When You Move from the Wilderness to a Traffic Jam

Yesterday, I was stuck in a nearly 2.5 hour traffic jam on my way home from doing what I love~teaching at the university. I had a few moments of “arrrgh” to “I hate this commute” to a quiet whisper of a reminder that being pinned between hundreds of cars moving like turtles has a purpose.

As I complained and whined to God, I was gently nudged to a memory nearly five years back of wondering when I was ever going to get out of the mess. My days were empty back then and were filled with lots of questions having emerged from a painful wilderness season and hanging on to all the hope I could get.  My life had unravelled and I was on a slow crawl through the desert of healing and restoration. Being confident in God’s call for decades, I found myself straddled between the memory of what once was and the uncertainty of what would be.

Then God showed up with more promises.

He planted one smack on the forehead of my mind.

Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert. Isaiah 43:18,19. 

I focused on the question, Don’t you see it? Honestly I said, No, God, I don’t see it! And yet a hint of anticipation took seed in my heart as I began to choose to trust God as he made a road through my desert.

Now sitting in the traffic jam yesterday, I laughed because here I was life brimming with all the “something brand-new” God has been doing for the past several years. I can hardly keep up to tell you the truth. When God gives a promise he delivers. God has brought me out of the wilderness season to a life so full of purpose that my heart is overwhelmed with worship.

What do you do if you find yourself still waiting in the desert? Here’s our cue from Isaiah.

  1. Forget about the past – This doesn’t mean it won’t creep up and bite you or me, it just means that if God is to move us forward, at some point we have to stop going over old history. Whatever the past is, hurt, loss, or pain, work through it, grieve it, get help, recover and ask God to help restore. He is in the business of renovating our hearts!
  2. Be alert and present – When we dwell on the past and and keep whining we aren’t able to be present in the moment. We can’t see what’s ahead if we are sitting in the desert complaining. Yes, complaining! At some point we have to get up and keep putting one step in front of the other trusting Him to leads us through the wilderness.  When we are present and alert we can anticipate, look up, be ready, and watch for what’s around the corner.
  3. Open our eyesThe promise is, I am about to do something brand new, it’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? If we look up and not down and around our circumstances, we will see what God wants us to see. He will give us glimmers of what’s ahead, but only if we keep our eyes open. Our response is to say, Yes, God yes, I can’t see it all the way, but I trust you to see it. If you can’t see it all the way, believe it!
  4. Stay on the road – If God says he will make a road through the desert he means it. Don’t wander off that road in search of escaping the wilderness on your own. God will provide in the rough place and gives exactly what we need for the journey. Follow His lead and He will bring you through.

In my experience, I have found that rarely does a promise happen in an instant.  God’s economy of time and ours aren’t the same. Sometimes it is weeks, months and even years. And yet I believe God gives us a promise ahead of time to infuse hope in our hearts to keep trusting Him and to wait for Him to act.

So get ready, God is about to do something wildly brand new in your life! It’s my story and I’m sticking to it because God is faithful and He always comes through.

 

 

 

Grieving, Freedom, and Why I Wrote Live Unveiled

I am hands down a melancholy personality.

I vacillate between the Winnie the Pooh characters of Tigger and Eyeore. Sometimes, I even take on the insecurities of happy go lucky Piglet.

Sigh…I’ve been a bit dark on the blog lately due to deadlines, the death of our sweet mother-in-love and prep for speaking events. It’s a season of God ramping me up and taking me seriously on my word for the year DARE.

All I can say is WHOA and try to keep up. It’s been a year so far of leaping by faith from one big jump to the other and been exhilarating. But now I am a little tired, just a smidgen God. Not ungrateful, just trying to keep up. Can I get an amen?

I reminded God today again how much I need him to give me exactly what I need (2 Peter 1:3) to complete the assignments. Today, it meant prepping for speaking this weekend at the NW Ministry Conference, and I am over the top excited about it but with some mixed emotions.

Here’s the reason why, on March 25th, I am launching the revised study Live Unveiled: Freedom to Worship God, Love Others and Tell Your Story. It is a 10-week Bible study based on 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 which talks about reflecting God’s glory and turning to Jesus so our veils are removed, and we can walk in greater freedom. When I wrote this study years ago, it was a reflection of my journey of ripping off masks that were super glued into my soul. Lies and more lies were keeping me from embracing God’s freedom and reflecting His purposes for my life. As I tackled the lies of performance, secrecy, anger, and depression one by one, God met me in the center of my fears. For the most part, I have experienced victory since then, but now and then it creeps back in.

Several months ago I felt a gentle push to revise the study and release it with a new name and a mission to launch the study in a Facebook Group. I want to help remind women how much God desires for us to flourish and how these nasty masks can get in the way.

The response has been overwhelming. I had no idea! That’s what I love about God’s word, it is timeless, and nothing about our struggles change until we submit and do the hard work. As I’ve been getting ready, I’ve sensed a sadness wash over me, a deeper grieving. At first, it surprised me because I am anticipating God to do more profound work in myself as I lead others and we dig into His word, and I am truly excited!

What I have discovered in the past few days is a fresh grieving of how much the enemy wants to keep women and hide their influence of reflecting God’s glory. He wants us to settle in and give up. It makes me spitting mad! In response, I am gearing up and saying out loud every morning Ephesians 6:10-20, putting on my armor for God’s glory so I can reflect him in the way he is calling me to every single day. I long for all women to sense God’s freedom and unfathomable love so they can flourish.

I am inviting you to join me and the other women who have signed up on April 5th, to tackle our masks. Join our Facebook Group, Live Bold~Leave a Legacy and get ready for a time of teaching, sharing and studying the truth and experience the freedom God intends. You can purchase the study either on Amazon or until March 23rd you can receive a 30% discount from Redemption Press  using the code CYNTHIA.

I would love it if you could join us, and remember because we are in a Facebook Group you can post whenever it is convenient for you all week! 

She said, “I will always be with you…”

Today we woke up to a phone call at 5:00 am that our dear sweet mother had graduated to heaven. She is in truth my dear mother-in-law, but I call her my mother-in-love. The label mother-in-law often gets a bad rap. And I have nothing to contribute to that often misunderstood idea. I had a wonderful relationship with my ‘other mother’ and she is leaving a huge hole in my heart. I am happy she is no longer suffering but my heart aches with just how much I will miss her.

The one virtue I will treasure above all else is that she was a woman who left a legacy of love and joy. She loved us in generous ways. She had so much joy in her heart despite weathering  storms that many of us will never have to face. The stark truth is she knew how to turn her tragedy into living a joy filled life punctuated with gratitude. She has been so brave through many years of physical suffering. I take comfort in knowing that she will always be with me and our family cheering us on as the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ in Hebrews 12:1.

Around her 90th birthday she was failing and I wrote this post when we came close to saying goodbye to her six years ago.

I Will Always Be With You….

Do you ever wonder what the statement means

“I will always be with you?”

When someone knows that soon they may be graduating to heaven and they look you in the eye and speak those words? I was hit full force tonight by those very words as I kissed my beloved Mom-in-love goodnight in the hospital. She turned 90 yesterday, and we had planned a big celebration. Her heart and spirit wanted to cooperate but her body would not. Out of her control she had undergone a critical surgery a few days earlier and had to spend her 90th birthday in the hospital.

We collected letters and pictures from family and friends and presented it to her in a scrapbook.

We read aloud our tributes. We told her as she lay frail in that hospital bed what a difference her life has made. We shared memories, our love but most of all we honored the Jesus we have witnessed through her life.

You see she knows that this life is not all there is. She knows that this life is just a dress rehearsal for something greater, something grander, something beyond what we could even imagine.

And so she waits.

She is ready.

But we are not.

We don’t want to let her go because we love her, she has a place in our hearts that can’t be replaced.

So we wait, we hope, we pray she gets better. Instead she whispers to each of us as we left this evening, “Remember, I will always be with you.”

Jesus said a similar statement in Matthew 28:20. Before he left this earth he commissioned his disciples and then told them he would be with them always. Words to empower and words of comfort. I am sure the disciples had mixed emotions as they watched Jesus leave them with those words ringing in their ears,

“I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I guess when I stop to reflect tonight, my sweet mom-in-love was doing just that. She was reminding us that we will be together for eternity with our Jesus. Her life and love we will carry in our hearts until we see each other once again in the presence of our God. We don’t know when her exact graduation date is, but she clearly wanted us to know that we need to be ready to let her go.

