I love organizing things.
Organization is just part of my personality and I thrive on making sure things run smoothly and in proper order.
Since fall is usually a busy season of life with everyone moving back into the normal swing of things after a fun summer, I wanted to offer you some organization tips I have that will help you keep your schedule more orderly this fall.
Keep a planner.
I love planners. They're critical in assisting you with keeping things on your schedule organized, so that you don't forget certain things. Most people nowadays keep track of things on their phone, and if that works better for you, that's great. For me personally, I prefer to have a planner that I can hold and write in and carry with me if I need to. Use your planner to keep track of deadlines, special appointments, or exciting upcoming events.
Work on your schedule ahead of time.
Yes, life happens, and yes, things don't always go according to schedule. But having a tentative schedule to follow is priceless in keeping things organized. Choose a day of the week where you can plan what the rest of your week is going to look like. I love doing this on Mondays, so when Monday comes around I scribble notes in my planner and make lists of my weekly goals. I also tend to schedule which goals I can complete on which days, which prevents me from procrastinating. And that leads me into...
Sometimes procrastination just seems easier. Especially if you're busy or tired and you just don't feel like getting stuff done. Sometimes a big bowl of popcorn and Netflix sounds much more appealing than working on that project due next week. From experience, procrastination only leads to more stress and anxiety when you have to rush at the last minute to get everything done. Be wise with your time and plan accordingly to get things done in advance. Save yourself the stress.
Have an accountability partner.
Do you have a lot in your schedule? Goals and projects that you need to get done? What happens if you keep a schedule full of all your deadlines and projects, but you're still struggling to get it all done on time? Get an accountability partner. Find yourself a friend who can encourage you weekly in your goals and schedule and help you stay on target.
Give God your schedule.
We can make our plans, but the Lord directs them. (Proverbs 16:9) If we are becoming so caught up in our own little worlds and schedules, that we miss out on the divine appointments that God sends our way, then we're not trusting Him with our schedules. Be open to interruptions. I know none of us enjoy being interrupted when we're working on something. But keep your heart open to the "interruptions" God will send into your day. Embrace them as His divine appointments and be willing to serve Him, even if it means putting aside your own goals or plans.
Do you have any organizational tips to share with us? What things help you stay most organized?
To the one who wants to give up...
Maybe today has just been a little more difficult than you would've hoped for. And maybe you're not really sure how to keep going on in this world that can feel so harsh at times.
Maybe giving up feels a whole lot easier right now than pushing forward.
There are so many demands that you face every day. So much on your plate that you're not sure how to juggle all of it at once. You've faced defeat after defeat in your pursuit of your dreams and you wonder if any of it is even worth it anymore.
Giving up may feel easy at the time, but giving up is certainly not what God has called you to do.
And in moments like this you can either choose to give up or believe that God truly shows His greatest strength in your greatest weakness.
I can't promise that your breakthrough will come immediately. Thomas Edison made over 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at creating the lightbulb before his invention worked.
You may face 10, 100, or more than 1,000 defeats before you finally get the victory you've been praying and working for.
But I'm asking you to believe with me in every defeat...with my God I can scale any wall. (Psalm 18:29)
With your God you can tackle whatever it is that has got you pushed to the ground right now. For in His strength, He doesn't tell you that you can just do some things. In His strength He tells you that you can do ALL things.
So keep believing. Keep pressing on. Stand your ground against the attacks of discouragement.
Don't ever back down from what God has called you to.
Your victory is coming if you keep fighting with Him. But you can't give up.
Not now. Not today. Not ever.
Keep fighting, brave warrior.
This weekend is officially the start of fall. I'm still trying to figure out how that happened exactly, but as I sadly wave goodbye to my favorite season of the year, I look ahead to this new season: fall.
The stores are already stocking every product you could possibly imagine in pumpkin spice and breaking out the orange and yellow decor. My sister has never been happier to go to Starbucks and indulge in their pumpkin spice lattes.
Fall is a beautiful season, and I don't want to miss it this year. How about you? Well, don't fear because I have compiled a short list of a few ways that you can get the most out of your fall this year! Ready? Let's check them out...
