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Start Fresh and Love Life!
By Beth Jones
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Change (something) so much that it appears to be entirely new.
Why a book on reinventing yourself, starting fresh, and loving life? As a pastor and mentor, I've ministered to thousands of people over the past thirty years, and I've noticed something. Many people feel stuck or wonder why they aren't further along at this point in their lives. Others are taking stock of their lives and trying to figure out what they want to be "when they grow up" or how to make more of a difference.
It seems like everyone would like to reinvent, redo, or reset some area of their lives. And here's the thing—those who believe they can reinvent their lives, do.
But what do these people have that you don't? Are they more spiritual, talented, connected, or gifted? Absolutely not! Maybe they've just been empowered with the right tools, they believed they could, and they decided to go for it?
GOD IS FOR YOU!
With God on your side, you can reinvent—no matter what season you're in or what challenge you're facing. It's time to obliterate the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. That's why this book is loaded, not with the greatest sounding theories, but with proven strategies and dozens of "ah-ha" moments that will reignite your passion for life, empower you to realize your full potential, and equip you to start living in your God-given purpose! Whether the canvas of your life is spotless or splattered with paint of every color, you really can Reinvent: start fresh and love life!
How do I know?
Not only have I witnessed firsthand in others what God can do, but also He has been reinventing my life for the past forty years. (He's had a lot to work with!) From my first experiences with a bully in kindergarten to my parents' split when I was eight and then being raised by a single mom; to walking two miles to church in search of God; to years of feeling rejected and unwanted as a teenager and young adult; to a bit of persecution as the first believer in my family; to criticism as a woman in church leadership; to the craziness of raising four kids and the pressures of pioneering a church; to thyroid cancer and the health challenges that came from a whacked-out parathyroid; to the heartbreak of betrayals when I least expected it; to feeling overlooked and hidden while my dreams were deferred yet again; and to the normal challenges of life, marriage, family, finances, and ministry—I can tell you now, the Lord has done more than I could have thought of or asked for in every area of my life. I am living proof—as are many others—that God is still in the reinventing business!
I know the Lord wants the same for you!
That's my goal—and the reason—for this book!
I've been praying for you, and I want to empower you with practical solutions, positive inspiration, and the biblical wisdom you need to reinvent your life! Every time I sat down to write, with my tall Americano (coffee drink, not my six-foot-six husband) and laptop, I asked the Lord for the right words, for the right stories, and for all the dots to connect to help you reinvent!
REINVENTING YOURSELF IS FUN!
I first taught these principles twenty years ago to a group of 500 Christian entrepreneurs, inventors, and creators, as one of the speakers at a leadership conference. I have since taught them many times to college students, conference attendees, on television, and to the church family that my husband and I pastor. I love to watch what God does as people get ahold of these principles.
I don't want to sugarcoat it: Reinventing yourself is fun, and it works—but it won't just happen by hoping for it or looking for good vibes. There's no Tinker Bell dust to "throw around like confetti" for instant results. (But you already know that—that's why you have this book in your hands.) Reinvention is a strategic, intentional faith adventure, and by following the step-by-step plan God has revealed in His Word and throughout this book, you will be able to create your own customized reinvention roadmap to experience it!
You can reinvent your happiness. Your family. Your friendships. Your success. Your income. Your impact. Your health. Your relationship with the Lord. Your satisfaction. And so much more…
WHAT WILL THIS BOOK DO FOR YOU?
At the heart of this book is the unwavering belief that you can reinvent any area of your life. In every chapter, you will find the ingredients you need to make your own reinvention secret sauce, as well as markers for plotting out your own game plan.
You'll receive fresh revelation, practical how-tos, and dozens of innovative ideas for transforming your life in a holistic way—spirit, soul, and body.
You'll receive wisdom from God's Word as well as the real-life stories of those who have put these principles to work in both sacred and secular arenas. I'll also reveal the personal, awkward, and embarrassing reinvention lessons I've learned along the way—proven, time-tested principles that I am happy to share with you!
Let me give you a sneak peek into where we're going…
In Part 1 of the book, I will introduce you to the 4 Reasons to Reinvent Your Life. As we take our time to unpack each reason, you will receive loads of revelation and motivation to help you reinvent your life in a systematic, God-touched way. We'll cover these four reasons:
Reinvent Reason #1: The Gaps
Reinvent Reason #2: The Crossroads
Reinvent Reason #3: The Future
Reinvent Reason #4: The Love
Each reason we discuss will answer nagging questions you may have about the current state of your life, and they will empower and bolster your internal resolve to reinvent. By taking our time to carefully examine the reasons to reinvent, you will have a better understanding of your starting point, and this will be an important key to your reinvention. Not only that, but also by giving your attention to each one of these reasons to reinvent, you will strengthen your foundation for a reinvention that will last.
