The valley should not be a surprise. We must go through it to be refined as men and women of God. Let's be real, as long as we remain in our comfort zones there is no growth and our ego just gets out of control. If we are willing to receive discipline from our Heavenly Father, we will become who we were called to be. This week I hit a couple valleys and leaned on Psalm 23. It seems that God is constantly reminding me of where my true citizenship lies...in Heaven, not earth. Anytime I start to put my home in material/worldly things, He allows a valley and trial to help me re-focus my eyes on Him. Here are the truths I lean on in the valley:
🌀Truth: I get to choose how I will respond (notice I say respond not react)
🌀Truth: If I plant seeds of peace, I will harvest peace.
🌀Truth: If I plant seeds of fear, I will harvest fear.
🌀Truth: I get to choose which seeds I will plant.
🌀Truth: God does not move; He is always present
Today I am grateful to share that this valley has passed but I anticipate more. The best part is that there was a deep message behind this one and I desperately needed to hear it. God is such a sweet loving Father you guys. It brings me to tears every time I think about how He extends His love to me hour by hour and gently calls me back when I stray. I am so thankful that He doesn't leave me to myself.
Face the future with God.
Change is inevitable. I have learned to embrace it. Accept it. Stop resisting it. I've learned to recognize that it's not only a part of life; it's a necessary part of God's strategy. One thing is certain, though. We will never face the future without God's help! Though the future can be frightening, with unexpected twists and turns… may we remember that God ordains the days of our lives.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand-Psalm 37:23-24
How encouraging is this? When we begin to acknowledge God's hand in ALL things, His peace floods our soul. The last 5 months have been infused with change and I did not always handle it the best way. Most of you know that if you follow my blog. The truth remains: God is still present. It is up to us if we choose to stare at Him or stare the storm. So, my sweet friend...where will you stare this morning?
This morning after digging into Psalm 143 I decided to go for a short walk to pray out loud and invite God into every part of my day, thank Him for how He has been not only showing up but showing off lately (😉) and stay quiet and listen. Have you ever taken a walk in the dark? Before the sun rises and the world wakes up? It's truly beautiful. I am thankful to live in a neighborhood where I can do this with no safety concerns (where we've lived before is a different story). So here's the question: how do you spend the first hour of your day? Is it rushed, filled with worry, or filled with noise? I'm not saying that waking up early is the best decision for everyone… But I do believe it's worth a try. It has forced me to spend my first few hours differently and the long term results are worth it.
Psalm 143:8 says: "Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go for to You I lift up my soul."
For the morning to bring me such word I have to make the time to read it, hear it, and apply it. I challenge you to join me in beginning your day with Jesus. It doesn't have to be an hour...it can be 10 minutes. In that 10 minutes, though, be fully present and available. Invite Him into every part of your day (even the mundane). What do you think?
Here is the reality. If you follow me on FB (Facebook.com/carenscorner) you have seen my live videos daily sharing about my struggle to keep up with a morning routine that honored the Lord and ensured my time with Him was never compromised. My reality? I was waking up around 7:30am and instantly looking at my phone (emails, notifications, messages, etc.) and was sucked right into the noise of the world. Next thing I know It's 9:30/10am and I make sure to get my workout in (because apparently that is nonnegotiable) and then by the time I shower and have my shake it's 10:30/11am. I go back to work and the day slips from me. Where was my time with God? Just because I work from home does not mean that you just find time...you have to MAKE time. I knew it was time to stop making excuses and instead make a way for CHANGE.
This past weekend I sat down with my husband and expressed my embarrassment and shame for how whacked out my routine has been and asked for accountability. He wakes up every day at 4:45AM to spend time with Jesus before heading to the hospital for work. I decided I was going to wake up with him and NOT look at my phone at all. Instead, I would go right downstairs, make some coffee and sit with my Bible and spend time with Jesus.
Today was day 3 of this and let me tell you something. You have to know yourself. Some may say "Caren, why don't you just spend time with God in the afternoon or evening?" My answer? I am not focused then. My mind is already weighed down by noise and I can't think clearly. I know I won't be present. The same way you have to pick a workout time YOU can be consistent with, I had to pick a time with God I would be PRESENT in. Fully. And that is mornings for me.
So here I am. Waking up early (it's not easy) but being intentional because my relationship with God is worth it and should never be compromised. What I have found is a new fullness of joy, peace, and strength. Even the way I make decisions throughout the day have been greatly influenced (positively) by His presence because I am more AWARE of Him.
I am sharing this with you to encourage you. Our routines DO matter. How we prioritize our time DOES have an impact on our soul. We need to stop and pay attention and reflect. No more excuses. It was time to make a WAY.
Be present. Yup. That's your tip to making your next decision.
As I was creating the devotional for my current faith and fitness challenge group, I was convicted by how much I have a hard time paying attention to my Best Yes decisions because I tend to live a life that so full and leaves me completely spent. Sometimes we do have to say no to certain tasks in order to protect our best yes answers. Today I am focusing on being present in every moment. When I'm not sure what to do next, I was simply focus on what I do know and look at the very next step that I need to take. It doesn't have to be so complicated.
We will see our Best Yes answers most clearly when we are present, paying attention, seeing what we need to see, and being willing to extend God's love in the moment"-Lysa TerKeurst
I absolutely love that quote by Lysa! I am so guilty of hastily living life that I KNOW I've missed out on so many Best Yes opportunities because I couldn't look in front of me. Instead I choose to look too far ahead and create anxiety for myself. Or I am too stuck in the past and become depressed. What if today we chose differently. Today let's choose to live in this very moment. To focus on what the next right step is and do that, confident that God will show and direct the way. And you know what the best thing is? When we follow Jesus no mistake is an end. It's an error...but never an end. He will use us well even when we do not choose well as long as our lives are surrendered to Him.
On my flights back from Nashville, TN yesterday (see the fitness section for more details on my trip) I had a lot of reflecting to do. I realized I am afraid to dream big dreams.
I fear that I will be disappointed or fail. I am afraid to let others down. I fear that it might just be too big and impossible. This morning I woke up and I don't feel well. I have a sore throat, headache, my body is aching, and I can just tell that I am still sleep deprived from Summit in Nashville TN. It was all worth it. Still, I am not at my best today. Yet, as I sat with my cup of hot water and lemon (ick) I began to pray circles over the dreams I am suddenly having since Summit. They are dreams I am afraid to claim; dreams that seem unreadable. Gently I heard God's voice, "all things are possible if you seek me first and live to glorify Me."
I know you have dreams too. Whether it's for your career, family, relationships, health, or faith. Why do we allow fear to steal our joy and hope? Why do we trade excitement for security? Today I am considering that trade and I am releasing fear to receive peace. Will you join me?
A Bit About ME!
Hey friend! My name is Caren and I am so glad you stopped by! This blog is a bit of my corner on the internet where I share honest thoughts about my faith journey, fitness journey, doctor wife journey, and motherhood journey. ALL of it! The good bad and ugly! I pray that something I share encourages you today!