Hope

A passive hope is not effective.” ~ Deepak Chopra.

I heard this and I had to think about it…isn’t hope by its definition passive? So I actually looked up the word and what I realized is that having hope is not just wanting something to happen…having hope is expecting something to happen.

In fact, hope is a lot like faith…

Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” James 2: 14-17 MSG

Inhale Hope, Exhale Despair…
Inhale Faith, Exhale Inaction…
Inhale Expectation, Exhale Inertia…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflection With Renita

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Space for Grace

I didn’t really become an Oprah Winfrey fan until I retired and started working from home. At the time, I was surprised at how spiritual she was because I recalled people questioning her beliefs, her faith, her Christianity.

Since she launched her OWN network, I have come to realize the questioning was and is because her worship looks different, because she honors others’ beliefs … because she lives authentically and offers space and grace for others to do the same.

It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” ~ John 4: 23-24, MSG

Inhale Love, Exhale Suspicion…
Inhale Love, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Love, Exhale Segregation…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Tested

In my early 30s, I experienced some major disruptions in my life. I left an abusive marriage and took my toddler out of the country to a new assignment in England, courtesy of Uncle Sam. And then DESERT STORM happened.

At first it, was difficult to get my footing. I had to find a place on the economy that wasn’t looking for a man to guarantee the rent. I beat myself up for thinking my daughter would easily transition to a big-girl bed. Why didn’t I bring the crib? I worried about deploying; should I send my 3-year-old to the States? I wondered if I could juggle all the demands…

But we survived. In fact, we didn’t just survive, we thrived! And I learned some things about myself…

If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman…” Helen Reddy, I Am Woman

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” ~ Philippians 4:13, MSG

Inhale Strength, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Invincibility, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Faith, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Faith

I’ve been an up close and personal witness to what stepping out in faith looks like.

I’ve seen how limitless our dreams are when we understand why we are dreaming what we are dreaming…how intense our passions when we direct our energy to our purpose…how impactful our purpose when it’s in service to something other, something greater than ourselves.

But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it.”  Luke 17:6 MSG

Inhale God’s Promises, Exhale Doubt…
Inhale Belief, Exhale Doubt…
Inhale Faith, Exhale Doubt…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
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World Vision

What is your vision for your world? What does the world look like when you are serving in your purpose? The world is waiting on you…what are you waiting for?

When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ~ Audre Lorde

Inhale Vision, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Faith, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Belief, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
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Renewal

Today I am grateful for the resurrection that gave hope to the hopeless. In this season of renewal in the midst of confusion and fear, I am praying for sufficient strength to be hopeful, effective faith to believe, and enough compassion to be loving…

Inhale Faith, Exhale Hopelessness…
Inhale Inclusion, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Separation…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
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Oxygen Mask

The safety briefing prior to a flight always includes the reminder to put YOUR mask on before helping others in an emergency. And while we wouldn’t question the wisdom of that directive, in our lives we are constantly flying from one family crisis to another, flailing and sometime failing because we are operating without oxygen. We are trying to help others when we can’t breathe…

Who will give me wings,” I ask—“wings like a dove?” Get me out of here on dove wings; I want some peace and quiet.” Psalm 55: 6-7, MSG

Inhale Rest, Exhale Exhaustion…
Inhale Revive, Exhale Weaken…
Inhale Renew, Exhale Repress…
#JustBreathe…

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Emotions

Our emotions are there to tell us something about the way we’re processing our experience. How we respond to our emotions says a lot about who we are…we get to choose.

Positivity is one of my strengths and I usually choose to be positive. Not always, but I work on it. I do things that fill me up, like getting still to pray and meditate and getting physical through exercise and eating healthy. I try to limit my exposure to negativity…be it people, experiences, or lies masquerading as news.

And when I do experience negative emotions, I process them. I cry, I read favorite passages…I get still to feel what I’m feeling. I go to my favorite healing places, like Lake Michigan or when it’s winter in Chicago, I listen to the sounds of the ocean and imagine I’m on a cruise ship or lying on a beach. I let the emotions flow through me like water…and then I focus on the blessings in my life.

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” ~ Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Inhale Emotion, Exhale Stoicism…
Inhale Feelings, Exhale Repression…
Inhale Awareness, Exhale Numbness…
#JustBreathe…

Reflections With Renita

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Acceptance

I believe our God given gifts and talents and personality are to be used to achieve our purpose. But whether or not we use those gifts, apply our personalities or achieve our purpose is up to each of us based on our personal beliefs. It’s no one else’s business

Grace says you have nothing to give, nothing to earn nothing to pay.” Charles R. Swindoll

Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Rejection…
Inhale Embrace, Exhale Tolerate…
Inhale Grace, Exhale Judgment…
Just Breathe…

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Older

I was accused of being set in my ways because I chose not to do something I didn’t want to do.

While it may be true that some people get “set” or stagnant as we age, I believe many of us get wise…we know more about who we are, we understand better what works for us, and we avoid what gives us gas.

We learn how and when to say no.

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,” Proverbs 3:13 NIV

Inhale Wisdom, Exhale Wavering…
Inhale Understanding, Exhale Uncertainty…
Inhale Confidence, Exhale Confusion…
Just Breathe…

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