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Tell The Devil Nuts! 

Tell The Devil Nuts! by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of the Refreshing Life with Naima

*This post originally appeared in the Naima Newsletter and original blog in June of 2015.

 

Here’s a tidbit that most people don’t know about me.  I love watching war movies, as a matter of fact one of my favorite movies of all time is, When We Were Soldiers.  I can watch that movie over and over again.  Recently, I got a chance to watch, Band of Brother’s Series on HBO, a WWII docudrama that focuses on the experiences of the paratroopers who landed behind enemy lines during the invasion of Normandy.  My favorite part comes near the end when the 101st division is surrounded by the Germans at the town of Bastogne in Belgium. Dealing with a brutal winter, a lack of supplies and an overall weariness, the division Commander is issued a demand to honorably surrender by his enemy.  General McAuliffe who was in charge at that time responded to the German commander one word, “NUTS!” 

Despite the opposition, the appearance of defeat, the lack of resources, General McAuliffe told his greatest enemy in no uncertain terms, “You sir, are crazy, I will not stand down.”  Shortly after McAuliffe wrote that one word in faith, the 101st was resupplied and joined by a fresh division and were instrumental in bringing to end one of the most horrid and brutal events in world history.  It was almost as if his very defiance changed the atmosphere and shifted the war in the favor of right. 

What I’m learning is that as Christians we need to take the same approach.  We need to look the devil in the eye, and let him know that the Creator of Heaven and Earth is on our side and we will not back down.  We need to remember that no matter what it looks like or feels like, God has a greater plan that He is working out on our behalf.  Fresh supplies and reinforcements are on the way!  By faith we have to take a step towards victory declaring that we know by faith it is right around the corner! 

When things go wrong, I’m going to start to yell, “NUTS!”  It is going to be my war cry that I will not be defeated, but rather that I trust the perfect plan of God.  If you are struggling, sick, can’t seem to find your way, if you are in need, if you’ve been fighting and you are tired, yell, “NUTS!” Then start to praise the Lord!  Use the word to declare that the very thought of you being on the losing side is crazy because the Lord of all is sending fresh supplies, angelic and human reinforcements to hold you up.  We will not surrender, even when it is the darkest night!  God has declared the time of victory is now, NUTS to anyone or anything standing in your way!

The See Saw 

The See Saw by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, The Refreshing Life with Naima

Balance… that’s what I’m learning these days. Sometimes life is like a tipping scale, or a see saw, spend too much time on one area and the see saw goes wacky and tosses everything on the other end high into the air! My see saw has my personal life on one end and my ministry/professional life on the other. Over the last month I’ve seen that see saw totter back and forth unevenly most of the time. I’ve seen quite a few things go flying as well! And the fall out has not always been good… have you ever seen a little kid get tossed from a see saw, there is usually blood involved in those crash landings. I personally have been on the losing end of a see saw battle, dropped so hard my teeth chattered and my backside ached. I’ve been flung so hard and high I had to grip the little handle for dear life. 

What I’ve been learning over the last month is that it’s ok to let the see saw swing, you can’t always keep it perfectly balanced although for your own mental health and spiritual peace you should try.  You should also know when not to try so hard. Christ should always remain in the center… think of Him as that brave older kid who stood in the middle of the see saw balancing perfectly as you rode up and down. A good see saw ride should be smooth, going up and down equally, with little stress and with great rhythm. The point is to enjoy the ride! If you have a dream, a ministry, a desire deep in your heart that your working towards make sure you’re taking time to balance the see saw, let Christ stand in the middle helping you to balance and enjoy the ride! 

 Keeping Balance 

- Stay in prayer, keep Christ in the center 

- Make time to read your Word, pray, meditate and be involved in church 

- Determine what your priorities are and make decisions for your life based on these priorities 

- Schedule personal time and stick to it 

- Take care of yourself, exercise and eat right 

- Don’t work after the time you’ve set as the end of your work day 

- Deal with problems right away, don’t be afraid of confrontation, handle conflict in a Christ like manner 

- Always pause to listen to your loved ones

- NO is and always will be, a complete sentence.

