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4 Reason to Take a Temporary Vow of Silence.

  1. Reclaim and cultivate peace

How much noise harass us all day? I love listening to music or watching Youtube videos but there are times that I want quiet. I want to hear nothing. Doing so resets our spirits and gives us time to communicate with our creator.

As an exercise, when taking a vow of silence, write down what sounds or sensations you notice then forget them. Move past them to focus on a mental picture of an empty cavern where you gather peace lost during stressful events that day.

  1. Set intentions for the coming week

Each week has challenges we have to meet and conquer. Some of our weekends do too. All the more reason to plan how you might respond to hiccups/upsets that will happen.  Meetings, interviews, family gatherings, and other events go smoother when you preprogram how you’d prefer to respond.

For example, I have a weekly call I make to a difficult family member to keep the peace. I prepare with a moment of silence to center my already fraying patience and nerves. When we talk I’ve already made up my mind to make this time productive. If that fails, I have prepared a Plan B: put on my favorite J-Pop group to make the minutes fly by.

  1. Spend Time on A Pet Project

There are projects that make sure we eat and there are projects that feed our souls. It’s achieving balance in our life that is hard to do when constant noise and distractions never cease. It’s okay to nourish ourselves. We can’t give back to others if we have nothing to give. I’ve seen people who give of themselves after hitting zero and it’s hard to watch as they slowly dissolve into a shell.  

We are worth investing in. If we don’t feed ourselves we can’t live the lives God has for us, we can’t help anyone Just as silencing our minds makes it easier to flow into creating meaningful lives.

  1. Recharge After Work

Honking, squealing brakes, and never-ending commercials trying to sell to us it’s no wonder silence sounds so loud when we finally sit down at home. At work, phones ring and co-workers demand a portion of our time. Reports are due while more projects with stricter deadlines are piled on.  We need a mental break. We need a time of silence.

Pushing through frustrations only represses issues that spring up later. Like when we’re trying to sleep making the next day’s stress worse.  Writing in a journal helps some but sitting out outside can be just as beneficial. An easy walk around the block after dinner is a great way to enjoy the silence and get some light exercise.

Peace and Love, 

Randa 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Mindsets Make the Difference

Scripture reference: Romans 8:5-7

Out mindset is like a filter we put on photos: they color a situation in a good or bad light. We can see a situation in sepia or in full color. Maybe we see an event in our lives as a photo negative filter. All these “filters” make up the photo album of our lives and give us a great tool to make adjustments in the direction we’re headed. Warn us on a dangerous path we weren’t aware we were on. Even better, changing our path is easy as one simple act a day.

Where to Start?

  We must see with as much clarity as possible the path we’re on and try to identify what got us here- what motive drove us. In my life I get tired of waiting and, as I put it, take stabs in the dark when it comes to decisions. The paths I’ve taken weren’t bad but still gave me quite a mental/spiritual sucker punch. I was left feeling more lost than before. Take time to evaluate where you are if you’re not happy because it’s not too late.

We are able to turn around! Christ will not leave us to wander off with no plan to rope us back in if we are willing to admit we don’t know everything.  It is freeing to think we don’t have to know everything. Think about it, our heavenly father arranges the details we can’t see and all we have to do is put in the work to show up, be willing go out of our comfort zone.  Be willing to master what God has given us.

Daily assignments

Whittling down a to-do list, personal and professional, is just an autopilot experience for most us. To give us strength for our daily grind, God, in His great mercy, gives us our daily bread. He gives to us daily assignments so the journey, though a long one, is broken down into doable steps. While we may not reach our destinations this minute, this week, this month, or this year, we are working toward our goal. 

As we pray/meditate: let’s not just hear what God is saying, let’s decide how we are going to complete the small, daily assignment God has given us. For me, I’m going to study and practice how to make writing these posts more interesting. Practice writing more clearly with a clear theme and intention.

What small step will you take today? 

Blessing and Peace—Randa 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take Off Your Rose Colored Glasses

Scripture reference: Romans 7: 14-25 (CSB translation)

January of 2018, I didn’t make any resolutions. I didn’t make any plans or map out goals on how I was going to champion 2018 instead, I made myself a promise. A promise to not lie about anything regarding who I am or how I feel.  Lies, even white lies, are heralds of disaster as the long game is impossible to predict. Lying is against my moral compass, as a believer in Christ but of course, that compass is held by a very human hand. Mistakes are made, but it’s how I recover by removing the rose-colored glasses to keeping me blinded to changes I must make. 

