These are a few of my favorite things!

I love a good movie!  And I must say The Lord of the Rings movies are my hands down favorites!  There’s something about the desperation in the middle, when all seems lost and there seems to be no hope of good ever happening again that I can so relate to.  You see, I live my life in the middle of the story.

But then Gandalf arrives, or Sam shows up or even Gollum hurtles back into the picture and my heart is encouraged to press on.  In the midst of this broken and fallen world, I so need the perspective a good story can bring reminding me the end is coming and it will be good.

That’s also why I need XTAWGs (aka extended times with the Lord!).  When Jim and I were first starting out we sought to do these once a month.  But the longer I walk with Jesus the more I need extended time sitting at his feet, focusing on who He is, taking time to let His Word dwell in me richly… to give me His perspective in the middle of my story!

The more intense life is, the more I desperately need this!  I now seek to enjoy such time weekly.  What a difference it makes  in helping me press on in following Jesus!

So I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ways of enjoying an XTAWG!

1.  When I first started doing this, I began with Lorne Sanny’s article How To Spend A Day In Prayer.*   In addition to explaining the value of doing this, this is a great guide for getting you started!  You can literally go through the article step by step and use that to structure and experience an incredible XTAWG!  We usually give this out to people when they are doing this for the first time, along with the circles that come at the back of Roger and Jean Fleming’s book Feeding Your Soul – I can’t recommend their book highly enough!!!**

2.  What I most use now is Prof. Richard Horner’s Bible Reading Plan*** only instead of daily I use it weekly, reading from ten chapters – one from each of his lists – during my XTAWG.  I find it is so helpful to have a set plan for what I’ll do each week, so I hop on my bike, asking the Lord to lead on our “date” and then stop, read one chapter, draw a small picture that summarizes the key thing that stood out to me as I read, then hop back on my bike until the Lord prompts me to stop again and I dive into the next chapter…  It’s amazing to me how the different readings will relate and often a theme will emerge during my time with the Lord.  (and yes I often end up at different cafes along the way!  ;0) You can see an example of this here:  http://restfulheart.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/come/  If you’d like a copy of what I’ve taped in the front of my Bible to keep track of where I’m at from week to week email me at jadseekhim@Msn.com and I’ll be glad to send it to you. :0)

3.  Once a month I love to spend my XTAWG at an art gallery or art museum.  Before I go in I pray and ask the Lord to lead me to one piece of art He wants me focusing on and then ask Him to give me ears to hear whatever He wants to say to me through this.  As soon as something stands out to me, I stop there and begin drawing it – I find I notice so much more when I slow down and do this and then I take out my journal and start dialoging with the Lord regarding what I’ve noticed.  These have been some of my most life changing times experiencing Him and hearing from Him.  You can find two examples of this at:  http://restfulheart.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/lord-please-save-me-from-ideas-that-are-not-yours/  and  http://restfulheart.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/despondency-or-delight/

4.  For those who are here in Colorado or if you ever come out here to visit – another favorite way to enjoy an XTAWG takes place at The Potter’s Inn in Divide, Colorado.****  They have a prayer walk on their 35 acres and a booklet you can purchase for $1 that will provide you with some amazing extended time with the Lord!!!  (imagine reading about Moses in the cleft of the rock as you’re actually sandwiched in one!!!)  I’ve done this three times and still look forward to the next time I get to do it!

Now you don’t have to bike.  And you don’t have to draw!  And you don’t have to go to art museums or on adventures discovering new special spots or come to Colorado or hang out at local cafes!  These are just things I really enjoy!

But isn’t that the point?  Make a list of what you really enjoy, a list of your favorite things, and seek to incorporate those into your extended times with God!  Think of it as a date with God!  When someone plans to take you on a date, if they are wise they take into consideration what you enjoy doing!  And is the Lord ever wise!!!

You see, when I first got married, my husband and I were encouraged to spend time every day interacting, even if just briefly, and then to take time weekly going on a date where we could enjoy uninterrupted focused time together.  What a difference those dates have made in our marriage!

This is also true for my relationship with the Lord!  I have my daily quiet time – which truly is the most important 15 minutes of my day, but then these weekly dates are taking me so much deeper in my relationship with Him!  And when you’re feeling very much in the middle of the story, wondering how any good can come of all that’s happening, is this ever especially needed!

