2017, the year of…

2017, the year of…

Tomorrow is a new year, and it’s time for a new word. For 2017, it is the year of Endurance.

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Halfway through 2016, this could have honestly been my word instead of Independence. My mind was already shifting to this focus. This year I wasted a lot of time being disillusioned about my life; I fantasized way to much and ended up disappointing myself because, surprise! life isn’t a fantasy. My writer mind wishes it can create my own story just as easily as it creates others, but I’m not the only one who can throw curveballs into the fray. By October 2016, I figured out what word I needed to focus on next. It came like a clear beam of sunlight through the reddening autumn leaves.

Here’s why Endurance is my word for the year: I’m a wimp. I’m not saying that because I started hating on myself. I really am a wimp. Or, in nicer words, I don’t have as thick skin as I thought I did. I am a naturally emotional person who quits on things too soon because I didn’t get an instant “click” within the first few days. This bad trait has caused me to make several regretful decisions that I try to distract myself from to keep the shame level low. I don’t seem to have any endurance, for anything.

I think it was when I came across Hebrews 10:36 one September morning as I was on the bus that I decided on the word:

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

“Patient endurance” kept playing over and over in my head. It certainly was what I needed right now. The Bible has so many examples of people who endured through much suffering in order to finish and receive the reward: Joseph, Job, Elijah, Paul…not to mention Christ himself.

With a focus on Endurance, I want to develop every part of my endurance: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I don’t want outside forces to determine my choices anymore. I don’t want to be such an easy quitter anymore. I don’t want to be controlled by flighty emotions that just end up driving myself and others crazy. I want to endure, especially during the hard parts. I want to get strong. I’m working out this year, and I mean my mental muscles.

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past years’ words

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4 Reasons Why You Don’t Follow Your Dream

Fear, patience, time, decision…four factors that often define whether we succeed in achieving our dreams or not. Clelia from Keep Calm and Travel explained so perfectly the 4 reasons why your dream gets left in the dust. Even though I’m not a traveler, stumbling upon her blog was meant to be, as it’s been an inspiration for me as a blogger, and I get encouraged and motivated by her posts. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest checking it out. You’ll love the color, passion, and beauty that resonates from her blog.

->The Top 4 Reasons Why You Don’t Follow Your Dreams Now

Weekly Devotion-Tough Love

Weekly Devotion-Tough Love

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.

-2 Thessalonians 3:5

I find it interesting that “the love of God” and “patient endurance” is together in the same scripture, both being encouraged and persuaded. I’ve been told by a very wise individual in my life that sometimes the love of God is putting us through challenges that ultimately make our character stronger, because our character is the most important thing to him.

This scripture is a prayer for us, that we would come to understand the patient endurance that God wants us to have, endurance that comes only from Christ. We need it, to overcome, to press on, to finish. It’s something we call “tough love.” Even God uses it, and it’s always for our best.

A balance of Faith thru Action & Faith thru Waiting

A balance of Faith thru Action & Faith thru Waiting

Faith-confidence or trust in a person or thing; belief that is not based on proof.

 

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead….Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
-James 2:14-26

 

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
-Psalm 27:14

For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
-Galatians 5:5

I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lordanswered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
Habakkuk 2:1-3

 

Everyone, and not just Christians, have different ideas and discuss what faith entails. When I think of it in terms of action, I remember this one activity at youth camp called “Leap of Faith,” in which one or two people stood on a very narrow wooden post (which often shook like madness), some 10 or 15 feet high, with harnesses of course, and had to jump from it and grab onto a pole approximately five or six feet away. It was a leap of faith because, even though the harness rope would catch you eventually, you really did fall for a few split seconds unless you successfully grabbed that pole. When I think of faith in terms of waiting, I think of Job from the Bible, who had his entire life practically taken away from him, but he stayed passive and did nothing but continue to trust and worship God. It was a very long and strenuous time of waiting. Then everything plus some was restored to him.

More often than not, the “waiting in faith” concept is more commonly practiced, either intentionally or unintentionally. There is certainly faith in living by “I give it to God and he will take care of it.” But if that is your method year upon year, and nothing changes, then it’s either lack of balance or, sometimes, honest-to-goodness laziness. At the same time, if you constantly live by “walking it out in faith” and take leaps of faith at every corner, you’re more so taking personal initiative and forgetting to stop and listen to God, and, though boldness is an admirable trait, it is possible to be a little too bold. You’re basically throwing caution to the wind.

Throughout our lives, we encounter events and decisions that force us to choose waiting in faith or stepping out in faith. I have had so many moments when I waited longer than I needed, and in result it made me miserable and frustrated. Other times I took action too soon, and it fell through. The success of our decisions is based on whether it’s God’s timing or not. And I believe that God gives us equal amounts of waiting and taking action. He’s a God of balance, after all. So how do we know which kind of faith to operate in at each specific time? Listen to God, and by that, pay attention to the signs. Your heart will tell you, your closest people will tell you, and doors will open or shut. If doors seem to keep closing, then it’s time to wait. If doors seem to keep opening, then it’s time to take action.

The most important thing is, with either, it will always involved having faith in God. When you’re waiting, you’re believing that God will bring about the solution outside of your own effort. When you’re stepping out, you’re placing a dependence on God that is beyond what you could achieve if you were standing still.

 

What are some personal stories of your journey with these two kinds of faith?

 

 

Bible Devotion: Discouraged or Inspired?

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

-Psalm 37:7

I don’t just interpret this scripture as fretting when bad things succeed at happening; I imagine this as saying, “don’t fret when others succeed.” We can be moved two different ways when someone is successful: we can be discouraged, or we can be inspired. Which way do you think will get you somewhere?

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Failure

It’s very likely that you’ve heard this phrase before. Thus, it probably just whisks by in our brains without much thought. But, honestly truly, would you have an answer if you did think about it, and I mean really think about it?

In this alternate reality, what would you go for? I know for myself, I would straight up go for every dream that’s on my heart, the ones I’ve been chipping away at to make happen. There’s much chipping happening because I want to be prepared so as to not fail. But in this world, I would do everything right now. Maybe, perhaps, even go for the things I’m afraid of.

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Is that it, then? We would go for the things we’re afraid to do? Makes sense. Why else do we hold back from doing things? Because of fear of failure. Now, yes, we all know that kind of reality of never failing isn’t possible, but perhaps we should live as if it were.

As JK Rowling said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” There is some good in being safe than sorry, in waiting, in preparing yourself, but there’s even greater good in taking risks, in trying and failing, in experimenting. Whenever someone tries to explain to me why they haven’t gone for something yet, I usually say, “Well, at least do something.” Depending on the action, wisdom just might be to wait on the right timing, but if that’s all you ever do, then nothing will happen. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have something going on in my life then get stuck in limbo. Yes, even if it’s not such a good thing, because I can always grow from it.

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So, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail, hmm? One thing I would do is ask my best friend if I could pray a prayer of salvation with her and lead her to the Lord. What would you do? Share about it in the comments.

Today’s the Day…Psalms 62:8

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Trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.-Psalms 62:8

Trust is a very difficult thing to do, even in God. But it’s not impossible, only a daily act of choice. Perhaps today, you can trust in God with at least one thing. Begin there, and let it grow steadily over time. God is a patient God.

Today’s the day you’ve been waiting for. Now make a reason why.