1. Go to a fall festival. I really hope your town has one because these are fun. And if they don't, you're always welcome to come to mine. I can't guarantee that you'll be able to say much when I'm talking your ear off, but that's besides the point. Fall festivals could be things like a pumpkin festival or an apple festival--anything fall related! Invite some friends and have fun with it.
2. Do a nighttime corn maze. I did this a couple years ago with some friends and we went in while the sun was setting but we stayed for awhile even after the sun had gone down. It was so much fun. My one suggestion would be to not try to take shortcuts through the corn in the dark because you can walk head first into giant spiders. I know from personal experience.
3. Pick your own pumpkin. Go to a pumpkin farm or somewhere that has pumpkins and pick out your own! Then have fun bringing it home and decorating it with your family. We usually enjoy painting Bible verses on ours or crosses.
4. Try a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks (or other fall related drink). You should try it just once for the fun of it being fall. Even if you're not a pumpkin spice fan (raises hand). Just try it.
5. Have a fall photoshoot. This is one I'm most excited about simply because I love photography. I'm so excited for the leaves to begin changing colors so we can go out and take cute pictures. Grab a sibling, parent, or friend and go driving around looking for the best trees and places to take photos. Dress up in cute fall clothes if you feel up to it and have fun!
6. Challenge your friends to a fall memory challenge. Fall can be a hard time to keep up with Scripture memorization as things usually get busy with back to school or other activities. Challenge your friends (and yourself!) to keep up with your Scripture memorization by hosting a fall memory challenge. Maybe after your group memorizes your verses, then you could take that trip to the corn maze to celebrate! ;)
7. Keep a thanksgiving journal. Fall reminds us of Thanksgiving coming up and as it approaches, why don't you prepare by keeping a thanksgiving journal full of all the things you are thankful for each day? This will prepare your heart for this special holiday coming up and remind you of how much you have to be grateful for.
How are you going to celebrate fall? Do you have any fun activities you like to do?
"You're too young to do that."
It's the words every child and teenager hates to hear. We don't like to think that we're too young to do anything.
But sometimes...sometimes we say those words to ourselves, don't we?
I'm too young to do this or that. I'm too young to pursue the dreams God has given me. I'm too young to make a difference for Jesus. I'm too young...
We think we need to wait until we're older, until we have more life experience, or we're more mature. We think that serving Jesus and making a difference for Him magically begins to happen when you reach a certain age or experience.
But what if that wasn't true?
Because here's the thing...it's not true.
And here are four reasons why. Four reasons why you are never too young to make a difference for the glory of Jesus Christ.
1. God has used young people all throughout history. Have you read the stories of David, Mary, Jeremiah, Timothy, or Daniel? And that's only scratching the surface of all the amazing young people God used to do His work throughout the Bible.
As a young person, David defeated a giant in the Name of the Lord. Mary gave birth to the very son of God as a teenager. Jeremiah was called as a prophet of God while he was still young. Timothy served God's church. Daniel stood firm for his God and faced the lion's den.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in Jeremiah 1:4-10 when Jeremiah is first called to be a prophet for God. Instead of falling on his knees in the presence of God and rejoicing in his calling, he did what so many of us do....he started with the excuses. He said he could not speak, because he was too young.
What did God tell him? Do not say that. God has used young people throughout history to make a difference, and He can and will continue to do so.
2. God doesn't care about your age, as much as He cares about how willing you are to serve Him now. God doesn't say, "Well, when you turn 21 or 25, then I'll start using you for My kingdom. Until then, just try to stay out of trouble." He doesn't say, "I can't use you right now because you're too young and no one will take you seriously."
Nope. Not once does He say that.
Because the truth is that God doesn't care about your age. God is concerned with how willing you are to live for Him.
Is your heart fixed on Him? Are you committed to Him no matter what? Are you willing to give up your own comforts and successes to make a difference for His Name?
Those questions matter so much more to Him than how old you are.
3. God shows His perfect strength in our weaknesses. 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that His grace is all we need and that in every single one of our weaknesses, His strength is made perfect.
