Disorganized, Cranky and Unfocused

22997428_sDisorganized, cranky and unfocused

I was asked a question recently and before I gave the answer, my conversation took a little trip of it own into six or seven different areas, none of which answered the original question! After those detours, I finally provided the answer.

Unfocused?  Nah.

My mind simply travels in several directions at once. Pretty normal…for me.  That's why I love using sticky notes and a To-Do list to keep me on track and on task.

Disorganized?  A little…well, maybe a lot!  I'm a heavy duty reader and love to write so I have lots and lots of books and I do indeed hoard them.  Love 'em!  But sometimes I run out of room and need to share them.  So, off they go to a local thrift store.  Clutter, especially in the form of books, is a real struggle for me.  My home will never look like a museum and that's ok with me.

Now, let's get to the "cranky" part.

Yeah, sometimes I'm irritable but more often I watch what I say.  Cranky isn't a big part of who I am but it will definitely rear its ugly head once in awhile.

The beautiful part of all of this is God loves us inspite of our imperfections.  He created us and knew us before we were in the womb.  He set us apart.

Comparing or measuring ourselves based on what someone else thinks rather than what God knows and sees makes it seem like we're on a hamster wheel.  The comparisons are endless and it's a total deadend.

It's time to accept who you are – wonderful and beautiful.

He sure does.

 

Life Connections

9080875_sLife connections.

Walking into a women's Bible study group as a first time visitor was downright scary. All eyes were on me which is never a comfortable feeling. Oy.  

What I expected to happen was the sharing of stories by the other women. I wanted to hear how they survived loss or how they handled the dreaded "empty nest" syndrome. I wanted to hear from them. Instead, a video was shown, a workbook handed out and our time together was over.  Connection was what I was hoping for.

It didn't happen.

I went back the next week and the next and the next…

It still didn't happen.

And it wasn't wanted, believe me.

But after I stopped focusing on myself, the Lord revealed that I wasn't the only one hurting, the only one facing grief and too much solitude. The room was jam packed with hurt. So, while the meeting didn't go according to my plan, it did go according to His.

Building connection takes time. And patience. 

When we've been hurt or let down, trust doesn't come easy.  It's such a slow process.  And building a connection or a friendship can be a long journey.  There's strength and freedom that comes with beginning to trust again.  Beautiful things begin to happen.  The fear of hurt diminishes, new friendships are formed and our spirit soars.

And what the Lord revealed next was maybe I needed to be open enough to listen instead of talking. Open enough to care for others.

Even perfect strangers.

Unbiblical and Downright Crazy

9060438_sUnbiblical and Downright Crazy

You know, until 2 years ago, I had not read this verse:

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."  Jeremiah 1:4-5

As we live this life, throughout our career, school, life, marriage and/or singleness, we are always trying to find or prove ourselves. But, take another look at that verse above.  God chose us and set us apart before we were born.  We didn't have to prove a thing. He loves us just as we are.

That's huge!

Who on this earth really loves us as we are?

And who really understands the gifts we have to offer the world?

The One who created us does!

There is an exact purpose for us. Half the fun is realizing this and the other half is fulfilling what we are meant to do.  It doesn't matter what time of life you're in right now.  When we're young, we're concerned with other matters and sometimes we lack wisdom in our decisions.

As we mature in our walk with God, we seek His Will for our lives which in turn provides us with peace and happiness. Walking forward without His direction is "downright crazy". In fact, it may be other people in our lives who believe they know our paths.  If we listen and follow their advice, the result can be confusion.

No need for that. Chaos and confusion are not of God.  His way is ordered.

Take some time to read thru the book of wisdom in the Old Testament of the Bible named "Proverbs".  Pray before you read, asking God to reveal His truth to you.

 

 

 

Burn Those Ships!

10552313_sBurn those ships!

"You never finish anything!"

"Maybe you'll lose the weight once you get a little taller."

"He's not your type."

"This is my house, not yours – don't forget it!"

These comments are just a few of the type that family may spew and all of it cuts to the core.  What they don't realize is they're trying to pass their own hurts on to you.  The walls they've built or the inadequacies they feel are shared in the most inappropriate way.

While we do not have the power to "fix" family, friends or co-workers, what we can do is stop listening.  We are very able to refuse to sit still while someone continues to bash or demean us.  It's time to call a halt to all of the madness.

But what do you do when all of those hurtful words or actions play over and over on a continuous loop in your head?  How do you stop all the hurt from smothering your own growth or progress?

How do you "burn those ships"?

