What to do When Everyone Around You is Losing Their Minds

Has there ever been a time when we have been more obsessed with what everyone else is thinking, doing, watching, eating, etc.? My internet was down for about an hour the other day and I almost had to go to sleep without my final Facebook check. What if someone had posted a picture of their bedtime snack and I missed it?!? It was a close call, my friends.

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Seriously, the emotion on the ol’ internet can be a bit overwhelming. It’s possible that we have gotten ourselves a little too invested in what our friends think. Please don’t hear any condemnation here. Hello, kettle. Pot, here.

There are times I want to reach through my computer screen and, one woman to another, yell, “Buy yourself a diary, sweetheart!” Oversharing is a real thing, y’all.

In 2 Timothy, Paul warns believers about some evils to come. He speaks of deceivers and swindlers, gossips and abusers, those who are conceited and reckless. On and on it goes and, with every word, we could probably name a person with that trait.

Lack of self-control? You know that describes so-and-so and she probably doesn’t know it so I should take to the Twitter and call her out. Preach it, Paul. Should I tag her on my Facebook post or, perhaps, I’m gonna need a whole blog to truly shine the light on her wrongs?

Yeah, we read a passage like that and our focus is quick to go to others. But Paul sets his readers straight pretty quickly.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed… 2 Timothy 3:14

And there is where I stopped.

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As for you…

Whatever craziness is swirling around – whatever foolishness is being shared – whatever fear is spreading like wildfire – whatever other people are choosing to do, say or think…

As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed.

When the gossip is flowing and the anger is rising…

As for you…

When folks begin to panic and the news is downright scary…

As for you…

When tongues are wagging, fingers are pointing and you’re feeling under attack…

As for you…

Nothing that happens externally changes what has already happened internally. We know what we have learned and we know what we believe and that is our focus regardless of how we’re feeling.

You are loved, sweet friends. Have a great week.

How to Hear From God When Life is Loud

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Life is crazy loud. Do you know what I mean?

For instance, at this very moment, I have some men remodeling my bathroom upstairs. I also have one child watching her 35th episode of Doc McStuffins, one child listening to a math lesson on the computer, and two children playing in the play room. I also have one potty training toddler who just peed on my foot and demanded a treat.

I also have had some devotional thoughts that I have wanted to share but I’m saving them for my newest devotional project which will be coming out next year. Every time I am tempted to blog them I have to remind myself, “You can’t tell those stories.” It’s kind of like when Kramer sold all of his stories to Elaine’s boss to be used in a book. Then, when Kramer went to tell a story to his friends, Elaine stopped him and said, “You can’t tell that story. It now belongs to Mr. Peterman.”

Sometimes I’m desperate to hear from God but I’m all, “Lord, what did You say? It’s too loud up in here!”

Then, I read this verse.

Be silent in the presence of the Lord God…  Zephaniah 1:7

It occurred to me that my world doesn’t have to be quiet in order for me to hear from God – I’m the one who needs to be quiet. Everything around me doesn’t have to suddenly be still – I’m the one who needs to stop and listen.

Maybe that speaks to you, too? Does life seem so loud that it drowns out the voice of the Father? I promise you that God can speak over any noise you have going on right now. It isn’t your home that needs to be silent, but your heart.

You are loved.❤

When All You Got is Crazy Hot

I don’t know about y’all but I stopped trying several weeks back. I stopped trying to fix my hair. I stopped trying to wear make-up. I stopped trying to do anything except sit in an air conditioned room and beg for mercy. What I’m trying to say, sweet friends, is that I’m hot. And when I stop to think that it isn’t even August? I can’t even. It’s too much.

I’ve been a bad blogger this summer (let’s blame it on the hot) but big things have been taking place. My family and I have moved from a city of about 40k to the cutest town ever with about 800 of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. I’m talking homemade salsa, freshly baked doughnuts and sweet corn delivered to your front door kind of nice.

We ventured out into the heat to have lunch at a little cafe on the square where we immediately announced our presence by spilling an entire cup of pink lemonade on the floor. That’s just the way we roll.

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I saw a verse in a friend’s Facebook post and I have been thinking about it all day. It’s in the book of Isaiah and I particularly like The Message paraphrase of it.

While I wait for God as long as he remains in hiding,
    while I wait and hope for him.
I stand my ground and hope,
    I and the children God gave me as signs to Israel,
Warning signs and hope signs from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    who makes his home in Mount Zion. – Isaiah 8:18-22

There is something about these long, hot, humid (did I mention hot?) summer days that seem to be never-ending. They make a girl want to cry out, “How long, O Lord, how long?” Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration but only slight. We’re all just holding on and waiting for October.

There are seasons like that – seasons where success is simply making it through the day. We’re not waiting for cooler weather but we’re waiting for God to move it some way – to make His presence known. Everything seems hot and dry and we’re desperate for something to refresh us. Waiting is tough.

