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    WNY - Day 2

    Monday, July 28, 2008, 9:19 PM [General]

    I spent forever posting on this day, and it blinked and went away.  Logged me out and everything!  For now I am NOT reposting.  I can't believe this!

    Ok, I'm going to persevere.  The enemy will NOT steal my process or my joy!

    1. Authentic confidence is about what God can do through you, in you, and for you.  Properly preparing is important for self confidence, but that will never be enough.  When you realize that God is with you, you have an edge!  All things work to our good, so we have every reason to be confident, even when we mess up.
    2. Talent without the confidence to share it fully, goes undeveloped and underappreciated. 
    3. Authentic confidence is an attitude that attracts success, one of trust that believes that God will light your path.  Your path may be unconvential, and that's ok. 
    4. Authentic is your complete trust that what you offer to this world is valuable, meaningful and unique.
    5. People we place on a pedestal are not necessarily more equipped, just more confidence.
    6. Hone your skills, then believe in God's ability to open doors & increase opportunities for you! 
    7. Matthew 6:33 - focus on serving God, doing good, and being excellent, and He'll do the rest!
    8. Proverbs 8:35 - God can open doors you didn't know existed, and that are not dependent on your talent, skills or experience.  If it is what He has in store for you, His divine favor will be enough! (Joel Osteen & Joyce Meyer)

    Prayer - let go of fear and step out in faith!


    1. What skills or talents are currently going underutilized in your life?
    2. What are you busy trying to qualify yourself to do?  Is God leading you to gain more qualifications, or is your fear that you're not good enough and your sense that you need more credentials stopping you from stepping out in faith?


    Identify an area in which you lack confidence.  Make the decision to trust God to compensate for my perceived lack either through favor or Him leading me to gain more skills and experience.

    My thoughts

    So...this is so applicable to every area of my life right now!  The one on my mind now is my singing.  After the now two consecutive fiascos auditioning for worship teams, I got a vocal coach.  She is very good. She says I have a good voice, but it can be improved with technique.  Her parting words to me today were, "your main thing is your...issues."  Tongue out  She is now moving out of state, so today was my last day with her.  I'm left wondering, "ok, God, what does THIS mean?"  Just when I was building skill and confidence little by little, the plan changes.

    So I wonder, does this mean I'm not called?  Where is my authentic confidence in vocal ministry?  What talent I do have is totally underappreciated and unshared because I'm under a rock.  I have been busy trying to re-qualify myself with lessons and whatnot, but should I instead just sit still and trust God?

    I have not trusted God to compensate for me.  I have felt that my vocals are a black hole, that I am exposed as a fraud, incompetent.  I have not believed God would show me one iota of favor at all; I always expect to be rejected, always. 

    The hugest leap of faith for me is that second challenge:  trusting God to open a door.  Even now, I don't trust Him to find me another, better, cheaper teacher.  It's hard to confess that and type it out, but isn't it the truth?

    I take it to him in prayer...

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    Why Not You - Day 1 - Take Stock of Yourself

    Friday, July 25, 2008, 6:38 PM [General]

    Valorie is discussing how God has created us to be someone unique.  We have value beyond our own comprehension.  Our confidence should be in God--not in ourselves.  Confidence means trusting God to orchestrate our lives.

    The enemy of our souls uses doubt as a weapon.  When we stand still in fear, we deny ourselves our own opportunity for joy.  Our imperfections are used by God to grow us into who we want to be

    Don't "downsize" the dreams God has put in your heart!


    Confidence journal: 

    What's been your biggest obstacle to feeling confident? - Self-consciousness.  Always focused on myself, what little thing is wrong, what error I might make, what people might say about me, if people think I'm a joke.  When I don't care about those things, I feel very confident.

    What might be the key to removing that obstacle? - It's amazing what we say.  I have never really thought of self-consciousness being my issue, but there it is.  The antidote, clearly, is God-consciousness.  So, the way to remove self-consciousness is to be conscious of God and what He has truly called me to do and be.  That will take effort to refocus myself and my thoughts, and discipline to pursue Him more diligently.

    In what ways do you want to be different at the end of these 28 days?  Right down specific traits. Describe any situations that give rise to negative traits. - Clearer about what God has called me to do and be; confident in that call; confident in God that the things He's put on my heart I can accomplish; be clearer about the real source of my fears.  Less afraid, more joy, more peace, more clear.


    Today, identify one way you feel you're not enough (talented, good, attractive, smart), and make a truth listing of why you ARE good enough. - I don't feel I'm good enough vocally.  The TRUTH is that God has put a desire for singing on my heart, therefore I am called and He is equipping me even though the road is not easy.  The TRUTH is that I have downsized my dreams of being a soloist because of self-consciousness and people pleasing.  My dreams were big because God put them there.  The TRUTH is that I am a worshipper, and as long as my eye is on God everything good is possible.  I can sing, I do sing, I will sing.   

    Other notes

    • I can say that my dreams coming out of college were to work at a rape crisis center or battered women's shelter, and I've done those things.  I remember being "that girl," moving across the country, throwing caution to the wind and going for it!  I love that part of myself.
    • Valorie says, "If the dream involves something that God created you to do, you'll always be good enough to do it.  But that doesn't mean the steps there will be easy. about trust...God to orchestrate your life."


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    Why Not You (WNY) - Introduction

    Friday, July 25, 2008, 6:11 PM [General]

    Valorie Burton's audiobook, "Why Not You?" has us journaling for 28 days, challenging ourselves to gain confidence, assurance, focus on who you are, give yourself permission to be imperfect, stop competing and comparing, eliminate confidence stealers, and being our authentic selves.

    I am committing to completing this 28 day program.  It will allow me to take action daily over the next month, and to digest the information.  I never stop to do that--just take a minute, pause, reflect, and apply.

    Father, I am praying that I stick with it.  If I can do this, I can do the book I was reading.  If I can do that, I can go back to the two books before that.  I CAN stay prayerful and let you guide me.  I might even learn that it's because YOU have guided me to do so that I've stopped, paused, had a break, and not finished every single thing.  Perhaps I've been able to take the essence and apply it.  You are sovereign, and I'm honored that You love me enough to continually provide me with resources that help me learn and grow.  In Jesus's Name I pray, because I love You and trust You and because You are the way, true, and life.  Amen.



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    Waiting on God

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008, 9:42 AM [General]

    So, I bombed out at the audition.  Who among us is surprised?  Even in my journal reading, it's clear I was a nervous wreck.  I sounded horrible.  I couldn't "right" myself when singing off.  There was no way I was ready.  That doesn't mean I wasn't called.


    So, here I sit with may "ready" questions.


    1. I'm still asking the question whether I'm called to sing "up front."  I have signed up for voice lessons, and they start next week.  I will have an unbiased assessment of my skill then.  The "word" from men I've been waiting for.  I really hope she says she truly believes I have genuine vocal ability, and that she can help me get to my next level.
    2. I'm still asking the question of whether or not now is the time to go into my own business.  I've been off from work since Friday, partly sick and partly just taking a break.  I've been working from home and resting.  I'm right where God wants me:  alone and dependent on Him.  Praise Him!  I get a sense that I need to be home more for my daughter, but really, if I go into business for myself, will I be home more?  Will I be more available?  Kids really only go to school for half a business day. Can I cram all of my work into 9 to 1?  These are the questions I ask, but these are not the right ones.  All I really need to know is, what does God say?  He proves Himself mighty over and over and over again in my life, exceedingly abundantly all I can ask or think, ways that are much higher than mine.  Why do I doubt now? 


    I have the answer to question #2.  I know I'm supposed to be at home.  But how?


    I wait for the answer to #1.  I have another chance--they said to work on it and come back.  I have done what they asked me to do in terms of vocal exercises.  I now wait on God.

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    I'm either called or I'm not!

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008, 10:13 PM [General]

    So, I'm up for my worship audition tomorrow night.  Of course, I'm singing like crazy, trying to get it "perfect."  I feel like I'm leaving out the most essential part:  my God.  This is the WORSHIP team, not the singing team, not the song team, not the performing team, not American Idol, False's a group of people who are worshiping God in song, helping to usher in the presence of the Living God into individual hearts and into the sanctuary where the Word is going forth.


    Pastor Mark is so good about pointing out spiritual warfare.  It exists.  Today, I was almost distracted enough to spend my whole evening trying to learn the notes on the computer, because I miss-rehearsed a part.  How do you do that?  By not reading the music.  I called my worship leader and she didn't seem to be too interested in what I was asking (probably because I sounded very confused....zheesh.).  So, anyway, this is war.   How do I win a war?  On my knees.


    Father, I'm prostrate before you.  When I lie down to pray, you tell me to get up.  So, I'm up.  Lord, I'm before you with everything I've got!  I've got prayer, worship, and giving it all to you.  I've got a good sense of humor.  I'm willing to step out to serve you.  I'm willing to organize my schedule to be of service to the house of God (because it's not my time, it's yours; and it's not my day, it's yours; and it's not my calendar, it's yours).  I'm willing to give back to you the things You've allowed me to have.  I'm willing to battle my flesh to get down to the spirit of "the thing," be it weight loss, serving, switching directions, fear, whatever.  This singing in front of people...this is a true battle against the spirit of fear.