So this is by no means an exhaustive list!  Just a few of my favorite ways to enjoy an XTAWG while doing some of my favorite things!  :0)  If you have ideas for what you enjoy doing as you spend extended time with the Lord would I ever love to hear them!

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* How To Spend A Day In Prayer by Lorne Sanny:  http://www.cmfhq.org/Portals/0/acrobat/training/Day%20Alone%20with%20God.pdf  )

**Feeding Your Soul by Roger and Jean Fleming:  http://www.amazon.com/Feeding-Your-Soul-Quiet-Handbook/dp/1576831442  (note:  If you go to Amazon.com and on the webpage for this book click to “look inside” this book and type “How to Spend A Half-day in Prayer” in the search box and scroll down to pages 140-142 you can see their circles for breaking down how to spend each hour for three hours with the Lord! I have found this to be of incredible help!!!)

***Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan:  http://www.challies.com/sites/all/files/attachments/professor-grant-horners-bible-reading-system.pdf

**** The Potter’s Inn website:  http://pottersinn.com/

Simple Treasures

Recently a guy ran up to me, “You don’t know me but I heard you speak a couple months ago and I want you to know what you shared revolutionized my time with God!”

What profound truth had I shared?

Simply that I didn’t stay in one place when I spent extended time alone with the Lord!

He’s an active guy who dreads sitting still for hours at a time, so when he heard me share how I enjoy spending extended time with God biking from one place to another in between reading chapters from the Bible, he was captivated.  “I love how you start out praying, “Where do you want me to go today, Lord?”  I’ve started doing this and now, not only do I look forward to the time but I’m doing it even more!”

Simple ideas can make a huge difference in someone’s life!

When one of the women I meet with lamented, “I’m really struggling in my prayer life…”  I shared with her how I use index cards, having one for each person the Lord places on my heart to pray for.  You wouldn’t believe the difference this simple idea is making in her prayer life and in the lives of those she’s praying for!  And as she’s passing it on to others, it’s making a difference in their lives too!

Being Active.  Index Cards.

Why did I share these ideas in the first place?  Because they are things I find helpful!

When you meet with people, don’t feel pressure that you have to have a fancy plan, loaded with info!  Don’t feel like you have to go to the experts trying to find treasure to pass on…  What is helping you follow Jesus?  Take time to consider this and then share it!

When one of my friends was discipled the woman meeting with her suggested they memorize one verse from The Navigators Topical Memory System each week, taking time to understand and discuss it, then seeking to apply it in their lives.  One verse, each week… simple.  But did this ever have a huge impact on her life!

You see, discipleship isn’t rocket science!  It doesn’t have to be difficult or complex.  It’s simply helping someone who’s decided they want to follow Jesus learn how to do this.  And one of the best ways you can do this is simply passing on what’s helping you!

The challenge is we often don’t take time to stop and think, “What is helping me follow Jesus?”

Or if we do, it’s easy to discount the value of something because it’s simple.  But remember Jesus said in Luke 16:10, “He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much.”

Little things matter.

Little things can impact lives in a BIG way!

As it says in Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise these small beginnings…!”

 

 

Do You Have What It Takes?!

The first time I ever met one on one with someone to spur her on in her relationship with Christ I’d only been a Christian a couple months!   I was so excited about what I was learning I simply had to share it with someone.  When I met a 12 year old at our church who seemed eager to grow we started meeting together.  I had  no idea what I was doing, but getting together to read God’s Word and talk about the Lord multiplied the joy!

Then a year later when an older woman started discipling me, I was so excited about what I was learning I asked a friend in my nutrition class if she’d like to get together so I could share this treasure with her.  She’d just become a Christian and it was such fun growing together!  And I discovered, you really do learn something better when you pass it on to someone else!

You see, you don’t need a seminary degree or years of experience to invest in other women! But Satan so loves to make us believe the lie, “You don’t have what it takes…”

But what does it take to disciple women?

