The Satisfied Heart: Realigning our Want for More

Culture, Faith

TheSatisfiedHeart_Artwork

My heart says, “I want more, now!” I live for tomorrow more than I live for the moment. Can you relate? I know I have a tendency to be impatient with the processes of life, but I didn’t know it was so evident to the people around me. The other night my husband and I were jokingly talking about being patient. And I asked him to be honest with me, all joking aside, if I was impatient. What he said next really made my heart sink. He said, “You’re patient with small things, but you’re impatient with life. It’s hard for you to wait.” I felt God nudge at my heart and I had nothing to say, because I knew he was right. It’s hard for me to wait because my desire for more sometimes gets in the way.

A few years back there was a very popular commercial for a telecommunications company that wanted to promote the idea that “more is better”. More coverage is better. (I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it and seen spoofs of it). It takes place in a classroom, where there are children sitting in a circle being asked “Who thinks more is better than less”? All the kids raised their hands and one adorable little girl said, “We want more, we want more, like, you really like it, you want more”. The commercial finished with a voice over that says, “It’s not complicated, more is better”.

Is more better? I believe it depends what we want more of. Sometimes wanting more things, and becoming impatient, is not a good or healthy more. Sometimes, more can be complicated. Sometimes, more can make you bankrupt, both financially and spiritually. On the other hand, more can be a blessing. More can be the fruit of the time spent harvesting. More can signify that God is moving in our lives.

Our desire, our longing for more, whether it’s a better job, a larger home, more financial security, more children, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I would submit that our worry, anxiety and the (often) extreme measures we take to obtain more, could be bad for our souls.

An unhealthy and out of control desire for more, can lead to an unrighteous and corrupt path. If we have to lie, cheat, or hurt someone to get what we want, that means our desire for more has become unhealthy. Making unsound financial decisions like over spending when we know we can’t, or going into debt just to have what someone else has, may also be a sign that our want for more, can be taking over us. Perhaps being impatient, while waiting for God to answer a prayer, and taking matter into our own hands, can also be a sign of an unhealthy desire for more. I have realized that when I can’t enjoy what I have at the moment, when I’m looking for the next best thing, I have lost sight of where my true satisfaction and fulfillment comes from.

As a newlywed, I desire to make my apartment look and feel like a home. That means furnishing our home and purchasing decor. I must admit I have been tempted to purchase more things than we can afford. It’s like this little monster that wants to come out of me, that tells me I have to have things NOW. On one of those particular days when the monster decided to peek out, I told my husband I felt really sad that I couldn’t make our home look like I wanted it to yet. I complained and complained until he felt guilty and responsible for not making it happen. And I realized that just wasn’t right. Something deeper must be going on inside my heart. A house, a home, and the stuff inside it, or the lack thereof, shouldn’t make me feel upset and it definitely shouldn’t take me to a place where I put the blame on someone else for it.

Furnishing my home is a practical example. But maybe today you’re not struggling with being financially smart. Maybe today you’re waiting for a loved one to be healed or you’re waiting to hear back on a job interview. Maybe you’ve been unemployed for a while and someone else got that job you wanted. Be encouraged today by knowing that God will answer your prayers. You don’t have to take short cuts, settle for less, or become anxious. He hears your prayers and He is working on your behalf.

God’s word tells us to live content when we have need and when we have plenty. It tells us to not worry about what we will eat or wear tomorrow. Yes I know, ladies. It’s hard enough not to think about what we will wear a month from today, let alone tomorrow. The bible even tells us to be satisfied with the job or career we have. This doesn’t mean, in anyway, that we should settle or live mediocre lives. It’s actually an encouragement to live a day at time, knowing God cares for our needs and wants. The best part is that God’s word tells us how we can achieve contentment. God tells us through His word that if we seek Him, trust Him, and seek His kingdom, our desire for more will be satisfied. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything on our “more list” will be met, but rather, we can trust that in seeking Him we will have deeply fulfilled hearts.

In seeking God for fulfillment, our desire for more can become uncomplicated. Spending time with God continually, will set us up to have a thankful and content heart. More and more can be good when we seek more and more of God. When God becomes what we desire most, everything else pales in comparison. And when everything else pales in comparison to God, we don’t hold on to things so tightly. The Lord knows that when our hearts are full of Him, we learn to see our world differently. Being wise and taking care of what He has blessed us with, becomes a priority. When our hearts are full of God, we learn to see God in everything and we learn to appreciate today’s blessings. God’s plan is that out of the overflow from seeking Him, we will reap a harvest. That harvest will give us the resources (financial, emotional and spiritual) to do more than what we could’ve ever imagined for our families, our friends, and those who are in need. If our desire for more aligns with God’s will for us, and we are living to seek Him, we should have faith that all our needs and even our wants will be met.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give your the desires of your heart” -Psalm 37:4


Reflect:
What can you do today to start or continue living a life filled with more of God?

