Building My Story on The Rock

IMG_0310Have you ever had someone say to you, “I was one decision away from a different life path in life.”?  I can relate to that.  I have had many points in my life been at a crossroads and my decision totally changed the trajectory of my life. I have not always chosen what was right for me, but often chosen out of compassion or not wanting to hurt feelings, rather than listening to the Holy Spirit that is sending me a different message and a different path to take.  Those decisions are so hard, aren’t they?  Sometimes there is so much to give up…but what if we listened to the hard message in the first place and didn’t take OUR decision, but listened to the leading of the Holy Spirit?  And…what if the Holy Spirit even sent friends along the way to ask you the hard questions about a decision you were making?  Ahhh…now THOSE are hard questions!  Here is another one for you…what if changes in your life circumstances mean that you NEED to consider yet another change in order for it to be the best yes in your life, and it will require a LOT out of you?  That’s not even to mention all those who think you are nuts to have done it in the first place, or they are thinking you can’t seem to make up your mind.

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Ever been in this situation?  Let me share mine, or yet another one of mine, with you.  A little over two years ago, it was our goal to move away from a very busy area, where noise of traffic and walking traffic kept us awake all hours of the night.  Didn’t mind the house, we even made some great improvements on the house that we really loved!!  But in order to move after retirement to where we could find affordable housing with a more quiet and peaceful surrounding, we made a move away from family and friends.  We have worked very hard on this home to improve it and make it our own.  Loved every minute of it!  I love the house, the quiet back yard and have spent many a morning and afternoon.

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So…here it comes…but before it does, I want to remind you that you need to build your house on the Rock.  That is where we can live strong.  Anyway, back to the story…it brings to mind this photo that I took several weeks ago with our grandson.  When I took this picture, I heard this message:  “Expect something ahead.”  Without going into detail, it made us reconsider what is important in the scheme of things for us.  But the reality is, we don’t know what is in our tomorrow.  Sometimes we have to make the hard choices now for the sake of the future choices.  So after much conversation, we have made the decision to put our “house on Bel Aire” on the market.  We will be moving back up north where we will have family closer and where I am blessed to have life long friends.  The hard part is that I have recently began to enjoy some sweet friends here also.  But… The Captain and I are used to the trip, so I expect I will still be coming this way to say hello.  I will have to come back to enjoy a refreshing visit to the ocean.

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So what have I learned through all of this?

  • I am not as young as I was since the last move.  My body gets weary quicker.
  • We have too much stuff, which someone in our household has trouble letting go of.
  • I have had fun sharing treasures with others.
  • Simplifying isn’t just something I think about, it is something my heart craves at this point in life.
  • Only I and God know the reasons for decisions made and I can’t care about who thinks what about it.
  • It’s sad to see JoAnn’s House on Bel Aire disappear into Real Estate Boring Decor.IMG_0095
  • Life is precious, and when the unknown rears up, I want to live out today fully alive.
  • Change is STILL hard.
  • I put my heart and soul into my home so I leave part of myself behind with every home.
  • It is important to pray for the next occupants of the home, that they found the joy I found in this home.
  • I don’t want to live with expectations, but with expectancy.
  • We get to start a new story; the next page can be the best written page in the story yet!
  • God resides IN me, so where ever I am, I am home.
  • I can’t control this, so I have to rest in Him.
  • I am STILL up for a good adventure.
  • I am never alone.  Ever.
  • I can travel more with my hubby when we have less to care for.
  • I appreciate each day we have to live with joy.
  • I have to be willing to give up what I want, for what may be better for someone else.

When we think we might have to give up something we love, God gives us a way to make it special in the next place we are by giving me a talented son who can repair and make it look new again.  That’s how God is.  He will sometimes take away, so He can make us new with a clean slate.  That was a heavy light we are taking with us.  And you can’t even see it hung there.  God is a carpenter too, and He knows how to put things together.  What a relief, huh???

