Stop Stereotyping Success

Confidence, Encouragement, Faith, Freedom, Goal Setting, God and Lifestyle, Life, passion, Simplicity, success

So I have lots to say on this topic, but I want to keep this particular post short and simple. In our society today, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Been there, done that. Our appearance, our possessions, and most comically- our accomplishments. Even what we succeed is measured and compared with the world around us. At times I’ve even set a ‘personal’ goal based on what I thought other people wanted me to do. In the end, I felt anything but successful because my accomplishment did not fulfill what I wanted or needed myself. I allowed others to set and measure my accomplishments. Yet, this is my life, not theirs. It is I who should define what I ‘accomplishment.’ For it is me who will experience the consequence, gain the reward, for a reached success.

OUR goals, dreams, aspirations, desires, and accomplishments need to become our own again. Instead of measuring our success by comparing it to someone’s else’s; we should appreciate it for what it means to us. Recently, in goal setting, I have learned to not only keep them specific and attainable but also personal. I am now reaching to flourish in the areas I care about and grow as an independent individual. This entails doing the things I love, including people specifically special to me, and putting in place practices that add value to my life. It is so much more fulfilling to reach for something that matters to us uniquely, opposed to reaching for other people’s approval. There is no need to look around and devalue our accomplishments by comparing our own success to someone else’s. Their reward means something different to them, and their journey is different than yours. The best profit we can gain from our achievements is self-approval. So, give yourself credit. I cannot express how important it is to appreciate yourself, and pat yourself on the back for all you do. It’s easier for others to celebrate you when you can first celebrate yourself.

Aspire to do the things you’ve always hoped to do. What did you dream about as a kid? What gets you excited? What stars can you shoot for right now? Don’t get caught upsetting unattainable goals to impress bystanders. There’s no need to depreciate your passion because it’s outside the ‘norm.’ This is YOUR success story. We are all successful in our own way. Believe it and keep working towards being you! Be encouraged today for you are worthy of success. Search deep for what matters most to you and work hard to attain that goal. Before you know it your life will be filled with passion. Focus on adding value to your life, and you will eventually bring value to the lives of others. Celebrate who you are today because making it through today is an accomplishment in itself. Count the little things as success, and greater success will follow. This is your life, your journey, and your story of success.

 

 

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New Day, New Year, Renewed Faith {120 encouragements for 2017}

Faith, God and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

This past year that I have stepped out to discover a life of faith for myself. I would like to share some of the golden nuggets I’ve gained along the way of my crazy amazing journey along the year of 2016. These things have not only changed my life but continue to refine, renew, refresh, enlighten, change, and breathe into my very being – as I hope they do the same for you.

That being said I invite you to search deeper, seek better, and become greater with me. Why? Because we are worth it! So here we go, 120 points of insight I’ve been given the past 12 months that can come to challenge us as we step into 2017. Shall they speak to us, inspire us, and ignite the flame within us to chase after God this year like we never have before. Here’s to January 1st, 2017, and every day which follows!

  1. Knowing about God is not the same as truly knowing God
  2. God speaks through everything
  3. God’s voice always brings life to you and others
  4. “Don’t be scared to fall, for I am with you”
  5. Pray with faith and know your authority in Jesus
  6. Be bold, what is there to lose?
  7. When we speak life, our life speaks
  8. Love is more than a feeling, its a choice
  9. There is no end to love
  10. The more we know God, the more we know ourselves
  11. What we believe about ourselves with supersede what we are capable of
  12. We are made in God’s image, we are children of a good father
  13. The more we give, the more we receive
  14. Repentance is not a condition to salvation, but a choice we make in the process of being sanctified
  15. We aren’t meant to do this alone
  16. Boundaries are healthy and beneficial to us
  17. The Lord is our redeemer, The Lord is our refuge
  18. Perseverance takes time
  19. We are set free from the prison of our own minds through Christ
  20. We are a working masterpiece, God is our master artist
  21. We are the co-author of our own stories
  22. Relationships are about what we can offer not about what we can gain
  23. Love is to seek the higher good for someone else
  24. The more we walk with the Lord the closer we get to discovering our destinies
  25. To have amazing faith our faith must remain active and alive
  26. God has the potential to change our lives every moment; it our choice to stay engaged
  27. There is always an opportunity to step into the unknown
  28. God places, knows, and values each and every desire of our hearts
  29. Hebrews 10:14 By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified
  30. Through the cross we have been given forgiveness, healing, righteousness, life, blessing, abundance, glory, acceptance, and eternal renewal
  31. Letting go and letting God is always a good idea
  32. To be a light we must know the light
  33. The environment we pursuse should match up with the dreams we have
  34. To need God we must look to do the impossible
  35. God doesn’t want worthy, He wants available – we dont have to be worthy, just availible
  36. We can make our own plans and hope God blesses them or we can pursue the plans God has already made and has already blessed
  37. We shouldn’t compare our chapter 3 to someone else’s chapter 20, but instead get inspired by it
  38. Encouraging others can only do good – no harm in helping
  39. We have to choose to see the gold in other people
  40. We have the capability to deliver others from that which we have been delivered from
  41. We are responsible to obey God, we are not responsible for the outcome of that obedience
  42. Relationship is the soil for revelation
  43. God longs to restore our identity through a culture of honor and empowerment
  44. Guard that which is precious to you
  45. True value comes from knowing our identity in Christ
  46. We choose the world we live in
  47. Purity is a process (a process that’s worth it!)
  48. God continues to pursue a deep, real, and sincere love relationship with each and everyone of us
  49. God invites us to join Him in the work He is already doing
  50. We are predestined for purpose
  51. We are anointed to fulfill the purpose of that which we have been called to
  52. Whatever is feeding you will be the fruit you bear
  53. “If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me”
  54. Wake up every morning anticipating something great, and great will come
  55. Our job isn’t to change or people, but to love people where they’re at, and allow God to do the rest
  56. Humility breathes humility
  57. To lead well we must love well
  58. Don’t react to the storm, respond to what God wants you to do in the storm
  59. There are valleys, and there are mountains; there is potential for life to spring from both
  60. As we obey God and put Him as our reward, we will never lose our way
  61. We have been set free from condemnation
  62. Don’t try to be perfect, do try to be better
  63. God doesn’t change but is viewed differently among different parts of the world, the more we accept that the more we will see Him move in cultures that are not our own
  64. Approach the future being mindful of the past without being imprisoned by it
  65. To have a faithful friend, we first must be a faithful friend
  66. God’s timing is perfect
  67. God doesn’t give us anything we aren’t ready for
  68. What we are learning now can be used that we may thrive in whatever God has for us next
  69. Never give up
  70. Provide a platform for God to move
  71. We need to treat disunity as a crisis, because it is one
  72. God has called our generation into such a time as this
  73. Where there is darkness there is great redemptive purpose
  74. “Whoever holds onto his life, will lose it”
  75. Do not let anyone who is speaking out of a motive of fear, speak for you
  76. Hospitality is our strongest evangelistic strategy
  77. God is jealous for justice
  78. When we accept our weakness we are able to accept God’s uniqueness
  79. Be willing to forgive yourself
  80. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it to our full potentials
  81. We are meant to walk in fullness, not in fear
  82. There must be passion to persevere
  83. Knowing, learning, and loving diversity allows us to understand how it paints God’s bigger picture
  84. ‘The important thing is to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become’
  85. Let your dream become your occupation – that’s what it’s there for
  86. God is love, and love is the key to every lock
  87. Everyone needs a king like Jesus
  88. Seek out honest feedback and never stop learning
  89. Hold yourself accountable, and have other accountable people hold you accountable
  90. Everything we do influences someone in someway
  91. Since we are made in God’s image we have the capability to create, think, write, (etc.) something that no one else ever has before
  92. Every single person sees life through a different lense
  93. Our actions will reflect what we deeply value
  94. The best thing we can do is respond in a Christ-like way, no matter the situation
  95. Living a fruitful life is living a life of quality rather than quantity
  96. Let’s have people in outs lives who see us for what we could become while still appreciating who we are right now
  97. Serving others leads to self discovery and leadership development
  98. ‘You never graduate from the foot of the cross’
  99. Being God’s and being unique are the two best things we could ever be
  100. Our character is constantly being developed for either the better or for the worst – let’s choose for the best
  101. Life is made up of seasons and putting ourselves in context of our current season will help us gain greater perspective
  102. Keeping perspective is to view every situation through eyes of hope
  103. We need to give each other permission to be working on ourselves
  104. Value the individual
  105. Jesus asks us to make a difference in this world by being effective servant leaders
  106. Let’s allow God to call us to a higher standard
  107. ‘Take God beyond the compartment of your private spiritual life and give Him free rein in all your daily actions and relationships’
  108. We were created by community, for community (by relationship, for relationship)
  109. We are breathing parables, written by God himself
  110. ‘One man or woman with passion is equal to 99 who simply have interest’ -J.s. Mill
  111. God wants to be known as the relational God He is
  112. Live in accordance to the Word, and trust that it is God’s best for us
  113. When we worship God we become more Christ-like
  114. Communication is far beyond our words
  115. As we draw wisdom out of our experiences and we allow ourselves to never stop learning
  116. There is a deeper, greater, larger place God is trying to take us
  117. Comparison does nothing but limit our own self
  118. Be who God is calling you to be, not who someone else already is
  119. There is beauty in all things, and we will se if if we are willing to search for it
  120. GOD IS SO SO GOOD, NO MATTER WHAT