As I left her room tonight a flood of tears overwhelmed me. “I will always be with you” echoed through my heart as I walked out the hospital doors. Thank you Jesus for a godly mother who is looking forward to heaven.

When Doing What You Love Terrifies You

I have blocked off my calendar all day today to do what I love.

Write.

But I have to admit it terrifies me!

I know from the core of my being that I am called to write and yet my mind plays tricks and tells me twisted lies that I can’t do it or it won’t be good enough, who wants to read what I write as the little minions continue their rant.

When it comes time for me to sit down and actually write, a few things sabotage me. I can so easily get distracted! I am like, oh look, a squirrel! And off I go.

Today for instance, it took me two hours to get to my desk.

YES! TWO HOURS!

Not because I wasn’t at home or I have an office somewhere else but rather from the lower level of my house to my upstairs writing space there were a myriad of distractions.

So what did I do? I cleaned, not a bad thing! After all, I don’t want to live in a pigsty.

I finished putting away the last of the Christmas decor. Yes, it all needs to be organized.

I made granola, yes of course because we were out, and I did a load of laundry so my dear husband wouldn’t have to wear his underwear inside out tomorrow.

These are all good things but they are distractions when I need to work on my book. I actually have a deadline, not self-imposed, but a legitimate-I-signed a-contract-with-a-publisher deadline.

Here is the irony. I love to create words on a page to encourage and yes even challenge, yet it is sometimes difficult to posture myself in a space to write. Anyone who believes that it’s easy is grossly mistaken. Most writers I’ve talked to don’t just sit down randomly to create a project that gets put into a book.

It can be agonizing and feels like I am hiking up a mountain in 120-degree weather with a 100 lb. pack on my back. There are moments where the climb is easier but it is still a push to move forward with sweat and yes, even tears!

The exhilarating part of the climb is reaching the top of the summit. When I get there and the project is moving along and then finished, it is like standing on the highest mountain peak looking out at the magnificent panoramic view with gratefulness of being able to climb and reach the top.

It truly is a gift, a miracle each time I hold a finished project in my hand and I thank God for the honor of bestowing the gift even when it’s hard.

Whether you are a writer, speaker, leader, teacher, coach, whatever you’ve been gifted and called to do, if we are honest, living out expressing our gifts can be terrifying.

Here are a few things to encourage you and what I am learning on the mountainous journey.

The gift isn’t about ME.

The gifts I have, and in this case, I am writing about writing.

It isn’t about me! It’s about God. He is the giver of the gifts.

I don’t write to bless me, I write to bless others!

My hope is that in someway the stories and thoughts will transform the reader and move them forward in a way that is life changing. My dream is that it will draw people closer to the heart of Jesus and living lives that are intentional and purposeful. These are the reasons I write.

I don’t have to do it alone.

I can ask for help.

God expects us to walk and live in community. That means we don’t have to do things all by ourselves.

Being a strong independent person, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not asking for help. I don’t mean asking that someone actually sit beside me as I write, it means finding a tribe of people who can support, pray and encourage you and I on our path of exercising our gifts.

I have an amazing group of women who do this for me, they pray, give me encouragement and inspire me as I learn from those who are just a bit further down the road than I am. It’s way more fun to have companions on the journey. And when you get to the top, you have people to celebrate with you. That is the best part of all!

Who wants to party all alone?

Remember that God wants us to succeed.

After all He gave us the gift in the first place! You and I are responsible to unwrap the gift, take it out of the box and actually use it!

God didn’t give us gifts for them to sit on a shelf or to hide them in a closet. He gave you and I gifts for a purpose and He is our biggest cheerleader!

It’s a NEW Year with new doors that are waiting for us to walk through with fresh opportunities. Take that gift off the shelf that you have been hiding because maybe like me you’ve been a little afraid to actually start using it.

Let’s stop whining,

put on our packs,

start climbing,

and ASK God to do what He does best, helping us put one foot in front of the other even if we are terrified.

He promises to help us every step of the way as we seek to honor Him with the gifts and the call He has entrusted to us.

Hey, I will see you at the top of the summit to celebrate!

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

 

 

 

Resolutions: When You Blow the First Day of the Year

New Year. New beginnings. New start. New chapter. New Resolutions. This is what the first few days of a new year represents or at least is what we traditionally talk about and think about on the first days of January.

