What I’m Writing… Blog Hop!

December 12, 2012

By:  Staci Stallings

Welcome, blog hoppers!  Last week I got tagged by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer *…stringing 26 letters into stories*  So this week I get to answer the questions and then send you to five of my writing friends!

Enjoy….

Introducing my soon-to-be-out ebook

“True Power & Real Peace”

True Power and Real Peace

Where did the idea come from?

True Power & Real Peace was written backward.  Some of you have read “A Light in the Darkness.”  In that book, the hero, Gabriel reads a book about God.  When I wrote “A Light” I realized that I couldn’t have him read something that’s already been published.  There were two problems with that.  First, I couldn’t just copy whole tracks of someone else’s work.  Second, there wasn’t one book I could find that would speak to each issue he was having throughout the book.

So the only thing TO do was write the book he was reading in the story as if it was a real book.  To do that, I had to write whole sections of a “real book” that wasn’t real.  After “A Light” was finished, I went back and read it and it struck me how easily “True Power & Real Peace” COULD be a real book.  I did a little work on putting the pieces together and filling in the in-between places, and that’s how this book was written.

After “A Light in the Darkness” came out, I had several readers write to say they had been looking for the book “True Power & Real Peace” and hadn’t had any luck finding it and could I tell them who it was by or how they could get a copy of it.  Well, it was by me, and the only copy in existence was on my computer.  That’s when I decided to publish it.

Genre: Spirituality, Inspirational, Christian Living

What actors would play your character in a movie version?

The actors for “A Light in the Darkness” are Meaghan Jette Martin and Adrien Grenier.

HollyGabriel

Short Synopsis

I’ll do the synopsis of “A Light in the Darkness”

Holly Jacobs can run from her mother’s past no longer. She is unceremoniously summoned to her mother’s new fiancé’s home in Napa Valley. The place is wonderful, but Holly can’t enjoy it because she knows that just like all the others, it can’t last. When her mother begins pushing Holly to make permanent plans with a young man Holly has no interest in, Holly takes off, never expecting to find a light in all of her darkness.

The final chapter of the Faith Series begins…

 Publisher:  Spirit Light Publishing

How long did it take to write the first draft of “True Power”?

Well, the first-first draft was written inside “A Light in the Darkness,” and that book took about four months to write.  The actual first draft of “True Power & Real Peace” was a lot harder because I had to take the pieces that were already written and put them into logical order (Gabriel reads them out of order in the book). Then I had to write the pieces around it.  Also, I was in no hurry for that one because I didn’t think it would ever really be published. So I’m honestly not sure how long it took to write.

What other books in the genre compare?

Two of the books referenced in “True Power” are John Ortberg’s “Love Beyond Reason” and Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love.”  So those two definitely would compare although Ortberg’s book is more mainstream Christian and Williamson’s has more New Age overtones to it.

Any  other in this genre?

I’ve never written in this genre before.  In fact, I’m in the process of asking what genre it would even fit into because I’m really not sure.

Anything to add?

“True Power & Real Peace” is BY FAR the most personal book I’ve ever written.  It gets to a depth of how I live that I don’t think I would have even attempted to write but for the crazy way it came about. My life has been rocked by some pretty intense storms during and since writing this book including–the suicides of two very close people in my life and my son’s dyslexia, not to mention the countless storms that come up each day while being married and raising three kids. 

This is honestly a book about “how I do it,” how I have and maintain a deep relationship with God through the storms and in the quiet times.  It’s also the key that kept me sane when I had everything I ever wanted and I was still miserable.

Still, how do you put all that into words?  How do you dig way beneath the surface and fashion those feelings and experiences in a way that is understandable to others?  I don’t know.  Maybe I didn’t, but this would have to be considered my attempt at doing so.

The ebook will be out very soon, and you can judge for yourself how well or poorly I did.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it as we move into the New Year!

True Power Ad 2

Be sure to visit my friends’ blogs to continue the “What I’m Writing” blog hop…

Mary Campagna Findley

Naty Matos

Suzanne D. Williams

Shelley Hitz

Laura Marshall


Life As Rocket Science: Part 8, Training Your Horse

October 1, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

A friend and I have recently been talking about turning your thoughts from negative to positive.  So many of us fall into the trap of thinking whatever happens to come into our head. And most often these “random” thoughts are in one of two categories:  busyness thoughts or negative thoughts.
Busyness Thoughts sound like this:  “Oh, I have to get to work by 7:30 this morning…. I can’t forget that file.  Where did I put that file?  Wonder what they are serving for lunch today. Maybe I should bring my lunch.  No.  I’ll just swing by McDonalds on my way to pay that bill that’s due by 5…”  And the commentary just goes on and on, usually revving up to a pace that would make a Nascar driver fear for his life.