Are there any areas in your life you should hand over to God, so He can be first in your heart?

Which specific blessings have you realized are a result of being satisfied and content in God? 


Bible references:
Matthew 6:25-26, Matthew 6:32-33, Philippians 4:12-13, Psalm 37:3-4, Ecclesiastes 3:13

5 Tips for Fall Decorating on a Budget

Design

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I wish I could say I made this wreath myself but I didn’t (maybe next year or when I have more patience). I knew I had a specific budget that didn’t permit me to shop at stores like Pier1 or Pottery Barn. So, the next best thing was HomeGoods and it cost me less than $20.


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The idea was for our home to have the traditional warm fall colors, while making the decor chic and unique. Once again, my good friend HomeGoods had the perfect pumpkins I was looking for. And they were less than or equal to $20. I also reused a vase I saved from my wedding (last year) to put natural leaves in it. The leaves were bought at Publix (my local supermarket), and the vase is from Goodwill.

Side note: it’s a good idea to save candles that are almost finished. The white and orange candle pictured above, isn’t supposed to be like that. I accidentally dropped a “pumpkin spice” candle that was gifted to me last year and shattered the glass. So I simply put what was left into an old candle. And…Voila!


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YUM! Food. That’s what fall and the holiday season, is all about (kind of). These napkins were probably my biggest expense but so worth it because they can be used all year round. They have different sayings on them: yum, delish and dig in. I found those at Nordstrom for $5 each.

The accent on the napkin, pictured above, was made out of a wheat bundle that I got at Publix. I picked out a few interesting looking pieces of wheat from the bundle, arranged them together and tied them with a piece of thread. Each table setting has one mini wheat arrangement. OH, and they smell “delish”.


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It’s very probable that I put this blue pumpkin (also bought at HomeGoods for less than $20) on every table or countertop in my home. It didn’t seem to look right anywhere. I have to credit my friends for inspiring me to use my tray as a decor spot. They had some fall decor in theirs, and my lightbulb came on. There were some left over leaves from the branch I bought at Publix, so I used them to add a bit of contrast to the blue pumpkin. (Pairing complimentary colors, like blue and orange, can make a simple arrangement look bolder and stronger.)

Doesn’t the candle above look cool in its “melty” stage? The candle was bought at HomeGoods, the candle holder was a wedding gift, and the tray was a gift from my neighbor. I use both the candle holder and the tray all year round.


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I have a love/hate relationship with these wooden circular vases. Finding these cost efficient vases for our wedding, was not an easy task. But now they are used for a lot of my home decorating.

The rocks inside the wooden vases, hold a special place in my heart, as they are what they call “Wishing Stones”. The guest at our wedding wrote special messages on stones for us to keep. To add a little fall flare to these vases, I stacked them and added some pieces of wheat in them.

These vases are placed next to a “nook” I’m working on… hopefully I’ll have pictures of the nook soon.


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By now you must have noticed how much I LOVE the rustic look. I’m obsessed! This slab is truly significant to my husband and me. It says our names, our wedding date and it was the centerpiece at our sweetheart table at our wedding. I use this everywhere in our home. This fall I am using it to hold a candle. Simple, sweet and special.


It is possible to decorate your home on a budget. Here are some tips I learned along the way:

1. Stick to your budget (Luke 16:10-13)
When I go shopping, I have decided to withdraw the amount of cash I am going to spend. No more, no less. Sometimes when I know I can SWIPE a card, it’s easy to go over my spending limit. If I didn’t have time to make it the bank, I add up the cost of the items in my cart before I reach the register. If it’s over the budget, I remove items and proceed. It’s not worth being in debt just because I “need” to have this or that.

2. Reuse and reinvent
Do some research on the web (blogs, Pinterest, google), on how you can use what you currently own for seasonal decorating. For example, if you have a white vase that you use often, search “White vase fall decor ideas”. Trays, candle holders, vases are pieces you can use all year round. All you have to do is a add seasonal flare to them.

