Day 31 – We Made it! (And What’s Next?)

Adobe Spark (3)

The past 30 days of this encouragement writing challenge has been a roller coaster ride! Three months ago, if you would have told me I’d write a blog, I would’ve laughed at you. Two months ago, if you would have told me I’d write blog posts for 30 days straight, I’d probably encourage you to get your head checked out. But now that the challenge is over, all I can say is God is good and I have learned so much about Him, about myself, and about all of you.

The 30 days were a challenge

If anyone invites you to participate in a 30 day challenge, think really hard before accepting. Pledging to do something for 30 days straight is no light task. This was indeed a challenge. There would be so many days when I’d arrived home from work, late, eyes half closed, only wanting to crawl into bed and sleep for days. And then I’d realize, “Oh no! I haven’t written a post today!” I’d roll over, turn the light on, find my laptop, turn it on, and wonder what in the world I would write about. But I pledged…so I’d put my hands on the keys, say a prayer in my heart…and God would always show up.

The 30 days were challenging

Not only was it a challenge to write every day, but it was challenging to write these particular blog posts.

Baring your soul ain’t no cakewalk. There were many times I wanted to write something easy, something light, something filled with sunshine and rainbows.

Something surface.

But when I attempted to stay above deep reality, no words ever came.  It’s only when I surrendered once again to the hard things, the deep things, the real things that the words poured out. I couldn’t hardly type fast enough to keep up with the word flow.

The 30 days were a blessing

The 30 days were a challenge.

And challenging.

But most of all they were a blessing.

This past month was so full of amazing support and love. You all truly came through and the fact that you took time out of your days to read something I wrote meant the world. I would be surprised every day when I woke up to a comment. Or I’d get a notification that someone “loved” the post on Facebook. Or you’d send me a text, or corner me at work, or shoot me an email sharing how that day’s post touched you/challenged you/comforted you. It was overwhelming and absolutely amazing.

And a special shout out to those who read every, single, post, every, single, day.

You are rock stars!

And then those who would share the post with others. I still can’t believe how God took this challenge and used it for His glory.

The challenge also showed me just how rich God’s word is and how deep one can dive into its riches. I would always be amazed when I’d run across a scripture it was like God blew it up into a neon sign that flashed and played alarms and spoke so clearly and so loudly because I had stopped to listen. I don’t know if you have ever experienced that with God’s word, but I did. Every single day.

Now what?

But the challenge is over.

(Woo hoo!)

Now what?

I have a feeling that there is still more…

More to write…

More to share…

More to bear…

More to bare…

More.

And here is where I would like your help.

Would you mind completing this short survey to let me know what YOU would like more of on this blog and from me? It should only take you 2-3 minutes.

SURVEY 🙂

Once again, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Challenge…COMPLETE!

Day 30 – Find Your Field

Find Your Field

I’m no farmer.

And some of the parables and metaphors used in the Bible go right over my head.

But one agricultural symbol makes sense to me.

The field.

Our church is situated next to a large cornfield.

And when I drive by, it occurs to me just how much work goes into coaxing out real, useful crop from a big open plot of dirt.

Growing things is hard.

(Ask all the plants I have killed).

It takes dedication.

Hard work.

Skill.

Knowledge.

Experience.

Just showing up.

And like a farmer works hard to cultivate their field, to reap a bountiful harvest…

So are we as workers in God’s kingdom called to our own fields.

These fields are areas in our lives where God has purposefully placed us to work.

Work hard.

Be dedicated.

Apply our skills.

And knowledge.

Gain and use our experience.

And show up to work.

Let’s see what Jesus says:

35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” – Matthew 9:35 NLT

There are many fields in this world that need workers. Many places where people need to be taught, served, and loved.

What is your field?

It may look completely different from mine.

Your field may be to counsel former prostitutes.

It may be to feed the homeless.

God may be calling you to work in the field of childcare, to love on and teach the babies.

Or maybe your field is with the elderly.

Now that you think about it, could your field be your own home?

Your marriage?

Your neighborhood or workplace?

Could your field be overseas?

Or in your very own backyard?

You see, the world is filled with fields of need.

Fields that need workers.

Fields that need you.

I invite you to take a look around and see where God has purposefully, strategically, intentionally, and divinely placed you.

And ask Him,

“Lord, Is this my field? Is this where you want me to work for You?”

