“Teal”

Teal dots 022018

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9  NLT

Growing up I always felt like a ‘misfit.’  Everyone was seemingly taller and thinner than me ~~ everyone seemed to have ‘normal’ family ties ~~ awkward was my profile.

As an adult, things did not get any easier, as I often did not go with the mainstream.  It was as if God had placed this ‘bent’ in me to intentionally be different.  For some folks, they thrive on that sort of thing, because it causes them to ‘stand out’ in a crowd.  For someone like me with enough insecurities to fill a closet, standing out in a crowd is so not what you desire.  I just wanted to fit in ~~ blend into the background and not be noticed.

I must say that I’ve long since come to appreciate the wonderful ‘humor’ of God.  For one so painfully shy that she would rather sit still in her chair dying of thirst rather than walk across a floor in a room filled with people to get a drink of water, for fear of being noticed.  God pulled me out of that chair decades ago …

He gave me a calling to do things that in my wildest dreams I certainly would not have raised a volunteer’s hand to do.  He drew me into a world of getting up in front of people and loaded my tool belt to be effective.  He raised me up with His Confidence, put words into my mouth, filled me with His Strength to go the length and graced my brain with ideas I know didn’t just wander in there.  He put me in good standing with those for whom I was entrusted and blessed me with respect from them. 

And He did it more than once …

For those who know me intimately, you know this Lolie (the younger version of Lola = Grandma in Filipino) has lived through two careers in her lifetime.  I am now into chapter three of this Journey of sorts.

To help me understand more fully the true employable version of me, I attended a workshop today.  This was about ‘transferrable skills.’  Funny, it reaffirmed who God created me to be on this planet.  I found it amusing that even though this was a secular activity, God proved to me His Design of me was constant.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the various ‘personality assessment’ tests currently being used  in the workplace.  They proclaim to help you identify your strongest traits and to capitalize on these for gaining the advantage in your career path.

This workshop offered us a ‘color coded identifier’ sort of assessment test.  Like all the other tests, you select your answers based on how you respond to descriptive words regarding you.  At the end of the exercise, you tally up the scores and your color group points you towards the ideal professions that your personality profile would likely be adept.

Well of course, my scores reveal that I have tendencies towards two different color groups.  In other words, I am best described as a blend of two group profiles: blue and green.  It just happens that I have strengths that land in those two groupings more than the orange and yellow groupings. 

Immediately, it brought a smile to my face ~~ God’s design prevails!  I am uniquely His Perfect Design of teal (just happens that’s my signature color).  A little bit of this and a little bit of that.  God’s Humor made me chuckle, as I recalled how frustrated I was recently.

I was even more elated when I perused the list of professions that I am recommended to pursue ~~ they were the identical ones for which I had performed and excelled in in the past.  Fancy that.  It was a full-circle moment.  And one of great humility.

Go back to the Scripture verse that warmed my soul at that poignant moment.  My heart smiled back at its Creator.

When circumstances stir up a hurricane of emotions, let God calm the storm.

I find that I can reach out to Him when I’ve been focused on Him.  Because it is before the storm hits that I have been in communion with Him.

Girlfriend, it’s not about trying to identify the perfect job.  It’s about embracing the wondrous design of a human being that God made of you.  Your job is just the means by which He calls you to showcase the talents and abilities and skill set that He gave you to enlarge His Kingdom.  It’s not about boasting or bragging about achievements or awards or accolades ~~ those things burn up and fade away.  It’s about using that unique spirit that only you have in the manner that only you can do ~~ to reach the people that only you can impact the way you do.

The heart of the matter is the transformation of that fleshly heart into the soft and gentle, tender and compassionate, loving and forgiving heart of God.

Wrapping our minds around the ‘whys’ and ‘how comes’ of life and it’s speedbumps and potholes is not for us to spend our precious time on earth doing ~~ nor is it why we’re here.  I genuinely believe that we are meant to be productive doing the ‘assignments’ that God has ordained, using the tools He equips us with.

Whatever shade of the spectrum, God uniquely designed your heart to be filled with Him so that you can weather all the circumstances of life.  

So if you’re feeling a lil’ awkward, maybe you’re a teal like me.

His Ways are not our ways for a Purpose.  And believe me, I am glad.

I’d love to hear how you prepare your heart for life’s unexpected occurrences.  What would you tell your 18-year-old self if you could give her advice in this matter?

