Thankfulness In the Hills and Valleys

When you are honestly able to be thankful for EVERYTHING in your life, your perspective will change.

When Thanksgiving time comes around each year, I’m always reminded to sit down and really dwell on all the things I am thankful for. I wish I did this more often – it should be a daily thing. I’m a lists person, so I normally make a list and actually write it all down. Obviously it gets to be a pretty long list. I’m thankful for my loving family, my incredible friends, an amazing job, an awesome city I get to call home, financial stability, and the list goes on. These are all things that make it easy to be thankful. I don’t have to think too hard about them because I feel blessed by them each and every day. But this Thanksgiving season I’m being reminded that it’s important to recognize and be thankful for all things in all seasons of life because this is what God calls us to do. We are not just to be thankful for the highs and the things that bring joy and love, but the trials, the tribulations, and the setbacks as well.

Those things aren’t normally what come to mind first when you think about what you’re thankful for, right? You don’t first think about being thankful for the friendship you lost this year or the sickness that fell on your family member or the car wreck that forced you to have to buy a new car. You don’t think about the raise you didn’t get or the job opportunity that didn’t come or the relationship that you lost. But why is it important to be thankful for those things as well? Because each trial and tribulation you face will bring good to your life if you allow yourself to see the good. If you allow yourself to see the growth, strength, and courage that come with difficult seasons then you will learn to be thankful for those times.

When you are honestly able to be thankful for EVERYTHING in your life, your perspective will change. Yes, it is important to be thankful for all the obvious amazing blessings. We easily forget how good we have it and how much we are blessed with. What I’m saying is that it’s important to be thankful in ALL circumstances. If there is an area in your life that doesn’t seem to have anything worth being thankful for, take a second to think about all angles of the situation. Is there a hidden blessing you might have missed? Is there a blessing in store for you down the road as a result of the situation? Maybe you are learning something about yourself through the process.

Today, I encourage you to consider these questions: Are you thankful for both the highs AND the lows? Are you thankful in the hills AND the valleys? Are you thankful for the comebacks AND the setbacks? As we approach Thanksgiving in just a couple days, keep these words from Paul in mind:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

-1 Thessalonians 5:18-

 

-LC

Let It Be

How do you fully let go, release control, and be content knowing that you just don’t know?

If you know me at all, you know I’m a planner. I live and breathe by my calendar (if it’s not in the calendar, it doesn’t happen). I’m serious… I even put “pack” on my calendar when I’m getting ready to go on a trip. Yup, I know this is a little excessive. I like being ahead of things, knowing what’s coming, and in control. You could say I’m about as “type A” as they come. Of course, this has its perks. But it also has its downfalls.

For me, when unexpected things occur or something happens that wasn’t in the plan, it tends to throw my whole wavelength off. I feel uneasy, out of control, and anxious. I also feel these things when I don’t know how something is going to play out. Every part of me wants to do everything I can to know what’s coming my way, know the outcome, and speed along the process. I like to be prepared and in control. However, we weren’t given control for a reason, and because of my personality, each and every day I have to learn more and more how to release the control. I’m trying to learn how to sit back, relax, and let it be. Currently, there are a few situations in my life where I’m anxious to see how things will play out. I won’t mention them specifically, but being 22 years old, you could imagine there are a lot of unknown things in my world right now.

How do you just let it be? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. How do you fully let go, release control, and be content knowing that you just don’t know? Well, I’m still learning how to do this well, but so far, the best piece of advice I can come up with is to pray. God is the only One who knows the answers. So don’t you think He should be the one you to talk to about it, whatever your “it” is? Instead of taking the reigns, the best thing to do is hand off the reigns. I’m talking to myself here. This is probably my biggest downfall lately. My “type A” personality has been put to the test a lot over the last several months. But right now, it’s my biggest focus. My biggest focus is to become better at letting it be. The Beatles say it best as they sing “There will be an answer, let it be.” And there will be an answer. It might not be on your own time and it might not be the answer you want. But it’s God’s answer, and He always knows best.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

I know you’ve most likely heard Proverbs 3:5-6 before, but I think it describes the best possible way to let it be. We cannot rely on our own understanding for life’s circumstances. We cannot try to control the process or make things happen the way we want them to. We must submit our understanding to God’s direction. God’s guidance. God’s timing. God’s ways.

