The Stirring Faith Blog

Guarding Your Focus

Guarding Your Focus

In a world filled with endless distractions and opportunities, it’s easy for you and me to lose sight of the life God has called us to live. However, Scripture reminds us of the importance of staying focused and moving in the right direction, while guarding against outside influences that can lead us astray. And this is for our good. As Leviticus 26:13 so boldly declares, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to live in freedom.” Sometimes, that freedom feels more like bondage, and I forget how good God has been to me. Today, I thought I would offer three practical steps that will help us guard against what comes against us, leading us to forget the glorious freedom we have been given.

Fix Your Gaze Straight Ahead

Proverbs 4:25-27 encourages us to keep our eyes focused on the path set before us:

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

Although this may not feel like a practical suggestion, when we fix our gaze on God’s plan for our lives, we are less likely to be swayed by the allure of side hustles or distractions. It’s the same as keeping out the desserts when we are trying to lose a few pounds. If I know Oreos are a distraction for me on my diet, I don’t leave them out on the counter. Staying steadfast in pursuing God’s purpose for you works the same way. We can help reduce our succumbing to the temptation to veer off course if we fix our eyes on the path.

Guard Your Heart and Mind

Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to guard our hearts diligently.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Guarding involves avoiding exposing yourself to influences that lead you away from God’s truth. Psalm 119:36 petitions, “Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in your ways.” Make a conscious effort to turn away from anything that distracts you from God’s ways and focus on pursuing life-giving activities that honor Him.

Embrace the Power of Prayer

Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us of the peace and power that come through prayer:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Remember, He broke sin’s power to hold us captive through the redemptive work of Jesus. That’s how He has enabled us to walk in freedom. Freedom in Christ means that instead of allowing worries and distractions to consume our thoughts, we can commit them to God through prayer. Make prayer a daily habit, setting aside intentional time to communicate with God. Pour out your heart to Him, and seek His guidance and wisdom. Better yet, make it a moment-by-moment habit while you navigate through those tempting turns and twists that inevitably come.

Through prayer, we invite God’s peace to guard our hearts and minds. At the same tie, we can ask for His help to enable us to stay focused on His will and purpose for our lives.

A Final Word on Guarding Your Focus

By implementing these three principles into our daily lives, we can guard against the allure of side hustles. We can give up the pursuit of what is worthless. These practices will help enable us to live in that promised freedom.

May we fix our gaze on God’s plan, pray for His help, and diligently guard our hearts and minds. In doing so, we will find true freedom and fulfillment in living out the purpose God has called us to.

For His glory,

Before you go

Allow me to personally invite you to Momentum: How to Get Unstuck. This exclusive challenge helps you overcome obstacles, ignite your spiritual growth, and unleash your true potential.

Each day, you’ll encounter Biblical truths, devotional insights, and a personal challenge. These help you cultivate momentum and step into a more profound connection with Jesus.

Ready to take the leap? Sign up now and let’s embark on this transformative journey together!

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Biblical Wallflowers: Learning from Overlooked Women of the Bible

Biblical Wallflowers: Learning from Overlooked Women of the Bible

I am a wallflower by nature. You’ve seen women like me. (You might even be a woman like me.) Comfortable on the sidelines. Terrorized at the thought of speaking in the group. You’ve got nothing to say, especially compared to THEM. Experience bears this out, so I remained at an emotional distance relationally many years. That is until I began to understand how God sees me., and how He uses women just like me for great and eternal purposes. In the Bible, I discovered how you and I are to conceptually understand His love and goodness toward us.

Across Scripture we find examples of women like you and me who help show us how He embraces the individual. The lives and experiences of these insignificant Nobodies have influenced me greatly. I no longer find myself in a room feeling invisible or unworthy of being chosen and used by God. You might say these Biblical wallflowers have helped me learn how to be seen and used by God in this life. In fact, I’ve moved from feeling invisible to being what I might call spiritually invincible.

You, too, can experience the freedom and joy that comes from learning how to become seen for all the right reasons and in all the right ways. Let’s look at nine women just like you and me—comfortable in the shadows, living their best wallflower lives, who God uses to show us His love and design for our own lives.

Biblical Wallflowers #1: Abigail

(1 Samuel 25:2-42)

Abigail demonstrated wisdom and diplomacy in a critical situation involving her husband Nabal and David. When David’s men sought provisions from Nabal, he responded rudely, provoking David’s anger. Abigail intervened, bringing food and making peace with David. Her actions averted disaster and showcased her intelligence and courage. After Nabal’s death, David married Abigail, recognizing her as a woman of virtue and discernment. God uses her in her personality and gifting to become more than she ever dreamed possible.

Biblical Wallflowers #2: Priscilla

(Acts 18:1-3, 18-26; Romans 16:3-4; 1 Corinthians 16:19)

Priscilla, along with her husband Aquila, played a significant role in the early Christian community. They were tentmakers by trade and worked with the Apostle Paul. Priscilla is mentioned several times in the New Testament, and she is often listed before her husband, indicating her active involvement in teaching and mentoring. In Acts 18, she and Aquila instruct Apollos in the ways of the Lord. She uses the places where God plants her, sharing her life, experiences, and understanding of who God is in a way God uses mightily.

Biblical Wallflowers #3: Jael

(Judges 4:17-22; 5:24-27)

Jael is a woman who played a crucial role in the defeat of the Canaanite general Sisera. After he fled from the battlefield, seeking refuge, Jael welcomed him into her tent. While he slept, she drove a tent peg through his temple, delivering a decisive blow to the enemy. The Song of Deborah in Judges 5 praises Jael for her bravery in fulfilling a key role in Israel’s victory.

Biblical Wallflowers #4: Joanna

(Luke 8:1-3; 24:1-10)

Joanna was one of the women who followed and supported Jesus during his ministry. She is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke as having been healed by Jesus and later becoming a benefactor to him. Joanna is also one of the women who discovered the empty tomb and witnessed the angelic proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection. Her role in financially supporting Jesus’ ministry and being a witness to the resurrection is noteworthy.

Biblical Wallflowers #5: Huldah

(2 Kings 22:14-20)

Huldah was a prophetess during the reign of King Josiah. When the Book of the Law was discovered in the temple, Josiah sent a delegation to inquire of the Lord through Huldah. Her authoritative response played a crucial role in the religious reforms initiated by Josiah.

Biblical Wallflowers #6: Tabitha (Dorcas)

(Acts 9:36-43)

Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, was a woman known for her acts of charity and kindness. She made tunics and other garments for the widows in her community. When she died, the apostle Peter raised her from the dead, showcasing the impact of her benevolent deeds.

Biblical Wallflowers #7: The Woman with the Alabaster Jar

(Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 7:36-50)

An unnamed woman, often identified as Mary of Bethany, demonstrates profound love and devotion to Jesus by anointing him with expensive perfume from an alabaster jar. Despite criticism from onlookers, Jesus praises her actions, emphasizing the significance of her gesture in preparation for his burial. This woman’s act symbolizes deep faith, love, and understanding of Jesus’ impending sacrifice.

Biblical Wallflowers #8: Euodia and Syntyche

(Philippians 4:2-3)

Euodia and Syntyche were two women in the early Christian community at Philippi. Although their specific contributions are not detailed, the Apostle Paul mentions them by name and acknowledges their partnership in the gospel. This suggests their active involvement in spreading the Christian message.

Biblical Wallflowers #9:The Widow with Two Mites

(Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4)

In a brief but powerful story, Jesus highlights the sacrificial giving of a poor widow who contributes two small copper coins to the temple treasury. Though her offering is minuscule in monetary value, Jesus commends her for giving all she had. This woman’s act of generosity exemplifies the principle of giving from the heart and sacrificing despite having very little.

These women may not be as well-known as some of the major figures in the Bible, but their stories offer valuable insights into the roles and contributions of women in biblical narratives. They are here for you and me. These testimonies live in the pages of Scripture so that we can see more clearly how God sees his people—even the ones who feel left out and less than.

Four Ways to Draw Inspiration from Biblical Wallflowers

There are at least four ways you and I can benefit from these stories about obscure women on the sidelines.

There is Strength in Diversity

Do not miss the sprinkling of these women across two thousand years, in different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and stations in life. There is no mold we must fit into. They were not limited to one specific role or task, demonstrating that wallflower nobodies can contribute in various ways. Whether it’s through acts of kindness, courage, wisdom, or financial support, the Bible showcases a spectrum of strengths that women possess. You and I are to embrace our God-given unique qualities and understand that our contributions, however small they may seem, can have a significant impact.

Aim for Character and Virtue

The testimony of these lives showcase the importance of character and virtue over societal expectations or outward appearances. PRAISE GOD! Many of these women were recognized for their wisdom, courage, and faithfulness rather than disappearing into the woodwork of their conventional roles. You and I need to ask God to cultivate our inner strength, develop more resilience, and plant in us integrity. For these qualities hold lasting value and can make a lasting impact.

Your Faithfulness in the Ordinary Changes the World

These examples of women like the Widow with Two Mites or the Woman with the Alabaster Jar illustrate the power of small acts of faithfulness, kindness, and generosity.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”  Zechariah 4:10 NLT

Remember, seemingly insignificant contributions, when offered with a believing heart, are highly valuable to God. It’s how He does much of His Kingdom work. What we do in our daily lives matters. Our God is in the ordinary, and He has ordained it for changing the world. The testimonies of these women show us the value of generosity and compassion for the individual and for the body as a whole.

Aim for an Audience of One

Your life, worth, and contributions, though unnoticed by the world, are seen and valued by God. He sees you, knows you, and has a plan for your life, even if and when others in our lives may not. Just as these women in the Bible were sometimes overlooked in their social connections or by society at large, they were recognized by God, Jesus and those we might deem the A-Team of Christianity. Wallflower Friend, your efforts are seen and appreciated by the only One that matters.

Embrace your uniqueness, cultivate virtuous qualities, engage in acts of kindness, and recognize the significance of their contributions in the eyes of God.

If you are like me and have trouble taking God at His Word in this arena, Can You See Me, Now? Good News for the Lonely, Left Out, and Less Than, is for you. As I have confessed, I naturally operate out of a wallflower mentality that keeps me hidden, unable to experience all God created me to enjoy for His glory, and my good. In Can You See Me, Now I’m passing on my notes to you for how to say “goodbye” to invisible you and start living life seen, known, and loved.

I wrote it for you. Buy the book. You won’t be sorry you did. You can learn more and purchase a copy here.

For His glory,

 

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Navigating Loneliness Together

Navigating Loneliness Together

In a world where loneliness looms large, the need for connection, understanding, and spiritual invincibility has never been greater. Recent studies reveal that more than half of Americans feel like no one truly knows them well, underscoring the urgency for meaningful community. Last year, I penned my own journey through loneliness, feelings of insignificance, and invisibility in the book, Can You See Me, Now? Good News for the Lonely, Left Out, and Less Than. This book is designed for busy women who only have a few minutes a day, but want to move out of the shadows and start living the lives God designed them to experience. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some resource for easily navigating loneliness together? ?

Introducing the Digital Leader’s Guide

Spilling my private guts on the page to help bring readers out of the sidelines of their own life does no good if the resource sits on the shelf, unexperienced. I desperately want this resource in the hands of women all over the country so that they can say Goodbye to their invisible selves and start living the life for which they were created. That’s why we created the Digital Leader’s Guide. Navigating loneliness TOGETHER is better than taking the journey alone.

Why not get a group of women together and learn how to be seen for all the right reasons and in all the God-ordained ways?

We’re here to help.

Here’s What’s Inside the Guide

🔍 Insightful Tips for Success

Benefit from tried-and-true tips for leading a successful group study, ensuring that every woman in your group feels seen, heard, and valued. We’ve tried to make this a no-brainer for the hostess. You’ve got a thousand other things to do. Allow me to check stressing over how to lead an awesome group study off your list.

❄️ Ice Breakers That Spark Connection

Break down barriers with carefully curated ice breakers that pave the way for authentic conversations, fostering a sense of community from the very beginning. We’ve provided several options for every stage in your journey.

🗣️ Discussion Questions for Deeper Conversations

Engage your group with thought-provoking discussion questions that delve into the heart of the book, encouraging women to share their stories and insights.

🎥 Author Insights via Short Videos

Enrich your study with exclusive videos from the author, (that’s me). Linked to your guide are videos to provide deeper insights, exclusive bonus material, personal reflections, and encouragement for the journey ahead.

🌐 Social Media Posts for Group Connection

The last thing you have time to do is create social media posts. We’ve tried to make it simple to connect your group online with ready-to-share social media posts that enhance the sense of community beyond the physical gathering.

Ease and Flexibility

With a sample schedule included, leading this group could be the easiest and most impactful endeavor you undertake. The schedule ensures a balance of prayer, discussion, an 8-minute video session, and a sprinkle of ice breaker fun.

The Digital Leader’s Guide is on sale today for $10.00

Exclusive Offer for Navigating Loneliness Together

You can purchase your copy of the guide today for $10.00 at my shop, The Stirring Faith Company. However, if you or your organization purchase 5 or more books, you will be eligible to receive the Digital Leader’s Guide absolutely FREE. Navigate loneliness together without breaking the bank.

Invite the Author

Take your study to the next level by inviting me to kick off your journey. Immerse your group in an inspiring session that sets the tone for the transformation that lies ahead. I just spent an evening with a group in Houston this week. Women will more likely jump into the study with enthusiasm when I am able to participate in your Kick Off Event. Details on scheduling are included in the guide. Be sure to CONTACT CHERI HERE to talk about how we can make your kick-off event spectacular.

It’s time to turn the tide on loneliness and step into a season of invincibility.

Start Your Group Today

Don’t wait! Start navigating loneliness together. You will have the opportunity to be a catalyst for change in the lives of Christian women you care about. Why not be the one to serve those yearning for connection, purpose, and the assurance of being truly seen?

Get your copy of Can You See Me, Now? HERE.

Purchase the Digital Leader’s Guide HERE.

For His glory,

Cheri

 

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Overcoming Spiritual Distractions

Do you ever find yourself at the end of a busy day, wondering where the time went and why you couldn’t focus on what truly matters in your spiritual journey? I’ve been there too, and I’ve discovered that the struggle of overcoming spiritual distraction to stay on course with God’s plan is a common challenge for many Christian women.

Today, we’ll tackle this very issue by delving into the Focused Faith Formula, a set of strategies that can help you overcome spiritual distractions and make meaningful progress in your relationship with God. Let’s dive right in!

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Following the Future Path

Keep your eyes straight ahead. Proverbs 4:25

It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions of daily life. This verse reminds us to keep our eyes fixed on the path God has laid out for us. The Message version of this same verse calls us to “ignore all sideshow distractions.” Left to myself, I can waste oodles and oodles of time each and every day. I am not able nor smart enough to keep my gaze straight.

Setting aside time each day for focused prayer and reading the Bible is my only hope of overcoming all the sideshow distractions. Some of these sideshow distractions seem like really good ideas. So, I literally bring my To Do list into my prayer time because I am so prone to veer off the path. I encourage you to do whatever is necessary, whether that be turning off your phone, setting a timer, or finding a more distraction-free zone to help minimize the opportunities for chasing the sideways jaunts that keep you from making spiritual progress.

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Fixing Your Focus on the Spiritual

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

Our minds often wander to worldly concerns, causing us to lose sight of God’s purpose. Make a conscious effort to shift your focus. Not only do I bring my To Do List into my prayer time, but bring Scripture I can pray. Starting your day by meditating on God’s Word and praying, keep your thoughts centered on eternal matters.

Too often, you and I show up to pray with nothing more than an anxious mind that wanders within a few minutes. My times like this were not very productive nor did I feel like I was making any spiritual progress or deepening the relationship. But A few years ago, all of that changed. I downloaded a free prayer app, called ECHO, where I can add verses into the app to pray, giving my brain and heart a tool for focusing on all thing spiritual.

If you are interested, you can download the ECHO app here. Or, maybe you will develop another technique that will work for you. The bottom line is that if you and I want to make meaningful progress in our relationship with God, we need strategies like this one from the Focused Faith Formula.

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Fortifying Your Senses

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Psalm 101:3

Our surroundings greatly influence our focus, don’t they? Take a moment to evaluate the things you expose yourself to, including TV shows, social media, and conversations. Sometimes you and I expose ourselves to what is socially acceptable, but not if our aim is godliness. Or we might settle for exposing ourselves to what is not “bad,” but it may still be “worthless.”

As you think over what you place before your eyes and ears, consider if these things align with God’s purpose. If not, consider eliminating or reducing them to create a distraction-free environment.

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Foster Daily Renewal

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Romans 12:2

God’s purpose for our lives often requires a transformed mind. To achieve this, we must move beyond a fifteen-minutes-with-God approach. John Piper points out that if you want leaves, rake the surface, but if you want diamonds, you must dig deep. One way to ensure we overcome our tendencies to rake the surface in terms of our spiritual lives is to participate in in-depth Bible study. There is much we will never know and understand about God and our walk with Jesus, but there is oh so much we can know. The Focused Faith Formula calls us foster daily renewal of our minds by digging for gold rather than being satisfied with leaves on the surface.

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Fighting to Win the Day

You and I are in the middle of a battle—a war for our devotion. Paul articulates the warring for who we will follow and what we will believe well by giving words to this struggle that is more spiritual that we might realize:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Every day you and I encounter all sorts of things that conflict with our faith, vying for our allegiance, the scope of which ranges widely. Essentially, this is a battle of the mind, and it’s a fight worth fighting. And fight, we must.

