Continuing the Discussion on Success…

Last year, I had the privilege of celebrating my Grandparent’s 64th anniversary.  64 years!  Can you imagine?  They have been married almost twice as long as I have been alive!  It seems like such a rarity these days, to find two individuals holding to the vows of “til death do us part.”  As we celebrated, I marveled at this richness, realizing these sacred moments are not commonly experienced.  It was a treasure worth beholding.

I am thankful for examples of commitment like my grandparents, because they have modeled to me the importance, power, and reward of faithfully completing that which was started.  It is so easy to get derailed by distractions and obstacles.  They threaten to sideline us and obscure our goal, often leaving us exhausted, injured, and unmotivated to finish our race.  My grandparent’s life was not always sunshine and roses.  They encountered trials and heartache, but they stayed the course and are now beautifully finishing the race.

If you want to have a successful marriage, business, ministry, education, career—whatever it may be—you must stay committed to the ultimate goal and committed to integrity.  It is a matter of mental fortitude and grit.  Often the biggest thwarters of our success stem from the battleground within our own mind.  Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  It is in our mind that our hearts are either infused with truth or destroyed by lies.  If there is a vision, dream, or goal God has cultivated in your heart, your mind has the power to grow it or squelch it.  You must identify the goal, the vision, or calling God has placed on your heart.  Maybe it is to finish school, become a mom, help your husband more, or volunteer for something at church.  You must first identify what this goal is, call it out, discern if it is God given and then… chase after it.  If you fail to identify your goal, the vision becomes mucky making it that much harder to cling to truth and stay on course.  On the contrary, when you acknowledge that God is partnering with you in this goal, you can make efforts to renew your mind with truth so you can better chase the dream.

Driven people, striving towards success will often do whatever it takes to get the job done.  It is essential to make the necessary sacrifices and step up to the grueling demands required to get the task completed.  Success does not passively occur—it is an active process often demanding time, energy, and risk that you didn’t initially anticipate.  If you are deciding to go back to school, you may not get the class at the time you need, you may be paying more than you originally anticipated.  You may have to rearrange work or home schedules in order to fit it in.  If you are making a career change, you may have to temporary take lower pay than you had hoped, you may have to travel when you didn’t want, you may have a more inconvenient commute.  Successful people are able to stay determined and adaptable to the unforeseen challenges that come their way.

Although, a successful person will do what it takes to finish the race strong, they must never, ever elevate success at the expense of compromising integrity.  “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Matthew 16:26.  Many people will strive towards success—full of willpower and resolve—but many will do this at the cost their own integrity.  They will choose the career over their marriage, financially advance through a lie, or forget a promise as they shake on a new deal. 

King Solomon was raised to power by God to carry on the Davidic lineage and Kingdom.  God granted wisdom and great wealth to Solomon, and although Solomon remained dedicated and driven to the temple, he began to lose focus.  God had told Solomon not to intermarry with other woman of other religions who would pull him away from worshiping Him, the true God.  But Solomon became distracted and prideful, losing sight of God’s command.  Soon he would marry multiple woman and begin worshipping false gods. 1 Kings 11:9-11, “ The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command.  So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.’  King Solomon gained what he thought was wisdom, power, and love but it was all for naught.  In his attempts to be successful, he morally fell and lost all that he worked so hard to obtain. 

As you cultivate the vision and goals that God has birthed in you, run your race with integrity and commitment.   Listen to God coach you as you renew your mind with His truths so as not to lose sight of the finish line.  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith,”  Hebrews 12:1-2.

Starting a series on Success

I have had the privilege of writing for On Purpose Ministries. One of the series I was asked to write about was on the topic of success. What a good challenge this was because in America, we want to measure everything by success. We often identify and categorize ourselves, finding worth and value, by our successes, but I would argue, God’s view of success is markedly different. I hope you enjoy this upcoming series about the nuances of success. (P.S. Some of you may have already read this because it was sent out accidentally in December…yes, I’m bad with technology 🙂 )

In the early days of my dating relationship with my now husband, we got in a philosophical discussion about what does it mean to be successful.  As we sloppily treaded through the nuances of the word “success,” we circularly argued whether it was profession verses skill or knowledge verses productivity or left-brain verses right brain.  I’m not really sure if we came to any conclusions that day–the tension was similar to that of a presidential debate.  Needless to say, we dated about three more years after that working through some of those differences.

