Archive | April, 2013

Blessed

25 Apr

blessings

This is the third week of the Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study titled, Stressed Less Living by Tracie Miles. We are learning all about stress in this study and I hope I am able to keep it in check more often upon the completion of this study since it is a problem I have dealt with for a long time in my life. This week, I decided to talk about my most precious blessings in my life. It helps me put my mind into perspective and be truly grateful for everything God blesses me with each and every day. I know I don’t always show Him how grateful I am for everything He gives me, but know that He knows my heart and how much I love Him. I am learning to be more grateful for all my blessings because I realize at any time they could be taken away from me without a single notice. I cannot begin to think how my life would be different without my many blessings in life. This is why I think it is utmost important for us to be thankful for all the gifts we received from our Lord and Savior. When we learn to savor all the blessings in our life, it keeps us more focused on Him and less focused on our problems that cause us to stress out. Below I have listed some of my most precious blessings and the reason why they are the most important to me.

jesus loves me

My Relationship with God – I could never imagine my life without my Lord and Savior because He has been there for me to lift me up when I was down and helped save me from some pretty tumultuous times in my life. I asked God into my heart when I was 25 years old and felt it has been the best decision of my entire life. God is my peacemaker, comforter, strength, and salvation. Philippians 4:13 (NIV) ~ “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

family

Family – First of all, let me just say that I feel I was blessed with the best parents a person could ever have in life. My mother is my “rock” in life and someone I can always go to about anything because she understands me the best out of all members in my family. She is also not just a mother, but one of my best friends. My dad went to be with the Lord on August 1, 2010 and I will forever miss him. He is always in my heart and I will never forget about him. You don’t realize how much you love someone until they are gone. Luckily, I know I will see him and the rest of my loved ones in Heaven one day when He calls me home. I am the oldest of three girls in my family. I have two younger sisters who are both happily married with children. I am also a proud Aunt of 5 nieces and nephews who I adore as if they were my own. Last, but not least, I also have two of my own children, Brittany and Meredith, up in Heaven who I cannot wait to be reunited with one day. I learned a long time ago we all need people in our life, and I cannot imagine going through life without the people who I trust the most, my loving family. Exodus 20:12 (NIV) ~ “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

Friends – I have always valued every single friendship I have in life because I hold my friends close to my heart and am thankful to God for having each one of them in my life. My dearest friend, Karen and I have been friends for nearly 26 years. She knows me better than I know myself sometimes, is always there for me, and always gives me great advice when I ask her for some in my life. Friends are someone we can always open our hearts to and someone who will always love us for the person we are today. I have met some of my dearest friends at church who have been absolutely amazing sisters in Christ. Romans 12:10 (NIV) ~ “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

My Health – I am also very thankful that God has provided me with good health all the years of my life thus far. I am grateful for every breath I take every second and each new day I am blessed to be alive in order to honor Him. You learn to be grateful for your health even moreso when you witness to one of your family members being sick in the hospital. All I can say is I felt somewhat helpless when my late father was in the hospital before he passed away because I felt helpless. I wish there would have been more that I could have done for him. But, in the end, I realized that he was grateful to have me by his side during his final days before his death. I will the first one to admit that I am not one who is good at tolerating pain, so I pray to the good Lord that I do not have many painful ailments during my lifetime. Luckily, He never gives me more than I can bear in life, so I can always count on that promise when I am sick. In Chapter 2, when Tracie Miles was talking about all the health risks involved with not getting stress under control in your life was a huge wake up call for me. I realized from that day moving forward that I want to do everything possible to keep my stress under better control, because I do not want to be at higher risk of developing severe health problems. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV) ~ “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Doxie

