Let’s get to it! This week we’re talking about FAITHFULNESS!
Proverbs 19:21 21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s plan that will stand.
DEFINITION OF FAITHFULNESS: 1: strict or thorough in the performance of duty 2: true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc. 3: steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends 4: reliable, trusted, or believed
REFLECTION: Faithfulness looks very much like loyalty wrapped in trust. When we are faithful to God and trust him, we are free to live our lives with less weight and stress. We are free to show up as our true selves. Rhonda and I have circled back to this scripture in Proverbs countless times. When we:
try to create our own solutions only to feel stuck
realize we are forcing our will over His
strive to fit timelines on our own time tables
Not being in control is such a hard feeling. We like the idea that if we can just find the right rythm and stay on the beat, everything will run as smooth as a symphony orchestra. When one instrument goes down though, everything sounds off and we feel compelled to scramble and find the fix or create the solution: tune the instrument, replace the chord, tighten the bow.
We’ve learned that our solutions are not the same as His solutions. Our solutions often amplify the problem or cause us additional stress. Being faithful as a Christian is allowing God to assure us of what we do not see. It is trusting him to share his plan with us when he sees that we are ready. Faithfulness requires us to do the hardest thing: submit.
There are countless Biblical stories of God blessing those who are faithful. Ruth could have gone off on her own to create a new life after the death of her husband, but she chose to remain with Naomi. Sarah and Abraham had Isaac when Sarah was very, very old – after decades of not having a child. Arrested and thrown into a lion’s den for praying, Daniel emerged unscathed. In all of these instances, God rewarded faithful people.
One of the hardest things for me to hear in the age of corona is that we are living in a “new normal.” I don’t like the saying because nothing feels “normal” and it encourages our longing for the past. I, for one, do not want to pine for the pre-corona days. I will put my trust in God and have faith that where he leads us will be better than where we were.
It is ok to be uncomfortable. It is ok to not understand the world around us. It is ok to feel overwhelmed and stressed and unsure of the next right move. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your own. My hope is that you will rely on your faith in God and trust that the next right step will be revealed to you when it should be. Until then, keep showing up as YOU.
ACTION CHALLENGE: What is getting in the way of your faithfulness today? Can you give it over to God?
In case you missed it, last week we talked about kindness; we discussed how our differences can help us grow, the value of listening, and a few tips on what kindness looks like in 2020.
Let’s get to it! This week we’re talking about GOODNESS!
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
DEFINITION OF GOODNESS: 1: the quality or state of being good 2: used interjectionally or in phrases especially to express mild surprise or shock oh, my goodness! goodness knows 3: the nutritious, flavorful, or beneficial part of something
REFLECTION: It never ceases to amaze me how one of my devotional readings each morning is on point. I think of it as divine inspiration. On Sunday morning one of my favorite devotional books, Wake Up to Hope, by Joel and Victoria Osteen shared an insightful devotion on goodness. “We all have an assignment. You could say that we all have a ministry. It may not be up in front of people. It may not be to go overseas and be a missionary. Our ministry starts by being good to people.” Goodness is an action – it is our behavior.
When it comes to goodness, I think about circles of influence:
We have the ability to directly control only a small portion of our lives. We can choose our behavior within our circle of control. Tthese are things that exist within me – my attitude, my behavior, my mood. I can control how I treat my family – I can control myself. The circle of influence is the next level, all the other relationships – family, neighbors, coworkers. The circle of concern is the parts of life that I am aware of and interested in but has less direct impact on my life.
For instance, I can control how I treat myself. How good I am to me. It is why I have spent twelve years in fitness. I have one body, I better take care of it. I have one mind, I’d better nurture it. By being good to myself, I am better equipped to share goodness with the next circle of influence: my family, friends, community. I can also control my behavior, choose kindness. I can control how I talk to my children. How I treat my husband when he walks in the door. I can set an example of goodness for others to see and by doing so help guide their path to goodness, too.
Imagine if all circles of control radiated goodness. What do you think the circle of concern would look like? As Osteen writes, we all have a ministry. It is to be good. When we each take the time to be good to one another it has a trickle effect through the circles of influence. What do you want your trickle effect to look like? How do you want to make people feel?
