Decisive Decision Making

The older I get the more I realize just how important the decision making process is. Sometimes even the simplest of decisions can make or break a situation. That’s why it’s crucial to make the RIGHT decision the FIRST time. It’s a funny analogy but decision making is actually a lot like learning to wear make-up. You start out with a little bit of lip gloss, then you move on to master eye-shadow and then the works but if you don’t practice and apply it properly you just end up looking silly! I remember when I was younger I had the most difficult time making decisions – and it didn’t matter how big or small. I hated worrying about if I was making the right decision or not, so many times it was simply easier for me not to make a decision. The thing I didn’t realize though is that even when I didn’t make a decision I was still deciding.

Indecision is a decision. When you live indecisively you can miss out on some great times and opportunities. For me, the fear of failure ended up paralyzing me to where I would DECIDE not to make any decisions for my life. Ironic, right? Know why decisions seemed so scary to me and like such a big deal? Because I wasn’t fully TRUSTING God like I need to. When you trust God to guide your decisions you take the YOU out of the equation. Much of the time God is just waiting for us to open the door for Him to work miracles in our life. Unfortunately though, oftentimes when we’re so afraid of making the wrong decision that we over-analyze everything and rely on our own smarts instead. In turn, we end up making bad decisions when all we had to do was trust God with it all in the beginning!

Pray. Whenever a tough decision presents itself praying should ALWAYS be the first step you take. God created you, He knows your past, He knows your future, He loves you and only wants the best for you! Pray for Him to give you wisdom and (here’s a BIG key) TRUST that He will show you the right path to take!

Take a Breath. Before you make an important decision try clearing your mind instead of thinking through it and rationalizing a solution yourself. While you’re taking a breath, read your Bible or listen to some Christian music so you can gain some perspective and encouragement.

Follow your peace. As a Christian, peace is one of the greatest tools that God gives us. It helps to direct us along the journey of life. Remember to NEVER step out farther than your peace can carry you — meaning if you don’t have peace, DON’T do it! God’s path for your life will never call for you to live out of peace, stressed out and confused. Just trust Him and rest in His peace.

Flex them muscles! As I mentioned earlier, good decision making takes practice. Every new good habit starts with baby steps so start small. Start employing God’s wisdom in even the day’s simplest decisions like where to eat lunch or where to park. I guarantee you will be amazed by the little miracles that start popping up and how eventually decision making won’t seem so scary. Once you’ve learned how to incorporate and lean on God in the smallest of decisions, you’ll find yourself doing the exact same thing with big decisions! And that’s exactly how God has called us to live!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

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Life Outside The Box

From the beginning of our lives, society has taught us that we need two things if we want to be happy – an education and a good job.  It tells us, “Make sure that you work hard in school or you’ll go nowhere.  Get good grades because you need to get into a top University.  Be sure to pick a career that will make you lots of money so you can have a nice life.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to school, study, or work hard and I’m by no means saying that hard work and dedication is a bad thing.  The point that I am making is that this is the mindset for worldly success.  The world tries to lay out one path for you to take.  It teaches you how to rely on your own strength and wisdom.  It teaches you to think inside the box.  There was a time in my life when I believed all of these things too.  I mean, that’s how everybody else does it, right?  WRONG.  While the world may operate this way, as Christians, were called to operate a different way – Gods way!

Sure, we can live like the rest of the world and create a nice life for ourselves in our own strength.  Or we can live for God and let Him shape our lives into something even greater!  Maybe the amazing future that God has for you includes college; then again maybe it doesn’t.  Either way, don’t get sucked into thinking there is only one road for you to take.  Don’t listen to the lies telling you “you’re really behind everyone else.  You already missed your chance for something amazing, so why even bother?”  Don’t continue to beat yourself up over missed opportunities.  The thing we all need to remember is that we don’t make our own opportunities.  We don’t create our own talents.  We don’t create our own knowledge or even gain it from textbooks.  ALL of these opportunities, gifts, talents, and blessings for a good life come from one source and one source only: GOD! 

Don’t put your faith in things so temporary; put your faith in God.  By doing so, you won’t have to worry about creating the perfect life for yourself.  Just listen to God, be faithful, and everything will work out!  God knows everything that you need and He is there for you always!

