What Are You Saying?

Yesterday, I listened to one of my kids rant about their school, the wicked teachers, awful students & deplorable work. I don’t mind listening and sometimes I’m good at listening, which is good because my kid needed a listening ear. After about 30-45min of this content, I felt it was time for some objectivity so we had an interesting chat. I applauded their willingness to acknowledge a few of their shortfalls, but I also pointed out that from this child’s perspective, the lion’s share of the problems belonged to everyone else. This kind of thinking was allowing my kid to frame themselves as the victim & that’s no bueno. Being a victim often leaves us powerless & inert, wallowing in self pity. Seems to me that this kind of thinking runs contrary to how God has designed us, back in the Garden of Eden with power & dominion. 

At the minimum, we have authority & power over our attitude & the choices we make about our perspective. Let’s be careful about how we think because our thoughts affect our words, attitudes & actions!

act the right way???

“YOU SHOULDN’T DO THAT!!!!”  When we were growing up, you probably heard that a few times, as did I.  Now that I’m an adult, I still hear those words in my mind sometimes.  “You shouldn’t be driving so fast!  You shouldn’t be sarcastic, you shouldn’t be so casual, you shouldn’t . . . . . ”

In religion, there’s lots of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”  – we wishfully think that the right behavior will fix everything.  From my perspective, this kind of thinking is like putting peacock feathers on a cow:  accessorizing the external in an attempt to deny or compensate for the internal.

More than we realize our beliefs shape our behavior, so perhaps we would be better to consider what we believe as the first step.  Yucky beliefs and thinking always result in yucky words and actions 🙂

overcoming fear

A very nice friend asked me today about overcoming fear & I felt encouraged that I should write about this today 🙂

In relation to fear, there are lots of things that could trouble us:  fear of failure, fear of getting hurt, fear of something from the past, fear of falling down, fear of the future, fear of relationships, . . . . . .   The Greeks used the term phobia and attached all kinds of things to this word (agrophobia, necrophobia & my personal favorite, snake-o-phobia).

So here are some strategies that could be helpful to overcoming fear:

  • do it scared – I stole this outright from Joyce Meyer;  she’s uber cool!
  • face the fear a little bit at a time rather than to look at the whole thing
  • consider that the devil uses fear to control us & that God created us from the very beginning to have authority, dominion & power
  • catch fear in the early stage so it doesn’t go stupid
  • choose to trust God & reject fear – yes to trust and no to fear
  • keep trying – failing is more like practice if we take out the fear ingredient
  • remember that 1 John says that perfect love casts out fear!

Feel free to add your own advice & pass this along to your fam & friends! 😀

a quick secret to stay happy :)

When I woke up my son today to get ready for school, he wasn’t happy by a long shot.  He was cranky & grumpy and unfortunately, by the time he got in the car, he was still in the doldrums – a very yucky way to start off on a Monday morning 😦

We all have times, seasons, days and moments when we are grumpy & here’s a potential quick fix:  be thankful.  Rather than looking at the grumpy stuff (back to school, bills, tired, physical pain, hardship, emotional stressors, relationship difficulties, job / school challenges . . . . ), take some moments to be thankful.

Thank God:

  • that the sun came up this morning
  • for the oxygen that we breath
  • that God’s love is vast yet personal
  • that God is both faithful and good
  • for a nice blog to give you this helpful reminder ,)

Vacation, Sabbath, Pause & Rest

I’m currently with my family on a vacation, enjoying some downtime. I find that I can chose how restful this vacation is or I can be stressed out about how much work I’m missing, checking my emails all the time, writing blogs, etc. Vacate means to leave the premise or to check out.
I think it’s good for all of us to occasionally leave the premise & check out for our own mental health, for the purpose of enjoying family & to give God the opportunity to engage with us with less competition for our attention. Celebrate the opportunities that God gives us for vacations, rest & pause 🙂

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decisions that empower

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All of us make decisions every day and as adults we get to manage the consequences of these decisions.  If you want to get the best mileage or results from your decisions, consider making these “power choices”:

  • hope rather than despair
  • focus more than distracted
  • grace over scorn
  • forgiveness rather than revenge
  • love more than apathy
  • gratitude over complaining
  • honor more than insolence
  • compliments more than sarcasm
  • respect more than ridicule
  • compassion more than callous

Wise decisions create wise results 🙂

extra

It seems like we all want the “extra” perk – we buy the shampoo that has 25%more for the same price, we look for the value meal, we look for the guy who serves ice cream with a little extra on his scoops, . . . . extra time, more roi, . . . . extra.

Let’s also look at the little ways that we can add some “extra”:

  • extra patience with the person learning to use the new computer system,
  • extra grace for the phone agent with the heavy accent,
  • extra forgiveness for our mate who unknowingly said something hurtful,
  • extra time on the parking meter for the person who will take our spot,
  • extra friendly to the cranky check out person at the grocery store

Let’s go the “extra mile” 🙂

boomslang

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Happy Monday to you!  So you don’t think I’ve taken up cussing as my side hobby, a boomslang is a poisonous snake in Africa.  When it bites it’s victim, it’s venom is highly toxic and disables any blood clotting.  As a result, if a boomslang bites you, unless you receive a healthy dose of anti venom, you’ll die from bleeding out within probably 24-48 hours – gory & gruesome!

In my thinking, the devil is alot like a boomslang – slithery, slippery, sneaky & cunning.  I think that one of the primary “bites” the devil uses to poison us isn’t like the overt attack of a lion or a bear making an outright offensive leap.  Instead, I think the devil more often attempts to use a boomslang poison on us, someone offending us.

People can say / do things that can be very offensive (both intentionally & unintentionally).  What people say & do to us isn’t nearly as important as our reaction.  Ingesting unforgiveness is like letting the boomslang venom pump through our veins without any anti-venom.  Eventually, we bleedout & our relationships fall apart.  Forgivness is the anti-venom that we need to readily & generously apply.  Don’t let the venom of unforgiveness settle into your heart!

Magnify

I’ve been thinking about Mary, Jesus’ mom, and how she had a pretty tough road to walk, being pregnant out of wedlock in a culture that strongly frowned on “that type of thing”. If you think about Mary’s situation, she went through a pretty tricky season.
In different but also similar ways to Mary, we all have lots of challenges & difficulties. So if I look at the what Mary said in her season of unwed pregnancy, it helps me to know how to manage my own struggles. Simply put, Mary said, “My soul magnifies The Lord”. We can magnify the problem or we can magnify The Lord, let’s chose wisely 🙂

hot topic: Father’s Day

This weekend in America, we celebrate Father’s Day.  It’s a day when we honor our fathers & express our appreciation for their sacrifices & input in our lives.  Not everyone, however, grew up with warm fuzzies for their dads & there are many people who don’t like their dads & many who don’t even know who their dads are or were.  So sometimes, we’re conflicted with the premise of honoring our dads & acknowleding the reality of who they are or are not.  Holidays like Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc when we’re around our family, can be a little tricky.  So perhaps these ideas can be helpful:

  • honoring our parents is important based on the Ten Commandments;  even if you have parents who are dishonorable, choosing to honor them is the high road & ultimately a more healthy decision than dishonor (an internal decision versus an external achievement)
  • all humans are flawed, full stop
  • remember that ultimately God is your Heavenly Father & that you’re fearfully & wonderfully made in the image of your Heavenly Father
  • Help:  holidays that have tricky family navigation challenges for us will often cause us to pray and ask God for help – which is always good;  doing life without God’s Help isn’t good 🙂

happy Father’s Day!