Review by Rayna: No Easy Jesus

No Easy Jesus:  How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life

No Easy Jesus is an honest look at the Jesus we have made Him out to be.  Many of us got to know Jesus and were excited about our relationship with Him years ago.  Things were great but then life happened and things did not go the way we expected so we began to feel a deep disappointment.

Eventually we reach a place where we began to feel that there must be more than this to the Christian life. 

Jason lays it out in what a life of a true follower of Christ looks like.  The true Jesus follower doesn’t do the easy stuff but rather the tough stuff that makes the best life possible.  Jesus held out the promise of a rich and satisfying life.

Discouragement, frustration and boredom are common among those who are serving the easy Jesus.  You do not have to be spiritually elite to experience a different life.

No Easy Jesus challenges you to take your faith to the next level.

Chapter 10 was my favorite.  Jason talks about how difficult it is to love others.  He sheds light on how our love often turns into demands.  He reminds us that love does not demand things of others.  When love has demands then resentment often follows.  Love can only exist in freedom.  Challenging words and something I’m still processing to be honest.

I recommend this somewhat quick read.  It will challenge you and help you better understand why you might be experiencing boredom or disappointment in your relationship with Jesus.

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Review by Rayna: No More Faking Fine

No More Faking Fine:  Ending the Pretending

The title itself is one we all relate to I think.  We have all faked it during seasons of life and frankly I’m not sure there is any other way to make it  in public and on the job but the one time we NEVER have to fake it is with God.

Esther Fleece shares the story of her heartbreaking childhood and how the message to “suck it up” and do what she needed to do affected her life and relationship with the Lord.  She writes “Just because you picked yourself up again and keep moving doesn’t mean you are healed.  And if you keep moving with a wound that needs attention, you will only make it worse.”(58)

 

Esther’s journey to finding true healing is beautiful.  She has much to share with us about her experience but greater than that she challenges us to experience healing as well “Ignoring our past can rob us of the opportunity to encounter God when we need it most.  But lament opens our eyes to see He was there then and He is here now. “ (59) .  Life is painful and learning to experience lament can make all the difference in your healing.

Learning a new way to pray through the most difficult questions:  Why, How Long? Don’t Forget Me! and Forgive me brought hope to Esther and will bring hope to your life as well.

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How to Navigate Life with a Personal Manifesto

      During life transitions just making simple decisions can cause you to become completely overwhelmed.  We often try to function on autopilot, unfortunately instead we just get pulled in whatever direction the crisis is that is right in front of us wants us to go.

Wandering aimlessly then causes more frustration because the things that are most important to us get neglected.  The overwhelm gets worse and worse.

Writing your personal manifesto can make all the difference in seasons of transition.  There are lots of different ideas about what a personal manifesto is and how to create your own.

In general, it is a written statement which includes your core values.  The great thing about this statements is it might not be true today but you desire for them to be true of you in the end.

A personal manifest functions as “your own personal code of conduct that is not decided in the moment but predetermined before you are in crisis.” states Kathi Lipp in Overwhelmed.

To write your personal manifesto you will want to take some time to think about what is most important to you.

 

When you think of your most treasured values you think of things you want to always be true.  Identify 5 to 8 core values and turn them into statements that will provide guidance to how you will live them out.

Everyone says they love God first then family and then their job.  But do most of us don’t live that way?  Writing manifesto statements help you to think through what it looks like when you do live out your values.

I also found it helpful to put myself in the future and think about what I want people to be saying about me when I am no longer here.  I want to be true to who God made me to be and the mission He has put on my heart to live out.

 Here is my Manifesto:

(Note: I decided to put my manifesto on this picture of me because I love this picture.  It reminds me that these words are about the REAL me.  I have printed it and hung it on the wall of my office so that I will not lose sight of these important values.)

Some of these statements I am living out pretty well today but might become more of a challenge tomorrow.  I think that developing your personal manifesto will also help you live out your life with intention.

 

When you face decisions, whether they be, can you add this commitment to your calendar? or are you going to do business with a specific person?   Your personal manifesto can help you make that decision quicker and easier than before.  It is almost like making decisions before they are even presented.

 

Can I help teach Sunday School at church?  Well, it is helping others to learn of my Daddy the king, and it is offering encouragement to others BUT will it interfere with being the best wife to my farmer or daughter to my daddy?  At this stage in my lifetime is very valuable.  I already have a lot on my plate so though it is a good activity I must say no for now.

 

Using my personal manifesto to govern my calendar and life will be a tool I look forward to using for many years to come.  It represents the me I want to be every day.

 

I hope you see the value of developing your personal manifesto. 

 

 

I would be happy to talk with you more about how to identify your core values and develop statements that best incorporate those things which you are most important to you.  As a coach this is one of the first steps to helping a person move forward toward the life they want and a lot of fun!

 

 

I would love to see your Personal Manifesto!  Please share them with me at TakeHeartTransitions Facebook page.

 

Find Your Purpose for the New Year

I needed this today.

I don’t know about you but all this HAVING TO LIVE EVERY MOMENT ON PURPOSE is STRESSING me out.

As I prayed about it today the Lord assured me to rest in Him and He has got this. He said to be sure to stay close to Him but He is not going to layout what’s happening in 2017.

Kinda scary but also very reassuring. With that my word of the year is going to be Grace! He has enough GRACE for me and He wants me to extend more GRACE to others.

2 Peter 1:2

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 Roadblocks to a Meaningful Prayer Life

How content are you with your prayer life?  Do you have the relationship with God that your heart desires?

My guess would be that most of us feel that our prayer life could be better.  We all know we need to pray and it seems that there are many common reasons why we don’t pray as often as we would like.

Here are 3 Common Road Blocks to A Meaningful Prayer Life and ideas of how to overcome them.

1. Time~  Everyone will tell you they just don’t have the time to pray as much as they think they should. 

Time management is a challenge in all areas of our lives.  How do we make more time to pray?

I have found that I find more time to pray in one of the two ways: I schedule it or I attach it to things I am already doing.

In order to know that I will accomplish something I have found I have to schedule it.  When I know that I need to hear from the Lord I have to block out specific time to spend with Him.  Intentional time, talking and listening with the Lord just like in any other relationship time is a must!

Another way I make time to pray is to add it to things I already do daily.  I have found that adding prayer time to my morning routine has been helpful.

Putting my prayer list in the bathroom has helped me to remember to pray while I am putting on my make-up each morning.  I can do my hair and put on make-up by route memory so I have brain power available to talk to my Lord about those I love.

2. Distractions~  Along with the busy pace of live our minds are often on overdrive.  Focusing on the Lord and talking with Him can be challenging even when we find the time.

Overcoming distraction can be very difficult.  I have found that playing quiet instrumental music helps me.

I love praise music and there can be times that just praising Him with music is refreshing and nourishing to my soul but it doesn’t usually bring about focused prayer time. I stick with just instrumental during my intentional prayer time to ward off this temptation.

I have also found that writing down my prayers and even God’s responses to me brings me the most focused time of prayer with Him.  I often write a prayer almost like a letter to God.  I have recently begun incorporating the things which I hear God say back to me in my journal as well.

These prayers are a treasure which have offered much encouragement even years later.

3. Struggling With the Answers You Have Received~  All of us have had prayers that were not answered the way we wanted them to be.  The more we experience this the more we tend to shy away from praying.

I don’t know how many times I have had to step back from a situation, settle down and really look at it from a different perspective.  When I do this I can usually always find God’s hand all over the situation.

I wrote the blog post Silver Linings about difficult times in my life and how I have been able to allow the Lord to show me His hand in each of those times.  You can read that post here if you would like to hear about some of these times.

Some people become consumed with the why in many of life’s challenges but we don’t always get to the see the whys in how things turn out. this side of heaven.
Prayer cannot only be about requesting what we want to happen or even be about the why of what is happening.

I have learned to focus my prayers on the attitude to my heart, focusing on the truth of who I know Christ to be and praising Him for all He has already done. I still come to Him expecting Him to act/answer but not so much with a specific answer in mind.

Disappointment is sure to follow when you already have it all figured out and you are just praying to let God know how to take care of things.

Priscilla Shirer sums it up well in her book Fervent. “ And if I were your enemy, that’s exactly what I’d want.  I’d want to make you devalue the most potent weapons in your arsenal.  I’d strategies against you, using carefully calculated methods to disorient and defeat you.

Prayer in an invaluable tool in our toolbox of spiritual growth.  I hope that when you experience one of these 3 roadblocks you will feel more equipped to be able to overcome it.

I would love to hear what kind of roadblocks you have experienced and how you have overcome them.  Please share below.

Fervent

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