“The Best Laid Plans…” Five Minute Friday

I’m joining up with the #FMFPARTY Five Minute Friday group again this week! If you haven’t heard of Five Minute Friday go check out Kate Motaung’s page about it over at katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday. Blogging for Five Minutes on Friday about a specified “Prompt Topic” I have to say that only typing about a topic for 5 minutes is a HUGE stretch for me, but I’m really enjoying it.

This week the prompt is “Plan”. I’m excited to get started! So here we go…


If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “The best laid plans of mice & men often go awry.” You know the basis of my life.

I am a planner. I love lists & preparing for upcoming events. I used to be a wedding planner (that’s another post entirely in and of itself!) & I loved the entire planning process from beginning to end.

The thing is, my plans for my life & the lives of my family DO often go awry. I’m not a foolish person. I don’t just jump at every opportunity that comes up. I’m a detailed planner. When I graduated High School I “planned” to get a business degree then own my own bakery, definitely NOT what ended up happening. So why do some of my “plans” come up short?

They don’t work out when they are MY plans & not God’s.

James 4:12-15

” Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”

When I get an idea or start to make a plan of action I need to step back and really evaluate WHOSE plan it is. Am I coming up with this all on my own or have I truly been guided by The Lord?

This blog is a great example of that. I felt God calling me to write. Now, he originally called me to write a book (and I am), but when I got stuck in the process and was about to give up on it He pointed me toward blogging. I questioned & doubted whether it was me or God that came up with that, but after lots of prayer & searching for His answer, He has begun to open my eyes to His plan for it all.

Well, my five minutes are up! This five minute thing is CRAZY! I could probably go on forever… Hmmm… I think I’m already coming up with my next post! I’ve been inspired!

How have the “plans” you’ve made on your own changed? I would love to hear how God has moved in your life!

Advertisements

9 Tips For a More Intentional Prayer Life

Prayer has been a major struggle for me in my walk with Christ.

Some weeks I am so good about remembering to turn to Him. I am in a constant prayerful conversation with God and it makes day to day life easier.

Other weeks, I slack. I forget to turn to God in times of need and instead I turn to my own understanding. I tell others I will pray for them and then soon forget to follow through. Those weeks are very difficult.

For the past year I’ve been trying to figure out how I can be more intentional with my conversations with God. I have come up with some ways to not only set aside time for Intentional Prayer, but also some times that I can just take advantage of time that could otherwise be wasted. I have combined all of these little “tips” here. Read through and take what you can, or what you need. I don’t do ALL of these everyday, but I’ve found ways to remind myself to continue my ongoing “conversation” with God.

1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier.
I am putting this as #1 because although this is the hardest thing for me to apply (I am NOT a morning person), it has been the best. I am not a morning devotion person because, as I said, I am NOT a morning person.  I DO like praying in the morning though. I wake up, get out of bed, go sit at my makeup table & pray. I pray for myself, my family, the people I will come in contact with, & the day in general. That’s it. I feel so much more confident about the day when I start it this way.

2. Post an up to date prayer list on your bathroom mirror.
The next thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth, which doesn’t take much brain power, so I go through a couple of specific prayer requests while brushing. Personally, I reserve this time for some specific people in my life. My mirror prayer list doesn’t change much.

3. Laminate a prayer list to put up in your shower.
This works for me because I only share my shower with my husband and we share all of our prayer concerns with each other. If you share your shower with your siblings or parents you may or may not like this option. You could make this specific prayer (like mine) or more general. This list could just say, “Parents, Siblings, Friends, Teachers…”. Something that general may not be as odd to put up in a shared space but could still prompt you to remember to pray for them.

