Growing Your Beautiful Life

Going with the Flow

connie koprowicz

Images of the Holy Spirit always denote an active, living energy and movement: Fire, River, Wind, Rain…  There is a natural flow to our spiritual lives and to any type of growth we experience.  But sometimes we get stuck. Sometimes our lives feel more like the Dead Sea than free-flowing waters!

I referred in an earlier post to the concept of Life Shapes taught by 3DM Ministries.  The triangle shape gives us one visual representation of how our spiritual growth can stay alive and flowing:

Triangle GYBL 3

JOURNAL PROMPT, Week 2, Day 2:  The process, then, starts up, flows in, and moves out. If we are always giving to others, but never spending quiet time with God, we are not fed. If we attend to our very close relationships, but don’t extend our lives beyond that, we are not living our fullest life. If we pray and pray and pray but do not connect with others at all, our spiritual growth and experience of love can suffer.
Some of us are stronger in one area or another – we all have different gifts and different comfort zones, and our focus may shift during different periods of our lives. Still, it’s always good to take stock now and then, and to stretch ourselves in order to live a rewarding life.
Take a look at the triangle image attached here – where are you strongest?  Where could you grow?  What are you happiest with in terms of your own spiritual practices?  What, if any, changes would you like to implement over the long term?
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:  God, our lives are busy. Sometimes our hearts are heavy. Sometimes we feel loved and sometimes we feel lonely. This life is often a mystery! Thank you for extending your Spirit to us. Thanks that we may trust your plan and know that – even when we are unaware – you are growing us into the fullness of our lives. Amen.
VERSE OF THE DAY:  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:18-19)

Where are you now … with God?

city bench picThinking about this topic brought me back to the time when my faith was new and, I thought, unshakably strong. Unshakably.  Well, as the saying goes, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

God is unshakable. I, on the other hand, can be knocked off my feet by life now and then, and during those times my oh-so-strong faith can be – and has been – tested.  Like the time I was assaulted.  My nervous breakdown. When my marriage went under.  Or when one of my children spent a winter on the streets lost in drug addiction.

Faith in God doesn’t make our lives perfect. God perfects us (rather than our circumstances) so that we can endure throughout the whole journey.  And actually – with God we do more than endure – we grow and we flourish over a lifetime!

Right now, I’m in a strong time of life. Despite some circumstances that aren’t yet what I would want them to be, my faith is strong and my focus is on “the Rock that is higher than I.”

Where are you now … with God?

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 2.1:  Take a look at where you are now in relation to your faith by filling in the blanks below and writing your thoughts once you’re done.
  • I would define my spiritual life as …
  • I believe that God is …
  • One thing I don’t understand about God is …
  • The way I prefer to communicate with God is …
  • The last time I truly felt God’s presence was …
  • If I could ask God one question it would be …
  • The way I nurture my own spirituality is …
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:  Dearest Lord, you go before us and follow behind us. You prepare a place for us and know all our secrets. You know our needs and you hear our prayers – those spoken and those we have yet to speak. Help us to trust the paths you’ve set before us, the soil you’ve planted us in, and the seeds of our spirits as we grow our beautiful lives. Amen.
VERSE FOR THE DAY:  O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. (Psalm 139:1-5)

Trees, Hills and Mountains Rejoice!

Welcome to Week 2 of BEYOND RESOLUTIONS!

In preparation for this week’s topic of Spiritual Growth, I’ve been searching the internet to see what others have to say on the subject. What I saw was that teachings on spiritual growth, for the most part, are so serious.  We’re advised to pray, to study, to be obedient, to focus, to reject the lies, etc.  There is truth in all of this, and these steps are important but …

Where is the J-O-Y ?  Where is the joy of the Lord?  Where is the celebration?  And where (and to me this is the clincher) … where is the focus on growth being a natural process?

There is a reason my coaching business is named “Growing Your Beautiful Life.”   The name itself grew out of many hours spent in the South Carolina marsh, Brookgreen Gardens, wildlife preserves and state parks.  As I observe the growth and cycles of nature here, God speaks to me, saying: “Growth in Me is natural. It is easy. It is joyous and renewing. Stop trying so hard and let it be. Let me grow you into your beautiful life!”

There certainly is no shortage of Bible verses comparing spiritual concepts to those in nature.  In fact, the verse that underlies my ministry is from Isaiah 55 (vs. 12-13).  I pray that you will consider these words and open your spirit to the natural development of beauty and energy and joy that comes from knowing you were born to grow your beautiful life!

You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.

God bless your week!

It’s a Beautiful Day!

I absolutely love this song by Jamie Grace.  I sincerely hope you all have a BEAUTIFUL DAY!

 

 

Where is God…

Flower orange

Where is God in your Beautiful Life?

The Heart of the Matter

As our BEYOND RESOLUTIONS journey continues, we are exploring our core personal values. Our values are usually deeply rooted in us – often a combination of the core seed God has planted in us and the values and traditions we have been taught by our families or communities from childhood.  Wherever their start, they do contribute to the core of who we are.
         When our values and our actions match up, life feels good and satisfying! But when there is a rub between what really matters to us and what’s happening in our daily lives, we can become discouraged, frustrated and lost in stressful despair.  
Feel free to participate in the following exercise and reply with your core values and your thoughts about how you are growing your life with or without them at the base of your decision making.
JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 1.4:  I’ve attached a list of personal values (see VALUES tab at top of blog screen) with instructions on how to narrow this list down to your FIVE CORE VALUES. Why is this important? Because your values drive your decisions. Your values – often developed through your experiences from the time you were a child – are a cornerstone of who you are.  (You will need to print this out to do the exercise).Once you have narrowed down your list of personal values, take a look back over your earlier journal entries. Do you see your values reflected in these thoughts? Does the “Where You Are” of your life match up with your values? If so, you are probably feeling highly satisfied in your life. You might have goals you want help reaching, but I’m guessing that your overall life satisfaction is high. If there are conflicts between your core values and the way life is for you right now, then you are probably feeling the stress, and your goals for the rest of this program might center around bringing the circumstances of your life into sync with those values to increase your overall sense of peace and ready yourself for external progress. As always, you decide.

