Friday, December 20, 2013

Jump for Joy!

God is with us. All will be well!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hurts so Good

I asked for an honest life.  I asked for the ability to see more clearly where there is duplicity in my life.  Flat on my back, weak, and sore is where I get my honesty check.  I am so annoyed when I get sick.  How dare life obstruct my way when "I'm on a roll." ?

Yesterday was one of those days.  It started with a migraine the night before.  Next morning when my alarm went off I sat up on the side of my bed and just sat there.  Did someone put the Halloween pumpkin on my pillow last night while I was sleeping?  It felt like I was trying to balance my own head so I wouldn't tip back over right into my pillow.  Okay. Not a good sign for the day. 

Despite the morning ritual which begins with coffee and reading, I still just sat there trying to wake up.  My exercise buddy is faithful to pick me up in the morning for our workouts.  It wasn't going to happen.  My body would not cooperate.  Arrrgh!  I hate being weak! 

After my hissy fit with myself, it was clear to me that I would be doing nothing but laying on my couch and resting.  Okay then.  I might be on my back but at least I can still read. Ha.  Ever try to read after a bad migraine?  Forget about it. 

It's going to be a Podcast day.  It was.  I've been recently following a new guy, Sirini Rao over at Blogcast FM.  If I can't exercise my body, at least I can do some mental squats.  You know, the kind that hurt so good?  Well, I wasn't disappointed.  I listened in and out for hours of him interviewing some great writers/thinkers.  I was so groggy for most of the day that I wasn't sure who I was hearing but it was all good.  Danille Leporte, Greg Hartle, Justine Musk, to name a few. 

What do they all have in common?  Many things, but one thing stands out.  Each has a driving desire for an authentic and generous life.  Each one seem to have a relentless pursuit to live honestly with themselves and others.  The effect?  People get inspired to do the same. 

So here's my attempt today.  I don't like being weak.  I feel guilty when I take care of myself.  I am the first one to tell another to "rest; take it easy; be good to you." but will resist that same counsel when I am weak.  What's up with that?  How is that honest?  Do I have a martyr complex or something?  What drives me to be good to others and treat my own self with such contempt?  If I was my best friend, I'd be looking for a new buddy!   I would never talk to a friend the way I talk to me. 

Before I start a sloppy pity party, let me stop it here.  I know a few things to be true. 
1.  As a man thinketh, so he is.
2.  I have a choice in what I think about
3.  My behavior is the result of my thoughts

Maybe mine is more of a self-control issue.  Perhaps I need to hirer a bouncer to stand at the entrance of my brain and check some IDs.  No thought that's not true and honorable allowed to pass through. Period.

So, ready to do some heavy (mental) squats? Squat this.

You are wonderful. You are worth all the drama.  You belong.  You are freely accepted.  You are dearly loved.  You are worth fighting for, crying over, standing up for.  Your life counts. Your mistakes don't define you.  Your worth is intrinsic. You are loved unconditionally.  Nothing you can do or not do changes this.  You are enjoyable; not tolerated. You are welcomed; not sidelined.  You don't need to knock; you can fling the door right open!  Your picture deserves to be in someone's wallet or one someone's refrigerator.  You are adored, cherished, longed for.  Someone hurts when you are hurt.  Someone is happy when you are happy.  You are never ever alone. You never will be.  The welcome mat is always out for you.  The light is always left on for you.  Your company is anticipated. You bring a stir of joy wherever you are.  Even most of your jokes are funny!  You are uniquely gifted to thaw out the frozen people.  Your love is a fire for the weary and worn soul.  You are beautiful.  You were made for love; you were made for triumph, for praise.  You are full of wonder.

How was that workout?  Does it hurt so good?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

There’s Enough for Everyone to Have Seconds!

Here’s my tribute to Thanksgiving.  It has nothing to do with pilgrims, turkeys, marshmallow creations or even giving thanks! Crazy. I know.  Here’s my spin.  Take a look at that wholesome scene with the mother leaning over the turkey.  It yells out abundance.  There will be plenty of turkey tonight, and the next day, and the next…
The point is when you sit at the table, you do not think things like, “skimpy, sparse, not enough for all.” Just the opposite, you think abundance and ‘dig right in!

