I have come across something recently that I want to share with you. I feel like it’s this little secret that I have; but it shouldn’t really be a secret at all. And, maybe it is not a secret. There is very real possibility that the “secret” I am going to share with you is something you know, and have known about, for years. But, it’s something I have just noticed recently and I am so excited by it.
So, what is this “secret” you ask? Well, if you start praying SPECIFIC prayers, great things start to happen. That’s it. That is my secret.
In my Christian life, I have always had this tendency to pray generic prayers. For example: “Dear Lord, please heal John Doe.”, “Dear Lord, please keep my family safe.”, and “Dear Lord, please help me find a good job.” (You know, everyday ordinary kind of stuff.)
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about these types of prayers. (And, if you pray this way, please don’t take it as criticism.) Spending time with God, especially in prayer, is one of the best ways to spend your time. And, I encourage you to pray often. The Bible even tells us to pray without ceasing. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17) I still pray this way a lot of times.
However, once you get more specific and do some work on the backend, something magical happens. You start to see God work in your life. I have no idea how or why this happens. But, believe me, it does! How do I know? Because I have seen it happen in my own life.
So, what is this “backend” that I mention above? I must be totally honest with you; it’s a caveat. To start seeing your prayers being answered, you must put in your fair share of the work. Your relationship with God is just that: a relationship. We all know that relationships take work, and your relationship with God is no exception. But, once you come to know God and trust in Him, this will be THE most important relationship of your life. (And, the more time you spend with Him, the more you WANT to spend with Him, and this, in-turn, makes it a relationship that gets easier and easier as time goes by. At least, this has been the case for me.)
The caveat is that you need to believe in God and trust Him. (Knowing God loves us, loving Him, spending time with Him, and being grateful for what He's done and is doing in our lives can help us have a real relationship with Him. – Joyce Meyers)
This caveat sounds simple enough, right? Well, not always. It truly depends on where you are in your spiritual journey. I feel like it has taken me quite a while to get here. Maybe you are not there yet. Maybe you have been here for years. Maybe you are somewhere in the middle. We are all different and unique in how we learn and grow.
But, once you start to figure out how this all works, that is when the magic happens. You believe and trust in God, you form a true relationship Him, you spend time with Him each day, you read your Bible, you pray specific prayers, and you start to see your prayers being answered. It really can be that simple, if you let it.
I think I have shared this quote before, but it is so uplifting, true, and appropriate, I must share it again.
One of the ways we can learn to completely trust that God is a good God is to praise Him for His goodness. Every time we do, it opens up the channels through which that particular aspect of His nature is poured into our heart.
The more you praise God for His goodness, the more you will see it manifested in your life. That’s the hidden power of praise. You will be amazed when you pray this way how God will open your eyes to see things you haven’t seen before. ~ Stormie Omartian
Now that this little “secret” is out, I hope and pray that you put it to good use in your own life. It is so amazing to witness God working in your own life.
This past week I was cleaning out my old desk. After years of using one I bought from the thrift store, which was basically salvaged and painted, I came to my senses and decided to buy a nice, new, adult one. (The old one was rickety from the start and only got worse as the years went by. I was worried that it would collapse one day and take my iMac out along with it. Plus, I had painted it a funky blue with flowers and stuff on it. I loved it at the time, but looking at it now as an adult, it just wasn’t “me” anymore. I still love bright colorful stuff, but I have really grown up in my decorating tastes. And, my hubby couldn’t be happier about it! ...I digress…)
That old desk had three drawers that were packed full of stuff. Some things I kept, some I put in a box to donate, and some stuff I just threw away or recycled. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel so accomplished to clean up and clean out stuff. I have realized that that old saying, “less is more” is so true!
Anyway, in cleaning out my old desk, I came across a two-page article that I had printed out four or five years ago. As I have relayed in a past post, I have struggled mightily with my “job journey”. Over the years, I have done a great deal of research, spent loads of time on the internet reading articles, taken various tests, read tons of books, and even had a job coach. (And, I am sad to say, spent and wasted lots of time and money in the process.) But, as I re-read this article, I knew that God led me to save it and come back across it for a reason—and I am so glad He did!
At the time, it obviously struck a chord with me—otherwise, why would I print it out, highlight a section, and save it? For whatever reason, I was not in a place in my life where I could process or use the great information that the article shared. But, I can sure use it now. Re-reading this article was like an epiphany. And, I am now in a place where I can use it. Thank you, Lord for allowing me to save it and come back across it when I needed it!
So, what was this article about, you ask? Well, in a nutshell, a lady wrote into Human Workplace (a fabulous website, btw. I highly recommend you check it out.) asking for advice about her career. She was in a bad situation at work she wanted out of and was looking for advice and help to figure out her next move. Liz Ryan, from Human Workplace, responded with this: (This is the part I highlighted, because it really hit home with me.)
The key is to always be moving toward something, not escaping from something. What we find when we try to escape a bad situation is that no escape is possible, because until we figure out where we're headed and why, we most often find that whatever we've escaped to is no better (and sometimes worse) than whatever situation we left.
