Dwell, Abide, and Delight

Lately, this verse has been ever-present in my mind:

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

I think it’s more than fair to say that when life throws us curveballs, we either

  1. a. Hold on to Christ for dear life, leaning into him for that necessary guidance, or
  2. b. Shift our focus from him to the overwhelming stressors this earthly life is throwing at us.

It is so easy to get clouded by the demands of this world. I speak from personal experience as a fellow sinner, recovering perfectionist, and someone that has a slightly (or more) unhealthy relationship with control. One of the first things to go out the window when life appears to be in a constant state of overwhelm is my intentionality with fostering my personal relationship with Christ. I wish I could say that I never fall into this trap of getting wrapped up in what the world is asking of me vs. seeking God’s kingdom first. But truly, my sinful self at times gets off track, causing my focus to shift from the security I find in Christ to the endless “to do’s” and the mindset of “how can this ever be accomplished?!”

Which tailspins the anxiety. Which catalysts the rushing. Which leads to the social neglect. Which ends up in depletion.

There are some telltale warning signs that occur when our focus is a bit off-kilter. Maybe you’ve experienced them:

  • Fatigue
  • A sense of overwhelming worry
  • Feeling “burdened” by life; feeling a heavy weight of obligation
  • Living a more “rushed” lifestyle—finding very little wiggle room in which to be intentional about learning from God’s Word
  • Expressing more “If only this would happen…” vs. “I’m so grateful that…”

Sound familiar? I’m sure by now we know these all too well. These feelings or behaviors start to become “red flags” that something is out of balance. More times than not, our overwhelm, ironically, overshadows our ability to deliberately foster our personal relationship with our loving God.

That’s where this verse from Psalms that I mentioned above comes into play. It is something so simply stated, but it truly packs a punch in the comfort department. And it starts off with such a refreshing word: delight. How can one say this word and not feel a sense of relief? Let’s zone in on this word—an interpretation of the word “delight” in this context may be “to find the purest joy in, or “to lovingly and earnestly invest yourself in.” In essence, to throw ourselves fully into—emotionally, spiritually, and mentally—the presence of God and his everlasting promises. “Delighting ourselves” in him illustrates us as his children, seeking first his will and comfort, and finding the peace and joy that comes from the ever-fervent guidance of our heavenly Father.

Doing this requires our recognition of our need for a Savior (especially during the more trying times) as well as the motivation to constantly foster our spiritual relationship with him in order to have a sense of comfort carry over into every aspect of our earthly lives—including the overwhelm! And doing this requires both time in our minds and time on our calendars.

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Whew. Not an easy balance to maintain, especially when life appears to get more and more hectic each day, making a sustainable lifestyle that includes spiritual growth through Christ quite challenging. As Christ’s children in an age of “I need this done yesterday” and constant overload, what are some habits we can incorporate to keep our focus on delighting ourselves in him?

  • Pick a verse of the day to meditate on. While reading sections of Scripture in a devotion is a wonderful way to foster our relationship with Christ, for the “pulled in a million different ways” individual, more focused and in-depth meditation on smaller passages can be carried out throughout the day outside of devotional time. For example, the passage from Psalms above can be meditated on throughout the day. Placing this passage as an hourly reminder on your phone or writing it on a sticky note and placing it on your computer desk or on your planner (things we look at numerous times throughout the day) are small reminders to keep God’s Word at the forefront of our minds all day long, even when our schedule gets hectic. This provides the intentionality factor of actively opening up our hearts to what the Lord is telling us through his Word and how it can be applied to the everyday happenings of our lives. Biblegateway.com has a verse of the day each day to help get you going!
  • Carry your Bible with you to use as you travel throughout the day. This is something a friend of mine told me that I thought was extremely unique. Even the physical weight of an object has the ability to shift our focus onto what really matters. The act of carrying your Bible with you as you venture to work, pick up the kids, head to the gym, and so on and so forth is a constant reminder to keep our eyes open to how Christ is revealing his mercy to us each day.
  • Have a Christian playlist geared up and ready to go. Music is a wonderful way that God reveals himself to us! There are many places that we can incorporate music into our daily routine: in the car as we sit through our morning traffic routine, in the office during our lunch break, and even during our exercise routines. Having music ready to go that speaks of Christ’s love and sacrifice and encourages us to seek him in his Word is a wonderful reminder of the focus we ought to have each day. AND this is a fun and energy-boosting way to hear of God’s promises for us!
  • Utilize transitions as time for brief prayer. There are many times during our workdays in which we transition between activities or move from place to place. Utilizing these time periods as times to spend a few minutes in prayer with our God (even if it’s just to say “thank you!” or “Lord, let me be your vessel”) can aid us in keeping God as the focus of our day even in the hustle and bustle of life.

Each of the above examples can be done with a sense of joy, as Christ provides us with the comfort that the world cannot give. One of the opportunities we receive from our God is the ability to come into his presence no matter where we are during the day: God can be seen in the struggle of work deadlines, in the abundance of activities to get the children to, and even in the busyness of a packed schedule. We need to delight ourselves in him fully and intentionally in order to dwell in the peace that comes from seeking him out in unique ways.

Join me this week in delighting yourself in the ever-comforting presence of the Lord! It is amazing how we can thrive under the hectic demands of this world when we are first delighting ourselves in our relationship with God and the comfort only he can provide. It is through the strength of God that we persevere, and it is through his grace that he restores our hearts and minds.

May He always bless our mess.

Stay tuned,

-AF

Where the Comfort Truly Lies

Well, it comes around every week. It’s MONDAY.