So when you think God is out there, maybe in the distance, or far away, we are wrong.  Because…Jesus is in us.  He cares about what we care about.  And like an author said from a book I have been reading,  “God’s breath both creat and sustains our spirit, and that spirit was always meant to be His home.” …”We think of God as out there, somewhere, and search for Him as though He were lost.  In reality, our omnipresent Creator is “out there” and also “in here”.  Christ is within.  So being with God and remaining in Him are awakening to and exploring forever the biblical truth that we are God’s resting place.”  Alicia Britt Chole

So you see, no matter where I live, what home, or condo, or whatever kind of home we end up in, God is there because He lives IN me.  That is a comforting thought for me to be reminded of when I fret a little about where I will be.  I can rest in that knowledge.  He is IN me, and that is Home.  God always has a purpose, and if we are willing, He will  use circumstances to teach us and lead us in the direction we are to go next.

So…lead on Lord.  Your servant heareth.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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Your Words and Actions…Do They Line Up?

Do you ever think about your words and actions?  Do you think about what you say to yourself as well as others?  Do you think about what you do?  Does one line up with the other?  We learned all kinds of words in school.  We learned to pronounce them, spell them, and good and bad uses of our words.

I have noticed more and more lately, that our words do not line up very well with our actions.  We say one thing and do another.  We say we believe this, but our actions aren’t exactly a picture of what we say.  Or, our pictures in no way line up with our words or life style.  Oh, we know they are important.  We do.  But then maybe we want to impress someone, or we want to be “bad” or whatever we are wanting to portray, and we do something or say something that may not line up with the latest Bible verse post we just posted.  Or, maybe we are sharing something that only stirs the pot, instead of calming the storm.  If we are believers, then that is not the way God calls us to live.

I think you know your words have power, right?  Power to build up, or power to destroy; and I’m not talking about just those are around you.  I’m talking about you.  Your words or actions are your self-talk.  Self-talk has lethal effects on your thinking and brain.  Negative thoughts or attitudes is like injecting yourself with an addictive substance; an addiction to bad thinking.  We soon start believing it is true.  What do you see, or think about yourself, as you look in the mirror?  Do you tell yourself negative things?  Do you believe you are shining the light of Jesus in all you do and say with your words?  What about your actions?

I have always been a monitor of my self-talk and I have noticed a slight change in mine.  I’m not liking where it goes.  Oh sure, it is mostly my private time and no body hears it.  But…God does.  I do.  It changes how I feel about things, and the circumstance that is causing it.  Here is a good example.  When I take out The Captain, my Mini, I will get on a road where there isn’t that much traffic and let him go!!  I did that today.  Blow the carbon out, I call it.  It’s fun for me with the speed and the wind blowing in my hair.  But it’s also good for The Captain.  He sits a lot more than he should.  In essence, we need to do that with our thinking and feelings.  We can’t be governed by our thoughts and feelings because those just built up, clog up, and cause us to be sluggish and we may even have misfires.  If we allow God to help us clean out our “thinkers”, and replace those words with something powerful and positive, then we blow the carbon out of our innards and make it possible to run with the wind!  We can once again see our words lining up with our actions.  In scripture, God calls it renewing our minds.  Makes total sense to me why He tells us to do that so often.  Ask Him to renew your mind.  We NEED to allow Him to do it.  It isn’t likely we will do it on our own, given our devices.  We have to surrender it, and renew our thought life.

Why you may ask?  People watch you.  They see your posts.  They see your life style.  They see your actions in public.  It is a lot of responsibility.  I get that.  But God calls us to it.  He doesn’t tell us it’s going to be easy.  He may tap you on the shoulder many times in the next few weeks IF you agree to change things up.  We can’t bash a person to bits who thinks differently than we do in one post, and then post how much we love Jesus or a Bible verse about love, in the next one, unless we take down the bashing posts.  We can’t call someone a name, or use bad language, and then not expect those who know we are Christians not want to turn their heads sideways with a questioning glance, and be thinking… what?!?!???.  God expects us to be different.  As we ask God to renew our minds, we are asking Him for the Holy Spirit to work in us. He will, and He will do that by bringing us up short when we lean in the wrong direction.  But because we are the only Jesus that some will see, what kind of person do they perceive Him to be?

