Thursday, February 25, 2016
We've made it to the final step of my ME23 blog series.
Today, you're allowed to look behind you because it's important to know who's got your back. The last verse of Psalm 23 introduces you to two of the best BFF's you could ever have on your squad - GOODNESS AND MERCY.
"Surely your GOODNESS and UNFAILING LOVE shall pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever."
Psalm 23:6 NLT
Principle #6: What's Behind You is Greater Than What's in Front of You
When our son, Drew, was a little boy, he loved to be chased. Whether it was time to play or put on his clothes, it just delighted him to no end to see us scrambling to catch him. At first glance, it would appear that he was trying to get away, that he didn't want to be caught. But you could tell by the giggles every time he looked back over his shoulder that the real joy was in him knowing that were pursuing him. Conversely, if we stopped our pursuit, he'd stop laughing.
Now, picture yourself being like our precocious young son. Running and giggling with delight, knowing that you're about to be overtaken by something awesome from your Heavenly Father.
I know, I know. You're a full grown woman now with responsibilities and all, but just humor me, okay?
God's goodness and mercy (or unfailing love as the NLT puts it) are always on your trail. They are present and actively supporting you even when it doesn't seem like it.
Perhaps your experiences have left you feeling like you've got nothing and no one to depend on. But that couldn't be further from the truth. The fact that you keep waking up every morning is all the proof you need that God is by your side, ready, willing and able to guide you by His spirit and sustain you with His grace. Your circumstances may try to distort this fact, but that doesn't mean it's not true.
What's the takeaway?
Notice that the verse says goodness and mercy "follow" you. So that means you must be going somewhere, right? Don't allow discouragement to steal what you have left. Get up, dust yourself off from yesterday's battle, and get moving.
It's okay if you have to take baby steps. Progress is not defined by quantity, but by consistency. Remember, with goodness and mercy behind you, it really doesn't matter what's in front of you.
What area of your life have you stopped moving in?
Post it in the comments and I'll be happy to pray for you and offer practical tips to help you get back on track and cross that finish line.
Did you like this ME23 blog series? If you did, tell other women about it by posting the link to today's post on social media.
If you haven't already done so, take some time to review the entire 6-part series. It's like a puzzle. It takes each piece to get the whole picture.
Also, feel free to suggest future topics you'd like for me to do as a blog series. I'll accept any reasonable challenge. :)
Until next time,
D-Vine Blessings to You!
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Greetings from The D-Vine!
Wow! I don't know about you, but 2016 has gotten off to a crazy start for me. As I mentioned in my last post, my family and I are working on something and there's a big transition that goes along with it. But I promise, when it's all over, you'll get the exclusive story from yours truly. :)
Now, let's dive in to Part 5 of ME23!
Psalm 23:5 NLT
"You prepare a FEAST for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup OVERFLOWS with blessings."
Principle #5: You Already Have More Than What it Takes to Win
I spent more time pondering this particular verse than any of the first four verses. To me, it personifies what a real personal revolution is all about. If you've already come this far in my blog series, I believe it's because you don't want to just survive, you want to THRIVE!
There's a lasting result that we're after here, and it should have an exponential impact on how you do life. So in order to help you get the most out of this week's principle, I thought I'd break it down into its three essential points.
- When you think of a feast, you probably think of food, right? Well, I think with this verse the psalmist is trying to tell us to think in terms of abundance in the face of lack. In other words, to know that you have more than enough going for you even if your situation says otherwise. The power doesn't lie in the enemy you face. It lies in how you face your enemy. Say you've been turned down for a job you really wanted because you're under qualified. You can look at it as yet another rejection, or you can see it as putting you a step closer to your perfect position.
- When is the last time you were honored by someone? I'm not talking about receiving an award or anything. I mean just being truly affirmed and appreciated. That long, huh? LOL! Well here's a golden nugget from this verse that really boosted my confidence. Just as a shepherd pours oil on his sheep's head to keep bugs from irritating or infecting them, God will do the same for you. Facing negativity in any form is not always easy, and the forces behind it can be as annoying as a swarm of gnats. But consider this. To be anointed means to be chosen by "divine election." That means that no matter what comes at you, you've already been "elected" by God as the winner.
- You're not waiting for abundance to strike. You already possess it! Jesus said, "Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot." (Luke 12:15 MSG). Remember, PERCEPTION is the name of the game. Here's an awkward but very apt example of this. Kanye West and Donald Trump are two names that are trending high in the media right now because of their outrageous self-promoting antics. While I don't condone their egomaniacal ways, it's hard to miss the fact that because of the way they perceive themselves, they act with great confidence and it's getting them results. Yes, you should be humble, not prideful. But being humble does not mean you should ignore or downplay what you've been given to work with. Flip the script and start perceiving yourself through God's eyes, as more than a conqueror, and overflow will begin to manifest all over your life.