I’ve made some serious strides this past year to move my phone away from arms reach before I go to sleep so that when I wake up in the morning it’s not the first thing I grab to start my day.

It had been ruling my life for too long and I made some intentional choices to make 2016 different. I’ve been doing pretty well and wouldn’t you know it, today the first day of 2017 I failed.

I blew it. I went backwards instead of moving forward.

I couldn’t believe it! I wanted a do-over immediately.

I had left it too close to my bed and I unthinkably made the choice that I didn’t want to. Sigh… it happens.

For several few moments I was berating myself as I talked to God and wondered how I slipped so quickly. I had a flash of genius, and the word GRACE came to mind. I could start again in a moment. Whew! The day could be redeemed, the year can start over. I am grateful.

January often is a chance to reflect and make some changes and many of us chart out goals and resolutions. I’ve preferred for many years now to choose a word rather than make resolutions because as I just demonstrated resolutions don’t seem to work for me.

I don’t know who started the trend but choosing a “one word” has caught on like fire and it has given purpose and direction for those of us who have abandoned the resolution making.

Facebook and Twitter is strewn with others sharing their chosen word for the year and it is inspiring to read. Choosing a one word for me has been about “being” rather than “doing.” When I make resolutions it becomes more about doing than creating a momentum of purpose of who I hope to be. I’ve been a human doing rather than a human being more than I’d like to admit.

My one word has become not just a theme for the year but also a pilgrimage. God has surprised me many times as I’ve watched the word we’ve chosen together come to life and intersect with my journey.

I’ve been thinking for a few weeks about my word for 2017 and have had many conversations with God about it not sure I want to pick this particular word. It challenges my comfort zone and scares me at the same time. I’ve made the decision to go with it because it won’t go away and when I pray it pops up over and over.

The word is (drumroll) DARE!

What I discovered as I intentionally dug into the word DARE the definition is: to have adequate or sufficient courage for any purpose; to be bold or venturesome; not be afraid; to venture. (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary)

When I mined just a bit deeper, The expression to dare in the Scriptures never has the meaning of “to defy” “to challenge” or “to terrify” It is always found as the translation of tolmao “To manifest courage(International Standard Bible Encylcopedia)

My spirit soared as I read these words and I cross-referenced the many places in the bible “dare” is found. I cling to the thought “to manifest courage.”

I can do this.

DARE can be my one word for the year.

I have many new ventures ahead and am not sure all what or how my one word will cross over, but I am trusting that this is the word God has chosen for me for 2017.

I am confident He will help me “manifest courage” for each assignment. I believe God will empower me as he directs my steps. Right now, that means finishing my second book of which the deadline is creeping up and I am having to dare to make schedule changes and saying no more often to hunker down and write.

To not leave my “one word” out there all alone to take on an ambiguous meaning, I like to choose a Bible verse to punctuate my yearly one word. I’ve been studying 2 Timothy and here’s the encouragement that Paul gives to Timothy in the first chapter.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

The Message Bible says it this way,

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.

That seals it for me. God will help me “manifest courage”

As I dare…

to live intentionally and purposefully.

to grow spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically

to equip and empower others.

to share my faith more in 2017.

to live in humility

to judge less and give more grace

to forgive and be kind and compassionate

to love well

and that I would trust God dare to so much more.

Will you join me and the many others in choosing a word for the year? For inspiration and help you might want to check out oneword365.com It’s a great site to get you going.

I DARE you!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep with Gratitude

The past several months I’ve decided that I needed to cultivate gratitude. I found too many negative thoughts swirling around from situations I couldn’t control and certainly wasn’t going to be nominated to be the designated fixer any time soon.

Life is overwhelming, the world seems out of control and sometimes my heart just hurts from all the sadness and brokenness in our planet.

I realized that I could be a Negative Nelly if I’m not careful.

Ouch!

This isn’t who I really want to be AT ALL!

Months ago my cultivating turned into a nightly ritual. Being a visual person, I like creative ways to be intentional especially when God has gently prodded me about something I need to change.

As I slip under my feather comforter each night, I posture myself to touch each of my five fingers. Moving over each finger on my hand, I name what I am grateful for that day. As days have turned into weeks and weeks into month a subtle slow transformation has taken place in the crevice of my soul. Negative Nelly and her thoughts have been shoved out and replaced by a new resident bringing a thought of thankfulness.

