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
We all know that we live in a very noisy world full of distractions that pull us in many different directions. I know this is no surprise to any of us, but it does seem like it is getting harder and harder for people to even be patient with one another. I was in a discussion this past week with some other people about how rushed of a society we have become. One person shared how they even got rushed through the checkout line of stores while trying to put their money back in their wallet and getting gathered together. This person was actually nudged by the cart behind them to get out of the line. I’m glad that they shared that example because I have had that same experience. Half the time I just throw everything in my purse and organize it later. It’s pretty sad I think that we have become so impatient with one another that we can’t even let another person finish up at the end of their purchases. I mean really, if you’re in that much of a hurry, go through the self check out line. This example came to mind as I am sitting here trying to have my quiet time with God and at the same time feeling compelled to write about it ( I guess I’m not exempt from this rushed thinking either). But as I reflect on the importance of making a quiet time with God, I’ve often thought of it as something I need to keep myself fixed on Him. But perhaps it’s not just about what I need, but what He needs. It is a relationship, and it not only deserves my time, but my full attention; and He is deserving of that. I’ve heard how hard it is for many to sit quietly and wait on the Lord or strike up a conversation with him. That is why, I often have soaking music on in the background, to help me draw near to God and keep me focused on Him. This is also a great time to write down words or phrases, or draw pictures that draw your mind to God. We’re given the gift of silence and our minds start to go in several different directions, We start thinking of what we need to get done, and where else we need to be. I guess if we equated this to a human relationship, we would want to make sure that we give others the time that they deserve or that we have promised them. And if we are trying to be led by the voice of God in every area of our lives, then we need to make the time to see those quiet times with Him as valuable and necessary. With anything, if you want to cultivate and create depth and meaning, you’re going to have to want and be willing to spend the needed time with it. Spending quiet time with God is both a gift that we give to ourselves and to God. The giver of life and time is worthy of our time. He deserves for his most prized creation to commune with him. That is the whole reason we exist, for a relationship with the Triune God. So the next time you find your quiet time a bit inhibiting on your plans, remember that you belong to another, and that He needs to come before anything else, so that you can be led by His wisdom and love, and that you are reminded that the relationship that you claim to have with Him takes time and intentionality. Don’t let life’s distractions push your thoughts away, trying to demand of you what they have no right to. Remember that you are a child of God, you are dearly loved, and that the God of the universe wants to share His heart with you. So find a quiet place, maybe put on some instrumental music to settle your mind. Let this time be an offering and a gift to the both of you, and be prepared to have a wonderful time growing closer to God.
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.
This Post was Published by me back in July for Whole Magazine, and I wanted to add it to my blog, so here it is.
As we settle into these Summer days, I am once again reminded how our lives are very much like the seasons of the year. We grow and change from one season to the next; sometimes hibernating in the cold months, waiting to metamorphosis out of a cocoon-like state that we have long been in.
It had been that way for me for most of winter. Not enjoying the colder months, I had hunkered down in my house waiting for better days; both in the natural and in my spiritual journey with God.
When the weather doesn’t seem to change, I can become irritable and restless with the elements, and with what God seems to be doing, or not doing in my life. Now, my faith knows that He is always working, but it’s the process of getting my natural eyes off of what I think I want or need, and learning once again to look deeper into the spiritual movements that are all around me that God is trying to show me, which will strengthen my trust and transform my thinking.
Just the other day, I went for a walk and I couldn’t help but to be captured by the beauty of nature. Not wanting to forget God in the moment, I quickly pulled out my iPhone and took pictures. It helped me to remember that God is near, and that he gives great attention to detail to all His creation – even me.
And yet, today, I am surrounded by mundane tasks that need to get done; but where’s the beauty in that?
Finding myself somewhat frustrated by not fully being able to see the plans God has for me, wondering what is to become of the calling that he has placed deep inside of me, all I can do is choose to surrender my limited understanding of what I think I know in exchange for His unchanging love and protection over me.
It is a choice I must learn to make in every moment, learning to ask him: Lord, what is it that You want to teach me in this season that I can’t learn in any other season? How do You want to reveal more of who You are to me today like never before?
