One Thing You CAN’T Fail To Do

Yes, it’t that morning time with the Lord. That one thing you CAN’T fail to do.

It’s the sweetest part of my day, the honey of life, the one daily delight to look forward to that adds more to my life than any other activity or ritual could.

That morning time with the Lord. Oh, how sweet. I have found that rushing through or skipping it is disastrous. A day that isn’t started quieting my heart and soaking in His Word- it just isn’t the same.

If you are struggling to make that time with Jesus happen every morning, I’d encourage you with a few things.

Just do it whether or not you “feel it”.

Don’t wait till you wake up and feel like it. Make a conscious choice to do what will strengthen and help you.

Too often Christians rely on their feelings, but the Christian life is not to be lived by our feelings, but by faith.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” II Corinthians 5:7

Set your alarm and GET UP.

This is huge! Of course, it greatly helps to go to bed at a reasonable hour the night before.:)

Figure out your schedule and work backwards instead of getting up when you feel like it. So, if I know I need to be ready to eat breakfast and start the day’s work at a certain time, I need to work backwards, allowing time for a run, shower, cooking breakfast, and whatever else

Time with the Lord belongs at the beginning, first of all.

Shut off your phone.

I usually have my phone on airplane mode for the night anyways, but I have made a habit to not turn it off airplane mode till after my quiet time.

There is nothing as distracting as that alluring device dinging beside you, or even just sitting there calling your name, while you are trying to focus on time in the Word and prayer.

Make a routine.

Whether or not you are much of a “schedule” person, make some morning habits that turn into a healthy routine that helps you consistently start your day with the Lord.

My morning routine (usually) looks like this:

Get up. I try- at home especially- to get up at the same time every morning. This helps my body know when it’s time to get up, and I usually end up waking before my alarm.

I detest the snooze button, because I feel like it’s nothing but laziness for me to push it. If I have decided the night before what time I need to get up, then why would I let my flesh overrule in the morning and chop into what is going to be more beneficial (time with the Lord) than that extra sleep in the long run?

And if you’re really so tired that you can hardly drag yourself out of bed, than maybe you need to discipline yourself to go to bed earlier.

Brew coffee and get a snack. Yes, I usually drink coffee and eat something before 6am. That’s a whole ‘nother story…:)

Sit on the couch for quiet time. What I actually do during my quiet time varies a bit, but my Bible, journal, prayer journal, and pen are almost always there, and I usually start with Bible reading and then move on to whatever. I LOVE keeping record of what I’m asking the Lord for and how He answers, so my prayer journal is perfect for that.

Place extreme value upon this time.

We cannot even realize the value of the Word of God. We don’t know the full power of coming boldly to the Throne of grace. How can we fathom His worthiness of our praise and adoration? He is so holy, so righteous, so loving.

Truly, seeking Him FIRST in the morning should be extremely important, more important even than our physical food. It is our sustenance, our spiritual daily nourishment.

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” -Job 23:12

 

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The Sandwich Principle: How to Deliver Criticism to Your Siblings in Love

The Sandwhich Principle

A sweet friend shared this with me awhile back, and in light of my recent post about our character as sisters, I wanted to share this amazing idea with ya’ll!

As a sibling, their will be those times when we HAVE to point out things in our siblings lives- weaknesses, something they did wrong, etc. Our hearts are to help them grow.

Sometimes figuring our how to give admonition in a kind way can be tough! Enter The Sandwhich Principle! Here’s the idea:

You need to give a little constructive criticism to a sibling.

Instead of “Hey, Johnny, I need to talk to you. Do you have any idea what you just did (insert whatever mistake or action that needs to be corrected)? Why do you keep doing that? You need to stop and change! That is such a bad habit.”

Try this:

So first you sweetly take the sibling aside (always give criticism in private). You point out something in their life that is sweet + good. It may even be related to the issue at hand. For example, maybe your younger sis is bossing the littles kids around. You say something like, “Hey, I’m really blessed by the time you take with the younger ones! They love when you play with them!”

Then you insert the criticism, “You may not realize it, but you are taking charge and telling them what to do a lot, and being kinda bossy. I know you want to be kind, but sometimes when you treat them this way, it makes them feel sad.”

Top it off with another affirmation such as, “The younger ones look up to you so much! When you are sweet to them, they will want to act the same way.”

See what just happened? You “sandwiched” a criticism in between two sweet affirmations! Your sibling will be much more likely to listen and not be hurt by your instructions when you deliver it in such love!

The formula is:

praise + constructive criticism + praise = instruction/criticism given in an edible way! (We don’t want our siblings gagging on our “help” because it’s so harsh and sour!)

-Allison

ps. the photo above is my sweet sis-in-love to be, Cassidy, and I, with some of her siblings and mine on a lunch/play date at the park this summer. She is actually the wise soul that shared the “Sandwhich Principle” with me awhile back, and I am so grateful for her example in cultivating sweet + affirming relationships with younger siblings.

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5 Ways to Encourage Your Brothers

1. Pray for them.

Make it a point to ask each of your brothers for specific prayer requests from time to time, and then write those things down and pray for them regularly. I recommend praying for each of your brothers on a daily basis.

In addition to praying for them faithfully, be sure to follow up and ask them how it’s going in the specific area you’re praying about for them. There may be something new or different, and if so, make a note of it and start praying about that.

You will be amazed to see God answer your prayers for your brothers! I can’t count all the specific answers and provisions God has given for things I’ve prayed for my brothers over the past year. It’s so awesome to see Him working in their lives, and my faith has been built incredibly through praying very specifically for things in their lives and seeing God answer and provide!

2. Write them notes.

This one is so fun! You can use Scripture verses, or point out things in their character, or just tell them how glad you are to have them for a brother! I often end my notes with something like, “I’m so blessed to be your little sis!”, “You’re such an incredible man!”, or “I’m so proud of you, bro!”.

3. Learn their love languages.

I wrote a guest post here on this topic. Learning about love languages and applying that knowledge has revolutionized my relationships with my brothers. I’m still working on consciously speaking their love languages on a regular basis, but it’s definitely a practical way to make them feel loved.

4. Take interest in their lives and the things they like.

Your brothers will often feel cared about to the extent that they can tell you truly care about them. If you are thinking of something else entirely and giving an absentminded “hmm” as they tell you something, they will likely notice. If you are always too busy to talk or do stuff together, they won’t want to keep “bothering” you. Girls, our brothers are smart, and they know if we truly care to hear their 10 minute recount of the football game they just watched, or if we wish they would just go fly a kite already!

To my shame, I have been guilty of brushing off my brothers and not taking interest in them far too many times, but it is something I am working on. I want them to know that I ALWAYS want to hear about whatever they want to tell me. I want to be the kind of sister that they know is available to do things with them if at all possible. This includes when it is an inconvenient time, or when the activity is not my favorite.

5. Treat them like men.

My post on “Nurturing Your Brothers’ Manhood” goes in-depth into this topic. I am passionate about girls treating brothers like men! You have more power than you realize over your brothers. What are you doing about it?

Maybe the Lord has convicted your heart about an area you need to work on in your brother/sister relationships. I am cheering you on as you strive to be the sweetest, kindest, sister your brothers could every hope for!

much love,

Allison

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Obeying the Voice of God

“….and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, and My commandments, My statues, and My laws.” (Gen. 26:24-25)

  1. In order to OBEY God’s voice, Abraham had to be in the habit of LISTENING to God’s voice. He didn’t just one day wake up and think, “I want to hear from God today”. He had developed a lifelong habit of listening for the voice of God.

We don’t all of a sudden hear God’s voice when we have never been in the habit of listening for it before.

  1.  In order to HEAR God’s voice, Abraham had to KNOW God’s voice. This is really incredible! Abraham had learned to discern the voice of God from the conflicting voices of culture and his own heart.

We can’t discern God’s voice from other voices if we have not learned to know His voice.

Just like a child in a room of hundreds of voices, with their eyes shut, would know their father’s voice, so it is with us. As we get to know our Heavenly father better, and listen to Him on a daily basis, we come to hear His voice clearly. 

May we, His redeemed children, be constantly craving to hear, know, listen to, and obey the voice of God!

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The True Test of Your Character

Since my target audience on this blog is young women, and I know many of you are sisters-as I am one- I have been thinking recently of different ideas for becoming better, kinder, happier sisters.

Our siblings see and know our true character better than anyone else. 

It’s easy to put on a “sweet front” for outside friends, coworkers, or a boyfriend, but our siblings are the ones who know the person we really are.

If you are interested in finding out who you really are, ask the people who see you at your worst.

For a “character test” to gauge where you are in some crucial areas of your character, I encourage you to do the following:

With blank paper and pen, jot down some character qualities you are wondering how you rate in. It could be areas you know you stink in, or some you think you’re doing pretty well in. Whatever the case, write down 4-6 (or all:) of these. An example would be some of the following:

  1. Kindness 
  2. Patience 
  3. Flexibility 
  4. Sweet words
  5. Selflessness 
  6. Love
  7. Happiness 
  8. Grace
  9. Smiling 
  10. Being calm when things go wrong
  11. Respecting parents 
  12. Diligence 
  13. Optimism/being positive 
  14. Speaking well of others

Write your qualities of choice on a small piece of paper, and make one such paper for each of your siblings that are old enough to write and understand (my 9 year old sister would definitely get this). If you want, you can even print them out with explanations underneath for the younger siblings that might not be sure what something like “diligence” means.

Explain to your siblings (together or individually) that you want to be a better sister, and that they can help you do this by telling you the areas you need to get better in. Then give them each a paper and ask them to rate you, on a scale of 1-10 (1 being you do an awful job in said are, and 10 being you do terrific at consistently being ___), for each of the character qualities. (I suggest keeping the papers anonymous so that no one will feel bad for giving you a bad rating!)

Ask them to return the papers to a certain spot when they’re finished (like your room). 

This is going to take some humility, girls! But I promise it will be worth it! And remember, the Lord promises to reward those who humble themselves.

I am planning to do this, too, and will be doing a post next month in follow up. I am hoping lots of you will join me and that together, we will humble ourselves, realize our weaknesses, and ask Jesus to help us be more like Him.

I love you girls!

-Allison

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