I find myself looking at the world differently.

Even on a hard day, windows of opportunity present themselves and gratitude seeps through built on previous days of practice.

It’s amazing when gratitude makes it way from an occasional moment to a ritual where you can’t go to sleep without naming at least one or two things to be grateful for. It is like taking vitamins for the soul. It keeps us healthy and changes our perspective.

I’ve read realms about how gratitude can change us, change physical and emotional health, change a perspective and well, change just about everything when it comes to how we approach life. Here’s an article to prove I am not exaggerating.

Gratitude is the sweet balm to a broken heart and that is exactly what I’ve discovered.

Part of the journey of healing is detecting that embracing gratitude to the fullest is the best pathway to wholeness.

There was a time several years back that I believed my heart could never be whole again.

It was too bruised, too wounded, too betrayed and too weary.

Jesus has changed all of this as I’ve surrendered slowly and unwilling at times allowing Him to be my teaching healer on the journey. His ways are perfect and his timing is impeccable.

As we approach American Thanksgiving this week, my heart is bursting with gratitude and it has taken me by surprise of how it is trickling out in the moments of my day. I believe it is because the ritual of gratitude has transformed me with the notice that my heart is healing.

I don’t know what circumstances you might be facing right now and to be reminded to be thankful might just bounce off a heart of cynicism.

Don’t worry, it’s okay. I’ve been right there.

And don’t hate me for this next sentence… but gratitude isn’t an option if you are a Jesus follower. We are instructed to be thankful.

Always.

Yes, always, and in everything, and it’s true.

Does it mean we live in denial or delusion? Of course not! Somewhere in the midst of our circumstances we have to find a place to hold gratitude in our heart besides the good, bad and the ugliness of life. The only way I know how to do that is not by myself. I have to ask God to help me.

If he has commanded me to be thankful then He will make a way to do the impossible even in a hard situation. If you heart is cynical, try Him. Ask God and see what happens.

In the meantime, I pray that there will be a moment this week in between family gatherings and chaotic Black Friday shopping where thankfulness catches you and inspires you to want more gratitude in your life.

I encourage, no, I challenge you to give daily gratitude a try for 30 days every night. You can borrow my ritual or create one of your own and I guarantee that your tired heart will be different at the end of 30 days and you won’t want it to end. Here is some inspiration to start and Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Why Everyone Needs A Tribe

As a writer, I’ve been floundering for a few years. I didn’t know it but I was looking for a tribe.

I was wandering and then realized what I needed…

People who were like-minded and crazy enough to sit down at our computers for long hours writing, in hopes it will influence others.

If I am going to be a serious writer since publishing my first book, I knew I needed a writer tribe. I searched and scoured to find a group that I could identify with. A group whose heart beat the same as mine, crafting words into meaningful sentences, hoping to make a difference. I prayed and waited.

Like clothes in a department store dressing room, I tried a myriad of different tribes to see if they were a good fit.

I tried to force myself with a few and it didn’t work. It was like putting a square peg into a round hole, or squeezing my body into a size that didn’t fit.

They were lovely groups, but weren’t my peeps. I kept looking and asking my writer friends. Mostly, I prayed and asked God to help me find my tribe, one I could feel camaraderie and affinity. I nearly gave up when last year one of my author friends suggested I try her tribe.

I took the plunge and signed up. I even decided to attend the first conference of this newly found tribe and went with no expectations other than just to connect and learn.

I discovered other writers just like me.

Writers confident in our gifts and yet at times insecure.

Broken but not defeated.

Struggling and yet persevering.

Desiring and yet God honoring, Jesus loving writers!

It was like being away from home a long time and finding all the best reasons why you love to come back. It was a belonging moment.

Whatever gift you and I  might have, we need a tribe.

Why? Here are five simple reasons using the word TRIBE of why I believe everyone needs a tribe whether your gift is writing, music, leading, crafting, teaching or?

 TRUST 

We need a group of people that we can trust with our gift and who             experiences it the same way we do. Writers in particular can be quirky because we usually are alone crafting our words, it isn’t a team gift. It is very personal and we need people we can trust along the way.

RESPECT

Everyone needs respect. Having a group of people who share the same gift garners a deeper respect for your own gift and motivates us to be the best we can because it isn’t just about us, there are others who share the same gift. When we neglect or tarnish our gift it impacts others and hurts the tribe.

INSPIRE

Being around other like-minded similar gifted people is incredibly            inspiring. It is motivating and pushes us to work harder and smarter.

BELONG

It’s funny how when you discover your true tribe how at home you will   feel. It becomes a safe place to grow and try out new ideas with people who understand how your gift works.

ENCOURAGE

Everyone needs encouragement to keep going when the going get         tough. Especially when our gifts are first being developed and later when we’ve  experienced both success and failure and still want to give up! We need people to remind us to keep stewarding the gift. It is worth it and it is just that, a gift that has to keep going and growing to make the greatest impact possible.

I am incredibly proud to announce that my new tribe is the Advanced Writers and Speaker Association. They have become my tribe and I feel  the simple trust, respect, inspire, belong and encourage has visited the writers home in my heart. I am learning leaps and rubbing shoulders with these incredible author friends and my hope is that I will rub off on them too! They accept me right where I am at, there is a no compete zone  and man oh man can these women pray!! Like I said, this is home.

Where is your tribe? If you haven’t found yours, keep looking, keep praying, keep waiting. Somewhere out there is a place for you to belong and to grow that brilliant gift God has lavishly entrusted to you.

 

 

 

 

Why I’ve Stopped Rationalizing About Self-Discipline

Kevin gave me an UP3 for Christmas. It’s an activity tracker which is the rival version of the FitBit that monitors heart rate; sleep intervals, food and steps throughout the day. Please don’t judge him, he got me exactly what I asked for, instead of a “feel good” present.

In an attempt to Live Bold this year (my one word for 2016) I know that I have to make some changes in a few areas, for one, looking to take better care of myself. Okay, I can’t take it anymore and it will be sheer rebellion if I don’t listen and that is what my body is telling me as it moves into another year.

And I do have an announcement to make.

I am not very self-disciplined.

Yikes! Did I just say that out loud?

Yes I did.

I am highly and creatively organized and work well in structured environments, but lack self-discipline when it comes to maintaining physical health. Kevin and I have been working hard at our ‘eating green’ and healthy so I can check that off, but in the exercise and sleep areas, they definitely need work.

For several years it was pretty habitual and then I dropped off the wagon. Why does that happen? So, I am coming to terms with this weakness and will be looking for a support therapy group!

Seriously, I think I am disciplined in my head. I make the plan and carry it out in my faraway thoughts, visualizing my sweaty body after a good workout, going to bed the same time every night and rising refreshed after 8 hours of sleep. But when it comes time to “buckle down” as my Dad used to say, well I flip flop because I get distracted with the next “best thing” or the “urgent need” of the moment or heaven forbid people, “not feeling like it!”

I am also very hard on myself, so if I begin something and then fail a few times I can slump into a melancholy regret of,

How will I ever measure up?

Then I just quit!

I call it an Eyeore moment~bleak, dark, no hope, can’t change, etc., you get the picture. Yes, I know this sounds extreme, but as my friends and family tell me, I need to get over it and not berate myself and try to find the middle ground.

One area of serious self-discipline space that needs to be created is my sleep and exercise schedule. I realize that I have rationalized myself to death on consistency of exercise and regulating my sleep. I’ve been using the UP3 for nearly a month now and it is telling, oh so telling. Sometimes we just need a little dose of facts and reality because it kicks the teeth out of my rationalization and stories I make up about how I think I am doing in these areas.

I believe to Live Bold means making sure I am maintaining even this part of my life because reality says it impacts every area of my life, AND I am finally old to enough to actually feel the consequences. When I am sleep deprived because I stay up too late, I am cranky the next day. When I don’t exercise, it shows and I am not talking about looking good in the latest fashion trend, I am talking about just plain functioning well.

And so as I’ve asked God to speak into my one-word for 2016 Live Bold.  He’s reminded me, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Hebrews 12:1

I can often forget that the physical is equally important and it is actually an act of worship to take care of the gift that God gave me, my health. I think I’ve blanked that word “worship” out from that passage. Funny how you can read the same words in the Bible over a hundred times and never see something. Worship with physical self-discipline, what a thought!

My UP3 band is vibrating me telling me it’s time to get ready for bed.  I better pay attention. And so, here I go in 2016 beginning the year not with a resolution, but with a solution to learn to worship Jesus in a new way!