Organizing the Inside 365 Days

Empowering Christian Women To Get Organized and Discover God's Plan for Their Lives

Archive for Religion and Spirituality

Organizing the Inside – Day 364 Leading Lady

1The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. ~Psalm 23:1-3

She chose the role of martyr again.
You’ve done it again. You’re sacrificing something else in order to do for another. You often feel like you’re being pulled in ten different directions and you try to pretend you don’t know how you got here again. Everybody wants a piece of you and you tend to feel obliged to break off just a bit more. No one seems to be concerned with what you need, not even you. In spite of the frustration you are experiencing you play the leading lady as though the role was created and scripted just for you. Give yourself a much-needed break, before you are completely emptied of the little you have left to give.

The thought of saying “no” or “no thanks” goes against your grain.
Why must you typecast yourself when actually you have options?  You can choose to say no. Yes, I said it you can choose. Although, if you are a caregiver you are particularly prone to taking on this role and you do it with great honor. I’m not making light of your sometimes consuming responsibilities. I realize what you do is meaningful and a blessing to you and those you care for. I am however suggesting that just because there are people in your life who demand time and attention, you are by no means required by anyone (but you) to always give 100 percent. Giving until you can’t give anymore is likely not the most prudent way to go about serving. People have a tendency to call upon you to come to their aid. They’ve taken on more commitments than they can handle, and now they want your help. Suddenly you’re not only responsible for your own commitments; you’ve found a way to also be responsible for theirs. You probably have the gift of helps or service and maybe mercy too. Those gifts are perfect gifts for you, but you have to practice balancing your gifts to stay fit for service.

Stand up for you and give yourself respect and honor.
I don’t want you to neglect your responsibilities, but I do want you to find a way to take care of you.  Keep in mind you choose to do what you do. Whether you’re assuming the role of martyr by default because there is no one else, or you just really love all the work you do for others, either way you have a choice. Try to find a way to do something to break the routine. Do something you enjoy and allow God to refresh your spirit. Chances are the unending lists of tasks and commitments will still be there when you return.

God sees your heart and all that you do for everyone else. Now, allow Him to do something just for you.  Announce your plans to all parties involved. Keep it sweet, kindhearted and simple, but let them know this time is for you. Slip away, and as God renews you on the inside you’ll be better prepared to play whatever role your busy life has to cast. Take time for renewal and allow God to give you the rest you need.

Organizing the Inside – Day 359 Keep Your First Love

2I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. 4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Revelation 2:2-4 (KJV)

Keep your Christian life and relationship with God from becoming routine. Faithfully you give daily attention to prayer, praise and worship. In your sincere desire to be faithful has it all become so routine that the energy and passion you once felt is no longer there?  If you’ve tried to make the right choices and spend quality time with God, but feel the excitement and newness you once enjoyed has waned, don’t be ashamed. Why not shake things up a bit? There is nothing mundane or unexciting about the things of God. Instead of your usual quiet time at home, consider an early morning walk on the beach or a hike through the woods as part of your devotional time to change things up. What things did you once enjoy that you rarely do anymore?

Always be a witness!  Remember the anticipation and excitement you felt when you first gave your life to God? If you were like most, you told anyone who would listen about your new-found eternal life. When you share your passion and love for the things of God with others, seeing their reaction definitely keeps things interesting, but it also helps your love for God grow. Sharing your testimony helps strengthen you and others. The next time you walk into your local coffee shop, instead of starting a conversation about the weather, or last night’s game ask your fellow coffee drinker one thought-provoking question. “If you were to die tonight, would you go to heaven?” As the Holy Spirit leads, be ready to share God’s life changing Word. Being a witness (in some ways) is like being a fan; there isn’t anything more exciting than living for God.  While sharing the good news is serious business, it is so much fun! When you are fanatic about the kingdom of God, the more you share the message of truth, the more interesting things tend to become. Continue being faithful in your relationship with God, but share the love.  There is a lost and dying world that needs to know the fulfillment of having a first love.

Organizing the Inside – Day 328 Authentic Living: The Way to a Rich and Satisfying Life

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT)

An authentic life is not what most people live. If most of us are honest with ourselves there is a wide divide between what we do and our authentic selves. We often end up doing what other people expect and many of us get so caught up in doing what someone expects that we lose our way. Embracing your authentic self is also about understanding the way God made you and accepting what makes you different. This rich and abundant life that Jesus came to give is a life that does the will of the Father, not everyone else. Do you find that you are often doing certain things, not because you want to or love doing it, but because that’s just what you’ve always done?

