Being Vulnerable

Well I am reluctantly writing my blog again.  God has hinteBeing-Vulnerable-690x1035d, pushed, and basically slapped me upside my head that he wants me to start writing again. So, here I go…

I have a song, “I will TRUST in you” by Lauren Daigle and every time I hear it – I know that God is saying something to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_aVFVveJNs

I have heard that song so much recently and it is usually when I am thinking about something that I should be sharing.  I don’t hear God’s voice – I feel his presence though!  There was another hint – someone mentioned to me that they loved to read my blog in the past because I was vulnerable, and they admired that so much.  I didn’t think about it but now I keep hearing the word “vulnerable” and know this is another sign that God is telling me – I need to blog.  It is not easy to just put your thoughts and feeling down for others to see how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Loved the definition from the Urban Dictionary of Vulnerable… “Someone who is completely and rawly open, unguarded with their heart, mind, and soul. Being vulnerable happens when you trust completely. Rather its vulnerability by pain or joy, it’s being exposed with all of the emotions that make it easy for someone (someone you trust) to really do some emotional damage or healing.. Vulnerability is the surrender of all control and personal power in regards to letting someone close enough to destroy you!”

So, let me tell you about myself…I am Southern born and Southern bred.  I was raised in a Christian church and love my GOD more than anything – he is my number one!  I may not always be a perfect Christian – in fact, I mess up time and time again.  I say the wrong things, I get jealous, I make wrong choices, but unfortunately – I am human.  I am mesmerized that I worship a GOD that forgives me over and over again.  I don’t intentionally sin; but I sin.  I make so many mistakes, but I try to learn from them.  I am conservative but don’t put me in a Box that I don’t belong.  I love all people and believe that Jesus showed us to reach out to ALL.

Here are a few examples of what I am talking about.  I don’t agree with abortion and don’t think it is a woman’s choice – but that doesn’t make me hate someone that has one.   What love that girl must need when she has made that choice.  I love them.  I believe everyone’s opinions should be fairly listened to and accepted.  That doesn’t mean one person is right over another.  I do think we should respect that everyone has an opinion.  Some may say that we shouldn’t pray in public, however I believe that I have the right to pray – so respect both ways.  I pray-you don’t.  I think acceptance is key and that is what we should do.  Accept and not judge.

I had a friend that was at a Democratic meeting and I liked his Instagram post and he private messaged me – “How dare I like his post – he knew I was a Republican and why would I even do that.”  I am still surprised by that.  I respect his decision to support that candidate and I am glad he is exercising his choice – I am proud of that.  I may not support the same candidate; but I support us all having an opinion.  I lean Republican for sure; but don’t put me in that Box that I hate all other choices – that is not the case.  I want the best representation of our country – people that can be respected and make a difference.  I would love to have good examples to follow and know they speak truth.  Same for my media- I want to know news is based on facts and not opinion.  Let me make my own assumptions and decisions – don’t tell me how to think.  We need respectable news- news we can trust.

I grew up saying yes m ’am, no sir, thank you and please.  We are in the age of using text messages and each command sounds more like a demand now, than a favor.  The phrase, “I’m sorry” is said so often but there is little to no action behind it.  Everyone makes mistakes…but show that you acknowledge it and that you will not make the same mistake again.  Mean it when you say, “I’m sorry” and back it up with actions.

This is just the start of my thoughts – I hope you will follow my blog “The Change” and see my posts when I write them.  I don’t have all the right answers; but I do have lots of thoughts.  I hope you will respect my thoughts; because I will respect yours.

Blessings,

Leigh Christian

 

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Why should you choose a “WORD OF THE YEAR (WOTY)?

Last year during a devotional at my small group, Joelle, my good friend, shared that we should choose one word to focus on for the year – to gain inspiration from – to have others encourage you – to find Bible Verses about – just one word.  That sounded easy.  I always had trouble with my Resolutions at New Years but I think one word was something I could handle.  I never dreamed what an impact it would have on me.  What’s funny is that I remember all of my friends in our small group’s “one word” and can remind them, encourage them and pray for them with that one word.

My word came so quickly, while I was driving to work one morning and a song came on the radio – “I will Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle. I felt the word and TRUST became my WOTY.  I have shared in other blogs what it meant to me and how it changed my life.  Please refer to my blog entitled https://leighchristian.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/why-my-word-for-the-year-changed-my-life-trust/

From Wikipedia – The word(s) of the year, sometimes capitalized as “Word(s) of the Year” and abbreviated “WOTY” (or “WotY”), refers to any of various assessments as to the most important word(s) or expression(s) during a specific year. The German tradition, Wort des Jahres was started in 1971.