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

Advertisements

“Purposed”

The recent turn of events in my life have all but challenged my socks off! Questioning my ability to perform certain business-related tasks, second-guessing my knowledge base about things I know that I know from years of training. Rejection hurled me into a realm of depression that caused me to react in ways I had not envisioned were even possible ~~ for me. After all, I’m a “new creature,” right?

But with all things, everything took me and continues to take me back to God.

And I am here to declare that because I am a new creature in Christ, He continually reminds me of His unfailing love. Girlfriend, this is what has held me together for these past couple months ~~ Holy Spirit infused, God ordained, unfailing love that pours over me like a torrential rainstorm.

When the world around you seems to haunt you about your insecurities, you’re left feeling inadequate and uncertain about yourself and your future.

“Did God really want me in that place … doing that thing … with those people …” And on and on and on the circle of questions go for what seems an eternity. Praise God that I have yet to fully understand ‘eternity.’

It took me several weeks to finally wrap my mind around what was true …

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 NIV

I had taken my focus and my mind off of the right things to meditate upon ~~ my initial misery took my eyes off the Spiritual Prize and soon I was caught up in the woes of the season. If not for the hearing of the Word from my pastor, my sisters-in-Christ … had I ceased to read my Bible, stopped Fellowship … had I stopped all praying and seeking God, I would have allowed a bad season suck the life out of me.

Those few acts of connection kept me in open to hearing God’s Whispers, but I was still sulking in my sorrows; still feeling hopeless.

When I came to the realization that God still has (notice the present tense) a divine purpose far beyond what I see in the immediate forefront of my life, I began to rise up to meet God and welcome the challenge.

My spiritual ears perked when I heard key words and phrases that seem to knit (maybe I should say ‘crochet’ ~~ for those who know me intimately) together the recent threads of events to form something quite beautiful and amazing. A ‘tapestry’ of indescribable proportions, as far as I am concerned. (Stick with me, Girlfriend, and you will witness it alongside me in the coming months, years ~~ God’s Perfect Timing.)

As if God Himself was drawing back a veil and showing me that His Purposed Plan was about to be revealed to me ~~ not necessarily put in motion, but to give me a hope that if I remain obedient everything will come to clear view at the Perfect Time ~~ which in my case, historically, is usually the unexpected time.

Scripture verses that I would read on a given day would “fit” into the theme of the day (that’s what I call the God Life Lesson for the moment ~~ which could last a day, several days, even a week or longer). A pastoral message or a Christian author’s blog would strike my heart and leave me with ‘an aha moment.’

The threads have been slowly pulled together and I’m starting to utter the words, “I get it, Lord!” And ‘sew’ I have changed my attitude and raised my altitude.

When your human eyes finally catch up to your spiritual eyes, you feel the burden lift.

I began to realize that the dots were connecting all along, but I didn’t notice because my head was hung so low, my view was distorted. Note to self: always look up.

Those tiny treasures that God placed in my heart a handful of years ago, will not rust ~~ the moths will not eat them. I committed those precious things to Him, because He gave them specifically to me. And He will develop them for His Purpose …

Because I am Purposed.

Sweet Sister of mine ~~ whatever season you are in at this exact moment ~~ be assured

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV

God’s unfailing love is big enough, strong enough, all encompassing and everlasting ~~ will hold you up until He takes you Up.

When you think you just can’t take it anymore, and you’re ready to pull out every strand of all that gorgeous hair on your pretty little head of yours, remember:

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Exodus 9:16 NIV

Sister, you have a definite and unique purpose.

Listen to what God said to Esther through her Uncle Mordecai:

For if you remain silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish [since you did not help when you had the chance]. And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this [and for this very purpose]?”

Esther 4:14 Amplified

Embrace your place and bask in His Grace.

He has Purposed your life, Girlfriend.

I love you to Heaven and Back ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

“Exhausted”

close-up-of-tired-young-woman-rubbing-nose_01272018

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone — especially to those in the family of faith.  Galatians 6:9-10 

We’ve all been there ~~ tired and just flat out exhausted behind description.  Go ahead, Girlfriend, I see you nodding your head ~~ it’s OK, several others are nodding right alongside of you.

After having a conversation with my daughter that lasted a good long while, I was reminded of the fact that God doesn’t tire out of hearing our moans and groans.  He does call us to be witnesses of His Glory by doing according to His Will (which is reflected in the Scripture verse noted above) because others see God through us.  But I am also gently reminded that we are called to peace.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.  Colossians 3:15 NLT

Living in an imperfect world can sometimes blindside us.  We forget that just as unique as we appear on the outside, we are also uniquely “us” on the inside.  Too often, imperfect individuals expecting perfect behavior and conduct can end up in a head-on collision, resulting in an unexpected train wreck.  Lying amidst the wreckage of ‘he said’ and ‘she said,’ we are often compelled to pick up what we can salvage and simply walk away, not looking back at what we leave behind.  It’s too ugly a sight to cast our eyes upon, and too painful to think of what occurred right before the impact.

