Closed Doors

The other day I tweeted this statement:Feeling  frustrated today? Keep in mind that a closed door can be just as holy and anointed as an open door.”

So many times in life we come to a closed door and we feel frustrated and defeated. In our humanity we want to try to find a way around the closed door or to pry open the closed door.

Why?

Because we have limited perspective….we see what is in front of us now and what we want to see happen (or make it happen).

Many times, when we encounter a closed door, we react as if God closed a door out of judgement, anger, or as a result of our disobedience.

However, I have come to learn in life that many times God closes doors for us out of love and protection.

He has eternal perspective… he sees every door and every opportunity in the light and scope of eternity.  His ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:9).

His closed doors are much better than my open doors.  He has a plan and a purpose for every door that he opens and for every door that he closes (Jeremiah 29:11).

Closed doors are holy opportunities to trust God as you walk with him. 

If you are dealing with a closed door in your life today- I encourage you to change your perspective about it. Instead of being frustrated at the lack of opportunity — trust God will reveal a new opportunity instead- one that lines up with his will and his timing.

“Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” Philippians 1:6 NIV

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Tweet This: “Closed doors are holy opportunities to trust God as you walk with him.” @ChristieLLove  http://bit.ly/1qoowHg

 

 

 

Leaders are Storytellers

I was listening to the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast earlier this week and was struck by his statement:

“The stories of our organization are the evidence of our caring.  You have to have a system in place for stories to trickle up to us… so that we can disperse them out. You have to be on the lookout for stories and find ways to leverage and use them! “

I have been processing the importance of stories for leaders and have come up with these five important reasons that we need to look at ourselves as story tellers :

1.  Stories are how an organization can keep score for how their vision is being implemented and their goals accomplished.

2.  Stories are the currency that leaders use to increase and expand the territory for their organization.

3.  Stories have a special ability to put a name, a face, and a circumstance with your vision.

4. Stories grip hearts and motivate minds to find ways to engage and elevate the cause that you are championing.

5.  Stories show others how God is at work in and through the organization that he has called us to lead- they are often invitations for others to pray about how the vision God has given us may play a part in their own personal story.

Leaders must: 

Keep their eyes and ears open for stories.

Have a system to record the stories.

Develop platforms to share the stories.

Embrace their role as the not just a vision caster- but also as a storyteller.

 

 

Tweet this:

Leaders must embrace their role- not just as a vision caster for the organization but also as a storyteller for the organization.  http://bit.ly/QdRlcn 

April Podcast

Ileadherchallengen case you missed the exciting news- LeadHer has launched a monthly podcast for women in leadership!

The goal of these once a month, 20 minute episodes is to discuss issues that leaders struggle with in a way that is relevant and practical to women on the front lines of leadership in their homes, businesses, churches, or communities.

This month’s podcast episode is on Time Management and is packed full of lessons I have learned over the years- I hope they both challenge and equip you to be more productive in the days and months to come!

 

Click Here to Listen to this month’s Episode

 

The Marriage Message

I love any chance that I get to speak and share insights from God’s word.  It is what I am passionate about… it is what I feel most called to do.  However, there is one topic that I have always struggled to speak into because it is the one topic where I feel like I am the least qualified.  That topic is marriage.

My first marriage ended in divorce after seven years and three beautiful, amazing children.  It was a messy divorce and both of us made mistakes and were guilty of poor choices and bad behavior. It was not my finest moment for sure; however, it was a defining moment.  It was a moment- a mistake that allowed to define me and silence me for many years.

I was blessed to remarry an amazing man who I love very much; however, our relationship (like everyone’s) has its own struggles and battles.  However; we have both learned from mistakes in our past and are committed to learning from them and pressing forward no matter what.  It is not always pretty… but it is always purposeful.

