It’s the Little Things…and the Big

“‘The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ -Numbers 6:24-26

Recently, while trying to cope with the profound fatigue that plagues me and other challenges of living with chronic illnesses, my childhood best friend reminded me… it’s the little things. So, in an effort to look for those little things…

I may not have the energy to go for a jog, but I can walk the block with my family.

I may not have the stamina to run full speed ahead in a family game of soccer, but some days I am blessed to kick a soccer ball around with my kiddos and play the goalie in a shorter soccer match.

I may not be in a fast-paced career anymore, but my body is more at rest and moving at the pace it needs to be right now.

I may not know the future, but I have the present.

I may not think the most positive thoughts at the moment, but I have His Word to give me hope.

I may not always be able to calm the storms of anxiety that afflict me, but I have a God who is bigger than my fears.

I may not see the sun shining, but the Son is always shining down on us.

I may not be living the life I imagined, but God has a plan for me-and His plan is far superior to mine.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

5 Things I’m Learning in a Season of Monotony

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. -Ecclesiastes 5:18

The monotony of the days have been taking their toll lately and I’ve found myself increasingly frustrated and irritable. Like painting with those messy Crayola watercolor paints. One color runs into the next in the plastic, oblong case, and, in no time, there’s a muddied mess. This can happen when we don’t find satisfaction in the day to day work God has given us. The resentments build, anger and frustrations arise, covering up and muddying the beautiful fruits underneath that He’s trying to sprout in us. If we aren’t careful and paying attention, these can also conceal the many blessings He has given us. Just like the muddied watercolors, underneath each puddle are vivid colors, we just have to clear away the muddy mess to see them. God taught me five things recently about finding color in my life in a season of monotony:

1. See the good

While in Ecclesiastes, He spoke: find satisfaction in work. This doesn’t mean I’m supposed to turn work into an idol. What He meant by this was to find enjoyment in the work that I have been given during this season of life, rather than grumble my way through it. On my YouVersion Bible app, another translation stated find enjoyment in his toil and when I clicked on the word enjoyment, it further stated or make his soul see good. One way we can see good, is by counting our blessings daily. And, instead of seeing our daily tasks as just tasks, we can think about what good will come from accomplishing them, whether in the short-term or long-term. This brings us the second thing I learned about how to see good.

2. Start the day with “I get to”

On Instagram, Dr. Caroline Leaf posted about beginning each day with an “I get to” mentality, rather than “I have to”. I get to wake up and teach my girls at home, I get to wash dishes for my family, I get to prepare and cook for my husband and our daughters. Not everyone gets to do these. When we change our perspective and reframe our thoughts from “I have to”, to “I get to”, we can see the colors for what they are-bold and beautiful blessings that can wash away the dark and dreary.

3. Get creative and cultivate more joy

As far as enjoyment goes, when I asked God how to find satisfaction in my work, this popped into my mind: get creative. Creativity calms me and brings me joy. We can use our creativity by mixing up those mundane tasks and making them fun. How? Here are some ideas that occurred to me:

Tired of…

  1. Making dinner? Why not involve the family and have a dinner dance party. Grab a cooking utensil as your microphone, crank the tunes, and break out your best moves in between meal prep and cooking tasks. And if you live alone? Who says you can’t cut a rug to your favorite jams too?
  2. Homeschooling? Add some simple arts and crafts projects to your week or interrupt a day here or there with impromptu nature walks, scavenger hunts and photography challenges.
  3. Cleaning? Have at it with cleaning karaoke-80’s style. Choose your favorite hits and clean through two songs, karaoke through one, clean through two, karaoke through one and so on-or if the whole family is cleaning, the songs can be divided up and rotated through. If it’s not your song, clean. When your song comes on, belt out your number.
  4. Meal prep? Why not create some new meals? And if you aren’t super confident in the kitchen, start small. Alter recipes by adding new ingredients or experiment with new spices.

Yes, some of these may sound silly, but why not? Life is supposed to be enjoyed.

4. Embrace the mundane with a cheerful heart and glorify Him

Not only do I need to worship God in the wilderness, like He’s been showing me lately, but by embracing this season of monotony and doing the work He’s set before me with a cheerful heart, trusting Him with the season and tasks He’s given me, and doing it for Him, I’m glorifying Him in the process. This is a form of worship.

