The Life You Deserve by Kenika

Movies speak to me in a truly revelatory way.  Try not to judge me too much until you understand what I mean.  I recently saw a movie, which was somewhat of a commentary on teenage life with all the problems and drama that come with it.  There was a great line that is still challenging me today in a scene where this young teenager had seen so many people in his life allow the wrong influences to sway them, and made choices to be in terrible situations.  Searching for a better way he asks his father, “Why can’t we save people?”, to which his father replies, “Because we (all) accept the love we think we deserve.”  That line rocked me to my core!  How true is this in your life? There is an old saying that you teach people how to treat you, and it is so true.  We can pretend that we had nothing to do with it and take the victim approach of saying, “How did I get here?” or “Why did this happen to me?” or if you’re bold, “God, why did you allow this to happen to me?”, but the truth of the matter is we accepted it even in the smallest way.  Whether it’s a bad relationship where you saw all of the red flags, but you ignored them. Or if it was the friendship with a person who always took without giving, and you let them use you.  How about a dead end job that was taking you nowhere fast, but you couldn’t see anything else for yourself so you stayed.  Whatever it may be we didn’t have the understanding that we deserved more or better.

After I heard that line, I began to look over different relationships, friendships, associates, and acquaintances to evaluate how they reflected what I think I deserve. For some of those persons I shuddered at the idea that I felt I deserved so little. That I would allow myself to give so much, but be completely comfortable receiving so little in return.  Thank God that I can look at them in retrospect and majority of my relationships in present tense, do not fall under that category.  However, it could have been a completely different story if I had decided to stay in a place of who or what I thought I deserved.

This is not to say that we should have an overinflated idea of who we are or what we deserve, but it is to say that we need to know the value we possess. Whether as a woman, a man, a believer, or a person in general, we need to know that we are valuable.  We are so precious in the sight of our heavenly Father, and others need to appreciate that value as well.  Therefore, as we are at the top of another year, it is a great opportunity to make a determination to live the life that we deserve.  Let 2013 be the year that you obtain the career, the relationship, the home, the friendship, the new vehicle, and/or your dreams that you truly deserve. Don’t waste time with anyone or anything that does not sincerely represent God’s best for your life. This time around, choose to leave the deception and your previous perception behind. This time, live the life and accept the love you really deserve.

Heart Guarding by Bombi

One of my favorite things to do is read a Psalm and a Proverb a day. The book of Proverbs is like a daily devotional all in itself with its 31 chapters, making it perfect to reread it each month. There is so much wisdom in this book. One passage that struck me recently reads: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

I must be honest I have not always heeded this wise word. When I have not, trouble somehow was right around the corner. That’s why I need to get Proverbs inside of my head, heart and spirit. This book, although sometimes poetic, and mostly practical, is always wise. So recently I ran across another familiar passage in the Bible, but this time in Philippians. The topic was anxiousness:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” – Philippians 4:6

The last time I read it, something new stuck out to me in the verse that follows: “7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

When I read this passage, I felt like I struck gold. Many times I’ve pondered the whole “guarding of my heart” thing, and I knew it was important. I knew it from experience and by the things that I’ve suffered in the past from disobedience. This verse however sheds new light on heart guarding. It tells me that when I am communicating with God through prayer, praise, and worship, that it’s God’s peace that will guard both my heart and my mind.  He does this through Jesus. Ahhhh I love it! So the idea of heart guarding is not just me trying to conjure up some type of a plan. This heart protection is really God’s plan. It’s my communion with God that comes in and does the job for me. It’s His own peace that works it out for me. My goodness, I hope I NEVER forget this!

So here’s my paraphrase, “Don’t trip”. When you are tempted to worry, instead talk to God, praise and worship Him. Talk to Him about it, and ask Him for help. His peace (it’s supernatural, your mind can’t understand, define it or contain it), that very peace itself will guard not only your heart, but also your mind. Communion with God is heart and mind protection insurance. The kind of insurance I am assured to have through Christ. The kind one cannot afford to go without. It’s yours as well for the taking. So come on honey and take it!

 

 

 

Torn Between Two Worlds by Trish (Ladies On Life)

I had the amazing blessing of going to Iowa to be with my family for almost two weeks. Usually my trips consist of 3-4 days and that has proven to be long enough for me. My lifestyle is one that moves at a rapid pace from the time I wake until I crawl back into bed at night. No complaints…I love what I do…it’s my reality.

