The Comparison Game

boys

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

 

Pushing Through

Pushing Through Blog

Good morning!

I set out for a run yesterday and I had barely gotten a half mile in when I had a twinge in my right knee and some nerves speak fire through my left foot.  I thought to myself, “maybe I shouldn’t go as far today”.  I have experienced pain in my left foot for quite some time.  I had a couple of stress fractures a year and a half ago and some nerve damage that left me in a walking boot for a while.  Even though it is better, I still have some nagging pain to deal with.

Most people probably are dealing with some type of issue that is nagging…either physical, mental, or emotional.  It could be:

  • a medical issue
  • a strained relationship
  • a difficult work atmosphere
  • a tough marriage
  • a challenging child

How often do we accept defeat when really we just need to dig in and find the courage to push through?  We give up way too easily most times.  Our minds can convince us that we are justified in just giving up, giving in, and taking the easy road out.  But what if we decided to dig in?  What if we decided to let God work on us from the inside out? Even if it meant we were going to go through a few hard days or a challenging season.

Honestly for me yesterday the only thing that needed revived was my mind… and I think for most of you this is probably true as well.  Deep down, the truth was I just didn’t really feel like going for a run so my mind was coming up with all sorts of excuses to keep me from it!  I am so glad that I hit my Unstoppable playlist (TobyMac) and kept running.

What are you experiencing in your life that keeps lingering?  Let’s make the choice today to dig in and keep going.  Let’s lean on Him for courage and yield to His guidance along the way.  We will be glad we did!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

The Power of Community

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Good morning!

The last couple weeks have been completely unbalanced and unpredictable.  From the time changing, to a massive blizzard, to Qwade being in the hospital, to being stuck at home for 10 days for his lungs to heal, to broken computers and stolen bank information.  Seriously…sometimes there are no words.

Have you ever walked through a trying time?  When the hits just kept coming and you had to keep going or you might just fall apart?

As I called my mom last week to vent my frustrations about my brand new computer that mysteriously wouldn’t turn on anymore and that someone had stolen my debit card information and was trying to purchase things in Oregon (all on the same day) I told her, “I think if I don’t laugh I will cry”.

But as our family has walked through these couple of weeks the Father has shown us something that we really needed to see… He is showing us the power of community.  

There have been so many people step in to pray for our family and words cannot express how grateful we are.  We have had family step up and help with our other son, friends brought me coffee at the hospital (much-needed coffee), a nurse who helped me get checked out and watched Qwade while I waited on the pharmacy, a church family who wrapped their arms around us, and multiple other texts, cards, calls and support.

God has shown me just how much we really do need community…

  • people to love us and encourage us when life gets hard
  • people to celebrate the victories with us
  • people who pray for us when we can’t find the words to pray ourselves
  • people who hold our hands in their hands
  • people who sit and listen while we cry

There is power in community.  The power of Jesus.  And when we stand in unity as a community of believers there is no mountain that He cannot move.

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

Run Your Race

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  Hebrews 12:1-2a

Good morning!

Social media has the ability to make us anxious.  As I was staying in the hospital last week with our son I scrolled through more social media than I care to admit.  I think sometimes we do it as a way to check out of the current circumstances surrounding us. As we scroll through our news-feed and our eyes scan all the pictures and/or statements our minds can immediately go to things like:

  • I should work out (exercise) more
  • I should spend more time with my kids
  • I should do more DIY projects for my home
  • I should try to get “that” job (whether corporate or work from home)

I should, I should, I should, and the next thing we know our minds have gone crazy and we have become totally discontent with our life.

Now, I’m not saying all social media is bad, because there are some great perks to it!  All I’m saying is run the race God has marked out for you.

We can get all worked up about what everyone else is doing and we tend to lose focus on what we are supposed to be doing.  There is only one Author of our story…and He is the most important person that we listen to.

So let’s stop looking over the fence and envying someone else’s race and get in tune with the Holy Spirit and run our race.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Blue Skies Up Ahead

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Good morning!

Spring’s around the corner!  Spring’s around the corner!  I can hear the tune over and over in my head.  It makes me think of blue skies and sunshine!  But what about the circumstances that surround us when they don’t feel like blue skies and sunshine?  When they feel more like dark skies and bitter cold wind blowing against us?

I was reading in Mark chapter 6 where Jesus was performing the miracle of feeding the five thousand men (plus women and children).  We had gone over this miracle in church last week.  But as I continued reading the scripture goes immediately into when Jesus walks on the water, out to the boat full of the disciples that he had sent out earlier that evening without him.

But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost.  They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.  Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.  Mark 6:49-51

Here we see the disciples terrified of the unknown; dark skies all around and the wind blowing against them.  Sometimes life throws storms at us too.  Storms that terrify us, bind us all up on the inside, and threaten every security we hold on to.  It is easy to take our eyes off Jesus and stare directly into the storm and think “How am I going to get through this?”

But Jesus… He encourages the disciples and he encourages us – “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  He immediately spoke to the disciples to calm their fear, give them assurance and a sense of security.  He also wants to replace our fear with peace, fill our souls with comfort, and assure us that with Him as our security this storm too will pass.

No matter what storms we face, Jesus is right there with us.  And when we hunker in with Him, blue skies are up ahead.

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

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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

 

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