and that’s only a tiny slice of the cake…. Here’s to 2017!!!

Child Like Wonder

Faith, God and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wonder; one of my favorite words. A feeling that over and over brings admiration to my soul.

You may ask, what exactly is wonder? Defined, wonder is “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
Amanda Cook sings it like this, “wide eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child, staring at the beauty of our king”
I immediately think back to a particular moment I had back in Switzerland, not too long ago. It was the last day of ski season, and I was surely enjoying it. A day spent doing my favorite thing in the world, with some of my favorite people in the world.
That day I had realized that I had a dream the night prior; making this moment feel like deja vu. Trying to fit the pieces together, I then was brought back to what my sleepy head had envisioned. In my dream I was taken back in time; to exactly that same day, but a year before. It was also the last day of ski season, but I had been home in Montana. I recall telling my friend that day that I had felt blinded to where life was taking me. Frustrated with myself, and also with God, I felt powerless. Looking back at this season in my life, that day made complete sense. My underlying question that day was “God where am I going? What am I doing?? Who am I???”

Not being aware of God’s voice then, I now know, in that moment God did respond. Answering my questions with this one phrase: “trust me, and I’ll take you places you couldn’t even imagine”

And here I was, a year later I was on top of the world, skiing in the Alpes and walking in a promise. I found myself there living out a dream, that a year before, my faith wouldn’t have proved possible.

It was then that God started revealing to me the magnificent ways He calls wonder into our lives, when we give up our right to control. The magnificent way He calls adventure into our lives when we dedicate our lives to journey alongside Him.
“Childlike faith”- a phrase I myself hear so often, yet struggle with over and over again.

Sometimes my sarcasm kicks in, “yeah God I’m child like all the time, can’t you tell by the way I ‘accidentally ’ disobey, repeat the same old mistakes, and ask question after question”
But you see, being “like a child” isn’t referring to our behavior, but our faith. Yes, most of the time our behavior is a result of our faith, but God wants the roots. That when it comes down to our personal relationship with Christ, we would love God, treat God, and allow God to be the parent He longs to be.

That in my faith I would be like a child.

That I would submit to Jesus and trust in the Lord the same way I would to my parents when I was 6 years old and had pigtails.

Faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that screams CHILD.
As I child we lack control, making it almost mandatory to trust those put above us. We were confident in who we were, cause really it was all we knew; your name, your age, the cartoons you watch were directly influenced by what your mom and dad said.

As a child, I dreamt without rationality (oh how I’d love to have that back). I also think of how easily surprised I was as a kid (and as I usually didn’t find myself weighing out career options or organizing my weekend schedule); it was easy. Think about it. Back to the days we played “make believe.” Not worrying about what we were gonna wear or how to act around different crowds. There were greater concerns, like which slide you were gonna go down first!

Recurring trust, young faith, and inspirational wonder…quite frankly as children it’s all there.

