Why Are You Still Holding On?

I recently read, Sands of Forgiveness.  It is a very thought provoking, well written book that pulls you in from the beginning.  I completed the book last night and could not help but to reflect on what I read. I encourage you to get a copy of this book, it is well worth it.  The following are my reflections.

Many choose to hold on to scars from the past. The pain endured from previous experience is worn as a badge of honor instead of being released. Stories of hurtful words spoken over us is on constant replay. We find ways to bring up how others hurt us in most of our conversations. If we don’t have an audience, we retreat to our minds with the same agonizing stories.

Unresolved pain distorts our vision. We can no longer see God for who He is or ourselves for who He made us. It is easy to accuse God or even question His goodness when pain is the blanket, we choose to insulate ourselves with. We allow the pain to redefine our identity. Sometimes we have operated in that false identity for so long that we forget who we really are.

We cannot erase the hurtful words or evil actions done toward us, but we can control our response. They may have tried to change our name to worthless, stupid, ugly, etc. but they should not be given the power to change who we were created to be. Reliving the past is a great way to remain in chains. Freedom is not based on my external circumstances, but it is more of an inward reality.

We have the authority to reject the lies, release the offense and move forward in our destiny. Remaining stuck in our past pain is not the only option! It is wise to make the choice to move forward, and when we do the grace of God meets us in powerful ways.

Reflection Questions: Have you settled on believing the lies and wallowing in the pain from the past? Do you often relive past pain in your conversations? I encourage you to bring it to Jesus.

Psalm 34:18 (NIV)The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I Published My First Book. Dreams Realized!

I have known for a long time that writing books was a part of my purpose. I would start and then stop. I would either get distracted or discouraged. I finally made up my mind to sit and focus and write my first book but there was one problem, I didn’t know where to start. Which book do I write fist? The week I was praying and asking God for clarity was the week that a sweet friend invited me to a service at a local church. At that service, the Lord prophetically used the speaker to answer my prayer. I came home energized and encouraged. The Lord helped me to see that the material for my first book had already been written and it was just a matter of editing it and putting it in book form. I hit some bumps along the way, but I was determined to complete what I started. When I got serious, God sent me the help that I needed to complete it…and I really needed help! One of my biggest sources of help came from the author of this award winning book.

I am so happy to announce that as of this week, my first book, “Lessons Learned Along the Way: A 40 Day Devotional,” has been released. I took the content that I wrote for my 40-day reflection before my 40th birthday and created a devotion with reflection questions and scriptures for meditation. You can find it on Amazon in both kindle and paperback form. If you choose to purchase it and are blessed by what you read, I invite you to leave a review on Amazon so that others would be encouraged to get it as well. This is indeed a dream realized!

Reflection Question: Is there something God has called you to do but you have put it to the side? Do you need clarity on how to pursue that purpose? I encourage you to earnestly seek the Lord and respond in obedience to His directives!

Be Blessed

Anika

 

Satisfaction In Jesus

We live in a culture where greed and the abundance of material things are promoted. However, as of late, the minimalism movement is of interest to many. Why is that? Could it be that people are finding out that material things don’t bring lasting satisfaction? I was watching a video on minimalism by a Christian youtuber and she made a powerful statement. In reference to minimalism she said that it was the “giving away of stuff to find that more!” That statement hit me to my core because it is so easy to misdiagnose what we need more of. Therefore, some continue to grasp for joy in material things, but it is all in vein. The only “more” that can truly satisfy is Jesus! In the moment, material things are great to have but they quickly lose their luster. However, a relationship with Jesus fills us to satisfaction, again and again.

Take inventory of your actions and your priorities. What is the “more” you have been seeking after? Is it more of Jesus? Or is it more of this world and its possessions?

John 6:35 NIV
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

1 Timothy 6:6 NLT
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.

Doing the Hard

God often calls us to do things that scare us or make us uncomfortable. Previously I abandoned some of my God given assignments because they were hard. We have assumed that the call of God is easy.  This is often not the case. You don’t believe me?

Ask Moses how he felt standing before Pharaoh repeatedly.
Ask David how he felt running from Saul, the one occupying the position God called David to.
Ask Esther how she felt standing before the King, risking her life because she had not been summoned.
And my favorite, ask Jesus how He felt in the Garden of Gethsemane agonizing because he felt the weight of what was before Him.

In this season, I am stepping out and doing specific things I’m called to, and quite honestly it is difficult. Being stretched is uncomfortable. But I am learning that God is more concerned with my obedience than He is with my comfort. And while it is difficult, I am seeing His grace show up as I move in obedience.

Have you been putting off what God has called you to do because it is difficult? Are you waiting for it to make sense and become easy? I encourage to move in faith and obedience and the grace of God will meet you in the hard.

Philippians 4:13 NLT 

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Fight From A Stance Of Victory

We fight from a place of defeat when we don’t know our identity and we are then unaware of what is rightfully ours. We must first know who we are, what we possess, and then fight accordingly! 1 John 3:1-2 and Ephesians 1:5 both remind us that we are children of God. As children of God, victory is our inheritance. Deuteronomy 20:4 says, “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” If we walked in that reality, our response to the attack of the enemy would be so different. We would fight from a stance of victory and not one of fear and defeat. We would put down our carnal weapons and instead put on the armor of God and face the battle with confidence. Think about it, what do we have to fear if God is with us in the battle? Reflect on all the battles before you, how have you been approaching them? Be reminded of who you are and fight knowing the victory is already yours!

The Destructive Voice of Unresolved Pain

Unresolved pain, if given a voice can prove to be destructive.  I remember before I got married, I received what was intended to be some well-meaning advice from a woman I barley knew. Her husband had cheated on her multiple times. She told me I should keep my bank account separate from my soon to be husband…just in case.  This advice came from a place of unresolved pain.  Her lack of forgiveness gave her pain a greater voice.  For the record, here I am 17 years later, and I am so glad I did not take heed to her council.

It is so easy to view life and give council from the lenses of past and present pains.  We can miss the valuable lessons that are taught by pain if we choose to hold on to how it felt instead of focusing on the beauty it could produce IF GIVEN TO JESUS. When giving counsel about working out, most trainers don’t focus on the pain, they instead tell you about the progress that will come as a result of the pain.  They tell you how many pounds you will lose, how your physique will be changed for the better, the increased energy, the quality of sleep, etc.  They highlight the positive end results.

I have had to really stop and think about some conversations that I have had recently to make sure that what I share comes from a place of purity instead of a place of unresolved pain.  If we stay stuck in our pain, we will speak with a voice of anger, resentment, and fear when counseling others.  This is something to pause and consider because our council if heeded, can change the course of someone’s destiny. That’s heavy!

The truth is, we will experience pain in life, but we can’t wallow in it.  We must be sure to immediately bring it to the feet of Jesus.  Depending on how deep the cut, we may have to bring it to Him more than once as we walk the road to healing.  If the pain is given to Jesus, when you open your mouth to council, you will speak with wisdom that is laced with love instead of venom. Food for thought.

Be Blessed

Anika

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[ato proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.