Month: January 2016

The Worry Transfer…

This is an interesting point about how our fears and worries can transfer to others. It’s in reference to church planting, but I think it’s true beyond that:

Worse, my fear transfers easily to my husband. Expressing my worries, I pull his attention away from God’s promises to us and cause him to grow discouraged.

From pg. 115 out of The Church Planting Wife by Christine Hoover

January: Preparing to Plant

I found that in December I wrote more on my blog because I had unintentionally picked a theme for the month, and then as a result, I had a writing prompt for each week. That theme was Advent. My overall blog theme isn’t super cohesive at this point. I am still hoping that will evolve. I look back and I’m mostly writing about fear, I think.

Well, this month I am going to pick another theme/writing prompt. That theme is church planting. For most of my readers, I’m guessing this theme isn’t that interesting, but it’s where I find myself these days. I feel this need to continue to prepare in all ways possible in this last month, whether it be reading, writing out my feelings or story, building my faith, or dealing with my fears.

So that’s what to expect for the rest of the month on this space: all things connecting church planting and my soul.

My 2016 Reading Shelf: January

Last year, I had a post of 30 something books I wanted to read in 2015. Yeah…that was a fail. While my long-term goal is to read that much, I realize that I needed to break it down more and be more realistic. So, I’ve adopted a Reading Shelf list for January, and I’m not going to add to my shelf until some of the other books come off. That way I am at least accomplishing something. 

Last year, I started a few books, but didn’t finish very many, if any. So my first goal is to finish some of those 2015 books, finish a couple of new ones I started over Christmas, as well as do some “research” reading I need to do this month for a speaking project and a couple of book groups. I also want to keep at least one fiction book on the shelf. So, when I pick a book to read this month, here are the books on my shelf:

Soul Transformation…

The truth about significant soul transformation is this – change is possible, but it is harder than we want and takes longer than we expect.

From The Relational Soul: Moving From False Self to Deep Connection by Richard Plass and James Cofield.

My 2016 One Word: PLANT

plantThe word PLANT came to my mind last week as I was considering a possible theme for my life this year. At first I thought it was a little too obvious considering we are about to plant a church, but upon reflecting on my recent years of life, I think this word adequately describes where I am in my life church plant and beyond. The majority of my life I was a doer. Then God brought that idol crashing to the ground. For the past two years I have had to come to peace with the fact that this isn’t one of the primary descriptors of me anymore. There are seasons of suffering and seasons of rest, reflection and recalibration after suffering. That’s a description of my past two years. But now, by God’s grace, it’s time to start doing again. This time I’m starting that process of doing with different motivations and most importantly, very prayerfully, not to make an idol factory out of my effort.

This year I just want to sow to faithfulness, righteousness, good works, mission, love, joy, peace, study of his word and writing. I want to plant seeds of these things and learn to grow in trust that God is working redemption in all of my imperfect effort. I want to discern better when I am to sow and when I am to wait, and to not be overly concerned with others vineyards or their expectations of the seeds I am planting in my own. And I want to grow in cheering on other’s planting to all things good because I am coming to believe with CS Lewis, “The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.” My sister or brother in Christ, with that huge beautiful vineyard, well…they are not my enemy. They aren’t even my competition. Jesus multiples loaves in his provision. There is enough of His majesty for all of us.

There are seasons in life of suffering and then we take time to recover and rest. And that is okay. But, I’m discerning for me it’s time that I exit that season. He’s given me a lot of seeds to plant as a result of this recalibration, and I’m so grateful for all the lessons I learned.I know I will continue to learn. And I know I need to exit slowly and plant sparingly. Maybe at the end of this year I’ll find I wasn’t quite ready to plant or maybe all the seeds sown don’t grow. Maybe it all fails. These things are quite possible, but my worst fears aren’t reasons not to sow. God has promised to provide for me, even if all my sowing fails. I can walk forward sowing seeds in faith resting in the promise that HIS effort and plan and promise, not mine, is the final word over my life.

So, cheers to a year of Farmer Mindy and planting! Who knows, maybe I’ll even finally be able to find the perfect pair of overalls I’ve been wanting.

The Dead Man Principle & Supernatural Living

My goalsThere is a simple rule of goal-setting I learned in my thousands of dollars of behavior therapy and support groups called the Dead Man Principle. I haven’t been able to find the origins, but I’ll share it with you…and for free!! The basic principle is that when setting a goal you should never set a goal a dead man could do better. Goals such as, stop over-eating, stop being anxious, stop getting upset…all of these things a dead man could do better than you ever could.

After hearing this for the first time, my mind immediately went back to a sermon Chris preached once on Romans 6: Dead to Sin, Alive to God. In it, he talked about how when the Bible says we have died to sin, it means we are like that of a dead man- these desires and passions are no longer alive in us. This truth is the ultimate expression of the Dead Man Principle.

