Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Voices

What is the first voice you hear when you wake up? It may be the voice of a favorite Podcaster. 

Many women in America, start their days listening to a favorite Podcast while getting ready or working out. 

A few months ago, I noticed the voices I heard through a few Podcasts became really ungodly. 

I'm talking about church girls. These women say they are Christians and they often speak about God. I became alarmed when one of those voices was saying that being intoxicated during the day when kids are present was okay. 

Today, after faithfully listening to another Christian podcaster for years, I unsubscribed. While her voice is soothing and pleasant, her teaching suits worldly passions. I will say, the agenda she's pushing is anti-Christ. 

How did I come to that conclusion? For years, I've been trying to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd more than the voices of the culture. The way I do that is by making sure I read my Bible more than I listen to Podcasts about the Bible. 

Here is what Paul tells Timothy: 

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV)

What that sweet writer was telling me this morning is a myth. It is culturally appropriate. It is politically correct. It is also anti-Bible and anti-Christ. 

I'm convicted to use the brain God gave me to think for myself. Friend, do not let a Podcaster or a blogger such as myself think for you. Think for yourself. 

I'm convicted to use God's Word, the Bible, as the thing that informs my faith. My faith informs the way I choose to live in the present culture. 

I can still love those sweet ladies I no longer listen to. I can still pray for them. What I refuse to do is to passively receive lie after lie in the name of being attuned with the culture.

I want to challenge you to ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is the first voice I hear when I wake up? What is that voice telling me?
2. How much time do I spend listening to Podcasts or watching videos compared to the time I read the Bible itself?
3. How much time do I spend reading a devotional (or books about the Bible) compared to the time I spend reading the Bible itself?
4. Do I question the thoughts and opinions of my favorite Podcasters or digital media influencers? Will those thoughts and opinions draw me near or further away from God?
5. Do I have a good handle of the faith I believe? Do I know Jesus myself or do I have second-hand knowledge of who Jesus is?

There's no time to play. We need to wake up and stop listening to every lie the devil is sending us through the media. He is good about disguising himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). He disguises himself behind that smooth voice on a Podcast. He uses social media influencers to advance his agenda. 

Be smart. 2 Corinthians 2:11 tells us that we are not to be ignorant of the devil's devices. 

Run to God. Run to Him first and foremost. Let God inform your view of the world, not a person clearly used by the devil. 

Friend, I know I'm often not this direct when I write but playtime is over. God is calling us to live for Him with boldness in this world. 

It is time to be bold and unashamed about the faith we believe. I hope these words touch your heart and encourage your soul to give yourself completely to the Lord Jesus and His purposes for humanity. 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am fully yours. Awaken my soul to reject the devil's lies in every shape or form I may encounter it. May I seek you while you can be found. I dedicate all I am to you: my listening habits, my digital media habits and every area of my life. Use me for your glory these last days. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Marathon Training 2020: Week 9

We are halfway through this training season. I'm amazed at how quickly time flies. I am starting to feel the tiredness that training brings. You're always tired when you do all I do as a wife and mom but marathon training helps you sleep a little deeper. Ha ha!


This week I tried to follow everything my training plan asked me to do. Other than that, I am making myself complete 2 days of cross-training.  

Last season, I did strength training pretty often. I found that it helped me stay strong all season long. I am doing the same things this season. The difference is that instead of running 3 times a week, I'm running 4 times a week. I am resting twice a week which is very important to recover from all the training days. 

I learned that in order to complete my training I need to work out twice a day once a week. It hasn't been fun but it has made me stronger. 

It's amazing that in order to do something extreme, your muscles need to get stronger. You can't just run, you have to get stronger in order to go the distance. 

When you run more than one marathon, you constantly think of seasons past. At least I do. I often think about my greatest lessons. How did I push past discomfort? I felt like this before: what did I do again? This is my favorite thought of late: "at the end, it's one medal per neck. I need to run to earn my medal." 

When you run more than one marathon, you learn from your mistakes. It has taken me a while but I am learning from my mistakes. 

Each run teaches me something. The important thing is to learn and move on. This week, I learned that I need to commit to my personal plan. For a while there, I was just running. I decided to commit to my plan to PR. 

I decided that following a pacing plan was smart and eventually, it will pay off. I decided that sleep is my friend. I also decided that the fitter I am, the better marathon day will be. 

I'm halfway to my goal. I'm determined to stay strong. I am committed to my personal plan. Thanks for joining me in this journey! 

Other posts in this series:
Marathon Training 2020 Weeks 1-8 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday Seven

This week I was reminded of how small steps add up to big things. Taking smalls steps can be discouraging but they are essential to making progress. Here are 7 small steps I try to take daily. 

1. Prayer. Communicating with God is essential to have a life worth living. I consider it a small step because it is part of an entire body of spiritual discipline work I do. I pray first and often. 

2. Rest. Recovering well is a small step that helps me be sharp and efficient personally and professionally. I make better choices when I rest well at night. 

3. Exercise. The act of exercising in small increments often has helped me live a healthier life. I'm no weekend warrior. I exercise a little bit most days of the week in order to reach my marathon training goal. 

4. Prioritize. I decided to ask myself, "what's really important?" This season, family. Having a husband and kids is a blessing and also a responsibility I take seriously. When I prioritize, I add margin into my life. I know when to start and when to stop. God comes before family. My health is also a priority. 

5. Chores. Small steps help me get it all done. I've been thinking about this for years and I came up with small daily steps to guarantee my chores are done. If everything is in disarray, I start with food and laundry. If things are okay, I focus on washing my dishes every night. 

6. Forgiveness. When I forgive the wrong done by me, it frees me to live. I know it can be hard. You know what's harder? Living as a prisoner of unforgiveness. 

7. Preparation. Preparing for the next day or week ahead is a small step that helps me stay organized. My preparation is simple. I write down things I need to do and I do them the best I can.  

Saturday, October 10, 2020

In defense of Mentors in Real Life

 

Someone I deeply admire but will never meet in real life.

The internet is an interesting place. Lately, I noticed people are eagerly seeking advice on parenting and marriage there. I'm here to give you my opinion on this trend. I hope to convince you to find mentors in real life.

As a young wife, I was living far away from my entire family. I was already blogging at the time. Fortunately, I was able to meet a lot of lifestyle bloggers in real life at a few conferences I attended.

I found some bloggers to be good people. I found others to push an agenda that was entirely different than the life I was seeking to live. I found those people to be unapologetic about the lifestyle they were writing about.

Right then and there, I took an inventory of my own life. Why would I ever be ashamed to write about the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I decided never t hold back on my belief and dedication to Jesus online. I also decide not to follow the advice of people with different agendas from mine. 

The people I followed back there changed and abandoned their blogs. Social media certainly evolved since then. Other voices emerged online. The ears of young women have eagerly listened to these new voices coming from new platforms. They want whatever will give them a perfect life. But who doesn't, right?

I noticed young women were comparing themselves to those pristine, curated lifestyles they saw online. The content creators tell you they are real. But are they really? 

I'm gonna put myself on the same boat for a second. You don't really know me. You can't watch my every move. You don't see me waking up. You don't know what my true character is like. All you know is what I choose to put out on the internet. I don't publish everything I go through because I save that for people I trust. I don't trust the internet for guidance, comfort, and wisdom. I trust people I can see and who can see me. 

I know we're in the midst of a pandemic. I decided to call and even write letters to my mentors. They wrote back and took the time to facetime me. We made the decision to be present in each other's lives.

My mentors listened to me. They gave the exhortation and encouragement I needed. The internet will never be able to do that for me. 

Why? The agenda of the internet is different. The internet wants me to blindly give my money and attention to the point of my detriment. The people God placed in my life were carefully chosen by Him to love me to the point of my growth and betterment. Do you see the difference?

I'm not asking you to abandon the internet. I certainly won't. I am asking you to pay attention to the source of your inspiration. Is it a person God sent you in real life to help you? Or, is it a person on the internet you will never meet unless you pay them a ridiculous amount of money? 

In defense of the internet, I find it to be a place where I find inspiration. I have listened to authors who inspired me to be a Godly wife and mother. I have read their books. Although I will never meet these people, they blessed me. I am aware that unlike the mentors God placed in my life, those authors cannot and will not keep me accountable to the call of God in my life to be a Godly wife and mother. Authors write, sell books, inspire. They are people who have to pay their light bill therefore, they work. Their motivation is to get the money you give them. They are business people, they are not your personal mentors - unless you pay them.

My mentors check on me and keep me accountable. I find it important to know the difference.

The older I get, the more I see marriages around me falling apart. Children suffering and families breaking up. Some of it is part of being alive. I can't help but wonder if women like you and I decide to follow God's plan if we can avoid some of these marriages ending.

I also have to tell you that if you are being abused, that's not God's will for your life. Get to safety right now. I have to tell you that sometimes, one person does everything correctly and a marital relationship falls apart. I choose to believe that for the other marriages, we can seek God and His resources to make a marriage work.

My friend, I want you to know that God can send you people in real life to guide and encourage you. Pray about mentors in real life to guide you so you don't have to rely on the internet for that. 

Tap into the resources around you. Wise women in your family and older women in church are a great resources. 

Don't let the internet fool you. Things are not as they seem. Let God's timeless wisdom guide you into His truth.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

How to live your dream in 2020

There is a high price to live your dreams. I wonder how many are willing to pay it. 

When you dreamed of getting a college education, you had to pay the price. Even if you had a scholarship, you paid the price through hard work every day. You studied it. You went to class. You completed projects and presentations. Only then, after you fully paid the price, you were able to graduate and receive your degree. 

Let me cut to the chase and tell you that there are 12 weeks left in the year of 2020. If you are willing to pay the price, you can accomplish something. 

I'm speaking with those who despite difficulties, because in the power of their dreams. I'm speaking with those who dare to get up from ashes so they can find beauty. I'm speaking to you. 

There is a high price to live your dream but in 2020, you can pay for it. 

It takes knowing what you want. Let's slow down a bit and allow you to take the time to dream. 

Take some time, as long as you need, and think: who do I want to be, come December 31?

• Do I want to be healthier? 

• Do I want to master a foreign language?

• Do I want to write a book? 

• Do I want to start my own business?

Take the time to dream about who you want to be by December 31. 

The small steps you will take to get there is the price you pay. 

I want to run a marathon by December 31. The high price I pay is waking up early to train. I pay that high price of not being able to eat whatever I want. I pay the high price of self-discipline in every area of my life, mind included. All because I want to run a marathon come December 31. 

It's a high price and I sometimes wonder why I decided to sign up. I know I want to challenge myself to become better. 

Back to you and your dreams. You can be what God called you to be. You have what it takes to accomplish your dreams. Take time to dream. Take small steps and you will live your dream.