Day 35 – All I Need Is You #30dreamdays

2 Oct

AllINeedSitting down dreaming of being so surrounded by His presence that I have no hunger for anything else.  I’ve been a “Christian” for more than 10 years but I have not been hungry for His presence.  I’ve settled for less than God’s best because I didn’t do my part and seek Him.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

I have not humbled myself.  I have prayed but did I truly seek Him?  I don’t think so.  I’m repenting but I realize that it’s to be expected since I am only really coming to understand what that means.  I could have read my Bible more.  I could have attended more Sunday School classes.  I could have done a lot of things.  Maybe I would have gotten it before now.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have a strong faith.  I believe in God.  I believe that Jesus was God’s son and died on a cross for our sins.  I believe that He was resurrected and now lives inside me.   I BELIEVE I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.

But I have “believed” that in a way that has barely scratched the surface of what that means for ME…NOW.

I have lived off Fill Me Up by Jesus Culture for over a year now.  As I’ve already stated in a prior blog, I have been asking God to move my heart through new songs.  Quite honestly, listening to worship songs is another one of the things I could have done more of.

God has made it clear to me that I am to live my faith out loud.  I trust Him.  I believe that people reading this in October 2013 and for years to come will need to see how people wrestle with God.  How we chase Him and then get sidetracked by a squirrel right before we catch Him and have no good stories to share other than it was a brown squirrel.

I know people of faith and people who want to believe in something…just not God or Jesus…need to hear that I didn’t want this either.  I was minding my own business living my own life when I fell in love with a licensed minister.  Really?  With 3 young kids too?  Does this sound like I went out looking for this?

Looking back I can see how God pursued me.  I started realizing that a few years ago.  I was so in awe of being pursued by Him.  I was amazed at how perfect this ready made family was for ME that I made an Idol of my life and all that He had blessed me with.

He is showing me all this.  I naturally fall into trying to figure out what to do with all this and then I realize that is me back at it…idolizing the puzzle solving skills that I have been blessed with instead of pressing in and seeking more of Him.  More of His revelation.  Do I not trust Him to continue to reveal this to me and help me work out what to do NOW with this knowledge?  Why do I always resort back to “leaning on my own understanding” when All I Need is YOU, Lord.

Day 31 – I Surrender #30dreamdays

27 Sep

IsurrenderSo I originally intended this to be a 30 day challenge.  I decided yesterday that it should be 40 days and intended for these last 10 days to be just between me and God.

In my quiet time I kept asking God for a new song for this new season.   He is faithful and today I discovered the song below. I spent some time in His presence today soaking in this song.   I was excited, so excited that I wanted to share this with you.

Then I had the moment where I felt guilty, like I was violating some promise I made to God by not just keeping this experience between Him & I.

And then I heard it…

Your life and your faith are meant to be lived out loud.

So here I am.  Living my life and faith out loud…I surrender.

“All to You I surrender, all of my dreams, all of me.”  “No turning back,  I’ve made up my mind.  I’m giving all of my life this time. ”

 

Day 30 – God’s Will #30dreamdays

26 Sep

YouProvideTheFireToday is the last official day of my 30 Dream Days Challenge.   It has been an eye opening experience.

I have decided to extend it 10 more days to make it 40 days total but the next 10 will be strictly between me and God.  A lot has come up for me over these 30 days and I know the work that was started will continue long past the 40 days but I need at least the next 10 days to gain clarity on all that God has poured into me through this dreaming process.

I had the pleasure today to meet with Princess Bola Adelani, a powerful woman of God.  We were referred to each other by a common friend and it was obvious to me that this was a God ordained connection.  We’ve been trying to get together for months and set this date up last week.  I did not realize at the time that it would be the last day of my dream challenge but He has a way of working out those details.  It was her words that inspired me to take the next 10 days alone with God to gain greater clarity.

I don’t know what will come of this new connection but Princess Bola is organizing a Call to Destiny Summit in Hartford from Oct 24-26, 2013 and I plan to attend.  Click the link to find out more.  If you are interested in attending with me, please contact me.  I would love to experience this with a group.

At the end of our time together Princess Bola summed up what she heard from me and said “Your heart is crying out to know and do God’s will”.