Christ took our sinful desires upon himself when he was crucified – when he died, we died. But because of His resurrection, we are now alive in Christ and can live in ways that are contrary to our sin nature. The way we live our life on this earth should be a reflection of this reality. Because of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have been given the power to live a supernatural life. Therefore, our life goals should also be a reflection of this. Rather than saying, “stop being anxious,” we say, “walk by faith.” Walking means we are alive. Life, not just death. And walking by faith requires putting off anxiety, renewing our mind, and supernatural dependence on the Lord (Ephesians 5). In Christ, we are dead to sinful anxiety and alive to faith.

Here’s how Francis Schaeffer describes our life of faith:

According to the Bible, we are to be living a supernatural life now, in this present existence, in a way we shall never be able to do again through all eternity. We are called upon to live a supernatural life now, by faith. Eternity will be wonderful, but there is one thing heaven will not contain, and that is the call, the possibility, and the privilege of living a supernatural life here and now by faith before we see Jesus face-to-face. This is the demonstration that God intends in the world until Christ returns, and it is the Christian who is to be the demonstration. Christians are called upon to be a demonstration at our point of history that the supernatural, the normally unseen world, does exist and, beyond that, that God exists. They are to do this individually and corporately, each generation of Christians to their own generation.”

Living a life of faith is not your average, run of the mill January goal setting standard. It is unique, extraordinary, and supernatural. It is more than a life free of binge-watching Netflix and binge-eating ice cream. It is water walking. It is living in love. So when we purpose how to live in 2016, sure let’s set some goals. But let’s also remember that the old nature in us died with Christ, so let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us walk by faith in newness of life.

 

**Note:Goal-setting sheets pictured are free downloads from Money Saving Mom. I use these each year for my goal-setting process/review.

The supernatural life here and now…

According to the Bible, we are to be living a supernatural life now, in this present existence, in a way we shall never be able to do again through all eternity. We are called upon to live a supernatural life now, by faith. Eternity will be wonderful, but there is one thing heaven will not contain, and that is the call, the possibility, and the privilege of living a supernatural life here and now by faith before we see Jesus face-to-face. This is the demonstration that God intends in the world until Christ returns, and it is the Christian who is to be the demonstration. Christians are called upon to be a demonstration at our point of history that the supernatural, the normally unseen world, does exist and, beyond that, that God exists. They are to do this individually and  corporately, each generation of Christians to their own generation.

An excerpt from True Spirituality by Francis Shaeffer

New Year, New Associations

stovesI started 2015 prepping for a lot of impending change. We were moving to a new city and saying goodbye to some dear people as well as many other structural supports that essentially built a wall of protection around me during my war with inordinate fear. What would I do without that wall?

Change, even good change, is difficult and scary for someone like me. That’s not an excuse. It’s just a fact. If I don’t prep for it or gain perspective quickly once it happens, my ability to adapt is like that of a fit throwing toddler. That’s why it’s sometimes easier just to stay stuck.

I worked with my therapist the entire month of January 2015 to prep for the upcoming changes that would happen in my life. She helped me see that although change is difficult, it also brings with it the opportunity to build new associations in my brain. On a new, fresh day I haven’t done the things of yesterday, so I can choose new ways of living, or in other words, choose to associate with all things good or pure or true. It’s like Anne of Green Gables once said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” As a new day and new year begins, the more I choose to associate with good things, the more they overpower the old things.

Exhibit A of this concept: My stoves in the picture above. On the left you will see my Arlington small space living stove. I checked and double-checked this stove countless times to make “sure” it was off. Although I gained a lot of victory over this fear before I left Arlington, the fear was still strong. Even if I behaved right and didn’t re-check it, I would still have these nagging obsessions up to the end: Is it off, are you sure it’s off, maybe you got distracted, you don’t really know, you should go back and check it to be sure. After understanding the nature of OCD, I learned not to give into these obsessions by checking, but the thoughts and fears didn’t stop as quickly as they did in other areas. But in my new Omaha apartment, I had never been a slave to checking a stove, so I could build a new association with the new stove. And guess what, I did it. As I was tempted to go down the path of checking, I told myself I didn’t have to go down that road because it was an opportunity to build a new association, a new path, and choose faith. By God’s grace, I haven’t let this stove enslave me. It took a few months, but the power of that stove checking fear and obsession is so much less. The nagging thoughts of being “sure” it is off have stopped for the most part because I built new associations in the way I was going to behave. Now, I don’t leave my house and continue to obsess about if my stove and oven is off.

Sure sometimes I double-check or slip up in my fear or the “what-if” fears come. But in those times the Holy Spirit meets me and reminds me that in Christ, I am dead to fear but alive in Him (Romans 6:11). The old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). New mercies are given each day (Lamentations 3:22-23), each year, so we have the power to associate with and give all allegiance to our Savior.

So as we begin this new year, and purpose to have a Happy 2016, may it be a year we show our true allegiance to King Jesus by embracing His new mercies each day. When we embrace new mercies we are building new associations by putting off the old, renewing our minds, and putting on the new (Ephesians 4). Christ is worthy of all our devotion and he has given us all the grace and power we need to live in the goodness of newness of life.