It won’t cost you anything but the time it takes to read this series.
And it’s been the very thing that has moved me from a place of simply surviving and into thriving in my faith!
But before I share my thriving secret, let me first say that the real change in my life started more than 20 years ago when I received the Lord as my Savior. That was when I recognized that my ticket to heaven wouldn’t be punched-holed by my great accomplishments or rejected by my horrible failures. What a relief to learn that the gift of heaven is really a gift — one that we receive from God as we put our faith in Jesus Christ, believing He died on the cross for the forgiveness of ours sins (Romans 10:9-10).
When I said yes to Jesus that November night during my semester abroad in London, my life dramatically changed. The Holy Spirit moved into my heart and mind, and began the process of changing my thinking to line up with God’s Word. Eventually, my habits caught up, as Romans 12:2 promises. Well, some of my habits. Twenty years have passed since, and I promise you that I still have habits that need adjusting — like learning how to have a quiet time and study the Word for myself.
Transformation is a Process
For the first 10 years of my faith journey, my understanding of the Bible was dependent on Sunday school classes and small group studies. My prayer time was more like leaving a text message with God when I needed something urgently. But that all changed when one of my best friends called me out on my faith and my commitment to God. She said something along the lines of…
“God is nothing more than an item on your to-do list.
If you really want to grow in your faith, you need to give Him your time, not just your demands.”
She was right. And God was on a mission to prove it.
The next week, another friend showed up randomly at my back door with a devotional book she thought I should read. The following week, another friend invited me to a Bible study at church. More than ten years have passed since that crazy-God-after-my-heart week, and I am in awe of what God has done since. Looking back, I can see I was desperate enough for change and willing to receive any challenge thrown my way by friends who really cared about me.
I want to be that friend for you.
Like a clumsy toddler learning how to walk, I began a habit of meeting with God each day. As soon as the girls went down for their afternoon nap, I headed for the couch, closing my eyes to the laundry, dishwasher, and emails beckoning my attention. I read a little from a devotional, wrote down a few Scripture verses, journaled a short prayer, and did some Bible study homework. Within months, I could see fruit from the dedication of this time, and I sensed a feeling of being closer to the Lord.
Over the next few years, my quiet time moved to the mornings, after the girls headed off to school, but before the twins woke up (praise God, they were late sleepers)! I bought a new devotional Bible and committed to reading the whole thing. It took three grace-marked years. When I look upon that worn down Bible now, I feel the warmth of God’s love and mercy, knowing it was His sustaining power that enabled me to accomplish such a feat as a young mom nursing her twins and chasing them through the toddler years. I remember dreaming of the the days when all the kids would head off to school and I would finally have uninterrupted, un-rushed hours with the Lord.
Instead of oodles of time, I came upon oodles of demands on my time. When all my children finally entered school, and I found myself finally alone, I filled my schedule to the brim. Yes, I’m a bit of a workaholic and a visionary-creative-type, so my to-do list never ends. I like work as much as I like chocolate. And I also put pressure on myself to get things done. So, like a racehorse let out of the gates, I began to feel like I must sprint through each minute, especially if I was going to meet the “must do” tasks and still have time for my overflowing creativity before the children arrived home from school. Yes, I was committed to giving God a portion of my time, but my heart was numbing out.
God ended up back on my check-list and I could sense the damage to my spiritual life.
Even though I would spend one or two mornings a week lingering longer with God, it wasn’t enough considering the pace of my life and my ministry commitments. I was feeling more and more parched.
I knew I needed more than what I was getting…and giving…to God.
That’s when God laid the idea for an At Home Retreat on my heart. It was a brilliantly refreshing experience, as I steeped myself in Scripture and saw God move in my life. I went from parched to refreshed. From despairing to humbly redirected.
It was not enough.
Within months, I was back to feeling the Lord tug on my soul…
I want more time with you.
I want to fill you up.
You’re dry and brittle, my child.
It is time to refreshed.
It is time to do more than just live.
It is time to thrive.
I’ve been learning what it means to thrive in my relationship with God, and I now want to share it with you — although I’m terrified that the minute I do, I’ll fall off the proverbial band-wagon. I’ve made all sorts of excuses as to why I should keep this lesson to myself, but I know that it is pride holding me back. So I’m kicking pride to the curb and will spend the next month sharing honestly with you about what it means to choose to thrive in our faith and relationship with God.
I hope you’ll receive it with open hands, eagerly anticipating what God will show you and embracing a life of faith that is no longer about surviving…but is about thriving.
Take the Thrive Challenge
So how do we really thrive in this life of faith?
I have some practical ideas to share with you in the weeks ahead (4 parts in total), and in order to make it really stick, you’ll find the Thrive Challenge at the end of each post. Consider yourself falling into a Bible Study and a life coaching course without a long-term commitment or the fees. It’s my gift to you…
So, would you be willing to spend at least 30 minutes with the Lord sometime in the next 5 days and answers these questions with a prayerful heart?
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being GREAT, how would you say you are doing in the following areas:
- spending time in Scripture _________
- spending time in prayer___________
- experiencing God’s presence________
- feeling a sense of God’s peace _______
- encouraging others with the Truth __________
- enjoying a sense of life purpose____________
Are you happy with those numbers? Would you like them to change? Are you willing to put in the time to see change happen?
2. How would you describe your commitment to investing your time in your relationship with God?
3. Would you say the time you spend reading the Word, praying, and worshiping reflects the fact that you consider living for God as your number one priority? If not, what needs to change?
4. Are you willing to lay down your excuses in order to embrace a new way of living for the Lord?
I know these questions are raw and require a good bit of honesty, but trust me — if you want to thrive you need to start by getting honest with God about where you are today.