Before you say, “Humph! Who does she think she is?!”  I’m just a child of the King!  A child of a God who is pruning my tree pretty hard!  I just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone.  However, I AM allowing God to do the hard pruning.  I say ouch quite often.  But I can see His purpose in calling me out to become a better example of Him.  Like today, when someone went flying into the beach throwing dust and sand all over, I didn’t have nice things to say about how he was messing up The Captain and blowing that into the car.  But it didn’t take long and the Holy Spirit said, “Well now.  That didn’t take long.”  So I said, “Well…he was a nice idiot.”  I think I heard God clear His throat.  Ok…  I repented and asked forgiveness. That is key.  Give it to Him.  Be obedient right away.

Here are some ideas:  ask Him if this is what He wants you to say, or post, or share.  Is it edifying?  Will it reflect well on the person?  On me?  You aren’t responsible for others actions, only yourself.  We don’t have to like someone, but neither should we bash someone.  This idea that we just say what we think, is not wise.  What stirs us up, changes our thinking.  Let’s stir ourselves up for the Lord with good things, good thinking, and ask Him to help let His love shine through more than your own agenda.  Discipline…it takes a boat load of it.  However, the blessings easily overflow that boat if we empty it first of ourselves.  Just like in the photo of the gingerbread person at the top of the post, I have to be willing to let the Designer prune off what is around me that needs to come off, so that, you can see the creation that is meant to be.

I felt the sting of these words myself too so I don’t say them lightly.  It is my prayer that I see more of His glory in my living because I allowed Him into the dark places to do a little excavating in my inner self.  It is a healthy path and one that God certainly rewards.  I hope this encourages you to be more aware of God in the room than before you read this.  I know it has changed me.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Fall Is Here…Are You Ready?

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The other day was the first day of Fall.  Everyone put out their greetings for Happy First Day of Fall!  I, for one, am very glad of the changing season and all for it.  I much prefer the cooler weather, as I have mentioned before.  But the colors are beginning to be amazing, and pictures show the beauty of changing leaves and colors all around us.

What about our own personal seasonal changes?  Do we have seasonal changes?  Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter?  I think we do.  We have times in our lives where the change might be in hiding like the winter and then as we grow in the season of our life, we see changes springing up like Spring and new life begins to show up.  We blossom.  Although Fall comes where we see the changes more evident, I think it’s easy to see how we can mirror the seasons in our seasons of life.  What about that summer season?  Well, I know that I have had times in my life where I was put on the hot seat and it got pretty warm!  Fortunately, we can go the Water source for our supply to cool us down.  But can you begin to see how these seasons can remind us of our personal seasons in life?
Are you in a season of change in your life right now?  Do feel the cool of winter coming on and you feel likeIMG_2913 your branches have been pruned back so far your are they losing your grip on your life right now?  Maybe the fog has rolled in and you can see clearly what’s ahead.

I know for me, this last year has been a season of change in my life.  However, I have come to realize that I can sometimes feel change coming on and I know I’m in for an adventure!  I don’t know what is going to happen, but I know something is in the works.  How do I know that?  Because I have a relationship with Jesus.  I know Him well enough through my relationship with Him, that I can trust Him with the change He is bringing into my life. I know it is going to enhance my life, as well as, draw me closer to Him.  He has “new things” to show me.  His mercies are new every morning.  That means each day I am given the grace to face what my life brings, if I choose to accept it.  If I sit around and feel sorry for myself because all my leaves are falling off, and I’m open and bare to those around me, or even just within ME, then I lose all the work He is quietly doing through my winter struggles.  I won’t see the growth and benefit of Spring growth!  Just as I like the Fall and winter and spring seasons because they are cooler, I also enjoy those personal seasons also.  I have come to understand that each one has meaning for me and builds on the next; from glory to glory, as God tells us.

IMG_2857As I navigate through the “falling off” in my move further from my kids, grandson, and family and church family, He is drawing me closer to Him.  He has given me NEW things.  He has given me a new environment.  He has also set me apart, to have fewer distractions.  He will do that sometimes to finally get our attention.  However, I believe that He has new endeavors for me to involve myself.  He may be leading me to the point where He wants to do NEW things through me. Now THAT isn’t a new thing…He always wants to do new things through me.  I know He works through those who are willing to be used.  Now that is exciting!  It’s scary at times.  It’s lonely at times.  But He is never separated from me, unless I separate myself from Him.  He speaks through His Word, through people around me, and He may speak to another person’s heart to invite me to be involved in a “new thing”.  I just need to be willing to be obedient when He gives me something to do.

