How to Love the Life You Live, part 2

 

Love the Life you Live, Part 2.jpg

If you missed part 1 of this series, you can check it out here.  Part 1 focused on comparison and how that can steal our contentment.  In part 2 of this series, I am going to give you three practical ways to Love the Life You Live.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

One way to Love the Life we Live is to realize we are in this together, ladies. God gave us each other so we could grow, learn and share life together. None of us has it completely together, but there is someone who is further along on this life journey than you that you could go to for advice, prayer, or encouragement. Join a women’s bible study or ask someone to mentor you. Invite someone to coffee and ask them how they have handled similar circumstances in their life. Make that appointment with a counselor to help you through a tough season. Invest in relationships with the women in your life. Have a community, a tribe, a squad, whatever you call it, just have good people around you.

Another way to Love the Life you Live is to simply practice gratitude…like the Scripture says: “Be joyful always, give thanks in all circumstances.” I’m going to give you something practical and easy to do that will help cultivate thankfulness in y our life and allow you to see God at work more clearly. Start a gratitude journal. I have a gratitude journal where most days, I take a few minutes to write 5 things that I am thankful for. It really doesn’t take more than a few minutes and it boosts my spirit immensely.

Do you know what I realized once I started doing this? That most days I don’t want to stop at just 5 and that throughout the day, I begin to notice little things that I want to include in that day’s list. It may be something small, like a tiny hand inside of yours as you walk through the store, a sweet text from you husband, breathing in the smell of outside air right before a rain, a good talk with a girlfriend, a perfect rose flowering in your yard. And sometimes it will be bigger-sometimes you will see God answering prayers you’ve been praying for weeks, months or years.

A third way to Love the Life You Live is to recognize truth and live in it. We get a lot of messages these days about what a woman should be like. We should be strong but soft. We should be loving but firm. We should be independent but not bossy. Can I tell you something? You were fearfully and wonderfully made. God created you in His image. Whatever you are gifted at, God made you that way. Your eye color? The way you smile? Not accidental. Purposeful. Put into place by a loving and powerful God. You were fearfully and wonderfully made by the God of this Universe. And that’s the truth. Live in that.

I think about the times when God doesn’t look like we think he should, or he isn’t taking action in the way we expect and we might honestly wonder, “Is that really you, God?” or “Where are you, God?”  At times like that, I’d like to encourage you to just listen to His voice. Let his Word be your guide and take comfort in the truth that He is there. His voice of love should be louder than the other voices in your life.

whatever season you are in, EMBRACE IT.

So I want to encourage you that whatever season you are in, Embrace it. On those days where you are tired of practicing multiplication tables with your third grader, going to high school with some mean girls, wiping another snotty nose, attending another PTO event or listening to a business call, playing chauffeur, cook, maid and secretary, realize that God has allowed you to see special moments that no one else gets to see. What a privilege.

I want to encourage you that whatever role you are in, as wife, mom, stepmom, sister, daughter, babysitter, coworker, consultant, soccer mom, ministry leader, student council member, a caretaker to an aging parent, God has called you to it and equipped you for it.

I want to encourage you that whatever prayers you are praying, He is hearing them. The big answers to prayer may not come in the middle of the heartbreak you are in when you are praying them.

But they do come.

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How to Love the Life You Live, part 1

How to love the life you live

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Live the Life You Love.”  Maybe you’ve seen it penned on cute coffee mugs, t-shirts or magnets.  Maybe it’s lighting up your newsfeed with inspirational photos.  And maybe, dear friend, you are going through a tough season.  So when you see that sentiment, you may honestly think something along the lines of:  “Live the Life You Love….yeah…well, that’s great for a coffee mug (and maybe the person who buys it) but I’m having a hard time seeing God at work right now.  Good for the sweet momma who’s loving her life, but I’m still coming home from work each day and fighting with my husband…dealing with a troubled teenager…being bullied at school…dealing with financial troubles…haven’t been able to get pregnant…was looked over (again) for a job promotion…aching with the loneliness of an empty house…and…”…you fill in the rest.

I’d like to change that phrase up a little and today, talk about

How to Love the Life You Live.

A subtle change, but one that focuses on loving your life, despite your circumstances.

Ladies, I want to talk to you about something I think women of all ages deal with, and that is COMPARISON. And I want you to know that comparison is the enemy of contentment.  Pastor Steven Furtick, a pastor and author from North Caroline puts it this way, “The reason a lot of us deal with insecurity is because we are comparing our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Insecurity

Think about that for a moment.  You’ve probably seen an end of the season highlight reel at an awards banquet or sports ceremony, and it does show all kinds of smiling faces, adversity that has been overcome, and you leave with a feeling of joy and accomplishment!  BUT what those slide shows don’t show is the blood, sweat and tears. The sprained ankles, the games the team lost, the fight that broke out between the coach and the referee. The look on the kicker’s face who missed what could have been the winning point. The behind the scenes stuff.

Even Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram can give us a kind of envy for other people’s lives.  We see sweet family photos, where everyone is smiling and there’s a beautiful filter surrounding it that seems almost magical. And we get envious. What we probably don’t know is that right after that family photo, there was a meltdown from the two-year-old when he pitched such a fit that he threw himself on the ground and busted a lip, crying all the way home while the parents fought in the front seat. But we don’t see that in their sweet family photo. Right?

Now, am I saying you shouldn’t celebrate your sweet moments on social media? Absolutely not. If you enjoy doing that, like I do, then by all means, capture those moments as you celebrate your beautiful life. Social media can be a virtual scrapbook. But I don’t think you should unjustly compare yourself against others. You never really know the back story. If social media causes you to become discontent, consider taking a break from it for awhile…whether it be for a week, a month, on the weekends, or limiting your time there. You might be amazed at how much happier you are focusing on what’s going on in your world instead of imagining what it’s like for others.

Because comparison is the enemy of content.

Part 2 of this series can be found here.