Getting rid of locusts

It’s easy to get sucked into time wasting activities. 

For example, I have to be careful to not let YouTube videos suck me into spending hours doing nothing productive.The struggle is real…

Paul told the Christians at Ephesus to [Be]careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Matthew Henry’s commentary on verse 17 says:

Good Christians must be good husbands of their time, and take care to improve it to the best of purposes, by watching against temptations, by doing good while it is in the power of their hands, and by filling it up with proper employment.

Joel 2:25 is a verse Christians love to quote:

The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost
    to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.”

I’ve seen grown people cry over this verse…

And it’s truly an awesome verse because God is merciful when we completely miss it.

Most of us, like the children of Israel, waste our time on things that eat up our fields and take away opportunities.

My encouragement to us all is to not wait until the locusts, i.e the time wasters, strip our fields before we start getting serious about managing our time. 

If you see a locust, squash it!

Ask the Lord to help you stay on track. 

This is not about legalism, either.

Don’t get busy doing a bunch of stuff out of obligation, thinking that religious activity is like a can of locust repellent.

When I talk about asking the Lord for help, I mean to ask Him to open your eyes to the people who could benefit from you making the most of every opportunity.

 

 

 

Overflowing Love

When Jesus sent out the 70 disciples, He told them not to take anything–not even an extra change of clothes!

The early church sold all of their extra stuff (they shared everything else) and dumped the money at the apostles’ feet. 

The widow in the temple gave everything she had. 

Paul teaches us the secret of contentment: Do all things through Christ who strengthens you whether you’re broke or rich. 

We’re told to not covet in The 10 Commandments and by Jesus Himself. 

We’re told to seek The Kingdom first because God is the supplier of our every need. 

And I could keep going with examples!

I’m packing up to move and I wonder if I’m too greedy…

Am I willing to give everything away?

To share everything?

To see my life–time, giftings, possessions, and money–as simply a means to help others?

I want to say yes. I want it to be an all-the-time truth, but I struggle…

Can’t something be mine?

Here was God’s answer:

Yes, the one thing no one can take away is your relationship with Me. What else do you want?

Ouch!

God is an all-in kind of Father. He gave us everything He had. Nothing was held back from us. 

I want to be that kind of person. 

I want to be all-in. 

My life was so empty before my relationship with God. No amount of success or approval or stuff could fill the void. 

My response to His great grace is that I want to live a life stripped bare of anything that keeps me from being full of Him, of His overflowing love. 

Open doors

I know we all want to have conversations about more than the weather, celebrity gossip, and sports.

Deeper.

More meaningful.

Heart matters.

All of these phrases are used to describe the genuine, intimate relationships we desire with our friends and family.

I have some bad news though….

Small talk about the “trivial” things of life leads to open doors into the lives of others.

I’m speaking from experience–and if that doesn’t convince you then I’ll appeal to your reasoning.

Small talk helps you gain trust with others.

Trust comes with time.

Trust comes in small moments (or conversations).

Because there’s nothing worse than sharing something with an untrustworthy person.

Trust is like the roller coaster ride where you shoot straight up into the air and then the ride stops at the tip-top. You don’t know when it going to drop…..and then it does!

Whoosh!

As you drop back down, your stomach comes up into your throat.

The experience splits in two at this point:

  1. You get off the ride feeling a bit dizzy, but you’re still standing.
  2. You get off the ride and immediately hurl everywhere.

(You’re smart enough to see which situation involves a trustworthy and untrustworthy person.)

And this is the best illustration I have about trust, which leads me back to conversations.

Don’t give up on small talk. It’s a crucial part of seeing who is trustworthy and who is not.

I look at small talk as the opportunity to spot open doors.

Get to know someone, build up trust via small talk, and they will open the door for you to talk with them about the things that matter.

Don’t forget your manners either.

Busting the door down means you might not get another invitation.

Why don’t you try knocking first?

 

 

Crash landing

I just crash landed back into reality. 

The weekend was amazing and there’s much to do now that I’ve scouted the land, so to speak. 

Reality is mean isn’t it?

I barely walked in the door before my mind was filled with the many things that need to happen in the coming week.

This is the trickiest part of any transition. 

There’s so much to do to prepare for what’s ahead and yet you want to and need to finish well where you are. 

The emotions of crash landing hit me hard.  

Excitement and sadness mingle together, along with a dose of calendar reality. 

Life goes on. Time ticks away. And I can’t help but wish everyone and everything would slow down for a minute. 

