of forty years.  [Tweet “I know my God has got me and that whatever plan He has for me will come to pass, even if it takes my version of forty years.”]
Are you in an uncomfortable place in your walk right now?  I’d love for you to share some of your “wisdom from the wilderness” or even a prayer request.  Leave a comment below!
Your Fellow Sojourner,
www.thebeaminmyeye.com
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Are We There Yet? Worship in the Waiting

www.thebeaminmyeye.comI remember going on trips with my family as a little girl. I was always in the middle seat in the back, with one brother asleep on my lap and one on my shoulder. Even today, it’s hard for me to fall asleep when someone else is driving, in case my lack of vigilance is the cause of our plunging down a ravine. (Or maybe I’m just a control freak?)

Anyway, when you can’t sleep and have two people lying on you, all there is to do, besides play the alphabet billboard game with yourself, is wonder that quintessential childhood question: “Are we there yet?” Such a question drives every parent to drink (sweet tea) as the answer is clearly that if we were there, we would have already stopped. Obvious enough?

Not to a child, apparently.

Not to us adults either. God makes us so many promises, and He is always so faithful, but all we seem to want is the fulfillment of the next promise — and now. We ask our Heavenly Father the same question I used to ask my earthly one so many times: “Are we there yet?” And with that question, we show that doubt has taken root in our hearts.

I ask Him if we’re there yet on our finances. Our bills are paid, but that beautiful budget that my husband and I never seem to actually implement stares us in the face.

I ask Him if we’re there yet on this fix-Suzy’s-personality-thing. I remind Him that I called a whole blog “The Beam in My Eye” and have drawn attention to every flaw I can think of about myself, but yet, my issues are still there.

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I ask Him if we’re there yet on Dusty’s and my future. Kids or no kids? Leadership or no leadership? World change or television-channel-change? Is this it for us?

Like what you’ve read so far?  Check out the rest of this post on Beulah Girl.

Be blessed!

www.thebeaminmyeye.com

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The Road Less Traveled: How to Follow God’s Will

thebeaminmyeye.comI remember sitting in Adams Park in Kennesaw, Georgia, with my husband back when we were teenagers and telling him that I knew I would have a hard life. I knew that I would never have the white-picket-fence life or be the soccer mom, because God had another plan for me. Let me stop here and say that I am not criticizing those who do have a comfortable life — I just have always known I wouldn’t.

But that’s about where the life-plan clarity ended. None of the specifics of my life — having children, making ministry decisions, and seeking job direction — have seemed to follow such a defined path. They’ve been hard for sure, and yet I haven’t had that moment where the sky opens up and God gives me clarity on a specific issue.

In all of my recent seeking for the Lord’s will, I’ve come across two schools of thought about finding it. One of them, proposed in the book What Am I Supposed to Do with My Life? by Johnnie Moore, says that we should, when faced with two equally good decisions and no clear word from God, choose what we feel and trust that God will bless it. The other school of thought, which I find myself leaning toward, says that we should hear a clear direction from God before we act. I may not be quite as specific as Gideon was when he laid out the fleece before God in Judges 6, but I am still looking for big and small signs of God’s will in the world around me and wondering if each one is God’s divine voice of direction…

[Tweet “I am still looking for big and small signs of God’s will in the world around me and wondering if each one is God’s divine voice of direction.”]

Like what you’ve read so far?  Check out the rest of this post on Beulah Girl.

Be blessed!

www.thebeaminmyeye.com

http://thebeaminmyeye.com

Truth Tuesday #3: Center of Attention, An Extrovert’s Blessing

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I often find myself in a state of metacognition, a time of thinking about my own thinking.

My dad and I were in a tea house last year (yes, I’m a con-artist to get my dad to go to tea!), and there was a party of ladies sitting near us. The whole time we were there, I noticed that one woman totally dominated the conversation. She sat in the middle of the table and chimed in her own perspective on every topic. I didn’t know the woman, but I couldn’t help but think how obnoxious she was in comparison to her friends. Maybe I felt that because I recognized myself in the middle of that circle.

She was me, and the vision of that time in the tea house has haunted my memory since then.

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I have no desire to be an introvert. I enjoy the fact that I can be bold. I like being the life of the party. I like being the center of attention. However, at the end of the day, I find myself replaying every word I’ve said and asking, “What crossed the line? What did people think of how I said that?” It’s not a cocky thing—it’s an insecure thing, an I-will-never-fit-in thing. Who would think that an extrovert who willingly draws so much attention to herself would regret most of the words she so carelessly tosses out? I wouldn’t believe it myself if I weren’t my own eyewitness…

Like what you’ve read so far?  Read the rest of this post on Beulah Girl.

Every Tuesday at 8:30 PM EST, join me for Truth Tuesday. Here’s the video where we discussed this post:

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2016 Resolutions

Here we are at a new year again.  I’m going to keep it simple tonight.  I want to ponder on the steps that will help me reach these goals, and the scriptures that support them, but for now, here are my non-resolutions for 2016.  My resolve is never enough, so I’m depending on the Lord.  My challenge to you?  Go to canva.com and make your own beautiful goals. Then share the public link here.  I’ll post more about each of these soon!

Be blessed,

www.thebeaminmyeye.com

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YouTube-ing with a Purpose

 

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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.

YouTube-ing with a Purpose

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:

  • Does the video increase my faith?  I watch a lot of Francis Chan and other preachers for that.
  • Am I in awe of what I’m watching?  Watching a choir beatbox Toto’s “Africa” or listening to a whole group play one guitar certainly qualify.
  • Is it useful?  That’s where Alejandra comes in.  If you are totally disorganized and need inspiration, seriously check her videos out.

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.

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