I’ve Been Hesistant to Ask People to Pray for Me Because I Thought it Meant I Was a Failure

join me in my struggle….(Romans 15:30)

There have been seasons in my life where I have struggled and have neglected to reach out to others for prayer. Mostly, because of my own pride or the voice that tries to convince me that people don’t want to pray for me. Yet, there is so much power in prayer. Praying really does change things. It can change our hearts and give us a new perspective. Prayer brings people together as we fight with God for victory.
 
Paul asks for prayer in Romans 15. Let’s be honest, Paul had a hard job, and I’m sure he would have faced much opposition. Therefore, he continually asked for prayer. You and I must be humble enough to do the same.
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The problem is, sometimes we wear our prayer requests like a shroud of shame. We think that because we are hurting, struggling or afflicted we must wear the banner of guilt and self-condemnation. We convince ourselves that because of this, we cannot ask for prayer because others will look down on us because we’re struggling. Oh, how foolish we have been! All of us are a work in progress. There is no shame in reaching out, in fact, there is victory.
 
Consider reaching out to someone you trust for prayer. Trust me, they will be blessed by it. I know I am each time someone asks me to pray for them. It gives us an opportunity to go before the throne room of God on behalf of someone else. What a joyous opportunity. Do not neglect giving others the chance to do that for you.
 
Lord, I recognize my deep need for you. I know that I am stubborn and sometimes I keep my struggles from others and neglect to ask for prayer because I feel like a failure because of them. I release all lies the enemy tries to whisper into my heart and mind and I thank you that you have given us the body of Christ who wants to pray. God helps us all to be transparent before others so that we can better. love, encourage and support one another, in Jesus name, Amen.

I Didn’t​ Respond Well When Something Spoke a Hard Truth into My Life

Stop listening to instruction, my son,

and you will stray from the words of knowledge….. (Proverbs 19:27).

Last night I asked some veteran officials to come and critique me. Why? Because I knew I needed their feedback. I understand as a newer official I need the wisdom of those with years of experience in front of me, critiquing me to help me grow.
 
Without this, I know I’ll be quick to repeat the same patterns in my life. Patterns of wrong behavior, some due to my own ignorance and others due in part to my own blind spots.
 
Years ago, another person in my life tried to speak a hard truth into it. It was something I wasn’t ready to hear. Quite frankly, it made me angry. I dismissed what they said, even though, looking back, it was true because I was too prideful to accept their words.
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For a long time, I feared criticism, because I feared the thought of not being perfect. Truth is until we learn to accept hard truths from others, we will more than likely stay stuck in own sinful patterns. These patterns only hurt the people we love the most. Growth requires humility. The ability to be given honest feedback about our lives so that we can grow and change into different people. People not so selfish, prideful and impulsive. People not so driven by money, anger, and fear.
 
What I have found in life is that people are not looking for one more individual who has their life all put together, but instead, a person who is willing to admit that they don’t. An individual who accepts correction with humility. There have been moments for me on the court when I’ve received correction and felt the need to defend myself. I have learned that value of keeping my mouth shut and saying, “You’re right, thank you.”
 
You and I have a journey in front of us. We need wise counsel to help us traverse the journey ahead. Don’t hide from wise people, surround yourself with them. Grow, change and grow some more as you admit that you are not perfect. Trust me, there’s so much freedom in letting go and embracing your own weaknesses. That’s when Christ’s transformative power enters in.
 
Lord, I am weak, but you are strong. I need the wisdom of others around me who can speak hard truths into my life. Father, I am stubborn, sometimes I struggle with wanting others to think I have it all together. Please forgive me. I want to walk in transparency, for your glory and for my growth as a Christian, in Jesus name, Amen.

Stop Trying to Control Your Life

the people of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their ancestors…. (2 Ch 13:18).

Ever taken matters into your own hands? I have. Probably more often than I care to admit. I’ve been quick to conjure up ways to make this thing or that thing happen and quite honestly, I’ve been fairly successful through the years because of it. My own grit and determination have plowed a lot of ground for myself. Now, God has taken the plow from my hand and made me sit and wait. He’s making things difficult in my life and it’s because He loves me. He’s trying to give me a gift so great I wouldn’t believe it and He’s asking me to practice patience.
 
