Hey “Desperate For More of Him” Fans, I’ve decided to move the blog to a self hosting site. It was just launched today with a great forum feature. I’d love you to stop by, and share your thoughts, sign up for the email, and say hello in the forum. If you have a blog you’d like me to check out, please share the link below in the comments. Thanks for reading. There is more to come, Robin. New Site is robinmrichards.com
As we progress through this first month of the New Year it is so easy to quickly get discouraged with all the things that we want to accomplish. We have goals and dreams for our family, our future, our relationships; and yet we know that we need to continually rely on God to lead and direct us. The problem is so often that we want a nice road map to follow, a well defined strategy that will get us to our destination. But I was reminded this week that even though goals, planning and strategies are good and very effective, life does have a way of throwing us curve balls from time to time and can make our progress seem meaningless. This is where we need to gain courage. We need to take a step back from what might try and overwhelm us or hinder our progress forward and draw strength from God and others. This is what Joshua was facing when he was about to take the place of Moses. Moses was getting old, and was told by God that he wasn’t the one to lead the Israelites into the promise land, but it would be Joshua instead. Now Joshua had a big task before Him but was reminded by Moses in Deuteronomy and by God in the book of Joshua to “be strong and courageous” and not to fear because God will go with him and be his constant help. Later on in chapter 23 of Joshua we see Joshua now encouraging his leaders who are about to carry the torch with the same words, reminding them of God’s constant present and faithfulness in victory. The bottom line is that we are all called to do great things, we are called to not only live for God but make his power, might and goodness known by being a testimony of His faithfulness in our lives. This is what Moses spoke to Joshua from his own experiences. Then Joshua spoke it to his future leaders who would take his place because he had seen the faithfulness of God for himself also. As Christians our greatest gift that we can give is to strengthen one another by speaking encouraging words that build up and launch another forward in what God would have them do. You may think that there is no one to encourage you, but there are voices all around us; some in books, some on social media. We are surrounded by constant noise, so find what brings you up higher, strengthens you and then find a way to strengthen others. It’s why I write. To encourage others in their walk with Jesus and one another. It’s rather simple, but effective. And I think that is the way it is suppose to be. Jesus said his yolk is easy and his burden is light. He was never stressed out trying to do what heard from the father, he just did it. So be strong and courageous in whatever the Lord is calling you to do. If you don’t know what he might be asking, a great book by one of my favorite authors might help. It’s called “The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins, and it talks all about our calling and how to have courage to live it out. We are all on a journey, and we all have choices everyday to live our life’s purpose. I guess Joshua could have said no, but he was strengthened and encouraged that when God goes with him, things will always work out. So I charge you and myself today “Be strong and Courageous, do not be terrified of them, for the Lord your God goes with you” He will protect you and keep you safe, but you must choose to believe that you have something worthy of giving away. God has given us all gifts, talents and abilities, but it’s up to us and our free will to decide to use them. We need God at our side at all times, and he promises to never leave us our forsake us. So take his hand and live the adventure that he has called you to live. It won’t always be easy, and it will be the difficulties that will build ones resolve, but he will always see us through. He has begun a good work in each of us, and he is faithful to complete it. Be blessed and encouraged today as you seek and follow His voice in your life. It’s going to be a great year as we move forward into all that God has called to do and become for His glory.
So here we are in the 2nd week of January where many people are either in full swing of their New Year’s resolutions, or already in the down swing. I for one have been working hard to get myself focused for this new year, and while I don’t have a perfect formula to spit out, I do have some great things I have implemented and am learning so far. I joined a book club on facebook right around the holidays who had to read “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. In the book he lines out a great little plan for getting motivated and focused each day in the morning by doing what He calls SAVERS, which stand for Silence, Affirmations, Vision, Exercise, Reading and Scribing (which is writing or journaling). I also made a tab in my planner for each of these so I would have them close by me whenever I wanted. It has been a great tool to get me going with my day, and having the extra accountability group online is great as well.
