A New Way of Success

 

Jan17“Search for it like silver, and hunt for it like hidden treasures, then you will understand.” Proverbs 2:4-5

The above scripture started a workbook on a study that soaks in the scripture of James. When I read those words earlier this week, I was surprised but then again not.

I’d read the same scripture exactly one week prior as the reading for a group gathering. And in that gathering I’d written to be persistent in seeking His treasure, His wisdom.

And just weeks before, I’d chosen a word for the year-PERSEVERANCE.

Honestly at the time when I chose the word I’d defined it as persevering in the places I wanted to grow in-my writing, my photography, my coaching business, for example.

And in those places of growth were multiple tasks of how to get myself BIGGER, more into the market place through social media and networking.

And hopefully creating new, valuable product as that is my favourite part.

But I left that goal as a possibility only because I felt I hadn’t reached the success level  to create something new.

I didn’t think it wise to create more when I still had inventory of past collections.

And not wise as (getting real and honest here) having not collected the amount back of the investment I’d already made into all my current creations. So making money an arching goal seemed like a wise thing to do.

I joined an entrepreneur  group to learn the multiple ways of marketing, made a binder of goals broken down into steps, vision boards, and daily, monthly, year success sheets to consistently “plan, do, review.”

I started listening to daily motivation videos.

But with all these items, just days in, my motivation began to slip away like water into a drain.

But I persevered! Kept doing the tasks on my list. The daily ‘to do’s even though the past confusion of where to focus my time and efforts began returning.

Does this resonate with anyone else?

Doing and persevering to get the goals completed you’ve placed upon yourself? Or have created a list of unfinished projects or dreams to start, yet confusion of what to focus on-where to spend your time and efforts-creeps in?

You are not alone! It’s one my biggest struggles, my friend.

And even though I wasn’t seeking God’s treasure as I started persevering my way to do what I felt were the next steps to grow, to succeed this year, He sought out me.

For He knew my way was only heading me toward frustration and burn-out.

He graciously, in His perfect plan, made me reflect on these words during that group gathering.

“He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of the faithful ones.” Proverbs 2:7-8.

He holds success and guards and protects my course. 

And what is my part?

To turn my ears to wisdom, to apply my heart for understanding, and persevere in this like seeking for hidden treasure.

“turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding–indeed if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you search for it as for hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:2-5

That’s it!

So in this mid-January, as I began my study of James, I’ve revised my goals to three.

  1. To get wiser in God’s word
  2. To be encouraged
  3. To seek God’s treasure, His wisdom and will for Me

I do still have my lists, my daily tasks, my goals, and intentional day planning. These are not bad things, unless they become the way to achieve the successes we want derived from our own minds.

Instead, may we as daughters and sons of Christ show that success is not in what we do,  pushing ourselves to be better and greater, but in how we persevere in seeking God’s treasure, His wisdom that fully completes us.

And in this perseverance of His wisdom, He will guide our workings.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4

 

 

 

 

 

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Simplifying the Steps

Jan10

I am borderline obsessive when it comes to learning new ways to make goals, get clarity, open up your dreams, and other such life desires. As a professional life coach helping women who are struggling with creating the life they envision for themselves, it’s important that I keep learning so can be creative too, in helping leading others to their next steps.

But, with notebooks filled with scribbles of a multitude of methods and each method having it’s five or so steps, and then the many ads that come up on my social media feeds for learning how to live your best year yet, it gets overwhelming.

Which is the right way? They all are good and really have the same message, just said in a different way which is important so they reach the people they need to reach.

Yet can seem so complicated!

This week our church has Solemn Assembly, a guided prayer service each evening. As I closed my eyes in prayer and asked God the question I wonder if He may just be tired of me asking,- “Where should I be spending my time and efforts?” a repeated word of our scripture passage that particular evening flashed across my mind.

Treasure.

Earnestly seek My treasure and you gain wisdom. 

Be persistent in the pursuit of My treasure, and I will give you common sense, guard your path and protect you. 

It’s that simple.

One step.

Start by seeking His treasure, His wisdom.

And I will find the right way to go.

He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the path of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Proverbs 2: 6-10

I am linked up with Five Minute Friday today where a topic is chosen and you have 5 minutes to write your words. You can check out how to be involved and read others musings on our prompt Simplify this week at Five Minute Friday

 

 

Stepping the Way

jan43

The wind was gentle on this particular late summer morning. It was a Saturday. My eyes cast downwards at grass clipped short, scanning for the entry.

My journal entry an hour later:

Walked in and decided the entry was not what was laid out. The path was wrong. The start was three steps in, passing two blocked paths on the right. Should not the opening to the circle been the first step in? Took a step clockwise in the direction the lines laid out and then decided to go differently for the heck of it and stepped over a line to start in the opposite direction-counter clockwise.

So I decided what was the right way to go, and then realized my mistake 20 minutes later.

The start point was right all along.

As I took each tentative step I wondered if the circular, meandering path really did lead me out eventually or would I get caught up in it’s loop forever? I wanted to step out completely a few times. I didn’t trust the design. 

Could I trust the designer? 

Do I trust the Designer? 

“I realized how much I still want to be in control. Crazy because if I would have just followed the path as it was laid out, I wouldn’t have been so anxious and enjoyed the walk and beauty all around me.”

