My heart is hurting for confused young (and old) women. Please hear my heart…you don’t need to pose nude on social media – (following some celebs) or send it to your boyfriend etc. to be comfortable and celebrate your sexuality. Some things are so VALUABLE they should be protected and not thrown into worthless media files to be scrutinized and discussed with the world turning pearls into pain. Let’s respect ourselves a little more and return to the art of discretion which guards dignity. Your future and integrity are more important than selling out for a moment of unscrupulous attention. Take a minute to look up and see where each path eventually leads…
What limits are holding you back? Do you feel like there’s an invisible barbwire around your dreams keeping you locked out of living them? Maybe you feel like the big hand of circumstance has screwed the lid on your potential and you’re knocking your head on the ceiling of yesterday. How many times do you close our eyes at night and think, “what would my life be like if I didn’t have this LIMIT staring me in the face?” It’s leap year and it’s high time to LEAP over our limits, instead of making excuses for them or wishing them away.
Limit: boundary; a point beyond which something is not possible to go or not allowed to go
It surprised me at first that the word “limit” (which is so sinister in my mind) could simply be defined by the word boundary. It made me think of Psalm 16: 5-6.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
God says our limits or boundaries are in pleasant places filled with a beautiful inheritance of provision and purpose. The question is do we live by His limits or ours?
Yes, on earth we will have limits that confine us. We need air. We need food and water. (I think I need coffee and HGTV.) On earth we are all limited in some way–it’s a fact. Some of my FACTS are bigger than your FACTS, and some of your other FACTS may be bigger than some of mine. Jesus was never intimidated by limits. He straight up asked the man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:5-9) Do you want to be healed? He could see his limits, but He also knew His healing strength. This man proceeds to give Jesus a liturgy of his holy excuses to why he could not get into the miraculous pool.
7 “I can’t,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to help me into the pool at the movement of the water. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me.” (TLB)
Jesus saw his limitations, and invited him to LEAP PAST HIS LIMITS! (Interestingly, this miracle was on the Sabbath, which was breaking a religious limit!)
We all have visible and pressing limits, but we know God loves to show up in situations where we’re weak and He is strong! Just ask Gideon, when an angel appeared to him and invited him to leap over the limits pressing the Israelites. He rolled out his excuse list. (Judges 6:13-16) “We’ve been losing for so long…We haven’t seen any great things like our fathers did…My clan is the weakest…I’m the least in my family.”
Excuse: explanation giving to lessen or eliminate liability, accountability or responsibility
Reason: explanation given to bring understanding, but not eliminate responsibility
Exquisite excuses. (Mind you, he’s arguing with an the Angel of the Lord–which usually indicates a physical appearance of God!) The Lord ignores his limits and says, “Go in the strength you have…I will be with you.” Then, just to make it a little more fun, God eliminates more troops and created more limits for Gideon, just to show His glory and strength! God’s strength is not intimidated by our limits.
The dream will always be bigger than you — so you need Him! Don’t strive to remove all your limits–receive grace to leap over them in His strength!
He heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and assigns each a name. Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does. Psalm 147: 3-5 (MSG)
Shattering the Invisible Limits
There are physical limits, but the strongest limits are the INVISIBLE LIMITS we set in our minds.
These limits are fabricated by lies and fortified by fear. They take the led out of our leap and hold our feet to the ground.
Have you ever seen a dog that’s trained by an invisible shock collar? The boundary lines are set for him under the ground so they are invisible to the eye, but if he approaches them while wearing the collar he first hears a series of warning beeps. If he continues to proceed, then he’s shocked by the small electric current. It doesn’t take many times at all before the dog realizes–when I hear those beeps…I run like crazy the other way! Now, turn the fence off. He’s free to leap and run around the neighborhood, but there is no way he’ll cross because of his past limitation and the memory of the painful attempt. By the cross, you’ve been freed from your shock collar of lies and limitations!
What INVISIBLE LIMITS are confining your life and restricting you from God’s pleasant boundaries?
Maybe it’s the limits of what people think of you. Every time you try to get close to someone you hear the “beep, beep” sound reminding you of the last time you got hurt. So you turn around and put another brick into your wall of isolation. Maybe it’s the limiting lie that you don’t have enough time, or your not educated enough, or smart enough, or skinny enough. Let’s take responsibility for the excuses and leap past these false boundaries!
