How To Combat Fear When The World Is In Crisis

How To Combat Fear When The World Is In Crisis

  

Reading Time: 6 min 17 sec

 

How do you combat fear when you are in living in a state of crisis? Are you tired of the news playing havoc with your emotions?  Does each press conference, or latest update feel like a stranglehold on your desire for security?  Are you desperately searching for a safe haven in the midst of a storm?

 

     At the time of this writing, COVID-19 is assaulting the world.  We are daily hearing stories of toilet paper skirmishes, mask shortages, and how hoarding has become the norm.  The mainstream media continue to stir the pot of fear each trying to outdo each other with elaborate headlines. 

 

We wrestle with the idea (turned reality) that in our age of advanced technology, and strong healthcare systems, a pandemic can have such an effect on our lives. We subconsciously believe that we are too evolved for viruses that we can’t control. 

 

    But pandemics, wars, natural disasters, widespread poverty, and pain are not a new phenomenon.  These life-altering events have been affecting humans since the beginning of time.  We fight against it because it forces us to come face to face with our own helplessness, our own vulnerability, our innate humanness. 

 

    We are not God, and that is never more apparent than in a time of crisis.  You wonder is it even possible to live with peace when fear is the common currency? We are going to be talking about three practical ways to combat fear:

1. Fight Fear: Recount His Faithfulness

2. Fight Fear: Praise God When The Sky Is Falling 

3. Fight Fear: Practical Tips To Turn Your Eyes Toward Jesus

1. Fight Fear: Recount His Faithfulness

 

The Israelites from the Bible were very familiar with overwhelming odds and near-death situations. After escaping Egypt, the Israelites were caught between the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army pursuing them from behind.

 

I can’t imagine how terrifying and helpless it would feel to see a huge army, including 600 hundred of Pharaoh’s fastest chariots hurtling towards you, as you are stuck on the banks of the Red Sea with no way to get across.

 

The Israelites responded to the crisis in the typical human fashion, “They said to Moses,“Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?  Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14:11-12

 

When faced with overwhelming odds, instead of looking too God, they started planning their own funerals. They forgot that they served a God who had just unleashed his mighty power through plagues, rescued them from Pharaoh, provided a pillar of cloud to guide them by day, and a pillar of fire to guide them by night.

 

So, what do we do, when we feel like the world is closing in around us and there is no way out?  We need to learn from the Israelites and remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness.  Nothing that is or will ever happen is a surprise to God. He is not scrambling to try and figure out a solution to the issues at hand. When we are tempted to panic, we need to stop and remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness to us.  So, let’s get practical, shall we?

 

Recounting God’s Faithfulness Prayer Exercise:

a. Grab a piece of paper, or journal and a pen. Find a quiet place and get comfortable.

b. Optional -Light a candle as a visual reminder that God is with you right now.

c. Close your eyes and invite God into this time of prayer. Spend a couple of minutes in silence just spending time with God.

*If this new to you, set a timer for 2-3 minutes, so you are not constantly checking your watch wondering if it broke. 🙂

d. Ask God to remind you of his faithfulness in your life. Record those events by writing down any time, large or small, that God has shown up.

Option 2: If you are finding this is difficult, or you have a relatively new relationship with God, start by listing all the ways he showed up for:

  1. People in the Bible
  2. Members of your family
  3. Current Godly men and women that you admire
  4. In the lives of Christians throughout history

e. Post that paper in a prominent place as a daily visual reminder of God’s presence in your life.

 

2.  Fight Fear: Praise Him When The Sky Is Falling 

 

The story continues with Moses challenging the panicking Israelites to not be afraid and to trust in God.  With everyone watching, God made history yet again. 🙂  He saved the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians, by dividing the Red Sea and allowing the Israelites to pass through on dry ground.

Exodus 14:28 says, “The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”

 

The Israelites spend an entire chapter, singing a song of thanksgiving to God praising him for his mighty power.

 

I don’t remember a majority of the sermons that I have heard over the years much to my dismay. However, I once heard a pastor unpack the story of Moses and the Israelites in a way that I have never forgotten.  He said that the Israelites praised God on the wrong side of the river.

 

In the face of adversity, they promptly forgot his track record of faithfulness, and they demanded proof yet again that God was who he said he was. Anyone can praise God AFTER he shows up in a mighty way.

 

God is inviting us, built on our love relationship with him, to trust him.  To praise him when it looks like everything is crumbling around us, and the world is screaming, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

 

We need to remember that we serve Immanuel, which means God with us.  Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us of God’s character as it says,

 

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”

 

 

Will you choose to accept God’s invitation to trust him and to praise him on this side of the river?

