“Everything is permissible for me” —but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” —but I will not be mastered by anything.I Corinthians 6:12
I think I’m going to change the format of my Wellness Revelation Bible Study posts to just me sharing with you what the Lord laid on my heart during the week. It’s more relatable that way, even if you aren’t doing the study with us.
I believe the Lord gives each of us gifts and a purpose to live out, and ultimately it’s always to lead others into a life of joy and freedom in Christ. I had never really considered that was my purpose…. but the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s really His purpose for us all! We all have different gifts that help us to do this, and because we are all unique, He uses us in different ways to accomplish this same purpose. He created you to speak into the world in a way that only you can, and me in a way that only I can.
I’ve gotten caught up in the day to day grind, but I’m seeing that He has purpose even in those things if we will just slow down and allow Jesus to live through all the moments. As we live day to day, in whatever occupations we have or even as homeschool moms or stay-at-home moms, we can provide evidence that Jesus is who He says He is, and that He helps us, encourages us, redeems and sets us free, and saves us from our sin and ourselves. Even in our failures, struggles, and the day to day “To Do” list, He is our strength. He picks us up out of the grave and releases us from bondage. We get the opportunity to put His strength on display through the choices we make, the actions we take, and the voices we use. What we do shows Christ’s love and power inside us to a world that needs to see.
We have the opportunity to be the change. We are called to live for His higher purposes, a higher accountability, and to display self-discipline. If others see us making poor choices, what are we saying about our God of power and love? If we are walking around with stress rather than thankfulness and joy, our countenance shows it. And, that is not going to display His love or power in our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I can have lots of goals for myself, my family, my home, and my work. And, these goals cause me to want to become a better version of myself. But, I can get caught up in trying harder to work out “my” plan. In becoming a better version of me (because He is convicting me in areas I need to improve) I can sometimes get overwhelmed with the “doing” and not just rest in Him. So, for me, a schedule is really good for discipline in my life, but I cannot let the schedule control me. I must rest in Him and His leading. I have to slow down and be present with others. I mean, why “do” the changing, if it doesn’t affect my peace of mind, my facial expressions, and my connection with others? I can’t find the peace of mind, a positive countenance and connection without His leading me at all times, and my constant connection with Him. Thankfully, His Spirit in us already gives us the self-discipline or self-control we need. He gifted that to us when we received Him as Savior and Lord in the form of the Fruits of the Spirit. I’ve often thought these fruits were things I need to work at or on, rather than realizing they are already given to me as gifts just for being His child. I just have to allow Him to live them out in me. We just live out the truth of His love, as dearly loved, valued, and cherished children of God who happen to live in a fallen, sinful world. We obey because we love. The more we love Him, the more natural the obedience will come. When we are obedient, self-discipline naturally follows.
What do we need in order to do His work? Energy!!! His job is to do the work in and through us, our job is to take care of ourselves and make healthy choices that will benefit us for the long haul. If I choose to live a healthy life, I am allowing myself the opportunity to be on mission, living out His purpose…what He created me for—reaching the unreachable in the darkest places. The types of foods we eat definitely affect how we feel, and how we do our work. There is power in our food. What else can get into the smallest cells in our bodies and change them? Only God’s Spirit, and Jesus, the Word, can go that deep. And the quality of life we enjoy is determined by the quality of food we eat. I’ve also recently realized that the foods that I eat and the way that I take care of myself definitely affect the way I think and the mindset that I have. So, it’s not just good food for our bodies, but we also need to be fueling our minds at the same time! I do this through getting still and opening the Word of God, through worship that penetrates my soul, and through awesome podcasts, and good books. And, recently I took on a 30 Day Gratitude challenge where each day I am writing a personal note of gratitude for different people in my life. All these things are awesome ways to fuel the mind.
