Don’t Give Up!

...courage is a choice...

Persistence, for me, sometimes is like a shoe that is new and fits waaayyyyy too tight.

But you love the shoe. Why else did you buy it? You saw it in the store. You checked out your profile. You did a two-step before tossing them back in the box and promptly making your way to the register.

Don't Give Up! | Dana Pittman

Days or weeks later you discovered the perfect opportunity to pull out those shoes. You know, the ones worthy of a two-step in the store.

You put them on, looking super cute. You leave the house and enjoy the feel of knowing…knowing you look good girl!

Later that evening your feet are in total disagreement with your decision AND your cute shoes. LOL!

Don’t tell me I’m the only one. I have a couple of super cute but totally uncomfortable shoes. And YES I still wear them.

Why?

Persistence. 

And I wear the shoe until eventually my desire and feet are in total agreement. Sometimes it means the shoes cooperate, by relaxing a little, and other times I gladly accept the consequences of sore feet.

What do tight shoes have to do with our purpose and our goals? I mean, that’s what I write about on this blog.

We have to persist in attaining our goals in life. The goals we have for our careers, our businesses, our families, our spouses, our soul.

Persistence is continuing on a course of action in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc. [Defined] Scripture gives us an even better picture:

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

[Read it for yourself.]

You see that tight shoe may look like a new job with unkind co-workers.

…or…a child expressing resistance to a family change

…or…marriage challenges calling you to pray like never before

…or…a dream that seems further away no matter how hard you pursue it

Persistence.

Last week I shared a quote from Steven Chambers, a friend and pastor. He said, “Persistence is what courage is made of.”

Courage is a choice. 

You have to choose to be persistent. You have to choose to put one foot in front of the other, in your too tight shoes, and keep taking steps…and persisting in your actions, your words, and your thoughts until you reach your desired destination.

Knowing that in due season….you will reap a harvest.

Don’t give up!

Question: What in your life is calling you to persist? To be courageous? Will you answer its call? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Lessons Learned in Your Storm

...storms come...storms go...

Peter and the disciples are in a boat at sea. They jumped in the boat pumped!

They witnessed Jesus feeding more than five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Can you imagine the awe and laughter from the men as they made their way across the sea with their personal souvenirs (the remaining food) as evidence of such a wonderful evening?

Storms of Life | Dana Pittman

I can hear them talking over one another recounting the story again, as if they all had not witnessed the same miracle. But the joy of their very special picnic was quickly pushed aside as a bad storm disrupted their cheerful banter.

The men would weather this storm for many hours. The waves crashing into their boat. The winds nearly overturning them under its force. Yet they had no choice but to endure since they were too far out to return to the shore.

What would they do? 

Unstoppable

I walked into the house after spending my entire day at church, which is rare for me.

Our church has three Sunday services and I’m an early riser. I’m in and out. So much so that many people stopped and asked me “what are you still doing here?”.

Anyway, I get in and after determining to do “nothing” for the rest of the day… 😉 I turned on TV as I scanned my mind for a quick book to read. The TV was on merely for a little background noise to compete with the football game—we’re Dallas Cowboys fans residing in Houston—and my kiddos, puppy included.

I settled in and decided to knit instead and as my mind clear from that brief task I heard Oprah interviewing a guest, I did not get her name, but she said this quote, “Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor”.

Unstoppable | Dana Pittman

I grab my phone and typed the quote into Google. It is attributed to Rumi.

I like words. I like when words are perfectly placed to communicate a thought, which usually seems so complicated to describe because it is so real and thick and sometimes yummy. …yes, yummy.

A thought that once expressed perfectly it makes immediate sense and it feels good. You know immediately “that’s it!”.

This was one of those times.

I missed the rest of the interview because my thoughts were running. Because although this quote was wonderful its truth, to me, was reminiscent of a few verses.

[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center” cite=”Romans 8:28″]And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [/pullquote1]

(Read in context.)

[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center” cite=”Romans 8:31b”]If God is for us, who can be against us?[/pullquote1]

(Read in context.)

As I flipped through my bible I got excited. The “that’s it!” feeling was working overtime and my exhausted body could not contain my aha moment…with God I am unstoppable.

I mean, I knew this. Right?!

But how often do we forget we are victorious? Victors…loved…cherished… God created a special plan just for us. Yet we get pulled, yet again, into the undertow of life?

We go from knee-deep…to waist-high…to being fully submerged in…stuff. But all of that does not negate this truth for those who love God.