Chloe

My Two Dogs, Doxie and Chloe – I am one of the biggest avid pet owners you will ever meet in your life. My two sweet and loving dachshunds are the joy of my life and I refer to them as my children. I love them and spoil them as if they were my very own children. Doxie, my 16 year old I have had since she was 6 weeks old, has been through some of the rough patches in my life and I am thankful I had her to come home to everyday. Dogs always have a way of cheering you up when you walk in the front door because they always act like they have not seen you in a long time. They are so happy to see you so they can love on you. Chloe, my 2 year old is a dog that I rescued from the street in my neighborhood. She has been a great blessing in my life too and am glad that she has come along to keep Doxie company when I am not at home. I never imagined having two dogs at once since I generally only have one at a time, but when I came across Chloe I could not imagine my life without her. Genesis 1:26 (NIV) ~ “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

The Holy Bible – I am also grateful that I can read God’s word in the Bible everyday. It draws me closer to Him and helps me stay focused on Him and His promises for my life. Anytime I am going through something in my life, I find I am at more peace when I go to His word. Psalms and Proverbs are my two favorite chapters in the Bible, but every chapter is important to the life of a Christian. I think it is important to commit to reading the Bible everyday so I can make an effort to read the entire book every year. This is the most important book I will ever read in my lifetime because it is our basic instructions before leaving Earth to spend eternity with God in Heaven when He calls us home. Joshua 1:8 (NIV) ~ “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Online Bible Studies – This is my fourth bible (previous studies include Unglued by Lysa Terkuerst, Greater by Stephen Furtick, and Let.It.Go. by Karen Ehman) study to complete on Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies and continue to enjoy it more and more with each new study. I have made some amazing friends through the small groups and have been blessed to have two great leaders. I gain a lot of perspective from others based on our chats in small group and reading all the fabulous blog posts every Thursday. The conference calls are also worthwhile the time and money because they always have some very inspirational speakers lined up with each study. Everyone is always encouraged to participate and spend time in His word during these studies. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) ~ “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

spring blessings

God’s Creations (Nature) – Isn’t it amazing to wake up each morning and enjoy all the beautiful creations that God created for us to enjoy each day? I love to look out the window at the sun glaring in my face, the smell of mowed grass, the smell of rain, the smell and feel of all the vibrant flowers, etc. I love going to the Hill Country this time of year and look at all the beautiful wildflowers along the way. It is also a lot of fun to watch the birds in the birdbath, eating off the birdfeeder, and the squirrels chase the acorns up the trees. I see many animals when I go outside because I live in the country. I see my share of rabbits, roadrunners, deer, raccoons, squirrels, armadillos, and possums which is great since I love all animals. Genesis 1:26 (NIV) ~ “ Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Shelter – I am glad to live in a house because it keeps me out of harm’s way and keeps me warm at night. I feel a heightened level of security where I live since God has provided a roof over my head every day. I don’t even take something like shelter for granted because I am truly grateful to God. I also like the fact that I like my living quarters better today than where I used to live in an apartment because I love the peace and quiet. You live in more confined quarters at an apartment complex, so there tends to be quite a bit more noise than in a house. Psalms 27:5 (NIV) ~ “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”

Food – I always thank God at mealtime for the food He has blessed me with for the nourishment of my body. Food is important because it gives us strength and the nutrients needed to maintain life everyday while we are on Earth. Food is vital for the growth and maintenance of the human body. There is nothing better than food fresh from the garden and farm. I have so much fun planting my own crops in the garden where I live because it beats the store bought items regarding freshness and taste. I am starting to learn the importance of a healthy and balanced meal in addition to a daily dose of exercise for overall well-being. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV) ~ “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Water – I am even thankful for the water that God supplies me with each day so I can fill up when I get dehydrated. This time of year is not hard to get that way with the warmer temperatures and with summer being just around the corner. Water is one of those essentials we need in life to help maintain our living existence. I have started drinking a glass of water about 30 minutes before mealtime because it makes me feel more full when I go to sit down and eat my meal. I am not tempted to eat nearly as much since I am all about portion control these days so I can lose some much needed weight. I am also grateful for ice because without water I would not be able to enjoy my cold drinks. John 4:14 (NIV) ~ “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

My Pastor – I am amazingly blessed to have my current pastor. I have never had a pastor quite like him before because he is very passionate about other people (mercy is his spiritual gift), he truly loves the Lord, and his sermons each week are filled with powerful messages and God’s word. I pray he is with the church for a long time because I am so proud to be a member of his congregation. I was in his wife’s Sunday School class before I joined an all lady’s class a few months ago. They are both such amazing people and I am glad they are both a part of my life. I will never forget the remarkable service that he performed at my late father’s funeral and how he came to visit my dad in the hospital before his passing. One can just fill the love in him whenever they are around him. Psalm 37:23 (NIV) ~ “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.”

My Church – I am also thankful for my wonderful church because of all the wonderful sisters in Christ I have met and all the great opportunities I have had to minister to others. It is a big church that continues to grow each month so there are always lots of ways to get involved in the church. I have always felt very comfortable being part of a big church because it gives me the opportunity to meet and serve more people. I love to sing in the choir because I am constantly singing all the time. Also, I like taking part in Bible studies at my church so I can learn more about the Lord and grow closer to Him. Acts 2:47 (NIV) ~ “Praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

My Part-Time Job – I am grateful to my local fire department for allowing me to assist them every day in assigned tasks in order to help reach out and help my local community. I was working with them on a volunteer basis for a few months before they decided to hire me as a part-time independent contractor. I am the Secretary for the department and I enjoy it because I get to work with everyone and help others. I have always thought of firemen, policemen, doctors, etc. as my heroes because they are out there saving lives every day in their profession. I admire them so much for their courage and for what they do each day to help others! I am being put through a real test right now because I have been looking for a full-time job over the last nine months and have not had any luck yet. I continue to pray about it and it is my hope that eventually God will lead me to my dream job that I have been waiting for several months. This is a true test of waiting on the Lord and His timing because it is easy for me to get anxious at times. I desperately want to work more hours in order to help others and a way to support myself. I continue to ask others to pray for me in this area of His plan for my life. Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) ~ Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Volunteer Opportunities – I tend to look for ways I can help out in my local community while I am not working full-time because it allows me the opportunity to meet some new people and a way to network with other businesses in town. My current part-time job is primarily on the weekends and evenings, so I can easily work in a full-time job during the day. I know there is a reason God allows me to work in all my volunteer opportunities so I can still serve Him until He leads me to my next full-time job. I am not type of person to sit at home all day and do nothing because I tend to get bored easily if I am not doing something. I actually find more opportunities to witness to people in my volunteer jobs because I enjoy talking about God to others and share His love with them. I like to hand out little new testament Bibles to people who may not know about the Bible and do not have a relationship with the Lord. Lucky for me, there are several Christian organizations in my area where I am able to do volunteer work so I can minister to others in public. Acts 20:35 (NIV) ~ “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

After making note of my many blessings this week, it makes me realize how fortunate I am in life and how much God has truly blessed me and my life. Do you take the time every day to thank God for the many blessings in your life? He wants us to come to Him when we are stressed out just as much as He wants us to turn to Him and thank Him for the great things in our life. Thank you Jesus!

Mirror Mirror

18 Apr

god will see you through

I just wanted to take a moment to welcome everyone who takes the time to stop by and read my blog each week. It is time to embark on week 2 of our current Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study titled, Stressed Less Living by Tracie Miles. I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing study in hopes of finding some solutions to a problem that I have dealt with for many years in my life…STRESS! In Chapter 2 of the book, we were asked to complete an assessment to determine our stressors in life, how they have impacted our life, and whether we were prepared to make the necessary changes to overcome them. I can honestly say I am ready and more than capable of making any changes necessary to alleviate some of the stress from my life because I am well aware of the situation that could arise from not changing. The last thing I want to further complicate my situation is to deal with insurmountable health problems considering the fact that my body is God’s temple. Admittedly, some of us have a hard time taking a long hard look at ourselves in the mirror because we don’t like what we see. But, taking the steps to invest the time needed to take a hard look at how stress is affecting our life can help motivate us to see the necessary changes that are needed to have a positive impact with this problem.