 

3. Fight Fear: Practical Tips To Turn Your Eyes Towards Jesus  

Take a breath and remind yourself that there is nothing new under the sun. The Bible alone is full of men and women faced with extraordinary challenges, completely helpless, and chose to accept God’s help to see them through.

David hiding from Saul in the mountains. Daniel in the lion’s den. Esther facing death. Ruth facing starvation.  Baby Jesus and the threat of King Herod are just some of the examples.

 

I am always looking for ways to take head knowledge into practical heart transformation. I have compiled a list of practical ideas to help you when fear starts to creep up.   They are not in any particular order.

 

 a. Place Restrictions on Media Consumption.

I am not advocating burying your head in the sand. It is important to be an informed citizen.  However, be wise at how much control the headlines have over your mental and emotional health.

 

b. Set Parameters on how Long you will Discuss the Latest News.

 Along those same lines, be intentional on how much time you spend discussing the latest headline.

 

c. Spend Time in the Bible.

I would highly recommend reading through the Psalms. They are full of David’s sometimes brutally honest cries to God for deliverance.  I would recommend reading a Psalm or two a day and using them as your own personal prayer to God.

 

d. Don’t Isolate Yourself

Find ways to connect with others, even if it can’t be in person.  FaceTime, phone calls, text messages, and yes, even letters. Skype with your small group.  Get creative! 🙂

 

e. Memorize Scripture

The great Christian mothers and fathers throughout history have used meditating on scripture as a way to live in peace, not fear.  You can focus on topics like peace, hope, and joy.

 

f. Exercise

 This is so important to your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.  Go for a walk around your neighborhood, try out a new exercise video on youtube, play outside with your kids. The point is to get moving!

 

g. Be Honest With God 

Talk with God about your thoughts and feelings. Be honest. He wants to hear from the real you not the “good christian” you.

 

h. Eat Healthy Foods

 I know you want to indulge in comfort foods 24/7 to help manage the stress. But eating whole foods is crucial to supporting a healthy immune system. The little choices you make today affect your overall health tomorrow.

 

i. Get Rest

Don’t use the latest restrictions as an invitation to binge watch tv until one am. Be wise and set aside six to eight hours for much-needed sleep!

 

j. Engage in a Hobby that Brings You Joy

 Seriously, now is the time to try out that new hobby. This should be something that allows you to decompress and invites you to experience joy, wonder, and beauty in this world. Explore music, exercise, art, fix a car, learn to knit, try a new card game, or a new recipe.  The skies the limit and there are no acorns in sight. 🙂

 

To God be the Glory, Forever, and Ever, Amen.

 

If you want to know how to get started in living a deep life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families. 

What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to fighting fear?   Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!   

 

How to Spend Time With Jesus When It’s Hard

How to Spend Time With Jesus When It’s Hard

  

Reading Time: 5 min 41 sec

Do you ever feel like a failure when it comes to your relationship with God? Your pastor, your friends, and your soul all tell you that daily time is crucial for your faith, but you just can’t seem to meet consistently with him. 

 

You occasionally hear about the lives of great men of faith and something in you stirs, you long for deep intimacy with the Father, but that longing never seems to translate into real life.  You plan to wake up early and spend time with God, and then you oversleep your alarm. You know waking up early will never happen so you plan on meeting with God after dinner, and then your spouse wants to take you out on a date.

 

Every day it seems like your grand intentions of spending time with Jesus are forced aside due to something. Your kid wakes up with a nightmare, your boss e-mails you with a question, your spouse is watching tv and you want to hang out, the mountains of laundry that need to be folded, and frankly, you are tired and you don’t want to do something you “should” do.

 

Good things are truly the enemy of great things.  There will always be a thousand reasons, excuses, emergencies, and opportunities for you not to spend time with Jesus.

 

But what could your life look like if you spent time with Jesus every day? How would your heart transform? Your attitudes and your interactions with others?

C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, Corrie Ten Boom, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer all started their walks with God where you are right now! It’s not too late to experience a deeper life with God.

  1. The Foundation

2. Reordering Your Life Around Jesus

3. Tools for the Changing Seasons

 

 

1. The Foundation 

 

Your father in heaven lavishly loves you regardless of whether or not you have gone three days without spending time with him. He is not a punitive God, ready to heap fire and brimstones on your head. His over the top love for you is not based on your performance. There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less than he does right now. 

 

Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

 

This love that is overflowing with grace is the foundation for your entire relationship with God.  How can we go beyond a surface relationship with God? How can we experience a deeper life with God?   

