Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stressed-Less Living - Melanie's Blog - Focusing on God not Circumstances (Melanie S)

This blog was originally written to address those working to become 'healthy' in body, mind,and spirit;  by giving up bad habits and creating good habits.  The God Habit, The Healthy Habit, and the list goes on.

However, As I read Melanie's blog today, I couldn't help but think about how this relates to our Proverbs 31 study, Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles. Sounds like Melanie is feeling just like me, stress affects every area of our lives, including the making and breaking of habits.  Tracie talks in Chapter 5 about how it affects our health and wellness.  We are learning so much about stress and how to handle it.  Once again Melanie's post resonates the fact that we are so prone to react to life's circumstances - we take our focus off of our Heavenly Father and put it on our circumstances "stressors", which causes a domino affect. The results - we begin to self sabotage ourselves - pick up bad habits - focus on life's happenings instead of our Heavenly Father.  How do your prayers look over areas you are struggling with?   Are you asking God to change your circumstances? or are you praying He will change your heart so you will reach out and find peace in Him?  Are you focused on Him or every issue in your life preventing no room for Him?  Are your life circumstances driving you - or is God's Word?

Read Melanie's awesome blog below.  Pay special attention to the end when she talks about Peter being able to walk on water, UNTIL he took his focus off Jesus ~ WOW. 

Melanie's Blog:

Oh my, every topic I have written on is an area I struggle with – an area that I need help in.   God is good and He wants the best for you and me!  How exciting!!
OK, so we know that a habit is developed by repetition.  A bad habit is broken when we stop doing something over a period of time.  In this chapter, Joyce Meyer tells us to focus our attention on one habit at a time.   We cannot try to develop multiple habits and make drastic changes all at one time – it just won’t work.   Joyce gave us some examples in this chapter.   One thing that has helped me drink my water is carrying a gallon jug of water to work with me and filling my water bottle from it.  By seeing exactly how much water I drink helps me make sure I get in the recommended amount of water daily.  Another thing that helps me is when I buy snacks in bulk, I have to go ahead and break them down into single serving baggies.  Otherwise I am too tempted to have more than a serving.  If I want more, I have to make the decision to go get another baggie.  It makes me stop & think or I could say that it makes me “re-focus”.

She also suggests putting reminders around the house.  These need to be positive reminders.   Oh how many times, when starting a new diet or exercise plan, have I sabotaged myself by negatively focusing on the things I can’t eat or can’t do.  Focus on the positive…the healthy choices you are making, the way you feel after completing your exercise plan, the positive changes happening in your body, the new dress you have chosen for your reward, etc.
You might decide to create a “vision board” for your new habit to help serve as a reminder of your goal.   Check out for more information.

Jesus calls us to fix (focus) our eyes upon Him.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Keeping our focus on Jesus will give us strength to persevere.  As our key verse, Philippians 4:13 reminds us – We can do ALL things in Christ who strengthens us.

In Matthew 14:28-36, Peter walked on water by faith until he took his eyes off Jesus.   He allowed doubt to take his focus away.   Where is your focus today?  Are you focused on Jesus or focused on the difficulties of life?    Keep your eyes on Jesus and let Him guide you to victory!!
Father God, thank you for each lady working on tackling her temple – mind, body & spirit.   Help us to let go of all the things that hinders us and the sin that entangles us so that we can run with perseverance the race You have marked out for us.   Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, to follow your example so that we can become the women You desire us to be.  As new habits are developed and bad habits broken, let us rejoice and thank you for the blessings You provide as we know none of it is possible without You.   Thank you for loving us so.  In Jesus name, Amen

What have you found helps you stay focused on the new habit you are developing?   Share with us below.
May God bless you abundantly!

Love & big hugs until next time,

Stressed-Less Living ~ Matters of the Heart

Peace is not a matter of life or circumstances; it's a matter of the heart.   ~Tracie Miles

Have you noticed the pattern of our lives?  Each life tells it's own story.  I sat in a circle with some wonderful Jesus girls this week and we took each other down the paths that were our lives.  As you can imagine we all had one thing in common.  Not a single story was without circumstances that affected us emotionally ~ that affected our hearts. 