First, it's vital that you understand how much God loves you. Read John 3:16 in the New Testament.  Even if you've never picked up a Bible, look up this verse on your smartphone, i-Pad or laptop. Ask God to show you how much He adores you.

Second, begin reading God's Word daily. It's spiritual food that you absolutely need everyday.

Third, turn away from hurtful memories or words and ask God to remove them from you.

No more looking back.

No more running from all God has for you.

He is the One to trust and He has your best interests at heart.

Managing Your Image or Your Soul?

15400750_sIn the book, “Replenish – Leading from a Healthy Soul”, author Lance Witt quotes a gentleman he met who said, “The older I get, the less concern I have with what I have or have not done and the more concern I have for what I have or have not become.”

What are you concerned with right now?

Is becoming successful driving you?

Are you taking care of your soul along the way?

And what comes first – the drive for success, the achievements, prosperity, notoriety or the inner you?

One of my first jobs was working as a sales clerk at an accessories store in a large mall.  If my mood was a bit off or if I felt a little under the weather, I had to put on a good face. My image had to be what my employer and my customers expected in order to keep them all happy.  And while my “outside” image appeared pulled together, my soul was not.

Does your inside support your outside?

That unseen side of you has to be considered very important and taken care of otherwise there’s a real danger of collapse.  What is it in us that for a while goes unnoticed by others (and sometimes unnoticed by us) that begins to seep into our outside image?

Is it the suffering and pain we keep to ourselves that we believe our friends or family might not be able to cope with or understand?  Whether the pain is from a traumatic event or from the hiding of secrets, sins, our insecurities,  “hiding” is what we do in order to keep our image intact.  However, the pressure of concealing what is happening on the inside eventually becomes impossible and it can take a real toll on us.

It really is like leading a double life.

So, how about taking a moment with me to do a health check of your all important soul?  What is it that remains a threat to your spiritual health?  Do you take time everyday to feed your spirit?

Do you confess your sins to God (unloading the baggage) with the full intention of turning from them?

God made you with a definite plan for your life.  Have you discovered what that plan is yet?  I have to tell you, as scary as it is to begin the discovery of your purpose in life, it’s also a lot of fun.

Give yourself that space for discovery but also give yourself the gift of time to rest and restore.  You know, our doctors recommend we have an annual physical, yet we sometimes forget about the need for a spiritual check-up.

When’s the last time you gave yourself a tune-up?

 

 

It’s Hard Being Holey

18686494_sGlennon Doyle Melton’s book, “Carry On, Warrior – Thoughts on Life Unarmed” really made me laugh out loud.  The following quote really popped out at me: “My experience has been that even with God, life is hard. It’s hard just because it’s hard being holey.”

The term “holeyness” simply means an “imperfect life” which we’re all probably very familiar with.

In counseling sessions, one of the most repeated statements I’ve  heard goes something like this “I stopped going to church because everybody there thinks they’re perfect.”  While some churchgoers may think they’re perfect, indeed, many experience what Ms. Melton shares in her book – an emptiness that goes unnoticed or unsaid because of a false front they’ve erected.  Instead of “perfection”, they are “holey” (yep – the “fabric of life” is full of holes!)  Not being honest or real fools no one.

All of us deal with this emptiness.  We may try to fill it with alcohol, drugs, food, shopping and maybe even how many friends we’ve accumulated on social media channels. This becomes our “front” or “wall” to hide ourselves but all of our efforts fall flat because part of that emptiness continues to follow us around.  And knowing that others feel this vacuum can be very comforting.

Do we really have to make it our goal to fill that empty spot or can we decide to trust God to be our “Filler”?

Once we come to know Jesus as our Savior and have the Holy Spirit as our guide, it’s important to make time everyday to commune with the Lord.  He longs for this.

What can we do if, in spite of having a close relationship with Jesus we still experience a void from time to time?  Personally, I think it’s pretty normal.

What is God showing us?  This discovery and understanding comes through reading God’s Word consistently.  During those empty times, it’s the perfect opportunity to get alone with God.  Go for a walk alone and meet with Him or pick a time of day to talk to Him about our day.

When the evil one tries to loop past mistakes in your head, rebuke him in Jesus’ name and then move forward.

When we share our weaknesses, it may feel as if we laying ourselves bare (and we are!), however, there will be some who will be helped by what you share.  If we’re afraid to show the “real” us,  we will continue to feel disconnected because no one truly knows who we are.

I have to tell you, though, once we make those trusted connections, friendships blossom and we’re able to serve, minister and share our holeyness with others.

