"Shake, Shake, Shake"- Guest Blogger Tana...

Today I would like to welcome my sweet, friend Tana- who has graciously agreed to be my guest blogger today-  Yay!!!  I consider Tana to not only be a friend, but also a mentor.  She is a pastor's wife, a mother to three grown children, and  a blessing to me.  I'm so excited for you to read what God has laid on her heart.  Welcome- Tana!
When Kasey asked if I would like to guest blog for her, I was excited! I love Kasey! I also love to share what God is teaching me! As I began to think about what God has been showing me in my life, I realized how God has used several younger ladies to remind me of some very simple truths that I have easily been overlooking. Maybe you have been overlooking them also or maybe you need to share your enthusiasm with someone. Anyway, here it is...
Enthusiasm and Joy for what God is doing.
It doesn't matter how old you are or how long you have been saved, your enthusiasm for what God is doing should never become mundane. As I have watched these ladies embark on new directions in their lives, their enthusiasm and willingness to be obedient has been an inspiration to me. I am reminded that we should all be enthusiastic for the new paths that God is leading us down. If God is not leading you down a new path, then my heart breaks for you because I suspect you may not be listening closely to Him. I suggest you find someone who is excited about what God is doing and catch their zeal! Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm! If you have gotten boring and stale in your walk with God, then maybe you need to listen to MercyMe's song "SHAKE" and find a person who is simply trying to be obedient and catch their enthusiasm. Rejoice in the way God has changed you and "SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE, like your changed, changed, changed!" (Seriously, check out this song! I love it, even though my dancing in the kitchen causes great embarrassment to my 16 year old.)
Doing new things is hard but oh, so worth it!
One of my sweet friends, Katie, is taking her dream job with Compassion International. She and her husband (our youth pastor) of 14 months are moving to a new state, where they know no one, to impact lives in a global and kingdom way simply because God is calling them. Like most “God things”, it is exciting...and scary...and unpredictable...and exhausting...and peaceful. Most people would not dream of giving up all that Katie and Justin are giving up to follow God's plan. Most people tend to keep things the way they have always been simply because it is easier. Katie & Justin know that things would be so much easier to just continue as everything already is and they are serving God in an impactful way now. (And selfishly, it would be much easier on my family if they continued their work with our youth.) But what adventures and blessings would they miss by doing things the easy way? What adventures or blessings are you missing because it is easier to stay in the status quo? It's ironic that this is one of the lessons God has reminded me of because I often long for the status quo. I have to remind myself that it is a JOY to be allowed to be a part of something God is doing and if my life needs to remain unpredictable to experience it, then I need to rejoice and embrace the changes!
Theory and Reality are not the same.
Being enthusiastic and willing to get out of your comfort zone to follow a new path that God is leading you down sounds wonderful in theory but in reality…not so much. It sounds exciting but it is really scary. It sounds grandiose but it causes us to feel inferior. Doing God's will sounds spectacular until it means leaving everything that is familiar, that you love, to be obedient. The reality says that most people who embark upon these journeys do so knowing that many people - both family & friends - will not understand their decisions or share their enthusiasm. People need to understand that these two things, theory and reality, are not the same and that whoever is embarking on the adventure needs to know it is okay to admit the reality and deal with it. It doesn't make someone less willing to be obedient, it simply makes them human. SO, find a way to give REAL support. ACTUALLY pray for them on a regular basis. LISTEN to their thoughts and feelings without judgment because their pendulum will swing between a confident "I can do all things through Christ..." and "...I am not worthy, how can I do this?". They don't need you to fix anything, they just need some love, listening, & encouragement.
Being in the center of God's will brings peace but not necessarily happiness.
Most people think that if you are in the center of God's will, you will be happy. Read #3 again and see if that describes a happy person? Being scared, feeling inferior, uncomfortable, alone, and without support does not evoke feelings of happiness for most people. However, it does bring a peace that transcends all understanding and a contentment that can only grow. I can't imagine that the Apostle Paul was happy in prison but he was at peace and continued to be obedient. Life is not going to be easy just because a person is obedient. But the strength that God gives to live in obedience brings contentment and satisfaction like nothing else. Don't feel guilty when you aren't necessarily happy but be joyful and content, nonetheless.
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good.
When a person is struggling, it is easy to forget to praise God. When life gets too comfortable, it is easy to forget to praise God. When daily routines become mundane, it is easy to forget to praise God. But no matter what the circumstances of our lives, God is good, all the time and all the time, God is good! SO PRAISE HIM ALL THE TIME! When was the last time that you truly pondered the "God is good..."statement and believed it with all your heart? This fact has been one of the most consistent things I have found in my ever changing journey. Something we should ALL remember!
I am so thankful that God uses so many people to teach me so many things. I feel so blessed to have friends of all ages in every stage of life to learn from. I feel humbled that these friends allow me to walk their journey with them and learn through them. I am grateful that Kasey asked me to share this with you. It is not earth-shattering but I pray it spoke to you in some way! (If nothing else, check out MercyMe's song, "SHAKE"! It is so FUN!!!!)
Much love to you and the wonderful PURPLE CLAD JEWEL, Kasey!



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