Stricken to Soaring
Slighted to Sought Out
Rejected To Rejoicing
Felt Worthless, Made Worthy
~ Kim Batson
As you are planning what you will do this year, hope to achieve, or aspire to, are your plans based on inspiration or inclination?
What do I mean by that? And why is it important?
Consider, for a moment, the definition of these 3 words:
- “A hope or ambition of achieving something”.
- “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
- “A sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea”
- “The drawing in of breath; inhalation”
- “A person’s natural tendency or urge to act or feel in a particular way; a disposition or propensity.”
If we dive headlong into our year, purposing and planning what we will do, or hope to do, based on what we are ‘inclined’ to do, we may be selling ourselves short.
We all have a tendency, or propensity, to act in a particular way, to make choices and decisions based on our nature, our environment, our feelings, and what may be going on in our lives at any one time.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but often it can lead to shortsightedness, selfishness, and sadly, not fulfilling our true purpose in this world.
We ‘tend’ to take the path of least resistance, we ‘tend’ to focus on our own needs and desires, we ‘tend’ to not go for the big goals or the higher vision, but rather follow our own inclinations.
Contrast this to aspiring and planning for the year based on inspiration. When we are ‘inspired’, amazing things happen in our lives and in the lives of others we interact with. We become more creative, we find timely ideas, we are more excited, more engaged, more productive, and most of all, make more of a difference in the world.
But there is a trade-off to moving in this realm. We don’t ‘plough ahead’ and quickly put our own desires into action, setting schedules and making plans to suit ourselves. Instead, we open our hearts to be inspired, which takes a discipline all of its own, and then once inspired, seek to put inspiration into action.
Remember again that inspiration is “the process of being mentally (and I say, spiritually) stimulated to do or feel something”. To be inspired, you’ve got to slow down, and listen to your heart, and for us as Christians, more importantly, to listen to the heart of God. For, as the Bible says, our own heart can be deceitful. Our carnal flesh has tendencies that, unless checked, can lead us astray, or away from our God-given purpose.
But the awesome thing is this: if we will listen to the heart of God, He will speak. And when He does, wow, get ready for some amazing things because, as He has so rightly said, “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
And as Ephesians 3:20 states: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Our Father is able to blow our minds with what He can do in us, and through us, if we will simply stop, listen, and ask Him to speak to our hearts.
We do this by waiting on God in quiet time with Him, listening and not always talking. Turning off all things that would distract (and oh, how we need to do this in this ‘always-on, always connected’ world). Opening the Word of God, meditating on it, and waiting on Him in prayer. He will respond to a heart that seeks Him, and when He does, it will inspire you!
The word ‘inspire’ means to ‘breath on, or in’, and that’s what God will do, if we will let Him. “Breath on us, O God, and let us hear your voice, so that we may know the way in which we should walk.” That is my prayer for this year. How about you?
If you are ready to soar and go higher on this journey with God, move forward into this year by first listening for the voice of God, and build your aspirations on inspiration, rather than just on your inclinations. Then watch what happens!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment below…
Joy On The Journey.com
Get ready to be taken to the Throne Room of God with this amazingly beautiful worship song. Wow!
Thank you to Charity Gayle and Joshua Sherman.
Tasty and delicious, full of healthy ingredients, and the bonus: Weight loss.
Losing 10 lbs. in 4 months – while feeling great and knowing it’s good for my heart and health – I’m a fan of the Mediterranean diet.
Though I’ve been preparing Mediterranean dishes quite often (I collect Mediterranean cookbooks!) for several years now for the taste, health benefits, and the fun of cooking this style of food, I decided that in order to get serious about weight loss, I would incorporate it on daily basis – creating a diet that would work for me – and I’m delighted with the result!
What are the major themes of a Mediterranean diet?
- Protein from fish, chicken, lamb, eggs, and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
- Heart-healthy fats and omega-3s from olive oil, olives, fish, flaxseed
- Fiber, vitamins, and minerals from fruit and veggies, nuts, figs, dates, honey
- Calcium from yogurt, feta, parmesan, and other cheeses. (And some milk).
- Fabulous assortments of herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cloves, fennel, nutmeg, marjoram, basil, lemon, mint, etc.
So, what does Kim’s mostly-Mediterranean Diet look like?
Here are some examples:
1 free-range egg sautéed in olive oil, 1/3 cup spinach, and 1/2 spelt English muffin with a dash of butter and honey. 1/2 medium, or one small, banana.
