Here’s a great post about how we can react when we are situations that are rubbing us wrong! It’s not always easy to be “controlled” in those moments! My friend Bradley Grinnen gives a thoughtful view on confrontations….”Don’t Engage…Be Present”
Full disclosure… I am unmistakably a believer. In this space I often use the term ‘The Divine’ to refer to the Higher Power. Please allow yourself to replace ‘The Divine’ with how you’ve come to know and understand God.
The world has a funny way of bumping into us and completely changing our inner state of being. One moment we’re happy and content, going through our day, and then BAM! Someone that we really don’t feel good being around runs into us with the kind of passing comment that can immediately derail us. We end up having 4 or 5 different conversations with that person in our head for the rest of the day. Maybe we tell them off. Maybe we logically box them into a corner and then knock them out with the tremendously practiced words we’ve worked so hard to come up with. All in our head…
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It’s interesting to me how so many think that without even beginning their lives or going through trials they can cut down those who have and share openly where they get their strength! Who are we to stomp on another for going after goals and achieving them through leaning on Christ! I am talking to fellow Christians.
I have entered into a Fitness world where I’ve been amazed at the time, dedication and openness from these people! They achieve and lean on Jesus through it all. Many of them share openly their beliefs and yet without even taking one look at that part, others cut it down! Why? Jesus says that As long as the name of Christ is preached, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. God knows we all walk different paths! We’ve all come from somewhere. Not everyone has been raised in the church or even a solid family. Not everyone has been given the “clean life” In fact, many have slipped and fallen numerous times! God loves those people!! He claimed that He came for the broken! He ate and mingled with them!! He loved their humbleness…that comes from living a life and knowing full well that mistakes and short-comings were made!!
How else are we to reach these people (myself included!) without stepping into their world and loving them right where they are at!! I don’t hide behind the Bible or Church…I do believe and stand on the promises that God gave me and have found them after much testing to be true! I also attend and give to the church…but it’s no excuse to cut down and judge others!! Shame on those Christians who do! God says to encourage others…so do it already!! “Give to one another in ‘Brotherly Love'”
I have found that competitions are one of the most encouraging, uplifting, cheering places both in and out of them!! I’m proud to be associated with all of those I’ve formerly competed with…without a doubt! No matter what size, what the suit looks like, if we have stretch marks, or skin that can’t be helped from losing so much weight-the others cheer on! Proudly exclaiming the long distance we all have come!! It takes hard-earned effort to get there! And very few in my limited experience say that they do it all on their own!! So many believe in the power and strength that they receive from Jesus Christ!!
Does Jesus need us to be thin and fit….no. He loves us regardless!! But to not be fit is to lack energy, inspiration, and many times deal with outright depression. Is that where God wants us?? I say NO!! He wants us to be at our best!! That way we are ready for whatever He brings our way!!
I can’t say enough how amazed I am with the lives that because I’ve gotten into great shape, that I’ve been blessed to know and touch for Jesus!! I’ve shared tears and laughter and stories galore already and I know there’s much more to come! Who am I to stop that work? To me, it’s a ministry in its own right!!
As for lusting…I’ve found ZERO of that within the competitions! None!! It’s just not even a question! I have found that outside of them, but I find that with being fully clothed!! I cannot control what others think… I can only do what God calls me to do and to do it with My BEST!!
With much love and respect…~Pamela
Last spring, 2011 I heard a song from Sarah Bareilles “Let The Rain”:
“I wanna Let the Rain…come down-make a brand new ground. Let the rain…come down….on me.” God chose these words to speak to me and I wrote them down…
“Rain…I don’t like it. It drowns out the sun. Everything seems so dreary. So what’s the point?
Rain is good for the ground. It feeds, nourishes, cleanses, refreshes. The moisture makes everything all around it supple. It quenches, rejuvenated and replenishes. Rain is needed. We can’t survive without it!
Same Coin…two sides!
The cleansing is what I need most right now. I’ve been under a dark cloud for so long. I’ve needed to grieve from all I’ve been through. Grieve for healing. Grieve for forgiveness. Grieve for growth. I’ve learned so much from all I’ve been through–it’s time to say goodbye to the hurts. Time to forgive: to forgive those that have hurt me, to forgive myself for allowing so much pain to enter into my life, to forgive myself for staying in that pain and drama for so long.
