You plus 10

What do you want your life to look like in 10 years? Who do you want to become?

My husband and I have been asking ourselves these questions thanks to Bob Goff. If you’re not familiar with Bob, he is full of life, wisdom, and whimsy. During one of his messages, he spoke about asking these two important questions in order to inform our current decisions.

I recently made the decision to leave my corporate job to pursue a different, non-traditional path. I have a passion for writing and for women’s ministry, and have always dreamed of becoming an author. I did not take the decision to quit my job lightly, but felt God consistently nudging me to make a move. I’ve worked in sales and marketing for 10 years now, why would I leave something so safe? What are people going to think? What if I don’t have what it takes?  But I couldn’t deny the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It was as though I was elbow to elbow with him, and every day he nudged a little more.

Have you ever felt these nudges? It’s so easy to ignore them isn’t it? We like to play it safe, especially when it comes to our careers. But what if there’s more for you? What if what makes you glad and the talents God has gifted you with are meant to intersect?

I haven’t met Mandy + 10 yet, but I hope she’s cooler than ever, full of life, and fabulously brave. I hope she’s stronger in her faith. I hope she’s written a book or two and that she’s gained a fabulous community along the way. I hope her marriage is thriving; filled with unconditional love and joy. I hope she can look back on her decisions with a heart of gratitude. Most of all, I hope her maker is proud of her.

So, in any area of your life, whether its your career, relationships, health, and more, what do you want your life to look like in 10 years? Who do you want to become?

When we Sit, we Forfeit

“I need to tell you something.”

He had my full attention. As I stood in the middle of a hot, humid gym, I looked into the dark brown eyes of a friend. He nervously wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead, and slowly began to speak.

“Mandy, the Lord has been nudging me all day to remind you of something. I didn’t want to listen, but I told Him that if I saw you today, I’d tell you. The Lord wants me to remind you that He lives inside of you. You have joy in your heart.”

My eyes began to tear up as I let his kind words of truth sink in. His heartfelt obedience was a clear reflection of the words we read in James.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22 (NLT)

I don’t know why doing what God says can be so challenging at times. We fight, wrestle, and run until we think we’ve escaped what God is calling us to do. We negotiate. We overthink. We believe that if we sit on something long enough it will eventually go away. Like pushing down an air-filled beach ball in a pool of water, over time, the ball resurfaces.

But here’s what I’m learning to embrace: when we sit, we forfeit.

When we sit on a nudge or command and choose to push down the promptings God places on our hearts, we forfeit stepping toward a God-ordained opportunity. If my friend would have walked away from what the Lord was placing on his heart that day, he would have forfeited an opportunity to remind me of who I am in Christ. I would have missed out on receiving a gift of godly encouragement.

What I love about God, is that even when we choose to forfeit, He doesn’t stop offering opportunities to keep trying. He’s not a one-and-done type of Father; He’s a redeeming Father. Opportunities resurface, and whether we boldly run with them or not, He waits with open arms filled with forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

As you begin your day today, and every day, know that chasing God-ordained opportunities beats forfeiting. You may be the precise vessel God wants to use to start a church, grow a business or simply encourage someone. God, in all of His goodness, will help you where He leads you. Your influence has impact.

GUT PUNCHED & FANCY FREE — TAKE 2

Earlier this year, I felt pressed to do a fast. I shared previously about how completely selfish I was… how completely selfish I am… because, let’s be honest, I’m still working it out all day, err’day.

After me and Jesus settled the issue of when I would fast, we had to tackle the what. I knew He was asking me to give up food. Not just certain foods like I had previously done, but ALL foods. Ugh. I wanted to pretend like I couldn’t hear Him or feel His nudge on this one. I began reasoning with Him… again. As if the second round of reasoning would yield a different result than the first (I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of insanity).

My excuses this time?

EXCUSE #1:

I have kids. Have you met them, God? I need all the energy I can get in order to take care of them.

EXCUSE #2 (And one that I use often):

I’m just not sure I’m “called” to give up ALL foods.

EXCUSE #3:

Every time I have tried to give up all foods before, I have never been able to follow through. I inevitably break my fast within a matter of minutes to hours. So how in the world do I think I am going to be able to do it this time??

His response? “Why don’t you ask Me to help you?”

What? Ask You for help on something that I’m doing for You?! That just doesn’t seem right. I wouldn’t ask a friend for help on something that I was doing for her.

I’ll be honest. In all of my years of following Jesus, in all of my years of hearing about fasting and participating in fasting, I never once thought to ask the Holy Spirit to help me with it.

Oh friend, how often we do this in our daily lives (or at least I do). We begin doing things for God and forget to ask for His help. I am so often guilty of this. I feel like I should be doing it all by myself since it’s for Him, but that’s not what He’s asked us to do. He wants to help us. He wants to do things withˆus. He wants to do things through us.

He made it very clear in a talk that John recorded. You can find it in John 15:4-5.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

The thing is, I knew this truth. I had even given a talk on it just a few months prior! Most of us who are Jesus followers know this truth, yet we seem to forget it or not give it the seriousness it deserves. Jesus wants us to bear fruit and do great things, but He doesn’t want us to do it apart from Him or without Him. He wants to do it through us.

If we don’t ask Him to help us and stay connected to Him, we can do nothing. That hurts to hear sometimes, because I like control, and I like to work hard and achieve things. I also really do enjoy doing things for others. So when I am doing things for God, I like to achieve it on my own. But that’s not how He’s designed it. And boy, is that freeing.

So whatever you’re doing. Whatever you’re working on. Whatever the daily grind is for you. Whether you’re mom-ing, wife-ing, running a business, working at a business, blogging, writing, designing, creating, serving, leading — don’t do it on your own or in your own strength. The only thing that will yield is exhaustion and frustration, and eventually, you may throw in the towel. Instead, if you’re a Jesus follower, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. There is no situation or struggle or mediocre task that He doesn’t care about, and that He isn’t willing to help us with.

So what are we waiting for?