Want to learn more about Balancing your life? Contact me for more information about, Joy School, a program specifically designed to bring more joy, more prayer and more thankfulness into your life! Contact Naima!

 

You Are Much To Old! 

You Are Much Too Old by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of the Refreshing Life

Recently I was reminded of The 2nd Annual Called to Sing Retreat that occurred in 2011.  It was an amazing gathering of artists who came from as far away as Maryland and the mighty Midwest of Illinois.  Artists eager to do a great work for the Lord, seeking direction, encouragement and a community of like minded psalmists who understood their special needs. 

As I reflect back, the most interesting thing about the group was all of the artists in attendance except one were over the age of 30.  That’s like being a senior citizen in the world of contemporary Christian music.  I remember my first experience with a major Christian Artist organization when I left my day job to pursue this God given dream fulltime.  I was told in no uncertain terms at the rip age of 32 that I was much too old to expect a record deal or have a viable career as an artist.  I left that conference feeling discouraged – in their opinion, and they were the gatekeepers, I was too old to be worthwhile to mainstream Christian music. 

After drowning my sorrows in cake, I decided that I wouldn’t let anyone tell me what Jesus could and could not do.  If He wanted me to have a record deal, dog gone it, I’d have it.  Since then, I’ve started my own label seen and done some incredible things in ministry and have been able to sustain myself as an artist for almost 20 years.  Am I rich, nope, do I have national exposure – nope.  But I am happier then I ever was working in an office confined to the limits of other people’s faith.  And I believe, I’ve made a difference and touched a few lives in the process. 

A friend and fellow artist Katie Peltier once said that Christian music seemed to be one of the only industries that closed the door on your entry after a certain age, which is completely contradictory to what the Bible says about age.  The Bible says in Proverbs 16 verse 31 that, Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.  And I gotta a few gray poking through this blonde wig.  Or in Job 12 Verse 12, Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. 

What I know now, what I have experienced and learned in my early 40’s can in no way compare to what I knew when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s.  I’m a better artist because I know about struggle, loneliness, extreme joy, Godly love and loss – in multiple ways and from multiple perspectives.  I’m not saying young whipper snappers don’t have anything to say – I could be my current producer’s mother if I’d had a baby at 17!  I’m saying that a multitude of life experiences make for a richer artist so don’t count me out cause I’m older then what a record label thinks is marketable. 

So I want to encourage someone if you are an artist or not… someone told you it’s to late, you’re to old, it will never happen for you.  Don’t believe the lie of the devil.  Get moving on that dream, that desire, that goal.  You have much to share with the world and as long as there is breath in you, it’s never to late!  

As for me, I’m leaning on Psalm 92 Verse 14, 

And you know what, I’ve only just begun, sit back and watch me burn… I got things to do and places to go for the Lord.  I’m on a great adventure, will you join me? 

I'd love to know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and let me know! If you are looking to launch your ministry or God given dream and you'd like a little help, pick up a copy of Dr. Nay's Guide To Achieving Your God Given Dream - get it on www.amazon.com today!

This Is Not A Punishment 

This Is Not a Punishment by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, The Refreshing Life

How do you reconcile praying for something and feeling like the answer is no, and will always be no? I have tried my best to handle my infertility with grace and most importantly with faith. Walking through the stages of mourning from questioning, to anger, to bitterness and grief.  Finally making peace with my empty arms despite wanting to hold on to the dream with mustard seed faith. Trying to believe and receive the prophetic words that still come declaring that there will still be a child. 

But at forty-seven all I can do is say, “I believe, help my unbelief, let Your will be done!” 

We always planned to adopt so bringing foster children into our home with a husband who was adopted was just part of the dream and we shared with our Social Worker that we only wanted to foster children that were ready to be adopted, those already in need of a forever home. 

