The Comparison Game

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Good morning!

Fighting the comparison game.  I believe it is one of the hardest battles we fight every single day.  And it is so easy with social media at our fingertips to look across the screen and see someone else living the life we wished we were living.

The thing is though…God gave us this one.  He gave us this life, this assignment, these children, this spouse, this home, etc., specifically at this time.  Now that being said, he also gave us the freedom of choice.  And those choices have influenced where we are on our journey.  But, are we looking to the Father to lead us down our path, the one He has for us?  Or are we looking across the screen and wanting to follow the ways of what we see?

I have learned over the years that comparing our lives with others only leads to disappointment, doubt, and feeling like we are failing when actually we aren’t!  Here are  a few things I have found that helps fight against the comparison game:

  1. Limit your screen time.  It is great to scroll through our news feed, see pictures of what friends and family are up to, but keep it at that.  It is information to view and process, not receive and input.
  2. Be present in your own life!  I get that some days are long and sometimes you just want to check out for a few minutes.  But being present where we are and in our current assignment is huge.
  3. Know where God has you.  It is so important to be in constant communication with the Father and know where He has you and why.  When we look up to Him instead of out at everyone else we have peace with where we are because we know it comes from Him.  It is when we begin to look out around us instead of up that we become discontent or agitated in our assignment.
  4. Stay in the Word.  When we grow in our relationship with the Father we see ourselves in a whole new way.  When we know who we are through His eyes there is no longer any need to be discontent.  He loves us perfectly and wholly exactly where we are, not because of what we are doing.  When we stay in constant communication with him, He will lead the way.

So, let’s live fully!  Fully right where we are, not where someone else is, and trust Him with the process.  Our journey is going to be uniquely designed by the One true author.  And most likely it isn’t going to look exactly like anyone else’s…and that’s what makes it special.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Dare to be Brave

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Good morning!

Have you ever been afraid to go against the grain of others?  To feel like you are the only one headed north while everyone else is going south?  I know I have.

I have been scared to go a different way, to do a different thing than what others around me were doing.  It’s really hard to step out and then to stand firm on something that we feel passionate about, something that we sense God asking of us, something that looks different from maybe what we thought or different from everyone else.

It is hard to go against the “norm” of what everyone else is doing, whether that is

  • raising our children
  • climbing the corporate ladder
  • addressing medical needs
  • cultivating our relationships
  • how we spend our time (activities/lifestyle/sports/etc)
  • the list is endless!!

But I want to tell you that as hard as it can be, standing firm on what God has for us is the very best place to stand.  And the decisions we make after seeking God’s counsel are probably the best ones.  It says in Isaiah 30:21:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

This is the only voice that we really need to be listening for… not everyone else’s.

I was reminded the other day while I was reading through the story of David that over and over again he was not the “norm”.  He was the youngest, the smallest, the one who tended the sheep; not a warrior like his brothers.  Yet, God used him to defeat the giant threatening Israel’s army.  And he didn’t do it the “normal” way…David took a sling and a stone into a sword fight.

So let’s stand firm on what God has for us, even if it looks different.  The best place that we can stand is the one He has paved for us.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Looking for Victory?

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Good morning!

As I was reading along in Deuteronomy (one of my favorites) this morning Moses was telling the Israelite people once again to “not be afraid,  the LORD you God, who brought you out of Egypt, is with you!”  (Deut 20:1)  He goes on saying “Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them (their enemies).  For the LORD your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” (Deut 20:3-4)

Let’s not forget who goes with us into battle.  Whether you are battling an illness, a job, a relationship, your future, money issues, or whatever it might be – do not lose heart, or panic or tremble.  God is helping you today to fight your battles!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

You Are Enough

October 2018 905Good morning!

It is so easy to get caught up in trying to be everything to everyone.  Trying to balance the roles we play as mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, employee, etc and what is expected of us in each of our roles.  We can get swept up trying to be “everything” before we know it.

But only Jesus can be our everything… and when we don’t feel like we are enough we can rest in knowing that He is.

  • When we are weak, He is strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • When we are weary, He is our power.  (Isaiah 40:29)
  • When we are tired, He gives us rest.  (Matthew 11:28)
  • When we are shaken, He is our rock (Psalm 62:2)
  • When we fear, He is with us, He is our comforter.  (Joshua 1:9)

So let’s take a deep breath this week and stop trying to be everything and let Jesus be our everything.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Staying Pliable

Chase and Tanna tree3

Good afternoon!

I spoke to a group of girls at a rodeo bible camp a few years back about being “pliable”.  (easily bent or flexible; yielding, adaptable, adjusting readily to change) At that point it was a new thing for me.  I was pretty set in my ways… I had done things the same way for so long and I knew the formula worked. When I met my husband he did things different then I did and he was always “suggesting” I try it his way.  But I didn’t want to try it his way…when I knew my way worked.