And when He answers…

Be willing to work.

Serve.

Love.

And show up the next day to do it all again.

Then await the beautiful harvest.


Have you thought about where God has called you to work? Do you know what your field of service may be? This week, take some time to reflect on where God has placed you and talk to Him about where He wants you to work for Him. Be blessed.

Day 29 – Are You Taking Care of Your Temple?

Your Temple

Yesterday in Sunday School, we had an amazing discussion about Romans 12:1:

12 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. – Romans 12:1 NLT

This is a favorite scripture of mine, but not an easy one.

Do you know why?

It asks us to take a good, hard look at how we are treating ourselves.

More specifically, how we are treating our bodies.

In the Old Testament, sacrifices had to be of the highest quality. You were not to offer just any old goat to God. You were supposed to offer your best.

I did a quick word search on biblegateway.com for “sacrifice” and “blemish” and quite a few scriptures popped up from the Old Testament reinforcing how sacrifices should be “without blemish.” (See Leviticus 1:3; 1:10; 3:1; 3:6; 22:21; 28:19; you get the picture)

That means one wasn’t supposed to offer the broken, the leftovers, the dregs, the diseased, the lame, the blind, the cast-off, the runt…

The less-than-best.

These types of offerings weren’t acceptable to God.

The hope was that as the people of God reflected on His goodness, they would want to generously give their all and their best to the God who offered the same to them.

Paul brings this Old Testament concept into the New Testament and to us today.

Under God’s grace and because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we do not have to offer animals as sacrifices to take away our sins. One Holy Spotless and Perfect Lamb (Jesus) took care of that for us.

Yet Paul challenges us to offer a different sacrifice.

A living sacrifice.

We are to be those living sacrifices,

Given in service to God

Daily

Ready to love and care and minister to others.

But just like the Old Testament offerings

There has to be some standard.

The Ancient Israelites were required to give God their best.

And we are required to do no less.

So Sunday, we talked about what that looks like in our daily, lived experience. If we are not offering goats, cows, and pigeons, what are we offering?

We are offering our hearts

Minds

Will

Obedience

Bodies

Our All

Don’t misunderstand me…offering everything to God is not easy.

And having this mindset doesn’t come over night.

There are areas we want to selfishly keep to ourselves.

And a lot of the time the main area we want to retain control of is our bodies.

We want to be able to do whatever we want with them.

Because they are ours.

The class honestly talked about our tendency to put a time limit on when God can have our bodies.

“God, you have me ALL day on Sunday. But can we make a deal that I get Monday – Saturday to do my own thing?”

Let’s be honest here.

Can we really offer God half of us? A quarter of us?

Did He offer only a part of Jesus?

The truth is, when we willfully live life in a way that is not beneficial to our bodies, we are causing harm to our spiritual journey.

Stay with me here.

Our mission should be to let God use us in a way that improves the world around us and shows the world His love.

That mission, though, is placed in danger when we are not at our optimal effectiveness.

I used my own self as an example in class and will put it all out here on the blog as well.

Hi.

My name is Tiffany.

And I am giving God a less-than-best sacrifice.

I do not treat my body well at all.

I struggle with getting enough rest.

Because I don’t get the proper rest, I am tired most of the time.

And when I’m tired, I don’t make great decisions about what to eat. Whatever I can get into my stomach fastest is what I usually eat. The food I rush to put in isn’t always nutritious and then I feel sluggish.

Sluggish is not a good state for exercise.

So exercise falls by the wayside.

Now you have tired, being fueled by non-nutritious food, dragged down by inactivity, and the result is a body all out of whack and can’t be of good use to God.

If God needed me to go, and go quickly, and have the energy to fulfill my mission for that day…

What he gets is a fatigued, dragging, hungry, and out of shape tool that is at best, willing, and at worse, nodding off.

Yeah, not useful at all.

You see, whatever it is that you struggle with (insert sex, food, drugs, alcohol, laziness, etc. etc. etc.), how we treat our temple impacts our effectiveness in God’s kingdom.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul lays it all out:

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV

So the question is, are you taking care of your temple?

Are you offering your bodies (and other areas of your life) as living sacrifices to God?

When He needs you, will He find not only a willing tool, but a ready servant?

I can tell you one thing…

I’m about to end this blog and start getting my rest! 🙂