So…I am looking forward to falling leaves and changing colors.  Even the winter season where I can settle in on a cool evening and read or do what will grow my life through the leafless, bare branch times, and help me come out in the Spring with new thinking, new ideas, all new creative ways to live my life for Jesus, and even people to do that life with!

Here is a photography thought photo for you:

XT1In photography editing, you can have something called a filter or preset that is used to enhance your photo.  One click or maybe two, and supposedly, your picture is better.  Click and done.  Boom!   But God isn’t a one-click-and-done kind of God.  He wants to keep molding us until we go home to heaven.  He adds light where it may be dark.  He will give contrast in order to enhance what we see.  He will give clarity so we can see clearly what He desires us to see.  He can blur some of the hurtful things so they aren’t so much a part of our picture.  However, I would like to suggest that you don’t set your life and thinking on a preset.  You would be limiting what God wants to do in you by a click-and-done fix.  Give Him full access.  Let Him give you the settings.  The view through His viewfinder is SO much better.  He has a mega zoom lens and can see the end from the beginning.  He wants a life for you better that anything you can imagine.

I would encourage you not to look at this season of Fall in the same way again after reading this post.  Let the leaves fall.  It’s a good thing.  Remember something is falling off, so that, new growth will come.  Look at this time as a time of change.  Let winter come, because Spring and new growth are on the way!

Walking the journey with you…

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It’s A New Beginning

IMG_1392-2As I have been planning my new year, I just want to take this opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate your faithfulness in being a part of this community!  Sometimes, I’m not sure if it helps or encourages anyone, but then I will get a message from one of you and it is thanking me for post.  So, as a part of my new year, I will continue to share my thoughts and life with you in hopes that it will bring hope and encouragement to you just when you need it.

It has been an interesting start to my new year  I have been sick since shortly after the New Year.  I spent a week and a half just laying in bed, for the most part.  I tried everything imaginable to help myself get over it rather than getting a doctor appointment, spending the money on a co-pay, and have them tell me, “Just drinking lots of fluids and (take some over the counter thing) get lots of rest.”  So I doctored myself.  Did ok, but my tummy is seriously a mess from whatever it was I had.  The upside?  I can’t eat very much because of the tummy issues, and so I think I am losing some weight!  There IS a silver lining, right?  🙂

But I am excited about 2016 and have a few questions for you:

  • So what does your life look like as you start the year?
  • Are you happy to start something new?
  • Do you feel any anticipation about this year?
  • Do you breathe a sigh of relief that last year is finally over?

IMG_9330Go get your coffee, tea, hot chocolate, put your feet up for a few minutes and let’s chat about this.

What are you thinking as you live out the daily life of 2016?  It’s not about a list of dos and don’ts.  It’s about positive changes.  For me, I remember God’s faithfulness to me last year and all that He did, and I look with anticipation for all He will do this year.  But there is something about thinking of a new year that pushes us to believe that it is going to better than last year.  Really?  So… does that mean you are going to do something different this year in the way you live, the way you think, how you look at your life and circumstances, or trust God MORE than you trusted Him last year?  Because if we don’t change “us” then we don’t change this year either.  We will continue to have the same patterns.  There may be things that iron themselves out, but over all, we are the ones that change how things go for us because we change how we do our life.  We are the ones that choose how we look at things that happen around us.  Not everything happens to us, but it can feel like that sometimes.  I am thankful that I have a new year to change how I look at those times.

Here is what is different for me:

  • Go to God first!  Sometimes in the midst of emotions, we forget.  Prayer is the key even more than last year for me.
  • I have learned that making my life less busy helps me to concentrate more on the areas that I want to improve.
  • It is about looking at what is right, instead of all that is wrong.  I know for myself, I can get into what is wrong and right a book about it.  I don’t want to be an author of that kind of book of life.
  • I will look at what is right and build on it.
  • If I have a hard day, or even a few hard days, it doesn’t mean I have a hard life.
  • Just because things don’t go the way I would like them to go doesn’t mean that it’s going the wrong way.
  • Be IN God’s Word.  Get it down deep in my heart, not just in my head.