When you haven’t seen a post from me in a few days, you can tell what kind of a week it’s been. And boy, was it ever a draining week. I’ve been trying to pinpoint what exactly wore me out so much this week, but it was truly a combination of major lack of sleep, worry over financial strains, little “me” time, and HEAT (it was soooooo hot this weekend, and we were basking in it for most of Saturday, yikes-but still enjoyable!). To be quite honest, by the end of the week, my anxiety level had gotten higher than I would have liked it to be, and my body really started to feel the impact of the week (as well as my poor husband. Bless his heart). By Sunday night, I was SPENT. I’m feeling a bit more refreshed (thank you, coffee), but recognize that my body truly did take this on.

The Apostle Paul knew a little bit about this (okay, maybe more than a little bit). In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks very openly about his own weakness and struggle, and is very aware of it. But he gives this message regarding being “spent”:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of All Comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” -2 Cor. 1:3-6

But…but…but Paul? You don’t get it. You don’t get my current situation, and just how frenzied I felt this week. Where was my comfort then?

Truth be told, I wasn’t doing a great job of seeking out God at the end of this week. I also lost my lens of gratitude, and every little thing just seemed so much bigger than it actually was (power of perspective!). We have a God of all comfort that has the power to refresh and revive us in the midst of anything we may be experiencing. Best part is: He is literally ALWAYS there. Always! We don’t need to make an appointment with him (although appointments with professionals are gifts from God too, believe me), and we don’t have to wait to get our time with him. We merely need to seek him out in his word, through prayer, and through being present in the moment with him.

Now, to be fair, I am all for taking care of yourself, which sometimes means making sure your needs are met so you can fulfill your obligations and roles, but to neglect my personal time with God can have a serious effect on my functioning-I wasn’t partaking in the comfort of Christ in order that I might provide comfort to others through Him. Hindsight is usually 20/20, isn’t it?

Another wrong turn I took was losing my lens of gratitude. Looking back to my above “laundry list of chaos” that occurred this week, I should have been reframing it as such:

  • gratitude for our darling pup, who even though has been giving us great challenge lately, always greets us with so much unconditional love and excitement (even if it is a 4am, ouch). She is also making great gains in some other areas of training!
  • gratitude for so many activities and loved ones to engage with this weekend! Schedule was tight, but we got to experience so many events that reminded us of the love and support God has placed in our lives
  • gratitude for Christ having a plan, and him being the one in control (and praying for patience while he unfolds it)
  • gratitude for the awareness that personal time, for me, is necessary (and prayers of how to continue to balance that on the more chaotic weeks)
  • gratitude for the current financial means we do have, and the compassion that my partner and I were able to show one another in tackling some of our concerns in this a bit more head-on
  • gratitude for lack of rain when we needed to be outside all Saturday afternoon, and the beautiful day we were able to have.

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Doesn’t this list sound a lot less hostile than the beginning of this post? If I had engaged in this type of thinking, it is quite possible that I would have had a different outcome regarding my stress level and functionality. When God said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”, he meant it (2 Cor. 12:9a). God’s comfort and the power we receive from him in the midst of struggle or more challenging week is our greatest strength. To engage in this is to further our personal relationship with Christ, as well as slow down our minds and bodies to better experience the joy in the midst of struggle.

With that being said, my lens of gratitude is screwed back on, and personal time for self-care is an absolute priority this week as it should always be. How does your lens of gratitude and personal time in prayer affect how you experience life? I would love to hear your hearts.

Stay tuned,

-AF

One Lovely Blog Award-With Gratitude!

Hello, beautiful souls!

My heart is full today as I sit down to write this afternoon (as well as my glass, with some delicious homemade sangria I’m sipping on during this warm day! Interested in the recipe? Let me know!). I’m humbled today to be nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award-a writing recognition that features bloggers whose writing has sparked some interest and meaning in the eyes of viewers (what a wonderful experience!). Many thanks goes out to the wonderful Shawna at Whole Hearty Happy for this generous nomination. I’ve been enjoying her writing since I’ve hit the blogging scene. It is truly appreciated to be recognized-especially with being a new face to the blogging world :). During my first week of blogging, I’ve learned that readers are so supportive and encouraging, and truly desiring to hear what I have to say. I pray that I can continue to provide you with stories worth hearing, insights worth applying, and truths worth aligning with. Let’s be real, together!

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Rules:

Each nominee must thank the person who nominated them and link their blog in their post.

They must include the rules and add the blog award badge as an image.
Must add 7 facts about themselves.
Nominate 15 people to do the award!

7 Facts About Myself:

  1. I’m definitely full-on embracing the role of dog mama-and quickly!
  2. I’m newly married-which comes with its blessings and challenges (like sharing a clothes hamper with the hubs-does anyone else but me think that’s weird?!)
  3. I LOVE to try new coffee concessions as well as beer and wine styles-the more unique, the better!
  4. Anxiety has been an ongoing battle for me-you will see themes of that woven throughout my written works
  5. I’ve given more money to Bath and Body Works that I’d care to admit-I’m OBSESSED with soothing scents. Candles are a staple in our home
  6. I’m also a lyricist that takes great pleasure in putting fitting words to flowing melodies. I believe that music is truly a central mode of communication, and one that can tie us all together in ways that are unexplainable.
  7. I’m challenging myself to balance being realistic with being optimistic. Because a healthy mentality is healthy for the soul ❤

Nominees:

So Let Us Know

Tea and Tales

Mind Haven

Anxiety, Depression, and Me

Calrevoyant Curves

Courageous Yoga Chick

Sherina Speaks

Sensible Nonsense

Drizzle Me Skinny

Currently Lately

I Hate to Weight

Living in Stigma

Solace

Living Uncovered

Cooking with a Wallflower

 

Happy reading, all! Let gratitude overflow your day. And as always, stay tuned!

-AF