Poetic Inspirations and Practical Applications for Blissful Living

Release the Rest to Seek the Best

Release the Rest to seek the Best

Release the Rest…

Release the Rest to seek the Best

Image courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net
Waterfall by Zirconicusso


Sometimes it seems

I know not what to do

Bombarded by demands

I have not a clue


Do this, do that

Go here and go there

Meet her and meet him

Do it all and everywhere


Which things are needed?

Important they all seem

Calling my attention

Demanding indeed


Take a deep breath

And focus again

Shut out the noise

For it is only then


That I can focus on Christ

And His love so pure

I fix upon His Promises

In them I am sure


Suddenly the clutter

And the chaos stops

I see clearly now

As upon mountaintops


Those that draw me closer

To Jesus, my Lord

Such things are those

I must move toward


The rest becomes clutter

Noisy chatter all

Distractions, interruptions

But His love enthralls


Relieved I now feel

And at comforting peace

For I see only what matters

The rest I can release


© COPYRIGHT 2011 Caroline Gavin

How do you release the rest to seek the Best?

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Balance for the Believer

Balance for the Christian Believer



Balance for the Christian Believer

Image courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net
Ring Casting Heart Shaped Shadow by Phaitoon


Balance. The word alone sounds calming and harmonious. And striking balance is a fundamental aspect of purposeful living.

But what exactly is balance? We hear this word so often, but sometimes it hard to visualize exactly what balance looks like in life. 

So we will look first at a formal definition of “balance.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides a number of definitions, such as:

Stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis;

Equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements;

Equality between the totals of the two sides of an account;

An aesthetically pleasing integration of elements;

mental and emotional steadiness.”

These definitions provide an excellent launching point for our discussion of balanced living.

In order to bring “contrasting, opposing or interacting elements” to a state of “equipoise,” we must devote the appropriate quantities of time and energy to corresponding areas of our lives. Therein we discover the peace and calm that comes with balanced living, the “mental and emotional steadiness” of our energies and passions well-distributed.

What are the steps to achieving this balanced life? And how does God’s Word fit into the balancing act?

  • First we must define the priorities in our lives and order them according to importance. As children of God, we remember the words of Jesus: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)  We know also that the most important commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30) It follows, therefore, that our priorities involve our relationship with God, with His church and with saving the lost. We place the other areas of our lives (such as family, health and wellness, work and career, recreation, personal growth and finances) around the center of this greatest priority. The second greatest command is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)  By setting first the love of God and the striving for His Kingdom and His Righteousness, the other priorities easily fall in line…the second of which is loving others as self. These two commandments are the touchstone for purposeful and balanced living. They serve as the gauge in the ordering of other priorities.
  • Having defined our priorities, we can then list activities (and the frequency of them) which will support the achievement of each priority. Under the area of family, for example, we may include activities such as a family outing once a week and a family Bible study twice weekly. Just as we listed according to priority the overall areas of life, it is important also to prioritize the activities within each of these areas. Doing so allows us to better focus our energies and better use our time. Prioritization alleviates overwhelm. When time abounds, we are able to achieve all on the list. Yet, when time is scarce, we are able to address those activities which are of highest importance.


  • Another step is to modify our priority / activity lists as time passes. The overarching priorities of loving God and loving neighbor will remain constant. Yet achieving balance is a process and not an event etched in stone. We can change the list of activities as needed. Practice. Learn. Adjust. We are to embrace the moment and appreciate the learning experience.


  • A helpful step in the process is to create a personal mission statement and to review and recite each day. Doing so ensures that our daily activities are aligned with our purposes. The mission statement serves to remind us also of all areas of importance, thereby supporting a balanced lifestyle.


  • We should confirm our priorities often with the Word of God. For example, it is good to stay fit and healthy. In doing so we can live more fully and serve God and others more vibrantly. Yet it is easy to place too much focus on this area. God’s Word reminds us that “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) God’s Word also reminds us that “charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30) The views of our culture certainly do not align with these verses of Scripture. We should thereby ascertain that our priorities align with God’s Word and Will. In doing so we will find incredible peace and also the ease of balance, for our God does not place focus on the countless things upon which the world does. Striving to achieve all that the world seeks causes overwhelm. Seeking God’s Kingdom, however, brings peace and focus…and, yes, balance.

As we apply these steps and practice Bible-based balance, we flow freely and easily in the movement of God’s Spirit. All other areas of priority fall gracefully into place when we seek first THE Priority.