A smoothie with a combination of a few fruits and veggies such as: peaches, mango, melon, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, banana, avocado, cucumber, plus 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, splash of organic milk, freshly-grated ginger, cinnamon, tablespoon of finely ground flaxseed; add chopped almonds/pecans or muesli sprinkled on top.
1-2 cups of hot water (plain or with ginger and/or lemon in it).
1 cup of a high-quality tea. (For calorie cut-back, I drink it black; though occasionally reverting to my British roots, I enjoy a cup of tea with milk).
Coffee (black, when dieting; white, when maintaining). Cappuccino / latté on weekends.
2 squares of dark chocolate or a biscotti (with a second cup of coffee).
A pot of jasmine pearl tea, 1 tablespoon of honey swirled in the pot.
A delicious plate containing a combination of some of the following:
- Salmon, kippered herring, or a similar high omega-3 fish
- Falafel or hummus
- Avocado – 1/2, sliced
- Cucumber, slow-roasted tomatoes with olive oil and basil, or other salad veggies
- Artichokes, cooked and chopped, sometimes in olive oil
- Olive Tapenade or some Kalamata / Black olives
- Bruschetta spread
- Muhammara spread (roasted Red Pepper, Walnuts, Pomegranate juice) – delish!
- Yogurt with mint
- Pita Bread – 1/2
- Sardinian Parchment Crackers – from Trader Joe’s / WholeFoods – how did I ever survive without them?
Drink: Juice mixed with sparkling mineral water, or glass of cucumber/ginger water.
Cup of Rooibos tea (this time with milk) and a couple of dates, figs, chocolate-covered walnuts, ginger biscotti, or some kind of after- lunch treat.
Melon, Mangoes, Apple, or other fruit or healthy snack (no more than 100-150 calories).
Drink: Glass of water and/or decaf tea/coffee.
4 oz serving of Fish, Chicken, Lamb, or Beef, with various vegetables, perhaps a Ratatouille or similar use of Eggplant and Tomatoes or other veggies, and small serving of rice pilaf or pasta, or grated cauliflower, with flavorful herbs and spices. An example might be: Lamb Ravioli, Moroccan Chicken with Saffron, Fennel or Rice Pilaf (I have my Persian friend, Zinat, to thank for the introduction of aromatic, anise-flavored, ground fennel spice in rice – fabulous!), Grilled Chicken/Hot Hummus Salad in Pita, or other similar Med-style dishes.
Lamb and Greek Lentil soup, or another meat/vegetable/legume soup. 1/2 Olive Bread Roll or crackers.
1/2 small Feta and Spinach pizza or 1/4 of a 12-inch homemade Chicken pizza with a variety of Mediterranean veggies on top. Super thin crisp organic flour or gluten-free crust, light on the cheese, olive oil and slow-roasted tomatoes as a base – perfecto!
Serving of Greek yogurt with fruit and a drizzle of honey, or another healthy dessert, with a cup of Rooibos tea with milk.
1/2 spelt English muffin with butter/honey, or small bowl of cereal with dash of milk.
Chamomile tea (2 cups)
That’s it and I’m off to bed, happy and satiated at about 1000-1200 calories per day.
Note: obviously this works for me, but you may need more calories depending on your stature and needs. I also take some important vitamins to make sure I’m getting all needed nutrients. BTW, I keep an eye on my daily calories in an easy little app on my Android phone (Simple Calorie Count).
You might think this takes a bit of discipline to stay on this type of diet for several months – but it’s SO easy and delicious that I’m not inclined to stray from it too much.
It took a few weeks before I saw any change, then – ‘wham’ the pounds started falling off. Now I have the next ten pounds in my sights, a dream I had all but given up on!
The wonderful thing about the smells and flavors of the Mediterranean diet – it’s as if you’re exploring the villages of Tuscany, the markets of Jerusalem, or the shores of Sardinia, without leaving home.
So, if you want to lose a few pounds and maintain a healthy diet, while enjoying great taste, may I recommend the Mediterranean diet?
And hey, after you lose your desired weight, why not celebrate with a latté and teeny chocolate éclair?
Cheers, my friends. I raise my sparkling water glass to you and hope you’re enjoying the blessings of a bountiful harvest yourself. We have much to thank God for!
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The stillness of the morning. The mist is rising and the dawn is breaking…
You stretch a little upon waking, then wander to the window and gaze out in quietness, while down the hall the coffee pot brews your morning coffee. Maybe you sit up in bed for a while to think, or put on your robe and find a cozy chair to focus in quietness and contemplation before the day begins.
Sound like you? No? Does it sound like any of us anymore?