Take the walls down.  Lean on people God has placed around you.  Be a part of a community of people who you can go to and feel good about asking for help.  Learn to lean.  It’s ok to call someone and say, “I’m having a hard day and feel like I can’t keep going.  Could you pray for me?”

IMG_1374I have had some hard decisions that have had to be made just in the last couple of weeks.  It has been hard not to be disappointed, or get angry over the circumstances, or feel like I have always had to do things this way.   It would be nice for just once, to have it be different, where what is a problem is never an issue for me anymore.  Been there?  But when I start looking at through the lens of gratitude, things shift and God changes my heart.  I get back up, dust myself off, and say, “Ok Lord.  I don’t know the why, but I know YOU, and you do.  Now, help me, by the work of the Holy Spirit, to remember that the next time I’m a stinker about it.”  It’s like playing a detective about ourselves and asking ourselves the hard questions, but then walking it out when the answer comes.

I am seeking to live well.  I desire:

  • Having good health
  • Enjoying more quiet and reflective time
  • I desire to walk deeper in God’s Word
  • Spend designated time with my grandson
  • Appreciate more and more the nature around me and with my camera to document God’s goodness
  • More community with friends than last year
  • Put more of the music back in my life
  • Enjoy my heritage that God has given me
  • Get a ukulele and learn to play it
  • Live without regrets

_DSF4722-1I have a couple of pages in my little book so far of my goals for this year.  It’s fun to consider the journey God will take me on to enable me to fulfill desires I believe He has put on my heart.  I pray for each post that I write in hopes that it reaches hearts to encourage.  So my desire for you is that you are encouraged not to look at your life as something too busy to implement any changes, but as a new opportunity to live each day in the moment, and totally change your life from something you live each day to something that fulfills you each day!  God bless you to that end.

Walking the journey with you…

 

 

Travelers2…Again?

Church House
Church House

Have you ever daydreamed about something, mentioned something to someone, or even had a conversation about a particular dream you may have, and then had some immediate next step options put in front of you?  It is rather exciting to get a few confirmations here and there from those you may have talked with about it.  But, that isn’t where the confirmation needs to come from.  Anyway, that is kind of what happened to me this week.  Let me back track a little to catch you up.

Church House
Church House

One of my dreams I shared with you in my last post was to be able to live in the country.  But another dream I have always had is to find a church that is abandoned and see if we could buy it, or buying one that is for sale, and then live in it.  I wanted to continue to have the chapel part of the church, and use the other areas to make a home in.  I dreamed of small weddings and small receptions that could be held there for a reasonable amount of money rather than the prices some are having to pay for weddings now.  I wanted to offer it as a retreat for leaders or pastors to get-a-way and have a time of refreshing, to someplace they could afford.  Maybe even have a RV hook up or two, and a covered area for a picnic or small gathering.  And my one joy would be to see a church continue to be used as a church.  So there.  Now I have shared yet another of my dreams.

Church House
Church House

Now to catch you up…last week as I was looking for homes around my hometown of Stanwood, Washington for some reason all these other listings were coming into my list of homes for sale.  What did I come across?  I came across a log house church for sale in our price range!  First thought?  Wow!!  I’m IN!!  I just talked about dreams in the last week or so, and now this comes up unexpectedly where it shouldn’t even show up.  It would be country like.  Oh boy!  My mind starts going, prayers go up asking what God has in mind, and my decorating genes kick in!  Vrooooomm!!!!  There are SO many of the details that have come into play with this opportunity.  The kicker?  My family is here.  My friends are here.  BIG one…my grandson is here.  What do I do with that? I have done it before a couple of times, but it wasn’t fun being away from them and Ethan wasn’t in the picture.  I missed them all when I was away.  But as I thought about it, I am also not in the same place as I was at that time either.  I have changed.  However, my heart has also calculated the miles in terms of hours…about 5 hours or so.  That doesn’t seem like that much to me.  I traveled 4 hours to come up through traffic to see everyone when we lived in Aberdeen, Washington.  Have car will travel.

