Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Carnival Life

Photo Credit: Tulane Public Relations (Creative Commons)

The climax of Mardi Gras' excess and debauchery occurred today, and as a result, my local news programming was interrupted in order to provide non-stop coverage of Carnival. 

There was no time this morning for news of world and national events. No, it was a time to escape reality, don costumes and pretend to be someone else, and clamor after beads and baubles. 

But with all the Mardi Gras coverage I began to wonder how many live every day like it’s Mardi Gras by. . .

  • living only for today's enjoyment without any regard to the consequences of their actions
  • chasing after things and relationships that provide short-term amusement that will leave them feeling empty tomorrow
  • pretending to be someone they’re not by hiding behind a mask hoping others don't discover the truth
And maybe I was wondering all this because I have lived my life like it was a Carnival.  A Christian who was living only for the here and now with no regard for eternity because my focus was not on Jesus, but was on me. 

Being reminded of where I've been spiritually, makes me aware of my great need to go deeper in my spiritual walk with Jesus – not just on Sundays and not just for 15 minutes day during my quiet time – but every day, all day. 

With Lent approaching I'm realizing that it's a good time to assess my spiritual life to see where my life's focus has shifted away from Jesus and to make the necessary changes. I know that if I’m not progressively growing spiritually then I’m on a spiritual decline.

What do you have planned for Lent?  Whatever it is I pray that it will draw  you closer to Christ and will prepare your heart for Easter.

Linking with On Your Heart Tuesday, Soli de Grace and Commit2Write.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Choosing Hope (My One Word 2012)

Photo Credit: pol sifter (Creative Commons)

I began contemplating My One Word for 2012 in late November, but couldn't really find one that seem to fit.  Then I read an article about choosing your One Word by considering what one thing you need the most.  

Well, that made it simple because the word "Hope" immediately came to mind.

Why was hope such an urgent need?  Because I was finding myself entering 2012, a time of a new beginning, stressed out, burned out and honestly, without hope. Sure I had head knowledge that Jesus is my hope, but somewhere in the midst of the discouragements of life and being disappointed by others, I had lost my heart knowledge of my hope in Christ

I was struggling to see God's hand in my life. I was overwhelmed because nothing in my life seemed to change. I was procrastinating doing things I knew I should do because I didn't think it would make a difference anyway. I felt stuck and helpless. My lack of hope had neutralized me. It was affecting me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I wanted my hope back so I would be free from doubt, fear, discouragement, bitterness, criticism and jealousy.  Not a pretty list, is it?  But the by-products of hopeless are an ugly collection of emotions and attitudes.

I was ready to be free of hopeless. I believed hope was the key to things I desired in my life...a stronger faith and a deeper sense of peace, joy and contentment.

Six weeks into this year my attitude and outlook are completely different all because I chose HOPE! Choosing hope is the catalyst for change. 

I'm excited to see what God does the rest of this year in my life through My One Word.

Linking with Life Unmasked and Spiritual Sunday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Facing My Writer's Block

overcoming writer's block - crumpled paper on wooden floor - crushed paper
Photo Credit: photosteve101 (Creative Commons)

I love to blog since I find it much easier to express myself in writing than verbally.  With public speaking (even in small groups) I struggle to find the right words to say.  When I'm writing that never happens.  The words flow abundantly.

But there's one thing that can cause my writing to sputter and falter.  It's when I begin to compare my work to others.  The mental comparison can happen so quickly before I realize what's happening, and my mind is flooded with thoughts of doubt and discouragement. If left unchecked, the words will become bottled within me to avoid the possible scrutiny of others.

This has happened recently. 

I know it's not fair to me to compare myself to anyone else. Jesus reminds me that I'm incomparable.

I realize that the negative thoughts are the lies of Satan. The enemy is attacking my weakness -- my need to please others, to fit in, to excel at whatever I do.

I also know that if I stop writing that the devil will win the battle.  He will have eliminated one way that I worship the Lord.

So with this knowledge and the strength of the Holy Spirit I will continue to write for as long as the Lord wants. I will share my words with you despite any fears and insecurities that I may have. Because even though my writing helps me in my spiritual walk, I don't believe God wants me to keep them to myself.

Do you share my struggle?  How do you handle the temptation to compare yourself to others?

Linking with On Your Heart Tuesday, Soli de Grace and Commit2Write.



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