The prophet Isaiah knew a little something about waiting. Things were difficult and God was hiding His face from the house of Jacob. But Isaiah refused to lose faith. He was determined to stand his ground and continue to hope. He was so committed to His God that he offered himself and his children as signs of warning and of hope that would point others to the God who still ruled in Zion.

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May that be our attitude even in the midst of the dryest season. No matter what fear and hysteria the world attempts to instill in our hearts – we can stand our ground and hope.

No matter the anger and anxiety flooding the news and filling social media – we can stand our ground and hope.

No matter the brokenness that invades our homes and relationships – we can stand our ground and hope.

We can live in a way and raise our children in a way that points others to the God who has not relinquished control.

You are loved.❤

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4 Gifts in the Wilderness

In my mind, the wilderness is rarely (and, by rarely, I mean never) a pleasant place to find yourself. The wilderness is the scene in a movie where the creepy music begins playing and the lady running in stilettos from a would-be kidnapper is about to trip over a tree root and fall helplessly to the ground.

A couple years ago, we were housesitting for a friend and I decided to take a walk through the woods. It seemed like a good idea when I began. There came a point, however, when the sun had begun to set and every shadow seemed like something off of a Criminal Minds episode. Let’s just say that the walk back to the house didn’t take me nearly as long as the walk out.

No doubt, you have had your own wilderness experiences.

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God has recently revealed something to me about the wilderness. The wilderness is not a place of punishment. We think that, don’t we? We look at every struggle and we wonder what we did wrong. We see others living seemingly easier lives and it all seems unfair. I know what you’re thinking – Get outta here with that “unfair” talk. Fine, maybe you don’t use the fair/unfair argument. Whatever. I’m just going to leave it there on the off chance someone else has ever felt that way.

As I study Scripture, I have learned some interesting things about the wilderness. It’s not a place of punishment. But the wilderness IS a place of:

  • Protection: (Exodus 13:17-18) When God rescued His people from the slavery they were enduring, God did not take the quickest route. When I set my GPS, I always choose “quickest route.” But God knew that the quick route held dangers of its own. God chose to lead His people into the wilderness to protect them from the poor decisions they may have made on the fast track home.
  • Passion: (Hosea 2:14) The world is loud and full of distractions. Sometimes, the Lord leads us into the wilderness to remind us of His love for us – to refocus our hearts on Him. He wants to stir up the passion we once had for Him.
  • Prayer: (Luke 5:16) Jesus would pray in the wilderness. In fact, Scripture says that He “often” withdrew to “lonely places.” Have you ever felt incredibly lonely? Could it be that God purposely puts us in those lonely places so that we are perfectly situated to hear from Him?
  • Provision: (Psalm 78:19) If your wilderness season includes financial struggle, there can be a lot of fear and uncertainty. Your God can provide a feast in the wilderness, my friend. God will provide an abundant harvest in a place the enemy can only plant seeds of doubt.

If you are currently in the wilderness, there are three things you need to know.

  1. The wilderness is not an accident.
  2. The wilderness is not for always.
  3. You are never alone in the wilderness.

There are gifts in the wilderness: Protection, Passion, Prayer and Provision.

You are loved.❤

Stacy

 

 

Face Your Fear

Gideon was well acquainted with fear. He was hiding from his enemies when God came to him. He felt weak and ill-equipped when God laid out the plan.

Save Israel from the hand of Midian… – Judges 6:14

Gideon considered himself the lowest of the low in terms of potential warriors for the Lord. It seemed that God was really scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one. All he wanted to do was hide and survive.

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It’s a tempting way to live – hide and survive. But, when God calls you out, it is no longer a satisfying way to live. Even when the task at hand seems far more than you are capable of – especially then.

God looked at Gideon hiding from the world and called him a “mighty warrior” while he was still hiding. Knowing how God viewed him gave him the courage to step out and choose more for himself.

It’s tempting to stay within the comfort and familiarity of these walls. In a way, I hide from the enemy. And, the more I stay tucked away inside my safe place, the scarier it seems out in the world. Everything in me wants to simply hide and survive. Yet, I feel God pulling me.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of something and follow a crowd. That’s what happened with Gideon. God called him to save his people and all of the people gathered as if they were prepared and willing to help. Until God gives them an out.

Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead. Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. – Judges 7:3

Here’s your chance. If you want to give in to your fear, you can go home. And 22,000 did just that. The first people eliminated from being a part of what God was about to do were those who lived as slaves of fear.

Then comes one of the best verses in Scripture.

And the Lord said to Gideon… – Judges 7:4

Why is it one of the best? Because, after 22,000 men had fled from fear, Gideon was still standing beside the Lord awaiting his next instruction.

Gideon was not going to go home. In fact, he was going to face the very enemy he had been hiding from when God first came to him.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of what God is doing. I want to be counted among those who stayed to fight.

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Happy Monday, my friends!

Stacy