 

First, by taking some time to ask ourselves, why do you want to experience a deeper life with God? Do you feel resistance to having devotions? List those reasons (ex. It seems like a waste of time, nothing ever happens, there is so much to do, I mess up so much that God doesn’t want to spend time with me etc.)  Really examine your heart and be real.  Is it because you feel like you should spend time with Jesus because that’s what good Christians do? Or because you know it will be good for you? What is your reason?

 

There is no right answer. Your father in heaven has been pursuing you since the moment of your existence. Regardless of where you are talk to God about your resistance, your thoughts, and feelings, and ask for a deeper desire for him.

 

Do you know that every time you show up and are present that you bring joy to God?  Every time you make the small choice to say yes to spending time with Jesus and no to something else (even good things) you fill his heart with joy.

 

 

2. Reordering Your Life Around Jesus 

 

A couple of years ago I trained for a half marathon. When I decided to race, I knew it was going to take more than a goal and fancy running plan. I woke up every morning at 5am.   I ran through blisters and cramps, I ran when it was the last thing I wanted to do, and I kept running when I was tired, hot, and discouraged. I ran for hours.

 

 I reordered my life to accomplish my goal. It took sacrifices. I went to bed earlier, I had to say no to some social activities, and I watched what I ate. I was single-minded in the pursuit of my goal.

 

The key to success was that I didn’t just try and fit my runs around life, I rearranged my life to fit my running schedule.

 

This idea crosses over into our relationship with God. If you have a desire to go deeper in your relationship with God, wishing won’t get you there.  To have an intimate relationship with God, you need to reorder your life around him.  It doesn’t work to make a goal, create a fancy plan, and then try to fit it around your schedule.  Other things will ALWAYS move you away from your goal.

 

It will take sacrifices. You might have to get up earlier, say no to a tv show, or time with your family.  But know that these sacrifices will pay DIVIDENDS in the future. You will be a woman who is operating out of your identity as a beloved child of God and that simple fact will CHANGE everything.  As you go deep in the love of God, that loves flows through you, and overflows on the people around you.  Your simple act of faithfulness will transform your family and your life.

 

Are you reordering your life around Jesus? 

 

3. Tools for the Changing Seasons

Do you feel like your time with God is boring and stale? Do you feel like you are not connecting with God?  Rest assured, you are not defective or a bad Christian. As we transition into different life seasons, the ways we connect with God might need to change in order to fit where we are in that season. Being flexible by not getting locked into certain ways of meeting with God can help you connect with him in different ways and at deeper levels.

For instance, you have entered into a very busy season either with your kids or at work. You are spending a large majority of your day in the car driving. This would be a great opportunity to change it up and start listening to an audio version of the Bible.

 

Or you find yourself slogging through current devotional (which you LOVED two months ago) and not really connecting with anything other than how much it is NO LONGER working.  This would be a great time to either try a different devotional or connect with God using art.  

 

Here are some ideas for how you can figure out what might be a good tool for your current season.

 

  1. Ask God what are you inviting me into?

 

  1. Ask yourself, what am I feeling drawn towards? Is there a devotional that you can’t stop thinking about? Do you get excited about the idea of using art as a way to connect with God?

 

  1. Try out different tools until you find one that seems to be a good fit.

 

 

Don’t feel the need to finish something. If a tool is no longer meeting you where you are at (you are dreading you using it) put it down, it may really fit where you are in a future season.

 

Here are some resources that might be a good fit for your current season.

IF you want to know how to get started in living a deeper life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide(below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families. 

 

What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to living life with God?   Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

 

How To Homeschool When You Wake Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed

How To Homeschool When You Wake Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed

  

Reading Time: 5 min 28 sec

We have all had those mornings where we oversleep and wake up to our kids’ incessant demands for food, justice, and love all at once, and at an unmistakable roar. We stumble to the coffee maker and pray that the coffee will be made at lightning speed as we listen to that roar turn into a circus.  We wonder why is there SO MUCH NOISE at 7am?! 

 

We dream of someone else sweeping in and taking over the chaos so we can catch a breather. Unfortunately, a large majority of the time, that sweeper is us. We heave a sigh and pray for patience and the strength to make it through the day.  As a mom (and primary teacher) it can be a bummer to know that you set the tone for the day.

                             Our kids can pick up on our moods through walls and at

                                                   opposite ends of the home.

 

They can internalize our grumpiness, our stress, and our impatience and it will come out in undesirable ways.  The Ron Hall quote, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” can be infuriatingly accurate.

