People over Plans

Adventurers

Friendship is something we all crave. From playing on the playground in kindergarten to checking out the hot new club at age 22, we want a friend to tag along with us. Life’s just not as enjoyable alone.

Deep friendship takes time and investment. Time with eachother one-on-one and in social settings. Investment in activities and resources that encourage interaction on a regular basis.

In lasting friendships, prioritizing our relationship with the other person is so important. When we put someone at the top of our list, they feel valued and we feel connected. Without this kind of purposeful drive, our friendships will end up falling short.

It is never a waste of time to choose a person over a plan. Some of my greatest friendships have been forged on spontaneous trips and off the cuff remarks. We can’t overthink it. We have to embrace different opportunities as they come our way…even if they don’t fit into our neat little box of comfort.

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Doing new things with our friends allows us to see life differently. Sacrificing our plan for the sake of a friend’s idea of fun isn’t selling out. It’s giving ourselves a big ol’ fat chance to grow up a bit. Last I checked, growth is good.

When I make the decision to step out of my comfort zone and do something that I’ve never done before because my friend wants to, I learn something about myself. I can embrace a new level of boldness and challenge or I can sit back and watch my friends grow without me.

That’s what happens, by the way. New environments bring new perspectives. If we skip out on hanging with our friends because they do something we’ve never done before, they will eventually grow beyond where we are. They will be enlarged by the experience in some way, whether it was great or just so-so, because they chose to think beyond their norm.

Do you have a friend that challenges you to climb higher and reach farther? If not, get one (or be one!) A whole new level of relationship is waiting for you beyond your familiar routine.

A Four-Letter-Word Christians Should Be Talking About More

I am so excited to have my new friend, Gloryanna Boge, guest post today! She writes for Only A Season about motherhood, marriage, and faith. I believe, in one way or another, that we can all relate to the sensitive topic she addresses.  Prepare to be encouraged through her authenticity and blessed by her truth filled words. Please like, share, or comment to show her some love! Thanks, friends!

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Sweat trickled from my brow as I dabbed my chin to try and keep my makeup from smearing. I had worn my favorite bright pink dress, with “cork” heeled shoes. I wore Adidas perfume religiously during my teenage years. I went to my favorite church camp every summer for three years in a row during my middle schools days. Of course camp was during the hottest days of the year. Meetings took place outside. If we’re all being honest, camp was about seeing that boy you had a huge crush on, wearing that pink dress, and what little makeup I wore was all about impressions.

I think back to those times when I would sit outside under a huge tent and listen to the pastor talk about pleasing God. I remember when the messages hit my heart hard and crying and praying and going to bed feeling the love of God wash over me. Then there were the nights when the pastor would talk about how to please God and what seemed like “rules” we had to follow in order to feel his love. I remember a particular night when the pastor talked about idols in our life and for us to “take a good hard look” at ourselves and what we were worshipping as idols instead of focusing on God. As a 13 year old girl who had eyes for the boy sitting in front of her, idols was a topic that seemed ridiculous. No one worshipped statues anymore.

I’m gonna be honest here and say that the word “idol” is not one that I use often these days as a 30 year old, and most times, I associate those crazy people in the Bible who worshipped an actual object made out of, what was it, gold? And since we’re being honest, I tend to get glossy-eyed when I hear pastors talk about “modern day” idols and how we need to be on alert against the enemy or something like that. Idol was a four letter word that was rarely used in my “Christian” vocabulary.

It wasn’t until one restless night when I felt the Lord tugging on my heart. I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing. Turning. And you know what I was thinking about at 3:00 A.M? My blog. I was thinking about all these topics I should write about. I was thinking about how I needed to be on social media more but then my stomach started to turn because social media is draining. I felt like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was focusing all my energy on this hobby I call writing, and losing my peace in the process. Yet, I kept coming back for more. I kept returning to this empty well, searching to be satisfied. Then that tug on my heart became pretty clear.

Those moments of nodding off in church when the word “idol” came up had bolted me awake in the middle of the night. My blog, which initially started out as a means to encourage others in their relationship with Christ, had become an idol to me.