I know this to be true.  I have known this for awhile.  The hard part for me is clarity on this.  My deep passionate dream is to know clearly the will of God for my life.  When I know that with clarity, I will walk in power and am 100% convinced that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  CLARITY is what I seek now.  I will enter into a time of prayer and fasting pressing in to get that clarity. To my purpose and destiny.

About a year ago, I realized I needed more of Him and less of me.  I cried out to God for a worship song.  One that I could sing in the times when I needed encouragement, when I needed to get into His presence.  One where I could remember the lyrics (as music is really not my “thing”).   I love Revelation Song, especially when this amazing woman at my church Katynia sings it.   But it wasn’t “my song”, at least not at that moment in my life.  I also love Hosanna by Hillsong.   It was also not the song for that season.

Then one day, Krista left K-love on in the car and when I got in and started the car, there it was…

Such beautiful, simple lyrics.  I can remember them anywhere at anytime and this has been the cry of my heart for the last year.

Fill Me Up by Jesus Culture

You provide the fire
I’ll provide the sacrifice
You provide the Spirit
And I will open up inside

Fill me up God
Fill me up God
Fill me up God
Fill me up

Love of God
Overflow
Permeate
All my soul

I have certainly felt the fire over the last year or so.  I have opened up inside.  I know that God is filling me up.  The love of God is overflowing in my life.  It permeates ALL my soul.  I can’t contain it.  It’s all consuming…

ALL CONSUMING…

I will always love this song.  But there is a new season starting.  I am looking for a new song.   My friend Katynia sent the song below to me the other day.  I fell in love with it.  The part that resonates the most with me is the “you can’t buy my silence”.  For me this is the inner turmoil in my own head fighting against itself.  I know change is about to come and there is a voice coming out of me from what God has been pouring into me and I don’t know what to do with it yet.  I just know that I can’t still it.  No amount of money can silence it.  AND I WILL BRING THE NOISE…

STAY TUNED!  The time is now…

Day 29 – Learn from Others #30dreamdays

25 Sep

EmpathyExperimentMy daughter Krista is pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work degree at Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH.  Her Intro to Social Work class just completed a poverty simulation today.  They got to be homeless for a day! The only thing they knew going in was that it would be 27 hours long, they were allowed to bring a sleeping bag, their bible and $3.25. That’s it.  Before she embarked on this journey she posted:

“While I’m kind of nervous, I’m also incredibly excited to see the work God is going to do through this experience! Please be praying for my class tonight! Thank you!”

I have yet to actually talk to her about this experience but below is her post upon completion of the simulation:

“Words can not even describe how awesome that experience was! I mean it was probably the most humbling thing I’ve been apart of and my experience does not even compare to what the homeless go through on a daily basis! I went a couple hours without eating, some go days. I had to walk for hours on end, my feet hurt and I was so tired, but some homeless people do it every single day. I mean the knowledge and resourcefulness of the homeless astonishes me, I doubt I’d even be able to survive on my own for two days, let alone months and years on end. Even with the difficulties that came about during my experience, I still had the comfort of knowing that I could reach my professors if anything too serious happened and that I’d be coming back to my dorm today, with a shower waiting for me, with food, and with a bed that I get to sleep in. This last day was such an eye opening and heart breaking experience but it was also a confirmation that I’m meant to be a social worker. I’m so excited to spend my life helping the people around me!” 

Empathy is a powerful learning experience.  We can develop a deep appreciation for the resourcefulness of the homeless or other’s who struggle with things we pray we never have to actually experience.

em·pa·thy

the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

When people talk of empathy they almost always refer to empathisizing with negative emotions or experience.  I value that ability and consider it a key to connection and relationship.  It also has learning benefits as my daughter Krista clearly articulated.  However, I don’t want to put EMPATHY only in a negative box. I want to learn from others who are passionate and excited about stuff that I know little about.

In college I had to choose a Philosophy or Ethics class to meet the curriculum for whatever degree I was pursuing at the time (I changed my major a few times and attended 3 colleges before graduating).   I chose Philosophy of Religion.  I absolutely loved that class.  It was taught by a Hindu professor and the main “text” we used was Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature by William James.   I misplaced or sold back my copy but was SUPER excited when I realized I could download the Kindle version for FREE from Amazon.  You can too…click on the hyperlink above.  If you don’t have a Kindle (like me) you can download a Kindle reader for your computer and read it on screen, print it…whatever.  My gift to you!

