Plot Your Location

shallow livingStart where you are. You can’t start anywhere else.

Start with what you have. You can’t start with what you don’t have.

Start with what you know. It’s enough for now, or you’d know more.

Begin.

If you’re tired of shallow living and feel a desire for change, for moving into deeper water, take a step.
That might be to set a goal or join a group or start a business, but take the next step.

Don’t let fear stop you. Don’t listen to it. It acts like its voice is big, shouting in your ears the way it likes to do, thrilled with your trembling, but it’s only as large as you allow it to grow, and like the bully it is, if you’ll step towards it, it runs away quickly.

Sometimes we feel the fear and do the next thing anyway.

So plot your current location on the map, see where you are, and ask yourself the now famous Andy Stanley question: “What would a great leader do?”  Get your answer and then do that.

If you’d like to comment and let me know what your next step is, I love to read it and urge you on. Leave a comment here and the rest of us will cheer you on.

These are important days and God is moving us forward into deeper lives with Him, the safest place, where we can come to know Him more intimately like a careful Father.  When we do deeper trust, we are able to take bigger steps, even risky ones.  This is the year to believe.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear!

Let life in Christ be as it’s designed to be – it will far exceed your expectations, and ask more  of you than you’re ready to give, but the greatest adventure of your life!

We climb a mountain one step at the time,

Robin

From the desk by the window where the new lamp is lighting up the keyboard.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, reposted from January 2013

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when winds blow hard & all of life is tossed {keeping your balance}

There. are. days. There are days when you’ve been hit so hard and so long, you feel like giving up. Then there are days when a sudden crisis arrives at your front door uninvited and you must face it and do your best. There are things to remember when the winds blow hard and your life feels tossed about.

woman reading by window

At the core of destructive forces we find the true nature of that force – oppressive. Don’t be misled by that. Don’t put your faith in that. Don’t believe you’re losing and don’t buy into failure’s devilish taunt “where is your God now?”

Refuse to be misled — refuse to believe that anything can separate you from His love.  He is right there with you and has a  harvest of good things for you, ordained and certain even if you cannot see it right now. ~Shirley Weaver, A Clear Trumpet

When you’re worn down gradually or suddenly hit hard, PRAY. Pray to not be misled by what is in your face. Pray to not compromise or make a deal with what wants to throw you down. See it as a destructive force out to oppress you, push you, and plant its flag on top of your mountain! Refuse to put your faith in “it”, and keep believing you will come out on top. Choose your thoughts with deliberate intention – thoughts of perseverance, of seeking God for strength, of knowing He is there for you. See Him fighting for you!

There are also things to SAY right out loud! Our words have creative power, for better or for worse. Take hold of “faith thoughts” like these and speak them out –

My God is with me! Who can stand against Him? While I go through this time, He is fighting for me and will bring me through!

Thank you, Father, for even this experience, for I know that if you’ve allowed it to come to my door, YOU will be strong enough in me to remain standing and not give up.

I stand in the authority of Jesus and bind down these destructive forces seeking to oppress me. Lord, help me remain IN You. My faith is growing and getting stronger! I will not fear!

I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ! My life is hidden in Him and He will weave His strength in with mine.

Don’t be surprised when winds blow hard and your life feels tossed about like a little boat on a big sea. Since you live on earth, this is going to happen. Keep your balance by choosing your thoughts well and speaking truth. Toss out of your mental boat all that would sink it, and welcome in and hang onto what keeps your head above water and your heart strong. And call a friend to pray for you, someone who will step into your little boat with encouragement. He promises to see you through because you belong to the One who created you, named you, and will not let you be consumed in the storm.

Isaiah 43 2, pass through waters

Our earthly perspective is so very short concerning the lives we live. We need God’s help, vision, and strength, and we need to make a decision, sometimes moment by moment, that even when we can’t see, especially when we don’t understand, that we will still stand in faith. You have a responsibility to yourself so make your decision now!

So get up, dress up, and buckle up because we’re all in this life together, and let’s be determined to live it in love, gentleness, strength, and faith! The way you keep your balance today sets the foundation for many tomorrows.

So much grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where I feel my faith like a blanket around me and I’m cuddled up with my Father.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, Dec 2, 2015

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Has Your Voice Been Stolen?

tape over mouthThere were many years where I was  able to speak, but due to intermittent paralyzing fear, I refrained from speaking, from sharing how I felt, from objecting to what was offensive, or abusive.  Not speaking in this way feels like you have tape over your mouth, like you’ve been taken against your will, or like you are standing in a doorway, yet unable to enter the room.  The words ring around inside you, echoing off your heart and lungs until you want to scream, but you don’t dare.  It might upset somebody and they might lash out at you.