Today, as you journey purposefully upon your personal pathway, I encourage you to seek a life of balance by aligning yourself to God’s Will. Seek first God’s Kingdom and God’s righteousness; love Him foremost and love your neighbor as yourself. And may you enjoy the peace and joy of balanced living in and for Him…


© 2012 Caroline Gavin

What are some ways you achieve balance?

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Be Ye Perfect – But Not A Perfectionist

Perfection…without Perfectionism 


As we travel purposefully, it is helpful to understand the distinction between perfection and perfectionism.

I tend to be a perfectionist. I like things done right…no, perfect. Yet I have learned over time that perfectionism is not beneficial. It seems reasonable to think that it is good to be – or at least aim to be – perfect. After all, Jesus expresses to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (John 4:8) So would it not follow that striving for perfection is good?

The answer is yes…and no. Jesus spoke of perfection in context to our moral actions. Yes, we should strive to lead lives without sin and to lead lives abounding with good works. Yes, we should aim to manifest God’s glory in every moment. Yes, we should strive to do well in all that we do – as workers, as parents, as friends, as Christians. This type of divine perfection flows not from our own strength but from the indwelling of the Spirit. This perfection is from God-power rather than will-power.

Sometimes, however, the desire to be perfect stems from our own self-will. In such a case our desire to be perfect in our work or in our appearance prevents or delays us from moving forward with God’s work. We thereby contribute less to others and reveal less of God’s glory. A singer, for example, may strive to be perfect before she performs in choir; she waits years to obtain this “perfection.” In doing so, she loses years of blessing others and glorifying God with what she perceived to be a less-than-perfect voice. A writer may seek to perfect her art before sharing her work; she withholds all she knows in order to achieve her definition of perfection. A child of God may wait for her own perfection before sharing God’s Message; in doing so, she greatly disservices both God and the world. This type of perfection is perfectionism, and it is fueled not by God’s power but by self-power.

Perfectionism, that which comes from self-power and self-will, can also hinder movement upon a pathway of purpose. When God places upon our hearts beautiful visions, we may be unclear about the specific steps to achieve the vision. We could analyze and strategize to ensure our maps are perfect before embarking on our purposeful journey. Yet how long will that take? And will opportunities be lost?

If God prompts us to move, we should take the next inspired step – even if this is the only step we can see. God often leads us step by step, action by action, moment by moment. In faithfully following Him, we find that our visions change and grow clear. I have discovered that my own visions evolved not in analysis but in action. Getting lost in perfectionism and planning has not served me.

Yes, we should give thought to our steps and seek God’s guidance. Yet we need not know each step we will go; we need simply heed as our God takes lead. Doing so is to relinquish our own will in order to live according to the Spirit. God’s Hand in our lives is then plain for all to see, for it is clear that He is at work and not our own perfectionism.

Is there any area of your life in which you have been stuck in analysis paralysis? How has this hindered your message and your work for God? How has this impeded the movement along your path?

As you move forward today upon your purposeful pathway, I encourage you to abide in the perfection of God’s Spirit. I encourage you to also release the chains of perfectionism, to detach yourself from the cords of self-will and self-imposed standards. Seek instead God’s Kingdom with bold and unwavering faith.

Take the next step as God reveals it to you and trust that He will reveal each step thereafter. Doing so will deepen your relationship with God…and enrich the experience of your purposeful journey.

 © 2011 Caroline Gavin


How will you live with perfection – without perfectionism – today?

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The Off-Track Twists and Turns

Off Track Twists and Turns

Getting Off Track

Off Track Twists and Turns

Image courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net
The Garden Path by Simon Howden

As we travel upon our pathways of purpose, we will experience getting off-track from time to time. As much as we desire to avoid this, we can take comfort in knowing that getting off-track for a short time can actually support our journeys.

Have you ever shifted from feeling purely inspired to downright discouraged? As we live on purpose, we feel ready to help the world, prepared to make a difference and passionate to help others. Yet, at times, interruptions happen, emergencies arise or criticism assaults us. Suddenly we can feel discouraged, frustrated – and off-track from our purposeful course. Perhaps we may even feel unaccomplished and unfulfilled; we may subsequently question if we will truly ever achieve that upon which we have set our hearts and our paths.

How can we then move from being discouraged to being inspired? How can the off-track twists and turns actually help us to travel more purposefully?

–          First, take comfort that God loves you for who are in Christ. He loves your being and not simply your doing. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12) Our faith in Christ, our receiving Him in our hearts, secures our standing with God. Yes, God wants us to obey His Word and work faithfully for His Kingdom. Yes, He wants us to experience victory in living in His Truth. Yet, irrespective of circumstance, God loves you as His cherished child for who you are in Christ.

–          Second, remember that feeling off-track indicates that you were indeed on-track! Yes, it reflects that you were previously moving intentionally and purposefully. The recognition of being off-track therefore allows you to move again to being on-track. Do not count the steps you could have taken if you had not been interrupted. Do not contemplate how far you could have traveled upon your path if you had not veered off-course. Simply take heart that you are on the path again – and keep going!

–          Third, connect humbly and gratefully with God to discover what you can learn from the distractions and emergencies and criticisms. Ask Him how you can better handle these situations. Such events are opportunities in which we can grow. We can react in frustration or anger or discouragement. Or we can react in love and compassion and hope. The very twists and turns that seem to pull us from our path may actually propel us further upon our path if we react to them with a loving heart. We may amidst certain trials, for example, grow in patience, in wisdom or in generosity.

God is sovereign and allows events to happen, even those which we perceive to lead us from our course. We must discern how these events can help us to grow and how they can support – rather than hinder – our movement upon our purposeful pathway. We fix our trust in God “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Today, as you journey upon your purposeful pathway, embrace the twists and turns and obstacles that you may encounter. Recognize that being off-track may actually help your course if your heart is open to the life lessons which therein lie; realize also that what you may perceive to be off-track may actually be a powerful part of your pathway. Those very twists and turns may lead you closer to your destination and to God Himself. Open your heart and allow God to work through all situations. Then faithfully follow Him step by step…


© 2011 Caroline Gavin

How did you feel the last time you got off track? 

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Live with Purpose…to Live with Peace

Live on Purpose to Live with Peace

Purposeful Living, Peaceful Living

Live on Purpose to Live with Peace

Image courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net

Purposeful living is also peaceful living.

The sense of peace we experience is often a product of situations and circumstances. Yet God promises His children a peace which transcends these fleeting feelings. This transcendental peace results not from favorable circumstances but from steadfast trust in God. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

It is human nature to grow discouraged and to lose peace when situations shift unfavorably. Yet, as we learn to react not in our nature but in the Spirit, we learn also to trust God in all situations. For, as we live in the Spirit, we trust in God’s provision, in God’s omnipotence and in God’s omniscience. We trust in God’s love and in His goodness. Yes, we trust “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)  Trusting in the loving Hand of our Father engenders unwavering peace no matter what we encounter upon our journey.

In my own life I have struggled with this. It has been easy to feel peaceful when things were going smoothly and according to “plan”… but also so easy to feel distress and lack of peace when those plans went awry. Yet, as I have practiced placing trust not in myself but in God, indescribable peace has embraced me. Trusting in God, resting gratefully in His Will and aligning our purposes with His engenders within our hearts this sublime peace.

Money, relationships, belongings, health and status are all unstable. While certain things are good to have, we simply cannot place our trust in the blessings. Rather we place our trust in the One who blesses, for God is eternal and unchanging. He is the Rock upon whom we can fix solidly our trust.

The following are steps for obtaining peace:

–          Ensure that in all areas you are seeking first God’s Kingdom “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)  In maintaining the proper focus on God’s Kingdom, we will look not for security in things which are bound to change. Are there any areas in which you are not seeking God’s Kingdom foremost?

–          Trust God in all situations. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6) As we learn to trust fully in God’s plans, rather than in our own, we discover peace that accompanies walking with God and heeding His direction.

–          “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:15)  We can grow accustomed to the rushed and unsettled feeling of disturbed peace. Our hearts, therefore, must be open to the gift of peace – both to receiving and to maintaining it. Is your heart fully open to this gift? Or is it clenched with anxiety or fear?

–          Remain in God’s Will and abide in His Word. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4)  As we remain in God’s Word, and as His Word abides in us, we live according to the Spirit. Doing so allows us to bear the spiritual fruit of peace.

–          As you live in God’s peace, bring this divine peace to others. God promises that “peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:18) As you allow God’s peace to flow into your heart, purposefully create peace in all situations. Peace springs forth not from external situations but from the indwelling of God’s Spirit. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) 

As we travel today upon our personal pathways of purpose, let us embrace the peace that God freely gives. No matter what lies around us, let us allow God’s peace to rule within us. And let us bring peace to others, allowing God to transform them – just as He is actively transforming us. Let us live according to God’s special purposes for us…so we may live with the peace He promises!

