4 Ways to Chase Slow

I just finished the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. It was so good and exactly what my heart needed. As you know, I’ve been on this journey myself. I read Present Over Perfect a few months ago and it kind of propelled me on this journey. This book was just the encouragement I needed to keep going against the grain of more, more, more.

Both of these books really made my heart stop and ask, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10.

4 Ways to Chase Slow

These things are just things God has been teaching me. They weren’t necessarily listed in the book in this way, but just themes God is placing on my heart time and time again lately. I hope something here resonates with you, too!

  1. Say no. Say it once today. Say it again tomorrow. Keep practicing. It won’t get easier but you WILL get better at it!
  2. But say yes to what matters. Saying no to some things allows us to say yes to the right things! As an example, my schedule was freed up just a little bit when I decided to stop teaching piano lessons. While that was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made before, it has allowed me to say YES to more time for homeschooling and  time for exercise and cooking healthy dinners!! I’m saying yes to the most important things in this season! But it had to start with a “no.”
  3. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Keep up with God instead. Don’t look to the left or the right…don’t feel inferior because of what so-and-so is doing. You look at the path God has given you and put one foot in front of the other!
  4. Abide in Christ. Read John 15 and ask God to show you where you are abiding. To abide means to dwell. To reside. Where are your thoughts residing? What about your heart? Where is your heart’s home? What are you dwelling on more: Pinterest or God?

Favorite Quotes from the Book

“Ask an Ethiopian what they need and they might tell you with a wide smile: amassing is meaningless. There is only today, with holes in our pockets, with time spilling out. We cannot keep it for tomorrow. We cannot mend our seams to hoard, save, carry. Ask a bird how to fly, and it might tell you to remove the weight from your wings.” Erin Loechner

“Sometimes choppy waters teach us to sail better.” Erin Loechner

“We changed the rules, that is all. The instructions told us that hard work means logging a lot of hours at the office to pay for more things so as to appear you are logging a lot of hours at the office. The instructions tell us to work hard, then play hard, but mostly work hard. You can play hard when you’re dead. Isn’t this called responsibility? Isn’t this called wisdom? Straighten up, young man, you’ve got a mortgage to pay. 

We tore the instructions to shreds, and then, Lord, have mercy, we bowled. [referencing an earlier portion where they began taking “off the bumpers” of life.]

Ken quit Hollywood and began freelancing for film startups and marketing firms. I left the ad agency and filled in the pay gap with income from my blog. I began producing an independent design zine. We visited gallery shows and shopped artist warehouse sales. We went to the pier, over the Ferris Wheel, to the shore. We held hands in the grocery store. We once ate a pint of ice cream for dinner. For dinner!

…It was not without work. It was not all fun and games. It was not effortless, discarding the rules you’d memorized as a kid. There’s a reason those bumpers exist – so our balls don’t end up in the gutters. But Ken and I would never again step back into our life of fast, our Hollywood rat race, our productivity spin cycle. We had come to love our slower life – a life less stressed, less scheduling, less stifling.

For the first time in my life, I was beginning to see the appeal of less.” Erin Loechner from Chasing Slow

What do you think?

I would love some input from you! What are ways we can purposefully CHASE SLOW?

And, what books help you keep this mentality? I need to keep reading for motivation and inspiration to keep saying NO to the things I need to say no to in order to say YES to what is best for this season.

One such book that really began my journey of “chasing slow” was when I read Present Over Perfect a few months ago! This book was life changing for me. You can find see my video discussing this book and other books I read in 2016 here. 

Facebook Live Video Discussion

Happiness and the Christian

Are Christians supposed to be happy? Are happiness and joy really that different? What exactly *is* the difference? Aren’t we supposed to strive for holiness more than happiness? Was Jesus happy on earth? Is God happy?

The gospel is good news, right? If we believe it to be such, I think living lives of misery likely doesn’t do much toward showing others the love of Jesus.

My ideas about happiness have certainly changed in the last year or so. It started when I read The Happniess Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Her message so deeply resonated with me that I blogged about it, I led an online book club through it and I’ve given the book as gifts. The message has been further applied in my life as I have read 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life and 60 Days of Happiness: Discover God’s Promise of Relentless Joy by Randy Alcorn.

“Among Christ-followers, happiness was once a positive, desirable word. Only in recent times have happiness and joy been set in contrast with each other. This isn’t just biblically and historically ungrounded; it has undermined our understanding of merriment, pleasure, and joy. Are laughter, celebration, and happiness God-created gifts, or are they ambushes from Satan and our sin nature that incur God’s disapproval? Our answer determines whether our faith in God is dragged forward by duty or propelled by delight.” Randy Alcorn from 60 Days of Happiness.

I knew that my life as a believer would include suffering. I knew that Jesus suffered and so would we. I honestly thought that God desired my holiness and NOT my happiness.

God does call us to holiness, of course, YES. But, through our lives of obedience and service and living out the uniqueness of who God has made us to be…there is joy. There is happiness.

I don’t think that there truly is so much difference between joy and happiness. I think we use those words interchangeably and try to make joy sound a little holier. {grin} Not that there is anything wrong with choosing our words carefully or feeling strongly about certain words.

Did you know the Bible references happiness?

Have you ever read this famous passage from Matthew?

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Blessed = Happy

In the original language, the word that Jesus is using in this passage means happy. Hmmm. Although He uses the word happy, the things he tells us will make us happy are not traditionally thought of us happy things. Oh, but that is the way of the cross…that is the way of Jesus…and I think that is the key to understanding happiness as a Christian.

Happiness doesn’t look like what the world says happiness is. As believers, we can find happiness {and joy!} in things that the world may think are crazy. 

For the JOY set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. (Hebrews 12)

Finding joy in giving of your life on a cross?

There is joy to be found in living a life of love. Jesus was the perfect and ultimate example.

There is joy to be found even in sorrow.

There is happiness to be found in obedience.

There is a deep seated happiness in knowing our eternity is secure.

There is a blessedness in knowing Jesus and reminding our hearts that we are never alone.

Let’s take back the word HAPPY

So, I say it’s time that we, as believers, TAKE BACK the word happy. Let’s not look at it as a bad word. Let’s remind our hearts that joy and happiness can be very similar and both can be wonderful benefits of living a life in Jesus. Let’s not look condescendingly at people who use the word happy, but on the same token, if someone has a conviction about the word let’s show grace. Either way: grace. Whether you like the word happy or you don’t, there is grace for you.

And you know what? Grace is one of the ultimate happy gifts of Christ. Let’s enjoy Him.

Craving Connection

We all have a God-given longing within us for meaningful and authentic relationships. We were created with that longing because God desires relationship with His children. He created us for intimacy. But, getting to that place can be difficult for many of us. I have struggled with friendship over the years. That is probably why I love this new book, Craving Connection, from the (In)Courage writers so much.

This book discusses improving our connections with God, with friends and with our communities. Each day there is a suggestion for engaging those around you, a 3-4 page devotional, connection questions, a prayer and a challenge.

Simple challenges like “text a friend and tell her how much you appreciate her.”

How could your life be different after prayerfully and intentionally connecting with God, friends, and your community?

Craving Connection is a journey where (in)courage writers share real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to find out!

Craving Connection Devotional Kit

Along with the new book, the Illustrated Faith devotional kit for this month goes along with the new book!! It is BEAUTIFUL. Such pretty colors, fonts and flowers!

The new kit is also called Craving Connection

My Unboxing Video

 

Craving Connection Video from (In)Courage

Find the Book & Illustrated Faith Kit

You can find the book AND the devotional kit at Dayspring! 

Let’s Be Women of the Word Together

 

women-of-the-word-new

Do you want to be a woman of the Word? Me, too.

Join me beginning January as we begin our next book study with the book Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. 

Together we are going to grapple with questions like…

Why do we study the Bible?

How do we study the Bible?

What are practical tips for studying God’s Word?

How can we make our Bible study about God and not about ourselves?

In her book Women of the Word, Jen tells us that when we read and study the Bible looking to learn more about ourselves, we are doing it for the wrong reasons. The Bible is a book about God. We learn about Him, we look for Him, and we find Him.

This isn’t to say we don’t learn more about ourselves in the process, but HOW we go about our study will help us learn more about God, which is the ultimate goal.

Let’s study the One we want to become more like…

It’s been said that we become what we behold. Let us behold our God through the pages of His Word! 

 

Write the Word with us!

In the book Women of the Word she very strongly encourages us not to take verses out of context and to look at the Scriptures as a whole. I completely agree with this. However, before we look at studying a book of the Bible in depth, I would like for us to spend a few weeks looking at many passages about God’s Word itself. I want our hearts to be reminded of the importance and treasure of His Word.

Let’s see what God’s Word has to say about God’s Word. These are all verses that will stir our hearts to know His Word more and more!

I will be starting this Write the Word schedule on January 1st, 2017. Join me on Instagram if you’d like to see nearly daily morning nuggets of truth from these passages. 

women-of-the-word-write-the-word-plan-pdf

women-of-the-word-write-the-word-plan

 

Join our Closed Facebook Group

We will be discussing this book weekly in our closed facebook group! We would love to have you.

Click here to join our group. I will look to make sure your facebook account is a real person. And then we will approve your membership. Look for a notification for His Mercy is New Community of Encouragement.

Reading Schedule

January 6th – Introductions in the closed group – come by and introduce yourself!

January 9th – discuss Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2

January 16 – Chapter 3

January 23 – Chapter 4

January 30 – Chapter 5

February 6 – Chapter 6

February 13 – Chapter 7

February 20 – Chapters 8 & 9, Conclusion

Free Study Guide

Jen Wilkin & her team at Crossway have put together a FREE study guide for this book that you can find here! I will be using portions of this in our closed group as well!

Passage to Memorize Together

colossians-3-pdf

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After Women of the Word

After we finish this study of the book Women of the Word, it is my hope and prayer that you will continue with us as we take a look at 1 book of the Bible and study it more indepth using the tools we’ve learned from this book!

Books I Read in 2016

books-i-read-in-2016

2016 has been such a glorious year of books!! So many great books, so little time! But I did get in quite a few that I LOVED. I will also list my VERY favorites of 2016 down at the bottom of this list!

Years Past: Books I read in 2012,  Books I Read in 2013Books I Read in 2014, Books I Read in 2015,

Books I Read in 2016

  1. Fearless (wrote a whole series of posts on this book)
  2. Wild and Free
  3. Loving Our Kids on Purpose (I did a series of posts on this book as well, this was the 2nd time I read this book, this is one of my favorite parenting books)
  4. Precious In His Sight (read my post on this book)
  5. Too Busy Not to Pray (this was a book we did in our closed group for encouragement, so so good! Read a little more about this book here.)
  6. Dear Mr. Knightley (I read all 4 of Katherine Reay’s fiction books this year. Some of my favorite fiction ever!)
  7. The Bronte Plot
  8. Lizzy & Jane
  9. The Awakening of Miss Prim
  10. The Happiness Dare (another book we did in our facebook closed group! This was a hugely paradigm shifting book for me. I wrote more about it here.)
  11. Fresh Out of Amazing (read my post about this book here)
  12. All The Pretty Things (oh my. Hardest yet most beautiful read of 2016. I wrote more about it here.)
  13. Uninvited
  14. A Gracious Space (The author of this owns the homeschooling company Brave Writer. Her writing is not faith based but has been some of the BEST advice and wisdom about homeschooling for relationships that I’ve ever read! Check out all her periscopes and facebook live videos!)
  15. Raising Grateful Kids (read more about this book here)
  16. Choosing Gratitude (I based my October 31 day series on this book and the topic of gratitude, read those posts here.)
  17. 40 Days to a More Joy-Filled Life (The 4:8 Principle) (another favorite of the year! So very practical and helpful in learning to CHOOSE joy.)
  18. Present Over Perfect (most convicting book I read this year. I shared the 10 things I learned from this book in the video below.)
  19. A Portrait of Emily Price
  20. A Baxter Family Christmas

10 Things I Learned from Present Over Perfect

Favorite Books of 2016

And now for the books (all listed above) that were my FAVORITES by CATEGORY!

FAVORITE FICTION: I read all 4 of Katherine Reay’s books and I think her latest one might be my favorite. Loved them all. A Portrait of Emily Price

FAVORITE MEMOIR: All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth. The book that will break your heart and heal it all at once. I cried, I laughed and I was reminded that Christ redeems all things.

FAVORITE CHRISTIAN GROWTH BOOK: The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee was such a paradigm shift for me! God gives JOY and HAPPINESS! Really!? Yes! <3

MOST CONVICTING TITLE: Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. This book was just written for me in this season. God has used this book to show me the need to slow down and take some things off my plate. If you look in my video section I talked about 10 things I learned from this book a few weeks ago.

MOST PRACTICAL & HELPFUL: 40 Days to a Joy Filled Life was just full to the brim of practical ways to help us LEARN to choose our emotions and find joy.

So, tell me! What will YOUR favorite book of 2016 be??