“I was in my late thirties when my eyes were opened to truth in God’s Word that showed me I wasn’t living the abundant life Jesus died for me to have. I had a very negative mindset…”
Before our behavior can change, our mindset needs to change. It all begins in the mind. We can choose to have a poverty mindset or an abundant mentality. Even how we view God and what He is like, determines how we feel and the choices we make. We can look at God through the lens of he’s “more than enough,” or “not enough” thought process. Whichever way we believe – God is generous or God is stingy, will have a lasting effect on our level of trust and intimacy with him.
Personally, I look at God through the abundant eyeglasses. Psalm 84:11b says, “No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” The God I serve is generous and there is always more. When we operate from abundance thinking, we become generous and share what we have because we know God provides all that we need. God is without limit, therefore, our access to him and his supply is endless. He always has more than enough for us.
The fruit that comes from a scarcity mindset is not a pretty picture. When we think there is a shortage or not enough supply then we become stingy and don’t want to share what we have. A poverty mentality leads to greed and hoarding.
Both of these mindsets stem from how we see God and how we see ourselves in our relationship with him. A child of God who knows they’re his son or daughter, knows their home is with their Father, knows they are the rightful heir to his inheritance, will find their identity and security in that position and have abundance thinking. But those who think of themselves more as orphans, will lean toward having a poverty, never enough, type of mindset.
The good news is we can ask Holy Spirit to give us an accurate perception of who God is and what he’s like, as well as enlightening our understanding in who we are as his sons and daughters. Then the rest is up to us to choose by faith to have the mindset which is most pleasing to God. Change your mindset and you’ll change your behavior.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
- Which mindset are you most prone to believe: abundance or poverty?
- How has that way of thinking affected your behavior and life?
“Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer’s year. It brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul.”
You can tell it’s harvest time by all the pumpkins we see around the city. But before there can be a harvest, seeds are planted in cultivated soil. Cultivating soil requires two steps: the removal of weeds and loosening the soil so that air, nutrients, and water can penetrate deep, where plant roots can gain access to them. Before seeds are planted, there has to be a plowing or a breaking up of the hard, crusty ground.
God, as our Gardener also plows in order to plant. And just like a farmer has an end product in mind, so too God has a goal for us. God doesn’t just break up fallow ground without a reason in mind and fortunately, plowing is temporary, as we read in Isaiah 28:24. “When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?” God plows for a purpose: for planted seeds to reap a harvest.
Recently, God spoke these words to me: I’ve prepared the soil of your heart for a great harvest. I’ve turned the soil over, broken it up, soaked it with your tears, planted new seeds, and I’ve supplied the Son to shine. Now watch and see, a great harvest of Mine will spring up and many will be fed by the new crop.
The few years prior to our move to Wichita, were hard years of plowing. I did not like seeing the ugliness of presumption or the victim role played out in my life. God broke up the uncultivated ground of pride and complacency within my heart. I saturated the soil with my tears, as I grieved the loss of family, friends and the familiar, in preparation for our move. I’m now grateful to begin to see a bit of the crop come up.
Galatians 6:7 tells us we will always harvest what we plant. We’re warned in Proverbs 20:4, “If you are too lazy to plow, don’t expect a harvest.” Never underestimate the importance and the necessity of plowing the soil of our hearts. But, be encouraged by Galatians 6:9. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Hang in there; harvest time is coming!
“Everything you do is a seed that you sow. Seed bad, harvest bad. Seed good, harvest good.”
Describe a time when God had to cultivate the soil of your heart and the harvest that came afterward.
“As we stay rooted in God’s Word, we will grow, blossom, and bear fruit wherever we are.”
Living in Arizona over half of my life has made me appreciate and ponder how cacti survive the summer heat with the lack of rain. Likewise, how can we endure droughts during the dry seasons or trials in our lives? The solution is to develop a root system.
The Saguaro cactus has a very shallow root system and one deep tap root that extends down into the ground as tall as the cactus, four to six feet long. The cacti’s extensive shallow root system spreads out and sits under the soil’s surface. When the rains come, the cacti absorb as much water as possible and stores it in their bodies for future use.
As believers, it’s imperative that we become rooted, or established, so that when there is little rain, we are still “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm one, verse three) The Word encourages us to be “rooted and established in love” (Ephesians 3:17b), and be “rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7).
It’s essential to become established so that when trials come, and they will come, we have what we need stored up within us, to not only survive, but thrive. I have gone through “pressure cooker” seasons in my life, where the heat is turned up in several situations around me. I didn’t know when they would end or how I would get through them. The only thing I knew was that God was with me and he would somehow, in some way, help me rise above and provide what I needed.
We become rooted by spending time with God in his Word and in two-way prayer, talking to God and listening and obeying his voice. Fasting, fellowship with other believers, and being firmly grounded in who God is and who we are, establishes and prepares us for the droughts up ahead.
I encourage you to have your intimacy with Christ go deep, as one tap root. Consistently build an extensive shallow root system by spending time with the Lord and soaking up the Holy Spirit’s rain, so you will still flourish during sun-scorched seasons of life.
“The Lord promises that if we delight in God’s Word and deeply root our hearts to it, if we meditate on it and follow it, we will prosper, and our lives will keep producing fruit.”
What steps can you take to deepen your root system with God?
“The soul, like the body, lives by what it feeds on.”