 

So how do you homeschool on days that you just want to curl up under the blankets, put a pillow over your head, and restart the day?  How do you not just survive but redeem a lousy day?

We are going to be talking about eight tips for salvaging those grumpy days.

1. Keep The End In Mind 

2. Focus on the Have-To’s 

3. Follow a Rhythm

4. Go Outside

5. Focus on Relationships

6. Utilize Digital Resources 

7. Take Time for You

8. Simple Meals and Fun Treats 

 

1. Keep the End in Mind 

 

We need to begin with the end in mind. If we want to homeschool long term we need to be proactive in practicing self-care.  As a homeschool mom, it can be easy to fall into the trap of just going, going, going each day, which leads to a burned out, irritated mama.

 

We need to keep our long-term vision in place and understand that there are days when we need to give ourselves the gift of rest. I would rather move slowly and practice self-care than burn out and ship my kids off to boarding school.   

 

2. Focus on the Have-To’s

 

For those days when you can’t stay at home, I would encourage you to eliminate as many outside activities as possible.  Your kids would rather have a mom who is loving, kind, and present then a mom who is biting everyone’s heads offs as you rush, rush, rush to activities.  

 

There are some things that we are not in control of and can’t be postponed. However, you would be surprised at how many things we can adjust with a little creative thinking. I know you were planning to visit the library, grocery store, and soccer practice today but can they be postponed until tomorrow or next week? Will the world come to an end if your child misses one piano lesson?   Ask yourself what has to happen today and eliminate the rest.

3. Follow a Rhythm

On those tough days give yourself room to move slowly, whether it’s taking time to sip your coffee (instead of gulp), or by taking an extra-long shower.  If you have older kids tell them to go play quietly in another room and with littles allow them to play in a pack n play. Your goal is to give yourself grace and space to wake up and move throughout your day.

Kids thrive on predictability. Instead of removing all structure in favor of a lazy day employ the joy of a rhythm.  A rhythm has the benefit of a structure without set time limits. Who wants to be constantly chasing a schedule all day when you are already feeling out of sorts?  Give yourself permission to move slowly and rest of a rhythm instead of a schedule.

4. Go Outside 

 

One of the best ways to reset the day is getting outside. Even if you don’t feel like moving (I know that feeling), push yourself, and get everyone out the door. It will be worth it!

 

Go for a walk, visit a park, hike a trail. Time outside will increase your energy, decrease your stress, and burning your kids excess energy, sounds like a win, win to me!  

 

5. Focus on Relationship

Focus on savoring relationships instead of trying to knock out accomplishments. Do something fun together. Engage in a hobby or grab the art supplies and head outside.  

Today, I would encourage you to save your strength by avoiding areas of contention and set yourself up for success. You can do this by thinking outside of the box.  If you know that math will be a struggle, grab a board game. Snuggle on the couch and read a stack of your favorite picture books, or write a letter to a family member, instead of a reading or language arts lesson.

You can still homeschool by utilizing alternative resources to accomplish your objectives. Focus on relationships instead of crossing off to do’s and it will transform your day.

 

My Favorite Picture Book Series:

  1. The Katie Series                               by James Mayhew (Art)
  2. The Sir Cumference Series             by Cindy Neuschwander (Math)
  3. Magic School Bus Series                 by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan (Science)
  4. Ordinary People Change the World Series   by Brad Meltzer  (History)
  5. Mercy Watson Series                      by Kate DiCamillo (Language Arts)

 

My Favorite Games: See this post for more game schooling ideas

  1. Quoridor–      Logic  (WE LOVE THIS GAME!) 
  2. Story Cubes- Language Arts-Imagination
  3. Wildcraft-      Science Study of Herbs
  4. Ticket To Ride First Journey – Geography
  5. Sum Swamp–  Money Bags–   Clumsy Thief–   Math

 

6. Utilize Digital Resources

 

Give yourself the gift of letting your children learn from someone other than you.  Remember today isn’t every day, and your mental health is crucial to the long-term sustainability of your homeschool.

Take advantage of some of the amazing learning resources via apps, audiobooks, videos etc. Some of my family’s most favorite memories are centered around listening to an audiobook while coloring or painting.

 

Here are some of my favorite apps:

  1. Reading Eggs/Math Seeds
  2. Piano Maestro (Free)
  3. Duolingo (Free)
  4. Rosetta Stone (Check out this post to check out if you can get this program for free)

 

Here are some of my favorite videos:

  1. Travel with Kids Series
  2. Popular Mechanics for Kids
  3. Bob Ross Painting Series
  4. Magic School Bus

 

Here are some of my favorite audiobooks:

  1. Wind in the Willows
  2. The Saturdays
  3. The Boxcar Children
  4. Cheaper By the Dozen
  5. Paddington Bear Series

Also, my all-time favorite resource for slow days is Around the World Stories. You can check it out here!

