Okay with me

Success is progress not perfection. This was a favorite mantra in my former professional world. We strived to be the best and do the best, but we acknowledged that growth takes time.

I’ve learned a lot about me in the past few years. I know my strengths. I know my weaknesses or to be politically correct…my growth opportunities.

I self reflect to a fault. I strive to grow. I desire to be a better wife, mother, friend, leader at work.

But mostly, I want to be better with accepting who I am in Christ. I am His child. A work in progress. I don’t have to be like everyone else.

At writing group last weekend, we were challenged to write about what we like about ourselves. That’s not exactly easy to do. But, we did it.

And, I realized those weaknesses (a.k.a growth opportunities) are actually things I have grown to like about myself. I understand myself better. I am a INFP personality type. Click the link for more information or to discover your personality type.

Yes, success is progress not perfection, and I am a work in progress.

I am okay with me.

I challenge you to reflect and ask yourself this question….what do you like about yourself?

#infp

Advertisements

I don’t have time for this…

It’s Saturday afternoon, and I am in bed. I don’t have time for this. It’s not that I am feeling horrible, it’s just that I am not feeling great.

If there is one thing I have heard over and over from my friends and family the past few days, it is…you need to rest!!

The winter sickness has hit my family. My teen son is in bed. My husband is downstairs. He is feeling better and attempting to put our lives back into some sort of semblance.

It’s been busyness followed by not feeling well which quickly transforms the house into a full blown disaster. Dirty dishes, laundry piles….

I feel a sense of guilt resting. I don’t rest well especially in one of the most intensely busy seasons of my life.

Yet, time after time in the Bible, we are given examples of resting. I suppose I tend to focus more on the stories of doing, of action.

Which leads me to this thought… maybe I need to make rest a priority. A friend reminded me that if I don’t take care of me, then I can’t take care of those I love.

So, I rest….

The diffuser with lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus oils is on. The headache oil blend that I used on my temples was effective. After an hour nap, my headache is gone.

We may not think we have time for rest, but we need to take time and trust God with the details of our lives.

This was not how I expected to spend my weekend, but maybe it is exactly what I need.

What helps you rest?

Exposed

I am on vacation. So, why, oh why does my body insist on me being awake at 6:30? 🤔 And to add to this, there is a time change so it was really just 5:30 when I popped out of bed, mind already racing with thoughts.

We are staying in a restored farmhouse tucked away in the woods. Our friends whose son is also from the same orphanage as our son are here with us. It is a great time of fellowship with family and friends.

I find that I best disconnect from my day to day life in places like this. I need to be in the nature, away from the noises of the world. 

This morning, sleep is eluding me so I have escaped to the basement. Here, it is quiet…just me and my thoughts.

Down here, I look up at the ceiling. Everything is exposed. Nothing is hidden.

Have you ever felt like this? My friend and I have talked about feeling as though our lives are being peeled away layer by layer much like an onion. As I pray to grow closer to God, things about myself, areas in my life, suddenly feel very exposed.

The definition of expose is to make something visible. When things and areas in our lives become exposed even if just to our own awareness, it can leave us feeling vulnerable. Typically, I think most people would agree, this doesn’t feel good. When we feel emotions of guilt, shame, anxiety, weakness…it doesn’t feel very comforting. 

I came across this passage in the Psalms…

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

The psalmist was inviting God to search his thoughts, to expose anything of offense. Why would he ask this knowing God already knows? I believe when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, when we willingly invite God to examine our hearts and lives, I believe He will expose areas in our lives that may feel much like layers of an onion being peeled back.

I look up at the open ceiling again. I can see the light bulb. I see wires, a nail, a cobweb. Nothing is hidden from my sight. 

Are we willing to be this transparent with God? With others whom we trust who can help us grow? 

Feeling exposed isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is what we do with these feelings that makes all the difference in our lives. When we understand how our behaviors and feelings impact our motivations and actions, then we can understand and begin to make changes.

For example, being told I second guess myself by someone initially upset me, but as I prayed and reflected over it, I have been able to see and understand the reasons I have second guessed myself and to now change my thinking.

