Living In The Reality of What Is

(Proposed Reality vs. Fantasized Perspective)
Living in the reality of what is rather than the fantasy of what should be is so important, even when it proves to be painful and awkward. Living in the reality of what is may not always be the most enjoyable spot, but it sure beats the foolishness and perpetual agony of the fantasy of what should be. Living in the fantasy of what should be might seem fun and even peaceful for a moment, but it will only bring deeper pain when the fantasy proves to be untrue and a waste of so much time. Let me share with you why…

In the fantasized perspective, you will:

* Imagine yourself being someone you’re not. You will fabricate a whole new personality, character and interaction than what is actually true. 

* Trade the true affection and acceptance from those who love and care for you and replace it with the fabricated affections of those who will only use and abuse you. 

* Fantasize about what could have been, should have been or what would have been, had things or people just been different and live in a perpetual state of denial, blame and justification. 

* Accept a false reality in the attempts of achieving the fantasized world of which you have dreamt. 

* Accept the reality someone else gives you to live. 

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In the proposed reality, you will:  

* Recognize who you are and who you are not and embrace whom God has called you to be. 

* Grow beyond what or whom you desired to have and embrace your God given purpose and engagements. 

* Have to accept that you are unwanted, unloved and unaccepted by the crowd in which you long to belong, but also, open your eyes to see who truly does want you, love you and accept you for who you are. 

* Let go of false expectations and embrace the reality of where you are and to where you are commissioned by God. 

* Accept the reality God brings to you. 
Through those painful moments of life, I have often been tempted, to slip into the fantasy of what could have been or should have been; however, I have learned over the years, this temptation is just that, a temptation for a counterfeit in my life. As I grow older, I have learned (and sometimes, am still learning) to embrace those people and things of value in my life and just let go of those of a fantasized value. I’ve learned to count my many blessings and realize those who aren’t or who have no desire to be in my life don’t need to be fantasized into the beautiful tapestry of life God has woven for me. Because of this, my life has become much fuller and richer. 

Living in a fantasy of what should be might bring you a temporary joy, but it is an exhausting journey that will leave you washed up like a broken seashell on the shore, and it will unravel any shred of peace and serenity you might find. We were never created to live in that fantasy. We were never called to fabricate a fairytale in which to abide. God created us to be who we are, and He called us to a time, a purpose and a people. It is our job to seek out that calling, get busy fulfilling it and let all the rest of that stuff go! 

…otherwise, you end up living your life like this…ūüėā

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Power of Our Words

The words we choose to use will bring life or death, and it is up to us to choose the right one. For the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a study on the power of our words, and today a friend shared an incredible video to illustrate this fact of power portrayed through the letters we string together to communicate with our world.

This video got me to thinking… What if you could actually see the impact of your words on a daily¬†basis? What if, when you spoke, the skin of your child turned brighter and healthier or darker and less healthy, all depending upon the words spoken? What if the hair of our spouse became glossy, healthy and beautiful or dry, brittle and profusely damaged, all dependent upon the conversations we had with him or her? What if mold built up within our homes when we spoke ill words and fragrance was spewed when we spoke kindness? What an interesting orbit of living we might have.

I believe if the immediate impact of our communication was seen more easily, it might just alter our interaction with the world around us…

I watched this video this morning, and it led me to several others who performed the experiment. I will share it with you at the end of this post. It is amazing. Our words have so much power, and we must choose wisely to bring life and not death into the lives of those we love.

*Note: I did not create nor do I own or possess any part this video. This comes straight from YouTube.

Where Are You Leading Them?

millstoneLet us never lead a little one to stumble. I have found that this Scripture can be interpreted in so many different scenarios. Literally, it can mean leading small children away in their faith (or in other things, for that matter). It can, also, mean¬†distracting new converts from their new commitment to God’s calling, and it can even¬†be¬†mature Christians being directed down the wrong path by¬†prideful, egotistical or ambitious fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

As Christians, we must be so careful not to lead “little ones” astray from the Word of God and from what He has in store for their lives. The Bible says it is better for a millstone to be wrapped around your neck and you thrown into the depths of the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble! In case, you don’t know what a millstone is, it was one of the large circular¬†stones used to grind grain in grist mills years ago.

milllstone2

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When we are called into leadership, when we are called into teaching capacities, and even when we are placed in situations by God to help someone learn more about Him, our number one goal should be to lead them closer to Him not away from Him! We can only do this as we seek His face and listen for His answers to their questions and wonderings.

