6.22.2016

A few really scary days…

You might have noticed I’ve been a little silent on the blog lately. But I want you to know it hasn’t been by choice. I’ve missed you dearly. Which is why I really must update you on what’s been going on in my world.

About a week and a half ago, I was rushed into emergency surgery.

My large intestine had somehow detached itself from my abdominal wall and twisted to the point where blood flow was dangerously restricted. A large section had to be removed. After several days of recovering in the hospital, I was able to go home which is where I am as I type these words.

I’ve been hesitant to explain too much about what happened to me because it’s honestly a crazy story. And I’m not really into crazy.

But, I treasure you as a friend and sometimes friends just need to be invited in and told the bottom line.

God miraculously saved my life.

I don’t say that with drama. I say it with tears in my eyes and the deepest gratitude in my heart.

The surgeon called me on Friday to tell me there was no sign of cancer in the pathology report. Praise God.

But then he said something else that I can’t stop thinking about. “Lysa, I don’t like throwing around the word miracle. But the fact you survived this is a miracle. The pathology report showed your cells were in a state of death.” I didn’t know what to say.

I had no words. Except “thank you.” Thank You, God. Thank you friends who prayed me through this. Thank you to this surgeon who finally figured out why I was in excruciating pain for days and days in that hospital bed.

Thank You that I still get to do life.

So, here I sit. But this quiet morning is different.

I have a sacred realization. And I have a complete refocus on just how precious every second of every day truly is.

Might we all dare to whisper “it’s a gift” to God today?

When the baby is crying and the deadlines are pressing and the stress is mounting and the enemy whispers “just get through this crappy day.” Look up and shame the enemy back to hell by acknowledging today is a gift.

A gift from a good, good Father. And then look, seek, and dive deeply into what a true gift it is.

5.16.2016

The Problem With Pinterest

Have you ever looked at social media and felt like everyone else’s marriage was more romantic, their style more hip, and their house more beautifully decorated than yours?

The comparison struggle. is. so. real.

I’m thankful that my pastor and friend, Steven Furtick, agrees. And he’s here with us on the blog today with some practical tips on how to start seeing beyond the traps social media can lure us into.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

What – or who – is your standard of comparison? Often, we are insecure because of unrealistic images against which we judge our spirituality and success.

I call it The Pinterest Perspective.

PCMag defines Pinterest as: A socially oriented photo-sharing site in the form of an online pinboard.

I have a slightly different definition:

Pinterest is a visually driven social media platform strategically designed for nonstop, twenty-four-hours-a- day, seven-days-a-week reminders that your kids are not as well dressed as your neighbors‘ kids, that your home is decorated in the most amateur fashion imaginable, that the pictures you take are bland and artless, that you did a terrible job planning your wedding, and that you live a generally tedious, monotonous existence—unlike everyone else, whose lives are categorically awesome at all times.

Yes, I have a bit of a problem with Pinterest.

Of course, I’m not against social media in general or even Pinterest in particular. Social media is just a tool. And the results it generates reflect the intention of the user. That’s where the trouble starts.

See, any time you’re considering your real life accomplishments or problems from a Pinterest perspective, you are judging yourself against an illusion. When we compare our underwhelming reality to other people’s staged, cropped, filtered photos, we jump to the wrong conclusions. Because we started with the wrong context.

The problem with Pinterest is the problem within us. It‘s the perfect platform for our tendency to pretend, to pose, and to perform, all in an effort to bolster a shaky self-esteem.

I want to challenge you today. When you are faced with the temptation to compare yourself to the glories of others, try contemplating the glory of God instead, in the way Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 3:18.

I know this sounds a little abstract – (really pal, contemplate? Contemplate this laundry basket…)

But it can be really simple. To contemplate simply means to think about. To consider. To dwell on.