This book is considered “one of the most important texts on psychology ever written, not only as a vitally serious contemplation of spirituality, but for many critics one of the best works of nonfiction written in the 20th century. ”

What I loved most about reading it was that it dug into a variety of religions from the perspective of people who were REALLY passionate about that religion and who felt they had an encounter with the divine.  I didn’t feel preached to or like a target convert, it was more like  I was invited into a love story.

Sometimes I think we just need someone who LOVES something to introduce us to it in order for us to have a deeper appreciation for it.  We may even come to love it just as much, if not more, than they do.  Isn’t that what happens to kids?  Isn’t that how many of us first found the things we love and are passionate about?

Do you think we outgrow this ability?

I don’t like hiking.  Or at least I don’t think I like hiking.  But I have to wonder if my perspective would change if I were to be led through a hike with a person who was so passionate about that activity–the physical, emotional, spiritual side of it and could walk me through it step by step with why they love it so much.  Maybe I just haven’t had the right experience or I just needed a passionate guide.  Maybe I really haven’t even tried it…which I haven’t…not really.

Same goes for gardening.  I am intrigued but really clueless.   I am not passionate enough about gardening YET to bother to try to learn it on my own.  But might that be different if I worked alongside someone who was passionate about it and could share with me why they love it so much and make the hard parts easier?  Might I then spend hours trying to dig deeper and learn more?  Maybe.

I decided to look up Hobbies on Wikipedia to see if I missed anything (I’m still a recovering perfectionist remember) and found a rather thorough list.  The only one I would add to my “interests” that I am not currently pursuing would be Urban Exploration.  That one definitely seems like you would need a tour guide!!!

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I love learning.  I am committed to Lifelong Learning.  I want to inspire others to continue learning, especially those who hated school and who never considered the Varieties of Learning Experience that exist beyond the classroom.

People who are passionate about their interests and hobbies LOVE talking about them with others who share those interests or are curious.  You can learn so much by listening to a passionate person and you are building connection and encouraging that person simply by being interested and listening.  This is how I have kept learning over the last 13 years since I graduated from college.

I never thought of it this way.  But now that I have, I will actively pursue learning from other’s experiences and hope that I will discover even more things that interest and excite me.  I realize this is one of my favorite ways to learn and teach.

What are you passionate about?  Do you like it when people ask you about it?  When was the last time you learned from others?

Day 28 – Do things worth doing #30dreamdays

24 Sep

SayYesWHY do it?  Because you CAN.  Because you WANT to.

I’m not advocating doing anything just because you can or want to but there are some things that are worth doing and we stop ourselves thinking…why am I doing this?  What purpose does this serve? Don’t I have TONS of other things I SHOULD be doing?   The answer to that last one is ALWAYS YES.

However, even though there are tons of other things I should be doing, sometimes doing what I SIMPLY can and want to do IS the thing I SHOULD most be doing.  Sometimes I need to do that thing just for me.  Just because I want to.  Just because it is worth doing.

When I realize that my energy, passion and motivation are on a rhythmic ebb  & flow…I MUST add things into my day that I simply do because I can and want to.  Sometimes those things will be wildly productive in their own right.  Most times, those things won’t.   But those things are THE THINGS that refuel my energy, stir my passion and spark my motivation…and get the flow going.

Do the things that fuel your energy, stir your passion and spark your motivation.   If you need a good reason I simply say…Life is harder when you don’t.

(Image Credit)

Day 27 – Stop Beating Myself Up #30dreamdays

23 Sep

HappyByChoice

This is a repost from Precisely Yourself Life Coaching with an introduction by me.   I not only admire Deb’s honesty, insight and writing style but I can learn a lot from her example.  Sometimes it is easier to not pass judgement on others than it is for us to NOT pass judgement on ourselves.

