“I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain joined to me, and I to you, you will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me…When you bear a lot of fruit, it brings glory to my Father. It shows that you are my disciples.”
John 15:5-8, NIRV
A couple of weeks ago, I got to share with my pre-teen students about how to continually keep learning. This is something that I have learned over the years, I always want to be a learner no matter what season I find myself in. I want to grow in wisdom and maturity, because God calls me to follow Him and not become satisfied by being stationary. I think we can all look back at past versions of ourselves and be thankful that we are not the same person. I know for me, I’m thankful I’m not still middle school Joshua, high school Joshua, or even early twenties Joshua (turning the bog 27 in October, what what!). When we look at our younger selves, we weren’t as mature as we are now, and we should never stop learning and growing.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
In the elementary ministry I serve in, we have been talking about the idea of confidence; confidence, being defined as learning to see yourself the way God sees you. I love the way that’s defined, because I often don’t see myself the way God sees me. Whether it’s because of my past mistakes or things that have happened, or maybe it’s the enemy in my mind, I can often feel like I’m unworthy. I live with this cloud over me that I can never be good enough, but that’s simply not true. That’s a lie the enemy is trying to convince me is truth. The truth is, that I have been made in the image of God, all of us have been made in the image of God, meaning that there is great power we possess and God has placed many talents inside of us. We are not perfect, scripture says that humans were formed out of the dust, so, we’ve got some issues.
This is where confidence is key, we need to start learning to see ourselves the way God sees us.
It has been a busy few weeks for me! As I finish one semester, there seems to be another right behind it, then of course there is travels and the general day to day that life brings. I know I have been MIA for a bit, but hopefully my schedule will be back to normal. All the hectic nature of the past few weeks, has allowed me to reflect on my life and what is driving me. If you have read my blog for a while now, you will know that I have a heart for people. I want people to know that there is a seat at the table for them, and I would love to be a friend at your table.
That’s the way I look at ministry, I want everyone to know who God has created them to be and help them remember who they are.
Over the weekend, dear Danielle and I went to the store and decided to do a little springtime shopping. We picked up some herbs and plants, a bird feeder for the robins and cardinals around our place, and some new soil for plants we already have. A couple of those plants have not been thriving, so we figured some new soil and an upgraded pot would help. It was so much fun being able to spend a day breathing fresh air and giving life to new plants. As we got our hands dirty, we re-potted our snake plant, as I pulled out the plant, we immediately noticed some root rot, due to it having too much water. On the surface the plant looked fine, but when actually dealing with the root, we saw it needed to get rid of the old before a new thing could thrive.
Sometimes I have a hard time in prayer. Not that praying itself is hard, but sometimes it feels like the things I deal with are either way too massive in my head or feel incredibly small. I want to pray that I see the doors as God opens them and that I follow after the path that I know I have been called into, but it just feels so big and so unknown. It’s not specific, there’s not always a yes or no answer needed for clarity. Then, there are the little things, bumps in the road that happen daily, and there is always a moment of, “does God really care about the small stuff?”
Over the past year there have been massive prayers that many of us have had. Prayers over safety, healing of loved ones, and figuring out how to provide. There have also been small things that we deal with, that sometimes give us a guilt factor of wondering if compared to the pandemic, I should even be coming to God about this.
Being back in school has been a bit of a weird thing. I’m fully online, getting my Masters in Divinity, which has been exciting as ministry (in whatever form it may take) is what I want to pursue. In these online classes there are discussion boards, which means you have to write a post and then reply to other students. It’s the most encouraging platform, because every reply you make and made on your posts agrees with you and says, “this was a really great post!” You feel like a million bucks on every discussion board.
Hello again, my lovely readers! I decided to take a week off, because everything seems to be happening all at once. The end of my first half of my masters and moving into a new apartment, dear Danielle and my life has been surrounded by boxes and planning. Luckily, I am now writing from our office space here, and though surrounded by boxes of our lives, I am grateful for this continued journey. Whenever I move I tend to get introspective, and I was thinking about the road of life. New places and faces, and the unknown ahead of you, all while never turning out the way we might think. If I’m honest, these are hard moments for me; I would love my life to play out exactly the way I want, to have a house with space to host people and to write all day with dear Danielle, but life doesn’t move like that. It moves on how God chooses to direct us.
That’s what I have to remind myself and it’s what gives me hope in all that I don’t know yet, that everything begins on a foundational relationship.
It’s now almost been two full months into this new year, how are your goals doing? It’s easy to be excited about growing and changing at the start of the year, but typically this is right about the time that those goals and pursuits begin to slow. So, how are you doing? Checking in on yourself is important because growth is important. I’ve found for me, I want to do all kinds of things and push myself into this person I think I should be, but often those standards are unattainable, so when I fail to hit that mark, I choose to stay complacent. There is a myriad of reasons why goals fail and a myriad of books to help with that, but I think the important part is understanding the “why” behind the goals.
We want to grow into better people, but we need to make sure we are growing in a healthy way.
Motivation can be incredibly hard some days. What helps you get through the day and wake up excited? Sometimes that motivation seems to leave us and cause us to hit our snooze button more than we’d like. Maybe you’re in a season like me where you have passion, but just aren’t sure where to go next. Without solid motivation, we find distractions way more appetizing. Getting up for school is way harder to be motivated for, but when it comes to the last day of school and summer vacation in our grasp, we practically leap out of bed. So, how can we get that summer vacation motivation in all areas of our lives? What is your motivator that drives you forward?
The simple answer to attaining this excitement that drives you: Love.
Hello again there! How has your year been so far? Keeping up with the goals and words to focus on? I know for me; the year has already begun to throw challenges our way. From the job searching that feels like I’m hitting walls, to our apartment complex that won’t contact us about our deposit (Yikes!), and my second semester of my Master’s Degree kicked off. There is a lot going on, it feels like my head is constantly spinning and thinking. In these moments, I find it difficult to focus on what I can control when so much of what I can’t control is all around me.
The thing is, I know God has me, I just have to trust him.