Choosing a Word of the Year helps simplify your life and helps you focus on one idea for the entire year.  It is easy to remember, easy to find inspiration, and easy to talk to God about.  I always had a hard time finding God speak to me in my Bible, but when I searched for my word – the scriptures seemed to come alive and talk to me.  It was so special!  It helped me and it guided me through the year.  Sometimes we make things so complicated with our to-do lists, our devotional books, our mind goes in so many directions and we get distracted.  Having that one word to focus on and to get us back on track is really a great way to grow.

There is a great book/website that can guide you in much more detail and I got many ideas from it!  http://myoneword.org/pick-your-word/     I started looking for my new word this year by Praying – talking to God about it and sharing what I wanted.  God didn’t give me any signs.  I was really starting to get frustrated.  I even thought God chose the word PATIENCE for me.  I googled, I looked up scriptures and I even looked for inspiration from Pinterest and Etsy.  After all this research I had written down words on a notecard by my bed.  I tried to figure out what these words all had in common; and I realized they all had a focus but I couldn’t find the right word yet.  All the words seem to focus on – impacting and inspiring the person I am with at that moment.  I continued to pray for the word and kept reading scriptures searching, then I decided I just needed to meditate and pray but most important – LISTEN.  I even thought that might be my word this year – I could see I needed to listen with God, and with others.  I am always in action mode and want to do something to solve issues; when sometimes I need to sit back and listen.  Listen – was not my word.  I wish I could say that I heard God speak the word DISCIPLE to me, but that didn’t happen.  The word just came to my mind.  It was not a word that I would have chosen because I really wasn’t sure what to do with it.  I went to the first verse that I knew included the word DISCIPLE.   Matthew 28:19-20

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It became clear to me that DISCIPLE was my word.  My focus for the year, my inspiration, my guide and my vision.  In some of Jesus’ last words – this was his instruction to us.  This was important and I needed to get busy.  I received confirmation several times over the weeks after I chose my word.  One was big – our church had chosen a word for the year and it was DISCIPLESHIFT.  I love when God provides confirmation.  I get excited over the word now and know it is my word for the year (woty).

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So I encourage you – choose your Word of the Year!  Pray, read scriptures, but most of all listen to God to give to you.  I would love for you to share with me in your journey for your word.  I would love to pray for you to find your word and most of all – I would LOVE to pray for you when you find your Word.  I hope this will inspire you and I hope that your word will mean something to you.

Always in prayer,

Leigh

 

My word for this year – inspire others – DISCIPLE

So I had such success with my word of the year last year that I had to choose one for this year.  I started in December waiting for a song to clue me in –nothing….crickets…  Nothing inspired me, nothing came to me.  I tried to find my word by reading the Bible, looking on Pinterest, Etsy, Googling….searching and searching.  NOTHING    – no – that is not my word.  I began to think that Patience may be my word but I still wasn’t sure.  I would write down words that seemed to spark something inside me but I couldn’t find the perfect word.  Oh no – it was mid-January –and I still did not have my word.  Our athletes of our nonprofit ministry was going to each choose our word of the year and discuss at a meeting and I didn’t have mine.  Wait – I was in charge of the meeting and I had nothing to share, nothing to inspire.  I kept feeling that my word had something to do with the person in front of me.  No – not a specific person but to focus on the person I was with; when I was with them.  Well – so what word describes that?  I prayed even more and decided that God would give to me if I TRUST (my word last year) him.  I sat in the quiet and listened.

My word came – it was DISCIPLE.  Again – not a word that I would necessarily have chosen on my own but this was my word for the year.  I liked this word – it is a noun – DISCIPLE.  It can mean – a follower of Jesus; the chosen ones, Jesus’ inner circle – how cool is that?  Yes -that is my word!

Oh – it is a verb too – it is an action word – it can mean to teach or train others to be disciples. Oh that means I am committing to disciple to others and help them become disciples.  I am not sure about this now.