How can such an apparent simple topic on “success” be fraught with such befuddlement?  I think the answer is that being successful is such a personal matter.  All of us want to be successful, but in our own right.  Just because I’m not a Quantum Mechanics Engineer or a Computational Chemist doesn’t mean that I am less successful.  Or does it?  Is the fast food worker more, less, or equally successful as a doctor?  Is a stay-at-home mom as successful as the women who was just announced CEO of a corporate business?  How you answer depends on who you are.  The topic becomes so personal, so challenging, and often so subjective.   Tangled up in these senseless comparative questions, insecurity sets in, inferiority complexes ignite, and frenetic striving can seem like the only option.

I have a hard time believing that when I get to Heaven and meet Jesus face to face, that He will be scaling my success on the giant “Career-Meter”—high scores for the brainiac’s and corporate climbers, low scores for the quote-on-quote “less accomplished.”  Yet if you look around society, we toil and race like our inheritance and self-worth depends on our earthly achievements.  Matthew 22:35-40, “One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied:  ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” 

Notice how the text says, “an expert in the law, tested him.”  The religious leaders were acting from a place of pride, attempting to trick Jesus into giving an answer that supported their fake piety and excessive striving.  But instead, Jesus didn’t fall to their scheme and instead turned a question of success into a subject of love.  Jesus didn’t dismiss there were commandments and He didn’t ignore personal responsibility, but He trashed the notion of formulaic accomplishments and boldly spoke about Lordship.

Successful people take responsibility for their lives within the context of submission before Christ.  “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36).  We can achieve so much in our careers, with our intellect, against all social injustices, but if we have accomplished it all apart from God, we have only achieved worldly success and may have forsaken eternal success.  The world will rate success based on education, paychecks, grades, and your uncanny ability to wear 97 hats– don’t get me wrong, these things are needed and beneficial.  But what about God?  Did we forget Him as we scurried along saving the world?

It is through obedience, stewardship, and love that we find success:

Stewardship:  We must take responsibility for what has been entrusted to us.  When we fail to risk, when we cease trying, when we choose to live with apathy, and ignore the God-given passions written on our hearts, we forfeit success.  When things don’t go as planned or when we fail in ways we couldn’t imagine, prayerfully take it to the Lord.  He will restore and renew. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).

Obedience:  Do things as unto the Lord.  He has gifted you with your own unique beauty, creativity, and voice to add to this world.  He longs to partner with you to bring about success for you and success for His Kingdom.  Don’t get burdened by comparison, insecurity, thankless-ness, or mundanity because you don’t have to answer to people, you need only to answer to God.  When you go to God for your marching orders, the rest will fall into place.  Live fearlessly, except to fear God, and chase after the passions He’s given you and the open doors He’s provided.   “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Love:  Love the LORD with every part of your being.  Let that love permeate your speech, your thinking, your service to others, your work environment, your care for your family, your care for yourself.  Make His priorities, your priorities.  Prayerfully seek His direction and input so that your decisions are Kingdom seeking, rather than self-seeking.  “He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless” (Proverbs 2:7).

As you take responsibility for your own success, may you be able to remove the distractions surrounding you and run with arms back and heart abandoned towards the God who is 110 percent in your corner.

Lights on

“You are the light of the world.” I ran across this verse this week and when I first read it out of context from the Matthew 5 paragraph, I initially thought it was talking about Jesus being the light of the world. Yes, “He is our light,” I thought. Jesus, in all His beauty, easily radiates light; He lives up to this statement well. But after these brief mental meanderings and divinity declarations, I realized this verse was Christ-followers, believers…the Church (with a capital “C”).

light bulbs images | Light bulb art, Light bulb, Light bulb crafts

That’s quite an announcement, quite a proclamation! Jesus says, immediately following the sermon on the mount, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16).

I winced as my spirit churned inside me. “Are we?” I thought. “Are we really being the light?” So many opinions, so much self-promotion, so much anger, so much hatred, so much self-righteousness….so many ways we aren’t light. So many ways, personally, I’m not light. In that sacred moment of honest evaluation and divine conviction, I realized there is still hope.

