Monthly Archives: March 2016

Choose Life

3:25:16 Choose Lifeby Lydia Floren

Easter is all about life. Nothing says “life” like budding flowers, and chirping birds, and greening leaves, so it makes perfect sense to celebrate Easter in the spring. “I came,” Jesus said, “that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 19:10) This abundant life is not just about heaven. God invites us to experience this rich life now. Today. Everyday.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we have the option of living an abundant life. But God doesn’t force this on us. We get to choose whether to embrace God’s love and follow Him, or to continue on our own destructive path.

This is a choice between life and death, as Deuteronomy 30 points out:

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life. Deut. 30:19-20

This Easter, choose life: live the life you were created to live.
Resolve to

  • Love God
  • Listen to His voice
  • Hold tight to Him

And then keep making that choice over and over again. Because the Lord IS your life.

Real life begins with Him. Real life can only be found in Him.

Overcoming Fear

3:16:16 Overcoming Fearby Lydia Floren

I have discovered that I can carry a lot of fear around with me. I have a fear of failure, fear of being rejected or disrespected. I am afraid of loneliness. Sometimes I am afraid that I don’t have what it takes to make and keep heartwarming, life renewing relationships. I am afraid that I am “not enough” (whatever that means), and I am afraid that I can’t fake it well enough to keep others from finding out. My fears can alter my reality, and change the way I respond to people and situations. Here’s how:

I beg
And I can act on my fears, by trying to be good enough. I try to

  • please people
  • grab attention
  • compete
  • do the best I can to be lovable

I beg for the love and acceptance I need so desperately. I am like a little kid whining for a treat.
But the few crumbs I get from others don’t satisfy my gnawing hunger.

I steal.
When my fears overwhelm me I start believing the worst: no one could ever really love me. And desperation sets in. My response?

  • Escape: I immerse myself in a project, or eat lots of chocolate, or withdraw into a book.
  • Retaliate. I get-angry-and-get-even by manipulating, or just snapping someone’s head off.
  • Complain. I steal other people’s joy by criticizing or complaining.

I steal peace and joy where I think I can find it.
But the glitter is not gold.

I hide.
When I am afraid, I tend to focus on myself: I try to

  • Protect myself so I can’t be rejected or hurt in the future.
  • Insulate myself with popularity or position or competence.
  • I keep others at arm’s length so they cannot know my weaknesses and hurt me with that knowledge.

But my hiding place is not safe, or secret.

There is a better way.

Overcoming Fear
There is a better way to be validated, and free from fear. It requires that I do something counterintuitive. I have to choose to quit looking at myself, and instead choose to look up.

When I take my eyes off my situation and start focusing on God, it changes everything. God is the most scary-smart [He makes MENSA look like preschool], wealthy, important, powerful person in the universe. And He loves ME. He cherishes ME. He considered me highly valuable, worth paying the price of His son’s life. He has adopted ME into His royal family. His secret service protects me 24-7.

There is nothing to fear.

My identity, value, belonging, and calling are secure. Nothing and no one can change these – not even me. Nothing anyone else does or says can alter this inner person that I am in any way. I am a precious, unique individual. I am loved. I belong in God’s family. I have a calling: to encourage and love others in my own unique way.

When I am not afraid, the world looks totally different, and I respond differently.

I quit begging for others to validate me with their attention, respect, admiration. I come out of hiding, because I am 100% safe. I stop trying to grab a cheap imitation for joy wherever I can find it, because I have already received the real joy of being completely known and loved.

I start serving. I just want to help others to see their unique precious identity, value, belonging and calling. I want them to know the safety of living life under the protection of the God of the Universe, who loves them much more than I ever could. I am aware of God with me, and want nothing more than for Him to lead me, and empower me to love those that cross my path.

Once I am deeply and completely satisfied  in the waters of God’s love, I can really live. My cup overflows.

Let the joy begin!

Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

Prepping for Success

3:9:16 Prepping for successby Lydia Floren

It is always soul-enriching, being with God. Why do I wait? What could possibly give me more life than spending time in His presence? Having those moments that soak into my soul?


Prepping for success

How can we be prepping for success? How do we minimize distractions first thing in the morning, and optimize our chances of success, in this all important meeting with The Person Who Loves Us Most? Here are a few thoughts that have helped me:

1. Restrict my daily “To Do” list to 5 items. I only allow 5 things on my to do list every day, and #1 is “Be loved by God, and listen.“

2. Plan and Prepare the night before:

  • Straighten up the night before, especially the area where I have my prayer/time with God.
  • Make this area inviting—soothing, peaceful. Pictures, flowers, music at the ready.
  • Get coffee set up to go automatically.
  • Have my journal/Bible/materials set out.
  • Go to bed on time, and set my alarm.

2. Keep a running task list handy. When things I need to do, or ideas I have, start crowding my mind, I can write them down and get them out of my head.

3. Continue reviewing my priorities and goals, so other things don’t creep into my life and
rob me of the most important things.

What do you do to stay focused in your daily meeting with God? Please share! I would love to hear from you!

A Recurring Struggle

3:3:16 Recurring Struggleby Lydia Floren

It happened again. I got distracted, and pretty soon two hours had passed and I still hadn’t spent any time alone with God. Once again, I let other things keep me from meeting Him at the first of my day: an unfinished project, a messy house, calls to make, emails to answer. It is a recurring struggle.

I am not alone in this recurring struggle.

C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity,

“The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving that all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in and so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussing and fretting; coming in out of the wind.

“We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system, because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through.”
Wow. Moments of “letting that other, larger, stronger quieter life come flowing in.” . Moments of joy, of peace, of finding perspective, of talking to my best friend. The more I have of these, the more I hunger for them.

Everything really does fall into place once I take the time to really connect with God, soaking in His love and presence.

Worth the effort, I think.

What are your thoughts?