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Can a habit change your life for the better?

February 6, 2017

Habits are an interesting part of being human.

More than 100 years ago, the American Journal of Psychology described habits as a “more or less fixed way of thinking, willing or feeling acquired through previous repetition.”

Some habits are good – like brushing your teeth daily. And some habits are bad – like biting your fingernails. How many times did you mother warn you not to repeat something or you’d form a bad habit?

One habit, a pretty bad one that many of us fall into, is how we view ourselves and our lives.

How many times have you told yourself that you’re fat, or unsuccessful, or that your life is out of control? If you’re like me, you’ve probably done it so much that the habit of negative thinking invades the rest of your life making you feel lost, incomplete and perhaps unlovable.

I tried to run from my negative thoughts, but the harder I tried to get away from them, the more they seemed to pop up.

Honestly, it was pretty awful.

And even though I have a great husband, wonderful children, lots of friends, and really a pretty good life, I kept thinking there was something missing. Something so integral to my being – and as I discovered later – to my well-being – that I was constantly frustrated by not being able to find it. And that just fed my habit of negative thoughts. A vicious cycle.

 

 

Then I found the answer. And you can, too.

Here’s what I did: I decided to read the Bible.

So I picked up a really good study Bible (the easy part); then I had to decide to spend time reading it (the harder part). And I had to make it a . . . well . . . a habit.

A habit takes 21 days to form and a full 6 months to become a real part of you. So I jumped in and determined that I’d give it just 20 minutes a day for a few weeks and see what would happen. At the very least I figured I was worth a little positive affirmation each day.

The first few days were tough — I easily found distractions, but I stuck to it. Twenty minutes a day for a few days, turned to a few weeks, and before I knew it, a few months had passed. And, wow, the experiences of those 20 minutes each day changed my life in ways I never thought possible. Negative thoughts began to drift away. I started to find new energy. The world started to look different to me. Hey, I’m not going to say all of life’s issues went away. There are still kids to raise, a house to clean, and having to deal with the Angry Moms of School Drop Off – but my outlook changed. The world really is full of love, and joy, and compassion, when you know how to look.

My new habit taught me how to look – and find!

So if you’ve felt confused, a bit despaired or maybe a bit lonely, I challenge you to form a new habit in your life. A habit from which you will find a loving God and Father. You will find His holy son Jesus. And you will find the Holy Spirit. And by making a habit of reading the Word every day, you will find forgiveness, compassion, and healing.

I sure did.

A highly favored Bible is the NLT Life Application Study Bible; you may choose a different version or you can visit a websites like BibleGateway or BibleHub and download their apps. Choose a reading plan that combines reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs every day.  The version I suggested above is great because it puts things into context and may make the words feel more personal and relevant to you.

Whichever version of the Bible of method of reading is up to you (and if you pray about it, God will guide you to what works for you). I simply ask that you be open to receive the healing love and forgiveness that will come your way.

So is that it? Am I going to leave you with that? No. Of course not. That’s just the beginning. But it’s the best place to start, and I look forward to this walk together.

Start the habit of getting to know Him by reading the Bible daily.  You are worth taking the time to do this. Make the time. There are 24 hours in a day and I know you can carve out 20 minutes a day to devote to knowing Him, and yourself, better. Commit. This is the beginning of learning to Live the Calling.

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See For Yourself

February 6, 2017

Do you ever find yourself sucked into a tabloid magazine, website or TV show and feel like you are really getting to know a certain celebrity?

I do. I think about who is most like me, which of my friends is most like the other cast members? And who is really nice or really nasty. And then I have to check myself. I don’t really know them. Not one bit. They are not my friends, they probably wouldn’t have dinner with me, and the real conversation we’d have would be nothing like the one I created in my head.

There’s a big difference between being acquainted with someone and having a personal relationship with someone. Sometimes when we really get to know someone, they aren’t really who we thought they were at all.

It was only a few months ago I experienced just what I’m talking about.

I was at a family celebration of a dear friend. One of the guests was a woman whom I have avoided for years, because my friend never had anything nice to say about her. I was surprised to see her there and even more surprised when she treated my children with such warmth and love that my opinion of her was shattered. My whole perspective had been based on hearsay rather than personal experience.

And that got me thinking about God. For most of my life I thought that I knew God. I was raised in the church, knew the Bible stories, sang in the church choir and even attended Christian elementary school. God loved His people and I was definitely one of His people. But did I really know Him?

To me, the only people who really knew God were people who had been perfect their whole lives and did nothing other than read the Bible all day long. They were also at least all 60 or 70 years old. Thank God, quite literally, I was wrong. The people who knew God were actually just people willing to take the time to experience Him. They were no different from me other than that they had committed to putting in the work to make that relationship as successful as any other lasting relationship.

But in this relationship, God already knows us, more fully than we know ourselves. Just like the Psalmist wrote:

 

Psalm 139:2-4 New Living Translation (NLT)

You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

You see me when I travel

and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say

even before I say it, Lord.

 

So if he knows us that well, it’s up to us to get to know Him.

 

Choosing to get to know Him is the best decision I’ve ever made. Once I set aside time and space on a daily basis to sit quietly alone with a Bible, I was able to begin to learn what that great book had to say about me, personally, and who this man Jesus was and still is to me. Seeing myself through His eyes changed everything.

 

I discovered that the benefits of a personal relationship with God are far beyond what is possible as a benefit of any human relationship. He alone knows our hearts and He wants us to know His, too.

 

Of course, building relationship with God requires discipline, attention, and time. But He’s been waiting at our door our entire life, and we will never know what we’ve been missing out on until we open that door and see for ourselves.

 

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About Me

November 2, 2016
Hello new friend and thank you for visiting my page. I really do hope to get to know you!

 

My passion has always been music. I live and breathe song. But for too long I dismissed the idea that I should be doing it professionally – as my number one focus.

 

There are plenty of distractions in the world (some of them even positive ones!) and I have certainly had my head turned by many of them. But as I have grown in relationship with Christ I’ve honed in on what I was created to do. I’ve answered His call, to share my gifts and natural abilities in the way He always intended. And I am so grateful for His patience with me! So, now I bring joy, truth and love to others through music. And my hope is that I share my love for Christ not only through my music, but in the way I live day to day. Here you will find not only my music, but I’ll also be sharing what I’ve learned about living for Christ. Daily application in the real world. And you know what else I’ve learned? It’s actually fun! Honestly, not at all what I thought it would be. (Yes, you’ll find I’m very honest and open too.) So until then, be well and blessed. Let’s Live the Calling together.
We Will Be There Resounding Joy I Need You Every Hour