Thank God It’s Monday

This morning I woke up at 5:30am.

It’s Monday.

Believe it or not, it wasn’t miserable. I woke up with a sense of purpose and with a joy to write. I chose to wake up.

“I’m not a morning person”

“A case of the Mondays”

“I’m always tired on Mondays”

“Mondays are hard”

I beg to differ.

I think the enemy has conquered some ridiculous ground here on our Mondays, our first days, our first fruits, our MOST RESTED days!

We wake up and feel tired, and it’s a valid exhaustion, but maybe it isn’t. What if you’re not actually tired? Have you ever thought about the validity of your tiredness, whether it’s a physical tiredness or a spiritual tiredness?

What if it’s dread? Unwillingness manifesting itself as exhaustion? What if the problem with our Mondays is that we’ve given the enemy permission to control our emotions and to take over our thoughts with every discouraging lie he can muster?

Take it back. A good place to start is to ask yourself (your body, mind, heart) if you’re actually tired. Am I tired or unwilling? Have I rested? Do I need to change the way I spend my weekends?

Then ask Jesus into the conversation. Jesus, what do You think of me being super tired this morning? Is my week going to completely stink? Is my day pre-ruined? How am I really doing?

Let His truth sink into your Monday waking routine. Let His words have more influence over you than any negative expectation.

If your week was a race and you were a runner, Mondays would be the start. The enemy has managed to dupe us into thinking that the start is the hardest part. False. Ridiculous. If he can steal the joy of the start, destroy your momentum, and kill your hope for the week, then he’s all set.

Mondays are the days you should be the most ready, excited, rested. You JUST had a break. You just had a hopefully reasonable amount of time that was free. We live in a culture where we thank God for Fridays but we hate our lives on Mondays. That’s not right. If we hate what we do for 5 days a week, what kind of life is that?

Why perpetuate the lie that you are unhappy with the life you have chosen? Is it so bad that the thought of a new week makes you feel discouraged? Is it true or not? Ask yourself if you hate everything so much or if you’re just complaining out of habit. Break that habit.

How can you stir up joy on a Monday morning? What do you need to remind yourself about that makes you motivated? Are you passionate? Are you making a difference? Are you growing in character?

I think the “Monday Blues” are covering up for a much bigger issue.

Maybe if you chose a different lifestyle, you would remember your sense of purpose on Mondays, and every day. You’d be excited to open your eyes and look around, and you’d like what you see. What if instead of just the pressure of dread upon you, you also had an equal and opposing pressure of joy within you? I think it’d be enough to overcome.

I think it’s easier to blame the Monday, but the problem is a contentment issue. It should feel unnatural to a believer to join the weekly chorus of groaning and complaining.

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We aren’t called to that lifestyle, brothers and sisters. In Phil 2, we are told not to complain so we can stand out from our generation. Shine like stars is the analogy used there. You’re not shining at all, cloudy Monday grumpy sky. Jesus wants to see some twinkling. He wants bright eyes again. He wants a Christmas morning from you on Mondays. Do you believe He has good things for you today?

You don’t have to be perpetually tired.

If Jesus can raise the dead, has risen from the dead, and has given US the power to RAISE THE DEAD, isn’t He able to give rest and strength to us, the living?

Get your mini-resurrection.

Rise, sleeper. The awake life, the joy of the start, the taste and color of your world are calling you up and out.

Thank God It’s Monday.

Dream Vacation

I’ve traveled the world and grew up in tropical paradise Rio, and I’m telling you this: Savannah, GA is awesome.

I went on a much-needed, budget-friendly getaway with my friend Robin, and we stayed with a friend of a friend, who is now our friend Cheryl. I have so many pictures and memories. Allow me to share a few? It’ll all make you want to go there!