-LC

 

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The Power of Positivity

The more positivity you feed yourself, the happier of a person you will be and the more goodness you will spread.

WORDS. We forget how powerful they are sometimes – the words we say to others AND the words we say to ourselves. Words have the power to build someone up and tear someone down. They have the power to make someone’s day, or ruin it. Personally, the words and thoughts you feed your own self affect your attitude. It’s so easy to be negative, isn’t it? And something that I learned throughout my college years is the fact that negativity spreads. FAST. That’s why positivity is important, and positivity is POWERFUL.

Positivity radiates. But so does negativity, and that’s why it’s so important to be mindful of what you say and think. If you’re having a bad day at work, it’s so easy to go to your coworker and complain about everything going wrong. If your team is in a bit of a slump, it’s easy to sit in a circle and gossip about who just hasn’t been playing up to par. If you’re not where you want to be in life, it’s easy to wake up every morning and be negative from the start. Whether the negative energy is held within or expressed outwardly, it’ll still spread to others whether you mean for it to or not.

But just as negativity spreads, so does positivity. Imagine how much different your day would be if every person you encountered had an uplifting and encouraging manner about them. It’s powerful! One thing I love is a good compliment. Giving a compliment will make someone’s day, and it makes you feel good at the same time! The way I see it is that you can’t be too kind. Like someone’s outfit? Tell them. I mean why not? Compliments can go a long way, and you never know when an encouraging word might be just what someone needed to hear.

A close friend of mine told me that every morning she wakes up and prays that the Lord will send her positive thoughts throughout the day. I think this is important. The devil knows just how to sneak into our brain and take advantage of our thoughts to bring about fear, stress, anxiety, and negativity in general. Asking God to protect you from this and keep your mind on track throughout the day could be a game changer.

In closing, you are in control of your attitude. The more positivity you feed yourself, the happier of a person you will be and the more goodness you will spread. Positivity is powerful, and we all know how much encouragement and love this world needs right now. Here’s my challenge. Today:

  1. Give a compliment both to someone you know well and to a stranger.
  2. Make a conscious effort to control the thoughts in your head and the words you say to others – how’s your attitude? Are you building people up, or bringing them down (whether it’s intentional or not)?

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

-LC

Patience in the Waiting

Don’t look so far ahead that you lose track of what is in front of you right now.

Have you found yourself in a season of waiting? I sure have. The truth is, as humans, we are always waiting for the next big thing. For some reason, we can’t be content just where we are. When we are growing up, we can’t wait to get to high school. Once we reach high school, we can’t wait to “get out” and go to college where we are “free.” Once we’re there, we can’t wait to get into the “real world” and start working (hint: if you are still in school, don’t wish this time away. The “real world” aint so glamorous). After that, it’s waiting for “the one” and marriage, followed by waiting to start a family, and finally, waiting to retire. And before you know it, you’re at the end of your life looking back and wondering where the time went. We are constantly waiting for what’s next instead of enjoying the season we are in.

What are you waiting for, right now? It could be graduation. Maybe it’s your future spouse, or you’re waiting to get pregnant. Or a job promotion. It could even be that you are waiting for healing from something. Whatever it may be, it’s so easy to dwell in the fact that you are constantly waiting that it becomes life consuming and your impatience reaches an all time high. But here’s what I’m learning: How are you going to be able to notice what is being done in your life right now when you are so focused on the future? How are you going to be able to continue to grow and mature into the person you need to be when you’re continually looking ahead past the current moment? It’s hard to change your ways, but it’s true. Yes, God gives us things to look forward to. He wants us to be excited about all He has to offer us. But He doesn’t give us these things so that we will lose track of what He’s blessing us with right now.

