Tag Archives: quiet time

who says you can’t pour from an empty pitcher?

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who says you can’t pour from an empty pitcher?

Ever heard “you can’t pour from an empty pitcher“?

Have I left you scratching your head, wondering ‘what in the world are you talking about?’ I hope not, but if so, let me explain. Basically, if you are used up, overloaded, without rest and spent, you cannot give to others effectively. In order to give (of yourself) you need to be filled up, as in a pitcher of water, so that you can freely give of yourself. This involves balance and most importantly, learning to say “no” when necessary. In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, we read that there is a time for everything.

This is my struggle. I don’t know if you can relate or not. Here’s where I fall off the wagon: My response to people asking if I can participate in, or do such and such, tends to be “yes” (if at the time I’m genuinely interested and honestly want to do whatever it is.) What I oftentimes don’t consider is that I may, depending on the season I’m in, already have a full plate for me. There, that is the pivotal word: me. You see, my full plate may not be your full plate. There are times when I can and do add obligations to my plate when I absolutely have no business doing so. Why? Because I’m already tapped out. I have no reserve. I’m over-committed. For me to take on yet another thing, I need to drop something I’m currently doing. Make sense?

When I’m consistently having my Quiet Time with the Lord, seeking His will, not my own, and what HE would have me give my time, attention, and resources to, it’s much easier for me to discern how to respond. On the flip side, when I’m running on my own power, I tend to gravitate to anything that I have an interest for and upon agreeing, I feel anxious and trapped afterwards. This is not a healthy place to be, if you haven’t guessed. This often leads me in a downward spiral of “but Sally Sue can do all this and more. What is wrong with me that I can’t do it all?” My husband quickly reminds me with much wisdom that “you are not that person and they are not in your shoes“.

As well, I believe that too often, we as Christians mistakenly read the scripture Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” to mean that we are supposed to be doing everything we can because God will give us the strength to accomplish it all. In so doing, people take this verse out of context and use it to reinforce a “triumphalist” or “super-Christian” mentality, instead of seeing that the strength of Jesus in Paul’s life was evident in his ability to be content when he did suffer need (Enduring Word Commentary).

“I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.”  Philippians 4:10-14 (NIV)

So, what are we supposed to do, worn out Mommas? How are we to respond to well-meaning requests for volunteer work, or what have you? My personal opinion is first to pause and let the person asking know that you need time to consider and to seek God on it. Then, don’t allow yourself to use that response as an excuse; rather, go and seek God on it. Ask Him for His wisdom and discernment on the issue. Consider the cost of taking on another commitment and ask God for His help in making the decision. He loves when we go to Him and ask for His help (James 1:5). He promises to give us the discernment and wisdom we’re asking for (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 2:2,6,10; Proverbs 3:13,21; Proverbs 4:1,5,7,11; Proverbs 5:1; Proverbs 8:11; Proverbs 9:10-12. I could go on and on and on….)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

is it a NEW year?

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autumn-832334_640Happy last day of 2015!

Was it a good year for you? Before you answer that, let’s quantify “good,” shall we? In this context, “good” means: spiritually satisfying. Are you content with your QT (Quiet Time), how is your faith? What about your prayer life? Are you plugged into a Bible study group or class? Do you have a mentor who is pouring into your life? In turn, are you pouring into a younger person’s life?

Over Christmas, I was finally able to sit down to watch the movie, “War Room”. My husband and I had wanted to see it for some time but, well… life happened. My in-laws afforded us the opportunity to watch the movie while they watched our busy boy. I had heard many great things about this movie and I agree, it was a good movie. It challenged me. In it, I loved the character of the woman (Miss Clara), who mentored Elizabeth (Priscilla Shirer). I loved watching how Miss Clara slowly, yet purposefully, poured wisdom into her young protegé. It paid off in spades!

