Staying Positive in a Negative World

We live in a negative world. Maybe it’s always been this way, but seems worse because of social media. I don’t really know. But closer to home, I look back and see that I’ve always been surrounded by negative people. I didn’t know any different as I was growing up, but as an adult I can see it now.

Remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh? He was always expecting and waiting for the worst. He’s cute in the stories, but I don’t think I could hang out with him for long periods of time. And then I realized…I do have Eeyores in my life. I always have. Maybe you do too.

I think I might have even been Eeyore-like. After all, it’s how I grew up. So, when I encountered negative people, their behavior didn’t seem that out of line. Then, over the years, as I started to really see God’s work in my life, I also began to see everyday life differently. I know bad things happen, but waiting for them seemed pointless. Worrying about what might happen tomorrow means I either worry for no reason when it doesn’t happen, or I’ve spent extra time worrying before it was necessary.

Worry for tomorrow takes away from today.

But, let’s face it, we will spend time with people who spend most of their time worrying. So, what can we do when we feel like we’re surrounded by negativity and encounter Eeyores on a regular basis?

Please join me at Candidly Christian where I'm sharing some things I do to keep from following others down a pessimistic road. Perhaps you’ll find them helpful as well!

In Christ,

[Photo credit: Candidly Christian]

Fear is a Bully...But God is Stronger

A few nights ago my daughter and I started talking about the future—our hopes, possible plans and our fears. Late at night isn’t my best time for this type of conversation, but there we were. I was already tired and a little emotional and I found myself getting stuck on the fears. I felt it when it started—the tight feeling in my chest and tears threatening to spill, and I knew I had to interrupt my thoughts.

We decided to call it a night and get ready for bed. Sometimes a change in activity or topic of conversation is all it takes to change the mind’s focus. But often times, it’s not that easy.

I reminded myself that while what I feared was possible and could happen someday, it wasn’t imminent. As far as I knew, it wasn’t likely to happen, in the near future…or at all.

Fear can be a bully. It wants to stop us in our tracks and paralyze us from moving forward. Fear wants to spoil today and make us dread tomorrow.

Please join me at Candidly Christian where we're talking about fear and reminding ourselves that God is stronger and more powerful than this bully....Fear is a Bully (But God is Stronger)

In Christ,

[Photo credit: Candidly Christian]

3 Steps to Turn Your Mood Around

I'm still on a summer blogging break, but I don't want you to miss an article I'm sharing at Candidly Christian today. I hope you'll join me there for 3 Steps To Take When You Need An Attitude Adjustment!

I’ve had those days. I’m sure you have too. Those days when one annoying thing happens, then something else goes wrong, followed by another…and in a short amount of time, you find yourself grumbling about everything, and maybe even taking your frustration out on others.

I’m not talking about life changing events that have no choice but to turn your day upside down. I mean the little inconveniences that take extra time; the toddler tantrums or snippy attitude from your teen; the task you forgot to get done; and the situation that didn’t go according to plan.

They add up to equal a sour mood that can last all day, and even into the next day.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can take control of our attitude, instead of letting it control us. {Tweet this}

Please join me at Candidly Christian to continue reading... 3 Steps To Take When You Need An Attitude Adjustment.

In Christ,

[Photo credit: Candidly Christian]

Linking up with: #TellHisStory, InstaEncouragements, Purposeful Faith, Let's Have Coffee, #RechargeWednesday, #TuneInThursday, Worth Beyond Rubies, Faith 'n Friends, Grace & Truth, Spiritual Sunday, #FaithonFire, Kingdom Bloggers

Our Mistakes Do Not Define Us

Years ago, I was in an office conversation with co-workers laughing over the fact that no matter how many times we proof a document, it seems a typo or error will be found just after the e-mail has been sent or 1,000 copies have been printed.

“I always wonder what mistake I’ll be remembered for,” someone remarked. Light-heartedly, I said, “We are not defined by our mistakes.”

But, as I walked away I kept thinking about it. Isn’t that something we all need to be reminded of?