The woman who is actively working spiritual progress recognizes the fight she is in, and equips herself to fight back with divine resources.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

Paul warns us that we cannot sit back and let life happen, distracted from the fight by practicing a casual Christianity. If the enemy can’t have your soul, he wants everything else near and dear to you: your family, your health, your home, your relationships, and your faith (John 10:10). But he will settle for your ineffectiveness and small belief. Allow me to share a secret with you that took me too many years to learn:

You can learn to win the day, one small battle at a time.

So, take heart, my friend. You can overcome your lack of focus in this battle for your thoughts. Arm yourself with the truth of God’s Word to conquer destructive wanderings and entrenched beliefs. Whether it’s struggling to believe in God’s love or your forgiveness, find verses that speak to your heart and fight back. You can be an overcomer, led by the Holy Spirit, taking captive every thought, making them obedient to Jesus as Lord of your life.

Remember, with the Focused Faith Formula as your guide, you can overcome spiritual distractions, stay focused on your spiritual journey, and make meaningful progress in your relationship with God. Don’t let distractions deter you; embrace the tools and strategies to win the day. Your journey towards a deeper, more focused faith is about to begin.

xoxoxo,

 

Before you Go, don’t forget to 🌟 Join the Momentum: How to Get Spiritually Unstuck 5-Day Challenge! 🌟

Are you ready to break free from the chains that hold you back and embrace a vibrant spiritual life? If so, then this invitation is for you!

Allow me to invite you to our exclusive 5-day challenge, Momentum: How to Get Unstuck. This transformative experience helps you overcome obstacles, ignite your spiritual growth, and unleash your true potential.

Each day, you’ll encounter Biblical truths, devotional insights, and a personal challenge. These help you cultivate momentum and step into a more profound connection with Jesus.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to revitalize your spiritual path! Join us for the Momentum: How to Get Spiritually Unstuck 5-Day Challenge. Discover the limitless possibilities that await you.

Ready to take the leap? Sign up now and let’s embark on this transformative journey together!

Click here to join the challenge and unlock your spiritual potential

See you there!

Join The Strange Readers Cafe: Discover Your True Identity in Christ

strange readers cafe

Discover Your True Identity in Christ

Are you longing for a sense of belonging and love in a world that often makes you feel unseen, overlooked, or left out? Do you yearn for authentic connections, but find yourself struggling to navigate through life’s challenges? If so, I invite you to embark on a transformative journey with me through my latest book, Can You See Me, Now? Good News for the Lonely, Left Out, and Less Than in The Strange Readers Cafe.

I’m thrilled to introduce you to our FREE private Facebook group, The Strange Readers Cafe, where we will come together as a community of like-minded women to explore the profound truths of my book. In this seven-week journey, we will delve into the heart of God’s purpose for us as women, uncovering the beauty and significance of our existence in His eyes.

Uncover Your True Identity

In a world that often diminishes our worth and encourages conformity, Can You See Me, Now? offers a biblically based approach to help you discover your true identity in Christ. Through practical insights and captivating stories, we will explore how we were handpicked by God to express love, thrive in community, and enhance the world around us.

Cultivate Courage and Authentic Connections

Throughout this journey, we will learn how to cultivate the courage to connect with others authentically. You’ll discover the joy of finding people who fill your heart rather than drain your soul. Say goodbye to the old tendencies of blending into the wallpaper and embrace the vibrant woman God created you to be.

Overcome Feelings of Loneliness and Invisibility

Have you ever battled feelings of loneliness and invisibility? You’re not alone in your struggles. In The Strange Readers Cafe, you’ll meet other women who share similar wallflower tendencies and have faced the same challenges of never feeling like enough. Together, we’ll support one another and find the strength to overcome these obstacles.

Join the Journey

Our journey begins on Monday, October 2, and concludes on November 17, just before the holiday season begins. It’s the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter in your life and leave invisible you behind. Inside the group, you’ll discover:

  • A daily reading plan to guide you through the book.
  • Accountability and encouragement from fellow participants.
  • Access to live Q&A sessions and additional enriching content.
  • Free resources that will enhance your experience.

How to Get Started

To get ready for this exciting adventure, follow these simple steps:

  1. Join The Strange Readers Cafe Facebook group USING THIS LINK.
  2. Secure your copy of “Can You See Me, Now?” in either paperback or e-book format. You can purchase it from Amazon or through The Stirring Faith Company.

I can’t express how eager I am to meet you in the group and embark on this life-changing journey together. Together, we will find our true identity in Christ, overcome loneliness, and discover the depth of God’s love for us. Let’s free ourselves before the holiday season and step into the abundant life God has designed for us.

Check out the book trailer

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to belong and be loved. Join The Strange Readers Café today, and let’s start this incredible journey together.