Get out of the Box! Words to help you bust out of your comfort zone

 

 

Get out of the Box

Words to help you bust out of your comfort zone

The Box

by Tracey Lynn Russell 

I have a little box

for my little life.

It’s the place

where I fit

my family, my church and my children

neat and tidy

 in the  box-

Four predictable corners of cardboard!

 God is in the box with me-

or at least I thought so?

One day, my little box began to shake!

It even felt a little crowded!

The sides of the box began to rip open with a sharp divine purpose

that felt like a box cutter!

Suddenly

the box burst open with unseen hands tearing down the walls

Know what?

God is not in 

the box

the box-2

 My boxed in perspective of life crumbled

with a divine perspective.  Life can’t be boxed in

when

God  is everywhere,

all the time, working all around,

outside, underneath and all over the world.

 You can’t stop Him, harness Him, control Him, demand of Him or figure Him out.

If I serve a big God, how could I ever desire my life to stay in the box of my comfort?

I must resist the box.

To know that God  is out of the box is my greatest comfort

because

it’s hard to live a life

pre-packaged,  just like everyone else.

The box tempts my false sense of security.

At times when I am afraid

I want to scream,

” Everyone get back in the box! It’s safe, secure and comfortable there!”

But it really isn’t safe there

It really wasn’t comfortable

God won’t let me go back in the box!

His hands keeps pulling apart

the cardboard facades of those who love him

because

 He is an unseen wall of protection.

God didn’t create a brown, boring life!

 His world outside the box is full of multi-colored moments,

the adventure of a lifetime

 God

 fills

the whole earth,

the sky,

the stars,

the heavens

and

my heart

with more that I can

dream or imagine

You know what ?

I no longer can fit in

the box.

The Universal Prayer for purpose: The prayer of St. Clement

 

1

Have you ever listened to the words of a prayer that infuse your heart a new purpose?

The first Christian radio station that listened to was a Catholic radio station in Tampa. This little radio station was like a voice of an angel whispering God’s truth to me all day long. I loved the contemporary praise music they played but especially the prayer I would hear at noon every day.

At the same time every day, the radio stations played this recorded prayer that touched my heart. No matter what I was doing, I looked forward to hearing it, memorizing it as the words sank deep into my soul.

Sometimes on the journey toward purpose, our hearts need to hear prayers that we can not speak for ourselves.

It was soothing to me and beautiful. I hope you enjoy this prayer to day that is attributed to Pope Clement.

And to my Catholic friends, may the peace of Christ be with you always.

 The Universal Prayer

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith. I trust in you: strengthen my trust. Click To Tweet
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me: In the way you ask, For as long as you ask, Click To Tweet
Because you ask it.

Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.

Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.

Help me to prepare for death With a proper fear of judgment, But a greater trust in your goodness Click To Tweet.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

One prayer to find your purpose

1

Are you looking to rediscover a greater purpose for your life?

Purpose is often discovered on the shores of the uncomfortable.

Are you in an unexpected destination where you feel alone and uncertain of your purpose in life?

Uncharted pain does not take away your purpose in life but it can cause you to head in a new direction.

God disturbs us to help us let go of our plans and seek a fresh, deeper kingdom purpose.

And who knows?

When you lose sight of the land, you just might see the stars. #prayforpurpose Click To Tweet

 

As promised, this is one prayer for purpose attributed to Sir Francis Drake in 1577

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

When you read this prayer today, I would love to hear from you. What do you think about praying for God to disturb you ?

How do you think this will lead you to find a greater purpose in life?

How can I help You?

How can I help you today?

images-7

 

 

One of the most effective questions we can ask a friend is , how can I help you? Click To Tweet

Today, I want to reach out into the blog post world, and ask you this very important question. Your friendship is important to me and I am looking for how I can better serve you in the future. Maybe we have not met personally but I believe that our common faith and desire to serve others makes us connected in the most important ways in life.

 

Did you meet me at an event?

I always wonder when I walk into a room filled with smiling women,

what is really on your heart?

Will I be able to say something that helps you and gives you courage to trust in God?

Will I leave you with questions?

Now, It’s your turn to talk to me!

This blog post is an open letter for you to respond to me in a comment that I will personally answer!!

Do you have a burning question for me?

Maybe something you would like to say to me personally?

Is there a story you would like to share with me?

Go for it Girl!

Just leave me a note in the comments section below –

I will answer your questions, pray for requests or listen to your story.

I want to listen to you today!

And if you have been one of the women in those rooms I walk into,

I can’t wait to hear how I can help you today! 

Screenshot 2014-01-20 17.52.05

Please don’t be shy as I am one extroverted person who loves to connect with other women!

Blessings to you-Tracey

The Centerpiece of Beauty

The Centerpiece of Beauty in Life

“True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”
Audrey Hepburn


Photo Sep 18, 11 29 11 PM

What’s your focus?

What is the centerpiece of beauty in your heart and life?

If you are a Mom, I already know the answer.

Your Family!

The centerpiece of beauty is not an actual vase of flowers.  It’s the focal point or the center of your deepest affections. It’s an image of the smiles  on the faces of those closest to your heart. It’s the little voices that you know so well. They call to you all day and night.  Hand written notes you receive from tiny fingers matter more than all the treasures of the world!

The centerpiece of beauty for mothers is the family they have helped to create.

Your Faith!

Your centerpiece is incomplete without a water source to keep the flowers fresh and hydrated. I believe your faith is that water source keeping those beautiful faces fresh and full of life. The water of your faith flows into everything you do to keep that centerpiece alive and revived.

How could we forget the Living Water for this arrangement?

When you see droopy faces like falling petals or even shriveling smiles, you know it’s time to add more water of faith into your family. Some of your flowers in the centerpiece of beauty don’t even know that it’s the water of faith that are keeping them alive. Still your heart smiles at your opportunity to pour into them with living water.

Your love

Somewhere wrapped into every flowering petal in the heart of a family is a mother's love. Click To Tweet

Thank you for being this kind of mother to your family and those who need the water of your faith.

Don’t ever give up on your centerpiece of beauty!

The flower of your faith will produce the seeds planted into the heart of your family forever! Click To Tweet

Blessings to all the  Moms who read this blog!

Love-Tracey

Time for you to plant a seed?

 

 

 

Plant a Seed

The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.
Henry David Thoreau

 

A seed of inspiration for your day!

I found this story preparing for a women’s conference and I had to share it! If you want to read a great story about planting seeds, keep reading!

The moral of the story is that sometimes seeds we plant just don’t grow.

There is a greater lesson in the process of sowing than the seeds that are growing! Click To Tweet

 planting seeds

The Seed

A successful Christian business man was growing old and knew it was time to chose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different.

He called all the young executives in his company together. “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO,” he said. “I have decided to choose one of you.”

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed.

He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.

Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by – still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened.

Jim felt sick at his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.

He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful–in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed. A few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back.

“My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO.

“Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.

Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed. Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Here is your next Chief Executive! His name is JIM!”

Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said?

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. “When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive!”

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.

If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.

If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.

If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.

If you plant hard work, you will reap success.

If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.

If you plant faith in Christ, you will reap a harvest.

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Two thousand years ago Paul wrote to the church at Galatia the same story but with fewer words, “What you sow, so shall you reap” (Gal. 6:7).

“We are grass that will wither and die but the incorruptible seed of God’s Word will live forever – sow it daily into the life of your family! (1 Peter 1: 23 – 25).
[ Author Unknown — from akako via ‘Sermon Fodder’ (Sermon_Fodder@yahoogroups.com) ]

Ask God How to live : Radical Acceptance and 50 things the Holy Spirit can Do for you

Radical Acceptance

“Earthly wisdom is doing what comes naturally. Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do.” —Charles Stanley

Live

Live

Have you ever experienced a pain so deep that you did not want to live with the reality of that loss?

Fighting  Reality !

It’s was hard for me to accept what I didn’t want to be true. 

I lived trapped in a world of why after my nephew died. Why God Why? Then my mother, best friend, died five months later and again I mourned with the another question of why.

Why ?

The world of why demands answers that will only be received in heaven. The unanswered questions of “why”  kept me me stuck trying to fix the past and prevent failure in the future.

We wonder why in time of loss as our minds refuse to accept our new reality. Click To Tweet

Accept Reality

Reality acknowlegdes that the plans of our life have radically changed and the only way to move forward is radical acceptance.

Radical acceptance is a concept developed by Marsha Linehan. 

Radical acceptance is accepting life as it is and not as we would wish it to be Click To Tweet.

It doesn’t mean you like or approve of it, it just means you are willing to accept what you cannot change or choose.

After about three weeks of crying on the floor and asking God for an answer, my door bell rang. I opened the door to find a friend with a gift for me.

I opened the gift and the picture frame held a one word answer for me…..

The picture frame said –

LIVE!

God was calling me to live in the reality of my losses without trying to change!

Live!

Even when I felt like I wanted to die

Live!

Even when I didn’t like being alone without my mother or my nephew

I found my verse to accompany my call to live;

Psalm 118:17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

Are you having hard time living with the reality of your radical change of plans?

I have some good news. Through daily prayer, I began to experience the power of the Holy Spirit who could help me radically accept and live again.

God promises that He will give us His spirit when we don’t know how to live.

Maybe you need to be encouraged with what the Holy spirit can do for you?

Here is a list of 50 things as quoted by the blog of Frank Viola in Beyond Evangelical :

rankviola.org/2010/11/18/50-things-the-holy-spirit-does/

Prayer Practice 7: Show me Lies I have believed !

