Which Side Will You Shop?

What do you fill the silence with?

Have you ever heard yourself say “I’m a mess, I’m horrible with directions, I’m fat, I’m a terrible cook?” The things that we fill the silence with can be really ugly.

Without realizing it, we go shopping for how we feel about ourselves each day.

Imagine yourself at the center line of a road and there are two brick and mortar stores on either side. These stores won’t take cash or credit, but you purchase anything in them that you agree with and believe.

Close your eyes and picture the shop owners. Do you see a devil on one side and an angel on the other? You might picture yourself with wings and a halo or horns and pitch fork.

I see a little me on my left and she’s having an amazing hair day. She’s wearing workout clothes and looking fit. She’s super excited to see me and says she has some great stuff I’m going to love. We’re going to call her store A’Me’zing.

On my right the shop owner is wearing baggy pants and a messy bun. She’s offering a huge welcoming smile and a chocolate chip cookie, because she gets me. Let’s call her store Messy Me, and let’s go inside and look around.

Everything on the shelves and racks in this store is guaranteed to keep me firmly planted where I am. In this shop I will find boxes full of excuses not to exercise and tons of elastic pants to keep me comfortable while I don’t.

I’ll find ceilings, limits and barriers to keep me from even attempting to rise up. There is an entire department of old wounds I can revisit for those times that nothing is actually causing me pain right now.

And oh, those wooden signs that everyone loves with the words painted in white – the walls in this place are covered with everything I’ve ever taken offense to. It’s all so familiar I could stay here forever. If only I had the clarity to realize that everything Messy Me was selling is garbage – I would walk out her door. I don’t need that trash taking up retail space in my mind… but it does.

Every human interaction has two parts – logic and emotion. While some people tend to gravitate toward one of those two, there is one that makes a lasting impression. Emotion cuts deeper into our memories – every time. That’s why we remember September 11th like it was yesterday; It’s why I still know right where I was standing when I was 11 and my grandmother left telling me that she would always be my grandmother.

If you mentally walk into that brick and mortar store and try on an emotion from the past, take a look in the mirror at who you are now. See that this old rag doesn’t fit quite right anymore and take it off.

Leave it behind and let’s go shop across the street.

When I step into A’Me’zing, I feel invincible. Confidence comes in all sizes here.

A’Me’zing has a fragrance counter where I can mist myself with motivation.

Wait? Am I floating? I could swear I’m 15 lbs lighter in here.

The background noise in the shop is audio of my favorite memories. There is wall to wall ambition and productivity like I’ve never seen before. Every piece of clothing is adorned with rhinestones spelling out words of the kind things that people have said about me.

The decorations on the shop walls are all images of times in my life that I’ve felt beautiful. And by the register is a little sign: “A’Me’zing has a full satisfaction guarantee”. Wow! Why don’t I shop here every day?

Why don’t you shop here every day?

~ Kim Weingart

Which Side Will You Shop?

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                  ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

I Want To Be Where You Are

  
What if you started off each day with that declaration??

I Want To Be Where You Are

I wake up and shout this out loud. Okay, maybe after the kids and husband have left for the day I start shouting. 

Let’s go to Jazzercise, Jesus!!” I whisper as I get ready to leave. 
I chuckle as I imagine if He would be wearing His customary brown robe we all see him portrayed in the movies.  
I got to admit that kinda tripped me up trying to visualize him jumping and grooving to the music with a robe flapping around. 
I started to imagine him in old fashion peddle pushers like the men wore in the 1800’s. I don’t know why I took him to George Washington’s era but that’s where we went. 

Then I saw him wearing brown loose pants and a button down brown shirt. 
I noticed it took my mind to things I didn’t think about before. I could see in my minds eye Jesus walking around touching the ladies on their heads. As if the touch reminded them He loved them and delighted in who they were. 
It caused me to join Him and pray a quick prayer over the ladies to bless them and draw each of them closer to Him. All of this being done while I am trying to keep up with the moves and steps of the instructor. 

This is why I am always in the back!!! 

It’s best for everyone I am there

Next stop is the store. Jesus accompanies me as I run to get a few groceries. As I walk around I am aware more than I have ever been before of the people in the store. One by one I pass them. Jesus and I smile and agree together that God has good good plans for them and we declare that anything stopping them from their destinies will be cast aside. We proclaim that they will experience a relationship with their Creator and Company. (Holy Spirit & Jesus)

It’s just a simple fun way to bring Him into your everyday life!!

I am reminded that our minds are powerful and really determine the outcome of each day. 

Will we chose to keep our eyes fixed on Him or the circumstances of life that weigh us down and bring us into fear or anxiety? 
I think Jesus likes shopping!! We are going there again tomorrow and will see what happens!!

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Place this verse in your front and center data brain base!!

If you find yourself not motivated to take Jesus out of your house with you for the day then pray and ask for a desire to want to be with Him!!

Say this prayer and play this song today and see what happens!!!

 ~Keep Grooving with Jesus, 

(He Has Miraculous Moves) 

    Kelley Allison 

Lord, 

        Wake us up and put a hot fire under us to thirst for you and desire you!! We are running after you. My soul longs to be where you are today. ~Me 

Chris McClarney
Running After You (Deep Calls)
http://youtu.be/ZaSSXpRcoH4

The 9m Navy Lady 

  
She had a cane

She was tall and fair

Quite old, slight and frail…

Requesting summer sandals

She walked slow 

Following my lead

My knowledge of 

What she needed

She was not demanding

Almost thankful to be

Receiving any help at all

Grateful that I had 

Even inquired if she

Needed my services

She came for tan

And settled for navy

She paid cash

The two white style’s 

I brought out for her to try

Were too narrow for her

Wide, worn, lived in feet

I fumbled as I tried to assist her

Putting them on

Awkward moment for

The both of us

She was alone and I wish I had 

Been kinder, smiling at her 

Showing mercy, care and patience

Instead she left with her 

9m Navy Sandals 

I did not watch her walk away

Or wonder where she was going

❤️ Krystal Lynne 

5/1/96

Materialism Run Amuck

I normally try to avoid the mall at all costs, but recently I had to venture out into the “Prime Shopping Madness” to make some returns. It was a few weeks before Christmas, but already I could feel the “Greedy Grasping Empty Materialism” in the air of the department stores as I entered.

I looked around at all the people buying and buying and searching and searching. So many people trying to fill a void with a bunch of stuff. I was guilty myself because there I was returning things that I had compulsively bought online weeks prior.

When they came in they had already lost their sparkle that caught my eye in the first place.

I love that I can recognize when I am being compulsive in my shopping now. I did not always recognize it or think I had an issue, and sometimes still, I can just be disobedient and do it anyway. I still try to fill a void with stuff sometimes instead of allowing God to fill me when I am feeling a little low.

As I continued to reflect on my Mall Madness experience, I was reminded of it over and over and even started to notice the same atmosphere at Costco, and Walmart, and even the Dollar Store this week. Carts so full of stuff, but the look on people’s faces were not full of happiness at all. All I saw was stress, and fear, and guilt, and pressure, and rushing. I started to wonder, where are all the happy and joyful people?

Are these people trying to fill a void? Do their spouses or families have too high of expectations for Christmas? Are their children so full of entitlement that they have to have more and more to be happy? Are they trying to impress the Jones’? Are they addicted or compulsive too? Why do so many people have to make Christmas about having more? More presents, More lights, More food, More parties, More rushing, More stressing, More More More.
Has materialism run amuck?

Just watch the news coverage on Black Friday shopping and for the riots over the Michael Jordan shoes coming out…. Yep, Materialism has run amuck!

Look at the definitions of the words:

Materialism-a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

Amuck-wildly out of control.

Yep! When people are knocking down grannies to get their shop on-Houston we got a problem- Materialism has run amuck indeed! It is wildly out of control and spiritual values are hard to find with all the stuff filling up the baskets and drowning out lives.

This verse caught my attention as I was pondering and praying for all those unhappy people I encountered these past few weeks.

“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from Him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” ~ 1 John 2:15-17 The Message MSG

Love of the world does squeeze out love for God and love for others too!

What if we all celebrated differently this Christmas?

What if Christmas was not about all the “stuff” and presents, but about slowing down to rest in His Presence and with those we love?

What if instead of exchanging gifts, we share the Greatest Gift, Jesus, with a lonely, hurting, basket stuffing, mad, angry world?

~ XXOO, Michelle Bollom
© RestoredMinistries

Are You Content?

 

 [And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain. ~(1 Timothy 6:6 AMP)

Content – adj-in a state of peaceful happiness. Verb-satisfy. Noun-state of satisfaction.

For years I didn’t know what contentment was. I knew what discontentment was; (a restless desire or craving for something one does not have.) I used to not care about the whole credit cards are spending tomorrow’s prosperity today and I did not like to deny myself anything. I used to have a shopping addiction and a little “retail therapy” can get out of hand quick. I had quite a bit of credit card debt at one time. Ok, well, like 3 times, but Thankfully & All Glory to God, I have ZERO credit card debt now. I was looking to external forces to try and fill that void that only God is designed to fill. I used to get upset and say my husband was too frugal. He was always the voice of reason, the kill joy of my desire to impulsively spend.

Frugal – saving or sparing; not wasteful; requiring few resources.

God began to show me the art of contentment and what being frugal really meant and how it all played into being a Good Steward.

Good Steward- doing the best with all things God has given us.

“Biblical stewardship”-utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.

Stewardship – a person using every talent and repeatedly sacrificing desires to do the right thing.

These are some things I have found that being a good steward we need to do:

A good steward focuses on God, not things.

And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. (Colossians 3:2 AMP)

I had always looked to earthy things before to satisfy my longings instead of God. When my focus was more on God, the glitter of the worldly things that used to distract me lost some of its sparkle.

A good steward examines their life.

Let us test and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord! (Lamentations 3:40 AMP)

This includes our behavior, motives, thoughts, attitudes, and direction. Always ultimately imitating Jesus and returning to the Lord. Do I really need this? Is this the best use of my money, time, and resources?

A Good steward has self- control.

He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls. (Proverbs 25:28 AMP)

I used to be a collector … a nicer way of saying I had a shopping addiction. I collected dolls, teapots, cookie jars, shoes, purses, perfume, jewelry, books. Etc.

Then God showed me this verse: “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-6:21) I read it one day with fresh eyes and instantly decided to stop collecting. I did not want my heart to be with the wrong things. I asked myself was my collection of things bringing God Glory and was it bringing betterment to His creation? So I got rid of my teapots, I stopped buying expensive perfume, excess shoes, purses, I boxed up the cookie jars and dolls, I gave away a ton of jewelry , boxes of knick knacks and I am making some progress on the books. It is tough to deny ourselves. It can become stifling when our closets, cabinets, drawers, and garages are so cluttered it slowly takes the wind out of us. It is also slowly sucking the quality of our lives away one knick knack at a time.

A couple years ago we remodeled our home after 17 years. In the process of making things beautiful and simplified we had to get rid of a ton of stuff. Sometimes it is difficult to part with things because we can have emotional connections to things because we have a memory when we bought them or someone gave them to us or they once belonged to someone else that is no longer with us. I learned God doesn’t want us to make connections with things; we are to make a connection with people. It was a wonderful spiritual lesson about removing the “Stuff” to make room for more of God.

A Good Steward makes sacrifices.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? (Luke 9:23-25 NIV)

Oh this is the one area that is so hard for most of us. I did not at first make these sacrifices cheerfully. Some of you may feel the same sting I did when I start suggesting some sacrifices like coloring your own hair instead of paying $150 every 4-6 weeks to have your highlights redone, Or packing lunch or cooking dinner instead of eating out, making your coffee at home instead of swinging by Starbucks every day, buying the $30 Dollar jeans instead of the $100 dollar name brand blinged out jeans, driving your car that’s paid for instead of eyeing your neighbor’s new car and running out to get you a new one with payments and interest, paying off your house instead of pining after a swimming pool or bigger square footage or the prestigious new neighborhoods, wearing the clothes in your closet instead of buying a new outfit, Limiting your manicures and pedicures to once a month or start to do yourself, mow your own yard, wash your own car.

The sacrifices we make show God we are serious about Gods business and not just about our own. Think of how many people you can help with all the extra money you could be saving. Think of how paying off all your debt would feel if you made just a few sacrifices? Don’t get me wrong, I think the occasional splurge is fine. I think sometimes those things can be sacrificed if only for a season. 

I am all for buying good quality items but I am no longer hypnotized by a society that confuses your worth or status with what designer name brand your wear or carry or drive. It is the day in and out with no regard to the wasteful spending or not denying you the conveniences by not making a sacrifice that God looks at. Add up the cost on your collection of purses, shoes, jewelry, fishing equipment, guns, pictures, gadget, records, phones, movies, Starbucks, pedicures/manicures, perfume, etc. What is it costing you? What is it costing others? Are those things really for Gods glory and the betterment of His creation?

We can live comfortable and simplified lives without all the crazy spending and accumulation of worthless things and really be living a much richer and fulfilling life. When we live our lives with the real Good Steward definition of “utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.” And let it change our thoughts and become a part of us we will start to live genuine content and joyfully frugal lives knowing the really great and important things for Christ are priceless! ~~ XXOO Michelle Bollom