Humility – A Discipline for Success

A life of humility will bring growth. 

We want hearts that are ready to grow and achieve all that God has called us to do. 7 Heart Issues that Hinder Achieving Your Goals focused on the issues stopping you. What are the heart characteristics that will help us grow and achieve our goals?

We will look at these disciplines specifically in relation to achieving our goals. There is so much more that could be said about each of these but we will limit it and focus on how this helps in achieving our goals. So let’s begin with humility.

Humility Disciplines for Growth

“Humility is the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and bond of all virtue.” John Chrysostom

The quote from John Chrysostom gives us an understanding of how important humility is in our lives. This is the foundation and key for achieving our goals.

Humility is the opposite of pride. Pride views yourself as better than others. Pride looks down on others. A proud person doesn’t need others. A humble person recognises who she is in relationship to God and others.

Philippians 2:1-11 is a passage that show us Jesus’ humility. Humility is not selfish ambition or conceit but it is considering others. How does this relate to our goals? It really needs to consider the purpose of the goal. Did you set that goal just to make yourself a better person? Set goals that have result of serving God or others. Just as  Jesus became a servant so we should as well. Our goals should be serving God and others.

What does a humble person do?

A humble person recognises the need for others in her life to help achieve the goals. It could be learning from the wisdom and experience of others or it could be having someone keeping you accountable. Sometimes it might just be admitting that you need help and getting a friend to help you. So be willing to ask others.

A humble person is a learner. The proud person thinks they know everything and do not need others. A humble person is always seeking to learn from others. A humble person values others. Look at your goals, think about what you can learn and how can help you learn that.

A humble person is seeking God in her tasks. Pride can push us to do or be more than God has called us to. We can be striving to have the perfect house but one of two things can happen. We can be frustrated because that really won’t happen and just give up or we continue to focus on that when really we need to accept and be content. Our time is consumed with something that we will never have. Therefore, walk in the Spirit and listen to God as you work through your goals.

Finally review your goals. Since we just did a Mid-Year Review this is a good time to consider this as well. Are these goals that serve God and others? How do you value others as you work to achieve your goals?

How do you live a life of humility?

Understand who God is and who you are. As we understand who God truly is, we begin to see ourselves as we truly are. Paul understand that it was now what he knew or who he was that was important rather he was willing to put that aside for the sake of the gospel.

As we look at  Jesus’ example we see he was obedient even when that obedience was difficult and painful. He gave up his glory and all that he had in heave to become a man and come to earth. Are we obedient? Are we willing to give up things for God’s plan or our lives and those around us?

Finally, take some time to look at your own life. Is your life marked with humility? Pray and seek God ask him to help you live a life of humility.

If you are looking for an excellent book to read about humility, I recommend this book. I found it easy to read with so many truths to ponder.

Mid-Year Review – Renew your Focus

We are almost halfway through the year. Do you remember the goals you set in January? Are you still going strong working on them? Way to go! Maybe you are working on some but not all of them? That is great that you are still working on some. Maybe you are in the group that is not working on the goals — it could be that you are busy with other things,

I was thinking about titling this “Six Month Slump” and in some ways it might be a slump. Slump just gave me the wrong feeling. I want something that sounds a bit more encouraging and up beat. So I am going with Mid-Year Review.

1 Review your goals for this year. Find them, read them, don’t go based on what you think your wrote down. Review each goal.  Have you made progress? Is the goal still valid? Should you revise any goals?

As I did that I was a bit discouraged, wondering what I have done for the past six months of the year. I think I have done things that needed to be done. New things have come up these past few months that I had not planned and that is okay.

2. Make a list of some of the things that you have done this year. Then classify them based on your goals.

The first six months of 2018, I have enjoyed a visit with friends from USA, had a holiday with my family, spent 10 days with my mom visiting us, created a photo book of our family holiday, had guest over for dinner, began Kylie’s cookies, moved my blog to my own site, learned about GDPR and made my blog GDPR compliant, read through the Bible (I love the 90 days reading program), and I have done other things.

Looking at my list encouraged me that I have done things these past six months.

