Thursday, September 29, 2022

Are You Thriving or Surviving?

 


By: Donna Bucher

You Are Not Invincible

In case no one told you this recently, you have limitations: physically, mentally and spiritually. If you continue pushing through life's hardships without respite you will crash.

 

The blessing of life's trials comes in the revelation of our weaknesses and inability to do life on our own.

 

God does give us more than we can handle so we learn to trust Him more deeply and the excellency of the power is His not ours. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)

 

You Need Support

Persisting in a self-sufficient mindset, isolates you from the support of others. Which exhausts low physical energy reserves and depletes spiritual resiliency.

 

At times the most loving thing you can do, is admit you need help.

 

We often cry out to God in overwhelm and exhaustion expecting help from Him, but forget He uses the people around us to provide the help we need. We spurn help in the form of supportive family or friends, further complicating our situation.

 

You Need Enjoyment

One of the first things we exclude when faced with life's hardships is enjoyment. We neglect hobbies that bring us joy or relaxation, we laugh less, and even our spiritual walk feels like drudgery.

 

Neglecting things that bring joy to your heart, a smile to your face, and life to your soul intensify your suffering.

 

Genuinely caring for yourself while in life's hard places makes the difference between thriving and surviving. We have no control over unexpected trials, but we can nurture ourselves in the midst of it so we can thrive and grow as individuals.

 

Ways to Strengthen Your Physical Well-being

Rest. This may mean actual sleep; getting to bed earlier, sleeping in a bit or a nap. Accepting help with housework or saying “NO” to commitments.

Nourishment. Make time to buy and/or prepare nutritious food for yourself. Avoid skipping meals or skimping on meals; eating on the run. Sit down and enjoy your food.

Exercise. No matter your physical limitations, movement of any kind increases your "feel good" hormones of serotonin and dopamine. Getting outside for a walk around your yard lifts your mood.

Ways to Strengthen Your Mental Well-being

Hobbies. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? God calls us to "create"; whether through sewing, crafting, knitting, crocheting or other handwork; cooking, baking, gardening, painting, drawing, woodworking. The possibilities are endless.

Read. Reading nourishes your mind while giving your mind a respite from worry, anxiety and overthinking.

Music. No matter what genre you choose, music is like a tranquilizer to a busy mind. Create your own "music therapy" playlist, go on a walk, put your feet up or have your very own dance party.

Ways to Strengthen Your Spiritual Well-being

Enjoy God. When was the last time you enjoyed God? What if you scrapped the regular routine and sat with God just enjoying His Presence with you? Breathing slowly and deeply; allowing Him to remind you of His love for you.

Enjoy God's Creation. Spend time in nature, even just watching the birds or other animals from your window. Notice the flowers, their fragrances, colors, textures. Enjoy a sunrise or sunset. Enjoy a walk in the rain, look for rainbows!

Enjoy God's Word. Choose your favorite promises from God's Word or find some new ones. "Personalize" them by adding your name and re-writing them as if God was speaking directly to YOU; after all HE IS.

 

Acknowledge you are not invincible, you need support, and you need enjoyment. Seek ways to enjoy God and his good gifts while taking care of yourself so you thrive, not merely survive in life's hard places. Jesus came that you might have abundant life; may you experience His abundant life today.

 

Which area above causes the most struggle for you?

 

Which area will help you thrive instead of simply surviving?

 











Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!

 

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Don't Read Too Much Into It

By: Jenifer Metzger

A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
Ecclesiastes 3:6

Recently my husband was faced with a situation that hurt and upset him. Someone said something that was worded in a rude way. At first, he felt on guard. While I agreed that the comment was unnecessary, I gently reminded him to not read too much into it.

The person could have not meant anything by it. Or, if they did, that is their mistake and they will have to answer for it. But it wasn't something worth fighting about and it was something worth worrying about. He agreed and let it go.

Don't read too much into it

Then just a couple of days later, the same thing happened to me. Someone said something to me, and while not in a rude way, it was taking something away from something I was looking forward to. I was hurt.

My husband gently reminded me of my own advice. The person could have been innocent enough and had no intention of hurting me. But if they did, that is on them. It wasn't something worth fighting about or worrying over.

Sometimes we need to let things go. So often we take things that are done and said and assume the worst. We think people are purposely out to get us. The truth is, often times we are reading too much into it. The person had no ill intention. Yet we get upset and cause an argument to only make matters worse, or we sit and stew over it for days, weeks, months, even years and lose what could have been a good relationship.

Yes, there are situations that need to be addressed. There are some things that taken care of. This is where we need to turn to God and use wisdom.

Before addressing a situation, follow these steps:

Pray. Ask God for wisdom and discernment.

Take time. Don't rush into anything out of hurt or anger. Take your time.

Seek wise counsel. Talk to your spouse or a trusted friend and ask for another point of view and advice.