I quickly turned in my Bible to the Great Commission from Jesus. I knew it was about disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,

 baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

It seems pretty clear to me that Jesus wants us to reach people all over the world.  He wants us to share his love and that he died on the cross, and they should be baptized in his name.  We should teach them to use their story, share their talents and follow the Bible which says they need to go.  This is where I see my calling this year – I want to help others determine how to serve, what their talents are and how to share the gospel.  I am praying for the right way to share and encourage others to serve God – not just go to church but to have a real relationship and a real servant heart.  Some people want to do those things but they just need a little coaching.  That is where I feel God is leading me.

So funny thing – I got my confirmation of my word DISCIPLE the very same week at church.  Our pastors announced that the word for the year at church is “Discipleshift”.  We are going to focus on this very thing!  I love when God winks at me and I can feel him saying – I have a plan for you…  I also heard the word DISCIPLE and read it several times and every time I got that feeling of confirmation!  (Still haven’t heard a song with it in it like last year…)

I sometimes feel that I think too much of myself – why would God choose me to minister and disciple others?  This is where I get confused – why me?  But then I think – why not me?  I can share through my blog, I can work in our nonprofit ministry with the teens, I can serve in our kid’s ministry, I can lead small groups and I can be an example.  I can find lots of excuses not to disciple, but I am not going to this time – I am committed to follow Jesus.  I am excited!  You know I looked at the background of the first twelve disciples and they were nothing extra special – just plain ordinary folks.  Fishermen, tax collectors, tradesmen; they were doubters, liars, followers – and they did amazing things for Jesus!  I want to do that too!  I searched more in the Bible about how to become a Disciple and found these tips in Matthew and even in Psalms.

Matthew 16:24-26 The Message (MSG)

24-26 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Psalms 34:19 The Message (MSG)

Disciples so often get into trouble;

still, God is there every time.

So I am focused on my word for the year – DISCIPLE and I intend to live it through my personal, spiritual, physical, mental and family life.  My goal is to help others become disciples too – I would love to help anyone that needs support and help in finding their gift to serve God.

Let’s go make disciples!

Leigh

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Why my word for the year changed my life– TRUST

Last year was the first year that I had ever chose a “word of the year”.  In my Small Group – we all chose one word – a word that would inspire, encourage and impact our lives. A word that would help us focus better in our spiritual, mental, physical and family life.   I chose “TRUST”.  It is so funny how that word became so important to me – I thought it was a strange word for me but I got confirmation from God over and over.  I heard a song on the Christian radio by Lauren Daigle called, “I will Trust in You”.  (Funny story I thought it was Adele and I started researching what the song was called because it affected me so much!)  I dealt with trust issues with my daughter during the year – she was almost 18 years old and was going through the “I am an adult today – treat me like one…to I am still a kid and I don’t know what I’m doing.”

I also felt God calling me to do things for him but I wasn’t always clear what they were.  It wasn’t drawn out and it wasn’t the right time for me. However, I would hear “I Will Trust in You” song on the radio and I would feel this deep intense feeling it was God talking to me.  I wish he would just talk to me clearly – I am not always great at picking up on clues.  I would hear God telling me to TRUST him.  He gave me this desire to quit my job and start a nonprofit ministry.  Well funny how things work out but one of my best friends and I decided that we should start a ministry.  (That’s another blog topic soon).  I had a great job and was good at it but I became unsatisfied and wasn’t as productive as I have always been. Something was going on!  I thought it was my health issues but I knew that I was beginning to feel like I should make a change.

I wrestled with God and prayed and talked to my husband.  I still wanted confirmation from God because why would he want me to quit my job?  I still had some credit card bills and needed to save some money for daughter’s college and retirement.  I would get sign after sign from God through that one song and through conferences that I would attend – one session was about Trust.  I received recommendations from friends to read books such as, “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey.

So I made up my mind to quit my job and started preparing.  I received a phone call from a friend and he wanted to talk to me about a position with his company – it was a company that I admired so much.  He wasn’t going to approach me but when he described what he wanted – he even said someone like Leigh Christian.  The two people he was talking to suggested he call me.  We worked out a plan and I was able to maintain a job with complete flexibility and salary that I could work with.  So what I am trying to say – once I followed GOD and trusted him – something great came along.  One year later, I am still working for that company and have expanded and started a consulting business as well.  Am enjoying my life but most of all enjoying my time with God.  Letting him manage my life and trusting him has been great.  I still make mistakes and still am not the Christian that I want to be, but I am trusting more!