Do you have things that you have done in the past six months that do not fit in a goal? Maybe you need to consider writing a new goal. That is allowed.

3. Pray for wisdom to know what you need to be doing and how you should be using your time. God directs our steps. Look to him for direction.

4. Review your goals again. Do you have goals that should be dropped or revised? What do you need to work on? What do you want to see different in six months? You still have time to make a change?

When I did this, I realised that one area that I need to focus is health and strength.

5. Write an action plan for the next 90 days. Summer is a great time of year to work on this. The days are long and warm, it is easy to be active and doing things. So what is your plan for the next 90 days. That really takes us to the end of September.

I am going to need some time to write my action plan for this one area. I also have some other little goals that need some action plans as well.

Are you ready to be and do what God has called you for this year? Let’s make these next six months a time of growing.

What are some things that you have accomplished the past six months?

The Branches Bear Fruit

When you are confused or forget your role, you begin to try to do things that you don’t need or to or are not your responsibility. It is important to know your role, to know what you are to be doing. The same is true for the branches.

As we have looked at John 15, we have seen that Jesus is the true vine and what that means for us. You can read that here.

We see the Father as the vinedresser tenderly caring for the branch.

Let’s look at the branch. What is the role of the branches? We are the branches so what does John 15 say about the branches?

The branches are to bear fruit. The source of life comes from the vine but the fruit is on the branches. If the branch is not bearing fruit, he takes it away and the branches that are bearing fruit, the vinedresser prunes.

The branches are to bear fruit but the branch cannot bear fruit by itself. Branches not connected to the tree or the vine will not bear fruit, they are dead branches. As we think about bearing fruit we need to remember that we need to stay connected with the vine.

We are the branches, we need to bear the fruit. We need to stay connected to the vine. That fits with walking in the Spirit as we see in Galatians 5:16.

We bring glory to God when we bear fruit. The fruit that we are bearing is not what we can do on our own but rather comes from the Holy Spirit working within and so that will bring glory to God.

Our fruit shows that we are followers of God. The fruit that we bear should be pointing to Christ not to bring us glory or to make a good name for ourselves. Because of Christ our actions should be different than those around us. If we are asked why we do something, we should point to Jesus.

How do we be the branches that are bearing fruit?

  1. Stay connected with the true vine. That can be done through reading the Bible, meditating on the Bible, and prayer.
  2. Be active in loving, being joyful, bringing peace, practicing patience, living with kindness, spreading goodness, living with faithfulness, acting with gentleness, and being self-controlled. Think about how can I be those listed above to those around you. Look for opportunities to live out the fruit of the Spirit.
  3. Walk in the Spirit – make it a practice of praying and asking God to guide you to those who need encouragement. Be still to listen to the Spirit.

One of the things that can help you is each month as we are working through the year we are looking specifically at a fruit of the Spirit. Go through some of those posts and ponder how you are demonstrating that, think of what are the challenges that are holding you back. Dig deep into your own life looking at the hinderances to growth. Pray and ask God to help you as you examine and look at your heart.

As a branch, are you connected to the vine? Are you active in pursuing fruit in your life? Are you listening to the Holy Spirit?

7 Heart Issues that Hinder Achieving your Goals

What is hindering you from achieving your goals? Have you taken time to ponder this? Some thoughts about this can be found here.

These are the deep issues in your heart that are hindering you from reaching your goals. I am assuming that you have prayed about your goals and you are confident that these goals are in line with God’s plan for your life at this time. Knowing that this is what God has for you, what is hindering you?

7 Heart Issues that Hinder Achieving your Goals

Pride – Pride says, “I can do it myself. I do not need anyone’s suggestions on how to do this. I do not need to be accountable.” Pride can cause us to not consider what help others might be able to offer. Pride says,” I am sufficient for this on my own.”

Jealousy – Jealousy compares yourself other someone else and then that becomes an excuse for not achieving your goal. “If my children, did (fill in the blank) I would be able to do my goal.” It might begin with the phrase, “It is not fair” and then the excuse as to why we can’t achieve our goal. It might also be, “I don’t want to be left out, so I am going to do it even though it sidetracks me from my goal.