When they plopped a two-year-old and a two month on our doorstep we were ecstatic. And then we got to court, and we met mom and much became clear.  She had no intention of giving up her children, she didn’t appear to be a drug addict or unwilling – rather she seemed like a young mother who had fallen on hard times and needed some help.  What were we suppose to do in that moment when the Social Worker asked if we wanted to keep them while she got things together? And even more alarming to me, we were asked if we wanted to keep them both. I was appalled, we were already in love with them and they were siblings, we don’t separate siblings, no – we don’t rock like that. 

I have to be honest, I was heartbroken, but I wouldn’t admit it.  It looks like I will love and raise them for a season and then give them back. My gut twists even writing the words. With so many people clamoring to tell us congratulations, to give us helpful items, to step in and help us care for them, makes the burden all the harder to bare. 

These are not my children, although I am charged to love them like Jesus loved them, and quite honestly, I would give my life for them.  I already mourn the day when I have to pack them up and send them on their way.  And I must admit it is really difficult not to let bitterness creep in while the devil is whispering in my ear… "God made you infertile, now He's given you children that can never be yours." that's enough to allow bitterness more then a foothold in my life.

I wrestle with the perception that the Lord knows my mother’s heart, He knows the grief of my infertility. He knows how I’ve cried in the middle of the night and felt like less then a woman because I could not birth a living legacy. Children are a legacy of the Lord. That’s what the scripture says. 

This denial often teases me to think that I am being punished.  Have I done something to offend the Lord that He would allow me to watch my former youth group kids have numerous children, or the young ladies who I prayed with in Nashville for husbands now having beautiful additions to their families? Or what about all the women who take this enormous gift from God and destroy it? 

I have cried out to the Lord seeking the answer, asking how have I offended You? Have I not loved enough or served enough or given enough? And the heavens remained silent. Until I came across the following passage of scripture: 

 “What a wonderful God we have—He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more He will shower us with his comfort and encouragement. 

 We are in deep trouble for bringing you God’s comfort and salvation. But in our trouble God has comforted us—and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-8 

It’s a hard pill to swallow but His word never lies. The Lord must really want to comfort, strengthen and help me walk this broken road. This isn’t a punishment. Somehow my infertility, the potential loss of these babies that have nestled under my heart, are burdens that I must let Christ carry through me. These are seasons I must walk through so that someone else might be comforted in their own time of questioning, uncertainty and grief. 

When I accepted the call to be an encourager of God’s people, I never knew when or where I’d have to encourage others. I choose to accept in this moment, infertility as a blessing, not for me but for someone else who is walking through this shadow. And if I should pack these children up and send them on their way, I choose to believe that this is not a punishment either, but somehow this part of the journey will be one more opportunity to run into the arms of my Father, who sometimes makes decisions that are in my best interest, but I won’t understand until I’m older.

And later on, I’ll be able to encourage someone else to do the same.

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to share your comments and questions below.

 

#adoptionstory #adoptionjourney #fostertoadopt #infertility #copingwithinfertility #infertilityandfaith

#fostermom #griefandfostering

 

Photo Credit: Image by MorningbirdPhoto from Pixabay

The Joy Challenge! 2019 

The Joy Challenge 2019 by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, The Refreshing Life

#storiesoffaith #findingjoy #joyfulliving #lifeofjoy

I'm on a mission to bring more joy to my life. I have a habit of worrying to much, forgetting to live in the moment and letting go of things I have no business hanging on to. So for the next few months I am starting a grand journey, launching off into the deep to hear the laughter of Jesus... I am trying to learn to live in the pleasure of the Father.  

That means more then just doing things that are fun and make me laugh.  Learning to live in the pleasure of the Father means sometimes doing the hard and scary things like being a witness, serving in areas that are a challenge for me, being bold in sharing the gospel.

It means reaching for deeper intimacy with the Lord, immersing myself in His Word, seeking His face and finding refreshing in prayer, in learning to discern that still small voice again and moving quickly to do what He has called me to do.  

And it also means being downright silly, sometimes eating the ice cream, rejoicing in the love of my husband and playing tea party with the toddler who has taken over my home and heart.

Life is short and I don't want to live it worried about how long we'll have these children in our lives, if my liver disease will take me out, wishing I spent more time reading my Bible, sharing His word and singing His song. 

