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Where Are You God?

“Where Are You God?”
Anyone who has been through a heart wrenching situation — a situation that desperately needed God’s help, intervention, and redemption — has more than likely went through a season where God seemingly wasn’t answering your prayers.

You most likely cried out to Him, begged, pleaded with Him, appealed to Him, maybe fasted, and even claimed scripture…yet nothing seemed to happen.

I’ve been through seasons such as this during my lifetime. To be completely honest, I’m currently in the midst of the most desperate season I’ve ever been in and have been in it the last few years.

At the beginning of 2016, I asked God to give me a specific word to learn from and also for two things: one being, “Please give me a brand new season. A season filled with joy and goodness.” And the second being, “Where are you? Please intervene in and change this situation.”

There will be seasons in life with absolutely no let up. We each may go through trial after trial, and grief experience after grief experience, with no relief in sight. Life can be ridiculous or heartbreaking at times…sometimes for a very long time.

Anyone who seeks after God with their whole heart…and refuses to give up…will find that God has a purpose and plan for each circumstance though. I have found that God is very, very good – even through the toughest events in life! Even the tough situation I’m currently going through…I know God has an incredible plan.  

Back to asking God for a specific word…

The word God gave me for 2016 was Perseverance. When He gave me this word, I was not a happy camper. I had hoped for a word like “Joy” or “Healing” or another word that would give me hope that a new season was about to begin. 

With the word Perseverance, I knew I would be going through tougher circumstances. And I was right…I have.

During these trials, God woke me up to a powerful truth: it’s never been me waiting on Him…it’s been I haven’t learned a particular lesson He has been trying to teach me for several years. And for the greater overall picture, it is very important I take the time to learn it.

God isn’t trying to punish or cause/allow hardship…He’s trying to take His people to a greater level in life!

Earth isn’t where we’re supposed to find our greatest comfort or ease…that’s the promise of Heaven. Earth is an accelerated, fierce training ground to fully prepare us for Heaven. 

It doesn’t mean we won’t enjoy life and have great times of goodness…it simply means that if we could truly understand and see the eternal perspective – the “big picture” – of all God’s plans, we’d stop kicking and screaming and cooperate. We’d fully trust and submit. Hard to do during times of great hardship, though, since we each are human. That’s why we need God’s help and grace.

Think about this:

Sometimes God isn’t near as silent as we accuse Him of being…sometimes, we just aren’t grasping what He is trying to teach us. And sometimes, God will not instantly or quickly redeem our situation because He doesn’t want us to have to go through a more heartbreaking or tougher situation later on due to not learning a lesson or character quality He is trying to build in our lives. 

We need to ask ourselves if we are wanting our comfort more than we are willing to persevere and trust His perfect will and perfect timing. Do we truly believe He’s faithful and knows what He’s doing…or do we attempt to twist the arm of God to get what we want in our own time?

If you’ve experienced major hurt and you’re respectfully questioning God or asking Him to remove the situation, you’re in good company. Even Jesus had questions.

Matthew 27:46, “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).”

Matthew 26:39, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

God successfully created the whole world and has kept it going since Day one…He knows what He’s doing. He is God and we are not. So why is it so hard to rest in Him and trust His plans or His timing?

Several years ago, my sweet husband offered to make dinner. He decided to make some fried chicken strips in a deep fryer, but he didn’t set a timer or read the directions on the package of how long to fry them. He chose to take the chicken out whenever he thought they looked done.

The chicken strips were fried to a light golden brown and looked delicious…until our son and I took our first bite and discovered the chicken was still raw in the middle.

How many times do we do the same with God? We choose not to read His instructions (the Bible), do things our own way and in our own time, and do not wait for His correct timing? Or we make hasty decisions? And then we become upset and surprised when whatever He is trying to accomplish in our lives seems to take forever…or something bad happens?

My husband ended up having to refry each chicken strip. And so is the same thing with God…sometimes we have to go through a same or similar situation since we weren’t patient, or the learning process has to restart since we didn’t learn or accomplish what God intended.

If you are going through a fiery trial today, my heart truly hurts for you. It is not fun to go through a situation where you have zero control. It truly stinks to go through deep grief or a heart wrenching trial and have to wait for God to accomplish His best.

It’s worth it when God redeems a situation or you can finally see what He was lovingly trying to accomplish, prevent, or teach…but it is sometimes super painful before you get to that place!

I can tell you this important truth – after going through multiple heartbreaking situations and trials: God is very faithful! He would never allow (not cause, but allow) a challenging trial to enter your life unless He had a specific purpose or plan to see you through. He NEVER wastes a hurt!

It is always best to learn as much as we can in every situation we go through so we don’t have to go through another same or similar situation due to not learning what God was trying to teach us. 

Whatever you do, don’t quit. You have great value and your breakthrough may be just around the corner.

In what area of your life do you need to stop asking “where are you God” and instead completely submit to God and seek Him with your whole heart?

He’s there. 

When you fully seek Him, you will find Him. 

He WILL be making up for all of your pain.❤

Jeremiah 29:13,You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2017 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

Further blog posts on this topic & encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/god-can-restor-your-lost-years

http://pastorrick.com/devotional/english/god-s-purpose-is-greater-than-your-problems-or-pain

https://griefbites.com/2015/12/30/sometimes-god-is-waiting-on-us/

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

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One Of The Best Decisions I’ve Ever Made

All throughout life, we each will make a series of choices.

Some choices will turn out to be very beneficial; others will prove to be liabilities. 

We can truly learn through all choices – the good and the bad. And when we learn or experience something in life – especially the great things, why not pass it on to help others?

My favorite choices in life, are the ones I can look back on and be exceptionally happy I made them count.

As I was talking to a dear friend this week, she asked me what three choices – other than becoming a Christian, wife, or mom – have made the greatest impact in my life.

I immediately thought of several, but one stood out the most…the decision to buy a notebook and use it to create, and continually update, a Bucket List.

A Bucket List has helped me to be much more intentional in living life…both short term and long term.

There are many places I’ve traveled that I most likely never would have traveled to, many goals I’ve reached that could’ve gotten lost in the shuffle of life, and many activities and traditions I’ve enjoyed with my husband, the kiddos, and my family and friends — all because I wrote these things down and purposely made them a reality — especially if I gave myself a deadline to complete them.

Do I meet every goal, destination, and activity’s deadline all of the time? Nah…and I don’t beat myself up when I don’t. But I do meet about 80-90% of them…which is much better than the 0-25% I’d meet if I weren’t intentional about it. And on some things, I’ll extend the deadline so I can accomplish them at a later date, so there’s never any stress with my Bucket List.

I love my Bucket List! It’s purpose-filled and fun! I enjoy dreaming, setting goals, planning fun activities, and looking forward to different travels. 

There have been many times that my Bucket List has provided much joy, and it also has helped me stay focused through times of deep grief.

So how do you start a Bucket List?

  1. Buy a notebook or create a file on your computer/cell phone/iPad. There are also some Bucket List apps.
  2. Ask yourself what activities or traditions (old or new) you’d like to enjoy with family or friends 
  3. Think about what you intentionally want to do in life 
  4. Consider places you’d like to travel
  5. Ask God what spiritual goals He’d like for you to put on your Bucket List
  6. What educational or career goals would you like to pursue and accomplish 
  7. Are there areas of self-improvement you’d like to make
  8. What bad habits would you like to overcome
  9. What positive life goals or dreams would you like to fulfill
  10. What financial goals would you like to work on
  11. What relationships would you like to improve or honor/enjoy more
  12. What family and friends do you want to make sure feel extraordinarily loved, encouraged, and appreciated
  13. What ministry do you want to start or become involved in
  14. How can you make God and His love & kindness more known in the world
  15. What activities/hobbies are you passionate about…or what new activities/hobbies do you want to start, try, or perfect

These tips can help you start brainstorming your way to living your life to the fullest! 

Truly think about the kind of life you want. 

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed about going on a Mediterranean cruise, or traveling to Hawaii or Disney World with family. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go skiing over Thanksgiving or to the beach at Christmastime. Or do a road trip in the Fall to see the gorgeous leaves in New England.

Maybe you’ve dreamed of going back to school to get a higher degree.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint or cook…or do tae kwon do or adult league soccer. Maybe get into bodybuilding or running.

Maybe you want to be a better spouse…parent…sibling…family member…friend. 

Make your Bucket List your very own. Create individualized goals/plans and also include God and family in your plans. Have the best time creating a beautiful life – the kind of life you wake up in the morning and truly want. A life you are really excited to live each and every day! 

A Bucket List has helped me tremendously throughout my life. It truly is one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made! 

It helps anyone who has a Bucket List to be very intentional. And it’s great to look back and see how much you were able to enjoy, plan, do, and accomplish – and especially help others, too!

What’s the first thing you’ll write in your Bucket List? Be sure to periodically highlight or put a check next to each item you’ve accomplished, enjoyed, or successfully completed.

At the end of your life, you’ll be extra thankful you took the time to create a Bucket List…and look back and see the wonderful, beautiful life you intentionally created for you and your loved ones!

Happy Bucket Listing!

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2017 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️Kim’s FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

Making 2017 A Year To Remember: 43 Ways To Delight In God

I’ve previously written about delighting in God – and have received so many requests to follow up on those posts.

With a brand New Year, today is the perfect time to reflect on 2016, and to plan for making 2017 your best year yet.

Sometimes, when God places a specific topic on my heart, I’ll write a longer blog post than normal. Today is one of those days. I promise it’s worth reading, though, because today’s topic has the power to radically change your relationship with God and bring great treasure in your New Year.

Read it all in one sitting tonight, or read a little today and more tomorrow. I pray your heart will be greatly blessed!

To start off, I’ll share how I learned how to delight in God:

I learned how to delight in God after going through the wonderful life-changing experience of becoming a mom. Life at the time, however, was not so wonderful…and I was scared to death I’d mess everything up.

I had given my heart to the Lord as a child, but I became a sold-out, truly born again Christian the day I went into labor, and the very first night after I gave birth…as I was holding my fresh, brand new baby…I desperately pleaded with God to show me how to be a good Christian and a good mom. 

I don’t think I understood God’s extravagant love before I became a mother. I grew up in a Christian home and attended church; even had loving parents…but I failed to genuinely appreciate or see the great value and blessings of God’s heart and my parents’ love.

After I had given birth, my doctor thought I had postpartum depression. I explained to him, I was weepy because I felt so lucky to be a mom…and I suddenly understood how much God and my parents loved me. I had put my parents through a lot during my teen years…I, sadly, was their worst child…so the day I held my son, everything “clicked” as I understood love so much better.

When people truly understand how incredible God’s love is for them, it absolutely transforms their entire being! It is no longer drudgery to follow God or His ways…it suddenly becomes the highest privilege you can have while on earth.
You discover God isn’t a killjoy…in fact, He’s better than any adventure you could ever hope to have. And you find He isn’t just merely “Love”…He’s love in action in everything He does. Everything

You find how awesome He truly is: during the great times…the joys…the amazing adventures we have in life…but also in the super hard times when we don’t understand. He’s amazing!

Even when our hearts are shattered to the point we think we’ll never be able to pick up the pieces. Even when all seems lost. Even when absolutely nothing makes sense.

It’s a powerful thing to love God and to feel His love in return through each season of life..good and bad.

Deuteronomy 6:5,Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

I am blessed to have attended a good church while growing up, to have parents who invested heavily in me, and to have learned a lot through various retreats and conferences. Each taught me a new perspective on how to grow closer to God’s heart.

I always thought I’d learn to love and delight in God during the good times in my life, when everything was going great. I’ve learned I have fallen more deeply in love with God not just during the beautiful times, but especially through the hard times, too…because it’s usually during the toughest times when you truly find the heart and provision of God.

When I’ve gone through the death of loved ones, and I missed them like crazy…I found God understood my deep pain because before He received my loved ones back to heaven, He was missing them while they were here on earth. God knew them before He gave them their heartbeat and first breath…Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” He knew how it felt to long for the same loved one when He was away from them from the very minute He graciously loaned them to live and do life with me.

When I went through deep marriage issues…He understood that same heartache. He had, and still does, experience deep hurt and betrayal – by His own people…including me when I’ve mistreated His heart. Marriage has taught me a great deal about Christ’s genuine love and commitment…and has been a great tool in cultivating my heart.

When someone close to me became an atheist…He understood the agony and heart-wrenching tears that fell from my eyes. I gained a much greater picture of how to empathetically witness to others who have been deeply hurt and wounded by the Church…and just as I was desperate for my loved one to find their way back to God’s heart, I gained a small understanding and glimmer of how God greatly desires for us to help His prodigal loved ones to come back to Him, too. He strongly desires for us to help those who are hurting: Jude‬ ‭1:22-23, “And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment…”‬ ‭

When I went through both my son’s tumors and surgeries and my own illness – and felt so helpless…I found God is perfectly in control and His plans (even if I didn’t like them), are perfect and hold great purpose.

