Girls of Wisdom Feature- Pearls of Truth on Making a Difference in your World!

compassionDo you know what the word “compassion” means? It’s not exactly a word that is used all the time like “shopping,” “homework,” “mobile” and “internet.” And showing compassion towards someone may not be as easy as going shopping with your friends, doing a science assignment, sending a text message or doing a search on Google!

But you know what? If you are a girl who chooses to develop a compassionate heart while you are still young, you will certainly be steps closer to creating a bright future for not only yourself, but for countless lives around you.

Compassion is a feeling of sorrow or pity for someone who is suffering. It’s a similar word to sympathy, which is sharing someone else’s pain and trouble as if it were your own. But I think compassion is more than feeling sorry for another person. Compassion is looking beyond yourself, noticing others around you, feeling someone else’s pain and then choosing to do something about it.

Over the next few months, we will be posting blogs about “making a difference in your world.” We can’t wait to share about speaking up for injustice, being generous, planning acts of kindness and desiring to make a difference. And that’s what being a Girl of Wisdom is all about!

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Wisdom for your future.

imagesFriday 7th December 2012

My little girl is almost 15 months old and has quickly changed from being a baby to being a toddler. She is at the stage where she is loving to learn about everyone and everything around her. She eagerly watches as I show her how to do things and she copies so much of what I do. She listens as I explain simple things to her and she willingly tries to do what I ask of her.

I think that as we grow up, our eagerness and willingness to learn and accept advice from others can fade away. We very much live in a society that suggests that we are weak if we need help from others.

However, Proverbs 19:20 (ESV) says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

What decisions or choices in life are you currently facing? What situations are currently happening in your life in which you know that you need help? Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and guidance from people you trust and who have the knowledge and experience that you need.

A Girl of Wisdom is wise because she doesn’t isolate herself from others. She knows that one of the keys to having a successful life is being willing to learn from those around her. Accepting help today means gaining wisdom for tomorrow.

Time for a soul stock take.

Tuesday 26th June 2012

As we approach the end of yet another financial year, many of us, as individuals and as part of businesses and organisations, will be busy taking stock of our finances over the past twelve months.

But how often do we take the time to take stock of our own souls? Our thoughts, emotions, memories, dreams, regrets?

Proverbs3:13-14 (ESV) says, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.”

These verses tell us that attaining wisdom and understanding is more beneficial than attaining material wealth. And one way to grow in wisdom and understanding is to take the time to reflect on your life. Here’s some questions to get you started on taking stock of your soul-

  • What areas of my life are going well?
  • What areas of my life are not going well? Is there anything I can do to improve this?
  • Do I feel happy about who I am and where my life is going?
  • Are there any unresolved issues or conflicts with others that need to be addressed? Do I need to make the first step? What will that step be?

A Girl of Wisdom takes care of the condition of her soul just as much as she takes care of the state of her finances. She takes time out to pause, think and reflect on the person she is and how her life is going. How about you?

What does the future hold?

Sunday 1st January 2012.

As one year comes to an end and a new year begins, there is always a mix of emotions… happiness, excitement, relief, sadness, regret, anticipation, frustration, worry, contentment… There is something about changes and transitions that cause us to reflect on what has been, assess what is happening right now and dream about what could be.

In the midst of such overwhelming thoughts, God yearns for us to trust in Him and to continually put Him first in all areas of our lives. Proverbs 3:5&6 (The Msg) says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”  

I used to start every year with a long list of “New Year’s Resolutions.” However, as I have gotten to know God better over time, I have come to the realisation that while it is important to have goals and aspirations, life is actually less complicated and more peaceful when we enter a new year simply praying, “God, I trust you with this year ahead. You know what has happened last year, you know my circumstances right now and you know the best pathway for my future. Guide my steps, enable me to hear your voice of wisdom and direction and help me to be content in every situation.”

