Tag: life

One Month to Love: Letting Go

“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.” – Johann Wolfgang Goethe

In the final segment of our study on loving our circle, we explore the art of letting go. Of what you ask? Simply the need to control our lives and the lives of others. Now I know what you’re thinking: I’m not some control freak, I just have better ways of doing things; I have a type A personality. Trust me, I know you mean well, but the truth is we may not even realize we’re treating people this way. Often times we employ these controling behaviors and strategies so invisibly that we’re unaware of our actions.

All of us push people’s buttons to create the experiences and relationships that serve our purpose. Some seek to control by being perfectionists and others by being intimidators. Then there are the worrywarts who control using anxiety while others are constant planners, and some who are micromanagers. In any case, our need to control often stems from core issues in our lives.

The six most common core issues are: hurt, insecurity, pride, guilty, selfishness, and unrealistic expectations. These issues tend to be the underlying reason for our desire to control. Wordly thinking says that taking matters into our own hands will eliminate the fear of the unknown. However, this keeps us from trusting God and others. Godly thinking says that the unknown is a place of trusting God and that perfect love casts out all fear. 

Lasting love isn’t just about what you can add but also what you can let go of in relationships. Simon Peter’s relationship with Jesus is a perfect example of someone who fought for control. The fishing story in Luke 5 describes how Peter had toiled all night with his fishing mates only to repeatedly come up empty. After some resistance and questioning Jesus’ instructions, he finally receives his largest catch ever by giving up control and obeying the master’s instructions. 

This miracle illustrates for us the benefit of giving God control of every area of our lives… not just the spiritual things. He wants to be included in your education, career, friendships, and romantic relationships. There is peace in submission and power in letting go! 

One Month to Love: Acting Intentionally

Previously in our devotional study we learned how to give those in our circle the undivided attention they deserve by being present in every moment and actively listening to what’s being said. In week two, we now focus on the intentional actions needed to foster deep connections. This inquiry raises one question in particular…

Is your life too crowded? 

Have you become such a slave to your to-do lists and your demanding work or school schedule that you’ve completely neglected to spend real time with the people closest to you? The truth is, you don’t have time to do everything that everyone wants you to do, and you never will. However, you do have time for the important things… which is building our closest relationships. We must intentionally create space for these relationships to grow by not overcrowding our days with busy work, and taking time with God, family, & close friends.

Remove the obstacles. 

For many of us, this Thanksgiving will be the first time we’ve actually spent real quality time with our families. In our frantic dash to buy ingredients from the markets and bake the necessary pies, we’ve lost sight of what the holiday is actually about. To intentionally create space, we need to prioritize who gets our precious time. Family first… everyone else is second. Allow God to divinely interrupt your regularly scheduled program. After all an “annoying” interruption, is often God’s way of slowing us down to show us what’s really important to Him & Us!

Love as a Way of Life

In this last chapter Sally Clarkson shared with us how her son Nathan left home for film school in New York, a city full of temptation and was confronted with his own commitment to the Lord. How would Nathan live his life? How would he use his time on campus to make an impact in the lives of  his classmates? It was simple…Nathan chose to loveGod is love and He uses us to express His love to others! 

  1. Love is patient. Are there people in your life who need to see your patience so they’ll have time to grow? As the eldest child of three, I can often taken on the role of sister/parent. This can sometimes result in being demanding and critical. I’m the oldest, I’ve been there done that, just do what I say… This is not how you show your siblings godly patience. Moving forward, I want to create a place of safety for them where they have space to learn, grow, and become their own unique selves.
  2. Love is kind. What do you need to do to give kindness to others? Being kind means that I take the time to consider someone else’s feelings, perspective, and their situation. It is to be selfless and Christlike. To really spread kindness, I can not be self-centered.

To truly love as a way of life means to totally yeild our lives to the leadership of Jesus Christ. To learn and accept his love for us, and to then spread that love abroad. We must invest our time into caring for those around us, as well as ourselves!

We’ve come to the end of our devotional series “You Are Loved: Embracing God’s love for You” and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed these last eight weeks. A healthy relationship with the Lord is one that stands on the foundation of his love for us. His unwavering, unchanging, unconditional love. What an amazing gift!

My Goals for 2016

Happy Friday everyone!

We are currently halfway through the first month of this new year and to be honest, I started the year with no clue of what I wanted. All I could think about was recovering from last year. That was my one goal. It’s taken me a little longer than I’d hoped but I finally have some clarity and a vision for the year ahead. I have six goals, five I’ll share publicly with you all.

