Redefining success

The world tells us that being successful in life is all about fame, wealth and social status. It is all about how much money you’re making, how many ‘toys’ you have acquired and how much influence you have.

These are the world’s standards for success but I do not believe that they are the standards of the Kingdom. I think success runs much deeper than fame, wealth and social status. I think that success is being faithful to do the things that God has called you to do and to do them well.

In 1 John 2 verses 15 to 17 in The Message translation it says…

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

When we chase down the worlds view of success we are losing sight of the things and the person that really matters the most. The love of the world’s success squeezes out the love for the Father and puts distance between our hearts and His.

So what is it that the Father really wants from us to be successful in life?

I believe that He wants us to love well. To really love, care for and honour those people who are around us. He longs for us to be intimately connected with Him and to partner with His truth.

I believe that He wants us to be obedient to what He is saying. The Lord is always speaking and He is looking for people who are listening and who are willing to step out boldly and courageously and do what He is asking us to do. It is not the outcome that He is focused on but just the fact that we were obedient and trusted His voice.

I believe that He wants us to steward well what He has given to us. Be faithful with the things that He has given to us whether they are a little or a lot. With the money we are blessed with to use it wisely, give to the needy, and sow into the kingdom. With the spiritual gifts He has given us to grow them, develop them and use them. With the people in our life to love them, serve them and protect them. We need to be faithful with the things that He has given to us.

I believe that He wants us to be thankful. To cultivate a heart of thankfulness so that no matter what is happening in or around us we can still choose joy and be thankful for what we do have and what is happening.

I believe that He wants us to persevere and finish well. To not give up when things get tough but to lean closer into God and to see the trials before us as a chance to grow and build character.

I believe that He wants us to be present and live in the here and now so that we can receive the fullness of what He has planned for us in each moment. To be focused in on the vision for our life, being focused on the vision will give our process and pain a purpose.

We all long to be successful in life but we need to stop measuring our success by the worlds standards. I encourage you to redefine your view of success, ask God how He wants to change some of your thinking in this area so that you can be successful in the things He has called you to.

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Taking your thoughts captive

Our inner thoughts, the things we silently speak over ourselves day in and day out, are very powerful. They shape the way we see our self, how we see other people and how we see the world around us.

If you stopped and really thought about the things that you were silently speaking over yourself, what would they sound like? Are they negative or positive? When I stopped and really listened to what I was speaking over myself I came to realise that my thoughts towards myself were mostly negative and very destructive.

I would think to myself If I messed up then I would think that I am a failure, if I did not do what I said that I was going to do therefore I am unreliable, if I did not reveal the whole truth about myself them I am a liar.

In doing this I am convincing myself that I am my behaviour. My behaviour then becomes my identity, I failed therefore I AM a failure. There is no grace in my thinking, I believe that I am a failure so then I no longer step out and take risks. I live with shame over my first failure and have anxiety over failing once again.

In my thinking I have believed a lie about myself and I have condemned myself to living a life that is way below the life that I was created for.

I love this quote from Bill Johnson… “We can’t afford to have a thought in our head that isn’t His”.

The negativity and self-doubt thoughts that are in our heads are not what God actually thinks about us. We cannot let the lies that we believe about ourselves take root in our thoughts and in our minds. We must learn how to recognize Gods thoughts about us.

The lies we believe about ourselves attack our identity. We need to build a foundation of truth, Gods truth. What does it say in the word? What is it that God thinks? What is on His mind?  The truth He speaks aligns with the bible and affirms us as His sons and daughters.

I encourage you to take some time with Holy Spirit and let Him search your thoughts. Take note of the lies that you have been speaking over yourself and then hand them over to God and let Him speak the truth over you. Write the truth down and meditate on it everyday. Meditate on it until it becomes your thoughts about yourself and be free to live the life that you were created for.

Live fully alive

Sometimes I feel like I am living my life on a hamster wheel. Going around and around, doing the same things day in and day out. When somebody asks me how my week was I draw a blank, I know I have lived life but nothing extraordinary has stood out to me in my week. We are all still alive, we got through the school week and here we are back at the weekend again where we are supposed to recover so that we can do the same old stuff all over again next week.

If I were to describe my life as a colour it would be grey. There are little glimpses of colour here and there but mostly it just feels grey. I found myself hoping for the future, looking forward to the “some days”. Some day I am going to write that book that I secretly desire to write, some day I am gong to travel again, some day I am going to get out and enjoy our beautiful city, and the list of some day dreams go on and on and on.

I grew up singing the history maker songs and believing that I was going to change the world but I do not feel very close to that dream at all. I know that I have a God-given identity and destiny and a divine purpose but when does that all begin? Here and now in this grey life?

I have come to realise that I was waiting for life to begin, for the mundane of my day to give way to a more adventurous life. But what if some day never arrives? There will always be the regular day-to-day things that I have to do; will I let life keep me from living? And life is pretty beautiful right now so what makes me yearn for more than I already have?

I could try and blame all my yearning “for more” on the world of today and it’s highlight reels on instagram and facebook, but playing the blame game achieves nothing. I must own my own thoughts, feelings and reactions and grab a hold of them and set them onto the right path.

Our destiny is not just a place where we arrive at; where we say I am here, now let the living begin. Our destiny is actually the journey; it is an adventure full of possibilities, potential, and promise.

If you feel like your life is a shade of grey right now then my advice is this, do not wait for your life to begin, live fully alive right here right now. Live intentionally.

Living intentionally is so important on this journey of fulfilling our destiny. Every day we make choices and we can choose to embrace life right now, even if the current season we are in seems impossible or terribly dull. Living intentionally means being present in your everyday. Slow down, take time to breath in and see the beauty in the every day.

See life as an adventure, even when it’s not perfect. Do things you enjoy everyday. Find the time to walk, rest, read, spend time with a special someone. Whatever it is that makes you smile and brings joy to your heart, find the time to do it.

Accept where you are; don’t look to someone else’s season with envy. You are where you are. Ask for God’s wisdom in your season if you need a shift

Cultivate a heart of gratitude. We need to have hope even when things seem hopeless.

Build intimacy with God. Have a solid foundation and identity in God, don’t define your value based on whether you can overcome a challenge or not. Find value and victory in God and when you do face problems ask the Lord for heaven’s solution to them.

No matter where you find yourself in life, there will always be more things to learn and more obstacles to overcome but we have to learn to live in the here and now, to grab a hold of our God-given identities and our divine purposes and live them out.

Don’t wait for your life to begin, live fully alive right now. Look at your heart position and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the thinking that does not align with His, ask Him to show you the colour where you see the grey.

Fear

Fear had been telling me what to do. It kept me standing in my own little safety zone, never allowing me to step out into the unknown. Fear would tell me that out in the unknown there is quite possibly pain, rejection, hurt, embarrassment and who knows what else. Fear fed me lies and kept me afraid and staying exactly where I was in my safety zone.

I heard someone say that you need to chase down your fears and at first I thought that it just sounded crazy. Why would I want to run after the things that make me afraid? And then it got me to thinking; fear is not from God so it just may be the enemy. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he feeds me lies and keeps me in a state of fear and that fear stands in the way of me stepping into the things that God has for me. It keeps me from Gods ultimate plan for my life.

Last year we entered into the world of Foster Care and became Foster parents. Fear had held me back before, feeding me lies of it is going to be hard to get registered, it will be too hurtful to see what the children have gone through, it will be too hard to let go, too hard to love them as your own. The enemy had me right where he wanted me, staying right where I was and doing nothing at all to love the least of these. But we felt the fear and did it anyway.

Fear is still a part of my life but I am learning not to let it tell me what to do anymore. I am chasing down my fears, stepping into the things that make me afraid, and it is there that I learn to overcome fear.

Stepping out and facing your fear leads to intimacy with the Lord, another thing that the enemy tries to keep you from. That is where we need God the most; we lean on Him the most, listen to Him the most, trust Him the most. All of these things create a stronger connection with the Lord. The Holy Spirit comes and fills us with His power and courage to do the things that make us afraid.

What could happen if regular people like you and me got filled with God’s Spirit and carried His power and courage? The world around us couldn’t help but be impacted and changed for the better. What if we all felt the fear and did the brave and courageous things anyway?

I want to encourage you with this verse—Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Hold onto this verse and breathe in the courage, let it soak into your spirit and let it rise within your heart and then chase down your fears one by one.

Hang in there warriors

I recently shared with a dear friend of mine my feelings of weariness. She began to pray and interceed for me and she sent me these beautiful words. They encouraged me so much that I had to share them with you…

…She is weary, weary of body, weary of spirit and weary of heart. She is weary not from corporate battles or legal wrangles, she is not weary from pursuing her right in life, or adding to her career. Her weariness does not come from over exertion in pursuit of a firm body or from pursuing her own lifestyle goals.

Her wariness comes from the front line battle; she is a weary warrior, a warrior on the front line. My friend stands with a directive from the King, her armour on, her sword at the ready, her stance defensive and…. she does the washing, cooks dinner and loves the little people God has brought into her life.

To all appearances my friend looks like the mother of young children, but in reality, God’s Supernatural Reality, she is a destiny bender, a generation changer and one of the scariest warriors the enemy has every faced.

She is a mum.

And with every act of kindness when she is overwhelmed, and far beyond herself, she brakes enemy strong holds. With every deep breath, followed by a word of wisdom supplied by Grace she is shaping and moulding the next dynamic generation of Gods Kingdom people. With every sacrifice of self, she robs the enemy of what he wants most – hurt, alone and damaged children.

She is laying down of her own life, for her children. She gives up so much, so much of herself, her needs, her wants, her time, her energy and she does this to impact tomorrow, and SHE IS impacting tomorrow beyond even what she is aware of. Her daily tasks are having eternal consequences with heavenly rewards.

Hang in there my warrior friend, your story has not stalled, it is not lost amongst the piles of dishes and baskets of dirty laundry. In fact you are at the climax of your story, the part where everything matters most! You are in the battle, battle weary but not overcome, tired but not defeated, low but victorious….{written by Sian Birch}

Hang in there warriors, you will be victorious!