Chronicling 40: Days 201-203

EXPANSION

I’ve believed that my 40th year was going to be a big deal.  That exciting things were going to happen.  I claimed the word “fearless” for 2018, because I don’t like to live in a spirit of fear… and the Bible tells us not to.  I was going to do bold things.

Sometimes our dreams expand, or our territories.

Bold changes don’t always come how we expect them.  Changes can be just as exciting as they are hard.

It was years ago that I first heard of the Prayer of Jabez.  In 1 Chronicles 4:10, we read: “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

I’ve heard the Prayer of Jabez related to financial gain, physical growth, and even prayed requesting the Lord to enlarge their reach so that they may share the Gospel with more people.

My friend Jay Sharpe, author of Chicken Lyrics, said “money is not the only way to richness”. I couldn’t agree more.  Expansion can come in many different ways.

Opportunities.

Experiences.

Adventure.

Family.

Finances.

Witness.

Service.

Lord, expand my territory to the borders you have ordained.  Let me tend to whatever expansion you put before me, in the manner you have called me to serve.  My faith is in you.

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Chronicling 40: Days 197-200

MFAsign

I’ve been making art since I was a child, it’s a part of the very fabric of how God created me.  However, it is also very vulnerable and personal.  I’ve kept it to myself for a very long time. Sure, I’ve sold pieces here and there or posted pictures of things I have worked on for my own home or family members.  I’ve just never gone the route of a public showing.  The past few months I prepared to take that leap, fearless in 2018.  This weekend was the culmination of all that work.  So much anxiety and anticipation has now been replaced with relief.  It is over.  What next?

I was fortunate to have sold a few small pieces.  In speaking with many of the artists in at the event, it was a very dry event.  Most didn’t sell anything, those who did sold smaller pieces, and even the most experienced artists didn’t recuperate their expenses to be at the show.   (Some traveled in to the area = travel and lodging expenses).  You could feel it walking through the space as it seemed so many had just given up.

I try to be optimistic in life.  To see the good through the bad.  In this case, where many others were facing disappointment…

I was thankful for the opportunity to show.  Not everyone was excepted into the show.

I was proud of myself for actually overcoming the anxiety and nerves, and putting out my work for the public to see.

I was grateful for the positive comments and encouraging feedback, even from those who never bought a thing.

My eyes were open to appreciate the uniqueness of my pieces, as there were not others even in the same ballpark.  Great artists, but none like me.

From my own space, I was able to create a list of things I would do differently next time around.

From others, I was a willing student to listen to their wisdom and experience.  Those who were kind enough to share their tips invested in me, and that doesn’t go unnoticed.  I bought a piece or took their card for a future purchase.

I was even able to learn more about who my ideal customer and market is, and that in and of itself is beyond putting a value on.

Things don’t always work out like we think, for the better or worse.  However, there is always an opportunity to learn and grow.  Never take that for granted.

 

Chronicling 40: 194-196

ALIGNMENT&pURPOSE

It is really hard to live each day when you feel out of alignment with God and His purpose for you life.  While I love Women’s Ministry, I have been disconnected from it directly for some time.  I equip other leaders, but I haven’t served in Women’s Ministry in a local church in several years.  There were reasons for that disconnection, and there was healing that needed to happen.  Knowing there were valid reasons didn’t help the ache of that void.

As I dip my toes cautiously back into the pool, my friend could see an expression or response that I didn’t even realize I was making.  It was so evident, or she is so perceptive, that she asked me what the reaction was about.  To really put towards how I was feeling seems impossible.

Joy and excitement about all of the things we discussed.

Relief that someone was willing to hear my heart, actually hear me.

Trepidation about getting too excited or my hopes up too much.

There is NO FEELING as good as when your are walking in obedience to His calling on your life, and living that purpose out.  Even when it’s baby steps, toes dipping in the water, taking our time to get acquainted and build momentum.  It’s like fresh breath in your lungs, a restart of your heart, and an energy charge to your mind.

I appreciated our openness with one another.  Making sure we understood the similarities in our personalities and our differences.  We were identifying potential obstacles before the presented themselves, so that we could understand each other better.  Owning our strengths and even our weaknesses.  We laid our hearts and desires, our truth (good and bad) out there to each other.

And we agreed to work with excellence in mind.

Thank you, Lord.  I will not forsake this opportunity to serve once again.  Whether little steps or by your leaps and bounds, I answered “here I am”.

Chronicling 40: Day 193 of 365

REBOUND(1)

Of all the words my friends have chosen, I am glad to end the series on this one.

Unbecoming.

Seems so negative, that it had me scratching my head trying to understand.  When she explained it, it was simply beautiful.

Unbecoming the expectations of others and becoming what God has called you to.

Unbecoming the lies you tell yourself, and becoming the confident woman God created you to be.

Unbecoming the labels you have tried to fulfill, and becoming unapologetically you.

A few days back, the word was new.  To become new, requires unbecoming the old.

Chronicling 40: Day 192 of 365

success(2)

To thrive is to prosper or flourish.  There are a lot of ways that we can prosper.

Prosperity is not just money, but also a measure of success… comfort… and well being.

When we thrive we are succeeding, prospering, blooming, growing, and have potential.

When we say that we want to thrive, it means we want to live… but not just physical living but elevated to doing something successful, important, or of value in our life.  We don’t want to just get by, but instead do exceedingly well.

How would you like to thrive in 2018?

What areas in your life would you like to bloom and flourish?

Where would you like to experience success and growth?

Chronicling 40: Day 191 of 365

BELIEVE(2)

There are things in this world we should be steadfast about.

To be steadfast is to be resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.

We don’t like people who are wish-washy, who flip flop their beliefs or opinions based on who they are talking to.  This is not to be confused with a person who has grown and over time changed their beliefs or opinions as they learn and experience life.  We are talking about the person who talks out both sides of their mouth.

If we do not like these types of people in offices of authority, we also need to ensure that we are not those types of people and that we are steadfast in our own convictions and beliefs.  Who I am in front of one person is who I am in front of another.

So many of our words from this series can be paired with steadfast.

I can be steadfast in my pursuit of joy, or peace.  I can be steadfast in choosing gratitude, and love.  I can be steadfast in my choice to move vs. be still.  I can be steadfast in my faith.

Such a great word.

#BeSteadfast

Chronicling 40: Day 190 of 365

Time to come out of your shell and celebrate!(4)

Have you ever said to someone, when working on a project, that you needed to just “get into the rhythm” or “find your rhythm”?  Or perhaps you are one of those people who enjoy the wonderful sound of good rhythms in the background as you work on tedious projects?

Rhythm is defined as a pattern of movement or sound that repeats. My friend Faith that the mind likes order, it doesn’t like chaos.  And, that a mind that is cluttered can’t act.  So it is no surprise to me that the mind would like rhythm.  It likes the expected and predictable.  It likes to repeat patterns, it’s comforting and doesn’t challenge it.  When we take music and pair it to work, especially rhythmically it pairs action with sound and I bet our minds just love this.

We keep time as we sing or play an instrument by clapping our hands or tapping our feet.  Think of the old railroad workers passing the work time by as they sung to the rhythm of their spike mauls striking the heads of the railroad strikes.  Hear the sound of the coach shouting “row… row… row… ” in order to keep the rowing team in time with one another.

Rhythm can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes we can become entranced by rhythm.  We can get so caught up in the every day rhythms and we lose track of the beauty and interest of the world around us.  Sometimes, we need a new song a new rhythm to change the mundane into something exciting.

What are the rhythms in your life right now?

Is is time for a new song?