By Debbie Legg
One of my favorite podcasts is author Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing. In 12-15 minutes she imparts wisdom on things like making decisions, handling decision fatigue, and “doing the next right thing in love.” She also has what I consider to be a perfect voice. I love to listen to her speak. But, that’s beside the point.
Back in June I was listening to Episode 86 entitled Decision Making with James Bryan Smith. In it, Emily talks with Smith about a few of his sentences that have had a profound effect on her, and on others she has shared them with.
I know one thing for sure: I am one in whom Christ dwells and delights.
I live in the strong and unshakable Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom is not in trouble, and neither am I.
The peace and rest in those sentences make me exhale and smile. I have them written on a sticky note attached to one of my kitchen cabinets so I can be reminded every day.
As followers of Jesus we are called to believe in things we can’t see. Things like a spiritual world, an Enemy, a Savior, a grand story of humanity far larger than what our five senses can perceive.
Not only are we called to believe these things exist, but to trust that they are more real, more true, more reliable, than the world we can see.
No wonder we are a peculiar people.
To be delighted in, to be safe and sound in an unshakeable Kingdom…that’s balm for my sometimes weary, sorrowful soul.
Which words or verses are balm for your soul? Let us know in the comments.
And if you have a favorite podcast, share that, too.
By Debbie Legg
“Food tastes like oatmeal and color is just shades of gray.”
That was me describing a bout of depression. For me, depression results from turning anger in on myself.
Over the years I’ve learned some good ways to avoid going down that road. One particular source might seem a bit unconventional—a King who lived about 3,000 years ago.
David writes in Psalm 55, “my thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy…they bring down suffering upon me…My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me…If my enemy were insulting me, I could endure it…but it is…my companion, my close friend.”
That’s a little more intense than gray oatmeal. More like a steaming hot iron, pressed down and running over his chest, searing his heart and soul.
David is not in denial about betrayal. He isn’t holding back. He knows what happened, who did it, and how he feels about it. Rather than stuff it all down inside (as I tend to do), justifying, or blowing it off, he pours it out, expressing his feelings in a prayer to God, which is much healthier.
David takes the next step and imagines justice in the situation, telling God what he wants Him to do: "Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech…Let death take my enemies by surprise, let them go down alive to the grave."
This is where I would have stopped, where my prayers would have ended. I would have continued to focus on myself and the problem. Then I would have turned it inward.
Fortunately David didn’t stop there, and shows me the better way. David reminds himself of what he knows about God’s character and the ways he has seen God come through before: “But I call to God, and the Lord saves me…He hears my voice. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me…Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall….But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days.”
Reminded of God’s love, protection and provision, David leaves it all in God’s hands to do what He wills. I love how David closes out his prayer. In the simplest and shortest of closings, David writes, “But as for me, I trust in You.”
And that is the secret. Focusing not on our pain, not on those who hurt us but on God and His ways, leaving it all in His hands.
Pursuing my calling in confidence becomes a whole lot easier when I’m focused on God’s goodness.
My taste buds and vision are equally thankful.
By Debbie Legg
I was overwhelmed and exhausted.
To one extent or another, every wife and mom modifies their own lives and desires to benefit their loved ones. I am happy to do so, but juggling multiple roles over multiple weeks with multiple issues was taking its toll.
At the end of a long day I was journaling my frustration, and what felt like selfishness, to God. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, without having to make sure it fit everyone else’s whims and desires or feeling guilty about it, just once in a while.
Finally, I wrote the words, “Okay. Rant over, I guess. Help, Lord.”
Then I sensed in my heart, “I will show you the way if you will let Me.”
I took a deep breath. “Okay, Lord,” I thought, “shoot.”
“One day a week, schedule nothing. Choose a day and mark it off as your day.”
I blinked. Crickets chirped. This was an inconceivable concept to me.
“Wait. What? How? What would that even look like?”
“Only do what you want to do. Eat only what you want, go only where you want, be only what you want. I think you will be surprised at what you find and experience.”
Another deep breath. And another. Honestly, what did I have to lose by trying it for one day? I checked my calendar.
“Okay, Lord. I’ll try it tomorrow and report back.”
The next evening I did just that.
“Lord, wow. I read the book I wanted, ate the food I wanted (breakfast food, with crepes! No low carb today!), did laundry because I wanted, made the leftovers for dinner I wanted, watered the flowers because I wanted, stayed outside longer than I needed to because I wanted.
“I’m truly shocked at how much better I feel. I’m so used to putting everyone else’s needs first that I’ve forgotten to even consider my own. I was surprised that I actually wanted to do laundry and make leftovers. Nobody was neglected and I don’t feel selfish. I definitely need self-care/mental health days more often, and if I need to schedule them on the calendar, then schedule them I will.”
“Well done, My Daughter. You do need this. One day a week for yourself. The world will still turn. No one in your family will suffer, I promise. You cannot be all I created you to be, do all I created you to do, if you don’t take time to rest and be restored.”
And then it hit me. Sabbath.
This is what Sabbath looks like for me in this season of my life.
“Thank You, Lord, for making me lie down in green pastures and beside quiet waters. For teaching me how to let You restore my soul.”
There is a meme making the rounds that shows a low battery signal. It says “You wouldn't let this happen to your phone. Don't let it happen to you either. Self-care is a priority, not a luxury.”
What can you adjust in your life to make room for Sabbath?
If you’re not sure, ask God. I’m sure He has an idea.
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By Debbie Legg
“Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.”
In one of my favorite books, Essentialism, Greg McKeown teaches how to find the right things, including your Point of Highest Contribution, and structure your life so you can do it.
I believe Jesus revealed his Point of Highest Contribution (PHC) when He announced Himself in the synagogue in Luke 4:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:1-2a)
Reading through the gospels shows me everything He did fit into these categories.
Nothing He did was a waste of time. Everything had purpose, and impact. Even His distractions, like stopping to address the bleeding woman while on the way to Jairus’ house, were perfectly timed divine appointments.
Jesus got the right things, and only the right things, done.
I’m learning to as well. My right things include responsibilities as a wife, mom, daughter, volunteer, and general doer of all things household. After much prayer and learning, I’ve discovered that my Point of Highest Contribution, outside of my daily life, is as a writer. I’ve been using the principles in Essentialism to cut out nonessentials and distractions so I have maximum time to write.
Let’s dream a minute.
What is your Point of Highest Contribution?
If you could do one thing and one thing only, what would it be?
Take some time and let your spirit and soul ponder this. Immediately discard any thought that starts with “yeah, but...” It’s not about what’s practical or realistic.
Would you start a homeless shelter? A daycare? Feed the hungry or clothe the needy? Would you provide logistical help to existing organizations? Plant trees or flowers? Cook meals? Work to free and heal victims of human trafficking?
If you could do this, and only this, what would your life look like?
What if everyone found their own individual Points of Highest Contribution and did that, and only that? Everyone would be happy and fulfilled, and the world would be an exponentially better place…
By Debbie Legg
I intended to write a screenplay, not a children’s book.
It was April 2015, and I was in the audience of the Women in Film panel at the Alhambra Theatre Film Festival.
Listening to these fantastic female writers/directors/actors talk about their passion for their work was inspiring me to…well…I wasn’t sure exactly which direction my inspiration was going.
Then something one of the panelists said triggered a recent memory. The author of a filmmaking blog challenged his readers to make the movie they could make this year. Even if it wasn’t the best. Even if they didn’t have enough money or resources. Just take a step, and the next one, and the next, and make the movie they could finish by the end of the year.
A small idea sparked. “I can’t make a movie this year, but I can see what it would take to turn that little rhyming Christmas poem I wrote a few years ago into a children’s book.” Even if the road led nowhere I figured I could at least answer that question.
The following week, after praying and listening, I searched “how to turn a poem into a children’s book.”
I chose to start my journey by sending the poem to The Writer’s Edge Manuscript Service.
They didn’t accept it for their catalog. Phooey. Well, on to the next step.
The next step was to search what it would take to self-publish. Amazon CreateSpace looked like the way to go for this particular book. But children’s books need pictures, so I needed an illustrator, and the money to pay him or her, and a timeline, and...
Step by step the journey continued. As I answered one question, several others popped up. Where to get. How to do. Ponder. Pray. Answer the next question. Make the next decision. Do the next thing.
Seven months later I was holding the first copy of What Would Christmas Be? My name was on the cover. My words spanned the inside. My collaboration with my talented illustrator adorned every beautiful page.
The sense of accomplishment was real, but the opportunities and opened doors have been unexpected. In fact, it was because of this book that Amy Kemp saw me as a woman with an out of the box ministry, and asked me to serve on the panel that became the Called and Confident team.
Is writing children’s books my passion? No. Is it something I enjoyed and plan to do again? Yes.
It doesn’t always have to be about “passion.” An interest, enjoyment, or a little natural curiosity can go a long way.
What do you enjoy doing? What kinds of activities interest you? How would you finish a sentence like, “What if I __________” or “I wonder __________.”
Answer the questions, plug it into a search engine, read the possibilities, then take the next step.
Who knows? You could even end up writing a screenplay.
A Little Bit More
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