Dreaded October~

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October 2015 ~ Will we survive it?

Over the past few months I have heard; both in conversations and in the news, that this October will bring many brash challenges to we as Americans. There could be an earthquake that will take out the entire Northwest, our American dollar may become an invaluable currency, Iran may nuke China, and on and on the list of predictions goes.

Now, I am all for being as wise and as prepared as possible but when we hear these continual predictions we stand a huge chance of being gripped by fear and anxiety about our lives and those we love.  I have been pondering what I am hearing and wondering what, if anything, I need to change to be better prepared IF something “big” were to take place.

1.  I should try to be out of any debt.

2.  I should have a good size reserve of batteries, water, food, etc.

3.  I should try to be healthy so that I am better able to navigate challenging times.

4.  I should have extra cash hidden away.

Yet, these are all things I am already doing in my normal life. So, WHAT SHOULD I CHANGE TODAY IF THESE THINGS HAPPEN?

Actually, my biggest way to be prepared for challenging times is to trust God more.  Scripture says that He promises to never leave us nor forsake us, He will comfort us, He will provide, He will heal, He will carry us through, and He will give us wisdom to navigate anything that comes our way.

I don’t live my life with my head in the sand, but if I allow all these “predictions” to rob me of my joy, ability to sleep, desire to hope, and heart to care for others then I will move further and further from a life based on trust in a powerful God. I will miss what I could be doing in my life today because I am anxious about what may happen tomorrow!

Hard times do come, challenges do arise, there are uncertainties all around us, this is true but living in consistent fear and anxiety is not the answer!

A better approach can be found in Scripture:

“I lift up my eyes toward the mountains—
    from where will my help come?
My help is from the Lord,
    maker of heaven and earth.”  Psalm 121:1-2

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  Matthew 2:26

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord!”  Romans 8:38-39

Let’s be wise, prepared, and informed people who are full of faith, hope, and trust in a God who keeps His promises!

Remember Y2K? 🙂

When Life Feels Uncertain~

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Our lives are full of uncertainty. Pick up a newspaper, watch your evening news!  There’s change and challenge all over the world.  Weather, finances, government policies, and global conflicts swirl around our lives every day. For some, uncertainty at this level has left them paralyzed with anxiety and fear of the future.   Uncertainty is so uncomfortable; our minds want clarity and good closure.  Certainty is almost always preferrable to the unknown!

Yet, we all experience uncertainty in our lives in a more personal way; health diagnosis, job changes, relational challenges, and financial transitions just to name a few.  Times of uncertainty are really challenging to navigate because our head and emotions tend to respond negatively to the discomfort; thus anxiety can set in and hold us captive.

So, how can we find a way to thrive amidst uncertainty?  Is it even possible?  In her blog on uncertainty, Katherine McHugh says “disorienting storms of life are not just about survival, they are about learning to thrive.  It is not in spite of daunting circumstances that we grow, but because of them.”

Scripture puts is this way:

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2

There are many moments of uncertainty in life. There always have been and there always will be. Sometimes things turn out the way you want them to, sometimes they don’t. Yet, accepting the uncertainty rather than trying to fight it, trusting God to guide and lead you, remembering that you cannot predict the outcomes, and watching for opportunities to grow and learn in the middle of uncertain times really helps.

My life has been full of seasons of uncertainty.  I’ve moved 11 times in my marriage, lived in 5 different cities, we pastored in 5 different churches, served 9 years in a non-profit organization, and have built our own Coaching Company from the ground up.  We have faced physical challenges, family changes, and relational transitions.  Many of these seasons of uncertainty left me anxious, fearful, and discouraged as I walked them out.  However, now that I’m older I am able to look back and see how all these situations have played a big part in who I am today.  Some situations turned out as I’d hoped, some disappointed me, and some were a complete surprise to me!

If I could speak into the life of my “younger self” amidst a season of uncertainty I would encourage her to catch her breath, spend time with God, look for the good that can be gleaned, spend time with life-giving people, and fight the urge to need to know NOW!  If I had consistently made those choices I can only imagine that my experience would have been a bit different!

Are you sitting in a season of uncertainty? If you are then it is my prayer that you will begin to walk in greater confidence that there will be a resolve and that there will be “nuggets of wisdom” to pocket in the days ahead.

Remember:

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6