I've moved

I've moved!
Come read my current posts at www.MukkoveJohnson.com
Buy books and stay up on book signings and other happenings, too.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A god Called 'Destiny'?

Isaiah 65
11  But as for you who abandon the LORD and forget about worshiping at my holy mountain, who prepare a feast for the god called ‘Fortune,’ and fill up wine jugs for the god called ‘Destiny’ –     
12  I predestine you to die by the sword, all of you will kneel down at the slaughtering block, because I called to you, and you did not respond, I spoke and you did not listen. You did evil before me; you chose to do what displeases me.”     
13  So this is what the sovereign LORD says: “Look, my servants will eat, but you will be hungry! Look, my servants will drink, but you will be thirsty! Look, my servants will rejoice, but you will be humiliated!     
14  Look, my servants will shout for joy as happiness fills their hearts! But you will cry out as sorrow fills your hearts; you will wail because your spirits will be crushed.  
I did a search for the word destiny in the scripture. Most of the time it is used referring to the destiny of the wicked or fools. Isaiah 65:11 really caught my eye. The people of Israel sound like Americans today. They have left the holy mountain, true and righteous worship, and now pursue a god called "Fortune" and a god called "Destiny".   The Hebrew word (meniy) translated destiny in
several versions is actually the word for a god of fate the Jews worshiped in Babylonia!

A god called "Destiny".  

I have been guilty of being in that camp. I have spent far more time pursuing a dream, not even working at accomplishing something, just trying to get the idea of the dream just perfect. 

I am not saying dreaming is wrong,  nor do I believe fortune is wrong. It is a matter of priority and purpose. There is no doubt God has purpose and plans for each one of us, good ones, too. However, neither the dream nor the fortune can be more important than pursuing God, listening for His voice and responding to it.  

A god called "Destiny".  
What follows is a stern warning. Death by the sword!  Those who do not listen and respond are condemned to die.  
The Lord requires that we listen and obey. His servants will eat, drink and rejoice! "My servants will shout for joy as happiness fills their hearts!"   His servants are defined as those who respond to his voice. They obey His commands.
I have seen in my own experience how holding the dream or vision of destiny too closely, esteeming too highly, causes a crushed spirit. It is God alone who can satisfy. 

A shift in focus is needed. The resources I have directed to seeking my destiny must be redirected. The resources must be used to learn to hear and practicing to obey. Fulfilling my destiny will be a by product. He will lead and direct me to learn skills, build relationships, make career moves, whatever is needed to have me in the place He most wants to use me. I will eat, drink, and rejoice along the way.   It takes so much pressure off finding a dream and calling, my 'destiny'.
I only need to hear Him calling.
I often think I need to see the big picture, what will it all look like, where exactly am I going in my life. (What is my destiny?) I realize now I need a far bigger picture than that. I need an eternal picture. I need a God big enough to trust with the next step one step at a time. A belief big enough to step out whether I can see the step or not, mush less miles down the road.

I will listen and obey today. I abandon the god called 'destiny'.

In our purpose driven world today have you slipped with me into have 'destiny' be a god instead of a tool?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Questioning: Who Am I?

Who do I want to be?
Who am I made to be?
What are my passions?
What are my talents?
Where is my voice?
What is my purpose?
What does it look like?

I can remember doing sketches like this one since junior high. I can picture specific ones, even a college art project full of questions. At first this was not a happy thought. I was quite discouraged to be swimming, maybe wallowing, in a sea of questions, again. Some of the same questions, still.

At almost 40 years old I'm seeing for the first time that perhaps questioning is just part of the way I am. I'm a thinker. I'm a planner. I've always felt wrong for all my questions I've always felt I should have the answers. I guess like question were bad if I didn't have the answer. I wouldn't be much of a thinker or a planner if I didn't see things that needed answers, would I?

It's not bad to have the question and no answer. It's wrong to dwell on the question without seeking the answer (wallowing - which would be why I was discouraged? Have been over the years?).

I thought I personally needed to supply the answer, like it wouldn't be okay to find the answer or get help with finding answers. Of course there is no way I can have all the answers to the questions I ask. I have God given resources all around, and within me. I am not enough by myself.

Seeing this thinking about questioning being wrong, needing to have all the answers written out it is obviously wrong. Having it within me I hadn't even seen it.

Jesus said "I am the way." The way where? Well to heaven, to eternal life. So much more than that, too. He is the way to answer my questions. He is the answer to my questions. He created me. He has plans for me, good ones! If he has plans that would be the answers I'm looking for.
Holy Spirit has sealed me and lives inside me. He knows all the plans for me. He is always communicating the Father's thoughts to my spirit. I have to learn to listen, choose to listen, chose to respond.

I believe seeing questions and seeking answers as part of my make up is another part of knowing my identity so I can pursue God's dreams for me.

Is there something about your personality that has frustrated you? Ask God about His intentions for that trait. Satan loves to twist our God given strengths and gifts to our destruction. Brought back under God's plan they will be part of reaching our destiny.

I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

This post is part of my One Word 2013 series. To read more search Dream on this blog.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Looking at Family Relationships

Strong people skills is one of those things that I have always said is a priority in educating my children. It is also a priority I feel I am falling short of all too often.

Today we started a project to evaluate our family relationships. The idea came from Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes... in you and your kids by Turansky and Miller. 

Each family has more relationships than we may realize at first glance. 5 family members is not 5 or even 10 relationships.

We began by putting each family member's name on the white board. To make it a little more fun everyone got their own color. We included God, so we have 6 people in our relationship map.

Next each person is connected to every other person. We drew their relationships in their color.

We are also in relationship with ourselves. That is 6 relationships per 6 people for 36 relationships! Give yourself some grace, that's a lot to manage!

