Weary from Pouring into Others

I’ve been running on fumes lately and the gas tank of my soul is almost on empty.

The things I’m running after are all good. 

Encouraging others in their faith.

Walking alongside friends in difficult circumstances. 

Helping to lead a group of single moms.

Showing hospitality to others in our home.

Preparing to launch and market my first book. 

But in the midst of all the kingdom work, I can feel myself wearing down a bit. In a constant flow of pouring into others, I’ve forgotten to slow down enough to be refilled. Not being intentional enough with my time to sit before the Lord and let Him refresh me.

Imagine a huge pitcher of water. It’s surrounded by multiple small glasses. At first you can freely pour the water into the other glasses.

A little bit here. A little bit there. Pour some here. Pour some there.

But what seems an endless supply will soon run out. The large pitcher will run dry at some point.

 

An empty pitcher can’t fill anything up. An empty pitcher serves no purpose. It must be refilled before it can pour back out. We can set this pitcher under the faucet and turn it on. Water from an endless supply is available at any time.

This is a picture of what I must do to stay filled up! I need to sit still under the faucet of God’s never-ending love, full of peace and strength that will never run out. An endless supply of grace–available at any time.

Maybe instead of waiting until the pitcher of my heart is empty, I should go back to the faucet every day and stay filled up. I’m so guilty of waiting until every last drop of strength and grace are squeezed out of my parched, weary soul.

You know how some servers at restaurants are great about keeping your drink refilled? Instead of waiting until your glass is empty, they keep filling it up every time they walk by. Might even seem annoying at some point! But their eye is on the glass. Their goal is to keep it filled to the brim.

Perhaps I should aim to be like that server in guarding the condition of my soul. 

Always aware. Making sure I’m filled up. Intentionally watching.

But even if I push too hard and find myself on empty, God is still ever so gracious and patient with me. He calls me to simply come with my parched soul and sit at His feet.

He beckons me to soak up His presence. Overflow me with His peace. Fills me up to the brim. And then He whispers to me and says, “You’re filled up now. Go and pour into others who are still on empty. Pour into those who need to be refreshed. Let me flow through you to show my love.”

What about you? Are you running on fumes from pouring into others? Do you feel parched because your soul needs a refill from the Living Water?

Let’s challenge one another to stay filled. Encourage each other to keep a watch on our souls.

God longs to fill the pitcher of our souls with His never-ending supply of power.

It’s a must if we’re going to keep doing the kingdom work He’s called us to.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)

 

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

Watering Your Soul

Hurrying out the door in a rush, I glanced over at my plants. A week ago the bright green leaves flourished. But now those same leaves wilted away, some with a hint of brown.

I’ll water them when I get back home. 

Several days later, I realized I’d forgotten yet again. Looking at what were once thriving plants, I bent over to pick up a couple crisp brown leaves beside the plant on the floor. Oh no!

My plants were situated just right. They had a front row seat in front of the dining room windows, allowing plenty of beaming sunshine.

Water wasn’t a problem either. My kitchen faucet was just a few yards away, always ready to spout out enough water. An ample supply of water for thirsty plants!

So the problem wasn’t the placement or water supply. The problem was me.

I’m horrible when it comes to watering plants! Instead of disciplining myself to water them on a regular basis, I’ll usually wait until they’re wilting before I give them attention.

What a powerful picture of how we sometimes approach our time with God.

I’m in a hurry now. I’ll read my Bible when I get home later. I’ll spend some uninterrupted time in prayer when I’m not so rushed.

But then after a while, we notice how parched our soul is.

We feel empty inside.

Instead of thriving,  we are barely in survival mode.

We might be alive, but we’re far from active.

I am so guilty of letting the fibers of my soul wilt away until I feel I’m dying inside. I desperately crave refreshment. My entire being cries out for the living water of Jesus to fill my emptiness.

If I watered my plants on a regular basis, they would never wilt. If they soaked up life-giving water consistently, then they would never turn brown. And I must humbly surrender myself in the same way to Jesus.

I need a dose of His living water each and every day. I will thrive so much more when I’m in His word every day. My soul will feel satisfied when I run to Him moment by moment, and not just in my melt-down-crisis-how-did-I-get-here moments!

Just as regular fresh water is essential to our plants, so is continuous communication with the creator of our souls essential to our faith.

