Monday, December 3, 2012

Peace & Joy, In The Midst Of Chaos

I don't know about you, but it seems like the closer it gets to Christmas, the more frantic and hectic our lives become. We never seem to have enough time or money to do the things we want to accomplish, and then there are those innocent little molehills, that somehow suddenly become like gigantic mountains, looming over us, threatening to steal our joy and peace.

Holidays can be difficult for other reasons as well. Loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, heartaches, financial difficulties, health issues, and other circumstances and struggles, that always seem to escalate during the holidays, and we often find ourselves overwhelmed, exhausted, emotionally depleted, and most of all, so far removed from the peace and joy this special season should bring us.

We tend to lose sight of what the true meaning of Christmas is all about; the wonderful gift of a Savior, God's precious son, sent to us in Bethlehem so long ago. Yes, it is wonderful to have treasured Christmas traditions; the exchanging of gifts, the baking of delicious cookies and treats, the decorating of our homes, and the pleasure of celebrating with loved ones and friends. Somehow though, we tend to get all so caught up in the preparations, that by the time Christmas is finally here, we have lost our holiday cheer, peace and joy. It is a sad situation we find ourselves in.

Today I came across a special quote that I would like to share with you. Its meaning speaks volumes, not only during the Christmas season, but all year long.

"Peace is not the absence of noise, trouble, or hard work. It is to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."  Anonymous

It also reminds me of this scripture, found in Philippians 4:7

"Now the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

If you look carefully at the next verse, the scripture tells us how this is accomplished.  It reminds us to focus, or to think or dwell on certain things; those things, which are the things that will empower us to remain calm, have peace and joy, thoughout the chaos of a busy holiday season, or whatever storms, trials, or difficulties that you are currently facing.

It comes as no surprise, that one of the most favorite Christmas Hymns is: "Silent Night." Imagine what would happen if we would allow ourselves to become still and silence our minds from all the chaos and confusion, and focus our minds on the things mentioned in Philippians 4:8. I believe we would then begin to feel God's peace that passeth all understanding fill our hearts and minds with those things that are eternal.

Let us prepare our minds and hearts for this special and holy advent season. Let us shift our focus and perspective at least momentarily from the craziness, and be still and listen, and hear the voice of God. He calls us to a place of peace, a place of calm; a place of serenity; will you join me there? 

Wishing you God's peace, love, joy and comfort during Christmas and everyday!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Faith Versus Fear

Faith versus Fear.
Wow, I know that God has recently put this subject matter on my heart and I cannot shake it; and so, I feel (finally) compelled to just pull up my big girl panties, (so to speak) and face the subject head on.

I, dear readers, have been living in fear; not just a little fear, an entire room of fear. Have you ever been there? Now in that room of fear, I am not just in there with fear alone; Oh, no! Fear brings it's best friends over too, which include doubt, unbelief, worry, lies, anxiety, depression and sometimes many more, and we have a great big party. They provide more than enough food for fodder to keep me there, confined in that room with them; financial difficulties, crisis, being single, difficult circumstances, drama, insecurity and so forth and so on. Fear is cunning and crafty, it works on our most vulnerable points and attacks us with a vengeance. It wraps it's tentacles around us and grips us with all it's might; keeping us as it's prey. When we even think about leaving the room, fear rises up with another obstacle, blocking the door to the way out, keeping us trapped in it's domain of negativity. 

We know that fear is not of God. We know that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind. But how do we overcome fear, and get to the part of power, love and a sound mind?
Thank goodness, God has provided us with the weapons to overcome fear, and help us to break free from it's deadly clutch on us. Fear's greatest enemy is Faith. Faith you see, has the power to overcome fear, however, faith by itself is not enough to overcome fear. The only way to overcome come fear is to combine action with our faith. Let me explain. We can have faith and believe that God can deliver us from our fear, however, God requires something from us as well, and what that is required is action. When we take faith and combine it with action; that is taking action on our faith and what we believe about God, and His promises for our lives, then that allows God's miracles to transpire in our lives. So, to make it simple, here is the equation for conquering fear:
Fear plus Faith plus Action = Freedom and Deliverance!

Remember the room of fear I mentioned earlier? We can have all the faith in the world, but until we take action on that faith, and start taking steps to actually walk out of that room ( that's the action part) we will remain there, paralyzed in fear's control. Let me give you a few examples: For years I felt God calling me to write, but fear kept me from picking up a pen, or going to the computer and writing; but until I was willing to take action; starting to write this online blog and sharing it with others, I remained a victim of fear, paralyzed that I was not good enough to put myself and my writing out there for the whole world to see, (and criticize) or so, I felt. Another situation in my life was I had a desire to paint. Again for years the only thing I did was have faith; I bought the paints, the brushes, the canvases, and they sat there gathering dust. I looked at other painter's works and thought to myself; "I am not good enough, I can't paint like them," and so there I sat in the room of fear. But once again, until I added action to my faith and actually picked up a brush and attempted to paint, I stayed firmly planted in my fear.

One of the most powerful tools fear uses against us is Lies. Fear causes us to view our life, our circumstances, situations, our hopes and our dreams through the distorted lens of lies, to prevent us from living the abundant, powerful, amazing lives, God has planned and intended for us. Instead of looking to God for our strength and hope, fear teaches us to view life as a victim; that everything is hopeless, impossible, and the biggest lie fear tells us is that we don't deserve anything better.

Instead of using the lies of fear when we are going through a difficult situation, such as, oh, I am struggling financially, I don't know how I am going to pay this bill; we should use our faith, and take action by reframing our thoughts and saying, wow, I am in a financially crisis, God, I give this need to you, I wonder what amazing way you (God) are going to meet this need in my life! Then stop worrying about it; wait and see what God reveals to you, and trust that God will present an opportunity for you to make the extra money to meet the need. Now, this does not mean we are to sit on our laurels and do absolutely nothing, but to fearlessly take steps (without fear, anxiety, or worry) towards working towards that goal, knowing that God is already working behind the scenes, preparing things to work out for our advantage.

You see, fear is comfortable; it becomes like a warm comfy coat we wear, and if we allow it to, it can become our comfort zone. Faith and action allows us to step out of that comfort zone, out of the room of fear and into the world of wonder, of hope, of the possible and the miraculous.

What about you? Are you living in the room of fear? Be brave, be fearless, use faith and action, and leave that room immediately. You deserve to live an abundant, joyful life, you've earned the right, and more importantly, God has great plans for you. Take the leap, and see what is waiting for you! 

Blessings to you on your amazing journey,

Lolita ~ aka Lulabelle