This week in our Stressed-Less bible study we met Hannah.  Hannah was the barren wife of Elkanah, but she was not his only wife. Elkanah was also married to Peninnah who had multiple children.  The family lives in the book of 1st Samuel which carries us through the trials and tribulations Hannah faced.  She was barren, Peninnah was not. The marriage alone was difficult, although acceptable in biblical times ~ can you imagine sharing your husband?  To make things even more difficult, Peninnah taunted Hannah constantly.  This was not a marriage 'made in heaven'  or was it?

I grew up in a great neighborhood with girlfriends to play with.  I have some awesome memories of amateur concerts in my basement singing along side of Captain and Tennille, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, The Beetles  (it was the 70's what can I say!).  Beside our house was a long open grassy field that hosted many of the neighborhood football games, and hanging on the power lines were chestnuts connected by twine that had been thrown up around the lines.  We played kick the can after dark, our one street light being 'home' base.  The Bills stadium was close enough that we could ride bikes to it and did.  I remember watching OJ Simpson (in better days) during open practice times through a chain link fence. Even today I feel all warm inside as I remember those times.

Unfortunately,  the pattern of our lives is that each life comes with circumstances ~ mine was no exception.  My family was a bit on the dysfunctional side - well, maybe a lot on the dysfunctional side.  We had daily circumstances that eventually led to divorce after 19 years, my father struggled with alcohol, and I lost my mother in a car accident at 12 years old.  I was moved 750 miles away to another state, and my 'big' brother stayed behind to continue his life in the only place we had ever known.  That separation was devastating.  I didn't realize how much until I became an adult and knew I had missed out on a relationship with my brother. Not to mention, I would never bond with my niece and nephews.  It was yet another tragic loss.  With the move I  met with a culture I didn't know, and started with yet another set of life's circumstances ~ a pattern ~ just in another time and another place.

I now know we serve a powerful and mighty God. A God that can change any and every circumstance that arises if he chooses to.  How many of us went through life (and maybe still do) crying out to God to take away the circumstances, to change them, or just MAKE THEM STOP? I used to.  If I'm honest I still do at times.  Tracie teaches us in this chapter that God is not interested in changing circumstances, He is interested in changing US through those circumstances. WOW. 

As a result of our circumstances, we have stories to tell. We have testimonies of redemption. REDEMPTION!  The turmoil of our past or  the circumstances of our future do not have to not set the bar for how we live our lives today.  Our heavenly father is begging us to come to Him for all things. His heart breaks when we are blind to His grace and mercy.  A grace and mercy that can forever set us free from the bondage caused by circumstances. When we open our hearts to Him and reach out to Him for all things we will come to know peace and joy.  We will have the ability to face circumstances in a whole new light.  A powerful and never-ending light. The light of our Heavenly Father.   He is a Father looking to change our hearts, not our circumstances.

~ Dear God, today I reach out to all that are suffering today as a result of circumstances.  I pray Father that their hearts be softened and that they reach for your light in the midst of whatever they may be facing.  We know you are the answer Father.  The ultimate and only solution to every situation. We thank you Father for being our Rock. We thank you for the opportunity for everlasting life in a place we can only imagine, with You.  Thank you for each person here that has a story to tell, a story you planned.  Thank you for Tracie, for sharing her heart with us and opening our eyes to ways through you we can battle the stress that we face every day while living on this earth. We love you Father. We worship you. It is in your Holy and Most precious name we pray.  Amen

If you don't know our Heavenly Father as your light, reach out today. Right now. Ask Him to come into your heart, to change your heart. Ask Him to forgive your sins. and let today be the day of a new beginning.  A beginning with a Father that is always there, always with us and regardless of our circumstances can fill us with peace and joy. FREE - there is no price to pay.  He already paid this price for us when he died on that heavy dreadful cross, yet a cross that signifies promises of everlasting life with Him in a place we can only imagine.  

In His Precious Light I Stand,

<3 Kelley

Must Read Books!

  • A Confident Heart, Renee Swope
  • An Untroubled Heart, Micca Campbell
  • Crazy Love, Frances Chan
  • Fit for My King, Sheri Rose Shepherd
  • Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst
  • Radical, David Platt
  • Winning Him without Words, Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller