Tithing your time

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I love setting a lot of goals and therefore, new year resolutions stress. me. out. I started to think about the standard ones I typically set- read the entire Bible this year, only listen to Christian music, go to the gym more, eat healthier, write more, read more, and on and on the list goes. But this year I decided to try something a little different. What would happen if I consolidated everything? What if every area of my life could improve if I only changed one thing? I’ve read many scriptures in the Bible about tithing and giving God the first 10%. Scriptures on tithing your time.

I thought about how we are quick (or not) to throw 10% in the offering plate and be on our way. But what if you gave God 10% of your time? Could you do that? Would it be easier or harder than giving monetarily? Regardless, this is what I’ve decided to do. I do spend a lot of time with God but not 10% of 24 hours. If you are like any of my friends or family, you might be thinking that is A LOT of time. It is but not really.

What can you do for 2.4 hours a day?

Bible

Read the Bible. Listen to the Bible. Meditate on God’s Word. Journal about it. I like to sometimes just pick up the Bible and randomly a chapter. I also enjoy picking a book of the Bible and take my time, analyzing verse by verse. One method that has helped me to be more focused and intentional about my reading has been the SOAP method. Basically, you write down a scripture that stood out to you, your observation of the scripture, how it applies to you, and a prayer.

Devotionals

Devotionals can help add a different dynamic but remember they are still man’s words. I like to use them to stir new ideas and think about God’s Words in a different way. A few of my current favorite devotionals include She Reads Truth, Quite Women Co., Max Lucado (several different devotionals), Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young), and Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest).

Christian Books

Just like devotionals, books offer another perspective and have a way of grouping themes for better comprehension. You can also read about specific things you want to focus on. Worry, fear, relationships, giving, leadership, goals, you name it. I always like to use the fish method that one of my friends told me about. With fish, you eat the meat and throw out the bones. With books, you take the good and throw out the bad. A few of the books on my list include You and Me by Francis Chan (I love his books!), The Four Loves and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and Live Love Lead by Brian Houston.

Sermons

I love listening to podcasts on some of my favorite pastors and teachers. In addition to a couple ones locally, some of my favorites include Andy Stanley, Charles Stanley, Ben Stuart, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, Joyce Meyer, and Joel Osteen. I am not saying each of these people are perfect but I enjoy the scriptures, teaching, and focus each one of them provides.

Music

Worship music is my favorite. And there are some really great Christian bands out there that help you focus more on God and less on worldly things. Some of my favorite bands include Hillsong, Swithfoot, Kutless, and Everyday Sunday.

Community

Lastly, there are things you can do that involve other people. Church will be one of them and probably the only thing I’ll do consistently. But other ideas include bible studies and small groups.

These are some things I’ll be doing this year. If you have any suggestions for books, music, devotionals, and/or sermons I’d love to hear them. My goal is to spend at least 2.4 hours a day focused intentionally on God. While at the gym. Early in the morning. Before I go to bed. On my lunch break. While driving. The point is- if I am intentional, I know I can do this. Whatever your goals are for 2016, I pray you find your purpose and the motivation to be all God created you to be!

Happy New Year!

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The unrealistic realism of Christmas movies

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I think there is a reason we are attracted to these sappy Christmas movies. They are full of goodness, happiness, and love. It wasn’t until I was talking with my friend who shares the same unhealthy movie obsession as I do that I realized how unrealistic they appear to be. I mean who meets, falls in love, and gets married all in the same month?! But you get caught up in it and don’t realize it’s crazy because so much of the story makes sense. So here’s six lessons I’ve learned from these time stealers.

1. Be with someone who brings out the best in you

Oftentimes in these movies, the girl or guy is already in a relationship. They are good relationships. Comfortable relationships. Good partnerships. Relationships that make sense on paper. But then they meet someone who makes them feel alive. Something more. Being around this new guy or girl has a way of bringing out the best in them. Loving life. Being a better person. Doing what they love. Wait for this.

2. Be with someone who falls in love with who you are, not what you are

I always love when you start to see the guy fall for the girl but then it is solidified when the girl shows up to some event dressed up. The guy is just in awe as she lights up the room. Nothing else matters. She’s stunning not necessarily because of her looks but because it finally hits him that all of these feelings he’s been having for her are something more than a friendship. It wasn’t the looks that attracted him to her, but her looks are now a bonus. Wait for this.

3. There has to be something more important than the relationship

What I love about these movies is that love has a way of finding them rather than the person out on the hunt looking for it. Or they are looking for it, but it ends up being someone completely different. The point being, they are able to be their true selves around this person because they aren’t all caught up with thinking this might be “the one.” They are focusing on making a difference, helping their family, or pursuing their dreams. They are willing to sacrifice their own happiness for something greater. God can only fill that hole and these people are already whole. The new relationship complements their life rather than completing it. Wait for this.

4. Notice the little things

Everything starts to remind him of this girl. The way she is making him feel alive again- bringing out the best in him. The guy could be in a bad mood and all upset but she always makes him feel better. She makes him laugh. He makes her feel like she can do anything. They remember little things about each other. They care. And it shows in their actions. Wait for this.

5. You might have to fight for love

 There always seems to be something (or someone) that almost ruins this new love. An old flame. Miscommunication. Jealousy. It’s so easy for us to just want to give up sometimes. To think it may have just been too good to be true. We tend to want easy. As if easy equates to perfect. But it doesn’t have to be easy for it to be right. Talk. Clarify. Engage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let my head wander because someone didn’t text back. Because someone was going away for the weekend. It’s almost like we are scared to send a double text. We are scared to be the one who cares more. But the right one is worth fighting for. Wait for this.

6. When you know, you’ll know

“How did you know Claire was the right one?” “I just knew. And you already know.” I remember this quote from one of the ones that had me crying the whole time. It was a young man torn between his childhood sweetheart who was the only girl he’d known and this new girl he met that made him feel alive. One was safe. The other was unknown. But she was worth the risk. He knew he loved her and loved who he was around her. He loved the type of person she was. Just like something in us already knows someone isn’t right for us but we try to make it work anyway, I think something in us will know when we’ve met the right one. Wait for this.

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