Posted in Faith, Servant Leadership

Following the Wind

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Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved windmills. My heart would soar at the sight of a scene from Holland with a charming windmill surrounded by tulips. Today I am still delighted by windmills, including the looming white giants that dot hillsides and other landscapes where wind is present. Regardless of the type, when I’m around windmills I have feelings of awe, wonder, and peace.

Windmills come in many shapes and sizes, but the purpose is the same: To be moved by the wind to generate power in order to accomplish a task. The task may be to produce electricity, saw wood, pump water, or, as in the case of my beloved Dutch windmills, grind grain. The common factor, though, is wind.

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I want to be a windmill. I want my life to be powered and moved by the wind. Before you raise an eyebrow at my statement, it’s important to know that wind is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

At the time of creation, the Holy Spirit hovered like wind over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came as “a rushing, mighty wind,” breathing life into the Church (Acts 2:2). In an earlier scene, Nicodemus asked Jesus what He meant by being born again, and Jesus explained.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit (John 3:8).

There are two important characteristics of wind—direction and speed. The windmill is affected by both. The windmill sets neither the direction or speed of the wind, but rather is responsive to it.

My heart longs to be responsive to the wind of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is life-giving and produces spiritual growth. He seals our relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. He can be grieved by wrong choices. He is unstoppable and dynamic like a hurricane, yet gentle and refreshing like a cool summer’s breeze.

I want to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead for my life. May I never set my own course and make decisions based on my human intellect alone. I want also to follow His timing. May I never rush ahead because of eagerness or impatience. And ultimately what tasks will be accomplished? To glorify the Lord on this earth and to do His will.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives (Galatians 5:25, NLT).

Following in every part of our lives is a lofty but wonderful pursuit. We thrive as we allow ourselves to be carried along by the Holy Spirit. It certainly isn’t easy or natural. It takes mindfulness to say “yes” to the Lord and reject the tendency of our human nature. We must evaluate ourselves often by asking, “Am I surrendered to the flow of the Spirit or am I fighting against Him?”

I want to be a windmill yielded fully to the Wind. What about you?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to guide my life. Help me remember that He dwells in me and empowers me to live for You. Let me be aware of the Spirit’s presence. May I have a willing heart to follow His direction and timing for my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Posted in Personal Development, Vision & Goal Setting

Questions to Ask Yourself to Set Priorities

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Last weekend I had the privilege of coordinating a local conference for women in ministry called “Refresh.” It was designed to encourage women who invest themselves in serving their churches and communities. The focus was connecting with Jesus and connecting with each other. It was wonderful to see the Lord touch the hearts of women dedicated to service, rejuvenating them to continue their work.

It’s wonderful to attend a retreat, to get away and unplug from demands. But going from retreat to retreat isn’t the answer for staying refreshed. It’s important for men and women alike to practice strategies in order to serve well for the long haul. People in leadership tend to overcommit. We are a part of the 20 per cent that do 80 per cent of the work. Unfortunately, our faithfulness to get tasks done often crowds out space for the things God desires for us. We need to discern between good things and God things, so we can thrive.

Good things are indeed things that are good, but they aren’t God’s best things for you right now in this season of life.

God things are those things that God has asked you to do in this season, and He gives you the grace to accomplish them.

Choosing God things means setting priorities and saying “no” to good things without feeling guilt.

Admittedly it’s not easy to pinpoint God things, especially when we are surrounded by good things vying for our attention. There are seven filters that I find helpful to remove good things from my full plate.

  1. The stress factor. How much stress does this add to your life? You weren’t created for regular doses of stress and drama.
  2. Your passion. How passionate are you about this? Is this something you enjoy and love?
  3. Your strengths. Are you using your God-given strengths, skills, and spiritual gifts?
  4. Health assessment. How healthy are you? How much rest and down time do you require to care well for your body?
  5. Time management. We all have 24 hours in a day. Is it wise to spend time on this?
  6. Input from others. What does your spouse or trusted friend say about this?
  7. A sense of peace. When you pray about it, do you have a sense of peace? Pay attention to any unsettling or anxious feelings.

Be intentional about selecting God things, and thrive in God’s calling on your life.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I desire for my life to be filled with You. Give me Your wisdom and help me to follow the plans You have for me. May I honor You by choosing God things over good things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.