So I have learned some practices that help me keep my eyes on God and not my circumstances. It isn’t about checking off daily spiritual “to-do’s,” but to find a rhythm with God as I have journeyed through life. I don’t do these things perfectly, or even consistently, which has helped me to let go of my perfectionist tendencies, and live under the grace and love of God more and growing in a true relationship with him that looks different all the time as it matures and grows.
As I have been enjoying walks, I always make sure I have worship music playing that draws me into the heart of God. Whether I am on a city side walk or taking in the beauty of nature in a park, worship music keeps me focused on the things of heaven and how God is moving all around me.
I enjoy nature, but I also well-up in gratitude for a healthy body that can move and breathe. I also try and keep worship music on in my car and in my home while I am getting things done. Even if I can’t fully engage in the songs, just knowing it’s playing, keeps my focus on God and changes the atmosphere around me.
Sometimes in the everyday things of life, it is just learning to choose heavenly things instead of earthly things. As I sit at a stop light or am stuck in traffic, instead of getting frustrated, I train myself to again be grateful for things like a car, or to look up at the sky and see the vastness of His creation and taking in the greatness and wonder of God. This usually helps me regain a sense of trust and security in Him in that moment, because I begin to remember that nothing is impossible for the creator of the universe.
Also, I have taken to reminding myself of scriptures that speak to me and allowing those to minister to me.
Again, I don’t have a system per se; I have just learned in different seasons to ask God to bring things to mind. Sometimes, He shows me a scripture promise, and other times it is just a revelation where He shows me His hand in it all.
Being able to look back at scriptures in different seasons has helped me to remember that God is working in this season also.
Here are a few scriptures that continue to speak to me in every season are:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10 NIV)
I love the NASB version of this verse that, rather than “be still” advises to “cease striving.” Oh what a relief that is; to learn to rest in God in every season, in every task, in everyday things!
Even writing this piece, I have had to learn to let go of my perfectionism and let God guide the process with what and how to say the things He is teaching me. It is a process and a journey that will look different for all of us, but in every season God is with us and He will get us to where we need to go. We simply need to learn to relax and trust that, just as the seasons change and are being transformed into new things, He is doing the same in us, for He makes all things new.
The last few days, God has been all over me in the area of trust; taking me deeper and peeling back layers of fear, and helping me to see and hear His truth over my life in many different ways. I’ve used a lot of it already in my writing this morning for nanowrimo; but I also created a quick trust manifesto to help bring much of those thoughts to me in a one page format. I hope you find it helpful in your own life as you press on and learn to trust God in deeper ways. Blessings, Robin
A Trust Manifesto:
I will trust in the Lord at all times and lean not on my own understanding. In all of my ways I will choose to acknowledge Him, and He will make my path straight.
I will remember how God has moved throughout the Bible and I will choose to believe that He can do it again in my life and circumstances because he is a good Father and He is the same yesterday today and forevermore..
I will trust God with my resources because it is from Him everything has been given. I cannot out-give God. He is strengthening my trust in Him through the trials of life, producing perseverance and faith.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He guides me along quiet waters and restores my soul.
There is no lack in the Kingdom of God, so I will re-frame my mind to have a kingdom perspective instead of an earthly one.
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He has more than enough to meet my every need. He is a loving and supernatural God who wants to do supernatural miracles of goodness in my life so that I will be a living testimony of HIs goodness and favor.
I will choose to trust Him even when I don’t understand. God’s ways are not our ways. I will rest in Him and trust Him to give me the wisdom that I need as I seek and spend time with Him.
I will not let the fear in my flesh win the battle. God has not given me a spirit of fear but of courage and sound mind. I will focus my thoughts on His ways and not on what I cannot see. Some of God’s greatest works are prepared when I cannot see what He is up to. I will revel in His mysterious ways, building the anticipation of joy for what is to be revealed. I will sing like Mary, a song of joy and expectation of His wonderful ways, magnifying His greatness.
I will cling to the acts of HIs love and faithfulness that He has shown in my life. I will hold to prophetic words and scriptural promises and prayers that others have prayed on my behalf.
Are you familiar with the idea of a manifesto? It’s a public declaration of motivations, intentions or views on an issue. You can see it in many different areas of life. It circles around what you value most in life and what you believe, and what you are aiming to achieve or become. It’s not a perfect or complete thought process on all that you are trying to accomplish, but it helps to keep you forward focused on where you’re planning to go; and it helps ground you in the truth of who you are when things get hard and you want to give in or give up. I read many a manifesto, creed and declaration that surrounds my Christian faith. Some are one paged, and some are broken up by different subjects in a compiled book. If you were to do a google search, you’d find much written on the topic. But the best way to create a manifesto is to probably begin to read some that others have written and allow that to help you form your own.. Between the many that I have read and use on a regular basis to keep my thinking straight, I have tried to create my own. Because I am a woman of many words, it was very hard to find a stopping point. I felt as though I could write a book on all that I wanted to declare over my life and I probably could and maybe one day will. But for now, I just had to start. I knew I couldn’t just read and copy what others have said, because it had to be deeply personal; but if their words rang true in my life as well, I’d find a way to say the same thing in my own way. So below is what I came up with this past weekend. It may have some parts that are somewhat repetitious, but it’s also a work in progress. You can have manifestos and creeds for your family, your calling, your identity, your healing, your dreams and goals, and just about anything you want. The point is to declare truth over your life that aligns with your values, beliefs and goals to keep you focused on the main thing and keep your mind in a healthy place of thought. Since I am working on my writing currently and feel called to that, as well as some other things, I wanted to write a manifesto to help me stay focused on my calling-however it may evolve. Again the main idea is to keep moving my thoughts forward with self-encouragement as I rely and rest in God. Have you written a manifesto, creed or declaration? I’d love to hear about it.
My Calling Manifesto
I am created in the image of the creator to create and bring life and light to all I do that brings Glory to God and not myself.
I will daily practice my craft to not only improve but to bring devotion, focus and clarity to what I am called to do.
God is my strength and my shield, who has called and equipped me for every good work, and who is leading me every step of the journey.
I will not let noise or setbacks in life distract me from what I am called to do.
There is rest and peace in the calling, even when it is hard. It pulls me out of my comfort zone calling me to go deeper.
My calling is a gift that is not just for me, but to be given away for others to help them in their journey.
I will not quit and give up when things get hard, but see them as times of strengthening and sharpening
I will wait and be led by the voice of God and my peace will remain in all I do.
The calling will never go away, but it will go deeper and wider than I originally thought; with many doors to pass through.
The calling is both mysterious and practical; takes radical faith, and specific steps to achieve.
With God as my guide, I will map out my life direction by being intentional and focused with aligning my life with my values, setting goals, and creating a plan for opportunities to happen.
I can only move forward in my calling. God is always moving forward, and advancing the Kingdom, and so must I. I cannot go lateral or backwards.
My calling is much bigger than me, and I can’t do it without God’s leading and insights. It is not for the faint of heart and it is not a quick journey. As I allow God to lead me, it will become clearer.
My calling will not always be understood by others, even those who believe in me and spur me ahead.
When I am pursuing my calling for the Glory of God and trying to follow and rest in Him, He will provide every need. He sees and honors my obedience and helps me course correct along the way.
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
Daily disciplines are hard, at least when we first begin. Getting ourselves into a routine is often challenging because we fight back with our flesh that is tired, our minds that make excuses, and convince ourselves that tomorrow will be the difference. I think we all just need to chill out a bit and give ourselves a break. Jesus didn’t die for us to give us a life where we live in a perpetual cycle of defeat in our mind, but he calls us higher to renew our mind in him. We can get so performance based for so many different reasons that we miss the joy of living life that is right in front of us. We are constantly looking for better and faster means of productivity, but to what end.
Take Bible reading, a very helpful habit to get into so that we can keep our minds on the things of God and be transformed into Christ-likeness. But unfortunately we have come up with thousands of ways to read the Bible, plans to help us and different versions to help us understand. Again, we tend to loose our joy of knowing God in the process, because we are subconsciously performance based in our approach. We go to church, where we are encouraged to read our Bibles, but often times we aren’t encouraged to find creative ways of spending time with God. So we end up trying to read our of obligation, possibly transformation, but we leave feeling guilt ridden if we didn’t come away from it with a take away. We turn it into a pragmatic practice instead of an invitation to meet with God. Even with great tools at our fingertips such as YouVersion, (which I love, and used this morning), we can quickly feel overwhelmed and defeated in our minds when we survey all the different options and reading plans to choose from. Add to that the notifications that share what your friends are reading and have completed. I know it all sounds petty, but I bet that even if you don’t admit this, you’ve been there in your mind too, it’s just part of what we do as humans.
So how do we slow down and meet with God in His Word so that we can truly have transformed minds and live? Well, I think the answer is that it is different for all of us. So step one, is stop comparing your efforts to everyone else around you. Now, I’m all for Bible studies that bring us together for fellowship and gaining different perspectives from one another, but we also need to find a daily rhythm with God that works for us personally; after all this is a personal relationship with Jesus that we have often times confessed, so let’s make it that; not closing ourselves away from learning from others but just as no two human relationships are the same, neither is anyone’s spiritual relationship with Jesus.
I am even doing this when I write. Trying not to say, “you should..” As some type of authority on what your relationship is suppose to look like with Jesus, but to encourage all of us to take a deep breath and ask Jesus to guide us into understanding how he wants to teach us.
So what are some ways to form a daily habit of spending time with God? I know your going to want me to spell this out, or give you some neatly defined steps, but it doesn’t work that way. Habits are good, but only if they align with your greater values. So let me start by asking you “why do you want to carve out any of your precious time to spend it on Jesus? I know that seems like an obvious questing again, but if you will dig deeper you will come to find if you really want to be transformed or not. Again, seems obvious, but the way of living for Jesus, as I shared yesterday in my post is not a nicely laid out plan; it will take you on an adventure where you have to continually choose to place your trust in Him, because he will lead you to many new and interesting places that you weren’t planning on.
So first, get real with yourself and God, and make sure that you are showing up for the right reasons.
Second, do you really want to know Him. I know, it’s super obvious again, but dig deeper. Do you want to spend time in God’s word to check it off for the day, patting yourself on the back, or do you want to live out the grace that He gives, by finding your own rhythm with God
You see, we normally set goals to achieve a visual goal that we can look back and say “I did that” “All my hard work finally paid off”; whether that is daily exercising to loose weight, or saving money for the future, we are taking steps to make it happen-If we don’t do it, the goal won’t be met, and we won’t see results. BUT, spending time with God is not a goal!, it’s a relationship. I don’t spend time with others that I care about to achieve something, but because I enjoy their presence and for who they are. Sure I love their insights, but I am there are out love, which is not self-seeking. Also, it’s not all up to us. We’re not in this to show Jesus how good we can read, absorb, or sit quietly before him, we want to commune with Him, to hear what is on his heart for us, to reassure us, to comfort us, to give us courage and strength. We can’t do it without his input.
I can’t tell you what’s going help you connect with God on a deeper level, only you will discover that by spending time with him and learning to hear his voice. I do now that it will often change and look different, just like seasons do. There are seasons when I have been deeply drawn into the scriptures, and I heard His voice there so much. Then there are seasons like where I am right now, where God may take me to a part of Scripture like the Psalms where He really wants me stay, so that he can speak to me on a deeper level, that is different from any other season, but it’s not a reading plan, it’s just how he leads me in that book. It’s not even every day, because he will meet me in my times of worship and soaking, where he will call to mind a Scripture or promise that will lead me to His Word.
The whole point of finding a rhythm is to let Go lead. Be hungry, be available, and ask Him to show you what your relationship with Him is to look like in this season. Ask Him what He wants to teach you in this season. How He wants to speak to you. He will answer, but do need to give him your full attention to be able to hear him. Wherever you are, receive his grace today, allow him to come and lead you on the journey.
So what are some examples of your rhythms with God. I’d love to hear how God meets with you. Blessings, Robin