Celebrating Along the Way: How to Grow When You Fail

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 ESV

“UGH!” I groaned as I stepped off the scale. I was “trying” to eat healthier and watch my caloric intake. My scale proved that two days in my attempt was not very successful.

I don’t like processes. I prefer to decide to lose weight and then just lose it. If I want to be able to run a long distance, it would be easier if I could just decide to do it and then successfully run a marathon. Sort of like the movie The Matrix. I could just download how to fly a helicopter into my brain and I could do it. Suddenly I would know Kung Fu. There would be no process, no tries and failures along the way.

But that isn’t reality. How many times did we have to fall in order to learn to walk? Do good parents yell at their kids’ wobbling attempts to stand or take a step? NO! We cheer them on when they start pulling up and offer them our fingers to help them “walk” with assistance. We don’t give them an F when they fall. We encourage them to try again. And even when they begin to take wobbly steps we cheer. No, they are not walking briskly, they look more like tiny drunkards. But we cheer each step in the process.

So why do we stop doing that? Why do we expect perfect results today? Why don’t we cheer on each stumbling bumbling attempt? Each wobbling step brings us closer to our goal. So we need to celebrate even the tiny things.

A friend recently told me “Doing something imperfectly is always more productive than not doing something perfectly.” What keeps us from not doing something perfectly? I believe we fear falling and failure. What if instead of fearing falling and failure we celebrate attempts as we keep our goal in mind?

“Good try. Get up and try again!”

“So close. Try again.”

“Maybe today isn’t your day, but you tried. Now let’s try again tomorrow.”

Celebrating those crazy out-of-control wobbling steps will encourage us to keep trying. It will free us from the fear of failure and maybe one day we will fly.

What can you do today to celebrate your tiny steps forward?

Angela

I’m Not Throwing Away My Shot: Living in the Present

 “…And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15 ESV

Too I often I pretend that today is not all I have. I act like all my days will roll on forever in either the wonderful bliss or the horrible chaos depending on how my morning is going.

I think that “some day” I will write a blog post about that. Or “some day” I would like to be more healthy. Or “some day” I will get that done.

The thing is “some day” never comes. There is no convenient time to do things in life. Anything we choose to do there will be obstacles, inertia, doubters. And so we wait for some day.

I’m done waiting. God doesn’t ask us to serve Him some day. He wants us to serve Him today! And if He has put a dream in your heart today is the day to make the first step. The first stumbling step of obedience that will lead you to a life of significance in Christ. A life of passion to do what He has called all His children to do, make disciples in different and creative ways.

So today is my only shot. I am not promised tomorrow and yesterday is already gone. Today, the present, is God’s gift to me. What am I going to do with it?

What are you going to do?

Angela

Fasting: How to Develop an Appetite for God

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 ESV

Most revivals and spiritual awakenings began with a small group of people praying and fasting. People broken over their sin, who hungered for God to revive, to breathe life into dry bones.

And fasting is not easy. I love food. I don’t love being hungry nor the crankiness that often accompanies my growling stomach.

But there is something that happens as my stomach growls and I turn my heart and mind toward God in prayer.

I begin to ask God that I would hunger for Him more than I hunger for physical food.

Oh that I would not be satisfied with anything other than God and His ways. That sin would turn to ash in my mouth and that I would hunger to know God more, to serve Him with excellence, to bring Him glory for He is worthy of all of me.

As I my stomach growls I am reminded to pray for those who have no choice, but to fast. Oh, Lord may we, Your Church, care for those in need for we are needy for Your grace.

When my crankiness over my empty stomach threatens to spew its venom, I understand why so many in this world are angry and hateful. They are starving for God. Only He can truly satisfy and they don’t even know they need Him. Oh Father may those who do not know You come to know You. Use me and Your Church to bring those starving for You to the table of Your grace and mercy.

Sometimes all it takes to desire more of God is to stop filling ourselves with things that do not truly satisfy.

What have you learned when you were fasting?

Angela

Already Not Yet Victory: How to Falter and Still Win

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  1 John 5:4 ESV

Sometimes I wonder if John really gets it. I mean there are days when my faith is strong and I feel and see the victory that comes from my faith. Other days my faith seems more like a pipe dream. I don’t act like I have faith at all. I scratch and cling to what I want or how I want it. I fail to overcome anything.

But John doesn’t say strong faith is the victory that has overcome the world. No, he says our faith. Our faith in the finished work of Jesus is what has overcome the world. And our faith is a gift from God.

My victory over this world is secure because of Jesus’ work on the cross, but it isn’t complete yet. This side of Jesus’ second coming we live in the already and not yet of His victory. One day sin and death and pain will be completely overcome. Until that day we struggle against sin, we falter in our walk with Jesus, and we get up again in the power of the Holy Spirit.

So when we falter God is not there to condemn us. No, in Christ there is no condemnation for those who believe. He isn’t waiting to strike us with lightning. Will He let us experience consequences? Sure. But He can never love us more than He already does. And through the faith He gave us we overcome this world. We get up again, scraped, scarred, and we walk knowing Jesus won the victory.

What a day that will be when our faith (our victory) will be sight.

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Angela