From this goodbye comes the hello to all that I am now. I’ve come a long way. It’s time to bring forth the fruit that God wants to grow? The “plant” is ready to produce.”
The vision that I wrote down in this journal entry was this:
“The bags are packed. The apartment is empty. My jacket is on & my purse is in hand…I look back from the door, sigh, say goodbye and step out into the sun!”
It’s time to shine forth and bring God’s light. Touch lives. Time to be the conduit of God’s energy to tap into. It’s time. Forgive & let go of all that’s past. Take with me all that I’ve learned & share the hope with others!!
The message to me is the same message that is to you…
It’s time to step out into the light &b be the leader you were created to be.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:8 This verse has been my verse throughout my adult life. With all that I lack, I have Christ. I relate with Moses when he says to God…”but who am I Lord, that you should send me?” lol… That’s how I have felt in so many things in my life. What I lacked, God made it possible for me to understand anyway.
I’ve been through some really tough times. At the time, I couldn’t understand why. Why did I need to have it so rough? I didn’t understand and those around me couldn’t hardly comprehend it…but God knew. He had a plan. God would take all the sin and ugly and hurts in my life and turn them into something beautiful for me. Something that He could use to help others. From being adopted, to getting married young and having kids young, to getting an incredibly ugly divorce, to having so much and losing it all, to single motherhood..you name it. God has uniquely put together a beautiful gold thread throughout my life and has made it strong.
Going through hurt. I wept. I rocked at night…praying and grieving and wringing my hands with worry. I was in pain. Pain that no one could take away and yet…now…it’s beautiful!! I wouldn’t trade the “rain” in my life for anything. I wouldn’t want to go through it again!! However, I can say at this point in my life that if more comes my way…I can trust that everything will be ok. God’s got this in my life…and in yours as well! If you are going through “the rain”, remember, in the end it can be a beautiful gold thread that can shine a Light for others to follow.
Yes, I had to ask.
We have these lives that ask us to go to school…finish school…get good grades…go to college or trade school…get good grades (theme here!!)…finish school…get a job….work hard at that job…pay the bills…get more things…pay more bills…take care of our family’s…have kids…pay more bills…get the kids involved…run those kids around…put the kids in the best schools…pay more bills…get stressed so you take a vacation…pay more bills…work even harder because of the bills and time off….get more stuff…
You get the idea. You may even be living some of this! There’s nothing wrong with the school, or the family, or the bills, or any of the above! It’s a blessing to work and to achieve. But it can take over our lives and we forget why we even started in the first place!
A few years ago, my brand new husband and I pulled back from a very lucritive lifestyle. We worked our tails off to get there. At the height of our careers…we left. (I wish I could put a huge pause here!!) Yes we left. I personally had finally arrived and I loved my job. I was starting to make a large sum of money even…and I left. We didn’t just leave in a small way (if you know my husband and I, we don’t do many things in a small way!!), we left our jobs, our lifestyle, our income, our state and retreated up into Northern Michigan. From the city and shopping and going out to eat and lunch dates and music on the ‘veranda’ to a small farm in a small town.
My Father was terminally ill. That was one reason. But I believe that my Fathers illness was a catalyst. We were able to have 6 months with my loving Dad who was my mentor and friend…He passed away 2 1/2 years ago and I’m still here in remote Northern Michigan.
We felt God leading us to pull back–we needed a retreat. Both my husband and I had rough divorces that dragged us through the mud. In all honesty, I felt like I had gone to Hell and back. Seven years of drama and turmoil that didn’t seem to let up until I met Jim. I was exhausted. Loved where God had brought me–New loving husband, Fianlly the side of “town” I always wanted to live in, and a fantastic career–but…exhausted just the same.
The truth…I needed more than a vacation. I needed a respite. To pull back. To think. To regroup. To hear and to LISTEN from God. God wanted something more for me and my family, but I wasn’t going to be able to have that if I stayed where I was. I loved it too much! I was able to buy things…and coming from my single-motherhood state, THAT meant something to me!! I did it! I had arrived! Look at me…I accomplished the goal! Wait…did you hear it?