Honestly, I have a difficult time with the messy middle of transitions. 

God is so faithful, though, to walk along beside me and to encourage me to keep going, to press in. 

Yes, the future is bright. Yes, there’s a lot to do. 

I am choosing, however, to look ahead while soaking in the goodness of my present. 

I am not leaving here in a hurry.

 I will cherish the time and all the reasons I have to be thankful. 

Movie Review: The Age of Adaline

Imagine having the wisdom of age while standing at the cusp of youth.

It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? We’ve been told–especially us girls–that you can’t have both.

Enjoy youth and beauty while you can because it’s fleeting.

Here’s a short synopsis of The Age of Adaline:

Adaline Bowman experienced a weird scientific phenomena that stopped her aging process.

She was forever 29.

Of course, she couldn’t explain what happened, so Adaline spent the next 60 years hiding in plain sight.

No one really knew her and she preferred it that way.

On New Year’s Eve, Adaline meets a charming young man named Ellis. Everything changed for her on that day.

And that’s all I’m going to say.

age of adalineThere are some twists in the plot that I want you to discover on your own.

Now, I want us to talk about the meaning of life–in 150 words or less.

Let’s give it a shot.

Adaline spent her whole life running.

Running from her past.

Running from love.

She didn’t know how to live when she would never age, never die.

The line that stuck with me most was:

“All these years you lived, but never had a life.”

Wham!

How many of us are living, but have no life?

We’re so busy running that we forget to enjoy the present, to dream about the future.

Meanwhile, time is slipping through the hour glass.

Age and wisdom are normally synonymous, right?

Not when you refuse to move forward.

Not when you refuse to be known.

Time is slipping through the hour glass….and you’re stuck.

The Age of Adaline is really about getting unstuck.

I find the premise of the movie fascinating and it’s one of the best movies I’ve watched in a while.

I encourage you to watch the movie. Let me know what you see, what you learn.

 

Navigating the freelancing universe

freelance 2I want to talk to you about freelancing and small business management.

I’ve had several freelance gigs over the last few years. And freelancing is not as easy as people think.

Being a business owner of any kind means that all decisions fall to you.

From client acquisition to invoicing to taxes, a small business owner has to juggle the sometimes stressful administrative side with the fun loving “this is my dream” side of things.

Thankfully, administrative work comes naturally to me, but many small businesses fail because their owners struggle with the bookkeeping and the mountains of paperwork it requires for tax purposes.

Not everyone has an aunt who’s an accountant either.

Freshbooks to the rescue!

They are offering a free 30 day trial of their cloud accounting software.

Send professional invoices, track your expenses, and get paid faster.

Keeping track of the numbers just got easier.

I highly recommend Freshbooks to all of my friends who are small business owners.

This company is growing superfast and their tools will save you time, which means you can earn even more money doing what you love.

Check out this infograph that explains the freelance universe in a fun way.

Take advantage of the free trial and let me know what you think.

Necessary pit stops

I’m a sucker when it comes to good lyrics.

Every song has a meaning–no matter what folks say otherwise. I’m much more forgiving about the music if the lyrics are compelling.

If a song is stuck in my head, I pull up the lyrics and read through them. Many times there’s a lesson I need to learn.

I know that meditation is a five dollar word, but it’s important.

Meditate means:

  • to focus one’s thoughts
  • to engage in contemplation or reflection

Many of us meditate all the time without realizing it.

IMG_1694Ever sat down and thought of a problem from every possible angle? Ever intensely studied a passage of scripture or literature?

That’s meditation.

I spent today meditating on song lyrics because I had a song stuck in my head.

We all need to meditate, to focus, on the important aspects of our life.

The best seasons of growth come from times of serious meditation.

Our fast paced society, though, doesn’t want you to slow down, to think.

Be impulsive! Make a rash decision!

I’ve never met anyone whose said: The key to a successful life is never slowing down, never stopping to think things through.

My meditation face...

My meditation face…

I’m learning that maintaining a fast paced lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m successful or even fulfilled. All it means is that I know how to fill up my calendar with activities.

Some people say that meditation is a waste of time, but a schedule with no margin, no breathing room, costs you double the time.

I’ve never regretted the time I’ve taken to figure things out, to explore the whys.

There’s nothing wrong with pulling off the road to check your map. Stopping for a minute is better than needlessly going 100 miles off course.

And that’s all meditation is: a necessary pit stop.