God knows our failures as a “C”hurch, “c”hurch, and individual. He knows these failures very well even while we are still coming to self-awareness that, ah, yes, maybe we really aren’t all that good after all. But just like He told Peter that he would be the rock on which the church would be built, knowing that Peter would deny Him three times, so Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world, knowing that our darkness will sometimes hamper the brightness.

This is our challenge, our goal. This is what we must strive for. Wake up, sleeper. Wake up, Church. Within us, is the same power that rose Christ from the dead. The Spirit of the living God resides in our hearts, in our lives. Oh, how we must shed our selfish shells and let the light shine. This world needs it! This nation needs it! It all comes back to Jesus– the source of all light, the source of all hope.

Remember the children’s song, “This little light of mine”? Don’t hide the Jesus in you from a world who needs it. Don’t put make-up and layers over the spirit of the living God dwelling within you. Live out your light. Shine in your home. Love in your workplace. Beam at the grocery store, in the traffic jams, in the heated conversations and hopeless frustrations…Be the light. Reflect the radiance of the Perfect One “who calls things that are not as though they are.” (Romans 4:17).

Happy New Year!

Today is the day to reflect, to dream, to pause. It is the day to recount God’s blessings and lay down our pride; to mark out our plans for the future yet savor our memories of the past. In the waking moments of 2021, the future is unknown, crisp and fresh. It may be full of sorrow, it may be full of joy but the promise remains the same:

“Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

That’s our God…Emmanual….the God who is with us. Always. To the very end.

May you feel the presence of God with you! May you invite Him in to each of your days. May you adventure with Emmanuel for He is with you! Happy New Year! Happy New Start! Happy New Day of hope, blessing, mercy, grace and divine presence. May you feel His love envelop you as you start your year afresh!

You hem me in behind and before,

and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 139:5-10

Christmas in Exile

“Receive the gift for what it is, not what you think it should be.”  This phrase has settled over my heart over the past month with the anticipation of the holidays.  2020 has been a year full of gifts in unusual packaging.  As we enter a Christmas season full of quarantine quandaries and distancing dilemmas many of us feel exiled, away from the ones we love and the traditions we treasure.  Some may even feel as though they are in a wilderness, navigating uncharted territory alone and by themselves, similar to the lonely road that Mary and Joseph took over two thousand years ago. 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. ” Luke 2:1-7.

Let’s be honest; if you were Joseph or Mary, would not this whole census thing appear to be the worst possible timing?  As if this whole complicated mess of a virgin conception and betrothal to a man she was still learning about wasn’t already confusing enough, now the timing of birth was becoming quite precarious.  Mary was very pregnant and had to make a long, challenging commute to a foreign land when there were no hospitals, quick clinics or even roadside assistant services along the way.   How alone they both must have felt?!  How daunting the journey had to be?!  So much could go wrong and there were no earthly comforts to help ease the situation, not even the familiar setting of “home”.  Yet, this was God’s plan.  But even more than that, this was His gift of hope, packaged in the most unusual, unpredictable, unspectacular way.

God was accomplishing something bigger than birth, bigger than exile, bigger than wilderness weariness.  He was fulfilling His promises foretold hundreds of years earlier* and building the faith of Joseph and Mary as they relied fully on Him.  In their wilderness journey God was becoming a way-maker, providing for them a place to rest, a quiet space for a sacred moment when the Son of God would enter the world—humbly, peacefully, privately.  In that hallowed place and blessed space, God was sharing His greatest gift in the most exiled and backwards of ways. 

I don’t know what this year has been like for you.  Perhaps it was full of loss or upside down blessings.  Maybe it was full of confusion, loneliness, or pain.  Although your gifts have come in packages you did not desire, did not request and did not want, press into God.  “Sometimes God does His most wondrous works in the darkest of night” (RAW, pg. 24).  He can make a dirty stable even fit for a King.  God is on the move.  He does care.  As you navigate your unknown territory, may you find the resilience of Mary, the resolve of Joseph and the hope of Jesus to help you embrace the gift hidden in the rumble. 