I, me, my, I loved…I did…
Don’t get me wrong, I leaned heavily on my Savior through all those tough times and years. He lead me to the point where I was, even with all my mistakes! Only, when I arrived, I loved it and was very proud of myself for gettting there!! I would have been quite happy staying there! But, God wanted more. He wanted to bless me and my family (and my new marriage) in a way that I couldn’t even imagine at the time, but I was having such a hard time stepping out of the way. I had gone through some pretty rough times…some of you can’t imagine the turmoil! But now…Now, I was on my feet! And I no longer had to beg anyone…ANYONE for food, or clothes, or gas for my car, or a job.
Under my new husbands love for me, he said, “Let’s go!” So, we did. It has been a struggle. My Dad passed away. Jobs up here are scarce. Money is even scarcer (is that a word??). The winters…geesh! They are long. We are in a small town and can hardly find a Starbucks!! What is that?!?! I mean, we have chickens in our barn!! Hahaha… it’s just the life I’ve needed. Time to think and re-evealuate. Time to become one with that wonderful new husband of mine! Man, we’ve been through it. In the last three years, we’ve had a lifetime together!!
So, now it’s time. Time to step out again. This time trusting God and His leading. Holding my husbands hand and moving forward with the dream that God has given me. Lifting and encouraging others, because now that I’ve healed a bit (oh yes, I still have scares!), I can smile and point others to the True Source of strength…Jesus Christ. All that I am (at least the parts that you may like) are from him! (Keep in mind, I may have parts that you don’t like…they are still me trying to exert myself! Sorry about that!! I’m a work in progress!!) We (which is a much different term than I was using before my respite)…WE are moving forward, being lead by Who…not what…not Self..
And ya know what’s so great about all this?? I really don’t know what’s going to happen next!! It’s a complete adventure full of surprises!! Who could ask for anything more?
- Gorgeous, loving husband who fully supports me
- Beautiful children who I respect and they respect me
- Adventure in my life that I can relax with (not that I always do…)
- Success beyond what I dreamed of (This doesn’t necessarily mean money yet…)
Yup…I’m living the dream life (Which means most days I’m content to be lead!) and it’s getting better and better!! Who knew it could be this simple? …God did! And He has much much more in store. His provision, His timing, His plan…god has it all worked out. I have to trust in that plan and do the steps that He has placed before me. That’s what it means to “Walk by Faith”
So…Who is leading you?
…telling you how much He cares for you! Learn to look around and soak His love in. Take the time each day to stop…Be Still…and know He is attending to your cares, worries and desires! Here’s a video to see some of that beauty!
Take a deep breath and have a wonderful and blessed day!
It’s amazing to me how little I know. I think I know so much…but when it comes right down to it, I’m limited. A few years ago I went through a storm. It lasted what seemed like forever! It was 7 years long. My marriage of 13+ years and 4 children crumbled in a horrific way. That story is for another time. But I do mention it only to say with all the fear, drama, and topsy-turvy of that hurricane in my life, I really wouldn’t change it. The remnants of what seemed at that time a black hole, has given me abilities and understanding in a deep and profound way that I would have never acquired without that turmoil.
One of the missions that I dove into was learning about thinking. Apparently, I’ve always been a deep thinker-I learned that more recently from moving back to Michigan for my Hiatus. Before my divorce, I was a fairly small-minded, opinionated, black and white thinker. There was a right way and a wrong way. I had my world (and it was perfect of course! Ha!): my children were well-behaved, my spouse and I owned our own businesses, I went to one of the “best” churches in the south. I had it all, even the picket fence! That was all on the surface of course. When that all changed, I had to re-invent myself or get buried by life. I had to figure out how to do this thing on my own. Not only survive, but succeed I knew from my upbringing that going through all of this meant that I was to help others at some point. That was the purpose for it all (along with drawing me closer to God Himself) so, I had to figure it out.
One of the hardest areas to look at in myself in order to revamp was that I couldn’t point fingers or blame. I received no benefit from looking outside of myself but bitterness! It didn’t put food on the table or a roof over my head! I became determined to look at the way I thought so that I could change my actions and therefore succeed! I had no idea what a journey I was diving into!