We have seen INVISIBLE LIMITS shattered in history, from Chuck Yeager and the sound barrier, to Roger Bannister running the 4 minute mile, to now the attempts to run a 2 hour marathon. Hey, at one time it was thought that women were not even capable of finishing a marathon and not allowed to run. (Just ask Kathrine Switzer.) Those limits were not truth, but they BECAME REALITY to the people who believe them! What will you allow your reality to be?
Jesus has lifted the lid! It’s our choice to hear the truth and let the truth set us free. His liberating truths tear down the INVISIBLE LIMITS!
This LEAP YEAR, let’s leap past the limits and let our dreams be free to live!
Malachi 4: 2 “And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”
I walked into the kitchen as if in a trance, opened the cookie jar and started shoving cookies in my mouth out of habit! This was a day of “rehab” for me, when the “a-ha!” moment came…my emotional eating was a habit triggered by a subconscious need.
Habits: regular repeated behaviors that shape our lives. We form habits and then habits form us.
In my book, Huperwoman, I share how God healed me from an unhealthy relationship with food, resulting in a loss of over 50 pounds 19 years ago. Throughout my childhood, I developed many bad habits (formed from wrong thoughts of myself) that led to emotional overeating and unhealthy eating disorders. My breakthrough came one day when I received a REVELATION of what was TRIGGERING my binges. Habits are like the wheel of a spinning bike; they continue hopelessly spinning until something INTERRUPTS it’s pattern. That day God spoke to me like a broom handle thrust into my spinning cycle that stopped the madness and birthed change.
We were on vacation with our very young children. I was happily watching the kids play outside, while my husband golfed with his dad. He called me to say they’d been postponed and would not return for hours, which meant I would have to forfeit my shopping time to stay with the kids.
Being the good pastor’s wife I was, I did not scream and shout my frustrations out on my husband, no I…OUT OF HABIT…walked into the kitchen as if in a trance, opened the cookie jar and started shoving cookies in my mouth! Ironically right before the telephone call I had been reading a book about letting God heal eating disorders; then the phone rang, like the response of Pavlov’s dogs I cycled into a habit ingrained in my mind from childhood.
UPSET (trigger) + EAT (routine or habit) = HAPPY (reward)
In Charles Duhiggs facinating book, he describes this process like this…
“This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future: THE HABIT LOOP” ― Charles Duhigg, The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
This is the anatomy of a habit. Many times I don’t believe our failures are as much of a SIN issue as a HABIT issue. Habits that need renewing and rewiring with the Word. Most people don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “Oh boy how can I sin and damage people today? Bring it on! I’m a wreaking ball!” It’s more like what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7 of why do I do the things I don’t want to do! Our minds must be RENEWED by the spirit, so the habits of our flesh are redeemed.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
I find it simply fascinating how these scientific findings reflect scripture. God is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek him. If we can receive a REVELATION of what is a real REWARD and what is a short-lived pleasurable experience that leads to REGRET – we can begin to REWIRE our habits resulting in a drastic change.
4 STEPS TO REWIRE A HABIT:
1. Recognize what needs to change by revelation.
Many times this is birthed out of conviction bringing true repentance, not condemnation arousing guilt. Guilt never produces positive results because it focuses on US — not God’s strength! Conviction can bring a realignment to truth that gets our eyes off of ourselves and onto God’s strength to save us.
What specific thought or behavior do you need to change?
Redefine your relationship with the habit. In my case food was my friend. I had to redefine that relationship in my life. Food wasn’t my friend — it was fuel!
NOTE: This is such an important factor in true change. Each person holds their own key. God gave stewardship over our decisions and we will be held accountable for it. The most elaborate and sincere interventions cannot make someone else want to change. You cannot change or decide for someone else–only yourself. EACH SOUL HAS TO DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES – WE ARE THAT POWERFUL OVER OUR OWN LIVES! It is a gift of stewardship over our own souls from the Father; He entrusted us with the gift of choice.
2. Refocus on the new routine. (Replace & Repeat!)
Just STOP IT doesn’t work! (This is a very funny video, and I wish it was true–it would make pastoral care so much easier!) God always calls us to take off (flesh) and put on (righteousness) / come out (darkness) to bring into (light), deliver us out to bring us in. We overcome evil with GOOD. We don’t just stop the bad behavior; we replace it with a positive one.
A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit. – Erasmus
Plan out your ACTION or new routine when triggered. Write it out – what will you do or say. Picture it, pray about it.
Don’t think you are so spiritual that you’ll never be TRIGGERED or tempted again – you will! Jesus was tempted – but he choose good habitual responses. God has promised us that he will make a way of escape if we’re looking for it!
Yes, I know God can instantaneously deliver people from things–and I’ve seen Him do it! But when people don’t replace whose OLD patterns and thoughts with RENEWED ones — they fall right back into the cycle again. Our brains need new ruts!Those ruts are formed by REPETITION–doing the right thing over and over, even when you think it’s not working.
13 No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP
3. Revalue how the change will REWARD you.
What benefits will you receive from the new habit? (Write them down and see them!)
How will you feel?
What character does this new habit produce in you?
How can it open doors for your destiny because of your stewardship? (Faithful with little, I’ll make you ruler over much. – Matthew 25:21) How will it grow your relationship with the God?
How will it benefit your family & other significant relationships? Is it something you’d like to pass down as your legacy–what you’re known for when people think about you?
But without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. HEBREWS 11:6
4. Refresh your environment & Reinforce with accountability.
Voices determine choices. Be around other people who live out the change you desire. Have you ever noticed when you feel like you’re failing your flesh DOES NOT want to be around people who are doing what you know you SHOULD BE doing? It’s a ploy of sabotage from the enemy called offense!
Environment feeds desire. Hanging out after midnight online while rewiring a lust addiction is not an environment for success; or in my case doing my bible study at Krispy Creme wasn’t a wise idea. Set yourself up for success not sabotage!
Starve the old habit and feed the new routine.
We can’t keep feeding the 800 lb. gorilla and think he’s going to go away or behave!
Build guardrails for success that keep you out of danger zones. (Andy Stanley has great resources for building these guardrails into your life.) What are some things that can feed (cultivate and nurture) your new routine? Share this with someone you trust. In my case with food, when I was full (not stuffed, but satisfied!) I would tell my kids, “I’m full, don’t let me eat another bite!” They thought this was a really fun game, and it rewired my bad habit of eating off their plates while I cleaned the dishes.
Rewiring isn’t usually fast, fun or easy. But the REWARD is worth the cost.
“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature. (p. 92).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
If you’d like to hear when I shared this message at The Bridge Church, click here.
It’s now the first of February and there’s been tremendous “RESTARTING” going on around me! I’ve seen many people come to life again and start dreaming with hope and great expectation. We are inspired and motivated. We can see how God is moving and wants to RESTORE – or, RE:Story our lives.I like to think of restoration as letting God RE:STORY our lives with a new chapter. He is the author with a brilliant purposeful storyline, but many times we yield the pen of our life to other people, or to circumstances, or to lies from the enemy. Hand the Father the pen back.He’s dreaming over you–good things. Healing things. Beautiful and redemptive things that only a master storyteller could weave into the plot. We have felt the wind turn the page and sense the dawning of a renewed endeavor–ON SUNDAY…BUT then MONDAY happened and we have choices to make…and those choices will become the habit of who we are.
“You can’t write a new chapter if you keep REREADING the last one.”
I love the quote from the ancient philosopher Baltasar Gracian who said, “Dreams will get you nowhere; a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.”
I remember the day my youngest daughter vividly exhibited this saying. She was around 3 and buckled into her umbrella stroller while we were shoe shopping. I was eyeing a new pair of wedges, while out of the corner of my eye I saw the melodrama unfolding in slow motion. A lady, a rather…shall I say blessed lady, leaned over to try on a pair of shoes right in front of Ashton. Do you have the picture? A three year old, okay a rather cheeky three year old, bored and dangling her feet in the stroller…when all of a sudden a large (full moon shaped) target appears right in front of her. The temptation was too great and before I could utter a N-O-O-O-O!!!!! My innocent looking, curly head daughter reared back and kicked the lady’s plump derriere as hard as she could! I was mortified. But, to my surprise (and relief), the lady turned laughing and said, “My kids always say I could use a swift kick in the hind end!”
We all need a good kick in the pants from time to time to turn our MOTIVATION into MOMENTUM!
Inspiration without participation is useless.We all cheer for the DESTINY word, but it is the DISCIPLINE that gives feet to our faith. Will we be content to merrily read and write about the great things God wants to do? Or will we LIVE THEM.
Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us how we are saved BY GRACE FOR something…GOOD WORKS – that shows the nature of a GOOD Father. NOT saved and accepted by those good works, but as a natural RESPONSE to God’s gift of immeasurable grace. Those works — prepared for us to walk out — require our participation…or the “D” word that makes us cringe…DISCIPLINE which makes up DISCIPLESHIP. The word WALK in the greek is the word peripateo, which means to make one’s way, progress; make due use of opportunities–to be occupied with (another word for inhabited!). This is our participation — our faith in action. And we know FAITH without ACTION is dead. (James 2:26). Or in other words, our DREAMS without learning a way to WALK THEM OUT – and inhabit them is fruitless. We are not what we dream about being – but the choices we make and act on.
Peripateo=to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities / regulate one’s life / conduct one’s self / to be occupied with (Vine’s)
“Motivation gets you started, HABIT is what keeps you going.” Zig Ziglar
This introduces the word that shapes 90% of our lives…HABIT. God creatively fashioned our brains to learn something so well it becomes automatic to our subconscious to free up more energy. We don’t think about how to brush our teeth or tie our shoes–it’s automatic. Neuroscience has proven HABITS form actual ruts in our brain. Our daily habits become a part of the circuitry of our brain. We can make this phenomenon work for our good or for our determent. We form habits and then HABITS form us!
Habit = A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.
We ALL have all kinds of habits:
Social habits (ok, I’ll raise my hand–I’m learning to stop interrupting!)
Financial habits (my husband has me on an Amazon fast)
Physical habits (God delivered me from emotional eating 18 years ago — I’ll talk more about that later)
Emotional habits (do you have a habit of being offended and creating drama?)
Spiritual habits (prayer and worship is meant to become a habit — flowing out automatically)
And then there are THOUGHT HABITS…which GUIDE all of the above.
Sow a THOUGHT and REAP an ACTION, we sow an action and REAP a HABIT, we sow a habit and REAP a CHARACTER, we sow a character and REAP a DESTINY! This quote has been attributed to many different people and the origin is disputed, but we know by scripture that the heart of this catchy saying is pure biblical truth. We see in Romans 12:2 the importance of the RENEWING of our mind to prevent us from being conformed to the world’s habits! This renewing, or RE-WIRING, of our brain calls for a total REHABILITATION of our life if our dreams are going to truly turn to deeds!
You may be familiar with the idea of rehab or rehabilitation from an accident or injury. In physical therapy, people retrain their muscles how to work again. The repetition restores them to their useful purpose.
REHABILITATION = comes from the Latin prefix re-, meaning “again” and habitare, meaning “make fit.”
– restoration to a useful place
– the conversion of wasteland into land suitable for use of habitation or cultivation
God wants to REHAB our HABITS into ones that He can inhabit (and use for His purposes). I love how that definition says “conversion of the wasteland into land suitable for…habitation.” Think about your habits right now–in your family, in your marriage, in leadership, in your free time? Habits of lust, of gluttony, of gossip, of lying or exaggerating? CAN GOD INHABIT YOUR HABITS?Which ones are writing a story of redemption and leading you to victory and which ones are leading to chaos and turning you back into old cycles of regret. It’s not too late to RETRAIN your BRAIN with right choices that shape who you are called to be — and WALK OUT (inhabit with your habits) YOUR DREAMS!
Habits: Regular repeated behaviors that shape our lives. “We form habits, but then habits form us.”
Don’t miss REHABILITATION – pt. 2 and learn how to Rewire your Habits! Coming soon…
Anyone in my family knows that I hate to turn off my laptop and RESTART it. I keep opening more apps, downloading more files, adding more windows in my browser (my record is around 20 that I was legitimately using – ok almost legit). Until the inevitable happens…the “spinney wheel of death” descends and I have to face it – It’s frozen. I’ve jammed as many giga-whatevers onto my memory as possible and it needs a clear start! Sound familiar? Maybe it sounds like 2015 and it’s time for a new beginning.
