Time Out

You know that tightness in your chest? Like you can’t catch a deep, cleansing breath? Sometimes as a wife, mother, entrepreneur, I have 80 browser tabs open inside my head at once. Mentally, I’m shifting and rearranging the most important tabs to the front all throughout the day. And when I get tired, I usually end up closing one by mistake, which inevitably leads to dropping one or all of the balls!

It can be overwhelming, and there are moments when I have to stop and give this mom a time-out to prevent ball-dropping and insanity. Lately though, my emotions have been more of fear mixed with frustration, mostly because of the way the world is looking these days. Uncertainty mixed with more uncertainty on the horizon. The Bible has told us what to expect, but watching to see how it plays out is another thing altogether. How much time is left? What does the future look like for us? For our son? What kind of world will be waiting for him when he matures? What will his peer landscape look like? I’ve worn God’s ears and my own mind out asking a million questions. I still don’t have all of the answers. But I know this much— giving myself a time out, time to withdraw from the noise and confusion of this world and into the presence of Jesus, is time well spent. And the most beautiful thing is you can time out wherever you are, at any time, whenever needed. It’s free and it’s unlimited.

Time-out from the world to have a time-in with Jesus lets me renew my mind and my strength. It’s like sitting in your favorite chair with your favorite coffee and being with your best friend. It just feeds your soul. I used to allow myself a few minutes of social media and TikTok as a means of escaping thinking about the heavy things of life, but I found that, while some videos were funny or ridiculous, it left me feeling more tired in the brain. And the time itself was just wasted. But time in his presence… ahhhhh….

I love how Zephaniah calls out God’s delight in us. It says, “he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” He is with us. He is mighty to save us from our fear, from our overwhelming thoughts, and time in his presence brings us back to the awareness of his deep love for us. Scripture states he’s singing joyfully over us, like a father singing to his child.

When my son Andrew was still a baby, my husband used to sing “Sweet Child of Mine” over him when he cried. This passage reminds me of that time, and my husband, with joy and love plastered all over his face, rocking our son and singing, no matter how LOUD Andrew was scream/crying! Andrew loves music and singing to him always calms him quickly. It’s the same for us.

If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, afraid, or just angry, just GO and meet with Jesus. You can be honest with him about your feelings. He will quiet your emotions with his love. Under his wings, you will find refuge. His promises are your armor and protection (Psalm 91:4).

Zephaniah 3:14ff ///// “Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back on your enemy. The Lord, the Kind of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”The sorrows for the appointed feast I will remove from you; they are a burden and a reproach to you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame.At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes.

Magnify

Jesus, your ways are incomparable.

Your thoughts are unattainable. Your gifts are unimaginable. Your hope is unforgettable. You mend the broken things. Broken people. You raise the unlikely, the unseen, the unloved.

You elevate your chosen to greater authority with greater purpose, for your glory. You illuminate the path of the righteous so that their way is clear.

You trade dishonor for honor, sin for cleanliness, ashes for beauty, darkness for light. You raise up, and you tear down for your purposes.

Oh Lord, you have looked upon me, and in your mercy and loving-kindness, you have caused me to forget the former things. You pour blessing upon blessing over my life. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.

I will walk with you hand-in-hand, all the days of my life. To your name, I will bring glory.

Luke 1. ////////// My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on, all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is his name! His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm. He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, but he has send the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

Focus

I don’t know about you but I don’t recognize this world anymore. Some say we’re getting better. Some say it’s worse. I was watching the 80’s Top Tens on Disney+ last night and began to travel back in my mind to my personal memories of growing up in the eighties. As I watched, tears filled my eyes. It was like another lifetime. A time where I was naive about a lot of things. A world where things were simple and people were kind.

Like the picture, we live in a world where things are upside down. Evil is called good, and good is called evil. Focus is so important. Terri Savelle Foy says, “What you think about, you bring about.” It’s why you have to make a valiant effort to focus on the promises of God. To believe God for the impossible. To use your gifts and abilities to change spheres of influence. The Bible encourages us to, “fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, and right and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Does this mean we should ignore the problems? Bury your head in the sand and pretend that since it’s not in your backyard that it doesn’t affect you? No- It means we charge into the culture and take a stand. We change it by our presence. We change it with our actions. We change it with our voices. Together, as believers in Jesus.

When you’re looking through the right lens, the things that are out of focus are made clear. Sharp. The path is made visible. And straight. There’s greater clarity, and with that clarity comes peace. On the outside of the lens, there’s still confusion, cloudiness, chaos, uncertainty. This may seem obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Our lens for clear living, peaceful living, and purposeful living is the Bible. I’m praying that you will make a habit this year to renew your mind in the word of God every day, so that you can maintain your peace, grow in wisdom, and experience a greater revelation of who Jesus is and who he’s calling you to be.

A word from the Lord:

To stay in the flow of my spirit, it’s vital that you do not allow distractions to hinder your time with me. What I have to say to you is important for this time. I need you to focus.

Scripture

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Choose Your Hard

My pastor Keith A. Craft (Elevate Life Church in Frisco, Texas) shared this one Sunday, and I’m sharing it here because it’s in alignment with what it means to live a Gritfull Life. When I first heard this, I thought truer words were never spoken. It’s easy to get into the short-sighted game of comparison and think that life will get easier when you finally “arrive” at your place of achievement. Or maybe you think the grass is greener on the other side (which we all know it’s not, but still). Let this remind you that no matter what you choose for your life, choose to do it with Jesus. There will be mountains and there will be valleys. There will be peaks and there will be pits, but you can conquer any hard with his help.


Galatians 6:9 | So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

If doing good was easy, you wouldn’t grow weary.

Being your best is hard.
Being your normal is hard.

Making wise decisions is hard.
Making bad decisions is hard.

Being in shape is hard.
Being out of shape is hard.

Losing weight is hard.
Being fat is hard.

Working out is hard.
Being weak is hard.

Being disciplined is hard.
Being lazy is hard.

Getting out of your comfort zone is hard.
Staying in your comfort zone is hard.

Starting a business is hard
Working for someone else is hard.

Making a lot of money is hard.
Making a little bit of money is hard.

Being rich is hard.
Being poor is hard.

Having great relationships is hard.
Having bad relationships is hard.

Having friends is hard.
Having no friends is hard.

Fighting for your marriage is hard.
Divorce is hard.

Having a lot of things is hard.
Having nothing is hard.

Living on purpose is hard.
Living off purpose is hard.

Doing life God’s way is hard.
Doing life your own way is hard.

Everything is hard!
Choose your hard!


Keith A. Craft