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!

 

Trying to be Something I’m Not

woman mirrorLiving in the world can cause you can take on a wrong idea about who you are, almost like a false identity that’s uncomfortable, like an itchy sweater, because it’s not the real you, the God-designed you. Many times this starts by what we learned from our parents, teachers, culture, or media, or by wanting approval and acceptance from others. If you’re concerned about disappointing certain people in your life or looking to others to know who you are, you are placing yourself in a type of prison where the real you steps back and is hidden by an impostor. What you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside. 

The Father wants you to recognize this false self and the wrong expectations you live under. He can “take the chains off” that connect you to a wrong need of other people. He is the only place, the only one who can surround you and heal you, to set you free. He wants you to become the unique, amazing, and precious person He created. He never expects you to try to fill the roles that others plan for you. He can see through the false self that’s been created and into the glorious future He plans for your life. And He wants you to know the truth: you have no rival. No one rivals you in His eyes. His enormous love is the same, and just as huge, for you as for any other.

You never have to compete or comply with the demands or requests of others to feel safe or have what you need. Your Father knows what you need. You can come to Him and ask for healing in all your relationships, and let the truth of who you are renew your mind so that your thoughts about you agree with what the Father says is true. Receive the blessing of His security, acceptance, and affirmation of who you are.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1 NIV

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Galatians 5:1 NLT

affirmation, live, authentic, lifeThe Father wants you to know that He doesn’t want you to be weakened by the souls of other people. He did not create you for that. Remain strong in Him by staying close to Him. His Fathering of you will be complete and perfect and He will set you free. There’s always grace and safety for the real you in the Father’s embrace…just like you are.

Let your heart respond to your Father’s thoughts about you…

Much love,

Robin

From the desk by the window where sunshine and a cool breeze beckon and the dog is wanting to go for a walk. Be back later.

yay, celebrate

Spiritual Life Coaching is available for women with Robin Lewis – robinlewiswords@gmail.com or (843) 319-5390. You never know how high you can soar until you begin to spread your wings! Contact Robin today for your FREE 30 minute introductory call! Don’t wait, dear one, this is your time!

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, July 30, 2016

Thanks, Mary Crimmins & Learning to Become Fully Alive, for the image.

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

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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.

The Day I Almost Lost A Friend {because of what I said}

forgiveness wordsJames said it best, that in all of creation, the tongue is the hardest thing to tame. We tame and train large wild animals, but cannot seem to control our own little tongue, one of the smallest things in the body. Made in the image of a God who created everything with His spoken word, we are created to speak in order to bring more space for love, peace, and blessing. It doesn’t always work out that way.

This week as I put the finishing touches on an article for the newspaper entitled, The Power of Our Words, I prayed briefly and reacted too quickly and without wisdom to a post I saw on social media and ended up hurting a friend.

While we’ve known each other for over 11 years and experienced working, learning, and praying together during a 2 year period, I leapt when I should have kneeled. Call it surprise, shock, or concern, my mouth went into gear before I had time to hear the Father clearly about how to respond. When we are stunned by something we see in another, that should be the very thing that leads us into prayer. We can never know the whole story by what is seen in one photograph.

So realizing the wound I’d caused, oh boy did I pray then! The Father reminded me of my heart for women and what He has called me to do, and how that can never step in front of the leading of His Spirit in my life. After all, it’s His Spirit who called me to teach and coach women with the truth of who they are in His eyes. So it is His Spirit I need to listen and obey.

When I contacted her, my friend shared more of the story, giving background information of which I was completely unaware, and helped me to understand. And whether or not I feel something may be wrong, doesn’t make it mine to help or correct. It was mine to seek God and then reach out to her. Because of my reaction, it was then mine to ask forgiveness and thankfully it was granted. We talked through it and our relationship is restored, hopefully, stronger than before. To know that I have a friend who gives grace and forgiveness is a treasure.

Another difficult lesson learned? Yes. I will never be a perfect friend, but I am a loyal and honest friend, so when my honesty hurts another it brings many tears to my eyes. I am also a friend who has learned to ask forgiveness. Making excuses or rationalizing over reasons why only waste precious time and deepen wounds.

And I also remember that I have an enemy who loves nothing more than to trap us and then shame us. In order to give the Lord the praise for this experience, I am sharing the story here with you. We certainly need our hearts to reflect the unfailing love of the Father that is sent out continually to us all and available night and day. As we grow deeper in Him, that becomes possible.

1404912_710553202290190_806853620_o.jpg

Never let yourself get too big that you hinder a true apology coming from your heart when you’ve hurt another. Lessons like this are part of the journey and require courage of us. While another serving of humility may not taste very good, it is always good for the soul.

Glad for grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where my heart is recovering its joy. – And hey, remember when you’ve messed up, you also need to forgive yourself and let it go.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, May 5, 2016

Don’t We Want the REAL Definition? {the truth of who a woman is}

 

Bible pageHave you ever looked up a word to find that the real definition was quite different than what you had believed it to be?  How did that change your understanding of the sentence or the verse?  Completely, right?

When we get the real, true definition of something it changes our perspective and can change us in the process.

The most significant surprises for me have had to do with God’s definition of….me.  I had struggled with who I was, struggled with insecurity and fear and many times felt like I was somehow not worth as much because I was a woman.

I found as I studied and prayed to understand that there was a lot that I’d been taught or had modeled for me as a child that simply wasn’t true, or it was a mixture of truth and error.

There are many things in the world that attempt to define us.  What are the main influencers in our lives? Our parents, teachers, friends; our church, community, education system, and traditions; our environment, media, workplace, and choices; our life experiences and words spoken by us or to us, all teach us about life.

The truth is that anywhere else we look to find out who we are, to find out if we’re acceptable or good enough, is always going to let us down.  Sometimes we are looking to our spouse, our friends, even our church to tell us we’re OK and approved of.  Those things won’t ever give us what we need.

The things of the world will leave us thinking about what we can’t do, can’t be, will never get over, or what we will never become.

Then what we’re left with is a heart that has grown heavy with wrong beliefs, fears, and hesitant, negative attitudes about ourselves that hide who we are really intended to be.

luggage heavy

Each of us has a belief system that has been constructed over the years of our lives and many of us have packed our life with what’s inside due to wrong beliefs about ourselves, others, or God.  The results are usually fear, inadequacy, unforgiveness, bitterness, self-doubt, rejection, low self-esteem – the issues we carry around inside ourselves.

We can have wrong beliefs inside, and even though they may be wrong, they will still guide our thoughts, feelings, behavior and life results — because we BELIEVE them.

What I truly believed will be lived out in my life. Romans 12:2 was written to believers.  “Do not be conformed to the image of the world; instead, let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  This tells us that our minds are capable of being renewed and that God knew we would need that renewal to come into agreement with what He says is true. Do not take your blueprint or schematic from the world, but learn how God thinks and learn to think that way.

1 Peter 1:18-19 says, For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”  God doesn’t want us to live an empty life, but to live a full, intentional life of value and purpose, knowing who we are as His children.  We were created to make a difference and with a pretty big assignment!  Genesis 1:26-28 is still our assignment from the very beginning:

26 Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Before we can fill the assignment given in Genesis to come alongside our husbands and brothers, we have to invite the Holy Spirit to lead us into what is true.  We have to pick up the Word, we have to make the truth our own.  We have to be willing for God to show us where we have inherited wrong beliefs or where we’ve been taught incorrectly.  We have to let Him ENTER INTO where we still secretly hurt over things that have happened to us or places that stink with guilt over what we’ve done to others.

There are places, especially in the South, where Christian women have been more influenced by culture and tradition than by the Word of God.  We have tended to either want to do what others do, believing that is best, OR become what others want us to become.  A lot more than men, women many times tend to allow others to choose for them what their life will be like.  That’s not what God intended.

This kind of believing about our identity can leave us with vacuums in our lives, feeling unfulfilled, but the Holy Spirit can fill these places of emptiness.  We begin to change by discovering our true identity and value.

How do you want to feel about your life?  What do you want to believe could be possible for you?  What dreams in your heart have been covered over or gifts and talents restrained because someone said it’s not “lady-like” or my favorite, “a woman is not permitted to do that”?   Luke 1:37 – “For nothing is impossible with God.”  Gabriel said that to a young lady who was going to conceive and gift birth to the Messiah.  God has always used women to do great works, not just men.

In Genesis, He gave the same assignment to both the man and the woman.  So why does it surprise us that He would have great things for us to do today?   God created with intention a purposeful, blessed team, an alliance.  He knew it would be too much for the man alone.  Genesis 2:18 tells us that He understood His creation, that it wasn’t good for the man to be alone, that he would need someone else, a strong helper.

genesis 1

Our Hebrew word for helper or help-mate is the word ezer –  e-z-e-r.

Ezer means strong helper, in God’s image or like God, one that aligns with God at every possible level to share His heart, love what He loves, and join Him in His work in the earth.

An ezer is a theologian, created to know God and make Him known.  Created to reproduce the likeness of God in others.  An ezer is created to walk alongside others in authority, protecting and co-ruling in a Kingdom way to advance the influence of the Kingdom of Heaven where they are.  An ezer is a disciple, a mentor, a leader, one who serves, one who brings their spiritual gifts into fullness.

Ezer is a military term, therefore, an ezer is a warrior, called to action in every relationship, season, neighborhood, and walk of life.  An ezer is a staunch ally in the life of faith, not in the background of everyday activities, but in the foreground where leadership, prayers, and decisions happen.  The word ezer declares strength!

In fact, the word ezer is used 21 times in the Old Testament.  Out of the 21, 16 of those references describe how God comes alongside Israel as a very strong Helper in times of trouble!

You’ll find ezers in every aspect of life – the home, church, workplace, community, and government.  An ezer is part of a powerful union, a team, an alliance formed and purposed by God.  Are you ready for it?

An ezer is a woman.  That word translated ‘help meet” or “helper” – yeah, that word is ezer.  That is you.  God said “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will create an ezer for him.”

This little word, ezer – just 4 letters – is the beginning of you knowing who God created you to be.  This word that God chose gives you identity, value, legitimacy, and permission to walk in the life He created and dreams for you.  It’s the definition of who you are in the Kingdom of Heaven AND in the earth.

We are ezers from birth.  Marriage is just one major area where the ezer stands with the man in battle, but it by no means exhausts the possibilities.  Neither man nor woman are limited by where God can call them and use them to be a blessing and bring the Kingdom of Heaven’s influence.  Being an ezer is the core of who a woman is and as such is not dependent upon season of life or circumstance.

blessed alliance bibles

In Genesis 1:26-28, if the call to rule and subdue the WHOLE EARTH means anything, God calls the ezer to join the man in every sphere of life; not in COMPETITION, but to COMPLIMENT each other.  It takes the man and the woman together to learn to display the full image of God.  Each one is an image bearer in God’s likeness with different attributes.  In other words, we need each other.

God’s plan to reveal Himself to the world involved both MALE & FEMALE.  Adam needed Eve’s gifts and strengths to fulfill his calling, and she needed his gifts and strengths, too!  She was called to enter his struggles, bolster his faith, encourage his obedience to God.  Each was called to promote the faithfulness of the other in a relationship of equality and blessing where they reproduce more ‘image bearers’ that today we call disciples.

God’s never thrown out His original blueprint for men and women to bear His image together.

So…in our search for meaning and significance, this definition is the beginning of who you are.  This is the real definition of who you are.  This is not an angry-liberal-feminist voice.  We weren’t made for that – we don’t need that.  We just need to do whatever God calls us to do, knowing He will strengthen and equip us to do it.  So jealousy and competition can be things of the past.  God is doing a new thing among women today, just like he did about 2,000 years ago.

When Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would give birth to the Messiah, she said, “May it be unto me as you have said.”  The literal interpretation of that would read…

“May the Word of the Lord be created in me.”

That’s my prayer for each of you.  That the Word of the Lord would be created in you, that the truth of your identity, value, and significance would begin to replace any false ideas of who you are, or what you’re capable of, as a woman, made in God’s image.

We are God’s image bearers, we are ezers.  Chosen by God to soldier and live alongside our brothers as a Blessed Alliance, advancing Christ’s Kingdom in the hearts of people all around us, bringing change in our families, churches, communities, and world.

There is no higher calling than to be who God created us to be and bring the influence of His presence where we are, in the way He calls us to carry that out.

If this is who we are, what are we doing with it?

Do we remain where we are, like we are, or do we pour into others what God is pouring into us?

We can choose.  We can remain in the box that others want us to stay in, but wouldn’t you rather live with enthusiasm and experience more of who God designed you to be?  Wouldn’t we rather live expecting God to do miracles and amazing things through us who are here on the earth?your story isnt over yet

We MUST gain a larger view – of ourselves and of the Kingdom of God – of what is possible through our lives as God empowers us to carry His love.  We are half the church and our story is not over yet – it’s just beginning.

We get one life, you and I.  Don’t you want to know more of who He created you to be?  God’s definition of us carries in it all the identity, value, and significance we will ever need.

We just have to learn to believe it. Your story isn’t over yet.

Grace for the journey,

Robin

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC – May 2016 (originally posted August 2014)

Sources: All books by Carolyn Custis James at http://www.whitbyforum.com/; Grace Church Ezer Women’s Ministry at http://chrystiecole.com/ezer-body-matters/; Why Women Matter by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton.  Loren Cunningham is the founder of YWAM (Youth With A Mission).

 

Sometimes You’re Wrong

oops, wrong, mistake, failIs that hard for you to hear? We never get it all right, do we? Of course not. But the brave keep trying. Not for perfection, but to learn and grow. And why is being wrong, making mistakes, or failing this awful experience we try to prevent?

There’s such freedom in accepting that we don’t have to have all the answers all the time! There’s freedom in knowing that I will be wrong and it’s not a failure to admit it. There’s creative freedom in knowing that I can take a chance, take a risk, be honest, and if I do fail, it can become an awesome learning experience for me!

wrong, fear, creative

“I don’t know.” Can you say that with me? “I just don’t know. But I’m sure I’ll figure it out.”

“I was wrong.” Can you say that one, too? “I am sorry, I was wrong for ____________.”

How about… “I really blew it. But here’s what I learned!”

The best of lessons come through the hard days. Those days when we have no answer, not even a clue, and not much strength left. Our solution is in remembering that God is who He says He is and it’s “perfectly alright for me to just be me, in Him.”

He has all the answers and He never expects us to get it perfectly every time – in my thoughts, words, or actions. He created us to be human (imperfectly perfect) and our salvation, strength, and success are in doing what we resist the most: completely depending on Him in our successes and in our failures, where we are strong and where we are weak.

I love Psalm 46:10 and if you will allow me to paraphrase this verse, I understand it this way:

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still (in your thoughts, words, and actions, in your soul that wants to know why) and know (learn and remember this) that I Am God (and not only are you not, you never have to be for I am everything you need).

failure, wrong, growth

 

The most successful people in the world understand the truth about being wrong and are OK with it. They have learned to not judge themselves harshly, but instead to give themselves grace and encouragement to learn and keep going forward.

Decide today that from now on, with God helping you, that it will be alright to admit defeat, mistakes, and even failure. Believe that it’s alright to cry out honestly to Him for help. For failures are not permanent, but simply the way to the solution. It’s OK to be wrong. It’s great to learn from it.

Grace for growing up,

Robin

From the desk by the window where the smell of buttered toast is still in the air and the coffee is still hot.

I love what I do! Every woman at multiple points in life’s journey needs someone to come alongside for a season to help her 2016-01-05 16.50.00forward. I’ve had these coaches and mentors in my own life and it’s made all the difference in coming to live an effective and fulfilling life. And oh boy, did I have issues to overcome! Visit my Start Here page and my Coaching page for more info and if you’d like to try it out, just ask for your FREE introductory coaching session. I’d love to hear your story. You are welcome to email or call me: robinlewiswords@gmail.com and (843) 319-5390.