Am I a workaholic?

Am I a workaholic?


How could I be when I binge multiple seasons of New Girl on Netflix in a single day? I mean, really, what about all of those times where I scroll mindless miles through Instagram and Facebook? What about those days where I spend hours clicking through ridiculous quizzes that will tell me which color of Crayola crayon I would be instead of focusing on all that I need to do?


However, lately, those days of responsibility avoidance have begun to become less frequent as I make list after list of tasks I must get done. My planner is pristine. My monthly calendar is marked. My weekly schedule is up-to-date. My daily to do list is prepped before bedtime. My life functions like a well-oiled machine.

 



Until, my self-made organizational machine consumes me.

 

Something unexpected comes up and I immediately start rearranging my plans to make sure I check everything off within my self-set time constraints.

 

A friend wants to catch up with me for a few minutes, but I find an excuse to keep working and keep my schedule from faltering.

 

Rather than binging my life away through seasons of House of Cards or a non-stop Rom-Com movie marathon, I allow no time for interruptions and keep working until bedtime.

 

Maybe I take small breaks to eat, refill coffee, or stretch. Most times my “breaks” really just mean switching to a different task to mark off on my checklist.

 

I’m sleeping plenty. I’m ahead of deadlines. I’m producing homework products that are far superior to past assignments I submitted. I feel so incredibly on-top of my game.

 

Except, my health is lacking.

 

The first thing I cut from my rigid schedule was working out and social time. Even when I pencil in yoga to the daily to do list, I seem to ignore that one. Organizationally and academically, I’m performing admirably. But, what about my physical health? What about my mental pauses and down time with friends?

 

However, so much worse, I cut my spiritual health. It was much too easy to dodge out on personal devotions to focus on my studies. Skipping chapel services to robotically type away on my laptop in the library didn’t even require a second thought.


 

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
— Galatians 1:10



My new found drive is not in-check. What should be a motivational blessing is actually an imprisoning curse. I can’t explain my drastic switch from napping sloth to unrelenting cheetah, but I can guarantee it’s unhealthy. While laziness is one way we avoid service to God, too much drive and a focus on the worldly tasks before us makes us focus on just that - the world.

 

Is my life really successful if I work to better the little world which encompasses me but don’t better my relationship with Christ?



I can check off everything on all of my lists and label myself as a successful college student, but this will never satisfy. My worth is not in this world. My worth is in Christ.

 

We all have been called to serve our Savior and to share his message. Yet, it’s the easiest thing to serve our own sinful flesh.

 

I recently heard an interesting statistic about millennials - a generation that I tail end. Ninety-six percent of millennials believe that they will somehow change or impact the world.

 

I see myself in that ninety-six percent. I dream of doing what the world deems to be great. I believe that my hard work and dedication will produce change and a better tomorrow. That’s great, but isn’t there something more? Isn’t there a greater purpose? Why am I trying to impact the world when my true purpose is to impact souls?

 

I am on this earth for a reason. You are, too. We have a mission. It’s a mission better than to dos, more rewarding than A’s, and more satisfying than success.

 

I sip my coffee.

 

I look at my checklist.

 

I still have so many boxes to check off today.

 

I mentally checkout of the table conversation my friends are having.

 

I type away.

 

The voice in my head is screaming, “Reset your focus!”

 

It doesn’t feel that simple.

 

It should be that simple.

 

I’m so thankful for my newfound dedication to the tasks God has placed into my life. Even if they are worldly, they’re tasks that God has intentionally given to me. There’s a reason that motivation and focus are becoming a part of me. But that’s all I must let it be - a part of me, not my whole self. I will not let it consume me.

 

I pause.

 

I glance around the table at my Christian girlfriends.

 

They type away on their laptops, headphone cords twisting in their hair.

 

Across the table, I make eye contact with one of them.

 

She smiles at me.

 

I smile back.

 

I know the obvious.

 

There’s a way to make it simple.

 

I pray.

 

“Christ, consume me.”

 

My perspective shifts.

 

My mindset changes.

 

My mission is beyond my textbooks, my planning, and my personal goals. My mission is Christ’s mission. It’s time I let that consume me.

 

I start by closing my laptop.

 

*
*
*
 

It’s been over a week since I began writing this post.

 

I’m still working on driving my drive.

