My computer was freaking out today, so I did what many do. Actually, the only thing I know to do since I am certainly no tech wiz. I restarted it. After the screen went black for a moment, I heard the start-up music and within a few minutes my computer came back to life and began working as good as new! Phew!!
Have you ever needed a restart? Ever needed to hit the reset button on yourself? I’ve just experienced this in my own life over the past 2 months. 2013 was a stellar year in so many ways, but as the year was coming to a close I found myself overwhelmed. To put it mildly, I was dazed and confused. I had somehow lost my focus and my world and life seemed very blurry. There were circumstances that were approaching that I didn’t know how to handle. Problems were arising with no answers. I kept repeating this phrase in my mind, “I don’t see any way for this to work out.” For me, that particular phrase always leads to the same place….panic and worry. Many of you know my story and the stones I carried for so long, my old buddies, Fear and Anxiety. Well, my old unwanted “companions” were back. It took me a while to realize it, but it was true, so I decided it was time to hit the reset button.
That’s how I began 2014. I decided to reset. I heard a pastor preach a sermon a few years ago about what to do when you’re exhausted, overwhelmed and fearful. He said, “What do you do? You stay by the stuff!” What did he mean by that? Pressing in to the One who should always have my gaze and digging into the Word. So that is exactly what I did. I did a version of a Daniel fast, prayed and spent more time in the Word. I stepped up my intensity level with these things. Now please hear me. I’m not saying any of this to make myself sound like a spiritual superwoman. I’m most definitely not! Desperate times call for desperate measures and “desperate” was my middle name.
I mention this because I wonder if there is anyone else out there that needs a restart? Have you lost focus? Are you feeling overwhelmed with life and all the demands that come with it? Maybe even full of worry about how it’s all going to work out? Let me encourage you to press in to your Heavenly Father and to dig into His Scripture. If you’re already doing that, let me encourage you to step up your intensity level by even including some form of a fast.
I went into that desert time with a lot of questions. Do I have all of the answers now? No. But peace has returned and I’m learning how to trust at a deeper level. And my Father has indeed been wooing and teaching me along the way. I’ll be sharing some of the things I’ve been learning and some of the things I’ve been questioning in future blogs, so stay tuned. But for now, stay by the stuff. It’s the only way to come back to life.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Philippians 3:13-14, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Do you have things in your past that you want to forget? I know I do. Poor choices, painful circumstances, tragic loss are just a few of things that we all experience that we would rather forget. But what about the pieces of our pasts that were joyful and brought great pleasure to our lives? The good ole’ days as some like to call them. Do you want to forget those?
I find it interesting that Paul says there is one very important thing that he does: he forgets what is behind and strains toward what is ahead. He forgets or neglects the things of the past and instead he pursues or chases the goal ahead. For many of us, it’s hard to let go of the past no matter how good or how tough it was. I know there are events that will always be logged in our memories, but I believe Paul is talking about living in the past.
Where are we living? God doesn’t want us living in the sorrows OR the joys of yesterday. We each have a life that is worth living right now. He has something special for us in this current moment, but many of us are missing it because we are so focused on our pasts.
I have a good friend who says, “I choose what I dwell on.” She has experienced deep pain in her past and after taking the appropriate steps to work through it, she has allowed herself to heal by choosing not to dwell on it anymore. She chooses to forget or neglect it and lives in the now. What an important lesson for all of us to learn. Both the triumphs and the tragedies of the past are done. There’s no going back. We must press on. There is too much life yet to live and I don’t want to miss any of it!
Where are you living?
Let’s Connect On Twitter: @KimTabor @FinallyFreeTM
Nancy Turner is a new friend of mine from Moody Radio. I had the privilege of being on her show, This IsThe Day, a number of times last year. During one of her shows she shared with her listeners what her “word for the year” was. She chose a word to focus on that represented an area she wanted to grow in throughout the year. I thought that was very interesting, so I decided to pick a word for 2012: Trust. I wanted to learn to trust God in a deeper way than ever before. When I look back I can see so many different events that occurred that gave me an opportunity to develop my level of trust. Some were extremely difficult, but I’m grateful. I’m definitely still a work in progress in this area!
As I’m journeying through 2013 I realize there is another word that is coming to the forefront for the year: Surrender. What does it truly mean to surrender every single part of my will and being to Christ? And I mean EVERY part. There are things that I easily surrender, but I’ve been asking Him to reveal to me the things I still hold too closely. What do I still want to control in my own life? Do you know what happens when you ask God that kind of question? He answers! It’s funny how that works. 🙂 And the answers have been VERY revealing. I have some work to do in this area for sure.
So the year 2013 will be known as my year of surrender just like the year 2012 was known as my year to go to the next level of trusting Him.
What’s your word?
Let’s Connect On Twitter: @KimTabor @FinallyFreeTM
This morning I’ve had the new Chris Tomlin song, “Whom Shall I Fear,” playing over and over again in my home as I work. What an amazing reminder that the One true God is all powerful. In fact, He is the Commander of the angel armies! Just stop and think about the sheer magnitude of that statement for a moment.
