Thursday Tips: Hiding It

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“How can a young person live a clean life?
    By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
    don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
    so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
    train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
    all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
    than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
    I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
    I won’t forget a word of it.” Psalm 119:9-16, The Message

I love the phrasing in this translation. “I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart.” We’ve spoken at length about combatting worries, fear, anxiety, negative self-talk, doubts, and the like. Over and over I’ve mentioned filling up on the good stuff for those desperate moments. Replacing negative thought patterns can come from community, reading, music… but I believe one of the strongest tools we have is memorization. Today’s Thursday Tip is all about banking those promises in the vault of our hearts. Check out the brand new video below.

Memory from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Do you have any memorization tips to share? How do you stay accountable and active in this journey?

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Soul Searching

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“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you…” Psalm 42:5-6, NIV

When the Psalmist wrote this, he was doing some genuine soul searching. I’ve been there. I have every reason to live with joy and hope and yet at times I feel the weight of worry or fear pulling down my thoughts. Dark and difficult emotions seem to take over without warning. Perhaps my soul could stand a good questioning.

Why are you still harboring anger?

Why is your fear based on numbers?

Why does failure leave you anxious?

“When you are confronted with a circumstance that challenges you, you have two choices. You can say to your soul, ‘Get depressed.’ Or you can say to your soul, ‘Hope in God.’ Place your expectation in the goodness of God. That’s what the psalmist did. He attached his hope in God to a promise from God.” – Jennifer Rothschild, Me, Myself, and Lies

That’s the idea behind today’s Thursday Tip. When we feel weighted by an untruth we attach our hope in God to a promise from God. Watch this retro video clip and I will catch you when it’s done.

Truth vs. Lies from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

As I said, I highly recommend “From Head to Foot” by Annie F. Downs, but you should know that since the creation of that video she’s come out with a NEW version of the book entitled “Perfectly Unique: Praising God from Head to Foot.” I highly encourage you to check it out if you are a tween or teen gal. But more than anything, I encourage us all to continue to exchange those beat up playlists for a different tune.

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tip: Bathroom Mirror

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I don’t know if it’s true for you, but I feel like the reoccurring theme of my life is: “I am not in control.” This truth is most evident when I allow myself to verbalize doubts, fears, and worry. Anxiety creeps into the areas where I feel out of control.

This might look like:

-an unknown future
-unresolved conflict
-unmet expectations
-guilt and shame
-waiting for answers
-uncertain next steps

Need I go on?

Wouldn’t you know that this latest season of life (pregnancy) continues to show me just how much control I do not possess. Who would have thought? ;)

Prior to pregnancy I struggled through my fears of life-change. I’m selfish. I like freedom and I really like sleep. No one has to remind me the potential situations and challenges that are headed my way.

But once I discovered that I was pregnant I began to worry that it might not be true. I kept expecting a doctor to tell me that they had made a mistake. The waiting between appointments was agonizing. I’ve never felt so completely out of control.

Then I started wondering why I wasn’t feeling the baby when everyone said I would. On top of that, I wasn’t showing and growing the way my other friends were. My head seemed ready for me to believe that this was all a dream… that someone was going to say, “I’m sorry, but something has happened.”

And then we discovered that this little one is growing, a girl, and ready or not… coming in July.

I have not been in control for one tiny second in this process. It’s going to be like this always, isn’t it? This is yet another reminder that (thankfully) He is the one calling the shots.

So how do we relinquish control? How do we entrust to Him that which we hold dear?

I know that for me it starts with believing the truth about who has the control. As Emily P. Freeman says, “I first believe the truth is true, and then I wait to feel it.”

I’ve started memorizing Psalm 139. I’m not sure how long it will take, but I know that I need a steady diet of truth if I want to make it through the anxiety that pops into my mind at 4am when I’ve woken up for the 3rd time. (Awesome.) He has been in control from the very beginning, and He will continue to be in control through this little one’s entire life.

And so I will write it, memorize it, claim it, and recite it.

“I praise you because [she is] fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

If you need a starting place when it comes to memorizing, I’d love to share this tip that’s been helping me for over a decade. It’s cheap, simple, and guaranteed to hang in front of your face at least once a day. Check out the retro video tip.

Marker Memorization from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Thanks for walking through the ups and downs and lefts and rights with me.

As always… learning and following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Cultivate

It feels as if I’m constantly moving from one awaited event in life to the next. I wait for vacations, visitors, treats, appointments… and most of the time I’m somwhere between irritated and excitedly anxious. But I so want to enjoy the present without living in impatience all of the time!

So how do you and I bridge the gap from impatience to patience?