Relationships can be the same.  After the explosion, the shrapnel and debris has made its lasting impact in our lives ~~ moving forward is difficult and extremely complicated, not to mention painful.  Suddenly we are reminded of the frailty of life.

When relationships ‘hurt,’ that’s when we have to examine and evaluate: weighing out the importance and value to us.  If you’re like me, I tend to pause and reflect whenever someone has hurt my feelings.  My initial response is to ask myself, “what did I do to bring that on?”  “Was I instrumental in the other person’s behavior?”  “Was it my fault?”

And sometimes it is ~~ and sometimes it isn’t.  After praying about it ~~ yes, prayer does provide clarity ~~ The Holy Spirit gives me the discernment and reveals to me what part, if any, belongs to me.  If I did not contribute to the other person’s actions resulting in their hurtful behavior, He shows me that, too.  Make note: the revelation is not always instantaneous; many times I have had to wait and listen.  Nonetheless, God answers whenever we ask ~~ in His Timing.

When it’s a situation that requires a separation or severing of ties, that’s when days of prayer (if not longer, depending upon the seriousness of the matter) are usually required to be sure I am acting within the Will of God, and not out of my own human flesh.  There have been ‘those’ relationships that have left me exhausted from the toxicity that emitted from the other party.  Going back to the Scripture verse that says God has called us to peace ~~ you know when there isn’t peace in a relationship.  You can sense the burden on your shoulders, and it’s not healthy.  Usually what ensues is stress spewed out from you towards innocent loved ones ~~ lack of concentration, and a whirlwind of distractions may even cause you to appear like your old nature has resurrected.  Spiraling down at a speed too fast to track, you begin to second guess all your emotions and decisions.  This is clearly not what The Lord intended for His Chosen.

Girlfriend, I say these things because God wants you to lay down this burden and place it in His Hands to carry.  This side of Paradise, you may never know the reason why you had to experience the heartache of this relationship ~~ the important thing is that you release it now into His Care so that you can move forward and be fruitful and productive for His Purpose. 

As for me, I have learned that it was usually for me to learn from this experience and receive the character development and new traits ~~ God has an Assignment for me to carry out and the Life Lesson and change of heart is par for the course.

So recharge and get excited, Sister ~~ there’s work to be done.  Get some sleep and wake up renewed and refreshed in The Spirit.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

Follow me on Facebook: Titus2Training.org

 

 

 

“Bowing From the Heart”

Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose]. James 4:10 Amplified

My breakfast is always spent with Jesus. After I place my plate on the table and I sit down to eat, I pray not only for good physical nutrition (even when it’s a simple peanut butter bagel), but also for spiritual nutrition. When I bring my concerns to The Lord, He never fails to cast my eyes on a Scripture verse that is exactly tailored to my prayer.

This morning I prayed for godly wisdom and discernment through a present situation. And yes, this situation requires God’s divine intervention to have resolve.

His message through His Word is more than timely ~~ it is calling to remembrance that He is in control of the entire situation and its circumstances ~~ but for resolve to occur, humility is required.

This time ~~ and I must say, this is a special time ~~ things will go differently in the sense that I’ve chosen to release my tight grip on the reins and I’m calling on God to do the Work. I figured He’s far more qualified to handle my messes, and since He’s already mapped it all out and been there, I’d save myself a heap of trouble by just letting Him navigate.

And you know what, Girlfriend? The sweet peace that passes all understanding is mine to embrace.

I can kick myself in the buttocks for not grabbing ahold of this in my earlier years ~~ would’ve saved myself from a lot of burdens and unnecessary junk that cluttered my soul. But be that as it was, I have finally learned my life lesson.

Let the One Who creates the Perfect Plan to navigate that Perfect Plan in His Perfect Timing, and His Perfect Way.

I’m de-cluttering my life and my house this year ~~ a conscious decision that I’ve actually held true to since I made the commitment. I don’t care if it takes me all of 2018 to accomplish, I’m on a roll and there’s no stopping me.

Alongside the physical surroundings, I’m also “cleaning house” and purging my life of unnecessary activities and connections that no longer serve a productive and enriching purpose. You’d think that means I have more “free time,” but somehow that’s not the end-result. What I do come away with is quality time devoted to true life-giving activities and projects; that means a lot to me.