What about you? Are you in a season of wilting away? Are the edges of your heart drying up? In survival mode? You are not alone, dear friend. I’ve been there. Sometimes I’ve lingered in this place way too long.

Take time to rest in His presence. Take time to open His word. Take time to let His unlimited source of living water fill you up to overflowing. His supply will never end. His love for you will never dry up.

 

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

What’s Your Training Plan?

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.”

Monday-short run. Tuesday-strength training. Wednesday-cross training. Thursday-short run. Friday-strength training. Saturday-long run. Sunday-rest!

Are you following a training plan? Whether you’re a beginning runner or a seasoned veteran with a wall of medals, you’ve got to have a plan. You need to know what your strategy is from day-to-day in preparation for upcoming races.

Training plans are usually developed by experts. They develop plans so runners will have the endurance to successfully complete whatever their distance goal may be. Many faithfully follow Jeff Galloway’s trademark plan, designed for those who desire a mix of running and walking. Running expert Hal Higdon is known for his myriad of training plans for every running level.

Runner’s World magazine lays out multiple plans to choose from. Beginner 5K plans. Intermediate 10K plans. Advanced half-marathon plans. Beginner marathon plans. Whatever your goal is, there’s a strategic plan mapped out specifically for you.

Once you embrace a specific training plan, you know without a doubt that it’s equipping you to be a better runner. And most importantly, it enables you to cross the finish line.

Imagine a half marathon on the horizon without a training plan in place.  Would you just go with the flow from week to week depending on how you felt? Would you show up at the start line unprepared?

Just as runners follow a training plan, in the same way we follow a training plan to live our lives for Christ. In this case, there’s not a multitude of plans to choose from. It’s called the Bible. Whether you’re a new Christian learning to walk or a seasoned follower teaching others, we all live by this training manual. God’s breathed, inspired and flawless word—not the opinion of men or current culture.

This is what drives us.

This is what aligns us with our creator.

This is what keeps us on the righteous path.

Without it, we’re like a clueless runner without a training plan.

The Bible—our training manual for life—was developed by an expert. God himself used many people—led by the Holy Spirit—to write his story for us. From the creation to the fall. From the cross to redemption. He shows us who he is and how we are to live for him.

A runner’s training plan dictates daily steps to accomplish. But when it comes to God’s word, we have to dig a little deeper to hear him. We have to be still long enough to know what our next step is. We must be patient, studying and soaking up what God wants to show us.

The word of God will challenge us, yet comfort us at the same time.

The word of God will show us our sin up close, yet it equips us with strength.

Whatever each day brings, God desires to teach, direct and guide us on the path he’s prepared for us.

When we embrace God’s word, it equips us to be better followers of Christ. Whatever situations we face, his word gives us direction and insight. The strength we gain from the word of God enables us to thrive, and not just survive.

A finish line awaits us at the end of our earthly days. I don’t know about you, but I want to arrive and hear him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

 

READY? How would your life change if you engaged in God’s word with the same devotion you give your training plan for running? Identify an area of your life where you need direction. Pray and ask God to speak to you through his word and show you your next step.

GET SET. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

GO!  Heavenly father, thank you for giving us your word! Please help me embrace it for every situation in my life. Help me to understand your word when it seems confusing. May your word guide and direct me for all my days no matter what others around me are saying. Amen.

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If you enjoyed this post, check out my BOOK.

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

At the Crack of Dawn

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Darkness hovers. Most people still slumber in deep sleep. Our alarm clock blares. Eyes widening, we quickly bound out of bed. Careful not to wake anyone else in the house, we throw on our clothes. We’re ready to do what we planned all along. It’s the crack of dawn. Time to run.

Why is it that we runners choose to run so darn early? For heaven’s sake, it’s still dark outside! Our non-runner family members and friends question our motives to exchange another hour of sleep to run. Why not run later in the day when it’s not so, umm, dark?

Most runners claim that it’s beneficial to run in the early morning hours before other things start to interfere. Once the demands of the work day are underway or kids are bounding out of bed, it can be much harder to squeeze in a run. Feeling wiped out after a demanding day, the thought of running later in the day can seem daunting.

Running in the early morning gets your metabolism geared up for the rest of the day. Energy you didn’t have at first rushes through your blood vessels and you’re suddenly ready to face the day ahead with a more positive attitude. You’re also more likely to be aware of the food you put into your mouth after putting in hard work.

Runners claim it’s worth getting up early to see a sunrise first thing in the morning. The beauty and sheer joy of watching the sun come up is invigorating. Breathing in the cool air of the morning. Breathing out gratitude for such an awesome part of creation. With a refreshed perspective, you’re more able to tackle the day ahead.

While running early in the morning is good, seeking God in our first waking moments is even better. David writes in Psalms that his requests are brought to the Lord, in the morning. Early in the morning before we fall into our break-neck pace of life, we are urged to put our focus on God. Before we get distracted with work and interruptions from our kids. Before we start tackling our to-do list. Before we pick up our phone to check social media.

Seeking God first puts everything in perspective. Fixing our eyes on him before anything or anyone else grabs our attention sets the pace for the rest of the day. Humbling acknowledging him first allows the holy spirit to flow more freely through every part of your soul. Asking for his guidance makes us more cautious about what we choose to put into our mind throughout the day.

Even Jesus got up early in the morning to spend time with his heavenly father. He was fully man and fully God, yet he modeled for us what we should embrace first upon waking. His example should challenge us to follow in his footsteps. Footsteps that ran to God early in the morning.

It’s well worth rising early to encounter Jesus. Sitting still in his presence washes peace and joy over us like nothing else can. The power he infuses upon us is invigorating. We can then breathe in his grace. And this prepares us to breathe out praise to him throughout the rest of the day. Before we start our day, we’re refreshed with an eternal perspective. He prepares us to not just tackle the day ahead, but to thrive in it!

READY? How are you doing with spending time with God before your day gets going? Are there any changes you need to make in your schedule? How does spending quality time with God affect the rest of your day?

GET SET. Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

GO! Lord Jesus, thank you for the truth of your word. Help me to realize the importance of acknowledging you first in the morning. Forgive me for the times I’ve put other things ahead of you. Help me carve out the time to be still in your presence. Praise you for the promise that when we seek you first, you will provide all that we need. Amen.

sunrise pic

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

What If You Don’t FEEL Thankful?

This time of year everyone focuses on things they’re thankful for.  We post our thoughts on Facebook of what we’re thankful for. Our kids make crafts at school and proudly display what they’re thankful for. Maybe your Thanksgiving gathering will include a time for each person to express the favorite things they’re thankful for.

It’s usually pretty predictable what we’re truly thankful for: God, Jesus, our family, our friends, good health, employment, and of course all the food we will stuff ourselves with on Thanksgiving Day.

These are all wonderful gifts to be thankful for. I would be the first one to speak up that I am thankful for everything I just mentioned.

But what about those things we really are NOT thankful for? What about the things nobody would dare to mention on their top 10 things I’m thankful for list? What about those things that hurt deep inside us that we just couldn’t possibly imagine being thankful for?

*Your doctor grimly explains to you that you have cancer.

*Your boss informs you that you are no longer employed.

*Your check book balance is lower than the total amount of your bills.

*Your marriage is hanging by a thread and you are ready to call it quits.

*Your child does something that leaves you heart-broken and your stomach in knots.

*Your loved one is not here with you on this earth any longer.

*The sin that so easily entangles you continues to drag you down.

*Someone you thought was your friend has betrayed you.

*Your aging parents are needing you more than ever but it’s causing major stress.

*As a momma of young children you’re overwhelmed, spiraling into despair and depression.

Seriously….are any of these things on your top 10 list? Are any of these things gushing out of your mouth when it’s your turn to declare what you’re thankful for? I didn’t see any of these things on anyone’s Facebook status in the last 30 days. I’m pretty certain that nobody’s child came home with any of these things plastered on their Thanksgiving craft from school. Nope.

Why in the world should anyone be thankful for anything like this? Why would we even consider it?

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we read the following words from the apostle Paul: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Really, Paul? What were you thinking when you wrote those words? You’ve got to be kidding me! Who is he to tell us the conditions under which we should be thankful?

He was beaten and stoned multiple times. He was shipwrecked multiple times. He went without sleep and food. He was imprisoned. He even spent an entire day and night in the open sea.

Yet he could still pen those powerful words in his letter to believers.