I have a quote on my bulletin board that inspires me everyday:
It might be in the very small moment between getting from the car to bed after a long day of baseball games, around the breakfast table, during a board meeting, while helping a neighbor clean up his yard after a storm – but your decision to be good has an impact. You might not see it. Trust me, it is there. You make a difference.
ACTION CHALLENGE: Again this week I ask you to take action by walking through your week choosing to be good within your circles of influence. Remember you make an impact just by being YOU!
We are half way through the MaverickRx Fruit of the Spirit Challenge. We’re curious if these weekly emails have given you food for thought? We are hopeful that they’ve been a bright spot in your week and we hope you’ll remember to join us Thursday at 8:30 for our Facebook discussion of this week’s topic.
In case you missed it, last week we talked about patience. We explored how difficult it is to be patient while living in a “now culture” and while facing challenging times (hello 2020 🤪).
Let’s get to it! This week we’re talking about KINDNESS!
Proverbs 11:17 Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you. Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
It used to be that if you didn’t have anything nice to say, you said nothing at all, or so we were told. In 2020 it feels like no one has anything nice to say and they say it all the time. People have become embolden, almost brazen, in their meanness.
To be honest, the lack of kindness toward other human beings was a motivating factor in the creation of the Fruit of the Spirit Challenge. A massive shift occured this year – we went from living in our little bubbles to staring day in and day out at disease numbers, political unrest, racial tension, and inequities in healthcare and education. Our news outlets and social media feeds are peppered with division across a broad range of critically important current events.
Everyone feels like they must take a stand, have a position, voice their opinion, speak up, be heard! At some point though, we’re all just filling the space with noise. We aren’t listening, caring, or helping one another as we should. We aren’t digging into our hearts for compassion; we’re laying into people with our words of division. By participating in the negative noise, we are perpetuating it.
Here is a perfect example. Today I was looking at something on Facebook. There was a negative comment on the post that I disagreed with – not the content of the words, just the fact that the person felt the need to type the negativity. I almost clicked the angry face and asked the person a question.
I refrained. I chose to pray for my own patience and kindness and I kept scrolling. Listen, it isn’t going to stop. It isn’t going away. People are angrier than they have ever been and sure, they have every right to be, people have every right to have their own opinion and share it. But what gives us all the right to treat each other badly because of the difference of opinion? What gives us the right to be out right mean? Why do we feel compelled to explain our side, give them a piece of our mind? SPOILER ALERT: we aren’t all supposed to be the same. Our differences keep us open, learning, and growing. Our differences ask us to look at the world through a different lense, explore our own beliefs, and narrow in on who we are as individuals.
The only way to get closer to kindness is to CHOOSE KINDESS amidst difference.
Sometimes I am lucky enough to go on a date with my dad (p.s. Dad it’s been too long!) We talk for hours and I love it. I always take away more than he does because he is wise and has read more books than anyone I’ve ever met. On one such date he shared a Stephen R. Covey quote:
Keep this quote front of mind as you engage in conversations. Listening is essential to kindness. Choosing kindness in 2020 looks very much like:
Listening without personal motive
Caring for each other instead of tearing each other down
Being open, honest, and thoughtful
Respecting and accepting other people just as they are
Electing not to engage with negativity
The absolute beauty of it all is that what you put out into the world is what comes back to you. Keep pushing forward with kindness, keep on the path Luke recommends and kindness will surely come back to you.
ACTION CHALLENGE: This week I’ve removed the “social media challenge” and rather ask you to take action by walking through your week choosing kindness – hold doors, smile, LISTEN, and learn from the people in your world. Set an example of kindness and reap the rewards that only love can provide.
Let’s get to it! This week we’re talking about PATIENCE!
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
We live in a now culture. One in which everyone wants immediate action, immediate solutions, immediate plans. We email and text people expecting an immediate response. We expect everything to happen exactly as we want. We want traffic to move out of our way, everyone to stay in their own lane, mind their own business, don’t create any problems. We expect smooth sailing, instant, easy breezy lives.