Think it through. Does it really matter? Is what was said or done something that really makes a difference or can you let it go?

Pray again. If you feel God leading you to let it go, ask Him to help you leave it alone. If you feel God leading you to address the situation, ask Him to guide you to handle it correctly.

Act in love. If you need to confront the person, act in love, not anger or bitterness.

Discussion:
1. Do you struggle with reading too much into things done or said to you?
2. How can you use these 6 steps to help you not read too much into situations?









Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Forming that is Happening Today

 By: Rebekah Hargraves



Photo Courtesy Of: Sixteen Miles Out



"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God."

~1 Corinthians 10:31




I first read this quote a few years back, and it has remained with me very since:


"The new life into which we are baptized is lived out in days, hours, and minutes. God is forming us into a new people. And the place of that formation is in the small moments of today."  ~Tsh Harrison Warren


Friend, don’t despise meager beginnings.

Don’t disdain the seemingly mundane (I say seemingly because life is never mundane when viewed through the lens of the Great Commission and its impact on eternity!).

Don’t degrade the moments when you’re working hard for your family or serving others and no one knows and no one thanks you.

Don’t despair over the moments spent washing dishes, scrubbing toilets, wiping noses, making meals, and breaking up sibling fights.

Don’t deny the fact that in God’s upside down kingdom, the little things are the big things.

Remember that your faithfulness in the day-to-day moments, the right here and right now, is what matters. Remember that God is working miracles in the midst of your everyday, normal life. Don’t wish it away or belittle the importance of it. God is working right there, right now, right where you are.

Don’t miss it. 


Reflection Questions:


1) Are you usually aware of God working in and through your everyday moments, or is this a new concept for you?


2) Where do you see God working in your life right now?


3) In what areas of your life would you like to see Him more? Pray that you would have eyes to see.

Monday, September 26, 2022

What Are We To Accept?

 By: Joanne Viola


These days there is much talk about acceptance.

Turning to dictionary.com for the definition, I read … “to take or receive something offered; to agree or consent to; to respond or answer affirmatively to.”

As I sit with the definitions before me, the question comes to my mind, “What is it that we are to accept?” But perhaps the greater question is this one, “What are we to accept into our lives?

“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”
(James 1:21,  NLT)

James calls us to a life of repentance – a daily putting off of anything contradicting the life we are to live in Christ. The only way we will ever successfully do this is as we accept the Word of God into our souls. We must receive it, consent to let it do its work in our lives, and respond in obedience.

Accepting the Word will take action on our part. Intention. We must determine to set aside time to quiet our souls, read His Word, and let it do the work in our hearts and minds needed each day.

We humbly accept the word, daily – again and again – renewing our faith and letting our roots go down deep into His truth. As we accept His Word, it will save and shape our souls, molding us into the persons God can use for His glory.

May we accept His Word daily.
“For it has the power to save our souls.”

What do you need to remove from your life so as to better accept His Word?

 Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


 


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Learning Perseverance From Jacobs Wrestling Match With God

 By: Paula Short


"So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man asked him, "What is your name?" Jacob," he answered." Genesis 32:24-26— NIV

Jacob was on a journey to his home country. He's bringing his wives, children, and all the livestock in his household. But as he's a way off, the bad news comes: Esau is marching out to meet him with an army.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Esau is Jacob's older brother. The two shared a fierce rivalry throughout their childhood. Jacob deceived their father and stole his brother's blessing.

So when Jacob learns Esau is coming, he immediately begins making preparations. He sends gifts ahead to greet his brother. He organizes his family into groups, hoping that the remaining half will survive if Esau attacks one half.

It's late by the time Jacob is done. He goes into the wilderness to rest, and there, he wrestles a man who many believe is an angel of the Lord or is God himself.

In Bible times, angels often intervened in human situations. Although angels would often appear in human form. Jacob knew God was with him.

Jacob continued his wrestling match all night just to be blessed. He was persistent. God encourages persistence and perseverance in all areas of our lives, including the spiritual. Strong character develops as you struggle through tough conditions. God gave many people in the Bible new names. Their new names were symbols of how God changed their lives. 

Jacob, the ambitious deceiver, became Israel, the one who struggles with God and overcomes.

"Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome." Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." Genesis 32:28-30— NIV

What can we learn from Jacobs's wrestling match with God?

— We Need Forgiveness, and it Only Comes by the Mercy of God.

— Closeness to God Requires Humility.

— God Honors Perseverance, Especially when we seek Him.

— God Wants Us to Know Him Intimately.

— Our Identity Is in Christ

God doesn't always give us our requests at the moment we ask. Sometimes, He wants us to wrestle for it—to seek Him more, and discover more of His rich mercy. The point of doing this is not to weaken our beliefs but to strengthen our faith.

Reflection

What approach would you take to solve a conflict?

Where in your spiritual life do you need more persistence?

Have you ever wrestled over decisions you've made?