Tag Archives: feed your spirit

A Year for hope (wk 49)

“Garden Spot of the Soul” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

I’ve been talking about weeds in the garden.  Not my flower beds, nor in my vegetable garden.  After eight years of springtime chutzpah – fearlessly daring my shade-filled yard to produce vegetables for me – I have finally been beaten.  I actually tilled under the garden this summer.  I have accepted defeat and will be replanting grass next spring.  But I digress.

I’m talking about weeds in the “Garden Spot” of the soul.  That place/space where the human spirit and the Holy Spirit reside together.   

And how did I get weeds?  Especially after working so hard to replant Word-Seed in recent years – guarding my mouth to speak words of hope and faith (instead of fear and doubt), filling myself with the Word of God to the point that when I get poked or squeezed, it is Scripture (not cuss words) that come to mind?  

I think familiarity has a lot to do with it.     Several years ago, when I was learning about the power of words … and more specifically the power of speaking Gods Words out of mouth, I was a voracious student.   I had a few note books going, and whenever I found a Scripture of promise that I wanted to hold onto (wanted to remember and find easily), I write it out in one of my notebooks for quick reference.

I created notebooks for Scriptures related to health and healing.

I created notebooks for Scriptures related to provision and the blessing of God.

I created notebooks for Scriptures that had quick reference guides to specific topics, so that when I felt pressured, I could just go grab one of these notebooks and quickly feed myself on Scripture after Scripture, and Promise after Promise.  And no time flat, my faith was built up and I’d be right back on top again.

But over time, those little notebooks became familiar.   Once they were completed (no more room to add to them), they got picked up less and less often.  Eventually, they had other books stacked on top of them.  

“Garden Spot of the Soul” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

It’s the way of things, isn’t it.   In 2016-2017 I lost 33.5 lbs on Weight Watchers.   I celebrated last Christmas at my lowest weight in recent memory – I even brought my own “WW friendly” deserts to Christmas dinner (they were horrible! LOL).  But by 2018, WW had become routine, common, and familiar.  I thought I had it all figured out and mastered.    By spring 2018, I was up a few pounds … but hey, I was still within range of goal.  It wasn’t that big a deal.  By summer, a few more.  Hmmm.   And here we are, 12 months and 10 lbs later.  Geez!!!  

In 2015, I was praying at the start of every work day, desperately seeking God’s blessing upon my efforts because I desperately needed His blessing upon my “barely-making-enough-to-pay-the-light-bills” little company.   Throughout 2015 and 2016, He regularly spoke to me, giving me instruction for how to “water walk” out on the deep waters with Him.   Unfortunately, by 2017, more often than not I walked into my office and just dove into the demands of the day.  Oh, I still recognized God as the CEO of the business, and knew that His favor was the only reason that I was enjoying the success I was seeing.   But I also had work to do.    (can you hear the stupidity of this reasoning?)

And here we are … the end of 2018 … and just like with Weight Watchers, or my Golds Gym membership, or with those live-giving business practices I had once been doing … I’m now seeing that I’ve lost momentum.  I’ve lost ground.  I’ve lost victory.  I’ve lost because I’ve not been tending my garden!!!

Praise you Lord for revealing to me these little weed patches that have sprung up throughout 2018.  Give me wisdom and courage to do the work of yanking them up by the roots, and re-seeding these areas with diligence of faith.    And as I begin vision-casting for 2019, help me lay the groundwork for establishing patterns and habits, familiar or new,  that will carry me through 2019-2020 with strength and vitality and Your blessing upon every area of my life. 

I’m Your’s Lord.  It’s Your day.  Have Your way.

Staying Positive In Difficult Times

This post was originally published under an older blog of mine in July 2011, just one month before I received a new job offer! Funny thing is that those very lessons I was learning back then (about guarding my thoughts and minding my tongue) are just as important today as they were then.  I enjoyed reading this again, as though for the first time.  I hope you do too!

It’s late, and I really ought to be in bed by now.  But after tossing and turning for the past hour and a half, I finally came to the realization that this is not going to be one of those nights when sleep comes easy to me.    Words are bouncing around in my head and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get them to shut up and leave me alone so that I can get some sleep.  And so instead of tossing and turning for another hour and a half, I have  decided to get up and put pen to paper (so to speak),  trusting that this restlessness is actually God inviting me to partner with Him to meet a need.  Believing that this writing, written as an act of obedience,  will be a blessing to somebody out there.

Today was a good day.  I was able to accomplish most of what I intended to do today, which not only included finishing a blog post I’d been working on for a few days but also catching up with a dear friend who lives in another state.  But I think what really has me so amped up at 11:58 pm are the endless “possibilities” that are before me.   Let me elaborate.

mhGv1bGFirst, a bit of background.  Just under 1 month ago, I joined the ranks of the unemployed.   I’ll be honest and tell you that it was a little scary those first few days of unemployment.  I know several people that have been looking for jobs for well over six months – and the more people you talk to, the more of those stories you hear.  And so as soon as I lost my job, I had to make a decision.  Will I listen to new reports and war stories of family and friends telling me how bleak the job market is right now?  Or will I listen to and put my faith in what the scriptures say about my future?  I choose the later!   And so for the past 4 weeks, I have been rigorously  ‘guarding’ my eyes, ears and thought life so that I am not giving a home to any fear-based thinking about what will happen if …

Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks.  For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.  – Ephesians 6:11-13

When negative news reports come on, I turn to another channel.  When friends tell me how bad the job market is, I quietly rehearse in my head scriptures about God’s promise for provision to those who love Him.  When worry knocks on the door, I don’t stand around and chat with it – invite it in for a nice cup of tea, nor go out on the porch for a quick little catch-up.  Nope, I smack that door shut and then crank up some worship music so that I can’t hear the knocking anymore!