At least that is something I struggle with.  Today, I spent my day working but I also spent some time researching Ph.D. programs and first steps I might take such as finding someone to interview who can give me an idea of what life throughout that process would REALLY look like.   I didn’t feel like this is worth a whole post, especially because I’ve already declared my dream to pursue a Ph.D.  Then I almost slipped into a place of “beating myself up” because it is 11:30pm and I just started to sit down to write my post.   And, THEN…because of the inspiration that she is, I thought of Deb, and her #JUDGMENT #Clemency post.

I channeled my inner Deb, decided that I would give myself grace and mercy and I would simply share with you my dream of one day no longer beating myself up.  And my 2nd dream would be that YOU don’t beat yourself up either.  If you are looking for a daily dose of positivity to help you in that endeavor, go LIKE Deb’s page on Facebook and you won’t be disappointed!!

Days 20 & 21 dream challenge #JUDGMENT #Clemency

So here I find myself again, beating myself up over not posting daily for the daily dream challenge. On day 19, I focused on clemency, sure that with an extra day’s experience I would have something valuable to say and time to write it up to my satisfaction for sharing. Wrong. But I’m honestly okay with that. I granted myself clemency for the missed deadlines.

I’ve reflected, as I said I would earlier in the month, about the days of this dream challenge month that I’ve missed. During the days that I’ve missed I really was living AND dreaming. I realized these 3 things.

(1) #CHANGE: Sometimes I contemplate change in pursuit of my dreams. When I implement those changes, I’m living my dream.

(2) #FREEDOM: Sometimes I allow myself the time and freedom to dream, but nothing concrete forms right away. When this happens, I might question whether or not I have any dreams, but I know I do have them…and I’m taking the time I need to work out the details.

(3) #OPPORTUNITY: Sometimes I’m presented with an opportunity to do something I’ve never done before, I say yes on a whim, only to discover that I’m living a dream I never knew I had!

All 3 of the above have happened to me in the last year. I’ve decided clemency is an important component of my successful dreaming practice. I have a harsh tendency to judge myself by others’ standards – even when those standards don’t make sense for me; even when those standards are restricting me.

There certainly needs to be structure in life, and keeping track of time is quite possibly the most frequently used measurement of structure…and one that doesn’t work well for me, especially when I try to apply it to something creative: like dreaming.

My friend and fellow dreamer, Nicole Colter, started this #30dreamdays challenge. I wanted to support her, and I wanted to test my ability to dream regularly. I rarely remember dreams upon waking. I feel like my mind is constantly full of purposeful thoughts throughout days and nights, so I just wasn’t sure I was spending time dreaming. Nicole was energized by this project to such a level that I was completely sucked in. Her energy was UP, her creativity was flowing and she was inspired!! Her enthusiasm was contagious! I decided I wanted to go along for the ride. After all, what could be a bigger blast than sharing a vision and a dream with a dear friend??

I have thoroughly enjoyed my days on this dream journey and I’ve learned about myself that it’s possible to support a loved ones’ pursuit of their dream without being directly involved. I have given myself clemency for the days I missed…I didn’t skip dreaming, I skipped posting about dreaming. And I’m checking my judgment to ensure I’m cutting myself a break. Not because I failed the challenge for a few days, but because I didn’t.

Although I didn’t post daily, I’ve experienced all 3 of the above numbered situations this year.

Change: I stopped working for corporate America and started working for myself by officially building a coaching business – I’m working my dream job.

Freedom: I took a tropical vacation with the love of my life and a few friends to celebrate our belated honeymoon and 15th anniversary – a shared dream with my husband. Freedom from daily responsibilities in a dreamy setting!! I contemplated where and how to bring my coaching services to the people who wanted and needed them most – I allowed myself freedom to explore many different possibilities. The answers didn’t come to me right away, and I was okay with that. I have greater clarity because I allowed myself the freedom to dream of various possibilities.

Opportunity: Last week I was contacted by an educator and offered an opportunity to work with a population I hadn’t considered working with. I said yes and I’m elated that I did! I discovered an area of work that I’d not dreamed of before, she I love it!!

This dream stuff is pretty powerful…especially when I set aside judgment, set aside the way it “should” be done and do it my way. Not rushing myself. Not dreaming only at night, or only when it’s quiet, or only at a pre-determined time or space. Dreaming through change, freedom and opportunity works well for me.