mirror

In the chapter, the author discusses the fact that we are facing a serious epidemic with obesity in this country. I tend to agree with Tracie when she said she felt that a lot of people are likely facing obesity in their lives due to stress. I can speak from experience on this very subject because I will admit that I am an “emotional eater.” I tend to go through my bouts of depression, disappointment, heartache, anxiety, and fear which will ultimately lead me to food. Growing up, my parents would always tell me that I could not leave the table until I finished all my food on the plate. They would tell me that leaving food on the plate was wasteful and should not be thrown away. So, I probably think I have dealt with some level of stress much longer than I ever thought, even though it was likely a more mild case all those years ago. When I am feeling stressed, I need to remember to go to God and ask for His help rather than submit to eating food that can harm my body. I have often thought of food as comfort to me because it is something I enjoy eating and something that tastes good to me. When you think about it, it is only a temporary fix in regard to the problem and can further complicate the situation if you continue down the same path every time. I need to find other creative ways to resort to turning my mind away from food and seeking His help in prayer. I could easily go for a nice walk outside, catch up on reading one of my favorite books, watching a movie with a friend, etc. We have the motivation within ourselves to change our eating habits since everything is possible with God. For instance, my mother attended a nutrition class a few years ago and has lost over 100 pounds to date. She decided one day after being overweight for years that she wanted to make a change in order to live a longer life. There have also been other times in my past when I have not been accessible to food and resort to another habit that I am not fond of today. For years, I have been a frequent nail biter when I am stressed or dealing with anxiety in my life. I desire to have pretty hands like everyone else, but I always feel the need to hide them out in public because I do not want others to see them. I am happy to say that I have now gone a total of 5 months without biting my nails which is a huge accomplishment for me since I do not seem to have the urge to bite them as much nowadays. This is the longest amount of time I have ever gone without biting them. This habit also seems to run in my family since one of my sisters and my mother also had this habit growing up. So, I can no longer make up excuses to resort to different habits that ultimately hurt my body due to stress. My resistance for change is the only thing that has held me back this long.

scale

In conclusion, I would say the biggest change I need to make in my life is I need to get on a healthy diet and exercise regime every day. When I was in high school, I ran a total of six miles every day since I was part of the cross country team. I can reflect back on how healthy I was years ago and how good I felt after a long workout. It is amazing how much more energy a person has after each workout and how much better you feel on the inside. I have learned over the years that exercise is a great stress reliever as well. Making a workout fun is all about finding something you enjoy doing because then it doesn’t feel like exercise. I am now in my late forties and know that it is harder to lose weight the older we get, so I need to invest some valuable dedication to this problem before it leads to bigger problems in my future. It won’t be an easy battle, but one I finally need to come to terms with since I do not want to carry on like this in my life anymore. I am a big fan of the tv show, “The Doctors” and have heard them say that leading an active life and a healthy diet leads to a happier and prolonged life. Admitting this truth in my life is very hard because I know it requires me to make a big adjustment in my life. But, I know I can do whatever is deemed necessary to glorify God and His temple. Now, all I need is a little time and perseverance to start marching down that road to better health. In the future, I want to be able to look in the mirror and feel completely content with self-image.

medical

“Dear Lord, I never realized that ignoring my stress signified that I didn’t care about my body, your temple. I simply never considered the fact that my stress could take such a huge toll on me physically. Ashamedly, I also never recognized the toll it was taking on me spiritually. I ask for your forgiveness for allowing my stressful circumstances to pull me away from you, instead of pushing me toward you. I am beginning to see that, though I have been blinded to it until now, stress is a bigger problem in my life than I once thought. Jesus, please fill me with peace and assurance that you are with me, even though I have abandoned you and even though I have felt abandoned by you at times. Forgive my doubting heart. Help me to remember that you never leave or forsake your children and that I can trust that you are always with me. Empower me through your Spirit to take a stand for my health, my family, my future, and my faith and to persevere in whatever it takes to gain control of my life again. Walk beside me as I embark on this journey to be less stressed and as I open my spiritual eyes to see and feel you at work, especially on the hardest of days. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” (pg. 58-59)