4. Pray for people you Text or Call.
Have you ever just said a quick little prayer for someone you were texting? Prayer can be quick & still meaningful. Lately when I have to text or call someone I say a quick prayer for them as I hit “send” or “call”. It usually goes something like this, “Lord, I pray that you continue to watch over ______. Give her strength for whatever she is doing today. Amen”

5. Prayer Apps
Since we’re talking about your cell phone. Do you have an app for that? Now, this is actually one thing that I don’t have yet. I’m about to get a smart phone (I’ve been a hold out because I am a cell phone abuser… I break things) and I am definitely going to put a prayer app on my phone so I can be reminded to stop and pray for specific things. If a friend is having surgery I want to have a reminder to pray for her before it happens, not after I see on facebook that she is in the recovery room… ooops!

6. Remember to write down & save prayer requests.
This has been the hardest for me to do. I am HORRIBLE at remembering prayer requests. Again, this is why I will be getting a prayer app when I get a smart phone. The app isn’t going to instantly solve my problem though, I have to remember to type it into the app. For now I’ve been keeping a cute little notebook in my purse so I can jot down who & what to pray for. Once I started writing them down I actually realized that I was leaving out a lot of people! Between Sunday Morning Church, my Junior High girls class, my adult small group, Youth Group on Wednesday Nights, and working in the church office full time I have accumulated quite a list. I’m so glad I started writing it all down!

7. Keep a prayer journal.

This is something I have done for quite a while. I have seen prayers answered through my prayer journal. I can track my personal growth as I turn the pages. I love it. It is more than a diary. It is my heart on paper. It is my love song to God. I write down everything from frustrations, anger, worries, concerns, praise, & thanksgiving. I write down the verses I am reading for future reference, I doodle, & I write. Find a notebook that you really like. If you like it, you’ll use it. Find a great pen, one that feels good in your hand and writes easily. There are no guidelines for a prayer journal, just like there are no guidelines to personal prayer. Just do it.

8. Pray every time you wash your hands.
I know this may sound silly, but I send up a prayer of thanks to God every time I wash my hands. I like short prayers because they work with my ADD short attention span. I find something to give thanks to God for each time. Sometimes it’s for huge things, sometimes it’s little things. It doesn’t matter. I believe that prayer is a conversation & a relationship building between you and God. It can’t all be “Gimme, Gimme”, you need to thank him for the things He does for you.

9. Find a Prayer Partner.
One of the best ways to stay intentional about your prayer life is to have an accountability partner. This prayer partner can help in many ways. This can be a person that you exchange personal prayer requests with, that you pray with, or even send each other little reminders throughout the day seeing if you have each taken some time to pray. I love the idea of accountability partners, especially in prayer. There is something so wonderful about believers coming together to lift each other up to The Lord.

So, there you go! 9 tips help you be more intentional with your prayer life. Take them & figure out what works for you.

Let me know what works. Do you have anything to add? Have you found something that you would like to recommend to others? Comment below and let me know!

Rest… Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That! …But I Should!

So I’m sitting in a condo, out of town, away from home, away from work, away from kids, away from distractions. It’s CRAZY quiet because my husband and our friends that we came here with are at their conference.

I am alone with coffee and quiet.

I know that God has provided this time for me to rest. I NEVER get time like this. SERIOUSLY! This is a GIFT!

So why am I so restless? Why can’t I sit here and soak this up? Why do I feel like I need to get up and do something?

I am realizing that I DON’T KNOW HOW TO REST!

Do you rest? Do you ever take time to not do anything and just sit and reflect upon the things that God has done and is doing in your life?

We are called to rest. God talks about rest OFTEN in His Word. I mean… even God stopped and took the time to rest and He was the all powerful, almighty creator of EVERYTHING!

Made To Bloom

Made To Bloom

After God created the Heavens & the Earth he took a day to rest. GOD TOOK A WHOLE DAY TO REST… I have problems taking 30 minutes to rest!

I look around me and we all are GO, GO, GO! No one stops. Even those of us that are Christians and know that God called for us to take times to rest! We fill our hours with activities that are, when you look at them, “Good” activities. We work hard at work/school. We help our families, friends, & neighbors. We serve in church with different ministries. We volunteer with community organizations.

These are all inherently “Good” things, but even “Good” things can be used to fill up our time and distract us from the things that God wants of us and for us.

