So You Think Your Words Don’t Matter?

As you have probably noticed, things have been quiet on my blogs for almost two months now! Unfortunately, with all my busyness, and distractions of different kinds, I have utterly neglected my blogs.

It was partly purposeful. I’ve been studying for a big test and needed the time to focus on that without worrying about trying to get posts out as well.

At the same time, even when I was free and could easily have written a quick post, I’ve often resisted the urge to write. I buy into the lie that what I say doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things. I think that surely my words won’t make a difference when so many people can say it better than I. I diminish my gift because I’m afraid to lay myself bare and discover that my offering was worthless.

But the truth is this: If the Creator of the universe places something on my heart and leads me to share it, it isn’t worthless. There’s no need to fear what others think. There’s no need to evaluate it’s worth. If my God tells me to speak, I should speak, whether one million are listening or my words are only heard by one.

My words matter. Your words matter. Don’t let the fear, the lies, the comparison, or the doubts come between you and your calling.

You may not write, but you have a gift that is uniquely yours. God made you and placed you here for a reason. He doesn’t make mistakes. You may feel you have nothing to offer, but know this: if you are here for a reason, then you have a purpose. And once you see your purpose and your potential, don’t let anything stop you from chasing it.

But what if you don’t have a clear purpose? What if you feel like the only one who doesn’t have it all together? (Psst: nobody has it all together. Not a single one of us.) What if you feel like you’re wandering around in the dark?

If you feel purposeless, if you fear you bring nothing to the table, here are some ways to discover that purpose and open your heart up to God’s will and His amazing plan for your life.

Dig into God’s Word. Ask God to speak to you through His word. And don’t just read the words: study them; get to the heart of what each verse means for you. Then go out and live it!

Spend time in prayer. Not just petitions for health and well being, either. Pray what God puts on your heart. Praise Him for His awesome power. Thank Him for the many blessings He has given you. Ask Him for wisdom and strength to respond as He would in every situation.

Seek to know your God personally. Go beyond a daily prayer and Bible study time. Don’t just read a few verses and spout off a few prayer requests (I’m preaching this to myself!). Let God’s Word its implications penetrate into and saturate the very core of your existence. Be open to His leading and allow Him to show you what it is He wants you to do, moment by moment, day by day.

Seek to use your talents and abilities for the glory of God. God can use anyone for His service if only we let Him. We don’t have to be well spoken (Moses wasn’t). We don’t have to have great resources (Paul didn’t). We don’t even have to have a specific gift or talent that surpasses that of others. All that is required is that we be willing to let God use what we have for His glory. We don’t have to shine; we have to let Him shine through us.

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The Practice of a Daily Devotional Life

Lately I’ve struggled with having a set apart time of devotion to my Heavenly Father. It isn’t right. I know He is calling me to make learning about and from Him a priority in my life, but I’ve been ignoring that call. It isn’t the way I want it to be.

Today I listened to a message by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called “The Practice of a Daily Devotional Life.” (I listened to it in podcast form on iTunes.) It was actually the second message in a two-part series about the importance of a daily devotional life. I found some great tips and nuggets of wisdom in the message. In it, she laid out a few guidelines for help in making this a habit.

First, it should be regular. She challenged listeners to a 30 day devotional challenge. I’m not participating in that specific challenge (if you want to, you can sign up here), but I do think it would be a good idea to try something like that. They say if you do something 30 times in a row, it’s a habit. I’m going to challenge myself to make a devotional time a priority in my life for at least 30 days–hopefully for the rest of my life!

The second thing she said was important is that it be early in the day.  And while she also said this is not set in stone, Nancy feels that it is Biblical. The idea is reinforced many times by David in the Psalms (including Psalm 57:8). One big thing in relation to this that she pointed out is that this starts the night before. Last night I didn’t get to sleep until after 11:00 and it was really hard for me to wake up at 6:30. This is another thing I’m going to challenge myself about. I need I make sure I’m getting to bed at an early enough time so that I’ll be refreshed and renewed in the morning.

It also needs to be time alone. I need to make an effort to be alone, to shut out distractions. This is very hard in my home, as we have a big family and a small house. However, I know it is possible. I can get up early, if necessary.

Along with alone time comes another big thing. Nancy says that listening to other teachers, while beneficial to and even necessary for spiritual growth, is not a substitute for this quiet devotional time of seeking the Father’s presence.

Nancy also recommends keeping a journal and writing in it each day. For me this is a great way to get my thoughts out in the open, and I love looking back at what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown over weeks, months and years.

Perhaps the biggest part of this devotional time is that we receive from our Father and respond to Him. This is so important. A big part of receiving from Him, according to Nancy, is that we look for Jesus in His Word. This is not only in the New Testament, but in the Old as well, whether it’s prophecy (Isaiah) or allegory (Abraham and Isaac). Also key in responding to Our Father and to His Word is that we worship. Nancy recommends praying back Scripture to Him. The Psalms are great for this. I need to take time and worship God each day, repeating again his wonders.

This was an important reminder for me and a wake up call: “Anything that crowds God out of my life is an idol.” By this measurement, I have many idols, including the internet, my iPod and Pinterest. It isn’t that these things aren’t wonderful in their place, it’s just that in my life, they aren’t in their place. If I have time to spend over an hour on Pinterest, but ‘don’t have time for worship,’ something is wrong.

I’ll close with this quote from Nancy’s message.

“It is impossible for us to be the men and women God designed us to be in relationship with Him, apart from having a consistent devotional habit.”

"It is impossible for us to be the men and women God designed us to be in relationship with Him, apart from having a consistent devotional habit."

I highly recommend listening to the message and really any or all of her others. Her words are challenging but encouraging and she speaks specifically to women. Her ministry, Revive Our Hearts, provides many resources for women to grow in their The Lord.

From now until the end of February, I will, with the Lord’s help, be challenging myself to aside time each morning to spend in prayer and Bible reading. I’ll do my best to post updates to let you know how I’m doing. Hopefully this won’t end in February! :) I pray that this is the beginning of a life-long practice.

Will you join me as I challenge myself to make this devotional time a priority in my life? Let me know in the comment section! If you’re going to be blogging about it, leave a link to your blog post and I’ll link to it in my next update.