 
If you aren’t yet signed up for BEYOND RESOLUTIONS, you might want to do that.  Participants who are registered receive daily emails of journal prompts, personal prayer, some one-on-one email communication (if requested) and have a higher level of accountability (which leads to a more complete and successful growth experience).  Registration is open until midnight this Sunday, 1/19/2014.
 
VERSE FOR THE DAY: “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”  (Daniel 10:19) 

Mirror, Mirror (Beyond Resolutions 1.2)

mirror mirror

Photo by Victoria Hughes, http://www.pistoldaisie.com

Welcome to the second journal assignment for “Beyond Resolutions.”  Today’s entry is all about perspective. The term “Selfie” comes to mind – so many people taking snapshots of themselves throughout the day for facebook or other social media. Today we take a look at ourselves a little more – from our own perspective, from the perspective of others, and from God’s eye view.  Which mirror do you use each morning?

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 1.2:  It’s all about perspective. We will continue our 
“Where Are You Now?” focus today by exploring how perspective effects the way we define ourselves.  
 
Your Perspective:  Write about how you see or understand or experience yourself in the following areas:
  • Personality
  • Physical Appearance
  • Emotional Health
  • Relationships with Others
Their Perspective:  Write about how you believe others see or understand or experience who you are in each of the areas above.
 
God’s Perspective:  Write your thoughts about how God sees you, what God thinks about you, how God knows you and feels about you.
 
Look back over these perspectives and note your thoughts. Similarities? Differences? Insights?  Feel free to respond on 
 
PRAYER:  Dearest God, I lay this day before you. I know that, however I happen to feel or whatever I anticipate might happen today, YOU know best and you desire the best form. Help me to walk in that knowledge, to trust you and to face the day with the underlying Joy-of-the-Lord in all I do.

Verse of the Day: Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the Joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) 

Finding Start: Beyond Resolutions 1.1

Start where you are noteMy first child was 6 months old when I returned to church after three years of trying the “I don’t need to church to stay focused on God” journey.  My life was messy.  My self-esteem – small.  My marriage and my lifestyle habits flip-flopped from good and respectable to risky and ridiculous.

As I watched the Praise Team sing their worship songs, I wanted to join them.  They even had extended an invitation to me shortly after I arrived.  I had prayed for God to lead me to a church where the arts were valued and music opportunities abounded, and here I was!  But that little voice inside me said, “Really? You would stand up there and lead this congregation now?  You think you’re living a good enough life for that?”

When I spoke with the pastor about this, he said something to me that has stuck with me ever since; something I have shared with others over the decades to come:  just start from where you are.  This simple sentence struck me as brilliant: just start from where you are. Of course!

My friends, you have no choice but to start exactly where you are today.  So the obvious questions becomes….

Where are you?

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 1.1:  Fill in the blanks below. When you are done, look back over your answers:  Do any make you smile? make you cry? get you thinking? spur you to action? Record your answers and your thoughts.

  1. My most recent accomplishment is:
  2. My best current relationship is:
  3. What I most enjoy doing on a day off is:
  4. I appreciate when:
  5. Something I’d like to change in my life is:
  6. I could use help with:
  7. I’m really looking forward to:
  8. What I like best about myself is:
  9. My physical health is:
  10. If I had no restrictions, I would:

Remember, this is just a start!  Also, please feel free to share your responses here.  We walk farther and stronger when we walk together!

PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, please guide every person who is embarking on this journal challenge. Help them to be open to what you would have them discover over the next 10 weeks.  Keep them safe and  bring them joy.  In love and Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

VERSE OF THE DAY:  But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  Psalm 5:11

Beyond Resolutions is Coming!

paul revere

Beyond Resolutions is coming! Beyond Resolutions is coming!

Well, I don’t have a midnight rider, but I do want to shout it out: our BEYOND RESOLUTIONS Journal-Coaching Challenge begins tomorrow.

I am accepting registration through next Sunday, 1/19/14.  Anyone not registered will still be able to access many of the journal prompts and blog posts here, but you will not receive the email support, personal prayer support, and activity challenges that registrants receive.

So I encourage you – SIGN UP NOW! This 10-week journal project is all for you; an opportunity for you to take some time in self-reflection, goal setting, and taking ACTION toward Growing Your Beautiful Life!

You Are Beautiful. Be Happy!

beautiful and happyMy cousin, Laura, shared this video with me today on facebook. She said, “It reminded me of you and how you always tell people they are beautiful.” How sweet is that?

The real kudos go to Trent Shelton (TrentShelton.com), a former football wide receiver who is now a motivational speaker, and the founder and president of a Christian-based non-profit organization, RehabTime.  Shelton spreads positive messages on the internet. Here is one result of his work. Check out this video on his facebook page. And remember:  You are Beautiful! Be Happy!!

(sorry, I couldn’t embed the video into this post. Please follow the link – it is safe).