What's the takeaway?
Your battle is fought and won in your HEAD first, not in your heart. Don't let how you feel distort the truth. To live the abundant life, you must revolutionize your thinking. The less garbage you put in, the less you'll get out. Become much more selective about what you lend your brainpower to.
In a recent interview with Vogue magazine, presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton remarked that while she's great at advocating for other people, she's not so good at doing it for herself. But now she perceives herself differently than she did a few years ago, and she's better able to give a clear voice to what makes her the best person for President.
If you feel you don't have enough, or you simply aren't enough, I want you to take a bold step. Post a comment on the D-Vine blog page stating a quality (not anything material) that you know you have in abundance. If you want to take it a step further, put that same post on your Facebook or Twitter page with the hashtag #IamenoughME23. I'll start the ball rolling.
I am abundantly gifted at being a great listener
The point is to OWN IT. Make it a practice to perceive your abundance in your everyday life. When you do, you'll transform into the woman you were always meant to be - despite any opposition.
Until next time, BE WHO YOU ARE AND LOVE IT!
Monday, February 8, 2016
photo source: embracehiscall.com
Yes, I know. I've been away from the keyboard for a minute. But it's because I'm in the middle of a big transition right now (still in it, as a matter of fact). But it's all good. More about that later.
I didn't want to leave you in suspense about the next post in my ME23 series. So let's get back on track, shall we?
Next up... Psalm 23:4
"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff PROTECT and COMFORT me."
Principle #4: You Will Find Comfort in the Protection of Discipline
I know, I know. Comfort is not usually the first word that comes to mind when you think of discipline. But it's true. Science has proven it again and again.
Prime example: If you discipline yourself to eat healthier and become more physically active, you will start to slim down, your energy and confidence will increase, and your overall disposition will improve. Hence, COMFORT ensues.
Now let's put that into context using Psalm 23:4. What can we extract from this verse to help you revolutionize your life right now?
First of all, it is inevitable that you will experience dark valleys in your life from time to time. We all do. But remember, they don't come to stay. They come to pass. The point is, when you go through these seasons, it's not about what's happening to or around you, it's HOW you respond. This is where discipline comes in.
To help you fully appreciate the wisdom of Principle #4, I thought I'd share some facts about how ancient shepherds used only a simple rod and staff to preserve the lives of their sheep.
- Used to safeguard the sheep from danger
- Thrown out to alert the sheep that has wandered away
- Used to closely inspect and examine the sheep's overall condition
Are you concerned about doors that have been closed in your life? Don't trip. Most likely, God is protecting you from danger or regret (even if you think you're missing out on a great opportunity).
Do you sense warning bells going off on the inside? Perhaps you've wandered away from the path God has predestined for you. He may be trying to get your attention.
Feeling convicted about things you always claimed as just a part of who you are? Maybe God is trying to separate fact from fiction in order for you to recognize the woman he intends for you to become.
- Used to draw sheep close together in intimate relationship
- Used to guide the sheep and keep it on the right path
- Used to reach out and catch individual sheep to draw them in for closer examination by the shepherd
Have you been isolating yourself from others out of shame, embarrassment, or frustration? Yes. There may be times when God will call you to a place of solitude for a time. But you must be careful not to initiate these times on your own. When it's prompted by God, you run the risk of being led away by your own emotions.
Did you start out with good intentions, but find that you've lost your way? Stop. Breathe. Listen. God wants to reveal not only what is distracting you, but also why it has the power to do so. This is information you can't afford to ignore.
Do you use busyness to avoid facing yourself? Do you sometimes justify your actions, even when you know you should change? Holding on to your version of the truth doesn't do you or anyone else any good. It's when you willingly lay all your cards on the table (the good, the bad, and the ugly) that you truly become free.
What's the takeaway?
"If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding." ~ Proverbs 15:32
I trust that you love yourself too much to intentionally hurt yourself. Therefore, it would help if you would try seeing correction and discipline as a friend and not a foe. Embracing discipline will bring order to your life and in turn, you'll ultimately find comfort in God's sufficient grace.
The foundation of true discipline lies in your ability to release your mindset, your way of doing things, and taking time to learn how God does things. If you're feeling brave enough to be transparent, share an area of your life in which you know that you need to relinquish control to God. I will commit to praying for you and encouraging you to follow through in that specific area.
You may post your response here on the blog, or share it with a close and trusted friend. The aim here is to be accountable for initiating the change you seek.
Stay tuned for Part 5 of my ME23 blog series!
Peace & Blessings,