40 days of prayer

Show me Truth

John 8:32

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

I was bitter- nasty snake bitter, after my divorce from Mark.

I couldn’t believe He destroyed our marriage and then expected me to forgive him after our divorce.

NO WAY!

He ruined everything and there was no turning back from the damage that was done!!!

I began to attend a Bible study and discover that many of my thoughts were based on lies instead of truth. You may be wondering what I am talking about now. As women we have many thoughts and feelings.

Heres a key issue:

Not every thought we have is based on the truth of Gods word

Prayer is a critical time to ask God to reveal truth to us and to keep our spiritual eyes and ears open. As we discover truth we become to free to serve God’s purposes and the thoughts about our plans that have failed. I was challenged by a woman in my group to start praying, God show me the truth and show me the lies!  I took her up on the challenge and really asked God to check my thoughts:

So let’s review what I was thinking and saying at this time-

Were my thoughts truth or lies??????:

HE ruined everything!!!! ( lie)

Truth: God says that no human has the power to ruin our lives! It’s is the work of Jesus Christ that preserves us in the hard times and no man can take that away from us.

There is no turning back from the damage that was done!!!! ( lie)

Truth: The heart of the gospel is that God gives us second changes and third and fourth ones!!! There is always time for change and Jesus came to ensure that the most important changes could happen inside of us.

In light of this prayer, I learned to challenge my thoughts and really discover the truth of Jesus. He does have the power to change my thinking! My ability to forgive Mark was based on this process of prayer.

Thankfully- God did reveal the truth of forgiveness and grace that can be found in Him even in the pain of a failed marriage –

I was set free to forgive !!!!

We were re-married to each other in Christ. Our remarriage has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.

couple hugging

prayer intention: Truth

Dear God-

I am asking you about a specific situation of _______________________________.

Will you please reveal to me the truth or the lies of what I am thinking about this in my mind? Will you show me through your word and confirm this to me in many ways throughout my day? I know Jesus, you are the truth and you will set me free from any thinking that gets in the way of the purposed you have for me.

I thank you in advance!

In Jesus name-amen

Prayer Practice 8: Renew

40 days of prayerPsalms 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

A renewal of our spirit starts with prayer! Click To Tweet

Renewal is replacing or restoring something that is worn out-

“If you are renewed by grace, and were to meet your old self, I am sure you would be very anxious to get out of his company.” 
― Charles H. Spurgeon

I’ve been in a dry season of life. Everything seems ordinary and routine.

Same old, same old-

When these seasons of life happen, I know I need a renewal of my spirit.

Usually there is an area of my heart that is in need of change.

Change of attitude, change of direction, change of perspective.

Are you looking for a change in your life too? 

Lent is a great time of renewal. It’s a time set aside to seek God and focus on what Christ did for each one of us on the cross.

Jesus made change in our lives and renewal possible.

He died not only to make our hearts clean but to help us live revived with His spirit.

Only through Him can be become the change the world needs to see.

prayer intention: Renewal

Dear Lord-

I pray for you to cleanse my heart and give me a new spirit. I pray that the power of your spirit would

make a change within me. I am asking for you to reveal areas of my life that are not working anymore, things that are in need of a refreshing.

Show me your grace as I begin the process of changing my attitudes that don’t bring me peace. Give me a new direction in life and the big picture perspective of eternity.

In Jesus Name-Amen

Prayer Practice 9: Father Forgive them

Luke 23:34

 Jesus said,  “Father Forgive them for they know not what they do-“

 

People don’t realize they hurt our feelings and wound our soul.

I was struggling to survive, after my mother and nephew died. People expected me to be normal the day after the funeral. Unless you have suffered grief yourself, you don’t understand the long-term process of healing and  compassion needed.

Weeks after the funeral, a friend got mad at me for not picking up his child at our youth group. I felt attacked in my grief and inability to coordinate much of anything. I couldn’t even speak the words to defend myself and  just cried myself to sleep that night. Although I thought of hateful words in my heart, I realized :

No one understands grief until they have lost someone.

No one understands the pain I was experiencing unless I tell them.

Most of all, No one understands hurt better than Jesus.

Jesus too, suffered pain in relationships. He was wounded both physically and emotionally by the people he loved.

Unlike us, he did not sin with aggressive retaliation or frozen passivity in response to another person. He chose forgiveness.

Jesus used pain to demonstrate the power of forgiveness. Click To Tweet

 

 

Whatever the injury, I try to use the words of Jesus to begin to pray forgiveness into a situation.

 

 

Prayer intention: Forgive

 

Dear Lord,

I am struggling today with a relationship with someone who doesn’t even realize that I am hurting. They don’t realize the emotional pain I experience as a result of their actions. I pray the words of Jesus, that you would forgive ____________________, because they have no idea of the pain they have caused me. Give me the strength to release this hurt into your hands and gentle ability to confront this person in love in the future.

 

I ask in Jesus Name-Amen