You might like a more traditional approach and that’s awesome! Do what works for YOU!! Dreams are meant to be crafted. Take charge!

I hope you understand why I’ve granted myself clemency on the daily post issue. I’m going to try to post a dream a day for the next eight days, but my days might be a little long by your standards. I’m okay with that. I hope you are too.

Dare to dream, friends. Abandon judgment. Dream on your terms – judgment free. It’ll mean more to you. And when you slip up and start judging yourself, remember clemency. Wishing you sweet and powerful dreams!! #30dreamdays

 

(Photo credit)

Day 26 – Lifelong Learning #30dreamdays

22 Sep

TDJAKESI love to learn.  I’m not sure exactly when I realized that.  I always did well in school.  It came easy to me but I don’t remember loving it,  at least not until college when as an adult you choose what you want to learn.

I’ve always been somewhat of a “super high achiever”, but I am working toward recovery.  I no longer seek to achieve simply to achieve.  Now I desperately seek to achieve the things that mean something to me on a very deep personal level.

So when I say I love to learn, I mean I LOVE TO LEARN.  I feel like I spend most of my free time reading, researching, envisioning the future I want to see come to BE.

Learning changes me.  It makes me feel ALIVE.  These days it feels like oxygen.

If you’ve read my other posts then you know that I would love to pursue a Ph.D.   I hope one day to do so.  If I never do that it won’t be because I chose to stop learning and researching.  It will be because I believe I don’t NEED to be part of a program to do either.  I do it everyday.  I choose what to read, what to research…and in case you haven’t gotten the point…a lot of it is on education and how I believe it is insufficient to meet today’s societal needs.

I’ve written about my daughter’s own struggles that drew me into this research.  I’ve written about how mainstream education is outdated and not built to produce United States citizens who are creative and can think for themselves.  I’ve written about the fictitious epidemic of ADHD in our country that is a result, in part, to over-stimulation outside the classroom and under-stimulation inside the classroom.  I’ve written about social entrepreneurs like Angela Jackson who are starting programs to widen the horizons for children who wouldn’t get that without her program.

And now, I want to address all the people out there who are reading this blog.  Did you know that you can take Massive Open Online Courses called MOOCs (such as Coursera) which are taught by professors from universities such as Stanford, Harvard & MIT among others?  FOR FREE…anytime,  All you need is a computer and an internet connection and that is available at the library if you don’t have either.

Not sure you are up for college material?  Try setting up a free account on Khan Academy and you can learn Math from Addition & Subtraction through Calculus.  They also have lessons in Science, History, Economics, Computer Programming…the list goes on and on.

Think you would rather LEARN TOGETHER?  I am considering organizing a Krypton Community College course in Norwich.    Krypton is an educational experiment that launches on 10/1/13.  These courses are led by volunteer organizers (like me) who invite friends (like you) to join them for 4 weeks to learn together.  The first course is based on the work of Seth Godin and is called Go: How to Overcome Fear, Pick Yourself, & Start a Project that Matters.  The curriculum will definitely appeal to creatives and business owners (that’s me & me) but I know for a fact that there are dreams buried deep inside all of us and sometimes it is simply FEAR holding us back.  Or we didn’t get picked for that job we wanted and we don’t realize we can pick ourselves to do work that matters.

Overcome Fears

Pick Yourself

These are soft skills of success and they are available to anyone willing to do the work to teach themselves these skills.  I just did both.  I picked myself as an organizer despite not being sure that anyone else will be interested or whether it will be too hard or won’t work (aka fears).  I did it because I think it is worth doing.   And I did it because I have repeatedly forced myself to do these things and while they get easier over time…I still have plenty of work to do!!!

Excerpt from Seth Godin (one of Krypton’s founders and the developer of the first course) regarding the class.

“The class doesn’t exist to test you on your knowledge. Instead, it’s a safe space to share your experience, to expose your fear and most of all, to push yourself to explore how to do work that matters.”

“My experience tells me that in the world of ‘pick yourself’, the doors are only open to those that actually show a willingness to expose themselves to the risk of walking through them.”

YOU’VE BEEN INVITED.  You can view course materials at this LINK.

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