Why do we hate starting over when a RESTART could be the answer to get us unstuck and moving down the path of purpose again?
Maybe because we feel:
A restart invalidates everything we’ve done before.
We don’t have the energy to start again.
Starting over is embarrassing. People have seen us try so many times before. It’s too late.
If we start over we’ll just be disappointed and fail again.
We don’t know how or where to begin again.
Or maybe these are just excuses to stay on the couch. (Ouch!)
Have you ever witnessed a piano recital student awkwardly stuck in the middle of a piece? The music was flowing along beautifully until the misfortunate-misplaced finger – plunk! plenk! They’re stuck and the more they try work it out, the worse it gets until the reassuring teacher asks, “Would you like to start over?” The decision lingers for silent debate…Run? Stay stuck? Or start over? No matter if it’s restarting your dream, restarting a decision to lose weight, restarting your budget to get out of debt or restarting on a failing relationship. God has a fresh start for you that regret can’t forfeit!
I just discovered Jon Acuff’s book, Start: Punch Fear in the face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.In it he says, “You’re just going to be a Starter. The starting line is the only line you completely control.” We control it because it’s our decision. No one can do it but you. God is ready to give you the grace to forgive yesterday and empower tomorrow if you’ll let him create something NEW IN YOU! Ready, set, go! (I think I’ll shut down my computer now for a RESTART tomorrow, aren’t you impressed.)
Matthew 4: 2 tells us how “after Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”Really? Okay, honestly, I was hungry after one night! I needed BREAKFAST — let’s break this fast…FAST!
Isn’t it hilarious how you usually aren’t hungry until you make the decision to fast, and then everything looks good—old, hard french bread (with maybe a little mold in the corner), two-week-old meatloaf, a tamale from Christmas, yep, sounds good, I’ll eat it. Put it on the table.
Our Bridge community began our 21-day fast a few days ago, as we do at the beginning of every year. I have to admit, I might have had a few extra bites of christmas cheesecake and pumpkin bread with the thoughts of our New Year’s fast looming in the future! Now here we are. Time for a fresh start. Let’s clear the table. Continue reading…
MESS:a disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant state or condition (Merriam-Webster)
Today I ran across a picture of our house last October during the construction. It had rained for days. Mud was everywhere and it was a genuine MESS! It seemed like it was never going to be finished, and we were exhausted dealing with all the MESS of details that DID NOT seem to be working out in our favor!
Duane and I just returned from a two week trip to South Africa and Namibia. Here’s a list of my TOP 10 FAVORITE THINGS from our trip…
1. TRAVELING TOGETHER
We usually don’t have the luxury of traveling together, so we’ve been very thankful for those opportunities this year. It is great to be able to minister as a team! This picture was taken in Namibia by a canyon close to the red dunes of Sossusvlei.
2. TCN CONFERENCE
Duane spoke at the annual TCN Conference in Pretoria (at Hatfield Christian Church) along with great friends, Stuart Bell, Dave Smith and Jack Groblewski. It was a great time of encouragement for leaders, and I so enjoyed the worship and seeing my sweet friend, from England, Irene Bell. It was also a great blessing to minister at Hatfield Christian Church South on the Sunday–in the rain! It’s time for RAIN for Pastor Louie & Natasha! Continue reading…
I had the honor of speaking at a National Women’s Conference in Windhoek, Namibia sponsored by TCNN at Christian Family Centre August 22-23. We drove through the beautiful city of Windhoek, passing meerkats along the way, (I kept saying,”Hi, Timon…Hi, Timon! I didn’t see Pumbaa in the city though. Yes, I love you, Lion King.) and my heart was so excited to meet these wonderful women. Pulling into the car park you could feel the women’s faithful anticipation. Many had traveled hundreds of kilometers from their farming communities around the country (some 7 hours!), and many joined in the fun never attending church or anything like this before. (Maybe the crazy Texan preacher was the luring bait!) Continue reading…