Our mistakes do not define us.

Yes, some mistakes are big and are remembered for quite a while.

But they do not define us.

Define means to describe, detail, or to state the meaning of. (

We can describe our mistakes, but our mistakes do not describe us. {Tweet this}

The enemy will try to tell us otherwise. He will tell us that our mistakes are who we are.

You can’t do that; you’ll mess it up, you always do. You’ll never get it right. You’re such a mess.

Remember what you did last week? That’s who you are. That’s what everyone thinks of you.

But God trumps the enemy every time, and He says we are not defined by our mistakes.

God does not describe us by our failures…or our successes—and that’s freeing because God’s love is not dependent on what we do, or fail to do. We are loved by God, not because we are perfect, but because we are His.

He knows we will make mistakes. And from those mistakes comes growth. Our successes and failures may help shape us, but they are not our identity.

We are who God says we are. And God identifies us as His own—Chosen. Forgiven. Loved. Redeemed. {Tweet this}

I may make a real whopper of a mistake, one that takes some fixing and apologizing for. But it’s not who I am. And when my co-worker makes a mistake, it’s not who she is.

Remembering this reminds me of grace. The grace God gives. The grace I ask for from others. And the grace I want to extend to those around me.

Our mistakes do not define us. God defines us—as His own loved and cherished children.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”

Wishing you a safe and happy summer! I will be on a blogging break for the next few months.

In Christ,

[Photo Credit: / This post was rewritten from a one I originally wrote for 5 Minutes for Faith.]

Hope in the Wait

I remember as a child waiting in anticipation for my birthday or for Christmas to arrive. Time moved slowly and the waiting dragged on forever.

As an adult, that time moves much more quickly. It seems like Christmas is around the corner again before last year’s gifts are put away. And waiting for birthdays isn’t quite as exciting anymore.

Waiting for the calendar page to turn—that’s not so hard. Until time ends, one month will flow into the next, guaranteed.

But waiting on God is hard. Some days it feels impossible. And other days it takes me right to my knees in tears and frustration.

Perhaps you’re waiting on God too...

…for physical healing.

…for employment.

…for a child to come home.

…for a relationship to be restored.

…for a loved one to come to faith.

Whatever it might be, there will be days when waiting on God is just too hard.

Days when I think I cannot do it one more day. I can’t wait patiently without worry and fear. And on those days, peace gets edged out. In its place are anxiousness, nausea, headaches, tears, depression, anger, and despair.

Despair that feels like hitting bottom, where there’s no place deeper to go—because with despair comes hopelessness.

Hopelessness covers the world in darkness, but not completely. Never completely.

Because the darkness can never extinguish the Light.

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.

Jesus came into this world to show us the Light—His Light that never dims. It never goes out. {Tweet this}

We may become blinded to it at times, but it’s there, shining like a beacon—a symbol of hope leading us back to Him.

For where there is Light, there is hope. Always hope.

On the days when the waiting feels like too much—there is hope. {Tweet this}

Hope for a better tomorrow.

Hope that what we’re anticipating and waiting for is right around the corner.

Hope that soon God will reveal His plans for us.

Hope because God is in the wait with us—strengthening and comforting—bringing rest to the weary and calm to the panicked—picking us up when we hit the ground in despair.

Waiting for the seasons to change becomes methodical. Waiting on God never does.

We may not know what’s coming next, but God does. Our waiting and our future is in His hands.

His safe, strong, and more than capable hands.

In Christ,

**There are times when sadness and despair don’t improve. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression (ex. emotions you can’t control, fatigue, lack of energy, not being able to sleep, always wanting to sleep, and/or thoughts of self-harm), please don’t be afraid to seek help. Getting help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.**

[Photo credit: / This post was rewritten from a one that originally appeared on 5 Minutes for Faith.]

Learning to Trust God

Several years ago we were at the beginning of a long walk through health-related issues with a loved one. It was recommended that we visit the Mayo Clinic, so we made the appointment and waited three months until the scheduled date. In the meantime, I worked with the insurance company to request the necessary preapproval.

