Three Months In


This last week, I was sitting in my office and reviewing the first three months of this year.  As the year of 2016 came to a close, I felt some big things were going to shake out this coming new year and I anticipated that it would be life changing.  I certainly have not been wrong.  As I have re-evaluated my life, lifestyle, and where feel I need to be putting my efforts, doors have been opened, and I have stepped through.  I would like to share a few of those open doors with you in hopes that it will encourage you to press on. It is my hope that it will be an encouragement for you.

Here is a list:

  • Marriage – Begin praying for my  marriage each day and my attitude toward it.
  • Family – Be active in the life of my family on a daily basis…making the time to do it.
  • Study – Directive study in various areas.  Learn.  Use it.
  • Have some adventure…do things on the spur of the moment.
  • Live in gratitude and pay it forward.
  • Learn Norwegian.
  • Look for fun.
  • Consistent study of photography and practice.
  • Use my camera daily.

Let’s dig in!

Marriage/Family – I felt that God was emphasizing to me that with all that is going on in this world, the family is totally at risk.  We are too busy, too involved, too distracted and we are losing out.  We need to be really grounded to withstand the attack on our culture.  So in my case, I felt I was being directed to pray for my marriage, my attitude toward my marriage, and also be more involved the relationships in my family.  If these areas are aligned with God as the center, then I can better keep the enemy out of our lives, and keep him from sneaking in when I least expect it.  We can find ourselves in a place in our marriage where we are looking more at the irritating things in the other person than the wonderful blessings they are in our lives.  Our brains are very intricate.  When we start thinking in negative ways, it becomes habitual; the more we are negative the more negative we become.  We lose our perspective and find more wrongs than rights.  Our lives begin to look bleak, like there is no way out.  There are scientific facts that prove that negative thinking DOES affect our brain.  It is like a “wash” that comes over our brain when we have negative thoughts and emotions.  I am becoming more and more aware of my self-talk.  It hasn’t always been good.  I can win all kinds of conversations when I start thinking.  I should be praying.

I believe that God wants me to have a positive lifestyle.  Not some super happy fake kind of happiness, but a genuine happiness that comes from living right and knowing I am living the way that God would have me to live.  Thus, I am praying for my spouse, for my attitude which needs some attention every once in a often while.  I know that isn’t a proper sentence, but it says that we think we sometimes need something, when in reality, we need it much more often than that.  I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying I am leaving that door open for God to lead and guide me.   As for my family, I think it is also important to stay in touch and let them know they mean the world to me.  I’m sending out notes to my grandson, texts to my two younger boys, and praying for my oldest, and now, for the youngest son and his girlfriend.  I want them to have no doubt about how much I love them.  I want to show them how you can live through the hard times and come out of it a much stronger and better person.  I want them to see how I live, and maybe by example, they too, will want to make some changes in the direction of their lives.  Sometimes our silence and living it out is the best way to teach them.

Study – This is an area that has always been fun for me.  I love Bible study.  I love to learn new information about the areas of my life that I have deep interest in.  I like improving myself.  However, this has been more directed this year.  He wants me to study the Word more, as I have shared before, but some specific subjects this year.  I also feel God is leading me to lead and encourage those that He puts in my path.  I see Him doing that already.  If something I have learned can be of benefit to someone else, I am willing to share it.  I also want to learn to speak Norwegian.  Now THAT is not an easy task, but if I keep my focus, then I will learn.  It’s not that God is telling me to study Norwegian, but it is more about something that I have always wanted to do, and God is making a way for that to happen.  I will be joining the Sons of Norway this Wednesday and I look forward to that adventure too!  It’s all about the learning process.  He will open doors to help us achieve what we need to, but, He is also willing to help us do what we enjoy doing.

Adventure/Fun – I always enjoy adventure and doing things on the fly.  Going for a drive when we didn’t plan on it.  Planning a road trip across the states.  Sitting outside on a starry night with a blanket to watch the stars twinkling in the night sky.  It may be a trip to the ocean just to sit and watch the waves; very calming.  I had company this last weekend and it was fun to take them on a very short trip to the ocean and watch them enjoy being together, chasing seagulls, and putting toes in the water.  I loved watching my youngest son and how he treats his girlfriend.  I like to think I may have something to do with his gentleman’s behavior.  Its fun to watch them enjoy each other and life.  This week I will pick up my grandson and we will go somewhere and spend the night and have a party in the room.  He gets to be parent-free for a couple of days, and I get to pour into his life a bit.  Life is short, and God wants us to find the fun as we go!  I hope I never tire of the next adventure, and I have a BIG one coming up with my trip to Norway with my middle son and grandson.  God makes a way!  Begin praying about the desires of your heart.

Living in gratitude/Paying it forward – That is just what I do; its how I live.  I wouldn’t be where I am, if God hadn’t intervened and made it all possible.  I live  every day to thank Him for all He has done and will continue to do.  There is no way you can be sad and be grateful at the same time.  Where my brain goes, my emotions WILL follow.  I want my brain to be aware of the good.  Look for the small things that can change my circumstances.  In my case, I look for ways to bless people, as well as, ways that I can pay my blessings forward to someone else.  God knows the timing and I leave that to Him.  Besides…that can be an adventure in itself, when we open ourselves up to be used by Him.

Here is the kicker…do you see “ME” in any of these areas that God is directing me to?  I’m finding where God wants to lead me isn’t all about me.  I have never considered myself selfish and thinking only about me.  But it is important to look into these areas of life and review them so that I don’t become selfish in well-doing.  It is more about God positioning me to be better equipped to do what He has for me.  Why?  So I can serve or bless others.  It is never all about me.  It is exciting though!  Some of these areas are as much fun for me, as the reasons for the task He sets before me.  Like learning about photography, and using my camera daily.  That is pure joy for me!  But that is how God is; he gives us directives, but makes it fun along the way!!  I am to have fun doing life, and so I thank Him for that throughout my day.  He has made a way for me to enjoy my life no matter how difficult things can seem some days, and I have had those days.  The only difference is, I know where to turn and I don’t turn slowly!  I spin around to get back on track because I know what can happen in a slow circle; the enemy will try to distract me with my thoughts and emotions.  Nope!  Not happening!  I want a quick turn around to see His face for my direction again.

Why do I share this with you?  Because I know there are many that have buried the desire to enjoy life, either because they think they don’t deserve it, or because of something in their past.  But I want to encourage you today regarding how much God wants you to have a life of joy and enjoy your journey.  He wants a happy you…happy family…confident prayer life…healthy lifestyle for you.  What He shares with me, He will share with you, if you will allow Him in to speak to you.  We shouldn’t worry about our future and what it may bring, as much as we should steward the things that have been given to us right now.  Maybe you are disappointed with where you are in your life right now.  You wish it was different.  God wants you to know today that He sees where you are.  He is waiting for you to ask for His help, or maybe His forgiveness…whatever it is.  He is there.  Loving, patient, and adventurous!  Quiet your spirit today and ask Him to show you how YOU can bring some these elements into YOUR life.  He will.  He has promised.

Awaiting my next adventurous heart and soul escape…

~JoAnn

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