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.

HIGHS + LOWS : APRIL – JULY RECAP

WOW! What a crazy, unexpected past few months it has been. Truly, I still cannot believe the events that have all played out these past 7 months from COVID- 19 to all the racial injustice in our country. Just in January, I was in a stadium filled with 65,000 men and women… of all different ages, different colors, different stages of life, all in one place giving praise and glory to Jesus. We were all there with one intention and purpose. Now, it seems like that was so long ago, in a completely different time. Things are just so different now and it’s weird knowing that we have to adjust to this new “normal.” However, ONE thing is for certain, regardless of everything in our world and culture changes (which it will) JESUS remains the same today, tomorrow, and forever.

As always, I want to remind you as you are reading this 4-month recap/life update – I did none of this on my own… ALL of the good, the blessings, even the lows I’ve walked through the past few months, it is all JESUS. He alone deserves all the credit and all the glory.

The past 7 months of 2020 has been a true growing season in listening to what the Lord wants/has for me and being open in going where I am being led. I have had to make decisions that haven’t been comfortable, say no to my flesh and yes to Jesus, and face confrontation (which is not my favorite thing to do… Can anyone relate?). 

Something the Lord has so kindly pressed more onto my heart the past few months has been my singleness. I think for a while I tried to fight it because what girl in her twenties wants to be single? Many of my friends are in serious relationships or engaged or married… so I think I’ve just been wanting to go with the flow.  However, God showed up and made it clear that singleness is a GIFT and during my singleness, I should be pursuing and running after Him rather than other things. Something clicked, a light bulb went off, and the whole idea of dating or being in a relationship was turned off in that moment of being quiet with the Lord. I can’t explain it fully, but I have never been more content with saying “yes Jesus, I will and want to run after you, and only you.”

Truthfully, I have never been happier just being me. I think singleness gets a bad rap… because society puts such emphasis on having someone and that is the only way you can have a purpose – WHICH IS NOT TRUE.

It’s completely counter-cultural to be single AND not talk or hook up with someone. We live in a world where it’s normal to hop around from relationship to relationship, claiming Jesus as Lord, yet doing relationships and sex societies way vs Jesus’ way… (I say this so bluntly because I have lived it and now understand the truth). We live in a hookup, shack up, break up culture… and again, it’s counter-cultural to do relationships and singleness Jesus’ way. I am grateful that God got a hold of my heart exactly where I am at – because now I know what is right in the eyes of the Father and how He does relationships.

So yes, I am completely content and full of joy with where the Lord has me (and I’m not just saying that to say it, I mean it!) At the end of the day, I know who holds my heart and has my best interest in mind. I know who has my story written, therefore I am not worried about what the future holds in terms of a relationship. For anyone who is single OR in a relationship and you want to take advantage of this gift/season – I recommend checking out Relationship Goals  by Mike Todd and Single, Dating, Engaged, Married by Ben Stuart!

Now that I have that out in the open… I have to say, July has been my favorite month this year (next to January)! The Father has been revealing His faithfulness to me as I have been taking steps of obedience in my walk. I have been seeing fruit from ministering to my 7th-grade girls who I lead every week (they have been the best part apart my summer). I had an opportunity to submit a writing challenge for the First 5app (w/ Proverbs 31 Ministries). I applied for bible college, AND GOT ACCEPTED INTO SCHOOL! I never thought I would have the opportunity to pursue ministry in this way, but God has continued to pull me in this direction. It truly is so exciting to know that my story is written and God is just showing up in His faithfulness to me.

What I’d love for you to take away from all of this is to be open to the Lord. This is what I mean by being open to the Lord – be willing to surrender your plans over to Him. My prayer for you as you read this is that you would walk open-handedly with Him and let Him guide your steps, rather than you seeking to take the lead. He is so faithful to us and He wants us to experience His faithfulness. I don’t think I would be where I’m at right now in my life if I had not taken the leap of faith to surrender my plans over to God.

So, here is to the last half of 2020 and walking with the Lord with open hands and an open heart!