And there are practical ways we can compare less, and contemplate more:

• Some of our social media scrolling can be so routine that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. But decreasing your time on it might be as easy as moving apps around on your phone. Take the Bible app or First 5 and put it on the first screen in the easiest place to see. Place the social media icons on the last page. This will force you to make the conscious decision to swipe all the way over to your social media accounts, while your Bible apps remain front and center.

• Instead of going on Instagram or Facebook first thing in the morning to see what everybody else is doing and reading their comments on your feed, spend some time in God’s Word. It would be good to do this before you go to sleep as well. Feed yourself something more substantial, and see if you feel stronger.

• Make it a point to write down and say out loud what you’re thankful for several times a week, if not daily. Focusing on what you’ve been blessed with is one of the first steps to getting out of the comparison trap.

God has so much He wants to show you, but maybe you’ve allowed yourself to become blinded by the images and illusions of this world. 2 Corinthians 3 promises a new point of view and a new level of freedom for those who will dare to remove the veil.

UNQU-Book Cover We’re giving away a signed copy of Pastor Steven’s new book (Un)Qualified: How God Uses Broken People to Do Big Things. This book is for anyone who’s ever felt like they just didn’t have what it takes to get through another day. It’s an amazing resource that can apply to your life no matter what season you’re in. To be entered to win, post a comment below with how you’ll be shifting your social media perspective this week. Click here to purchase your copy.

5.11.2016

Is This a Delay or a Dead End?

Have you ever felt God calling you to step out in faith, only to find yourself wondering if you heard Him wrong?

I understand.

For many years I thought my calling to write was a dead end instead of a delay. I received rejection letter after rejection letter from the many book proposals I’d sent to publishers. I was so frustrated! I started wondering if I had heard God incorrectly when this passion to write was placed in my heart.

I didn’t realize I was confusing a delay with a dead end. But I think we do this all the time. We put a period where our life story may just need a little string of dots …

In punctuation, there are terminal points and pausing points. A terminal point is a period, a question mark or an exclamation point.

But there are far more options for pausing points such as: the comma, semicolon, colon, em dash, and my personal favorite which drives my editors a little batty: the ellipsis.

What in the world does all of this have to do with Biblical truth?

When we confuse what’s really a pausing point with a terminal point, we can get into trouble. And that’s how the people of Israel got themselves into a mess of trouble while waiting for Moses to come down from a mountaintop meeting with God.

Exodus 32:1 tells us, “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’”

What “happened” to “this fellow” was that God was giving Moses the Ten Commandments. A pretty important pause. But because the people didn’t understand the delay, they decided they couldn’t trust God.

So, they took matters into their own hands and had Aaron form a false god to comfort themselves and combat their confusion. In the end, their solution only added more chaos. And it cost them more than they ever imagined.

They got completely out of control. They became the laughing stock of their enemies. Many lost their lives — it says over 3,000 died. AND they suffered from a plague.

Of course, they could have avoided it all, including enraging Moses to the point where he threw the stone tablets God had personally carved for them, breaking them into pieces. But that would have required waiting just a little longer for Moses to return.

Oh, friend. When there is a delay in our lives, we must determine to fill the gap between here and there by intentionally proclaiming every hint of God’s activity. Just the fact that we woke up breathing this morning is evidence of His goodness. So, let’s make a list and keep acknowledging that just because God is silent in one area of our life does not mean He is silent in every area.

Also, let’s think about an area of our life where we’ve been waiting for what seems like an unreasonable amount of time. Let’s determine today not to mistake this delay for a dead end.

We can say out loud, “I will not run ahead of God in this. I will not manipulate or manufacture solutions. I will not give up until God confirms I should. I will keep seeking God, fully anticipating and trusting His perfect plan to unfold in His perfect timing and His perfect way. And if He does confirm this is a dead end, I will still honor Him.”

As for the delays in my journey to be a writer, I can look back and see that the Lord used those times in my life to develop my character to match my calling … and I’m so thankful He did.

So let’s trust Him today. And choose to believe He is packing great purpose into our places of pausing.

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