Break Through the Brick Wall of Resistance

Break through the brick wall of resistance.14415629_s

As odd as it seems, when you finally begin to follow your dreams, make changes and use the gifts God gave you, you will hit resistance or what I like to call the “brick wall”.

This resistance you come up against could be from anyone, really, including you.  The brick walls that have surrounded you for so many years have at times felt safe, yet now they feel like prison walls holding you in.

It’s time to break through.

It’s time to tear down the wall. No, not brick by brick – remove that wall totally.  Remove your negative mindset – refuse to listen to the enemy – rebuke him in Jesus’ name. Shake off the bad attitude and allow the Lord to bring to your mind all that there is to be thankful for.

How do you begin to make these changes?

Well, for starters, who do you hang around with? People who encourage and support you or people who try to tear you or others down?  It’s important that the folks in your immediate circle (family and friends) provide you with encouragement.

Today’s the day to let go of whatever’s holding you back.  Excuses, no more!  Fight through  until you break your personal wall down.  Rebuke all negative voices in your head and in your heart.

 

Leave Your Broken Yesterdays

Leave Your Broken Yesterdays24443972_s

When we continuously look backward, our past remains our life’s view.  In order for change to become real, we have to do a complete 180 degree turn.  Mentally, physically and spiritually we have to turn from whatever places a halt to our growth or to our change.

True, change can be scary.

Are there parts of you that are yet to be discovered?

Are there dreams you’ve held in your heart for so long that you’ve been afraid to even speak about?

You know, the Lord provided you with very special and meaningful gifts that are yours alone.  If you don’t know what they are, it’s time for discovery.  If you do know in your heart what they are, it’s time to use them.

Read His Word in order to grow in strength and power, to understand which direction He wants you to go. Pray over all of it. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth to you.

It’s so important to pay attention to your soul first. Your spiritual health is of great concern to Him.  Becoming who He has ordained you to be allows you to show your real self, to be honest (warts and all!).

Layer by layer, you can strip off your past – all of it. All along this path, you are beautiful to Him.  Did you hear that?  All along the way, you have been and are beautiful to Him.

Wrap your head around that thought.  Our attempts to reach perfection are not necessary.  He loves you just as you are.

Fear Hurdles

Fear Hurdles15235181_s

I remember sitting in my car right before an interview thinking, “What in the world are you doing here? They won’t like you or think you will fit in. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget this – you probably don’t have the skills they need, either!”

Fear began to overtake me and my mind seemed like it was a jumbled mess.

“How am I going to ace this interview if I feel this down in the dumps and scared?”

And then, I felt this reassurance that God would be with me, that nothing that happened in that office would harm me.  Peace washed over me like a warm, calm ocean wave.  Really, what was the worst that could happen?

Maybe I wouldn’t get the job, but it wasn’t the end of the world, right?

I felt at that moment that God had my back and no matter what happened with the interviewer, well, I’d be just fine.  After all, I did have what they needed.  If they didn’t see it, maybe it wasn’t God’s Will that I work there.

What “fear hurdle” stands in your way?

Is it fear of failing or letting others down?

What keeps you frozen?

Steven Furtick writes in his book “Crashing the Chatterbox”, “Remember…He adores you even when you don’t feel worthy He thinks you’re the best.”

What is it that you feel drawn to do?

It’s time to jump over those hurdles – the hurdle put in place by you or others.

One step…

Forward.

xo

Who’s Pushing Your Buttons?

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Who’s Pushing Your Buttons?

Who’s on your side?

Are there times when you feel lost at sea?

Who lifts you up when you need it?

In Steven Furtick’s book, “Crash the Chatterbox”, he compares our “waiting for acceptance” to the tv show “The Voice”.  Once the judges push the button and turn their chairs around, you have a good chance of being accepted.

Have friends, family or co-workers neglected to “push the button”?

Do they acknowledge you, lift you up and care for you?

There is One who absolutely adores you.  In fact, He knew you before you were in the womb.  Before you were born, He set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

As Steven says in his book, “Before Jeremiah could do anything to merit God’s acceptance, He hit the big button.”  God’s love for us is not based on something we did.  There’s nothing you need to do or be to “earn” God’s love.

There are no try-outs.

You simply have to accept this gift of love…Jesus.

Period.

No contest to win.

Nothing to be compared to.

Insecurities can be very poisonous – God loves us, insecurities and all.

So, my friend, if you’re thinking you have to be 100% perfect before God accepts you, it’s simply not so.

His arms are wide open to accept you just as you are.