Accepting (all of) LIFE with Enthusiasm and Action.

Five Minute Friday – YES

thebestyestitleIt is with great pleasure on this Labor Day Monday evening I take five minutes to write a bit about the word, YES.

I love this word. I’ve said YES to many great things in my life. And I want to keep doing it. But along the way I’ve had to look at making a decision to say YES not to everything, but to the things that will add focus and joy to my life, and not just add stuff.

My entire adult life I’ve struggled with an overwhelmed schedule and an underwhelmed soul. But I have a choice to say YES to the things that feed my soul, instead of starve it. I have a chance to say YES to this moment, rather than be worried about the dozens of things I should be doing that I’m not.

And I want to say YES more often to the requests of two beautiful little boys who won’t be little forever. My friend Lysa TerKeurst wrote a book all about YES. If you’ve not yet read it, I highly recommend it!

Praise, pray, or panic?

Psalm150I swing wildly between gratitude and frustration.

I know I’m supposed to be grateful. I know it’s good for me. I know God says in EVERYTHING we should praise him. In fact the word “PRAISE” appears more than 250 times in the bible. Psalm 150 is my favorite – here’s the list so you can choose yours.

But sometimes in that fraction of a second when the Holy Spirit gives me a chance to PRAISE OR PRAY I instead resort to PANIC. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I mean. You do. You just don’t yet recognize it as panic. Neither did I. Until I got slapped in the face by this little bit of wisdom from Oswald Chambers the other day. He says, “The degree of panic activity in my life is equal to the degree of my lack of personal spiritual experience.”

What? First I was kind of offended. Then I was just a little angry. Then as I read it again and again I wondered, is this really me?

It IS me. I like to run around looking busy because then I don’t have to face up to what’s really wrong. I don’t have to make any plans to actually do something about it. Ouch. It hurts to say it. But I know God can only heal me to the extent at which I’ll admit I’m broken.

I’m super grateful for Pastor Steven Furtick’s message this weekend – “Making Friends with Frustration.” It’s online now – The fact that Elevation’s Sunday sermon is online by Monday is one of the things that makes Mondays so great, don’t you think?


It was a simple question.
“What happened here?”
Though I knew specifically what she was talking about, I mindlessly went down so many other roads.
Like those nights when I was 10 and felt so small and helpless because there was yelling and arguing and things being thrown around upstairs.
Like that time my boss said, “No one cares about your opinion,” after I’d finished an interview with a woman who’d been the victim of sexual and racial discrimination.
Something about THIS moment of fear allowed a wave of old junk to rush in. Tell me if this happens to you sometimes, too.
So I recognize the old junk and I name it. Fear.
But there’s something else in this moment, too.
It’s Pride. I don’t want anyone to know I’m hurting.
I want to be the strong one, the helper, the one who has it all together.
THIS shatters THAT.
So I dig into God’s word to encourage a friend (because that’s what I do now to take a shot at the devil) and this time I encouraged SEVERAL friends because I know the TRUTH that I don’t have to let fear cripple me and I want others to know this freedom, too.
And I find this from Paul who was talking about a ‘thorn in his flesh’ that God would not take from him:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power will rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)
And I answer the question. And the doctor tells me it could take two months to heal and I could be on crutches most of that time.
And I admit to him that I am afraid if it doesn’t heal properly I will never be able to run again.
And that running is my drug.
And he attempts some kind of empathy like I’m overreacting as he jokingly tells my son how many toes he’s had to cut off.
I wince at the foot doctor humor and tell him I know that God is with me but I’d like to keep all my toes if possible.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Grace flowed in and I smiled.
Questions are simple.
Answers are more complex.
For more: I love what Holly Furtick preached about being a complex versus a complicated woman. It encouraged, challenged, and convicted me. The sermon was from our church’s Moodswingers series entitled “The Orchid and the Oak Tree.”

9 Habits of People Who Are Always on Time

Tonia Bendickson:

Read this today on TIME – and felt that “I need this” feeling in my gut. Thought it might help you, too. I want a better product, so I’ve got to change some of my habits. Let’s do it together!

Originally posted on TIME:

Some people get their daily dose of cardio by running into every meeting saying, “Sorry I’m late!” While it might seem like chronic lateness is just plain rude, time management can be harder than it looks—and often, lateness is rooted in something psychological, like a fear of downtime.

Luckily, there are simple habits you can tweak and others you can adopt entirely to turn you into that person—the one who shows up early and finishes projects with time to spare. Here, nine habits of those mystifying people who are always punctual.

When it’s time to get up, they get up.

Waking up is the first item of the day you can procrastinate. Whether you hit the snooze button and fall back asleep, or accidentally turn your alarm off and wake up 30 minutes later in a panic, getting out of bed is an easy thing to delay. Diane Gottsman

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I am not ashamed

Screenshot 2015-03-06 22.42.31Writing the headline feels like a lie. I suppose it means I’ve been living with shame far too long.

I know now what it smells like… sin and shame. It smells the way my VW smelled this week when my cat piled out of it after having been trapped in there two days. Or at least I imagine if you could smell foolishness and fear – that’s what you’d get. This idea of the “smell of sin” crossed my path during a devotional I found on YouVersion. Timothy G. Walton writes, “One early American preacher traveled from town to town preaching the gospel message. It was witnessed that as he approached the outskirts of a town he would pause and say, I smell hell!”

The funny thing is, we can’t smell our own sin so well, even while we are keenly aware of the shortcomings of others. My cat certainly didn’t realize the gifts he left behind in my car would make our family hold our noses in disgust. And I’m thankful that I could shower the smell off of me, and shine myself up all pretty again before heading to work. Imagine the questions, “whoa girl, where have YOU been?”

But sometimes I can’t seem to shake the feelings of ugliness and brokenness inside me. Let’s face it, I’ve made far more mistakes than I care to admit. And the worst of it is, I’m certain to make more. But I didn’t always realize it while it was happening. I didn’t recognize my behavior as selfish, lazy, or judgy at the time. And I’m thankful that Jesus is so patient with me. Romans 5:8 tells us that “while we were still sinners, Christ Jesus died for us.”

This is such good news for you and me. Because it means Jesus loved me before I could do anything for him, or do anything to hurt him. And it means there is hope for us all to live UNASHAMED.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I like to recommend books that have helped me work through some of my own gremlins. Brene’ Brown’s work on vulnerability and shame, and especially her book “Daring Greatly” has been huge in my understanding of the things that hold me back from living a wholehearted life.

Brown writes in the book’s opening passage, “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. That’s why it loves perfectionists – it’s so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither.”

So here I am. Admitting my shame, foolishness, and fears. Asking Jesus for forgiveness, and accepting his free gift of grace. As I do this, I feel lighter. I’ve given Jesus the only gift I can give him, and he accepts it with joy. Jesus turns my fear into faith so I can live unashamed. That’s genius.

We’re starting a new series this weekend called “The Genius of Jesus.” Click here to find the location nearest you, or join us online on the Elevation Network.

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