“Instructions For Living”

  
I found this to be humorous because I have done the “push” when the instructions said “pull,” and pulled (really hard) when the instructions said “push.”  And then almost instantaneously, I look around to see who may have seen me act so foolishly.  Am I alone here in this?  Any of my Girlfriends out there willing to stand up and throw me a ‘high five?!’

Almost like going through life on cruise control ~~ making the safe assumptions that we automatically know the right thing to do ~~ in every situation ~~ without considering the instructions.

Micah 6:8 But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.  It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love,  And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously. 

When I read this passage of Scripture, four key words highlight in my mind’s eye: fair and just, compassionate and loyal.  Why?  Because these are action words on our part.  

God says right here: DO what is fair and just with your neighbor.  That’s not always easy to do ~~ most of the time, we want to be fair and just when it results in a ‘good deal’ for us.  But God didn’t say, “When it’s convenient ~~ or when you feel like it ~~ or when it’s a win situation for you.”  He just said DO.  

Then He adds be compassionate and loyal in your love.  Compassion isn’t just sitting back and ‘feeling emotionally connected.’  It’s a behavioral response to a need ~~ someone else’s need.  An example of compassion in the Bible is the Good Samaritan.  He stopped to bend down and do something on someone else’s behalf.  Loyalty in our love ~~ means it’s ‘faithfully 24/7.’  Both of these do not have conditional tags attached.  Did you catch this: Be?  That means ‘to exist,’ ‘to live,’ and ‘to breathe.’  Our compassion and our loyalty in love ‘exist’ without condition.

Here’s the clincher: “Don’t take yourself too seriously -~~ take God seriously.”

Cast aside your preconceived notions of what you think life should be ~~ push back the selfish desires to remain comfortable in your corner believing that you’ve got it all wrapped ~~ pull up close to The Word of God ~~ and let Him direct you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 

James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 

And I’m sure if you ask Him, God will also tell you when to push or pull.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend!

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary



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“Your Mama Doesn’t Work Here, Re-Rack Your Weights!”

  Frustration can sometimes get the very best of me. I have to work really hard at NOT letting my emotions overrule what I know to be the “right way” to be.  When I show up for work and I have to clean up after somebody’s “mess” (Dumbbells, barbells, plyometric benches, 45 and 55 pound plates, etc.), I’m instantly “challenged,” to say the very least, to keep my mouth shut. Oh, the grumblings that go on in my head and beneath my breath (at least, I hope they remain there)!

I’ve tried all the “human” remedies ~~ speaking to the people in charge to give me help to “mop up the leftovers,” hoping they’ll get a HINT. I’ve even calmly suggested to a manager that MAYBE he should organize a team to routinely canvass the area throughout the day to assure it’s kept orderly and free from debris. All to no avail.

So what’s a girl to do?! This 5’1″ frame puts on her weight lifting gloves and gets in there to clean up. I daily go in with the attitude of “where is it and how much do I need to move?”

“God, I KNOW there’s purpose behind this … SOMEWHERE amongst all this iron, there’s PURPOSE and a “lesson” for me.”

The “debris;” the “aftermath;” the “fallout” of intense work. (I feel an ‘aha’ moment about to strike!)

When I’m in the midst of a trial ~~ a battle ~~ do I leave behind the “remnants” of my “mess?” Is my attitude throughout the battle a godly one, or am I making a mockery of the Word of God? Do I draw attention to myself for the sake of getting attention or for emotional support? Am I providing an environment that is “welcoming” and “receptive” to those who are seeking God in their own trials and battles? Am I being “that example” to the ones coming up behind me?

And when it’s all said and done, have I left a “mess” of broken relationships or unnecessary behavior that would destroy my Christian walk in front of the world? Have I truly shown others that The Holy Spirit, does in fact, help us in our time of need?

Philippians 1:9-11 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. 

Well, as I showed up for work today, you can guess nothing had changed.  The obstacle course had seemed to breakup and find places to retreat into.  Here, there, and everywhere.  As I maneuvered around the room hauling heavy objects out of the way, the “aha moment” struck me.

Ironically God tapped me on the brain ~~ “muscle” ~~ “spiritual muscle.”

Every “messy room” represented the fallout of tools.  All the equipment is the stuff with which we use to increase our muscle mass.  It’s weighted.  When we are strong enough to conquer our goals using the tools we have, we use different tools.  

