Post Election Lesson From the Divas

When I watch the women in our class dance it out each week, I am simply amazed. Amazed to see women from all different walks of life greet each other with hugs and laughter and then dance their hearts out together.  On any given class day, you may see one “diva” as we lovingly call ourselves challenging another diva to dance harder, shimmy her shoulders, shake those hips just a little more or simply asking about a sick loved one.

Yesterday was the day after the election.  Because we have women who represent the beautiful melting pot quality of our country, I am positive there were women elated over the election results and those who were devastated. I heard many conversations about the eery vibe or tense atmosphere at various workplaces. Yet, ladies still hugged each other, talked about their kids’ activities and encouraged each other about regular-ol-life stuff.

Class started with Mandisa‘s Freedom song. The lyrics are so absolutely riveting and an awesome way to start our class.  The chorus of the song says:

Can anybody hear me?
Does anybody know what I’m talking about?
When you’ve been delivered like that

You’ve got to shout it out
Lift your hands up in the air
Shout Hallelujah
Lift your hands up in the air
I have been set free

The Divas were free indeed. They were free just as we all were to vote and choose. Yet the most amazing part of this “freedom” was the choice to keep moving forward despite the outcome.  No matter what side of the election they were on last night, the divas showed up and danced.

The Divas have a lesson for Americans:

  •  Be compassionate and have empathy-If your candidate won this election, think back to another election where you didn’t get your choice and it is likely you can relate to how others may be feeling. So keep smiling. Don’t post gloating words on social media.  Don’t keep talking about how horrible the other candidate was.  Simply say hello to someone enthusiastically then do a few hip twirls together…trust me it feels amazing!
  • Accept what is with JOY- If your candidate did not win this election, please know, God is in control.  No one gets anything by chance. Accepting the results of the election as God’s will and trusting that HE knows what HE is doing is really the only thing that makes sense.  So keep smiling. Keep dancing. Don’t spew bad words about elected officials you don’t like.  Don’t get mad at everyone you know who voted differently than you. Shake your shimmy just a little harder and go dance-challenge someone. (LOL)

Is it really that simple? YES IT IS. We have all had teachers and bosses we loved and those we couldn’t stand. Just like the divas, we didn’t lay down and stop living. We kept moving. Sometimes it may have been like Paula Abdul (2 steps forward and 2 steps back) but we kept moving.

So America, keep moving.  Keep dancing. Be compassionate. Have empathy. Love…and shake yo shimmy!

1-dance-fit-divas-election

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Uninvited Session 3

bitternessHola Divas! We have been journeying through the Uninvited Bible Study by Lysa TerKeurst.  The Uninvited Bible Study is all about the big R…Rejection. No matter your walk of life, skin color, size, or core beliefs, rejection has its way of creeping into your personal space.  Each week, we have been uncovering new truths about rejection and how to handle it.

Each week, Lysa gives a statement to hold one to:

Week 1:  Live from a deep assurance that you are fully loved and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love, live loved.

Week 2:  I can choose to bring my emptiness or God’s love into any situation I face.

Week 3:  Attention, Intention and Prevention.

Watch Lysa’s teaching on session 3 HERE.

Lysa spent a great deal of time teaching on  1 Samuel 25 during session three.

In 1 Samuel 25 we find three characters, David, Abigail and Nabal. David became furious with Nabal who was a wealthy landowner because he rejected him. David overreacted to Nabal’s rejection and was about to step out of God’s will and take revenge until Abigail intervened.

The way Abigail handled herself with David provides us with three tools to use when faced with rejection: Attention, Intention, and Prevention

ATTENTION

Abigail approached David and his men, and bowed at David’s feet. She respectfully addressed him, and asked him not to pay any attention to Nabal (her husband), admitting that he was a fool.

When we focus on foolish things, we give them the power to alter our circumstances, consume our hearts, and redirect our direction.

INTENTION

Abigail recognized that all David really wanted was food for his men. So she brought him food for his men. Abigail uncomplicated a very messy situation by discerning David’s intentions.

Staying focused on our intention, (our true motive), when rejection rears her head will help us process things through the lens of humility.

PREVENTION

Abigail reminded David of God’s faithfulness in his life, and humbly warned him not to derail his destiny by taking justice into his own hands.

One way to prevent the fangs of rejection from sinking in too deep is to trace God’s faithfulness in your life.

Romans 12:19 (MSG) ….Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.

One of my favorite quotes from the Uninvited book is on page 62:

“With the fullness of God, we are free to let humans be humans-fickle and fragile and forgetful”. WOW.

Please read through chapter 11 to be ready for session 4.

Read our discussions from previous sessions HERE.

Uninvited Bible Study-Session 1- Live Loved

Hola Divas! We started our newest Bible Study, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, last night!!!! The Uninvited Bible Study is all about the big R…Rejection. No matter your walk of life, skin color, size, or core beliefs, rejection has its way of creeping into your personal space. The job you wanted but someone else landed, the love of your life who left,  the friend who will not return your calls, the denial letter, the list goes on and on.  We can all put up a tough front and act like what they said or did had no affect on us.  Yet deep down, the rejection we feel is stuck like the orange on your fingertips when you eat Cheetos.

In the book Uninvited, Lysa describes rejection in a way that is really clear:  “Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me….We connect an event from today to something harsh someone once said.  That person’s line becomes a label.  The label becomes a lie. And the lie becomes a liability in how we think about ourselves and interact in every future relationship.”

One big lesson from session one was:  Rejection never has the final say.  With Jesus, we are forever included, loved, accepted….invited.  But we must choose to “live loved” instead of being and feeling rejected by circumstances.

uninvited-sticky-statement-ch-3-3

Our world clamors at us loudly and keeps us distracted with emails, texts, social media, career, family duties, hobbies, friends, church…etc.  It is almost impossible to “live loved”.  “Living loved” was Lysa’s challenge to us and an effective method to use to walk through our lives .  Living loved means knowing God loves you and SURRENDERING to Him instead of attaching our identity to how things play out.

Living loved is rooted in an intimacy-based identity.  Which means, we must actively seek God to know what He says about us and our situations.

If we are honest, we talk about out situations with our friends more than we actually sit quietly in prayer and meditation.  We pass judgments and evaluate circumstances and people almost instantly instead of settling ourselves by getting God’s perspective.

Isaiah 26:3-4 summed it up best:

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].
4  “Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner], For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]. (AMP)

Challenge:

Before you check your phone for emails and social media notifications in the mornings, give God the very first of your day through Bible reading, prayer, or meditation.  (It doesn’t have to be a long process, try just your first few minutes before interacting with world).

Gaining His perspective before the day even begins might not be a bad idea.

Want more info about our study? Check out the Dance Fit Divas Meetup Page.

 

What Makes You Happy Bible Study-1

Hola Divas and welcome to our newest Bible Study, What Makes You Happy by Andy Stanley.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will explore the pathway to REAL happiness.  We will meet live May 14, May 28, and June 11, at the Parks and Recreation Center in Kernersville at 8:30am.  At each live session, we watch a DVD teaching from the “What Makes You Happy” series by Andy Stanley, read God’s Word and discuss what we have learned.  Can’t get up that early? Don’t live close to us? Don’t worry…follow this study right here! A link to the full message from Andy will be provided at the end of each post.

Let’s Go!

We all want to be happy. As Americans, happiness seems to be part of who we are. What we think will make us happy today, creates a new problem tomorrow we did not consider. The very thing we dreamed about and couldn’t wait to get two years ago is most likely sitting in a box waiting to be donated to charity.

Andy called the happiness “guaranteed” by magazine articles, tv commercials, and facebook ads,…caffeine-happy because happiness from stuff wears off and then we need another “fix”.

In session one, titled “Nothing,” Andy drove home a couple of ideas:

  1. Happiness is always associated with a WHO not a what.
  2. What makes you happy?  NO THING
  3. Happy people are at peace with God, themselves and others.
  4. Peace with God paves the way to peace with ourselves and equips us to make peace with others.

Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. “And love your neighbor as yourself”.

In session two, titled “Plan for It,” Andy reminded us of Jesus’ instructions on how to be happy by teaching on the beatitudes.

Matthew 5:1-10 (NIV)

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5  Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In the original Greek text, the word makarios is used instead of the word “blessed”. Makarios means happy, blessed, to be envied.

At first glance, the Beatitudes don’t seem to have ANYTHING to do with happiness.  But during our time together IRL (in real life), we learned they have EVERYTHING to do with happiness.  Two verses that really stuck out during our discussion were Matthew 5:3 and Matthew 5:5.

Two verses that really stuck out during our discussion were Matthew 5:3 and Matthew 5:5.

Matthew 5:3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. (Matthew 5:3 NIV)

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. (AMP)

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. (MSG)

Andy illustrated Matthew 5:3 with a few statements:

  • People who are “poor in spirit”embrace their daily dependence on God regardless of what they have.
  • People who are poor in spirit recognize that everything is NOT up to them.
  • Happy people are dependent on Him and have a personal relationship with Him

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (NIV)

“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle[the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth. (AMP)

Andy provided a new way of viewing meekness and how it relates to happiness:

  • Meekness is a proper estimation or valuation of oneself within the broader context of God’s creation and love.
  • Meekness provides acceptance of  the place where God has placed me
  • Meekness helps me stop striving to go further than where God has called me to go. (WOW!!!)

Watch the full messages and get discussion questions here:

Session 1: NOTHING

Session 2: PLAN FOR IT

Crash the Chatterbox Session 3-Discouragement

Crash the ChatterboxHola Divas!  Welcome back to our Crash the Chatterbox Bible Study!  If you are just joining us…GREAT!

Here are the deets:

1.  We are in the middle of an awesome Bible Study by Pastor Steven Furtick called Crash the Chatterbox.

2.  The chatterbox is the voice in our heads that utters lies. Lies unfortunately we believe. The chatterbox can be non-stop, intimidating, insinuating, irritating and tiring.

3.  The thoughts we think become actions and emotions.

During each session of this study, we review a tactic the chatterbox uses against us and a strategy to CRASH the chatterbox. Last week, we focused on condemnation.

The chatterbox tells us how bad we are. He or she diminishes the seriousness of sin when they are tempting us and magnifies it after we have fallen. This is a successful tactic because when condemnation is at play, there is usually some truth mixed in with guilt.

What the chatterbox is essentially trying to get us to believe is that we are disqualified by our actions.

In our quest to overpower Condemnation…Pastor Furtick challenged us to know the difference between condemnation and conviction because condemnation is counterfeit conviction.

Here are just a few examples:

Condemnation leads us to believe that we’ll never change and that we aren’t worthy of God’s love. Conviction gives us hope that, even though we sinned, God is still at work in us.

Condemnation paralyzes faith for change, keeping us in bondage. Conviction bears the fruit of faith for change, freeing us to fully grow in the love of God.

Condemnation causes us to wallow in despair and self-pity. Conviction leads to God-centered hope.

To further drive his point home, Pastor Furtick used the “3 P’s” to describe condemnation.

Condemnation makes us think our sin is:

Permanent-there is NO HOPE for any change

Personal-tainting our very identity

Pervasive-extending to every part of our lives

Condemnation does NOT come from God.  God will convict us but he does not condemn us.

We read a Biblical Example of this in John 8:1-11 when Jesus was asked what should be done to a woman “caught in the act of adultery”.  The Pharisees reminded Jesus of the “stoning to death penalty” rule for “those type of women”.  Completely calm, Jesus made the following statement:  “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Surprisingly..cough cough..no one said a word.  In fact, they all left the scene and Jesus told the woman:  “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Since condemnation does not come from God, we can refuse to accept it just like we do an unwanted package.  Without even opening and engaging, we can simply write ” RETURN TO SENDER”.

Return-to-Sender

At the end of our study time, each of us wrote down some of the things the Chatterbox had been screaming at us on a sheet of paper.  We folded the papers and put them in envelopes and wrote RETURN TO SENDER on the outside of them.  Then each woman put her envelope full of the Chatterbox’s condemnation INTO THE SHREDDER!

Chatterbox-Condemnation

Read Chapters 11-13 to be ready for our next session!

Watch the Week 3 Session Recap with Pastor Steven on Condemnation.  (This excerpt is different from what we saw in class an excellent reminder!)

Crash The Chatterbox Session 2

Crash the ChatterboxHola Divas!  Welcome back to our Crash the Chatterbox Bible Study!  If you are just joining us…GREAT! Here are the deets:

1.  We are in the middle of an awesome Bible Study by Pastor Steven Furtick called Crash the Chatterbox.

2.  The chatterbox is the voice in our heads that utters lies. Lies unfortunately we believe. The chatterbox can be non-stop, intimidating, insinuating, irritating and tiring.

3.  The thoughts we think become actions and emotions.

During each session of this study, we review a tactic the chatterbox uses against us and a strategy to CRASH the chatterbox. Last week, we focused on fear.