*But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

    one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

    from ancient days.  Micah 5:2

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Holy blog-ness….Sorry for all the blogs tonight!

Some of you may have gotten multiple blogs from me tonight that are meant to come out next year. Please disregard (or read twice when these two blogs post again throughout January or February). Sorry for the spamming blog posts tonight. Moral of the story…I need to get better with technology 🙂

On a bright note…my hope and goal is to have more regular blog posts come 2021. Hope you will continue to follow. If there are topics you would like to delve into, please email me at contact@rebecca-greenfield.com or comment on this post. Thanks everyone!

Happy Dusternuffle Day!!

Today is the day that a little thing that started 17 years ago is now fully alive… Dusternuffle is published and released into the world!! This has been a special day! Thanks for those who have preordered already!

Order at any online retailer

If you would like a free coloring pack for your little one, order today! If you decide to order from another online retailer and would like a coloring pack, please leave a note in the comments so we can get it to you!

Taking orders also at http://www.Rebecca-Greenfield.com and http://www.Rebecca-Greenfield.com

Thanks everyone and God bless 🙂

Meet the Author & Illustrator…a Facebook Premiere

Dusternuffle’s “Meet the Author and Illustrator” will premiere Thursday night, November 12th, at 7:00pm on Facebook’s Rebecca Greenfield Author Page. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/greenfieldmills/

Also, I just want to thank all of those who have been so encouraging, kind, and supportive. IT has been wonderful having you rally around us in excitment for Dusternuffle! Thanks so much!!

One last note…Only 6 more days to preorder and get the discounted book price! Taking preorders at http://www.Rebecca-Greenfield.com and http://www.CassandraZook.com

DUSTERNUFFLE pre-orders now available!

I am beyond excited to announce the title and video trailer of my new book called….

DUSTERNUFFLE

Check out the book video trailer 🙂

My first children’s book!!! Check out this amazing book trailer to find out about these dusty creatures living underneath the floorboards in the village of Dusternuffle AND get a sneak peak at the cover from the best illustrator Cassandra Zook Illustration (I love her work so much)!! NOW taking PRE-ORDERS at http://www.rebecca-greenfield.com for the release date of November 15th, just in time for Christmas! Perfect for you and your little one!!

Share laughs and enjoy the mysterious, marvelous, magical fun of Dusternuffle!

Below the carpet, beneath where people walk

Is a village of dust with creatures that talk

A village of wonder, of faith and good cheer

A crowd full of creatures that no one can hear

But once in a while a threat from above

Makes all the Dustanians rally in love

To save their quaint village from danger and fright

The spiders, the dirt and the dust must unite

Together in faith they’ll hustle and bustle

To rescue their town, the town of Dusternuffle

#Childrensbooks #funreading #instagramauthor #RAW #ThePrayerCrossing #Parenting #creativity

This is worth it…

A long time ago there was a whisper that grew into a passion that evolved into a dream that shaped into a reality. When we advertise for women’s retreats, it is far from a “whim”. It is a call on our hearts from God. We have been planning the Re-Zestify Women’s Retreat and slots are filling, but there is still room for a few more. Only 10 days to register and slots fill at a first come first serve basis.

Women, you will not regret this! Men, treat your wives to a much needed weekend away. Brothers, help a sister out! Sister, make space for you and God! Now is the time to answer the call. We have been asking God to call His women, who He wants to come and just ask yourself…is it you? Is it someone you know? Is it your sister? Your mother? Your wife?

Wondering if you should come?? Here is what people said about the last retreat:

“I got so much more from this retreat than I ever could have imagined! I was in a high for days after leaving the retreat.”

“Life changing”

“Good food, Amazing fellowship, Soul searching, Great bible study’s, Fun games and wonderful crafts.”

“Beyond amazing”

“God-honoring, convicting, life-changing worth every moment”

“Amazing. Moving. Great. Wonderful. Spiritual. Healing.”

“God honoring. It was raw like your book. It was vital for us to be totally open and real.”

This is God, people!! He can do AMAZING things with the simplest “yes”! Say yes today and register yourself, your friend, your spouse…today before the slots are filled: https://www.eventbrite.com/…/re-zestify-womens-retreat…God is amazing in what He can do!

REGISTER or Find out More