God loads up His Child with spiritual tools to conquer those spiritual battles.  When we have shown Him that we understand how and when to use them, He loads us up with more spiritual tools to develop spiritual muscle.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 

After every battle, am I putting my spiritual tools back into my toolbelt for future use?  Or am I so eager and excited that I ‘forget’ what God has done for me and leave my stuff lying around?

We are meant to learn every life lesson that God brings our way ~~ it’s character muscle building.  But we must not forget to put away our experiences and blessings for future reflection.

“Thank You, Lord, that I have a job that I can do well.  And thank You for causing me to pause and reflect through the messiness of life.”

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary



“For The Ones Coming Up Behind Me”

  
Legacy ~~ that’s a pretty huge word to me.  I guess because it feels like it carries a lot weight.

Doesn’t it almost sound like: “Let us see?”

Funny, the contrast between the two.  To me, a “legacy” requires intentional thoughts and deliberate actions; and everything woven together with threads of purpose.  Whereas “let us see” sounds like a sloppy and carefree shoot- from-the-hip sort of attitude; whatever comes, whatever goes.

Both depict an approach to how I can choose to live my life.  One requires effort.  One requires that I simply show up.

“What kind of approach have you chosen for yourself?”

“What does your decision require of you today?”

I’d love to hear from you ~~

Hugs & Blessings ~~

Linda R Johnson

T2T Visionary

“The Hard Spots Beneath Your Feet Are Buried Treasure”

  
Are you in a hard spot right now?

I know that feeling ~~ that awful ‘gnawing’ feeling in your soul that just makes you want to scream ~~ you wish it were all just a very bad dream and that you’ll soon awaken to a bright new day.  But it’s not a dream ~~ and it won’t easily go away.

If you were to look at me today, you would think that I’m a fairly healthy individual.  But the outward appearance can oftentimes be quite the opposite of what lies beneath smooth skin.  You would even think that I’ve always been a confident and happy person.  Deep inside this little individual are the marks of one that has lived a difficult life.

My confident exterior is the byproduct of GOD’S Divine intervention.  By nature, I’m terribly insecure.  It comes from issues of abandonment and rejection.  Believing the lie that I was unwanted, I was always fearful that people would reject me if they got to know me.  So I avoided getting to know people at a young age.  I buried myself in academics and other ‘solo activities.’

That was the beginning of my ‘trial’ in life.  My companions were fear and insecurity.  Not the kind of companions that a young girl should have while trying to make sense of the world around her.  So I made some not so good decisions.  

When I finally met up with My Savior, Jesus Christ, my life received new meaning.  But I still wrestled with my companions fear and insecurity ~~ they didn’t seem to go away immediately even though I had told them Jesus was now The Lover of my soul.  Somehow, I was not yet living as a new creation. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 

I had to walk a Journey of faith ~~ several years ~~ to fully understand who I am in Christ.  It has been a Journey that could not have happened all in one night, nor in one year ~~ because the Journey was the place where GOD developed my character.  THIS is where I came to know Him intimately.  How?  The life lessons He provided for me along this Journey enabled me to receive His strength, His love, His wisdom ~~ these became the essential tools with which I would continue on in the Journey and become useful.

Girlfriend, the Journey is often filled with hard spots.  Speed bumps, road blocks, even potholes!  But we don’t stop and stay there; we keep going.  Sometimes we weep and mourn in the hard spots; but we lean on our Savior to keep going.  There are hard spots where it hurts so bad that we don’t know where to look.  Let me help you here: ‘Look UP, Sister, LOOK UP!’  

James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing

This is what happens along the Journey; we lean in closer to our Savior, we recognize His Voice, and we depend upon Him to get us through the hard spots.

And when it’s all said and done (before the next Journey begins), we will have a Testimony to share with the world.

You see, somewhere between the Trial and the Testimony lies the Treasure.  That Treasure is your Relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s in those hardest spots in our life that we cling to Him the most. It’s during those ‘I can’t go through another day like this’ times that we truly experience Who He is and how deeply He loves us.  And then with eyes wide open we see Him treasure us!

I encourage you, Sweet Girlfriend of mine, reach out to a strong Sister during this hard spot in your life ~~ pray with her ~~ let her love you with the Love of Christ, and you will be able to give Testimony of the greatness of God ~~ and you, too, will behold your Treasure.

I love you to Heaven and Back!

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary