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Monthly Archives: February 2010

NEW Personal DNA

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I took this quiz a while ago and thought I’d take it again. Before, I was an attentive curator, but now I’m an encouraging designer. Funny how you change over time and how different roles in our lives can change things about us.  Where are you?

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Wow, I noticed that there is just a little over two years in between me taking this test for the first and second times…. So much has happened in those two years. We moved to a new state away from every single person we know and love and I became heavily involved in our base MOPS group, forcing me to change things about me and how I relate to people. I wonder what I’ll be two more years from now??

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Year of Love

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Psalm 86:14-16 
 14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
       a band of ruthless men seeks my life—
       men without regard for you.
 15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
       slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
 16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
       grant your strength to your servant
       and save the son of your maidservant.

At the beginning of the year I posted about resolutions, or something along those lines. I didn’t divulge what they were, or exactly how many. Just that they were meant to make my life better, more enjoyable. I think I was hoping for less stress…. but in this case it’s creating just a bit more. Sometimes stress is good…. it pushes us to succeed.

During a steering meeting for MOPS a few weeks ago, someone mentioned the idea of resolutions being centered around one word. She said she wanted to take a word from the bible, focus on those verses, and make that her word for the year. Another friend of mine has blogged about her word of the year as well. Now, this was NEVER on my mind to do. It just wasn’t. Part of my “resolutions” was to sit back and let God guide my steps in this area….. I knew I needed change. I knew I needed guidance. So part of what I wanted to do was kind of sit back and see where He led me, what He put in my lap. Part of that has included Lent, which is something I never planned on doing. Ever. Just like this whole “focus on one word” deal. But God gave me a word, several weeks ago, to try to live by. And let me tell you, it’s been harder than I ever thought.

I tend to be an angry person. If you know me at all, whether it be our online connections or real life encounters, you wouldn’t always gather that right away. If you know me REALLY well, then you probably caught that at some point. You might have gotten a glimpse of it on the phone when I’m cursing (I know, bad) at my cabinets for being out of order…. because it’s all their fault. Or maybe it was when I told you about my outburst of road rage at the person who was 3 seconds slower than I wanted them to be. The worst would be if you noticed it in my parenting…. because yeah, it’s there too.

God got me thinking…. “how much different would I be, in all areas of my life, if I put LOVE into everything instead of anger?” And that’s when things started changing……

I don’t mean I instantly and miraculously changed, or that the heavens parted, or that my kids started picking up after themselves, or that my husband started singing my praises, or even that my cabinets started organizing themselves… and that person on the road certainly didn’t start driving 3 seconds faster. It became apparent to me that anger doesn’t get things done as much as I thought it did. With my kids, my anger spurred their fear…. and that got things done. With my husband, my anger spurred his bitterness…. and that got things done. With my house, my anger at things not being done led to MORE things not being done because I was so mad I chose not to do anything.

But when I took a deep breath and just repeated “love…. love…. love…. love” and made that my focus, things changed out of love, not fear or bitterness.

Now, I’m not saying every day is roses and sunshine…. it’s so far from it more often than not… but what it’s doing in me is showing me that I have very clear choices in how I respond. If I respond in anger like my instincts tell me to, I’ll pay that price. If I respond in love the way God tells me to, I’ll reap the rewards.

I’m amazed at how hard it’s been though to change the gears in my mind, to swallow my pride, to give up my control, to not die to myself everytime I want to be angry…. all for the sake of LOVE. You’d think that’d be worth it, make it easy at least… but it doesn’t. It’s worth it, but it’s not easy.

I started with the boys first, and now I’m practicing on Jake. I’ve also found that I’m asking myself questions like “how would this be different if I responded in love?” or “what would responding in love look like here?” and everytime I am humbled at how much I put myself first in day to day situations…. humbled because even still, God is taking the time to cultivate a spirit of love in me, instead of anger, even though I am underserving of it.

I still struggle daily with anger…. if you see me out and about, it’s usually just beneath the surface… but it’s there. The more I just keep focusing on “love….love….love….love” the more it will come naturally though, the more it will replace all that pent up anger that I hold onto.  That verse up there, where it says “men without regard for you…” when I read that I see those men as men without love guiding their actions. I don’t want to be someone without regard for God, I want to live in love, the kind of love that God gives us…. I want it to guide me daily. If God and His love aren’t guiding me daily, that only leaves one other option…. and I’m tired of letting anger get the better of me, of my family, and of my relationships.

