Renewal Starts Within


I am learning the art of rest.

It’s the start of something new! It’s a new beginning! I am going to make some changes! I am going to lost weight! I am going to read my Bible every day! If any of those statements have been made by you, then you probably have many others that you have said to yourself. Maybe you don’t feel like you have gotten very far toward those changes. Or maybe the change happened for a while but then came to an end. It could be that you got discouraged and gave up.

You see, some times we think that if we make everything else right around us, we will accomplish those changes. It might be having a perfect house, drive a nice car, try to make ourselves look younger, a hair cut, new glasses, manicure or pedicure, or new golf clubs, the latest coffee house cup in our hand, or any number other outward appearances that we think will make it happen for us. But we are putting all our attention on the outward appearance, how we look, to make us feel better. We think if we look a certain way or appear a certain way, surely then I can be successful in how I feel inside and happiness will follow. The biggest misconception is that it doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside…it is what is on the inside of us.

Lately, I have been feeling the pull to make a decision to use less of my time on Facebook and to trim down my list of friends. It means less distraction and weeding through all the notifications that can get overwhelming and time consuming. After some prayer, I decided to make that change and made an announcement that I was trimming down the friend list. But I was concerned for what others may think if I unfriended them. What would they think of me? They would probably say, “Why would you want to do that? Everyone likes staying in touch with family, friends and classmates on Facebook!” So… let’s look into this a little deeper.

Music Corner

I have found that when I have to make big decisions, for me it is about asking the right questions. What is it I want to accomplish? What is God telling me regarding this decision or situation? Why do I feel this way? What would be the advantages to my making this change? You see, as an example, it meant me also closing out an online bible study for ladies that I have been leading for a few years. That seems like something God would want me to continue to do, right? In this case, I felt strongly that my focus should be less on what I wanted to do, or thought I was supposed to me doing, to more of what God was calling me to now in this season. It seemed that He had some plans for me to get back to a place where I was investing time into more study. Bible Study, yes. But also study of music, photography, and study through reading, and genealogy…activities that bring me joy.

Here is the kicker… God wants me to be doing things I enjoy, as well as, what He has called me to do. He placed those desires and giftings in me and I need to be diving into those areas with more time set aside for that. My online presence was taking up more of my time than I wanted and definately more than God wanted. I would get a few minutes here and there for my hobbies that I love but rather haphazard in my attempts. My quiet time is always a must. So get ready for this long thought: If God wants me to dive into study more in order to strengthen my walk, so that, I might continue to be able to help others as He gives me opportunites, then I need to do that. There is something He wants to teach me. There is a fullness of joy that He wants to give me through what I put my time, energy, and hands to.

When He places a new desire in our hearts, He wants to DO something inside of us. If we change what is going on in our hearts, then we will see the results of strength, confidence, joy, and blessing. It will change how we appear on the outside also. We are never too old to learn from ourselves, as well as others. I want to be teachable, and able to help someone that might be in need of it. I can’t hear the needs if I’m so caught up in Facebook land. It’s called balance and I felt the pull toward less online time and more “living” time.

My take away in this last decision is this: I want to always be in a place where God can do His best work in me. Sometimes that means giving up something you felt was a calling. But maybe it was a season he called you to, and you need to be able to gracefully bow out. Maybe He has someone else in mind to take your place. In that season, you did your best work for Him. You helped, encouraged and directed people to who God is, and now He wants to further school you to give you even more influence and joy toward others. Exciting thought isn’t it? He wants to help you become even MORE effective than you are currently? We might have to take some risks with these new decisions, but even in those diffiuclt times, He is right there leading the way and encouraging you on!

Wisdom Corner

So…I am on a journey to explore just what He has for me. I feel the excitement building because I have been here before and it changes me every time! Deal with what is going on with you inside, because that makes all the difference on the outside. We don’t need to impress anyone with what we have. We don’t have to be perfect, or put on airs to appear that way. I certainly am not perfect by any means! But I do know the joy of obedience, and that my friend, is the key.

Stay with me here on the blog. This is where you will find me more active. I believe it is because I may be asked to share some of my journey as I go. God’s goodness to me requires a response. I am responding. Will you? Will you begin the excavating process in your heart to see what you might need to do to operate in total trust and joy with what change means in your life with Jesus? I hope so. I would love to hear if this touches your heart, and what you plan to do in your heart to make a change. Blessings!

My creative/study place.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

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