Along with this, I have also been working on my goals and visions for this next year. I have spend a lot of time in introspection so that I could move forward in this new year with more clarity and purpose. It’s defiantly a continual process to figure out, and one that has helped me remember to rely on God in all of this. We can, and often do become bombarded with information all around us, but as we ask God to join and direct the process, he’s faithful to help. This is exactly what had happened to me recently as I was exploring some new areas of interest on youtube. What seemed like a rabbit trail of wonder and utter loss at one point (yes, you can have both at the same time), ended up leading me to other things I actually needed in this season. I was re-directed to Tony Robbins, who I used to read to in my 20’s but got away from as life led me in different directions. He’s now been inspiring me on a deeper level in this season to look at my life in a very intentional way, cut out the excuses and do what makes me become my best self. This, along with my SAVERS, has really helped me to stay focused. It’s just a few tools that I have found to be so helpful in my own journey.
To be focused, we have to learn to cut out the distractions around us, seek God to led us and direct our steps to what WE need in THIS season. We are all different and drawn to different tools. There are other resources that I have found to be helpful that I may share another time, but each day we must learn to live in peace with ourselves and our choices and let God direct us to the things that we are to give our attention to.
What have you found that works for you to stay focused in the different areas of your life in this new year? I’d love to hear about it.
OK, so it’s been awhile since writing on this blog, I get it. But I have been writing; just on the back pages of my Scrivener program. Today is NANOWRIMO, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, where the challenge is to write a 50,000 page novel in 30 days. Crazy,yes I know, and I’ve wanted to do this for several years, but never thought I had it in me, and I still don’t, but you have to start somewhere, so why not go all in?! The beauty of it is that you have a lot of people doing the same thing and rooting each other on. So why would I decide to start my blog back up on the same day when I am taking on such a large project? Because tomorrow’s never guaranteed, and after reading a lot of Jeff Goins; who continues to chime in my ear that the world needs my words, and that there is never going to be that right moment when everything lines up just as you want it to, so just dive in because no one is going to push you in to do the work. So I’ll let this be my public declaration for accountability.
But first, let me quickly back up and remind you how I usually get my inspiration for my writing, and why it called me back to my blog. First of all this is a Christian Inspirational Blog; where I share some of the things God is doing or speaking to me about and encourage others to follow Him deeper as well. I started blogging when I was back in seminary I was going deep in the things of God, learning to hear His voice, and felt God was inspiring me to write and share what He was placing on my heart. It went pretty well and I have a pretty great following, but then life happens, the inspiration to blog seemed to shift in another direction and I slowly walked away from my blog thinking it’s season was done. I ended up finishing school in hopes to going into ministry and when doors didn’t open, I felt stuck and semi-disillusioned by it all, but still knowing God had a plan. Writing started calling to me again and I’d dabble a little bit here and there on the blog, even blogging about writing, but it didn’t feel like it did in my previous season of blogging where words just seemed to fall off my fingers as I typed. In the journey of it all, I submitted an article this past summer to Whole Magazine online which you can read here: http://www.wholemagazine.org/posts/learning-to-embrace-where-god-places-you-in-every-season Since then, I have been reading books and blogs on writing, I have joined a few writing groups and am trying to network with other writers that I know. I am learning a lot, such as the importance of finding the right people to support you and who get your writing style.
So getting back to being inspired by God; this morning as I read some more of Jeff Goins writing; I opened one of my devotionals and read the first line for the first day of November “But it is written” What more needs to be said in re-starting my blog on the same day of the start of NANOWRIMO?!?! The whole verse given was 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 which reads:
9 but just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 [a]For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
God is once again speaking and spurring me on through the Holy Spirit, giving me confidence that greater things are indeed coming through all of this! And let me just add, this is one more affirmation after many, many others that I have had to write and re-blog. Even last week in church I was given a prophetic word that this was my season to write and craft, which just brings tightness to this whole thing!!!! That’s the inspiration that keeps me moving forward. The voice of the Holy Spirit spurring me on through others and what I know deep within..
