INVEST IN YOUR TIME & TALENTS FOR THE KINGDOM.

When I use to hear the phrasing “investing in yourself,” I had a very negative connotation added to that phrase. And to be honest, I’m not exactly sure where I got those negative feelings towards that phrase. I have seen this phrase either really taken out of context or highly overused, so maybe that is why. I have also always thought of it to be selfish to invest time and money into myself. While I always wanted to either join a program or whatever it may be to develop my skills and giftings, I never thought of it as a “must or have to.” Honestly, I saw it as a waste of money for a long time. However, recently, within the past eight months, I have noticed a HUGE shift in my thinking and perspective in terms of what it means to invest in myself.

This shift in my thinking is what I want to share with you today.

When I started thinking more along the lines of developing the God-given talents and gifts that I have for His glory and the kingdom, everything changed. It changed the way I view investing in myself – because, in my mind, it takes the focus on ME and puts the emphasis on having a KINGDOM MINDSET.

Also, here is the thing you don’t have to spend a lot of money to invest in developing and enhancing your gifts. It could be as simple as watching leadership development videos on youtube, listening to podcasts, or reading books. These are all EFFECTIVE ways to shape and mold you, and they work all the same as investing in a program. So, hear me, you do NOT have to spend a lot of money if you are not in a position to do so.

However, for myself, I have invested in some fantastic programs that have drastically changed my life in terms of crafting my talents/ gifts. Those programs are: Own It Academy, which is run by Jordan Lee Dooley, COMPEL Training, which is run by Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Brush and Barley’s Procreate Course (procreate is an app that I use for drawing, making graphics and design). ALL of these programs are women-owned and run, which is a HUGE deal that God has used these women to pour into other women who are creatives. These courses have shown me that there is so much more in the world of writing, design, and creativity. AND, they have shown me that I am too talented, gifted, and I should embrace the gifts the Father has ingrained in me.

I never thought I would be able to say that I am apart of communities like this that are Christ-centered, with Spirit-filled leaders who do what they do to expand the Kingdom of God further. I am thankful the Lord has blessed me with the means to do so. If you are an entrepreneur, small business owner, creative, writer, literally whatever it may be, invest in yourself. Get a leadership development book, say yes to entering a writing program, do what you need to do to invest in crafting your gifts. We all have natural giftings and talents given to us by the Father, but without time and practice, we will never grow or develop.

Think of an athlete like a golfer. Majority of pro golfers have a natural, God-given talent and ability to hit the ball and succeed. However, it is the best of the best who go into the PGA Tour and play professionally. What makes them the best? The fact that they put in the time and effort to invest in their talent. They practice long hours, have the best clubs, work the clubs, and don’t stop until they have grown and developed their ability. We all have God-given talents and gifts; what are you going to do to grow and steward them for the kingdom of God?

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 & 11

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit  distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone  it is the same God  at work.

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit,  and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

GOD’S NOT WORRIED, SO WHY DO I WORRY?

You guys, we are living in some intense, uncertain times right now. I am not here to simply just talk about the coronavirus and entice you to panic or become fearful. I mean, between all the crazy going on with this coronavirus and our leaders guiding us and figuring out what is best for our country and the world at this time… I just want to encourage YOU today. 

I want to start out by saying, that WE, as believers, are NOT given a spirit of fear… we are not called to be fearful. Fear is of the enemy, NOT of God. As believers, we have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-control ( 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 ). I want to start off by saying this because this truth holds a lot of weight. This is who we are as children of God. We do not have a spirit of fear. SO, let me then say that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but of fear. It is normal to have doubts. It is normal to have those feelings of doubt or questions… but it’s a whole new ball game when you start to label yourself as being fearful and putting a label on something that strikes up fear. You see when you are fearful about a circumstance or situation ( for example, the coronavirus ) you are essentially putting all your weight and faith into the current circumstance. RATHER THAN, putting your faith into the one who is forever in control, which is God. 

So, let me ask you… ( and be honest ) WHERE ARE YOU PUTTING YOUR FAITH? Are you putting your faith in the current circumstance/ situation of your life OR are you putting your faith in God?

Throughout this whole situation that our country and the world have been faced with, I have held tightly to the word and God’s. God’s word is FULLY alive. Jesus is alive. God is in full control over what is going on right now and this is what I mean by that… He knows exactly what is going on right now. He is not surprised one bit about what is going on right now. He has always known. He is in control of the past, present, and future. Think of it this way, the Lord provides for the birds… who don’t hold as much value as us… so if the Lord provides for the birds and honestly, all of the animals, He will surely provide for us ( MATTHEW 6:26 ). In any season of life, God will provide for you. He is so dang faithful to us. I have experienced his faithfulness in my own life so I can confidently say to you that he upholds his word.

I want to leave you with these few points to think about :

  • God will provide for you, but it takes you to have faith in Him. If you’re a small business owner or if you are unable to work right now due to the coronavirus, instead of stressing about what will happen and the things that you need to take care of ( bills, children, food, etc) give that anxiety to the Lord. I know that’s way easier said than done… but please believe me. When you surrender any and all of your control or anxiety to the Lord, you will experience his peace and spirit of comfort.
  • Stay connected with your community. Yes, we should be complying with social distancing protocols BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay connected with your community. Take advantage of social media right now with facetime or apps to stay connected with your friends and family. For me, my disciple group downloaded the HouseParty App to carry on with our usual DG meeting. While yes, this isn’t “ideal” we have to make the most of the situation.
  • Take advantage of this time to dig into God’s word. Personally, I am using this time to spend more quality with the Lord. I’ve been studying the word/ devotionals, following my usual devotional my church has, honestly doing all the things I can right now to make the best use of my time. Currently, my church is doing daily devotionals and we have started online worship gatherings to hear the word and to still praise God.
  • God is in complete and total control over EVERYTHING. So if God’s not worried right now about what the next step is going to be, why should we be worrying? Think of it this way, God is the captain of our team. Since he is the captain, his attitude determines the attitude of his team ( the church ). God is calm, not anxious, and in control… therefore we should follow his leadership in being calm, not letting anxiety, and fear rule us. You may not have control over your circumstances, but you do have control over your actions and how you respond to the circumstances that surround you.

The biggest thing we can be doing right now is following our leaders, being cautious/social distancing AND  ( most importantly ) be praying and leaning into the Lord at this time. He will see us all through this, you can trust him on that.

THE UNEXPECTED.

What do you do when the unexpected happens.

When you don’t make the team you tried out for. You may fail your exam you needed to pass the class. You loose your job. You find out you are infertile. Your relationship crumbles into pieces….

AND you find yourself stuck in this rut. You find yourself confused and overwhelmed at the fact that you are now stuck in a place of “where do I go from here?”

I’m sure you have been there at least once in your life and if you haven’t, you will. God didn’t promise us an easy, perfect, smooth sailing life. Honestly, you wouldn’t grow as a person if you didn’t walk through those valleys.

John 16:33 –
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I have to remind myself of this verse more often than you’d think. A set back or an interruption in your plan for life may be what you need to reset your mindset. Your life and plan is controlled by God, not you. While yes, your decisions and choices are made by you because we were given free will, but your future and plans are in the palm of his hand. Think of it this way, God knows better than we do. We would be arrogant to think otherwise. God gives us those interruptions in life or set backs to put us in check. When we are faced with this situation, we should be changing our mindset FROM “Why is this happening to me? I know everything and I have my own plans” TO “God is the creator of the universe and I know his plans are greater than my own understanding. Lord your will be done and not my own.”

We aren’t always going to know or understand why things happen whether they are interruptions that throw us off course, but they don’t just happen to happen. It is all apart of a plan that has been designed for us and only for us.