Why We All Need To Move From Busy To Best

Have you ever considered yourself to be a busy bee or perfectionist? Even if you haven’t, here’s a story to consider.

Why We All Need to Move from Busy to Best

The mammogram room. The one place on earth where I feel utterly out of control and, well . . . exposed. If you haven’t had one yet, don’t worry; it’s not so bad. It’s about as pleasant as you would imagine. For the uninitiated, try this to get a similar effect: Strip down in kitchen, open refrigerator door, insert one breast, allow strange woman to slam door on it, hold your breath, die a little inside. Switch sides. Repeat.

I got my yearly mammogram last month, and as usual, a familiar fidgety anxiety rose up in me. It’s not the procedure itself that bothers me the most. It’s the callback.

Every year, a nurse recommends that I return to the office for follow-up testing because my breast tissue is very dense, which makes tumor detection difficult. (I’m a little emotional over the fact that you and I have already become so close that, by paragraph three of this blog post, we can talk openly about breast density.)

Last month, I got another callback and returned for a follow-up ultrasound. The ultrasounds are typically lengthy because my breasts are not only dense but scattered with cysts. Those cysts, on first glance, can look like tumors. As you can imagine, the ultrasound appointment is pretty stressful until they check everything out and give me the all clear.

At my recent appointment, the ultrasound technician remarked about my cystic, tangled breast tissue: “My, my,” she said, waving an ultrasound wand at the screen, “you have very busy breasts.”

Yep. Busy breasts. It’s a thing. Go figure: Even my boobs are busy.

I’ve always been a busy girl. Maybe you can relate. People ask you how you’ve been, and more often than not, your answer is “busy.” You are busy from head to foot—and in my case, a couple of places in between. Busyness is the natural by-product of a responsible woman like you, whom others depend on. You never intended to hop on the hamster wheel, but once you find yourself spinning, you aren’t sure how to get off.

I needed to move from busy, so I could confidently live at my best.

One way that I moved from “busy” to “best” was by taking the advice of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Her advice is found in John 2:5: “Do whatever he tells you.”

She spoke those words in Cana, at a wedding reception.

At the reception, the servants discovered that the wine had run out. This would have been considered a major faux pas in first-century Galilee.

I totally love how Mary responded. She took decisive action, marched up to her son, and delivered the news: “They have no more wine.”

Jesus responded, “Dear woman, that’s not our problem” (John 2:3-4, NLT).

At that point, Mary could have taken matters into her own hands and headed to the market to buy the wine. But because she trusted Jesus, she spun toward the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you” (verse 5).

Do whatever he tells you. This, my friend, is the original #FixItJesus.

Imagine what our lives would be like if we let go of our lists and did whatever Jesus told us to do.

“Do whatever he tells you.” Ask the Lord every day for your instructions.

“Do whatever he tells you.” Say yes to the invitation to partner with him.

“Do whatever he tells you.” No matter the task, the assignment, the deadline. Ask him to guide you, and then obey his commands.

“Do whatever he tells you.” Become so intimately familiar with the voice of Jesus that you can recognize it. Then say yes to the things he’s asking you to do.

Do whatever he tells you.

We need those five words to guide our daily decisions. The world is a buffet of choices: which college, which church, which job, which friends. That’s the big stuff of life.

But think of all the seemingly little decisions you make every day: which work tasks to undertake, which direction to go, which doctor to choose.

It can all feel terribly overwhelming, and I have so often been tempted to make choices that suit my interests rather than God’s.

I have spent too much time putting Jesus on my to-do list and calling it good. Let’s ask for his list instead. Let’s move from busy to best.

BIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.

Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.

Reading Isaiah

March 12- May 6th we are reading Isaiah in our Women In The Word Bible group. Isaiah is a book with a lot to absorb, filled with prophecies and passages describing a future anointed King. I wonder what it was like to read Isaiah before the prophecies were fulfilled?

As we read through Isaiah, I pray that we can understand better the plan God revealed in prophecies and how they are fulfilled through Christ.

Isaiah 1&2 we see God listing off the sins of Israel, His disobedient children. But we also notice God’s character never changes, He loves His children and has a plan for salvation. His wrath and anger do not over power His love for us.

Isaiah 1:18

Come, let us settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are scarlet, they will be white as snow; though they are crimson red, they will be like wool”

Here is a cross reference my Bible gave me for today’s reading. (She Reads Truth HCSB)

Luke 24:44-48

44 Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

Lord,

We are so thankful for your plan of salvation and redemption through Christ. We are so very undeserving, but somehow Your love conquers all sin. What a beautiful image that we are washed clean, white as snow. I pray that as much as we can recognize our sin, we recognize your amazing grace even more.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

#ReadingIsaiah Chapters 1-2 in our #readingplan for #womenintheword

Are you looking for a community of women to encourage you in your quiet time with God? Find free reading plans, encouragement, prayer and community in Women In The Word here https://m.facebook.com/groups/565967863743071

2018 “Digging In” Schedule!

In 2018 I will personally be slowing down through my journey of the Bible. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through the Bible in 2017, I cannot believe the year is almost through and I have been able to read through the Bible. It hasn’t been perfect, but God has been so faithful to help me get through. What I have realized is it is a lot to read the Bible in one year without slowing down to be able to absorb more. However, it’s been so wonderful to be able to “consume” the big picture of the Bible. I am now ready to slow down, continue in my Bible journey, and limit 2018 to reading only 10 books. I will be posting my schedule and reading plans for those who would like to join my pace, as well as sharing some of my favorite published reading plans for those who may want to go through the entire Bible in 2018! Here is the year’s schedule, I will be sharing the Genesis checklist very soon with a special invitation to my women’s reading group.

This schedule includes a break for prayer/review in between each book of study. It also will be a 5 day Reading Plan, meaning 2 days of the week will allow for prayer or time to be able to read missed readings.

Genesis — January 1- February 4

Romans — February 12 – March 4

Isaiah — March 12 – May 6

Exodus — May 14 – June 10

Acts — June 18 – July 29

1 Samuel — August 6 – September 2

2 Samuel — September 10 – September 30

Gospel of John– October 8- November 4

Philippians– November 12 – November 25

Gospel of Luke– December 3-December 30

You’re invited to walk slower with me or find a reading plan that is speaking to you for 2018. The goal is to get into the Word, spend time with God and expand our prayer life together! Stay tuned for a printable checklist PDF for the 2018 “digging in” schedule.

God Bless,

Jessica

A Prayer For Grace (Morgan Harper Nichols)

If I could make just one requestThat would mark all the days I have left

I’d rather not be known for treasures and fame

Or trophies and accolades I know will fade
Instead I would rather be known

By the kindness and love that I show

To be known for patience and long suffering

A giver of life by the words that I speak
So with every breath You give to breathe

I pray it’s Your glory that they see

And of all the words this world could say

May they say I was full of grace
I’ll be the first to confess

I’m not always found at my best

But Lord be my strength in those moments I’m weak

And I’ll keep on giving the grace I’ve received
So with every breath You give to breathe

I pray it’s Your glory that they see

And of all the words this world could say

May they say I am full of grace
And finally when I see Your face

And I’ve reached the end of my race

I don’t want to be known for finishing strong

But as someone that Your grace carried all along
So with every breath You give to breathe

I pray it’s Your glory that they see

And of all the words this world could say

May they say I am full of grace

May they say I am full of grace
Full of grace

I wanna be full of grace

Enter to Win!

I’ve been thinking of a really fun way to spread the word about THE WORD! Yes, I’m talking about The Bible. 

Have you ever set a goal to read through the entire Bible, perfectly, without one missed single moment? End to end January 1 – December 31? 

Yeah, me too. 

That’s not going to happen without some imperfection thrown in there. That’s called LIFE! 😀 So, I’ve actually been reading through with lots of friends and I’m learning a lot about grace. 

We can work on getting into the word every day, brush off and pick up when we miss some days and keep meeting with God. This Bible is perfect for that! With the days broken down into bite size pieces and devotionals to go along, it’s the perfect way to jump in. 

So I’m giving one away! You can enter here

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I’ve been thinking of a really fun way to spread the word about THE WORD! Yes, I’m talking about The Bible.

Have you ever set a goal to read through the entire Bible, perfectly, without one missed single moment? End to end January 1 – December 31?

Yeah, me too.

That’s not going to happen without some imperfection thrown in there. That’s called LIFE! 😀 So, I’ve actually been reading through with lots of friends and I’m learning a lot about grace.

We can work on getting into the word every day, brush off and pick up when we miss some days and keep meeting with God. This Bible is perfect for that! With the days broken down into bite size pieces and devotionals to go along, it’s the perfect way to jump in.

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American Idols.

• 1 Chronicle 16

• Psalm 106

• Matthew 19
Not all idols look unfaithful to the world, but all idols will cause a stumbling block in faith. 
Psalm 106:36

They worshiped their idols which led to their downfall. 

