Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

How much do you want it?

I want to start with that question.

How much do you want it?

Did you answer alot? Good.

Now I have another question for you.

What are you willing to do to get it?

I am convinced that when we want something enough, we will do whatever it takes to get what we are after.  If we don’t, then we don’t want it that much! And if we want something enough we will also do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get it.

In the Bible, God promises a lot to those who believe in Jesus.  A lot.  When I look back at our 12 years as a Christian, I can see many, many of those promises have come true.  I also see that Jesus has changed both Robert and me.  I also see that while many promises are true in our life and God has blessed us; I also know that God has tested us and taught us.  Each time we have been tested, we have been blessed.  Each time God has taught us a lesson and we stopped doing what we were doing and starting doing “it” God’s way we were blessed.  So, this has made us want more.  More of God in our life.  More living God’s way. Our life, as we have gotten closer to God has improved exponentially and that is a major motivator!!

So when we read the Bible and then looked at our life, we realized things had to change in order to experience more of God. Compared to how we were living, living in relationship with God and doing life His way has brought us much more happiness, joy and peace!  We wanted the tsunami to change from American culture and this world crashing in on us to Jesus crashing in on us! We wanted it and still want more of it – a lot.  A whole lot!

I will now speak strictly for me.   The first “shift” was taking a look at how I spent my time.  A good hard look.  How much tv did I watch?  How many hours did I train?  How much was I reading the Bible?  How much was I studying the Bible with others? How much time did I spend on facebook?  Twitter?  The internet?  How much time was I spending alone with God?  How much was I looking for opportunities to help others?  What was my mind busy thinking?  What was preoccupying me? I realized that in order to get more of God, I had to give up a lot of other things – perhaps temporarily.  Perhaps long term.  I didn’t know. I had to start focusing on God!  Over the course of about 2 years, I really stripped my schedule down.  Sometimes I wondered just how much I would need to cut out of my life!  What I learned was God really wants to spend time with me and wants to be with me.  This was stunning to me.  Me?  God wants to be with me?  So, I began to tell myself, “The God of the universe is asking for your attention.  You.  He wants to spend time with you, so what are you going to do?  You better spend time!”.  And this is one of the big shifts  that starting causing the J-Wave to roll in my life.

Once I began to say yes each time God asked me to let go of something that took my time and my interest, it got easier to say yes.  And this caused a big shift.  I believe with each yes the J-Wave built momentum!

This is my story.  My experience.  Your experience may differ! See God created each of us uniquely and He plans to relate to us just as uniquely.  There is no one more inexhaustibly creative than God! If you will quiet yourself and look and listen in His direction you WILL know that God is asking you to spend time with Him and give Him your attention because He wants to spend time with YOU..yes YOU.  What could be a better investment of your time and attention?  The answer is unequivocably, nothing.

I pray that you will take the offer God gives below in Jeremiah 29:13 and that the J-Wave will gain momentum in your life!

Jeremiah 29:13 (the Message translation)

When you come looking for me, you will find me.  When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I will make sure you won’t be disappointed.

(How’s that for an exciting invitation?)

Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.

I John 2:15-17 (the message translation)

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you don’t have the love of the Father (God) in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see and pride in our accomplishments and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.

Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)

A wise person is hungry for knowledge while the fool feeds on trash.

Tomorrow:  Shift #2 – 11 yrs in the dessert finally ends

Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Swimming in chop and peaceful decisions

As a triathlete, at some point, you’ll have to deal with swimming in choppy waters. Be that lake, river or ocean. Swimming in chop used to be scarey to me and it took me time to learn to adapt and adjust but not to fear. One day, while in training, the lake had a lot of chop, plus it had the swells of boats nearby. It was kind of stressing me out and I started to swim pretty hard, with a lot of effort. As I tired, I thought, “how can I do this and not have it wear me out?” That’s when I realized that the chop was on the surface of the water. If I just rolled my body more to breathe I could get air and not water and if I lifted my arm high and very relaxed I didn’t get it stuck in the chop. But the coolest part was realizing that there wasn’t chop beneath the surface. So, my pull underneath the water didn’t require any addiitonal effort. Relax more and lift gently on top, and pull in smooth water below. That’s the trick to swimming in chop.

But, how does this relate to decision making…let me connect the two!

Often, as a disciple of Jesus I begin to pray and wonder and ask what Jesus wants me to do. I worry that I’ll make the wrong decision or somehow I won’t hear Him or worse yet I’ll hear Him wrong! But, that’s just worry. It’s not decision making. Recently, in the middle of the night I awoke for about two hours and was thinking through a decision and praying. I came to the answer of no. No I wouldn’t. And I honestly, couldn’t tell you my “reasons” or my “logic”. Oh sure, I had some of those, but truly not enough to support the confidence with which I was going to say no to something.  Even though I wanted to say no, it was a joint decision with Robert and I. We would need to agree. So, my deep peace, I took as the Holy Spirit confirming that no was indeed right. How would I explain this to Robert?

In the morning, over coffee, I told him I thought we shouldn’t. He looked at me, didn’t ask why, and said, “I totally agree. We shouldn’t.” Wow. That was easy. We didn’t discuss our reasons. We just agreed. Then, after agreeing, we began to review the situation and we had exactly the same reasons but the biggest “reason”  was the feeling of peace. Peace that didn’t doubt or question.

Really, if we wait until we have this solid peace about a decision. If we don’t rush it. If we just wait for the Holy Spirit to confirm it, through peace, isn’t that pretty easy? I say, “Lord, here’s the circumstance. I’m not sure what to do. I think we shouldn’t. But, I await for your answer to me.” I’m probably not going to get an email or a facebook post or a text. But, I will get peace.

This decision came with some fears, some doubts and that’s the chop at the surface. That’s the stuff we start to focus on that we think is the issue. It is not the issue. The issue is do I or don’t I and which answer brings me peace. Perhaps the answer comes nearly instantly, perhaps it comes in a week or 6 months. I ask the Lord to confirm whether I should or shouldn’t and I stay in limbo awaiting the peace to come.

Good decisions bring peace even if the decision involves some uncertainty, fear , doubt or risk. But, those things are just chop on the surface water of life! Focus on the peace below the surface.