 

 

7. Take Time For You 

 

While your children are engaged in an activity (or taking a nap), take advantage of the time by replenishing your soul. Spend time with Jesus, read a book, engage in a hobby or build a nap into your day.

                            Taking time to participate in activities that recreate you

                                             is crucial to your overall health.

 

8. Simple Meals and Fun Treats

I pull out the crockpot or fix easy dinners on tough days. This is not the day to be spending an hour in the kitchen trying out a new recipe (unless you love to cook). Bring out the taco soup and spaghetti!! Or call your husband and tell him its a Chipotle night! 🙂

 

Don’t forget the snacks! Yummy snacks like a cup of hot chocolate, fresh chocolate chip cookies, or warm banana bread can add some fun (and amazing memories) into your day.

 

Do you want more practical tips, AMAZING resources, and support on your homeschooling journey?  Join our community of moms who are pouring into the lives of their families through homeschooling. Grab your free 10 Tips to Finding Excellent Curriculum checklist (get it below) to help YOU on your homeschooling journey!  

 

 

What about you? What are your favorite tips for homeschooling on a tough day?  

 Please feel free to leave me a comment and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

 

How To Crush Your New Year’s Resolutions With These 12 books

How To Crush Your New Year’s Resolutions With These 12 books

Do you want to go deeper, in your relationship with God, in your marriage, do you want to turn your finances around, find freedom in a clutter-free house, and raise your children to love God in 2024?  Are you hungry for more? More of God’s presence, more of His wisdom, more of His love?

 

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.  As much as we laugh at New Year’s resolutions, the basic idea of setting goals is powerful. 

I have compiled a list of twelve books to help give you actionable steps to achieve your dreams in 2024. 

 

Readers are Leaders. No matter what job you hold you are serving as a leader in some capacity.  It is imperative that you continue to learn and grow as you mature. 

 

“You are the books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the people you spend time with, the conversations you engage in. Choose wisely what you feed your mind.” -Unknown

 

I have compiled a list of some of the best books ranging from topics on organization, finance, parenting, leadership, biographies, marriage, discernment, and how to experience a deeper love relationship with Jesus.  There are twelve books- one for every month of the year. Some of these books are quick reads, and some you will need to savor as you allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart.

 

I would encourage you to look over the list and start with the books that you are most drawn to, you will be hungry to learn as opposed to just wanting to cross another book off the list (which is only mildly inspiring).

Let us know what your favorite book is from this list and why you love it. 

 

Here is to our best year yet!

 

Here are my Top Twelve Book Recommendations for 2024:

 

 

 

 

! Leave a comme

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1. Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living  Tsh Oxenreider   Organization                                      

What is It About:

(Amazon DescriptionOrganized Simplicity’s aim is to convince its readers that simple living is the absolute best way to live.  Be it with house cleaning, family schedule management, personal finances, and managing the “stuff” you allow within your four walls, the only way to live well is to do so intentionally and simply.

Why I Love it:

Tsh is not only an amazing writer, but she helps you answer the “why” behind why we do what we do. Full of practical tips; from schedules, to cluttered closets, to finances, this book is the answer to addressing the clutter and chaos of life.  Get It Here! 

2. Surrender to Love: Discovering the Heart of Christian Spirituality     David G. Benner               Faith

What is It About:

(Amazon Description)  Through careful examination of Scripture and reflection on the Christian tradition, Benner shows how God bids us to trust fully in his perfect love. God is love, and he intends for you to live in his love. Surrender to Love will lead you to an unexpected place, where yieldedness to God frees you to become who he created you to be.

Why I Love it:

Are you tired of living a life of performance before God? Do you long for an intimate relationship with Jesus? This book is an amazing tool for uncovering the lavish love of God poured out on us.  After you read and engage with this book, your spiritual life will never be the same. Get it Here!

  1.  The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness   Dave Ramsey                  Financial Transformation                            

What is It About:

(Amazon Description) You CAN take control of your money.   Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? There’s one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that’s with The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition. Design a sure-fire plan for paying off all debt—meaning cars, houses, everything. Recognize the 10 most dangerous money myths (these will kill you). Secure a big, fat nest egg for emergencies and retirement!

 Why I Love it:

Unless you live under a rock, almost everyone has heard of Dave Ramsey. I had to add this book to the list because it transformed my finances, helped me become debt-free, and live in financial freedom.  This book is an easy and entertaining read (on finances no less) but it packs a punch. Financial Freedom is right around the corner for YOU! Get it Here!