Thinking positive is a hoax fed to us by so many that the real culprit is never going to be found. While I’m not against being happy or clinging to a gold nugget of joy, I don’t see how crushing my feelings in a box painted with “the best is yet to come”, peace signs’, and yellow smiling faces are going to make any of us feel better. Happier. Embracing our struggles is not giving up and wallowing in the past defeats. It’s a step in living a life that can impact our world. We remove our blinders going forth into a world full of people who are still blind.  Paul writes to us in Romans with a perfect example of what I’m trying to say.

Verses 22-23, “For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.” Here, Paul is being honest with himself about his struggle as a follower of Christ, not painting his struggle with a happy shiny lie and a smiling face.  Once we’ve stopped lying to ourselves we can see the problem a clearer now that our pain isn’t dressed up in a pink tutu. It’s then “by the spirit we put to death the deeds of the body” we can live an authentic joy filed life.  We see where our challenges are and how much we need God to lead us.

Blessing and Peace :),

Randa

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No More Lonely People

We know what it feels like to be crushingly alone. Maybe if you’re like me being alone, as a choice, is your preferred way to spend time. Yet, when you’re forced to be alone even God seems to be miles away.  We then meet and make “friends” with Loneliness.  As Loneliness settles into various cracks and corners of our minds we sink deeper into the abyss with the surface fading fast.  This is the time to remember Christ is our eternal friend, who “sticks closer than a brother”. Christ can seem distant based on our feelings, but feelings aren’t absolute truth. 

Harsh as the above statement is when walking through loneliness, we need to hear it. Feelings are changeable. So how do we change how we feel? Change out routine for starters. Visualize loneliness as a starving, ravenously hungry monster just released from prison. To gather strength, it eats comfort food, easy to find comfort food (ex. the reasons why we’re lonely). Changing our thoughts isn’t what I’m talking about. I mean to take physical action to continue to starve our loneliness further beginning the process of freedom.

Ways to starve the “monster”:

  • Put down the phone.

Studies have shown social media increases a discontent in our lives. We don’t think about our browsing others’ lives deep enough until we look at our own page. We don’t have the smiling group, amazing cruise photo’s, our kids aren’t winning trophies like that etc. It has become routine for us to live in a digital backyard gazing longingly into the windows of other people. So, put down your phone and take a walk. Science has proven walking increase feel-good hormones.

  • Satisfy your curiosity.

All this method takes is a car, maybe coffee/tea if you’re tired, and the library. What has you curious, what have you always wanted to know more about? Distract yourself constructively while learning about what modern décor goes best with your star sign, how to defend your relationship to Christ, how to meal plan food with flavor, or how to draw 3D art. The world is your oyster!  

  • Volunteer

There are many causes needing (wo)man power to make the difference. Giving money is a start, but it’s a soul-lifting feeling to hands-on see what your hard work creates. If you attend church I can guarantee one ministry or another needs help. If you just donate some items and pass them out at outreach event you claimed a victory over the “monster”.

  • Take yourself on a date!

Is a concert coming up? A new restaurant you’ve wanted to try? Go do those things! You are an amazing person so don’t wait for someone else to tell you that! Treat yourself has become meme worthy, trivializing it, but take back what it means to love yourself and do what makes you happy! If eating alone is scary, order takeout from that new restaurant and sit in the park listening to a podcast (I suggest Rabbits).

My hope is this post is some help to those who are feeling lonely today. Know Christ is ever present and a whisper away. Take a chance today because you are awesome- I mean that.

We need better Answers

Reading Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace lately, I’ve realized while I love Jesus I can’t defend my relationship to others in a transformative way. In a way that will impact their souls. On Forensic Faith’s website, a test asks you how you would respond to each question. You have 21 minutes to answer them.

Here are the questions:

  1. Why are you a Christian?
  2. What evidence do you have to believe God exist?
  3. Why do you trust what the Bible has to say about Jesus?
  4. Why would God send people to hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus?
  5. If God is all loving and all powerful, why is there so much evil in the world?
  6. If God is the creator of everything, who created God?
  7. Why would a loving God command the total destruction of all Israel’s enemies (including their children and livestock)?

