“Exhale” Book Study Week 5 Meet the Need and Seize the Yay!

Can you believe it’s Friend, our last Friday. But these are two incredible chapters that bring all our hard work up to this point full circle. You see, just because we have reached the end of the study, we haven’t reached the end of “Losing Who We’re Not, Loving Who We Are, and Living Our One Life Well”. It’s a process. One that we can continue with Jesus when we not only let Him rescue us but we take His invitation for His refuge.

I think like Cheri, so many times it’s easy to plead to God in our difficult times and struggles, “God, get me out of here!” Then when he does we say “Thanks God” and go about our merry way. Totally leaving behind His gracious invite into His “spacious place” of refuge.

For me, the biggest ah ha reading and practicing the principles Amy and Cheri have so beautifully placed in front of us and guided us through with their own personal examples, has been this exact truth found on page 194. Cheri writes, “The ‘spacious place’ of Pslam 18:19 isn’t out there. You don’t have to hunt to find refuge in God.” She goes on to say that in “Acts 17:28… in Him we live and move and have our own being.” But most of all, what hit home with me was Psalm 139: 7-10:

No matter where we are, or go, seek, search, hide, run, or pause God is with us. His name, Imanuel, “God with us”. This is what I was missing for quite some time. You see, I too took God’s invitation several years ago to be freed, “loosened” from what held me captive. I accepted the rescue not the refuge. I sought refuge in a group of people who were like me, which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. The group gave me support and offered their experience, strength, and hope. After a time, though, I was only relying on this group’s sayings and principles to fill a hole in my soul. Even though I was experiencing growth, deep friendships, and staying sober, I was still lost.

It wasn’t until one day when I was reading Nicki Koziarz’s book, “Five Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit” that I realized what I was missing. During a recorded teaching lesson, Nicki asked if you had not accepted Jesus as your personal savior, or if you had in the past but wanted to renew that vow, you can say a prayer right where you are right now. So that is what I did. I hit my knees in that moment and prayed the prayer along with Nicki, accepting the invitation of refuge Jesus offers!

Now, I want to say, I love that group of women that I still meet with, however today Jesus is my refuge and strength.

So what is our need with our name on it? Let’s take some time to “pray-cess” on this question. Has there been a need calling you that you are ignoring because you don’t think it is really for you? Ask God this weekend to help you discern the need with your name on it, then take action. I promise you will be blessed beyond your belief!

Now, without further ado, let’s…

In the final chapter Amy leads us through a beautiful prayer to show us how we can combat the lie that we can’t pull off the triathlon (my word) of satisfying the needs of our hearts, being there for others, and doing everything to the glory of God. We do this by:

Following the “Principle of Intention”

Letting God be the light that shines brightly through us.

Focus on our community not the cries of the crowd.

Dear Friend, it has been such a growth experience for me to be a part of the “Exhale ” Launch team and to bring this study to you these past five weeks. I pray that you have been blessed and know that I will be praying for your continued growth to “Living Your One Life Well”.

You can go to exhalebook.com for more resources.

I will leave you with the link to John 17 and one last video!

John 17: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/search=John+17&version=NIV

If you would like to “Dig Deeper” on these topics here are the links to more learnings:

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode #60: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode60/

Amy’s “Growing Into A Calling Part 1”: https://amycarroll.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Growing-Into-A-Calling-Part-1.pdf

” Amy’s “Growing Into A Calling Part 2”: https://amycarroll.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Growing-Into-A-Calling-Part-2.pdf

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode #34: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode34/

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode #75: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode75/

“Exhale” Book Study Week 5 Seed Senders and Redirection

As I was reading Amy’s memory of third grade I was saying, “me too, me too!” My thoughts instantly went day dreaming back to the 70’s at Central Elementary School. Three years in a row I got to have my three favorite teachers ever. Second Grade, Miss Ponder, kind, gentle, and fun; Third Grade, Mrs Berman. And she too had the most sought out hair cut of the decade! Then Fourth Grade, Miss Nelson, she wore… bell bottoms!

So it might look like these three amazing ladies only planted the seeds of fashion, hair, and make-up in my soul, but the day I stepped into my first classroom I remembered each one of them, the love, respect, gentle guidance, and direction they gave me a their student. That was the teacher I was going to be for my students. I also remembered other teachers who had left some not so great seeds, one in particular, who told me I would amount to nothing, well, nothing but a professional cheerleader. Doesn’t sound so bad, but she meant on the sidelines of an NFL game, not an encourager for others in life. Good thing I cut that vine.

In Chapter 15, Amy leads us through one of my favorite of Jesus’ parables in Mark 4. I love “Bible Gateway”. I use it all the time to look up Bible verses in all different translations. Here is the link for Mark 4 in “Bible Gateway” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+4&version=

What convicted me the most was on page 168 when Amy describes that the seeds that have fallen in the thorns aren’t dead at all, but actually alive, but barely. Not bearing any fruit. I have to say I too can check this off as guilty.

Oh the cars, yes, cars. There wasn’t one good enough. I went through a season (or two or three to be honest) where first it was the mini van, then large SUV oh that was too big, small SUV, not sporty enough, luxury car, and so on and so on! Did I mention the houses? At one point I moved to three different houses in the same city. Keeping up with the “Jones'”, and by the way, I’ve never met them!

I think you get the point, trapped in a “worldly” cycle. God’s seeds were being planted. I was an active church member, Bible Study Girl, but the seeds were falling in the soil that was being choked by the thorns. But thank you Amy for showing us the way back. I started this post with John 15:4. Here is the link to John 15:1-8, the way to stay out of the thorns: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+15%3A1- 8&version=NIV

When we remain in Jesus and let him prune us, we will grow. Then he asks us to join Him as “Seed Senders”.

Friend, to “Live our One Life Well”, we need to ask Jesus in daily, ask him to prune away our worries, desires for worldly things we don’t need, he desire for approval from others. or anything else you see as choking thorns in your life.

Today’s Challenge: Share in the comments, What thorns are keeping you from bearing fruit that you need to ask Jesus to prune?

Moving on into Chapter Sixteen, Cheri fills us in on how her dreams to publish books as her main goal switched after spending so much of her life receiving rejections. She allowed God in to redirect her to see that, like her basil plant, old dreams can die and new ones can be formed.

I know for me, I have had too many goals and dreams happening at once that I was doing so much, however it was so much not good. I love the question Cheri poses on page 180, “Do you sense Him inviting you to stop some specific dreams, setting them aside for a season or perhaps forever? Then she says, “If so, remember:

I have never been very good at goal setting, well I take that back. I am good at setting goals it is the follow-up I have a difficult time maintaining. How about you? Are you a goal setter? Do you find your goals changing, or do you hang on tight to that one goal you have had your sites set on for some time?

To “Live Our One Life Well” we need to be open to God’s redirecting of our goals and dreams.

Here is a link to the Goal Tier Chart and Directions for its use. I am going to give it a go, and do some pray-cessing on where God is leading me.

Tier Template: https://exhalebook.com/wpcontent/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_16_pg_187_Template.pdf

Tier Template Directions: https://exhalebook.com/wpcontent/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_16_pg_187_Instructions.pdf

Today’s Second Challenge, should you choose to accept it. Share a goal or dream you have been holding on to and are having trouble letting go, but you are feeling God calling you elsewhere.

“Exhale” Book Study Week 5 Face It Not Force It

Welcome to Week 5! You are strong, courageous, and a beautiful child of God and you have Exhaled your way to this point! This week we are diving into “Living Our One Life Well”.

For so long I thought I was living a pretty good “One Life Well” until I wasn’t. My issue, the fear of letting go. Letting go of control of all things I thought were in my control. Ok, you can have a big laugh now. Because we all know the only One who is in full control is God.

Cheri has an amazing video for us today that addresses just this topic, and how we can stop forcing and start facing.

So are you ready to surrender all to God, face your expectations and not force them? If yes is your answer, then friend you are on your way to living your “One Life Well”

Here are the three questions Cheri posed at the end of the video

What is “One mountain, obstacle you need to conquer in order to surrender control of the future to God? How can you remember to “Face it, not Force it”?

For me, my obstacle is myself. I stand in my own way thinking I am in control, and friend, that is some stinking thinking right there. One way I use to help me remember to surrender to God is my little frog figurine I have on my desk. He reminds me daily to:

This week we will be reading Chapters 15, 16, 17, and 18.

How can I pray for you this week? Let me know in the comments or go to my contact me page.

And get ready friend, this week I have a fun challenge coming up! Be thinking of some “Seed Senders” in your life. See you Wednesday!

“Exhale” Book Study Week 4 No More Shape-shifting, Be Yourself

Happy Friday, Friend! Can you believe you have completed four weeks of “Exhale” study! This week was a light week of reading but a deep week of “pray-cessing”.

Have you ever been a “Shape-shifter”, wanting to impress the main person in the room so bad you would change or “shift” your personality? I know I am guilty of being the person Cheri described being for a minute in her life.

I know most of my college days and into my teaching career I wanted to be noticed by the main person in the room, no matter who it was. Can I just say, exhausting! And when Cheri introduces us to two new clubs, I have to admit, I used to think I was in the 99 Club, not a club I choose to be a member of today. However, to be brutally honest there are some days still that I think I am in the 99 Club, days I think I haven’t sinned or done anything wrong. This is not something I am proud to admit, but as Cheri says:

Today, I want to be found by Jesus, Friend, because I know how easy it is to get lost on a daily basis. Boy, oh boy, what sweet joy it is, when we recognize we have wondered and Jesus finds us just where we are.

He will pick us up, our “messy, unimpressive, in-need- of- rescue, beloved selves” (“Exhale”), and bring us home. The Club of One is where it’s at my friend!

We can “be ourselves AND be loved because we are BELOVED by God”.

Click on the links below to download a cell phone and/or PC screen saver to remind you that you are BELOVED:

https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_14_160_Cell_Phone_Image.jpg

https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_14_160_Computer_Image.jpg

Want to “Dig Deeper” this week? Check out these links:

Chapter 13: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode82/

Chapter 12: https://cherigregory.com/just-being-me/

Chapter 14: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode101/

Have you ever tried to impress someone or judged someone as an “unimpressive” person? Share in the comments to be entered in this week’s drawing!

“Exhale” Book Study Week 4 Trusting God with Your Calling, What Are You Waiting For

Welcome to Wednesday friend. Have you taken one of the Spiritual Gift inventories yet? In Chapter 12 of “Exhale” we read this week that to “Love who I am, I must trust His Call.”

Wow, was this ever an eye opener for me. I know in my heart I need to trust God with everything in my life, but actually doing it is another story. But if I really want to make some serious changes, really “Loving Who I Am”, then I need to take action. I need to not just believe I need to trust my Savior, I need to TRUST Him!

Cheri walks us through John 10 and shows us first how we can learn to trust God’s call with 10 steps:

Here is Cheri’s List of 10 Actions from John 10:

When I know and live the truth of John 10, I can trust God’s calling and let go of what I think and believe I should be doing with my life. This also, as a people pleaser, gives me a pass to “dis-appoint” those other voices in my life that are telling me I should do or be something else.

If you haven’t taken the Spiritual Gifts Inventory yet to see how you uniquely fit into “One Flock and One Shepherd”, here are the links again to several that Amy and Cheri suggest.

Spiritual Gift Inventories :

https://www.freeshapetest.com/

https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/spiritual-gifts-survey/

https://giftstest.com/?fbclid=IwAR2TvOPRLegTXk04GEyD_GM9P5efurhF34LDD7O1kH_D89hki6g7Tu3Wf4g

https://www.sdrock.com/giftstest/

https://spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gifts-test-adult-version/

Pen and Paper Assessment you can purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Spiritual-Gifts-Questionnaire-

Easy/dp/0800798341

It’s okay if after reading Chapter 12 and taking a Spiritual gifts inventory you still aren’t quite sure what God is “Calling” you to do. I know for me, I am still working through this process.

If you haven’t read Chapter 13 yet, Amy does a beautiful job walking us through how to “Clarify our Calling”.

You see friend, a “calling” isn’t just for ministers, worship leaders, and the like. God has a “calling” just for you and me. He is calling us throughout our lives, in all the different seasons. Just like he called Bartimaeus. Jesus is asking you and me, friend, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Prayerfully consider your answer to this question. As Amy said she “always wanted a convertible.” Being quite honest as well, my first shallow response would be, “I’d love a closet full of designer clothes and shoes please!” But seriously, when I pray-cess on this question, the first thing that comes to mind is, “God, show me where I can best be used in your kingdom work.”

Amy gives us three action steps to help us find our specific calling:

God has a unique calling for each of us. Let’s “pray-cess” and work through Amy’s action steps to pursue God for our calling.

If you know your calling and are deep into it, I would love for you to share in the comments your calling and how you knew or came about knowing that was the calling God placed on your heart. I know it would be a benefit to so many.

“Exhale” Book Study Week 4 Fearfully, Wonderfully Made

The weeks sure fly by when you are learning to “Lose Who You’re Not, Love Who You Are, and Live Your One Life Well”. I can’t believe we are in week four of our study of “Exhale”

Amy shares a beautiful message with us today, so if you are a note taker like me you will want to grab your Study Guide or note book and a writing utensil before clicking play on the video. Now without further ado… Amy Carroll!

WOWZA! is what I have to say about Amy’s message. So I totally love “Geek Girl” because being a teacher I love learning new words and as I study the Bible I love learning the Hebrew and Greek words and their definitions.

The word Amy introduces us to for Praise is “Halal”. I found a fabulous website, “Worship Basic 101” (so perfect for me) that has several Greek and Hebrew words for “praise”. Here is the definition they have for “Halal”

Halal means “to be clear, to shine, to boast, show, to rave, celebrate, to be clamorously foolish”.

“The word “Hallelujah” comes from this base word, and is a primary root word for praise in the Hebrew language.”

What to me was convicting in Amy’s message was when she said:

There are so many days I complain that I don’t like my “pooch”, my nose, I wish I were taller, more creative, the list goes on and can be different on any day ending in a “y”!

So it never crossed my mind to think when I am talking down to myself, “hating on myself” that this is an offense towards God. When I”pray-cess” deeply on Amy’s message this takes me back to the beginning of “Losing Who I am Not”, that I need to have a “Growth Mindset” here and now, today.

This week I will be doing a little asking Jesus for His grace and forgiveness as I continue the process of accepting who He created me to be, just me, beautifully and wonderfully made in His image. I will also be praying for you, friend, as you search your soul to Love who God created you to be, just you, beautifully, wonderfully made in His image.

This week we read Chapters 12, 13, and 14. We will also learn about our Spiritual Gifts and how we can use them in our daily lives.

Here are several links to many different Spiritual Gift Assessments that Amy and Cheri share on the “Exhale” Book website.

https://www.freeshapetest.com/

https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/spiritual-gifts-survey/

https://giftstest.com/?fbclid=IwAR2TvOPRLegTXk04GEyD_GM9P5efurhF34LDD7O1kH_D89hki6g7Tu3Wf4g

https://mintools.com/spiritual-gifts-test.htm

https://www.sdrock.com/giftstest/

https://spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gifts-test-adult-version/

What touched your heart the most about Amy’s message today? Share in the comments for a chance to win this week’s drawing.

“Exhale” Book Study Week 3 Our Personalities and Quirks

Happy Friday Friend! I hope you are learning to love who you are as much as I am this week . This is actually one of my favorite chapters. As I have mentioned a time or two, my word for this year is “Grow”. This chapter has been one that has lead me to deep learning and leaning in as I continue to work on “Loving Who I Am.”

I am a “Connector” which when I read the strengths list wasn’t a surprise to me. I love making people feel welcome, being the center of attention, telling stories, and I am upbeat and optimistic.

Most of my life I have been upbeat and optimistic, and I am sure many of my family members would tell you I enjoy being in the spot light. As I have grown older, the spotlight isn’t as important, and I see the strength of making people feel welcome more prominent.

How about you? What was your personality type? Have you always had these strengths or have they developed over time? (I do have a fabulous give away)

So we can really focus on our strengths instead of our weaknesses, let’s start today by giving our weaknesses to God. Let’s start choosing to accept our God created gifts. I love Cheri’s words on page 121 of “Exhale”, “When you receive what is yours, you won’t “need” what is not. You won’t fall for the lie that it’s selfish to embrace and enjoy who God created you to be. You’ll stop trying to change who you are and -taking a big, brave breath- start being more of who you are. You’ll remember that you’re the beloved daughter of our creator King.”

Did you write key words about your personality strengths on Post-it Notes and place them where you will see them? Take a picture of your notes and post them in the comments!

Moving on to Chapter 11, Amy tells us that “When we look through our redeemer’s lens, our quirks become our strengths” (“Exhale” page 124)

Do you have a trait that you have hidden just to fit in?

How is or has God used your “quirks” in ways that you never expected?

How can you use your “quirks” in your community?

Amy tells us we need to:

“Abandon the Norm to Follow Jesus”

“Make a Ruckus to Make a Difference”

“Let Jesus join His Name with Ours”

Here are this weeks Extras for Diving Deeper into “Loving Who You Are”

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 88 https://gritngracegirls.com/episode88/

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 123 https://gritngracegirls.com/episode123/

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 137 https://gritngracegirls.com/episode137/

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 59 https://gritngracegirls.com/episode59/

Praying for you to have a wonderful weekend. Next week we will continue to learn to “Love Who We Are” in Chapters 12, 13, and 14!