Are You Mindful of Your Mindset?

Mindful Mindset

Our mindset develops every morning when we open our eyes and get out of bed. The new day is before us; we have a choice of what mindset we’ll have throughout the day.

Have you noticed that when you start the day with a bad attitude, it is carried into the rest of the day?

The other day I didn’t want to get up. It was dark outside and I felt gloomy. I turned over and slept for a few more minutes, delaying the inevitable of putting my feet on the floor for the new day. I confess I am not a morning person.

My morning coffee couldn’t come soon enough. The aroma awakened me more and more.

I knew I had a choice—to begin the day thanking God or grumbling about having to get up.

The Lord nudged my spirit.

Yes, I will choose to praise.

I had much to do that day, and knew it would go better if I prayed and sought the Lord for strength.

Sipping my morning coffee with the Lord in mind prepared me for the day. I reached for my Bible and turned to a familiar passage.

The Word of God teaches about the mindset of the person who seeks the Lord.

In Psalm 1: 1-3 instructs us to have a mindset to delight in the Lord and meditate on his law.

Those words redirected my thoughts about the day.

If I take my mind off my bad attitude and shift it to praising God for all He has done, my mindset will improve.

If I choose to remember the word of the Bible instead of dwelling on the words of people, my heart will gain peace.

Psalm 1 Mindset

Each day we can choose our mindset. It doesn’t matter whether we are a morning person or not.

The next time I don’t want to get up, I’ll adjust my attitude, being mindful of my mindset.

How about you?

 


Olympic Moments: Focus and Press On

Focus and Press On

The focus of many of the conversations in our house has been the Olympic performances. How do athletes tuck their bodies to spin and flip off mats and platforms so skillfully? My brain would be scrambled. How do they run fast and make it look so easy? I’m out of breath just thinking about it.

The athletes’ reactions to their performances are captured on camera for the world—from the exuberation of success to the heartbreak of disappointment. From the record breaking performances of amazing speed to the dropped baton of a missed handoff, we witness the dramatic emotions of competition.

During the post performance interviews, many athletes acknowledged their Christian faith. It is inspiring hearing them say their worth goes beyond their performance and that they want to give glory to God. Those are good lessons for us all.

 No matter what the talent is, the person has several qualities that enabled them to press on. Among those qualities are determination and focus.

Determination is the firm intention to achieve a desired goal. It is the passion to keep going when you want to quit. Watching the Olympics we see the determination in the eyes of the athletes. Determination started long before we saw the race with the dream, desire and training to press on toward the goal. It takes a lot of time to excel at skills.

Focus is the point of concentration that decides the direction. Without focus, the athletes would not know how to train. A sprinter trains differently than a distance runner. Each trains hard, but has a certain focus for their goal. The loss of focus in a split second can change the outcome from success to disaster.

The apostle Paul taught about determination and focus for the Christian life in Philippians 3:12-14.

“Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

When I read that passage, I am encouraged to press on with determination and focus when I feel like quitting. Faith becomes a focal point for going forward when things get tough. These verses redirect me to keep my eyes on the calling of God.

press on Phil 3:14

Faith is an important part of focus. Click To Tweet

Faith anchors us to the greater purpose of living for the Lord, regardless of what we do in our everyday lives.

August brings a lot transitions. The new school year brings many challenges for learning unfamiliar skills. New schedules usher in structure to daily life. Some folks are relocating. Some are retiring.

Whatever your situation, I pray that you will have the determination and focus to go forward through the transitions. Learn from the past struggles and press on. Reach for the things that are ahead as you live for the Lord.

Let these words for Philippians 1:6 encourage your determination and focus.

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Be encouraged, my friend.


Need a New Infusion of Genuine Hope?

hope

Hope stirs up expectations in our minds. We look forward to good things with an optimistic perspective.

We long for

  •  a good school year.
  • everything getting done before a deadline.
  • good medical test results.
  • getting through a crazy, busy day.

These are honest desires all in a chaotic world. However, if our expectation is based on good results from short-term events, we live from situation to situation without an anchor. The pace of life and the stress of worry wear us down.

Hope becomes elusive when unexpected things happen. Not only that, but we doubt our worth or ability, heading on a downward spiral of hopelessness.

When I’ve been in a discouraging season of life, it’s  hard not to look at the overwhelming situations. Health problems and financial concerns burdened my heart. I had a choice to make—to keep my eyes on the bleak problems or to change my perspective. If I kept my eyes on the problems, I would remain depressed. If I changed my focus to the Lord, I could cling to genuine hope.

