How God Gets Our Attention

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Discovering God's Plan

The month of May just zoomed by, as I was crazy busy with adjusting to summer vacation with the kids at home, my part-time job, and everything that goes along with that.

Honestly, I’ve been doing a whole lot of “looking in my house.”

How God Gets Our Attention

Thinking over the last six weeks or so—as I take a step back from the busyness of life—I see some clear markers of what God has placed under my nose to get my attention:

  1. I’ve been presented with several different freelancing/contract work opportunities that offer some exciting, long-term benefits.
  2. I’ve been “cut loose” of some responsibilities that had previously demanded a lot of my time (which would have hampered time I could spend on #1).
  3. My husband has some exciting things going on right now with his work.
  4. God continues to feed my soul, as we worship at a new church hearing awesome weekly messages, many of which have focused on the same ideas I put forth here: God has a unique purpose for you as part of his bigger story.

I also believe that God continues to prune and chip away at the peripheral things that don’t matter, in order to make room for the things that do. Of course, these things that he prunes include sin, but sometimes they also include “good” things.

It’s hard to say goodbye to things that are good but have become idols: relationships, comfort, predictability, smooth sailing.

Another thing I’m trying to learn is the difference between things that I enjoy and am interested in, and the things to which God is calling me. This is hard. Super-hard.

For example:

  • I’ve always enjoyed school and learning, and I’m a terrific student. I thought I’d be a great teacher.
  • I’m a terrible classroom teacher.

I love the whole world of Internet marketing and social media strategy. I keep trying to wiggle my way into these business endeavors, but I can’t quite find my niche. Right now, I’m trying to decide if I just need to persevere or if God is trying to turn me around. I think I’d be a great niche blog site owner—with a targeted “product” to promote and sell—but I’ve been trying to discover what that may be, examining everything from pantyhose to door knobs.

Nothing’s really working out. Nothing is presenting itself as viable. Nothing excites to the point of I can’t imagine myself NOT doing it. And the last thing I want to do is “force” myself into a business endeavor—committing time, money, and resources—when I don’t see or sense a clear affirmation of what I’m doing.

For now? I wait. I continue to turn over and move the rocks that God places in front of me. Maybe I’ll find something underneath one someday soon.

But if not, I do know one thing: casting aside the rocks in my path just clears more space for me to pursue God. A clean path to Christ guarantees a greater access to him.

And God’s plans for me far exceed anything I could imagine or pursue myself.

God’s plans for me far exceed anything I could imagine or pursue myself.

Photo Credit: CountryDreaming via Compfight cc

Competition Is Irrelevant When You Follow Your Passion

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Competition is irrelevant | God's passions, purpose for life, blogging, competition

I’ve had a blog (albeit, in several different forms) since 2008. I’m amazed by a couple of things when I look around at other moms with successful money-making blogs.

  1. Some of these bloggers have been online and working for a shorter amount of time than I.
  2. There are a dang lot of women bloggers, but it seems like there’s always room for more.

So what that means to me is this:

Don’t worry about “the competition” and work your tail off.

Regardless of your area of expertise …

If God’s calling you to something, it means that the competition is irrelevant.
Faithfully following his call, your message will be unique enough that it won’t get lost and it will reach those that need it most.

We must believe this, friends. It’s the “partner” message to the primary one of “look in your house” to find your priorities, passions, and provision.

Let’s consider this idea—something I’ve wanted to do forever: write and sell an ebook.

But I have to tell you that part of delay in actually doing it has been wrapped up in my thought patterns. I have a tendency to think that my efforts would be in vain: No one would benefit from anything I’d have to say. Would my ebook be unique enough to stand out against an already-full market?

Let’s interrupt those thoughts, though, and turn them around. What if I were to approach it this way: God has given me a unique set of experiences, skills, and passions. God has created a passion in my heart to write an ebook. If God wants me to write an eBook then nothing else matters.

It’s a lot more fun to go through life wondering, God, what will you have me tackle today? What awesome thing that seems difficult or awkward will you have me achieve?

So, look in your house to see what’s there, follow your passion, and then shrug off everything else that hinders you.

Photo Credit: Johan Larsson via Compfight cc

Mission Field or Mopping Floors? Following God’s Call

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I think most of us have an idea that God’s call is usually only valid if it involves foreign countries where you’re scared to drink the water and have to get a dozen vaccinations before you board a plane.

But you know what?

I believe that God’s perfect call for you is doing exactly what you’re doing where you are doing it.

Is that being a stay at home mom? Is that cutting hair? Is that running a corporation?

In Mark 5:1-20, after Jesus releases the demons from the possessed man, the man is restored. He has, literally, been transformed into a new creation. Jesus has saved the man, and he’s overflowing with gratitude and joy.

mission.field.graphicWhat is the man’s first instinct?

To go “on the mission field.” He asks Jesus if he can go with him—becoming part of his ministry team (verse 18), if you will.

But how does Jesus reply?

No.

Jesus tells the man that the best thing for him to do is to go back to where he came from, telling others there of what Jesus did for him. In effect, Jesus is telling the man to live among the people as a new man: show them what a changed life looks like. Live and love them with the passion, zeal, and joy that only Christ can create in you.

God gives each of us our own little spheres of influence—our own families, communities, and hometowns. Our own workplaces, neighborhoods, and school zones.

It’s no accident you are right where you are. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him” (Acts 17:26-27, ESV).

Are you passionately living out God’s call exactly where he has placed you? Are you always returning to your community after an “experience” with Jesus and telling them of his love for you?

Service in the mission field is not the only work to which God calls his people.

Do You Know God’s Call for Your Life?

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“I sensed God was calling me to the mission field.”

“We really felt God was not calling us to leave just yet. We felt there was more work to be done.”

“I’ve always felt called into teaching.”

Have you heard people say these types of things when they’ve been discussing their life’s plans or work? Maybe you’ve said those things yourself because you have a clear idea of  “God’s calling” on your life; I hope you do!

I’ve got to tell you that mine has been rather muddy for most of my life. Lately, more and more of God’s call is coming into focus for me and my family, though, and I can tell you what’s helped us to better figure out where to go from here.

How You Can Determine God’s Callingfile0001525508692

1. Look in your house. Really. Walk through the rooms and halls of your house. What do you see? For so many of us, we choose to ignore the very callings that stare us in the face. Family, work, skills, gifts—all of these things show up in our daily lives, if only we’d recognize them for what they are: God’s nudge to say, “Hey! This is the way I’ve equipped you; get to work using what I’ve given you.” Pantry full of food and pots and pans? You may be missing God’s call to begin a meals on wheels ministry, a catering business, or to become a nutrition counselor.

2. Embrace your passion. What has God put you on the planet to do? What has God gifted you to do that only you can do? Now—go do it.

3. Seek the person of Christ. One of the most transformational aspects of Jesus is that he did not simply embody good, wholesome characteristics like kindness or truth, as you and I may do. No. Jesus IS goodness, truth, love, kindness, self-control, and more. When we are hidden in him, our relationship is more than mental ascent. We possess what he possesses. We have access to the Father and his power through Christ! Stop and think about that. We have access to resurrection power.

4. Get yourself out of the way. Believe that his way is far better than anything you can do on your own. Now, move over!

5. Accept and celebrate that this life is temporary. We are just passing through. God’s calling—whether it’s exciting, boring, dangerous, or mundane—is not for your comfort, your success, or your fame. God’s calling is to advance his kingdom and impact others’ lives. Period.

6. While you may live out several callings at once and many throughout a lifetime, you are always required to abide by one above all others. Your highest calling is to be an instrument of God, doing his work.