After my dad died…I learned God is very much a Father to the fatherless. He truly made provisions spiritually, emotionally, financially and physically.

I could go on and on. There are so many great lessons I’ve learned throughout the years about God and His great heart – especially after those sweet days of holding my newborn baby so many years ago.

My favorite lesson has been learning how to delight in God through the good times, and especially during the bad.

During my rebellious years before submitting my life to God, I thought people were crazy to love or follow God. I had experienced a lot of pain and heartache in my life while growing up…and the last person I wanted to delight in was God. Sad but true. My plan included rejecting God and the Church…and living independently of both. I didn’t even plan on becoming a born again believer – not even the morning I was saved. And I totally never had plans of becoming a Christian author and blogger. I just didn’t “get it”. 

…Then God showed up.

I felt a tremendous pull to read the Bible my dad had previously bought me (the year he married my mom)…to those who are new to my blog and haven’t read my book, my biological dad died while I was growing up and my mom married again…giving me one treasure of a new dad. As my Bible fell open, it opened to a page that held the story of Jesus’ great compassion for a woman who had deserved death. Instead, He chose to give the woman great compassion and mercy. He became her friend. As I read the amazing story, I cried out to God and asked Him to save me and have compassion on me like He did for the woman. Jesus became my Friend and we’ve been friends for decades now. And He’s proved to be my closest, most treasured friend.

When you truly read God’s Word…and you read for yourself all of the great ways He loves each of us, it becomes incredibly easy…and sweetly and richly rewarding…to love and delight in Him.

Think about your life and your loved ones’ lives…

God could have just spoken each person’s existence into being. With one command, it all could have been accomplished. Look how incredible sunsets and sunrises are…the light is truly brilliant, gorgeous, and amazing. Yet, God considers each of us more glorious than sunlight itself. He spoke light into existence…yet He chose to personally create and craft each of us exclusively with His very own hands…knitting us together…establishing a relationship with us before we even breathed one breath. And that’s not all. Our breath? God Himself breathed into our nostrils the breath of life…just as He did with Adam! Genesis‬ ‭2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”‭‭‬ ‭

If you ever doubt God’s intimate, extravagant, brilliant heart and love for you, you never have to doubt or wonder about your value ever again. Your value is beyond comprehension!

And the more you love and delight in God and submit to His great purposes for your life, the more you’ll experience God’s great heart. Through both good times and also bad times, you’ll uncover incredible treasure you never knew was possible.

And Jesus is a true friend. He isn’t fickle…He doesn’t ignore, hurt, or reject people. Jesus fiercely loves you and cuts through all of your sin, poor choices, past shame, or anything else you are dealing with…and He looks directly in your heart. He sees the best in you and all of your great potential. He’s a true friend, especially of sinners (and who isn’t a sinner?), and meets you exactly right where you are. He is exceptionally all in when it comes to His relationships.

One of my favorite Bible passages is John‬ ‭1:38-39: “Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).”‬ 

How amazing is that passage? Truly think about this for a moment:

  • Jesus first cared about their hearts, lives, and their needs by asking, “what do you seek?” 
  • When He could tell they were searching in their souls, He didn’t just cleverly come up with a well thought out cliche…He didn’t ignore or reject them…He wasn’t too busy for them..He didn’t tell them to come back later. What’d Jesus do? He invited them in – ALL in – so He could actively become involved in their lives as He simply – and adventurously – said, Come and see.Jesus was about to show them a whole lot more than where He was staying. He didn’t just invite them in for a day…Jesus was ultimately inviting them to experience the absolute adventure of a lifetime – and more importantly, into eternity!! He gave them new names…and brand new lives. They were about to see Jesus’ first miracle (of many) that He was about to perform. Jesus invited them to be ALL in because they were about to find that HE was ALL in too – all the way to death on a Cross for all who would love and accept Him.

Did you know Jesus wants to do the same for you? Do you realize He still asks, “What do you seek?”…He still wants to intervene in lives today; to give people new “names” and brand new lives? Jesus invites you in – ALL in – today…so He can show you the absolute adventure of your lifetime! Whether you’ve followed Him for many years or you are just beginning to take His hand, when you choose to love and delight in Him…and learn from His great heart, life will forever change and take you to a level you never realized you could go!

Matthew‬ ‭11:29, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”‬ 

So how do you learn from God and delight in Him?

There are so many ways to delight in God. It’s never a cookie-cutter experience…God cares enough to make your relationship with Him the most unique experience possible! God will reveal to your own heart special ways you can delight in Him, learn from Him, and grow your relationship and friendship together. Ask Him to make both the Bible and your relationship with Him come alive for you starting today. He totally will do it!

Does this mean I’ll never have troubles in my life again…or will it make my current problems instantly disappear?

If you have given up on God because of a trial that left you broken hearted, I hope this helps you find the One who is patiently waiting to help you and love you. God is crazy about you, adores you, and has great plans for your life! (Jeremiah 29:11)

God greatly desires to help (and even carry) you through all of life’s toughest situations. When you go through grief or loss, He will wrap you in His arms, and bring such an amazing comfort and strength, giving an opportunity to fall even more deeply in love with Him.

Life never becomes “perfect” – because people and this earth are still flawed and fallible – but it’s incredible to have a Best Friend with you at all times…in the good times and the bad…when your walk with Him is going great….and even times when you neglect your relationship with Him and are failing miserably. God’s unconditional love is amazing in experience. He doesn’t cut people off because He is all-in! He will never leave you or forsake you!

Life never becomes void of problems or grief, but as you grow close to God…you begin to see there is value in every life experience. 

Psalm 37:4,Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

So…do we delight in God so we can get the desires of our heart…or for what we can get out of Him?

Absolutely not. God loves giving good gifts – in fact, every good gift comes from Him – but God weighs the heart in all we do. 

James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

1 Samuel 16:7, “…The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

We choose to love and delight in God because we love Him and His great big heart! 

We don’t seek out His presents; we learn to thoroughly enjoy His presence.

I have found throughout the years that God – and a relationship with Him – is the truest treasure on earth. I’d choose Him and my relationship with Him over anyone and anything…even all of the money in the world. I believe that anyone who has experienced God would.

If you grew up in church and feel as though you were never taught how to connect to God, no worries! You can begin today! Growing up, we didn’t have the resources we have today. Literally, today, you have information with just a click of a computer button. Study your Bible, look at compelling Christian articles that are offered online, download the Youversion Bible app and read some great Bible Reading Plans, and ask God to come alive to you. He’s faithful!

So how do I begin to treasure and delight in God?

Here are a few of my favorite ways:

  1. Plan a special time when you can exclusively enjoy God. Every morning, I make some hot tea with honey and talk to God about my day. I pray for my loved ones, read the Bible, and listen to whatever He has to share with me.
  2. Talk to God continuously throughout your day silently in your heart..an ongoing conversation. Share every part of your day.
  3. Get alone and curl up on the couch with a blanket and your Bible at the end of the day and reflect on your day with God.
  4. Go on a nature walk with Him. Marvel at all of His creation. Breathe the air in deeply and thoroughly find refreshment in His nature.
  5. Go to a restaurant and talk to God silently while you enjoy a meal with Him. 
  6. Pick a favorite activity and simply enjoy God and His presence…it could be playing golf or disc golf, swimming, running, leisure walking, lifting weights, or my personal favorite – longboarding. There’s nothing like getting alone with God and having the cares of the world melt away as you talk to Him about everything. God is everywhere so spend some time hanging out with Him. 
  7. Ask God to show you areas of your heart and life that you need to change. Follow through with whatever change He asks you to do.
  8. Buy a Journal and write letters to God. Also write down goals He shares with your heart and prayer requests for your family, friends, church, work, leaders, life, and yourself.
  9. Seek to know the deepest parts of God’s  heart and share the deepest parts of your heart and soul with God. Find out as much as you can about Him and tell Him all about you. He already knows everything about you but He loves when we pour our hearts out to Him and we seek to truly know Him. Francis Chan once said that if you take a thimble to the middle of the ocean and filled water into the thimble…that’s about our limit to what we can possibly know about God in comparison to the entire ocean. I hope God allows me to know Him as much as I possibly can…and then even more after that.
  10. Ask God to share with you the plans He has for you and obey those plans.
  11. Tell God your hopes, dreams, struggles, ideas, fears, joys, and failures. Seek to find what brings great joy to His heart.
  12. Share with God your heartaches and cry out to Him. He is the ULTIMATE best friend you will ever have the privilege of knowing. He’s the only Friend who is available 24/7 and truly cares about everything you experience and go through. Deeply consider – and be compassionate about – what brings His heart pain.
  13. Ask Him for His guidance and ask Him to give you the gifts of wisdom and understanding. 
  14. Ask God to continue to “create and perfect” you. God is the ultimate artist….place yourself back on His canvas and allow Him to “paint” the rest of your life to what He wants for it. Ask Him to finish your picture in His time with the colors He chooses. There will be colors of joy…colors of brilliance…colors of beauty. There will also be dark brushstrokes and shades of sadness…heartache…suffering… BUT…God promises to take ALL of the colors and make the overall portrait something of great value, extraordinary beauty, and treasure. (Romans 8:28)…You can trust His most skillful Hand!
  15. Extravagantly honor and admire Him. Think about creation and of all the beauty He lavishes on us everyday-we are SO incredibly blessed!!! He creates sunrises, sunsets, flowers, trees, nature. When you feel the wind, think of it as a hug from God that envelopes you. When it rains, think of it as God giving you tiny little kisses. One of the things I love about God is how creative He is. Whether it’s nature, or how uniquely different He has made each one of us, or even the amazing variety He allows us in life, I always thank Him for it. Thank Him for making different seasons of weather or thank Him for all of the variety of foods and spices He has created. Look at all of the different animals and even look at all the different places you can travel to and experience. I love how God is totally not boring in anything He does. My absolute favorite is all of the people He has created. He is the greatest, most creative Genius ever! 
  16. Have a Thank-fest: take the time to literally thank Him for each and every good person and thing in your life…especially Him! There is a tremendous amount to be thankful for!
  17. Truly get to know Him- Read your Bible and find out for yourself who God genuinely is. Don’t merely depend on what others have told you about Him. Seek out His heart and really pursue Him. I had a good friend who challenged me to get to know God for myself and I am so very glad he did. God wasn’t anything like what I had thought. Many Christians have given God a bad name and have pushed self-centered agendas on to others. Forget what you’ve been told and look up passages of scripture that reveal and reflect God’s TRUE character and heart. He is a beautiful God of mercy, forgiveness, justice, and compassion. Slow to anger and filled with grace. Yes, He does discipline, so it’s good to look up what pleases God and what He expects out of us, but once you truly know God’s heart, you’ll want to obey Him…not out of fear but because you truly LOVE him. Read Psalms. It’s a great book to find God’s heart. Look at Proverbs, it tells you the right way to live. Get to know God for yourself and develop a personal relationship with Him. And make your relationship truly special and unique…build it continually with authenticity. You can download the Bible for free on the YouVersion app…they also have tons of free devotionals/reading plans to enrich your relationship with God. Grief Bites has several reading plans on YouVersion too.
  18.  Speaking of different books of the Bible…read all of the books of the Bible. I personally love Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament the most because they are so applicable, but I also enjoy getting to know about God in the Old Testament. Every book in the Bible gives clues as to who God really is. When you read it, the Bible comes alive and you find treasures only He can reveal to your heart. Did you know God’s Word shares that only believers can completely understand and interpret His Word (1 Cor. 2:14, Matthew 13, Luke 10:21, Matthew 11:25)? If you believe in Him, the Bible is a complete adventure each time you open and read it! If you’re a believer and you’re not sure what to do in reading the Bible, start off by reading one chapter of Proverbs a day and five chapters of Psalms. In one month, you’ll have read all of the Psalms and Proverbs…and it is incredible how God uses many of the verses in a different way each month that you read them. Add one chapter of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament immediately or after the first month. It will take you about 15-20 minutes per day. If your Bible reading becomes dry…ask God to bring it to life, to show you new truths, and then let the Bible fall open to wherever it falls to and read that chapter for the day. 
  19. Memorize and personalize scripture and God’s Promises with your name in it. For example: Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for Susan and her family,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper Susan and her family and not to harm Susan or her family, plans to give Susan and her family hope and a future.” You can memorize and personalize any scripture. You can personalize it with just your name or you can include others in it (such as family members or friends) like I just did. You can also put a loved one’s name in it if you’re praying for someone. 
  20. Do an in depth Bible study on a certain topic and find out everything you can about it. I did one about suffering and it was amazing what I found. I had no idea that God saves each of my tears that I have cried in a bottle and writes down each and every one of my heartaches in His book. It is extremely interesting what God has in store for you if you’ll just seek to find Him, His great heart, and His plans. My sister helped teach me how to make the Bible “come alive” for me personally through studying specific topics and I have never read the Bible the same way since. God (and His word) is super exciting!
