Find an easier, more sustainable, more feminine productivity groove by switching to the natural calendar

Writer’s note: This post is the second in a series of posts exploring the natural calendar as a more easeful planing tool for women. Last week in the first installment, we looked at why biorhythms are a powerful, more harmonious way for women to get things done in tune with their bodies.

Happy New Year …. in March! We’re two days away from the Spring Equinox, which is also known as the astrological new year.

If that term “astrological” freaks you out and makes you think of fortun tellers and crystal balls, then think of it as the beginning of the “agricultural year”–the start of the planting, nurturing, harvesting, resting cycle that farmers have used since the dawn of time.

I adopted this calendar about two years ago, and it’s been one of the best changes I ever made. When I ran my own business I ran by this calendar. Now that I am working in someone else’s business again for a season, I of course have to run by the western calendar at work. But in terms of my own goal-setting and productivity at home, this is my new year.

Why would I adopt a calendar that feels so “radical” compared to how the whole rest of our whole world is set up?

It’s simple. Because the natural calendar honors my God-given feminine body, feminine way of knowing and feminine wisdom.

We’ll talk about feminine energy more another day … but for now, suffice to say that feminine energy is earthy, it is in-the-moment and it is tied to the body. This is why I believe Satan attacks so many women with sexual trauma, body shame issues and even physical assault–because the more disconnected we become from our bodies, the harder it is for us to live in the glorious natural rhythms and full internal power that is our birthright as women.

Because women are more “earthy” in our orientation and more intuitive about what’s going on around them (versus men who are more stuck in their heads …. sorry, guys!), our bodies natural pick up on the energy cycles of the universe.

Our monthly menstrual cycle is just one example; if healthy, it roughly mimics the lunar cycle. Many women I know also “just know” that something is happening even before they get confirmation–and they’re often right.

For this reason, we’re super attuned to the energy cycles of the season. And yes, the seasons do have them. Energy begins to cycle upward again at the winter solstice, but it’s really not until spring that we can ride that energy planting the seeds of something new. In the northern hemisphere, days get longer, people are outside doing more, and general life runs at a higher pace, with this pace climbing all the way through the summer solstice. Then it begins to fall again. By the autumnal equinox, we’re harvesting what we planted back in spring, and then by the winter solstice our bodies are demanding slumber during the coldest, darkest days of the year.

Come Spring Equinox, the cycle starts all over again.

The general idea here is to treat your schedule–your home improvement projects, your business, your vacations, your goals for your children, etc.–like a field you’re planting. Drop the seeds into the soil and water well in spring. Cultivate during summer. Begin to harvest the fruit of what you’ve sown in the fall and REST REST REST during the winter.

Your body already craves this. Think about how much more energy you have when it’s light later outside, and how hard it is to get out of bed at 5 AM when it’s snowing outside and dark until 8 AM.

Even here in the Arabian Desert where I live, I feel my energy spiking up HIGH now that it’s still light when I’m leaving work at 7 PM … even though the temperature has been moderate and every day has been sunny, all winter long.

So based on this cycle, it’s actually New Year coming up on the 21st of March. This, for me, is the time to commence new things, to create resolutions (which I prefer to call “intentions”–will share more about that next week), and to general increase my activity level around fresh goals.

And I absolutely love it. I ride the energy wave through the summer, begin to round things up in the fall and then have permission to take a breather in the winter when my body actually demands it.

And that’s the key: when my body actually demands it.

So much of modern life is a denial of our bodies, a denial of our natural way of working and our intuition. You might say that modern life in general is an assault on women’s ways of knowing.

Masculine energy is very much aligned toward the four-quarter business system on our traditional calendar that starts in January. Masculine energy “pushes through” no matter what the season. Masculine energy makes decisions from head, not body, and is, in general, oblivious to what is going on in the cycles and seasons of the universe.

This was not always the case. In the past, both masculine and feminine wisdom were necessary for everyone to survive, in a sense. Not so anymore.

But to live on the masculine calendar is, for me as a woman, to frustrate and grieve myself unnecessarily with work patterns that aren’t a fit for me. It leads to so much self-loathing, unhappiness and exhaustion.