When I finally received the letter, I was disappointed to read that our request had been denied. Disappointed isn’t the right word. My immediate physical reaction, without being able to control it, was panic—stomach in knots, hands shaking, light-headedness—panic.

While my body took longer to settle down, my mind knew immediately to turn to God. I prayed and told myself we had time, but more importantly, God had a plan. 

I consciously reminded myself of what I knew to be true—God had this under control. I didn't know how and it didn't matter. The more I prayed, the calmer I felt and that sense of peace stayed with me. {Tweet this}

And then one day, in a conversation, I caught myself saying, "I really hope I'm not wrong, but I have a feeling God has this under control."

Even while I was in the middle of the conversation, it troubled me… I really hope I'm not wrong?!?

Where was the confidence I'd had? Why was doubt creeping in if I really believed? {Tweet this}

Please join me at Candidly Christian to continue reading where I'm sharing three things to remember when learning to trust God.

In Christ,

[Photo credit:]

Linking up with: Kingdom Bloggers, #TeaAndWord, #TellHisStory, Purposeful Faith, InstaEncouragements, #RechargeWednesday, Let's Have Coffee, Worth Beyond Rubies, #TuneInThursday, #HeartEncouragement, #FaithonFire, Faith 'n Friends, Grace & Truth, Spiritual Sundays

Energizing Verses for Every Day

I rarely watch daytime television, but every six months when I go to the dentist The Price is Right is already showing on the screen above the patient chair. Since I don’t know what else is on and I don’t want to flip channels and extend my appointment, I leave it.

Whenever I see it, I wonder once again if excessive amounts of caffeine are required before the show begins to induce the level of excitement (screaming and jumping around) exhibited by the audience—and especially the contestants. Last week, one woman even looked as if she might hyperventilate.

But as I watched, I had a new thought…what if we started our days with even just an ounce of that energy? Not the jumping around and screaming so much, but the enthusiasm to see what might happen.

What would that look like?

* A positive outlook of what the day might bring.

* The desire to see what God has planned for us.

* The willingness to step up, out of our comfort zones, to follow where God leads.

What if the Good News You have been forgiven! stirred the same excitement as You could win a brand new car! {Tweet this}

Whether it’s the anticipation of the game or the longing to hear your name called, The Price is Right has been around for a long time.

But, the new life we have in Jesus has been around much longer and it will never end. There will never be a change in hosts, and we don’t have to wait around hoping to be called up to the stage.

And…we don’t have to work to earn a prize because Jesus has already done the work. He has already been the sacrifice. He has already given us the way back to God.

Once and for all, Jesus has conquered sin and death. He calls us to Him every day and God’s love and grace can’t be taken away. {Tweet this}

Winning on a game show and earning our five minutes of fame might be fun and exciting, and that’s okay. But, what Jesus gives is joyful and everlasting.

He’s there when the days are not fun and fame is a burden.

He’s with us when we don’t think we can walk through the hardest of situations.

He doesn’t leave us when we make bad choices and hurt ourselves and others.

And He doesn’t walk away or shoo us off stage when we don’t have the correct answers and we don’t know what to do next.

And that’s something to look forward to every day.

Just a Few Energizing Verses for Every Day

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

In Christ,

[Photo credit:]

Change Offers Opportunity

I'm trying to look at unexpected change differently. Instead of scary and unknown, which it can be, I'm trying to look for what it might offer.

Unexpected change offers unexpected opportunities. {Tweet this}

Like the change itself, I don't know what those opportunities might look like, but I want to know they are there.
It's a matter of having a positive outlook, rather than a negative one.

It's not easy. Some changes can be devastating and it takes years to work through the grief. I know that. 

I'm talking about the types of changes that can be fearful or challenging, depending on our attitude—looking for a new job, meeting new coworkers, moving, or doing something outside of our comfort zone.