It was 3 days and 3 nights, the perfect amount of time to get away but not get carried away. Who knew we lived 4 hours away from all this? :]

My feet dipped into very cold ocean water and were delightfully covered in sand. I found the perfect souvenir seashell to remember Tybee Island. The sunrise covered the water with a golden shimmer. It was therapeutic to watch it, to know that God set it up to be breath-taking, knowing how much I love it. Oh how sweet He is.

savsunriseAt the park, I took a turn at the swing set while the playground was still mostly empty. I swung high enough until the chains would give that scary jolt, when the tension loosens and catches. Freedom. And yes, sometimes freedom looks like going backwards and forwards, next to other people just going backwards and forwards, just enjoying the breeze and moving nowhere, gripping chains. How odd, right? Feeling free while holding on to chains? I felt like a small child, as I closed my eyes and breathed it all in. I didn’t feel so much like a child after stopping, realizing my hips didn’t quite fit and my hands smelled of rust, and one of my feet tingled from falling asleep. Worth it. Still one of my favorite things in the world: swing sets.

folkduoI ate delicious food, drinks, and desserts. I had a chocolate waffle cone at Leopold’s. I had my favorite dessert: creme brulee with a bellini at Lulu’s. We went to a ships and sea museum, and got a tour of the first African church in North America… yeah! Rode in trolleys through the city, hearing about all the history. We had horchata lattes and croissants, and actually had good coffee. We had amazing omelettes at The Breakfast Club. I laid down on a park bench and stared up through oak tree branches to a bright blue sky. We walked and marveled that the squares were so romantic, so lovely! There were French fountains, gazebos, old brick buildings, and weddings going on all over the place. We walked into the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and tried to take in all the details on the walls and ceilings. It felt so nice to walk around in a long skirt and sandals, to not be cold. I had the joy of meeting up with one of the girls from my summer trip to Uganda, Katelyn. She might be coming with me to Uganda again this summer, here’s to hoping! It was a wonderful surprise to meet Alice, one of the girls who had followed my World Race blogs, and is now gearing up to go on her World Race! Can’t wait to follow her stories and return the blessing. How cool to have a late lunch with them at Soho South Cafe!!! So many worlds colliding.

sohoAnd we returned to good ol’ Gainesville on Monday. Robin now is on her way to Malaysia for the month, and I am gearing up for a mighty leadership training weekend for Phylla House leaders. Full submersion into the deep waters of God, being fully out of control. Apparently, starting a ministry is like spiritual drowning? That’s what God is telling me. He will surround me and completely overwhelm me in the best way. So here’s to having the perfect vacation and now… onto breathing under deep water!

My Failures and Achievements of January 2014

Hey friends, family, internet peeps I’ve never met,

This month has been the two extremes of failure and achievement.

Failure to stop being sick for about 2 weeks. I had a sore throat for most of this month, and I’d like to report that it was infuriating. I have seen healing, I’ve received healing, and this was just not happening, not going away. Medicine didn’t help. It finally went away and I’m still asking Jesus what up with that.

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Failure to get things done on my own. I couldn’t seem to make it to the office on time. I couldn’t make the calls I wanted to make. I couldn’t remember things. I mean you’d think I was just abducted by aliens or that my Myers-Briggs had just done a flip flop (no offense… but come on, where my high J at). I had to start setting reminders for basic stuff, like birthdays, and people’s surgeries, and things I normally do weekly but I now forget what day it is? So if I forgot your birthday, or didn’t follow up on something you trusted me with, I am super sorry.

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Yep.

Failure to get my emotions under control, or to prepare emotionally for possible changes. I knew there was a big chance of us losing the house I just moved into 2 weeks ago. Our neighbors did not approve of the group housing for the apprenticeship program (I was gonna be a house mentor), and I, instead of bracing myself and holding off on unpacking and on bonding, decided to bake cupcakes for the neighbors’ meeting. Ha. I sincerely thought we had this in the bag, that they would just love us. Nope. We were unanimously voted out. And with the reshuffle, they already had two mentors at the apartments, so I opted out.

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Failure to pep and motivate 100% of the Phylla House ladies to come on back out of hibernation. Yep, I thought this was on my to-do list. I obviously failed to have a realistic to-do list. That was not a S.M.A.R.T. goal, kids. Whoops.

I failed so much this month.