Laziness – just plain laizness, not working towards your goal It could also be not focusing and working on what needs to be done to achieve your goals. It might include not planning for what needs to be done. Like planning meals that work with your diet or taking the time to cook the food that you need.

Discontentment – In a way discontentment might be what is driving you to write that goal but it can also hinder your goal. When you are discontent and use things to satisfy or discontentment can be driving you to keep trying things but never get to the issue or never accomplish the goal.

Selfishness – Selfishness hinders your goal when you begin to think about what you want and not working toward your goal. It might be, “I don’t want to miss out on that event so I am going to do it and skip working on my goal.

Self-indulgence – It might be indulging in the chocolate cake when you should be watching your diet but it might also be indulging things instead of declutter. Self-indulgence is doing what you want because you want to do it.

Fear – It could be the fear of failure or maybe even the fear of succeeding. Fear can hold you back.

I am going to challenge you to look at goal and then look at the heart issues that are hindering you. Not all of these will be hindering you but I am guessing you will find one or two.

I did this with my  goal of losing weight. It is not pretty. I will be honest with you.  As I look at the list above, I see a bit of jealousy. I don’t like the fact that others can eat cake so even thought I know it doesn’t help in losing weight, I will eat it. I am just being honest with you. Selfishness is a bit like the jealousy but it might be I don’t want to share so I am eating this. Laziness comes out in just not taking the time to fix meals.

It might be a bit discouraging at this time to dig deep and see the mess and wonder what can come but have hope that from this God will begin to work and grow you as you begin to seek those things that he wants for your life.

This post introduces the concept of looking at heart issues as hinderances. Over the next few days, I will share the qualities we need in our live to achieve our goals.

Do you have any other heart issues to include in this list?

Overcome Hinderances in Reaching Your Goals

What is hindering you from reaching your goals? What obstacles do you face? What is stopping you from achieving your goals? Why do you have the same goals year after year and never accomplish them?

Have you ever sat and really thought about what is causing this to happen? Some things that might come to your mind are things like — not enough time, not focused, or fear.

Those might be things that have stopped you or hindered you but I want to challenge you to look deeper at what might be the root causes for why you do not achieve your goals.

I want to encourage you to dig deeper and discover the heart issues. Change your heart and begin to grow. 

Last year we had a large bush in our back garden. It was ugly and the roots of it were tearing down the fence between our garden and the neighbours. So to be a good neighbour we had it removed but there were roots remaining. We wanted to get those roots out so I spent some time out there digging and pulling. I worked hard and got my hards dirty. It was also a bit costly — I didn’t take my ring off and the prongs got lose so I had to get that fixed.

So I want to challenge you to take some time to examine and dig deep within looking for what is hindering you from reaching your goals. I will warn you it might be messy and you might not like what you find but if you know what is there you can deal with those issues and see growth. It is hard work.

Ask the Lord to help you. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” Psalm 139:3

I would suggest that you consider a specific goal one that you have not made progress or as much progress as you would like. Do you have a goal in mind? I think my goal would be losing weight. I suggest that you have some paper to write these thoughts down.

Let’s pretend that the goal is decluttering. You have tried but just can’t get rid of things. It seems that you still have more things than you need.

Ask yourself what is difficult in achieving this goal? We are going to assume that this is a goal that you have prayed about and know that you need to continue pursuing.

What are the struggles? Think through what is happening or probably what is not happening with you goal? Go deep. Don’t stop with the surface reaction. What is really happening in your heart?

Are you struggling with contentment and so you continue to purchase things? Do you use things are rewards?

Do you just need help going through things and getting rid of things but maybe pride is standing in the way. Pride because you don’t want others to know what it is really like in the cabinets and closets.

Are you struggling with getting rid of things because maybe you will need it in the future? Are you lacking faith that God can and will provide again in the future.

Maybe you are just laziness and not doing anything? You are not focusing on the task but doing other things. When you have time to work on this, you decide to read a book or watch TV.

Maybe you need a friend to hold you accountable.

I told you it might be messy and hard work but now that you see these deep issues that are hindering you. You can begin to work on those issues.