I found a verse (Well a passage) in Proverbs 3 that just guided me through last year.  I try to read it as often as I can – even this year.  It is a great reminder.  I need it.  While I still think I know more about what I should be doing instead of relying on God ALL of the time, I am making progress.  Trust is so hard.  Funny thing is that GOD has never let me down.

 

Proverbs 3:5-12     The Message (MSG)

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.

 

Encouraging you to TRUST….GOD.

Leigh

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Change

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Change means so many different things to different people. Often, change is thought of in a negative way. I like to think of the word “change” in a positive renewing way. Change can be a noun or a verb; and even an adjective at times. It is one of the most powerful words and one of the most powerful things to do. Most people are scared of change; but some of us embrace it and know that change is good. I looked up the definition and there were numerous definitions but I am thinking of the first one that I read…to make the form, nature, content, future course of something different from what it is now. I want to make a “change” in me!
My blog has been focused for a few years on being a “changed” person – I wanted to change my future – be a better person, but most of all – be a better Christian. It is hard. Sometimes you make so much progress, only to be knocked back down lower than you started. I have learned though; the battles along the way, those unexpected turns were what made me more aware, stronger and to love deeper. The journey would be boring and not mean as much if it was just a straight path. I have learned to fight harder; to ask for help and to give forgiveness along the way. Sometimes the very people that you think are going to support you, to hold you up in times of trouble are the ones that let you down the most. It is so easy to want to blame them; but that is how God intended for the situation to go. It hurts when someone lets you down, when someone gives up on you; and when they even seem to be out to get you. How can that be part of God’s plan? How can he let us get hurt? I know – it is during these times we look up to God more and beg for help. These are times when we commit to him more; these are the times that we rely on him and not ourselves. You see – when times are going great and we get confidence – we think we can handle everything – we forget to rely on God. That is when he allows things to happen to bring us closer to him again. In other words – he allows us to fall in the deep pit, the insecurity, the sin, the lack of confidence, the petty jealousy and the defeat of comparison.
There is only one thing that does not change – and that is God/Jesus. In Hebrews 13:8 it states, “Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.”
I know that God loves me yesterday, today and tomorrow; whether I am naughty or nice, or even if I completely ignore him. He is consistent. I know he is always there for me, even when I am not for him. God never fails….so why do we resist change? We resist because we know that we fail. It is hard for us to turn everything over to God. It is scary to think you may make mistakes, life choices that are really big, and commit to something you don’t know how to do. Changes may result in losing your job, gaining family members, increasing or decreasing your finances….change can totally disrupt your plans. Change can also help you find happiness. It is not always bad – it is different. Don’t be afraid to take the first step towards change…read a book to improve; attend a class; set a goal; look for a new job; find a new friend…just take the chance to make a change. If you do not change directions – you may end up going nowhere. Change brings opportunities; helps find dreams; and helps us grow… Don’t expect to see change if you don’t make any changes. Besides God, change is one thing that is consistent…things are always changing – it is up to us to embrace them.
I wish it was easy; but, change is hard! I challenge you to think about how you can change for the better and start doing something about it! I plan to make several changes this year – I want to feel better, not be stressed, enjoy life and it is only me that can do it! Let’s change together…

Leigh

Pity Party – No More!!