I personally have an issue with finishing a project or event and then jumping right in and looking at what’s next.

Scripture tells us in Genesis 2 that God finished what he was working on and then STOPPED. Not permanently, but for a day. He rested.

When we have finished a project, event, game, season, even a day or week. We should take some time to rest and reflect. We should thank God for the things he has done. Thank Him for what he is doing at that moment. Ask Him what he wants us to do differently in the future. Then we should rest & listen.

We can’t expect to hear an answer from The Lord if we don’t take the time to stop, quiet our minds, and listen.

I am really writing this as a lecture to myself.

My ADD mind is making a list of things that I should do right now.
1. Write another blog after this one.
2. Study for my Sunday School Class.
3. Work on writing a chapter of my book.
4. Do my nails because they look gross.
5. Pull out my agenda calendar and fill out the February month of events.

But I’m not going to.
It’s going to be hard, but I’m going to sit here, drink my coffee, read a devotional or two, and rest.

Do you think I should set a timer? 

Just Kidding!
Maybe…

Do you set aside time to rest? What does rest look like to you? Leave a comment below and tell me about it.

A New Generation of Addicts

When I think of an addict, I get a picture in my head of a person sitting on the floor in the fetal position. She’s rocking back & forth with a wile look in her eye.

She is jumpy and her eye makeup is running because she has been wiping away the tears. She needs something desperately, and feels like she can’t live without it.

It’s scary & sad.


Is this you when you can’t find your cell phone?

You may have chuckled a little to yourself just now, but unfortunately I’m not joking.

Our Youth Group goes to this amazing church camp for a week each summer. It is the most fun, energy filled, youth centered, & Jesus focused week. Seriously, the week after camp we all tend to get homesick… for camp! That’s how much we love it there.

The camp doesn’t have a lot of rules, but one of the BIGGIES is… no cell phones. No Joke, if a camp counselor sees a Youth with their phone in the middle of camp they will take it away & it will be mailed back home at the Youth’s expense. I agree with the rule. Too often we are too caught up in what is going on in the world and we can’t focus on what God is trying to tell us.

So when we go over camp rules a few weeks before we leave each year it always amazes/scares me to see the reactions from some of the Youth (mainly girls) who have not been to camp before.

They Freak Out. I mean REALLY freak out. One year, a few days before camp, a girl told me she was already having anxiety attacks just THINKING about being away from her cell phone for a week.

Cell phones have become a crutch to way too many teens & adults. (Don’t worry, I know it’s not just teens) The next time you’re out somewhere eating look around and see how many people are on their cell phones. Now, how many of those on cell phones are sitting with other people? Talk about a quiet meal…


So… Are you addicted to your cell phone?
1. Do you constantly check your phone even when it hasn

2. Do get a panicked feeling when you reach in your pocket/purse & can’t find your phone?

3. Do you put off schoolwork, sleep, or other responsibilities to be on the phone?

4. Do you feel depressed when you haven’t been on your phone?

Maybe you need to take a serious look at your NEED for your phone.

A phone can be very important. When in an emergency it can honestly be a lifesaver, but be careful of how much you depend on your phone. Is it what makes you happy? Is your social media & texting how you feel appreciated & loved. Do you spend more time on your phone that with actual people… talking… not on the phone? Are you spending more time on your phone than reading your bible? Praying? Spending time with God?

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”  Exodus 20:2-3 (NIV)

Has your phone become your addiction?

If so, take it to God. Confess that you have put it before him & other things. Ask him for help with this temptation.

Maybe you need to talk to your parents about setting up some specific rules about cell phone use.

And Guess What…
There’s An App For That!

No Joke! I found out while researching this that there are actually apps that are supposed to help you with your cell phone addiction.

1. PAUSE
For iPhone
Pause Description:
It might not be a drug, but a digital based addiction can still keep you away from your real life.

2. BreakFree
For Android
BreakFree Description:
BreakFree is the best Android app for monitoring and taking control of your smartphone usage habits and your digital life. It helps you check your addiction levels and also helps you unplug and disconnect from your smartphone. With BreakFree you can focus on what’s important.

Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY endorsing either of these apps. I do NOT own either of them nor am I being paid to mention them. I ONLY give them as an option that teens should discuss with their parents as a possibility.

Take a step back. Put the phone down. Go find something to do without it. Maybe even have a REAL conversation with someone.

I would love to hear from you! Do you struggle with this? Do your teens struggle with it? Leave a comment below.

When you don’t feel God

Have you ever felt far away from God?

I was listening to the radio on my way to work the other day and the two morning DJ’s started talking about feeling like God isn’t there, like “God where are you?”. One of the DJ’s said he felt like that sometimes & the other said that he has never felt that way. So I had to ask myself, “Have I ever felt that way, and if so why? What can be done about that?”

First let me say that YES, I have felt like that. I have felt distant from God in good times and bad times. It creeps up on me. Everything seems to be going fine and then all of the sudden (or at least it FEELS all of the sudden) I feel like I’ve lost that close relationship with God and I can’t feel his presence. The feeling is awful! It’s lonely & empty.

So I ask YOU again. Have you ever felt far away from God?

If you honestly have never felt distant or far away from God then FANTASTIC! I’m so glad that you have never in your Christian walk felt this way. It is something that I wish none of us would ever experience because of how awful it feels.

If you have felt that way know that you are not alone. (And I mean that in more ways than one!) There are many Christians who have walked through difficult valleys in their life and felt alone and out of the presence of God.

The problem with saying “I don’t feel that God is with me” is the key word in that statement. FEEL. You may not FEEL God with you or around you, but that does not mean he isn’t there. He is ALWAYS there.

When Jesus Christ, God’s Holy Son, died for our sins as the perfect sacrifice, God not only created a way for us to go to Heaven but he also sent the Holy Spirit to be a messenger or presence in us. The Holy Spirit reminds us of Jesus Christ’s teachings.

This Holy Trinity of God, The Son (Jesus Christ), and The Holy Spirit means that:

1. God created us, loves us, & sent His one and only Son to die for our sins.

2. Jesus Christ died for our sins & if we accept that he is The Son of God, confess we are sinners, ask Christ to forgive us our sins, & to come into our hearts & lives we can have everlasting life through him. Jesus promised to guide us through his teachings, God’s Word.

3. The Holy Spirit was sent to be the presence of God & The Son that helps guide us. When we do FEEL God’s presence we are FEELING God through The Holy Spirit.

In John 14:25 & 26, Jesus is talking to the disciples about what will happen when he is gone. He has just said that those who love Him will obey Him. Those who do not love Him will not obey His teachings. Then he says,


All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all the things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

You are NEVER alone!

Ok, so now you KNOW… but, sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes just KNOWING you’re not alone doesn’t change the fact that you FEEL alone. So how did we get to feeling this way? How can we change it?

First you have to ask yourself, “Am I being a good friend?”

I’m not talking about a good friend to your BFF, your classmates, or even your siblings. Are you being a good friend to Jesus?

Think of how you would grade yourself.
Are you spending time with God? (prayer, church, reading your bible, worship…)
Are you listening to God (obeying his teachings, having a quiet time in prayer & quieting your mind to be open to him…)
Are you talking to God?
Are you thanking Him for the Blessings he gives you? (Home, Family, Food, Extras that aren’t NEEDS…)
Do you need to ask forgiveness for something, but haven’t?

It all comes back to our RELATIONSHIP with God. A healthy relationship comes from two individuals doing their part. God loves you & promised to listen and take care of you. So are you doing your part?

Sometimes when we FEEL distant from God it’s because we have been slowly slipping away and suddenly realized that there is an ocean between us.

So jump in & start improving your relationship with him. Pray even though it’s hard, read even though you think it might be boring, go to church to worship The Lord & be in fellowship with other believers. Share with close friends & family members what you are feeling.

Keep reminding yourself… I AM NOT ALONE! HE IS ALWAYS WITH ME!

I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment below.