Now lest I sound like some simple minded Pollyanna, let me be very clear about one thing.  Staying positive in difficult times is not for sissies!   It requires putting on the full armor of God, because if you only put on a few select pieces, I guarantee you that your adversary (the devil) is going to attack those unprotected areas and take you out!   So put on the whole suit – the ‘belt of truth’, the ‘breastplate of righteousness’, your feet fitted with the ‘gospel of peace’.  Put on the ‘helmet of salvation’ and take up the ‘shield of faith’ in one hand and the ‘sword of the Spirit’ in the other.  And of course, PRAY!  This is a war.  And you, my friend, are a called to be a Gladiator!

So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace.  At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.  And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.  Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.    – Ephesians 6:14-18

In addition to guarding my thoughts, I am minding my tongue – which is to say that I’m careful about the words I allow to come out of my mouth.  Instead of giving in to the temptation to speak doom and defeat over my circumstances (i.e. I  heard that there are more than 100 applicants for every job out there, I hope I don’t run out of money before I find a job, etc.), I am instead speaking God’s Word over my circumstances!

Proverbs 18:21 reads “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (NASB).  In other words (quoting Charlie E here) … ”you will have what you say’.   Friend, if we are going to ‘eat the fruit of our words’, it only makes sense that you and I be purposeful about what we say!  We must train our tongue to speak God’s Word over our circumstances.   The scriptures are overflowing with promises of provision and prosperity (having more than enough to meet every need for every area of your life).   Cant think of any?  Read my earlier post entitled “I am: Blessed”  and then open your mouth and start speaking out loud the Word of God over your life and circumstances.

And going hand-in-hand with minding my tongue is feeding my spirit.   A couple weeks into the job hunt I hit a wall.  I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.  Nobody was calling me about my resumes, but of course my estranged friends Worry and Fear were quick to come knocking on the door to share with me the latest stats on how many months I should expect to be out of work.  I cranked up the worship music.  The knocking continued.  I watched some Daystar TV.  They rang the doorbell.  Eventually, I took to loading up my Nano with just about every Podcast teaching I could find by a few of my favorite Pastors (Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Brian Houston) and started taking 6 am walks  … long walks.  Yup, with headphones on and sound teaching streaming into my ears, I opened wide the door and walked  straight past  Fear and Worry, listening to one Podcast after another (i.e.  feeding my spirit) and refusing to turn back towards home until those old cronies legs got tired and they quit following me!  By the time I got back home each day, my faith was so stirred up that I was well prepared to face the challenges of the day with a victorious attitude.   It was awesome!   I’m still replaying several of those teachings in my head even while I type this.

Now I’m not necessarily suggesting that you start walking 4-5 miles a day, but do what you have to do to feed your spirit!  You can put on the armor of God and quote scripture over your circumstances til your blue in the face, but if your spirit man is malnourished, you aren’t going to have the strength and stamina to stay in the game long enough to win this battle!

Four steps to staying positive in difficult times

1.  Put on your Armor

2.  Guard your eyes, ears and thoughts

3.  Open your mouth and speak (appropriate) God’s Word over your life / situation / circumstances

4.  Feed your spirit

 

Now back to my earlier comment about being amped up about the  endless “possibilities” that are before me.   You see, while I was lying in bed trying to reel in my runaway thoughts, I got the brilliant idea to quietly speak (out loud) all the things that I am grateful for about today.  Like how grateful I am for the direction the Holy Spirit provided this morning when I was doing some writing.   How blessed I was to be able to connect with this  out-of-state friend of mine in the afternoon.   What a wonderful teaching I listened to later in the day, and how happy I am that I have learned how to release  my faith in the power of the blood to secure victory over my circumstances.  And then I started naming them off.  One thing led to another, and instead of winding down, I got so excited that I knew I’d not be able to sleep for at least another hour or two.

So there you have it.  The late night (actually, now early morning) ramblings of one very tired woman!  I’m praying that its just fatigue and a wild imagination that keeps seeing little brown shadows flitting across my office floor.   Imagination or not, I’m getting a little creeped out and am going back upstairs to bed before I succumb to the temptation to start singing the song “You’ve Got To Put Your Armor On” by Psalty The Singing Songbook.

Oh, whatever … why not! Who doesn’t like a good chorus??

You’ve got to put your armor on.
You’ve GOT to put your Armor on!
YOU’VE GOT TO PUT YOUR ARMOR ON!
SO YOU’LL * BE * SAFE!!

Side note:  my daughters loved Psalty when they were growing up, and now that I’ve discovered the Psalty collection is still available, I’m totally going to get some to share with my grandchildren!

Goodnight and be blessed!

Jenny