I was listening to a sermon from a church in Nashville called Cross Point Church a few weeks ago. The sermon happened to be on waiting. I won’t forget this point from the pastor that stuck out to me like a sore thumb: “What you do in the waiting is just as important as what you are waiting for.” Whew – chills. Hearing this stopped me in my tracks and forced me to take a step back. What am I doing in the waiting? Who am I in the waiting? Am I being patient and trusting that my time is coming? Or am I being impatient and making sure everyone around me knows it? It’s so easy to look at someone else and think, they are getting MY blessing. I was supposed to get that. But, I’m here to remind you that there’s reason in the journey. There’s purpose for the learning. And who you are, and what you are doing in the waiting, are just as important as what you are waiting for. And chances are, God’s not going to just hand you everything when you want it. He’s going to use this time to mold you and change your heart until you are ready for what you are waiting for.

In closing, if you are in a season of waiting, I suggest you study the following Biblical stories. Maybe you will find encouragement in what these guys faced and how the Lord worked in their lives.

  • Abraham and Sarah
  • Job
  • Joseph

Whatever you are waiting for, take heart and be patient. Don’t look so far ahead that you lose track of what is in front of you right now.

-LC

Embracing Change With Open Arms

Change is inevitable. How will you react?

2017 has showed me that life is full of change. Whether it’s major change or minor change, you will constantly experience change in some way, shape, or form. And with that change comes growth—every time (if you allow it). This year, there have been a lot of major changes in my life. Some “good,” some “bad” (is there really such thing as bad change?), but all of this “change” has brought on much growth. I believe that you can’t go through shifts in life without growing—spiritually, maturely, mentally, or emotionally. And with that growth comes wisdom—if you open up your mind to it.

Why did I decide to start a blog, you might be asking? I’m not quite sure myself. What I do know is that there are a lot of truths that have been revealed to me in 2017, and it’s only October. I feel like it’s best to put these revelations and lessons on to paper, and if others decide they want to hear about them, even better. I also think that as you grow it’s important to share your growth and progress in life with others. Galatians tells us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Well, here it is. If you haven’t stopped reading by now, maybe you’re interested in hearing what this growth has been like for me. If so, keep reading. I intend to share exactly what God puts into my heart with this blog.

Today, I’m being reminded that change is inevitable. If you remain in a steady, comfortable safety zone your entire life, you will never be able to grow and mature into who you need to be. Therefore, I believe that there is no such thing as bad change. With each new situation that you face or new territory you are forced to dive into, you will discover new truths as well as new things about yourself. That’s why I am learning to embrace change with open arms. A lot of times, change is brought on without choice. You are left in a situation where you have no other option BUT to accept that things are changing. Other times, you know that it is time for change and you must make the decision to be proactive about it. Either way, how you react to a season of change will determine how you grow and mature in the process.

One truth I have confidence in is the fact that God doesn’t put change in your life if He doesn’t see it to be completely necessary. In other words, there’s a purpose for the change. And if you hang tight long enough, you’ll see exactly what that purpose is. If you truly believe and accept this truth, facing the unknown will be a lot less stressful and scary. Sometimes, we aren’t meant to know every plan and purpose of God’s. We are meant to trust that He is good, and He has your best interest at heart. Have you ever thought that maybe God wants to take you into the unknown so you will cling to His promises and truths? Maybe you need a reality check. You aren’t in control. You aren’t God. We need that reminder sometimes. We don’t always know what’s good for us, and if God sees you heading down a path that He doesn’t want you on, He’ll jerk you right back to reality. And even though that can be uncomfortable, He just wants us to cling to Him and trust.

Change is inevitable. Life is going to be uncomfortable at times. You will be forced to step out into the unknown waters. How will you react?

-LC