 

4. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life

   Tish Harrison Warren                                            Faith

What is It About:

(Amazon Description) Christianity Today’s 2018 Book of the Year-In the overlooked moments and routines of our day, we can become aware of God’s presence in surprising ways. How do we embrace the sacred in the ordinary and the ordinary in the sacred?  Framed around one ordinary day, this book explores daily life through the lens of liturgy, small practices, and habits that form us. Each activity is related to a spiritual practice as well as an aspect of our Sunday worship.

Why I Love it:

 Do you ever wonder if you can truly be present to God while changing a dirty diaper, folding laundry, and running kids to activities? Tish brings to light God at work in the mundane tasks of our everyday lives. This is a very practical and encouraging book that women (and men) won’t want to put down. Get it Here!

 

  1. 7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness                      Eric Metaxas                                         Biography 

What is It About:

(Amazon Description) New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas gives us seven captivating portraits of some of history’s greatest women, each of whom changed the course of history by following God’s call upon their lives.  Each of the world-changing figures who stride across these pages—Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Sister Maria of Paris, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa—is an exemplary model of true womanhood.

Why I Love it:

 Eric Metaxas is not only a superb writer but what an inspiring book! He dedicates a chapter to seven women who exemplified Christ is such similar and vastly different ways.  You will be encouraged, captivated and inspired to wholeheartedly dive after God’s plans for your own life after reading this book.  Get it Here! 

  1. Death By Suburb-How to Keep the Suburbs from Killing Your Soul      Dave L. Goetz                                            Faith

What is It About:

(Amazon Description)  Suburbanites need to understand how the environment affects them and what spiritual disciplines are needed for their faith to survive and thrive. Goetz identifies eight toxins in the suburban life, such as hyper–competition and the “transactional” friendship, and suggests eight corresponding disciplines to keep the spiritual life authentic.

Why I Love it:

Tired of superficial faith? Want to go deeper with Jesus but not sure how?  This author stands out with his brutally honest look at the pitfalls of suburban life. Not a suburbanite? No problem, the truths in this book can apply to any follower of Jesus. I appreciate how he practically applies each chapter to a spiritual discipline. The only downside, I could find is that he (the author) can tend to wax eloquent in a few chapters. Get it Here!  

  1. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High       Kerry Patterson                                  Communication                                                                  

What is It About:

(Amazon Description) The New York Times and Washington Post bestseller that changed the way millions communicate. Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene and revolutionized the way millions of people communicate when stakes are high. This new edition gives you the tools to: Prepare for high-stakes situations Transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue Make it safe to talk about almost anything    Be persuasive, not abrasive

 
Why I Love it:

This is one of the best books that I have read on communication. It helps you think clearly, open lines of communication, and converse in a way that your audience can understand. It gives great tools for how to handle conflicts with confidence. Get it Here!

  1. Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey: Nurturing A Life of Faith      Catherine Stonehouse                                    Parenting                                

What is It About:

(Amazon Description) Understanding how a child’s faith forms is crucial to knowing how adults can most significantly enhance the child’s spiritual development.By carefully “setting the stage” through liturgy, sacred stories, and parables, adults can help children meet with God. Quiet times of “godly play,” carefully adapted to the age level of the child, enable adults to join with children on the journey toward deeper intimacy with God.

 

Why I Love it:

 Do you want to know how to introduce your child to spiritual practices beyond memorization and Bible reading? Do you want to give them spiritual tools that will change the course of the rest of their lives? This book is not only super practical but has put years of research behind the best ways of communicating with your child.  Dive into this book and set your child up for success, a deep relationship with God. Get it Here!

 

  1. The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery  Ian Morgan Cron             Personal Development                                               

    What is It About:

    (Amazon Description) What you don’t know about yourself can hurt you and your relationships―and maybe even how you make your way in the world. It can also keep you in the shallows with God. Do you want help figuring out who you are and why you’re stuck in the same ruts? The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively.

    Why I Love it:

 This book is more than a personality tool, it is a way of looking at your life holistically. It helps you become self-aware, understanding why you do what you do, and giving you permission to be yourself. It also shows you warning signs to look out for when you are operating out of an unhealthy place. LOVE IT!  Get it Here!

