Take heart God's awesome creatives and makers, and be bold and courageous! The year isn't done. The Lord is with you all the way through, every step and He will not let your foot slip. Hold to Him, trust Him.
I've been challenged lately to set plans for the new year, and not just basic plans, but literally a plan for every single day. I don't think I've ever done that, not for a whole year at a time! I'm excited to see what might come of it, especially when I know the Lord leads me and He and I want Him to lead or change those plans as needed. We'll see how this long-term planning takes shape.
I keep hearing a word in my heart, intentional. This isn't a new thing, but it's really been strong lately. Intentional about what God's set in my heart as a vision, intentional about relationship, intentional about Him and intentional about all this planning too. Being prepared.
Recently I've been thinking a lot about how we have to walk through lessons and seasons more than once. It's a shame we don't learn all we need to learn the first time we encounter a lesson. Like children, it seems that we need constant reminders and experiences that help us re-learn the lessons He needs us to learn.
We spend so much of our time fighting the season we’re in, or apologizing for our struggle, wallowing in self pity or depression, and going to great lengths to cheer ourselves up.
What if we decided to embrace where we’re at, and to trust that God put us there for a reason, and if we really do trust Him, then we can find joy in any season. What if we stopped apologizing for the rough time we’re having, and started being honest with ourselves and those around us, and just said “I’m struggling, but God is good”. What if we stopped feeling ashamed for the difficulties we’re facing, like it’s an indication of how in control we are, or how ‘good’ a person we are, and held our heads high and decided that if God is asking me to face this, He has something good to do, because He is good.
"So above all, guard the affections of your heart,
For they affect all that you are.
Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
For from there flows the wellspring of life."
It's a new day, and we are in a rush to get things done, and sometimes it's necessary because that's just life. It's so easy to get in a pattern of "not paying attention" to the welfare of our hearts, our minds. In fact, it's very easy to put something of so importance as the last on our list of to do's. I know for me, when I do that it begins to affect every area of not just my day, but then it becomes the week, the month and the whole picture
The Word of God talks about how what we focus on we become, we begin to resemble. If we're not careful our hearts can become a polluted pond rather than this fresh wellspring of life. It's amazing if we really think about it. Can you picture this, thinking about and picturing Christ and thanking Him for who He is and just stay there for a few minutes. This very act begins to change us. Isn't that incredible? We focus on Him, and suddenly our hearts start to soften, we begin to feel joy springing up inside of us. We are being transformed, intentionally.
It must be intentional. We are surrounded by hundreds of distractions daily, and we've been told right here it is our responsibility to do the guarding of our affections of our heart, what we chase after, long for, seek, think about, and especially what we allow our eyes to see.
I'd like to challenge you, and I plan to challenge myself as well to intentionally and purposefully watch where my attention may go. The more your heart dwells on and focuses on the lover of your soul, the more you desire to focus your attention on Him. He's doing the work in your heart.
Be that one that refreshes and gives life to others, even in the every day.
Misty L. Chladek
Community of Christian Creatives, LLC
Watercolor artist, author, wife, lover of plants and the outdoors, daughter of the King of Kings.
She is a community builder on Instagram @communityofchristiancreatives and continues her artwork at @mistyleacreations. Her book Love Letters of Jesus, which can be found on most online stores and her website, is the story about how God healed her of severe childhood diseases and is a testimony to God's goodness through the struggles.
Trust in the Lord, that is what it says. How do we know that we are trusting Him? Does it show?
Giving up my opinions.
The world will tell us that we have a right to be right, a right to be heard, a right to be known. A right to so many things, but especially a right to have our own opinion, but that isn't what the word of God says. Right here, it says, "And do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you." I can tell you, I've fought to have my own opinions on so many things in my life, but that didn't really end in a lot of satisfaction, at least not that long.
I can think of the times when I let go, and leaned entirely on the Lord and waited for Him to lead me, and those times are a marker. In those times, I have not only had perfect peace, but I have felt his heart, his love, his acceptance, his pleasure in who I am. I felt close to him.
Some have asked me how do I make decisions in business, or on social media, etc. and all I know is that for there to be peace and joy in it all, to be able to love and see what He's seeing, I must let go of what I expect things to be and trust Him, totally.