Archives For seeking god

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I would be just fine if I didn’t eat another sweet potato until Thanksgiving, I’m just saying.

There are only so many ways that you can make a sweet potato… baked, french fries, hash-browns, and that pretty much sums it up. Think about it, what else can you really do with it (besides making it into a pie). Well the past couple weeks I was fasting by only eating seven different foods and sweet potato was one of my items. Everything was going smoothly and I had no complaints until about four days into the fast. Between the items that I had picked for the month I didn’t really have much option of sugars, besides an apple, as well as the drastic decrease of calorie intake I began to have some issues. My blood sugar dropped and I wasn’t eating enough calories in the day to even get me enough energy. So I made the executive decision to swap some items out for bread and strawberries to meet the needs that my body was lacking. But with all the switching of ingredients the sweet potato stayed. Ugh! I have a love/hate relationship with that vegetable! You see I have always enjoyed a good slice of sweet potato pie, or give me a big scoop topped with marshmallows and brown sugar for Thanksgiving! However, when I am eating them every other day without the delicious marshmallows I began to realize that I just do not care for them as much as I had thought.

I would love to say that this month I used each repetitive meal as an opportunity to be more grateful. I’ll be honest with you, that was not the case. I found myself complaining about my meals- the texture, I am so sick of the mushy texture! It would be so nice to eat something that doesn’t need so much effort to make. UGH, I am so SICK of sweet potatoes! I even found myself wanting to end the fast because I “never” learn from food fasts. All I wanted was to prove this thought so that I could eat something for dinner other than the same thing I had eaten for breakfast and lunch. Then it hit me- WOW, I have a terrible attitude! Within one week God brought it to my attention that I needed to work on my attitude, more specifically He told me to be more positive in my current circumstance. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the same thing from God three different times within a matter of five days I assume it safe to believe that this is a lesson God is really wanting me to learn!

Confession: when I learned that God wanted me to be more positive I still had about a week left of the fast. I tried to reason that since I had learned what God was showing me I was now able to end the fast early.

Not my finest hour.

Then I was humbled by my husbands response. “Maybe you learned the lesson a week early so you could spend the next seven days of the fast implementing the positive attitude.”

Wow!

So that is what I did, I spent the next week eating my fast friendly foods and praying constantly for God to transform my attitude. And He did! I have to say that it was an amazing week, I could actually feel God’s presence as he helped me change the way I thought and how I looked at the rest of my fast. It has even carried over since the fast has ended. Now when I am in a frustrating situation my mind has started looking for the positive.

Truthfully I love this lesson that God gave me because who couldn’t use an extra dose of positive some days!

Photo Credit: Marie Kare
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Just a few of my daily alarms

Month two is coming to a close and I am about to wrap up my stress fast. For the past four weeks I have had my alarm set for seven different times during the day/night reminding me it was time to pray. I will be completely honest as I say that the 6 AM and midnight prayers were not exactly on schedule. I attempted to do these but after I realized that I was just repeating myself for about half an hour because I continued to fall asleep I decided to change the times a little. My 6 AM prayer was done after I was up and dressed and moving around so that my mind had some time to wake up. The midnight prayer was just when I was getting ready for bed. I decided that it didn’t really matter what times the prayers were just so long as I took those seven pauses in the day to pray.

Here is what I realized during this month. First, it is way easier to actually do all seven pauses when you are home! When you are out and about it doesn’t matter if you try to find a quiet place, somehow they always seemed to be interrupted. Second, I realized how little time I actually spend before God talking to him about something other than a request. The seven prayers each had something different to pray about, so yes there were times when I would make a “request.” However, looking at the themes of the prayers: thankfulness, love toward others, servant’s heart, praying for my husband, praying for my son, praying for protection and praying for healing (for those I do and do not know) I began to spend more time praying for these things and less time being selfish. It is so easy to fall into a routine with our prayer life, and so easy to become selfish in our prayers. Once I began to recognize this I started to focus a little less on the things that I wanted God to answer and more on what else I could pray for during these seven pauses.

Now the question you might be asking yourself is how well did this fast carry out my original goal of tackling stress? Rather beautifully! I can’t tell you how many times I would begin to get stressed out and then guess what would happen? My alarm would go off. Oh, it’s time to pray! So I would take the time to pause and pray and by the time I was done praying my stress level had lowered AND I wasn’t even praying about what was stressing me out! Taking those few moments to pray about a non-related subject was all it took! It’s all because I took the time to be in God’s presence, and wow does that make a difference when you come back to whatever was previously stressing you out!

So will I keep this up now that the month is coming to an end? Probably not to the same extent, I mean I wasn’t even perfect during this month. Yes, I messed up and missed a few prayers during the day. But, my view is forever changed. There is something to be said about being intentional about how we handle stress, our prayer lives and not always coming to God with the “I want” kind of attitude. I will definitely take what I have learned from this fast to heart!

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (NIV)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

As you might have noticed I did not get a new post up yesterday. Lets just say that things have been hitting our family head on the past few days. Over the weekend my husbands grandpa (or as we all called him papa) passed away from a battle with cancer. It is never easy to lose a loved one no matter the case. I have known papa going on seven years now and was able to truly cherish having him in my life. He always made me feel like one of his own grand kids and for that I was always grateful. Like I said at the beginning though, things have been hitting us hard. As we have been trying to cope with the news of papa we also found out that my dad lost his job. Of course no one saw it coming and yet here it happened. I honestly can say that I stopped for a minute and thought to myself, okay, thats enough with the bad news. I know that these kind of weeks or even what may seem like months have hit more people than just our family, but truthfully when you are the one going through it, it never seems that way. When the difficult situations keep piling on I know that God is just waiting for me to turn to Him. Because here is the beauty in these difficult situations…. papa is no longer in pain and is in Heaven as we speak, his memory will live on with us all, and God has a job out there for my dad one that surpasses the last place that he was at, a job that will be more than just a pay check to him. Through pain, confusion, joy and happiness God is there, He never leaves!


“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Luke 12:25 (NIV)

Have you ever actually sat to think about this verse? Worrying is so common that we might even fool ourselves into believing that we are helping the situation. But, when I look at this verse and really think about it, everything is put into perspective. I have spent countless hours worrying over things, big and small. When it comes down to it though did I add time to my life? No. Did I improve the situation any? No. In fact I just took time away from my life. The time that could have been spent doing God’s will and serving Him was wasted away by worrying! How much more could I do for God’s kingdom if I wasn’t bogged down by the weight of my worries? What is it that God is calling me to do that perhaps I have not done because I am distracted? What a revelation this has been for me! I do not need to focus my attention on the worries of my life but instead focus my attention on doing God’s will for my life. He cares for me and knows my thoughts, stresses and concerns and is the only one who can make a difference in each situation. He knows our worries, sitting an fretting about them will not change the fact. Instead it will only hinder our abilities to accomplish all that God has for us. Today lets make a decision to put our attention on serving God and pursuing His will and not our worries. You never know, the issues you once worries about might just find themselves resolved before it even had a chance to cross your mind!

 

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”

Psalm 18:1-3 (NIV)

Why do we forget that God is our refuge and strength? Why does it seem like He is the last thing we lean on in times of trouble instead of the first? It is very easy to say that we get our strength from God but when it comes down to it, do we really? He should never be our last resort. God should be the only source of strength we have because He will never fail to be that refuge we need. I am just as guilty as everyone else. I have been known to rely on myself in hard times instead of turning to God. But, when I do turn to Him, He never fails and I am once again reminded that in Him is where my strength comes. We must not wait until something tragic happens and we need God. We need to realize He is there for us always. With His strength we get through every day, good and bad. If we start to seek God first in good times then we will start to seek God first in bad times as well. If we only seek Him in bad times then it is not His strength that we rely on because we are relying on Him only when we need to. God is our rock, our refuge and our strength. Let’s not forget where our strength comes!