  1. For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men   Shaunti Feldhahn                                Marriage                                            

What is It About:

(Amazon Description) The man in your life carries important feelings so deep inside he barely knows they’re there, much less how to talk about them. Yet your man genuinely wants you to “get” him—to understand his inner life, to know his fears and needs, to hear what he wishes he could tell you.  Based on rigorous research with thousands of men, Shaunti delivers one eye-opening revelation after another, including:

Why your respect means more to him than your love.  How he feels deep inside about his role as provider. What it means for a man to be so visually “wired.” Why sex for him is primarily emotional, not physical. What he most wishes he could say to you.

 

Why I Love it:

This book answers real-life questions about men, is very honest (sometimes brutally so), and super practical (are you picking up on our theme).  An easy but poignant read, it gives you tools to help you love and understand your spouse at a deeper level. Get it Here!

 

  1.  The Season Nativity:Confessions and Practices of an Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Extremist                          Sybil Macbeth                                                       Advent

What is It About:

(Amazon Description) The Season of the Nativity – Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany – deserves more attention and better publicity. As the opening three acts for the liturgical year, it sets the stage for our yearlong journey through Scripture and salvation history. This book combines memoir, front-porch theology, and pages of spiritual practices and activities to invite individuals and families into a deeper relationship with a time of year you may have never discovered before. It gives simple tools and exercises for word-weary, distracted, and busy people – perhaps to experience a serious and playful nativity season for the first time.

 

Why I Love it:

WOW! I love this book for its clear explanations of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany and hands-on activities. The book is full of easy, and practical suggestions to create a meaningful season for your family that is focused on Jesus. You could not possibly do every activity presented so pick a couple to add each year.  Get it Here! 

12. Discernment, God’s Will and Living Jesus: Christian Discernment as a Way of Life

Larry Warner                                                Discernment

 

What is It About:

(Amazon Description) Want help in hearing and recognizing the voice of God? Do you desire to discern and live into God’s Will for your life? Far from the usual notion of trying to “discover God’s will” when faced with a critical decision in life, this book underscores the fact that discernment is foremost a lifestyle we need to cultivate. Written with warmth and wisdom, biblical, practical, gritty, and not always comfortable this book speaks to the mind and heart of every Christian who longs for a closer, more intimate walk with Jesus.

Why I Love it:

Do you ever struggle with knowing the answer to a difficult decision? The saying, “What would Jesus do?” just really doesn’t cut in crucial situations.  This book is all about developing a discerning lifestyle with practical suggestins for everyday life. Larry takes the “mystery” out of Christian discernment. A challenging read that offers practical tools for hearing God’s voice. Get it Here! 

 

 

 What about you? What books would you add to this list?

Please feel free to leave me a comment and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work  on Pinterest!e a comment, and d

Worn Out? How to Replenish your Soul with this One Life Hack

Worn Out? How to Replenish your Soul with this One Life Hack

 

  Reading Time: 6 min 4 sec

 

Do you ever feel like you are moving so fast that you can’t catch your breath?  That if one more thing is put on your plate you are going to sit in a corner and cry?  You miss your family, deep conversations with your spouse, and a break from ferrying the kids to different activities, and the endless routine tasks? You spend so much energy keeping all the balls in the air that it can feel like you are just running around in circles.

 

I will get a break, you laugh to your friends, when Tommy’s basketball season is over, when I complete this major project for work, when my daughter stops teething, when we take that vacation.  It’s funny how postponing works, rest is so elusive, always in the future, always just out of reach.

 

You read the passage, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt. 11:28-30 MSG) and you have to laugh, because when have you ever lived freely and lightly? 

 

In a culture that celebrates workaholism, rest can be seen as a weakness.  We celebrate the “super mom” who can make that partnership at her firm while juggling the PTA, homework, children’s activities, homecooked meals, and perfectly clean bathrooms (come to my house, please), when that picture is just as unattainable as an airbrushed supermodel in a magazine.  As a culture, we act shocked (and judgmental) when we discover that “super mom” is a myth.

 

Unlike the world who measures our worth by our accomplishments, and the number of activities we can juggle, God has another way.

 

Imagine God smiling softly on you and saying, “Listen, I love you. My love for you is beyond your comprehension. I love you so much that I don’t want you to implode.  I designed your body to need rest, and the pace you are setting is not sustainable. Come with me… I have a plan already in place.  I will show you a world of deep abiding rest, a place where you can learn what it means to live freely and lightly.”

 

So worn out, burned out, and tired mom, join us as we discover a life hack that could save your health, your relationships, and your faith.

 

 

1. What is Sabbath?       

 

2. The Best Day of the Week

3. Practical Ideas for Your Sabbath

 

  1. What is Sabbath?

The Sabbath is a day where we set aside work, and activity to find abiding rest and delight in God’s presence. The Sabbath has been around from the beginning of time, though it has been observed on different days. And God from the very beginning acted as our model for how we should arrange our day to day lives.  