A Bible verse gave me focus and a better perspective. I wrote it on a 3 x 5 card and taped it to the dashboard of my car. Whenever I started my car, I read it. When I turned the engine off, I read it. By reading it several times daily, the verse was soon memorized. It became an anchor for me. Instead of worrying all the time, I began to pray more with a new infusion of genuine hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Several lessons arose from reading that verse on my dashboard.

The Lord is our anchor, steadying us in the waters of  life.

An anchor, when tossed in the water, keeps a boat from drifting away in the wind or current. With the Lord as our anchor, we won’t drift away from His truth when rough waters come into our lives.

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5 NIV

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 NIV

Look at the Lord for a better perspective, not at the problem.

Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention. Psalm 42:5 NET

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24 NIV

Prayer gives us a new infusion of hope knowing the Lord hears us.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 NIV

Reading the Word of God calmed my spirit and restored hopefulness. Releasing my worry to the Lord in prayer brought peace during the trial, keeping me steady. In the end, my perspective improved with greater faith.

When hope wanes, prayer restores us to a new perspective.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 NIV

Do you have health problems? Financial issues? Relationship challenges? Are you overwhelmed? Calm your heart before the Lord.

Come to the Lord to find genuine hope.

Listen to my interview on Living Life Unedited with Dr. Michelle Bengtson as she talks about her book, Hope Prevails.

 


Prayer, the Language of Relationship

Prayer

Prayer draws us nearer to God. When our hearts ache for peace, we can turn to the Lord and know His presence.

Once when we camped with our two young children in our pop up camper, an intense thunderstorm came up. The wind howled so much that we opened the side vent windows to create a wind tunnel. I was in a sleeping bag with both our kids, trying to calm them while singing “Jesus Loves Me.” My husband was on the other wing of the camper, laying on a sleeping bag under the open window, holding the canvas flap down, getting drenched. We lay separated on the two ends of the camper, each wanting the nearness of the other.

We weathered the storm. Later we learned a tornado touched down near us. We shared a mutual desire to draw near to each other during the storm.

The Lord longs for us to draw near to Him. This is His initiative, as we learn in these verses:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” John 6:44

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8

God seeks and desires relationship with us. Our part is to draw near to Him.

Prayer draws us closer to God.

Think back to an early memory of prayer. What were you taught as a child?

My early memories of prayer were at bedtime, with the reminder from mom to “say my prayers.” I knew the connection to God must be important. I closely my eyes tightly and prayed. I believed that if I lay real still, I would actually feel the hand of God on my head as an assurance. Although I never felt anything on my head, I believed that God was near and felt peace.

The Bible does not give us a specific “to-do list” for drawing near to God, but instead views it a dynamic relationship between the Creator and His creation. Prayer and communing with God cannot be broken neatly into certain methods that yield results. The Bible shows us different types of prayer for daily living: praise, thanksgiving, confession and supplication for ourselves and others. Our part is to be devoted to seeking the Lord through a variety of ways that lead us to a closer relationship.

Nobody is born an expert at prayer; it is a learned behavior. Although we can pray every day, no one ever masters prayer. It takes a lifetime of doing it, yet can be so simple a child can pray effectively.

Prayer is personal, spiritual communion with God where we pour out our heart’s desires.

Prayer is the language of our relationship with God. Jesus showed us the way.

Lord's Prayer

 

Listen to this episode of Living Life Unedited to learn more about drawing near to God.

How do you draw near to God in prayer?

 


What Do You Rely On?

What do you rely on

We rely on many things to begin the day.

The alarm clock wakes us up. We anticipate everything we need to be accessible as we begin the day, especially coffee.

Throughout the day, we rely on vehicles, computers and people to do what they are supposed to do.

Turning on our favorite news source, we get a glimpse of what is going on in the world. Lately the news has been disturbing with the rise in violence, the uncertainty of the upcoming election and fearful reactions to all of this.

When I feel fearful, one action, one source of hope and one truth settles my uneasy spirit.

The action is prayer; the source of hope is the Word of God; the truth of the love of God brings comfort.

On any given the day, the news can be distressing. Instead of worry, let the news be a trigger to pray for the authorities involved and the families of those in the story.

Prayer brings comfort and invites God’s wisdom into the situation.

The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:5a-6 NIV

The Bible contains timeless wisdom. We can rely on God’s Word when we are overwhelmed with the stress of life.

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Psalm 119:28 NIV

Our human love will fall short. We get angry at events beyond our control. We struggle with forgiveness. When these things happen, we can  turn to and rely on God, the greatest source of love.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16 NIV

The love of God is strong, firm and steadfast, not sentimental and syrupy sweet. God’s love enables us to forgive and  love when it is difficult. The reminder of His love for us helps us refocus on our true worth.

Things in this life can fail us, but we can rely on God.

At the end of the day, what do you rely on?