The fact is, life is hard and challenging. Yet, it is our choice to sit in that hard place with a negative mindset, grumbling about circumstances. It is our choice to lose our temper in a fit of road rage, over the fridge going out, the internet moving slow, or the children not behaving. Scripture teaches us that the tribulations we see in life present us with teachable moments in the art of patience – God’s endurance training, so to speak.
We all have struggles, big or small. The fact is, we don’t know other people’s struggles. We are called to show up for friends and strangers alike with patience and empathy. Rather than grumbling over negative circumstances, ask for patience and dial into gratitude.
In Romans, Paul asks us to be “patient in tribulation”. To take action with patience is to wait in prayer. Talk to God, dump the entirety of your troubles on Him. Lean in while showing compassion for other humans around you – the kids, the spouse, the boss, even the driver in the car next to you. Be gentle with each other as you would like God to be gentle with you.
SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE:
Tag @MaverickRx in a post inspired by patience on Facebook this week; share something with us that reminds you how much easier life is when we trust God.
This evening we’re stepping into our third week with the MaverickRx Fruit of the Spirit Challenge. We’re hopeful that you’ve been able to take a pause with each email so far and think about how the fruits can positively impact your mindset. Last week we talked about joy and how it nurtures our relationship with God.
Let’s get to it! This week we’re talking about PEACE!
Luke 1: 78-79 New Living Translation (NLT) Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
We experience times in life when we feel like God really came through for us, don’t we? A prayer was answered, a child healed, a marriage renewed, a sunset enjoyed. Those times we fall comfortably into God’s peace and feel at ease.
Then there are the hard times when we feel as though we are very alone, lacking direction, hearing no answers, or not in control. In those times, when we feel hopeless we have to choose to lean into God as much as possible – to seek his peace, deliberately reminding ourselves of the good work he has done and will most certainly do again.
A few weeks ago Rhonda came to my Pilates class and we were talking about the upcoming weekend. Her mind was in a whirlwind – because she had a lot on her plate in a single day: softball games, relatives visiting, packing grandparents for a move. We talked about how it will all “work out as it should” and I encouraged her to just take one step at a time. (Something she’s told me a gazillion times!) Saturday came around and the games were rained out, the visiting relatives changed their plans, and all she ended up needing to work on was moving her grandparents.
In the moments when we feel overwhelmed, Rhonda and I often remind each other of the times when things just “work out as they should”. It rarely goes as we expect it to go, but it always goes as it should. In hindsight it is plain to see. But in the moment, it requires deliberate choice to be at peace with not being in control.
Welcome back to the 2nd installment of the MaverickRx Fruit of the Spirit Challenge! We’re still so happy to be invited into your inbox and hopeful our challenge helps you consider positive mindset shifts. Last week we talked about love and its incredible power in our lives.
Let’s get to it! This week we’re talking about JOY!
Romans 15:13 New Living Translation (NLT) 13 “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
It is wonderful when blessings seem to greet us around every corner. When things are going well, it’s easy to acknowledge all the good. Some days its feels like being on top of the world: woke up early, got a good workout, headed to work and missed the freight train, pulled into the grocery store and there was a spot right up front, kids are getting along, house stayed inexplicably clean…one of those birds are chirping, sun is shining, all is right with the world kind of days.
Funny thing, though, when struggle comes around that same corner how quickly we only see the clouds. When hard times come to pass, and they most certainly will, staying connected with God and thanking him for the challenge helps us remain joyful.
Choosing to remain in gratitude takes real work, but it creates a powerful mindset change. We stop focusing on the negative; we’re given a moment of clarity to look at the big picture where blessings abound. We have to be open to God’s help in our lives, and often we need to ask for direction.
I had one of those days last week, in fact. I felt like I was up against a storm of uncertainty. I did not know what to do next and I started to panic. Alone in my kitchen, the house full of children, I started to truly panic. I said, out loud, “what do I do?” In that moment I remembered Rhonda saying sometimes when she feels awful she gets down on her knees and prays. So I did it. I went to my favorite chair, got down on my knees and unloaded my fear. I asked, “what do I do now?” The tiniest voice in my head said to me, “just make dinner, Melissa.” To that I said, “thank you.” By asking, I received peace and guidance; I was thankful and filled with hope.