In Psalm, their idols were pagan and they even sacrificed their children. 
Vs 37 goes on to say “They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. 38 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the man’s with murder”

Very recognizable as a major idol! We read this and we are disgusted and filled with horror. What an awful idol! Why would anybody consider going forward with this?

However, this is still happening even today here in America. Let me explain, and just consider my point of view. 

As a nation, worship the idol of convenience, ideal families and perfect timing and there is blood shed. Innocent blood is shed daily as our society accepts the freedom to choose abortion. Babies, our sons and daughters, are sacrificed. I am not saying this to condemn anybody, but to show you there are many kinds of idols. 

To many, abortion seems to be a horrendous sin, worse than any other kind. But to God, sin is sin. An idol is an idol. 

Read on to see another idol, may I suggest that God views it to be just as ugly, but it is much more commonly embraced and even encouraged in some of society’s churches. 

Matthew 19:21-22

Jesus told him, “if you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow me. 

But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 

In Matthew, the young man seems to choose his wealth over following Jesus. He is sad for he had many possessions. Worshiping the idol of wealth and possessions is the same in the eyes of our God who tells us to put Him first. Wealth is worshipped in America on many levels. We worship a little g god of perusing our dreams, getting the bigger house and the next promotion. Why is that accepted?
So, I share these two instances and encourage you to read these chapters in context for yourself. 

The point of today is to be still and ask God, what idols do I have? What am I putting before you? 

It may not be obvious to us. Not all sin is blatantly evil to our own eyes, but God will show our hearts where we need to change. 

God, 

Reveal my idols and give me strength to remove them and keep you as my One True God. 

Help me to recognize a prideful heart and any other type of idol that I may fall into the trap of. 

Help me to put you first, help me to purify my heart. 

In Jesus name,

Amen 

Satan, Society & Sinful Hearts

Happy May Day! 
• 1 Chronicle 14-15

• Psalm 132

• Matthew 18

Matthew 18:33 NLT

Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? 

Observation

The story of the unforgiving debtor:

(My own recap)

A man owed his master more than a million dollars. His master was going to sell him & his family to pay his debt. The man begged to have his master be patient with him, so he may pay him back. The master had pity on him & forgave his entire (very large) debt. 

The man who was forgiven then went to his servant who owed him only a few thousand dollars. He demanded to be paid back immediately. When his asked for a little more time, he denied it and threw him in jail. When the debtor’s master realized he had done such a thing to his own servant after being forgiven, he became angry. He threw the servant in prison to be tortured until he paid his entire debt (which likely was never). Matthew 18:35 reminds us, “what’s what my Heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart”. 

I want to suggest that society often conveys to us that we can hold power by holding unforgiveness. We can have the upper hand with a grudge. We can make others (sometimes those we love), work for forgiveness, that perhaps it’s something they need to earn. On the contrast, God’s word is quite vivid about this topic. 

Forgive to be forgiven. 

We are forgiven of much, we need to forgive even more of others. We see a steep warning more than once to forgive others. Satan, society and our sinful hearts make it tempting and desirable to hold hostage unforgiveness, grow grudges and hate and makes it feel even like a reward. However, it grows bitterness in our hearts, and it is a major sin. How can we forgive others? We need to pray for help. Sometimes the only possible way to forgive is to do so with the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember, forgiveness isn’t recognizing what somebody did wasn’t wrong, it’s releasing ourselves from holding hate towards them and embracing grace that’s been bestowed upon us and showing it to others. 

Dear God, 

Satan makes me feel like unforgiveness, hate and grudges are a reward. Remind me they’re anything but that, they are a punishment to my own soul. Soften my heart and help me to realize the debt of my own sin, that is much more than I recognize, and let me show that mercy to others. Also keep me humble, don’t let my heart become prideful or arrogant because I have forgiven others. I have no room in my soul for pride: forgiveness is not something I have earned. 

Lord help me to walk through each day as a reflection of you. Forgive me when I am hateful. If I am holding anything against someone in my heart, please reveal it to me and help me forgive them immediately. 

Thank you God, 

In Jesus Name,

Amen 

Psalm 139

This was in my reading plan yesterday, and the whole psalm is just too wonderful not to ponder again! I encourage you to open your own Bible today and soak it up. This is the New Living Translation. What are you reading from? I’d love to know. 

Psalm 139

Psalm 139

For the choir director: A psalm of David.


1 O Lord, you have examined my heart

    and know everything about me.

2 You know when I sit down or stand up.

    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

3 You see me when I travel

    and when I rest at home.

    You know everything I do.

4 You know what I am going to say

    even before I say it, Lord.

5 You go before me and follow me.

    You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

    too great for me to understand!

