May 26, 2017

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Surrender

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Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him.

Psalm 37:7

Surrender isn’t a very popular word in our culture.  Even the first few definitions in the dictionary have some rather negative connotations related to that word.

  • “To declare to an opponent that he or she has won so that fighting or conflict can cease.”
  • “To relinquish possession or control of something because of coercion or force.”
  •  “To yield to a strong emotion, influence or temptation.”
  • “An act of declaring defeat at the hands of the opponent.”

God asks us to surrender our lives and everything we have to Him, but you will never see Him using coercion or force to get us to do so.  God asks, but our response is our choice.  It also doesn’t have anything to do with declaring defeat at the hand of an opponent because as God is always for us, He is NOT our opponent and surrender to God always leads to victory, not defeat.

Surrendering your life means:

  • Following God’s lead without knowing where He’s sending you
  • Waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come
  • Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide
  • Trusting God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances

Yikes…. Those are some pretty big statements but the good news is that they are ALL possible to proclaim with Christ living and breathing in us.  No, we could never fully surrender on our own with all of our flesh getting in the way; but with God in us, all things are possible…. We merely need to just get out of His way!

With that being said, I think it is also important to note that while it is impossible to only be half surrendered {sort of like you can’t really be half pregnant…}, we must constantly be striving toward full and complete surrender to the will of God.  It IS possible to live a surrendered life and you will know you are there when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation.  You let go and let God work.  You don’t have to always be in charge.  Instead of trying harder, you trust more.

You also know you’re surrendered when you don’t react to criticism and rush to defend yourself.

Surrendered hearts show up best in relationships. You are not self-serving, you don’t edge others out, and you don’t demand your rights.

Jesus is the supreme example of self-surrender.  The night before His crucifixion Jesus surrendered himself to God’s plan.  He prayed, “Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet I want your will, not mine” (Mark 14:36).  Jesus surrendered Himself to God’s will.  He prayed, “God, if it is in Your best interest to remove this suffering, please do so. But if it fulfills Your purpose, that’s what I want, too.”

What does this look like for us?  Genuine surrender says, “Father, if this problem, pain, sickness, or circumstance is needed to fulfill Your purpose and glory in my life or in another’s life, please don’t take it away!”  This level of maturity certainly doesn’t come easy. In Jesus’ case, He agonized so much over God’s plan that He sweated drops of blood.  Surrender is hard work.  In our case, it requires intense warfare against our self-centered nature…but it IS possible!

But HOW do I surrender to God, especially when the pull of the world is so strong in my being? Remember that your entire life is run by your thoughts.  Your thoughts are either submitted to satan and the things of this earth, or submitted to God and centered on heavenly things.  When you are in distress about anything, that distress takes place in your mind…in your thoughts. Distressful thoughts are not heavenly thoughts but rather they are thoughts about things on this earth.

Colossians 3:2

“Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on this earth.”

Philippians 4:6-8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, whatever is excellent, worthy of praise let your mind dwell on these things.

Whatever is on your mind and in your heart that causes you distress, just say to God:

“I surrender this to You.  Of myself, I can do nothing.  If anything is going to be done about this matter, you will have to do it.”

This process breaks satan’s power over your thought pattern that has held you in bondage to the problem.  To get started in the process of overcoming your difficulty, be SPECIFIC about what I would really like to overcome: {fear, anxiety, relationship difficulties, rage, eating disorders, depression, bad temper, anger, procrastination, job stress, pride, marital strife, drug addiction, smoking, fantasy addiction, etc.}  Now mentally take that situation and put it into the palm of your hands.  Just cup your hands in front of you and imagine that your situation is sitting in your hands.  Now take your cupped hands, lift your situation up and mentally put it into the outstretched hands of your Heavenly Father and pray:

“Our Dear Heavenly Father, I lift this situation up into the palm of Your hands.  I ask You to put a shield of protection around it that no evil can penetrate.  I put this matter solidly in Your hands, and I ask you to take care of it.  Thank You, Father, for taking care of this matter.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

(Did you ACTUALLY take the step of putting the situation in the palm of your hands, and then ACTUALLY lift up your hands, and put the situation into the outstretched hands of Jesus?  If not, please take the time RIGHT NOW to take that LIFE-CHANGING step of action.)