Try viewing things from a different perspective. Why not let go of some things that suck up your time and get in the way of you doing what’s real and meaningful. I’m only suggesting that if you are stuck in a situation that you don’t like being stuck in, make time to think things through. With a bit of honest self-scrutiny you can fill in the missing pieces and close the gap between who you are pretending to be and who you really are. The answer to living an abundant life is in your heart. Don’t allow yourself to be so busy living and going and doing all those things that don’t add up, that you never discover the true formula that does add up to God’s will for your life. You likely already know what needs to change, but you perhaps have put off doing anything about it.

God is painting a beautiful picture on the canvas of your life. Never be ashamed of all the wonderful gifts and talents God has given you, no matter how undeveloped or unpolished they may be.  Be willing to share what you have to share today (even if you only share it with God for now). Don’t allow the enemy to marginalize your strengths when you are a daughter of the living God. Finally, believe in you and embrace your authentic self. I’m not promoting self-esteem, because I don’t believe any of us should esteem ourselves as anything. I’m speaking about God-esteem, accepting who He made you by doing your best to walk in it. When you speak, speak from your heart. When you share, do so in a way that is true to your individuality. We are all so different, so unique in our own way and that’s why embracing and living your own authentic life is so important. Consider the vast array of flowers found in the most beautiful gardens in the world. There isn’t just one kind of flower or one color; there are hundreds and each one of them is uniquely different.

Stop living under the weight of all that stress. The enemy clearly wants to defeat you and keep you from enjoying life. Is it not time to experience the joy and peace that comes from being true to you? Stop hiding behind a long list of other people’s expectations (or your own expectations inside your head) and live out the life that God has chosen for you. Certainly abundant life comes through serving, but not under the weight of not being who God meant for you to be. If you’ve been pretending for a while now it may be a bit tough to discover or rediscover yourself.  The Holy Spirit is able to show you all that is dormant and help you live life abundantly, by enabling you to embracing the true, authentic woman God made you to be.

Organizing the Inside – Day 323 Avoiding Tiny Pockets of Disobedience

3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”  Genesis 4:3-7 (NLT)

Obedience is the best way I know to simplify your life. Every time I miss God and decide to take the way of Cain I feel disappointed in myself. You see, Cain decided to offer God the offering he wanted, instead of the one God wanted. This morning during my quiet time, God told me to take bottled water to church. Hun? Bottled water, well that didn’t sound right. He told me to make it extra cold, fill up my cooler with lots of water and ice. I was visiting a church today for the first time and I felt really funny about walking in there with my purse, bible and a big cooler. Yep, I sure did, I told God, “I don’t think so.” (in my head)  Of course I played it off as if it was some fleeting idea of mine.  By pretending it wasn’t God speaking to me made it easier to leave out the door, get in the car and drive down the street with only one warm bottle of water.

Upon entering the church I wasn’t a bit bothered by what some seemed to feel was uncomfortable temperatures. About 10 minutes into the service I started to think my cute green summer sweater was more like an electric blanket that someone had turned up to “HIGH.” The silk shell I wore underneath was starting to stick to me everywhere as sweat beads ran down my arms. A young man walked down the aisle clutching what appeared to be the only bottle of water among all the overheated church goers. I was immediately reminded of the water that I left behind in my kitchen at home; the water I was supposed to bring for all the people who were as hot and as parched as I was. It became clear to me that I wasn’t the only one who would have to suffer through the entire service because of my foolish disobedience.

This just happened to be a small and simple act of obedience. Bring water to church, as much water as my big cooler could hold. How many times will someone else have to suffer because of one person’s unwillingness to let go of what others might think or the fear of mistaking God’s voice for just an idea. When one of us makes the choice to disobey God, in many cases the rest of us have to suffer.

Today I’m drawing a line in the sand, never to return to my tiny pockets of disobedience. No fear, or worry or foolish assumptions will keep my heart from saying yes, and doing so promptly. I know God’s voice. It’s so much easier to trust and obey Him. The devil will do his best to talk you and me out of doing exactly as the Master wants. I want to encourage you while I encourage myself to hearken to God’s voice. When God says move we not only move, but we move in the exact direction He tells us to go.

Organizing the Inside – Day 314 Coming to the End of Myself

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Psalm 37:25, 28a (NIV)

Have you ever found yourself wandering on the road of self-sufficiency? That place where everything is rolling along just fine. No extreme highs or lows, but you feel you’ve figured out a few of life’s tougher questions. Things seem secure and while your future brings a certain degree of uncertainty you’ve assured yourself that the winter months won’t overtake you. You feel secure and prepared for the future. What gives you this sense of security that many never find? Have you made for yourself a palace with high walls where your financial portfolio stands guard, keeping what you’ve managed to build running quite well? You get by, right?