Josiah Gilbert Holland
In order for our physical bodies to stay healthy, we must daily eliminate waste. If we don’t, the toxins will harm our bodies. The poisonous substances within our souls also need to be removed for our souls to remain well. The soul consists of three areas: mind, will, and emotions. Let’s take a look at possible toxins in each of these domains.
Toxins of the mind include negativity and being critical or judgmental of oneself or others. Believing lies from the enemy pollutes our minds. Unbelief, not fully receiving God’s forgiveness for our sins, also makes us unhealthy. Romans 12:2a says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We make our minds new again by feasting on the truth in God’s Word, by telling ourselves the truth, by being grateful, and by receiving and giving God’s grace.
Unforgiveness toward those who have offended us is poisonous to our will. Habitual choices to sin, bowing down to our idols and loving something or someone more than God are toxic. The solution is to experientially get to know God, so that our love for him increases. When we love God more, we love sin and idols less and desire to please God with our obedience.
Toxic emotions such as resentment, hate, bitterness, anxiety, and worry eat away at our joy and peace, not to mention, cause us physical illness. Unresolved guilt of sin and trauma not dealt with, make us unhealthy. The solutions are: repenting for our sin, releasing our offense through forgiveness, and grieving loss and disappointments. Prayer, turning our anxious thoughts and concerns over to God who is in control of all circumstances, is good for our souls.
One-way relationships that tear us down and encourage us to sin, need to be either eliminated or boundaries set, limiting our amount of time spent with them. Instead, we choose to be with those who build us up and believe the best about us. Spend time with those who love us for who we are and where we’re at, yet they call us up higher and closer to Jesus.
Eliminating the toxins in our soul and relationships will make us not only healthier, but people whose lives are aligned with God.
“We take excellent care of our bodies which we have for only a lifetime; yet we let our souls shrivel which we will have for eternity.”
In what ways do you need to eliminate toxins in your soul and relationships?
“Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.”
In the past, I’ve experienced let downs when I’ve reached a goal. It takes months to train for a marathon. The commitment, sacrifice, discipline and pain during the preparation, is worth it. But after the finish line is crossed, a slight depression can take place afterward. God has taught me some truths in regards to reaching a destination versus the journey toward that objective.
Joy is unleashed during the journey, not at the attaining of a goal. He said that getting the emotional healing book published that I’ve worked on for years, isn’t when joy is released. The majority of the feel-good emotions are delivered during the journey. I’ve learned that the most fun of writing comes from my time spent with God. It’s not the leaning into the tape at the end of the race that produces joy, rather it’s the leaning into and upon God during the writing process which has provided the most joy.
Psalm 16:11 says, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” What gives me the most satisfaction, is the process or journey of getting to know God, as well as myself, resulting in transformation and becoming more like Him.
The destination is simply a point on the life continuum, not the end all in our journey. I’ve struggled with writing for thirty years, but recently it’s become a lifegiving source. I’m blown away how a “drainer,” or stressor in my life like writing, turned into one of my biggest “gainers.”
Sometimes we can be so focused on the destination that we’re robbed of the joy of the journey. Don’t let the enemy deceive you into missing what is rightfully yours. Embrace the great pleasure of the excursion, even if there’s struggle involved. We will appreciate arriving at our journey’s end more, if we experience delight during our travels.
“Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ.”
William Van der Hoven
- Describe a time when you felt a letdown after you reached a long-time coming goal.
- How have you experience joy in the journey?
“The man who does not like self-examination may be pretty certain that things need examining.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
God-awareness leads to self-awareness. One of the benefits from seeing a life coach is self-discovery. I rarely take time to figure out how God made me, or what makes me tick. Usually I uncover these discoveries by running smack into them, which isn’t pleasant.
On a recent session with my life coach, we mined the treasures of my drainers and gainers and how my awareness of them leads to greater freedom. Drainers are those things which suck the life out of me; they take away, deplete, and stress me. Gainers, on the other hand, give back and replenish me. Psalm 119:59 says, “I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.” A little self-reflection aids our obedience to the Lord.
I discovered four general areas that drain me. My thoughts/fear of failure, not being able to meet others’ expectations, or to do what I said I would do, are major stresses. (I’m sure that’s connected to my number one strength of responsibility.) I don’t do well if my environment is disorganized and chaos reigns. Relationally, who I choose to spend time with, could be either a drainer or a gainer. Not eating well and a lack of exercise or sleep, are physical drainers.
Some of my gainers surprised me. I’m more of an introvert than I realize. My replenishment comes from: sitting still and hearing God’s voice, reading, writing, solitude/quiet, and having space. Relationally/physically, I enjoy having coffee with a girlfriend, go cycling with John, and out to movies. I gain peace with an orderly house. The most significant aha came when I realized the confirmation of God gives me the greatest enjoyment in life. I love to watch Him move as I obey Him in ministry/mentoring and experience evidence of His goodness.
The key to utilizing our individual drainers and gainers to our advantage, is to limit the drainers and be intentional in having our gainers be a priority in our daily schedule. When we begin to get stressed, we need to pause and look at what is draining us and see how to refuel ourselves through our gainers. Figuring out how God has made us, leads to freedom.
“It is a great grace of God to practice self-examination; but too much is as bad as too little.”
St. Teresa of Avila
What are the drainers/gainers in your life and how can you use this knowledge to your advantage?