3. Explore with color
Color adds personality and life to any room. When using complimentary color, you can be sure that your space will have a striking and bold look. Using neutral colors will make a space look elegant and timeless. If you’re afraid that a neutral look might look bland, you can add bright colors like orange or yellow to the mix.

4. Put some heart into it
Make sure to incorporate little things here and there that remind you of what’s truly important. I like to use my wishing stones as part of my decor because they remind me to be thankful for my family and friends. And my wooden slab, reminds me to honor and be faithful to the commitment I made to my husband on our wedding day.

5. It doesn’t have to be perfect
We might get caught up in buying the perfect things or making it look like an ad from a magazine, but what’s the fun in that? Perfect is boring. Get your creative juices flowing with some DIY, purchase cool inexpensive pieces, or reuse pieces you’ve forgotten about. The whole point is to have fun and make your living space feel like your home.



If you’re looking for a home decor blog that helps you stay within your budget, has amazing inspiration and practical advice, you must head over to The Nesting Place. It’s my favorite!

What ideas do you have to decorate your living space for this fall? 

Do you have any practical advice, or stores you shop at, that helps you manage your budget well? 

Winning Over the Urge to Blame and Complain

Faith

There have been times that I’ve been angry at God, blamed God, about the junk in my life. It’s easy to blame God for not “coming through” when we want Him to. Perhaps for you it’s financial hardship, or trouble in your marriage, or a rebellious child. For me, it’s fear and anxiety. I have found myself thinking about the “What ifs”. “What if this isn’t where we are supposed to be living? What if this is not the right job for me? What if this is as good as it gets? What if…” Slowly, I start drowning in my thoughts and that’s when I start begging God, (which is very different from praying) for peace and for Him to please come through for me. Thank God for His grace and unending love for us, though. He still seems to listen in those out of whack moments.

In one of those scary-thoughts-going-crazy-tempted-to-blame-God-for-my-anxiety-and-fear-moments, I felt that I should reevaluate my tactics. This begging thing wasn’t making my situation any better, if anything; it was making my situation worse. I believe God stepped in and said, “Ok, stop whining and start winning.” But how do we “win” over our urge to blame and complain? I believe it’s by realizing who’s on our side. I don’t consider God being the type to wash His hands and turn His face from us and our issues. Instead, He encourages us to walk through the ups and downs of life with courage because He is walking through it all with us. He is on our side, through it all.

God’s word declares, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

Through this passage God is basically saying that He guarantees He will be with us, through every possible, known and unknown, situation. When our minds start wandering to anxious and fearful territories, we can swiftly turn the other way, without complaint and remember that God promised He’d be with us. Winning over self-pity starts by believing God is on our side. He empowers us and gives us victory over any and every difficult circumstance.

Once, we believe and accept God’s promise that He’ll be with us through it all, we must believe the second part of that verse: that the hard places won’t “kindle upon” us. In other words, the marital struggle, the anxiety, the fear, the financial struggle will not consume us. We don’t have to blame God or complain or feel self-pity, when God assures us, that none of these things can consume us.

I’m learning to stop myself in my own tracks and declare what God says to me, “When I pass through the dangers of life, the trenches of life, God will be with me. When I walk by or in the fires of life, God will be with me. And I will not get burned nor will these troubles consume me”. We win over our urge to blame and complain when we take a minute to accept, receive and believe that God is with us and He won’t let us be consumed.

Prayer:
Thank you Father for being our rescuer, our helper and our protector. Thank you for being with us no matter how deep in the trenches of life we may be. Forgive us for giving into our urge to blame and complain. Give us the courage to walk through the storms of life knowing that you are with us. We know you will embrace us, cover us, and walk beside us as we go through the uphills and downhills of life. In Jesus name, amen.


What bible verse have you declared over you life that has helped you trust that God is with you, through it all?

What can you do today to believe and accept God’s promises for you life?


Special shout out to my dear friend, Laura Smythers, for editing my blogs. She’s a wife, teacher, educator, and passionate follower of Christ. Thank you for helping these posts happen.

Should I say yes or no? Overcoming People Pleasing

Faith, Relationships

This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am glad to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers.  To learn more and join us, click here.


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“You know you’re caught in the rip current of people pleasing when you dread saying yes, but feel powerless to say no.” -The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst

Hi, my name is Theresa and I am a people pleaser. The hardest thing for me to do is say “no” to a friend, to a family member, to a leader, to anyone. I will beat around the bush as long as I can to avoid saying no. I’m not sure where this bad habit came from, but I have learned that it doesn’t make me a nicer person compared to the person who can say no, it makes me a stressed out crazy woman!