If you think that your age is a weakness working against you, you're wrong. If you're serving Jesus and making a difference for Him, He delights in using your weaknesses for His glory.
There is nothing that He can't use.
4. You aren't promised a certain number of days or years. None of us actually know how much time we have here on this earth.
What if you don't make it to that certain age or number you're waiting for? What if you only make it to 16 or 18 or 21? We don't know.
Maybe all we have is today.
Did we make it count for Him?
For truly, when we come to His throne someday He's not going to ask us about our age. He's going to ask us how we served Him.
And I don't know about you, but I want to hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Every little girl dreams of a “happily ever after.”
Maybe her dream is a knight in shining armor who comes to rescue her. Maybe it’s a dream she works hard for that comes true. Maybe it’s living with as many kittens as possible someday. (Just my childhood dream? Well, then.)
After all, who doesn’t want a happy ever after? All the Disney movies portray it. Cinderella got the prince. Rapunzel got to escape her evil “mother” and find her true parents. On and on I could go.
If happy ever after’s exist in Disney and Hallmark, why can’t they exist in our lives too? We’ve planned them out since we were little girls. By such and such a date we’ll have this done and by here and then our happy ever after will have started, we convince ourselves.
But real life doesn’t always unfold like a Hallmark, does it?
So what then? What happens when life doesn’t turn out how you thought? What happens when life feels more like an “unhappily ever after”?
I don’t have all the answers for this and I can’t explain exactly why your life has taken the turns it has. But I do believe that it all comes down to this:
Do you believe that God is good?
Do you believe that when the Bible repeats over and over of the goodness of God, that it’s true? I’m not saying easy. I’m saying good.
“The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:9)
You see, when life doesn’t go how you or I plan, we don’t have to pretend we’re happy. We don’t have to paste on a smile and yell “plot twist!” We don’t have to pretend that things are going just how we wanted all along.
Sometimes life hurts and it’s okay to not be okay.
But in all of the “not okay,” we have to believe that even there He is good. We have to believe that God is the God of even the “not okay’s.” And that He stands with us through it, working to stitch every piece of our broken hearts back together.
And here’s the most important truth of all: God is good, and He is good to me.
“I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:6 NIV)
God isn’t just good to my parents or to my friends or to the people I read about in the news. God isn’t just good to the people I see succeeding. God isn’t just good to the people living the dreams and plans I had for myself that crumbled.
God is good to me. Right here, right now, no matter what I’m walking through at this moment.
Can you speak that over yourself right now? God is good to me all the time.
Believing this truth may not change your circumstances. Believing this truth may not take away the ache in your soul or all the broken parts of your heart. But believing this truth will change your perspective.
For truly, you can walk through anything if you believe that everything in your life He is using for His glory and your good. He is always, always good.
And most importantly, I believe He is good to me.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
I have a confession.
Sometimes I care too much about what people think of me. Sometimes I can be too much of a people-pleaser.
There. I admitted it. Can you relate?
Sometimes I want people to like me so much, that my desire to please them becomes exhausting.
I call people-pleasing a prison because when we try so hard to earn another's acceptance, we are living behind a cage of what others think of us. It's a prison that we don't even realize we've walked into.
Maybe we dress a certain way so that we fit in with all the other popular girls at school or church. Maybe we become quiet about certain things around certain people so they don't think we're "odd." Maybe we go certain places with some people that we would never normally go because all we want is to have a group to belong with. Or maybe we hide pieces of ourselves with certain groups because we just want them to like us.
All of those things become exhausting. And here's why:
Living for the approval of others is not what we were created for, so people-pleasing will always drain us of more than we have.
That is when the prison doors close and we're stuck there, not really sure how to make it out or not.
Well, if I talk about this or that they'll think I'm weird. Well, if I tell them I don't want to do that they'll stop hanging out with me. Well, if I didn't dress like them I wouldn't belong with them. On and on we reason with ourselves, trying to come up with good excuses for why we should stay trapped in a prison when the door is not locked.
Listen close so you're sure to get this, friend:
If you allow the approval of others to control your behavior, and ultimately your life, you will miss out on the life God has for you.