We talked briefly about only being able to directly control your relationship with someone, not their relationship to you. We can influence another to improve their relationship with us, but not control their response.

The writing assignment was:
List everything good about one relationship. 
What needs improving in that same relationship?
What could I do to work toward making this relationship what I would like it to be?

We'll do one a day until we've gone through them all, including our relationship with ourselves.

My hope is we will each see insights into individual relationships by examining them one at a time. 

We'll have more discussion and hopefully set some goals of things to improve on while realizing there is good in every relationship, even if they sometimes hurt us or frustrate us.  With younger children simply talk through the concept. It's easy to see how we relate differently to each member of our family if we pause to look at it.

How do you help your children work on relationships?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dream Sketches, Sort of...

I went and overwhelmed my brain and my schedule this week.
Writing something worth your reading seems out of reach.
I'm sharing some sketches instead.
Being filled with courage. Having courage within. Encouragement.
Not really a sketch even, a thought in color?

How is your week?
Is there room for dreams? 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Let the Wind Blow: Revisit and Update

Maybe it the season. Maybe it's about dreaming.
I want to share this post again. The original portion was two years ago, updated a few months later.

A post about a storm in my life... (read the post by clicking the link below)
 Let the Wind Blow: I originally posted this in April. I really need the reminder today as the clean up continues. God is faithful, in him I put my trust. ...

April 2013
The winds of that storm rarely gust anymore. A great measure of healing has come. Most of the big trees survived and are doing well, some we're still loving and praying for recovery. I feel we're in a long winter. It's hard to tell about the flowers and the gardens. I long for spring. I long for big projects and improvements, but sense it will only be a season of cleaning, repairing, mending - being faithful in small things before larger things are revealed.

New winds are stirring. I pray for warm, encouraging south winds. I know there are cold, harsh north winds. This creates the whirlwind to transform me to His image.

While I long to see the end result I will choose to be content knowing I am on the Rock that will not be shaken though all else is shaken.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Disillusionment for Hope

I went to Webster to see what Daniel had to say about disillusionment. I found he had nothing to say. It was not a word in 1828. Well, he didn’t put it in the dictionary at least. One site online said it was first used in 1591, though Meriam-Websters site says not until 1855.  Anyway it now means “disenchanted” which means to free from illusion. 

This search is feeling like my search to find out that dream meant something that happens when you’re sleeping. Not really what I was after. I think what disillusionment means to me is confusion, uncertainty, and doubt - ultimately rooted in fear.

I didn’t like the definition of being freed from illusion because that would mean I had been foolish enough to be following an illusion. I think that’s exactly it though. Without meaning to or knowing it I was following the illusion of what I wanted my dream to look like. I was focused on the illusion of my dream instead of on the unchanging face of God, so when the dream dies I am disillusioned, and rightly so.

The first step to regaining hope is to lose the illusion. I tend to be very idealistic, which if I’m honest would mean I have illusions of what I think things will be like if my dream came true. I guess maybe I’m delusional? I have had illusions like:
  • being happy when this or that happens
  • I’ll be content when…. 
  • Fulfillment is in x, y, or z. 
  • if I could just get my act together...
This is hoping in the dream, or the illusion of a dream. Hope can only be found by focusing on the Dream Giver.   
There is hope because He is.
He is faithful. He is good. He is gracious. He is wholly unable to change or break a promise.
He is hope.

Have you been disillusioned?
What did you do?
Where do you find hope?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Trading Discouragement for Courage

 How appropriate that my journey into the word Dream has brought me to trading discouragement for courage. I have certainly been discouraged – this week even.  I need to focus on trading the discouragement for new courage.

 In the wake of dying dreams I have been disappointed and discouraged-even disillusioned.  I've had some really big dreams die. This week however it was a small thing that had me discouraged. I had an event that didn't turn out like I had hoped. I'm not sure why a few people not coming to an event would make me question everything about my writing. For a while it did though, a failed event meant I was a failure in everything, in every way. That's discouragement.

DISCOURAGE, v.t. discourage.

1. To extinguish the courage of; to dishearten; to depress the spirits; to deject; to deprive of confidence.

The great trade is that God always has courage to offer - His courage. After a much too long pity party yesterday, today I set out to find new courage. It takes courage to dream again. There are a lot of questions and hurts when a dream dies. In my pity party I was lamenting to my husband about where I should put my time and how much time I should put into marketing my books. Lack of courage reared its head when the most obvious solution was to personally contact churches about my books. "I can't do that." "I don't know what to say." "What would I present?" I was disappointed and discouraged. Courage had left me. "I'm not good at small talk." "I hate cold calls." "I hate feeling like I'm trying to sell myself or push my product." Somehow the fear makes me forget that I have a valuable tool to offer. 

 I'm in need of courage to revive my dream of selling books. I'm in need of courage to revive dreams for my future. Where do I start?

COURAGE, n. [L., the heart.] Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent part of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering.

Courage that grows from constitution, often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it; courage which arises from a sense of duty, acts in a uniform manner.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

The explanation after the definition reveals a truth. We can take courage because we will to but how much greater when the courage comes from God. We’ve read His word we’ve heard His voice so we are full of courage.

Courage comes from remembering who I am and who's I am. I guess dealing with disappointment restores courage too. I have to change my thinking to be courageous. I also need to change some actions. There are skills I can practice and acquire to give me courage. I can put together a presentation and practice it. Being sure I'm putting my time and effort where God wants it to go will give me courage.

 I know I can have courage because scripture repeatedly tells me to have courage. It's a choice - my choice. I can look at the mountain or I can look at the God who moves mountains. I will learn to be courageous.

What do you do when you lack courage? Are the helpful or hurtful?
Do you have any new ideas to try to gain courage?