life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


Things I Learned This Week…

1 ) I am an adult now. I cannot function at work on less than 7 hours of sleep. This means I’m not accomplishing what I’m capable of accomplishing, I’m not loving people the best I can, and I am not being fully available to God. I need to treat my body like a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), which starts with getting. enough. sleep.

2 ) Being picky about what I listen to on the way to work is a good thing. It’s one of the day’s most impressionable times, and what I listen to in the morning can set the tone for my whole day.

3 ) My co-workers are fun. I started taking lunch breaks with the women in the “lunch bunch” this week, and it is one of the best parts of my day. That 20 minutes is full of laughter and joy. I. love. it.

4 ) It’s not that hard to make new friends. All it requires is being around new people and putting yourself out there a little. I think I’m making new friends at work. This makes me incredibly happy.

5 ) Dayne is VERY helpful when I let him help. Note to self: let him help more often; you need breaks.

6 ) I should try to greet Dayne at the door everyday with a hug and a kiss to show appreciation for him. In other words: I should greet Dayne the way I want to be greeted.

7 ) I shouldn’t be afraid to ask for more work when I’ve run out of work to do. Getting more work done (even if it’s somebody else’s) is a better feeling than putzing. Putzing never helped anybody.

8 ) Meal planning is incredible as long as it’s realistic. So I should stay realistic and enjoy the freedom of not having to worry about weeknight meals! p.s. to myself: Don’t plan elaborate dinners for Friday nights unless friends are coming over. Friday nights can be pizza or take-out or date nights forever and ever, amen.

9 ) I’ve been reading the Bible and devotionals and Christian books for inspiration and motivation. It’s amazing what 5 minutes of reading can do for my whole day. Choose it.

10 ) Discussing faith with others opens up doors and encourages me and other people in our spiritual walks; I shouldn’t be afraid of it. Also, I should try to stay away from complaining. I need to be even more bold about giving people encouraging words when I sense that they need them! I shouldn’t worry about appearing lame. Who cares.

11 ) I need to be more open about my family’s spiritual needs (like last Sunday’s blog entry). It turns out that people do care and being open and vulnerable spiritually can lead you to the place where you need to be.

12 ) Know myself, my spouse, and our calendar well enough to know when it’s just better to stay in, pop in a DVD, light a candle or two, and snuggle under a blanket.

13 ) I need to pace myself… in all areas of life. Trying to rush or taking too much time out is detrimental. I need to seek a balance, be kind to myself, and try to always be open to interruptions. I should take time to really listen to people, even if it seems like a waste of time (i.e., don’t rush parents off the phone).

…Make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6

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Be Inspiring!

From The War of Art by Steven Pressfield:

“Once you make your break, you can’t turn around for your buddy who catches his trouser leg on the barbed wire.  The best thing you can do for that friend (and he’d tell you this himself, if he really is your friend) is to get over the wall and keep [moving].

The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration.” (p. 20, emphasis mine)

I’d like to suggest that you could replace “artist” in that last sentence with just about anything – “Christian”, “woman”, “man”, “coworker”, “friend”, “human being”.

The War of Art is about connecting with your inspiration and defeating “Resistance” (anything that gets in the way of you executing your “art”: your gifts, talents, creative nature). I think inspiration can come from just the mere suggestion that you could (and most likely will) inspire someone else. And I think that’s one way we love other people!

It’s interesting; I was just reading an article recently about how it doesn’t help people who are going through a tough time to be miserable with them, even though we think that is true or natural empathy. What really helps is to be the face of (tactful and attentive) optimism and hope for that person.

I wrestle with this philosophy in my Christian walk. When others are struggling with walking in step with Jesus, I often think that the best thing I can do is seek to understand where they’re coming from and focus on the difficulties of Christian life. But if I’m honest, when I’m struggling, do I want to be around people who are lagging behind and complaining about Christianity, or do I want to be around people who are genuinely connecting with God and others and living through Him (i.e. do I want to be inspired)?

Donald Miller (the Christian author who wrote Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years) wrote recently on his blog:

“It’s hard to remember that… people will actually be benefited by our work.

…Most writers don’t think [their] work really matters. I’ve met writers who have sold thousands of books and still don’t think anybody’s life has been changed by their efforts. There’s an enemy whispering in their ear, I think.

I wrote four books and sold millions before I realized I was helping anybody. Sure I knew people were reading my stuff, but I didn’t realize they were making better decisions because we’d sat down for a few hours and I shared my heart.

…Just the thought that somebody out there might not leave their spouse, or quit on that book they’re writing, or change their career or find God. In all those books about writing filled with tips and tricks, I think loving the reader is the best motivator I’ve found.

…So the next time you sit down to write a blog, just remember somebody is going to read it and be encouraged.”

Even though Donald’s focusing on writing specifically, the same principle holds true: the next time you sit down to make a phone call, or write an email, or complete a task at work, or do something you’ve been feeling called to do for a very long time… people are going to notice what you do. We have such power to encourage and inspire.

Use it! Be inspiring!

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. – Romans 12:6-9 (NIV)