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

© 2011 Caroline Gavin


How will you step more strongly into your purpose to live more fully in peace?

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Celebrating Change

Celebrating Change

Another incredibly powerful tool for purposeful living is the ability to celebrate and embrace change.

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

Our Lord, Our God, is constant, eternal, unchanging. He is the Alpha and Omega: omniscient, omnipotent and everlasting. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)  The essence of this created world, however – with every creature, every flower, every leaf, every bird, every rock – is change. We see clearly that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)  Life flows in a constant flux, so resistance to the flow of change inevitably causes conflict. Yielding to and flowing with change, however, leads to peace, hope and eager expectation for the future.

When we do not find our joy and peace in the unchanging God, it is easy for us to seek fulfillment through attachment: attachment to things, to people, to relationships, to circumstances. When changes threaten these temporal attachments, we begin to fear; we grow anxious, discouraged and sometimes angry. Yet God created the world in a state of change – with day and night, with summer and winter, with life and death. “My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.” (Psalm 102:11) The constant movement of daylight and of seasons reflects this natural law and encourages us to embrace the flow of change. God – yes, only God – is the Source of true stability and solidity.

When we allow God to fill us, when we invite God to bring us hope, when we embrace His love, we need no attachments. We can proclaim confidently that “He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:6)   In doing so, we embrace the changes God allows. We look forward with great anticipation the good things which will come. For we know that “He is the rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

Is there any area in your life in which you are not embracing change? Are you clinging to any attachments? As you travel upon your purposeful pathway, I encourage you to embrace the love of God and celebrate the flow of change. Discover firsthand the liberating paradox: by clinging firmly to the Eternal God and standing firmly on the Rock of Truth, you will flow freely and peacefully with the beautiful currents of time and change.

“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31)

© 2011 Caroline Gavin


How will you celebrate change today?

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God-Centered Living

God-Centered Living

God-Centered Living

God-Centered Living

Image courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net
Rainbow by Evgeni Dinev

As we live purposefully, it is helpful to gauge the extent to which we are God-centered…or fragmented.

We have all encountered people who seem to morph depending on the crowd surrounding them or depending on their current circumstances. The traits and values they display in one moment easily shift into the next. Each one of us, on some level, has experienced this firsthand in our own lives. Although some claim that being mutable to please others is a positive thing, this mutability is not Biblical nor does it allow healthy, peaceful and purposeful living.

Yes, to spread God’s Word we must be able to speak the language of others. We certainly would not speak to first-graders as we would to college students. Adopting the language of others, however, does not mean compromising one’s values, one’s visions – or one’s self. When our eyes are continually fixed upon God’s Kingdom and Righteousness, our thoughts, words and actions flow freely from this centered focus. Our concern then is to love God and love others – and to love others enough to be fully and authentically ourselves. God’s Word instructs us to “let it be your care to get the approval of God, as a workman who has no cause for shame, giving the true word in the right way.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

To allow one’s preferences, values and goals to shift with external changes is to live as a fragmented person; for one exists not in solid boundaries but in the shifting outlines of various personas. Without solid boundaries of self, there is no substance, no strength, no solidity to one’s being. In surrendering aspects of one’s self to please others, an individual does not remain true to herself – and is therefore less relatable to all. She lives therefore in disharmony. The paradox lies in that the more we are true to God the more we are true to ourselves. As live true to our unique purposes, we discover sublime peace…trusting fully in God to lead us.

People desire to relate to an authentic and solid person; they seek to relate with an individual who defines the boundaries of who she is, what she appreciates and where she is going. A centered individual consistently clings to her values, her visions and her preferences. She speaks clearly in her unique voice. Her values, visions, voice, preferences, thoughts, words and actions seamlessly integrate to create a beautiful whole. She defines herself clearly to herself and to the world, thereby allowing others to know her through her courageous vulnerability. She does not fear the opinion others and instead finds freedom, peace and purpose in steadfastly defining and maintaining her boundaries.  “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

As you travel upon your pathway of purpose, reflect upon areas in which you are clearly God-centered…and query if there are any aspects in which you are living fragmented. Fragmentation hinders the movement along the purposeful journey, as a fragmented person cannot walk solidly until she heals and clearly defines herself. It is crucial that we fix our eyes on God’s standards and align ourselves with Him.

Evaluate the solidity of your center by asking the following questions:

– Does my voice change depending on situations or the people surrounding me?
– Am I clear and consistent in those things for which I stand?
– Are my goals aligned to my values?
– Are my daily activities matching my goals?
– Do I fear the opinion of others?
– Are my boundaries clearly defined?
– Do I have a strong sense of direction?

The more firmly fixed upon the unchanging Truth of God’s Word, the more clearly centered we are in our lives and in our journeys. “For the Lord’s approval of a man is not dependent on his opinion of himself, but on the Lord’s opinion of him.” (2 Corinthians 10:18)   As we grow God-centered and solid in the boundaries of who we are, we become clear in our direction, vivid in our vision, peaceful in our pursuits…and purposeful in our path.

© COPYRIGHT 2011 Caroline Gavin


What actions steps will you take today to live more God-centered?

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Life Fragrance: What is Expressed When You are “Pressed”?

What is Expressed when You are Pressed by Trial?

Life Fragrance

What is Expressed when You are Pressed by Trial?

Image courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net

As we seek to live with purpose and peace, it helps to draw metaphors from Nature to more clearly understand God’s purposes and God’s ways. The fragrance released when grass is cut is both beautiful and refreshing. As it grows undisturbed, the fragrance of grass is mild; but, when grass is cut, the fragrance it emits is aromatic and powerful.

We can bring this fragrance metaphor to our own lives and ministries.”For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 15) It is natural for us to view favorably the periods of ease. Yet, when our lives flow undisturbed and without trial, the true depth and strength of our love and faith is concealed.

When, however, we are in the midst of trials – when we are cut and squeezed and pressed – the essence of who we are flows forth for the world to experience. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the fragrance of the Spirit beautifully rises from us. God’s Love and Light flow through us as an incredible testimony, a fragrant evidencing of Him. We discover that “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” (2 Corinthians 4:8)

As we commit to purposeful living, it is helpful to evaluate the fragrance we emit…for our fragrance evidences our essence. Trials are opportunities in which to release our fragrances, to bear our fruit, to expose to others the Spirit of the Lord which resides within us.

The following steps will help us to embrace trials and challenges as opportunities:

– Reflect upon the essence that fills your heart. What flows forth from you in times of trial, the times of pressing? Is it love, patience and forgiveness? Or is it anger, resentment and overwhelm? Write about specific circumstances of trials in your life and the fragrances revealed in your responses and feelings.

– Review the times in your life in which challenge ultimately yielded incredible good. Journal about these periods and the resulting positive outcomes.

– Determine what you can do to sweeten your life fragrance. Do you need to practice forgiveness? Could you incorporate more time for prayer and meditation? Do you need more involvement with your church family? Do any sinful patterns exist that prevent the Holy Spirit from fully dwelling within you? Is your relationship with God deeply personal and continuously growing? Take time to closely meditate on these questions and to journal about your discoveries. 

As you journey purposefully, pause to enjoy the delightful fragrances of Nature. Reflect also upon your own life essence. When trials arise, what aroma will flow forth from you? “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)  How can your life of living sacrifice grow more fragrant and holy and pleasing to God? Trials and challenges are indeed opportunities, for they reveal the depth of faith and love that lies within heart.


© 2011 Caroline Gavin

What steps will you take to sweeten your life fragrance today?

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The Positive “No”

The Positive No: Purposefully Saying No to Powerfully Say Yes

The Positive “No”

The Positive No: Purposefully Saying No to Powerfully Say Yes

Image courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net


As we commit to living purposefully, we discover an appreciation for the proper uses of “yes” and “no.”  Simple as these words may seem, both carry a lot of weight; it helps to learn the practice of the positive “no.”

Often we perceive the word “no” to bear a negative connotation, and understandably so. After all, the word “no” is defined as a negative or an opposite. That being said, we need to look not at the word but at the context in which the word is used. In doing so we can determine if “no” is used positively or negatively.

Many of us, including myself, can struggle with saying “no” – especially to others.  The word, however, can be used in a positive manner if aligned with our goals and purposes – if, of course, our goals and purposes are aligned to God’s will. When we want to say “no” but instead say “yes,” we disobey God’s Word.  Jesus commanded: “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)  Although Jesus was speaking in reference to taking oaths, His words apply also to misaligned thought, word and action. If we say “yes” when we want to say “no,” our words are no longer aligned with our thoughts.  This misalignment causes disharmony, and disharmony is not from God.

