What Is That To You? Follow Me!

I was sitting in the Kansas City IHOP a couple of weeks ago and was finishing up my reading in the book of John and these words jumped off the pages. It was one of those moments when you just get stopped in your tracks and it’s all you can think about.

“What Is That To You? Follow Me!”

In the scripture, Peter was worried about what Jesus was going to do about the other disciple. Jesus pretty much told him to mind his own business and follow Him. How often are we so focused on what the “other” person is doing that we lose focus on what God wants to do or we lose sight of who we are because we are trying to be like someone or something else. Why is it we always want what someone else has? Or why do we think if we do what they do, we are going to have the same outcome?

There’s a quote that says, “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” I agree with that but the person on the other end is the one receiving the benefits of that flattery. The person wanting or trying to be like someone else can lose sight of the personal call that God has for THEIR  own life because they are so busy trying to reap the benefit of others instead of reaping the benefits that God says He pours out daily for each of us. Psalms 68:19

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting a great outcome of our plans and seeking what others have been done to be successful but did God call us to be a copycat of someone or something else or did he call us to be unique? He says in Psalms 139  We are fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s beneficial sometimes to use the ideas of others but when we start identifying with them rather than God, we miss something that God wanted us to do in us.

I used to always say, “When I grow up, I wanna be just like…………” You fill in the blank. The sad thing was I never could be just like so and so and would be so disappointed and feel like a failure when I didn’t even resemble that person. But what I didn’t realize is God wanted so much more for me and I was willing to settle for so much less.  When I die, the only thing I want people to say about me is, “That woman loved God so much and she was following hard after Him!…oh wait,,,,, ok and that,” She was crazy about Hallmark Christmas Movies! That could be my tagline. But seriously it can be a great compliment to be compared to someone who has done great things but shouldn’t we rather want to hear, “She looks more and more like her Father every day.”?

I always dreamed of being a great speaker that could effect change in people’s lives but now I have to ask myself can I be ok with only affecting the 5 possible readers of this blog? What if God wants me to take care of those 5 people? What is one of those 5 goes on to be a great speaker that actually effects change in people’s lives? What if we are so busy looking ahead that we miss what’s going on right in front of us? What if having our dreams realized means realizing the dreams of others first or heaven forbid our dreams are going to be accomplished by the dreams we plant in others? What if what we think is a little thing is actually a huge thing to God or vice versa?

I have this vision of God pulling this little girl by the hand as she keeps looking back and says, “But what about………… and what if…..but Daddy Ann is doing……God the Father is saying as He pulls her along.“What is that to you? Follow me?” And when she finally catches up and looks at what’s in front of her she says with this huge gigantic smile. “Ann who?”

 

When You’re In It To Win It!

I started my weight loss journey in April of 2018….Or should I say my millionth attempt at weight loss? At this moment I am down 17 pounds. This is the slowest I have ever lost on a weight loss plan but it’s one that I have to say I enjoy the most. I’m enjoying cooking so much that I’ve probably in three months cooked almost half of the recipes in my cookbook. I have three cookbooks. I’m trying things I never would have tried before and opening up a new world of tastes to me. Who knew that you could bake desserts with white beans, black beans, spinach, and okra. You couldn’t have paid me to even look at okra in the past.

I’ve been off of processed sugars and fake sugars for three months. Did I say I have…had a sugar addiction. I now use stevia which is a plant-based sweetener. It took a little to get used to the aftertaste but I don’t even know the difference now.

I am also off of white bread, white potatoes, and white rice. I think the hardest thing to give up was pizza but thank God there’s cauliflower pizza and I love it!. I also have yet to try the pizza recipe in my cookbook. I’ve been going in order from front to back with the recipes. Don’t ask….it’s just how I roll.

So how do I know I’m in it to win it? Since starting this weight loss plan, I have been in pain from some severe things going on in my neck. It started on my right side in my shoulder and shoulder blade. I went to see a Dr and he did an MRI on my neck. Much to my surprise, it was my left side that was in bad shape. The miracle was I wasn’t experiencing any discomfort or pain on that side. My Dr. was puzzled. Well that all changed two weeks ago and then I learned what level 14 type of pain was. It’s right up there with birth and kidney stones. Some days I want to put my fist through the wall; it hurts so bad.

I also lost my little Jackie (schnauzer dog)of 15 years last week. Watching him have seizures on top of my pain was killing me. That dog went through so much with our bigger dogs. We always thought he had nine lives and would outlive us. I have cried for days.

My daughter and her husband have moved across the States and my youngest and his wife will be joining them in the fall. I won’t see my daughter leading worship anymore and it kind of hurts but I am so happy for her.

I’ve also lost my dreams. I’m kind of at a place of not knowing what God has for my life. Only four months ago I had incredible visions only to watch them slip away from me. I’m sitting here with this huge mountain in front of me not knowing whether to climb it, go around it or make it go away. I’m totally open for whatever God wants me to do. I just don’ t know what that is.

BUT

in the midst of all of this, I have never cheated or wavered off plan. I have stayed focused and not even felt the need to eat off plan. I am/have been a pain and emotional eater and here I am sticking with this plan that I am totally on board with. I have no desire to go back to sugar eating which has always been my narcotic. I don’t look for reasons to cheat or make excuses to eat in an unhealthy way. I don’t ever want to touch processed sugar again. Every other diet I have done, I couldn’t wait to get to goal so I could add junk again….and I made up for lost time. Everything I eat now, I know is good for me and doing good things for my body. That is exciting. If I can overcome temptation in my hardest days, then how much easier will it be when my days get better?

That’s how I know I’m in it to win it!!!

Peace, Focus, and Loyalty

Today has been a hard day….I watch the news and look on facebook and it’s just hate, hate, hate. Then there are people saying hateful things about the people hating. It has really grieved my heart to the point of exhaustion and tears. I finally had to shut off the news and put on Christmas movies.

As I was crying and praying though, my dog Jewels comes up to me and puts her head in my lap. As much as I wished it was for comfort, what she was really saying was, “Mom, I want to go outside.” Sigh. I got up put leashes on the dogs  and opened the door to the most amazing sight: there were about 11+ doves in my yard.

I love doves. To me they signify peace, focus and loyalty. I felt at that moment God was sending me a gift. He reminded me that He has given me peace. Not the peace that the world gives but his peace. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] AMP

He reminded me to keep my focus on Him not what is said, reasoned, surmised, predicted but on His heart and what His word tells me. Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. AMP

I read once that Doves mate for life. They are totally loyal and focused on  each other. In Song of Soloman 4:1 (reading as an allegory with the King representing the Lord and the maiden me, you, and/or the church as His bride) the kings says “How fair and beautiful you are, my darling,
How very beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are like those of a dove;

and verse 9 “You have ravished my heart and given me courage, my sister, my [promised] bride; You have ravished my heart and given me courage with a single glance of your eyes,AMP

What ever thoughts I have had or have been inclined to have the Lord was reminding me to: Ps 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable and pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, immovable] rock and my Redeemer.

As I finish writing this blog I will endeavor to Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in (my) your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].

I am thankful that God sent me a flock of Doves to remind me just how much He loves me and cares for my heart and calls me to come sit in His lap and trust Him with my prayers and to be encouraged because He has overcome the world! All I need to do is stay peaceful, remain loyal and live focused on Him and the impossibles that are possible to Him!!