This month I commit to resurrect my joy, like Christ resurrected from the grave! And I'm going to start with picking things off my list - 100 Ways To Find More Joy In Your Life to try to bring a smile to my heart.

This month, I commit to doing at least 10 things on the list to the right of 100 Ways To Have More Joy... this is only the first page, but I'd love to share all 100 with you!

So, I'm on a journey to joy and I expect it to be a wild ride. I'm rolling with Jesus and I'll be documenting the journey with pictures, videos and blogs. Who wants to roll with me?

I'd love to hear your comments or questions. And if you are interested in following along or going on this journey with me email me simply saying, I want to go on the journey! Journey To Joy Sign Up

Want a copy of all 100 Ways To Bring More Joy To Your Life?

Get your digital download here:

100 Ways To Have More Joy! 

Picking Weeds... 

Picking Weeds by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, Refreshing Life with Naima

When I was a little girl, I thought that dandelions were the most beautiful flowers in the world.  Every spring they would pepper the project grass plots and I’d climb over the little chain link fence to pick a few and hand them as an offering of love to my mother. Bless her heart, my mom would take them up to our stuffy New York apartment and put them in water.  Can you imagine how hurt my feelings were when I discovered that those perky little yellow buds were not flowers, but in fact weeds? 

Life is like that… it’s all about perspective when you think about it.  What do you see when you look at the wide world and the life you are blessed to be living? Do you see your life as a garden overgrown with the white wisps of future weeds? Or do you see flowers that spread like wildfire with the ability to express the sacredness of love? 

I have always lived by the mantra that, “What you call it, it will become.” 

If you call a child stupid or ugly or unwanted long enough, they will listen and believe what you say and act accordingly.  If you call yourself stupid, or ugly, or unworthy, then pretty soon you’ll take on the false attributes of these titles. Even though the Lord has never called you any of these things… 

What if we took the ugly bits of our lives and began to call them great things, what if we called them God things? What if instead of us always complaining about our bodies, our eyes, our voices, our jobs, we began to call ourselves fearfully and wonderfully made?

What if we started looking at life and instead of thinking nothing will ever change, we started thinking about the promises of God – that all things were working together for our good? That we could cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us, that we were fearfully and wonderfully made? 

What would life look like if we started seeing flowers instead of weeds? 

And what joy would we have if we gathered those weeds and handed them as an offering of love to the Creator of the Universe? 

April 5th is National Dandelion Day… (Seriously) what are you going to do about it!?

I'd love to hear your feedback, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message.  And if this blog blessed you, please share it with someone who might benefit from it. 

#nationaldandelionday #findingmorejoy #joyonthejourney #fearfullyandwonderfullymade

The Year of No! 

The Year of No! Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of The Refreshing Life with Naima

I have a problem with guilt… even when I don’t have anything to feel or be guilty about.  I take on the weight of the world, the obligations of others, the responsibility of other people’s stuff.  And at the end of 2018 I found myself tired of burdens that I had picked up when no one, not even The Good Lord, asked me to.  Or burdens that I picked up not because Jesus directed me to, but because people asked me to and I felt like I couldn’t say no. Because after all, if someone asked for something, what would Jesus do? He’d give them what they needed, wouldn’t He? 

I had a revelation.  Sometimes when we ask the Lord for something, He tells us, “No!”  When Paul asked the Lord to remove that thorn from his side, what did the great I Am that I Am say? He sure didn’t say yes, it was more like… “My grace is sufficient for you!” (2 Corinthians 12:9) In other words, the Lord told Paul, “Um… No, I’m a need you to deal with that one.” 

Because sometimes no is what is best for us at that moment in time. And if the Lord sets the example we are suppose to strive to follow, then shouldn’t we be ok with saying no as well? What if our failure to say no when we should, stands in the way of God’s grace? What if someone else is called to do it but can’t cause there we are doing it? What if the Lord wants to get the job done with a miracle? Yikes… 

When the Lord says no to a request, He is not saying no to loving us, but rather, no to a specific request we have made of Him for His own personal reasons.  I recently heard on a podcast, when you tell someone no to protect yourself or to protect them, you are not saying no to the relationship, you are only saying no to that one commitment. The next time, you may say yes. 

