Craig Groschel spoke at Gateway this Sunday. I’m always entertained while being challenged when he speaks. This past message? On his new book #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World. He spoke much on authenticity and how in our social media/selfie-centered world we are so set on being “Filtered” that it’s hard to be real with others. Hmmm, that was good. I think that can resonate with most of us.
Of course as I listened, there were several Facebook friends that came to mind (who won’t be named) who I KNOW have overwhelming challenges and make well, not the best choices, and yet on Facebook they look like everything is wonderful and blissful and perfect. We all can immediately name 2 to 3 people on our own Facebook friend list who silently cry “Oh I wish my real life was as great as my life on Facebook!” BUT there is something for ME in Craig Groeschel’s message. Something for all of us. Perhaps something different or on different levels. We are in a different culture than we were 10, 20, 30 years ago.
I felt good when I left church as I pondered the message in regards to my own online world. I don’t feel different than the person I portray. I don’t like taking my picture because frankly I’m not the most photogenic. You know those people who no matter how they look they’re always managing to look fabulous in photos, even without any “touch up”? Well that’s not me. So I delete a lot of bad pictures on my phone and post whenever I get lucky with a “good one”. Facetime? Ugh that’s another matter. My husband’s a pilot who travels a lot. He likes to Facetime. Ugh, painful. I can only handle short bits—because when you chat at the end of the day there’s no good lighting or energy for makeup refresh. It’s how you look slouched on the couch and frankly I find it hard to view myself in the top corner of my phone. Wow then, I guess it is about me on Facetime—if I can’t handle how I look at the moment, my husband is stuck with voice to voice (but why would he want to see me looking bad anyway….hello??).
My challenge today? Listen to Craig’s message (or buy his latest book and dive into the topic). And go over your own online persona. Take an honest look at all your own social media and see if you feel authentic or phony. Ask God to help you become the authentic, real person you were born to be. If you truly want to connect with others—to find LOVE not “likes”—then be willing to risk being real. That doesn’t mean you don’t use discretion. We should be editing what we say and write offline as well as online. I’ve always said there’s a difference between honesty and advertising. But there really are people out there who match their online life. Challenge yourself to begin today to be the same person online that you are offline. Besides, God loves the offline you. Isn’t it time you did as well? (Scripture for day Psalm 139)
Interesting how often and easily we are steered off course of our goals and dreams. Distractions, disappointments and detours are a constant in life. For me it has often been detours from road blocks and not just from living life as a wife and mom but from essential business tools. My website went down, or my manuscript got lost, or the “update” is too complicated, or I need to learn HOW to work this new system, app or program first –and there seems to be an “innovative new” something every 6 months. These constants road blocks have caused much heartache on the road to achieving my writing and career goals. In fact for years it stopped me in my tracks from continuing my writing career. Enough already.
I’ve been LOVING Priscilla Shirer’s Bible Study “The Armor of God”. It was yesterday I got my latest AHA moment! Our enemy the devil “wants to distract you, sister. So he can blindside you…he’s studied your tendencies and habits, your deepest fears and weaknesses, and has aimed at those areas in particular [to stop you in your tracks]” (pg 130 The Armor of God). The humor is I’ve KNOWN this for years but tend to forget with each distraction, disappointment and detour. Enough is enough. I’m reminded of my “life verse” “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came to give us life and life abundantly. (John 10:10)”
Hang in there and KEEP ON MOVING when you are derailed in your dreams and goals. God has a purpose and plan for each of our lives and his GPS is ready, willing and able to redirect us back on course at any and every moment. Road blocks will continue to appear throughout our lives, but your spiritual GPS is always turned on. The key is, are you tuning in and LISTENING to the Holy Spirit as your GPS redirects?
I so often hear clients tell me they just KNEW he was the right one. It was love at first sight. But ladies, it takes time and paying attention to what you see and what you hear from his lips to know what his true character is. The heart is deceitful. (That’s in the Good Book!) You can not trust feelings alone. As the wisest man who ever lived once said “There is a way that appears to be right , but in the end it leads to death.” A bad choice of relationship may not end up in your immediate physical death but it will lead to death of your dream, identity, self esteem, self worth and so much more.
We get by with a little help from our friends! That statement is so true and I use it often when I speak at conferences. But have you stopped to ponder WHO your friends are? We choose who we spend time with. Are you choosing friends that pull you down, compel you to make bad choices and wallow in your misery OR are you choosing wise friends who love you enough to tell you the truth and lift you up and sprinkle you with words of life at just the right moment? I’ve been so blessed with amazing people in my life! Thank you for speaking life into me when the going gets tough both nearby and across the country.
Having “one of those days” so I followed my own advice and went to my iTunes playlist to be encouraged — found #Archers Janice Archer Cruse Tim Archer Fresh Surender album. “You Know The Future”. Oh yes He does. Just what I needed. I love when God uses past memories of how he came through then to remind us he will comes through again. Romans 5:3-5 #PraiseMusic #BestChristianMusic
Ready for a recharge? Want to find long term peace and fulfillment? Come to my 4 wk EQUIP class 10:45am April 5th, Easter Sunday and learn how. See you there! @Gateway Church (gatewaypeople.com) Southlake http://equip.gatewaypeople.com/classes/05-04-2015/lasting-renewal #GatewayEquip, #GatewayPeople
Next Meeting Date : Sunday | Apr 5 | 10:45am
In Romans 12:2 Paul tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Yet as Christians, we often find ourselves stuck in wrong patterns of thinking which produce problems in our lives. In this class, we’ll examine the lives of men and women in the Bible to see how they experienced transformation through right thinking, perspective, attitude, and gratitude. Do you need a recharge in your life? You can encounter God’s power through a lasting renewal of your mind.