1.  You need a personal relationship with Jesus!  

I’ll never forget the night I became a Christian.  When I looked at my Bible it was like reading it with new eyes!  Truly God removed blinders from my eyes and it finally made sense like it never had before!!!  At the same time God’s Holy Spirit came to live in me.  He is the wonderful counselor who is so faithful to guide and provide us with all we need to do whatever the Lord wants us doing!  And as God’s child I am heir to all His promises!  Which includes His promise for wisdom when I ask (James 1:5), guidance (Isaiah 40:11 tells us He gently leads those who have young!), strength (Phil 4:13) and provision (Phil. 4:19).  Without a personal relationship with Jesus no one can disciple for as Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing!”  (John 15:5).

2.  You need to be a disciple before you can join in with Jesus discipling someone else!

A disciple is a follower and a learner – hard to learn from someone if you don’t go where they go and do what they do.  But it’s not just someone who mentally takes in facts but who makes what’s being learned the rule of conduct for her life – someone committed to living out what the Lord is teaching her!  It is a direction, not a designation.  Even though I’m on Navigator staff, if I stop following Jesus and actively learning from Him, I’m no longer a disciple because I’m not heading in Jesus’ direction.  Discipleship is not pouring facts into someone else but rather inviting them to join you on the journey as you follow Jesus, helping them learn how to follow Him too!  Hard to take someone in a set direction if you aren’t heading in that direction yourself!!!

3.  You need God’s living Word!

Being a disciple not just about following Jesus so you can go where He goes and do what He does, but it’s about being transformed to be like Him, becoming who you truly are in Him.  This process of transformation is called sanctification.  In John 17:17  Jesus prays to the Father asking him to “sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  You see, I can’t change anyone, but God’s Word is “living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing the soul and spirit joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”  (Hebrews 4:12).  God even tells us in Isaiah 55: 10-11, “as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth, so is my Word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  Want to make certain your one on ones are of value?  Always include God’s Word!!!

4.  You need time!

Time to be available, both to meet with the woman you’ll be discipling and to meet with Jesus to talk with Him about her and get His input on what He’s doing in her life and how He wants you to join in!  You also need time to love her well and to share your life with her.  Truly more gets caught than taught!

5.  You need to be intentional, being willing to step out of your comfort zone!

You need intentionality even to get the ball rolling and start meeting with someone.  It’s not easy to take that first step and ask if she’d like to get together knowing she may very well refuse.  Even if she says yes, when you get together it takes intentionality to make that time profitable.  It’s so much easier to spend the whole time chatting!  But for us to get in the Word or to dive into praying or to do anything of spiritual value at all, well, sometimes it can feel like pulling teeth!  Small wonder since a battle is raging and the enemy so wants to rob both of you of making the most of this time…

But here’s the beautiful thing, whether you’ve been a Christian one day or eighty years, because of Jesus these can all be true of you!

As it says in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God who has made us competent to be ministers of the new covenant not of the letter, but of the Spirit.  For the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”

Do you have what it takes to disciple women?  By yourself, no.  No one does.  No matter how much training or experience they may have.

But God makes us competent.  And in Him, do we ever!!!

How Much Time Should You Plan for Meeting One on One with Women?

Ideally, I like to meet with the women I’m discipling for two hours each time.  I find this provides sufficient time to pray, relate and catch up, hear how her assignment from the previous time went, enjoy good time in the Word together and pass along new tools, process, give her the next assignment and end our time praying together.

But there are many factors that go into this.  For example, your personalities.  I am highly relational and my love language is quality time so two hours really works well for me. But it’s also important to determine, how much time does she have?  If you’re meeting during her lunch hour, she most likely won’t have two hours.  And if you’re working full time with other responsibilities or a mom with young children, or already discipling a number of people, you may not have two hours!

Currently I have three women I meet one on one with on a regular basis.  One I meet with every week for two hours each time, another I meet with every other week for two hours, and the third I meet with for an hour each week as this is when she’s available.  In the past there’ve been times I’ve met with people weekly for just a half hour – it’s tight and we’re certainly limited in what we do during that time, but bit by bit it has proven it can be helpful.  When that’s all you have to work with, it’s amazing how the Lord can multiply time like He did the loaves and fishes!

Remember the most important issue when determining how much time you spend meeting with someone is doing what Lord leads you to do!

Recently I’d set aside two hours to meet with a woman and our time together was one of those precious times where the Lord was so at work!  But then we finished what He’d laid on my heart to do in an hour and a half.  When I looked at the clock and saw we still had a half hour to go I decided to dive into something else – and you know, it ended up detracting from the time, not really benefitting either of us.  It would’ve been so much better if I’d ended our time early!