Some of the heart issues that you might discover are pride, jealousy, discontentment, laziness, or selfishness.

Do not be discouraged. You have dug deep and found the roots. Now let’s dig those roots out and plant some seeds of characteristics that will help you to succeed. You can begin to grow through this.

Confess what has been hindering you. Pray for help. Dig into the Bible and see the truths about area you need to grow.

It is worth it. The bush and the roots that we dug out has now become a strawberry patch with berries on the plants. I am looking forward to enjoying the fruit of that hard, messy, costly work.

Know Yourself – This post has a bit of information about this as well.

So what goal are you struggling to achieve? What heart issues are obstacles in the way of being or doing what God has called you?

Dig deeper and begin to grow. 

Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness

Is kindness just, “be kind”, doing good and nice things? Is it holding the door for someone whose hands are full? Is it paying for the drink for the person behind you in line? Is kindness putting out bird seed when the ground is covered in snow? Those are all nice, polite, courteous, kind things to do but if we are thinking that this is what kindness as the Fruit of the Spirit is meaning, we are missing so much of the meaning.

As we think about kindness we need to remember that this is listed in the Fruit of the Spirit. This is coming from walking by the Spirit, listening to the Spirit’s promptings and acting.

Various translations use different words for this. The ESV, NIV, and NASB use the word kindness while the KJV uses the word gentleness. Don’t worry the ESV, NIV, and NASB use the word gentleness later so we will have time to focus on that word. We will use the word, kindness, for now.

Kindness as with each of the fruit of the Spirit is an attribute of God. God is not asking us to do something and live in a way that he has not already demonstrated to us.

Pause and think about how God has demonstrated kindness both in the Bible and in your own life.

  • Expelling but not killing Adam and Eve after the fall in the Garden
  • Sparing Noah and his family
  • Keeping his promise to Abraham
  • Caring for Hagar
  • Rescuing Lot
  • Rescuing his people from Egypt
  • Providing water and manna in the wilderness
  • Shutting the mouths of the lions

Can you add more to this list?

What about in your own life? How have you seen God’s kindness?

  • God’s timing was perfect in rescuing me from a situation that I didn’t know how I would survive.
  • God’s provision through the years
  • Friends who became family when my family was on the other side of the world

Kindness has a broad range of meanings. It can be helpful to look at these different meanings as that helps us to understand kindness. Some of the words are goodness, mercy, pity, love, grace, favour, compassion, gentleness, and tenderness. Which of those words helps you to understand kindness as a fruit of the Spirit?

Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

It is good to love kindness but how do we love kindness? The LORD requires that we love kindness so how do we do this? Kindness does not need to be big and difficult it can be a simple thing, a kind word or a kind act. Our kindness should reflect God’s kindness towards us.

Paul writes, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

We are commanded to be kind and it further tells us to be tenderhearted which just gives a bit of insight into how to be kind. We see the example of how God was kind to us he forgave us.

Our kindness needs to be a reflection of God’s kindness towards us. How have you seen God kind to you?

May in Review

What happened in May? That is the question I am asking myself right now. Can I remember what I did? My planner is helping me remember what happened. My planner helps me plan and also gives me a place to track what happened.

May began with Miss K’s dance performance. This year it was at a theatre here in our city instead of the next city south. So that meant running back and forth for rehearsals and then performance weekend which was two shows on Saturday and two on Sunday. Miss K was on stage seven times in each performance. She keeps everyone laughing as she attempted to do her own make-up. I am proud of her for her hard work and thankful for the school that has encouraged her to dance.

We did have a bank holiday to recover from the weekend. May is a great month with two bank holidays. The second one was at the beginning of our half-term break.

There was also a Tae Kwon Do grading as well.

One of the big things that happened was Whole30. I did it again. I have a love-hate relationship with Whole30. I will say I learn so much about myself and what I can do. I can bake chocolate chip cookies and not eat any. I can make a carrot cake and not eat it though that received good reviews from the church staff. Add that to the list of things to bake for the next time I need to bake a cake. Most of my recipes are American and so I like finding things that are enjoyed here.

