Make Yourself Amazing in April…and Beyond!: Day 11

Hello again!

Last week I had a not-so-fun stomach bug, and I didn’t have any energy to even think of blogging (or cleaning the house or working or exercising or just about anything…). The last couple of days have consisted of me playing catch up with work/life/everything, so I’m just now getting back here. Since I’m slightly┬ábehind on this, I’ve decided to change the name to Make Yourself Amazing in April…and Beyond! Now, barring sickness, floods, famine, major life interruptions, plagues, and Internet outages, I should be done with this series around mid-May.

So, let’s get (re)started!

Today’s chapter is called Exotic Surprises

Source for original photo

Focus Verse: She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. (Proverbs 31:14, The Message)

God is a God of surprise. You think you have something figured out or that a prayer is going to be answered a certain way, and then BAM…God surprises you! There are many stories of surprise in the Bible, such as Gideon’s and Samson’s. God used people like them- ordinary men- to do extraordinary things. And, God can use you for extraordinary surprises as well!

To allow God’s surprises to come into your life, you have to remain receptive and ready. Sarah suggests spending daily time with Him, preferably in the morning, so then you will be more open for His surprises all day long. I like this idea, and it’s something that I need to get a lot better about doing. I’m a snooze button-a-holic, and that habit cuts into quiet time or just about anything else in the mornings!

Sarah also suggests being spontaneous. As she says, the difference between average and amazing is the surprise factor. I’m sure we all have people in our lives who surprise us sometimes and just make us feel good because they care. A couple of special ladies at work brought me a magnet today that they said reminded them of me, and it was such a nice surprise after some un-amazing things happened today.

With that in mind, today’s challenge is to surprise someone at work this week with a cup of his or her favorite coffee, some chocolate, or a magnet that talks about the difference between dogs and children. ­čśë

Make Yourself Amazing in April: Day 10

Yesterday’s challenge was to encourage someone. I decided to send an email to a store where we had great customer service last night. We didn’t buy anything, but the employee was just as helpful and friendly to us as she was to the people who were buying things. I thought she definitely deserved some encouragement! How about you guys? Did anyone send a note, text, email, etc?

Today’s chapter is called Looking for the Best

Source for original photo

Focus verse: She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. (Proverbs 31:13, The Message). 

Sarah started the chapter with an Internet urban legend that she read called “The Rose,” which she felt illustrated the principle of looking for the best in a relationship. She also shared this story to show that looking for the best in people is a lost art. It’s so true. Many people have become so cynical that if someone does something nice for them, then they think there has to be some kind of “catch” or strings attached. Even our media makes it seem like only bad things are happening. No wonder we have a hard time looking for the best in people!

The next portion of the chapter talked about the knitting aspect of the verse. As Sarah said, an amazing person will draw out the best in others, then knit and sew the best of people together to create a beautiful garment. We all know people who look for the best in others and can always manage to bring out the best in people too. It’s such a difficult skill, but it is so worth it when you have a breakthrough with someone who has been tough to communicate with or who you’ve had trouble finding good in.

Today’s challenge: Look for the best in every situation and person you encounter. For example, if someone is running late, don’t complain about her, just look for the best.

Make Yourself Amazing in April: Day 9

I’m back from my “oh my goodness, life is too busy” blogging break. Let’s get back to it!

Today’s chapter is called Spite, Encouragement, and Hindering Behaviour (love the Australian spelling!).

Focus Verse: Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. (Proverbs 31:12, The Message)

Oh boy. The title of this chapter hit me even before I started reading it. I know that it’s in poor fashion for writers to fall back on the whole “_______ is defined as _______,” but when I did a search of the definition of spite, I came up with synonyms like cruel, unkind, malicious, mean, nasty, hurtful…all kinds of words that you definitely don’t associate with being amazing! Sarah points out that the words even leave a bad taste in your mouth and make you feel sick in the stomach.

Even though Proverbs 31 is referring to the relationship between a husband and wife, Sarah makes a great point of saying that the way you habitually treat others will be the way you treat those most precious to you in life. So, even if you want to treat your significant other or closer family and friends sweetly, if you’re mean and spiteful towards your coworkers or strangers, then it’s easy to carry this behavior into your close relationships.

What’s the opposite of spite? Encouragement! Sarah showed the Amplified Bible’s translation of Proverbs 31:12- She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her. Doesn’t that sound so much nicer than the other translation? Even though both of them are essentially saying the same thing, the tone and words in the Amplified translation is much more pleasant.

Encouragement enriches people’s lives. Enriching adds value to something and makes it better than it already was. How do we do that? Sarah believes that if you want to make the life of someone else better, you need to have a great life yourself. I fully agree! I’ve noticed that when I’m moody and feeling sorry for myself and like my life is the pits, I tend to be short and rude towards others. I definitely don’t add value to or make anything better than it was! She also points out that you can’t live your life through the life of another because you can’t enrich someone else’s life when you have no life of your own. So, get a life! =)

Now, what do we mean by hindering behaviour? I may be a little off target with my interpretation (and if so, Sarah, please correct me!), but I took this to mean nagging and just dragging people down overall. I asked my husband if I’m a nagging wife, and his answer was “You have nagged, but you’re not constantly nagging.” Eek. I need to pay close attention to Proverbs 21:9 that says “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.” (Amplified Bible). Double eek! Guess I have some work to do!

Sarah points out that there are times when restrictions and discipline are necessary, but don’t get to the point where you’re hindering someone else’s growth. She also says that a good relationship will empower you to be the best version of yourself. Again, I fully agree! We are to bless and serve those who are closest to us because of our love for them. God has blessed us so that we will be a blessing!

I want to quote the last two paragraphs out of the chapter because I really enjoyed them:

God’s desires for your life are superabundance and far more than you could imagine. He does not bless our selfishness, though. God will bless His children so that they will superabundantly bless others, not hinder them all the days of their life. God may bless you with a promotion so you can give more to missions. Or He may bless you with many friends so you can be an encouragement and strength to them. The Lord may bless you with a thriving company that can, with integrity and grace, influence governments and other business people…Always remember that is why our Heavenly Father empowers you to prosper. It is for the benefit of the community. If you are blessed, make sure you are using that blessing for others.┬á

Today’s challenge is to empower and enrich the lives of those closest to you. Sarah suggested sending an encouraging text, giving them a quick call, or even offering a service to them. This only takes a minute and can make a huge difference in someone’s life!

Make Yourself Amazing in April: Day 8

Yesterday’s challenge was to find some verses that show your worth in Christ and write them down so you meditate on them. Here is a list of 51(!) verses about our worth to God. Pick a few favorites, write them down, and put them where you can see them every day!

Today’s chapter is called Trust Me.

Focus Verse: Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. (Proverbs 31:11, The Message).

Trust is one of the most important character traits. If you don’t trust someone, then it’s hard to have a good relationship with her because you’ll never feel comfortable and never feel like you will receive as much as you give. You may also feel paranoid and bitter because you don’t have true relationships. Sarah says it best- the more people you trust, the better your life will be; trusting few people leads to poor quality of life.

The Bible is full of trustworthy people, and one of the most trustworthy is Joseph. Because Joseph was trustworthy and made himself amazing, God used him for big things. On the flip side, Samson put his trust in the wrong people and had to suffer through a lot of pain and turmoil.

Want to save yourself some pain and turmoil (I hope you said yes because otherwise we need to have a serious discussion)? One way to do it is to put your trust in God. Psalm 118:8-9 (The Message) says, “Far better to take refuge in God than trust in people; far better to take refuge in God than trust in celebrities.” Of course, this isn’t saying that you can never trust people! But, keep in mind that people are imperfect and subject to emotions and misunderstandings. God is steady and constant. God can be trusted to keep all of His promises. God will never let you down.

While we’ll never be as trustworthy as God, we can work on making ourselves someone who people can trust. One of the best ways we can learn to be trustworthy is to read and meditate on the Word of God. Sarah says that we can let God and His Word teach us how to be trustworthy and how not to let others down.

In case you need further convincing that being trustworthy is a good thing, consider Proverbs 28:20a, “The trustworthy person will get a rich reward.” Sign me up! When you’re trustworthy, you’ll enjoy better personal and professional relationships that will enrich your life. People will know that you can keep your word and can be relied upon. They will not have to question whether or not your actions will match your words. They will know that you will work hard whether you’re being watched or not. Wouldn’t you want to be friends with someone with those traits? Better yet, wouldn’t you want to be┬ásomeone with those traits? Here is your roadmap to becoming trustworthy and amazing!

Today’s challenge: I’m going to copy this one verbatim from the chapter because I think it’s one that may be really helpful for some people:

Has someone let you down in the past? Perhaps it was someone whose love and life was important to you. Don’t let the fact that he let you down destroy your relationships with others. Trust again. Looking to Jesus will enable you to let go of the pain and move forward. As part of moving forward, examine how trustworthy you are. Meditate on some of the scriptures mentioned about trust, and allow trust to be integrated into your character. (Amber’s note: if you haven’t bought the book and want to know some of these scriptures, leave me a comment here or on Facebook).

Make Yourself Amazing in April: Day 7

Going to keep it kind of short tonight because I’m hoping to get to bed early! =)

Today’s chapter is called Worth More than Diamonds

Original Source for Photo

Focus Verse: …And worth far more than diamonds. (Proverbs 31:10, The Message)

Do any of you have any diamond jewelry? If not, have you seen the price of diamonds? They’re not cheap! Now, I’m going to tell you something that might shock you.

You are worth more than diamonds.

That’s right, you.

Here’s another piece of good news for you. Your life has purpose and meaning. You can be happy with who you are because you were created in the image of God and are unique and special!

Still having trouble believing that? Let’s look at another verse that Sarah included in this chapter, Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

We can break down the verse and look at some of the different insights that Sarah has shared. There are great truths here!

“For we are God’s…”: As Sarah points out, the fact that we are God’s means that our worth is great. Our lives are valuable and belong to God, so we should value them.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…”: Our existence is not an accident. We were all created brilliantly (like diamonds!) and our lives have purpose and meaning.

“For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works…”: Sarah has a friend that told her that whenever people ask him how to find the will of God, he tells them to start doing something good because God created us to do good. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard it put so simply! That’s a great insight too and definitely related to what we’ve been talking about over the last couple of days. Love it!

“For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”: God has painstakingly planned out our lives with all the things we enjoy. He left nothing to chance but prepared everything in our lives so that it would be perfect. His plans for your life are an expression of His extravagant love and perfect design for you. (I copied this verbatim from the book because I couldn’t have put it better myself!).

Since we know our worth, we should know that we deserve to be treated like the most important person in the world. Don’t take that to mean that you can put others down or be snotty, but know that no one can take away your self-worth or treat you poorly because you, dear reader, are worth more than diamonds!

Today’s challenge: If you struggle with being confident of your worth and who you are in Christ, search the Bible and find scriptures that talk about your tremendous worth. Then place them somewhere that you can read, meditate on, and pray through the day.