Coffee Can Be a Spiritual Experience

laptop coffee old tableI live again in the little town in which I grew up, a small farm-to-market town with a few stores and a great sense of community. After having lived away and been exposed to “big city things” I can sometimes find the local grocery store a bit of a challenge, but that’s OK. Except for the coffee.

My younger daughter worked as a barista at some great coffee shops when we lived in Tampa and Greensboro. That’s when I realized there was a lot more to coffee than the Maxwell House I’d grown up knowing. I learned about the power of the bean! The organic, fairly traded, and freshly roasted bean from Kenya remains my favorite. The oils on top of the French Press cup, the deep aroma, the earthy flavor with notes that linger, combined with honey and half and half make for a satisfying and rewarding cup of coffee. I’m spoiled – been called a coffee snob – but I know what I’ve experienced!

I’ve found it’s the same in my spiritual life. The God I grew up knowing in the same small town was taught about with faithfulness from the pastors who shared all they knew, but it wasn’t until my own relationship with God began to deepen and grow, until I experienced more of the Holy Spirit for myself, and had more real peace and joy did I understand that there was more to know and hold.

I have sought after God finding that He alone is my source of wisdom and revelation, and I’ve discovered an intimate relationship with Him where I can tell Him anything. Seriously, anything. After experiencing different forms of abuse and trauma, I find He has set me on my feet with a life of purpose. You may ask why I think I need more than what I was given as a child. That’s where the Kenyan coffee compares to the Maxwell House. To experience God is to find that life has more flavor and a sweet aroma, and just when I think He can’t show me anymore, He always does, speaking to my heart in a way I can understand and then encouraging me to share the truth about Him and all that unconditional love He has ready.

So now that I’ve come to know that God is more than a Bible story, and Jesus is more than a Savior, I am just beginning to live the restored, fulfilling, “Sozo” kind of life that was supposed to be mine all the time.  And I know what I’ve experienced!

Be satisfied with a “Maxwell House God”? Sorry, I can’t do that now. When I have been exposed to more richness and fullness in my soul, more identity and purpose about why I am here, when I’ve learned to hear God’s voice, why would I want to return to the way things used to be? Why would I ask for less than what is available for me? I want all the flavor, aroma, and purpose for a life that is mine to live well.

Don’t you have a responsibility to yourself to learn how to live your one life well? No one can do it for you, but…

You can have it, too! For more about how you can live a fulfilling life of significance and worth, send me an email today at robinlewiswords@gmail.com. My brand of encouraging life coaching and speaking topics can help. Your one life is worth it! Contact me today!

Loads of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window on a Monday full of sunshine and a tender heart for you.

banner cropped for constant contact(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, August 10, 2015. (Reposted August 18, 2016)

 

A Thirsty Land, A Thirsty Soul

strength to the weak

My desk by the window with coffee in hand is the first place I land after waking, stretching, and thanking.  The mist hangs low and veils the pines across the road after last night’s hard rain.  Two of the three horses in the pasture are visible, and I imagine are enjoying the dew-heavy grass.  Our land has been thirsty.  These rain drops that fell will soak into soil and bring shriveled corn into fullness again, encouraging the shriveled hearts of farmers as well.

We, too, can become thirsty in soul.  Made to need the One who made us, without receiving from Him, we become dry and the living out of our lives can become shriveled like the corn in nearby fields, not producing much.  A thirsty soul is a good thing to have as it draws us to God.  We learn not to fill ourselves with other things as they don’t long satisfy and we find ourselves needing more of a temporary solution.  Jesus said to the woman at the well, if you knew who was speaking to you, you would want what I can give.

“Everyone who drinks this  well water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”  ~John 4, The Message Bible

In the Saturday stillness, remember to get all you need for refreshment that satisfies and brings peace and new life within.  It will feel good to your soul and you are worth it.

Grace & peace,

Robin

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, August 2016

From the desk by the window on a day of rest. May you get filled up and may your rest be sweet!