So in taking on these tasks, I dont’ know how often my blog writing will be, but I will post at least once a week for both my sake and yours. The writing will still be inspirational but I may have a totally different feel from before since I have grown a lot as a writer and a Child of God. So, I hope you have been encouraged to move forward in your own journey and I hope that you will find encouragement as you read what God places on my heart to share. Please keep me in your prayers for perseverance in this all. Thanks!! Blessings, Robin
As the inspiration comes back to me to blog, I have thought about how I am going to keep myself motivated. I get that trying to build a platform of readership again is going to take some time, and can be very discouraging, but I also know not to focus on numbers at this point in the process, but to just learn again the joy of public blogging and trust the results to God. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t seek out wise counsel, which would be from other bloggers and writers online, but no one is going to make me show up here; I am either going to want to write or not. And it isn’t even a matter of want, because sometimes our feelings and flesh get in the way, where we tend to make excuses. We have all had good intentions of starting something and not following through because it was hard, we were tired; pick your reason. But this I know, for someone who in different seasons has looked for accountability in others in different areas, the bottom line is that people just fail you. I can think of countless times of trying to make spiritual friendships with others and have nothing come out of it. I can also recall recently when I tried to get back into walking, that me and my cousin talked about walking in the mornings, but guess what? She never called, I got busy with other things, and so it goes. In all of this, over the many years, I have continued to learn that God is my sole help. Now, I don’t want to sound like a lone-ranger Christian, because I’m not, I’ve been active in all the churches that I have attended and served at, and I have made intentional efforts to connect with others as best I could, but in the end, people get busy in their own lives, they hold different values than you do, and for that reason things don’t seem to stick. Values really is the key, and for those who get how to look to what one values is also key. You can talk about values, but unless you actually believe and implement them, they don’t do much good. Example, I know it’s beneficial to my health to eat right and exercise, but if I don’t find a way to do that, that works for me, it’s not going to produce any results. I must learn to value at healthy lifestyle by learning first what that means to me, and then find a way to put that plan into action by setting small realistic, achievable goals. This is why I like using the Franklin Covey planner because it helps me to write my values down, this way, I slowly learn to hold myself accountable for the things that matter to me. Now I have to admit, I have had a small planning hiatus, which I am getting back into, but when I was not doing it on a daily basis, I was more frustrated and couldn’t figure out why I felt stuck in different areas. It was because I took my focus off what mattered most to me, and started to just to the “day in-day out” thing, which began to drain me in different ways. Another thing that I have had to come to terms with is all the noise around us, especially in social media. One of the things I am learning in a better way this time blogging is that I cannot listen to every conversation out there that may be beneficial to me. I really have to evaluate each season that I am in and decide what conversations I want to be a part of. I’ve done this by un-liking certain facebook pages that perhaps were helpful say in my seminary and ministry season, but right now just don’t provide what I need or even value to a point. As our seasons shift, so must the tools and information that we use shift as well. I think of technology and have seen a few posts on how the typewriter is making a comeback, I’ve also seen records make a comeback in some bookstores as well. Great things to own, but are they helpful to me in this season? Probably not. I love typing, but doing it on a laptop is much more efficient in many ways then on a typewriter. Same with records, I had a lot of them growing up, but today, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them as much as I once did, thanks to the convince, quickness and selection of my music now at my fingertips on my IPhone that goes anywhere with me and fits in my pocket. Getting back to holding myself accountable, we all have to learn different ways to stay motivated and productive in the different seasons in our lives. And as much as I love to learn from others and grow, I also have learned that what works for one person, doesn’t work for everyone. So as I get back into blogging, and the other areas of my life, I am the CEO of me. Just like no one else can tell my story the way I do, no one else can live my life the way it needs to be lived. As I call on God to assist me to be a good steward of my time and talents, he will show me the way, just as He did with this post. I wasn’t looking to write about accountability, but He brought it to mind, and said it’s a good place to start.