Grow

1. Ask for it! 

God loves to give good gifts to His children. Asking Him to grow the Fruit of the Spirit in you is request He is thrilled to answer.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with an entire list. “God… I want love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness… oh, and goodness, faithfulness, answers, help, health… Wait, just give me a 9 for 1 deal.  I want the whole fruit basket.” I’ve begun lifting up one quality per week.  You could try this per day, per month, or even year.  But know that answer won’tjust come in an extra dollop of patience.  I’m not saying He can’t or won’t work a miracle, but more than likely… it’s going to take some work.

Remember strength training from yesterday? Ever seen someone bench pressing heavy weights at a gym?  Once you reach a certain weight you need a spotter.  Ask that God would be your spotter as you cultivate good fruit in your life.  “God, I want patience, but I cannot do it without you.  Help me!”

His promise is that He won’t give us more than we can handle… but just enough to make us utterly dependent upon Him!  (“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG)

2. Root yourself in good soil.

I can’t say it enough: eat the Word!  When we are struggling to exhibit certain fruit we should check our nourishment level and source.  Look, if I’m starting to notice jealousy and envy creeping into my life it’s usually an indication that I haven’t been filling up on good stuff.  I’m going to be really honest with you.  I stopped reading popular fashion and celebrity magazines years ago because I just can’t handle it.  I begin to want different clothes, a different body, and sometimes even a different life.  I had to do a lot of damage control by retraining my thought patterns to dwell on good things… aka memorizing!

Struggling with impatience?  Try memorizing some of these verses:

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

That’s just a start, but you’d be surprise how having just one ammo verse can help shoot down the start of an impatience rant.  (Anyone else familiar with the screaming that goes on inside of your head, much less what gets verbalized?  Yeesh!)

3. Soak up the accountability.

Obviously your main dependence should always be on the Lord, but thankfully He didn’t put us here all by ourselves!  Be willing to share this desire or struggle with someone and ask for prayer.  If you are really brave, ask them to point out your blind spots.  If patience is what you desire, ask a select friend or mentor to (gently) remind you of instances when this hasn’t been your strong suit.  (Sometimes this calls for a not so gentle kick in the pants.)  Hopefully they will be the kind of friend who will also encourage the good fruit they see in your life!

Remember: growing good fruit isn’t instantaneous. You will have good days and bad days, but thankfully we have One who will never leave us.  Philippians 1:6 says, “…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Amen!

Happy Thursday!
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Heart Checkup

We’ve been talking about awakening our passive hearts this week. I want to recognize that the transformation of our hearts isn’t something we can put on a to-do list or make into a resolution. Heart change comes from God alone, but I do believe that we also have a part to play.

Road

I was driving to an appointment last week and something just felt funny about my car. I turned off the radio and tried to listen hard. I’ve had a few friends traumatized by blown tires and I wanted nothing of the sort. I made sure I was in the far right lane of the freeway and then took an exit and pulled into a parking lot. Sure enough, the tire pressure in all four of my tires was low. After living so many years as a single independent woman I had prided myself on my car maintenance. But now that I’m married, it’s become easier for me to slack off responsibility and just think, “I’m sure he’s checking that.” But I’m the one that drives this car. Had I not been paying attention or listening while I drove, I could have experienced a worse case scenario. Thanks to a portable air compressor, the tires are now full and I’m back to driving with confidence.

Cue the metaphor.

We must keep checking on our hearts. We are the ones driving with them each and every day. I know from experience how easy it can be to just stop caring and fail to notice the state of our hearts.

The strength to fill, to revive, to replenish – that comes from an outside, greater Source… like the air compressor. But along the way we’ve got to be listening, asking and watching. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a blow-out to get me on course. Watch the retro video below for more…

Checkup from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Checkup. Fill up.

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Work with what you got.

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Yesterday I responded to a question from a reader by examining a parable from Matthew 25. Believe or not, we aren’t done yet. Today’s retro Thursday Tip is all about living, loving, and serving with what we’ve been given, rather than lamenting what we don’t have. Watch the video below for more.

Talent? from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

 

“Make the most of your talents, and trust God with the rest.  These words ring true… Most of the people I know, myself included, haven’t done so well with the trusting God with the rest.  Many of my friends and I find trusting, in one area of life if not another, tough.

But… what I’ve discovered is that the Talent Giver isn’t twisted; he is gracious.  His response to both our repentance over our foolish failings and our regret over our earnest missteps is surprising.  Our messed-up views of ourselves or him, our misused talents in work or life, and our quiet line crossing do not elicit harshness.  Instead, he forgives at a cost to himself, draws us near, and beckons us to continue with him.  Somehow he turns our mistakes- our stumbling blocks- into stepping -stones for the journey forward… we’re set free to do the best we can with what we have and grow to trust God with the rest.”Connally Giliam, Revelations of a Single Woman

Here’s to trusting God with the rest. Happy serving!

Ginger

Thursday Tips: Let It Go.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT

In today’s Thursday tip we talk about letting go so we can keep moving forward. Too often in my own life I have grasped at things I thought would make me happy or fill me up, only to realize that they had kept me from the real source of joy. Join me and my favorite shirt as we talk about letting go:

Let It Go. from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

 

“Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life. It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you’re going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s like that with writing books, and it’s like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain.” Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Letting go so we can move forward…
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Slow To Post

 

Today’s Thursday Tip covers commonalities for all of us: Social media and Thanksgiving. Learning to live on mission with our words this month… and always. Check out the new video below:

Slow to Post from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

A November Challenge: Think before we post. May our words (typed or spoken) bring joy and encouragement to anyone listening or following…

“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” James 1:19-20, MSG

“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” Ephesians 4:29, MSG

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14, NIV

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Staying Sharp

Genesis 1… God looks over EVERYTHING that He had made and says that it was “very good.”  Chapter 2 says that everything was completed and God rests.  God places Adam in the Garden and tells him to tend it and watch over it.  The garden is beautiful, there is no sin, and yet, note what God says… “IT IS NOT GOOD FOR MAN TO BE ALONE.”

We were designed for community. We all want to belong. That is one reason why social networking has been so successful: we want to be known – to feel a part of something. Fellowship is HUGE component of our journey.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another…” (Proverbs 27:17, NIRV)

In order for consistent growth to occur, we need to be sharpened on a consistent basis. So who challenges you? Who stands beside you?  Who do you challenge? This level of accountability won’t happen over night but there are lots of different relationships that can help us spiritually. A mentor, someone to disciple you, an accountability partner- they have different titles, but the goal is the same… to keep you sharp. S.H.A.R.P.

1. S = Seek out the right “THEY.”

I pinned the following on Pinterest last week…

Consider your “go-to” numbers in your cell phone. Are those numbers people who challenge you? It’s easy to play it safe and surface, I would challenge us all to surround ourselves with relationships that will sharpen us.

2. H = Honor the commitment.

Life is hard!  School, work, homework, conflicts and even friendships can even be a source of the load we carry.

Spiritual commitments take an effort to maintain. We usually either forget about them after a while or simply break them.  It’s hard to manage life and our own relationship with God, much less continued relationship with others. But remember, the Bible says we need one another!

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT)

3. A = Ask hard questions.

As hard as it can be to share, it can sometimes be just as hard to be the one asking the tough questions.  Trust me, it’s hard to find someone who will commit to keeping you accountable. I tried several times in high school but I didn’t know what to do with my set “accountability” time.  Sometimes it starts with one person being able to ask the hard questions like: “I know you’ve been really down lately. I want to help, what’s going on?” Or, “How are things going with your step-dad?”

You can talk about anything and everything that relates to your journey. The time doesn’t always have to be about the tough subjects, but it should include them. Talk about the things God has been teaching you or the victories you’ve had in your struggles.

“The slap of a friend can be trusted to help you, but the kisses of an enemy are nothing but lies.”  (Proverbs 27:6, NCV)

4. R = Respond honestly.

It can be embarrassing to reveal your deep, dark secrets to a friend, especially the first time. “She’ll think I’m gross, stupid, unchristian.” The fear of a friend perceiving us in a negative light keeps us from taking that step of admitting our weaknesses.  While most people act like they have it all together, everyone is struggling with sins and weaknesses of their own.

-Sin has LESS power once we confess and bring it to the light!
-Keeping things secret causes them to grow and fester like infected wounds, bringing more pain until the wound is treated.
-Accountability is only effective IF it’s truthful.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a, NIV)

5. P = Pray together AND for each other.

Once you’ve both had a chance to talk make sure to pray while you are together. Maybe even say a short prayer before you start sharing to get focused on this time together. Also, pray for one another in-between your meetings. Consider texting to say, “Praying for you today!”

“Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” (Romans 12:5, NLT)

Remember – quality friendships don’t just happen, they require intentionality.  Since we are all imperfect, even good friends will hurt one another.  Forgiveness is a must!

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Make it Stick

H asked a great question on Monday about seeing ourselves through God’s eyes.

I struggle like everyone else, feeling like I’m a yo-yo of emotions when it comes to my weight and looks. But do you know what I’ve discovered that helps more than anything? God’s Word.

I know, I know. I talk about it all the time, but really, God’s Word has the power to ground my emotions and pour peace on my worries. I don’t have a magic drug to fix my own perceptions, so instead I memorize Bible verses that see me through even my darkest of days.

Here’s a retro Thursday Tip that’s all about hiding God’s word in our hearts…

Spaghetti from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

 “The mouths of those who do what is right speak words of wisdom. 
      They say what is honest. 
  God’s law is in their hearts. 
      Their feet do not slip.” Psalm 37:30-31, NIRV

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11, NIV

May His word be in our hearts…

Following,

Ginger