psalm 107

Our reflection verse this week was Psalm 107:19 (NIV) ~ Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. God is always there for us when we call out for His help in our life. He hears us every time we speak to Him and wants to help us during our times of distress, but expects us to call out to Him when we need it. He desires to have that personal relationship with us which is why He wants to hear from us because He loves us. Have you spent some much needed time with the Lord today to help you overcome those battles in your life that cause you to stress out? God is the answer to everything!!!

Bound Together Book Review and Recommendation

13 Apr

bound-together

In the book of Genesis, we learn Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden which resulted in all of us being condemned to death for this sin. Do you ever ask yourself why it seems unfair that we all received an unjust punishment for the act of someone else who lived long ago? One must go back to the beginning when Adam chose to sin and be disobedient to God to fully grasp the principle of the rope. This is where it all started and as a result how we are all being condemned for his past sin. From this story, we realize that Satan is out to destroy our lives in any way possible (i.e. deceit, lies, etc.) if it turns us away from God. This story is linked to the plot of this book since it starts out talking about the original sin of Adam. Chris Brauns, a pastor and author of this book, references bible verses throughout the book that clarifies his points about how and why we are bound together.

The book is divided into two sections – understanding the principle of the rope and applying the principle of the rope. In the first part, the author discusses the truth behind the principle of the rope. Regardless of our circumstances, we are all put on this Earth to fulfill His purpose since He already has our life planned out for us. We are all bound together no matter how we choose to live our life, and the outcome is affected by our actions and those around us. Several stories from the bible are interspersed throughout the book on how we have been bound together for many decades. We learn from the various stories that we are influenced by the actions and decisions of others. The gospel is the one thing that can never separate us from God’s love, not even the rope that binds us to Adam. When we are roped to Christ, we are more tightly roped to Him than Adam. The fact of the matter is we all sin because we are all sinners, which is why God died on the cross to save us all from our sins. The truth is we live in a fallen world, so despite our intentions, we are not able to change the fact that we are surrounded by sin in the world and our life. As much as we may try to deny this principle, we must learn to live with it regardless of how we feel about it. “But we can do more than merely accept it as true; we can revel in this truth, knowing that through our identification with Christ and or union with Him, we have hope for the future.” Based on God’s word, we realize the rope of our union with Christ is stronger than the rope of original sin.

In the other half of the book, Brauns discusses several of the different ways we are bound to others in our life due to the principle of the rope. We are not to blame our wrongdoings on the actions and choices of others from past or present generations. We all suffer through sin since we are roped to Adam, but we must not put the blame on others since we all have a choice in the end. God knows we all sin, but He forgives those who repent after they have committed a sin. We are bound together in all aspects of our lives, but below are a few different areas the author discusses in his book.