 

When Faith Is Under Pressure {Stay the Course, Trust the Process}

book, journal, computerIt’s not one of  my favorite scriptures. In chapter 1, James is writing to Christians who are being persecuted and telling them how to think and live in order to win. He tells them to see difficulties as a gift.  Did you know that when we come into relationship with Christ it places a target on us? Yes, we are “saved” by believing, but then we have the same enemy that Christ had who wants to “steal, kill, and destroy” everything good the Father has planned for us. While Jesus defeated death and hell, we still have conflict over our lives today until He returns.

In His Name we pray, stand, speak, and live by His Authority that He won by His finished work on the cross. Through the trials we face in life we are changed, strengthened, and grown in maturity in our faith and love. The word Christian means anointed one. Yeah, that’s you if you believe in Him. Don’t feel anointed? Well, sometimes I don’t either. Sometimes it feels like my faith is under attack and the external and internal pressures of life are great. What then? Here’s that verse:

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-3 MSG)

Tests and challenges are a gift? Yes. And not only are they a gift, we have a choice as to whether we receive the gift or not. We can stay the course or leave it prematurely. Many people leave their church as soon as their feelings get hurt. Some quit a job when they feel it’s too hard or they weren’t invited to the office party. There are others who agree with an abusive person to avoid conflict, allowing their lives to be controlled. And most of us struggle with even the basics of letting God lead us through life’s choices and decisions. We need to learn to stay the course!

While growth is not easy and sometimes quite painful, we need it! Without that personal growth, we flounder where we are and end up a complaining, weeping, mess of a person in bondage to the very things from which Christ came to set us free! So how do we choose to grow? How do we find the gift in the trouble? We stick with God!

God will make a wayStart making a daily choice to become determined in your faith that no matter what comes, no matter how difficult the circumstance, you are going to stay the course and trust the process for the Lord is going to use it for your good. There’s a gift inside every problem. There’s an opportunity for more faith in every difficulty. Growth and maturity are woven into every moment of your life and is yours for the taking…IF you stay the course and trust the process of who you are as God’s dearly loved son or daughter.

Stop accepting what is unacceptable to Him. You are here for a reason – to know His love, yes, but for more. So when the pressure comes, when conflicts arise, when your heart is troubled, take it all to God. He has a way for you through the difficulty and promises to lead you through the fiery trial you are facing. Call someone to pray with you.

Suffering brings God’s presence near in a way nothing else can. – Timothy Keller

Learn to follow Him in the small things and then you’ll be able to follow Him through the big things that want to shatter your world. Build relationship with Him now in order to remain close in trust when things go dark.

His love for you really is perfect, lacking nothing that you need, and your trust in that love makes the darkness run! Fear cannot remain when we grow in trusting God’s love.

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. (1 John 4:17-18 MSG)

We typically relate God’s love to our own limited, human love. His love is deeper than the ocean and wider than the universe. Paul’s desire in Ephesians 3:18 was that we all would come to understand how wide, how high, and how deep the love of Christ really is! It’s a supernatural, all-enveloping, everything-you-need kind of love!

There are many who have been a Christian a long time who still aren’t well acquainted with God’s perfect love for them. Fear has a crippling power in their life. They are weak in the face of trouble. (That’s been me more times than I want to remember!) But “our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s” so that we are able to live an effective, powerful life with God while we are here. As long as we are depending on His love for us.

Allow Him to grow you up in your relationship with Him. Make the decision daily that you are going to grow in knowing that love and allow it to grow you. Then when your faith is under pressure, you will so trust in that love that you are able to stay the course no matter what and receive the gift hidden in the problem. Your true colors will be displayed to a fearful and hurting world and others will be inspired by the life you live.

There’s so much grace for the journey,Robin 12

Robin

From the desk by the window where the morning mist is floating gently through the pines.