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. (Proverbs 18:21)

I saw a counselor for a while who listened well, and said something that helped quite a bit.  “So when did you realize your voice had been stolen?”  I didn’t until she asked the question.  Sometimes it’s the questions we need instead of the answers to get us thinking.

God has been restoring my voice – my ability to communicate without fear – over the past several years.  It’s working.  I’m seeing progress as I push forward in sharing, offering my opinion, or standing firm in personal boundaries when needed.  I don’t always get it right, but I’m choosing to speak.  I am better at knowing when not to speak, too, and realizing more of my own personal value in the choosing.

Whether the binding up of words is physical or emotional, the result seems to be the same.  It feels like you are stuck inside a life you didn’t ask for, behind bars that hold you back, gagged with hands tied…while you can only listen to others or obey what they want.  Trapped.

I can sometimes find myself there again where I feel ambushed by the presence and words of another who seems purposed to enter and take over.  My first step is to forgive, and then at my next encounter to guard my boundaries, respond or refrain from responding…according to the need of the moment.

If another has stepped on you with their words until you felt like you were one with the sidewalk, it can be quite difficult to stand without being pushed around.  You may want to say, “No!  Stop!” or “That’s not OK with me!” and yet the words won’t come out. You find yourself doing what you always did – trying to keep peace.

And here’s the thing: If we bring this silent voice to God to heal, He adds to us more of our value, significance, and authenticity. We learn to get the definition of who we are from Him. In that place of peace and freedom, little by little, we will find ourselves standing and speaking!  {Progress is progress, no matter how small.}

And when there is no one to encourage your voice, your words, speak them out loud anyway.  Write them down.  God who never slumbers or sleeps says your words are significant, creative, and needed.

“The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue. (2 Samuel 23:2)

When words are flowing, handle them carefully, tasting them before serving them up.  And when there are no words, listen to God’s voice speaking into your spirit, giving you the discernment you need in the moment.  For whether you speak or not, you are never alone.  And He will restore your voice.  Your words are needed now.

Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” (Daniel 10:19)

Much love, peace, and strength ~

Robin

From the desk by the window where the words are spilling through my fingers and onto the screen just for you. May you be strengthened by them! Godspeed, friend!

(c) Robin L. Lewis, October 2015

(Edited and reposted from October 29, 2013)

For information on booking Robin to speak to your group or on Spiritual Life Coaching, you can call or email her here: robinlewiswords@gmail.com – (843) 319-5390. 

Kinda Like Spinach, Kinda Like Chocolate

spinachYou know those days.  The hard, the difficult, the excruciating seasons that leave you feeling like you’ve not done what you should, or worse, that you don’t know enough.  I call those are the spinach days for they are doing a work of strength in you.  In me.  

I watched the original Popeye cartoons as a kid and became inspired to have greater strength.  I was with my parents at a restaurant, at the wise age of 8, and saw spinach on the menu.  Well.  I just had to have it.  My Mom said, “I don’t think you are going to like it.”  There was no talking me out of the dark green vegetable that gave Popeye such strength and I had to test it.

It arrived in one of those beautiful, thick-walled diner bowls with the red stripe around the top.  I was already imagining my biceps increasing in size.  I took my fork and dug in and pushed a healthy serving into my little mouth.  Well.  It wasn’t what I popeye with spinachexpected, and my first thought was, “How in the world does Popeye eat this stuff straight from a can?”

Today, my choice is raw, fresh spinach which is much more flavorful than the canned variety of the 1960’s, but I did learn some valuable lessons.  First, cartoons are cartoons are don’t accurately represent reality, but.  I have learned that sometimes it’s the bitter things, the hard things, that give me greater strength.  

There’s a verse often quoted by many found in Romans 8.  Verse 28 explains it this way:

“All things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  

In seeking the Lord, like a daily vitamin, He has promised to work even the hard things into good for my life.  And I grow stronger in Him.  We are all called into His purpose for us and we find the difficult things usually are part of the process that readies us for that calling.

Second, it’s the spinach days and seasons that uncover the chocolate in life.  

I’m a lover of dark chocolate and enjoy those large, organic bars that are scored into little squares.  You know them.  A treat dark chocolatefor my mouth is a piece of dark chocolate on my tongue and a cup of coffee in my hand.  The spinach days that give me strength, help me appreciate the chocolate days where I can feel my growth in the Lord, and enjoy a richer closeness of His presence.  It’s the spinach days that lead me closer to Him, exactly where He wants me to be, because that growing intimacy with Him is such a sweetness, a richness to my soul.  