So what do I do with this opportunity?  We talk about it.  We put it in our circle of prayer and pray about it.  My sweetie thinks and contemplates about it.  He is no hurry.  We look at all the pros and cons, and then we pray some more.  Questions like, if something happened to either of us, would we want to continue to live that far from family?  (More my question that his.)  The HARD questions we have to ask.  And, we ask God to open doors that He wants opened, and close those doors He wants closed.  Maybe this opportunity is nothing more than God letting me know He is listening and He doesn’t forget our heart’s desires.  Or, maybe it is another opportunity for us to trust Him completely.  Or, we are to come away for a season of time to do something new that He has in mind.  I can see some great ministry from this sweet spot.  However, I don’t know.  BUT, I know the One Who does.

Church House
Church House

I am the type that has the thing decorated before we even see it.  That’s my personality.  So you can imagine how I have to temper the engines inside me to wait and see.  But God knows that about me too.  Isn’t it great that He understands all about us?  He knows the end from the beginning.  There may be a road trip in our very near future!  If you have a big decision coming in your future, do the work, pray it out, but above all, leave it in God’s hands and let Him work out ALL the details.  He is so good.  It will be just in time, with just the right details.

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Are You Satisfied With Where You Are?

Dance
Dance like no one is watching.

Happy January my friends!  I hope you have settled in to your new year and have a sense of expectation about what this new year will bring!  As I read over my hearts from my Gratitude Jar on New Year’s Eve, I was once amazed at all that the Lord had done!  Amazing!  It brings so many areas into perspective, and it once again, has changed who I am.

I have made some pretty drastic decisions at the beginning of this year.  My title question is, “Are you satisfied with where you are?” is a tough question for some to answer.  Did it bring some stirring to your soul?  Did you stop to ask yourself that question once you read it?  What was your answer?  There are two sides of the coin regarding that question for me.  I am satisfied in what God is doing in my life and lessons He is teaching me, however, I am never satisfied with where I am spiritually.  I will always want to move forward, learn more, apply more, press in more, and especially never be satisfied with where I am, but ask God to continue to take me where He wants me to be.  We can see the turn in the road ahead of us, but we don’t know what is around the corner.  I am always trusting that, just like I shared last time about God going with me wherever I go, He will lead me where I need to go if I will follow Him and trust that HE knows best for me no matter how it may look.

What have I been up to in my decisions for this year?  I felt the pulling of the Lord to get off of Facebook.  There are many reasons for that but suffice it to say, I do value my privacy when it comes to online.  I think there is also way too much time that I was spending there that He wants me to use for other things.  I did of lot of ministry and encouragement, which is my passion, but there are times that I felt God was telling me that it was becoming first in my life.  Now, did I go off of social media completely?  Pretty much.  I also closed my Twitter account and my LinkedIn account.  I now have anKey Moments Photography account on http://www.weme.com and I have loved the privacy and the ability to generate positive comments and posts.    And do you know what? I feel quite free!  I have more time and have accomplished so much more by not feeling compelled to check into all those things through out my day.  Even good things can pull us in directions that pull us away from God and HIS agenda for us. I’m happy about this change in me.

I am also working in areas of shedding unnecessary things from my schedule.  I want to have a soul at peace and our souls are not at peace unless we are making our schedule allow time for nurturing our soul.  I am doing that everyday and that makes a big difference in my response to my day.  Busyness is the downfall of so many things and we think we can’t change it because that is just what life is for us right now.  But it doesn’t have to be.  When the soul isn’t nourished and on center, we can start thinking wrong thoughts and go ways which are NOT best for us.

Another area that I have made changes is to change things in my home and streamline.  I am sharing things with others, give away items to Goodwill, and clear out the clutter.  Oh what a feeling!  I have done a little each day and quite pleased with the results. God doesn’t want us to live in clutter and chaos.  It’s hard to relax when we live that way.  He wants us to enjoy the life that He gives us if we are willing to make some sacrifices.  That’s right.  It takes sacrifice to make the changes that I have made or that you need to make.  But when we are obedient to what God asks of us, He will bless the results.  He will help us to let go.