So again, don’t get caught up following a set time frame, follow Jesus!  Ask Him for the wisdom and sensitivity to follow Him well in this.  What a difference it can make!

Fighting Dependence!

Ever have something that started out great go sour on you?

My read through the Bible discussion group was a classic example of this.  From the start it was obvious the Lord was at work.  When two sisters joined while we were in Leviticus and then ended up not only hanging in there but becoming Christians I was blown away!  Even as we dove into the minor prophets the discussions were incredible and life change was occurring all over the place.  I thought, “If God is doing this much in the Old Testament, I can’t wait to see what He’ll do as we discuss the New!”

But as we dove into the gospels everything changed.  “I don’t get it!”  I shared with a friend, “We aren’t having the great discussions we use to have.  People seem to have stopped making application to their lives.  I don’t even know if doing this is benefitting anyone anymore!”

After inquiring further about what we did when we got together, my friend stated, “You need to stop answering questions.”

I was shocked!  But you know he was right!  When I followed his advice, great discussions resumed, people started making life applications again, and I learned soon as an answer is given discussion is killed.  What’s worse, it shifts the focus of the group from going to the Scriptures seeking to hear what the Lord wants to say to them, to reading with a questioning mindset.

You see, at that time I didn’t know as much about the Old Testament so as we read through that we were all on fairly equal footing – we just accepted there were some things we weren’t going to get this go round, so we read for what we could understand, listening to hear whatever the Lord wanted to tell us.

But when we came to the New Testament, I’d done a bunch more study on this and often knew the answers to their questions.  And the more I answered, the more they started focusing on what they didn’t understand when they read, rather than on what they did understand and what God wanted to say to them through it!

So when they showed up for our “discussion group” – well at that point it became more of a “let’s go hear how Debbie will answer this” group.  Without me intending, the focus shifted from God to me.

You see, the Bible is the Living Word.  It’s the only book you ever read with the author right there with you any place, any time you sit down to read it!  And I don’t care if you study it full time every single day of your life, there is always more to learn!  Questions can be good if they get you to slow down and spend more time observing the passage, especially if they get you interacting with the author!  But if all you do when you read is come up with a bunch of questions which you ask another person to answer you miss out on the best part – relating with the author and having your life change as a result.

Whether we are leading a Bible study or meeting one on one with someone there is a vital need to fight dependence – I don’t want those I’m meeting with to become dependent on me.  Instead my job is to help them grow in depending on God!

To do this I have to remember I am a facilitator, not their savior.  I know that may sound like a no brainer, but I’m sad to say it can be so easy to slip into seeking to be the latter.

Trust me, it’s a huge ego boost when people are hanging on your every word, as well as seeing lives change as a result of doing what you suggest.  And it sure can be fun to show off what you know – especially when it impresses people!

But imagine if you were in Kindergarten and the teacher answered every question?!  You could ace every test … and never learn a thing!

Now the purpose here isn’t to encourage you to never answer a question!  But it certainly can be wise when investing in others, to ask, “Is our time together spurring them to depend more on the Lord or on me?”  Being aware of the danger is half the battle!  The rest is dying to ego!  This is a battle and often one that rages subconsciously.

But love seeks what’s best for the other person!  Is it ever worth it when we fight against people depending on us, and fight instead for them to depend on the Lord!  Even if it requires sometimes leaving questions unanswered…

 

 

 

The Gift of Story

I was once challenged to write a story that presented the gospel in a creative way.  It was just a random suggested assignment at the end of a Bible study on evangelism.  Was I ever surprised when the Lord used it to bring four friends to Himself!

One time while speaking the Lord prompted me to share a story from my life regarding my own struggle with sin, afterwards I was shocked as woman after woman came up, tears streaming down, exclaiming, “I thought I was the only one!”

Another time after a friend shared the frustration she felt over constantly failing in a spiritual discipline, the Lord brought to mind a story that encouraged my heart years ago and as I shared it with her, it was beautiful to see her perspective shift and peace come.

Shared stories can be a powerful, life-changing gift. Whether they are fictional or personal, simple or complex, they have the ability to hit us straight in the heart.  They can bring conviction, hope, understanding…   Small wonder Jesus used them so profusely in his teaching.

