Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 5: Optimist Challenge

Day 5: If you are unhappy with your life, or certain circumstances in your life, pray for Gods will about making changes happen.

Maybe changes seem impossible with respect to your problems, but remember, NOTHING is impossible with God. Your problems are not too big for God.

We are also told in the Bible - ask and you shall receive - and that includes the gift of joy, happiness and optimism - even in the middle of the storm.

That promise includes the gift of hope during circumstances that seem hopeless.

That promise includes the gift of faith that is beyond what you thought possible.

That promise includes the gift of peace, that surpasses all understanding.

Remember when Peter was sitting on a fragile boat in the middle of an ocean? Torrential rains beating down on his face; waves beating the boat into shreds; and lightning and thunder booming from every direction?

Although he feared for his life, when Peter realized that Jesus was near, he had enough faith to know that he would be safe.

But then Jesus summoned Peter to walk on the water, and Peter obeyed. He stood there on the water, in the middle of the storm, looking straight into the eyes of Jesus.

But then - he got scared; his faith wavered; his human rationale took over; and he began staring at the black clouds above him and the deep waters below him, instead of the eyes of Jesus.

Instantly Peter was overwhelmed with fear and a paralyzing feeling of hopelessness, and he began sinking.

He had taken his focus off of Jesus, and instead focused on the problems around him. He temporarily lost his faith in the almighty, because his human fears had become a reality.

Jesus's heart sank because of Peters lack of faith, but yet He still rescued him, and the storm ceased. And that changed Peter.

Christianity is all about God reaching down and pulling us up out of the storm and back onto solid ground, allowing us an opportunity to tap into His power to change our lives and our very nature.

He may change our circumstances through our faith, or change our faith through our circumstances. The choice is Gods. The journey is ours.

Change can happen in an lot of ways - but it is up to us whether or not we are willing to step out on that water, onto that unsolid ground which seems scary and unknown, and be willing to reach out for the Saviors hand.

We have the power to choose whether or not we allow God to lead us down the path of discovering truly unshakable faith. We have His power within us, and with Him, all things (and all change) are possible.

Regardless of what kind of change you want to see happen in yourself, your life, your loved ones, your circumstances...... NOTHING is impossible with God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

Challenge: Put together a goal setting form for change.

Draw four columns on a piece of paper.

On the 1st column, write down all the things that you wish were different in your life, or that you wish you and/or God could change.

In the 2nd column, write why you want that certain aspect of your life to be different, or how you feel you would be happier if that situation or circumstance changed or improved.

In the 3rd column, write down how you would like to see the situation change, or what your best case scenario for change would be.

And in the 4th column, write down what you can begin doing, if anything, to start making some positive changes about the problems or situations that you wrote down in column one. If you cant humanly do anything to change the situation, simply write down PRAY DAILY ABOUT THIS.

Wa-lah! You just completed a goal setting form for yourself. It is a small step, but it is a start!

Sometimes putting things in writing helps me to be able to see things clearer, and then be able to think more rationally about what actions need to take place, or what I need to do to meet my goals and/or make changes happen.

On the other hand, it also helps me to recognize when I have been stressing and worrying over something, of which I ultimately have no power to change, thus reminding me to lay those burdens at Gods feet - again.

Now - most importantly - take time to pray over your list. Pray for God to impress upon your heart what it is that you can change that lines up with His will for your life, and help you know what steps you can begin taking to make those changes.

It would be much easier if God would simply drop a note out of the sky with a bullet pointed list of to-do's, but unfortunately that is highly unlikely! So keep your heart keenly aware of when God is speaking to you - dont take anything for granted; dont discount things that seem ironic but instead believe that God is trying to get His message across to you; dont brush off bible verses that keep popping up in different places; dont be afraid to have others pray for you; and listen for Gods still, small voice when you are praying.

Maybe, it will be Gods will for your situation not to change right away, and He chooses to work on your faith through the storm.

But maybe, you will begin to see miracles happening right before your eyes, as you witness His power working through your faith and desire to focus on the positive, and make changes that bring glory to Him.

Whatever His answer is to your prayer, trust that His is answer is always right.

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Brandi said...

I pray for God to give me joy, happiness, and optimism during my storm. My storm is at work and it is really hard when you are surrounded by non christians. It has really affected me negatively. I pray for God to help me through this journey...and for the joy, happiness, and OPTIMISM during my storm.

Joyful said...

Tracie, this is exactly what I needed to hear. This morning I poured my heart out to the Lord asking Him to search me and show me what He wanted me to do, but didn't know where to begin. Thank you for practical steps that I can follow in seeking and listening to Him.

Your post reminded me of a song by Scott Krippayne. I'll share the chorus in closing:

Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn't mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child.

Thanking God for you,

Angie said...

"dont discount things that seem ironic but instead believe that God is trying to get His message across to you;
Ironic is the first word that came to my mind when I saw the title of todays challenge but you made me fully aware that it is God speaking.
I have recently come to realize there are a lot of things about me that I am unhappy with and have been praying for God to show me how to change and what to do because I feel at such a lost. Things were a gradual change over many years and one day I realized, I didn't like myself.
Recently Mandisa has released a new song called "My Deliverer". I put it on my Facebook and found myself listening to it several times throught the day. I sat down Friday night and really listened to the words.
I was so helpless, where did the light go?
I had no hope left, deep down in my soul.
I was watching, I was waiting, I was praying, I was staying down on my knees, Was right where you found me.
My Deliverer, You rescued me from all that held me captive.
My Deliverer, You set me free now I'm alive and I can live.
So every moment I will give You praise.
My Deliverer
I asked for Him to show me how to change...believe that He is My Deliverer and He can show me what I need to see through ministries like this. Pray for a change of heart and asking others to pray for me.
I can't do this myself. I have to open my eyes and heart to these "ironic" messages from Him.

Lori said...

This was a great post! Writing it down is the first key, and then praying it through to God makes it happen! I'm discovering this more and more and nothing is more glorious than the LORD answering specific requests that have been made to Him through daily praying.

I love your "positive changes" that you are showing us! Thank you dear sister!

Enjoy HIS peace today!
Lori - Mesa, AZ

Anonymous said...

I am getting out of the boat. This is exactly some concrete steps that I needed to do. I feel the need to make drastic changes in my life, and these are great questions to really see what I need to do rather than having ideas rattling in my head.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Like Brandi, my storm is at work. Many times I find myself doubting like Peter when I focus on the problem and take my eyes off My Lord. Just today in tears, I was asking God whether I am where he wants me to be? Maybe its time to change? But then only God opens the doors!

Dear God I pray and ask for the gift of Faith and belief. Help me to trust in you always

Tracey said...

This is very encouraging. I wonder everyday if I'm where God wants me to be physically. Then I realize I'm not where He wants me to be emotionally and that's why I'm where I'm at physically. Make sense? I'm not always happy that I live in Florida but I have seen the changes God has made in me through living here.

Carmen said...

I have a storm in my life right now, I've been following your blog and learn to focus in the positive of this storm and now I begin to see miracles happening right before my eyes as a witness.
His power is working thought my faith to bring GLORY TO HIM!
Thank you Tracie to be obedient to our LORD.