However, this past trip I was home for a good length of time and yet at the end of the trip, it wasn’t long enough. While home, I took in every moment and appreciated it for all that it was worth. From cooking in the kitchen with my mom (okay, watching HER cook) to snuggling my sweet nephew and supporting my brother at his MMA practices, each moment held so much value.

While home, I remembered what it was like to grow up in that small town with a sense of community and sincerity of heart. Driving down the road and neighbors known and unknown alike wave at you, not because they know you but just “because”. The privilege of going to your friend’s house without a phone call or pre-arranged meeting because that’s how friendships work there, you’re always welcome and “appointments” are for business not relationships.

Then I rehearsed the beautiful life I’ve been given here in Orlando. Friendships that surpass DNA and carry a place in my heart under the same banner as “family”. The dreams that are nurtured here by the passion and drive for creativity that just thrives in this culture. Being in such a life-giving environment is what fuels my passion to pursue my purpose hard core and truly make a difference. Doing life with those of same heart and passion is truly one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given.

So now I come to the realization, my heart is torn between two worlds. Both vastly different and yet are regarded with such endearment for their unique qualities. How is one to combine the desire for both in one place? Then I think of another familiar scenario.

Before I was in my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5), I was known and formed by the true and living God. He then placed me into this world. So although I am here, I am not of this world. Again, torn between two worlds. Physically dwelling in one place, content with the blessings I have attained, yet deep in my heart it longs for that other world.

So how does one go about life in complete peace when your heart is in two places? I am reminded of when Jesus was on the earth, He too was here but not of this world. For 33 years He experienced the life of a natural man and yet His true residence was heaven as the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords. As He did life with the disciples, He bonded with them showing them the Kingdom way of life on earth. When He left, how sad it must’ve been for them to see Him go on “home”. Yet, He left an amazing gift that you and I have access to today. The Holy Spirit, the comforter, the teacher, the one that shows us things to come.

As believers, we have a responsibility to demonstrate Kingdom life on this earth yet we know our true residence is in heaven. But until we are called to that home, we have the comfort and leading of the Holy Spirit. Because of His comfort and leading, we can operate in the life we’ve been called to here with great peace knowing that one day we’ll experience our great reward in the life that is to come. We don’t have to be torn between two worlds but rather be mindful of both and appreciate what we have in this moment as we wait in great expectation of what is to come.

Down But Not Out by Kenika (Ladies On Life)

Photo Courtesy of Cameron Nunez Photography

I went over to a couple friend of mine’s house to hang out.  After visiting and catching up, we ended up playing a board game.  It was a game that I had never played before and it asked questions on a variety of subjects that I was not at all familiar with.  On their insistence that it was fun, we played.  This was not an ordinary game where you have players that give their best effort and whoever performs the best wins, on this game not only did you have to perform well, but you had an opportunity to bet against the success or failure of those you’re playing with.

As we began the game, it was apparent that with question after question I had no idea what most answers were. But you couldn’t just say, “I don’t know”, you HAD to guess which proved to yield some funny and wacky answers from me because I clearly had no clue.  After laughing at and even mocking me, my competitors began betting against me on every turn, sure that I would give a wrong answer, and they would gain points.  However, somewhere in the middle of the game, something began to happen. In this game if others bet against you and you get it wrong, they get points, but if they bet against you and you get the question right, you get all of their points.  The more they bet against me, the more questions I got right.

I started out playing a game that I was totally unfamiliar with and felt inadequate at, with two people who were not only smarter than me when it came to the subject matter, but had played the game before.  From the beginning it looked like I was sure to fail so much so that others stacked all the odds against me, literally.  But when it was all said and done, much to their shock, I won the whole game.

Even though it was only a game and all in fun, I saw such a parallel to life.  How many times does it look to your friends, family, the enemy, or even you that you are down?  It may appear that you’ve completely lost and you may even cry out to God to help or to save you before it’s too late, but please hold on.  God is setting up a supernatural move in your life.  No matter how bad it gets or how low you feel, you may be down at the moment, but you are not out.  How you start is not the most important thing, it is how you finish.

As others are betting against you, counting you out, or disregarding your abilities, God is in your corner and putting others in a position where they will be forced to turn their criticism of you into praise.