God tells us in Psalm 55:22:

“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.  He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

If this is something you have been dealing with for weeks or months and have not been able to resolve it yourself, then you should feel comfortable with putting it into the hands of your Heavenly Father and leaving it there, giving Him the opportunity to take care of it.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Financial Freedom {part 3}

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For the past two weeks, we have been talking about how to begin to have financial freedom in your life.  If you haven’t read the earlier posts yet, you can find them here and here.   The questions that we are discussing in regard to finances are:

How do you master money when you feel like money has actually mastered you?

How do I get in the black with my finances when I am always in the red?

How do I get out of debt?

For our last post in this series today, we will be working through living by a monthly budget and the HOW of getting out of debt. As you can imagine, they go hand in hand and I pray these steps will help you to begin to see a light at the end of the debt tunnel!

Last week, we talked about the Law of Stewardship where you were urged to resolve to live by a monthly budget. It is easy for someone to TELL you that is what you should do, but hard to put in place if you don’t know the HOW. Here are four steps to get you started:

  1. Determine your total monthly income: add up your salary, dividends, trust income, interest, or any other sources of fixed income.
  2. Determine spendable income: subtract your tithes and taxes.
  3. Determine your fixed monthly expenses (look at the prior year’s expenditures; divide yearly totals by 12 for approximate figures) and your discretionary expenses (money spent at your discretion.) Your total expenditures must not exceed net spendable income.
  4. Determine if you have a debt or surplus lifestyle.
  • Refuse to live your life drowning in debt
  • Debt is bondage to another
  • Debt dishonors God
  • Debt reveals lack of self-control
  • Debt brings God’s judgement

Now that you have done this, it is time to take a look at how to cancel debt. Proverbs 6:5 says “Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.”

First stop…. You must identify your debt situation:

Make an inventory of your assets:

  • What do you own?
  • What is the approximate value of the things you own (car, house, property, insurance policy… large items)?

Identify your income:

  • How much money do you make?
  • How much time per week do you work to obtain this money?
  • Do you have any investments?

Describe your debts:

  • What do you owe?
  • When is it due?
  • What interest rates are you paying on each debt?

Approximate your monthly bills:

  • What do you pay for utilities, gasoline/ transportation, food, phone, clothing, insurance, entertainment?

Next…. consider your lifestyle….

Be introspective:

  • Why do you live the way you do?  Is it for career advancement, to impress family or friends, or to live comfortably?
  • Were you brought up living this way?
  • How do your friends, family and co-workers live?

Consider what you could do without:

  • Do you have expensive items you don’t need that, after the initial purchase, have high maintenance costs?
  • Do you pay others to do something that you could do yourself?
  • Do you eat out when you could eat less expensively at home?

Look for what you can substitute:

  • Can you substitute less expensive items for premium products or services you currently use?

Reconsider gift giving:

  • Do you disregard budgets and savings plans during holidays and gift-giving occasions?
  • Can you give fewer and less-expensive gifts?
  • Does it mean that you love your friends and family any less if you live within your means?
  • Would your loved ones want you to go into debt to buy them presents?

Moving on to establishing financial goals

List future expenditures:

  • What future expenses do you anticipate?
  • Are you looking to buy a home, pay for a daughter’s wedding, or replace a vehicle?

Consider future career changes:

  • Are you considering going to school or starting your own business?
  • How will these plans change your financial situation?

Prepare for family changes:

  • Are you expecting a child?
  • Are children leaving the home?
  • Do you have elderly parents in poor health?
  • Prepare for how these changes will affect your finances

State your future financial goals:

  • Financially, where do you want to be five years from now? Ten years from now?
  • What are realistic expectations?

Finally, it is time to take action with your finances!

Pay extra on your debts:

  • Which debt has the highest interest rate?
  • What amount of money can you pay each month on that debt?

Stop feeding your debt:

  • What lifestyle habits contribute to your debt?
  • Have you stopped using credit cards and started paying cash?

Change your lifestyle:

  • What items can you do without that you really do not need?
  • What expensive assets can you sell that would be financially profitable to sell?

Establish a savings plan:

  • How much should you plan to give to God?
  • How much money are you setting aside to help those in need?

Proverbs 8:20-21

I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

Remember…. just as the Bible has predetermined YOUR purpose… it has also predetermined your money’s purpose:

It is ALL for the glory of God!

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