People pleasing, I believe, comes from a place of wanting to be liked and accepted. Desiring to please people at any cost can leave us empty very quickly. There have been many times when I knew I should’ve said no but felt like I couldn’t. The anxiety that settles in my heart knowing I might have disappointed a friend is something I struggle with to this day.

I would be lying if I said that I’ve completely overcome my need to please, but I am working on getting better at it. Living a life surrendered to God was difficult for me growing up, because I felt I had to be accepted by people and many of the people I decided to hang with were doing the opposite of what a God-fearing person should be doing. That led me to make decisions that ultimately drew me away from God. Experience has taught me that being accepted, people pleasing at any cost, wasn’t worth jeopardizing my relationship with God. He was the only One I had to please, and I was already accepted and loved by Him, no matter what I did or didn’t do.

Believing that you’ll be more loved, more favored, more welcomed because you say yes to someone’s request or someone’s party, is an unhealthy and erroneous way to live. If your friend or relative will love you less because you declined a request or invitation, then they’re not a good friend anyway. Over the past couple of years, I have learned that saying yes to the right things will set me up to have a more fulfilling relationship with God and with people. If I say yes to every project, every meeting, every outing, every opportunity, I won’t have time to hear God and do what He is calling me to do.

Oh and not to mention, I’ll drive my husband crazy with my long list of to do’s because I wasn’t able to say no. (Side note: it’s funny how we want to blame our husbands for not being able to keep up with us, yet we’re the ones exhausting ourselves and going crazy with our extensive list of tasks. They weren’t asking for this; we did this to ourselves, ladies.) At the end of the day we must learn to distinguish what our motives and intentions are when we say yes. Is it to impress others or to impress God? Is it to get accolade or to serve God and others? Also, are we prioritizing the things God has called us to make first? Like our spouses, our family, and our alone time with God. We should ask ourselves, “Is this ‘The Best Yes’ I can give my friend, is this answer a genuine ‘yes’, or am I overcommitting and giving them a yes disguised as a no?”

By declaring God’s truth that says, “I am accepted, I am loved, I am enough”, I am overcoming the need to please people. Discovering what God says in His word about me and what He has called me to do as His follower, helps me keep my motives and true intentions in check. Also, by implementing practical steps like giving myself time to think of my response (yes or no), having a max amount of projects I allow myself to take on, or asking my husband for his opinion before making a decision, I am overcoming my need to please.

How are you learning to overcome people pleasing?


New York Times Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst has written a new book about finding your Best Yes. Many call this book “inspiring” and “fabulous.”  I call it a game-changer.  You can grab a copy at http://goo.gl/ZFUZbD

My Declaration

Faith

MyDeclaration
I am accepted
Even when I feel left out, even when I’m excluded, even when I feel rejected, I am accepted because God has already accepted and redeemed me. I belong to Him and I belong in His Kingdom.

I am loved
Even when I feel unwanted, even when I feel alone, I am loved with a crazy and unconditional love by God Himself. His love for me is deeper and wider than any love I desire here on earth.

I am forgiven
Even when I’m reminded of the past, even when the enemy tries to bring up my mistakes, I am forgiven by God and when He forgives, He also forgets.

I am enough
Even when I feel less than, even when I feel intimidated, even when I feel like I’m not skinny enough, even when I don’t feel pretty, God broke the mold when He made me. I am made in His image and He says I am wonderfully and fearfully made.

I will sleep in peace
Even when my anxious thoughts start to race, even when I’m afraid, even when I’ve had nightmares, even when I’m worried of tomorrow, My Lord gives me rest and His peace that surpasses all understanding will fill me with comfort.

I am not afraid
Even when I try to shrink down, even when I’m tempted to back down, even when I’m tempted to say no to an opportunity, even when I feel like I can’t take on a new endeavor, even when I feel my dreams are too crazy to believe, God has not given me a spirit of fear. He calls me to be bold and to be a light in the darkness. He calls me to speak of Him and spread His good news to the world.

My dreams will come to pass
Even when it seems like I failed, even when I don’t see any progress, even when people say negative things, even when it seems out of reach, The Lord says He gives me the desires of my heart. God says he made me with a purpose and has called me to do what only I can do.

What are you clinging to and declaring over your life?