Whether we are a parent, a mentor, a teacher, or simply a friend, we should never take lightly a position of¬†influence in someone else’s¬†life. We should boldly walk in the authority He gives us but never because of our own wisdom, strength or abilities. We should approach it with buckets full of humility and grace, lest we get filled with pride and lead one of His precious ones away from what He has in store for them.

Let us be ever prayerful and ever mindful when it concerns someone who is impacted by our words and deeds. Let us always be humble and full of grace, and never let us take lightly the positions of leadership and influence He gives us in someone else’s life.

‚ÄúBut whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

 

A Note of Thanks

Thanksgivingimage
“Two are better than one,¬†because they have a good return for their labor:¬†
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up….¬†Though one may be overpowered,¬†two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
Yesterday was¬†our Staff Appreciation, and I, personally,¬†just have to give a note of thanks. I think we have the best pastoral staff on the planet! Now, I know. You don’t work with them; so, some of you might like to argue that your personal team¬†is better, or¬†some could argue that they “can’t be the best, because no team can be a ‘dream team’,” and that’s ok; you are entitled to your own opinion. However, from where I stand, we couldn’t ask for better.
First and foremost, they love God with all their hearts. Each one of them, in their own way, portray their love for God in the way they speak, the way they teach or preach, in the way they carry themselves on and off “the stage,” and even in the way they treat each other. They are gracious, honorable, full of integrity, servant-minded, and deep of character. They are¬†never competitive, slanderous or spiteful toward¬†one another.¬†They are always seeking to be better Christians, better husbands or wives and better¬†influences to those around them. ¬†I have worked alongside each of them for the last 3 1/2 years here, as well as, for some of them, much longer, and I am a witness to their depth of Christ-like characters and servant-minded lifestyles. They may not always be what everyone expects them to be, nor do they always react in the most¬†“pristine, perfect, superhuman” fashion that some may believe they should, because they are, after all, still very human.¬† However, I will say that each¬†of them is¬†the most humble individual I have ever met, and they seek with all their hearts to be closer to God while they serve in the ministry to which He has called them.
There are so many qualities they possess, it would take me all day to list each of them, but I have to say, one of the most valuable characteristics they give to our team (aside from loving God, of course!) is they truly¬†love my husband and our family. This is such an important asset to the unity of¬†this team, and I, as a pastor’s wife, am so appreciative. Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes when I think about the graciousness with which they treat my husband, our boys and me.¬†You just don’t find this with every staff dynamic, and we have not always found this to be 100% true everywhere we have been.
Let me share a little of what I mean…
Sometimes, I watch their eyes as my husband challenges them with a new idea, or maybe even a needed rebuke, during a staff meeting. I hear their words of comradery and encouragement to our oldest as he walks into one of their offices and their tone of warmth and acceptance to our youngest, even when they might have better things to be getting accomplished. I see when they go the extra mile to make an adjustment that their pastor has suggested, even when they might not yet completely understand or be incredibly enthused about.  I have even caught a glimpse of their sincerity when they have encountered someone with ill intentions toward me, my husband or our family, as they speak words of admonishment and confrontation to that individual.  These are just a few of the acts of kindness which each of them shows to my family day in and day out, and these are the things which make me love them like family.
Rest assured, these members of our pastoral staff whom we celebrated yesterday¬†are not simply employees of¬†our church nor are they just plain co-workers who ‘pitch in to get a job done.’¬† They are each a part of, what I choose to call, a great “dream team” helping my husband to be a better pastor, and our church to be a better Body of Christ for the betterment of God’s Kingdom.¬†They and their¬†spouses are a true blessing to us, and I am thankful to have them and to consider them friends, as well as, staff members. These words don’t seem¬†quite¬†adequate today, but I’d like to say, “THANK¬†YOU from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys!” ‚̧
*Note: I do not own, nor do I possess, this picture. Found it simply through Google and sharefaith.com.*