I also have a problem believing in myself. I have held onto limiting beliefs, missed opportunities, failed to follow up, fell back into bad behaviors, been inconsistent, silenced my opinions and gone out of the way to accommodate others, even when accommodating them was not what was best for me.   

And now, on the cusp of a New Year, a fresh beginning, I am tired. 

Each year I select one word that describes my intentions for what I’d like to see happen in my life. The words have varied over the past few years from healed to fruition… and this year when praying about what my guiding word should be, one word resounded clearly in my spirit. 

No. No is a complete sentence. No means stop and pause and ask the Lord before doing something you personally feel obligated to do but don’t want to do. No means sometimes putting yourself first and being assured of your own boundaries. No means, that guilt has no place in your life if the answer no comes from a pure heart and a genuine inability to accommodate the request for whatever reason that has been purposed in your heart. 

So, this year I am saying no… No to other people’s expectations. No to my own personal guilt, low self esteem and bad habits. No to being afraid to say no! I am saying No to not saying yes when I should and saying no when I shouldn’t. I am especially saying no to doing things without consulting the Lord and finding myself miserable, exhausted and joyless because I’m somewhere doing something I didn’t even have to do! 

Sometimes the Lord says no… and I want to be just like Him.

I'd love to hear your comments, please feel free to leave them below!

#personalboundries #learningtosayno #christianlifestyle

 

How To Choose You In 2019 

How to Choose You in 2019 - Guest Post by Cheryl Lacey Donovan

 

Love your neighbor as “YOURSELF” Matthew 22:39 

Imagine sitting at you desk at the age of 35. All of a sudden you have difficulty breathing, your chest is racing, your arm is hurting, and you begin to sweat. Every thought imaginable crosses your mind. 

Eventually you find the strength to summon someone into your office and they tell you that you don’t look so good. A call to 911 and a subsequent hospital say let you that it could’ve been worse. This time it was only anxiety. Next time you might not be so blessed. 

That was me several years ago. It was in that moment that I realized the importance of taking care of me. 

Choosing yourself is a crucial part of your success and happiness in life. While some may see this as selfish the truth is selfish people always choose themselves, but those who choose themselves aren’t always being selfish. 

Choosing you simply means that you put yourself first when it’s necessary; you take your own health and feelings into consideration and, when necessary, you put those feelings and needs over the wants of others. People who are merely selfish always put their needs and wants over the needs of others. 

So how can you start to choose yourself? 

1) Stop and Think Before You Just Say Yes Out of Politeness 

This was probably one of the biggest lessons I learned. While it’s good to be open to new things, taking on too much work or too many obligations can overwhelm you and harm your overall mental health. 

Instead of immediately saying yes, why not pause and reflect on your own needs. Then get back to the person later with your answer.  

Can you take on more work or another event? 

Can you handle a party, or do you need to go home and recharge your batteries? 

It’s okay to politely decline an invitation or to help someone when it’s necessary. 

2) Treat Yourself with Kindness 

Part of choosing yourself is treating yourself well. If you don’t treat yourself kindly and with respect, how can you expect others to do it? Stop being so hard on yourself; we all make mistakes, choose poorly, and miss the mark sometimes. 

Give yourself a break and forgive yourself for your errors; as long as you learn from them, it’s all a part of life. A good way to practice this is by giving yourself pep talks throughout your day. 

You don’t have to do this out loud, but the act of deliberately thinking positive and inspiring thoughts about yourself will help you to overcome this obstacle and improve your self-esteem and confidence. 

3) Speak Up for Yourself 

Another big part of choosing yourself is standing up for yourself and your beliefs. You matter just as much as anyone else and so does your opinion. Practice stating your opinions, views, wants, etc. and standing up for yourself when necessary. You’re important and you deserve to be heard. 

