Trusting God’s Design

I didn’t know much about personality profiles growing up. What I did know is after about 2 hours at church, 2 hours at a party, 2 hours on a school trip, 2 hours at a sleepover…I was done.

I wasn’t angry. I didn’t dislike people. I wasn’t bored. I didn’t want to check out.

But something inside me hit a threshold of sorts and I knew I needed to spend at least a few minutes by myself and recharge. Otherwise, my mind would get spacey, I’d become easily distracted, my speech would begin to falter, I’d even become more clumsy.

Over time, I learned although this could cause me anxiety, it wasn’t the anxiety I wrestled with.

It was simply my design as an introvert (and a far-reaching one at that).

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I’m not too shy (usually). I love people. I love loving people. I adore hearing what journey they’re walking and what God’s doing in their lives. I’m good with people.

As someone who has been, for the most part, self-employed for the last seven or eight years, I find a lot of quiet time in my own routine with writing and speaking. Now, as Tim and I entered a new season of life, with him as a youth pastor at a growing church, I find my time alone growing shorter and shorter. I know God knows how I’m wired and I know He gives me strength for every situation, but I often battle the process.

It goes a little like this:

  1. YES! I am SUPER PUMPED about this youth retreat we’re having this weekend. Over thirty people are going! I love the girls we get to minister to and with. I LOVE seeing them learn and grow! Yay!
  2. Wait, how far do we have to drive?
  3. Hold up…lights out is how late?
  4. How much time will I have a chance to be by myself and recharge?
  5. My routine! My routine! Ack!
  6. Geez, Miller. That’s entirely selfish! You’re here to serve these students and your husband and these volunteers. SUCK IT UP. You’re not going to die from talking and listening to people for four days.
  7. Well, you’ll die a little bit. But it’s for Jesus.
  8. Really, Miller. SUCK IT UP. Good grief. You introverts are always overanalyzing and planning 78 of the conversations you think you’ll have and you actually won’t have…no wonder you’re exhausted already. This is NOT ABOUT YOU.
  9. (Hey, but God. You know you gave me a really empathetic and sensitive heart. You know this stuff is hard for me.)
  10. (Anne, I know. Just trust me.)

It seems like such a small thing to trust–God’s design. Knowing He fully created me, my fears, my flaws, and my strengths. In ministry, it’s been difficult to see being an introvert as a gift…I can see it as a curse. I want to wear shirts that say, “No, really. I LOVE YOU! Even if I don’t seem like I talk much.” Church events are usually social events. Loud. Talking. Games. Counseling. It’s a challenge for an introvert.

I’ve been looking forward to (and yet I’m still slightly anxious about) this weekend for a long time. It’s the first big event Tim and I get to lead (with the help of our wonderful volunteers!). I’m going to try and be EXTRA intentional about letting God fill in those places where I need Him to. I don’t want Him to change the way He created me, but I need to learn to trust the way He designed me in whatever season in which He calls me to minister.

(And, yeah. Feel free to pray for this retreat! We’d be VERY grateful!)

Friday Prayer – Let’s Pray for Each Other

Friday Prayer Anne Mil

 

It’s Friday! Another week! We made it!

Have any prayer requests or things you want to share about where you’ve seen God work in your life?

For us, could you pray for me as I am still sick. It’s on and off now, but every few days the flu symptoms come back for a couple of days. Then I’m fine for a while.

Tim and I are going to Zambia to work with The Alliance for Children everywhere March 26-April 8. Please pray we raise the funds we need to raise ($1700) and for our health and hearts as we prepare to head over there.

How can we pray for you?

Friday Prayer: How Can We Pray for You?

I am consistent with being inconsistent.

This week, I turned 34. Which means I’ve been blogging (officially) for TEN years. Yikes.

A few months ago, I said I wanted to make Friday all about prayer. I’ve done that now…three times.

Sorry.

With my imperfections/busyness/laziness/etc., I am really trying to get back into this rhythm.

A birthday is just a good excuse to reinstitute your New Years resolutions, right?

So, with that said, it’s Friday.

How can we pray for you? Celebrate with you?

Have a Prayer Request? Let Us Pray for You This Weekend

It’s been a crazy week: Lingering flu symptoms, a sick puppy, and a book launch as well as a big editing project due, and finishing up the manuscript for the expanded edition of Mad Church Disease. Not to mention the 50-something emails I need to reply to since I got sick at the beginning of the year. (Sorry if that’s you. I’m working on it!)

The sick puppy & The sick me on Wednesday.

the sick puppy & the sick me on Wednesday.

When crazy weeks happen, it’s difficult for me to follow my own advice and rest. We’ve recently implemented a no-phone-but-for-texting-or-calls rule after 5 pm in our house, but I still pop on my computer and, being the analytical person I am, research my stats, my numbers, (which Beating Burnout did hit #1 on Amazon in the devotional category! Thank you!) and honestly, I can get wrapped up into it like a game.

The numbers go up, I’m happy. Down, I’m discouraged.

And that’s not cool.

So, I hereby make the proclamation that I will not look at numbers this weekend (baby steps!). 

When I’m too turned in, I need to turn out and refocus. Gain perspective. Connect with God and others.

Occasionally on Fridays, I’ll do “Friday Prayer.”

So please, take this opportunity to leave anything on your heart we can pray for in the comments below. And I promise to go through them this weekend and pray for them, each and every one.

I’m grateful for you.

I know blogging and social media is weird and it’s noisy and even I confess I get caught up in the excitement of things and numbers that, in the long run, don’t really matter. For that, I apologize.

But I can say with all the integrity of my heart that your words and your prayers are so special to me. I can only hope to be a blessing to you like you are to me.

And I’d love to pray and celebrate with you this weekend.

Much love,

Anne

Four Ways to Keep the Christmas Season from Ruining Christmas

The holidays are stressful. Shopping. Parties. Family. Finances. Weather. As I finish up the manuscript for my book Mad Church Disease: Healing from Church BurnoutI am reminded how much difference a little intentionality makes as we journey across the days of December.

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These four things help me to daily the postures I’ll take this season and in doing so, maybe make things a lot less stressful in the process.

  1. Friends: Engage your friends. People travel, everyone seems busy, but reaching out to your friends during the holidays isn’t just good for you, it’s good for them. Even a simple text message to say hi and ask how someone is doing can be the only light someone sees on a really cloudy day.
  2. Rest: Rest is my favorite thing to do. After I stressed myself out so terribly eight years ago (so much that I was hospitalized for a week), resting is priority for me and my family. Even if this means emails, phone calls and texts go unanswered for a day or two, rest. In the Christmas season, it’s hard to have a Sabbath day, but do it anyway. And rest in the fact that you’re being obedient in the process. [Tweet “So much more gets done when we’re resting in the fact God has already done everything.”]
  3. Pray: It’s an obvious discipline, but one that can fall to the wayside in my life when I’m busy. Even though it may feel rote, commit to certain times to pray every day. For Tim and me, we pray before every meal and then we have an intercessory time before we go to bed. Every single day. One sentence prayers are also a big thing: “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”…”God, change me!” ….”Lord, help…” Meditating on scripture in the stillness of our own mind keeps us constantly in touch with what God might have for us to do.
  4. Be Thankful: It can’t be said enough: Keeping an attitude of thankfulness takes the focus off our circumstances and places it back on the God who gave us His son. In light of the coming of Christ to save us for our sins, long check out lines, annoying family members, even the bigger things like finances and health disappear into the shadows. What if you wrote down one thing you’re thankful for every day? And what if you shared it with a friend? I have a feeling the hope and joy would spill out and encourage both of you.

It is so very much in my DNA to desire health and peace and joy for those who minister either by profession or in everyday life. We are all called to it and there’s nothing more Satan would like to do than to distract us from celebrating and sharing this miraculous and sacred time of the year.

Advent Wreath

I would like to help you stay encouraged from now until the new year. I woke up this morning and felt compelled to start something that could encourage you daily, so I logged into my email account and made a new list for surviving Christmas.

By signing up, starting tomorrow, each day I’ll send you a very short note of encouragement, tips to stay healthy, some scripture and prayer…something new each day. I’ll also include a link to a talk (either video or audio – your choice) I recently gave on choosing joy this advent season that goes further into these four ideas.

It doesn’t cost you anything and I won’t try to sell you anything. But if you’d like to sign up, you can do so using the form below.  If your browser doesn’t show a form or you have problems, just click this link to sign up.

Do you have any tips on how to stay healthy and proactive during the Christmas season?



How Can We Pray for You This Weekend?

My husband and I pray together at least once a day where we lay out our thanks and intercede for others.

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I thought this weekend, perhaps we can pray for you.

Please leave your praise or request in the comments (or if it’s private, you can use the form on the contact page) and we are glad to pray for you this weekend.

People say that blogging on a Friday is pointless as it’s such a dead traffic day. Originally, I was going to stick to a Monday-Thursday writing schedule, but it would be super neat to do this weekly and report back how God works in our lives.

If you’d like to pray for us, please continue praying we find a church home.

Have a great weekend!