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

 

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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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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

Lessons from Noah’s Ark

One of my favorite Bible stories is Noah’s Ark…I can’t believe Noah had the courage to just start building the ark with all of those critics.  I just can’t imagine having two of every animal in a big boat for 40 days and nights…well I can kind of imagine – I do have a teenager and there are lots of kids at my house begging for food…so maybe I can. I think 40 days and nights of rain being cooped up on a stinky loud and crazy boat would be a nightmare! I wonder how it felt that no one else was there to hear their amazing story of the ride in the boat, the animals, the rain, and the rainbow.

I found this great lesson from MYBIBLE.com and LOVED it.  These are some great lessons!

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1. Don’t miss the boat.  You know you just have to take that chance – listen to God and follow the plans he has for you. Imagine Noah building the ark – what a leap of faith!  Get on the boat or build your own “boat”.

2.  Remember that we are all in the same boat.  We all have the same chances – we just need to take them and pray about what God wants us to do.  This world has people that we may not like but we need to learn to tolerate, collaborate and cooperate!

3.  Plan ahead…it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark…My favorite saying is Plan your work, Work you plan.  One of my favorite Bible verses is  Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Planning is important…but follow God’s plans not just your own.

4.  Stay fit!  When you are really old, someone may ask you to do something really big.  Be ready – When God Calls, He also Equips. When God Calls, He Enables. When God Calls, He Provides. When God Calls you, He qualifies you. When God calls us, He equips, provides, qualifies & enables us.  Be ready!

5  Don’t listen to the critics, just get on with the job that needs to be done.  There are people that are jealous, they try to belittle you, they try to make you feel guilty – don’t let them.  Do what you know God wants and just keep on doing it.  Noah listened to God and not to the critics and it saved his life! 

6. Build your future on high ground. Live the life that Jesus would…he set the example and we need to follow it.  A favorite quote by Charles Spurgeon…if your Bible is falling apart – your life probably isn’t..this means that someone is using their Bible as their life instruction manual.  Talk to God…always. 

7. For safety sake, travel in pairs.   Two is better than one…you need someone to keep you on track, to encourage, to inspire…small accountability groups are great.  People tend to do much better when they know someone is keeping them accountable and monitoring them. 

8.  Speed isn’t always an advantage.  Snails were on board with the cheetahs.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Consistency  and commitment are so important.  Keep going and going and going…

9.  When you are stressed…float a while.  Just chill, meditate, focus – take time for yourself, time to relax and clear your head.  Just pray…

10.  Remember the ark was built by amateurs..the Titanic by professionals.  Give everyone a chance to express their ideas, suggestions…don’t feel like you always have to be the expert.  Brainstorming is a great way to get fresh new ideas and others buy in to your issues.

11.  No matter the storm, when you are with God, there is always a rainbow waiting.  A rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise to earth.  Look for God’s signs. 

My prayer is that we will listen to God and follow his instructions….I hope I don’t miss the boat…what about you?

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Blessings to ya!  Leigh

Oh you’ve got to have FRIENDS…

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Galatians 6 really reminds me about how important it is to have friends. Friends are a key element for success in  getting healthy!  You have to have support, encouragement and most of all someone to be accountable to!  I tried having a facebook page to provide support and to have a place to share ideas.  It was helpful and I still plan to keep it but nothing replaces true face to face friends asking you where have you been – since you hadn’t been to the gym.  Friends checking in with you about how you are eating and whether you need advice or help.  Friends are the real basis of success for me on a diet.  I know what to do – I just need encouragement, support and a hard kick in the butt sometimes!

Galatians 6  Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Help Each Other       Brothers and sisters, someone in your group might do something wrong. You who are following the Spirit should go to the one who is sinning. Help make that person right again, and do it in a gentle way. But be careful, because you might be tempted to sin too. Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. You must each accept the responsibilities that are yours.

Never Stop Doing Good  Whoever is being taught God’s word should share the good things they have with the one who is teaching them.If you think you can fool God, you are only fooling yourselves. You will harvest what you plant. If you live to satisfy your sinful self, the harvest you will get from that will be eternal death. But if you live to please the Spirit, your harvest from the Spirit will be eternal life. We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. 10 When we have the opportunity to do good to anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers.

Paul encouraged his friends in Phillipi as shown here in Philippians 1:27-30  The Voice (VOICE)  27 So here is what I want you to do: conduct yourselves as true and worthy citizens of the Anointed’s gospel, so that whether I make it or don’t make it to see you, I will at least hear that you continue to stand, united in one spirit, single-minded in purpose as you struggle together for the faith in the gospel. 28 Don’t be paralyzed in any way by what your opponents are doing. Your steadfast faith in the face of opposition is a sign that they are doomed and that you have been graced with God’s salvation. 29 And now, you have been given the privilege of not only believing inJesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, but being chosen to suffer for Him as well. 30 You have seen me suffer for Him. Since I’ve been away, you’ve heard of the other agonizing conflicts I’ve had to face. Now you know firsthand the pains of this battle.

The Bible refers to so many friendships, mentors, groups and continually reminds us that we need to stick together.  Friends are so important to me.  I have had the best friends in my life time and still love each and everyone!  I know that God put each person in my life when I needed them.  I have some friends that I hadn’t talked to in a while but when we do facebook or see each other – it is like we have never been apart.

I encourage you to find friends, start a group, get a trainer…find someone to be your someone….to motivate, support, encourage and make you stay on track!  Go to The Daniel Plan and check out their site on Friends.  https://www.danielplan.com/friends

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Friends Forever…

Leigh