I want to store those treasures in Heaven so that I leave behind a trail of footprints that lead the follower to Christ.

So I will continue to bow from the heart and let God fill me with His Humility so that I can be used in a mighty way ~~ not just to resolve what I perceive to be urgent (earthly) matters, but to be of effectual use for His Purpose.

In the end, I’m Blessed in innumerable ways and with inexpressible joy.

O come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and prayer]. For He is our God And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts and become spiritually dull as at Meribah [the place of strife], And as at Massah [the place of testing] in the wilderness,

Psalm 95:6-7 Amplified

Girlfriend will you join me?

I love you to Heaven and Back ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

“Keep Stepping”

Anyone else out there need to hear this?

Cast your burden on the Lord [release it] and He will sustain and uphold you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (slip, fall, fail). Psalm 55:22 NLT

Ever feel like the ground beneath your feet just won’t remain still enough for you to take that next step?

When I’m shaken up from an event or unexpected rattling of my senses, it takes awhile for me to regain the confidence to get back up and move on. I tend to invest effort and energy into rationalizing why I should shrink back and avoid the pain of personal humiliation. But seriously, and it may have taken half my lifetime to come to this truth — no one is even looking (except God).

Clinging to the reality that God doesn’t — nor has He ever — abandon(ed) me; even in my ugliest moments (too many to recall).

If you’re like me, Girlfriend, brush off the dust of embarrassment, let the Holy Spirit heal the bruises, and get up and move forward.

The Lord Promises to sustain you (even if you wobble).

I love you to Heaven and Back ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

“Whispers”

Like most folks, I made a commitment to live life differently this year. In reflection of last year and the years prior, I made the conscious decision to live life with fewer regrets ~~ in other words, make fewer mistakes.

But in order to make good going forward, I felt inclined to come clean with not only myself but with God Almighty. Confession was first on the to-do list. Not just the usual, “forgive me, Lord, for _______ and _____,” but authentic and sincere deep down in the depths of my soul kind of purging.

Here we are midway through the launch month of the new year and I’m still confessing. Seems as though God wants to do a deep cleaning in my house ~~ and the tug on my heart causes it to beat with anticipation of what lies ahead of me.

I must say, Girlfriend, this is not easy. As I continue to pray and ask God to reveal to me those things that are unnecessary, He gently and lovingly whispers hope into my spiritual ears.

Searching His Word, He casts my eyes to behold Scriptures that specifically speak of His unfailing love. This was especially true on numerous occasions when I felt so depressed and lost in my sorrows. Hope ~~ He was whispering messages of hope so that I would remain upright and encouraged despite what my spiritual eyes saw in the mirror.

As I meditate on daily verses that are placed before me during my morning devotionals, The Lord continues to minister to my soul with words of Comfort, to dispel the fear that taunts me ~~ fear of failure. Can I possibly do this and remain faithful from this moment forward?

The enemy of my soul haunts me with a past that thrived on the applause and approval of others. Yes, a real-people pleaser ~~ I was in deep with perfectionism and over-achieving behavior, in pursuit of being rewarded with the accolades and blue-ribbons of exemplary accomplishments. And it was indeed exhausting!

Becoming a Christ-Follower, I had to re-learn what my true purpose in life was/is. The Journey to fulfilling that will continue until my time on earth ceases.

My true purpose in life is to worship the living and true God ~~ by bringing others to Christ and helping them grow. My passion is the unique way in which God Himself empowers me to fulfill that ~~ by developing characteristics that allow me to live each day in the exact manner He would have me do so ~~ touching the lives of others, as no one else could. We all have that ability, if we let God do the transforming work.

We must allow God to place His trademark on our lives so that others will see Him imprinted in the legacy we leave behind.

The whispers of hope, kindness, love, compassion, gentleness, friendship ~~ these things we are called to pass on. Will it be perfect? Maybe not in our Human estimation of things ~~ we could go round and round with all the “should’ve done” and “could’ve been better” criticisms ~~ but I believe that God supernaturally touches every attempt at Good that is done in His Name ~~ and makes it perfectly purposeful.

That stirring in your soul right now, Sister, it’s God whispering to you those sweet somethings ~~ allow Him to come in and have a conversation with you this day.

“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT

Maybe you will be instrumental in resuscitating life into a dying soul. The Lord can use you and me to share compassion to encourage someone that is hurting. We are all capable of being used by The God Who Created us to reach out to those around us.

If we would just pause long enough to hear Him whisper.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20 NLT

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary