It’s not something I love to admit, but it’s my reality.
Struggling with the same issue over and over is like being drawn into the warm glow of a campfire only to realize you’ve actually stepped into a raging inferno – again. It’s ugly. It’s exhausting. And it’s overwhelming.
Holding my bitterness captive
When God brought my struggle with bitterness to light in my early 20s, I took hold of a simple, yet powerful way to combat it: a notecard with a Bible verse written on it.
I know, I know, this seems too simple to have any type of impact. But let me share with you how it helped me hold my bitterness captive.
In my mid-20s, several of my friends married. They found their Prince Charming’s and set off into the sunset. I sludged away at work and the single life. It wasn’t where I wanted to be.
I had yet another friend get engaged and I was asked to be in the wedding along with another friend of mine who was also single. My friend and I fulfilled our bridesmaid responsibilities together for our mutual friend; however, over the course of our friend’s engagement, I noticed my friend making snide remarks and expressing her desire for the wedding to be over. She was cold, calloused and angry. In other words, she was bitter.
And it made me sad.
The ravaging of bitterness
I had an up-close-and-personal view of bitterness and how it ravaged her. And I knew I didn’t want that to be me.
It was after this I claimed scripture over this sin in my life.
Enter the notecard with a verse written on it.
When faced with circumstances that caused my bitterness to rear its ugly head, I took a notecard and wrote a scripture on the notecard that specifically pertained to my struggle. Then I carried it on me. Literally. I folded the card and kept it in my back pocket. And whenever those ugly feelings of bitterness seeped up, I whipped out my notecard and read the verse over and over.
And you know what happened?
As those words permeated my heart and mind, bitterness began to erode. Suddenly, my bitter heart was now one defined by joy and peace because of the transforming power of scripture.
One Small Win: If you’re stuck in the overwhelm of bitterness – or any other sin that seems impossible to overcome – get your pen and notecard, then find the Bible verse that will be your battle cry. When those moments of temptation arise, divert your eyes and heart to the notecard with truth written on it. Soak up the truth and walk in it!
So, what’s your struggle? Grab a pen, notecard and your Bible and take your first step toward claiming victory!
Here are a few scripture recommendations if you need to let go, move forward or live boldly!
Kate Hollimon delights in helping women learn their God-given purpose while growing in Christ through the study of scripture. Kate is a speaker and blogger who designed the Live Your Purpose Workshop to help women discover their purpose to glorify God. Kate is married to her husband Matthew of seven years and together they have two kiddos – a boy and a girl – and are in the thick of sippy cups, potty training, temper tantrums and peanut butter and jellies. Connect with Kate at www.katehollimon.com.
When was the last time you made time for yourself? Like literally planning nothing? Now sure, you may write on your calendar ‘get pedicure’ (that counts) but there is this GLORIOUS thing on a calendar called white space. Have you heard of it?? It is literally that… space for nothing. You should try and add some white space to that busy calendar of yours! (for inspiration check out this podcast we did last Finding Whitespace during Christmas)
Assignment: Find one way to refresh and recharge yourself. Here are some ideas;
get lunch with a friend
take a long hot shower
read a book in a cozy chair with a hot cup of tea
browse Pinterest mindlessly for one hour guilt free
watch a great Christmas classic on TV
call a friend and talk for long enough it felt like a visit
choose 2 days next month on the calendar for white space
Lest you be tempted, today is not a catch up day, it’s a RELAX day. You deserve it once in a while. Besides, you will be so much more effective when you do.
Need some fun inspiration for ideas for an upcoming gathering? Evite has a new look (similar to Pinterest) and you can just take one hour and aimlessly look! How fun is that? Click here to browse.
Today: Schedule in times of real rest in your day, week and month as you are working toward your goals.
I sigh as my husband Roger and I are driving over highway 17 heading towards Santa Cruz. Driving over the mountains toward the beach and the boardwalk, surrounded by redwoods and local farms and state parks. “Do you realize how blessed we are to live where we do?” “Yes.” Roger replied. “And if I didn’t, you saying it every day of our marriage would remind me.” I didn’t realize how deep my love for the Bay Area ran until Roger pointed out that I commented on it every single day. (He should be doubly grateful – I was born in Northern California – he moved here from Indiana where digging his car out snow before driving it during the winter was a common occurrence.) But how can you blame me? We live less than a half a day’s drive almost anything you can think of: the beach during the summer, the mountains during ski season, San Francisco when there is a musical coming through, great ethnic restaurants, and not once have I had to dig my car out a blanket of snow. There is only one thing missing from our little corner of paradise – a Chick-fil-a.
If you have not experienced the perfection that is the Chick-fil-a Chicken Sandwich, let me describe it for you. It is a chicken patty that is breaded and then deep friend in peanut oil (trust me, it works) it is served on a buttered bun with two pickle slices (they say that you can add tomatoes and lettuce, but why ruin it with healthy stuff.) Chick-fil-a also has a healthy menu. Whatever.
I love Chick-fil-a and what they stand for and their chicken sandwiches so much, that at one point, I had a Google alert for articles about how they run their business. (I’m not just a fan, I’m a super fan.) As I started to read more and more about how they run their business and the values that they have, I fell in love with them for more than their deep-fried chicken breast. This is an amazing company that values their employees and customers. Chick-fil-a is very selective about who gets to sling that chicken. “It’s easier to get a job in the CIA than to own a Chick-fil-A franchise,” is a favorite saying at the corporate office. They have one of the highest employee retention rates in any service industry. Part of that is the careful screening they do before hiring someone. Another reason? No Chick-fil-a is open on Sunday.
While visiting our friends Steve and Shannon in Colorado Springs, they introduced us to Chick-fil-a and then told us the closed on Sunday policy. I know that Steve and Shannon are intelligent people, but I honestly believed that they had to be mistaken. Fast food restaurants are not closed for a whole day. I had worked in the service industry enough to know that Sunday was a major money-making day. Industry experts were baffled as well. But listen to this response that Dan Cathy, president and Chief Operations Officer of Chick-fil-a, gave to talk show host Dave Ramsey when Dave asked the question about the business sense of closing on Sundays. “My younger brother and sister and I signed a covenant of agreement that we gave our parents about five years ago that said that long after they’re gone, assuming that we survive them, that we’re going to continue to be closed on Sunday. To be honest with you our corporate purpose is to glorify God by being the faithful steward of all He has entrusted to us and have a positive influence on people.
But I would share with you that as a business person it really does work for us. It makes a difference. We are more rested on Monday because you’ve been able to take the day off to rest and renew ourselves. Our smiles are bigger and I think even our Drive-thrus run a little faster on Monday because we had Sunday off.
We are not built 24-7. God built our body to have eight hours of sleep and to take some time off. And we found that we pick up on that productivity. Any business we lose on Sunday we more than make up for a better service and better atmosphere on Monday.”
Sabbath – Not Just for Old Testament Folks
OK there is some stuff in the Bible that doesn’t make a whole bunch of sense to me:
Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle
Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field
Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric And I have to admit, that observing a Sabbath was one of those rules that felt a lot like the instructions not to mix a cotton-weave with a poly-blend – a bit antiquated. Observing a Sunday off is a hard thing. I was talking about the concept of a Sabbath with my agent, Rachelle. She said, “If I want to observe a Sabbath, I need to prepare for six hours on Saturday to be able to rest on Sunday. If my husband wants to observe Sabbath, he takes a nap.”
But the more that Roger and I were intentional about having a day to rest, a day to put away our computers, not plan work, and focus on God, our family and restoring ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually, the more we feel we are able to slide back into work having taken our stress down a level or two.
I have definitely discovered in my own life that when I indulge in the false economy of trying to get more done by work seven days a week, not only do I suffer, but my goals suffer. That is why I want you to rest your way to success.
• Make sure you have some “down time” every week where your focus is not getting things done, but getting deeper with God and with community, and getting rest.
• Make sure you have a beginning and an end to each week.
• Make sure you have a beginning and an end to each work day. (No spreading work from eight in the morning until ten at night). I know the last project you would expect is for me to say work less. But I do want you to make sure that you don’t burn out. I want you to be living a life that is full of God-adventure for years to come.
So tell me in the comments below below – when are you going to rest.
What do you want from me? Knowing God’s Will for all the parts of your life
Today: Spend time reflecting on the ways you have sensed God’s direction pursuing your goal. Your project for today is to write down all the ways that God has confirmed you working on this particular goal.
Whether it’s cleaning out a closet or walking a 10K for clean water in Africa, you have been nudged to put this goal “out there”. For me, the exercising 5x a week is easy – I want to finally figure out how to honor this body God gave me.
Maybe yours is simply wanting to bring order to your life. There was no big flash from the clouds, you are just longing for peace. Whatever it is, get a notebook and write it down.
Here are just some of the ways that God may be confirming this goal for you:
Other people you respect have told you to pursue it
You feel peace as you give up other activities in order to work on this goal.
Other people recognize this talent in you and want you to use it.
You everyday you have the same sense of wanting a change in this area.
You start to see “divine appointments” show up in your life. Meeting a friend of a friend who is looking for an apprentice in the field you are exploring. Just when you need a certain piece of equipment, your friend posts on your homeschooling loop that they are getting rid of said piece of equipment.
As you do your regular bible study, God keeps whacking you over the head with verses that support what you have been praying about.
Here is where I want you to spend just a few minutes writing down all the ways that God has used your past, your present, your friends, your family, your prayers and His word in order to confirm this goal: If you don’t believe you have received confirmation stop working and start praying.
Keep your notebook in your purse or on your cell phone and when confirmation comes along write it down.
What does confirmation look like for you? I asked my friend, Katie what that confirmation, that leading, looked like for her as decided to do a year-long mission to a war-torn country in 2004. Here are some of the steps that led her from a safe day-to-day job as a nurse practitioner in San Jose, CA, to traveling a world away working in a Muslim country doing relief work and church planting:
1. The seed of a thought is planted – Katie attended Urbana 2000, a mission’s conference in Urbana Illinois. At that conference she heard a missionary speak about evangelizing to the Muslim community. Until that point, Katie had always considered Muslim society closed to the thought of Christianity.
2. Paying Attention – Katie had always been interested in missions, but didn’t know what her next move should be. I love the advice that one of her friends gave her about sensing God’s direction: “Pay attention to the things you’re noticing because that is often how God speaks.”
Katie started to notice that more and more, the Muslim world stated to collide with Katie’s world. Between missionary’s letter home to the evening news, Katie couldn’t turn around without noticing her heart growing more tender toward the Muslim people.
3. Holy Curiosity – Katie said, “It was at that point I developed a holy curiosity,” I love that. She knew it was more than a coincidence – she knew that God was steering her in a certain direction and that she better pay attention.
4. Making the First Step – Katie attended a conference in Indiana in 2003 that was focused on evangelizing to Muslims.
5. Making the Decision – When Katie received a forward e-mail from a friend about the opportunity to serve overseas for a year, she was prepared. She had followed God’s leading all along the way and she was ready to take on that adventure with Him.
Most of you are not making such a long distance decision. But even those little decisions can lead to HUGE life change. Committing to family dinners three times a week can change the course of your family. Organizing your paperwork can lead to financial freedom. Don’t take lightly the “small” things that God is asking you to tend to. Those small things are the stepping stones to the big things He is preparing us for.
Oh – and for just a little more motivation, I love a good, printable calendar to dream on, and these from TomKat Studios are just gorgeous!!!
Tell us in the comments below one way that you have felt confirmed or recognized that God’s opened a door about this goal. You could win Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To
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