4) Take Care of Yourself 

Part of getting into the habit of choosing yourself is choosing to take care of yourself. You’re only given one body and one life; you need to take care of it. 

Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, maintain proper sleep habits, go to the doctor when necessary, and do what you need to minimize stress and improve your mental health. It’s hard to choose yourself in social situations if you aren’t healthy enough to be in social situations. 

5) Let Go of Toxic People 

Everyone that is in your circle is not in your circle. What I mean is, everyone isn’t for you. Even if they come to every meeting, attend every event, and communicate with you on a regular basis. Look at is this way there were throngs of people who followed Jesus and therefore could be considered disciples. Of those, Jesus only chose twelve to really get to know Him. Of those twelve, only three were in His intimate inner circle. And let’s not forget that one of the twelve betrayed Him. 

Letting go of toxic people isn’t only a step towards choosing yourself, but also a crucial step in maintaining good mental health. Toxic people bring no good into our lives; they tear us down and keep us there. 

The only way to survive this type of situation is to get out of it. Choose yourself and let go of the people that only mean you harm. 

6) Remind yourself you’re Worth It 

If you don’t love you, who will? Know who you are and whose you are and remind yourself of it daily. Remember to see yourself the way God sees you and only speak the things about yourself that God says. “You’re fearfully and wonderfully made.” “You can do all things through Christ.” “You’re more than a conqueror.” 

As we said before, people often have a pre-conceived (and mistaken) notion that being your own cheerleader is an act of selfishness. However, this effort is more in the name of self-care. Sometimes you just have to encourage yourself. 

You’re choosing yourself in situations where it is necessary: when you can’t take on a larger workload, when you can’t handle more obligations, when you need to remove a toxic person from your life, etc. You’re doing this because you’re worth it. 

You are your own best champion, always remember that and choose you in 2019. 

Cheryl Lacey Donovan is an award winning author, speaker, moderator, educator, and media personality. Learn more by visiting her website http://www.cherylspeaks.org.

#starting2019right #cheryllaceydonovan #journeytojoy #christianselfcare

The Greatest Gift  

The Greatest Gift by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, The Refreshing Life with Naima

When I went to middle school at the East Harlem School of the Performing Arts, we sang a song based on James 1 verse 17 that went like this, “All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above, so thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all His love, I really want to thank the Lord.”  

The mere fact that we sang a song filled with praise and power in a public school is amazing, but the greatest truth is contained in its simple poetry, God gives us good gifts, and He gives us these gifts because He loves us.  At Christmas, on birthdays, or “just because”, we scour the stores seeking and searching for that perfect gift to brighten the lives of those we love.  Sometimes it is about quantity or expense, the bigger the gift or the more expensive, the better we showcase our love.  Sometimes it is small and meaningful, the delicate, thoughtful or handcrafted object that illustrates the tenderness of the heart. 

But how often have we received a gift and despised it?   Spent more time thinking about how the gift was impractical, not needed, to extravagant or in our own insecurities we were unclear of the motive or rational of the giver?  How often have we been unsatisfied with the gift that we did receive, hiding in our hearts the secret thoughts of, “what should have been mine” or “what I could do if I would have been given that something else!” 

In our often selfish and blinded states, we sometimes treat the gifts of God that way, failing to see the beauty or power in the special gift He has given just to us.  We go about our lives, doing what we want to do and never stop to ask the Lord what gift He has placed in us that must be used to edify the body of Christ and encourage the lost to seek the love of Christ.  

I was like that, God gave me a gift for music and I poured it into a dream of secular stardom so that I could be bigger then Whitney and better then J-Lo.  My goal, my greatest dream, was to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, a Grammy and various Soul Train, NAACP, American Music and MTV awards, while selling millions of records and cruising around the world first class in my private jet.  That was before the world beat me up and before I accepted the greatest gift of God – Salvation.  