7 I can never escape from your Spirit!

    I can never get away from your presence!

8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;

    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.

9 If I ride the wings of the morning,

    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

    and your strength will support me.

11 I could ask the darkness to hide me

    and the light around me to become night—

12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

    Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 You saw me before I was born.

    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

    before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.

    They cannot be numbered!

18 I can’t even count them;

    they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up,

    you are still with me!

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!

    Get out of my life, you murderers!

20 They blaspheme you;

    your enemies misuse your name.

21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?

    Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?

22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,

    for your enemies are my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 Point out anything in me that offends you,

    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Is your Storm > Faith?

Yes, you read that right. The storm is often greater than our faith. Especially when we are brand new to having faith.  That’s the awful truth and reality of life and all that we go through. We know in our hearts that God is good and trustworthy, but when we look up and realize the intensity of the waves and the wind, fear can strike us and paralyze us. The more we grow in our maturity of faith, the goal would be to have faith unshakable. Trust that conquers all storms. But we don’t start there. It’s a trait given to us only by the Holy Spirit. It is not in our nature to go through storms without fear. We first have to know God and His character, and then we can grow our trust. 

Today in my reading plan:

• 2 Samuel 1

• Psalm 140

• Matthew 14

{{ By the way, It’s always exciting to get to a new book in the OT. I’ve never read this far. So I am really thankful for a lot of grace this year as I journey through the Bible. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s not meant to be. If you’re ready to read the Bible every day, join our Year Of Grace 2017 Bible Reading Group }}. 

Today my verse is Matthew 14:31, however, I feel I need to share the context. So, here’s the context. 

Matthew 14:14-33 ESV

(English Standard Version)

14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Wow. So that’s a lot to take in. Let’s observe. Keep in mind this is immediately after Jesus has been told John the Baptist had been headed (v 1-13). 

• Jesus heals the sick & shows compassion 

• Jesus feeds the 5,000 using only a few loaves of bread and a few fish!!! 

• The disciples leave on the boat 

• Jesus sends the crowd home after a day of healing and miracles, then he goes to pray by himself. 

• A mighty storm brews while Jesus’s disciples are at sea, so Jesus walks out to the boat during the storm!!! 

The disciples are afraid, thinking Jesus is a ghost, Jesus responds “do not be afraid”. 

• Peter needs proof, so Jesus tells him to walk out to Him. 

• Peter walks out towards Jesus, on the water, but he realizes how terrible the storm is, sees the wind, becomes afraid and begins to sink. 

• Jesus asks why Peter doubted? “Oh you of little faith”

• The disciples (Finally??!!!) realize Jesus is the Son of God and they worship Him. 

A: Application 

Why did Peter doubt that Jesus would keep him safe? He had literally just that day witness Jesus making the miracle of feeding more than 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish!! Plus, Jesus healed the sick! My goodness, we really can pick Peter apart here. However, we can really relate to this if we stop and think. We are so much like Peter.

How many times does God answer prayer and the very next “storm” we encounter, we completely forget God’s faithfulness?? 

Can you imagine Jesus speaking to you, “oh you of little faith, why did you doubt me”. OUCH. And yet, we all know there have been times where we saw the storm, became afraid, lost our sight and sank!! So, how do we get through the storms of life and assure our faith > the storm? We keep our eyes focused on Jesus, we keep walking, we don’t focus on the storm- we focus on our Savior.

There’s no getting around the fact that life is difficult. We have hardships, disease, death, loss, uncertainty.. and the list goes on and on. 

We can sink in the paralyzingly fear of the unknown, or we can walk with Jesus and keep our eyes focused on Him. 

What does this look like? It may look a little different for each of us, but there are some core concepts. 

• Prayer & Daily time with God

• Bible study

• Scripture Memorization

• Fellowship with other Christians 

• Following the love actions of Christ (serving, sharing, giving, etc) 

Ask God to help you grow your faith and make it solid. Be prepared for battle, Satan will do whatever he can to deter us from the path and faith life God has for us. Satan loves to fill us with fear. Remember that true love casts out all fear! (1 John 4:18) 

Dear God,

Please forgive us when we take our eyes off you and focus on the storm. We are more reactive to fear than the Word and Promises of God more times than we’d like to confess. Forgive our little faith and doubts. 

Grow our faith. Help us to become disciplined in walking with you. Help us to cling to you and reject fear. Lead us and compell us to follow. 

Let our faith be something that others can see and wonder how we can go through life storms and not be shaken. Give us opportunities to share YOUR HOPE. You are the hope of the world. 

Thank you God, 

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen