Welcome to Alabama

My sister, her husband, and their three daughters had an eventful trip home from vacation last week. The baby had a fever, their GPS took them down a rabbit trail, they had to make many, many stops… and then they hit Alabama.

Alabama is a tall state. When you’re driving north from Florida to Ohio, Alabama seems to go on forever.

When they finally hit the Tennessee border, the five of them celebrated with honking and shouting. Hooray for the short state of Tennessee! My brother-in-law even shouted, “Tennessee Milkshakes for everyone!” (Yes, he knows Tennessee Milkshakes aren’t a thing—that just goes to show how excited they were.)

They spotted a McDonalds sign (guaranteed milkshakes!) and took the next exit, only to find another sign that read, “McDonalds, 2.5 miles.” Not wanting to disappoint their three thirsty girls, they made the turn and pressed on. Soon the McDonalds was in sight—but first they had to pass another sign:

 

“Welcome to Alabama!”

 

So often we feel like we’re right back where we started. We lose the weight, then gain it back. We mend fences, then have another fight. We complete the project, but have to redo it.

When feel like our work was in vain, it’s deflating. Disheartening. Overwhelming.

Over the last five years, I’ve put so much work into Organizing You Ministries. I’ve tried to make my website fabulous, to use Facebook as a tool for encouragement, and even to blog. These things are all far outside my natural inclinations—but I’ve been doing my best.

Then God blessed me with the opportunity to work with someone who actually knows what they’re doing: my new publisher, Brad Pauquette at Columbus Press.  Thank you, Lord!

Brad is awesome. He’s been amazing to work with and has fantastic insights into how I can serve you all better. In the next few weeks I’ll be retooling both OY manuscripts, and moving my entire website onto this blog, and learning how to use social media well, starting to blog differently… yikes.

Welcome to Alabama.

I had an evening when all of this stuff really hit me. The hours and hours of work ahead…. and how I’ve been doing everything “wrong.” I was back at square one. All of that time and work and effort, wasted.

Well, that’s just what Satan would like me to think. What he’d like us all to think when we’re forced into a do-over. And it’s simply not true.

Just as my sister and her family weren’t suddenly transported to the southern edge of Alabama, we aren’t back at square one. These aren’t u-turns taking us in the wrong direction, they’re important things to revisit.

When we look back, we can reassess. We can seize the opportunity to take a hard look at what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown. And focus on what we already know:

 

God makes all things new.

 

We’re not doing the same old thing again, we’re doing a new thing with more wisdom and experience. God will take it and work it for His good and His glory.

Today, my “Alabama” is looking at new ways to blog. In my first book, I wrote about how I fight anxious thoughts with “Thought Shots,” short phrases I keep ready to deflect the lies of the enemy. I’m going to start sharing some of them with you on the OY blog so you can use them too, if you’d like. So, here goes:

 

Lies to fight: I have to start over. All of that work was for nothing. I can’t do it again.

Thought Shot:

God and I are doing a new thing together,

with the wisdom and experience I’ve gained.

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

What’s your Alabama today?

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