  21. Confide in God and ask Him to purify and soften your heart. Nobody cares more about your heart than God. Nobody. Like I previously said, I LOVE what Psalm 56:8 says- “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear placed into Your bottle, each ache written in Your book”. If God cares enough to document every pain I have ever experienced, then He is who I want to expose my complete heart to. Trust Him with your heart and ask Him every day to change, purify, and soften it. 
  22. If you are going through a time of suffering…ask Him to heal your heart and ask Him to show you His purpose for whatever trial or suffering you are currently or have previously gone through. If you have gone through a major trial, don’t be scared to talk to God openly about it. If you’re mad at Him then respectfully tell Him. He’s big enough to handle it. There have been times, to be honest, that I have been angry at God. It was very hard having loved ones die and watch my sister lose not only one fiance but two fiances in death and see the affects of those situations. Seeing my son go through multiple surgeries for ongoing, inoperable tumors was very difficult to watch…that has been one of the hardest trials I have been through…but I am SO grateful God is in control and He hears my heart, my fears, and comforts us through those hard times. There are other things I have gone through that have been very hard, but I have seen how God can take a horrible situation and turn the bad into good for His purposes that are too great for me to understand. I am forever grateful to the person who showed me that God has a purpose for EVERYTHING. It’s been during times of suffering that I grew in my relationship with Him the most. I like what Rick Warren says, “God never wastes a hurt”. Ask God to truly heal your heart and show you how to bring purpose out of your pain. He’s faithful.
  23. Look for ways to do something awesome for God and seek to build His kingdom. God loves for us to minister to and love others as unto Him- Matthew 25:40, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
  24. Surprise someone for God with a secret gift to cheer them up when they’re down. If you’re at a restaurant and you can tell your waiter/waitress is struggling, leave an extra tip-make sure the tip is really good! Do something super sweet for a family member, friend, pastor, or neighbor.
  25. Share your testimony with someone and tell them how God is working in your life. 
  26. Invest in your church, pastor, and church leadership by regularly praying for them. 
  27. Give God an extra offering above your usual tithe. If you don’t already tithe, start to give what you can. 
  28. Do a kind favor for a family member or a friend without expecting anything in return. Help family you know who are in need if you are able to. 
  29. Have friends or family over for dinner, a Bible study, game night, or a fun movie and serve others with the hospitality and resources God has blessed you with. God loves when we’re hospitable!
  30. Forgive anyone you hold something against. Take them off of your hook and place them (& the situation) into God’s capable hands.
  31. Encourage someone with a kind word or a note. Give family and friends genuine praise and bless them with words of affirmation.
  32. Write God a love letter and share with Him all you love about Him.
  33. Buy a new Bible and read through the entire Bible and make notations on the sides of each page of what God has spoken to your heart and then give that Bible to your child/future child/niece/nephew/family member as a readable legacy. 
  34. Make a special commitment to God and after you accomplish the commitment, celebrate with Him. 
  35. If you know the date of your salvation, plan an evening with God on that exact date. Go out to dinner and celebrate with God (and family or friends) or take lunch to the park and spend time with Him. 
  36. Turn on some praise music and spend time wholeheartedly worshiping Him. Music is such a phenomenal gift from God…thank Him for it!
  37. Look for God in the details. He is there. I am constantly amazed how God orchestrates daily lives. I love it when he surprises me by turning a bad situation into a good one, or how if I’m out late, he always gives me an up front parking spot. It’s fun to see how God works through daily life as well as the people who I know. 
  38. Pray for specific things for your spouse, children, nieces and nephews, parents, siblings, and family members. I love praying for my family!  It’s super cool to pray for them and not tell them what I’m praying about and then hear them tell some story of how God did something or provided something…and it was exactly what I had been praying for them. I love how God is in ALL the details! I had been praying for one particular prayer request everyday for 14 years and God finally answered it in 2008. It has been incredible to watch God work out the details of that prayer request and He answered it in a way that only He could have fulfilled. Trust God with the details of your life and your family. 
  39. Learn a new skill you can use for God. I know a guy who learned how to paint gorgeously with chalk. He’d use his talent to share life stories of how God was working in his life. I also know a young lady who learned how to teach dance lessons. She offers discounted dance lessons through her church.
  40. Start a ministry for God. Everybody has the ability to start a ministry. Look for a need, think of what you’re passionate about, ask God to show you what He’d like you to do and where He’d like for you to serve, and then go out and change the world.
  41. Focus on God on every holiday: Celebrate with Him throughout the year. Start New Year’s Day by dedicating your year to Him. In February, thank Him for being the Love of your life. On Easter, watch The Easter Story or The Passion and really try to comprehend what He did to have a relationship with you. Now that is GENUINE LOVE! On Father’s Day, thank Him for being the ULTIMATE Father. By the way…if you are fatherless, you have an extra special place in God’s heart! Use Father’s Day to celebrate God the Father. On 4th of July, pray for the men and women in the military as well as their families, thank God for your freedom that other people have sacrificed for you to have, and most importantly thank God for giving you true freedom in Christ. Thanksgiving is a hard holiday for our family because my sister died on Thanksgiving Day. I used to dread it and cried to God about how painful that day was. God placed in my heart a true gratefulness for Him and the rest of my family that is still here on earth. Use Thanksgiving as a way to show your thankfulness to whoever God has allowed in your life and thank Him for every blessing. Thank Him also for everything He has brought you through all year. Christmas is super fun, it’s His birthday. Make Him a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to Him on Christmas Eve or Christmas. Throw God a HUGE birthday party and then as His birthday present, invest your time in prayer throughout the year for each person that comes. Think of something special you can do for God and celebrate with Him. 
  42. Show family how special they are to God and you…treat them like royalty! When a family member has a birthday, make a special birthday card or a slide show for them with pictures set to some great music and watch it as a family. Then when you pray to God later that night, thank Him for creating that family member and ask God to bless and protect them. Say a special personalized blessing for them. I do this for my family. It’s a lot of fun to honor someone in this way to celebrate their birthday. 
  43. Speak verbal blessings over your loved ones- Ever since my son was a baby, I have always spoken a blessing to him. I always say it on his birthday, but there are times throughout the year I’ll go up to him and say it out loud to him. Pick out a special scripture and speak it to your family members. For example, my blessing for my son is Numbers 6:24-27, and I speak it out loud to him…even though he’s an adult, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace”. Take the opportunity to invest and celebrate in your family’s lives.There are tons of ways to celebrate with God, for God, and because of God. God is a God of celebration so celebrate with Him in all things. 

To sum it all up: Make God your life. Include Him in everything. Make Him your everything. Day by day, share your life with Him. Find new ways everyday to fall more in love with Him and fully delight in Him. 

This list is just some ideas I came up with, and I’m not the most creative person, so I’m sure you can definitely come up with some better ideas. If you have a special way you delight in God, comment to this post so everyone else can see your idea. We’re all here to help each other love God and love others more. 

Hope you each have a super awesome, blessed, and fantastic New Year overflowing with God’s love!

Deuteronomy 30:20, “…that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…” 

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Thank you reading this! Hope you enjoyed it and got some new ideas for how to love and delight in God more. I pray He richly blesses you as you delight in Him and make Him your heart and your life! 

More on delighting in God:

https://griefbites.com/2015/12/27/delighting-in-god/

https://griefbites.com/2016/04/03/delighting-in-god-through-trialspart-2/

Happy New Year!!!🎉⭐🌺

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

😇FREE Bible and devotionals: www.youversion.com


    It’s always better to: Creating A Great Life

    It’s always better to:

    •be too emotional than inauthentic 

    •be too deep than shallow

    •be too forgiving than bitter

    •be too loving than rejecting 

    •be too compassionate than hard-hearted 

    •be too giving than stingy

    •be too mercy-filled than unfeeling

    •be too kind than excluding

    •be too grateful than unappreciative 

    •be too responsible than negligent 

    •be too concerned than aloof

    •be too thoughtful than selfish

    •be too humble than arrogant

    •be too honest than deceitful 

    •be too mindful than careless

    •be too invested than regretful 

    •be too dependable than flakey

    •have too much character than to look back on life with heartache and regrets

    •to seek excellence in all you do than to succumb to mediocrity

    Excellence is attainable because excellence is achieved by developing your character.

    …And character either makes or breaks a person. 

    I’ve seen people mightily succeed – or horrifically fail – in their marriages, parenting, relationships with God and family, and also in their business and personal lives…just based on character alone.

    When people actively choose to cultivate and improve their character, they’re choosing to positively cultivate and grow success: in their relationships, in their goals, as well as every part of their life.

    Look at both the positive and negative character traits above and ask yourself – and allow yourself to truly see – where you need to improve.

    It’s always better to actively improve your character, heart, life, and the lives of others than to watch your life pass you by…or worse, to watch your life miserably fail or your loved ones lives deeply hurt due to your poor choices. No one sets out to hurt their loved ones hearts or lives, but it happens all of the time.

    God gives each of the choice to either create a great life or to choose a bad life. Whichever is chosen will reap either the blessings or consequences that will follow.

    When you look back on your life, you’ll be glad you made good character a high priority.

    Proverbs 22:1, Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.”

    Matthew‬ ‭12:35, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”

    ‭‭Proverbs 28:6, “Better a poor man who lives with integrity than a rich man who distorts right and wrong.”

    So how do you develop character and create a great life? 

    • Read the Bible, especially Proverbs, and ask God to give you wisdom and understanding
    • Choose to make one good decision at a time
    • Always choose to do the next “right thing”
    • Realize life is about so much more than you…always put others first – especially God & family (family is the greatest training ground for character – they’re the only people on earth that God Himself placed you with…loving & serving them is the true litmus test of character – and sometimes, they can be the most difficult to get along with. You’ll be amazed how God will oftentimes promote you to the next level – especially in ministry – only after you learn how to genuinely love your spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, etc.)
    • Love God and others with all of your heart
    • Choose to never intentionally hurt or harm others – and go the extra mile to prevent it
    • If you’ve messed up, clear your conscience by apologizing & asking for forgiveness from God and others…and by actively making it up to them and making restitution where necessary. Always ask yourself, “if someone hurt me the same way I hurt them, how would I want them to apologize and make it up to me?”
    • Research character traits and purposely develop one character trait each week or month (click here for a list: https://griefbites.com/2014/07/01/conflict-resolution-pt-3-75-character-qualities-that-can-change-your-life/ )
    • Expect a lot out of yourself in the areas of character, integrity, and how you treat others
    • Do unto others how you want done unto you
    • Develop empathy
    • Do your self-work and sort through your past and current baggage so you’re a joy to others

    Developing character and integrity is a lifelong journey. Enjoy every moment of it. It will be one of the most challenging endeavors of your life, but it will also be one of the most rewarding.

    Think of the difference you’ll make in not only your own life, but more importantly, in every life around you.

    You’ll look back on life, and be so very grateful for the great life you created in loving God and serving others.

    ©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.


    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    For more encouragement:

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ⭐Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

    Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    🎄Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    🎁FREE YouVersion reading plans:
    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 
    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays 🎄⭐❤


    Lessons From My Furry Lil Friends

    It’s incredible what you can learn from pets.

    I’ve learned many life lessons just from watching and interacting with our family’s dogs everyday.

    Our family has two large dogs — one is sweet and loves everyone he’s ever met…the other one – eh, not so much. He actually hates everyone except for our family. He pouts when he has to be around others. Literally, he pouts for days!

    Our family loves animals and pets! We absolutely adore our furry lil friends. 

    Our current dogs are extra special to us because we got each of them during times of great grief. We got one of them several years ago when he was nine weeks old, and our other dog was a three week old rescue who we’ve had for almost two years.

    Our first dog makes Marley (from the movie Marley & Me) look like an angel. This particular dog cost us over $10,000 the first three months we had him. He dug up our Sentricon system and cable lines, destroyed all of our windows, chewed the legs on the kitchen table, ate the cushions and armrests off of a sofa and then “marked” it, chewed the legs off of all the outside patio furniture, chewed up some carpet and a TV controller, among other things.

    He’s very lucky he is so cute and we love him!

    I credit God with using our second dog to “bring us back to life” after going through a major grief experience. Our son asked for a puppy for Christmas, and I thought it would be really great for him to have a companion so I said yes.

    When we got him, he was supposed to have been a Great Dane but through DNA testing, we found he has absolutely no Great Dane in him at all. He was also very abused before we rescued him so we had surprises we weren’t prepared to handle…mainly, he isn’t a fan of people because he doesn’t trust anyone except for us…so he’s had to go to lots of dog training classes.

    As we helped heal his wounds (physical and emotional), he has been the best dog we have ever owned. He’s also the biggest cuddler of any dog we’ve had. He thinks he’s a lap dog…and he weighs almost 100 lbs!

    Both of our lil lovebugs are currently training with a military/police dog trainer. As I was watching the training taking place, it reminded me so much about grief and how to process grief.

    It’s crazy how much dog training is similar to how God molds and trains us.

    The first time our dogs went, they were unsure about everything. They were extremely cautious and weren’t too thrilled about being outside in the heat. The trainer said I was our dogs greatest problem since I baby our dogs so much — he said he was going to have to re-train me first so he could effectively train our dogs. I had to learn how to undo so many of my bad habits and learn new strategies, habits, and lessons so our dogs would understand the pack order in our home.

    The dogs were not very impressed at first…especially our pouty dog…but then the strangest thing happened: both dogs began to be so much better behaved and much happier. Some of the issues we previously had began to melt away.

    Our second dog who doesn’t like anyone was introduced to five German Shepherds and a Doberman, as well as their owners…and our dog actually socialized with them. No growling. No pouting. He just blended in. One of the owners commented on how it looked like our dog was smiling.

    I think it’s a lot like God. He knows what’s best for us but so many times, we try to do our own thing…and even continue to do things the wrong way even though it’s not best. Then God allows a season of pruning or hardship, and we begin to be uncomfortable in the heat and not very thrilled about our circumstances. If we are wise, we finally realize that God is wanting us to learn new lessons by training us so we can learn how to live life in a brand new way…a better and more productive way. A much happier way. Ultimately, both dogs had to swallow their pride and willfulness and go through great discomfort so they could learn to hear my voice. They learned to fully trust and obey me. They know I have their best interests at heart.

    The best thing about God is He transforms us into new creations. And just like they were wrong about our second dog’s DNA, and lied to us, realize you may have been told wrong info about yourself, too.

    You may have been told your whole life that you won’t amount to anything…that you’re not important or special…you may have been abused or labeled in some way. But then God rescues you, gives you brand new spiritual DNA info and you find that what you were previously told is not the truth. God adopts you, makes you His very own and loves you back to life! He allows you to go through specialized training so you can have more joy…more hope…more stability. Through His love and concern for you, He brings you back to life by healing you spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

    It may feel as though life is shaken up at the present moment, but as you depend on God and trust Him fully, He trains your heart to truly feel loved, secure, and at peace.

    Today, realize how much God loves you! He’s committed to helping you find your life purpose — and it’s a fantastic one!

    Matthew 11:29-30,Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    Make the commitment to learn from God and allow Him to rescue you. Allow Him to train and teach you new things.

    Being rescued by Him and then being trained in life-giving righteousness is the BEST! That’s when true life genuinely begins! 

    Learn to trust and obey Him. Train yourself to hear and listen to His voice by reading His Word in the Bible. Realize He truly has your best interests at heart!

    Snuggle up to God today…He’s faithful to help you create a brand new life.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17,All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

    1 Timothy 4:7-8, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

    Hebrews 5:11-14, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

    Gratitude & many blessings,
    Kim

    ©2016 by Kim Niles of Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    8 Questions To Ask Yourself To Find Your Life Purpose & Gifts

    Everybody on earth has something special that is God-given inside of them…something so special that it has the ability to greatly help and positively change the lives of others.

    Each person has a unique life purpose, talent, gift, and/or specific character qualities.

    Growing up, it took me awhile to find mine. In fact, I think many people struggle to find theirs because of seven things:

    1. They compare themselves to others
    2. They fail to truly find out who they are — and what they are good at —on purpose 
    3. They fear rejection and/or judgment
    4. They haven’t asked God to reveal their purpose or gifts to them
    5. They haven’t had people in their life who have offered encouragement or guidance
    6. They’re not willing to persevere or go through hardship to learn something new
    7. They prematurely quit
    8. Sometimes, a unique talent, gift, or life purpose passes to the next generation (as it did with King David and his son Solomon)

    Talent-wise, I always felt inferior to my siblings as I was growing up.

    All of my siblings were incredibly talented musicians. My brother was always first chair in band and played trumpet solos frequently. My sisters excelled at piano…both were concert level pianists at an early age. My oldest sister was so good that she had to start going to a college university in the fourth grade to be further taught since no local teachers had the ability to teach her anymore.

    And then there was me.

    No musical talent whatsoever.

    It wasn’t so bad the first several years of life. It became embarrassing from the age of 12 up.

    We frequently had guests in our home, and people would want to hear all of us play the big grand piano that graced our living room. 

    My mom would play beautifully…My oldest sister would dazzle them with difficult to play classical favorites…My brother’s specialty was playing VanHalen’s “Jump” and a few other pop songs…And my other sister would impress people with classical tunes, well-known songs from movies and musicals — such as Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera, and beloved hymns. And like I already said, then there was Kim…and my usuals were “I Dropped My Dolly In The Dirt” or “Chopsticks.” Pretty cute to play those as a young child…and I was pretty proud of these two songs…until I saw the disappointed faces that seemed to question, “what happened to this musical dunce of the family?” You know, the one who couldn’t play piano worth a hoot? 

    I wasn’t good at piano or other melodious instruments, so I decided I was going to play the snare drum in band. The only problem was, no matter how good I got at it, nobody…and I mean absolutely nobody (well, other than my mom)…wanted to hear someone playing a snare drum after hearing beautiful piano music. It was pretty noisy.

    I’m grateful I had parents and siblings who didn’t make me feel inferior. In fact, my mom always encouraged us in many activities and interests…music lessons, ballet/dance lessons, sports, voice lessons, swim lessons, etc.

    I finally found my niche in other non-musical areas…cooking/baking, soccer, writing, and tae kwon do. I also spent an entire Summer learning how to play Für Elise so when people came over, I would no longer be the musical loser of the family. 

    It was very difficult to learn how to play Für Elise…especially since it was a higher level song…but I wanted to prove to myself that I could learn at least one great piano song and play it by memory.

    Even though I learned to play Für Elise, piano just wasn’t my “thing” while growing up — it didn’t bring me joy — so I decided I would find out what was.

    Finding what I was gifted or talented at only happened once I stopped comparing myself to my siblings or others. I had to take the time to truly find out who I was and purposely find out what I enjoyed and was personally good at. I had to get over my perceived feelings of rejection or judgment (who’s to say anyone judged me at all…it totally could have all been in my mind due to me not being comfortable with myself). 

    It took awhile but I found — to my surprise — several things I was good at.

    Sure, I would absolutely love to have the twinkle fingers of my siblings that can glide like silk on keys of ivory, but had I been good at piano, I most likely would never have discovered my own individual personal talents or life purpose. 

    As you find your life purpose, gifts and talents, particularly if you found them early in life, realize they can evolve. What you may have loved or hated as a child or teenager may bring you either joy or dissatisfaction later on. As an adult, I decided to take piano lessons again from my sister, but I didn’t become frustrated. I can now play a few songs and read music but it still isn’t a main or primary talent. Likewise, soccer isn’t a talent I kept up with.
    All of this to say: 

    1. What is your specific talent, gift, or life purpose? Have you discovered them yet? What character qualities are unique to you?
    2. Are you stuck in the dead end hamster wheel of comparing yourself to others?
    3. Have you truly taken the time to find out who you are — and what you personally are good at…on purpose? 
    4. Have you taken the proper steps to stop fearing rejection and/or judgment?
    5. Have you asked God to reveal your unique purpose, talents, or gifts to you?
    6. Have you sought out people in your life who can offer encouragement and guidance to you? Or accountability?
    7. Have you made the declaration that you are willing to persevere – and go through hardship if necessary – to learn what your life purpose is and to learn new talents, gifts, and brand new things? 
    8. Have you created a plan so you won’t be tempted to prematurely quit when life gets tough?

    I encourage everyone to genuinely think about these questions and to ask God to reveal to you what your life purpose is. Everybody has one! Everybody has the treasure of talents, personal character, gifts, and purpose inside of them! Ask God to reveal what your gifts, purpose and talents are. They’re not going to be exactly what somebody else’s are, so don’t waste time comparing yourself — or your life — to others. There is great treasure inside of you…inside your heart, mind, body, spirit, and purpose. God wants to use these magnificent qualities for His glory and your ultimate good!

    Seek to find out what they are — and the purpose behind them!

    It could be one thing or multiple things. It may even be just a specific character quality that you are especially good at. Many people will have multiple things, but don’t be discouraged if it is just one thing — financial guru Dave Ramsey has helped a multitude of people with just one specific gift. Whatever gift(s) you have, it was specifically created just for you to make a difference in your family’s lives, in others lives, and to bless and help others.

    Enjoy the amazing process and adventure of finding all that God has in store for you! Finding these treasures God has specifically for you truly makes life abundant and fulfilling!

    Gratitude & blessings,
    Kim

    ©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    For more encouragement:

    Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

    FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️

    Comparing Life, Grief, & Loss

    When my sister and I founded Grief Bites, and started our grief group, classes, and seminars, I don’t think either of us could have possibly been prepared for all we would see and hear.

    With grief, people are at their rawest and most vulnerable. Tensions and emotions run very high and sometimes that has led to some colorful dialogue — especially in the setting of a grief group.

    Anyone who has been going through grief for awhile knows and deeply understands that each grief experience is unique to the one who is going through it…you just can’t compare grief experiences…and grief is just plain messy.

    Anyone who has attended an authentic grief group has definitely seen and heard it all. 

    Grief group participants will see people deeply heartbroken over a loved one’s death, as well as family members who celebrate the death of a loved one…especially if their loved one was suffering.

    Some people deeply mourn the fact they had chosen to get married, and then there are singles who greatly wish to be married.

    One couple, who seemed as though they had it all together and were deeply in love shared that they had grown in their love only after adultery had nearly destroyed their marriage…the marriage they were now enjoying was the result of many, many tears and a lot of hard work.

    Looks can be deceiving when we make blind assumptions. And it can be easy to compare life and grief experiences. If we knew the facts about each other’s lives, we’d be more grateful we are living the one we are living.

    I’ve listened to parents who were deeply hurting due to being severely mistreated by multiple children….as well as parents who were devastated they could only have one child…and others who would absolutely trade everything they own to have the ability to have a baby.

    One time, I had two separate families tell me they were jealous of each other during grief group: one person (who had five children) was jealous that the other family frequently went on vacations since they are childless…and then the other family (who could go on multiple vacations) revealed that they travel to escape the pain of not having the big family they had always dreamed of. Each family had heartaches and each received a different blessing from God: one received children and the other, money.

    The fact is, everybody is either:

    • coming out of a grief experience 
    • in the middle of grief experience
    • about to enter into a grief experience

    We all have:

    • shining moments in life
    • fantastic memories
    • “behind the scenes” heartaches
    • major failures 
    • great accomplishments
    • grief experiences nobody knows about
    • blessings others may not have

    It doesn’t make sense to compare ourselves to others, or compare our grief experiences or heartaches.

    We are all different and our grief experiences — and blessings — are unique to each of us…even if we all go through similar ups and downs in life.

    Each and every person who is going through a grief experience could present their case as to why their grief is greater, but wouldn’t it make more sense if we all simply chose to encourage and be there for one another? The greater the love, the greater the grief, and the more people encourage and empathize with one another, the more people have the ability to heal.

    In His amazingly great wisdom, God said it best when He summed it all up:

    Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”

    Once we understand that everybody is going through an uphill battle — or will be going through an uphill battle, it becomes so much easier to be a vessel of encouragement, love, and hope to everybody around us.

    Nobody has a perfect life…and nobody has it “all together” or has everything figured out.

    We’re all just kind of winging it and doing the very best we each can. Amen?

    Continually learn as much as you can through each grief experience, gain wisdom and perspective with each teardrop, and never fall into comparing yourself with others and never compare your grief experiences or life.

    We are all human and we each will process life, love, blessings, and grief differently. And that is totally okay! 

    Don’t judge others in life or grief…and do not fall into allowing others to judge your life or your grief.

    It’s what we each choose to do with all of our blessings, our life and grief experiences that truly matters. Never waste any of these precious life experiences and learning experiences.

    All have a deep purpose!

    Gratitude, blessings, & healing,
    Kim

    ©2016 by Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays