7 Tips To Find Your Calling

So often when trying to define God’s call on my life, I felt like His plans for me were elusive and intangible.  In reality, however, I had placed obstacles in my own life that made it hard to hear what He was so patiently and clearly telling me. As God’s handiwork, we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  Our one job is to be obedient to Him and He will take care of everything else.

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1. Just Go With It

When God repeatedly told me to write, my mind was flooded with thoughts like “But what will this lead to?”, “Will this be worth it?” and “Am I SURE this is what He is telling me?”  It was in the midst of this doubt that I read Luke 1, where the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah about the imminent birth of his son, John the Baptist.  Zechariah answers in disbelief saying, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel responds to his lack of faith by taking away his voice until the day of John’s birth.   In other words, believe God when He tells you to do something the first time.  Don’t spin your wheels by questioning Him but be obedient to the last thing God told you to do – even if you don’t understand it.   He will be sure to show you the next step in His perfect time.

2. It’s God’s Calling, Not Yours

C.S. Lewis once said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself.  It is thinking of yourself less.”   Pray for God to redirect your focus to “HIS WILL” instead of “his will for ME”.    Don’t chase your call but chase the God who calls you.

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God is our only source of power and strength so if we focus on ourselves, even while trying to do good things, we will surely fall flat on our face.  God has given us each different gifts and talents but without His power burning bright in us, we are like a candle without a flame.  A candle can have a uniquely colorful glow and aroma, but without the flame, it cannot fulfill its true purpose of providing light.

3. You Have Gifts and Talents

There are various spiritual gift surveys online including this one that can give you an idea as to what your God-given gifts are.    In addition, be aware of your talents.  Maybe you are great at decorating, gardening or baking.  Perhaps God wants you to combine your gift of encouragement and baking skills to make gifts for neighbors as a means to reach out to them.  Be prayerful about God can use your gifts and talents to honor Him.

4.  Uncover Your Fears

Don’t allow fears to deter you from following God’s plans.  Allow them to be the very catalyst that drives you to the foot of the cross.  Be mindful of fears when they come into your thought life.  Take those opportunities to not only hand over the fear to God in prayer, but to submit the entire situation over to Him.  For example, maybe I realize I am nervous about a meeting with my daughter’s teacher.  Instead of giving just the fear over to God in prayer, pray to give the entire situation to Him in prayer.   Let your fear be a prompt or reminder that highlights opportunities to allow God to intercede through you as you give the entire situation over to Him.

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5.  Your Calling Is Closely Tied To What You Enjoy

In most sports, there is that feeling you get…just like when you hit a tennis ball on the sweet spot of your racket. You get a good spin on the ball and you know the racket was used exactly how it should be used. Always be watchful for that same feeling. When you find yourself in the middle of a task, hobby or job and notice that same satisfaction, know that you have found the point where your God-given talents align with the tasks He has laid before you. When you approach the point where your gifts and calling intersect, have found your sweet spot.

6. Be tenacious in pursuing your God-given goals.

Sharpening our gifts and talents will take work.  Within the work lies the preparation, growth and character-building that will be necessary when His plans are fully realized.  Development is part of the process because God wants us to make sure we are ready for all He has planned.  It’s through working towards our God-given goals that He prepares us for the task at hand.   The work God does within us while we wait is just as important as what we are waiting for.

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7. Stay in the Word

It’s much like drinking coffee for the first time.  At first, you drink coffee in the morning because you know it will help you get through your day.  But before you know it, it’s a habit, something you crave and can’t make it through the day without.  Know that time in God’s Word is not wasted and God’s Word cannot return void.  As it says in Isaiah 55:11, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

My favorite verse is 1 Corinthians 2:9, which states, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has conceived what God has planned for those who love Him.”  Know God has plans for you that are so much greater than anything you have imagined.

Which tip was helpful to you and why?  I’d love to hear feedback and your tips below!

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DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

The farmhouse style of painted signs are such a warm addition to any room. However, if free-handing lettering on a sign isn’t exactly your cup of tea, know there’s an easy and inexpensive work-around for lettered wall art.

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Many stores are selling these thin wood frames that are reminiscent of the stained wood borders of the painted signs you see around.  I have noticed them at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and even Walmart.  I happened to find my frames at Target for $3.99 each!

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Here’s what you need:

  • Thin wood frame
  • White card stock
  • Matte Mod Podge
  • Scissors

Download and Print

Print each sign on letter-size card stock using the link below.   The heavier the card stock, the better.

If you want a sign larger than 8 x 10, download the file and convert it to a jpg file using a free file converter like zamzar.com.  (This will allow you to get a higher resolution image needed for larger signs.)  For Zamzar, go to the Convert Tab and select the image you want to download and select “jpg” in the drop down menu for File Type.

I promise it’s super easy and the jpg file will come to you in your inbox.  From there,  you can print a larger copy online (I like Walgreens.com) or take it to a copy store.  Make sure it is printed on matte paper in order to get the painted sign effect.

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Add Mod Podge

After the printer ink has dried, lay your printed paper on a sheet on a flat surface.  Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the area within the gray line.  Let it dry completely.  If the paper curls some, it will straighten when it dries and you can lay a book on it overnight.

We will not use the glass in the frame, so the Mod Podge protects the art from humidity and gives it a painted look.  This is probably the only time you’ll use Mod Podge that you want brushstrokes!

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Cut and Frame

Then, cut along the gray line.  Take the glass out of your frame before framing your art and you are done!  It looks just like a painted sign for a fraction of the cost.

 

As a thank you to my email subscribers, HERE is the link to all 15 free Scripture Verse Printables!   Be sure to subscribe to Renovated Faith by email in order to get the password.

If you are already a subscriber, check your inbox for the “Please Confirm Your Subscription” email or email me at RenovatedFaith@gmail.com.  I’d be happy to help!

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If you like this post you might also like:

Light and Airy Master Bath Makeover

Sit A Spell : The Value of Spending Time With The One Who Made It

Be sure to comment below to share your favorite printable above!

‘Til Next Time,

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When Food Was My Best Friend: How I Overcame Emotional Eating

The object of my affection was always there…three times a day, every day.  Unlike the ability to throw out the last pack of cigarettes, there was always another meal coming.  So many times, I found not only was I consuming food, but it was consuming me.

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Is Food Addiction Really A “Thing?”

My struggle with emotional eating didn’t happen overnight.  I got into the habit of rewarding myself with a snack or cheering myself up on a bad day with a bowl of ice cream.  Sometimes I would even use food as an excuse to take a break from a difficult task, saying to myself, “A girl’s gotta eat, right?”  These actions seemed harmless enough at the time, but before I knew it, food was my comforter, not God.

Food had become my best friend.

While there’s no doubt that food is good and God created food for our nourishment and enjoyment, a problem occurs when we take pleasure in food more than we delight in Him.  God is the only one that can truly satisfy our hearts.  He is the provider and sustainer of our emotional well-being so when we seek to satisfy ourselves with something other than Him, we inevitably end up with a bigger mess on our hands (What Are You Consumed With?).

James writes to Jewish Christians about the dangers of temptation in James 1:13-18.  He says, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when is in is accomplished, it brings forth death.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”

Upon entering into a relationship with Christ, one has eternal life with Him, but that doesn’t mean that the ways of the enemy are no longer corruptive and damaging.  When we succumb to temptation, we trade the blessings of obedience for the affliction of the world.  Like fishing, the bait is enticing but it only leads to destruction.

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God did not design our bodies to handle sin well.  If I ate ravenously upon any moment of emotional discomfort, my health would decline rapidly, not to mention what it would do to my spiritual walk with Him.

Why Is It So Hard?

There were times that I thought I would never overcome my battle with emotional eating.  The cravings were so strong that I could hardly think rational thoughts.  For those of you struggling, I know what it means to feel the sheer force of this addiction.  I get it…

The way to overcome is “to be dead to sin and alive in Christ” by knowing that the power in you is greater than the power of your addiction (Romans 6:11).  This is not just a psychological exercise but know that the One who is in you is greater than the one in the world.  We have to fully know and own that truth if we are going to overcome this battle.  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness (Rom. 8:26) and relying on Him when temptation comes is crucial.  We must take our every thought captive and redirect it in obedience to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Just Start

My biggest struggle in overcoming this stronghold was that it overwhelmed me.  Lysa Terkeurst once said “As I took positive steps, the Lord strengthened my heart day by day.  One good decision turned into two, turned into three and eventually into victory.  Just Start!”

Do not be overwhelmed with the task of overcoming this entire stronghold in your life.  Just focus on allowing God to help you defeat the next temptation.   The first time will be the hardest.  The next time will be a little easier and so forth.  Before you know it, a few small steps will become a thousand miles.

When I could see that God was giving me the strength to overcome this stronghold, I gained a new momentum that could only be from Him.  Now my emotional and physical cravings for food are not nearly as strong as they once were.

With every temptation, we have a choice:

Will we succumb to temptation, allowing it to strengthen the stronghold it already has over our lives?

Or…Will we allow God to do an amazing work in us as a result of this temptation?  (James 1:4)

Since relinquishing this addiction to Him one temptation at a time, He has grown and blessed me in ways I never knew were possible.

The verse I remember when tempted to go to food for comfort is Psalm 63:3, because the life that God promises in obedience is far better than the destruction that sin disguises.  When we look to Him for satisfaction, we find that he not only meets our every need, but surpasses every expectation.

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If you feel this post would be helpful to others, share it on social media.   Feel free to comment below with your thoughts and insights.

‘Til Next Time,

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“Inconvenienced” By God

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To escape the hot Texas sun, my daughter and I have spent a lot of time in the pool this summer.    Morgan has made major strides with swimming and no longer sees it as pure torture.  I am relieved that she finally enjoys something she was so scared of last summer.

While swimming with her one day, I suddenly saw a huge water bug in the pool that was at least 2 inches long.  I didn’t think much of it until a few minutes later when I noticed it perched on Morgan’s arm floaty.  I quickly brushed it off without her noticing.   We swam a few minutes more before I realized how unsuccessful I was at getting rid of the bug as it was now in Morgan’s hair!  From behind her, I quietly and stealthily grabbed the nasty bug when she flinched and yelled, “Ouch, why did you pull my hair, Mama?!?”  Fortunately, she never caught on to what I was really doing.

I know my daughter pretty well, and had she realized a huge bug was caught in her hair, she would have never stepped foot in the pool again.  As Morgan saw it, I inconvenienced her by pulling her hair but in reality, I saved her from something I knew would upset her and derail her progress in swimming.

The same situation has happened countless times in my relationship with God.   What I have often seen as an inconvenience, was merely the ripple effect of God’s protection from a hurt or tragedy that only He could have saved me from.

Looking back, there are many instances where I thought I knew what was best for me.  Hindsight is truly 20/20 and I’m thankful God didn’t give me what I prayed He would.  He knows that sometimes what we desire most is the very thing that will destroy us.  Thankfully God is faithful to intervene in the lives of His children to show them a better way, His way.

Maybe it was the boyfriend who broke up with you in high school who you KNEW you would marry.  Maybe it was the not so budget-friendly dream house that slipped through your fingers at the last minute.  Because of His great love for us, there are times God has to drag us kicking and screaming to protect us from less than His best.   And what is best for Him is always best for us.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps.”

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In Genesis 37, Joseph was a young Israelite with many brothers who were jealous of Him.  His brothers decided to deal with Joseph once and for all by throwing him in a pit and leaving him to die.  It was then that a group of Ishmaelites came by that his brothers decided to sell him as a slave for less than $100 today.  He was placed in the house of an Egyptian master named Potiphar and everything that Joseph touched, God blessed.

Potiphar’s wife had different plans for Joseph, however.  She accused him of coming onto her and Joseph was placed in prison.  Genesis 39:21 states, “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sign of the keeper of the prison.”  Before long, Joseph was running the prison and became an interpreter of dreams for the prisoners.  After two years passed, Pharaoh had some dreams he could not make sense of and Joseph was actually called upon out of the prison.  He not only interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams but made Pharaoh aware of the dangerous famines approaching Egypt and the devastation that was ahead if they did not prepare accordingly.

As governor of Egypt, Joseph was put in charge of gathering food.  Instead of allowing his family to perish in the famine, Joseph welcomed them into Egypt along with all the other Israelites.  Joseph’s misfortune was a necessary inconvenience in comparison to blessings that came forth.  Through it, Joseph became governor of Egypt, saved the lives of the Egyptians from the famines and most importantly He was the tool God used to preserve the Israelite line by relocating them.

Often God uses tragedy to accomplish rich blessings beyond our comprehension and no one understands this better than Jesus Christ.  Sin separates us from a relationship with God and the penalty for any sin is death (Romans 3:23).  Jesus knew His death was the only remedy to deal with our sin problem, so  God’s one and only son became a human being and freely died in our place (Romans 5:6-8; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). He was punished for our sin so that we can receive God’s forgiveness. Then God raised Jesus from the dead, conquering sin and death for us.

Because He voluntarily endured pure torture on the cross, God now offers us eternal life as an absolutely free gift to anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). That is the meaning of the word “grace.” God gives us His forgiveness and His favor as a free gift, based on what Jesus has done for us. If you believe in Jesus, that He died for your sins and rose from the dead, then you can know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13).

Maybe God has you on what seems to be a perilous path, maybe you feel like there is no end to this phase of life or you are enduring a trial that seems pointless.  Know that God works all things for our good and that there is a purpose life’s hardships (Romans 8:28-29).   When you have a relationship with Him, what we  perceive as an inconvenience is often his active role in protecting us and growing us to be more like Him.  When we commit to follow Him, God protects us from less than his best.  May our lives be overflowing with the “inconvenience” of God’s protection.

What are the ways God has protected you and how is He protecting you even now from greater hardships?

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Filling the Void

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After removing a brass towel bar and painting the bathroom, I contemplated what to hang on the wall over the master bathtub.  I knew whatever I displayed should be relaxing and enjoyable for the end of a long day.    Although a flat screen TV was very tempting, I decided to frame some verses that meant a lot to Jeremy and I.  We each picked two.

These verses are special to us because they are not just informative words on a page but they serve as directional markers on a map, pivot points that show us how to find our true North.  The world and even our hearts can be very deceiving, but one thing holds true – no matter your country, social status or salary, the Word of God pierces our hearts the way nothing else can or does.

Along with countless others, these truths represent defining moments in our lives where God illuminated His Truth to us.  We carry them with us, not just on the wall of our bathroom but on the wall of our hearts to know the depth, height and breadth of a loving God who actively leads His children along life’s perilous journey.

When my heart betrays me, I find solace in the truth of His Word that is alive and active, sharper than any double edged sword.  God continually works in the hearts and minds of His children through the truth of His Word.  Not just initially as a book laid on the coffee table of eternity, but God perpetually uses His Word in the DAILY lives of His children to guide them as a shepherd watches his sheep.

When I look at these transparent frames, I know these verses are not just words on a page to merely be read.  Their purpose is to be embraced – they are to be trusted, knowing the Author will catch me every time I fall.  One thing I know for sure…”My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

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