I admit to reading People magazine once in a while because I succumb to the blaring headlines. Recently, one particular issue caught my attention. The cover featured the "Revenge of the Exes - Who's Happy? Who Can't Let Go?" with flattering pictures of Reese, Jessica and Bridget, three beautiful women who have experienced public celebrity break-ups.
A long time ago I read a thought about how to love that has affected the way that I care about people. The concept was that love does not dominate, it cultivates. The word "cultivates" resonates with me because as a farmer's daughter, my job was to tend the strawberry crop produced by our immense garden. On a side note, I am blessed with a view from our Santa Cruz condo that includes strawberry fields. It is a marvel to watch the preparation of the soil, the peeking up of the plants as they mature, and the intense amount of work involved in hand-picking the strawberries. Because they are so delicate, they cannot be left too long in the fields. I can personally attest to the fact that cultivating strawberries is definitely a labor of love.
I've noticed that as I cultivate the art of listening, the people around me are visibly uplifted, encouraged and strengthened. I relax into the phrase "the art of listening" because there I find freedom to grow in my skill of "hearing with thoughtful intention" just like many other skills I am personally cultivating.
As I watch women work through the SoulWork process, I am constantly reminded of the importance of prayer for getting in sync with God. My mind has been wrestling with how to capture the essence of what a woman requires from God to complete each chapter. Here is my attempt to distill the ideas down to seven basic prayer statements. If you have completed the SoulWork curriculum, see if you agree. If you have not experienced it, perhaps this will entice you to give it a try.
I find it hard to stay on purpose with all the distractions in my life. This week we have been "staging" our home to put it on the market at the end of the month. The process of removing and distributing our personal belongings is yet one more distraction from the substantive things I would rather be doing.
John Piper, Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bethehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1980, is a respected theologian and author. He is credited with writing a powerful piece entitled What Cancer Cannot Do. Pastor Piper understands cancer because he himself is a cancer survivor. This is what he wrote…
Holly's Decision Making Grid For Ministry Opportunities
Several years ago, my life coach, Carol Travilla, asked me to put together some kind of a grid for making decisions. I went to work not really knowing what I was supposed to be doing with the assignment. After wrestling with it for a while I finally came up with eight very pertinent questions to ask myself before I made any ministry decision. These questions have stood the test of time. By sharing them, perhaps I will stimulate you to work on your own set of tailor made questions which incorporate your particular unique gifts and personality. You can use some of mine if they work for you. I would be flattered!
1) Does it exhilarate me?
Exhilaration is a combination of fear and excitement. Fear because a new challenge has a risk component and excitement because God designs the BEST opportunities to grow. In fact, if something presented to me doesn't have both of these elements, I do not believe that God is in it!
2) Is this something only I can do?
A friend shared with me this very effective way of prioritizing. There are some things many others can do but there are a few things that ONLY I can do! These are the things I must attend to!
3) Does it allow me freedom for stimulating growth?
This is my mission in life. God has made me a person who consciously and unconsciously stimulates growth in others. I want to be strategic in using this ability wisely.
4) Is it experiential and/or interactive in nature?
Unlike my husband who is a very excellent speaker and lecturer, I really prefer opportunities to interact and dialogue with people. In fact, the more spontaneous the interaction, the more I like it!
5) Does it support my goal of developing a product and/or a tool?
I love to create something that is transferable to others and that can be used over and over as a personal diagnostic tool.
6) Does it "use me up" or energize me?
Because I am an introvert, I must be careful to steward my energy. I have discovered when I am working in my giftedness, however, that I am very energized even if I am required to relate intensely to people.
7) Am I equipped and/or gifted for it?
There is so little time. I must be careful to choose wisely.
8) Does it negatively affect my commitment to my family?
I believe that God does not punish my family when I am doing His will. Ultimately, obeying God should benefit the people I love, not trash them or throw them under the bus!
In Acts 20:24, the Apostle Paul said, “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and my ministry that I have received from the Lord Jesus.”
Many years ago my husband and I attended a worship service at the Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, California where Chuck Swindoll was a very popular pastor at the time. That morning he shared an illustration that I have repeated on numerous occasions.
One day Jesus got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” Note that Jesus charted the course to the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The area was largely uninhabited and, therefore, was a good place to rest.