What if tomorrow there were none? No retirement check, no pay check, no annuity or dividends, no nothing? Your plan B cannot be found. What happens when all you thought you had securing your future no longer exist? You look to tap into final resources and exhaust all you know to do. Phone calls, backup systems, each of your lifeline connections, one-by-one are all used up. Empty handed and broken you have finally come to the end of yourself. Destined to wander, you’ve relied on all those false external things that the world found comfort in. When retirement accounts, and savings accounts are empty you see what was in some ways obscure before; you find the grace and truth of God.

If you’ve ever found the end of yourself, surely you know the sustaining grace of the only sure and true source of security. When forced to rely on Him and Him alone, yes if you’re ever there…you too have found the end of yourself. To know the love and sustenance of an omnipotent God who promised to, “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” is to experience the fullness of His salvation.  To yield to Him as your single source, is to find something quite enriching, really refreshing, and honestly life changing.  When you find the total end of yourself I assure you, you’ll also find Jehovahjireh.

Have you ever found the end of yourself?

Organizing the Inside – Day 310 You’ve Been Invited To Dine

15When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” 16Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ Luke 14:15-20 (read 21-23)

Jesus Himself has prepared an exquisite banquet and has sent out many invitations. The opportunity to dine with the Master and King has been extended to many who are too busy to accept. Many don’t even bother to open the invite, setting it on the shelf to perhaps respond to later. When God has a purpose and plan for our lives, His timing may seem somewhat inconvenient. He may be inviting you to join Him for a special assignment or opportunity and you feel now is not the time to say yes. For whatever reasons sometimes our busy lives keep us from honoring God and putting Him first. Like the invited guest in the parable of the feast, some make up every excuse in the book to say no to God’s call.

Did you decline to attend? Have you recently ignored an invite to go deeper in the things of God because you felt it was just not the right time, because you were too busy?  What an honor and privilege to receive such an invitation. Your timing may be different from God’s timing, but let me assure you He knows what’s best.  When will you be willing to put aside your own priorities to spend that time doing what the Lord desires?  Jesus makes it clear that eventually your personal invitation to draw closer will be given to someone else. He also tells us that those who reject His initial invitation won’t even taste a morsel from the banquet He’s prepared. Consider what you are saying no to the next time you find yourself too busy to draw near to the King.

Take a moment to reconsider. You may be thinking this parable is about the unsaved people who reject salvation, perhaps so. However, it seems to me those who were initially invited were people who were expecting an invitation, perhaps friends. Before you place your invitation on the shelf, think about the effects of putting work, family, or other responsibilities before God. Think about what that could mean to your future. Why not RSVP now and with a sincere heart to obey tell Jesus you’ll be there? Then see to it that you show up on time. Jesus wants you and me to enjoy kingdom living, we mustn’t turn down any invitations (from Him) no matter how busy life seems.

Organizing the Inside – Day 295 The Truth About Flattery

Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet. Proverbs 29:5 (NIV)

Let us speak the truth in love.
We must never use flattery as a way to manipulate others or get what we want.  As sisters in Christ we must simply be honest with one another. The plain truth is, flattery is a form of manipulation and is often used to control others. Be cautious when someone flatters you with their tongue. Flattery can build pride making you one who God chooses to resist. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5 (KJV) Do not put too much value on the compliments you receive from others? It’s a good thing to pay someone an honest compliment. Just beware, flattery can disguise anger, resentment and jealousy. The condition of your heart is what makes the difference; if you are being sincere and loving than that is not flattery.

Flattery leads to a deceptive trap.
As women of God it is important for us to resist the temptation to use our persuasive prowess to get what we want. If you are not completely conscious of your unique ability as a woman to influence, you too can fall into the same trap of flattery. Have you ever told someone something to flatter them? You may have done so without even realizing it. Eventually you can start to rely on flattery to get what you want. This is not fair to others, nor is it pleasing to God. There is nothing wrong with building someone up through positive words of encouragement. I only want to warn us to examine our hearts. Is there an underlying motive behind the lovely compliments you give? Flattery, what does it do to the recipient? BE CAREFUL, don’t give to get. Just don’t do it, it only ends in ruin.  A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. Proverbs 26:28 (NIV)

Agree to let God guide your words.
God will always give you and me balance if we follow His pattern. Let’s be committed to allowing God to enter the inner most recesses of our heart.  This is where God regulates our actions and our motives. By allowing Him to go there we never have to worry about falling into the horrible trap of flattery.