Fearful is walking through the day with dread, assuming anything new will be bad.

Challenging is walking forward with an open mind and without preconceived assumptions, trusting that God has a plan. It doesn't mean everything will be easy or perfect. It means we don't make new opportunities more difficult because of a bad attitude.

When we only see what we stand to lose, change is frightening and depressing. But when we acknowledge what we might lose while at the same time looking ahead at what we might gain, it feels different. 

Change itself is unsettling, but when we look for new opportunities there's also a glimmer of hope. {Tweet this}

And when hope is there, it changes everything. Whether or not we see it is up to us.

In Christ,

[Photo credit:]

Comfort in the Storm

A few nights ago, I had to comfort our cat, Raven, during a thunderstorm. She's not usually affected by the weather, but something had her scared. So I held her and talked to her. I made a blanket tent for her to sleep under and sat with her until she felt brave enough to burrow under the blankets.

Once she was calmer and safely tucked under her tent, I went to bed. But before I fell asleep, I thought about her need for comfort and how we're not much different in this respect.

Aren't there times we all need to feel safe and to be reminded that we're going to be okay?

Maybe it's not a thunderstorm, but a situation that makes life feel out of control.

The diagnosis.

A relationship that's falling apart.

Sadness and grief.

Financial struggles.

Or so many other possibilities.

Sometimes God will change what's going on around us, but often He will provide comfort for what's going on inside of us instead. {Tweet this}

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

Because He comforts us first, we are able to comfort others. 

We may not be able to change someone's circumstances, but we can be there just to sit and let her know she's not alone. {Tweet this}

I couldn't stop the thunderstorm, but I could comfort Raven when she was afraid.

I couldn't stop my mom's cancer last year, but I could sit with her in her pain so she didn't feel alone. 

So many things we can't control, but we can be there.

Even when we can't understand the situation or the pain, just being present can often be enough. It validates another person's emotions. It says, "You don't have to walk through this alone."

And perhaps, as God works through us, it even shines some light into the dark places in our lives.

In Christ,

[Photo credit:]

Our Potential

Have you ever really messed up? Maybe it was a mistake or a poor choice, but it was something so big you didn’t see a way to come back from it. I imagine we all have.

Jesus’ disciple, Peter, might have wondered the same thing. On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing Him, not once, not twice, but three times. That’s a big thing to come back from and Peter probably didn’t see a way for that to happen.

But although Jesus knew Peter would deny Him, He also knew something Peter probably didn’t know about himself. Jesus knew Peter’s potential and who Peter would become. And Jesus knows the same about us.

Jesus doesn’t just know who we are now, but who we can become through Him. {Tweet this}

Jesus knows we’re going to fail and make major mistakes, but He also knows these are opportunities for growth in our faith, and in who we are becoming. Jesus knows our potential.

Jesus knew Peter would mess up by denying Him, and yet, he told Peter,
So I will call you Peter, which means “a rock.” On this rock I will build my church, and death itself will not have any power over it. Matthew 16:18 CEV
Wow. Jesus knew Peter would be the foundation of His church, even while he knew the mistakes Peter would make.

Peter came back from his betrayal. Not because of something he did, but because of who God is.
The women went into the tomb, and on the right side they saw a young man in a white robe sitting there. They were alarmed. The man said, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was nailed to a cross. God has raised him to life, and he isn’t here. You can see the place where they put his body. Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” Mark 16:5-7 CEV
Especially Peter. He wanted Peter to know that He had not turned away from him. Peter’s betrayal was not too much to come back from.

Perhaps God is whispering to you today, especially you.

What choices or mistakes are keeping you from Jesus?

God’s forgiveness covers anything we think is just too much. He knows our hearts and hears our confessions. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

God knows who we are and who we can become through Him.

He knows our potential long before we see it in ourselves. {Tweet this}

Think your mistakes disqualify you from work in God’s Kingdom? They didn’t for Peter and they don’t for you. Peter looked for Jesus and followed Him. Peter’s mistakes became his testimony of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His story was part of God’s story.

And, whether we realize it yet or not, our stories are all part of God’s love story.

How do you feel when you think about your potential? Does that feeling change knowing that God already knows what your potential is with Him?

In Christ,

[Photo credit:]

The Strength of God’s Armor

I don’t know what you might be dealing with this week, but I know several people who are feeling under attack from the enemy. I am too. So, I’m happy to be re-sharing these words which first appeared at LifeLetter Café several years ago.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

I like The Avengers super heroes—each one an individual, but together, a super force.

Captain America has his indestructible shield and super strength. Thor has his mighty hammer and super strength. Iron Man has his dynamic suit of armor, and through it, super strength.

Their powers and weapons, both offensive and defensive, vary, but they all have super strength…and it all comes from outside of themselves through chemistry, technology and power from other "worldly realms."

Here in the real world, we're not fighting against fictional villains, but we do have a very real enemy...Satan. We are in the midst of spiritual warfare, and to fight the battle, we must armor up. {Tweet this}

Fortunately, we also have a Source of super strength—God. He provides what we need when we need it.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul reminds us of this. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

Not by our own might, but through God’s. God’s strength. God’s power. For us.

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
We don't have to go to extreme measures and different sources to acquire the strength and weapons we need. God provides what we need to stand strong against the lies of the enemy. We just have to be willing to turn to Him, and ready to don the protection He offers. {Tweet this}

Scripture spells out each piece of the armor God provides.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Stand your ground against the enemy with:

The belt of truth – the truth of God’s Word and who God is. Knowing the truth helps us identify and see through the enemy’s lies.

The body armor of God’s righteousness – through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are made right with God. Satan will try everything he can to make us believe nothing can make us right with God, and that is a lie. Nothing can undo what Jesus has already done for us.

Shoes of peace that comes from the Good News – reliable footwear is essential for all soldiers to advance and engage. For us to advance the Kingdom of God and engage in spiritual warfare, we wear the Good News of the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death for all time. The Good News of Jesus gives us life and enables us to share this Good News wherever we are.

The shield of faith – our faith in Jesus Christ is the shield that protects us from everything the devil throws at us. The flaming arrows of Satan’s lies cannot penetrate strong faith that rests solely in our Lord—in His truth and righteousness.

The helmet of salvation – the knowledge of our salvation through Jesus Christ protects us from believing the lies of the devil.

And finally…

The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God – our only offensive weapon against the evil of this world. The Holy Spirit, who lives in every believer, works for us and through us, enabling us to share the Word of God with others. One by one, building a strong offense against the enemy.

In Christ,

[Photo credit: / This post first appeared as a Find It Only Here on Friday feature at LifeLetter Café.]

When You Long for Change

Some seasons in life feel longer than others, don't they? Hard days run together and weeks become months. 

Although we can find positive moments in each day, the years are still trying. We grow weary and change looks difficult. Maybe even impossible.

I don't know where today finds you. Maybe you're trying not to lose yourself in the long days of motherhood. Or perhaps it's financial or relationship trials. Or health issues, loneliness, grief, disappointment, trying to move forward from poor choices, or recover from a trauma you experienced at the hands of another. 

It seems everyone has something they wish could be different. Everybody is dealing with something.

If change or improvement looks like it will never happen for you, hang in there. Nothing is impossible for God. {Tweet this}

What He has planned for our lives may not look like what we're hoping for—and that can be hard to accept. But it's often not until we can look back, sometimes years later, that we are able to see how the pieces fit together. And that what we walked through was part of His grand plan.

Encouraging Verses for When You Long for Change

Luke 18:27 NIV
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Psalm 40:1-3 NLT
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 94:19 VOICE
When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul.

Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Habakkuk 2:3 NLT
This vision is for a future time.  It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Psalm 32:8 NLT
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

Isaiah 40:31 NLT
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 43:2 NLT
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

What Scripture verse(s) do you find encouraging when you're longing for change?

In Christ,

[Photo credit:]