Other Upcoming Dates for this Class
Apr 12 | 10:45am
Apr 19 | 10:45am
Gateway Church, Southlake Texas
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Insight into Male-female differences. Love it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MC3XuMvsDI&sns=tw via @youtube
What is it about “almost” that we get over it too fast? The ALMOST killed, the near miss, the startle that passes. Are we skimming over those moments too quickly and not using them as wakeup calls to stop and appreciate all that God is doing for us in the details of our lives?
Life could have turned out so differently if the “almost” was instead a tragedy. Life can turn in an instant, literally. We are going about our normal life and normal day then BAM life changes, never to be the same—house fire, car accident, heart attack, terrorist attack, doctor’s call, really anything that rocks our world. And in those tragic moments we moan “If only” I would have done this or that or prepared for this or that.
And then there are the “almosts”—the near misses—the moments of grace when God shows us his mercy and it’s merely an ALMOST killed and we are oh so thankful a moment, then our day goes on and we forget about it. I remember an Amy Grant song….ok this seems to be a theme since I mentioned her in my Thanksgiving blog….but Amy also had the 80s hit “Angels watching over us”. My precious Savior certainly had His angels watching over me this morning!
Here I was in heavy fog returning from my 2nd trip to deliver kids to school. I was in my designated exit lane—the only one moving—and the other 4 lanes were at a dead stop. I was going perhaps 25, maybe 35 miles per hour, when suddenly a car cuts out of the stopped lane into mine. It seemed like 5 feet in front of me—maybe more—no time to break, no time to honk, no time to decide. Only time to react. I instantly swerved right then, left thinking “I’m in an accident, I’m about to flip my car”.
Then… nothing. I didn’t hit him. I didn’t hear anything. The incident was over as fast as it happened with no flipping and no impact, no breaking and no honking. I just kept going. No need to slow down in anger and honk at the drive who almost killed me. It was over and I lived. I was literally shaking the rest of the way home as I kept thanking Jesus for taking care of me in that moment. I had survived without incident in an instant when my life could have been over or in the least extremely inconvenienced. I have to add that more than ever I LOVE my car and my tires—the most amazing road performance ever. Who knew my car had it in her? Not that I ever wanted to test her on it.
Next time you experience an “Almost” stop and thank God for the precious gift. Let that be your wake up call to refocus on all the blessings in your life at this very moment–no matter what stresses or challenges are present as well. Every day and every moment is a gift. Thank you Jesus for caring about the details of my life and sparing me from an accident, injury or worse. May I do for you this day what you had planned for me! John 10:10.
God has been doubly good to me and I hope to you too! Happy Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays because we get to see family and enjoy guilt free indulging in too much food as we reflect on all our blessings.
I was reading Proverbs 3 today (usually I read a Proverbs a day based on calendar day since 31 Proverbs but today I was drawn to my favorite one.). “In all thy ways acknowledge him (God) and he will direct your paths”. Thank you God for many blessings–my family, health, career, faith and for directing my path dear Lord!
In the words of an old Amy Grant song, “If you find a love that’s tender,
If you find someone who’s true,
thank the Lord. He’s been doubly good to you.”
Indeed, God has been doubly good to me!
Since the explosion of the internet, online dating as the way to meet someone new has become the norm for millions of American. Stories abound of happy couples walking down the aisle of wedded bliss after finding like-minded mates via dating websites. Most likely someone in your life has met their spouse that way.
However, because of the inherent level of anonymity, this method of introduction brings with it elevated threat to physical safety. The intrigue for meeting online is the sheer increase of number of dates you can find outside of your usual sphere of influence and circle of friends. Whereas that is great it seems, you also need to be cautious that you are keeping yourself safe. Yes, anyone can lie at any time. But online it is much easier. Married men masquerade as singles, pedophiles’ lurk camouflaged as teenagers. Any of those online profiles you read could be owned by a rapist. Alarming yes and it should be. But does that mean never online date? Not necessarily. It does me that you need to use excessive caution.
Perks to online dating:
1. It’s discreet
2. You get to be picky
3. They are open 24/7
Problems with online dating:
1. Creeps are out there
2. There’s no privacy online
3. You can’t read his body language or hear his tone of voice
As a wise man once cautioned, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy… prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
1) Never have your home address listed online—anywhere! If you must put an address somewhere, then pay for a P.O. Box near your home and use that. No one needs a stalker.
2) Set up a separate email address for dating sites
3) Don’t give too many identifying details online—i.e. your schedule, work or church address. If you are a single mom, don’t list names of your children’s schools or activities anywhere.
4) When you finally decide to meet do so at a public location and drive separately. Best to meet first time during the day for a specified short period of time, perhaps for an hour or two. Even if you have texted and emailed for hours and hours, or even spoken on the phone, the first face-to-face meeting may feel awkward even if you two were meant to be together. So give yourselves grace by starting small and increasing the time as you go.
5) ALWAYS let someone in your life know exactly when and where you are meeting an online friend for the first time. I’d even go so far as to have some friends at the restaurant just happen to be at another table, out-of-sight, just to be safe.
6) Ask the questions that matter. Don’t assume anything. Ask him if he is married or ever has been. Ask him if he has children and who has custody. As him his view of God and what his relationship is with his creator. Going to church regularly does not mean you have a personal relationship with Jesus any more than living inside a garage makes you a car. Just get to know each other and pay attention to what you hear, see and notice. As with any relationship, give it time. Don’t rush things. People can be anyone they want to be for a period of time but eventually true colors come out.
More of these tips can be found in my book The Automatic 2nd Date
Author of The Automatic 2nd Date and Finding a Man Worth Keeping