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Go on, I dare you, live life outside the worlds box.  Live with God and watch amazing things bloom in yourself and your life!  Shine on! 🙂

*Photo courtesy of “God Is in the Small Stuff” by Bruce & Stan (Barbour Publishing) www.bruceandstan.com

 

Make Every Day A Special Occasion

The other day I had a personal breakthrough.  I walked into my closet to get dressed, saw a new outfit that I wanted to wear, and I put it on to start my day.  For most people this may not be a great accomplishment but for me it was.  You see, ever since I was a little girl I would save outfits, shoes, jewelry, and other things for “special occasions”.  I remember when I was like 4, I wanted this pair of flats that looked just like Dorothy’s from the Wizard of Oz.  I love them so much that I begged my mom to buy them for me.  When she did get them for me, I rarely wore them because I was saving them for special occasions.  This thought process followed me all through my life that is until recently.

As I stood in my closet the other day I thought to myself: “Why am I waiting for some other day to be special?  Why can’t today be special too?”  Everyday is a gift and we should all treat it as such.  Today may not feel as exciting as the thought of going to a concert on Friday, but make it special!  Go out of your way to celebrate today.  Celebrate who you are, who God created you to be.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalms 118:24

While this mindset may seem innocent when it comes to what you wear, imagine what would happen if we let it sink into other areas of our lives.  What if instead of being a giving person, we think “well it’s Christmastime so I’ll give to a charity now.”  This is a fantastic thing to do, but don’t let your love for others stop after you put away the tree and lights.  What if we thought “I don’t feel like smiling today, maybe tomorrow will be better.”  That smile that you held in because you were waiting for a better time may have made someone else’s day. 

One thing that I have learned is that we need to make even the most mundane day feel like a blessing, because it is.  None of us are promised a tomorrow so why not live today to the fullest?  Take a chance.  Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.  Spend your time wisely and do something incredible with your life! You can do it, after all:

 “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

I challenge you to make the most of every day.  Do what you can to change boring into phenomenal!  Make someone’s day a little brighter.  You have what it takes to change this world for the better to get out there and shine the light! 🙂

EXTRAORDINARY

Unpredictable

What does the future hold?   No one really knows, but we sure like to pretend that we do sometimes.  In our heads we think we have life all figured out.  Nothing can surprise us because we know where we’ve been and we know where were going.  We’ve made plans – good plans at that!

I remember back when I was in high school, I thought that my life would go like this:  graduate high school, go to college, graduate college, get a job, and get married.  I had everything figured out.  I had a plan and I just needed to complete it one step at a time.  But then when things didn’t seem to go according to my plan, it was the end of the world!…well my world at least.  To my surprise, I had overlooked one major factor……GOD.  I was so self-focused that I left Him out of the equation.  I thought I could accomplish all of my goals in my own strength, at my own time.  Sometimes I felt so confused about what steps to take and I would get so frustrated when I took them in my own strength yet there didn’t seem to be any open doors.

The thing that I had horribly overlooked is the fact that God is unpredictable!  The reason He is unpredictable is because He can do anything and everything!  When there is no way He will make a way.  When there isn’t an open door, God will open a window, if its part of His will for your life.  We should all be thinking: “Whew, what a relief!  I mean the same God who made the universe and put the stars in their place is in control of my life?  AND He wants all things to work out for my good?  He wants to bless ME?” ….Mindboggling, I know, but its 100% the truth!  Refuse to think that you have life all figured out and that you don’t need God, because the reality is that you do.  The only thing predictable in life is that God and life are unpredictable.  You don’t know what life will throw your way.  At the same time, you don’t know what amazing things God has in your future!

I love the Francesca Battistelli song called “Unpredictable” that speaks to this very issue we all have: putting God in a box.

Unpredictable

 

Sometimes, because our strength, courage, endurance, wisdom, and talents are limited we think that God’s are too.  Because of this we put Him in a box, thinking “There is no way that dream will happen.”   We think in the real realm when we should think in the Spiritual realm.  God can make anything happen; all He requires from us is faith the size of a mustard seed!

“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”   – Matthew 17:19-21

It can also be a challenge to think that someone else knows us what’s better for us and knows us better than we do ourselves, but that’s God.  He created us and loves us more than we could ever imagine, so why would He want to limit us?  Why would He want us to be unhappy?  Seems to me like we have no reason not to trust God with everything we have!  Every idea, every dream, every problem, we should lay them all down at His feet and trust that He will make everything for our good in ways only He can!

Step out in faith that God has amazing things for you.  When you start to feel anxious because you don’t know what the future holds, refuse to get stressed out about it.  Instead of stressing out, just say a simple prayer like: “God, I trust You with my future.  I refuse to worry about it; I’m laying it in Your hands.  While I don’t know what’s ahead, I know that You do and You will give me everything I need to succeed.”  By saying a simple prayer like that, it takes the weight off your shoulders and allows God to work through you.  Be determined to develop an unshakable faith so you can live in peace even at life’s most unpredictable moments!  That way when you start taking steps God can direct you, rather than relying on you or someone else to be that direction.  Whether or not your dreams seem possible at the current time in your life, remember, nothing is impossible with God!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

I love this holiday!  Not just because of the turkey, shopping, and football though.  Don’t get me wrong, these things are great, but there is so much more to be grateful for!  I’m most thankful for my family, puppies, friends, and of course the fact that God is amazing!  God is so good to us every moment of every day and I am SO thankful for His unconditional love.  I mean think about it, you could do the worst thing in the world or be a completely horrible person and He is still going to be there for you.  He loves us no matter how flawed we can be.  That’s what unconditional means – there is nothing that we could ever do could separate us from His love and I am so grateful for this.

“Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love – What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  -Romans 8:31-39

God loves us so much and that is truly something to be thankful for! I hope that you all are having a great day full of family, friends, good food, laughter, and blessings!

Peter Pan

This morning I sat down at my desk to get ready like I do every morning.  I grabbed my makeup bag and started pulling out the makeup I needed to use.  As I was getting out my make-up, I couldn’t find my mascara for some reason.  Being slightly irritated and confused, I started riffling through my makeup bag looking for my mascara. To my surprise, I had already pulled out my mascara bottle and put it on my desk a few minutes prior.  I was so relieved and happy when I found it!  As I sat there, finally putting on my make-up, I started thinking about what had just happened.  While this was a simple little mistake / misplacement, it reminded me of one very important word: HAPPINESS

Our happiness is much like the mascara bottle, something that we already have / are capable of having we just don’t realize it sometimes.  We misplace it by relying on people and things to make us happy, even though these things never will.  We can’t rely on anyone or anything to make us happy.  Many times it seems as though we live in ‘Nevergonnabehappyland’ just waiting for someone to change our circumstances by sprinkling some magic fairy dust on our heads.  Joy is only found in the Lord, so why do we try so hard to find substitutes?  When someone treats us badly or we don’t get the raise we wanted at work, we trade in our happiness for frustration, disappointment, anger, and so on.  While we may have every reason under the sun and right to feel this way, this is an immature way of living.  Sure, we can live in a Peter Pan kind of mentality and refuse to grow past temporary happiness, but by doing so we will be missing blessings that God has for us along the way. 

Everyday that you wake up is a gift.  While some days it may not feel like it, it is.  Monotony can be a buzz-kill and steal your joy if you let it, anything can.  The world will do anything in its power to try to steal your joy.  That’s why every morning when you wake up you need to decide: am I going to keep my peace today no matter what life throws my way or will I sacrifice my happiness to the first moment of adversity that I meet?  Am I going to sacrifice who I am to make someone else happy or am I going to live for God and be happy to be who He created me to be?  Remember: the joy of the Lord is our strength.

“You have put more joy in my heart than when their grain and wine abound.”– Psalm 4:7

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10

If we continue to sacrifice our happiness and go through the day frustrated and discouraged, we make things so much more difficult than they need to be.  Our strength comes from joy and our joy should come from knowing that we are God’s chosen ones and that He loves us!  Whether you feel like it or not, He created you for an amazing purpose.  Out of everyone in the world, He chose you for amazing things ahead.  That’s right, YOU.  Your life isn’t just something you should go through begrudgingly, BE HAPPY!  God has given us everything we need to be happy and to be happy today! Don’t waste it. Grow in your faith and live happy! 🙂

Give Thanks Always.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1

No matter how bad your circumstances may seem, remember that God is good! If we strive to be thankful for what we have, keep our peace, and rely on God; we can make any day a good day! 🙂 #keepthefaith #Godisgood