Asking for help and thanking God for challenges is the uncomfortable choice. It’s easier and more comfortable to call a friend and try to work it all out on your own. However, the uncomfortable choice often yields the best response.
SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE:
This week on social media share a moment of joy in your life and tag @MaverickRx on Facebook.
Welcome to MaverickRx Fruit of the Spirit Challenge. We’re happy that you’ve decided to join us to reflect on how to better live in alignment with the nine Fruits of the Spirit. First, we think its incredibly important to note that we are not experts in how to live in perfect Christian alignment. We are simply trying to steer a course for ourselves and engage with you in conversation and action that nurtures connection with one another and God. That being the case, we believe you’ll get more from the challenge if you can join us on Facebook at 8:15 Thursday mornings to talk about the weekly theme.
Let’s get to it! This week we’re talking about LOVE!
Leviticus 19:18 New International Version (NIV) 18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
Overwhelmed by messages of hate, anger, division, and unrest – people have become comfortable biting each others heads off, acting out in anger, and disrespecting difference. It is easy to lash out.
Rhonda and I lean in differing political positions. We’ve spent several uncomfortable hours in conversation, certainly rubbing each other the wrong way at times. We don’t yell. We don’t call each other names. We listen and talk. Sometimes it is hard to listen to different view points.
We have much more in common, of course, than we do in conflict. We both love God. We encourage our spiritual relationships, we connect over stories of marriage, mothering, and menopause. Most importantly though, we’ve learned that to love a friend is to respect each other’s right to have her own opinion.
In the book of Leviticus we are asked to love our neighbors. Even when our neighbor is of a different race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or just disagrees with us. Leviticus 19:18 asks us to look at the world and the people within it through the lense of love – and treat them well. It is often hard work to do. But the action of living life through the lense of love is the most critical work of all.
SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE:
This week on social media filter your comments, posts, and images through the lense of love. Is your participation in the social space shining positive light into the world?
Share a message of LOVE on social media with #lovewins and tag @MaverickRx on Facebook. If you’d like to use one of our challenge images CLICK HERE.
We’re walking through unchartered waters. Our cultural landscape has flipped upside down, we’re coping day-to-day, we are unsure where tomorrow will lead.
In these times, I believe we’re given the option of sinking into our worry or leaning into our faith.
It is our choice.
The fact is no one is equipped for the emotional, physical, and mental strain of living through a global pandemic. People who worried before, will worry more now. People who prayed before, will pray more now. People who saw the glass half full or half empty, will see it more full or more empty now.
That perspective is your choice.
I was raised by two of the most optimistic people alive. My mother can make lemonade out of lemons better than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. My dad implores me to see the good in any, especially this, situation.
It is no wonder then that I believe in my heart that we all have the choice to sink into worry or lean into faith. I choose to lean into my faith, wrap my arms around what I can control within the walls of my home, and try as I might to shine a little happiness and joy into the world.
A smile still goes a long way.
Today on our MaverickRx Coffee Clutch, I shared this verse from the book of Esther.
Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.
Perhaps you do not feel equipped for the challenge of today or the road ahead. If you will take each day one at a time, pray and ask God to hold your fear, infuse you with patience, strength, and guidance; I believe that He can hold the worry long enough for you to make this day good.
Today I share this coloring page to lift you up and let you know that you are not alone. You are strong enough to weather this storm, and when you feel weak, lean in.
Do you ever have a day when you just feel totally overwhelmed; like you can’t come up for air? Today was one of those days for me.
Yesterday in the late afternoon my daughter started having what seemed like an allergic reaction to something. Her mouth, feet, knees and fingers began swelling. Her mouth became so swollen the inside of her lip was on the outside of her mouth. I didn’t panic (exactly) but I did call my mom. I was thinking benadryl, and she suggested hydrogen peroxide because it seemed centralized in her mouth and we thought maybe if there was an allergen we could clean in out. Then I watched my daughter like a hawk all night long. The swelling went down, but not away. This morning, she was still quite puffy.
