In much the same way, you and I go through spiritually dormant seasons. These are the seasons when God seems silent…when our dreams and visions for the future seem lifeless. But although we may not see or feel anything exciting, it doesn't mean nothing is happening. A lot has to happen on the inside of us before we are ready to handle the future God has for us.
The older we get, the faster time seems to pass. Before we know it, the ambitions, hopes and dreams of our youth become absorbed and forgotten in the background of life, until one day we reflect back and wonder, Should I have done things differently? Did I choose the right path? Is it too late to be what I wanted to be?
There was a time in my life when I struggled with all types of fears and insecurities, constantly worried about the future, my job, my ministry, and my family. Needless to say, I wasn't really enjoying my life!
We can have a lot of things in life, but if we don't have peace, we're never going to truly enjoy our lives the way God intended.
Did you know that God cares about every single part of your life? He isn't only concerned with your spiritual health, but He desires for you to be healthy in every area.
Have you ever hired a professional to prune a tree in your yard? Well, Dave and I hire someone to do that for us and there are times when he cuts the branches back so far that I've said to him, "There is nothing left. You have totally destroyed our tree!" But he says, "You just watch and see." And sure enough, before long the tree is much better looking than it was before.
It seems that so many people are constantly busy and overwhelmed with the activities of daily life. But it's not God's will for you to be frustrated. He doesn't want you to be stressed-out about everything that you're expected to do. So if you find yourself feeling pressured to get things done, I want to help you fix that.
God wants us to continually make good choices for our lives. So He's given us the Bible – His Word – as an instruction book to live by. The thing is, once we know what it says, we're responsible to do what it says. There's never a time when it's all right to do the wrong thing.
Have you ever noticed that being angry never makes anything better? I know because I used to have a quick temper. In fact, I was angry more than I wasn't.
We have all experienced anger at some point in our lives, and it can be a real problem. Though it starts as a harmless feeling, it can quickly grow into something dangerous that's hard to control. But with God's help, we can learn how to deal with our feelings and walk in His peace
I did it all wrong for years. And I was miserable! I'm talking about my attitude and my stinkin' thinkin' that was focused on the thought "What about me?!" And it came out in my behavior: If I didn't get my way all the time, I tried to control other people through my temper.
Everyone struggles with insecurity and the fear of rejection to some degree. And there's nothing wrong with wanting people to like you. But when we are so focused on being people pleasers that our fear of being rejected, judged or criticized controls our choices, we're being controlled by the fear of man.
Fear is an enemy that torments the soul and seeks to steal our life. Conquering it is not something that we do in one day, or even in 1,000 days. It is something that we conquer one day at a time with God's help.
One of the greatest lessons I've learned is that you can't be both selfish and happy. I know this is true through my own personal experience, but more importantly, the Bible has some things to say about the attitude we should have about "self."
All of us have some sort of dream or vision – areas of our lives where, with God's help, we want to better ourselves or achieve more.
So much of what we do every single day is the result of habits that we have formed over time. And when it comes to establishing healthy, new patterns in our lives, I've found that spending time with God and acknowledging Him in all of our ways is one of the most important and rewarding habits we can ever develop (see Proverbs 3:6).
I have read that as much as 40 percent of everything we do is performed purely out of habit. A habit is something we do without even thinking. It's a behavior that is developed through frequent repetition. First we form habits…and then they form us. We are what we repeatedly do!
I'm sure everybody desires to have a good life. But what do most people consider the good life? Many go after a bigger house or car, a better paying job while others seek education, marriage or other achievements with great passion. And why…because many are convinced these are the things that will give them happiness, peace and fulfillment.
So, why do many people seek the "things" first? Many people's top priorities seem to be jobs, houses, cars or other material things. To seek means "to crave, pursue, to make sacrifices to get, to go after with all of your strength and all of your heart." It is a mistake to crave and pursue possessions, believing they will give us the lasting peace, joy and contentment that only come from God's presence in our lives.
Years ago, while I was praying one day for something I wanted, God spoke a life-changing truth to my heart. He said, "Joyce, seek My face and not My hand. If you seek My face, My hand will always be open."
Would you say you're happy with your life? Are you satisfied and content? If your answer is no, I have good news for you: You can learn how to be content – no matter where you are in life or what your circumstances may be.
Can you think of a time when you felt like, "What in the world is going on in my life? Why did that happen to me? When will I finally get what I've wanted for so long? Why, God, why? When, God, when?!" If you've been alive very long, you've probably had an experience like this at some point.
It seems there are very few people who are consistently content with life. It's more common to be up and down mentally and emotionally, depending on what our circumstances are. So I want to ask you: How content are you? Are you consistently enjoying your life?
Whenever people hurt or disappoint us, our human nature leads us to dislike them because of their shortcomings. But God's desire for us is to love all people, including our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48).
Let's face it; humility isn't a very popular word. Yet, all throughout the Bible, the Lord instructs us about the benefits of being "humble-minded."