IMG_5522So, ask yourself the question once again, and then pray about what lesson God may have for you.  I don’t feel I write the posts for not.  I believe when God lays something on my heart to write about, it is for someone; sometimes a reminder for myself, and other times for someone out there.  I pray you will take it to heart and do what you need to do.  I want to always be moving forward and never be satisfied with where I am until the time when Jesus takes me home.  Does that mean I feel pressured to always be at it?  Be the best at everything?  Nope.  I rest in His unchanging grace and ask Him to make the ride with me and advise my direction.  I hope you will too!

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Who Do You Travel With?

64 Chevy
Image from BringATrailer.com

There are always hiccups in life.  For example, I had this post almost ready to publish and I come back to find it is gone.  So, I will go at this one more time!

I have been doing a lot of re-evaluating for this coming year, so it has set my brain to thinking.  A lot of thinking.  I have been in the process of writing the rest of my goals for this year and two of the most important for me are:

  • Be diligent about my study of God’s Word more than ever before
  • Study of the Holy Spirit
  • Effectual Prayer through the leading of the Holy Spirit

That is now part of my prayer life; asking God to lead and direct this study He has laid before me.  With that in mind, let me share with you what happened the other day.  But first, let me ask you a question.  What is the purpose of a HOV lane?  We often take them when we are going into a high traffic area, right?  We use them because they can help us circumnavigate a very busy traffic area.  I like it when I can drive by all the long lines of cars and I smile as I go.  However, I can only go in that lane if I have more than myself in the car.  So as I was driving with my sweetie into Seattle the other day, this whole little scenario played out in my head and heart.  Taking the HOV lane helps me avoid sitting in traffic and avoiding obstacles that can come from heavy traffic.  But if I have a person riding with me, I can avoid those obstacles better by going through the HOV lanes with my riding partner.

I felt God was telling me that this year, I need to be aware of His desire to be my cruising partner.  Oh I know.  Things aren’t always perfect in the HOV lanes either.  But they sure have a likelihood of a much easier drive.  So God wants to be in the driver’s seat with me so He can help me avoid heavy traffic and difficult drivers.  He can guide me around obstacles.  He can make my crooked places straight.  And…He wants to do it!  I COULD live my life and do things for myself as so

JoAnn Shiley Photography
JoAnn Shiley Photography

many are doing; leaving God out of the equation.  But I would be in for some rough rides if I do that.  When we choose to leave Him out of our daily lives and dealings, then we can’t be upset when things become more and more difficult.  We can look like the child who says, “I want to do it myself!”  It usually isn’t that successful and it isn’t what He wants for us.  Now that is NOT to say that having Jesus as your pilot or driver means that all will be well with you all the time.  We know that God says in His Word that we will all have times of trouble.  BUT, God is there to drive the journey with you.

I have decided this year to heed His call on my life even more carefully, to make changes that allow me to put Him in the driver’s seat more and more.  I need to let Him do the driving and I can look out the window and enjoy the ride!  See what He wants me to see.  Help where He wants me to help.  Go where He wants me to go!  We can cruise, Jesus and I!  I like that picture.  Cruisin’ with Jesus!

What other areas are changing for me?  I have made the decision to leave Facebook and Twitter.  Instead, I am establishing myself over at MeWe.com.  I have enjoyed the ad free, politically free, bad language and suggestive behavior free connection that is available to me there.  It is quite refreshing!  The best thing?  I am excited about the change.  I have those who I know won’t add another social website in order to stay in touch and that’s ok.  But God has led me to this change and I think He has His own plan in mind, and since I am into His plan BIG time this year, I’m ALL IN!  I’m cruisin’ with Jesus…the wind blowing in my hair and my hands in the air!  Free!

How about you?  Do you feel a leading in a certain direction or area of your life?  Feel free to share your thoughts.

Cruising’ (in a 1964 white Chevy Impala, which was my car in high school) the journey with you…

~JoAnn