PROGRESS IS A PROCESS

image Day 5 – I’m sure we all want the process to have speedy results, more immediate than interim!

We prefer progress to the process.

But we can’t have one without the other.

Today I drove along the infamous roadworks on the main road linking Belfast and the North Coast. Fortunately I don’t do the journey very often, so when I do I can see the difference in progress since the last time. But I’m sure those who commute daily are much more aware of the process which frustratingly delays their progress.

So much preparation has to take place before construction can begin: excavation, new routes, foundations.

We are all on a journey and we are all under construction.

Some habits and attitudes need to be removed from our lives; some new choices have to be made about the right routes to take; and so often we need to go deeper and deeper in our relationship with Him to strengthen our foundations.

Years ago at another set of roadworks, I saw a sign saying STRENGTHENING IN PROGRESS.

I have often felt the Lord whisper that to me many times when I needed to know His strengthening is in progress. I can’t say I’ve always enjoyed the process to progress. I want it to be speedy rather than slow.

But slow progress is better than no progress.

PROGRESS is an inherently positive word meaning
– movement forward or onward
– advancement
– growth or development
– continuous improvement

So if your progress this week feels more steady than speedy, don’t worry.

BE HAPPY!!

STRENGTHENING IS IN PROGRESS!!

YOU ARE STILL GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION 😀➡️👍➡️👏➡️😀
PS if you find yourself on this road, I recommend a stop at the Creamery Can – there’s great strengthening in the caramel squares!!!

No pressure (Day 4)

imageThis week as we lean into pursuing the ONE thing God has laid on our hearts, we’ve turned away from Procrastination (Day 2) and turned towards Praise and thanksgiving (Day 3).

But is anyone else feeling under a bit of Pressure?

Like David and his men leaving Ziklag, we are moving away from an area of our lives where the enemy has stolen from us.

We’re making a decision to no longer camp there in regret, disappointment, loss or failure.

instead we are choosing to move forward towards his camp to take back what is rightfully ours, to reclaim possession of all God has for us.

Some pressure is therefore not surprising BUT it is not all negative.

His attempts to set you back are a reminder of how much God wants to take you forward.

His intention to make you settle for less is a reminder of God’s invitation into more.

In the words of Henry Ford, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

It is at the point of most resistance that the airplane rises upward.

Let’s refuse to allow pressure to drag us down, but use it as potential to soar.

“… but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NIV

Best way of thinking is THANKING

imageDay 3. Yesterday we talked about how your mind can fill with all sorts of distractions when you try to focus on the ONE thing.

Equally if you are trying to avoid something, isn’t that the ONE thing you always think about?

I must not eat chocolate… must not eat chocolate… must eat chocolate… eat chocolate… CHOCOLATE!!!!!

It’s so hard just trying to empty your mind of ONE negative thing. It keeps squeezing back into your thoughts.

Squeeze it out by filling your mind with other more positive things.

A couple of years ago I was advised to cut out wheat for a few months. At first it was really hard. All I could think of were the things I couldn’t have!!! That just made it even harder!!

So I started to focus on what I could have and be grateful that I could still enjoy those things. There were way more things I could eat than I couldn’t.

I’ve said it many times before but GRATITUDE is a powerful weapon.

in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

It is good to give thanks to the LORD.” Psalms 92:1 NLT

Don’t focus on what you are giving up, focus on all He has given you.

Don’t focus on your failures, focus on His faithfulness.

TURN YOUR THOUGHTS TO THANKFULNESS.

THE BEST WAY OF THINGING IS THANKING!!

Why not start by writing down a list of everything you are thankful for today!

Day 2 ‘ONE step’

 

imageDay 2 and already tempted to quit?

I’ve spent nearly 3 hours this afternoon trying to write something.

I’ve got a lot of other things done though … checked email, Facebook and weather (more than once), caught up on the news headlines and replied to texts, tidied up the kitchen (a little!!), then messed it up again biy making snacks (more than once)!! I’ve even walked the dog round the forest.

Anything but what I had intended to do!!

Do you ever find yourself doing many, many things rather than the ONE thing?

I Don’t do today what you can put off till tomorrow or the next day or the next or … never!!! Mañana, mañana.

There will always be a million and one distractions and just as many reasons not to start. Some can even sound vaguely valid.

But it only takes ONE decision to start.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step“.

A single step can move you forward.

A single step can move you away from the history of your past that keeps holding you back.

A single step can move you closer to His-story for your future and the fullness of life He has for you.

ONE. SINGLE. STEP.

What ONE STEP will you take TODAY?

Maybe tell someONE what you’re purposely leaning into for the next 21 days. If I hadn’t told you yesterday I was going to write something for 21 days, the truth is I probably wouldn’t have written today! Accountability produces action.

Maybe write down the ONE thing you’re planning to pursue. Then when the enemy tempts you to believe ‘what’s the point?’, ‘you never see things through’, ‘you always give up’, you can remind him (AND yourself) “it is written”!

Maybe set some alarms on your phONE (see what I did there!). A handy way to focus on your ONE step for the day and distract you from distractions.

As I said at the start, I found it hard today to think of ONE thing to write. But when I took a break (or two) to say “Father …. HELP!!”, the thoughts and words started to come.

If you’re struggling to think of ONE SINGLE STEP, You you can take a moment and simply say “Father please HELP. I can’t do this alONE”.

That’s always the best way to start!

And He will help you. You don’t have to do it alone.

Your Father in heaven (will) give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 NIV

Cut it out!!

image53 and still learning! This week I learnt that I am wheat intolerant 😦 I knew I felt better when I didn’t eat bread products but now I’ve learnt it also means avoiding cereals, pasta, cakes, biscuits etc. I’m learning just how many things I took for granted have wheat in them! Much label reading required!! I’m learning to be thankful for the healthy food and wee treats I can still enjoy rather than focus on what I can’t have.

As soon as I found out I need to cut out wheat completely for at least four months, I could immediately ‘taste and see’ a big slice of delicious crunchy granary toast with butter and marmalade!! Hmmmmm … I’ve learnt the things that are toxic to our body and health are the very things we end up craving.

We are body, soul and spirit (1 Thess 5:23). As John Wimber said we are not grapefruits but chocolate milkshakes. A grapefruit is divided into separate segments, but in a milkshake everything is mixed together. ‘A much more Biblical concept of how body, mind, emotions and spirit interact.’ (Andrew Myatt)

Food can feed your moods and your moods can dictate your body health.

Foods and moods can be both good and bad.

In the Psalms David confesses “Then I realised that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.” (Psalms 73:21 NLT).

Paul writes of habits that damage our physical and emotional well being in Galatians 5 “repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalising everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on…” (Galatians 5:19-21 MSG).

What about gossip, bitterness, envy, anger, anxiety, fear and those other harmful habits we can easily overlook – the need for approval, finding our identity in what we do, equating success in life with possessions … their very toxicity makes them more appealing and addictive.

Sometimes what appears good on the outside can be harmful to you on the inside.

I thought multigrain bread, bran flakes, muesli were all good for my health but they were actually doing me harm.

Doing things for others is great unless it’s feeding your craving for approval; even serving can be harmful if your identity is found in what you do rather than whose you are; a fear of saying no because you think more of what others might say, rather than listening to what your body, soul and spirit are whispering to you.

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (Galatians 5:22-23 MSG)

A few months ago I had a dream in which I found out about changes I needed to make to my diet and how this had a huge impact on my health so I could ‘direct my energies wisely’ and I’m grateful that cutting out wheat could do this. Maybe God has been highlighting some things you need to cut out too so your body, mind, emotions and spirit are all healthy.

I’ve been reading the book “When God prunes you” by Andrew Myatt, a friend who leads Oxford Vineyard. He writes “God prunes us to make us more fruitful. The word for pruning can also mean cleansing – God making us holy so we can share His life… If we allow God to deal with our inner life, it allows more of His life in us, leading to greater fruit. That fruit may be greater ministry success, or it can be more importantly a deeper relationship with the Father leading to more peace, obedience, grace and wisdom.”

Don’t know about you but I would much rather cut things out than miss out on these!!