Negative Thoughts go something like:  “I don’t know WHY Jenny can’t pick up her shoes when she comes in the door.  Every time I have to pick up her shoes.  What am I, the maid? I’m late again.  Well, what’s new?  Always late for something.  And look at this mess.  I am so sick of this mess, I’m about to scream.  I’m tired, and now I’m left here, trying to do the laundry and cook supper.  This is so old!  When did I sign up for this…”
You get the picture.

Now if you’ve been following my writing–especially the nonfiction stuff–you know that I was raised on positive thinking.  My parents had every Zig Ziglar tape out there, and I knew most of them by heart.

What I have learned since really beginning my relationship with God when I was 34 is that without God at the center of it, positive thinking doesn’t work all that great because it’s simply YOU trying to battle the busyness thoughts and the negative thoughts on your own consistently and permanently!

Anyone as tired as I am when I say that?!

Well, as my friend and I were talking, I said that your thoughts are like riding a horse.  Stay with me here, this is good.  Your thoughts are the horse.  You are the rider.

Now if you know ANYTHING about riding a horse, you know that without good instruction, you could wind up about anywhere if you just let the horse go where it so chooses.

In fact, my sister when she was about 10, had a horse that threw its bit.  The bit is the part of the bridle that fits in the horse’s mouth.  When you pull the bridle right or left, the bit puts pressure on the horse’s mouth and the horse will turn the way you want to go to make the uncomfortable feeling go away.  It’s a very simple system really.  Except that she had a bullheaded horse that had learned to throw the bit.

The second the bit was out of its mouth, she lost control and went for the ride of her life–holding on because she couldn’t control it!

Now, just for a second, I want to share something else that’s going to sound like it’s out of left field, but it’s really not.

The other day I heard about a fascinating study they have done on the brain.  The scientists were able to pinpoint the area of the brain that carries out decisions.  However, there is no part of the brain that “lights up” in any of the scans to show them what part MAKES the decisions.

In the New Age/meditation realm, the first chakra is actually pictured ABOVE the head, meaning that it is not the brain that is doing the “thinking” at all.  It’s “something else.”

To me, this is our soul, our “higher self,” the part of us that lives on even when the body dies.

So it is THAT part that is making the decisions, and it is our brain that is the “horse” which is carrying out those decisions.

But here’s the fascinating part.  Most of us let our brain, our “horse” do whatever it wants to do!  We don’t “guide” it.  We don’t “direct” it.  We just follow along with whatever it happens to come up with, and then we wonder why our lives are a mess.

Here’s a new thing to try:  Start being the one guiding and directing your thoughts!  “Take every thought captive.”  “As a man thinketh, so does he live.”  That’s what these mean!

Think of your thoughts not as random or out of your control.  Rather, think of them as a horse that YOU put the bit in its mouth, and YOU (and God) guide.

When you start hearing busyness thoughts, take a moment to breathe, slow your thoughts down.  This is not a track race to see whose thoughts can go the fastest.  Spiraling or zooming thoughts is a sign that the horse is controlling YOU, not the other way around.

When you start hearing negative thoughts, realize that you have the ability to stop those, to pull them up short, and to turn them to something more productive.  So if your horse starts, “I’m such a failure. I never get anything right…”  Pull that up and say, “I’m not perfect, but that’s okay.  God didn’t make me to be perfect.  He made me to love me.  NOW, what in this situation can I do to make it a LITTLE better?”

Learn to ask good questions like:  What is God wanting me to learn here?  How can I make this a little better?  What CAN I do?

And most of all, give all the negative thoughts and the busyness thoughts to God.  “God, I need help to quiet my thoughts and breathe.  Please help me.”

The other fascinating thing is that my friend had recently read something by the Reverend Billy Graham, who after all of these years being with Christ and preaching the Good News, STILL has to consciously guide his thoughts away from fear into faith, away from selfishness into love, away from freak-out into control.

Further, this is a personal thing.  No one else can do it for you.  In fact, reading the stories of both Billy Graham’s daughter and Zig Ziglar’s daughter, you realize that just because their parents had learned to be successful and positive, didn’t mean they naturally were.  It wasn’t until they got their own horse under control and learned to do this for themselves that life became more peaceful and doable.

So practice training your horse.  If it’s too fast, slow it down.  If it turns a direction you don’t want to go, learn to guide it in a better direction.  Most of all… God will help!  Let Him!

*~*

Staci’s “Amazing!” novel:

To Protect & Serve

“Reading To Protect & Serve, I’m taken away to another world, a world I want to be a part of and never leave. Staci’s characters are real with real everyday problems. I love that.

Oh, and the firemen in this story, they’re smokin’ hot! Especially the hero!”

–Debra, Amazon Reviewer

When control freak Lisa Matheson falls for handsome but shy firefighter, Jeff Taylor, it’s possible that life might just be going her way for a change. The only problem is she can’t control Jeff or the death wish he seems to have…

Available from Amazon (and free to borrow for Prime Members)!

Click here to get your Kindle Copy TODAY!

Click here to get a free Kindle App to read “To Protect & Serve” on your computer.

BE SURE TO TELL A FRIEND!


Life As Rocket Science, Part 4: Eating and Moving

September 17, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

I’ve been reading a fascinating book called Why Quantum Physicists Don’t Get Fat.  In this book, the author Gregory Kuhn discusses how in regular physics we believe what we see, but in quantum physics we see what we believe.  That is fascinating to me.

Last time I talked about my son and his struggles with homework.  See, to me, I see the spelling words and they are easy.  So it’s easy.  But when he looks at them, they look like a mountain and he gets overwhelmed so easily.  That’s why we’re having to experiment with ways to figure out how to get it so he sees them as easy and not as impossible.

Same thing with my friend and the weight issue.  She has looked at the problem and decided it’s impossible to lose weight, so… it’s impossible to lose weight!  She is getting what she believes.  She is seeing what she already believes.

That is true so often.  I think it’s one reason why the positive thinking movement sprang up–because when everyone was saying, “I can’t,” and someone finally figured out that when you say, “I can’t” you will get those results, then the obvious solution is to say, “I can.”  Of course, we’ve now found the limits of that application because just because you say you can, doesn’t mean you believe you can!

That’s why I started saying, “I can’t” — because sometimes I really believe I can’t.  “But God can.”  Because I believe God always can.  So now I say, “I can’t but God can” because that is something I do believe and it frees me up to do whatever God tells me to do, which oftentimes solves the issue I was having.

In fact, one of the main points of the Quantum Physicist book is learning to tell yourself the best story you can that is believable.  Kuhn says (and I agree) that we all tell ourselves stories each day.  We tell stories to ourselves about our ability to do something, our time, our talents, our effort, our circumstances.  And what we TELL ourselves becomes what we BELIEVE and is thus what we see.

In the area of weight loss he talks about how we have told ourselves about diet and exercise so long that those two have become hated, loathsome words.

So, one of the experiments he talks about doing is substituting words for diet and exercise.  The two words he says to try substituting are:  eating and moving.

I thought that was really cool.  When I think of diet and exercise, my body and spirit tense up.  I feel guilty about how little exercise I’m getting and I worry about how my diet is going.  But when I simply replace those two words with eating and moving, suddenly my body and spirit relaxes!  Eat and move?  Well, I do those two every day!

I’ll let Mr. Kuhn tell you what cool stories to tell yourself when you experiment with the words eating and moving, but for now, that’s something else you can experiment with in your own life.

*~*

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For the month of September Only,

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DEEP IN THE HEART

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That’s almost $5 off the regular price!

Click here to get this extra-special offer!


Life As Rocket Science, Part 3: Homework

September 13, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

Anyone who has read the blog for a couple years now knows that my son has a lot of trouble in school.  It’s not that he’s not a hard worker.  The only one who beats him in that category is his oldest sister.  It’s that his eyes have not played fair with him and didn’t play fair when he was younger.  So in kindergarten and first grade, he missed a lot of pieces of information and knowledge that are needed to build upon later (now!).

This makes homework extremely difficult.

Now his just older sister is like I was in school.  She has to study, but she can look at something and with a few repetitions, she’s got it.

Not my son.

To “get” something, we have to repeat it and repeat it and repeat it.

Worse, simply repeating it in normal ways often doesn’t work.  For example, copying spelling words.  That sounds so logical.  To learn them, you copy them, right?  Yeah.  Not so much.

Why?  Because he tends to copy LETTERS not words.  So he will copy…

C

then look back at the paper and copy A

then look back at the paper and copy P

Then get tired and go get a drink of water.  Once back, he looks at the list, figures out where he is.  Copies a T.

Then the phone rings and he talks with his cousin for a few minutes.  He comes back and copies an I

Then an O.

I come in and ask if he’s got his homework finished….

Well, no.  Not exactly.  :)

Add to this that he is only now learning to pull words apart.  To me, that was cool.  To him, it’s like brain surgery.

My eyes would look at demolition and pull it into dem o li tion with no trouble.  He looks at the WHOLE word and starts guessing about what would start with a d have an l in the middle and end with an n.

So he’s having to LEARN to do in spelling and reading what for me came naturally.

That means we are having to experiment extensively to figure out WHAT works for him because what works for him is not what most teachers and parents know to do.

Add to this that if you try something and it doesn’t work, he tends to shut down, and you’ve got a fun experiment going!

We have learned a few things since the start of this year in August (3 weeks ago).  Jumping into 20 multisyllable words a week doesn’t work.  He has to SEE the words pulled apart, not just together.  He has to do a lot of repetition of seeing the words pulled apart.  He can’t see the words MISSPELLED as homework (i.e. pick out the one that’s spelled right).  If he gets one in his head wrong, it’s a major challenge to ever get it right… so get it RIGHT the first time.

Kindle works great to send the words to it and have him read them over and over.  Flip index cards from the store also work well.  Cutting the list down to ten and then adding one or two each week so he doesn’t feel overwhelmed also helps.

It is still a challenge, but with our experimenting, we’re learning some things to do and some things not to do.  That’s how experimenting goes!  It’s more a process than a destination.

*~*

Special SALE!

For the month of September Only,

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DEEP IN THE HEART

in their 100 books for $3.99 or less sale!

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That’s almost $5 off the regular price!

Click here to get this extra-special offer!


Life As Rocket Science, Part 2: Small Things

September 11, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

Last week we talked about one friend who has been dieting and how her attempts at losing weight was like Thomas Edison experimenting with the light bulb.  He had lots of failures that all eventually led to the success he’s known for.  In the same way we are all “experimenting” with various things in our lives, finding out what works and what doesn’t.

Today I’ll turn my attention to a different friend of mine.  This friend was overwhelmed when I met her.  Haunted by a past she couldn’t change and wishing things could be so, so different now.  Seeing that trying to change everything overnight would not work, I instead suggested she try something radically new–small things.

We’re not even talking small like cleaning the kitchen.  We’re talking, being grateful for one minute somewhere in the day.

At first she was skeptical because what did she have to be grateful for, and what difference would that even make, but I challenged her to do one small thing.  The first day was interesting because I think she related to me one small thing she did toward God and like 7 she did away from God.  But the experiment was a success.  I got her to do ONE small thing.

The next day, I challenged her to do two small things.  She came back with a list of two small things and five things away.

Within a week, she had flipped the list six-seven small things toward God; two-three things away.  Then in two weeks, she had a list of 8 things toward God… and NONE away!

So very cool!

But here’s the thing.  She had come up with a lot of ways that life didn’t work, and she rehearsed them every day, nearly every minute of every day.  She had gotten very good at picking herself and her situation apart so that there was not much left.

However, it was in experimenting with very small changes that she finally found the key to turning life around.  It was in being willing to try something new that something new showed up.  And just like rocket science, it was built one small piece of knowledge and understanding at a time.

So when you’re thinking about experimenting with life, remember, you don’t have to do a whole-sale change to everything.  Choose some small things to change, to try, to experiment with.  Do those things and then add onto them.

You might be surprised how quickly your list of steps away from God and steps toward God flips!

*~*

Special SALE!

For the month of September Only,

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DEEP IN THE HEART

in their 100 books for $3.99 or less sale!

Get your copy today for only $2.99…

That’s almost $5 off the regular price!

Click here to get this extra-special offer!


Life As Rocket Science, Part 1

September 6, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

Today we will turn our attention from the Sowers and the Seed to something equally fascinating and just as fundamental.

This idea sprang from a conversation I recently had with a friend of mine who has tried about everything she can think of to lose weight all to no avail.  This has been going on for years.  Our conversation started with her telling me that she had decided she was a failure, that nothing worked, and that she was just tired of it all.

I could understand and relate.

However, instead of following that with, “That’s it. I’m just going to give up.”  She came back with.  “I don’t know.  Yesterday, I worked on a menu for like 3 hours…”

It occurred to me, and I told her, that far from being a failure, she had a great amount of courage!  After all of those attempts, after all of this time, she’s STILL searching for the answer.

Then I related the story about Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb.  Now I don’t know the exact details of the story, so I’ll tell you what I know.  Thomas Edison decided to harness electricity into something that was useable–a light bulb.  But at the time, no one had ever seen a light bulb or imagined a light bulb.  He had nothing to go on other than the belief that he could make a light bulb.

So he started, and he failed.  And he failed.  And he failed.  And he failed.

ONE THOUSAND times, he failed.

But is Thomas Edison remembered as a failure?

Of course not.  Why?

I submit it is not only because he was eventually a success.  Most of all, it was because he was willing to keep trying!

I told my friend that what she’s been doing her whole life is experimenting, and she’s simply found a lot of things that don’t work.

However, the truth is, she has also found some things that do work as well.

The problem is, she is allowing the don’t work experiments to cloud her vision to those things that do work.

So let’s say Thomas Edison is working, and he’s had five consecutive “don’t works.”  What does he do?  One of two things:  Either, he imagines something completely new that he hasn’t tried before, OR he fashions some of the “almost workeds” together to see if there’s a different combination he hasn’t tried yet that will work.

As I told my friend, I did and tried and worked for 16 years to get my books in the hands of readers.  I did “experiments” on the Internet, in person, in bookstores, with my blog, in groups, etc.  I tried everything I could think to do. Some things were more successful than others.  Some things were outright disasters.

From the more successful things, I gleaned information that I could cobble together to try something else new.  From the outright disasters, I learned it was not smart to go down that road again.

But the truth is, in EVERY situation, I learned–what worked, what worked for me, what not to do, what I could tweak and try again.

As I told my friend, “That’s all of life!  Experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t!”

So in the next couple of days, we are going to explore this idea and see what new things we can learn from it.  I think that you too will begin to see that Life really might be like rocket science, but in a really cool, adventure kind of way!

*~*

Special SALE!

For the month of September Only,

Amazon is featuring

DEEP IN THE HEART

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Get your copy today for only $2.99…

That’s almost $5 off the regular price!

Click here to get this extra-special offer!


Beware: The Wall

September 4, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

Now I don’t know why this happens, but I want you to be prepared for it because when it happens, it can be downright dis-spiriting.

It goes like this:

You’ve been sowing God Seeds and things have been going very well.  One person that you’ve put God time and effort into is starting to really get it.  They are moving ahead, taking great leaps of faith, and then all of a sudden BAM!

It’s like you slam into a wall going full speed.

Again, I don’t know why this happens, but I can assure you, it does and it will.

First, understand that this is normal.  It is not something you did.  In many ways, it’s almost like peeling an onion a layer at a time and then suddenly hitting a layer that just doesn’t want to move.

I think for the most part what is happening is that the person has gotten down to a layer they didn’t think you–or anyone–could reach.  It’s a layer they’ve protected for a long time, and a layer they are terrified to see underneath.

Let me tell you “the wall” is going to take a LOT of patience and love on your part because most of the time, defense of the wall comes out as an attack against you.  Suddenly the person will pull away or act hurt or angry at something you’ve done (or not done).  This is not about what you did or didn’t do.  This is a passive-aggressive way to tell you to “back off.”

Our problem is, often we are dealing with our own hurts and places in our Spirit Gardens that need weeded, and this rejection can really blindside us.

The best thing I have learned in this situation is to back up.  Don’t pursue!  Don’t get desperate to find out what you did.  Don’t attack back.

Just breathe and back off.  Be patient.  Go to God.  Talk to Him about your own hurt over the situation.  Pray for the person by putting them in the Holy Spirit’s hands over and over–every time you think about them.

Walls take an unbelievable amount of patience and unconditional love–more maybe than you even feel you have to give.  That’s okay.  Remember, “I can’t but God can, and He will… if I let Him”?  Well, now’s the time to use that in spades!

When you see the person, smile, make small talk if they seem willing.  Don’t push.  Let them come to you.

It may take a very long time (and that time will seem even longer to you!).  That’s okay.  You and God have an eternity to convince them that you’re really serious about loving them even when they are being quite unlovable.