And I lean a little easier when times are hard, and I trust a little more when everything around me is shouting “Be afraid!”  And I remember sooner that He has me, and even though there will be spinach days, there is chocolate to come simply because He has promised it.

Lean into the intimacy of the Lord.  He wants to hear your heart when times are tough, and He wants you to know His heart for you – always gentle, patient, loving, and accepting of right where you are, always encouraging you forward.  You have such great value, and especially on your spinach days, His eyes are always upon you.  So appreciate the spinach, and look forward to the chocolate.

Grace & Peace from Him,

Robin

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, August 29, 2014

This is What It’s About…

Believe in the impossibleSozo Life & Leadership in purpose is about realizing that we still need to learn and grow and change, that we are worth the investment of time and effort to live a better story, a fuller life.

It’s about building identity & value which leads to passion & purpose which builds lives that make a difference in the family, community, church, and marketplace, with actions and words that create a ripple effect that moves people up just like the waves of the sea lift you higher, so that others are also encouraged to live lives of intention, refusing to settle for less than what they and God can accomplish together, bringing change, establishing God’s order, displaying love, honor, and respect, and bringing the Kingdom of Heaven atmosphere to earth.

This is about knowing our authority in Christ, walking in that authority, speaking to enhance life and change, because all created things on earth are under that Christ-authority that has been entrusted to us, and all created things know it, and all created things want God’s order established.

This is our assignment from the One who made us and all we see.  He designed a fuller life, a Sozo Life, and we can choose to get it and walk it out, or continue to believe that it’s impossible.  What do you want for your life and for those you love?  What change do you want to see take place?

rewarding journeyThe blessings of God are chasing us down and we are the main characters in the greatest adventure story!  What kind of story are you living?  Do you want to learn how to live a better story?  You are worth it.  You are designed to solve problems and carry out great things in your life…if you want it.

I want to help you set about pursuing it with eyes forward, with growth and faith and belief in yourself and in what God can do through you.

“Do not [earnestly] remember the former things nor consider the things of old (do not dwell on the past).  Behold!  I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs forth!  Do you not perceive it and know it, and will you not give heed to it?  I will even make a way (pathway, direction) in the wilderness and rivers (abundance) in the desert.”   Isaiah 43:18-19 AMP

(c) Robin Lawrimore Lewis, February 17, 2014

From the desk by the window on a brisk and sunny day.

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Don’t Make a Deal with a Bully

don't talk backWe have all watched it or been the victim.  Fear and intimidation can be crippling.  We have seen people use intimidation to exert power over others.  We’ve seen people we care about freeze and try to keep the “powerful” pleased so they won’t be the target.

An imbalance of power that hammers away at love and respect for people is abusive.  We tend to think that bullying only occurs between children in schools.

What happens when everyone involved is an adult?  What if it happens in the workplace, family, or church?

When you watch as others are corrected or embarrassed in humiliating ways and you keep silent, you are making a deal with a bully. Your silence implies agreement.

As soon as you find yourself wondering how to “keep peace” so someone else won’t blow up or find fault with you, you are making a deal with a bully.  You are losing your voice as the bully becomes the focus and takes over by insisting you submit to their control.

A person’s need to control their environment, their children, or their employees can become abusive, disrespectful, and dishonoring.  When someone thinks they need to exert power over others, their thinking is usually based in fear.  But we can’t eradicate fear from someone else.  We must refuse thoughts of fear for ourselves and step in and speak up.  We must face the problem.

The main goal of Sozo Life & Leadership is to add value to people, so what do I do when I see them repeatedly devalued?  First, I pray and seek God’s direction, timing, and plan.  His perspective is always higher and different from mine.  I pray for those involved.  Second, when He directs, I speak truth into the situation, to the person who is doing the bullying.  I must confront with the truth.

It is wrong to allow others or myself to be disrespected.  I must step in respectfully, even if the bully takes aim at me.  I must not ponder what might happen to me for then my focus is on myself and not on the Lord.  Then fear has opportunity to grow in me.

The only way to walk totally free from intimidation is to walk in the fear of the Lord.  The Bible says, “In the fear of the Lord, there is strong confidence” (Proverbs 14:26).

We cannot serve two masters so either we fear man or we fear God.  The Bible also says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  This kind of fear is a right view of God that realizes His greatness and His love.  When we know whom we serve in Him, we realize that we do not have to fear man.  God’s perfect love always swallows up fear. It draws us closer to Him, not away from Him.

As bullies become more afraid, they become more dominating.  This happens with people who are insecure.  They treat people harshly to make it seem as if they are “in control” when actually they are covering up their own intimidation and fear. 

When we try to make people obey by presenting an external threat, we handicap their understanding of how the kingdom of heaven works.  Powerful people don’t try to get people to respect them; they create a respectful environment by showing respect. They deliberately set a standard for how they expect to be treated by the way they treat others. strenth from God

Have you faced this or seen others be wrongly controlled?  When we do nothing, we are partnering with a spirit of fear and handing over our power to bring change.  Fear will take all the room you give it.  Don’t give it space in your life or your thoughts.

To face situations properly, we must have these three things to walk in Godly boldness:

  1. Power.  We must know God, that He is greater and more powerful than anything we may face.
  2. Love.  We must love God more than ourselves because we trust Him.
  3. A sound mind.  We must not be moved until we have the direction of the Lord, no matter how great the pressure.

We will always face opposition and resistance in this world.  If we are going to increase Heaven’s influence where we are, we will have to take action. 

In the letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  (Phil. 3:14)

Joshua 1:9There’s a high calling and a low calling.  John Bevere writes “The high calling is a life lived on earth according to heaven’s standards; it is to see the Kingdom of God manifested through an individual life.  People who live the high calling control their surroundings.  By staying in their authority, they change the spiritual climate from oppression to liberty.”

It’s easier to blend in than it is to stand out.  Don’t settle or compromise.  Don’t conform or you will reflect the image of what you elevate in your life.  Never make a deal with a bully.

Can we pray together?

Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask You to strengthen me through your love and wisdom.  Forgive me for drawing back in times of difficulty in order to preserve my own security.  Forgive me for not walking in your authority to bring change where I am.  Lord Jesus, I choose to receive your strengthening grace that enables me to speak your word and do your will with boldness and love.

I break the words of intimidation and control spoken over my life by myself or others.  I break the grip of fear of man off my life.  You unclean spirits of darkness, I submit myself to God and I resist you.  I will give you no place in my life, so go in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

May the Lord bless you as you live for Him in boldness, bringing liberty.

(c) Robin Lawrimore Lewis, December 29, 2013

Sources: Breaking Intimidation, John Bevere, copyright 1995; Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication, and Boundaries by Danny Silk, copyright 2013; Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart to Heart Connection by Danny Silk, copyright 2008.

I’m Choosing to Believe the Last Bit

Time11/7/13 — first time I’ve written today’s date.  It’s 11:59 p.m.  The last minute of today, each moment of today already lived out in preparation of my wedding, in remembering a woman who stepped into God’s arms a year ago, and standing in the prayer-arms of my almost-husband, and in the reading again of Rachel’s pen, “I’m Choosing to Believe the Last Bit.”  Life – always a combination of chaos and feelings and choosing.  Always choosing.

I am thankful, amazed, and in awe of God’s love for me — through this almost-husband, through daughters, sister, “new” sons, parents, and good, good friends.  And the ceremony and celebration is yet to be — it’s now Friday, 12:05 a.m.

From where I sit, I see the pedestal cake plate where our wedding cake will rest, sweetly declaring that two lives have joined together, partnered in love and laughter.  Forks will be needed.  It sits upon a table runner, black and white, that was made for Rachel’s wedding some years ago.  Rebecca and girls will all play a part, in love and support and stories.  Andrew and Jackson to hold rings symbolic of never-ending love that only God can supply.  Boaz and Ruth together, Jeff and Robin, asking God for all He’s promised and planned and more.  Ready to journey together.

I’m choosing to believe the last bit, as my wrinkles deepen and my laughter is heartier.  I’m choosing to believe in fuller life, fuller love, and to experience it here and now.

I. Am. Loved.  By a great God and a real man who cherishes me as a woman needs to be cherished, heard, held.  And to know it’s OK to need that is good and true.  And my Bridal Shower Cakerespect for him and the wisdom he carries grows daily, nourished by a mutual understanding of each other.  As we draw close to hear each other.  To be still.

I’m choosing to believe the last bit — as I put one foot in front of the other, as I step into a raspberry colored dress, as truth is remembered, like saved train ticket stubs from long ago places, as my soul is quieted, and realizing that there, indeed, have been quite amazing accomplishments!  And to believe for the future that holds moments and days yet to be discovered…yes, I’m choosing to believe for it all.

(c) Robin Lawrimore, (soon to be Lewis), November 8, 2013