I haven’t taken the test. I’m scared of my answers and I know I can’t answer them as I want to. Worst of all, those who don’t know Christ can better answer why they don’t believe, why they’re gay, why they think the government is out to get them, why aliens exist, and how science is the only “god” they trust. Even worse, I envy those who can stand up and make powerful leaders in my world follow them because they can answer why! Evidence, fake or not, is making a bigger impact than most followers of Christ. I want to change that.

How would you answer the above questions? Let me know in the comments or just share how you struggle as well to defend your faith in Christ. I want to show my love for Christ in this world. To sum up my point Mr. Wallace says it best, “We need better answers”.

No More Self-Doubt!

  We are forgiven in Christ as the first step into a new life of purpose. Yet we can be worn down by self-doubt when we linger in past mistakes. Bad choices will try to remind us of negative results as we try to climb out of the doubt and even try to convince us no greatness lies ahead. This is a waste of our time. The reason why is simple: We need to apply the lessons we’ve learned from our past to new challenges today. In God’s word, He states clear “I am about to do something new. (Isaiah 43:19)”. Join me as we learn how to disarm 3 traps that create self-doubt.

First trap that creates self-doubt: Idols

A short example of mine is a pastor I went to on guidance about a spiritual gift let me down when he didn’t take me seriously. When I was dropped and my seeking guidance treated as a joke I realized the pastor had been an idol to me.  God in chapter 44 of Isaiah says “Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times…”  He goes on to say “The person who made the idol never stops to reflect..” Reflection comes too late after the hurt when doubt has planted its seeds. 

Rooting our doubt takes time because continuing to pursue our goal seems pointless. We become deluded and think “If so and so had helped me I would be more confident.” Why let a human hold you back? God is our father, power source, and all loving creator who longs to see us do well. He has greatness in store for us if we will just choose to keep going. When doubt begins to nag at you try some of the ideas below to remind you that God is all you need to succeed and will send help when it is needed.

  • Write the promises of God on note cards to reinforce Gods word in your heart.
  • Pray for opportunities to prove those useless idols wrong and meditate on what your success looks like.
  • Try new techniques to create growth and have fun learning, don’t focus on the end goal. Enjoy your journey!
  • Make a list of I Am statements (ex. I am a daughter/son of the king,  I am powerful through Christ, I am loved by almighty God, I am equipped for success).
  • Know you are not alone in how you feel. There are tons of people who struggle with self -doubt.

Let me know in the comments or on Facebook how you combat self-doubt in your life. Join me again for how to disarm Failure. 

Blessing and Peace- Randa 🙂

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In Defense of Being Single.

“You’ll change your mind when you meet the One.”, “You don’t want kids? That will change when you get married.”, “You don’t want to be alone do you?”,  and many other varieties of these phrases have been hurled at me since I’ve decided to stay single. And NO, I’m not choosing to stay single until my “prince” comes because God has prepared us both for the great journey of marriage. I choose to stay single because I want to.  If there is anyone out there like me I’m writing this to encourage the single to stay strong when well-meaning people offer their “advice”.

Family, friends, co-workers, etc. can’t help themselves because they don’t understand that singleness  isn’t a curse. They see single as a temporary disease, a defect caused by bad examples and go so far as to suggest you join the singles group at church to meet people. Prayers go up imploring God to guide you since no man is an island. Here’s a newsflash: Being single is a gift (1 cor.7:7)! God’s path for us who are single is to remain this way and for others God wants them to be married: different is good.

Not getting married doesn’t mean missing out nor does it mean we who follow Christ can share our what God gave us with whoever we please. The purpose we strive for will differ from single to single. Having a freedom to pursue this divinely given goal is reason enough to fight for being single.  It can be lonely and make even the stoutest single doubts, but I am here to encourage you to not allow loneliness to taint the life you live. You should never be with someone just to avoid emotions instead pursue ways to enjoy your hobbies with other people and make some new friends. Invite someone from work to hang out or take that class you’ve been eyeing.

I’ve seen marriages where loneliness wasn’t avoided but amplified. I’ve also seen how marriage has brought out the best in both people. Still I don’t want marry as I know myself  and what I want out of life, what God wants out of my life.  Being single  is a special gift given to strong believers because knowing who you are in Christ and as a person makes a target out the believer from the church and the world.  Think salmon swimming upstream.Singles have figured aspects of their lives out because they take the time to minimize distractions. Most people I’ve met looking for a mate are distracted by past relationship let downs, crazy exes, and trying to impress the next guy/girl.

That’s my take. Let me know in the comments what you think!

Blessings and Peace,  Randa 🙂