When a lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus could’ve replied, “Whoever God brings into your life.”  But he didn’t.  And good thing too, because there’s a multitude of lessons encased in that one story!  I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve had a quiet time focusing on this story in the past 30 years.  Every single time the Lord teaches me something different.

Stories stick.  Much better than platitudes or propositions.  Much better than a verse or truth told straight out.  When people share stories with me I often find myself reflecting on them.  And it’s amazing how many times the Lord will teach me something through them – though not always right away.  Some stories are like crock pot cooking, stewing inside for a good long while and then out of the blue, yielding something delicious, something of great value in my life.  And are they ever pass-on-able!

But how a story’s told is so important.  And also why!

Best way to kill a story?  Read it in monotone!  Honest!  I love books!  But I think most children’s Bibles never should’ve been written.  It’s too easy for parents to read straight from the page rather than share the stories with their kids in an engaging way!  It’s sad how we can get animated telling the story of finding a great sale at the store, but think we don’t have what it takes to tell Bible stories!

I spent more than five years teaching 2 and 3 year olds in Sunday School.  What a wonderful challenge that was!  You can’t be boring and hold their attention!  ;0)  And it’s amazing how much I learned as I shared these stories with them!  It forced me to consider what was really happening in the story as I basically acted it out – or even better involved them in acting it out!

But you know, even with college students I find sharing stories to be incredibly impactful.  What would you rather hear – someone telling you, “God gives us a wonderful promise in James 1:5 that if we ask for wisdom He’ll give it to us – you should take him up on that sometime.”  Or hearing about a single mom whose two boys were failing school and she had to work till 11 nearly every night just to support her family.  She’d never even learned how to read, but she’d sure seen the value of an education, so when the boys brought home report cards with mostly F’s, she got down on her knees and cried out to the Lord for wisdom, telling him she had no clue what to do, and He gave her an idea…  She told her sons they were no longer allowed to play after school until they’d gone to the library, read a book and wrote a report on it each week… This one idea totally turned her boys lives around – and in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, the woman was Ben Carson’s mom (the famous cardiologist!).

Stories can play a key role when we are discipling someone.  Remember “telling” is one of the least effective teaching methods!  But “telling stories”  can be a whole different matter IF you follow Ephesians 4:29 where we are encouraged to speak “only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Ever been trapped at a party listening to someone go on and on in detail about a story you could care less about?  That’s an example of story not being helpful. We have to be God focused and other focused when we select and tell stories.  Is the Lord prompting you to share?  And if so, for how long and in how much detail?

I love to tell stories!  So I have to be super careful or it can become all about Debbie talking about herself, or Debbie having fun performing!  Or even Debbie wanting people to value or like her.  So when a story comes to mind, I seek to ask first, “Lord is this something you want me to share?”  And then ask Him to help me share it in a way that honors Him and encourages the other person.  And as I’m sharing I try to watch the other person for clues, are they bored?  Overwhelmed?  Uncomfortable?  In truth, I don’t always get it right!  And I’m sure there are times those I meet with are thinking, “Here she goes again!”

But when the Lord is prompting me to share a story, well, that’s when I most experience the beauty of Proverbs 25:11, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver!”

As you have opportunity, study the stories of Jesus, noting how and when He uses them.  He really is the perfect story teller!

And next time you’re praying about what to do when you meet with someone why not ask, “Lord, is there a story you’d have me share?”

A Disciple Making Continuum: Flexibility vs. Structure

There is not one way to disciple.  This is true not only because each person being discipled is unique, but also because every discipler is unique!

Personality, maturity, past experiences, convictions, spiritual gifting… there are so many factors that impact the way we do what we do.

Some disciplers are super structured.  They know what they want to accomplish and have a clear plan for how to get there.  Others are extremely flexible, highly relational, ready and willing to go with the flow.   In between there’s a range of possibilities!

This reality can be expressed by a continuum which features on the left “extreme flexibility,” (aka “Let’s just get together and talk…”) and on the right “extreme structure” (aka “This is THE plan!”).

There are strengths and weaknesses to both.

Consider the following:
photo-175

At one extreme we have Flexible Felicity.  Her focus is primarily on building relationship.  She tends to see disciple-making as an art, with each encounter a new creative opportunity.  Her strengths can be her focus on the person, who usually feels very loved and cared for, and her flexibility may result in deep needs being met that might otherwise be missed which she intuitively may be more likely to pick up on (though this doesn’t always happen!).  A key weakness is she can easily be sidetracked and miss the goal.  Her greatest danger is to lose sight of the goal and end up spinning her wheels, perhaps even wasting the time.  When this happens does the enemy ever rejoice!

At the other extreme we find Structured Susan.  Her focus is on reaching the goal.  She views disciple-making as a science (most likely one she’s got down pat! and is very eager to help others learn to “do right”).  Her strengths are her ability to clearly articulate her goals at all times for this is primarily what she’s focusing on.  What she does in her one on ones tends to be easier to duplicate, since the more organized something is the more easily it lends itself to passing on, and what she does with people is usually measurable (ie, she knows when her plans are accomplished…at least her part of doing it!).  A key weakness is this can be impersonal and with such a heavy focus on a predetermined plan, important needs can easily be missed and people can end up feeling like a project.  The key danger here is losing the relationship!  When this happens does the enemy ever score a huge victory.

In Ecclesiastes 7:18 we’re told, “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.  The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.”  Have I ever found this to be wise advice.  There can be great beauty and strength in balance!  For example, it’s vital to love well (see 1 Cor 13:1-3!), people really do grow best in the context of relationship, and to realize you are meeting with a unique individual who has unique needs, but also to understand being intentional can be a huge part of loving well.  How do you feel when someone puts effort into preparing something for you?!

My favorite part is what happens to our focus as we struggle to stay more balanced – rather than focusing primarily on the person or on the goal, I find the struggle tends to help me keep my focus primarily on God!

Can it ever help to pray through this continuum and consider where you fall on it:

Where does your personality naturally place you?

How have your past experiences influenced this, especially if you were discipled, what did that look like?

What impact has your spiritual maturity had on this?  Have you changed through the years?

Are there any convictions influencing what you do?

And how does your gifting influence this?

For example, I’m a fairly flexible, intuitive, highly creative and highly distractible person who LOVES people!!!  So on the basis of personality alone, it’s obvious I’m more likely to fall on the left of the continuum.  BUT I was discipled by a woman who was structured and had a plan so that provides balance!  Since what was modeled for me was more on the right side, I’ve experienced the benefits of that side too.

Because I’ve been discipling women for over thirty years I have a lot of tools available to use that are internalized, so if an opportunity to meet one on one with someone pops up unexpectedly I don’t need as much advance planning as I did when I was first learning how to do this.  Though without a doubt the first tool I always seek to use is prayer, because I realize no matter how much experience I have, God’s ways still aren’t my ways and I so want to walk in step with Him! (that’s a conviction that’s resulted in a set plan to pray first!)

Over the years I’ve seen one of the best ways I can help women is to faithfully spend time in the Word with them each time we meet.  With all my heart (yes, this is a deep conviction!) I believe that’s the most enriching thing I can ever do with anyone.  So I intentionally plan each week to spend focused time together in the Word.

And I have a deep conviction about spiritual generations of laborers being raised up – I want what I’m passing on that’s of value to be readily passed onto others.  I so want each woman I’m meeting with to discover the joy of doing with others what I’m doing with her!  Not only for the benefit of others – I deeply believe this is key for her finishing life well.  Does that ever spur me on to be more organized so what I do is pass-on-able!

Now hospitality is one of my gifts, so I am much more likely to seek to disciple in a warm place preferably with a cup of tea and something good to eat and to spend time at the start catching up and relationally connecting!  But the Lord has also given me a gift of teaching and often teaching well requires advance planning (like making certain I have two sets of colored pencils or copies of tools I’m introducing!  ;0) and being aware of the time (which does NOT come naturally to me) so we have enough time to do what I believe the Lord wants us doing!

So I continue to seek to grow towards being more balanced when I’m discipling women.  In all honesty, this can be a struggle!  I expect I’m always going to be more on the left side due to my personality.  But that’s not bad!  That’s a big part of how the Lord made me.  Maybe structure and planning come more naturally for you and you need to be more intentional about enjoying relationship with those you meet with.  Either way, let’s not let what comes naturally be an excuse that keeps us from growing, or from doing the best we can for the women we’re discipling!