Whole30 was working towards my health goal.

I did not read as much in May. Maybe I should say I didn’t finish as many books in May. I gave myself permission to quit reading. Just because the book is on the classic book list doesn’t mean I need to read it. I tried and just couldn’t get into the book so I quit reading it. That is fine. In fact it is probably a good thing to do. Give yourself permission to evaluate and determine if it is necessary to finish not everything you start needs to be finished.

I worked to declutter and get rid of things. The end of homeschooling is coming and so it is time to begin clearing off the shelves. I love being able to bless people with resources that we are finished using. That helps me as I clear the shelves.

I spent quite a bit of time in May working to get my blog GDPR ready. I learned quite a bit in that process. I am excited to have that completed and be able to get to writing new content.

Three things I am using and loving in May.

  1. My Plum Paper Planner – This is my first year to the Plum Paper Planner. I am loving it. I am still figuring out how to use all the extra pages that I added. I enjoy having a place to keep notes.
  2. Moleskin journals – I have to stay that this is worth the investment. I am still using one that I bought about 2.5 years ago.
  3. Water with lemon and mint leaves – It is so easy just a few mint leaves from my mint plant and a wedge of lemon and some water. I find it refreshing and a bit of flavour for my water.

How was your May? Did you begin anything new? Finish anything exciting? Or Maybe give yourself permission to quit?

Willing to Wait

David was willing to wait and do it God’s way even through the waiting was hard. David was anointed king in I Samuel 16. David had a promise of what to happen. Saul was still king but the Lord had rejected him as king. David was waiting for God’s timing.

While he was waiting, He serves Saul by playing his lyre to help calm him. He fought Goliath and won. David was willing to wait. This is shown clearly on two occasions. The first was in I Samuel 24 when David spares Saul’s life.

“The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my Lord, the LORD’s anointed, to put my hand against him, seeing his i the LORD’s anointed.” I Samuel 24:6

David recognised that even through he had been anointed Saul was still the LORD’s anointed and he was willing to wait.

David has another opportunity in I Samuel 26 and again the response is realising that Saul is the LORD’s anointed and he needs to wait. Remember that during this time Saul is chasing David. It would have been so easy to take care of what was standing in the way of what God has promised but that is not the way that God waits us to live.

God’s timing is perfect and we need to be ready to wait for that perfect time.

David’s character is seen throughout this time of waiting. Even when news comes of Saul and Jonathan’s death. David responds with lament.

Even in the hard times David waited for God’s timing. As you read through the Psalms, there is so much about waiting, longing, and patiently.

Psalm 27:15 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:7 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”

Psalm 37:34 “Wait for the Lord and keep his way,”

Psalm 38:15 “But for you, O Lord, do I wait.

Are you willing to wait for God’s timing? God’s way is best. Do you trust that his way and his timing are perfect? There are times that we can look back and see how God’s way is perfect but there are other times that we might not know why but we can still trust that he is good in all that.

During that waiting there were times that David was crying out to God wondering and asking, “how long”. In your waiting, cry out to God. Draw near to God in those times.

In Psalm 13 four times David says, “how long” but the Psalm ends with this confidence.

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

David trusted. David knew God’s steadfast love and his heart rejoiced. He was able to sing evening in the waiting.

What are your waiting for?

Maybe it for the salvation of a family member or friend. Maybe it a need that you are waiting for God to provide. Maybe it for direction for the future. Are you willing to wait and do it God’s way?

Without going into the details we are waiting for something now. I have to say that it is comforting to know that God is in control. We are looking to him for direction in this waiting and trusting that he will guide us. That makes the waiting easier.

Worship in the Waiting

Waiting for the light to change to green. Waiting in the queue to pay for my groceries. Waiting for school to end. Waiting for the kids to go to bed.  Waiting for the coffee to brew. Waiting for prayers to be answered. Waiting for the bus to come. Waiting for a visa. Waiting for the water to boil for a cup of tea. Waiting for direction and guidance for the next steps.

A lot of our time is spent waiting. How is your waiting? Are you waiting patiently?