Let’s shift gears a moment with a rather unpleasant and probably impolite topic that you most certainly wouldn’t bring up around that Norman Rockwell feast…jealousy and envy.  Can you imagine this conversation at the table?

What she said: “So, did you see the new car that our neighbors got? Pretty sweet ride. That guy has all the breaks! And he knows it too!”
What you heard: “ I deserve a new car. I work harder than him and at least I have the common sense to be humble about it.”

Oh, excuse me.  Did the truth just smack you up side the head?  Good. 

Why can’t we see someone’s abundance in life as something to celebrate instead of deflate?

Recently, a young friend made a comment to me.
“I’m so irritated.  All these people are getting engaged. It's so freakin’ annoying.”
Well, the truth is, there’s enough love and romance in the world to go around. 

It’s sad.  How much of our internal conversations are stuck on that track of thinking?
  Everything good happens to everyone else.

Of course hardship and setbacks come to all.  But what is really at the core of this thinking?  What feeds that cruel monster Envy? 
I suggest it is rooted in a belief system that is tied to two things.
  1. How you see God
  2. How you perform in life
If I see God as a player who “only loves you when you’re playin’” well then, good luck. You are stuck in a perpetual game of tag.  All is good when God is “it” but it really is disappointing when he tags you.  You come to the end of yourself pretty quickly. Trying to catch God’s approval is an exhausting game.  Some people spend all their lives and money in pursuit of it.

Instead consider a true and tested mindset.  God is generous in all ways.  His entire creation screams out, “Hey! I’m so abundant! Check out all that I have made.  Oh, and don’t forget, there is the unseen realm that you can’t see…at least yet!”  (a plug for one of my favorite books, More than Meets the Eye by Richard Swenson )
When we believe this truth, we are at our finest.  We are at our most glorious state.  It’s faith.  It’s believing that there is plenty of love, and wealth, and kindness, and honor and life to go around.  It’s showing up at the Thanksgiving table expectant, looking forward to the mashed potatoes and gravy. 

How much of our anger and irritations are seated in the fact that we just believe we deserve better and more?  Heaven help us when Mr. Perfect gets “blessed” and we feel overlooked.  If you are loved by God, He won’t disappoint you.  He’s not always trying to “test you” either as if you are in the perpetual school of life. Rubbish!  He actually enjoys you.  He gets a kick out of you.  So much so it causes Him to shout for joy and sing.  Check it out. Zephaniah 3:17. 

If you really, I mean really believed this, how would it change your opinion of Mr. Always-Gets-All-the-Breaks?  Would you feel jealous?  Would you want his new car? I think not.  It’s much like being in love.  You want to treat others with love when you are so saturated yourself. 

Being aware of God’s immense love and enjoyment of you is the remedy for jealousy.  Live your life fully.  Live it fully aware you are dearly loved and enjoyed.  Let others live their lives.   Be happy when happiness comes to them.  Remember, there is abundance at His Thanksgiving table.  He’s not holding back on you.  Don’t you hold back either.

“Hey, pass me the rutabagas…again!”

Friday, November 1, 2013

Unmistakeable Me?

So, I'm on a journey.  Where am I going?  Well, my compass is pointed towards "Exhilarating Clarity".  I have that statement written on my Vision Board which I picked up from a line in a book somewhere.

I am currently doing a 12 week Body for Life challenge, taking yoga classes 2 evenings a week and seeing a counselor.  I am smiling as I type.  Can you guess what season of life I'm in?  So this is what 50 looks and feels like for me!

I am reading all sorts of stuff that I have never read before.  My latest read was an ebook called The Art of Being Unmistakable by Srivas Rao. It's a short read but packed with some punch.  For example,
Honesty and Imperfection
In a world where everybody has a voice, the only "personal brand" that will stand out is one that is honest, imperfect, vulnerable, and rough around the edges. When you polish anything too Much, it loses the thing that makes it shine from within.  Then we cannot trust it anymore.