I hate to admit it, but it’s been a long time away from the joy of blogging that I once new. I had a personal/spiritual crisis over the last several years as I attended seminary, and the life journey that God has had me on has been full of twists and turns. The writing didn’t stop; I guess that’s a good thing, and maybe affirms that it is a sacred gift kept safely inside of me, because I did journal a lot, mostly on my laptop and some on good old fashioned paper. But this I know, I am a happy person when I am sharing my life with others, especially my spiritual journey through words; which I have done over the years in different written ways, whether that was an email of encouragement to those I served along side with in church, writing a prayer newsletter for 2 churches I attended, or keeping a personal journal in hopes to publish some type of work someday; Writing has been more than a hobby for me, but a way for me to bring forth my unique contribution in life in a way that no one else can. That is why we write; to share what God has, is, and is yet to do in all of our lives. To encourage one another as we visit each others sites and comment on how their journey has touched ours. It’s the unconventional way of doing relationship that is a sacred sect in a way, because we are creating and sharing our written words with one another, that brings us closer on a spiritual level that other relationships can’t do. I know it sounds almost weird, but as I type this, I really sense God guiding my understanding in this like never before. And sometimes that is why my posts aren’t even Facebook worthy. Not that I don’t want people to read my stuff, but for a piece like this, many just wouldn’t get it, if you don’t have that passion inside of you to write; perhaps they could appreciate it, but maybe not. Sometimes it’s easier being vulnerable in your writing like this, to fellow writers who can relate, than to a friend or family member who doesn’t get it at all. So this is why I need to blog. I need keep the conversation going outside my head. Thoughts are great, especially spiritual ones, but spiritual thoughts shared can bring growth, wisdom, insights, pondering and transformation. Starting again is unknown, how often do I write? Will God lead me like He did before or will it look different? Already, I think it is different, but I hope that I can find a rhythm to write here that is freeing. Please keep me in your prayers and please chime in with any advise or tips to keep flowing in the words here. Thanks, and God Bless. Let there be Writing!
My Vent for the day: Why I read. Someone said to me the other day when I was talking to them about applying knowledge from what I learned in a book. “Well, that’s just a book..” I know what they meant. They were trying to say you can’t just read a book and try and plug in a formula to make it work. I get that. But let me tell you why I read. I read books of all types to not just gain information, but for transformation; to learn how people have done things, to challenge my thinking, to stretch and to grow. That is why I read. And that is why I also read the Bible, not for information but for true lasting character formation and transformation that looks like Christ. So I will continue to read the books that God leads me to, whether that is leadership of various sorts, or many other subjects I could go into. I read to grow, I read to be challenged and be changed, I read because I vow to be life long learner, and wanting to then ask God where we go from here, and how do I use what I learn for His purposes in my own unique way, passions and gifting. That is why I read. If we cease to grow we will die. Grace and Peace.
As I am reading a book about leadership and how to motivate and influence people, I was reminded of Jesus and how he called the disciples. It has always bugged me when I read the gospels how quickly they left everything and followed him. I get that it’s a picture of radial obedience, but there is something else underneath the surface. They must of known of Jesus or maybe heard him speak before he went public. Something compelled these men to follow him. It wasn’t the money, it wasn’t women, or popularity, but it was a hope that he was going to bring the kingdom, he was going to lead them into a new era of promise, he was going to bring a brighter future from what they knew. Leaving everything was a seemingly small risk to what this man could potentially bring. Leadership is the same way. As we hold to and communicate a brighter future for our families and our churches, we have to show people that it’s worth the risk, it’s worth the blood sweat and tears. In the end, Jesus didn’t bring them the earthly kingdom that they had hoped for. He didn’t bring them the fame and popularity that they thought might be theirs, but what he brought was far greater, worth far more value. It was eternal life. And as church leaders we have to ask ourselves what is the greater kingdom value that we are bringing to people? To those outside the church who don’t know Christ? We have to ask ourselves what we value and why? And do our values line up with the values that Jesus had? That’s just my “Jesus side note” for today as I dive back into my leadership reading.