I hate practicing patience, but I must. I must release control and walk the path of surrender with God.
 
Not getting what I want has been good for my growth in Christ. It’s teaching me that there is joy in waiting. It’s showing me that waiting for God’s best is better than plowing my own way. I’d be lying though if I didn’t say that it was extremely hard to do. Yet with each moment of surrender comes another splash of God’s grace.
 
I’m not sure where life meets you today but set your heart upon the greatness and goodness of God. His plan for you is good.
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Yes, life can be painful. I get that. I really do, but there is a purpose in our pain as we release it to God and partner with Him in His work. He’ll redeem it. Rely on His strength to make it happen. Don’t feel the need to do it yourself. You’ll never see God do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine if you keep trying to step in front of God.
 
Lord, I need your hand to move. Be at work and shower your grace upon me and my husband. Lord, make a way in the wilderness. Show us what your steps are for us. Lead us by your grace, in Jesus name, Amen.

Strike a Blow

I do not fight like a boxer beating the air….(1 Cor 9:26).

Boxing in the Isthmian games (that Paul refers to here) was brutal. Some matches lasted for hours as each individual fought hard to the end, giving their very best to win the prize. Paul challenges his readers to think of their life as a Christian like a boxer who is not beating the air, but instead acts as one who will, “strike a blow to my body and make it my slave.” (vs. 27)
 
Paul understood that the flesh is strong. Our propensity to sin and follow the waywardness of our own foolish hearts is very alluring. It requires a daily dying to ourselves as we strike blow after blow to the old person of sin in us so that righteousness might win out.
 
MLB baseball player, Josh Hamilton, told a story in his autobiography of a recurring dream he kept having. In this dream, he was fighting the devil, but he kept losing. Until one day he looked beside him and saw Jesus. He and Jesus started fighting the devil together and as they fought him, the devil was defeated.
 
Many of us are swinging at the wrong things in our lives. We see our circumstances or people who have hurt us and we start directing our blows towards them. Yet, this is not the direction we should be swinging our punches. God will avenge whatever wrong was done to us. Our duty as Christians is to die daily to ourselves, taking captive every thought by making it obedient to Christ and learning to live surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. The only way we can do this is by striking a blow, not at others, but at the old person of sin inside of us who tries to rise up daily to steal our joy and victory in Christ. That person must die and together, with Jesus, as we fight against the devil’s schemes, we will come out the victor!
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Abba, you are so good. Why would I ever believe anything different? You are so faithful. Jesus, be my joy, hope, and peace. Today, I strike a blow against the sinful part of me that wants to steal my joy in Christ. I make it my slave, so that I may win as many as possible for the cause of Christ. Lord Jesus, use my life, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Training For Life…..Get Ready for the Race

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize… (1 Cor 9:24).

Years ago, I was working out at the gym and I was pushing myself as I was going from one exercise to the next. An older gentleman comes up to me and says, “What are you training for?” Since I had no special event I was preparing for I said, with a smirk on my face, “I’m training for life.”
 
Paul uses athletic imagery in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 to help his reader see what living the Christian life should look like. It is a life of training, discipline, and preparation. We are, in essence, “training for life.” A life of Godliness and growth. A life of dying to sin. A life of living in grace, so that God’s love may abound in us more and more.
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Yes, this is the life we must live as Christians. A life devoted to our Lord. Where we train our bodies and our minds to submit, grow and change. As we do, the Holy Spirit births within us more and more of the love and grace of God.
 
Every athlete gives up something to dedicate themselves to their sport. They forgo the second piece of chocolate cake, or go for a run instead of vegging out on the couch. Every Christian must learn to discipline themselves in a similar manner. Instead of looking at social media for just a “few more minutes” we must lay that aside to get into God’s word. Instead of indulging in our comforts we must become people of prayer. Instead of allowing our minds to become lazy, we must train and discipline them for spiritual warfare by memorizing scripture.
 