I’ve read and re-read that verse countless times, it still says the same thing. Give thanks in ALL circumstances. It doesn’t say give thanks only when things are going your way. It doesn’t say give thanks only when your marriage is thriving, your kids are well-behaved, your bank account is full, your health is stellar and nobody is saying anything offensive to you. (It would be MUCH easier to give thanks if everything were perfect in our worlds!)

So what is the secret of expressing thankfulness in our worst circumstances? How can we really do this?

Here are two things I’ve gathered from this challenging command:

1. The verse does not say to be thankful for these things, but to be thankful IN them. What’s the difference? It’s just one little word. To be thankful IN something is to trust that God is still good no matter what. It’s not a feeling, but an attitude of surrender. It means that although my heart may be full of hurt, my spirit is still full of hope. I don’t deny the pain I’m feeling, but I take it to the foot of the cross and thank God that He is still in control.

2. If you back up to verse 17, just one phrase before this command, you’ll see something that a lot of people skip over. I missed this for years! Here it is: Verse 17 says to pray continually. I used to think this verse was only meant for monks and nuns who lived in isolation from the world and could be on their knees in a continual state of prayer. But it’s meant for all believers! For me. For you. When I am in a continual conversation with Jesus throughout my day, talking to him about everything and being aware of his presence moment-by-moment, then my heart can focus on him in every situation….the good and the bad.

I can focus on Him when I feel hope, but also when I hurt.

I can focus on Him for the victories throughout the day, but also when I blow it and can receive his grace over and over again.

I can thank Him for the blessings, but also for the challenges that drive me crazy at times.

This is not an easy thing to do! It is truly a process. A process that builds character in us. A process that brings us to our knees….bringing us closer to the heart of God.

I want to encourage you to truly search your heart and not only express the blessings you are thankful for, but to offer up a sacrifice of praise for those things you wish to be thankful in, and see what God will do. His love is overwhelming. His grace is powerful. His mercy is never-ending.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, dear friends!

Crying

 

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storing Up or Driving Through?

A package of 40 water bottles.  45 rolls of toilet paper. Goldfish crackers, chicken nuggets and loaves of bread to last for a month. Yes! I love going to Sams Club! My cart gets overstuffed every single time and sometimes it’s difficult to push it by the time I get to the check-out area.

Everything there is in BULK. You can’t just run in there and get a small item. You can’t  get one of anything. Nope. This kind of store is designed for people to stockpile their favorite items. When I pull out of the parking lot I realize I won’t be back here again for at least a month…maybe longer. I breathe a sigh of relief knowing I won’t have to worry about purchasing these things for some time.

full-shopping-cart-2

Ever wish you could stockpile other things? For instance, how about grace? Now I could definitely use a month’s worth of that! Wouldn’t it be cool? Bam! Here you go…all the grace you’ll need for at least a month.

What about patience? Yep. Every parent would fork over a chunk of change to buy even a week’s worth of patience to dole out on their stubborn-strong-willed children. Just open up the pantry where all the other bulk stuff is stored and grab a jar of patience for the day.

Oh, and wouldn’t it be ideal if we could buy a big bulk package of wisdom? If that were possible, I’d fill as many carts as I could push and load those packages up in a truck. I wouldn’t have to worry about asking for wisdom for a very long time.

But it doesn’t work that way. Not at all. God did not design us to stock pile these attributes in bulk. He doesn’t just dump a load of grace, patience and wisdom on us and say,  “This should last you a while; see you next month.” Why??? Why can’t it work that way?

He wants us to come to Him DAILY. He longs for a relationship with us. He wants us to depend on Him moment by moment. Not month by month.

When Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:11, he said, “Give us today our daily bread.” Notice the word daily. Nothing in there about a Sam’s Club portion of bread. In Exodus 16:4-5 God instructed the Israelites to gather up only a day’s worth of manna. He even warned them that if they tried to gather more than that, it would spoil. He did this to test them and see if they would rely on His provision for each day alone.

Back in those days they didn’t have the extra freezer in the basement to store a month’s supply of beef on sale. They didn’t even have a refrigerator to keep things cold. They truly had to focus on the food for each meal at a time. Which is just how God wants us to relate to Him. He wants us to rely solely on Him. One moment at a time.

As ideal as it sounds, we just weren’t designed to store up grace for a month. God promises His grace is sufficient. And it is.

For today.

But when I worry about something next week or something way down the road, there’s no grace given to me yet for those things. I can’t just go to my pantry and pull out an ounce of grace for next week’s problems.

Do we sometimes go to church on Sunday and think we’re good to go for the week? I’m quite guilty of this at times! Yep, I’ve stocked up on enough wisdom to get me through til next week. I’ve got enough living water to soak up until next time. And then we attempt to plod through our week thinking we have enough stored up. But before Tuesday comes, we’re bewildered as to why we’re feeling dried up. We’re thirsty. And we desperately need a drink.

When running errands with my daughter on a hot summer day, a familiar scenario plays out. After getting in and out of the car multiple times and then sitting in traffic, we realize we are thirsty! Those 40 bottles of water from Sams sitting in the pantry at home don’t do us any good in that moment. Not at all. So we pull over to the closest fast food place we can find and order a large ice-cold water or lemonade through the drive-through. It hits the spot perfectly. It satisfies our thirst. At this point it wouldn’t matter if there were 400 bottles of water at home in the pantry. We get thirsty daily. And sometimes it happens when we least expect it. No amount of planning ahead would solve the problem. All we know is that we need something to drink in that moment.

Dear friend, if we want to have a real, deep relationship with our Heavenly Father, then we have to get rid of our Sam’s Club mentality. And then replace it with a “gotta-have-a-drink-right-now” approach instead.

Just enough for one day.  One moment. One desperate drink at a time.

Are you trying to cram as much as you can into one shopping spree? Is the cart of your heart so heavy you can barely push it down the aisle?  Get enough for one day.  Just as Sam’s Club seems to have a never-ending supply of bottled water, toilet paper and chicken nuggets, our Heavenly Father has more than enough love to lavish on us.

Enough wisdom.
Enough patience.
Enough grace.

It’s never going to run dry. It will be there every dayEach and every moment

Matthew 6:11 “Give us today our daily bread.”

water bottle

 

Give Up and ASK FOR HELP

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..”

The other day I was pondering this passage of scripture and the word ask seemed to jump off the page at me. Just days prior to reading this passage, I experienced something with my daughter that God used so powerfully to drive home a much needed message I needed to hear.

My daughter is very strong willed and quite independent. She frequently has a hard time asking for help in any given situation. She was attempting to fix the adjustable strap on her new pair of jeans to make them fit her waist just right. After several failed attempts, I asked her if she needed help.

NO Mom! I can do this myself!(eyes rolling as she blurts this out.)

She became more and more frustrated at this point, continuing to fidget with the elastic strap that just wasn’t cooperating with her. Her frustration grew as we were trying to get out the door to go somewhere. All along, I watched her. Waiting for her to get to the point of wanting my help.

Finally……she broke out in tears, heaved a heavy sigh and looked at me with desperate eyes.

I give up! ! Will you help me, Mom?

Of course I helped her, smiling at her while fixing her strap. Once the tears stopped and she had calmed down, I asked her why she didn’t ask for help sooner. Her response caught me off guard and God spoke loud and clear to me through it.

I really thought I could do it by myself, but it was much harder than I thought!

I am JUST like my daughter when it comes to certain areas of my life. I think I can handle them on my own. But I let pride get in the way, and I don’t want to admit I need help. Or admit that my way isn’t working. No wonder I sometimes feel overwhelmed and frustrated!

And God is there watching……waiting……for me to call out to Him. Waiting for me to admit my weakness and humbly ASK Him for help. Just as I waited for my daughter to become desperate enough for help, God so lovingly and patiently waits for us to call out humbly to Him.

So what is it for you? What are you hesitant to ask for help with? Challenges in your marriage? Difficult season with your kids? Or maybe it’s another area of your life causing constant strain and stress. Whatever it may be dear friend, I want to encourage and challenge you to humbly drop to your knees and ASK HIM for help. Go ahead and admit you can’t do it on your own.

He is waiting. Waiting for you to cry out to Him. Ever so patiently and lovingly. (With much more patience than we could ever offer when we’re frustrated with our stubborn kids!)

Look at Ephesians 3:20 again:  He wants to do immeasurably MORE than what we ask for! As a follower of Christ, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

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