Stand in love.  Just stand, believing in God’s love for you and for them.  And you will be amazed at the walls that will eventually fall at your feet.

*~*

Special SALE!

For the month of September Only,

Amazon is featuring

DEEP IN THE HEART

in their 100 books for $3.99 or less sale!

Get your copy today for only $2.99…

That’s almost $5 off the regular price!

Click here to get this extra-special offer!


Working for Your Worth

August 30, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

One trap Sowers fall into is thinking that they are working for God.  That’s a sure-way to burn-out.  Here’s why:

Worth.  What is it?

We ask, “Is it worth it?” and “What’s it worth to you?”

All of the definitions of worth speak of value–monetary or life value.

But where do we get our worth?  I think that is a central way Satan uses to get us off-track.  I also think if we were to look at the question and not just live it blindly, it could help us find some peace rather than a mountain of stress.

Let’s look first at how the world says we get our worth.  There are many ways the world says you can be “worth it.”  You can have a well-paying job or a good family; a fine home or fancy cars.  You can be a leader in your community or you can contribute to society in some meaningful way.

All of those are fine in their place, but here’s the problem:

When you get your worth from your job, what happens when you lose the job or even could potentially lose it?  At that point the job becomes your worth.  No wonder losing a job can be so devastating.  Yes, you have the financial strain, but worse the job loss signals to you that your worth is suddenly zero.

How about if your worth is tied up in being married or in a relationship.  “I am worth it because I have someone who loves me.”  Okay.  What happens when they leave or die?

Many Christians try to derive their worth from their work in the church or in ministry.  Don’t get me wrong–ministry is important, but it does not and should not define if you are worth it or not.  When people begin to look to their ministry and church work to give them self-worth, oh, do they get into trouble quickly.

And I believe right there is where Satan snags the most well-intentioned Christians. In their heads and their hearts he twines the belief that “since I’m working in the church, I’m worth something.”

However, when you are working for your worth in any context, even the in the church, you’re in trouble.  Why?  Because seeking worth through your own work can become an addiction.  At first, it feels like it takes very little ministry to experience a worth-increase.  Then, as you go, it takes more and more to experience that same sense of “I’m worth it.”

Now, I love the church, but it is one place that will absolutely ask you to give more than any human ever can.  There are always positions to fill, jobs to do, needs to be met.  You can join the choir and the ladies organization; you can pray for missions and help at the bake sale; you can volunteer to help with the youth, teach Sunday School and run VBS; you can help plant the trees and do the fundraiser for the new foyer rug.  You can read in services, usher, and be in hospitality. You can be on the finance council and on the board.

There is literally no end to the ministries you can choose to be in, and therein lies the trap.  When you are working for your worth, and to get the “high” you initially experience from gaining your self-worth through your work, you have to do more and more and more; and there are so many good things in the church that you could be doing…. Oh, it’s easy to hit burn-out while simultaneously feeling like you are not doing enough.

It’s a paradox that snags too many Christians.

So what is the answer?

Stop working for your worth!

The truth is… the Good News is… your worth is not defined by anything on this earth.  Nothing you do or don’t do can add or subtract from your inherent worth.  Why?  Because your worth doesn’t come from you or anything outside you. It comes only from God, and the worth God imbues you with is perfect and whole just as it is.  No additions or subtractions necessary.

Does that mean we don’t work?  No.  It means we work from a spirit of who we are in God, not from a spirit of trying to become something if we do enough.

Stop working for your worth.  Understand that right now, just as you are–you are worth it because God says you are.

Once you get that, your work will no longer feel like work. You can say yes when you want to and no when you don’t, and not feel the crushing guilt of letting everyone else down and knowing that now they will think you are not worth it.

The truth is:  You are priceless, just as you are, because God made you and you are a Child of the King.

Period.  End of sentence… and the beginning of a brand new life.

*~*


I Was… the Story of Amos

August 27, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

Last time we talked about not feeling qualified to do what God is calling you to do.  Here’s another story from the Bible that brings home that point.

In the Old Testament, there is the story of a prophet sent to warn the Israelites of God’s anger about what they were doing.  The prophet’s name was Amos, and his story is contained in the Biblical book by that name.  One part of this story struck me recently as I have been contemplating what it means to be a Prophet — someone intent on sowing God Seed.

First, read the passage in which Amos has been brought before Amaziah and is about to be cast out of the region for prophesying there.

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

–Amos 7:14-15

What I love about this passage is that God didn’t call the high priest or the people in the Temple.  Instead, he called a local businessman to proclaim His intentions.

I so remember a wonderful friend of mine shortly after I got immersed in God stuff.  Now we had been going to church since we were babies, but somehow we got taught that “God stuff” was for those who knew what they were reading.  It was “over our heads.”  To be fair, a lot of the God stuff was really under our feet and in our hearts–it was the way we lived and treated others.  But reading the Bible? Understanding the Bible?  That was for someone much more qualified than we were.

So she called one day when we were in our 20′s and she said, “What’re you doing?” To which I replied honestly, “Reading the Bible, and this part is fascinating.”  She got very quiet and literally said, “Oh, we’re not supposed to read the Bible like that. Don’t you think we need someone else to explain it?”

Thankfully I didn’t laugh out loud at her though I probably came very close, and in the ensuing many years, we have laughed together about that conversation many, many times.  Yet it still always kind of bothers me that we sometimes get the message that “God stuff”–understanding and wisdom–is for someone much more learned than we are.

That’s why I love this passage.  In effect, Amos is saying, “Look, dude.  This isn’t about me.  I didn’t pick this calling on my heart, God put it there. I’m just following what He told me to do.  I was a shepherd and a tree mender.  Trust me, this whole prophet thing is way outside of what I ever thought I would be doing too.  But God called me, and here I am.”

I feel like Amos a lot actually.  Who am I to be seeing insights in the Bible or in what others say?  Who am I to understand things that don’t have solid, concrete, real-world, everybody-can-see-it qualities?

I don’t know.  All I know is, like Amos, I was a simple housewife.  I was a high school teacher. I was just someone off the street, and then God called me and here I am.

If you’ve ever felt that way, know that you’re not alone!  God doesn’t call the qualified.  He qualifies the called, and just like Amos and me, you may well find yourself going, “Look, this isn’t about me. It’s about God.  He called me, and here I am.”

And in all honesty, it’s not such a bad place to be once you get used to saying, “I was…”

*~*


Not Qualified… Willing

August 23, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

In preparing you for what you will face as a Sower of Jesus Seed, I must address the one excuse I hear time and again.  Oh, the excuse is true enough–true enough, actually to get a lot of you to give up before you start.  It goes like this:

“I’m not qualified to…”

Or the sister excuse:  “I’m just not worthy to…”

Now you can fill in the blank with whatever you’re telling yourself you can’t do that God’s calling you to–read in church, sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, minister to women in a shelter, tutor children, become involved in CASA or another child organization, be a foster parent, volunteer at your child’s school or your grandchild’s school, etc. etc. etc.

I have heard this one more than any other.

“How can I do that?  I’m not qualified.”

“They asked me to read, but I’m just not good enough.”

“I hope they don’t ask me to lead that, I just don’t feel qualified.”

Well, it’s time to put an end to this lie because here’s the truth:  God doesn’t call the qualified!

He doesn’t!  Have you read the Bible?

If it’s a book of examples, you’re in good company.

Look at Moses, out there tending his sheep as far away from other people as he could get.  The bush starts afire, and God speaks to Moses, telling him to go to Egypt.  And what does Moses do?  He starts listing all the reasons he’s not qualified!  He’s got a lisp.  He doesn’t speak very well or plainly.  Besides he killed a guy and he’s wanted for murder back in Egypt.

Or let’s take Abraham.  What did he do when God told him his destiny filled with abundance and children?  “I’m old, Lord. And my wife is old too.”  Do you hear the echoes of “I’m not qualified”?

Even Jesus doubted His ability to go through with the plan in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Why do you think He asked God to “let this cup pass Me by”?

We all feel that.  Why?  Because it’s true.

Really.

Think about it.

Are you qualified to help the God of the Universe do anything?  I mean, what kind of resume would you have to have to even get that job?

St. Paul in his message to the Ephesians from The Message Bible says it this way:

“When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.”  –Ephesians 3:8

If St. Paul didn’t feel equipped (qualified), then we certainly won’t.  And that’s GOOD NEWS!  Because it means that God isn’t sitting around fretting because you aren’t qualified.  He equips the willing.  He doesn’t wait for the qualified.

So if you don’t feel qualified or worthy of what He’s calling you to do… rejoice!  You’re in very good company!

*~*

 


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