Want more info about book Robin to speak? Or maybe some info on her Spiritual Life Coaching program for women? Robin does individual and group coaching and her clients are simply amazing! Email her at robinlewiswords@gmail.com and visit the here and here for more info.

Some Days You Just Feel Like Crap

hard times, difficultyIt’s one of those. Yeah, you know the kind – a day where your head aches and your heart aches and your life just aches for relief. We’re all subject to those kinds of days.

And it’s when things seem to be falling apart and there are bills and sick people and laid off spouses and more questions than answers and if we draw close to the Father, we can get a measure of relief. I think sometimes He doesn’t explain our lives just so we’ll snuggle up close enough to hear His heartbeat.

When days are lonely and the work doesn’t seem to end and we feel like that old sweater in the back of the drawer, you know, the unraveling one, that we realize we need to be knit together again.

Even Jesus told us (and we act surprised when it happens) that “in this world, we will have trouble, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Wait – I don’t want some Hallmark card gospel! I need to know what this means!

That word “trouble” in its Greek definition means to crush, press, compress, squeeze, and symbolically means grievous affliction or distress, a narrowness of room. (We know this, don’t we? Those times it feels like the room and the lungs are too small.)

“Be of good cheer” literally means to exercise courage, confidence, and boldness. (Okay, that’s better.)

But the word for “overcome” means to subdue, conquer, overcome, prevail, and get the victory! (That’s what we want!)

When it feels like you’re being crushed, pressed, squeezed and under grievous affliction, you are to exercise courage, stir up confidence, and act in boldness in a way that stands in faith. That rise in faith helps us wait until the trouble has passed. With all that Jesus endured, He subdued and conquered all the evil in the world and gained the victory! And that victory? It’s the ability to receive His peace in the middle of the storm.

Our lives are supposed to look like His and while He had tough days, we will have tough days. Embrace it all and give thanks. As we embrace our life in Him, we come to know how He embraces us and sees us through every. single. thing.

But…I skipped over the first half of the verse:

These things I have spoken to you that in Me, you might have peace. -John 16:33a

peaceJesus’ peace, in contrast with strife, is a state of untroubled and undisturbed well-being found IN HIM and never found in the world. The same word is used in Ephesians 6:13 describing “the shoes of the Gospel of peace”. It’s protective armor!

This kind of peace doesn’t mean our emotions won’t be troubled and is not some state of unfeeling. It means there will be no trouble that can ever remove the peace He gives. The reality of the bad days is they are real and they will come, but as we focus on Him in the middle of the crappy days, the hard things, we will know that He has promised to help us through.

Ann Voskamp writes, “Let Him kneel & wash your wounded places… keep company with Jesus. Stop & feel the humming Peace of something sacred in our veins, enlarging our lungs. Even in our darkest places — look for it, feel along for it — there is the light of Christ’s graces.”

Jesus never stops praying for us standing right next to the throne of God, and His prayers are always heard. I have an affirmation in my phone that sounds every evening that reads, Being mindful of Jesus blood and His prayers for me keeps me calm and grateful. In this very moment, here, now, what do I need? Not a thing. So take a deep breath of His peace knowing that His plan for your life is active and good and nothing can separate you from His love.

Loads of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where the sun is behind the trees and the local deer have come to find their supper and mine is baking in the oven.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, July 13, 20162016-05-25 13.20.43

Spiritual Life Coaching helps with every area of life encouraging self-examination, growth, and maturity. Specializing in bringing clarity and building confidence, our coaching program may be just what you need to give your life the umph it needs to move forward into more of what your life was designed to be!

Don’t wait – contact me today!  And share this post with a friend!
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Life Satisfaction Assessment: how do you score?

question, uncertainty

 

If asked, most of us would say we are dissatisfied with some area of our lives, and some of us would admit to several areas where we would like to see improvement. We easily recognize the disappointment and regret we feel that characterizes the lives of so many, yet we struggle with knowing how to actually live our lives. Many feel stuck not knowing how to take steps for change and growth while others live in some form of denial, assuming they will eventually achieve the life they want. Make it your aim to break free of this denial and realize that the choices you make every day impact and determine the rest of your life.

Below is a tool I use with my Life Coaching clients to help them gain more self-awareness by identifying areas that need change. This tool is partnered with “The Principle of the Path” by Andy Stanley, a book that teaches that if you know the destination you desire, but are not taking steps that lead IN THAT DIRECTION, you will actually arrive someplace else and miss your goal, living a life that is less than what God purposed for you.

Using the 10 life areas in the list below, rate yourself 1-10 with 1 being very dissatisfied and 10 being extremely satisfied.

  1. Spirituality / Faith
  2. Career / Callinghappy, sad, emotions, happiness
  3. Money / Finances
  4. Health / Exercise
  5. Friends / Family
  6. Spouse / Significant Other
  7. Physical Environment
  8. Personal Growth
  9. Fun / Recreation / Hobbies
  10. Future Plans / Goals / Hopes

All these life areas are a visible part of your outer, obvious person, but the pleasure or disappointment you experience in each area is directly related to your inner, sometimes secret person. In what areas are you the least satisfied? In those areas you need to choose specific steps that create a direct path to help you achieve the change and growth you desire. “Direction – not intentions, hopes, dreams, prayers, beliefs, intellect, or education – determines your destination.” (Andy Stanley)

Next, think about what current beliefs, thoughts, and habits need to change in order for you to take the necessary steps to attain your goals and enjoy those areas of your life.

Example: Your goal is to retire at age 65 and travel, but you are not putting much money into savings. To arrive at the destination you desire, changes must be made in your spending and saving in order for you to achieve your goal of retirement and travel.

Example: You think of exercising to become more healthy and strong, yet you never schedule the time. You just hope that your body will last until you die without weakness or disease. Unused muscles weaken so that your hope will not become reality without intentional steps in that direction.

Life is a process that never stops. The necessary changes will require an investment of time and intentional course correction.

directionRemember, our direction determines our destination; without the necessary steps simply hoping and praying won’t get you there. Our choices every day build into outcomes, and our decisions today invariably have ramifications later in life.

So what now? Don’t attempt to get it all together in a month. Choose 1 or 2 areas from the list and write down the next step you need to take in order to begin to change that part of your life. You don’t have to take giant steps, small steps will do. Set goals for the next 6 months and track your progress. You will find yourself feeling more optimistic and confident as you see favorable change begin to take place. You will realize that you really can adjust, grow, and alter your life’s direction for the better. The more fulfilled you become in living the life God created for you, the higher your general happiness and joy and the more you positively influence those around you.

Life Coaching helps you through changes like these. In the beginning change is hard, in the middle it can be a little messy, but in the end the life you make can be fulfilling as you realize your accomplishments. Take heart and refuse to let go of hope. Ask a friend to hold you accountable and encourage you forward. The choices you make each and every day do matter. Make better choices for a better life and remember to always seek God. He promises that His Word can light your way. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your Word is a lamp for my feet and light for my path”. When we commit our lives and choices to Him, He helps us know the way forward.

Keep growing,

Robin

From the desk by the window where I’m working on my choices as the sun shines in warm.

For more info on Sozo Life Coaching for Women, contact me today! DON’T WAIT ANY LONGER – this is your time, dear one.

Email me today: robinlewiswords@gmail.com

(c) Robin Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, July 4, 2016

Dear Spirit in Me,

woman in prayer

You have been renewed by God’s own Spirit and have full access to Him.

You have a voice unlike my physical voice and I want to hear every syllable you are saying.

You hear directly from the Father as if you were in the throne room with Him.

Can you help my soul to be stilled and quieted within me as I learn to hear and see You?

Can you calm my fears and help me understand your language of love?

Can you tell me again who I am, the woman Father created me to be, the brave lioness, the soaring bird, the deeply rooted mountain, and the playful sea?

Can you help remove all the labels the world and even the church has placed on me? One who can’t succeed, one who is limited, one afraid to try, one who should know her place, one relegated to back benches, one whose voice has been squelched into silence, one who will never be a mother, one who will never write a book, one who will be diseased, one whose music goes unwritten, one who will never know love, one who is bound suffer in isolation, one who must settle and be thankful for less than the story You’ve written for me – those labels.

Can you tame my soul of its anger, depression, and fear, and heal its wounds?

Can you heal me and free me in such a way that I am forever liberated into the Spirit of the Father’s limitless love?

Lord, You are the One I seek and you say that if I seek You, I will find You.

You are the One my heart is desperate to know and love.

Can You help me hold a little more of that love today as Your Light quietly walks across the floor of my heart and shines, warming the old boards until they glow?

I’m inviting You to take over, consume, saturate, and overflow my very life with the very life of the Father.

Do, come in! And bring Joy & Peace with You!

Lots of love to you the reader,

Robin

From the desk by the window, listening for Him, on the longest day of the year.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC – June 21, 2016

2016-05-25 13.20.43

Let your heart speak out what it needs to say, and even if you don’t like it, appreciate every word. Then ask the Lord to fill it more with Himself, more of His loving, sweet Spirit in you. It will be OK. You will be OK – if you keep seeking Him.

For more on Life Coaching for Women or booking me to speak, just reach out! I’d love to hear from you and listen to your story.

Robin – robinlewiswords@gmail.com

Instead Of {you don’t have to fill your days to be purposeful}

Instead of always trying to do more, what if we chose to do less?

woman tired at work

Instead of focusing on adding more “good” work, what if we subtract what’s not working or what is inessential for what is actually “best”?

Instead of filling our planner with all we see there is to do, what if we gave ourselves permission to be still and let our minds rest in order to be more focused on what matters, becoming more productive?

Instead of judging ourselves critically for what we think we “should” have accomplished, what if we spent more time getting in touch with what God’s Spirit is saying?

Instead of focusing on perfection, what if we focused on making progress a little at a time and dropped some of that negative self-talk and self-judgment?

Instead of always wanting to say “yes” to every request, what if we practiced that other little word (no) and left time for what is really important?

“Not everyone should have the same access to you,” says Danny Silk. “If you’ve been giving it away, take back your personal power to choose well,” says Robin Lewis (that’s me).inner circle danny silk

Learn polite, but firm responses to others who want your time and talents without working on their own stuff.  (People will suck the life out of you if you let them.) Learn to say no to those who want for free what you’ve worked hard to learn, be, or obtain.

Do more of what you were created to do. Do less of what you’ve been filling your calendar with what just keeps you busy.

Do more of what you are purposed to do. Do less of all that other stuff.

Reserve your “best yes” for what is a priority in your life, and your best “no” for what doesn’t. The Spirit of God will help you choose, but it means dropping all those expectations you and others have of what you’re supposed to be doing. It means building the healthy boundaries you need for your life. It means knowing that you are here for what really matters and takes priority.

This is what makes the real you come forth – in all that beautiful, unique identity, value, and purpose that is part of your design.

Growth Challenge: Take a few minutes today and look at where you are. Write down 3 things you want to accomplish in the next year, those 3 things you know the Lord has spoken to you about. (You don’t need 10 priorities.)

Commit to calendar and work on those 3 and see them completed by this time next year. You already hold inside all that is needed – you may need to get more equipped – but get your plan and work it! If you need help or accountability, give me a call!

Loads of grace, by the way,

Robin

From the desk by the window where everything calls my name, but where only few things really are allowed a voice. Now for that walk outside with the Father.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, June 12, 2016 – reposted

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The end of summer will come – will your life be the same or different?

*Offer expires Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Robin and Jeff

Yeah, that’s me with my sweet husband, Jeff, on the day he had the really hot chicken wings.