Focusing on seminary has kept me far from blogging but today, as it is my reflection day as I will call it, has got me continually thinking about Living the Kingdom life. One of my first classes in seminary almost 5 years ago, was Biblical Survey of the book of Matthew, which is all about the kingdom of God. If you read Matthew, you will see Jesus refer to the Kingdom time and time again.; “the kingdom is like, the kingdom is like, the kingdom is like…” He is trying to teach his disciples that living the Kingdom life is so extremely different from the way they think life works; same truth for us today! But unfortunately this doesn’t always get translated correctly in our churches. Sadly, many Christians live in bondage who don’t know how to overcome their past hurts, or may not know how to deal with new ones, and so they fail to thrive as Christians. I say this because I have been there. I think every Christian who has learned to truly walk in freedom and who has continually learned to desire and live a kingdom lifestyle has had to go through some darkness to get their. What continues to strike me is in my minuscule attempts to keep up with some of the talking heads in our Christian sub-culture is the continual mudslinging that we still partake in. Why am I drawn to a leadership article that shows up on my facebook feed to only see it’s another pushing down of our “inncorect” behaviors once again.? That was so helpful and encouraging, NOT! I know people need to vent at times and I know we all wrestle with our faith (I know I’ve done it on this blog) and I know we are all at different places on the journey, but as I continue to get older and see my daughter growing up fast before me, I wan’t to emulate a Jesus saturated life as much as possible. No I am not perfect, and no I have no great formula or set schedule to accomplish that. One of my biggest issues I constantly talk with God about is how to have more structure but not that it would bound me to a “right way” of doing something, but learning each day to surrender to God as I wake, asking him to help me to be patient, kind and loving as I get my 2nd grader ready for school; learning to live in the present moment each day. I really want to be a Holy Spirit led, Holy Spirit controlled person. I know that I can’t do things in my own strength, but as I continue to depend on God at every turn I learn to hear Him, I learn to sense Him guiding me in different things. So what are a few things that I learned about living the kingdom life? First one of my biggest and continual life-lessons has been to accept people where they are, period. Learning to love people where they are especially when they think differently than you, is I believe a huge way that God grows us. Going back to hurts, to be kingdom people we need to learn to forgive no matter what and let God deal with that other person. It’s often been said and is very true, that forgiveness is not so much about the person who hurt you but about you gaining freedom from the bondage of unforgiveness in learning to forgive. Just a quick note, that forgiveness truly is the 70×7 thing Jesus talks to us about. Even this morning I was having to re-forgive in something I have given over to God many times. Being able to see that God loves that person so much, and that He created them to walk in freedom and wholeness also is very helpful in our forgiveness and healing journeys. I recently learned that God has forgiven their lack of certain character qualities that I had expected and I too was now being asked to also forgive those deficiencies. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want restoration, because I do, but my job is to learn to forgive on deeper levels and leave the rest up to God. God forgave us and so we must learn to ask God to teach us to forgive one another. Again, it’s not something we can do in our own strength, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Another area that has helped me to live the kingdom life of freedom is to accept people where they are on the journey. This is hard for someone like me who has had a lifetime of learning in school, now studying to be a pastor and wanting to see people thrive in their Christian journey. Being able to learn to trust God with others and not feel a need or compulsion to fix them or “help” them can be challenging. But again as I surrender my control and my life over to God he helps me live out my own life in preace and the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) and as I learn to cultivate and manage my own life I learn to let go of my desire to manage others. Going back to our journey’s, we are all knit in our mother’s womb from our great creator God and we need to truly learn to honor one another by letting them walk the path God has laid before them, even if we don’t get it. Now obviously if they are in sin we may be able to assist them back on track, but only as God tells us to do so. Living the Kingdom life means that I am secure in who I am as a child of God. I deeply know that God is good, that He is for me and that His unconditional love is the only approval that I really need. I say deeply because many have a head knowledge of God but the life they live that come out of what’s inside of them is often sadly vastly different from who God is. Community is also important on our spiritual journey’s but only as God has taught us to keep our eyes focused on Him, and find our identity and security in Him alone, can we truly live to be life-giving kingdom agents to others. As we learn to live for the audience of One, and seek to depend on Him with our whole mind, body and strength in humility, weakness and child-like faith and trust He will transform us into His likeness Again, it’s not my job to change you, to get you to see my point of view or agree with me, but it is my divine privilege as a child of the King to live out my freedom in Christ in front of you, to testify of the works of God in my life, to share my struggles and that I don’t have it all figured out, but I am persevering still by the strength of Christ in me. When I fall, I get up and I remember who I am in Christ, I remember the promises spoken over my in the Word of God. I learn to model the kingdom life as God leads me. I do this by the passions he has placed in me; cultivating a lifestyle of worship where I sing with my voice which fills me up and compels me to move to love others, in genuine love, compassion and mercy. There is so much more I can say about the kingdom life, and I feel like I just scratched the surface and I hope to write more on it as God leads, but as I live dependent on God he continually teaches me how to live the kingdom life more and more, and it becomes something that I truly am desperate for. As with everything, it’s a journey that we walk, so be patient and live surrounded and watch God move in and through you to truly become someone who lives the kingdom life. So how bout’ you? How has God shown you how to live the kingdom life where you are? Blessings, Robin.