But here’s where the opposite of failure took place… somehow…. you tell me…

I succeeded in apologizing a lot this month. I apologized a TON. I was humbled. I came up short. I was out of juice, out of health, out of my usual sunshine. I just showed up in most places. But I succeeded in apologizing. Hey!

I succeeded in being weak. Physically, emotionally, and I guess spiritually? I cried a bunch. Snotfest. I found myself asking a lot of questions about why I obeyed, if it was out of fear or out of love. Fear of who I would become, or of the choices He’d allow me to make out of my disobedience. Fear that He’d ‘let me do it my way’ and that I’d end up in the belly of a fish, or drowning in seaweed, or longing to eat pig food… ya know… the usual fear of the consequences of disobedience… God was able to soothe me and tell me that He’s sealed my heart for His courts above, and that I don’t have to worry about who I would be without Him. What a good Father!

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I succeeded in receiving favor. I was asked to preach on Superbowl Sunday. I was asked to share in two different campuses at women’s ministry meetings. Filming 2 videos about Phylla House this month, thanks to Shaun, the saint. I succeeded in playing the shofar haha. Honestly, I’ve never been this taken seriously before, ironically just while I was a little weakling. And I was so blessed with a place to live, with the Smiths! THANK YOU.

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Flashback to my first time preaching, in El Salvador, in Spanish, barely visible over the podium, clutching the microphone with both hands. Aw.

I succeeded at saying see you later. I had loved ones leave Georgia this month. On to the next adventures, to do the thing God called them to do. But I will see them later. I was able to cry and open my heart and know, and trust.

I succeeded at moving. TWICE. Chad, also the saint, helped me move yesterday. We were fierce ninjas. Two carloads in 38 minutes, from beginning to end.

I succeeded at unpacking. TWICE. I nested all over again, and I was afraid that my ‘give a darn’ was busted, but it isn’t 🙂 I still care. I still LOVE to unpack, and to settle in, and put up pictures, and pin up my Brazilian flag.

I succeeded in asking for help, or accepting help. I’m still asking for help. I’m still learning. I’m still trying to grasp just how much I need help. I need the Lord ALL THE TIME. I need Him. And my help comes from Him, whether it comes in the shape of a stranger, or a friend, or a family, or a job. I can’t do things alone. I am not supposed to even try.

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that one time I spilled punch everywhere… life analogy

I succeeded in going to the gym for the first time since November. Yep. Yep. Believe it. I ran. Not much. Broke that threshold though, babies! Put on my Vibrams and ran on that mill o’tread. My goal last year was to not run when I was upset, or wanting to run my feelings. I needed to teach my heart how to run to Jesus with my feelings. Now I’m slowly, slowly going back to the idea of running, of just enjoying it.

I succeeded in spending $200 and my morning at the auto repair shop today. My car had a “dramatic leak” and a few hours and a chunk of my savings later (thanks, Dave Ramsey!!), it’s good to go. And I was able to help a lady named Aurora from Mexico who couldn’t speak much English at all. I interpreted for her at the auto shop and she smiled at me a real smile, and hugged me. I had warmth on a super cold day. I made friends because of car troubles. So good!

I succeeded in trying to rest. Hahaha… I laid there, and listened to a podcast about rest. I seriously closed my eyes, horizontal on the bed, with my hands on my stomach, and practically hummed while listening to this podcast. I might as well have chanted “I am resting, I am resting, I am resting” because it was that funny. I tried. I did awesome, I think? Two huge prayers got answered almost immediately after I got up, so I think there may be a holy correlation. Jury is still out on that 🙂 I am still learning what rest is. Rest is a state of mind, yes, but also something you do… or don’t do? Yes. All of that.

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or this

I clearly “succeeded” more than I failed. I know that my failures were counted for me.

My faith is increasing. My reliance on the Lord is highlighted. I get to be real and weak and broken and normal. Not Mother Teresa, not the Instagram-filter missionary, not all bubbles and sass. I am weak, but I’m learning. I’m maturing and going on display for the gospel. I am succeeding in Christ. I’m a warrior in Him.