We know that saying “no” to sin is saying “yes” to truth and to freedom in Christ. It is clear that saying “no” to sin is positive. But what about saying “no” to things that are not sinful? What about saying “no” to a social event invitation, for example? Is it selfish or insensitive to say “no” to an invitation? Prayer, reading God’s Word and careful consideration of our purposes will direct us in such a circumstance. If you know that God is calling you to do something other than attend this social event, trust Him and follow Him. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Most of us have experienced the overwhelm that comes with being over-committed. There are twenty-four hours in a day, as God ordained, and we must use them wisely. “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” (Psalm 144:4) There are many noble activities to which one can commit, but our time on earth is limited; one simply cannot commit to all. If certain activities draw us away from priorities and hinder the momentum of doing God’s work, it is beneficial to step away from such activities – as good as they may be – and step forward instead on our purposeful pathways. Our focus then is not on that to which we say “no” but rather on that to which we say “yes.”

This principle takes practice; but the more we master the art of saying “no” purposefully, the more we say “yes” to moving forward, “yes” to focus, “yes” to momentum, “yes” to harmony and “yes” to serving God. 

Today, as you walk upon your purposeful pathway, take notice of when you say “yes” and when you say “no.” Carefully note your motivations for saying both. Are your mind, body, spirit – thought, word, action – aligned when you say either word? What is your motivation for saying “yes” and for saying “no” in each situation? You will likely discover that sometimes your reasons for saying “yes” are not necessarily rooted in the dedication to your purpose and to God’s work. Through prayer and meditation upon God’s Word, we can determine the proper balance and allotment of daily activities. If you deem in the Spirit that your time would be better spent in one activity rather than another, follow the Spirit – and say “no” in order to say “yes.”

I encourage you to gratefully embrace this ability to choose, this ability to say “yes” and “no.”  And I encourage you to master the art of saying “no” purposefully in order to make your “yes” more powerful.

© COPYRIGHT 2011 Caroline Gavin


How will you use the Positive “No” today?

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Fear-Based or Faith-Based?

Fear-Based or Faith-Based?

Faith-Based or Fear-Based?

Fear-Based or Faith-Based?

Image courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net

A useful tool for purposeful living is identifying the emotional motivation for your decisions.

It helps to ask: “Is this decision fear-based or faith-based?”

Many of our decisions can be rooted in fear on some level. We can fear not having enough income, or we can fear losing approval from others. We can fear the anger of someone, or we can fear the unknown. We can fear change, and we can fear letting go.

It is generally easier to identify fear-based thinking relative to larger decisions. As we reach a momentous crossroads, we evaluate what hinders us; at such a point we often discover elements of fear. With smaller decisions, however, we often do not reflect long enough upon the decision to recognize the fear. Smaller decisions accumulate over time. Continually making decisions from fear rather than from faith diminishes not only one’s testimony but also one’s quality of life.

 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

If perfect love casts out fear, it follows that we have not fully accepted God’s love when we do fear. When we fear other people or situations, when we fear scarcity or disapproval, when we fear the unknown – when we fear in any situation – we are not acting out of love. We cannot openly receive God’s love in a state of fear, and thereby we cannot overflow with love. Without fully embracing God’s love, we are sensitive and vulnerable to everything around us: people, events and situations. Fear clenches and closes the heart…preventing it from giving and receiving love.

Fully accepting God’s love awakens our trust in Him and in His Promises. Our hearts open to embrace His love. Our open hearts then freely love Him and others in return. It is then, with this widely open heart, that our decisions become firmly based on faith. We seek only God’s approval, and we need not know the outcome of obeying Him. We trust Him that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

God is love (1 John 4:8); when we align our will with His, our actions and decisions flow freely from a state of love. When our fear is only of God, we discover freedom and truth. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” (Psalm 111:10)

Today, as you continue upon your purposeful pathway, notice the decisions you make – both big and small. Is there a hint of improperly-placed fear? Do you fear anyone or anything besides God? Perhaps today you can share your faith more freely? Or perhaps you can learn to say “no” to commitments when your time would be better spent in other activities? Perhaps you can move more boldly in a direction to which you sense God is calling?

In all that you do, today and every day, embrace God’s love with an open heart. Release your fears to Him and walk faithfully with Him…

© COPYRIGHT 2011 Caroline Gavin