 

I’m probably not skilled enough to receive my license just yet, but I am getting better at controlling my speed and the turns I take.

 

Maybe that’s partly because classes have ended and my finals are easy. My dorm room is mostly boxed up and I’ve started spending more time with friends. I have more free time and my to do lists have become shorter. I even woke up early this morning to go on a walk through the state park in town.

 

 

 

I’m happier when I take a few moments each day to coast. You can’t go full speed and expect your engine not to wear out. There are blessings in work. There are also blessings in leisure, in socialization, and in personal solitude.

 

I know the biggest contributing factor to finally downshifting my schedule is an effort to better my spiritual life through devotions and chapel sermons. When we seek to put Him first, our whole purpose and attitude change. Maybe when life becomes hectic again, I’ll fall back into bad habits, but I pray that God gives me the drive to focus on racing to Him first in all things and at all times.

 

After all, isn’t that my real mission here?

 

I think it’s time I relinquish some of my control and move to the passenger seat so Christ can drive me to roads and destinations that I cannot discover on my own.

 

Let Your Crown Shine Today.

Rev. 3:11

 

3 Missions for a Tired Mother

I’m not typically one to set a New Year’s resolution but for 2017 I decided to give it a shot. I made it easy on myself, or so I thought, when I decided that I was going to set the simple goal of loving God and others more. You see, ever since having children I’ve felt a little clouded about what my mission is.

Sure, I’m a mother and a wife but one thing I’ve learned about motherhood is that it’s really easy to neglect your relationships with anyone other your children. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of daily tasks that I snap at my husband, forget to call a friend back and say no to social invitations (if I'm lucky enough to still get them!) because I'm just plain tired by the end of each day.

While I was making and cleaning up from three meals a day, folding laundry and trying to get the grocery shopping done (with a toddler who no longer likes to be constrained to a cart), I was beginning to wonder how I could possibly serve God and others better. Motherhood can feel all-consuming and more often than not I feel as though I’m barely surviving each day; it’s hard to see how these daily chores can be opportunities to glorify Christ and show his love through my actions toward others.

God has placed it on my heart this year to find ways to love more, and while I’m still (very) far off from where I’d like to be, I recognize that this isn’t a year-long resolution but more like a lifelong opportunity to grow. Here are three things I’m working toward during this mission of motherhood, and I hope you’ll be able to apply them to whatever mission you’ve been called to:

  1. Stop complaining. I probably need to work on this one the most as it’s easy to get frustrated with never-ending chores and clingy toddlers who won’t let you get done what you set out to do at the beginning of each day.

    “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3: 23-24

    Whatever you do - not just the fun things I do, but the mundane as well. This season of life has brought me from the workforce back to my home, serving the ones I love; rather than complaining through my day I’m trying to have an attitude of worship. I don’t have to do these things I get to do these things in service to God and others. That small change in attitude can have a significant impact. (I’m definitely a work in progress – just ask my husband!)


     
  2. Look to the Word. In order to love more I need to spend more time with the one who showed us what true love is. My time with the Lord varies; some days it’s spent reading a child’s bible story or one of the many index cards or post-it notes stuck around my house with simple prayers and bible verses. Some mornings I take a longer time and really dive into 3 or 4 chapters of the bible; other days I read a devotion that was sent to my email while I’m nursing my toddler back to sleep.

    “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9

    It’s easy to feel like I’m not giving enough of myself to God, but this season is hard enough; God knows that and meets me where I am. He doesn’t want me to come to Him out of guilt or feel badly if I don’t read x-amount of chapters in the bible (only to fall asleep or not remember a word I read). If right now my time with Him means a back-to- the-basics bible story or a passage I can recite a few times in my head, the Holy Spirit finds ways to work with those simple messages. The more I’m able to blend my daily life with small but intimate moments with God, the more He allows kindness and compassion to spill over into my interactions with others.


     
  3. Recognize opportunities to love more. Serving the Lord overseas in a foreign country is a big calling and staying home, wiping messy hands every day, can seem like a small calling. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that we don’t all get called to the same missions; sometimes God brings the mission to us. Being a stay-at-home mom presents many unique opportunities for me to share the love of Christ with others.

    “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25

    Whether it be at the grocery store, an indoor playground or through this blog, the Lord has proven that I don’t need to be serving him halfway around the world for him to have a profound impact on my life and the way I interact with others. I can be calm, kind and generous in all situations. Giving glory to God through the every day allows others to see what He is capable of.

