Training My Heart to Rejoice

I’m not really a fan of new years resolutions. They seem too tenuous, too half hearted. What I like to do instead is to take time at the beginning of the year to set goals for myself – goals of what I want to accomplish and where I want to be by the time the year ends. Normally I write them out and hang them somewhere easily accessible, visible, etc. so that as the year goes on, I won’t forget them. This year, my goals have been hanging next to the calendar on the side of my fridge.

A few days ago, as I was switching my calendar over from June to July, I saw the paper, and I pulled it off the fridge to read it more carefully. The very last goal I had written took me by surprise – I’d completely forgotten I’d ever considered it. It was a goal to change my perspective by focusing on gratitude. I wanted to teach myself to see the positive before I saw the negative, to dwell on (as the Bible says) … whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report … (Philippians 4:8). And I ended by writing “I will train my heart to rejoice.”

That turn of phrase really struck me. It stuck to my spiritual ribs, so to speak. I’ve been pondering it, meditating on it, turning it over in my mind for days now. I’ve asked myself, how do you do this? What does it look like to have a heart that rejoices? How does that feel? And how do I get there?

These are the types of questions that just lead to more questions. But I like where they’re going. So that’s what I’m doing for the month of July 2022. I am studying what it means to rejoice, and I am looking for the practical, everyday, honest, and sustainable ways that I can make my heart more joyful every single day.

Waiting

Have you ever found yourself stuck waiting for something to happen.

It’s hard, isn’t it?

There is so much of our natural will and human instinct that provokes us to try to do something to enact the change we want to see. And I think that for the most part, that’s a God ordained desire. He expects us to participate in our blessings. He expects us to boldly reach for the things that He offers us.

HOWEVER … He also expects us to wait on Him – to wait for His timing and to follow His direction … and sometimes I think THAT is the hardest act of faith imaginable. Because when God promises us something, or when we ask Him for something, we normally have an expectation about how and WHEN that thing will happen. But of course, God doesn’t normally follow our timeline. He often has His own ways of doing things. And it can be so difficult to trust Him while we wait.

I was talking to someone about this earlier this afternoon – about why it can be so hard to wait for the things that God has promised us. And we came to a simple, honest conclusion. When we wait for something, especially when we’re waiting longer than we thought we would, it can feel a lot like being forgotten.

But we don’t serve a forgetful God. He doesn’t abandon us or change His mind. His blessings can’t be earned, and yet they are ours, because He has promised them to us. His timing is perfect, and we would be wise to stop trying to force His hand. Learning this – learning to TRUST that He will be faithful even when the situation looks bad, requires a true surrender – one that goes beyond words and actions, and transforms even the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Our walk in Christ is not a sprint. It is a life-long race. When you grow weary and your heart is faint looking for your breakthrough, take the time to reflect on how you wait upon the Lord. Waiting with a heart of faith will give you the strength to endure for the long-haul. It will cause you to soar.

ABCs of the Dream-Chaser’s Mindset

words-dream-on-cubes-1161376Hey everyone, happy belated Thanksgiving (to all of my American readers, of course)!

One of the things that I’m especially thankful for this year is the incredible reception that Dream Chasers has been given over the past few weeks.  I had scheduled a free promotional period on Amazon for the end of last week – and not only did it climb to the top 5 in each of it’s categories, but it broke into the top 100 in Christian Books & Bibles! I’m seriously astounded at what God has done – I even took screen shots so I could prove to myself down the road that it really happened 🙂

So as a way to say thanks to everyone who’s been so supportive and encouraging I’m going to give you all a little sneak peek at something I’ve been working on:

This is going to be an actual ABCs series – so I’ll be releasing a video every Monday for the next 26 weeks. I’ll be starting on this upcoming Monday, December 1st, but I wanted to give you all a chance to watch it first.

The information in these videos aren’t taken directly from the book – they’re brand-spanking-new bonus material that anyone can enjoy, whether they’ve read the book or not. So let me know what you think!

Thank you all!

An Exciting Journey

People always told me that I should write a book. I always laughed – mostly because I couldn’t imagine having anything to say that hadn’t already been said a thousand times over by people who know more than I ever will. So it was more surprising to me than (perhaps) to anyone else when in 2010 God gave me a message and told me to write it.

At the time I didn’t know how it would happen, or even what I would say. I couldn’t imagine how these words could ever find their way into pages bound in a cover and sitting on a shelf. The writing alone was more work than I’d thought possible, but that was only half the journey. In truth, it was more of a first step into a field in which I never imagined I would find myself: self-publishing.

And before you groan in horror at the thought, let me tell you first that I did too. After all, “self-publishing” sent my mind instantly to the horrors of vanity presses and terrible poetry. What I discovered when I looked, through, was a new and developing brand of independent authors – men and women who take their craft seriously and strive for professionalism. Yes, there are bad books being self published today – some of them are, in fact, horrible. But there are also well-written, high quality books out there that have been published by authors who would rather take their work into their own hands than wait to be discovered by a traditional publishing house.

My goal in this blog is to share with anyone who’s interested a little bit of what I’ve learned (and what I’m still learning) about what it takes to write and publish a book. I am by no means an expert. I have learned what I know through trial and error and a whole ton of research. But if it can be a help or an inspiration to other Christian writers (even, perhaps, ones who would never call themselves writers and can barely imagine writing a book of their own) then it’ll be worth the effort.