I really question if I am honest with myself and others.  Probably not.  I know I have lots of internal struggle.  I know what I wish I had the courage to say but then my "polite and diplomatic" persona cuts right in front of the line like a rude person at an amusement park. " Excuse me!  I've been waiting in this damn line for nearly on hour so that I could yell like a mad woman on this 2 minute roller coaster! " I really disapprove of rude people and polite alter egos.  I truly want to be authentic and stop the bull but I don't know how.  Look, I taught an Etiquette course for children! Emily Posts book on Etiquette was part of my inheritance.  What would people think of me?  Perhaps that is the wrong question?  Does being authentic mean being rude? Actually, I think I recall something else I read by Solomon.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Proverbs 27:5
So it's good to hide love and better to openly rebuke. Hm mm....and what do you suppose is best? 
My answer.  Be real. Be vulnerable. Be willing to risk offending.  It's not the end of the world to offend someone. So what if you fall out of some one's "good graces."  If it's easy to get in good with someone it's just as easy to get out.  Typically, I have found that the perfect people have nothing substantial to offer except some platitudes and party lines.  No thank you.  I'd rather sit next to a stranger on a bus and pour out my soul. 

Oh God, deliver me from the trap of treating people as commodities as something to be used and minimized.  I want to see, really see people.  To hear people, to listen. To shut up and let them bleed it out.  Sure it's messy. But it's okay because we are more alike than different.  We are born to adversity; we all have that in common.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don't Remember

This morning I sat on my deck with my bible across my crossed legs.  Typical scene for me. I love sitting cross legged; my bible fits perfectly between my knees.  Like most mornings, I come expecting to be changed in some degree by what I read and what I hear.  I know by now that anytime spent in God's word is mind-altering. Here's a portion for you.

Isaiah 43:18-19
"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. 
'Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?" not call to mind the former things.  Not something I can hear me saying to my children.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I insist they remember.  I can hear myself saying, "' I forgot" is not a good excuse."  However, here in this passage, the Lord is commanding us to not call to mind something.  I think calling something to mind is not passive.  It sounds proactive to me.  When I call something to mind I am deliberate.  I want to recall it. I call it back like I call my child in from play. 

The Lord goes a little further.  He says, "or ponder things of the past".  Pondering involves reflection.  Again, this is not a passing thought.  This is something you give yourself over to.  This is something you marinate your mind and emotions in.  Hum....sounds a little scary now.  Do you know where I'm going with this?  Calling to mind and pondering the former things can be obstacles in seeing what God has ahead for you; for me.

Verse 19...."Behold...."  Pause for a moment right here.  The Lord is trying to get our attention.  He wants us to stop, look, and listen.  This is not a drive -by or drive-thru exercise.  Slow down, take a seat and look up.  Listen to what He has to say, "Girl, I will do something new, NOW, it will spring forth; will you see it happen?" 

What are you remembering this morning? Does it fill your thoughts with regret? Is there anything you can do right now to correct the past?  No.  So here's a suggestion.  Don't travel down into that valley of regret and what if so-and-so garbage.  Instead look over the wasteland from the bridge.  Let evaluated experience inform course changes for the future but do not get on your slop boots and hike down into that mess!  The Lord is doing a NEW thing in your life NOW!  He even promises you He will pave a roadway in the wilderness.  Keep reading your bible.  It's all there.

Maybe you are recalling a significant relationship right now.  Maybe you are rehearsing hopes and dreams that never came true.  Little sister, can I tell you straight?  STOP IT.  Perhaps your heart is breaking because someone else's dream is coming true right now.  Do you know that one person's joy does not diminish yours?  In fact, I say their joy increases yours.  We are becoming genuine like Christ as we rejoice with those who are happy.  You might not feel it now, but so what.  It's true.  There is enough of God's love and joy to fill every crevice open to Him! 

So, are you going to be aware of the NEW and NOW in your life today?  The choice is yours.  I love you. I am praying for you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Contend To The End

Tullian is becoming one of my favorite preachers/teachers to listen to. Here's his recent post.

Contend To The End