If you're living for the approval of the world and other people, then you cannot be living for the approval of God, because He is so different from the world. Living for God will make you stand out from others and it'll even make some people hate you (John 15:18).
You can't be both. You can't be a people-pleaser and a God-pleaser.
Galatians 1:10 says this: "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."
This is hard, isn't it? It's hard to admit that we've become prisoners to people-pleasing. It's hard to admit that we can care too much about what others think of us...too much that we sometimes compromise the approval of God to gain the approval of people.
Friend, people's opinions change faster than the wind changes direction. You can't keep up. You were made to please God, to live a life that honors Him and brings a smile to His face. He is the One who will never change and His opinion of you and love for you will never, ever change.
So who cares what the others think? If you're living for Him and you're pleasing Him, you're doing what matters most. Keep your chin up. Start being genuine and being you. Make decisions that are hard and that stand you apart from the crowd, so that you can honor Him.
Step out of that prison you've been living in as you try so hard to keep up with the others to gain their approval. Stop living as a people-pleaser prisoner. He has so much more for you.
Come on. Let's step into freedom and be God-pleaser daughters and sons.
To the one facing a broken friendship:
Sometimes it can be so hard to look back and see how much has changed in a week, a month, a year. It can be hard to look back and see how close you were to someone--all of the laughter, the memories, the moments.
Friendship is such a beautiful gift God has given us. A gift that brings joy where there is sadness. A gift that brings smiles where there are tears. A gift that brings understanding where there is confusion.
Friends are some of His most special blessings.
But what about when a friendship becomes broken? What about when hurts fester into wounds that take longer to heal than you ever imagined? What about when harsh words put distance where there was once closeness?
Just as with every relationship we are given, friendship can be hard. It can be messy. It can be painful.
I know we wish it wasn't.
I know right now as you stare at the broken friendship in your life that you wish things had turned out differently. Maybe you regret some things or maybe you're still stinging from what was done to you. Or maybe a little of both, because if we're honest none of us are perfect. And it is so, so easy to hurt each other when we're both imperfect.
I wish I could cup your chin in my hands this morning as you look at the broken pieces of the friendships you've lost and reassure you of this important truth:
You're worth more than what has happened and God is still in the business of making broken things beautiful.
I don't know what His plans are for you and this broken friendship that still keeps you awake at night with tears in your eyes. I don't know how He plans to restore what has left an ache in your heart.
But I do believe that He will.
He doesn't remove something from your life, unless He intends to fill you with something better. Perhaps He wants to fill you with more of Himself. Perhaps He wants to bring beautiful new beginnings into your life. Or maybe He does want to repair all the broken pieces breaking your heart.
But even if He doesn't, you must still remember that you are so loved. One broken friendship can't change that. You are loved more than you could ever dare to imagine or dream.
And you're going to be okay.
To the one who is afraid to start:
Starting something new is never easy. New beginnings can be more difficult sometimes than we ever imagined.
Maybe it's a new job or a new relationship or a new hobby or a new project. Maybe it's a new goal or a new vision.
Whatever it is, taking that first step to start is always the hardest, isn't it? For you never really know what lies ahead of the starting line.
If you're feeling stuck today and not sure if you have the courage to start whatever is new for you, hold onto this...every new beginning God directs you into, He is going to use in your life in some way.
Maybe you'll start and things will turn out great. Or maybe you'll start and fail and feel all sorts of broken. And that's okay too. God uses even the broken beginnings for His ultimate purpose.
Yes, new beginnings can be hard and scary. Starting something new can feel almost impossible. Because the past would love you to think that it is so much better.
But never, ever believe that all your good days are behind you. If you have the courage to follow God into the start of something new, you will come to realize that His best for you is still to come.
So be brave. Be bold. Step into your new beginning.
He has it for you, right here, today. And maybe the most important thing you'll learn of all...every moment can be the start of a new beginning. And every new beginning can be the chance for God to make you more and more like Him.
Embrace the courage to start. Whatever your "start" is today and whatever new beginning it symbolizes.