Our joy was found in running around free; knowing our parents wouldn’t be but a few feet away. Adventure was at every corner; going with the flow of following those older and wiser than us. Did stress even exist?
As “grown-ups” we love to have a plan; sometimes to the point of insisting on having one before agreeing to do anything at all. What time, where, how, with who, and why. Our appointments, our goals, and even our relationships get put into boxes. A time slot with a title and set alarm on our phone. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one? 
But here’s my real question; do you ever catch yourself carrying this mindset into your faith? I know I do. Scheduling in times to pray, rationalizing why I didn’t have quiet time this morning, asking God; 
What time? where? how? and why? 
I think this is what they meant when they told me to “not put God in a box”, and looking back over the definition of faith, it doesn’t quite sound like faith at all.
No matter how long or even if we’ve invited God into our lives, we have the habit of leaving him outside of our “responsibilities”. Getting so caught up in becoming successful, paying bills, getting into school, whatever it is, we leave Jesus in the box of “Life Savior” and leave him out of the role of “Day Saver”, or even “schedule maker”. Why is this? Do I not believe that God is capable? Or is it the mere fact that I struggle giving up control?
On my DTS I remember one of my favorite speakers Ben Foster quoted, “God is either Lord of all, or not Lord at all”

Sounds kinda harsh, right? Why can’t I just allow you to have 40% of my life, Jesus?? Yet, when we hand our lives over to God he wants it all! This can be really scary and call for a tremendous ammount of trust, but as we discover more and more of God’s character; we realize God can handle it. “If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment.”

For myself I know I’m quick to give God my complaints, my problems, my worries, my concerns, my fear; but when it comes to my “busy schedule”, “valuable time”, and “right to know” (exactly what I’m going to do every day for the next five years, and why); it’s a different story.
In my experience, God rarely provides a 1-5 step plan, but he always reveals what’s happening now, and sometimes even what’s next. It’s not “human nature” to be okay with this, but it is all we need, and more, when we follow Jesus.

Why? Because God’s intentions are perfect, his timing is flawless, and when he hides His answers to His questions it’s for our own good. Sometimes we don’t need to know, other times we wouldn’t understand (yet), and the rest of the time- God just wants it to be a surprise.

The moment I started accepting this, I began to discover a sense of wonder like never before. Not “wonder” like “I wandered away from my mom in the grocery store and got lost for 20 minutes and almost had a heart attack”, but a beautiful wonder from God that has left me, well, wide eyed and mystified.

Know God will lead you where you need to be as He fulfills every desire He’s placed in your heart. I mean, seriously, He is the creator and ruler of the universe!
Open up your plans and give God a chance to catch you by surprise. Be lead by the spirit as you experience God’s passion for adventure.

Quiet times don’t have to be scheduled and before meals aren’t the only times we’re allowed to pray.

Remember the goodness of our father and how much more a parent can work miracles when their child is willing to trust their plans and intentions.
Like a child, let’s be 100% influenced by what God says, and stand strong in our identity as children of the King. Our names, our age, the shows we watch, our weekend schedule, and even the slide we go down first can ALL be directly influenced by God; if we allow it to be.

I don’t have to act differently around different crowds when I know that I’m a daughter of an amazing dad who protects me, cares for me, and loves me no matter what.
This not only leads to low-stress levels and a solid foundation of who you are but also brings the excitement and admiration we once had as a child, into everyday life.
If God told me a year ago where I would be today, I wouldn’t have believed Him. Would my “knowledge of God’s plan” have actually prevented the “awe” feeling I now experience; as I look back seeing the adventure-filled journey God was preparing me for all along.
I mean for real, think about it, would every day of our lives be a glorious surprise party if we would just stop insisting to know every detail of tomorrow’s plan here and now. Would we find ourselves emerged in ongoing adventure if we just “let go, and let God” – be our Father?
Control, control, control; and we wonder why ‘life with God isn’t anything exciting’.

Surrender it, and become like a child. Let God, and your schedules out of the box. Never underestimate God’s capability to hold your burdens, and in return bring you a journey filled with excitement.
Perhaps you’ll find yourself doing things you’ve never thought possible and going places beyond your wildest dreams.

Maybe you’ll end up in the Swiss Alps or skiing in Montana. Perhaps you’ll look around to see that you’re already there, standing in a promise.