Unhealthy

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Over a year ago a friendship ended that left me hurt and c0nfused and just plain ‘ol ticked off. Everytime I thought of her over the next 6 months, anger and regret rose in me almost simultaneously. Anger about what had happened between us, and regret for the way I handled it. I wanted to apologize, but I didn’t know how. I hadn’t forgiven her for things that were said, so I very well couldn’t apologize and expect her to forgive me. Soon complacency set in and I just didn’t care one way or another how it turned out. I didn’t care if I forgave her, I didn’t care if she forgave me, my motto about it was “it is what it is.” I love that motto. It works for so many relational situations, but in this case it was used to hide behind. I thought about her often, moreso wondering if she harbored the same feelings I did. I still wonder that actually. Late last year I found out about something happening in her life that for the first time made me genuinely sad about the fortress between us. I say fortress instead of wall, because truly, it was that kind of ending. I don’t see it being broken down anytime soon either. I bought her a card, with every intention of sending it. But it still sits in my room untouched, unsigned. I truly don’t think it will bring the good feelings I would want it to bring her…. so it’s best to hold off on it now.

It’s funny how after the end of a friendship you can quickly recall what you miss….there were things I missed for awhile, but the trade off was less stress. I think it was that way for us both for some reason. I was looking back through old emails…. I keep a folder for each person I email frequently and save most of them. Anyway, I was looking back through some old emails of ours, and it was evident to me instantly that we were more an unhealthy frienship than a healthy one. Reading some of them made me angry again, but then there were some that made me laugh at the stupid hilarity in them. Overall though, “unhealthy” kept running through my mind.

A good friend of mine has told me a few times not to surround myself with anchors. They weigh you down. Stress you out. And not to BE an anchor either. I think in the case of this friendship, for some reason we were anchors to eachother, weighing the other one down. I know I felt weighed down a lot because of it, and I’m sure she did. I know she did.

I’m finally at a place where I can see it for what it was, and now what it is. We were just bad for eachother. I know she has great friends that she is a good friend to, and likewise for me. But to eachother, anchors. How does that happen do you suppose? Maybe when you force a friendship out of obligation? Family ties? Because you see something in them you like? Work relations? Spouse relation? Who knows really…..

All I know now is, I wish this person well, truly. Am I upset still about how it “went down?” Sure I am. But only because it left hurt on both sides. Do I still apologize and hope it’s received well? I don’t know. Do I let this person know I have forgiven them, even if they may not want it or think they need to be forgiven? Still don’t know.  But right now I just feel like being okay that it is what it is….. and this time I’m not hiding behind that. I think so much time passes and bringing up something old would be pointless…. but moving on would be so much better.

There’s a first time for everything, even though I am a day late…..

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So, I didn’t even know until yesterday morning that today was Ash Wednesday and that it was the kickoff for Lent. I barely even knew about Lent, so I’ve certainly never participated. Yesterday a few posts were made by friends saying what they were giving up, why, what it meant to them. Today followed with several more. Last night I thought a lot about it and today the thoughts just wouldn’t let up. The more I read, the more I heard God saying “DO IT.” And then the nervous stirring that happened after that only solidified it for me. Giving up what God was pushing me to give up made me nervous. I didn’t want to, I still don’t want to, and that tells me I need to.

I have been lacking discipline in an area of my life lately, moreso than at any other time. I don’t know what to blame it on… it could be the winter, the increase of friends in the last several months, the fact that I can do it when I don’t want to do things I need to do, how I use it to avoid, how I use it as a false way of creating validation for myself (ugly and quite disgusting, I know). I notice that I am always concerned with what the latest news is with everyone else because I am a social person, I like to keep up! But that is creating a spirit of gossip within me as well, not the spreading it necessarily, but the acquiring of it. The bottom line is it causes me to wander from more important things. Time with my boys, with my husband, with my Lord, with myself, time fulfilling my responsibilites as a homemaker…. all these things suffer because of it.

I want to be obedient. I’m knee deep right now in regret about times I haven’t been obedient, for reasons I won’t go into here. Right now though I have a chance to redeem that for myself and prove to myself that I CAN be obedient to God when called to. I’ve asked Him for so much in my life, a lot of which He has given me…. and I responded with disobedience and arrogance. He has convicted me of that lately, and now He puts this in my lap. What do I do with it?

I obey.

So, starting a day late, I’ll be off of FB for 40 days. I’ll still have my email up and running (need that for MOPS), and still be doing my banking online. FB will be my only “sacrifice” during this time. I thought about having a friend change my password for me, but then that takes away the chance for me to make the choice daily. To follow God’s prompting in me daily. So many of our choices as Christians are daily choices, not just a one time “ooh I’m saved and wash me in the water!” choice…. but daily choices to die to ourselves. Funny, this all goes along with my current bible study as well…. another way God is whispering to me “DO IT.”

I hope to come back from this 40 days with a deeper understanding of God’s will in my life, what His plans are for me and my family, and where I fit into His plans. I know He will use me, if I just obey and step away.

I know some of you doubt, I can hear it now…. but please be in prayer for me during this as well, and as yourselves what you can give up? It doesn’t have to be for Lent, it could just be because it’s something that takes you away from following God’s calling on your life…. FB just happens to be mine.