Thinking comes from dwelling on a particular line of thoughts. Thoughts, I learned come from 3 areas. Now…I hesitate a bit to tell you this. But, it’s what I learned. I’ve tested this out many a day now not only with myself, but with others. You can do your own testing.
Thoughts come from 3 areas:
1.) My Past Experiences:
All that I’ve learned through my 5 senses have been gathered up and called my experiences. I lean on these to move forward. Like when I learned to ride my bicycle for the 1st time, I started out with training wheels. After trusting those and learning how to balance a bit, I moved forward. Life is the same. The problem with only leaning on this thought pattern is that I have had some bad experiences too. When I learned to ride my bike, I fell a few times. I skinned my knee and my elbow and my Mom had to patch me up. Why would anyone after taking a fall like that, get back up on that bike (here it is…are you ready?) to just get hurt again? Our natural tendencies lead us to say “No way! I’m not getting on that bike again!” Something outside of us (whether we realize it or not) is encouraging us to move forward and past our hurts. That something (or someone) is teaching us to trust their experience and knowledge and “Get back on and try again!” You can sort of say they are a “higher power”. The adult helping us with words of encouragement and smiles! They are like area number 2 in thoughts.
2.) God’s Placement of Thoughts Into Our Spirits:
I want to say first and foremost that God doesn’t ever say something that goes against what he’s already written down. So what that means is He is consistent. Quite frankly, it ‘s impossible for Him to be inconsistent. God deals with the spirit side of ourselves. Our spirit then lets our minds know what we need to think. Our experiences deal strictly with our minds. The natural side of us only. When we hear from God we typically say that “I just know” or I “feel” it. But the truth is it is our spirits (which separate us from all other living things) that are being spoken to. Now, if we do not know God, our minds do not know how to deal with what’s happening. The Bible says in Romans 8:7 that our natural minds or sensual part of us cannot know God. So we need to “…renew our minds daily…”(Romans 12:2). This is key because of the third area of where thoughts come from. If we know who God is and what he wants for us (which if you read in Romans 12:2 further, His plan is perfect and good for us!), then we know what to do when negative words or thoughts come our way! Get rid of them! No dwelling! And by all means don’t speak them out loud giving them power in our lives!
3.) The Devil’s placement of a thought:
Yes, it’s true. There is a Devil. Look around. Look within your own mind! God wants good for us. God wants to encourage us. God wants to build us up and make us stronger and more capable-like our parents when we were learning how to ride our bikes! We didn’t like it when we fell and hurt ourselves, but they knew it was all part of learning how to ride. They knew the other side was freedom to roll where we couldn’t before, so they picked us up and brushed us off and put us right back on that bike to learn. The Devil does not want that for us. He wants to hold us back, to stay down, to lie there grumbling. To ride and be free means enjoyment and happiness. The Devil doesn’t want anything to do with those things! Why? We might help someone else to “learn how to ride their bikes!” Happiness would spread. True freedom would spread! You see, he made a decision long ago saying to himself that he knew better than God. He wanted to take matters into his own hands and grumbled about God. He wants only that misery for us too. Misery loves company, right? Don’t fall for it! Now I said earlier to not speak the negative thoughts out loud. God…well, He can read our thoughts. He helps us out with them (of course we have to listen). The Devil cannot read our thoughts. He can place a thought into our minds (natural self remember) and watch to see what we will do with that thought, but he can’t know what we will do. He is limited. Isn’t THAT good news?! We need to be careful at this point to replace whatever the Devil is telling us with a truth instead. We don’t want to create a void we want to keep the space filled up but with positive, truthful statements instead. If we say it out loud…all bets are off! The Devil can hear you when you speak out loud! Shhh…keep yourself quiet! If you are going to speak out loud, say something positive!
