Start Small

Start Small

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” Luke 16:10

I have got some big dreams. I might have mentioned this before but God has given me some big visions and big goals. Everything in my head is big. However, you don’t wake up one day with a book that you wrote placed in front of you, waiting for you to put your name on it. You don’t wake up as a speaker or a dentist or a doctor. There are steps to take in order to reach these outcomes. You cannot just decide to become a doctor, walk into a hospital and apply for a job. You have to get a degree, do a residency to be trained, and clinic hours and other things. (I might also be wrong on the order of these things, I am not a doctor.) 

Everything big and awesome and cool started out small. The bloggers I follow and admire did not wake up overnight with thousands of followers. They kept pushing out blog post after blog post even when they only had like 10 followers. The people I look to for inspiration did not wake up in the place they are now. There was work, growth, and learning done in the process. In fact, I didn’t wake up one day and be in the season I am in now. I wasn’t just handed these dreams, God developed them and grew me into them. If I tried to start this blog five years ago (which, technically, I did) it wouldn’t look like what it looks like today. I believe me this version is better (even if I do wish I had 5 years of work in this already, hahahaha).

All of us have to start small. We are not given the big things until we prove ourselves in the little things. We have to start with ourselves, what small step can I take today to make a difference? How can I do something internally to get to where I want to be? What small thing can I do right now? Well, for me, I can write this devotional. I can write the next blog post. I can record the next podcast. 

Just like trust takes time to build so does the big awesome God-given dreams we have. So take that baby step, and the next and watch what comes by step 10,000.

Write it Out

  1. What can you do right now to get started? What is your baby step?
  2. Write out the next 5 steps, make an action plan.
  3. Write how you are going to be faithful to these steps

Devotional Thursdays-Simple Facts

Simple Facts

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I grew up in a lutheran household. This is a technicality. We went to church sometimes, I think. I remember I was told that I was lutheran. I don’t remember God really being talked about in my house. I did have a huge banner in my room that my mom had made at my baby baptism. It had a huge cross on it and said “I have called you Ashleigh Louise”. (I had no idea what it meant, I just knew it had something to do with God.)

Read More

Bold(ER)

Bold(ER)

I feel like today’s culture is very “you must agree with me or you’re stupid”. Anywhere you look people are arguing over opinions as if they are facts. People talk about “their truth” and it almost appears as though truth is something that can be changed based on whoever is speaking. 

God says differently than this. In the Bible, God has laid out how we are meant to live, do marriage, be parents, trust in Jesus and everything we need to know. However, the world will tell us that God is wrong and God is bad. The truth is we live in a very sinful world where the enemy is running rampant. In fact, he has the world’s culture hating God and not believing he exists. All of the evil in the world is blamed on God because he “allowed” it. As Christians, we know that isn’t true and that isn’t how God works. “If God is all powerful, why does he allow -blank- ?” 

As Christians, we know the answer is Free Will and we know that even in the bad times, God works to make the evil good. Every bad thing I’ve gone though has allowed me to grow, learn or shape who I am today. Sometimes, the end of the bad ended up being better than before the bad. God is amazing and powerful. 

As Jesus followers though, what are we doing to proclaim his name? What are we doing to share the good news? I know I struggle with this. I am almost afraid to admit that I love Jesus because I’m afraid of what whoever I am talking to will think of me. I’m afraid I will lose credibility or that I’ll be thought of as intolerant or whatever else is thought of when it comes to Christians. 

I want to be bold. I want to speak my faith without fear because when you get down to it, the opinions of others do not matter. When I return home, I want to hear “good job good and faithful servant.” I don’t want to have to answer for my fear of what other people thought. 

There is a way to speak our faith and that is to speak it plainly, letting God guide us in our words. The bible tells us that He will give us the words when we speak. Let’s walk in boldness of our faith instead of fear of what others might think. 

Write it Out

  1. Do you worry about what others think?
  2. How can you put a bolder step forward and share your faith?

Devotional Thursdays- Strength

Strength

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Some days, I get home from a big day with a lot of things happening and I wonder how I am still standing. In fact, some days, I get home, sit down and don’t get back up until I get myself into my bed. I am that tired. Those days are fewer and fewer lately, I’ve been working on not adding so much to my plate. (Growth!) Then there are days I wake up, think about all the things that need to be done and stress about how I am going to do it. I get new opportunities and stress about whether or not I will do a good job. 