I do not draw comparisons between the two men or the two relationships… I do however compare the differences in myself. Where I used to see a very self-centered woman that was focused on her desires and comfort– I now see a woman who desires to be God-centered versus self-centered.  I still fail… frequently.  Yet, I keep trying to readjust my focus and my perspective so that it is no longer on the trinity of me, myself, and I but rather on the only one that really matters- The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Recently, I have realized that by allowing that mistake to define me and silence me on the topic of marriage – I was reserving a piece of myself and not allowing God to fully work through every part of me- past, present, and future.  I know from continuous first-hand experience that God specializes in using our mistakes for his message so when the opportunity came again to share a message on marriage… this time I said yes. In this message, I was honest about my shortcomings and pray that God uses my mistakes of the past to challenge others to avoid similar mistakes in their present or future relationships– not just marriages.

Stubborn Knockers

I recently read this quote by D.L. Moody that has been molding my thoughts recently:

“Our prayers often resemble the mischievous tricks of town children, who knock at their neighbor’s houses and then run away; we often knock at Heaven’s door and then run off into the spirit of the world; instead of waiting for entrance and answer, we act as if we were afraid of having our prayers answered.” 

I wonder though– is our tendency to run off into the spirit of the world a result of fear… or impatience? 

knockingThe imagery that D.L. Moody used of knocking immediately brought Matthew 7:7 to my mind. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (NIV)

Often, when we read this verse we want to infer that the door will be opened as soon as we knock.  However, there is no mention in this verse of when God will open the door to you. We are not promised a quick or immediate answer.

This same verse is translated slightly differently in both the NLT and the HCSB versions of scripture– they both read, “Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

Do you note the difference?

Knock and the door will be opened… implies an action.

Keep on knocking and the door will be opened… implies a process.

One of my very favorite books on the subject of prayer is Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker. The impact that this book has had on my life and leadership is immeasurable.  (In fact it prompted a #CrazyFaith journey to Washington DC a couple of months ago that I blogged about.)

In that book Batterson talks about how Circle makers are not afraid to pray bold prayers because they know that God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God. He goes on and later makes this statement of prayer warriors (AKA Circle Makers), “Circle makers have a sanctified stubborn streak. Most of us don’t get what we want because we quit circling.  We give up too easily.  We give up too soon.  We quit praying right before the miracle happens.” 

Bold prayers are prayed by stubborn knockers.

Stubborn knockers are willing to wait on the doorstep of heaven until their request is answered in HIS way, HIS timing, and in accordance with HIS will. 

Stubborn knockers are willing to knock on the front door, the side door, and the back doors of heaven to make sure that their requests are made known.

Stubborn knockers do not doubt the presence of God behind the door– they simply trust in his wisdom to only open the door when the time is right.

Stubborn knockers do not back down when others tease them or taunt them for continued belief that God can and will respond to them in HIS way.

Stubborn knockers are willing to endure bruised knees and bloody knuckles in their faithful persistence to keep pleading to God.

Stubborn knockers are passionate about the process of prayer because they trust in the powerful results that their persistence can yield. 

In Genesis 25:19-26, we read about Isaac stubbornly knocking on the doors of heaven on behalf of his wife Rebekah, who was barren therefore unable to conceive a child.  Despite what seemed like an impossible physical prevention– Isaac’s faith in God’s ability to overcome physical prevention kept him knocking with his bold request. In Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary he writes this of this request of Isaac’s, “The fulfillment of God’s promise is always sure, yet it is often slow. The faith of believers is tried, their patience exercised, and mercies long waited for are more welcome when they come.

After days of wrestling with this D.L. Moody quote I have come to this conclusion: I think many believers are less afraid of having God answer their prayer and more afraid of how long they will have to wait for God’s answer to come. 

What bold prayers are you praying to God right now?  Are you tempted to give up or give in because all of your knocking seems to be in vain?

 I challenge you– be a stubborn knocker.  Stand firm in the faith that God is not ignoring you knock… but rather he is lovingly at open doorwork behind the door working our problems out for his purposes. Keep knocking with confidence that when the time is right… he will open the door and show you his handiwork. 

If you are a leader… be a stubborn knocker on behalf of the vision that God has given you.

If you are a parent… be a stubborn knocker on behalf of the children he has entrusted you with.

If you are a friend… be a stubborn knocker on behalf of others.