 

In Genesis 2:2-4 it says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

 

God values rest, and He designed us as humans, not robots, who need rest in order to serve and live well.  Eugene Peterson says that, “Sabbath is that uncluttered time and space in which we can distance ourselves from our own activities enough to see what God is doing.

 

It’s hard to be present with anyone when our mind is traveling a million miles a minute, and we are trying to mentally juggle our schedule, worries, and responsibilities in our head. We learn that if we want to hear God’s voice, deepen our relationship with Him, and find deep soul rest from the demands of this life, we need to set aside time to rest and recharge.

 

Ruth Haley Barton in her book Sacred Rhythms describes the practice of Sabbath this way, “The point of Sabbath Is to honor our need for a sane rhythm of work and rest. It is to honor the body’s need for rest, the spirits need for replenishment, and the souls need to delight itself in God for God’s own sake. It begins with a willingness to acknowledge the limits of our humanness and take steps to live more graciously within the order of things.”

 

Observing the Sabbath is a very counter-cultural activity, a time when the world saying you don’t have time to relax; God is asking you to slow down and learn the rhythms of rest.

 

I would challenge you to set aside time, this week, to rest in God’s presence.  

 

2. The Best Day of the Week

In the Sabbath, God is giving you not only permission but encouragement to play! The Sabbath should be the best day of your week! Seriously, it is a day when you get to set aside your to-do list, your worries, your dreams for the future, and just BE finding rest and delight in God’s presence.

 

You will accomplish more in your week as a rested individual than if you spend seven days a week and all of your energy at work. Wayne Mueller in his book, Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest,says it poignantly, “If we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath – our pneumonia, our cancer, our heart attack, our accidents create Sabbath for us.

 

Taking a day of rest to realign your heart, and soul to Jesus is crucial to your (and your FAMILY’S) overall health. You are modeling sustainable practices that your children will take with them for the rest of their lives.  

 

It’s a given that you will need to make some changes your schedule in order to make this happen. Creating a lifestyle, where you take off a day to recharg takes practice and effort. You can ease into it by making small changes each week.  Know that it won’t be perfect, it will definitely be messy, but it will be worth it! 🙂

 

So, what does Sabbath look like in real life?

 It will look different for everyone, but it should be the most anticipated day of the week. Sabbath is centered around worshipping Jesus in community, and time spent with family and friends.  We plan a rotation of our favorite meals and prep them on Saturday.  We have spent our Sundays taking walks, and naps, having quality conversations, playing games, participating in joy-filled hobbies, and time spent just being present with Jesus.

I would encourage you to walk slow, finding joy in being present with your loved ones and with God on this holy day.

3. Practical Ideas for Your Sabbath

 

Here is a list of practical ideas to jumpstart your own rhythm of Sabbath rest. Your day might look completely different from mine and that is okay!   

 

1. Sleep In

2. Participate in Joy-Filled Hobbies

3. Feast Day- We eat our favorite meals and desserts on this day!

4. Worship God in Community

5. Reflection- Reflect over the past week, where did you see God’s presence at work. Reflect over the upcoming week, what worries or concerns do you need to give over to God?

6. Have each family member choose one thing to do on the Sabbath

7. Take a walk– By Yourself or with family- Notice God in the smallest things of creation.

8. Spend time with Family– Put down the cell phone, and be present for your family.

9. Read a good book

10. Enjoy Silence

11. Listen to Music

12. Invite over Friends and Family

13. Participate in Art– by yourself or with your family

14. Reflect over the week as a family– What was the highlight?   Where did you see God at work? What are you looking forward to this upcoming week?   What do you need to give over to God?

15. Take a nap

16. Light a candle- as a reminder that God is with you and in you

17. Play with your family– Board Games etc.

18. Start a specific tradition for the Sabbath

19. Take a break from Social Media

20. Take a break from shopping

21. Give Hugs

22. Speak words of Affirmation-  over family and friends

23. Pray over the upcoming week

24. Spend time in God’s word

 

What about you?  What are your favorite ways implement Sabbath in your own home?  

 

Do you want more super practical tips on how to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus for yourself and your family?  Most Important Work is all about helping moms LIKE YOU with tools, to nurture a lavish love of Jesus in your heart and in the lives of your children; through creativity, curiosity and everyday life. 

Don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

 

Want to Go Deeper?

1. Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rythms of Rest     Lynn M. Baab

2. Sacred Rhythms         Ruth Haley Barton

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