In Part 2 of the book, we will get very practical as I help you answer the 4 Questions to Reinvent Your Life. These questions are found embedded in the Bible, within the story of a remarkable, widowed, single mom of two boys (whom we will affectionately call the Maven). She experienced a phenomenal God-touched reinvention by answering these four questions and so will you.
Reinvent Question #1: What do you want?
Reinvent Question #2: What do you have?
Reinvent Question #3: What will you do?
Reinvent Question #4: Why will you do it?
Consider this book your personal handbook, cookbook, and field guide. I believe the Lord will speak to your heart with His wisdom and witty ideas as you read each chapter.
FOR THOSE NEW TO ME, HERE'S A QUICK INTRODUCTION
I'm a gal from Kalamazoo! (It's true, and also—for those over fifty—a hat tip to the Glenn Miller song!) I've been a follower of Jesus for the past forty years (Best. Reinvention. Ever.) and I'm passionate about helping people know Him. I've been married to my husband, Jeff, for over thirty years, and we have four adult kids, all of whom are married to amazing people we affectionately call our "in-loves." The grandbaby season has just begun, and at the moment we have two sweet grandbabies.
For the past thirty years, in addition to raising our four kids, I have served in ministry working alongside Jeff. It's been a wild ride and a faith adventure, often with only one nostril above water, but by God's grace, we pioneered and pastor Valley Family Church—a megachurch in a small community with some of the most amazing people in all of Southwest Michigan. Along the way, I've written twenty books to help people "get a grip" on the Bible basics, and these days, we air The Basics With Beth TV program around the world on traditional and smart TV platforms.
I'LL BE OVER HERE CHEERING YOU ON…
While we may never actually meet in person, through the miracle of the written page and the prayers that have gone with this book I'll be like the wild mom in the bleachers hollering, "You can do this! You've got it! C'mon, keep going! I'm so proud of you!" (And, when you're tempted to give up, I'll be here to give you the "No more whining, Cupcake! Don't quit now!" pep talk.) #highfivesallaround
You are filled with incredible God-given potential, and with God on your side, your reinvention is possible! Whether you want to revive dormant dreams or aim for new aspirations, or whether you're facing an old or an unexpected challenge, dealing with change, or just need an upgrade in life, you can tap into God's power to make things entirely new. You can reinvent. You can start fresh. You can love life!
Let's pray, so you can get started!
Father, I pray for every person reading this book. I ask You to help them to reinvent their lives—empower them to start fresh and love life, according to Your will. I pray You give them the wisdom and revelation they need to reach their greatest God-given potential. And…I ask You to pour out a fresh anointing of joy upon them in the process! May eternal fruit be the result of our time together in these pages. In Jesus's mighty name, amen!
God has heard our prayer! Here we go…
PART 1: START FRESH!
4 REASONS TO REINVENT YOUR LIFE
REINVENT REASON #1: THE GAPS
The Gap is Real
You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
C. S. Lewis
I was pregnant with our fourth child. The water in the tiny rented cottage we called home smelled like sulfur (i.e., rotten eggs) and was loaded with so much iron it had the hair of our three ultra-blond-headed kids (and their toenails) turning orange. We were planting a church, raising toddlers, living on Barely-Get-Along Street, and living in an extremely difficult season of reinvention. I blamed my husband for our predicament—after all, it had to be someone's fault. (Smile.)
My husband slept in the "attic-like" loft, and the kids were in a makeshift closet-turned-bedroom. I had the one microscopic bedroom all to myself because I was pregnant and hormonal and huge—and we weren't in a "let's spoon" season.
Meanwhile, we were pioneering our beloved Valley Family Church and had put all of the money we had from our savings and retirement (it wasn't much) into planting the church. The church launched, but she didn't explode with growth overnight—no, she was on the "turtle plan" and grew ever so slowly.
The gap was real! Meaning, there was a huge gap between the ideal life we envisioned and the real life we were living.