I’m not here to throw fire and brimstone. All I can do is share with you how I was choking the life out of something that I initially gave to the Lord. Satan had taken something good and was twisting it for his purpose. It started when I quit waking up early for my quiet time with the Lord. This was a result of me staying up late working on the back end logistics of my blog. Instead of taking a few minutes during lunch to pray or read a devotional, I was flipping through all the social media on my phone trying to promote my blog and build blogging relationships. Not to mention times I was messing with my phone while my son was crawling about waiting to play. Then it got worse. Instead of spending time with my husband after our son went to bed and the dishes were done, I would whip out my laptop to research a plugin I needed for my blog. Some of my other relationships started to suffer because of the time I was spending with my blog.

Do you see the picture here? Slowly, God became smaller in my life as my blog became the image in my forefront. The image I was pressing towards to make bigger. After all, part of the definition of idol is an “image” of worship. If you dig deep into its etymology, you will find that “mental image” is part of its meaning.

All I was focusing on was this image of myself as a blogger and where it was taking me. God wasn’t a big part of that picture anymore. Until recently. Until that night at 3:00 AM when I made the decision to give my writing back to the Lord.

I think what bothered me the most about this revelation was how easily I let it happen. How easily I let down my guard down. To keep myself guarded and reminded of His truth, I have made the conscientious decision to speak out loud God’s Word anytime I feel like I am losing balance in my faith.

When I feel like I am not being my authentic self, I speak His Word about being a Child of God and holding on to my child-like faith in him.

When I feel like my blog isn’t growing enough or I let social media affect my peace, I speak His Word finding favor with men for God’s glory. Not mine. I remind myself that life is not about likes. I don’t need others to validate my work. God will do that in a way that is best for me.

I speak His Word out loud to keep His image in front of me. To keep myself from letting idols creep up into my life.

I encourage you to take a step back and look at what is robbing you of peace in your life. Is it something that you have inadvertently turned into an idol? Yes, say it. Idol. It’s not some vague word that doesn’t apply anymore. It’s a word that we need to talk about more often. A word that we need to guard our hearts against.

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Gloryanna is a teacher turned SAHM whose identity is found in her relationship with Christ. She is married to her high school sweetheart who insists that dirty clothes can be left on the floor. Gloryanna writes to encourage others in their walk with Christ, no matter what season you’re going through. If you want to be encouraged, you can follow her writing at Only a Season. You can also catch snippets of her faith and scribbles on Twitter, FacebookInstagram and Bloglovin‘.

 

The “Busy-ness” Trap

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It’s okay to say yes ALOT. It really is. Being busy is only bad when it’s not fulfilling or purposeful. When there is no greater purpose to the “busy-ness” it becomes draining and tedious. Doesn’t it?

But when we are busy because of a goal, vision, or shared interest, then it becomes life-giving.

Take my week. This is what is has looked like for the past 5 days:  Morning runs, home-schooling with the kids, online college classes, a lunch meeting with other women about leadership, an all day workshop with other worship leaders, dinner with girlfriends, blogging, practicing the piano, snuggle time on the couch with my husband, and a trip to the grocery store.

None of the above things are a waste of my time. They are all important.

Have I had a very exhausting week? Yes. Do I feel enriched, fulfilled, motivated and inspired despite the exhaustion? A resounding yes!

Why? Because I said yes to the important things. So, let’s keep the whole “being busy is a bad thing” in perspective, shall we?

The trick to this mindset is simple. Prioritize the exhausting stuff alongside the energizing stuff in order to maintain a sense of balance in your life. And make sure there is a reason behind what you’re doing. Doing something for someone else is fine and dandy as long as it doesn’t take the place of you taking care of you. (Obviously I don’t mean quit your job because you’d rather be at home binge-watching Netflix!)

Balance is really not as elusive as everyone makes it out to be. I promise anyone can find a personal rhythm that drives them to say the right yeses and no’s.

And when you do, your spirit, soul, and body will thank you for it!