 *We are Bound Together for Joy. It is evident throughout scripture that God longs for us to be joyful in our life. Today, we live in a superficial world where people are consumed by greed and other things they believe will help make them happier than God. Joy is intertwined to our union with Christ through fellowship with other believers. The author illustrated how important it is for us to be bound together with our brothers and sisters in Christ and how the church is bound together with Christ. We can only be guaranteed a joyful ending if we choose to follow Jesus Christ in our lives.
 *We are Bound Together in Marriage. We learn the real meaning of matrimony and the relationship is understood when they grasp the fact that couples are intimately connected by one flesh. This is why it can be such a painful experience for those who suffer the loss of a spouse through death or divorce. It is important to review the roles of a couple because it signifies how the husband and wife are bound together. God calls each person in a marriage to willingly surrender to each other in love in obedience to Him.
 *We are Bound Together by Familly. We can endure sorrow, pain and hurt associated with another family member. Regardless of our past, we can turn our life around if we choose to walk in grace and live our life for Christ. We must remember that all things are possible with Christ. Satan is constantly trying to turn us away from God by trying to convince us to focus on ourselves and our circumstances rather than us staying focused on finding strength from God in all situations.
 *We are Bound Together by Death. As Christians, we have no reason to fear death because we will reside in Heaven with God and have eternal life with Him. In order for Christians to be confident about the end of their temporary life on Earth, they must realize and understand how they are bound together with Christ. Christians reap benefits based on their solidarity with Christ through eternal glory, death without fear, and forgiven for our sins.
 *We are Bound Together by Our Country and Culture. In this final chapter, the author discusses how we are bound together in this country and our culture by emphasizing the difference between radical and biblical individualism. More people seem to be consumed with their own individual needs for their own gain rather than the core values and principles that make this entire world great as a whole for the benefit of everyone. In today’s world, the problem is more people are turning inward which leads them to be less interested, uninformed, pessimistic, or at most slightly engaged about the real world. Evil is prevalent in the world today because Satan wants to destroy our lives when we are not bound to Christ. Biblical individualism occurs when people realize they are not separated by the rest of the nation. The reality of our action lies in accepting the fact that we choose to act for the sake of others, not ourselves. This is important because our actions should be based on glorifying God and others instead of ourselves. It is apparent that we will forever be bound together and can choose to live a rejoiced life rather than one of solitude. Each person can have eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, even though we are all condemned to death for Adam’s sin.

In the end, we all have a choice to make in how we apply the principle of the rope in our own life. We soon realize how much we really do need people in our lives and how we will always be bound together regardless of how we live our lives. In the foreward of the book, Michael Wittmer sums it up best when he stated, “It explains how the gospel works and why our individualistic age lacks the basic syntax to make sense of it.” The rope as explained in this book illustrates the fine line between a choice of sin and salvation. The timing of this book is of the essence based on the impact of the events happening in our nation today. This book is well-written, interesting, and will give the reader a far better understanding of Adam’s sin and how it affects all of us in a bad and good way. By the time you get to the end of the book, you realize the good far outweighs the bad regarding the principle of the rope, and how that applies to your relationship with Jesus Christ.

A special thank you to Zondervan and Cross Focused Reviews for providing me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Real Problem

10 Apr

This is my first blog post for a brand new Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study that just started this past Sunday titled, Stressed Less Living by Tracie Miles. I was beyond psyched about starting this study since the topic of discussion is about something I am faced with every day in my life. If you encounter stress in your everyday life, then I recommend that you keep reading because I want to share some things with you that just might help you in dealing with this vicious cycle that we call stress. I am writing about one of the seven sections in the first chapter that really hit home with me as I was turning the pages in the book. It seems I encounter the most stress when I am at work because of the incessant deadlines, dealing with conflicting personalities, internal drive to always do my best to succeed in everything I do, frustration over a challenging new task, trying to get to work on time every day, and the added problems that are associated with being a perfectionist.

garfield stress pic

For as long as I can remember, I have always thought I am my own worst enemy in dealing with everyday situations and problems. A lot of my stress is brought on by myself since I know that we are always responsible for our own stress. On page 25, there is a section called, When God Steps In that I felt I could really relate to the most based on the fact that I endure most stress in the workplace. Each morning when I walked into the office, my internal thoughts used to say “Good Morning, let the stress begin.” I admit that I always work hard at my job because I want to prove to my supervisor that I am a good worker and hopefully they will recognize that fact which will ultimately lead to a promotion within the company. I think this is something that most of us probably strive for in life because we love the additional responsibility, the feeling of success associated with a promotion, and for monetary reasons if it is needed to make a living for you and your family. There have been many times when I feel I get wrapped up in the everyday tasks in my job that I let the stress naturally get to me because I am trying to meet a deadline or doing whatever it takes to succeed in the company and be the greatest asset possible. I tend to be good at prioritizing my work so I can always beat the deadlines and work ahead as much as possible as time permits in my schedule. Whenever given the chance, I am also the first one to volunteer to take on new tasks since I love learning new things and desire to be a bigger asset to the company.

