Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book Review: Make It Happen

Last year I came across Lara Casey's website, blog and book... Make It Happen. Her book jumped out at me because the theme of the book is to live a life on purpose. I began last year really establishing that I want to live a life on purpose rather than a life of perfection. I began to think and pray about what it really means to live a life on purpose. Along came the book Make It Happen.  

This book is ideal for any woman that seeks to dig deep into her heart and see what holds her back from her God given purpose and how to achieve it. Lara is extremely vulnerable and transparent as she shares her own personal journey of living her own life on purpose for God's glory.

Some quotes from the book:

"The enemy of taking action is the false belief in 'someday.' Do the good you know you ought to do-and start now. Do it knowing that you might not have as much time as you think. The alternative is to do nothing, and that does, well, nothing. Don't wait to live."

"Fear can hold us back from making what matters happen. Fear can create a false reality where we feel threatened even if nothing has actually happened yet. What do you feel could be threatened in your life?"

"If you want change, choose it."

"We are so quick to limit ourselves, deciding who we are and who we aren't and that's it. We define our identities-our strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and beliefs-but this rigid defining can hinder us from seeing the potential that God sees. We stay in our little identity boxes, not allowing ourselves to be stretched or challenged. We accept the world's made-up rules for who we are supposed to be, and we believe we cannot break those rules."

"When it comes to our faith, we must choose trust over feelings. There are many times we cannot feel God working, but we can trust that He is. We may not feel loved by God, but we can trust that His love never changes."

"You are going to fail sometimes, and things won't always go the way you hoped. But here's the beautiful paradox about failure: failure will get you further than fear."

"The good you do today changes generations. Life is too short and too valuable to coast through, living by accident. Take your time writing down your goals, pray on them, talk them out with people you trust, and then commit."

Getting Personal:

I was deeply moved by this book. It was very challenging as I answered in my journal the many heart provoking questions that Lara asked throughout the book. I knew that if I am really going to see change and purpose in my life it begins with being honest with God and myself about who I am and where I'm at in life at the moment.

I think it helped me to write out these answers because it opened my eyes to what really holds me back from stepping out into what God has for me...like fear of rejection. It helped me to see what living a life on purpose really means for me personally and not letting my fear of rejection hold me back from it. I want to be open and transparent with people and not let the fear of rejection keep me from meaningful relationships.

For example, I shared with someone how much they mean to me and what a blessing they have been in my life. She responded, "I had no idea." My heart was grieved for the rest of the day. It made me so sad to think that someone so special to me didn't know it. I was reminded that people can't read my mind. I must speak out. I must live life intentionally and in all my relationships.

At the end of the book there are strategies for living a life on purpose that I found so helpful and practical. Some of them are to have a short list of 3-5 things I will accomplish a day, clearing out the clutter in my mind (distractions), and taking social media breaks. I finished the book thinking that I can live a more focused, purposeful, meaningful life. It's worth the read. You can make it happen in your life, too, with the help and grace of God!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: Women of the Word

I really enjoyed Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. I read it in one day. It was powerful, challenging and encouraging. As Jen says in the beginning of the book, the goal of this book is "equipping women through Bible study."

Quotes from the book:
"We should study asking not just what a particular portion of Scripture wants to tell us, but how that portion of Scripture is telling us the Big Story of the Bible as a whole. Studying the Bible with purpose means keeping its overarching message in view at all times."

"The temptation to make the Bible applicable to our current experience without preserving its ties to its original audience is strong."

"Without prayer, our study is nothing but an intellectual pursuit. With prayer, it is a means of communing with the Lord."

Jen Wilkins does an excellent job addressing the variety of ways that we approach reading/studying God's Word, and showing how they may be faulty. I appreciate her simple, and yet thorough approach to Bible Study. Jen is very clear about the five steps we should take when studying the Bible: purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer.

My Personal Thoughts:
It spoke to me the most that I should read the Bible to learn about who God is first, rather than trying to find something out about myself and who I am. She sums it up in this quote:

"Any study of the Bible that seeks to establish our identity without first proclaiming God's identity will render partial and limited help. We must turn around our habit of asking "Who am I?" We must first ask, "What does this passage teach me about God?" before we ask it to teach us anything about ourselves. We must acknowledge that the Bible is a book about God."

I felt really convicted when I read this. The strong pull of this world is to be narcissistic- to have everything revolve around self. I can see now that there is a temptation to allow our Bible study to become so self-focused, as well.

I now have a new perspective as I look forward to digging into God's Word and learning more about who He is!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Sunday Search

I really liked an idea that Karen presented in her book Making Sunday Special
She talked about "The Sunday Search". 

"The Sunday Search is a spiritual discipline designed in the form of a game with three rules. We go to church, anticipating, How will Christ speak to me? (rule one) and How will Christ speak through me? (rule two). Then We must talk about it (rule three)."

I love this idea because it encourages all of us in our family to have an expectation to hear from God, to be used of God, and accountability in sharing both of them together as a family. It's so easy to go to church with no expectation that God is going to speak to me personally, or that God would use me to speak into someone else's life. Both of these have to be intentional in our lives and in our parenting. God uses worship, the time of greeting others, the offering, the sermon, the altar call, and the time of fellowshipping afterwards to speak to us. And, He can use us in a variety of ways to "speak" into someone else's life whether that be a compliment, word of encouragement, an act of service or even a hug.

So, early Sunday morning last week I told the kids that this is what we were going to do. They liked the idea. After church, when we were home and had eaten lunch we all met in the boys' room and shared our answers. It was powerful to hear my kids share what they believed God had spoken to them at church and how God used them.  They were just as eager to hear Josh and I share our answers.

I love this game and will continue to do it with my kids. It teaches them that God will speak to them at church and that they play a vital role as church members, too.

Be expectant as you look to see how God will speak to you and an opportunity to speak into someone else's life!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quote from St. Patrick of Ireland

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

~St. Patrick of Ireland
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