If you are anything like me, we can easily become overwhelmed and stressed with all the things that need to get done on a daily basis. We are busy! We are busy doing good things like leading a Bible Study, leading a homeschool co-op class, keeping the house clean, cooking healthy meals, running our kids to their practices or to church functions, or to lessons, and working on ourselves by working out, and growing as a person. It’s A LOT. But, I’m learning that it’s in the being still, even for just a few moments each day and surrendering my day and my tasks to the Lord, that I am able to be more joyful, more upbeat, more ready to take on all the things I have to do. And, when I take that time to be still, He multiplies my time. But, when I don’t take the time, not only do I not get as much done, but I also become grouchy with the kids, worn out so much quicker, and my mind starts going to dark places where my self-talk becomes a punching bag within. I want to live a healthy, whole life (mind, body, spirit, soul) so that I am freed up to love myself in a healthy and righteous way (not selfishly) and to love and pour into others.
I loved Alisa Keeton’s story, in Chapter 3 of The Wellness Revelation, about The Very Hungry Caterpillar children’s book, and how that Caterpillar got distracted with all the different types of foods available to him – most of which were unhealthy – and how we are like that caterpillar because we get distracted so easily with all the things going on around us. But, just like the caterpillar had a chance to turn things around by going into a cocoon, we also have that opportunity. I feel like that’s where I’m at right now. I’m in a cocoon where I’m discovering lots of dark places that need changed. And, I’m doing the hard things, just like the caterpillar….and those hard things take time. But, I get to go into this cocoon with the Lord who is with me all the time. We like to rush, we want to see the change NOW. We want to see the beauty of the butterfly emerging and flying into freedom. But, we can’t rush through the struggle and suffering or the beauty doesn’t emerge. We have to go through the hard, the times it may feel easier to give up, but if we stick to the disciplines the Lord is laying on our hearts and keep pressing forward, eventually the change and the beauty, and the freedom will come! And, though I can’t wait for that day, I’m treasuring these moments of growth the Lord is taking me through, the hard things, the life lessons, these times waiting on the Lord and His timing. I am becoming dependent on the voice of Love to lead me and give me strength through the hard, dark cocoon.
And, I know if you’re at all like me, you know that breaking bad habits and starting new ones is another HARD thing. It takes around 3 weeks or 21 days to break a bad habit. But, it takes about 3 months before new habits become established as a part of our daily lives. It’s a compound effect….the more we do the hard thing/the new habit, the better we get at doing it, and the more good habits we can add over time. I think in the past, I’ve tried to add too many good habits at once, and I couldn’t keep up with all the “good” I wanted to do. It’s better to add one small thing at a time until it becomes easy, then add another. Don’t go and try to change everything about yourself in a day or a week or even a month! It’s too much! Slow and steady wins the race! And, most importantly we have to allow the Lord to guide us. He wants us to be free, even more than we do. He wants us to live abundantly, that’s what He designed us for. But, we have to listen to His leading in where He wants us to change, and to trust Him with the ugly moments, the hard times, the struggle in the becoming who He designed us to be.
Here is another passage that has really spoken to me through the cocoon stage:
21 “Fear not, O land;
be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
22 Fear not, you beasts of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit;
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
23 “Be glad, O children of Zion,
and rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the latter rain, as before.
24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 I will restore[a] to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,Joel 2:21-27
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
I feel like this passage is telling me that He is the restorer of all things! Whatever the locusts have eaten, He will restore! All the mistakes I’ve made, all the years I have struggled, all the wrong I’ve done, He is making new and is restoring. Praise His Name!! I also love in verse 23 where it says, “…..he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.” The definition of vindication is: the action of clearing someone of blame or suspicion; proof that someone or something is right, reasonable, or justified. He loves me so much that He doesn’t want me to feel shame anymore, to feel guilt from the wrongs I’ve done. He wants to clear me, but not only clear me but bring abundance into my life! I believe we can live an abundant life in the here and now, we don’t have to wait until heaven for that! He gives it now! We just have to pursue Him, love Him, live in Him and He through us!
Love you all!
P.S. Please let me know by commenting if you can relate to any of this! I’m hopeful that sharing some of my struggles and growth that others can relate and somehow benefit.