Is It Time for You to Try Something New?

When the Apostle Paul urged believers in Rome to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, he was pre-figuring a field of neurological research that would appear on the scene (by natural means, anyway!) two thousand years later under the moniker of a “growth mindset.” It turns out that as we reframe our inner monologue, we actually change the way our brain works. Moving from negativity toward a “renewed mind” of trust is not only biblical. It’s good science! This neuroplasticity—or change in brain mapping—leads to new freedom of possibilities and learning.

Of course this is easier read than done, so I’m putting some of this good science to the test in my past middle-age, empty-ing nest life. We can pick up the conversation over at Meghan Weyerbacher’s place where I’m sharing some thoughts on overcoming my stick-in-the-mud ways and, by grace, leaning into a growth mindset. I look forward to hearing your thoughts! Click here to join the conversation…

Learning to delight in God’s transforming ways,

 

Photo by Olav Tvedt on Unsplash

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Reaching Out for the Adjacent Possible

“Nine chapters, one hundred fifty two pages—how hard can this be?” I thought, as I loaded a well-known Christian classic onto my Kindle.

Slogging through chapter two, reality began to set in.

I had always been an avid reader but felt a need to be more intentional in my reading choices. The holes in my theology needed sturdy patches of truth, and I longed to benefit from the wise words of classic Christian writers.

By the time I reached chapter three, I was seriously discouraged . . . and I never made it past chapter four. Reading G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy seemed like a great place to begin, but I soon learned a lot of really hard paragraphs lived between all those inspiring quotes I had swooned over on Instagram.

If I had chosen a book closer to what I’m accustomed to, would I have had more success?

Look for Small, Positive Steps

The concept of ‘The Adjacent Possible‘ has changed the way I approach adding spiritual disciplines and healthful practices to my life.

Adjacent means ‘in close proximity’.
If I am looking for The Adjacent Possible, I stop scanning the horizon for a “eureka” moment and begin looking close by for a small positive step in the right direction.

I’m writing more about this process of discovery over at Living By Design where I’m sharing a guest post today! I do hope you’ll come on over and read the rest.

Photo by Olav Tvedt on Unsplash

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

With an empty house, a clean kitchen, laundry on the line (and even a sleeping dog!), it was a perfect afternoon to study or write. Deadlines were looming. However . . . the sun was shining, bath towels flapped and danced on the clothesline outside, and suddenly, while there was plenty that needed doing, the will to do it was lacking.

“Maybe I’ll call a friend,” I mused. “Or this would be a great day to wash windows!”

When I’m pondering the possibility of veering off course in some small way, I remember the faithful example of Elisabeth Elliot, who readily admitted that she was also subject to all the usual distractions and reluctance when it was time to sit down and write. She spoke of “taking herself by the scruff of the neck” and sitting herself down before the task at hand.

Elisabeth Elliot blended grit and grace so consistently that it is impossible to tell—and pointless to wonder—where one ends and the other begins. For this reason and many others, she has had a profound influence on the way I read Scripture, parent, and go about my work. I’m not alone in this, and because of her pervasive impact, Amanda Farmer and Michele Brusvoort are featuring Elisabeth Elliot in their Legacy Builders series.

I’d love it if you’d join me over there, and while you’re at it, be sure to take a moment to share in the comments about your memories of Elisabeth Elliot and how her books and her teaching have impacted on your following life.

By the way . . .

This is a good time to be pondering Elisabeth’s contribution to Christian thinking and living because several of her books are being re-released for a new generation of readers:

Made for the Journey, a new look and title for These Strange Ashes.

You can read my review here.

Joyful Surrender, an update of Discipline: The Glad Surrender (and a great follow up to this post!).

I’ll be reviewing this book soon.
Stay tuned!

Her audio series on suffering has been distilled down into print as Suffering is Never for Nothing which I have reviewed here.

Also, this year Valerie Elliot Shepard, daughter of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, wrote Devotedly, sharing content from her parents’ correspondence and journals. I was very thankful to share that book with readers and you can find the review here.

Because we “are loved with an everlasting love and underneath
are the everlasting arms,”

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I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase any of the books mentioned in this post, simply click on the title here or within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a very small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

The Apostles’ Creed for the 21st Century

Whether from a desire for “authenticity” or from a mistrust of formal statements of faith, the use of creeds has fallen out of favor in many evangelical churches. However, in The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits, Albert Mohler—president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and TGC Council member—argues that creedal statements are, indeed, relevant for “such a time as this.” As the subtitle suggests, when we employ those ancient words in our worship, we have captured “authenticity” at its best. The Apostles’ Creed frames the essence of Christianity, for it “expresses and summarizes the faith given by Christ to the apostles” (xiv).

Internalizing majestic statements of belief enriches our more spontaneous expressions of worship with infusions of known theological truth. Mohler explains the Apostles’ Creed line by line, phrase by phrase, applying its truth to life on the ground in the 21st century. The effect is a well-organized, timely presentation of truth.

I’m thankful to be over at The Gospel Coalition‘s website today sharing Dr. Mohler’s book and arguing that the historic creeds are servants, summarizing the content of our belief so the truth can be succinctly communicated, unifying us on the essentials and directing our minds toward life-giving orthodoxy.

I hope you’ll join me over there to finish reading and to delight along with me in the details of our great salvation!

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

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I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase, The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits simply click on the title here or within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a very small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

Surprise! God Has Your Best Interest at Heart

When C.S. Lewis wrote Surprised by Joy, he was clear that it was a “spiritual autobiography” designed to track his pilgrimage from atheist to deist and, finally, at long last to “the most dejected, reluctant convert in all of England.” In Christian circles, we’re fond of talking about finding God, until we realize that He has been there all along—and like C.S. Lewis, we are surprised by the joy of a love that came to us before we ever reciprocated, an unconditional love.

Growing up in a home in which mental illness and addiction seemed to be setting the agenda, it was a surprise (and a joy!) to discover that God was actually mightily involved in every detail of my life. In the midst of the chaos, He was NOT standing idly by, but was deeply involved in bringing me to Himself. He was longing to be gracious and to show me compassion!  He had His own agenda in mind for me that He would be faithful to fulfill!

In my small hometown in Northern Maine, God bent over backwards to connect me with godly mentors and opportunities to test His faithfulness. When I bought a one-way ticket to California for my first semester of college, I pictured myself taking flight and pulling up my roots in Maine. I had learned a love for teaching the Bible, so I majored in Christian Education, transferred to a small college in northeast Georgia, crammed a bachelor’s degree into three years, and began wondering where in the world my next adventure would take me.

God is full of surprises! I landed right back here in Maine, and there’s so much more to this story, so I invite you to click on over to Mary Geisen’s writing home where she has opened wide the door for me to tell my story and, in doing so, to also #TellHisStory, because, after all, every story circles back around to Him.

Let yourself be surprised by joy,

Michele Morin


If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Parenting Lessons from the Ashes

Strict practitioners would not have approved of my methods, but on one long ago mid-winter Wednesday, I smeared ashes on the foreheads of my two preschoolers and myself. An offering of the hardwood that had heated our home the day before, these ashes were not “ceremonially correct” in any way, but at the time, I did not know that traditional Ash Wednesday ashes come from the remains of Palm Sunday palms. I did not even know about the forty-day season of Lent that follows Ash Wednesday.

However, I did know about sin—my own and my children’s. We were in “time out” season with one of our sons. At our wits’ end, we had exhausted Dr. Dobson, Elisabeth Elliot, and every parenting resource available in the 90’s. “Why is it so hard to be good?” our little Dobson-buster would ask, and his younger brother’s eyes would fill with tears whenever they were caught in collaborative naughtiness.

In this parenting pressure cooker, maternal apologies had become a daily occurrence. I was hoping to model repentance—while at the same time atoning for sharp words and a short fuse. “I was wrong; please forgive me,” were the words through which my sons were learning that their mother had not outgrown the struggle against sin. Ash Wednesday gives Christians an opportunity to grow in our understanding of where to take that struggle.

Maybe, like me, you come from a tradition that has not emphasized the liturgical calendar, and Ash Wednesday is just a misty concept for you. I invite you to click on over to Desiring God with me today for some thoughts on filling up that concept with some history, some spiritual practices, and some story telling from my parenting life here on this country hill.

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Wooden Cross Photo by James L.W on Unsplash

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Self-Care and the Rare Gift of Spiritual Friendship

“Hey, we have a lot in common! Maybe we should meet for coffee?”

Coming from Facebook, a place where “friendship” usually remains distant and virtual, this was startling content. Add to that a full schedule and a hard bent toward introversion, and there was every reason for me to log off, click on “unfriend,” and run like crazy. The risk of a face-to-face meeting with a total stranger is way outside my comfort zone, and yet the outcome, in this case, was a real-life friendship and a lesson in self-care.

Even with open laptops and a list of technical topics for discussion, when I meet with this particular friend, the percent of time devoted to “business” may be pretty low. Conversations meander as coffee cups are emptied and refilled.  I almost always come away from face-to-face time with friends enriched and encouraged in a way that transcends even the satisfaction that would have come from spending that time hammering away at my to-do list. We gauge the temperature of each other’s hearts, and somehow our faith is shaped in the context spiritual friendship.

A partner in prayer, another set of eyes, a companion in trouble:  these are the benefits of spiritual friendship, and today at April Yamasaki‘s writing home, I am arguing for the benefits of curating an environment that allows us to go deep in each other’s lives. Click here to keep on reading. I think you’ll agree that friendship as self-care is a refreshing way to look at the time we spend with the important people in our lives.

April Yamasaki is a fellow member of the Redbud Writers Guild, and I’m glad to be teaming up with her today because I learned a lot from her book, Four Gifts: Seeking Self-care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength. When I shared my review here, many of you expressed a need for and an interest in developing a greater mindfulness in your approach to self-care. When you hop on over to April’s place to finish this post, be sure to check out other articles that also focus on spiritual practices for healthier living for your heart, soul, mind and strength.


If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.