Read an Excerpt
The Great Adventure
Living Life As an Expression of God Within
"Live a life full of steady enthusiasm."
Are you a positive woman? By that I mean, do you want to move in a positive direction and make a lasting, positive impact in the lives of the people around you?
Often we think that a positive woman is a perky woman with a perfect life. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I'm not always perky, and my life circumstances are far from perfect. (I know that's your little secret too. Don't worry; I won't tell anyone.) The good news is we don't have to be perfect, because we have a perfect God who can use even our imperfections in an eternal, powerful, and positive way. We can be positive women simply by choosing to allow God's power and strength to pour through us. We can choose to see God's hand at work in our lives and in the circumstances around us.
Recently I ran across something called "The Ten Commandments for an Unhappy Life." It serves as a humorous reminder of the choices we face every single day: Will we enjoy the gifts and challenges life brings, or will we grumble and be miserable through the process? Will we be women of wonder or women of woe?
The Ten Commandments for an Unhappy Life
- Thou shalt hold onto bitterness and anger.
- Thou shalt never get too close to anybody. Keepeth all of thy relationships at surface level.
- Thou shalt wear a glum expression on thy face at all times.
- Thou shalt put aside play and shalt inflict upon others that which was once inflicted upon thyself.
- Thou shalt grumble about the small stuff, forgetting the bigger picture.
- Thou shalt forget about others' needs, thinking only of your own.
- Thou shalt hold regular pity parties, inviting others to joinest thou.
- Thou shalt not take a vacation.
- Thou shalt expect the worst in all situations, blame and shame everyone around thyself for everything, and dwell on the feebleness, faults, and fears of others.
- Thou shalt be in control at all times, no matter what.1
In the chapters that follow we will explore seven principles that, if applied, can make us positive women women moving in a positive direction and having a positive impact on our families, our communities, our churches, and our world. These are powerful principles because they are biblical principles. In addition to finding delightful quotes, wonderful Bible passages, and motivating messages designed to encourage and strengthen you, you will read true stories of women who have exemplified these principles in their lives. Some stories are from the Bible, while other stories are about famous women from history or the current day. Some are about little-known women who have experienced God's strength in a mighty way and stand as living examples to us all.
Each chapter closes with a Power Point section that allows you to use this book for your own personal growth or for a study with other women in your church or neighborhood. In each Power Point you will find a Bible passage to read and several questions to ponder. Don't miss this opportunity! As great as it is to read a book, I believe it's even better to ponder the implications and reflect on the ideas presented in the text. When I was growing up, one of my favorite Sunday school teachers lived at a unique intersection in Dallas: at the corner of two streets named Pensive and Ponder. I think we should all live at the corner of Pensive and Ponder, figuratively speaking. We need to take the time to ponder and reflect upon God's wonderful words to us.
Each Power Point also includes a suggested Bible verse to place in your heart or memorize. (A simple plan for memorizing scripture is presented in chapter 5.) It also has an action plan to stimulate you to apply and put "feet" on what you have just learned. I'm sure you will find these applications simple yet helpful and even fun. This book is meant to be an energy boost for your spirit. It is a quick read with deep truths. It can be a lifestyle changer, if you'll let it.
Perhaps you're asking, "Can any woman be a positive woman? Can someone who tends to be negative, fearful, or unhappy change her attitude and perspective on life?" Yes! Yes! Yes! Every woman has the potential to be a positive woman, because each of us has the opportunity to invite God to work in our lives. We have the choice to look to a wonderful heavenly Father and seek his salvation, power, and strength. After all, the qualities of a positive woman are ultimately the qualities of our awesome God. As God works in us and through us, he is able to conform us to his image. And that's the key: It's his work in us, not our own.
The psalmist recognized the positive qualities of God when he declared:
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed....The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:1-12)
Isn't our heavenly Father wonderful? His desire is to love and forgive us, to be gracious to us. He lifts our lives out of the pit of our circumstances and crowns us with love and compassion. He lovingly teaches us how to live according to his righteousness. He doesn't hold grudges. He is slow to anger. He satisfies and renews our spirits.
As God's children, we have a reason to be enthusiastic about life! I love that word, enthusiasm. We tend to think of enthusiasm as excitement or passion, but its original meaning is "supernatural inspiration or possession by God." It actually comes from two Greek words, en theos literally, "God within." By definition, then, all Christians should be automatically enthusiastic!
But is that what the people around us see? Can they see our enthusiasm? Can they see God within us?
Given the fear, grief, and turmoil that dominates our world (particularly since the events of September 11) there has never been a more important time for the love of God to shine through positive women. If you and I will choose to live life as an enthusiastic expression of the God who lives within us, we will become beacons that shine forth love, faith, wisdom, prayer, joy, courage, and hope in a world that desperately needs each of these qualities. We will have a powerful, positive impact for Christ in our homes, our communities, and beyond.
Never underestimate the power of a positive woman. And that woman can be you!
1. Adapted from Edward Rowell and Bonnie Steffen, Humor for Preaching and Teaching (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1996), 176.