images-2 Do you ever wake up and just feel like the world is out to get you? It seems you can make no one happy? Everyone is pulling you in hundreds of directions? The harder you work, the deeper you get behind? You feel left out, not included, and just lonely – even in a group of people? Do you think if you are the nicest person and offer your help and really go out of your way for others – they will do the same? Then you get stomped on again and again. Do you let your mind start racing, start thinking all of these negative thoughts and you just start feeling worse. Well, I started my day off like that this morning. I was frustrated, sad, lonely, mad, feeling sorry for myself….you know that Self PITy that you go in. (Notice I capitalized the letters – PIT…we fall deep in that PIT of self-pity). I don’t even have anything wrong going on in my life…
I realized immediately what I was doing and so I tried to just breathe! I was going to post on Facebook a quote or scripture and I started looking at lots of positive uplifting thoughts. I was reading them faster and faster and really did start feeling better. I read them out loud, I thought and meditated over them. I found some scripture that was uplifting and even heard some praise songs. My mood was getting better. I was slowing climbing up the walls…I fell a few times when an email frustrated me or I heard others talking and laughing and I felt left out; but I was going to stop letting my mind go to the bottom of the pit again. I have always heard of the power of positive thinking but I guess I never really realize what power it can have.
As I grow older, I reflect a lot more on ways I could improve myself…I always know that I could start by not being so hard on myself. I am caring, compassionate, dependable, want to do my best always, am friendly, am worthy…wait – I am worthy. Surely I didn’t’ say that – but you know – my God gives me worth. He cared enough to pay the ultimate price of dying for me. He did that for me…and for you. So when you start your old stinking thinking – look up to God or get down on your knees. Read scripture, listen to praise music, read positive thoughts, surround yourself with positive people. Do NOT let your mind have the power to get you down…into the snake pit…of self-pity. Gosh – I am so blessed with a fabulous family, a great job with people I respect and admire; I am part of so many wonderful community groups and a great church. I am blessed! You have the POWER to change your mind from thinking negative to thinking positive.
In the Bible – David expressed when he felt times of being in the PIT. He shares in Psalm 40 and so many other places in Psalms. Psalm 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (He’s talking about God for those of you who don’t catch on.)
I also think about Daniel – who was thrown not only in a pit – but a lion’s pit. He came out smiling – praising God. He relied on God to get him through it. God didn’t let him down – he showed out!
So next time you start sliding into the pit – stop it. You have the power to do it – rely on your God. Change your thinking – the power is yours!quote-self-pity-is-our-worst-enemy-and-if-we-yield-to-it-we-can-never-do-anything-wise-in-the-world-helen-keller-358209

Love you lots…don’t you go have a pity party…..no more!

Leigh

Be Authentic!

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Recently I was having a conversation with a friend over lunch, and we began discussing what we liked in people; and she said to me that she liked me, because I was authentic. I pondered that for a while and I realized that it has taken me fifty LONG years to get to that point. Seems like I have always been trying to impress someone – my parents, teachers, coaches, friends, bosses….well basically everyone. I wanted to look a certain way, have a certain title, be recognized for achievements, and was just really always trying to please everyone else. I am a People Pleaser – always have been…always will be. I did realize that I could get my feelings hurt sometimes trying to please everyone though! I am often taken advantage of; but I have a better understanding of myself lately. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on who I really am and what I want to be. Sometimes, I really don’t like how I turned out and sometimes I feel so blessed. I realized when I take the positive side of things – I am happier. I have learned to find the lessons or the best practices in a situation instead of having regrets over how I could have done better. My goal now is to be my best and I realized that I really just need to please one and only one – that is GOD! The Bible tells us in so many verses to do what is pleasing to God.

1 Thessalonians (ESV) 4 Finally, then, brothers,[a] we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Ephesians 5:10 (GNT) 10 Try to learn what pleases the Lord.

Well – that is always my intention but I make mistakes – sometimes, not only am I not pleasing to God but I usually make others frustrated or mad too! We are only human! I am striving to be a better “me” and I am not comparing myself or competing with others. I used to always want to be the best – not just the best me, but the best at whatever I was doing. Now I just want to be the best I can be! I am trying not to compare myself or allow myself to have a pity party. I take pride in who I am and what I stand for. I have become so much bolder in my faith and I love it. Someone asked me to pray a non-religious prayer for a large event – I stressed all day – how do you do that? I didn’t want to offend anyone so I used careful words – it didn’t feel right. That one thing really impacted me so much! I have as much right to pray to my God and Jesus as they didn’t want me too. I don’t want to offend anyone but I want to be authentic and stand up for my beliefs. This year has been a real life lesson for me. I have changed…maybe I am finally mature at 50 – I don’t know but I am a different person. In certain areas of my life – I am not the go to person or the most popular or the friend to everyone like I used to be. I often feel isolated and even like the weird person that people make fun of from time to time. At first, it bothered me so much – then I realized that I need to control me and only me, and the situation would work itself out. I continued to be friendly, and do my work. I am still not included sometimes and I am definitely not the go-to person anymore; however, I take pride in the fact that I help others and do my job. Funny thing – I am not stressed anymore!
Being authentic is just being yourself – not trying to be like someone else. Being authentic is standing up for your beliefs without pushing them on others. Being authentic is being the best “you” that you can be in every situation….be the best friend, mom, wife, etc. Always do your best and show your care and commitment. I hate to make generalizations but I am going to right now. It seems that our society is focused on “What’s in it for me, instead of what can I do to make this a better place…” We need people to step up and step out and be authentic and show what they stand for and live for each moment and be their very best.
Blessings to you and prayers that you will learn to be authentic!

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