What in the World Are We Looking For?

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Our souls are relentless in their pursuits.

 It seems we are always searching, seeking, and running after something. We seek relationships to satisfy our longing for intimacy. We pursue careers to make it in this world. We search for significance or purpose through various means.

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We must keep a close eye on the direction of our souls (mind, will, emotions). They often have a mind of their own.

Misguided pursuits that have one goal in mind, to satisfy misguided desires that were never meant to be fulfilled. Many feel the only way to satisfy these desires is to yield. They foolishly believe to give in, is the end of the struggle.

But even then, they quickly discover that the surrender leaves them and they succomb to something they quickly regret.

I have a client I’ll call Maddy.   She was constantly searching for meaning to her life.  But she doesn’t understand why nothing she tries ever brings satisfaction.  In and out of relationships, jobs, marriages, and so many other things, she finally reached out for help.  She was so lost and confused.  She had struggled for years, but when she finally reached the bottom of herself she sought help.   Today, she is finding so much purpose to her life and has been set free from that nagging dissatisfaction she lived with for years.  How?  She realized that Jesus can fill her empty self.

The answer is, simple, really.  

And I always feel the simpler we make understanding spiritual growth in our lives, the easier it is to apply it to our lives.

gods-will

I’ll be honest, I once had an addiction to ministry….yes, you read that right. I would spend all of my time developing and teaching bible studies and ministering to people every time the church doors opened and had my own outreach outside the church building.   The problem, though,  was that my personal life had so many serious marital  issues that I was frustrated with and needed to confront, but just couldn’t find the energy to do anything, so I searched for something else to take up brain space.   I convinced myself that as long as I was in service to the Lord  He would take care of my life.   I was so spiritual I ignored my marriage, and ultimately lost it.

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Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, friends.

 I got my accolades and validity from people and not the Lord.

 and I became addicted to it….

 It was a back and forth struggle. One part of me loved indulging in it, but the other part knew it was not a wise use of my time. I repented several times in my failings, but finally lost most of everything I was ignoring.

 You see I wasn’t using faith….I dismissed my dislocated busy-ness by saying it was for the Lord,

 As if He could only use me and no one else.

 Burnout

I think any human has the capability to become hooked on anything. We generally assume addictions are limited to those who abuse narcotics, drink alcohol to cope, gamble their money away, or view sexual content on the internet regularly.

Addictions can come from any angle. They wrap tightly around us until we are enslaved to them. Why are they so powerful? Because they give us a sense of fulfillment or pleasure−although short lived. They start off seeming innocent, but the more we come back for more, the more we become imprisoned.

Romans 6:16 reads, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…..

 Slaves is a strong word. A word that we don’t like to identify with our own lives.

 Have you noticed how easy it is to identify the problems of others? We thumb_colourbox1908348      may see an area of weakness in their personality and we inwardly identify the changes they need to work on, especially if it is not a problem in our own lives.

 As a person who does not usually get easily angered, I can quickly identity the wrong in someone who is angered or irritated easily. It’s so easy for me to judge them because it’s not a weakness for me. It takes brokenness and humility to turn inwardly and admit my own enslavements, and then turn to God for help.

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Are there areas of enslavement in your life that you want to be free from?

 The answer is simple.   We were created with a vacancy,  an empty place, within our hearts that was only…ONLY meant to be filled with God.  

 That’s it!   Not complicated!

 We try to fill that emptiness with everything we can find to satisfy us temporarily.   It will NEVER work.   You will ALWAYS come to the end of yourself and realize you still aren’t happy or joyful or fulfilled….and you move on to something else.

 Jesus-By-My-Side-342x200   Our most lonely place is when we are missing our loving creator, our King, our Jesus and we need to sit with Him and talk to Him about our hearts and what we need.

 Service to Him will follow that relationship of intimacy that will so fill you to satisfaction you can’t help but want to share it with others.  

 Service follows relationship.   No amount of service, if you don’t have the relationship of intimacy with God,  will ever satisfy you.   You will wonder why you feel burned out and disillusioned.  

 Because you were walking in an illusion of thinking “things”  “people”  “service”  (fill in your own word) will satisfy.

 Maybe you like all the things that fill your life right now, and you see no need to examine their place in your life.

 The thing is, we will never come to a place where there is no need for change and growth.

 There is always room for cutting off, turning away from, getting to the root of things. Our pride, selfishness, jealousies, evil motives, and the like require a daily examination…I have many such talks myself.

 You will only get as much of God as you want.

 jesus6    It’s up to us how close we draw near to God. The less we want, the less we will seek. The more we want, the more we will seek.

 Our actions will reveal our pursuit.

 

 

When the Chains Fall Off…Then What?