In case you haven’t noticed, Chatterbox says things that  evoke a sense of fear in us….fear of things within our control and those outside of our control.

The chatterbox uses fear to bully us into cowering and giving up or becoming irrational and making drastic decisions.

What the chatterbox is essentially trying to get us to believe is the future is full of danger and sorrow.

To overpower our fear, …to CRASH the chatterbox…we must learn to say OUTLOUD what God WILL do.

God WILL:

Be the cornerstone of our lives. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Protect us. ( 2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Restore our joy. ( John 10:10)

Give us peace that surpasses understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Put us back together. (1 Peter 5:10)

Open our eyes to new opportunities. (Psalm 119:18)

We can never tune out ALL the chatter—the lies in our minds—but we can learn to tune IN to God’s voice.

The chatterbox says the future is dim, lonely, horrible, but God WILL preserve and protect us.

Pastor Furtick reminded us: “We will never hear God’s voice above all the others if we are tuned into the frequencies of fear”.

Watch the week 3 recap and learn to “fix your focus” to hear God’s voice above all others!

Read chapters 8-10 of the Crash the Chatterbox book to be ready for our next session.

Crash the Chatterbox Session 1

Crash the ChatterboxHola Divas! We had the great pleasure of starting our newest Bible Study….Crash the Chatterbox! If you missed it….you MISSED it!  Don’t worry, we will recap the Bible Study right here on the blog! So here goes….

Inside your head is a chatterbox.

The “Chatterbox” is the voice in our heads that utters lies. Lies unfortunately we believe. The chatterbox can be non stop, intimidating, insinuating, irritating and tiring.

The voice we hear quickly manifests into thoughts.

Thoughts that turn into emotions and reactions. (We reviewed a worksheet that listed how we react when we believe a thought. The worksheet is part of a process called “The Work” by Byron Katie. See the worksheet HERE.)

In Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others, Pastor Steven Furtick focuses on four key areas in which negative thoughts are most debilitating: insecurity, fear, condemnation and discouragement.

He also teaches four confessions to CRASH THE CHATTERBOX.

  1. God says I am-to overpower insecurity
  2. God says He will-to overpower fear
  3. God says I can –to overpower discouragement
  4. God says He has-to overpower condemnation

During session one, we focused on insecurity.

The chatterbox tries to make us feel insecure by attacking our identity:

-You’re not pretty or smart.

-You are not talented enough.

-You will NEVER get over ________.

-You are stuck and never going anywhere.

-You will be alone FOREVER.

To CRASH the chatterbox when it tries to make us insecure about who we are, we have to say OUT LOUD who God says we are.

God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:4)

God says I am the head and not the tail…above and not beneath. (Deuteronomy 28:13)

God says I am his workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)

God says I am redeemed. (Romans 3:25)

It would be easy to repeat these confessions if the chatterbox is always forthcoming. But the chatterbox is a master of deception. It tells a little of the truth but distorts things.

Pastor Furtick gave us an example of this in Chapter 1:

Forthcoming:

Perhaps you should take steps toward spending more focused time reading your Bible, because God has so many promises and truths He wants to reveal to you today.

Distortion:

If you really loved God, you’d spend more time reading your Bible, like people do who have their priorities in order.

Both statements contain of seed of truth. The difference is the first statement has an undertone of AFFIRMATION. The second statement has an undertone of CONDEMNATION.

We can never tune out ALL the chatter—the lies in our minds—but we can learn to tune IN to God’s voice. The chatterbox says we are worthless and rejected, but God says we are His beloved children through Christ.

Watch the highlights of Pastor Furtick’s message “I know I am”.  (Be sure to watch even if you attended Session 1…this video is different from what we watched in our actual study.)

To be prepared for our next study, please read chapters 1-7 in the Crash the Chatterbox book.

Join us in person!  RSVP on our meetup page.

Five Minute Friday-Yes

Hola Divas! Happy Friday. One of the most requested things from our blog have been the Five Minute Friday posts. Sooooo, they are back! Each week, Kate Motaung posts a one-word prompt on her blog and women from all over the world write from their hearts for five minutes then share their words.

If you have never read our Five-Minute Friday posts in the past, you really need to check them out! Today’s word is YES.