post-it note image

Based on my past experiences with stress, I have learned I can only do so much in a given day and that my work will be there tomorrow when I return to my desk. We live in such a competitive and fast-paced world today that I feel it is sometimes an excuse to get too focused on my tasks at hand rather than on God throughout the day. “But since I obviously didn’t know then that God had a plan and could only see the chaos that I called my present day life, it took me several years to listen to his call and be strong enough in my faith to pursue the career path he had planned for me.” (pg 25) Nowadays, I have learned to get up from my desk and walk around for a few minutes just to get my focus off work and spend some much needed time with God. It is amazing how much better I feel when I turn over my stressful moments at work to Him because I learn to slow down, breath, and know everything will work out for His good. I always try to go to work every day with a perspective that I am there to do God’s work since I want to glorify Him in all that I do. It is thanks to Him that I have the job, so naturally I want to do the best job I can while I am there each day.

work prayer

Now that I am older and have gained more wisdom, I can say that I know to always rely on God at all times…even those moments when I am feeling stressed about something. I could also relate to the part in the section where Tracie talks about how God calls us to do things outside our comfort zones. This is something I have also had to face in my past job because public speaking does not come easily for me. As a matter of fact, I would say it is my biggest fear in life because I fear being ridiculed by others. Put me in a room full of people I know and I don’t have a problem, but with strangers it is just the complete opposite. People are always shocked to learn that I have a fear of public speaking since I am always well versed when talking out loud to others in my everyday encounters. When God calls us to do something outside our comfort zones, it can easily turn into a stressful situation. For years, I have always admired professional speakers who can easily get in front of a crowd and talk to them like they have known the audience members for years. It just comes so naturally for them and have often wished I had that gift rather than being fearful of it. As you get up in front of a crowd more, the easier it becomes but I have never gotten completely comfortable with it to this very day. The worst speeches of my life took place when I was in college and was being graded by my professors based on the content as well as the actual speech. That is not exactly the biggest confidence booster! But, as I have gotten older, I realized it is easier to talk in front of a crowd when I talk about something I am passionate about in life. “But I learned that God’s call on our lives will always be something outside comfort zones, and sometimes beyond our wildest imagination.” (pg. 27) I have also discovered that when I talk about something I am passionate about in life, the audience seems to be a lot more intrigued by my speech and listen to what I have to say on the topic. In return, I feel more relaxed and more confident in what I am saying to the audience which results in a better speech.

In conclusion, as I go through this study, it is my hope that God will be able to help me better cope with this problem in my life and help me find beneficial techniques that will alleviate it. Stress is not good for anyone and it can lead to so many more problems – health and emotional issues that lead to destruction in our life. So, from this point forward, I intend to stay focused on God and allow Him to help cure me of stress in my life. It is easy for me to say this since stress recently impacted my life about three months ago. When I went to my last checkup with my dentist this past January, I discovered that I grind my teeth at night when I am sleeping. My dentist said that cracks were starting to form on my back teeth where the grinding was taking place. Naturally, I was completely shocked to learn this news since it was occurring while I slept at night. For the past few months, I am learning to sleep with a plastic mouth guard to break the habit of grinding my teeth at night. My dentist told me that the primary cause for grinding teeth during your sleep is related to stress. For the first week after I started wearing the guard, it felt weird and it was quite challenging to get a good night sleep. I pray I do not have to wear it for the remainder of my life, but if I do then I will manage since I know I need to take good care of my teeth for health purposes. One of the bible verses I was reminded of this week during this study was Romans 8:28 (NIV) ~ “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So, as we embark on this study together, it is my hope that everyone can learn to live a life of more joy filled with peace and not so much stress. Just remember, God had each one of our lives planned out before we were even born, so I know He has much bigger and better plans for our lives than to deal with stress on a daily basis. I am ready for more tranquility in my life starting today!

romans 828

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