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)

 

You Are A History Maker and Just May Be A Hero

I can almost hear you, “Me? A history maker?” I know, I felt the same way until I understood. It is common for most of us to think in terms of a history maker being someone like the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution or fought for liberty. People like George Washington, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Martin Luther King, Jr. But we too are history makers – every day, every moment.

The voices of culture and tradition want to define your life and make you dependent on their approval and acceptance. These voices say that your identity is linked to your position, income level, skin color, or circle of friends. These voices want to fill your mind with fear, doubt, and insignificance. They want to define and paint a picture of your life that’s less than who God says you are. This is small-scale living.

The truth is you are a masterpiece and you might just be a hero.

A few years ago, I took classes in an art gallery and learned that a Master Artist is one who has learned all the rules of shape and color, of texture, brush strokes, and canvas, and then breaks those rules in such a way that creates something new, one-of-a-kind, a can’t-be-duplicated work of art, a masterpiece.

Ephesians 2:10 (AMP) says, “We are God’s own masterpiece, recreated in Christ Jesus with a new start so that we may do all the good works for which we were created, taking the paths which He prepared for us ahead of time, so that we can walk in them and live the good life God thought out, prearranged, and made ready for us to live.”

journey masterpiece

You are a can’t-be-duplicated, without-rival, highly valued creation by God who rightly defines you. He created you to be a person who connects with Him for vision, a man or woman with a voice that is here to create positive change and make a difference for the betterment of mankind. God chose the timing of your birth to be in this generation. He chose the talents, spiritual gifts, and dreams that would be developed for the purpose of your life. And He chose your gender. Whether you are a man or a woman, you have been made in God’s image and have been created to be a person of power, love, and great influence.

Like an inspiring work of art, you are here to lead others into their greatness. As you grow into a person of authenticity, you experience freedom to move in your strengths, giftedness, and passion because your authentic self will always display your uniqueness. A false self will only display a clouded, partial version of who you are to be. You are designed to be an overcomer, not a copy. You are created to be a problem solver, not one who just accepts things as they are. You are fashioned to be a one-of-a-kind, greatly valued individual with a purpose.

Our problem? We don’t believe it. More people are held back by self-limiting beliefs than by any other barrier. We will always live out what we really believe is true or possible for us. It’s time to let the real you emerge, the beautiful parts, and the places where you are strong. For this to happen, you must be intentional about your personal growth. There are parts of you that need to be healed and strengthened. When you choose to trust and receive, you become your truest self, enabled by God to fully live with eternal significance.

artist, creator, canvas, masterpiece

In 2015, America watched my home state as the Confederate Flag was removed from the statehouse grounds in Columbia, SC. The news reporter kept repeating, “You are seeing history being made.” Events of historical significance are distinguished and memorable, but do you think of the importance of your own life in creating history? With your life, you are writing history! Your life has an impact on others around you and on the generations yet to be born. Generations after us will look back and discuss some of us who realized the power of our choice and voice and used them to set the stage for the future. Some of us will be thanked and honored and some of us will be ridiculed and shamed. Don’t let the authentic you be painted over or muted by the brush strokes of the world that seek to diminish your beauty and purpose.

We are all history makers, for better or for worse, and if we pursue Him, God will help you become all He originally intended you to be – a leader, a history maker, and a person characterized by confidence and joy. Our stories were written to be joined with God so we can know first hand His ability to restore! No more boxed in, insignificant living. With authenticity, you can learn to lead like the unique, significant history maker you are. History may write you down as a hero. How you walk out your one life with God will determine how history views you. Set your focus on Him and live with intention to bring transformation into your world.

Love & Grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window on a cloudy Saturday where the trees are waiting for rain.

You’re invited to email Robin L. Lewis at robinlewiswords@gmail.com about Spiritual Life Coaching or to book her to speak. Visit her website to subscribe to her inspiration blog at www.sozolifeleaders.com.

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

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

SUMMER COACHING SESSIONS – HALF PRICE SPECIAL

For a limited time, sign up for a 3-month coaching program at half-price!
Here’s the deal:

(2) 1-hour sessions per month for 3 months – at half-price
$195 per month or $495 for the package

Comes with text, email, and phone support to help you change your life,
meet your goals, and draw closer to God.

Call or email today for more information: (843) 319-5390  –  robinlewiswords@gmail.com

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.

Nothing In Between


woman prayingWhen I pause, really pause and draw near to God, He always reveals Himself to me in a different way. This morning after I woke up, I was focusing my thoughts on Him and thought about the veil in the temple being torn in two from TOP to BOTTOM at the moment Jesus died on the cross. This tearing allowing entrance into the Holy of Holies in the temple, into the place where only the High Priest was allowed. A supernatural and human act of sacrificial love ripped a thick, heavy curtain right through. But the Spirit of God wasn’t just sitting and waiting for people to come in to see Him.

God’s love doesn’t wait for me to come in; no, this kind of love comes looking for me, searching until it finds me. With the symbolic tearing of the veil, there was now nothing in between God and all mankind. And that includes me. And you.

Then I thought of Creation in Genesis 1 and 2 and of the firmament being created as “waters were separated from waters” giving room for sky and how it’s described as a dome over the earth. When “God sent His Son into the world” and into the womb of Mary, He tore through that sky, the beautiful blue firmament, to the womb of one young girl who’d found favor with God. And then when the time for his human birth drew near, He tore through the sticky embryonic sac and breathed earthly air into baby lungs.

He’s always coming into what needs Him, removing every barrier, every wall to make it possible for us to come to Him. And sometimes it seems to happen that way, but in reality, we find He’s been searching for us to make us new and introduce us to the Father. Jesus told the disciples, “I am the Good Shepherd” and a Good Shepherd leaves the 99 in safe pasture to go and find the 1 little sheep that has lost its way. Ezekiel wrote, “For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.”

As He seeks us out, He draws us to come to Him, and we get another promise that Jeremiah wrote down: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

God is always coming with love-light into our darkness, making an unobstructed way, removing anything that would come between us and Him. That’s love, love that searches until it finds. And that temple veil? I like to imagine a love so strong that with the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross, that the Spirit of God ripped that dividing curtain in two and came soaring out! Soaring out to search, find, and gather His own – those who recognize their need for a love like that.

It’s all about making a way for us to return to God, tearing through anything in the way, and pulling us right into His arms. So what do we do when we realize we’ve patched that curtain and allowed something to divide us away from Him? All we have to do is turn and return and forgiveness is instant and love in our hearts is restored.

Keep seeking and growing,

Robin

From the desk by the window where thanks to God, all is light!

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC – June 8, 2016

woman on beach with scarf

SUMMER COACHING SESSIONS 

What’s your GROWTH PLAN for the summer? If you take a vacation from growing, you don’t just stop, you decline.

Sign up for a 3-month summer coaching program!

(2) 1-hour sessions per month for 3 months – at a Special-Summer-Price of $225 a month (40% discount) or $595 for the package!

Comes with text, email, and phone support to help you change your life, meet your goals, and draw closer to God.

Call or email today for more information: (843) 319-5390  –  robinlewiswords@gmail.com

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

It can be! It’s up to you!

Don’t wait – call or email for more info right now!

 

Struggles Prepare You For Success {don’t skip God’s preparation season}

This post was published in the Morning News on Sunday, May 22, 2016. I pray this is a blessing for you where you are – in your waiting, in your struggle, in your own unique period of preparation!

struggle, promotion, timing, Joseph calling, OsThroughout life, difficult times happen to everyone, but the person intent on personal growth finds a way to maximize the experience and gain from the lessons learned; whether personally or professionally, today’s struggle can prepare you for tomorrow’s promotion and success.

In the bible, Joseph walked a very difficult road for much of his life. It seemed that his circumstances would never improve. As a young man, he was given a dream from God that he would one day rule over others. But the reality was Joseph would be sold into slavery by his own brothers, purchased by an Egyptian as a house servant, and accused of sexual misconduct by his boss’ wife! He was thrown into prison for many years yet he continued to be faithful and serve those around him. Prison was where he began to be promoted in positions over sections of prisoners. The Lord continued to give Joseph favor even though his circumstances had not changed. What was he to do?

Never forgetting the dream he’d had, Joseph kept trusting God and became willing to be content where he was. He didn’t know how God would bring his dream to fulfillment, but God was using the long years of waiting to prepare him. Joseph would come to be positioned to rule the great nation of Egypt and there by save millions of people from starvation, including his own family. When they came face to face, Joseph helped his family see the bigger picture of what God had been doing in his life.

“I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.  But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives and to preserve many others. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.” (Genesis 45:4-8)

God desires to be just as involved in our lives today as He was in the life of Joseph. He uses our periods of waiting, struggle, and dryness to prepare us for something bigger. Whether your calling is to business, community, or something individual, know that not everyone walks through a Joseph calling, but many do; and the experiences are usually related to the magnitude of the call on your life.

Many who are destined for greater impact lose much along the journey, so if God has purposed you for greater things, expect to walk through times that don’t make sense, where God seems silent. He has not forgotten you and will bring you to a place of success and restoration according to His timing and purpose for your life.

My Spiritual Life Coaching Clients who have walked through difficulties learn that our part is to submit to God, learn to trust Him, and continue to seek His direction. Our lives need God’s refining work for our strength and integrity to be developed.

While Joseph was “Called” as a young man, he wasn’t “Commissioned” into his destiny until many years later. Just as Joseph allowed God to refine and prepare him, so can you. Even in prison Joseph was being made ready and matured in his gifts and talents. While it may appear small, those very experiences would catapult him forward to rule over the nation and save many lives.

Maybe you, too, feel called to something great, destined to also to “save many lives” in some way. Don’t shortcut the season of preparation and continue to forgive those who “sell you out”. Be determined to serve faithfully where you are and seek God for all He wants to do in and through you. You may very well be a modern-day Joseph! The all-important middle years of “Preparation” that requires waiting and trusting will serve to have you ready for success.

Keep growing, 

Robin

From the desk by the window where the sun is rising on a cool Monday morning.

women sitting togetherRobin L. Lewis is a certified life coach, speaker, and writer who specializes in encouragement and confidence. For more information, email Robin at robinlewiswords@gmail.com and get free updates at www.sozolifeleaders.com/blog.

When It’s Hard to Go Where God is Leading

What do you do when you know God is asking you to leave, move, or start something new, and it’s just not what you had in mind for your life? In fact, it’s what you would never choose! What then?

I had done it before. More than once I had left a job when I knew I was done and when I felt the Lord’s confirmation in my heart. He always had provided the next place, the next job, and so I fully expected it again. I began a journey of unemployment that would take me through nearly every dollar I’d saved and right back where I started – to move in with my parents right before my 50th birthday. I felt like George Costanza on Seinfeld. My unemployment journey would end with a part-time job at a local book store 1 year to the day that I had turned in my resignation. I called it “the year of the wonderful / awful” for God had picked me up and completely turned my life around and I was the better for it.

Home story beginsAbout 3 years before, I felt strongly inclined to stop in a gift shop when returning from a spiritual retreat. I purchased a sign that says Home is where your story begins. At the time I didn’t know what it meant, I just knew I had to have it.

In the last 6 years since that Seinfeld move, I’ve gotten married to the most wonderful man (Yes, it’s really true – don’t settle for less than God’s best, ladies!), moved back to my hometown, been fired, and started a company I had waited 9 long years to start.

You never know what blessings God has up His heavenly sleeve for you. 

To walk with Him in close friendship is the ultimate reason we live and breathe. To make that a day-in-day-out reality here on earth is something else altogether! It will ask everything of you and it should. We get far too connected to earthly things like iPhones, houses, and the perfect job. We need to hold these things loosely, knowing that God holds us firmly, never letting go, always providing, loving, forgiving, and asking more of us so that we can know more of Him. 

Boyd Bailey of Wisdom Hunters says, “Has God asked you to go where you don’t want to go? Trust Him and choose to serve Him wherever He calls, even if it’s somewhere that isn’t comfortable or doesn’t feel like home.”

“Anyone who loves their life will lose it while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). This means we are to love and value rightly our eternal life (which will last a really long time) more than our earthly life (which is temporary) and obey the Lord of our life over our own desires.

“Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5) These are Mary’s words instructing the servants to obey Jesus’ requests that made a miracle possible – water into wine! Yes, we can trust Him. Because of that move 6 years ago, I had 3 truly amazing years with my parents before my father died, met again and married a truly amazing man, and began the very thing God had called me to do in 2005. Yes, He had some substantial blessings up His sleeve!  But what if I had stayed where I was? I would have missed it all.

So if He is calling you out, calling you forward, or calling you on the carpet, let Him. Give Him permission to interrupt your life and change it around. Follow where He leads for you never know what surprises, challenges, and blessings await you. You never know what equipping and gifting He will call to the surface of your life that helps you live the most fulfilling earthly life possible that makes the most eternal difference.

Lots of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window with joy, remembering home is where this story began.

Robin 9

 

For information on Spiritual Life Coaching or Event Speaking, email me at robinlewiswords@gmail.com.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, February 23, 2016