Noise

Have you ever felt completely surrounded by noise?

Yesterday, as I sat in the bleachers at my son’s basketball game, I felt surrounded by noise. The game was intense as the score was close. Parents were yelling out differing opinions on calls to the referees. Everything seemed to echo in the gymnasium. It was one of those mornings where the fibro fog from fibromyalgia made me feel like I haven’t slept in days despite having had 7 hours of sleep. 

I love to watch my son play sports. I will support him in the sporting events he chooses. I don’t understand, though, the intensity of a junior high basketball game. I don’t understand the angry outcries of parents at the referees. It makes me sad to hear parents scream at their children for not playing as they think they should. I mean.. it is nice to win but in a year, month, day, even an hour…Does it really matter who won? It all feels like noise.

Sports are great for building teamwork. They have the potential to teach healthy competition. The reality is that most kids won’t get college scholarships and even fewer will play professional sports.

Basketball is not my son’s favorite sport. He doesn’t play a lot in the game. Thankfully, he has been able to let that go and not get upset. He has shared with us that basketball is not his love. From my end as a parent, there is no pressure placed on him. We simply ask that he does his best and embodies positive teamwork. The rest is just noise.

This isn’t just about noise at a sporting event. It is about noise in life. Noise is always around us. We hear people talking. They send messages to us, some positive, some negative. We have noises from within-those voices in our heads. We can listen to messages screaming that we need to work harder, try harder, that we are not good enough OR we can listen to the voices that tell us we are good enough when we rest in His grace and strength.

Competition is okay. Pushing ourselves towards goals is wonderful. Teamwork is great. Those things are not the problem…it is the noise. It is all about the messages we hear in the noise around us and what we choose to do with the noise. 

Having goals, pushing ourselves, playing hard are all great. Sometimes, we need some silence from the noise to regroup. When we are grounded in where our worth comes from, then it makes those hard days, those losing games, those disappointments, a little easier to endure. 

Even in the noise, we can silence the voices to hear the voice of truth. We are always enough in Him.

31 Days of Gratitude: Enough

The week has been a whirlwind of activity. I am awake early this morning, much earlier than I wanted to be. I am leaving in a few hours for a writing conference which I am looking forward to. 

I am tired, though.

I am weary.  I am full of doubts.

I wrote earlier this week about stillness. In this stillness, I am seeking to listen. One of the things I am hearing God whisper to me… that He is enough. 

That’s not an easy thing for me to embrace as a perfectionist, as someone who likes to be in control.

There have been a few occasions in my life where I have felt completely out of control…the labor and birth of my daughter, the adoption process of my son, and most recently, going through the Virtual Dementia Tour. During the virtual dementia tour, you undergo a simulated experience of what it might feel like living with dementia. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I was paralyzed by my loss of control that I simply sat down.

When we call and claim God as the Father of our lives, then we can trust that He is walking the journey with us.We don’t need to be in control.

He is enough.

The pressures to perform perfectly, to be everything, to seek to please people dissipates as we embrace the truth that He is enough.

All our worries, desires to control, to perform…can be surrendered to Him.

He is enough.

The doubts, the worries, and the hard stuff of life will still come our way, but we have Someone with open arms willing to take those heavy burdens from us. 

My grace is sufficient for you for My power is made perfect in your weakness.

 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV 

Today, as those doubts attempt to steal your joy and eat away at your confidence of who you are in Christ, whisper a simple prayer of gratitude…thank You, Lord, for being enough….And then allow the joy of His promise and presence to wash over your soul.

He truly is enough.

Whose Perspective are you Focusing on?

As I sit here in the darkened living room, I hear the rain falling against the capped chimney. I hear my son breathing softly as he sleeps on the couch…his favorite thing to do on the weekend. The rain could easily match my mood if I let it. I have just finished a hard, hard week…conflict, tension, confrontation, disagreement, difficulty…I find myself questioning if I could have done something differently or handled a situation from a better approach. It all seems like too much. Like a giant rock in my path…

 

rock.jpg

The decision I have to make is will I let that rock define me…will I let that rock stand in my way…will I let that rock discourage me??

Sometimes, a rock stops us dead in our tracks. Sometimes, a rock is in our path to make us pause and reflect. And sometimes, a rock in front of us might signify that we need to take a detour to find our way back.

I’m still reflecting what the rock in my path means exactly. I do know this, though. When we see rocks in our path and feel discouraged, it is easy to start looking around at other people’s lives and wondering if we were somehow forgotten about…

It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap…it’s easy to think everyone else has everything else better off than we do. Just spend a few minutes on Facebook. Most people don’t highlight the worst moments of their days on Facebook. Most people don’t share their marriage issues, their issues with kids, their hard days at work on Facebook. We see a snapshot of something good on Facebook and then we can easily think that everyone else has something great going for them, and we are well….missing the mark somehow.

window-view

What window are you looking through? Whose view are you focusing on? Your view which is often focused on feelings and the present situation? Or God’s view which promises He will use everything in our lives to grow us and move us forward?