  1. Healthy mind & body – This should go without saying but I actually don’t take care of my health like I should. After spending literally half of 2014 in the hospital or on laid up in bed due to kidney stones and infections, I should have made radical dietary changes. While I started off strong in 2015, by mid year I slipped back into old habits of high salt and sugar consumption. Not to mention stress and financial issues meant I wasn’t sleeping well. This time around, I want both mind and body to be in alignment. Daily prayer and exercise this year are nonnegotiable.
  2. Get my Driver’s License – I really have no explanation for why this goal wasn’t accomplished at age sixteen other than pure laziness. At thirty-two years of age I’ve had plenty of time to achieve this goal. Time to stop stalling and just do it already!
  3. Clear credit card debt – The reason 2015 was so rough was largely due to the debt I’d accumulated the two years before. Unexpected medical expenses along with already increasing credit card debt all compounded at once. Not to mention recent student loan wage garnishment this past fall. Listen loves, ain’t nothing glamorous about looking good while being flat broke. This ends now!
  4. Plan 4 Getaways – I know what you’re thinking, “Girl, if you broke stay ya butt home!” I totally get it, but by getaway I don’t mean a trip to Australia. Instead maybe a weekend in Atlantic City or a trip to New York or Boston. Yes folks, I fully intend to pay off my debt AND get my Groupon on in 2016.
  5. Earn at least 5K Blogging – Of all the goals on my list, this seems like the most impossible. It’s something that I know nothing about and something that terrifies me to death. Which is exactly why I refuse to take this off the list. I love blogging and I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what Sing Pray Shop can truly become. I look forward to growing with you all as a woman, blogger, and even entrepreneur in this year ahead!

What I left in 2015

December 31, 2014 I stood in watch night service at church with my family earnestly making declarations for the coming year. 2015 was to be the year I got married, the year I released a short EP, and my year of debt cancellation. Not one of these actually happened. In many ways 2015 absolutely sucked…but it was also the best year of my life! If I could sum it all up in one word it’d be correction. In many ways I’m a control freak and as such, my perfectly made plans became more important than my relationship with God. I began ignoring the holy spirit and charting a new course without my navigator. As a result, God demolished the idols I’d made of weddings and stages, forcing me to confront my fears and character flaws. For this reason, the events of the past year had to happen. They were pretty painful but they produced good fruit. As a result, there are things that I’ve shed and left behind me…

  1. The need to have all the answers – Even in a romantic context, I generally hate surprises. As far back as I can remember I’ve planned my own birthday parties. I plan my outfits for the week. I plan my meals and only pair certain sides and entrees. I plan EVERYTHING and when I can’t control my situation my anxiety goes through the roof. Needless to say, if things don’t go as predicted, it can be very hard to adjust. Such was the case last year and it wasn’t until the 4th quarter of 2015 that I truly became aware that I don’t have to manipulate every detail of my life. As a child of God, my only priority is to submit my plans to Him and seek wise counsel. As I learn His will for my life through His word, my will begins to line up with His and I gain peace resting on His promises. My life is in God’s hands and there is a divine time table for everything He’s ordained for me…this I can unload the weight needing to have all the answers.
  2. Making emotional decisions – Perhaps the most important lesson of 2015 for me was the realization that I don’t always hear from God. I pride myself on having an active prayer life and a personal relationship with God. However, there in was the problem… pride. While there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in something, that pride can easily turn into arrogance and self righteousness. As an intercessor, I failed to realize my growing haughtiness and “I know God hears me” attitude. Intercessors can sometimes become big headed, feeling that whatever we ask/want/desire God will surely bless. Although the bible does encourage us to ask anything in faith and it shall be given, our request must line up with God’s word and His will. Being lead by my emotions last year, specifically frustration and fear, resulted in dullness of hearing. My emotions were louder than the voice of the God.
  3. Fear of failure – Having struggled with fear all my life, I am many times paralyzed from true progress, despite being a control freak. However, having failed big time in certain areas last year, I can now say I’m so glad I did! Failure is apart of success. I am 32 and I have a lot of mistakes yet to make. I refuse to allow fear of failure to keep me from making new plans and taking action. I’ve already survived embarrassment and have learned necessary lessons. God doesn’t want us to stop planning, dreaming, and creating our lives…but as our father, He does wasn’t us to trust His word and seek His guidance.

Well loves, I hope this has been insightful and encouraging. Especially for those who’ve experienced a much different 2015 than expected. I look forward to sharing more inspirational content rooted in my faith.  My hope is that my transparency is relatable to you. Let’s get ready for a much better 2016!  XO, Kira

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