Do you love God?

Then you too my beloved are unstoppable when we are about our Father’s work.

Now I feel like Erica Campbell, “I love God, what you don’t love God, what’s wrong with you?”

Okay…so maybe that song isn’t the best expression of what I’m talking about. 🙂 But it does put a steady rock in my shoulders and a smile on my face.

You said you loved God. If so, you know that thing? Yeah…that.

Stop waiting.

Okay…I’m off to take a nap as I snap to beat in my head and the song in my heart. 😉

What Gives You Life?

My silence has lingered longer than expected. But in my absence I birthed my dream.

I feel excited, scared, vulnerable, impassioned…alive.

I am now in a space of wondering: What’s next? Thus, the time away was extended.

My silence came to a shrieking halt after reading most wonderful post. The writer said:

[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center” cite=”Shauna Niequist”]“What’s so sad is that when women fail to take their lives seriously, nobody wins.”[/pullquote1]

This one line could have been the full post. In this one sentence I felt she captured the width and depth of my experience for most of the year. She penned a sentence which echoes the ache in my heart for women and the story of my evolving life.

You see, in my time of silence I hosted my first away retreat. This, beloved, has been a desire of mine for a really (really) long time.

It has haunted me for many years.

It has taunted me for many years.

The longer I waited the farther is seemed to get away from me, which brought heartbreak, doubt and my resolve that “this will never happen”.

But never say never my friends.

God hears the very whispers of our hearts, the cries of our soul. I have seen Him move every obstacle. I have witnessed the impossible rendered powerless in His path.  And even the trivial, smallest detail was acknowledged.

I pray that this retreat is one of many more to come. It helped me to see what gives me life and how important it is for each of us to live.

You can define “live” as your purpose, your passion, your dream, your authentic life, etc.

Define it as colorful, boldly or simply as you’d like. But define it. And don’t stop there…you must live it.

Don’t brush it aside. Don’t wait for later. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect.

Because it’s in the living that lives are changed. The world is changed. And we need you and all the beautiful gifts God has blessed you with.

Now is the time to be the victors. Winning is a choice.

 

[pullquote4 align=”center” variation=”teal”]For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 1 John 5:4[/pullquote4]

 

31 Days of Audacious Faith [Day 4]: My Journey to the SCORRE Conference

I shared my plan to chronicle “My Journey” this month. That was vague. I know.

“My Journey” this month is (and has been) eventful as I prepare for the SCORRE Conference. The thought of attending this conference seemed insurmountable. But I wanted to go. I believe (and believed) something special is awaiting me. If only I could get my bottom in one of those seats.

By God’s grace and favor it is happening. I’m still in awe. And I was floating on Cloud 9 (wherever that is…) until they emailed our pre-conference survey.

All of the wind was knocked out of me. My heart started racing. I tried to take deep breathes but it didn’t help.

I share an office with my husband. While I huffed and puffed trying to slow my nerves, he asked “Are you okay?”

No! I wanted to scream. But how could I. I asked for this, prayed for it and even asked others to do the same.

What is wrong with me? I thought.

An Answer to Live By by Dana Pittman

Fear.

Plain and simple.

The “what ifs” flooded my mind. Minutes passed and I began to repeat:

[pullquote1 align=”center” variation=”teal” textColor=”#000000″]”But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” [Jeremiah 17:7-8][/pullquote1]

I continued until I could no longer hear my heart beating in my ears.

My mini-episode reminds me of what it means to live a life of audacious faith. My Spirit knows more than my mind can comprehend. Yet as I write this post, I don’t fully know the plan. By the grace of God I pray to make leaps and bounds until I know that I know that I know I’m pressing into all that God has for me.

It won’t be easy. I don’t require an easy path. But I pray for one made straight by God.



[pullquote4 align=”center” variation=”silver” bgColor=”#c9cbe0″ textColor=”#000000″]Thank you for visiting Day 4 of 31 Days of Audacious Faith. Follow the entire series by visiting daily or subscribing. (See all of the posts here.) I pray you’ll be blessed. [/pullquote4]


31 Days of Audacious Faith with Dana Pittman



How Did You Get Here? [Day 3]

...Blogging 31 Days of Audacious Faith...

How many of you are merely existing in a place of absolute discomfort?

Not because you are bold and daring. No, this discomfort stems from…

…Complacency.

…Boredom.

Mediocrity.


This discomfort does not fit well–and it shouldn’t. Nothing about your life as a believers should be average.

…Normal.

…Run-of-the-mill.


We usually make one concession, then another. Years pass and we wake one day thinking…

How did I get here?

Sunday Summary – Week 33

Hey…yes, it’s me. I will not bore you with excuses and tells of my travels (yet). I will, however, catch you up on my goals.

My original goal list is HERE. Now it’s time for my update.

 

Week 33

Here’s my list of goals (in no particular order) and the summary of the progress I made:

1. I am going to host my first retreat in 2013. This is moving as planned. The content is nearly complete and I even have a few volunteers. I hope to announce the details this month.

2. I am going to finish writing a book in 2013. I am almost 10,000 words. But I have not moved on this goal. Urgh…

3. I am going to outline the entire bible. This goal may get tabled for a later date. Between traveling, speaking, teaching, kids…yeah, I’m not feeling too good with my progress here.

4. I am going to train for a 2014 marathon. I am training. I have also registered for a half marathon between now and the marathon. 

5. I am going to finish reading 12 non-fiction books this year.

Book #1: Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado.

Book #2: Live Visioning by Michael Bernard Beckwith.

Book #3: Hour That Changes the World, The: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer by Dick Eastman

Book #4: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

Book #5: Born to Win Find Your Success Code by Zig Ziglar

Book #6: Knowing God Intimately by Joyce Meyer

Book #7: Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic

Book #8: Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

Book #9: 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron

Book #10: Cross Roads by WM. Paul Young

Book #11: Memories of Finding Faith (Liz’s Legacy) by Heidi Kreider

Book #12: The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren

6. I am going to knit a folk shawl. I have completed several test shawls. I have my pattern. I need to order my yarn. Yay!

7. I am going to have monthly one-on-one dates with my husband, son, daughter and best friend. This is harder with the summer between traveling, summer camps, and enjoying ourselves we have not done our one-on-ones but we are getting in quality time.

8. I am going to actively mentor one woman. The mentoring program is waiting for the green light, still. However, I’m still contented with a few woman and this week I’ve started a couple of one-on-one sessions.

 

I’m still amazed by our progress. Keep me in your prayers and I’ll do the same for you. God bless!

 

[fancy_header3 variation=”silver” textColor=”#000000″]Question[/fancy_header3]

What do you plan to do THIS WEEK to make your dream a reality?

[fancy_header3 variation=”silver” textColor=”#000000″] [/fancy_header3]

 

Sunday Summary – Week 19

I can’t believe my last update was during Week 7. Surprised

On every Sunday, I will share a quick summary of my progress toward accomplishing a life transformation in 2013. My original goal list is HERE. Now it’s time for my update.

 

Week 19

Here’s my list of goals (in no particular order) and the summary of the progress I made:

1. I am going to host my first retreat in 2013. I found the location. The contract is submitted. I am unable to express in words the way I feel right now. The only thing I can say is…I’m so blessed and I thank God for every door He has opened (and closed) to bring me to this place. I have a long road ahead. Stay tuned for the details.

2. I am going to finish writing a book in 2013. I am almost 10,000 words. This week I am setting new deadlines for myself to jump start this goal.

3. I am going to outline the entire bible. 

4. I am going to train for a 2014 marathon. I have registered for my first marathon on January 1, 2014. Yay!!!!!

5. I am going to finish reading 12 non-fiction books this year.

Book #1: Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado.

Book #2: Live Visioning by Michael Bernard Beckwith.

Book #3: Hour That Changes the World, The: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer by Dick Eastman

Book #4: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

Book #5: Born to Win Find Your Success Code by Zig Ziglar

Book #6: Knowing God Intimately by Joyce Meyer

Book #7: Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic

6. I am going to knit a folk shawl. I am still practicing. I have started ordering yarns to test for the shawl.

7. I am going to have monthly one-on-one dates with my husband, son, daughter and best friend. This is one of the best goals on my list. It has been extremely hard to get with everyone one-on-one monthly. But it has been worth the effort.

My last “date” with my husband we went on a wonderful sunset boat cruise. It was amazing!!! My son and I have enjoyed one-on-one time while taking walks. It’s been truly exceptional.

My next “date” is with my daughter for a Mother Daughter Tea. My next “date” with my bestie is to visit some local health food stores and brunch.

8. I am going to actively mentor one woman. The mentoring program is waiting for the green light. I attended a meeting a few weeks ago and plan to let time reveal whether it will work or not. In the meantime, I’m still writing Midwife Minutes to over 35 people (the list is slowly growing). I am also personally mentoring a couple of women.

 

I have made so much progress. It is amazing to me to write and share. Keep me in your prayers and I’ll do the same for you. God bless!

 

[fancy_header3 variation=”silver” textColor=”#000000″]Question[/fancy_header3]

What do you plan to do THIS WEEK to make your dream a reality?

[fancy_header3 variation=”silver” textColor=”#000000″] [/fancy_header3]

 

Power Move #2: Decide What You Want

Have you lost your way?

Then this short “series” is for you. At least, I hope it will give you a little guidance. We started with “Make Room for Your Blessing” now for Power Move #2…

 

Decide What You Want

This step may seem a little off since I have you deciding before praying (Power Move #3…coming next week). Stick with me here. I believe we should decide what we want in this particular case because many of us know what we are to do. We know the desires that linger in our hearts. We know every excuse we have fabricated to keep us from taking the next step.

For many of us it is not…what we want…but why we have allowed excuses…hard times…doubt…to keep us from our best selves.

Am I barking up the right tree?

What do you want? Really want?

Spilling your guts is not necessary. You don’t have to create the master of all master plans. But you must decide. MUST.

Failure to decide will leave were you are now…lost.
[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”center” cite=”Bryant H. McGill”]Change will never happen when people lack the ability and courage to see themselves for who they are.[/pullquote3]



[fancy_header3 variation=”silver”]REFLECTION[/fancy_header3]

Grab your journal and write out what you want for your life. If that’s too much to consider, instead write what would your ideal day.

[fancy_header3 variation=”silver”] [/fancy_header3]

 

Power Move #1: Make Room for Your Blessing

Have you ever stopped and looked around only to find yourself where you don’t want to be?


I have. Recently my prayer for clarity brought me to remove myself from anything and everything I thought to be a distraction. For over a month I limited my internet interactions. And I attended only those meetings and events that required my presence.

In this place of limited distractions I prayed. I sought God’s direction. Relaxed. Slept (yes…your girl was tired!). I called people instead of waiting for a Facebook update. I shared private moments of encouragement instead of posting on Twitter.

In the beginning it was hard. Extremely hard. But now after finding myself “back” for a month I miss the quiet space I had.

I saw a glimpse of what I want more of…

 

[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”center” variation=”teal” cite=”Wikipedia”]Power moves are moves loosely defined as relying on speed, momentum, and acrobatic elements for performance.[/pullquote3]

 

Power Move…

It’s time to make a power move. A move which will cause me to shift my life from where I am to where I want to be.

During my hiatus, I could see the vision in those quiet moments. It was clear. And having those moments made staying put impossible. My soul just can’t fathom staying still with what I know to be true.

However, with this reality comes knowing I have a lot of work to do.

As a fan of Zig Ziglar, I can hear him say “Plan. Prepare. Expect.” And Mr. Ziglar (in my head) that is exactly what I’ll do.

I plan to share my journey with you all. This makes me a little hesitant. Because I’m like you in that “What ifs” can cause me to second guess…halt my progress…and oh heck….

I make excuses.

There I said it.

[pullquote3 align=”center” variation=”teal” cite=”James 1:17 MSG”]Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. [/pullquote3]

Make Room for Your Blessing

 

Are you with me?

Do you have a dream, a passion, a desire that you’d like to live right here, right now in your life?

Let’s begin by making room in our lives for the blessing. This means if…

…You want to write a book.

You have to clear space in your schedule to write.  You may need to coordinate with your spouse or a sitter. You may need to scout a coffee house to write. You may need to buy a book or two on the process. You may want to find a coach.

…You want to live your healthiest life.

You need to find a workout plan. You may need to reevaluate your eating. You may need to find a buddy or two to keep you accountable. You may need to step on that scale to see where you’re starting (so you can make plans for where you are going).

…You want to grow closer to God.

You have to make room for God in your day-to-day life. You may need to dust off your bible and seek Him in the Word. You may need to start journaling. You may want to go on a retreat. You may want to increase your time in prayer.

 

As you can see, there are always options but to begin you have to begin.


[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center” variation=”teal” cite=”Dana Pittman”]…to realize your purpose you have to begin… [/pullquote1]
[fancy_header3 variation=”silver” textColor=”#000000″]Reflection[/fancy_header3]

What will you do today to realize your purpose?

[fancy_header3 variation=”silver”] [/fancy_header3]