I found myself falling into the comparison trap earlier this week, and a convicting thought infused my mind.

When I compare myself to others and see my accomplishments, my life, my career, my fill in the blank, as less than someone else’s fill in the blank, then I am undermining the work that God is doing in my own life.

He has gifted each of us with different gifts and talents. He has each of our lives on a different timeline.

When I take my focus off Him and onto worldy perspectives of success and happiness, it leaves me feeling empty and less than worthy every time. So, even though my life is not perfect, I will remember I am God’s work in progress.

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls-Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV

focus on God.jpg

Hop on over…

snow day beauty

This is what I woke up to this morning…snow in March. Truly, though, it was a beautiful sight. Another beautiful thing to celebrate this day is friendship…

One of the things that I have grown to love about the online community is the connections you make. I have met some amazing people through blogging. My friend Lisa Roberts Bell who writes a fantastic blog on self esteem from a Christian perspective invited me to guest blog. Please take a few minutes and hop on over to her blog to read my guest post:

https://becomingyourbestselfblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/perfectly-imperfect/

And I encourage you to stay there a while and read a few more of her many great posts.

Have a great rest of the week! Find the beauty in every day.

 

The Comparison Trap

Do you ever find yourself in that trap…you know that comparison trap? I find myself there far too often. Someone is always prettier, thinner, smarter, has the better job, never seems to struggle. It’s not a good place to find myself, and I don’t think it’s a place God wants me to fall into.

It’s a dangerous place to be for so many reasons:

1. It undermines the unique person God created me to be.

2. I find myself feeling sorry for myself.

3. I focus on things that truly don’t matter and deserve my focus.

The truth is, I know things aren’t as they often seem. People are good at putting up facades. Sometimes the people who I think have it all together are fighting their own battles. For me…I can’t eat the stuff everyone else can. My skin isn’t as clear as I wish it was. I’m not where I want to be professionally in my career. My writing isn’t where I wish it was. And on and on.

On the radio the other day, I heard a reminder that God works while we are waiting. His plan for my life is uniquely mine. No one else is designed quite like me. Me with all my frustrating food issues, imperfect skin, voice that can’t carry a tune….He loves me. He created me to have a heart toward the elderly residents I serve, a gift to express myself in words, and the ability to emphasize with others who struggle with food issues.

How amazing to think that the God who created all the stars, no two snowflakes alike, the beautiful butterflies…created me, too. I need to keep my eyes and focus on Him.

Galatians verse

Faith, Hope, Love, & Food….Explained

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

It’s one of my favorite passages in the Bible.

Faith…in God, family, friends, and that goodness still exists in the world. Hope…in things greater than I can see. Love…of God, family, friends, my country…and food!

So what does food have to do with these three words? So much! Food…truthfully, I love good food….homemade, healthy, and wholesome food enjoyed with a cup of coffee and with great company.

Food is also the source of a lot of turmoil in my life. After a lengthy battle with my health, I now live with a host of food allergies and intolerances. I went from super skinny (due to unplanned weight loss as part of my illness) to being just normal. I’m human-I love chocolate, and I overeat sometimes. I have “fat” jeans, and I don’t always like what I see in the mirror.

But…I am learning that God loves me as I am. He cares about the big issues in my life and the small issues in my life. My illness has forced me to re-evaluate my life on so many levels. I am learning to trust God, to trust that He loves.

Join me in this devotional journey. Together as women of Christ, we can truly learn to embrace the women we are in God’s eyes, not the world’s definition of the ideal woman. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and join me!

Coffee

Devotional thought for the day:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

Wow….God really does care about the little things in our lives. Everything we eat, everything we drink….should be for the glory of the One who loves us. The Bible talks about our bodies being temples…we shouldn’t put things into them that damages our bodies. But what about looking at it another way? We should enjoy eating. We should enjoy fellowship with others over a good meal.  (Really, really looking forward to Thanksgiving!) The pressure I  put on myself to be the same size as my “sick self”  isn’t fair to me or the One who created me. He healed me of my scariest  health ailment so why am I wishing that I was that Hollywood stick thin size? I  want to honor Him in all I say, think, and do. I am definitely a work in progress, but I will enjoy my turkey, sweet potatoes,  gluten free pumpkin pie, and cranberry salad this Thanksgiving  with my family!

Any thoughts?