Some waiting is easy. It isn’t that hard to wait for the water to boil for tea. It is easy because I know it will just be a minute or two. It can be harder to wait when we don’t know how long we will be waiting. Waiting for God to answer prayer, that is the uncertain waiting. Uncertain of how long we will be waiting. That is when we need patience.

Patience implies suffering, enduring, and waiting. Patience is about how we are in the waiting. God has shown his patience with us. He gives us time, time to repent.

What do you do during those times of waiting? Are you tempted to do things you way instead of waiting for God’s way? Abram was given a promise from God. A promise of a great nation, blessing, and a great name (Genesis 12). Time when on and Abram was still waiting for God to fulfil his promise. God specifically tells Abram that, “your own son shall be your heir.” (Genesis 15:4).

Time continues on and still the promise is not fulfilled, there is no son. So Abram and Sarai decide to do it there way. It gets a bit messy but that is often happen when we don’t wait for God to work and try to do it our way. You can read all the bits in Genesis 16.

Abram did not have patience. He rushed ahead.

So what do you do when you are waiting?

Trust God – Trust that God is working even if you do not see what is happening. Keep trusting he is the God of the impossible and he has a plan. Do it God’s way. Refuse the temptation to do it your way.

Reflect on God’s faithfulness – How have you seen God faithful in your life? How has he worked in your life in the past?

Rejoice in God – Focus on what God is doing and rejoice in that. Keep your focus on God. Spend time knowing God deeper.

Worship God – Worship in the waiting. Praise God for who he is and what he has done both in your life and through the Bible. Give him glory. He is worthy of our worship.

One of the times of waiting for us was waiting for our visa. We were ready to go but needed some paperwork to be filed and then we needed to complete our paperwork. In August we were thinking it would be November that we would have the visa. We were in temporary housing and had been since February. November then became January and finally in April we had everything. It was a time of waiting.

We had to trust that God was working. That his timing was perfect. We reflected on all that God had done getting us to that point. Now four years later looking back. I don’t know why we were waiting but I do know that I have confident that we are where God wants us know. We waited for him and it gave confidence.

How is your waiting? What are your waiting for at this time? Are you worshipping God in the waiting?

The Fruit of the Spirit is . . . patience

If I had more time, maybe then I could be patient. Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time and therefore don’t have time to be patient. I don’t have time to be patient. You might not have time but we need to be patient and have patience.

As we work through The Fruitful Year and the Fruit of the Spirit, this month we are looking at patience. The word patience in the Bible comes from two Greek words. One is the aspect of endurance under trials. That is the attitude of our hearts. The other word is long-suffering and that is in respect to people.

Endurance under trails is how we are in those times of waiting. What is the attitude in your heart during those trails? Trials come in varying sizes. The length of time in the trial varies.

What trials are your enduring at this time? How is your patience during this time of trial? What is the attitude of your heart?

Long-suffering is how we relate to people. Are you patient with people or rushing and pushing people when they need you to be patient with them.

God’s patience with us is the long-suffering. He patiently waits for us to come to him. God’s patience with us should be the example of how we should be relating to those around us. Our patience should be a reflection of God’s patience.

As you think about patience, take some time to look at your own heart.

Would you say you are a patient person? What would those around you say?

How does God display patience with you?

When are the times that you struggle with patience? Look at your own heart.

As I thought about that question, one of the times that I struggle to have patience and respond with a patient attitude is when it is a repeated offence. Telling a child again to put away something. The other time is when things are stressful. It could be trying to get a long list of things done or it might be a tight schedule. For me it is helpful knowing the times that I struggle so that I can be prepared. For the repeat offence, can I patiently remind thinking how often God patiently reminds me what I need to do.

Repeated offences and stressful times are not excuses for a lack of patience rather they should be times of more patience. Knowing the times that you struggle can help you to realise your need to depend on God.

What is the attitude of your heart? Are you surrendering your time to God or have you planned everything how you want it?

Take the time in the next few days to ponder patience. Do you see God’s patience in your own life? How can you grow in patience? Do you have specific times when you need to display more patience. Can you pray asking God to help you have the patience.

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of he calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, being with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)