In our ideal life, we were a happy couple, apparently having good sex and popping out a baby every two years! We envisioned our idyllic life—a loving family living in a four-bedroom house on a lake and driving around town in our customized conversion van while belting out VeggieTales praise songs with the kids. We loved pastoring a healthy church in Kalamazoo and wouldn't you know…just like the apostle Paul in Antioch, "the whole city came to hear the Word"—because, geez, we weren't building a monument. This was a movement!
In our ideal world, all of this was happening.
Plus, we lived a balanced life and Jesus was glorified, on earth as it is in heaven. Yes, amen!
In our real life, Jeff and I were in separate rooms and our kids had orange stinkin' toenails! We didn't have two nickels to rub together. Our Suzuki Sidekick didn't have enough seat belts for our entire family and our rented home (what we affectionately called the sulfur pit) was disgusting. Our first church leadership team might have been part of a witness protection program (sorta kidding).
We hadn't slept through the night for God knows how long and we were mainlining coffee. We weren't praying for Jesus to be glorified; we were praying for Jesus to come get us!
When "Thou shalt deliver my soul from hell" (Psalm 16:10) was our go-to comfort verse, we knew we had troubles in River City!
Yep, there was a gap!
It was a rough time, and it was going to take years of God's reinventing work to give us the wisdom, maturity, and sleep we needed to experience the good fruit we knew He wanted to grow in and through our lives.
There. Do you feel better? I hope so.
I know we all have our stories. And it's our stories—and the gaps—that remind us of our need to reinvent. Why reinvent? Because the gap is real!
There is a gap in our lives when our ideal self and our real self seem to be miles apart. The gap can exist in any area of our lives where we're dissatisfied or feel we're missing the mark. The gap is the difference between what we envisioned our life would look like by now and what it actually looks like.
In other words, have you ever thought, By this time in my life, I expected to be here or there…or By now I thought I would have accomplished this or done that…? The distance between your ideal self (who you thought you would be) and your real self (who you actually are) is the gap.
The good news is that with God's help we can reinvent our lives and close the gap. We're going to spend a few chapters talking about the gap and identifying where it shows up in our lives.
Being honest about our gaps is a critical first step in the reinvention process.
The gap is when your hopes are deferred again and yet again. The gap between your ideal life and your real life can be very disheartening. The writer of Proverbs captured this perfectly:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 NLT)
Hope deferred is when your hopes, dreams, desires, goals, and vision seem to take forever!
In your ideal life you hope for it, you see it, and you've believed, prayed, fasted, confessed, pedaled, worked, served, and faithfully done all you know to do—for three years or maybe three decades—to see it realized.
Yet, in your real life, you're dismayed, disappointed, and heartsick, because these things have not yet materialized. When you're still waiting for your time, your mate, your baby, your open door, your opportunity, your success, your miracle, or your big break, it's easy to slip into self-pity, depression, anger, despair, and jealousy—especially as you watch everyone else soar to the heavens with their dreams.
And if you're honest, you're just a little perturbed with God and everybody else.
A dream fulfilled is when at last your goal is reached! Your vision has come to pass. God has opened doors. Your time has come. Business is booming. Your mate has arrived. The baby is on the way. Divine connections are happening. You've got favor. You are at the right place at the right time. This is a tree of life and the fruit—spirit, soul, and body—is delicious!
The gap between hope deferred and a dream fulfilled is a big deal. Whether it's in every area of your life or in the one area most important to you, when fruit is hard to come by, the delay can be crushing.
If you are in this "hope deferred" season and feeling fruitless, it's easy to become very discouraged and tempted to quit everything! But don't…the Lord wants to encourage you!
This reminds me of Jesus's Parable of the Fruitless Tree.
He also spoke this parable:
A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.
Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, "Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?"
But he answered and said to him, "Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down." (Luke 13:6–9)
While the Parable of the Fruitless Tree may have prophetic inferences, it definitely has practical implications and serves as a great metaphor for us.
Let's replay the story.
Jesus said the vineyard owner (God, the Father) came seeking fruit on his fig tree and found none! The Lord wants His trees (you and me) to be fruitful. This tree had all the potential in the world to produce fruit and yet, year after year, it did not.
Finally, after three years of fruitlessness, the vineyard owner said, "Cut it down!"
That's when the gardener (Jesus) piped up, "Wait! Let's give it one more year! Let me reinvent it by digging around the roots and fertilizing it—and if it doesn't produce fruit, then you can cut it down."
Jesus didn't give up on the tree. He wanted it to produce fruit and He was convinced a lot could happen in one year. That's encouraging for us!
Do you feel like the fruitless tree? Whether in your spiritual life and sense of destiny, your physical health, your business and financial welfare, or in your relationships? If you see a gap between the fruit of the ideal life you envisioned and the fruit in the real life you're living, Jesus wants to help you dig around the roots and fertilize to produce more fruit! (#reinvent!)
Let's talk about fruit. Fruit is an interesting thing. Think about it. The first words God ever spoke to mankind way back in Genesis were "Be fruitful and multiply."
Of all the words God could have chosen, of all the phrases He could have spoken, why this phrase? He could have said, "Welcome to earth!" Or, "Hey, humans, I love you." Or, "Be nice."
Instead, His command to "be fruitful and multiply" reminds us of the God-given drive for fruit, increase, reproduction, growth, and impact that He put on the inside of every person! He has created us to produce fruit—whether in producing more children, growing more crops, building a business, or multiplying our influence. We have a God-given desire to "be fruitful and multiply."
And, not just a little bit—God put big dreams within us!
That's why we dislike not being fruitful. That's why fruitlessness is a big deal.
The desire for temporal fruit, success, and influence compels us—but there is an eternal desire within us, too. We don't just want to make a dent in the universe; we want to produce fruit that will put a dent in eternity.
God wants that for us, too! He wants our lives to be fruitful—He wants us to enjoy fruit in this life and produce fruit that will last for eternity.
When there is a gap in the fruitfulness of our lives, we are not satisfied. So, what kind of fruit is the Lord interested in? Thankfully, He defined it for us.
First, there's the fruit of the Spirit: "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" (Galatians 5:22–23 NLT). As God reinvents our lives, we should see an increasing harvest of the fruit of the Spirit.
Second, there's the fruit of eternal influence. Jesus said, "You didn't choose me, but I've chosen and commissioned you to go into the world to bear fruit. And your fruit will last, because whatever you ask of my Father, for my sake, he will give it to you!" (John 15:16 TPT). Nothing is more fulfilling than reinventing our lives to close the gap and produce this kind of lasting fruit.
However, fruitfulness is not always an easy process.
Friends of ours who own a large commercial greenhouse business described it this way. In the perfect climate of the greenhouse where they can control the temperature, water, light, and nutrients, plants flourish! (If only life were that way.) In the greenhouse, they can plant, plan, and prepare for growth and fruitfulness, but they cannot force the process.
Well, sort of…
Our friends told us they could "force grow" a tomato plant with fertilizer—but, in doing so, it would never produce fruit! The plant would grow quickly and shoot straight up. It would look like a tomato plant and smell like a tomato plant, but it would never produce one tomato—the very purpose for which is was created! (That's a big gap!)
They explained it this way—when the plant is forced to grow too fast, the short little roots do not have time to develop, and as a result the plant appears to be mature but is unable to produce fruit.
Thankfully, the Lord won't "force grow" us to close the gaps in our life. (Ever noticed? God is not in a hurry.) He won't speed things up to our detriment and fruitlessness! The Lord won't cut corners for quick gains—He wants to produce real fruit in our lives. (We'll talk more about that in the next chapter.)
Why reinvent? Because we all have gaps between our ideal life and our real life. Because our hopes have been deferred for some time and we're ready to taste the tree of life. Because we want to see more fruit in our lives. Yep, there's one simple reason to reinvent: The gap is real!
- How does the idea that the gap is real impact your desire to reinvent your life?
- How would you describe the gap between your real life and ideal life at this time?
- In what ways do you feel your hopes have been deferred and/or how do you relate to the Parable of the Fruitless Tree?
The Fruit is Sparse
Let's face it. It's taken years for you to learn to be the person you are, so you're not going to change overnight. But the good news is that you can unlearn those aspects that you want to change and chart a new path in life. And it's never too late to start, whether you're twenty, forty, sixty, or eighty!
I did a very nonofficial survey on my Instastory and asked, "If you were able to get a life 'do-over,' what would you most want to 'do over' or change?"
The honest answers I received were interesting and heartfelt.
- I would be myself sooner. When you're young it's difficult to be happy with who you are because you are trying to fit in or not draw attention to yourself. —Age 26
- I wouldn't be as introverted and always quiet. I end up losing friends. —Age 17
- Take more risks big and small. —Age 32
- On Sale
- May 5, 2020
- Page Count
- 320 pages