Getting a Fresh Perspective – HOPE in a Dark World
Ever ended up in place you really needed to be? Like you know that God intervened and put you in just the right place at the right time? That was me two weekends ago. Abbey and I went to Brooke’s to visit and we all went to her church for a women’s conference.
The conference was called FRESH and I remember thinking, “Huh? Fresh? That seems like an odd name for a conference.
Well, little did I know. That word FRESH is exactly what fell on me. A FRESH perspective. A FRESH hope and a FRESH realization that boy am I blessed. I don’t lead a perfect life, friends. I sure don’t. Far from it. But boy I lead a blessed life. Blessed. Thank you, Jesus.
Well like most conferences this one included Breakout sessions. You know. We offer 4, but you only have time to pick 2, so pick wisely. I always hate that. Just saying. I really want to go to all of them, but there just never is enough time.
Ok. So on day 2 of the conference I picked a session called – A Fresh Perspective. I figured I could use that. A Fresh way to look at things. If I am being totally honest, I have felt in a rut the past couple of weeks. I had just finished writing a literacy curriculum for my education business and a very busy, full year of writing was a wrap. It was exciting, but scary at the same time. What will I do with my time now? And then anxiety began to seep in. Anxious about what’s next. Anxious about my girls living away from me and on and on. I daily was talking with the Lord about not letting that anxiety dwell in me.
So – A Fresh Perspective? Yes – please and give me a double dose.
Boy did that session hit me. I needed the words that the two speakers shared. I needed to know that we all need a Fresh Perspective and we need it more often than we think. I needed to know that there were many people, not just me, seeking a new perspective and that it was okay to do so.
There is so much power in community and realizing that others are right where you are. We need community. We need to know that we are not alone. And, as a woman, we need women. We need each other. Women hanging out with women. Women pouring life into women. Women to just listen to us and understand where we are. It’s that important. More on that later.
Okay – back to a Fresh Perspective. The session was titled – A Fresh Perspective – Having Hope in a Dark World.
It struck me. Our world is dark. There are things that happen in the world that we just can’t understand. But as a believer – we have a hope. We have hope in Christ Jesus. He came as the HOPE of the world. He still is.
So, the speakers of one session created an acronym for HOPE. I loved what each letter stood for so I wanted to share that teaching with you. Hope you don’t mind. I know I needed it.
H is for HONESTY
Honesty is always the best policy. We often look at that saying and believe that it pertains to telling the truth to others. Being open and honest with others. But what if that saying was directed at ourselves?Honesty to MYSELF is the best policy. Wow. Did you see it? It sure changes the entire thing, right? Are we being open and honest with ourselves? Heck. What does that mean anyway?
It means are you talking truth to yourself. Are you being honest about your fears? Your goals? Your desires? Your struggles? Are you honest enough with yourself to realize that you may just need some prayer or you may just need some real help. Here’s where that community comes in. We are meant to help support each other. Encourage each other. Help point each other back to Jesus. He already knows what’s going on in our lives. It’s about time we get HONEST with ourselves and evaluate what we need and where we are.
Do you need some help? I think all of us do from time to time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People are there to help us. We are built for community. There is something special about a community coming around each of us to love – support and keep us honest. It’s a beautiful thing.
O is for OPENNESS
Oooh – that is a tough one. Honesty is the best policy but it’s openness that swings the door wide open. We can be perfectly honest with ourselves and still not be open. In the little, secret places of our lives is stuff. Get it out. Be open about what your needs are. Be open about your struggles. Be open so that you can find your FRESH perspective. I need this. For sure.
Here’s a way to look at openness:
1. Be OPEN to SUGGESTIONS
There are some in my family who might say I can be a bit stubborn or ummmmm – strong-willed. I am a 100% team player, but I can still be a bit stubborn and not open to suggestions. Shame on me. That has really hurt me in places in my life. People who knew more than me, were better at some things than me shared suggestions that I should have taken, but I didn’t.
Don’t be that person. Be OPEN to suggestions on how to be an ever better person than you already are. I’m not saying let people change you. Oh no. God is the only one who can do that and the Bible tells us in Philippians 1:6 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” So God can do that, but our openness guides God’s hand. Don’t be so stubborn and strong-willed that you miss any blessings that God has for you. And take it from me – tear down that wall of SELF and be open to changing for the better or, at the minimum, changing into an ever better woman of God.
2. BE OPEN to CORRECTION
Ooooo – this is a big one. Being open to correction is tough. Think about little kids. Boy do they hate being corrected and often parents stop correcting kids because it can be tough and draining. And when that happens – let’s just say that things can run off track and very, very quickly.
We must remain open for correction. We’re not always right. We don’t always have the right answer – right path – right ideas, so the best thing we can do is be open for correction. Correction is a good thing. I will tell you from my life, correction can be painful too. And you know what? That’s ok. Correction and the sometimes pain that goes with it helps us grow. Grow as Christians. Grow as people. Grow as followers of Christ. Allowing correction from trusted, godly advisors OPENS the door through which God can work. Thank goodness.
I LOVE VISUALS. Don’t you? They just let us make a mental image of what we read. So, picture this:
God is waiting at a door. In his hands he holds blessings so abundant that even his large, strong, outstretched hands cannot hold them all. He excitedly waits at the door for the person who will OPEN it. But there’s a catch. The only person who can open the door is you. And me. God wants to work abundantly in our lives and fill it to overflowing with blessings but, in order for him to do that, we must open the door.
That door is our heart. In order for God to bring forth blessings in our life, we must first be OPEN to him. OPEN to his leadings. OPEN to his correction. And OPEN enough to realize that we are not perfect, far from it, and we need a loving guide through life. The first step is to OPEN that door to Jesus and then keep that door open through life so that we can take advice and counsel from wise people.
3. Be OPEN to CHANGE
No!!!!! The dreaded word – Change. I know. I don’t like it. I bet you don’t either. But what I have discovered about change is that it is hard, but most often so, so good.
Have you ever thought about change this way? The world changes constantly. The seasons change. I sometimes say I love summer and want summer endlessly. You know – an endless summer. But then I think: If summer doesn’t change to fall, where will those beautiful, fall colors be and that crisp, cool air that just cries out for a fire in the backyard and S’mores. And then what about the change from fall to winter. Ugh! Winter. Most of us don’t like winter. Or at least not me. But I realized something awhile back. The change to winter is necessary for the world to be reborn. Refreshed. It’s in those winter months that the plants, trees, flowers are growing and changing and waiting to burst forth in new life in the spring. Change is bringing about new life. It’s the same for us. Change will bring about new life in us. Change will help us be reborn and refreshed. Let’s stop being so afraid of change and begin embracing it. It will make a difference.
I know. I am holding a hand over one of my ears at this very moment so that it – doesn’t go in one ear and out the other. I got you.
P is for PERSPECTIVE
Perspective is an interesting word, don’t you think? My perspective can be different from yours and we are in the same room. It’s kind of crazy that way. Perspective is so wrapped up in our background and how we see things.
Here’s the thing. We need to gain a healthy perspective of ourselves and the world. Is your picture about yourself clear? Do you ask yourself – Who AM I and then come up with tons of things that maybe you aren’t? I’m not worthy. I’m not smart. I’m just ordinary. Lots of us do that and it is time to STOP.
Let’s work on getting a healthy perspective of ourselves. Ask yourself this question: am I just GETTING things in my life from people and places or am I also GIVING to things and people in my life? God wants us to not only GET great, beautiful, life-giving things in our life, but he also wants us to GIVE great, beautiful, life-giving things in our life. Be the person in your sphere that GIVES life to people, not just takes it.
And let’s get a healthy look at who we are. Write these down. Memorize them. Make them a light unto your path. Bind them in your heart so that when the enemy whispers a lie – you know it and call it out. Not today, Satan, not today.
Here’s who the Bible says we are:
Grab hold of that! Remember it. Use God’s perspective to see who you are. Precious. Holy. Redeemed and put here for a purpose. So, go use that healthy perspective and purpose to bless others in his name.
E is for EAT
Huh? Who loves to eat? I love to eat Chocolate Lava Cake. Oh baby! For sure. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I love chocolate. It was God’s gift to me. LOL
E is for EAT. Eat your SPRITUAL FOOD that is. We don’t eat to fill just our physical belly. We need to be eating to fill our spiritual belly as well. Healthy food is necessary to our physical being, and good, healthy, spiritual food is necessary to our spiritual being.
So, to feed our spirit, we need to eat from the Five Spiritual Food Groups.
Five Spiritual Food Groups? Here they are:
1. God’s Plan
2. God’s Place
3. God’s People
4. God’s Planet
5. God’s Purpose
And that is where I pause. There is so much rich learning in each of these little babies that I can write another entire post. So, that is what I will do.
Come on back soon to dig into and discover the Five Spiritual Food Groups. I will spend some time digging into each and unpacking the tidbits that are in them.
You don’t want to miss it!
Stay blessed, my friends! Chat soon.
XO – Nikki
Credits: Who I am in Christ photo – created by Art by Erin Leigh
Ideas and excerpts from TE Church Limitless Conference 2019 – Angel Regel – Libby Frazier