We think that our gifts are inadequate, we don’t pursue them, we allow the world to influence our holy dreams and then one day we look back with regret.  The greatest tragedy is when we believe the lie of the devil, that we have no gifts at all and can make no difference in these last days.  I was like that, God gave me the gift of music and I hid my light under a bushel believing that I could not sing like Whitney and didn’t look like J-Lo so I better let that music dream go, get an education and make as much money as I could in the academic world.  That was before I understood that Paul’s words to Timothy applied to me today! 

Paul states in 1 Timothy 4 verse 14, 

Neglect not the gift that is in thee which was given thee by prophecy… 

Or how about when Paul states in 2 Timothy 1 verse 6, 

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by putting on of my hands. 

Have you failed to stir up the gift, let it lay dormant, hidden it or not figured out what it was because you are afraid, or you think that it is not a worthy gift, or you want to do what you want to do and never stopped to ask the Lord what He would have you to do? 

For many years I neglected the gift of song in me, so when the Lord called me to leave my safe, well paying job as the Associate Director of Student Life at Wright State University in 2001 to sing for His glory, all I thought about was my failures, my shortcomings, my inadequate voice… I never even thought about the power of the anointing.  I didn’t understand that if God had given me the gift, and if I used the gift for His glory, then it was not a question of me failing or being less gifted then someone else.  I did not need to compare myself to anyone else, because the gift that God gave me, He gave only to me and only I could do the job He called me to do with His gift to me.  He called me Naima, gift from God, what is He calling you?  Confused?  Well here is the revelation in another way. 

When we neglect the gift inside of us, we deny the world an opportunity to see the power and glory of the Lord through His working in our frail abilities.  When we believe the lies of man or the devil, that we are too dumb, old, late, slow, poor, or we have to much to lose… we glorify the kingdom of the enemy by withholding from individuals the song that they need to be encouraged, the prayer that might save their lives, the class that needs to be taught so that a child can be influenced and make the choice for the Lord and so on and so on!  When we neglect the gift we fail to edify the body or lead the lost and become partners with the enemy in his attempt to destroy the kingdom of God.

How do you plan to use your gifts in 2019? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below or shoot me a message at: naima@ministryofnaima.com

This blog is an excerpt from Naima's Book: Confessions of a Big Girl. Purchase your copy of Confessions by Clicking Here!

Set The Standard  

Set the Standard - Guest Post by Alicia Terry

In May the company I worked for had a lay-off and I was one of the people let go. I was certain I would find work inside of a month, but that hasn’t been the case. As I write this post it is October 3rd and I am still looking. 

I’ve applied like crazy and have had my fair share of interviews, but nothing has come to fruition. At one point I found myself applying for jobs simply based more on my ability to do them. Would I be happy to do any one of them? May be…may be not. 

One thing I do know for certain is just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  There is a grace, a time and season for everything (Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). 

I wouldn’t advise anyone to take a buckshot approach to job hunting, but there I was doing it. Trying to force something to happen when I really didn’t know what I wanted to happen. My buckshot strategy was totally misguided and I knew it. 

Why is it when stressful situations arise it’s so easy to fall back into familiar bad habits? 

Of course I have people praying with me for the right job at the right time and all according to God’s will for my life. However, when I asked my friend Jackie to pray she requested I give her specifics for what I’m trusting God for. Later that day I sent my specific request to her.  

That one exercise was a game changer. Why? Because I now had a standard by which to judge each and every job description before I took action to pursue it. Does it meet the standard or not? Yes or no. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. 

God’s Word is like that too. It sets the standard that brings great clarity for how we are to live in today’s society. It enables us to stop exerting energy on things that rob us of it. God’s Word equips us to focus on the things that matter. That is why we, as Christians, must read the Word, know it, own it and live it. Clarity based on God’s standard is how we will change lives and how we will impact the culture for His glory. 

Let God’s Word set the standard.

 

As the owner and founder of Idea Haven, a communications and training practice, Alicia Terry helps entrepreneurs, teens and women clarify the message around their mission so they can attract and connect with the people they are meant to serve. You can learn more about Alicia at aliciaterry.com and connect with her on Facebook. She is a frequent writer for the Refreshing Life Blog.

#aliciaterry #jobsearch #trustinggod #godstiming #godsstandards