In releasing that, I have found so much joy.

So what does it actually look like when I set intentions at the Spring Equinox and then begin to implement them? I’m glad you asked. We’ll tackle that next week.

* * *

Have you as a woman ever used the natural cycle or agricultural calendar to run your year? What did you find by embracing this ancient way of working?

God Is My ATM, No Matter How Offensive That Sounds

Double blessings over Tuscany, Sept 2017

I believe God wants us to have the things we are longing for—relationally, creatively and materially.

Let me say that again.

I believe God wants us to have the things we are longing for—relationally, creatively and materially.

If that sounds like I believe God is my ATM, ready to dole out relationships, artistic projects and cash when I need them …. no, you’re not crazy. And yes I do believe that.

I say “God is my ATM” frequently, and people have a visceral reaction to it. Many have told me they’re offended when I say that, because it implies God is some kind of genie ready to fulfill my desires.

I would have had that same reaction once upon a time … and today, I believe that response indicates more about the state of our hearts than the soundness of our theology.

So I’m gonna say it again:

God wants us to have the things we are longing for …. and He’s ready to send them, just like cash out of an ATM.

Before you click away, convinced I must have either lost my marbles, or decided to fashion God in my own image, hear me out. If the above statement is true, then the way we’re going about asking for what we want is not just wrong. It’s pushing us in the opposite direction of what we truly want.

Think about it. As a Christian woman, I used to approach my desires with a considerable amount of fear and suspicion. God might want me to have what I was asking for. He might not. I couched every prayer carefully to ensure I would demonstrate an openness both to receiving and not receiving, according to His will. I did my best to wrestle down my feelings of longing for the outcome I was seeking. In a sense, I tried my best to deny the desire.

Is it any wonder I rarely got what I was seeking … or wanting?

Because I wasn’t entirely convinced God wanted me to have what I desired, deep down, I would reluctantly enter into situations that didn’t reflect my desire or even drew me in the opposite direction. Surrender, I thought, demanded I be willing to do this.

If truth be told, I often ran straight into those situations as some kind of punishment, to keep me from desiring what I desired too much. Especially because it never seemed to come to fruition, no matter how hard I prayed. So God couldn’t possibly want it. Right?

I can’t count the number of times I heard preaching on Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (KJV) This teaching reinforced my doubt of the desires deep in my heart and made praying for them an experience that was one part blind hope, one part wishful thinking and one part pure anxiety.

Rarely did I hear anyone preach on Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Honestly, most of the theology I grew up with was far more focused on loss than receiving.

All that changed one day in July of 2016, when God spoke to me audibly for the first time in my life, launching my journey as a prophet. The first message He spoke to me was:

“You do not know how to receive love.”

I’ll write the details of that day some other day, but the general gist of the story is this. For the next three years, God began to show me how much He did want to give me. And that the desires of my heart—the deepest ones—weren’t purely selfish. He had put them there from the time I was a small girl. And He intended to fulfill them, if (and only if) I would come to a place where I truly opened myself to receiving them and allowed Him to give.

This was progress. Real progress. I saw new window of Heaven open and pour out things I’d desired for years (emotional healing, weight loss, more loving/connected friendships, my dream apartment, world travel, courage to speak my truth).

But the biggest things—a healthy, Kingdom-focused marriage; children; a wide audience of women in need of ministry; a large and gracious home to show hospitality and use as a base for ministry; financial overflow at the highest levels—still remained elusive.

I still prayed for them, and did so with a little more faith and a little less anxiety than before. But they persisted in remaining absent from my life. Which caused me to waver in my belief that these thins were God’s will.

Maybe it was His will to send me friends, apartments and trips to Europe … but God-fearing husbands and a passel of children belonged to a much higher category?

In reality, I realize now that what I had done was expand the limits of my allowed happiness and blessing enough that I could receive some of what I want. But receiving all of what I wanted would require me to expand those limits even further. And, I realize now, it would require me to actually believe God wanted to bless me with exactly wha I was asking for.