I had been having some trouble with my roping for some time and he was making all these suggestions; try a different bit, get up more over the front of my horse, my first swing needed more tip (pointing down) and so on.  But I wasn’t willing to try those things.  I mean after all, I had won a World Championship doing it my way.  (no pride there! ha!) And I knew my way would work.  However, it wasn’t working.

Anyone else set in their ways? Have you been doing things the same way for so long that the thought of change seems impossible?  I was completely there.  I had been roping for over 20 years…change at this point?  No way I thought.

But wow did God have a big lesson for me!  When we get so set in doing things a certain way we miss what He wants to do in us and through us.  I was so quick to shut out other’s suggestions (especially my husbands who had also roped for over 20 years) or input to change…when change was exactly what God had in mind for me.

How can we be so set in our ways yet attentive to the Holy Spirit?  When we say yes to the Father we are filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit and we get to choose whether we are going to do things the same way we have been doing them OR we get to listen to the Spirit of God living on the inside of us.

I was so stuck in doing things my own way I wasn’t attuned to what God was trying to do in and through me.  I was basically saying, “no thanks Lord, I will keep doing things my way”.  Have you ever said no thanks?  Unwilling to change or try something new, something that God was prompting you to?

God has so many good things for us…His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8) and when we are attentive to the Holy Spirit we can reach out and help whom God asks us to help, we can extend grace when grace is needed, and we can help the ones God has intended for us to help.  We can do the work that God has planned for us to do.  When we are fixed in doing things our way, we might miss the very thing He has for us today.

It was a hard lesson for me to learn…and I am still learning what exactly it means to be pliable to the Holy Spirit every single day.  To wake up with an open mind and an open heart to what He has and not just what I have planned.  His plans rarely look like our plans.

The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.  Isaiah 14:24 NIV

We want to encourage you to yield to the Holy Spirit working on the inside of you.  Stay pliable to His voice, His ways, His words and live open-handed.  We never know who or how or where we can be used by Him.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Wholeness

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Good morning!

Letting go is hard…it tends to leave a hole in our hearts that we aren’t really sure what to do with.  Recently I let go of something that had become very important to me…and honestly I wasn’t really sure how to navigate the new unknown territory.  I wasn’t sure what was to come but I was sure letting go was the right choice.

But this hole?  What was I to do with this void that now I felt on the inside?  It is so easy to just want to fill it back up with something tangible…something that brings instant relief.  But honestly that will pass too and until we fill our holes with Jesus we will be stuck in the routine of longing for more.

I am so grateful that Jesus fills the holes in our hearts and that only He can bring us wholeness.

Have you let go of something that has left a void in your heart?  I want to encourage you to run to Jesus.  Press into Him and cling to Him as you continue to press on.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Real Genuine True Rest

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Good morning!

Submission.  That can be such a scary word.  It is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as the condition of being submissive (submitting to others), humble, or compliant.  When I think of submission I think of letting something go.

  • Letting go of control
  • Letting go of anxiety
  • Letting go of sadness
  • Letting go of anxiousness
  • Letting go of anger
  • Letting go of always trying to fix things (relationships, family, children, etc)

We tend to want to hold some back…some of our anger, some of our forgiveness, some of our control.  But all that partial release brings is stress.  Or, we let it go only to pick it up again.

I am learning that we only find true rest in total submission… When we lay everything down at the feet of Jesus and submit all to Him we will find true rest.  Easier said than done…but anyone else in need of some real, genuine, true rest?  Let’s work at it together!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Finding Joy in the Little Things

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Good morning!

Finding joy in the little things…When I look at the smile on this boys face as he sips full strength juice it makes my heart smile.  As I sat on my bench watching him I began to think about all the things we already have, all that Jesus has already done, to bring a smile to our faces.

It seems that most of the time we tend to focus on the things we don’t have.  We plan, we strive, we set goals, and we work hard.  All good things!  It keeps us moving forward, but it also keeps our focus on things we don’t have yet.  And if we aren’t careful we become dissatisfied with where we are.

Let’s not forget to remember all the things He has already done for us.  It is so good to stop and look and think and smile.  Smile at the gifts He has given us.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

When Life Runs Crazy

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You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Psalm 139:5 NIV

Good morning!

Sometimes our days can run out of control.  We catch ourselves coming and going and backtracking and unsure of how we are going to get to where we are headed.  Let’s be honest, sometimes we can even lose track of exactly where it was that we were headed in the first place.

I love how the scriptures talk over and over about Jesus going before us and being behind us but I especially love here in Psalms 139 where it says You hem me in...it’s personal.  It shows us that His love surrounds us all the time, and that He cares deeply enough for each one of us to hem us in when we need it.

Let’s pause and take a few deep breaths today and let Him hem us in.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

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