Let Yourself be Captivated

Hello and Welcome!

I am excitedly anticipating the beauty of spring and can't wait to explore all the newness that comes with this season. This post encourages you to let yourself be captivated with the nuances and details of life as it presents itself to you. Enjoy! 

Can you remember the last time you let yourself be caught up in the details? I’m not talking about critiquing an email or a proposal. I’m not referring to critically judging effort or choices. When was the last time you moved in close and used every sense to experience the moment?

Lukasz-szmigiel-33891-unsplash - Forest

It seems like it was another lifetime ago when I walked the local metro park to exchange the energy of the city for the color and comfort of the woods. My desire was to meld into the scenery, being present and anticipating the surprises it held for me. I heard sounds of thick branches falling and the rustling of the forest floor as squirrels searched for treasure. I enjoyed the falling rain on the tree leaves and the refreshing scent filling the air. The cardinal’s red splash of color against the brown limbs made me smile. I remember being intensely startled by the sight and sound of 20 deer bursting out of the woods into the field. Such power and grace in motion. What a “wow” moment that’s forever embedded in my memory.

God designs creation with unfathomable detail and it’s made known to you and me when we stop and consider it. What benefit do you receive by fixating on notes within a melody or the individual brush strokes of a painting? What do you gain by letting yourself be fascinated with the tiny nuances of anything? As for me, I have to counter those questions with, “Do I have the time to let myself be captivated?” The answer is yes and for good reason. 

Here's what you gain--


You gain deeper appreciation for the talent and gifts of others that allows them to create beauty in the same way our Father has.

Real Time Presence 

By narrowing your focus on the details, it brings you very present in the present.

Renewed Curiosity

Letting yourself be fascinated helps you see and listen with more clarity in that moment and beyond.


Here’s what can change within you as you focus on the details--

A slowing down. A physical change where mind and body are at ease.

Your curiosity comes awakens and is activated.

You're open to the richness of life and creation.


Karl-fredrickson-74973-unsplash - SpringSee, I’m doing a new thing! Are you not perceiving it? Isaiah 43:19

I know I’m moving so fast through my life that the details are a blur. I’m also aware that I’m missing “it”. I don’t understand how I got so that I only want the snippets of the story, the bottom line, and the point. I’m deliberating throwing away the details as insignificant. Who has time for “it”? Do you? As I choose to appreciate, be present in this moment, and be curious, I connect with creation, the person in front of me, and with God. God is doing new things all around me and connecting to Him is like connecting to wi-fi thereby increasing my sensitivity to the now. I want to perceive! I want to see God at work in my life, in the lives of others, and in this world. That won’t happen unless I’m paying attention.

Anthony-rossbach-59478-unsplash - SpringDo you ever wonder what you might be missing?

God likes details. He was all about the fine points when he instructed Moses and the Israelites on the preparation for the Tabernacle. If you read Exodus, the specific design, measures, colors, and ornamentation ordered by God is incredible. From clothing to woodwork, God had a design and was concerned with every tiny bit of it. But, it goes deeper than that. God is very much concerned about the nuances and details of every human life. Let me show you. In Genesis, God came to Hagar in the desert calling her by name. He consoles her and leads her back to the camp. With His eyes roaming the earth, He found Hagar. God’s detailed plan for her life didn’t include that desert experience and He led her out of it. God demonstrated his care of her. In John’s gospel, Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan focuses on the relationships in her life. Not to condemn, but to show her a different path. Is God really that concerned with the paths you take? Definitely. Even more, Psalm 139 says God knows when you sit, when you rise, perceives your thoughts, and is familiar with all your ways. God cares about every detail of your life. Because God is interested and invested in the details, I want to do the same. 

Maarten-van-den-heuvel-239204-unsplash - BulbsMarch Challenge

With spring’s arrival there will be plenty of opportunities to engage your senses and get curious about spring’s display as things that are dormant renew in infinite ways. I encourage and challenge you to appreciate the details that are revealed as bulbs sprout, buds open, birds sing, the earth thaws, and spring's colors burst forth bit by bit. It will mean you’ll have to stop moving, take a look, train your ear, slow the rhythm of your thoughts and appreciate. You might have to bend low or turn you head up toward the sky. My hope is that as you let yourself be captivated with the details you will experience "time standing still" moments. When was the last time you were so fully engrossed in an activity that you completely forgot about the element of time? If you can’t remember, then I believe you should try this challenge. Live fully present. Perceive what God is doing within you and around you! Be amazed by the glory of the Lord.

Icon Hearts Encouraged (2)
Blog Update

In the near future, I will be creating a Facebook (FB) author page and posting FB Live videos. The purpose is to provide real time encouragement for you as you pursue God and take that relationship to the next level. You can join in during the Live event and comment, or you can watch later. Comment anytime as I will get those and respond. I’ll post the link here and on my personal FB page when the Author Page is up and then you can Like It.

Always, I am thankful for you being part of this Hearts Encouraged group and I’m very open to your feedback and special requests. Just let me know. Thank you for sharing the blog fellow encouragers!

Fondly, Terri


Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash  (Spring)

Photo by Anthony Rossbach on Unsplash (Bee)

Photo by Maarten-van-den-heuvel on Unsplash (Bulbs)

My Quest for Peace Stressed Me Out

Don’t you just hate it when you lose something? It’s even worse when you lose it a second time. I had peace, then it left me or I lost it. All I know is that my search for peace left me stressed out. You can’t experience peace if you’re pressuring yourself to be at peace! That’s just being crazy which is where I find myself frequently these days. Yes, I live better when my heart and mind is at peace but striving for it is not the method Jesus prescribes. So, how do I hold onto this treasure, make it my lived experience? Last month’s post focused on stress and how it can consume our life and steal from us. This month I’m encouraging you (and me, too) to let peace have its way in your heart and mind.

Peace 4 - Peace path

When I dwell on what peace can do, I think of so many wonderful possibilities. Peace is that healing balm for a hurting heart, a craving for a busy mom, or a sense of well-being that calms a worried mind. Peace soothes and refreshes over-whelmed senses. The Bible says peace is found in God’s promises, peace is Jesus’ gift to us, the peace of God stands guard over us, and the Holy Spirit counsels us to receive peace. The Bible is filled with encouragement on how to let peace take root in your heart and mind. My mission is to receive and hold onto the peace Jesus promises that I can have.

Peace 5 - Girl with Bible

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. (John 14:27, NIV)

When I’m face to face with trouble or an escalating problem, too often I head straight to the intersection of Worry Way and Anxiety Avenue. Unfortunately, my immediate reaction to turn to worry and fear-filled anxiety is deeply embedded. It’s a habit I need to resist for two reasons. First, my inner turmoil affects those who interact with me. My lack of peace can keep me from responding to others with the peace of Christ. I very much want people to find peace and leave with peace after they have been with me. The second reason to resist worry and fear is because Jesus tells us we should.

Jesus tells His followers to not let their hearts entertain fear because fear (being afraid) and peace cannot dwell together. Further, the apostle Paul told his beloved Timothy that he was not given a spirit of fear, but the Spirit of power! It’s a reminder for you and me, today. As a Christian, peace is a choice-point and the Holy Spirit will lead me to it. Choosing to let peace rule my heart instead of fear gives me power to resist worry, anxiety, and fear. It's my love relationship with Jesus that gives me access to his gift of peace. Realized or not, our souls hunger for a strong peace, a sustaining peace. We need a peace that fortifies and heals. By going too long without the peace of Christ, we become parched, weary, and lifeless. Jesus wants us to live with well with courage and with hope. His peace within us restores what stress, worry, and fear deplete.  

Peace 6 - Guard

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7, NLT)

Can you conjure a mental image of peace as a guardian ready to defend your heart and mind from the poisoned arrows of dark fear and worry? Peace is your guardian when you let peace take control of your heart. Our God knows we cannot stand against the constant assault by the world day after day. While peace can be our response towards people and trouble, it's challenging. For that reason, we have the Holy Spirit as our necessary counselor leading us to peace.

Your first step to safeguard your heart and mind from turmoil, anxiety, and fear is this--let the peace of Jesus control, guard your heart. (Colossians 3:15, NLT)

Dark fears and uncontrolled worry poisons your mind leading you towards a pervading negative outlook. But, God’s peace draws you to a different experience—a calm quietness encapsulating your heart and mind. Jesus wants to carry your fears and worries, lifting that burden off your frame. You get to choose to exchange those burdens for peace. When peace is in charge of your heart and mind, then it controls your response instead of the circumstance.1

I’m writing this post about peace knowing full-well I struggle with the practice of peace. Frankly, I get frustrated with myself letting anxiety take hold. Why don’t I have more self-control and go straight to the peace path? Where I am weak, the Lord provides. Thankfully, the Spirit prompts me and nudges me to receive the alternative. I’m so grateful I’m not alone in the spiritual battle over my heart and mind. I’m developing the practice of seeking peace in heart and mind with the Lord as my teacher.

Peaece 3 - Reflections

Your Soul at Ease

Imagery is powerful and David’s 23rd Psalm portrays tranquility. Mindfully imagine the scene in these verses:

“You, Lord, make me lie down in green pastures, and You, Lord, lead me beside quiet waters. You alone restore my soul. And You, Lord, guide me to paths designed for me.”

This word picture creates within me a craving to experience what David writes--moments of quiet, contentment, and stillness of heart and mind. David’s words help me imagine those things that my Father in heaven wants me to receive: rest, restoration, calmness, and a relinquishing of every one of my worries and concerns.

Having all this information in your back pocket perhaps you’re thinking, “Yes, I agree that peace is all that you’ve described and I would love to have it and live peace-filled, but is it realistic?”

What I can and can’t do

Icon Hearts EncouragedI simply can’t manufacture peace out of my own resources.

Icon Hearts EncouragedI can ask the Holy Spirit to help me let peace supersaturate my heart and mind.

Icon Hearts EncouragedI can mindfully let His peace control my heart so it’s my automatic choice.

Icon Hearts EncouragedI can embed that sense of peace, the experience of God’s peace, as a remembrance so I will seek it.

Icon Hearts EncouragedI can choose peace as my response.

Icon Hearts EncouragedI can intentionally seek peace moments with God. 

Peace Prayer

May You, the God of Hope, fill me to the full with joy and peace as I trust in You. Please let me overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Romans 15:1, NIV paraphrased)

Praying this verse is your request for a joy and peace that super-saturates your soul and envelopes your mind. You’re saying you trust God to fill you with peace and you believe there is no limit on the duration or the amount of peace you can receive. Believe it, sister! You’re making this request with an expectation of receiving joy, peace, and hope so you can endure and remain encouraged in every situation.2

And don’t forget that the Holy Spirit leads you, shepherds you to peace, and helps you respond with peace. It’s worth the effort to resist fear and worry and hand the controls over to peace. It’s a way of living that Jesus died to give us.

I would love to know of your experiences with seeking and receiving peace. Your comments do so much to encourage others. Thank you so much to those who commented on the stress post in January. Blessings, Terri


1 - Psalm 9:10; Isaiah 26:3; Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (2nd printing new ed. 2011). Page 891. Hendrickson: Peabody, MA.

2  - Romans 15:4-6