A Girl of Wisdom may not understand everything that is happening in her life, but she chooses to stop straining in her own strength to try and figure things out and make things happen on her own. Rather, she lets her heart and mind rest, knowing that as she releases her future into God’s hands, everything will be used for good in the end and things will be made clear at the right time.

So, what does 2012 hold for you? We don’t have the answers to that question, but there is a God in heaven who does. Let your New Year’s Resolution be to simply trust in Him to guide your life. Everything else will fall into place.

Inviting God into your everyday life.

Sunday 9th October 2011.

There are lots of people who we see regularly and interact with on a frequent basis.

Family members, close friends, people from school or university, work colleagues, members of a sports team… all of these people plus more are our support networks and provide us with a sense of belonging and community. We invite many of them into our homes and lives and involve them in our daily plans and decisions.

However, because we cannot physically see God, we can easily forget that He desires to be invited into our everyday lives too- not just thought about at church on a Sunday or on special religious days such as Easter and Christmas.

Proverbs 21:31 (MSG) says, “Do your best, prepare for the worst- then trust God to bring victory.” This verse reveals that God wants to partner with you in all areas of your life. And each participant in a partnership has their part to play:

1. Do your best and prepare for the worst. As you face each day and the decisions and situations that it brings, God asks us to do the best we can in that circumstance and wisely prepare for what may happen.

2. Trust God to bring victory. Once we have done all that we can do, we need to trust in God to do the rest! This act of faith is often the hardest part- choosing to believe that God will direct you down the best pathway for your life and that He will use all things for good, even if the outcome is not what you originally thought.

A Girl of Wisdom invites God into her everyday life and involves Him in the decisons and tasks that each day brings. What situation is consuming your thoughts right now? Have you done all you can do? Do you now need to let go and let God do His part? Invite Him into your life today.

New Year’s Resolutions…

Wednesday 29 December 2010

With only a few days left before the end of one year and the beginning of another, many people will no doubt be thinking of their New Year’s Resolutions for 2011.  

Start exercising, drink more water, spend more time with family & friends, travel to a foreign country, get better marks at school, get a better job, learn to play a musical instrument, be a nicer person, save more money… the list of resolutions can be endless!

So I thought that today, I would share with you one New Year’s Resolution that I have made for 2011, which can be found in the bible. Proverbs 3:6 (NLT) says, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.”

As 2011 arrives, I am declaring to God, “Let YOUR will be done in my life. I surrender my life to you. I only want what YOU want for my life. I choose to trust in You even when I don’t understand and I choose to obey you and to allow you to guide me.”

Indeed, this New Year’s Resolution is not going to be easy. It will be tested and I will not always succeed. But it’s going to be far more easier than trying to live life in my own strength. Besides, I would much rather have the God of this universe directing my life… wouldn’t you?

Three Thoughts on the Changing Seasons of Life.

Wednesday 22 December, 2010.

Four seasons in one day… for those who live in Melbourne you know what I’m talking about!! The weather can be so unpredictable. I’ve been caught out many times when I’ve looked out the window in the morning and seen the sun shining. I plan my wardrobe, head out to work and within a few hours I’m wishing I had chosen something from my winter wardrobe!!

There are four seasons in the world – autumn, winter, spring and summer. And just as there are these environmental seasons, we also experience changing seasons in our personal lives.

Seasons are found right throughout the bible. Psalm 23 (NLT) paints a picture of the different seasons we find ourselves in and gives insight into what to do when we’re there. Verses 1-4 say:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows, He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honour to His name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.”

Here are three thoughts from this passage:

1. The Lord is your Shepherd.

Whether you are in a winter season where life seems cold, dark and brittle or you are in summer where you are surrounded by sunshine and blooming flowers, God is your shepherd. Take comfort in knowing that He is right there with you no matter what season you are in.

2. Walk when in winter.

Winter seasons are often the hardest. Usually during this time, things don’t seem to be going to plan and there can be sadness, loneliness or heartache.

The key to this season is to keep walking through the valley, not aimlessly, but following the good shepherd that is Jesus Christ. He will lead you through it.