5. Be eager to work for the Lord

As I was reading in the Word tonight in Exodus, the words eager to help in the work the Lord had given stood out so I circled them. And on the next page, eager to get to work leapt off the page. He was telling me that I need to be eager to do the work He has given me. According to macmillandictionary.com, eager is defined as: very enthusiastic about doing something…So, in other words, I need to get intensely excited about working for the Lord. He chose this work for me and rather than just seeing these as dull repetitive duties to be completed, I need to see them as the Lord’s work and be be eager to do His work.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. -Colossians 3:23-24

Tightrope of Trust

I'm walking a tightrope
between the way things are
and the way they should be

Or maybe they shouldn't be that way at all
and they just are what they are
Maybe that's what they need to be
for the time being

Toe steppin' through life
afraid to cross that line
and accept what I don't want to

"Just for now," I tell myself
is what this has to be
"Just for now"
Where I am, is temporary

Like all of life
that fades into the wind,
this too, shall pass

More days will come
Then suddenly,
I will find myself in a new place
farther ahead than I thought possible

At a snail's pace, I creep forward
I land, but not for long
because change--that's what's constant

Into the unknown,
I glide again
while waiting for answers
and growing in my faith

Learning to trust
that where I am on this journey
is exactly where He wants me

© 2021 Aimee Phillippi

15 Ways to Surrender to God

1. Humble yourselves before the Lord

How do we humble ourselves before the Lord? The word humble has to do with our attitude. We adjust our attitude, making ourselves less proud. We lower ourselves and admit to Him, our human flaws, our weaknesses, our sins, our mistakes, while asking for forgiveness and help to be more like Christ. I love how the amplified Bible breaks down James 4:10

Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

2. Give Him your heart and delight in His ways

Give him your whole heart-all of it-the broken pieces too-every single shard. He wants it all. Jesus wants all of you and He wants you to revel in His ways.

My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, -Proverbs 23:26

3. Love the Lord your God with all your heart

We don’t just love Him when we feel like it, or when our lives are looking up. This is isn’t a part-time, conditional love. No. We pour our heart, mind and soul into loving Him, all the time, with every ounce of our being.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. -Deuteronomy 6:5 (AMP)

4. Live by faith

No longer living for ourselves, we have been crucified, so dying to ourselves, we give Him every part of our life. And if we’re struggling with turning some of it over, we ask for the willingness to surrender each area to Him, until we can fully surrender our life and our desires, then we let Him fill us with His desires. And we live by faith, believing without seeing, and trusting in Jesus-always trusting in Him.

I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. -Galations 2:20 (AMP)

5. Be doers of the Word

Yes, reading the Word is important, but are we doing what the Word is telling us? We must be doers of the Word, not just readers of the Word. To “do”, is to act. It involves truly listening and then taking the obedient steps to follow what it says.

But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. -James 1:22 (AMP)

6. Keep His commandments

Keeping His commandments is love in action. By following His law, we are submitting to His ways.

If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments. -John 14:15 (AMP)

7. Take his yoke upon you, and learn from Him

Come to Him, letting Him teach and refine you, because Jesus is a gentle teacher. Come to Him, for His way is lighter and less cumbersome than our ways.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. -Matthew 11:29 (AMP)

8. Seek first the Kingdom of God

When we seek Him and His kingdom first, all else falls into place. So, we seek and put Jesus above all else, and we become. Then, we watch it all happen just as it’s supposed to. And we watch ourselves become who we were meant to be all along.

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. -Matthew 6:33 (AMP)

9. Trust in the Lord with all your heart

We don’t just trust Him a little, we trust Him with our WHOLE hearts. We trust Him with every piece of our lives. Everything we hold near and dear to us, we hand over to His care. Everything that is important to us, we put in His hands. Every decision we must make, we take to Him first. When we can’t see, we trust that He does and that He has our best interests at heart. And when we don’t understand His ways, we still trust and rely on Him.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. -Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

10. Crucify the flesh

When we put to death our fleshly desires and temptations, we begin to live in the Spirit. This is when the fruits of the Spirit are given room to grow and blossom.

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. -Galations 5:24

11. Walk by the Spirit

By letting the Spirit direct our thoughts, our words, our attitudes, and our actions, we are surrendering our ways, while letting Him lead us and empower us to walk in righteousness.

If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. -Galations 5:25 (AMP)

12. Repent and produce fruit

We repent. Making a concerted effort to not sin by practicing new ways of living, we work with Jesus, while allowing Him to change our hearts so we can produce fruit.

So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin]; -Matthew 3:8 (AMP)

13. Let not your hearts be troubled

Be brave in Him, and not afraid. Have courage and know that He is God- the God Almighty, who overcame the world. He is a BIG, BIG God, who is in the business of helping His believers. So, be fearless, be bold-and take heart in Him, my friends.

“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me. -John 14:1 (AMP)

14. Do not fear

We remember that we are not to be afraid of anything because there is nothing we should fear, and He is our God-our Defender and Protector. This is a tough one for those of us who struggle with fear due to anxiety. I once heard though, that we can either have faith or live in fear, but we can’t do both at the same time. It is one or the other. Will we walk towards faith or in fear today?

Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’ -Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)

15. Submit to God and draw near to Him, resisting the devil

To submit, means to yield. So, we yield to Him and draw close, burying ourselves in His Word and taking it to heart by walking in His ways. We stand firmly before Jesus, not letting satan get his hold on us.

So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. -James 4:7-8 9 (AMP)

Acceptance for the Win

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

God can bring peace to your past, purpose to your present and hope to your future. -John 14:27

During this crazy, isolating pandemic, I needed a way to serve and God put it on my heart to share my story. Tired of posting snippets of my life on social media, where lives are made to look picture perfect, I took a break and God spoke. So, here I am! And I’m going to be real here, y’all. I want to show the messy, the imperfect, and the struggle in the journey. My journey has never been a straight line or even just a little crooked. It’s been a full on three steps forward, two steps back–again and again, twirls and zigzags, abrupt stops and detours, a cliff drop here and there where I’m hanging by a thread, a long crawl back up, and yet another stumble. I’ve battled abandonment issues, food addiction, chronic illness, postpartum depression and more. I often wonder why I was put on this Earth to begin with, because compared to the amount of suffering I’ve endured, I’ve experienced much less joy in my life. Maybe this blog is why. Maybe it’s not. I don’t know, but I have to believe that He has a purpose for my suffering. Maybe that purpose is telling my story to let others know they are not alone or maybe it’s to bring hope to those who are currently enduring hardships and need some light shed in their lives. Right now, I’m needing some light too. I’ll be honest. Today, I don’t have a lot of hope myself, but perhaps, as I write, I’ll find some in this blog as well, because this last week-heck this last year—or three, have been really, really rough.

A couple of weeks ago, the waves of life came crashing down yet again, just when we were beginning to get settled into our cozy little cabin in Alaska. This cabin, we found out, had toxic mold, so we had to move a second time. Not only that though, less than a week moved in and we have run into problem after problem with this newest abode. I noticed I was becoming REALLY angry-like blood boiling angry, and I know there is always something more behind the anger so I started digging around and realized that I’m struggling with acceptance. I have been in a full blown boxing match fighting with reality because I don’t like the temporary living situation we are currently in and since I haven’t been able to accept it, it’s causing me more suffering and more frustration. I don’t know why our lives have been full of trials-so many, many trials. But as I write this, I can see how exhausting and futile it has been to fight against the things I cannot change, so I must accept our current circumstances as they are for the moment. This doesn’t mean I have to like them or approve of them or that these circumstances are what I’m choosing, but they are what they are for right now. The more I resist, the more I will suffer, so I will choose the less painful road this time. I will be thankful for the things I do have and look for the lesson, while continuing to hope in the One who has carried me this far.

Tonight, as I wrestled with anger and acceptance, I remembered a passage from the A.A. Big Book that had helped me in the past. I pray that this will help you too:

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation-some fact of my life-unacceptable to me. I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake…unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.” Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book), 4th Edition P. 417