The facilitator of our weekend retreat looked at me kindly. We each sat in chairs placed in a circular pattern–about 20 of us.

Each stepping differently on life’s meandering path.

Each stepping in either a choice of  holding back in fears that present as control, worries, and excuses, or letting go in trust.

jan4

Jeremiah 17: 7-8 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

jan42

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

jan45

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


I pull the zipper up on my jacket, my eyes scanning the tree shadows that reach out like fingers upon the unicursal path. It’s early Saturday evening. The sun has begun is descent behind me.

I take three steps in and turn to the right-clockwise.

I enter the lines of the pathway, following as designed.

A fallen leaf lifts, the wind catching it’s stem, and skims the cropped grass. Five sparrows suddenly let go within a tree and flutter above me. I stop, watch their flight that leads them to another tree, and they rest on a new branch like it was designed just for them. It holds them safely. I tuck my hair behind an ear, the breeze light and refreshing on my face.

I take the next step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advent Breathing Spaces

Inspired by Linda Stoll’s blog and timandolive.com, I’ve been posting at my Instagram account a daily photo for Advent. I’ve compiled the first 11 days here for you as well as Advent scriptures. I hope these bring you peace in this season that can seem so crazy at times!

dec3
   HOME: The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Romans 13:12-14
dec4
HOPE: God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Cor 1:9

 

dec5
WAIT: Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.Watch therefore–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning– lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.” Mark 13:33-37

I

dec6
VISION:In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

 

dec7
PREPARE:There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. John 1:6-9
dec8
RENEW: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ Jeremiah 13: 14-16
dec9
JUSTICE: The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land for ever, the shoot of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it. Isaiah 16:19-20
dec11
PEACE: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
dec12
SILENCE: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. Psalms 43:5
dec112
PRESENCE :A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:4
dec13
BELONG: Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to observe thy righteous ordinances. Psalms 119: 105-106

adventphotos

For a limited time I have FREE SHIPPING on my journals (maximum two). Ready for a daily practice to create a healthy mindset and breathe in a Breathing Space? Each order includes a free Breathing Space notebook (value $10) that fits great in purses and book bags. You can purchase at The Marketplace.

 

A tough decision

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 

Matthew 1:18-19

Joseph’s decision to divorce Mary came from his faithfulness to the law, but his wanting to do it quietly shows how he wanted to protect Mary too. By quietly divorcing Mary, not loudly exposing her to the judging public, he may have been intentionally protecting her from being stoned. I can imagine, between wanting to uphold the law and protect Mary, that he must have felt he was between a rock and a hard place. And there was only one option to make the best out of the situation.

But God had another plan, another option for Joseph, beyond the law, and beyond his own rational thinking.

Dec6

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. 

Matthew 1: 20-21

Continue reading “A tough decision”

Moving Right

Chuck slithered, his belly against the ground, his fur barely clearing the space between coffee table and his back.  Under the table, his front and rear legs stuck out the ends, and just the tip of his nose. 

“You crazy dog!” My friend stood, hands on her hips surveying the scene–a tipped mug and a coffee puddle by her feet, the result of enthusiasm (for me) shown through the wagging tail of her blonde Labrador Retriever.

I leaned down from my sitting position on her couch to peer under the table. Chuck’s head lay between his paws and his sorrowful, shame-filled eyes looked into mine. “It’s okay, buddy,” I whispered. “I know you were just trying to show you were happy to see me.” I hear his tail pump on the floor. “I make mistakes too, even when I think I’m doing what I’m suppose to do.” I stroke his nose.

Just recently I found myself slithering away from people too, after a misunderstanding of directions. Although not meant to harm, comments by others over my misdemeanour left me feeling raw, stirred my ‘not good enough’ gremlins. Shame washed over me like a tidal wave and caught me in its under current.

Continue reading “Moving Right”

Expanding with every breath

nov159

It was a door I had walked through many times, but all wasn’t as it was. To the right where once my eyes scanned a spacious place lit softly but brightly enough to highlight the displays of books, paper and household items–my favourite bling–wasn’t anymore. Plywood, popular in all construction spaces, walled the once Chapters store from the Starbucks where I now stood. Feeling a bit conspicuous (how could I have not known?) I walked past customers waiting for their embellished caffeine pretending I had to use the washroom.

I’d driven by the large sign on the shopping centre in my town indicating a new Indigo Store. It was just a block walk from the original Chapters store in the same centre. They were expanding and moving into the old Target store under the Indigo label. (For my outside-of-Canada-friends, Indigo is similar to Barnes & Noble, and the Chapters name under the same umbrella. And just in case you didn’t know–Target came and left Canada as quickly as a fox spotting a rabbit. It never made it.) Now it seemed the new store was open, and the old now empty and boarded.

I pulled my hood up, stepped back outside making my way to another door in the direction of the new sign I’d seen, the new home for the items of the old space I’d spent many hours in over the years, browsing, buying, and discovering.

Adventure being a top value of mine, I found myself light in step. Yes, it was just a new store, but adventure can be had in the smallest of activities….yes?

Adventures, though, can turn out the unexpected. And the unwanted.

Continue reading “Expanding with every breath”