Practice healthy thinking by not dwelling on that negative thought. Keep in mind that you can’t just get rid of it. Nope! You must replace it with something else! Something positive. Something truthful. Here’s an example that I struggle with: Say I go to start something and I’m nervous. I’m afraid I’ll mess up. If I’m feeling that way, I’ve already had quite a few negative thoughts race through my head. I have to push through telling myself, it’s ok. Keep going. Fear isn’t from God. It’s either my past experiences (natural self) or the Devil keeping me down. Either way, I’m not living up to my full potential and freedom! I have a free will and I have to use it in this case. “I can do it!”
There are ways to get a handle on this thought life thing.
1. Take an honest look at how many negative thoughts about yourself and situations and others you are saying…BE HONEST!!! Do you have cut-downs that are “just joking” Do you tell yourself that you can’t or won’t or could never??? Do you look at others and compare yourself or what you think is an ideal? Do you bark out orders to others and they just don’t ever measure up? Are you proud of yourself and taking good care of yourself physically? That should get you started!
2. Start to “Renew your mind daily” The word daily is here for a reason! You need to get into a habit my friend-this comes with daily repetition only. Go to books, blogs, articles, (dare I say it for some of you???) the Bible. God wrote down exactly what He thinks of you–It’s all good I promise! He loves you and wants the best for you. I know for some of you out there, we Christians have really messed this up. I’m sorry. We’ve judged poorly, said things we shouldn’t and have hurt way too many of you! Don’t let the Devil whisper lies to you. We fallen Christians may not be great or think good thoughts, but God IS great and thinks only good thoughts about you. Look into Him and His word not to a bunch of yada yada’s (that includes me). We try, but we do fail. God’s not finished with us yet!
3. Surround yourself with mentors and people that have been-there-done-that. They can help with the whole encouragement part! Lean on them and their encouragement until you can encourage yourself!
Thinking, like anything else, is a part of a healthy lifestyle. It takes practice and repitition in our lives to get better and better at this one. We are NOT victums! We have a free will and we choose daily what thoughts we will dwell on and which ones we will replace! It’s our choice! I love that! A tree doesn’t choose-we do!
What thoughts are YOU Choosing today??
Here are some resources for you to take a look at to get better in this area!
Start with Proverbs or the book of James. If you don’t know God at all, start with the 3rd book in the New Testament: John. Learn just how sweet, caring and tender God really truly is!
Quick read but oh so valuable!! Empowering really! Mine is well loved!
One of my absolute favorite songs is from Sarah Bareilles called, Many the Miles. She takes such an awesome perspective on many of her songs, but this one has special meaning to me. I have 6 kids…I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in. Yes 6! I have personally birthed 4 and I have 2 step children. Two of my kids are full-grown…more time for you to take that in. OK so, full grown. When they were growing, I prided myself on being a mother! I loved it. Probably more than anything! I laughed, cried, scolded and learned sometimes all at the same time with those two wonderful blessings! I was simply amazed at their own unique persons even at such young ages. When they were 12 & 10 I got divorced. All Hell broke loose within my life. These two most wonderful creatures who were simply on a path that every suburban parent would be envious of, slipped through my fingers and I felt I was completely helpless to stop it! The two most wonderful things in my life got hurt and torn by stupid, meaningless, unnecessary turmoil. They hid-of course. I mean emotionally you know. The friends that they had, no longer accepted them because a “single-mom home” was unstable and a “bad influence” Our 6 figure income of cars and sports and gap galore changed to good will and food stamps! They didn’t know how to handle it and quite frankly, I was trying desperately to learn myself. EVERYTHING changed.
Now, 9 years later, I learned how to love deeper-myself and others around me no matter who they are or what they are going through! I learned that is exactly how God loves me! I mean, I really mess things up sometimes! I’m direct and hurt feelings. I say I’m going to do something and forget (this one is too common!), I’m selfish and point my finger telling someone how I think they should live! What is all that? God Doesn’t do that to me. He loves me exactly where I am at-no matter what! When my kids hid…the good news was and is, they could never hide from God’s love. I’ve learned there is nothing that is too far or too deep for God. He knows all and will come to us and love us through it all! If I’m to be like Him, then I need to do the same for other people right here on Earth right now! I don’t live my life for them-not even my kids (I’ll that one sink in ladies…), but I do love others the way I am loved by True Love Himself!
