Women Getting Real Weekly Class

This  is a great place to go deeper into relationship with Jesus and  other  women. Both seem scary we know. But this is a place where we talk  about  real life topics and look for God to show up in the middle of  our lives.

The class is for all ages and does not require perfect attendance. Or homework.

Join us in person at Fellowship Church on Middlebrook Pike,  Knoxville,TN every Tuesday night from 7:00pm – 9:00pm (childcare is  provided for those who register).

For specific details around the class please feel free to email us at info@womengettingreal.com.

We meet three weeks on and one week off. Dates of class are listed below. We are planning to Livestream at least once month. So stay tuned for those details. Be sure to sign up for RSS or Facebook alerts so you don’t miss out on “Monday Snack Time with Jana”, its a weekly vlog.

Class Dates for Spring Semester 2011: April 5, 19, 26; May 3, 17, 24, 31
(new class location coming soon, stay tuned for details)

To hear audio from classes up until now check out our archived classes

Performance vs. Mastery

Tuesday night in WGR class we talked about Performance vs. Mastery.

Performance always drives us to be approved, by means of pleasing others. At all costs. Even at the expense of our own desires and often at the expense of following God. Performance always wants a grade, a score, pat on the back. When you have to get it right all the time, any criticism becomes an enemy that produces shame. There is no room for growth, experimentation, or lessons learned through  trial and error because there is pending doom of a “hand” hovering over your every move, ready to swat you if you fail. Not fun.

Criticism is usually fatal to the performer’s growth.  However, praise does not offer a much better prognosis. As performers, we have this deep, empty pit in our heart needing to be filled with God’s significance. Apart from His definition of worth, we try to fill this hole with the praise of others. Thus praise becomes the ever-out-of-reach gold ring that the performer continuously strives to get more and more of.  Performance is not so good for our soul.

Mastery however, is the slow, strenuous journey of Learning.

Learning requires the right ingredients, the right recipe, the right goal, and the right teacher. Mastery is having your eye on the right model and then accepting that the “master” is using all circumstances to teach you how to do as she does. Over time. With repetition.

Mastery is not about proving value. That fact is established. Done. Settled. Mastery is literally about refining, unveiling, conditioning the valued person to walk in the master’s footsteps. One life experience at a time. One day at a time with new mercies every morning so that we begin with a clean slate to try again, to learn more, to practice, to improve, even to fail and get back up again.

When Jesus picked the disciples, “performance” would have them trying to validate His selection of them. Instead, He chose them out of His goodness, His significance. Just like He chose us. He said to them, follow in My footsteps, do like I do, and you will see the Father like I do. He says the same to us.

You being valued isn’t the question. You doing life like Jesus does is the life long journey The Master is after. And in.

Need a visual? This is the result of my fourth and fifth batch of bread. See the difference? Flat, heavy, “squished” vs. light, airy and yummy. Performance would have quit after ruined loaf number one. Mastery is continuing to learn, grow and try, try again. Only trying with more wisdom each time. My family is loving my journey into mastery. Smile.

You Know Better Than I…

Last night in the WGR class, the Lord brought back to mind a fantastic song of faith.  It is from the movie, Joseph, King of Dreams.  I tell you, every time I watch the movie or even hear the song, I cry.  It seems the song always finds me in a place of need, and the words invite me back into the arms of my loving God. I also cry because of the picture of Joseph’s journey— from the golden child favored by his father, full of promise and dreams, to sold as a slave and then prison.  What must it really have felt like?

His story strengthens me. Did Joseph think God had lied? Did he feel despair or abandoned?  Did his dreams strengthen him in the dungeon, or haunt him?  Joseph’s life is a parable of our own.  We have dreams and plans, but God has His own path for us. I am finding that sometimes, actually most times, we have to go through worse to get to better.  Joseph learned to see God in it all. Every step of the way.

I want that too.  I want faith and love even in the dungeon.  May God strengthen and persuade us that His ways are better and are altogether good, and He uses all things to accomplish His purposes, for us and for others. “What you meant for evil against me, God meant for good.”

Even Joseph’s dreams could not have predicted  or prepared him for the path that led from the dungeon to saving a nation.  What did God deposit in the dungeon that prepared Joseph’s heart for the days ahead? Perhaps only this: “You know better than I.”

And that was enough, for Joseph and for us.

Here is a link to watch the movie clip with the lyrics. I hope you are blessed as much as I am every time.


A Funny Ah Haaaaaa. . .

