daily devotional

There are a few areas of my life where I realize I’ve given up on me. I’ve looked at my own track record and counted myself out. I’ve listened to my fears and began believing I couldn’t. I couldn’t do more. I couldn’t reach further. I couldn’t expand and grow. I couldn’t overcome. You can paint it up any pretty way you please, but ultimately it’s plain old giving up on me.

I bet in a moment of raw honesty you too would admit there’s an area of your life where you’ve tapped out. You’ve surrendered to the resistance and settled into the easy chair of “less than.”

I wonder what your creator has to say about that? I wonder how he feels when his creation has surrendered to the pull of the world instead of the pull of his spirit. To the cravings of the wimpy flesh instead of the guidance of his mighty spirit. Here’s what we forget … regardless of our track record, God still see our potential. He still sees who he created you to be, because it’s still within you. Inside of you is all that has ever been needed since your first breath. The question is, how much will go unused?

Today I’m in Columbus, Ohio for a speech. I have been given the duty of inspiring an audience to embrace the ups and downs of life as the heartbeat of their very existence which keeps them in the game. To awake a resilience in them to refuse to flatline in their own lives. I will share the single thing that has most changed my perspective on life … daily photos. This is my 10th year of taking daily gratitude photos. Every single day of my life for the past 10 years has been documented in a gratitude photo. Yes, every single day. There were a whole lot of hard days within those 10 years. The day my daughter attempted to take her own life. The day my son left for the Army. The day I held the hand of my best friend as she took her last breath. And yet even on these monumentally hard days of life where my path was through the valley, there was something to be grateful for. A tinge of bliss, a moment of preciousness, a reason to be grateful. And each day, I’ve decided that’s what I want to remember.

As part of my speech I take the 365 photos that document the past year of my life and I show them in a 1 minute video. Moments frozen in time flash every quarter of a second, and in a matter of 60 seconds, one full year is complete. Gone. Forever. And I begin to think, even if I live to the ripe old age of 85, all the life I have remaining, documented in this way, would only be 42 more minutes.

I think about death every day, because I focus on truly living every day. I believe you can’t have one without the other. You can’t appreciate the preciousness of this life you have been given without the true understanding that it is coming to an end. My friend, you are dying. You do not have forever to do the things you want to do with your life. This is all coming to an end. What if it’s only a 42 minute movie left for you … what if it’s less?

I imagine looking back on my entire life as a movie. The scenes of every day flashing in front of me. And my creator says, are you proud of how you lived? Are you happy with how you used your years, your days, your moments? And then he shows me another movie. A movie of my life that looks quite different. A movie more vibrant than the first. And God says, “my daughter, this is life I created you for. This is what COULD HAVE BEEN for you if you wouldn’t have given up on you.”

What could be for you, if you don’t give up on you? What if from this day forward we just lessen the gap? Lessen the gap between the movie we’re living out with the daily scenes of our life … and the way our lives COULD be?

There’s a song called “Echo” from Elevation Worship which says “I’ve decided I’m not giving up, cause you won’t give up on me. You won’t give up on me.”

GOD WON’T GIVE UP ON YOU. Through all these years of you playing little and sitting it out, passing up the opportunities to step up to so much MORE in your life, he’s never counted you out once. Never.

In Matthew chapter 18: 12-14 Jesus says to us “Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn’t he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.”

Listen to me, your Father in heaven is not willing to lose you. He will go to the ends of the earth to find you and bring you back. Back to the woman he created you to be. Back to the life he created you for. Nothing you’ve done, and nothing you could ever do, will change that. He is relentless in his pursuit for you. Every single day he’s guiding you in lessening that gap … the gap between the story of the life you’re living, and the story of the life of purpose you are meant to live.

Today is another day in your movie. Let’s make the scenes match up. Let’s let them align. Let’s rise up with tenacious audacity, in bold confidence in the one who created us and STOP GIVING UP ON US.

No more tapping out. No more believing the lies that say this is all there is. No more settling for easy, because the life you want isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to stretch you and cause you to become MORE than you are right now, to dare more, to step out in faith believing God has chosen YOU to live this life that no one else can. It’s YOU. And you’re just the woman for the job.

There will always be someone who seems to have their ducks lined up better than you. Heck woman, my ducks are having a rave with the squirrels that run rampant in my head. Anyone who makes living well look easy has simply had a lot of practice and they’ve stepped into the grace offered by their Heavenly Father. On the inside I’m pretty sure they still feel pretty darn inadequate on the inside. They likely still tremble in fear. The worst case scenarios still flash through their minds. AND THEY MOVE FORWARD ANYWAY. They know God hasn’t given up on them, so they’ve simply decided they’re not giving up either.