And…Like Sarah Bareilles’ song says “How Far Do I Have to go to Get To You? Send me the miles and I’ll be happy to” When I hear this song, I think of those two beautiful kids of mine! Now almost 21 and 18, they are still picking up the pieces and I love them through to the best of my ability-all with the love of Christ within me (left to myself, I’d get mad at them for screwing it up!)(and then they’d come back at me and say it’s all my fault anyway! No good can come from that! That is wasted energy. Nope-God’s right, it’s better to love)
Listen to the words to this beautiful song:
If we could apply even just a little bit of this towards others daily, we’d be so much better off and so would everyone we come into contact with. Think about it…
Ever ride dirt bikes in the mud? Or two-tracking with a truck? Yes, it’s true I grew up in Michigan and that proves it! At any rate… The tires can get pretty thick with mud and sticks and rocks. It gets thrown everywhere! When it comes time to clean it all off though, it can get tough. The longer you wait the harder it gets and scrubbing becomes more and more difficult.
I’ve been thinking about bitterness, anger, self-loathing, doubt, fear-many of these feelings and self-talk come from unforgiveness. These feelings can come whether they come from unforgiving others and all that they have done to me, or unforgiving myself and how I acted or things that I’ve said. The longer I wait to forgive and allow myself to wallow in these negative emotions which keep me far away from God and from others (even myself!), the more difficult it is to clean up! It gets crusty and deep-rooted allowing more and more of the same behavior to be attracted to us! It’s ugly and a burden to carry around. Sometimes we carry these scares even when we think we’ve cleaned it all up causing us to hurt and not even know it. We need to search our hearts and have these areas revealed. When they are shown to us, we need to quickly humble ourselves and take action to forgive or ask for forgiveness.
We need forgiveness-letting go of what others have done to us, of what we have done to others and what we’ve done to ourselves. We need to free ourselves of these weights therefore freeing up God’s blessings and love to freely flow in and through us.
You’ve heard of “Hurting people hurt people”? Well, the opposite is true too. When we are free to love ourselves-forgiving the wrongs, we touch other people’s lives in ways we may not even realize it. Blessing them and giving a bit of tenderness or kindness to others. We can also feel confident and secure in knowing that we don’t have to defend our actions or relent in the hurts any longer. Boy, all this sure is needed! We are hurting as a society, as families, as individuals. We are more lonely and hurt than ever. We need to look inward and see what needs forgiveness and our letting go so that we can enjoy love, peace, tenderness and compassion again fully, the way God intended it in the first place!
God reaches across the vastness of eternity to divinely stoop down & desires an intimate, loving, unconditional relationship with us. He chooses to want us whether we ever return that love to Him or not. As we spew and vomit our putrid selfishness all over His glory, He stays by our side…just loving us. As we hang onto our hurts and shortcomings using them as excuses to stew in our lives…He patiently waits-understanding our pain. He doesn’t show this to the world, He doesn’t expose what we do or where we are at…He just loves us; patiently desiring for us to turn our hearts to look in His direction even if for only a single moment. He longs to lavish His love-perfect as it is, He longs to pour it out all over and in and through us. In doing so, He stands us up to realize when we look in His direction for our strength, we can truly do anything! It’s uncomfortable at best to step out with such awesome power running through us. Knowing it’s really not of ourselves, but with each step, each breath, each ability is powered from Complete Power. With this greatness comes a responsibility. We are never able to be completely touched by such wonderfulness and keep it to ourselves. It becomes our desire for all to taste the completeness and the healing that’s necessary for our finite spirits. When we allow God Himself to touch all that is within us, we are able to tap into His perfect peace and completeness. Full acceptance right where we are at-no matter how dark of a space it is. We touch eternity through The One who always was, always is, and always will be. The cure for all that ails us, is this Love that reaches through the space, through the time, through all the darkness and places it’s arms of Grace around us. This Love carries us through it all, expecting nothing in return. Why? Why would such perfectness ever want anything to do with me and all that I’ve messed up, with all that I’ve hurt, with all my brokenness? Why? Because He wants to. I can do nothing to earn it. I can do nothing to lose it. But we must ask for it. When we do, He reaches through all to let you and I know…