All of this is easier said than done, but you see every athlete gives up something because they love their sport. Do we love God so much that the thought of giving something up is greater than the alternative? Does the thought of disciplining ourselves to prepare for the work of God overwhelm our hearts and minds as we think about joining God in His work?
 
Its time to start training your hands for war. Do it because you love what you have committed yourself to. Not out of obligation or duty. Let the love you have for God be what drives you forward as you discipline yourself to grow and mature in the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Lord, I’m ready. I’m ready to do Kingdom work for you. Although sometimes I’m afraid, I’m ready to give things up so that I can grow and mature. Lord, use my life to further your Kingdom. Let my life be an offering to you. I long to live in your grace. I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

God is Training Me to Wait Upon Him….But All I Want​ To Do is Take Matters Into My Own Hands

“with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”….. (Psalm 81:16).

What I do with my hands, feet, and mouth are often tied to the condition of my heart. If my heart is content and satisfied in the Lord I will find no need to go chasing, reaching and begging for bread from places God has not provided it. But the thing is, more often than I care to admit, my heart is not trusting the Lord. Instead, it’s worried, anxious, and impatient.
 
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Because of this I’ll walk down trails and follow thought patterns that only keep me in bondage. Yes, it’s true, there’s no freedom in those places. You see, God gave me my hands, feet, and mouth to honor and praise Him, yet, sometimes I use my hands and feet to fill my life with my own idea of good things, or I’ll complain to God with my mouth about how He’s not working quickly enough on my behalf.
 
Whenever my heart is content I can be more active for God because I’m more aware of His work around me. Yes, I can see that each day is an opportunity to bring Him praise with my mouth and I can sit still knowing that He provides for the lilies of the valley and so surely, He will meet my needs as well.
 
I certainly haven’t arrived in this area of my life, but I want to keep learning the value of trusting God in all things so that my life might grow in seeing His provision as I learn to trust in His name.
 
Lord, this one is hard for me. You know this. I don’t like to wait. I’m impatient. I have many good ideas in my mind of how life is supposed to go, but you are calling me out of deep waters and into mercy. Lord, I receive your grace. Fill my life today with your love, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Be Patient God is at Work

do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes….(Psalm 37:7).

I’ll just come right out and say it, I’m not good at waiting. In fact, I’m terrible at it. Waiting to me often feels like a slow death, a constant prison and a weight to bear. Yet, I am learning, very slowly and with much resistance that waiting is part of the journey. It is not the next step I need to be living for but this present moment that God has blessed me with for today. I really want to live in the next step. It’s so hard for me to release what I want to the Lord to live in the joy of His grace as I wait.
 
I have been told now by multiple veteran basketball officials, “Heather, you need to slow down your game. The game will wait for you, don’t rush through your calls, slow down.” Honestly, this is a hard one for me to understand because I realize that for most of my life I’ve rushed quickly from one thing to the next. I don’t stay well in moments, because, as a task-oriented person I’m always thinking of the next thing that needs to be done instead of living in the richness of the moment.
 
It takes true discipline for me to slow down my game as I officiate. I have to say to myself, “Heather, take your time and be patient.” Can I be really honest? I know God is saying the same thing to me as I seek Him in what I’m desiring for my life, but gosh, that one is a hard pill for me to swallow.
 
Many of us are waiting for God to do something in our lives. Yet, God has never forsaken His children, and He still sits on the throne even in the midst of our waiting. I know I feel the tension nearly every day to rise up and do something about it, but God says, “Heather, let me handle this.”
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Yes, Lord, just as I’ve been coached to slow down my officiating, I’m going to choose today to rest in your promises. To live in this present moment, knowing that it is not a wasted season, but one with great purpose as I seek your face.
 
Lord, I release control of my life to you. Have your way. I’ll follow you wherever you lead me. Father, I trust you. I believe your timing is good. I submit myself to it. Today I’ll choose to slow down so I can see you, your grace and opportunities to share your love. Use me today, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.