     

Thankfully for me there is still quite a bit of 2017 left – because I’m just getting started! My attitude toward the people I know and love, or the stranger God places in my path that day says a lot about who I am. And I am a child of God. My sweet friend (whose name happens to be Love) said it best, and I think we can all fill in the blank no matter the mission: “may (motherhood) be my mission field with my LIFE, not just my LIPS.”

 

Luke 19 & 20

LukeIntroduction1 The moral of Aesop's fable "The Rooster and the Fox" is

The trickster is easily tricked.

In Luke 19-20 the Pharisees, experts of the law, and leaders tried to catch Jesus doing anything wrong. They even sent spies to find something bad about Jesus with the intent to imprison or even kill him. Ironically, the Pharisees were the ones that were exposed and they found nothing on Jesus.

"Everyday he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words." Luke 19:47-48

"The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people." Luke 20:19

"They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent." Luke 20:26

"Some of the teachers of the law responded, "Well said, teacher!" And no one dared to ask him any more questions." Luke 20:39-40

Jesus didn't get distracted by their traps, he stuck to his mission. As he told Zacchaeus,

the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10

Below is a Bible study sheet that will serve as a guide for Luke 17 & 18. Click here or on the image below and print pages 21-22. Most notes will be written in the margins of your Bible or printed Luke text but there are some specific questions to be answered on the Bible study sheet as well.

Luke20

 

Here‘s what else you need: - A Bible journal with wide margins OR you can print the whole book of Luke double spaced with 12 font. - An additional Bible translation to compare. NIV, NKJV, NASB, & ESV are some reliable ones. - An audio Bible, audio Bible app, or you can listen online here. - A trusted Bible commentary. I have the Luke People's Bible Commentary. - A regular pencil & some colored pencils. - A Holy Hen House annotation bookmark (below).

HHHAnotateBKMK

It may feel hard at first. Jen Wilkin in her book Women of the Word reassures us, "...Bible study becomes more intuitive the more you do it. It is the process for an orderly, long-term building project with cumulative benefits. Even if you are in a season of life that won't allow you to use ALL the tools of the process exhaustively, you can use them as far as your time does allow. Build slowly if you must, but by all means, build."

One important aspect that should not be overlooked during our time in God's Word is prayer. Before, during, and after. As Jen Wilkin says,

Prayer is what changes our study from the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of God himself.

Let's encourage one another throughout the week by sharing images of us studying the book of Luke on Instagram and Facebook using #HHHBibleStudy. It is an extra motivation to know we are reading God's Word together!

If you haven't already, don't forget to join our private online bible study Facebook group of 250+ women! That's where we will be discussing our questions, answers, and thoughts throughout the week.

Amanda2

to the ends

big map hhh A handful of years ago, my boys gave me a beautiful world map for Mother's Day. It's big. A showstopper right in our living room. The colors are delicious. I love it love it love it. My hubs built a frame around it, because we're fancy like that. And now we can't stop staring at it.

My boy likes to stand on the couch, point to random spots here and there as he chats about who lives where and places we've visited. He proudly declares I was born there! Right there. In Korea! He's getting older and now understand that the world is so much bigger than his every day. That Michigan is just one tiny pushpin on the map.

I look at this map, this world and Jesus' words whisper in my ear go and make disciples of all nations. He didn't suggest that we go, He commanded us to go. Take the Good News and go.

Be moved by the Best News Ever and go.

Yes, there is so much beyond our own little everyday world. There are so many people to reach. It can be overwhelming to know where to start. But the going can be right in your own backyard, your own neighborhood. You're never more than an arm reach away from an opportunity to shine for Him and share the Hope that you have!

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. ~Psalm 96:3

Maybe for you going does means Africa or South America (or supporting those who are there). Maybe it's Orlando or Minneapolis or Milwaukee. Maybe it's the Piggly Wiggly grocery on the corner or the post office just off of Farmer Street or your own front porch. It might just be your child's school or your work cubicle or the fitness center.

Wherever your going is, take the Gospel to the ends. Take it and watch as the reach of His Light covers and pushes you to keep moving. To keep sharing. Because wherever you are, He goes along and He goes before.

RachelSignature