Okay, I have the WGR info meeting tonight and just have a minute to write.

(Not too late to check it out…7-8:30 Cedar Springs Bookstore)

But I had a hilarious holy “Ohhhhh” moment with the Lord. It goes like this.

On Monday morning, I told my friend Kate that the Lord was really challenging me. The more He revealed what He was up to this year, the less He wanted me to “do.”  He was calling forth these crazy adventures like Zimbabwe, India, many hands in WGR, a worship CD, and more. But the more I would attack my to do list, the more He would call me to prayer.  Deep prayer. Extended prayer.

Only I wasn’t going.
The math wasn’t adding up.

In my spirit, I knew He was right. The prayer WAS the Greater work. God’s kingdom is advanced by spending time in the “bedroom chamber” with our Lover.

But in my head I was fighting.  I had things to DO… durnnit.  So we parted that morning, with a playful laugh.  Kate agreed to pray for me that I would come to agree with God and do it His way. (Which is really what I want, even if I don’t do it.)

One hour later, I am laughing for real.  Without connecting the topic of our conversation, our prayers, or the Lord’s skillful hand, guess where I spent the next hour?

In a sauna. I was sweating my arse off, but I listened to worship music and just drank deeply of the affections of the One and Only.

Later that day I realized He had hemmed me. Deep prayer.  Kingdom work.  One of the best hours of my life.

“Ohhhhh, that’s what  you meant. Thank you Jesus.”

Times with God

I seem to be having multiple conversations that all direct back to one question: “How do I get to know God better?”

Before I go there, I want to talk about the WHY of getting to know God better. Most of our most broken, hurting, missing, longing places all need the love of God.  We talked about this last night at WGR.  We are the Beloved.  But we must allow ourselves to Be Loved. The more we let that truth soak into our spirits, the more our hearts, minds and lives will be changed.  So to be loved, is to spend time with someone who loves us. God.

Now on the HOW to do this, and there are several possible answers. Not a right answer, but just like with your friends, there are lots of ways to spend time with your Friend. Lover. Father. Husband.

Worship is a powerful way to soak on the truths of God, who He is, what He is like, and who He likes (hint: you). It may involve music, dance, art, nature, reading scripture aloud.  If I had to sum up the word worship it would be to experience the beauty of God with your whole being.

So take music, for example. When I worship with music, I sing, I listen, I think about the words, I move my body to the rhythms.  I encounter God.  Different than being in a bar, which is escape. All this energy is focused on hearing and knowing Him more, better. Same with exploring nature, or  reading scripture. There is an expectation of hearing from God.

The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people. He lives with them. So I sing either out loud or in my heart a lot. I sometimes use CDs, and sometimes I just hum the song that He has got running through my head. There have been times that I have ‘sat’ on a song for about a week. Listening again and again until I believe all that it says.

Another way to get to know God is to read and write. Read your Bible and books that explain the Bible. And write down the prayers and encounters that you have with God. Over time, you begin to see answered prayers, areas that God is changing, and dreams beginning to take shape.  Never underestimate the power of reading the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” I have scripture everywhere, on my walls, calendars, post its, you name it. It helps me think about what He thinks about more.

Look at the Bible as a love letter, a medicine kit, a mirror, and a Counselor all rolled into one. I read Proverbs and Psalms almost daily, and then hit other books of the Bible as the Spirit leads.  In case you don’t know this, there are 31 Proverbs. So if you read one chapter of Proverbs a day, at the end of the month you will have read them all.  And you will grow in wisdom.

Finally, spend time with Him the way you would a friend. Make a date. Instead of placing a call during drive time, call on Him. Talk as you’re working on something. Just begin the conversation. My favorite times are when I can talk out loud. He shows me the lies I am believing when I can hear myself say them.  Just pursue Him in your flavor. Enjoy the time with Him. Oh yes, if you get a middle of the night wake-up call, get up. He wants to talk to you!

A Note from Laura Jones: New Year’s Revelation

For most of my life, I’ve avoided New Year’s Resolutions. I hate them. Who needs one more hampster wheel to burn out on, right? I certainly don’t need another way to fail.

However, the Lord’s been up to something new in me.  Since I’ve been in Jana’s class and John Dee’s class, they’ve taught me to ask for New Year’s Revelation: to ask the Lord to reveal Himself to me more, to show me the desires He put my heart, to give me His word over the coming year.

You know what’s amazing? He’ll actually answer.

For example, in 2008, I asked the Lord to give me a new song (Psalm 40:3). I meant metaphorically. All I wanted was a fresh start. But He took me literally! He gave me lyrics to six songs that year, each one verbalizing some of His love He’d been teaching me about. Love that gave me the fresh start I longed for.

In 2009, He pressed on my heart, “Be ready.” Didn’t even have a verse for that one. I had no idea what I was getting ready for. Just a sense that I was to prepare and be watching for what He had next, whatever that was. Sure enough, 2009 has been about weeding out. Setting boundaries. Learning about how He wired me. All things that have prepared me to walk through new doors that He’s opening like working with Women Getting Real and going back to school – things I was not ready for last year!

The fabulous thing about asking for New Year’s Revelation is it takes all the pressure off.  It’s not about performance.  It’s looking at Jesus and listening for His answer.  It’s reaching up to put my hand in His as He leads me through the New Year.

Why don’t we ask Him together? Ask Him to give you more of Himself. Ask Him to show you the desires He put in your heart and His desires for you. Ask Him to give you a word for the year. And as we have this dialog together, post back here when you hear His answer!
In His Love,

Shared Traditions

In the spirit of passing down traditions from generation to generation, the Women Getting Real class shared our own family traditions with each other.  Now we want to share the list with you. 


It’s a Wonderful Life

The Grinch

Nativity Story  (Side funny – when Chuck called Blockbuster about renting the Nativity Story, Charis overheard the clerk ask, “Who’s in it?” Without skipping a beat, she replied, “Mary and Joseph!”)


Have a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake.

Institute pizza and milkshake night on Christmas Eve – it keeps things simple!

Have a family cookie bake.


We give of our kids three gifts – just like the wise men gave three gifts to Jesus.

Make handmade gifts for important family members – we want to teach them to use their hands to bless others. 


Find a Christmas event to go to – for example, the Living Christmas Tree, the Nativity Pageant, your church’s program.

Attend the Christmas parade.

Decorate with friends or family.


Find a way to serve – a soup kitchen, the angel tree, Operation Christmas Child.

Take cookies to the office or your local police or fire station.

Sing at or take stuffed animals to a nursing home.


Use an advent wreath or advent calendar.

Give Christmas blessings to each family member (see Birthday posts for how this works).

Act out part of the Christmas story. 

” Before the kids get up, we go into their room while it is dark and dress them like the shepherds.  Then Dad comes in as the angel and tells them that a Savior has been born! We all run down to see the nativity scene and read the Christmas story before we open our presents.”

Spend time at home and putter quietly before you hurry and scurry over to family festivities. This is especially great for singles.

Sing carols around the piano as a family.

Make it it an all night affair. 

“Our family goes to church around 6 or 7, then we go to the biggest house we can and have worship – we play the guitar, pray, sing.  At midnight, we all exchange gifts and we eat.  Then we worship some more until dawn.”


May God shine brightly on you and through you this Christmas.

~Jana and the Women Getting Real Team

Traditions and Blessings

I am sitting in Starbucks on the eve of Christmas Eve. You can feel the tingle in the air. It is the feel of hope, the expectancy of gifts, family, friends, familiar foods, new beginnings.

But in the midst of the tingle, I have a challenge for you this year. Celebrate with intention. Invest more of your heart than swiping a card.

What I am thinking involves two words: tradition and blessing.

The word tradition means “the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.” Beliefs passed from one generation to another without written instruction…. This is a tall order to me, but I am going to go for it.  I want the loved ones in my life to know WHY we do WHAT we do.

So this Christmas focus on passing down the truths of God to those around you. Don’t worry about their reactions, just cast out seeds of truth.  Be creative, either through game, song, food, decoration, or reading aloud, just tell the wonderful story of God come to dwell among us.

In like manner, the word blessing means “to communicate encouragement or approval, to give thanks for, or to ask favor to be poured out upon.” We talked about this in conjunction with birthday blessings, but my challenge to myself, the WGR class, and now you, is for you to bless your family and friends. Consciously, purposely speak words of thanks, encouragement and blessing on those you love. It may be a card or face to face, but let the words of blessing flow.

Again, don’t worry about the reactions. Jesus was ever blessing people, even those who rejected Him. But Jesus trusted his Father to take care of the seeds He cast out. Just like with Him, some of our kinds words may fall to the ground, rejected. But what joy we have when some of our seeds are planted in the hearts of those who desperately need a loving word.

Speak the truths of God. Bless those around you. May this be our Christmas gift to our loving Father.

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:6