Broken-ChainsJennifer, (not her real name), came to me for coaching… a broken person, chained to a very unhealthy relationship, unable to break free; trying to make peace with her abusive childhood and years of abuse to follow–in a place she thought she would never be free of, and miserable inside.   

I discerned right away her servant’s heart and her desire to reach out to others that were hurting or needing to know that someone cares.  

You see, God used her past to equip Jennifer to have a heart of not only empathy, but true compassion towards a very broken world, and He led her to seek deliverance from her past.   Her loyalty, dedication, and obedience were so evident for all to see.

378095_526317080764178_826390852_n-3After a few months of coaching,  Jennifer found the courage to walk out of her pain, break all ties with a very controlling and consuming relationship that was toxic to her, and begin her process of healing.  She saw her value in the Kingdom of God and became eager to get on with it.  It was amazing to watch!

Her potential was evident from the beginning and to get to witness her freedom break forth first hand is a privilege I never grow tired of. 

What a joy to watch this woman of such faith and heart truly share the real essence of Jesus wherever she goes.   This week I received the following message from her that I share with her permission.  When asked if she minded if I shared her journey with thousands,  this was her response: 

Well,  to me it is important to keep you posted since YOU had such a big part in my healing process. I wouldn’t  be where I am at this point if it wasn’t for all those sessions. And yes, I’m proud of what I’m able to work on at this point and am happy to let you share with others.  It’s those stories that help the lost ones to see there is a light if they just open their hearts and mind to it!”

 

So here is her report.  For the record this was written while she was recovering from a knee replacement and eager to get on with her business in the “ministry.”

jesus and me“Good morning, thought about you when I was making my weekly to do list.

I wanted to share all the serving opportunities that came my way the last couple of months!

I’m waiting on my first assignment from Hospice and Mary and I are involved in a couple of special events at the church. We’ll be part of an Easter egg hunt at our church as well, and we are helping to feed the homeless at a shelter in the city. This is a great time for the two of us to spend some time together! 

I’m also helping at the food basket and hope we get a chance to feed the homeless here with a hot meal if I can get enough interest. As soon as I can I’m going to check with the Chamber to see what is available and find out if there are others in the community who want help.

I had a lot of time to pray for guidance and different opportunities just presented themselves, all in His timing I’m sure!

Thank you again for helping me out of my hurt and confusion, I’m happy to be part of the world around me!   I forgot the most exciting part cause the dog started digging out of the yard while I was E-mailing you… A few days ago one of my friends from the old church put a request on her Face book page. She started a ministry to go visit and pray with women in jail at the prison nearby.   Well I guess they also write them and I signed up to be a pen pal for a young lady who just accepted Jesus as her savior! The girls got me some stationary a while back and now I can put it to good use!”

Jennifer is finding her completeness in just stepping out and praying for Jesus to allow her to see the opportunities and she grabs them up.  

praying-womanThe opportunities are endless, friends!   The more the world seems to be going crazy the more the church needs to get free of the strongholds that bind them and start looking for those opportunities to be His arms extended!!

What a privilege to  help others  know the love of the Father.  Someone said people who are loved well, love well. And you can help those around you right now in whatever life you’re already in.

 Most true ministry is performed person-to-person in our spare time among friends, family, work contacts or people we know. I believe it is best if we don’t try to make it vocational and try to create the opportunity for ourselves…true ministry is not where you have to quit your day job or leave your kids and husband to go out to a mission field…(though some may be called there). But most true ministry is right where you have been planted.

254865_440342676028286_2145415378_n I’ve known many people who grow unsettled in their jobs or their motherhood and think that it is God leading them into “full time” ministry.  Away from the ministry field of their family standing right in front of them.  This, though, is often laced with a personal need to find fulfillment and feel significant in his kingdom.  And they sometimes DO quit their job and jump into a ministry and then struggle financially trying to figure out a way to do it and pay the bills.

Some people will try to raise support from their friends, or create some kind of product to sell to others, hoping it will finance their dreams. It rarely does. Instead of serving others, they will spend significant time getting others to serve their vision.

A friend once said, “Sharing the life of his kingdom is a way of living first, not a vocation.”

When the opportunity is there, so will the resources be.

What is on your heart today to do for the Kingdom?   Pray for the Lord to open doors for you and then pray you will be alert and willing when He does.   Don’t think He won’t answer.  He is looking for those  he can use in a lost and dying world.  If YOU are broken then find the ministry from someone you trust to help you heal first.  Start your journey today!

If my friend Jennifer can do the work it takes to find her healing and be so thrilled to serve when she has spent so many years suffering and holding her head above water, then you and I can do it too.   He is not a respecter of persons!!

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n (1)Be encouraged, my friend.  Jesus is not done with you yet!