From your lips to God’s ear, Liz. I have job hopped so much in my life, you might as well call me Frogger. The reason(s) why have always been because I wanted to escape from something; be it a bad boss, a bad workload, a bad commute, or just an overall bad work environment. For the longest time, I was just looking to get out of a bad situation, to escape. And, I had no idea how to focus on where I was headed. (Mainly because I didn’t know where I wanted to go, much less how to get there.)
All I know is I just wanted out of the current bad situation, or as I refer them, toxic environments. And, just as Liz stated above, I always ended up in a situation that was just as bad, if not worse, than the one I left. I was basically in this horrible vicious cycle. I would go from one bad job to another to another. It was maddening and at times I felt like I was losing my sanity. It had gotten to the point where I had given up hope for ever finding anything even half-way decent.
However, about six months ago, an idea popped into my head. It is an idea that I would never have had, had I not been on this job journey. And, while I don’t want to share the specifics with you right now, I will say that it is an idea that I have been working on for the last six months. It is something I have a passion for. It is something that energizes me and excites me. It is something that I can use my God-given talents on. It is something that I can focus on and it is giving me the much-needed direction in my life that I crave job-wise. And, the bonus, for me, is that it is something that God put into my heart and mind.
So, I just wanted to share a little encouragement with you today. If you don’t know where you are headed in your job, or in any aspect of your life for that matter, start thinking about what gives you joy. Then, start thinking of ways you can do that activity more. Or, in the case of a job, if you can turn that activity into a way to generate income. Then, go after it. As Nike always tells us, "just do it".
Pray a lot. Talk to God. Take steps each day towards what you want. Even tiny, little baby steps. Forward progress is forward progress. Start thinking positively and write everything down. Whatever idea you have, right it down. I believe that keeping a notebook is so helpful. It allows you to remember things and stay on track. Share your thoughts and ideas with someone you love and trust. Let them help guide you and cheer you on. You need to do these things. Trust me on this!
Two crucial elements of this whole thing is to: 1) pray and trust God and 2) move forward towards something. (Don't always be escaping from something.)
Honestly, I think the most vital aspect it to put God first in your life. When you start spending more time with Him, talking to Him and thanking Him for all of your blessings, He starts to really show up more and more in your life. At least, He has in mine. And, God wants to play an active part in our lives each day. God desires a relationship with us. And, when you develop that relationship, you will notice more and more the blessings flowing around you from God. It is the most beautiful thing ever! Please don't miss out on it.
I hope and pray that you find this information as useful as I have. Now, go get out there and start working your way towards something wonderful!
Here in the Atlanta area, we are now getting the rain and wind associated with Hurricane Irma. So far, so good, especially when you consider what we all thought very bad things were going to happen.
Irma is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. As a category five hurricane with consistent wind speeds of up to 185 miles per hour, it is the longest-lasting top-intensity cyclone ever recorded. (A category five is anything with sustained winds of over 157 miles per hour.) And, not only are the winds crazy, but the sheer size of the storm has had everyone on the edge of their seats. (And, not in a good way.) Irma can cover the entire state of Florida and is more than twice the size of Hurricane Andrew.
Irma was projected and predicted to hit south Florida and move up along either the east or west coast wreaking total-destruction in some areas, along with life-threatening storm surges and heavy rain. And, hit Florida it did. And while we don’t know exactly how bad things are down there, especially in the keys, we do know one thing; it has NOT been the catastrophic event we all thought it would be. (I kept re-playing Katrina over and over in my mind.)
When I went to bed last night, I was expecting to see thousands of homes and buildings flattened when I got up this morning. I was expecting to see to thousands of people in terribly rough shape. I was expecting to see complete towns wiped off the map. Basically, I was expecting to see hell on earth. Thank God, praise Jesus, I didn’t see any of that.
That’s not to say that horrible things didn’t happen, but it is definitely not on the level that I was expecting. And, while we are not out of the woods yet, I, for one, am breathing a huge sigh of relief. What we have left now are winds and rain that feel manageable, live-through-able.
The only thing I can chalk this up to is God. I know many, many, many people prayed about this storm. A friend of mine shared an amazing video on Facebook yesterday of people gathered on the beach in Jacksonville, Florida praying and singing to God.
He heard our collective prayers and acted. He weakened this storm, the biggest on record, and spared the good people of Florida. I truly believe this. It is because of his hand. He sees each and every one of us and He hears our prayers. And, thank the Lord, He answers prayers as well.
And, I do know we still have a sketchy evening ahead. There is a lot of rain and wind and possible tornadoes. But, I am going to keep on praying and trusting in God. He has taken very good care of me so far in this life, and I know He isn’t going to stop now.
Please join me in prayer for all of us who are feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma. Also, please pray for all the people in Caribbean who did feel the devastating effects of this hurricane. Together, we can continue to see his hand at work through all of this.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.