Does that statement strike fear in your heart the way it used to mine? Or at least make you uncomfortable enough that you’re tempted to squirm in your seat, or immediately register a comeback about how “God is not a genie in a bottle” or “He’s more interested in our happiness than our holiness”?

There’s something about the possibility of getting what we want that terrifies us.

The thought that God the good, good father who is excited to bless us with our sincerest, deep-down desires (which are not simply rooted in selfishness) is one of the most fear-inducing thoughts I know.

That little tickle of fear in your gut is the ceiling I’m talking about.

That’s doubt.

Today, I believe that we have not because we ask not—not really—because we’re asking in doubt. And a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Such a person cannot expect anything from God. (Matthew 6, James 1:5-8)

I was getting warmer at this point. I began praying with more faith. But I still wasn’t sure I could trust that God actually wanted to give me Everything I was asking for. My prayers still sounded more like cajoling, begging or passionate requests undercut with, “but if it’s not Your Will, then don’t give it to me.”

Thank God He’s merciful enough not to send fire from heaven down on such faithlessness.

He’s also merciful to send us the answers we seek.

Recently, I was enjoying a post on prayer that dropped into my inbox via the Elijah List newsletter, which shares prophetic words on a daily basis. This day was like any other, and I expected the newsletter to be like any other. But what I read actually stopped me in my tracks.

The prophet of the day, John Burton, shared how he had been asking God for many of his deepest desires—like a larger space for his church to meet and the ability to quit his job to focus on ministry. Yet those prayers went unanswered, until one day God interrupted the middle of his prayer session …. to tell him he was praying completely wrong, and ought to stop now!

According to Burton, God said to him, “You are praying as if I’m resisting you. Don’t you realize I put those desires in your heart? Why are you begging Me for a desire that I initiated? I gave you the desire in the first place!”

Wow.

Just … wow.

Burton was as shocked when he heard that, as I as reading it. Because it described my prayer life for years: I was praying to God as if He were inherently resistant to my requests …. which, deep down, revealed that ceiling or limit I mentioned earlier. On the one hand, I was willing to pray for what I wanted. But on the other hand, I truly didn’t believe He could possibly want to give me those things.

In Burton’s experience, God went on to tell him that the real person resisting his desires was Satan. And that if Burton wanted to experience breakthrough, He needed to break the demonic bonds holding back his blessings.

By praying in this way, Burton crossed the line from facing God as an adversary, to joining hands with him as team members in bringing these God-given desires to pass.

Within a month, his fledgling church of 35 people received $75,000 in checks in the offering. Burton quit his day job to focus on ministry—and the church moved into a 27,000 square-foot meeting space.

This story completely overhauled how I think about praying for my biggest desires. Because for years, I prayed as if God were my “enemy” (in a loose sense, though I wouldn’t have seen it that way) keeping me from having what I wanted.

Now I understand that Satan is the enemy. As long as I am begging God for what He already wants to give—instead of standing in authority against Satan and warring for the release of my blessing—nothing will change.

So does God want to give us our deepest heart’s desires? I 100% believe He does—and the parts of our lives that bring us the most grief are a direct reflection of moments when we chose what we thought we could get rather than warring for the blessing we really wanted.

I often say “God is my ATM,” and people get mad, or accuse me of treating God like He’s at my beck and call.

He’s certainly not my slave. Not at all. But I HAVE chosen to partner with Him in this walk of faith—and as He changes me into His image and deepens certain desires in my heart—even physical and material ones—I can only choose to believe that He intends to fulfill those.

Desire, my friends. Desire hard, and war for your blessing. Desire is not the problem; our lack of faith and Satan’s crafty schemes are the issue.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. But you’ve got to clear out the unbelief inside of you, make space to receive those blessings and war for them.

When you take God at His Word, He really is like an ATM. Not perhaps for your every whim, but for everything you desire deep down, everything holy thing your spirit craves and everything you need.

And yes, many times He really does want to send the things you desire. Things that really don’t exist other than just to delight you.

He’s good like. Really good. Take Him at His word–and confront your adversary the devil.

The contents of your spiritual bank account are far greater than you could ever draw upon in 100 lifetimes.