If you are a pastor… be a stubborn knocker for those who fill your church.

If you are engulfed in conflict… be a stubborn knocker for peace.

If you are burdened by an addiction… be a stubborn knocker for freedom.

If you are struggling with illness or affliction… be a stubborn knocker for healing.

If your marriage is troubled… Be a stubborn knocker for restoration.

If you are in financial struggle… be a stubborn knocker for provision.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged… Be a stubborn knocker for energy and focus.

If you facing a difficult decision… be a stubborn knocker for wisdom and direction.

No matter the need… the answer comes through the willingness to keep knocking.

A New Year, A New You

Right before the start of the year, I was asked to speak at my home church- Northbridge Church in Springfield, MO about “A New Year, A New You.”  I felt led to share about the fact that to make the most of this upcoming year… we have to be wise about our time and the way that we use it.  The key to making resolutions into realities is investing time into intentional actions.

I shared with them that a key to managing out time well is making sure that we know our purpose and understanding the call that God has placed on our lives.  This is important because if you don’t know your purpose you can’t know how to invest your time with intention.  If you do not know your purpose you cannot know what to focus on and what to consider a distraction.

Once we know our purpose, we have to be smart about the way that we use our time to ensure that we are living out our purpose. I taught on a concept that I developed back in my days as a time management consultant called Time Zoning.  I am a big believer that there are six time zones that we need to have set up in our lives in order to live lives that are balanced and glorifying to God. Those Zones are:

1.  Work

2.  Time with God

3.  Family

4.  Fellowship

5.  Health

6.  Margin

I encourage you to watch this service to hear the details of these six time zones and how God may be calling you to invest your time with more purpose and intention in this new year.

The Need for More

On many days, life and leadership demand more of me then I have to give.  In years past, I have found myself starting out the new year exhausted and worn.  I had spent so much of my time pouring out on others… that there was little of me left.  I was making a HUGE leadership mistake… I was pouring out on others without prioritizing time to be poured back into. 

Of course I was still doing my daily quiet times… most days.  However, looking back in those busy seasons of life I notice something in through the perspective of reflection that I didn’t see at the time.  I realized that I had a pattern of treating my quiet time with God like an item on my daily to do list.  I had to read so many verses, pray for so long, etc… so that I felt like I had done what was needed of me.  I had to admit something hard about that season of my faith: My time with God was not fulfilling my needs because spending time with God was not motivated out of my need for him. 

Bam. That truth hit me between the eyes last year as I ended 2012 and started 2013.  So I made a conscious choice in 2013 to authentically seek him each day.  I did not give my quiet time a time limit… but rather I realized that I needed to spend time in his presence until I got what I needed from him that day.

The more that I am called on to speak to others… the more that I need to first let God speak to me.

The more that I am called on to challenge others… the more that I need to first let God challenge me.

The more that I am called on to make important choices… the more that I need to first let God guide me.

The more that I am called on to guide others… the more that I need to first let God fill me with his direction.

The more that I am called on to lead others… the more that I need to first let God lead me.

Some days I spend thirty minutes with him… other days I spent three hours with him.  The true mark of a good leader is not their ability to lead others- but rather their ability to be led by God.  

I learned three vital lessons over the course of 2013 that is allowing me to start out 2014 feeling fresh, renewed, and excited instead of exhausted and worn.  I pray that by sharing them with you they will challenge and change your leadership this year and for years to come:

1.  You can’t put God in a box anymore than you can place him on a time table.  If you really want God to work in your life and through your leadership then you have to give him space to work.  Giving him that space starts with confessing your need for him and allowing that need to be the driving force in your day.

2. The most productive time that I spend as a leader all day is my time with God. He is by far my most important meeting of the day because that meeting helps me to go into the rest of the day focused on his perspective instead of my own. 

3. The more that is needed of me daily the more time I need need with God daily.

 

There is a song by Matt Maher called, Lord I need you.  The words of that song have become my daily prayer as a leader:

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You…

I challenge you to take a few moments today and listen to this song.  As you do talk to God about your need for him as a leader of others and as a follower of HIM.