Or, do you wake, stretch, and then check your smartphone for text messages, switch on your tablet or laptop and begin scrolling social media sites, perhaps turning on the T.V. on at the same time, while somehow reaching for your morning coffee in the haze of so much ‘noise’.
My question is this – if quiet time is becoming a lost art, are we losing something precious in this age of ‘always-on’ technology?
I’m convinced we are. We could say this is the ‘neglect of our time’ (excuse the double-entendre). And it’s causing a multitude of problems. It’s time we stopped the craziness and evaluated exactly what is happening to us.
I’m as technology-savvy as the rest of us, and even teach social media strategies as part of my job, but I also know that our brains need some rest and quiet time. Our body, soul and spirit need it too. And yet, we are giving them very little of it.
I, for one, have decided not allow this trend of ‘always on’ to steal my soul. By not turning on my electronic devices, checking social media or email, etc., upon waking, until after I’ve had time to gather my thoughts, read, pray, think, listen, evaluate and renew my spirit, I can truly have some important quiet time. Then let the business of the day proceed.
There are some things too precious to be side-lined by the ‘always on’ social media phenomena. If we don’t have some quality time daily to renew mind and soul, we will be nothing but robotic tech-captives, empty on the inside, and with little to give others of true value. We can’t run forever on empty, and live a fulfilling life.
Perhaps you, too, have a quiet time each day. If so, that’s awesome. If not, and you long for one, this might be a good time to start and watch how it contributes to your quality of life. For me, early morning works best, but it could be different for you – perhaps mid-morning, noon, or late in the evening, for instance – whatever time you choose, creating a quiet time habit will contribute greatly to your peace of mind in this busy time we live in.
I challenge you to discover, or re-discover, the lost art of quiet time for yourself and watch what it does for your physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being – and for those people that you interact with each day. You, and they, will notice the difference!
Here’s to you, and joy on the journey!
Have you ever heard God speaking to you? Whether you have, or you haven’t, I think you’d like to hear this amazing story…
At the recent International Convention of the Familia de Dios in Seattle, the Rev. Francisco Zuniga shared this:
Around 20 years ago, when visiting Seattle from Chile, he was struggling with a major decision.
During the worship service, Bro. Francisco was standing somewhere in proximity to my mother. He didn’t speak any English, and my mother, didn’t speak a lick of Spanish. However, all of a sudden, while she was worshipping, he heard her speak clearly IN PURE AND PERFECT SPANISH: “What you are thinking of, do it!”
A seasoned man of God, he knew immediately that the Lord God was speaking an answer directly to him. He made his decision, went back to Chile and put the vision that was in his heart into action. Over the next two decades through prayer, hard work, perseverance, and the blessing of God Almighty, he trained and raised up hundreds of passionate men and women, young people and adults, who have, in turn, taken the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread the Good News to multiple nations, including Chile and the United States, but also to several others.
As this gentle servant of God looked over this international convention with tears of joy…he smiled at my elderly mother seated in the back row – a woman who had spoken the message God had given her, in a tongue she didn’t understand, 20 years ago!
This testimony, and a million others like it, verify that God speaks to mankind, and speaks to us as individuals. I know He has been so kind to speak to me so many times.
So, the question isn’t “Does God speak to us?” but “Are we listening?”
In this hyperconnected world in which so many people spend so much time in social media, do you find yourself wondering what your network thinks of you?
I think, if we’re honest, most of us would say “Hmm…yes…” to that.
The more important question, however, is “What does God think of me?
We know that God loves us. And wow, what an amazing and wonderful truth that is.
But what does God really think of the way that we live in this world? And does it matter?
The scripture says that God knows our hearts. In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves.
He also told us that if we are to spend eternity with Him, we must return His love, with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind, and with all of our strength. So, yes, it matters.
Fortunately, when you fully realize how much He loves you, what He has done for you, and the amazing plan He has for YOUR life, it’s easy to surrender to His love.
It might not be so easy, however, to fit your actions to your intentions. That is why He offers us His Spirit to lead, guide and empower us to do what we know we should do.
So here’s a couple of reflective questions to finish this thought today:
Knowing that He knows your heart, your thoughts, your attitudes, and your actions:
Would you say that your life is spent pursuing the applause of Heaven or the applause of people?
Which means more to you?
And which do you think means most to Him?
I think you know…
P.S. ~ Hat-tip to the person who coined the phrase: “What God thinks about me is infinitely more important than what others think about me.” If you know who they are, feel free to let me know in comments below…