She has a complicated medical history. When she was four she was diagnosed with systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis. At the time, we believed a case of strep throat triggered it. Then after a couple of years of treatment, and only one real flare up, it was gone and she went into remission. When something unusal happens to her, especially if there is any swelling involved, I have to admit I get a little worried. Ok, anxious, I get very anxious. But the reason is very simple, with systemic onset JIA it exists in the body, dormant until something in the body turns it on. It could be strep, it could be a fever, it could be a fall – anything could really turn it on. I have prayed, forever, that nothing would ever turn it back on.
So that was rolling around my head as I dropped the kids at school and headed to work. I went to work, got about half of the day in, and then the nurse called. Grace was miserable. She’d been texting me a bit throughout the morning so I knew she wasn’t feeling well. I called the pediatrician, took my lunch break and we went to the doctor.
My problem today has been a lack of FOCUS. I have tasks I need to accomplish: work, laundry, groceries, pediatrician, workout, dinner. The same tasks I need to accomplish all the time, but when I have a heavy heart, my focus goes out the window. It feels like I can’t move forward because I don’t know what to do next. Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?
This brings me to tonight’s episode on MaverickRx titled, “Mom Topic Monday: What’s Important Now.” I recently read an incredible book to help me be more intentional.Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is a book that helps us discern between the “trivial many and the vital few”. According to McKeown, essentialism is the art of doing less, but better.
The art of essentialism truly hit home for me. I am a dreamer, I think big, I go all in. I like action and I don’t sit well on the sidelines; I prefer to be on the field. But while this trait can be totally awesome, it can also create an incredibly long to-do list. Which leads to anxiety. Which leads to underperforming. Which leads to increased anxiety. The book essentialism taught be a few truly actionable skills to apply to my entire life. My biggest take away was from Chapter 19: Focus, What’s Important Now (WIN).
The chapter opens with a brief description of an undefeated high school rugby coach who attributes his succes to WIN. Not the act of winning, the acronym – What’s Important Now (WIN). He teaches his players to apply the acronym to every aspect of the game on and off the field. Rather than focusing on the play that just went poorly, the team focuses on “what’s important now” – to move the ball down the field. Rather than focusing on how the other team is playing, they focus on “what’s important now” in their own play. McKeown goes on to share a hectic night of his own during a conference away from home. He got back to his room at the end of a very long day and his mind was spinning. The following day would be full. He remembered the coach, and he thought “what’s important now.” He realized that by asking that one question he could turn off the noise of the trivial many, and focus on the vital few. He took the steps he needed to settle down and get to bed: he called his wife and kids, he prepared his clothes for the next morning, called for a wake up call and ordered his breakfast to arrive in the morning. He was intentional and so he could perform better.
This concept applies to every single one of us – ESPECIALLY PARENTS. What’s Important Now has been a game changer in my life. Today, for instance, when I was bolting to the school to pick up my daughter, she was my WIN. While I spoke to the doctor, he was my WIN. When we left his office, the pharmacy was my WIN. Getting her home and giving her medicine and making sure she was comfortable was important. Then I was able to work. When I sat down at my computer, and looked at my lists, I applied WIN to determine which item to do first. When that was done, I did it again. I repeat this cycle all.day.long.
The hardest part thing to grasp about WIN is that something DOES NOT GET DONE. Today, for me, it was the phone and exercise. I couldn’t take calls, engage in texts, or stay up to the minute on notifications. I couldn’t make it to the gym to take my very favorite fitness class because, sadly, today it was one of the trivial few. Some days WIN expects that of me. I have to let things that are important to me go so that I can focus on NOW. The fact is NOW is all there is.
I hit the ground running with WIN. First fiber, second coffee, third meditation and prayer, fourth social checks, and fifth the kids. Being intentional with how I use my time has allowed me to be more present in each of the places I need to show up. Getting the day started for my kids, creating a video at work, designing a social media giveaway – when I am focused on the vital few I am more productive, focused and less stressed.
It is NOT EASY TO DO. There are times, like today, when I have to lean in and pray hard to God for help focusing and letting go of worry. I ask for strength to get through each step of the day. Some days that are so very hard. We expect a crazy amount from ourselves and often need to cut ourselves some slack. The trouble is, the list does need to get done. The book helped me cope with my anxiety by giving me some tools to discern between what’s important and what can wait.
Subscribe to MaverickRx on YouTube for more Mom Topic Mondays that will help you live your life out loud on your own terms.