For me to be a better Mom, wife and daughter, it is vitally important that I’m spending time daily in God’s Word. It can be trying and it can be difficult to squeeze in the time, but I’ve found it to be a discipline like any other. Typically, I’m ashamed and embarrassed to say, it’s quite short. Sometimes only 10 minutes, but I try to cram in as much as I can into those fleeting few moments. Setting the day right with your ‘spiritual vitamin’ makes the day go so much more smoothly. How? Well, first of all, it takes my mind off of “me” and what “I” can accomplish or control in “my” day. Rather, my focus is now turned to Him and how He will lead and guide me through the day. Perhaps He has some ‘divine appointment’ for me that I would certainly not be clued in to if my focus were only on me and my agenda. We are such selfish people by nature that if we don’t ask the Lord to order and guide our steps, it will become all about “me,” “my” wants, and “my” needs.

Truly, this is living life upside down. I like to think of it as exchanging my life for His. It’s no longer about me. By allowing Him to live in and through me, great things for the kingdom will be accomplished. It all starts with a Quiet Time of prayer and Bible study. We have to still and quiet our minds so that we can hear God’s voice above all others. To discern His voice, we have to know His Word. Once we know it, we can then hide it in our hearts and minds so that our lifestyle reflects it through the aid of the Holy Spirit. Once that happens, we will be able to pour into others.

Transforming your mind in this way will start you off on the right path for the New Year. I’m ready to jump in with both feet, how about you? Do you have a devotional to help you get into God’s Word? If not, check out my ‘devotions’ page to get some ideas. Another great tool is to have a journal where you can write down your prayer requests and then mark when the Lord answers them. This idea was beautifully portrayed in “War Room”. I love to do this because it clearly demonstrates for me an exact point of need and an exact time of answer. This grows and stretches your faith to see how God works in your life. You can always go back to your journal when a new trial presents itself to remind you that He met your need back when, and He’ll surely meet your need now. Just be sure to be specific in your requests so that you will more clearly see God in the details of answering your prayers.

2016, we’re not afraid of you! We are setting our minds on the only One who can make our path clear and straight, directing us in the way we need to go!

 “Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
    your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
    a father’s delight is behind all this.”

(Proverbs 3:6-12, MSG)

Getting Into It….

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So, to be honest, as a first-time Mom, with an almost 3 year old, I have struggled to keep my Quiet Time going. It makes me sad to say this because I came to cherish my morning Quiet Time in the Word every morning prior to my son’s birth. I tried living my life both ways: in His Word/prayer time daily, and no prayer time/no time in the Word. I quickly learned that my days went so much more smoothly when I took the time, invested the time rather, in His Word. So, after having learned this lesson, why did I edge away from my beloved Quiet Time almost immediately after bringing my son home from the hospital for the first time?

Life gets busy. Focuses change. Our time plugged into The Source, shouldn’t change. Maybe this hasn’t been your struggle. Maybe you’ve been faithful to stay grounded in the Bible all your life through each and every season. For that, I applaud you. I aspire greatly to be where you are. One step at a time.

So today, I’m happy to report, I’m back in God’s Word. I’m praying it will continue day after day after day. This morning, it was easier as my little is still asleep at nearly 7:30am. Ha! That rarely happens. Although I’ve enjoyed deeper study in the past, this go around, I picked up a simple guide at my local thrift store for the grand total of .99! It offers just enough to get me engaged and into the Word but not too detailed that I’m unable to pick up my Bible. Today’s reading was pretty basic: the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Albeit simple, it’s foundational to our faith.

Well, my time is quickly coming to a close as I hear my son chattering away and calling my name. Maybe you, too, are in a similar situation and have little to no time to get into a regular Quiet Time, or so you think! Start small. Start simply. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself with a dvd study and daily homework. Pick up a simple “bumper” book, as I like to call it, such as Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Start there. It’s 1-3 paragraphs and only 1 page, usually less, per day. Start out with a simple prayer asking God to give you spiritual ears to hear what He wants you to hear and spiritual eyes to see what He wants you to see. Ask Him to bring to your mind an experience that relates to what you read. Ask Him to give you new insights. Ask Him to help you identify your feelings. Ask Him to reveal to you what He desires for you to be, say, and do. Read the daily passage and hopefully you’ll have another minute or two to read the Scripture passages following the reading.

Start here. Start now. Let’s do this together and get back on track!