Depending on what translation you read, there are many times throughout the Old Testament that God is referred to as the Lord of hosts or Lord Almighty, in other words, the God of the angel armies. He is the Great Warrior who battles for us! The God that fought for the Israelites as they were being pursued by the Egyptians, is the same God that fights for us in the battles we face each day in our own lives. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” -Exodus 14:14. Is there a battle raging in your life today?
You crush the enemy
underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield
though troubles linger still
Whom shall I fear?
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always? Really? This has been a tough week in so many different ways. Every time I turn on the news I’m reminded of the lives and homes that were lost in OK. So much devastation. There are senseless killings here and abroad…..one person horrifically claiming “an eye for an eye” as a reason for brutally murdering an innocent man walking down the street in London.
Then there are things happening in our personal lives. Really tough things. A sweet friend of mine had been praying for a liver transplant for her mom and it looked like God was working to make that happen. Tiny miracles were happening along the way and she and her mom were both clinging to that each day. Over the weekend her mom suddenly took a turn for the worse and she passed away a few days ago before a liver became available. Be joyful always?
Joy in the midst of the storm is only possible with Christ. I don’t know any other way to say it. Is it difficult to live above our circumstances at times, you better believe it is. But it IS possible and I’ve got to choose to have enough faith to live that out in my own life. The verse from 1 Thessalonians wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t possible. God’s not a game player using us as His pawns for entertainment. He wouldn’t tell us to live a certain way if it wasn’t attainable.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS! And I thank God for that! It’s only when I keep my eyes fixed on Him that I have any chance at all of living above my momentary troubles still finding joy in life.
Today you may find yourself on a mountaintop or in the midst of a valley. Either way, I would love to hear what is bringing you joy today? Sometimes it’s good to just write it down as a reminder to ourselves. You can comment below.
I love to read and occasionally I like to post what I’ve been reading in the hopes that these books can challenge others as well. God has gifted so many in the area of writing and I’ve gleaned little treasures from some wonderful books through the years. Here is what is impacting me currently:
Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning – I read this book or portions of it at least once a year. I don’t know anyone who writes more honestly or sincerely about the grace of God and our desperate need for it. He challenges me to look at things from a different perspective and I love that. Brennan finished his race here on earth a few months ago and he will be greatly missed.
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen – What a powerful book about the parable of the Prodigal Son. I never realized I resembled not only the prodigal, but also naturally the elder son. Most importantly, I should strive to resemble the Father in the story. What a great reminder.
Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James – Have you ever heard the term ezer-warrior? Carolyn discusses this term and what it means to be a woman today and an ezer-warrior for the Kingdom of God. Women are strong and brave and it’s time we step up to our battle positions for His Kingdom!
The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson – This book has forever changed my prayer life. What do you want God to do for you? Is it ok to even ask that question? Mark talks candidly about deep desires and what happens when we seek God earnestly and “pray through” for His inspired desires in our lives.
The Freedom Of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller – This is a power-packed little book. It’s only 44 pages long, but I have most of it highlighted. “What are the marks of a supernaturally changed heart? A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating person or a self-loving person, but a self-forgetful person.” Wow. A deeply convicting book.
I would love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these books or if you want to share others that are impacting you right now.
If you were to sit with those who know me best, I think they would tell you that I’m a pretty passionate person. I feel VERY deeply about certain things. If you were to sit across from me and start a conversation about one of my passions you would notice some things immediately. The more passionate I am about the topic, the louder and faster I begin to talk. My heart will start to beat more quickly and my eyes will get wider. I’ve been told this by people who know about my passion “issue.” J I’ve been thinking about the things that get my “juices flowing” and I’ve formulated a list. It’s not an all-inclusive list, but just a few of the things that come to mind immediately. Some things on this list you might think are ridiculous, but I have some degree of passion about each of them. It’s just who I am.
I’m passionate about:
My husband – BT is an amazing man and I’m overwhelmed by his love.
People being wronged or abused – Nothing gets my blood boiling faster or hurts me more deeply. I wish I could stop it all from ever happening.
My dog – The Soph is a bundle of love.
My friends and family – God has given me some amazing people in my life and I’m so grateful.
Football – Both real and fantasy!
Politics – we may not see eye to eye politically, but we will definitely have an entertaining conversation about it!
Food – I love and appreciate a good meal.
Singing – I want people to feel what I’m feeling when I sing.
My Savior and the freedom and grace He so freely offers.
Helping others realize their God-ordained freedom.
The last two things on that list just completely consume me. There is nothing I enjoy talking about more or feel more deeply about than God and the freedom He has available for everyone. This past year I have been so blessed to be able to share that message with women all across the country. Here’s a little glimpse of what a Finally Free Conference is like! For more information on bringing a Finally Free Women’s Conference to your church or gathering, visit the Tabor Ministries web site.