Recently, for example, I was stressed about a new opportunity I had at work. It was something that I was so excited for. The day came for me to start and I was so nervous I didn’t know what to do with it. Naturally, I turned that nervous energy into stress and started stressing about things I couldn’t control or things that were already settled. I used that nervous energy to second guess my decisions that un-stressed Ashleigh already made. 

I was telling my husband about it and he sent me the sweetest message that included “don’t let the enemy get you down.” I was so wrapped up in my stress and felt discouraged before I had even started this opportunity I was excited for. All those decisions I was second guessing, they were decisions we made for a trip we are about to go on. All good things that I was starting to doubt because at the core of my stress, I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t qualified to do what I was told to do. 

That’s where God comes in and His word tells me to chill. Be strong, God says. Don’t be afraid, he reminds us. God goes with me wherever I go. I like to envision this as if I’m walking down the street with God and he is holding my hand guiding me. 

Write it Out

  1. Where do you need God’s strength?
  2. How can you work on allowing God’s strength work rather than your own?
  3. Where do you need peace? 

Devotional Thursdays- Bloom

Let each of you remain in the situation in which he was called. 1 Corinthians 7:20

I have big ideas. I have big dreams. Dreams I know that God has given me and the biggest struggle of my life is figuring out how to get from where I am, to where I know God told me I’ll be. I don’t see the path and it bothers me to levels I didn’t know existed. 

Since working on my relationship with Jesus, I’ve been told that I need to be faithful in the small things and then God will trust me in the big things. Its sound advice. Luke 16:10 backs it up. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. How am I supposed to get to the big dreams if I cannot even do what I’m supposed to be doing in this moment? 

In his letter to the church of Corinth, Paul reminds them that they need to be faithful to where they are. The before and after verses reference circumcision and slaves. If you started following Jesus and were uncircumcised, you didn’t have to rush out and get that situated. The specifics of this do not matter. What matters is that we are serving the Lord where we are right now. 

I am still on the path to my dreams. I am still working towards them. When God gave me the vision he gave me years ago, I didn’t just up and quit everything I knew to follow this. I started serving God where I was. I showed God’s love to the parents of the little children I used to teach. I showed God’s love to the little children I used to teach. I served God in my church and in ministries and allowed other people to pour into me. As seasons change and I’m finally getting onboard with the change, I’m learning how to serve God in where I am at now. Sometimes, we aren’t where we expect to be when we envision the bigger picture of serving God. There are a lot of steps to get to that place and it doesn’t happen overnight. However, we aren’t just to sit on our hands while we wait for that day. If we do that, the day will never come.

There are people who are called to be pastors and missionaries. These are amazing callings and I am thankful for every single person who took up their cross there and do these amazing ministries. However, just because we are not a pastor doesn’t mean we aren’t called to serve God. It doesn’t mean that we cannot do Kingdom work in our daily lives. We don’t need to be a pastor to be a light for God. We don’t need to be a missionary in a different country to talk about God. In fact, in America, we have the wonderful freedom that allows us to talk about God and serve God. Everything we do we should be doing for Jesus. So even if you are working at a clothing store, you are working for Jesus and you should act as such. If you knew Jesus was coming to inspect your work, how different would it look from what you are doing right now? 

There are countless ways to serve God. We will have many seasons in life. We will have a lot of changes in life. The most important thing is that we dig in a little bit and bloom right where we are. Goals and dreams are great and vision is important. You also need to be working in the present and allowing God to get you ready for those dreams and those goals. The day when that vision comes to fruition, you want to be ready. That is why it is so important to bloom right where you are, right now. Do the best work you can right now. Bloom, right now. 

Write it Out:

  1. Where are you stagnant? What in your life cannot you not get excited about? Where are your struggles?
  2. How can you get excited about where you currently are? 
  3. If you are excited about where you are- how did you get there?
  4. How can you work on your perspective? And allow God to change your perspective?