Five years ago, I said YES to teaching an eight week session of ZUMBA at the Kernersville Parks and Recreation Center.  Nothing major, just 8 weeks.  I remember thinking “if I can get fifteen people to consistently come to class”…. When over fifty people came to the kick-off class and we had forty-five people stuffed in the small upper room of the gym on our first official class, I couldn’t believe so many people said YES.

To God be the Glory!!!!

My yes was and is bigger than me.

The women who said YES were not my family or close friends.  My family and friends had said YES to so many of my adventures (Amway, Mary Kay, etc)….so God filled our classes.

He ALWAYS chooses us.

From the very moment I stepped on the platform to teach, I knew this dance thing would be part of my ministry.  Yet, I wasn’ t planning anything because, I only said YES to an eight week session.

Half-way through our first session, ladies began to ask: “when is the next session?”.  So I said YES again and again and again until it has been FIVE years of leading the most awesome group of ladies on the planet.

Leading?  I said YES to an eight week session of ZUMBA……that’s it.

But God had other plans.

Plans for our class to serve as a safe haven for women weary from everyday life.

DFD-Belong

Plans for our class to include a Christian Fitness Program (Devoted Fitness). {Oh, and even though some other instructors told me I would probably lose some people when I started playing Christian Music….more people said YES than ever!}

Devoted Fitness

Plans for our class to study God’s Word together. {Can you imagine several crazy women come at 8:30 prior to our Saturday class for Bible Study?…They just keep saying YES!}

Plans for our class to travel together.

Dance Fit Divas Beach

Plans for new friends to be made.

Laura, Becky, Alexis

But for me personally, God had plans for me to pour out my “seriously-don’t-have-it-all-together-life” into other women.

Dance Fit Divas Free-80s

Really????...because I only said YES to an eight week session of ZUMBA.

Honeybee Festival

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Five Minute Friday-Here

Hola Divas! Happy Friday.   One of the most requested things from our blog has been the Five Minute Friday posts. Sooooo, they are back! Each week, Kate Motaung posts a one-word prompt on her blog and women from all over the world write from their hearts for five minutes then share their words.

If you have never read our Five-Minute Friday posts in the past, you really need to check them out! Today’s word is HERE.

Sometimes, getting to your destination is a reason to celebrate.  As you get settled, you take a breath and happily announce..”I’m HERE!!!”.

At other times, HERE is an emotion.  Someone asks you how you are and you simply respond…”I’m HERE“.

HERE can be a destination, an emotion, a way of specifying your location, or a simple answer to let your teacher know you are in class.

Most of all….HERE is the only place we can be right now.

Although I know this, I spend a lot of time rehashing feelings and happenings from old destinations and worrying about those I have not yet experienced.

All my thinking can get pretty noisy.

Perhaps that is why I like the music in our classes so loud.

It makes it kinda hard to do anything but shake, smile and sweat with a great beat and beautiful faces surrounding you.

80’s Class July 9, 2015

But what seems so simple…a dance fitness class, is actually part  of our preparation for our next assignment.

As we take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to take care of others.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

 

Zumba girls

80’s Party July 9, 2015

 

Five Minute Friday on Saturday-FREE

Hola Divas and happy weekend!  One of the most requested things from our blog has been the Five Minute Friday posts.  Sooooo, it’s back…a day late but back nonetheless!  Each week, Kate Motaung posts a one-word prompt on  her blog and women from all over the world write from their hearts for five minutes then share their words.

If you have never read our Five-Minute Friday posts in the past, you really need to check them out! Today’s word is FREE.

Earlier this month, we had an 80’s party during class.  To say it was a blast is a complete understatement.  The Divas went all in with costumes, make-up and a boat load of sassy-ness.

IMG_0869

 

Look at the smiles…these ladies were FREE……for one silly moment.

With every thing going on in our country, FREEdom has seemed hard…polarizing even.

But there is something liberating about shaking your hips, sweating, hooping and hollering with a room full of other women…and it all starts with a prayer.  Yep, that’s the way the Divas get down.

God’s word is true….”For where two or three are gathered together……there am I in the midst of them”. (Matthew 18:20)

I caught a glimpse of what being FREE really means standing on stage, watching beautiful women of all sizes, shapes, colors and life circumstances dance to a rendition of Gloria Estefan’s 80’s hit “Conga”.

FREE was that exact moment.

Divas Dancing

FREE was not thinking about anything else but being fully immersed in what was happening and being so thankful for it.

Dance Fit Divas Free-80s