3. Rest when in summer.

Part of this season is resting in God and allowing Him to minister to and restore you. Summer always follows after winter so it is important to allow the process of restoration to occur.

So what season are you in at the moment? What can you do to handle your season well? I pray that whatever circumstance you are currently in, that you would sense God’s peace and leading in your life. 

Responding to Life’s Challenges by Dr. Carlee Mark

Tuesday 9 November 2010

A couple of years ago, I participated in a half marathon (21.1km run) and experienced first hand some of the similarities between a running race and life itself. 

There was excitement, nerves, pain, self-pity, complaining, perseverance, courage and after crossing the finishing line, a deep sense of satisfaction. Of course, the experience of completing the race was wonderful but it was only by participating in the race, and enduring through the pain and fatigue that I was able to enjoy the achievement.

I don’t know about you, but I find that life throws a lot of different challenges our way, a series of races maybe, and our choices in those races can lead us to that place where we find great satisfaction.

It was about 15km into the run that my body really started to hurt and right away, I started to have negative thoughts. Do you recognize similar thoughts from challenging times in your life?

Comparison:  “I wish I was a better runner because I’d be finished by now”

Self-pity:         “I’m sure others aren’t hurting as much as I am”

Self-criticism: “It’s your own fault that you’re in this situation, how stupid”

Thankfully, that day when I was out running, I didn’t just allow my mind to be negative because I realized that my negativity was actually making the run harder.  Instead, I tried to turn my focus away from my sore legs and started to:

Encourage others around me (who were of course, in pain like I was)

Be thankful for what I do have (for my health, for my body, for my surroundings)

Be kind to myself (thinking about the achievement of setting a goal and following through)

As you can imagine, the last part of the run was much more enjoyable than it could have been had I remained so negative. I am constantly inspired by people who, despite facing a really difficult time themselves, still smile and laugh, encourage others and remain positive about the future.

And the great thing I’ve found is that all difficult times do pass and we all have the ability to continue to make good choices in those times, so that when we come out the other side, we’re better people for it.

Think about the challenges that you’ve faced and how you’ve responded. What did you do well? What could you improve for next time?

Dr. Carlee Mark is a medical practitioner who is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives as they pursue wholeness physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. She is a dear friend of ours and it’s an honour to have her contribute to The Girls of Wisdom’s Blog!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Saturday 30 October, 2010.

A few years ago I was faced with a decision. This was not the kind of day-to-day decision like, “What am I going to eat for lunch today?” Rather, this decision would have a major impact on my life and those around me. I knew I needed time and wise advice to help me make it.

Proverbs 24:5-6 (NIV) says, “A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.”

Some decisions will have a profound impact on your life and it’s during these times that someone who can give wise advice is needed. Sure, you may not be “waging a war,” however, you may be faced with other situations such as the decision to move geographically, start a new business, change careers or even to get married!

So what decisions are you facing at the moment? A Girl of Wisdom seeks to find good counsel from someone who she knows has her best interests at heart.

Whatever decision you are facing today, I encourage you to seek these kinds of people out, pray and have a good chat with them, knowing that in the abundance of advisers, good decisions can be made.

Are you a loyal friend?

Saturday 23 October 2010

Loyalty: being faithful; standing by someone in the good and the bad; being reliable; never giving up when it gets hard; remaining true & constant; keeping one’s word.

How wonderful it is to have loyal friends! And it’s even more wonderful when your friends consider you to be loyal also! Proverbs 20:6 (NLT) says, “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is really faithful?”

I think this is a verse that we can all relate to. Many friends appear to be loyal at the beginning, but it is through the test of time that a friend really proves their faithfulness. What about you? Do you think your friends would consider you to be a loyal person? Why or why not?

This weekend, take some time to think about your friendships. Which friendships are going well? Why? Which friendships need some attention? Why? These can be tough questions, but a Girl of Wisdom thinks about her friends and tries her best to do her part in building healthy friendships.

A loyal friend… are you one?

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