Baby showers celebrate the joy of new life! There is something extra special about personalizing or monogramming adorable outfits and comfy blankets for a new baby. Adding the name or initial to the gift touches the heart of the receiver, while creating a lasting memory. The recipient knows extra effort was taken, and as the gift is opened, the expression of gratitude is painted all over their face.
Modern technology has almost made personal cards and letter writing a thing of the past. How often do you receive letters in the mail? That’s why I always get excited to see my friend’s personalized stationary in my mailbox. She is telling me “I am worth her time and a stamp.” The personalized stationary acknowledges the value she places in the correspondence and in her name. Her personalization makes me feel special, and to a greater extent, respected!
I encourage fitness students to personalize their exercise time in my classes. What I mean is “not everyone should be doing each exercise the same way.” In a perfect world, with everyone at the same level of fitness and injury free, it may be possible for everyone to do each exercise the same way. But we live in an imperfect world, with shoulder injuries, and beginning students, and generally, varying levels of fitness. But, even with a shoulder injury, there is still a way to workout. The overhead movements may be out of the question, so we personalize your workout to fit your needs or limitations.
My classes are anything but typical, with beginners, seasoned athletes, three and five times a week attendees, ten mile a day runners, and occasional or daily walkers. We have people rehabbing from injuries, new mothers, and others starting back after years of little exercise. This is why I emphasize personalizing the class to their fitness level and ability. The important thing is to be progressing and moving forward, not standing still.
The church, (body of Jesus Christ), is much like my fitness classes. We are all at different points in our walk. Some may be recovering from painful experiences, while others may have been sitting on the sidelines letting someone else do the heavy lifting. Perhaps you are just beginning to read His Word and want to grow the relationship but don’t know how? Wherever you find yourself, The Word of God is for everyone and every level of spiritual fitness. Progress is made by reading and personalizing the Word, and then applying it to your daily life.
Instead of praying in generalities, such as, “Forgive me of my sins”, consider getting specific, “Lord, I spoke harshly to my husband. Help me to depend on you for tongue-control.” We should be personalizing how we pray for ourselves and others. Here is an example of how Jesus said we should pray, and how we can personalize it to our own prayer life.
In Matthew 6:9-13 we learn, “Our Father who art in heaven (God, You are my Father in heaven and you have adopted me into your family. You love me unconditionally and I love you.), hallowed be your name (God, Your name is above all other names. I will recognize you in everything I do today. I will praise you God because you pulled me out of the pit many times, saving me and setting me apart for your Kingdom purposes.) Your kingdom come, (God your kingdom is forever, and you are omnipresent, knowing and seeing everything. Your kingdom is here and I pray you guide my thoughts and actions to help others recognize and experience your kingdom.)
Your will be done on earth, (I pray God that your will supplant my will. Lord if I am outside your will, show me and quickly adjust me into alignment. I pray your will be done over my family, community, region, state and country.) Just as it is in heaven, (Lord you have known and written down every detail of my life before I was born. You know my thoughts before I think them and know my steps before I take them. Set me on your path, the path you chose for me and let my life be a reflection of your glory today. If I deviate from your path, forgive me and place me back on track.)
Give us today our daily bread. (I thank you God for providing all my needs. I thank you in advance for providing everything needed for today including physical strength, spiritual direction, and your wisdom. I thank you in advance for providing my family’s needs as well.) And forgive us our debts (Lord forgive me when my thoughts are selfish, hateful, vengeful, or out of your focus. Forgive me Lord when I do not demonstrate your love for others. Forgive me if I have offended others. Help me to be your salt and light. Forgive our country for not always placing you first Lord, and we ask for forgiveness. Help us be humble and filled with your Holy Spirit.)
As we also have forgiven our debtors. (Forgive me Lord for holding grudges and having been unforgiving to others. I need your help forgiving others, open my heart to forgiveness as I repent before you.) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (If I am tempted Lord, help me quickly find a way out. My prayer is to stay close to you and to always move forward on your path. Help me keep my eyes focused on you Lord.)
A sword in the hands of a skilled Roman soldier was a fearsome weapon. The blade was sharpened on both sides, and with the point sharpened, it could even pierce the armor of an enemy combatant. With Legions of Roman soldiers carrying these swords, Rome conquered the world. Yet, in Hebrews 4:12 it tells us, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
When we personalize our time spent with God, we move towards His will, goodness, direction, truth, vision, and thus, the future He has in store for us. With our vision sharpened, we walk boldly ahead, with the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. The sword of the spirit cuts through the confusion of this world, and when we are well sharpened, the luster of His blade shines a light on the darkness.
Theresa Rowe is the Founder of Shaped by Faith, Author of Guideposts’ Shaped by Faith, 10 Secrets to Strengthening Your Body and Soul, a Motivational Wellness Speaker, Health Coach and Host of Shaped by Faith Radio every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 am on 99.1 FM and 1490 AM WOMI. Listen: http://womiowensboro.com/listen-live/popup/
This Column appeared in the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer on March 11, 2017