    Lord, I'm here to worship you.  Even though my dog is howling and barking when I break out into my worship song, I won't take it personally.


    Some Word for thought for me:


    Psalm 56:10-11 I'm proud to praise God,
          proud to praise God.
       Fearless now, I trust in God;
          what can mere mortals do to me?

    12-13 God, you did everything you promised,
          and I'm thanking you with all my heart.
       You pulled me from the brink of death,
          my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.
       Now I stroll at leisure with God
          in the sunlit fields of life.


       (From Psalm 118, TMB)

    Far better to take refuge in God
          than trust in people;
       Far better to take refuge in God
          than trust in celebrities.

    Isn't that what it boils down to--whether or not my refuge (protection from the elements, worry, fear, discouragement) is in the Lord, in Christ and not in whether I get on the worship team, or whether the leaders thing my vocal abilities are "worthy" to join?  Some part of me is waiting for mortals to tell me I can sing.  Why?  Why do I care what they think?  Why do I feel the need to be approved of by people?  What is my deal?


    Do I believe I'm called or not?  That's what it boils down to.


    So, Lord, back to You.  How about it?  Let's play the worst scenarios:

     "Thank you for your time.  You sounded fine, but your vocals were just a little bit weak in some areas and we really need stronger vocalists."

    "We prayed about it and we really believe that God is leading us to say 'no' at this time."

    "Wow, how did it go?  Oh, you didn't get in.  Wow...well, it's the Lord's will...."


    Lord, is that the worst that can happen?  How about 10 strangers being in there looking at me like I'm crazy.  Oh yes, I survived that more than once, and I'm still singing.  Ok, how about someone recording it and putting it on You Tube.  With a billion videos, who will care? 


    Father, please just HELP ME hold on to your word and, as it says in the Message, be PROUD to worship You, ready to stand in the sanctuary in front of whomever and just do it!  Help me to stand firm in my faith that I AM ready, and that You HAVE indeed called me.  I can't waffle every time I hear from someone who tells me their own story and theirs is different from mine...please help.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c
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    Thin Within

    Sunday, May 25, 2008, 9:52 AM [General]

    I started attending a group at my church called "Thin Within."  The group follows the curriculum of a book.  The book's author was not a Christian when she wrote it, but later came to know Christ.  She revamped the book and updated it with her husband, a doctor.  They both mention in their introduction how they were meandering in life for around 40 years (especially Dr. Arthur Halliday, who was very successful but unhappy) before they got the true revelation of God and their calling in Him, which of course stood out for me.


    The first day of class, the leaders basically told us what the book was about--learning to eat when your stomach is totally empty, and only eating until you're almost comfortable.  No diets, no foods to avoid, no number of meals or times of day to eat, none of that; just listening to the voice of the Lord as it manifests in your tummy.  Also, we learn later to ask the Lord when we do snack needlessly what we're really hungry for, and what we're really trying to feed.


    I have to say, I'm a little underwhelmed.  The group got on my nerves a lot.  The facilitator was pretty disorganized (but very nice and personable!).  I'm not sure where the revolution is to learn to stay hungry (basically).  Isn't that what diets do to us--keep us absolutely starving all the time so we think of food constantly?  That's what happened to me on Weight Watchers.  Sure, I lost an absolute ton of weight, but I was starving all of the time and I mean ALL OF THE TIME!  When I went back on it and used the Core program, I was then in a jam because I couldn't eat 70% of the food I usually eat.  How is that helpful?


    I know, I'm doing a lot of Israel-style murmuring and complaining when God is working hard to get me the information to take me to the promised land of genuine health and fitness.  Laughing  I guess I'm just bitter that there's not another way.


    And spiritually, let's call a thing what it is:  when am I TRULY ready to listen to God and give Him my whole life?  This is yet another area where I do my own thing (eat like a pig) and expect God to bless it (make me look like Constance Ramos).  See, here's the proof:


    1. No budget (my own thing) but tons of money (expect God to bless)
    2. No work, but plenty of money (see the $ theme here? Laughing)
    3. No cleaning, but order and organization
    4. No faith steps in my work or vocation, just miraculous manifestation with Foundational Gifts and consulting contacts


    The list goes on, and on, and on...


    I'm looking at 40 years old, to the glory of God.  40, the # of years the Israelites were in the wilderness when it should have taken 11 days...


    Lord, you ARE Lord of all!  Lord of me.  Help me to realize that.  Help me to accept it and rest in it.  And Lord, please show me the 11 day trip.   I don't have another 40 years to waste wandering and murmuring.  Please show me the promised land in my own body--how a healthy, cancer-free, strong, good size body works and operates as a tool of advancement in Your kingdom, to Your glory, for Your purpose, in a life that is abundant and can fully be enjoyed.  I pray, Amen.

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    What is WRONG with me?

    Saturday, March 1, 2008, 5:21 PM [General]

    For a few days, I've been in the bluest of funks.  Why?  God is so very good, gracious and kind.  He is loving and merciful.  Why can't  be the same?  He's snatched me from the jaws of death.  I continue to get good reports about my health.  I got a good review at work.  We're getting a new house.  What is wrong with me?

    I have a cold/flu, and that has had me down for days.  But emotionally, I haven't felt this low in a long, long time.  I had it out with my daughter last night in a bad way.  Here it is 5pm the next day, and I can't show her any love.  A friend hurt my feelings last week.  Have I gotten off of it?  No.  It's not like me to hold a grudge and be unforgiving. 

    I know spiritually unforgiveness opens the door of the enemy, but for some reason I can't seem to pull myself out.  I'd run screaming, but I have no energy at all.  I don't even have the strength to put myself in a bathtub, to relax.  I haven't prayed for others--my absolutely favorite thing to do.  What is wrong with me?

    Father, please help me.  What can I do to pull out of this very blue funk?

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    On the cusp of something great!

    Sunday, February 17, 2008, 8:42 PM [General]

    My God is so very mighty.  We are in search of a new home.  This home clearly belongs to someone else.  I can't even get into it.  It's a spiritual thang.  You gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.  There's an earthly home for our family where peace will reign, where we don't have to live in fear and stress.  I know that the Father is ready to bless us with a home that we love, that we can afford, that will keep us in our neighborhood or move us to one that better suits us and the call that God has placed on our family.  My job is to stay prayerful, to listen to the Lord, and to trust my husband's decisions.  We are on our way, and I'm excited!  Laughing

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    Praise God for Life!

    Monday, January 7, 2008, 10:34 PM [General]

    Thank You, Lord, for creating me, saving me, delivering me, healing me, and blessing me!  Here it is, 2008.  I didn't think I'd live to see 1996, 1997...You show me that Your plan is perfect all the time.

     My plan and hope for this year is that I can be consistent in my study of His holy Word.  I long to fellowship with the Lord, to marvel at His truths, to walk with Him daily.  I want to know Him, and to know that I know Him, and to know that He knows me, and to know that I am in Him--I obey Him, I walk in love, I diligently seek Him. 

    When I'm in the Word, it's like I've been in a desert and then met up with some water.  I can't stop drinking!  And then it seems that I go back into the desert.  Why? 

    2008 does not have to be like 2007.  It's a new beginning.  God is definitely doing new and wonderful things.  This is a year of "finishing," where the rough edges are smoothed, where the dreams that have been put on the shelf are coming to fruition.  Fruit...bless the Lord!

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    Greater is He...

    Saturday, November 17, 2007, 10:28 AM [General]

    Father, in the Name of Jesus, I come to you today.  I am standing in agreement with several women on the breast cancer board, believing that You alone are our healer, deliverer, peace and joy.  Lord, I am praying for our sisters on the boards who have received bad news.  I am praying that according to Your Word in Psalm 112:7 that these sisters will have no fear of evil tidings or bad news, but that they will have their hearts fixed on Your report that says that they are healed by the stripes that the Lord Jesus Christ took for us.  Lord, you came that we might have abundant life.  Abundance includes a sound body and mind, that we be in good health and prosper in every area.  Lord, bless Tink, Nika, Laura, Lola, and everyone else who encountered bad news recently.  Hold them up, Father!  Please encourage them to believe You for their wholeness and healing, for their peace, that Your Word is true, that You are no respecter of persons, that when You healed lepers and women and rose children from the dead, You can and will do that in this day for those in need. 

    My heart is crying out to you.  I am so afraid for them!  Lord, help my unbelief.  Help me not to focus on who passed away, but more on those You have healed, delivered and set free as examples of Your power in this earth.  I look at Joyce Meyer, Dr. Betty Price, Mrs. Dodie Osteen, Mrs. Jan Crouch and others whose bodies you touched and set free from that demon, cancer.  I pray that we can keep our confessions up, that we can continue to proclaim Your goodness, power and mercy in this earth, which is so filled with unbelief, mistruths, and false gods. 

    Help us, dear Lord.

    I love and honor You, always.

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