A Door of Opportunity

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Whitney M. Young, Jr. said, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”  What happens when opportunity knocks, and you find that the enemy is behind the door.

I know that during my unemployment stint, I have prayed for God to open doors for me.  I prayed for His favor and that I could network with the right people to obtain a job.  By the grace of God, I finally obtained a job.  I wanted to honor my committments with tutoring so I had to juggle two jobs for the first week.  It appeared that my life went from 0 to 60 in a few short days.  My body was use to a routine and actually went into a bit of shock when I went from working 2 hours a day to 12.  I was trying to balance everything and some things had fallen to the back burner – God and exercise.  Not my best choice, I know. 

The enemy saw my error as a prime opportunity to launch his attack.  He seized the opportunity to attack some old wounds.  Wounds that stem from hurtful and damaging words that others have used on me.  Wounds that have been deeply burried into the depths of my soul until recently.  Hurtful words, whether in a joking manner or not, have hit one of those aforementioned trigger spots sending me to a place of pain and suffering.

As you can see, I learned a very valuable lesson-one that was preventable yet costly.  By placing God on the back burner, I placed myself in a vunerable position.  One that left me defenseless against the enemy’s attack.   

Ephesians 6:10-18 (Message) states, “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

As always, I leave you with a final thought.  When opportunity knocks, be sure you are prepared for what lies behind the door.  Be strong and utilize all the weapons God has for you to win your fight.

Love in Christ,
Nichole

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The You You’re Meant To Be

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I feel very blessed to have the friends that I have. They all serve their own unique purpose in my life. Take for instance, my friend Janet. I met her years ago, but the dynamics were different then. Flashforward a few years and God put us back together in a greater purpose than what our friendship first served. She loves the outdoors, like me, and loves to exercise. When we see that a beautiful day is in our future, we seize the opportunity to get outside and play. We usally spend the time walking and talking about our so called issues in life and in our relationships. We share a common thread in our past and the love for Joyce Meyer. I can honestly say that Joyce pretty much has an answer to whatever question we pose.


This particular day we got on the subject of personalities. We talked about why we react to certain things, what we would like to change, and the temperament that God gave us. It got me thinking about what exactly did God give us? Did our temperment (aspect of our personality) come straight from God or did our circumstances and environment have some influence and shape us into who we are today? Just who exactly are we supposed to be?


To answer that question, I decided to take a personality test to see who I am currently.  The results show the following:  I prefer traditional and familiar experiences. I am very well-organized, and can be relied upon. I tend to shy away from social situations. I tend to consider the feelings of others.  I am a generally anxious person and tend to worry about things.  I consider the results to be true and fair.  After reading the results, I can see exactly which temperament(s) I fall into. 

Sanguine: the extrovert who loves social gatherings and making new friends
Choleric: the dominant one who is active and has a lot of energy and passion
Melancholic: the perfectionist who is self reliant and independent
Phlegmatic: the one who is self content and kind


So, as I continue to write and research, the original question I pose is even greater.  Afterall, He came so I might enjoy life (John 10:10).  How am I suppose to enjoy life if I am full of worry, like to be in control, and live in fear?  I pray that Jesus can take everything I am, everything I was, and turn it into something special (full of grace, mercy, love, understanding, wisdom, and compassion) in a magnitude I cannot even comprehend. 


Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  Everyday we are changing and hopefully in the direction towards Christ.  I pray that while on this Earth, we find out the person we are meant to be. 

I leave you with a borrowed prayer from Joel Osteen. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for designing me to succeed in every area of my life.  I choose to agree with Your word and focus on the good things in my life.  I know that You have equipped me to live as a champion in life!


Love in Christ,
Nichole

Choosing Joy

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Joy is a pretty simple word but so complex in action. Merriam Webster describes the word as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. It goes on to say that to be joyful is to be in a state of happiness. Ahhh…my desire is to be happy. When you are happy, you feel good. I relate it to feeling the warmth of the sunshine deep down in your soul after many dreary days. Your happiness is contagious and is constantly looking for someone to affect. John 10:10 says that Jesus came that we might enjoy life. So how can we enjoy life when our joy is gone?


I may have mentioned in the past that I have been reading Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity (a must have book, I might add). She tells us that insecurity typically stems from some form of fear or threat. We often are afraid of something, someone, losing something, or being displaced. In my mind, insecurity = joyless. No sooner than I am out of the gate trying to practice some of my new found knowledge, I am attacked. Really, should I think otherwise?

So I am having a conversation with my boyfriend, a conversation he thought would make me happy but ended up back firing on him and making me upset. For some time now, I have wanted a heart monitor, one that counts calories and communicates the information to a watch. Since he is in the sports medicine field, I have been secretly (I use the word secretly because I never shared this desire with him) hoping he would either buy me one or get me one from work. So back to my story…he is telling me that he and his dad are shopping at a sports store and they stopped to look at heart monitors. Literally, my heart begins to race with anticipated excitement thinking he is a dear and bought me one. He proceeds to tell me that he walks away without one. His dad questions why he doesn’t buy it for me and he says (in a tone not too appealing to an insecure woman) that he is not going to buy me that. Well, that is all I heard. Immediately I am feeling unworthy of a trivial item and my feelings are hurt. He can sense the conversation is going downhill and tries to explain that I should be happy that his dad was “all about me”. In all honesty, I was thrilled to hear this but I could not shake the hurt feelings.



So there it was…a prime opportunity for the devil to sneak in and steal my joy. I have to admit, I let the devil win for a bit. I sulked and soaked in hurt feelings and even had feelings of irritation towards my boyfriend. Clearly, I was acting a bit childish and I can admit that I took out of context. So the next day, I decided to bring it up. When I allowed him to explain himself, he informed me that it was not the kind of monitor I wanted and he did not want to buy it just to buy it. There I was feeling silly and I realized that I spent time being upset when I could have been full of joy.


What is the secret for being full of joy? I think it is a conscience choice. You have to make up your mind that you are going to choose joy. You have to be able to manage your emotions instead of letting them manage you! Trust me I do not have a handle on this or I would not be writing about this today. If anyone has any tried and true methods to share, I would be happy to entertain them. In reality, I think we could all probably agree that it just takes time and experience to achieve this and be stable.


Isaiah 55:12 says, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (NIV). I leave you with this final thought. It is time for us to take back what the enemy keeps stealing. Let’s make a choice today to “choose joy” and be filled with song and praise for the beauty around us!

Love in Christ,
Nichole

The Anniversary

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Anniversaries are dates on the calendar that have significance.  They mean something special to the one who holds the date dear to their heart.  We celebrate anniversaries for weddings, relationships, and time at our job.  So what happens when those dates are not so positive?  When seen or remembered, they impose fear into our lives.  They serve as those trigger points that I meantioned in a previous post.

So, I’m sitting at Church on Sunday and they are going through the announcements.  When they adverstised the annual womens’ conference, I immediately opened the window for fear to come in for a visit.  If my body language could talk, it would have uttered the word “ugh”!  Last year at that time, I experienced an appendicitis.  One experience that caused me great pain and one I don’t want to live through again!

So then as if that trip down memory lane was not enough, my mind wanted to make a pit stop at the fretful day in March that cost me my job…Ugh again!  I found myself in self doubt mode and feeling a piece of that pain all over again. 

But once again, God (always proving his faithfulness), came through and gave me an answer to an age old question that has its fair share of revisiting in my mind.  Why does all this stuff keep happening to me?  While reading Beth Moore’s new book So Long Insecurity, a certain passage stopped me dead in my tracks (thoughts).  She said, “We can give ourselves to purpose.  If we cooperate, good will indeed come and glory will come to God.  Otherwise, He would have forbidden the tragedy.” 

In looking back on those times in my life, it’s time to let them go.  They had their purpose and something is going to evolve from all this.  It may have happened already or it’s lined up in my future.  I still am unsure if it has happened yet, but I know that it will.  I am hoping in all this, that I can stop fretting and dreading those painful anniversaries, but actually celebrate what was gained. 

Psalm 112:7-8 says, “She (inserted for he) will have no fear of bad news:  her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  Her heart is secure, she will have no fear; in the end she will look in triumph on her foes.”  If you find yourself staring at the calendar of your life and wanting a do over, remember it happened for a reason and that good is waiting to find you!

Love in Christ,
Nichole