Being brave enough to confront our areas of exposure in our lives can open doors to some exciting opportunities for personal, professional, emotional, and spiritual growth. Keeping a prayer journal, having a prayer partner, and spending time with God in spaces where you can disconnect from the flow of life even if just for a few minutes, will help funnel exposure into growth.

Are you willing to invite God to search your heart and thoughts? You don’t have to walk this journey alone.

Slow Down

It was Saturday night, and I had the rare occasion of an officially declared date night with my husband. We were both determined to do something more than just grocery shopping. Lol…The married life. 

I am happy to say that we took advantage of the nice weather and went for a walk in one of the city metroparks. Some of the trails were closed due to high water, so we ended up on multiple trails to piece together our walk. My husband told me at one point…You don’t have to walk so fast….

Walking fast…. That’s just what I do. I have the reputation at work of walking fast and with purpose. What do you think I saw just a few short minutes later into our walk after he told me that??

Slow. 
And that is definitely a message God wants me to embrace. Slow down….And breathe, and wait, and embrace, and pause, and the list goes on. Just slow down.

Prayer is about communication with God and trusting He is listening. With this comes trusting in His timing. So often, I want an answer soon….Like yesterday. I know that I am not alone in wishing for quicker response to prayer especially in the middle of hard things.

God’s way might feel like the slow way, but He is working things out for our good, moving mountains, orchestrating the pieces, and speaking truths we need to hear along the way if we will listen.

Slow also applies to simply slowing down and not flying through life. Sure, we are all busy, but the older I get, I find myself wanting life to slow down. I don’t want to miss moments. There are opportunities to laugh, to reflect, to share coffee with a friend, to linger over a bridge during a walk, and to notice the flowers beginning to bloom.

My point is….Slow Down and enjoy life. Nichole Nordeman has a song titled Slow Down. While the song is about children growing up too fast and was the accompanying song to my many tears during the time of my daughter’s graduation, it captures the essence of living life a little slower and more intentional.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. Mark 6:31 NIV
 If the Bible mentions the need to get away from the busyness for quiet and rest, then I think that slowing down is something God wants for us, too.

Reflect on your week…Can you think of a simple way you took time to slow down or a way you can in the week to come or even today? For me…Lingering over the bridge at the metropark enjoying the sound of moving water even if it was brown in color offered a moment of intentionally slowing down.

Have a great week!!

I’m a Mess…

“I’m a mess.”

She uttered those words as though something was wrong with her. I looked at the woman standing beside me and reassured her that in someway or another, we are all a mess.

Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort.

There is a song by Citizen Way called When I’m With You….  
These are the things that I need to pray cause I can’t find peace any other way. I’m a mess underneath and I’m just too scared to show it. Everything’s not fine and I’m not okay.. 

The song goes on to say that when he is with Christ, then his real person can break through .

This song has been a huge source of comfort for me. The truth is, we are all fighting our own battles. 

The other night while playing games, my son was beating his dad and me in an intense game of Spot It. He was laughing and then said, “I need a day to feel okay and today ain’t that day.” Granted, this was in the context of losing his winning streak, but his quote has been on my mind a lot.

A lot of days, we don’t always feel okay. Whether it is worry, stress, illness, or anything that threatens to steal our joy, we certainly have a lot of reasons to not feel okay.

Thankfully, God’s love and peace and joy in our life is not dependent upon our circumstances. It takes trust to say, Okay, God, I don’t feel okay, this doesn’t feel okay, but I am going to trust You

This is where I am.. learning day by day, moment by moment, to let go of my desire to control and try to fix everything and just be okay with not being okay and trusting God instead of allowing worry and anxiety to take over in my mind.

It is a work in progress. I am a work in progress.

We are all fighting battles of some sort. We all have days when don’t feel okay. We all have days when we feel like a mess.

Trust God. Be kind to others. Listen to them for you may be the person God uses to shine some joy in his/her life. And, likewise, there are people God places in our paths to brighten our days when we don’t feel okay.

Old Fashioned Fun

Having spent a week without my phone, I reconnected with some entertainment that normally mindless phone time would have occupied. 

I read.

I journalled.

I savored the quiet.

I listened to God for His lessons in this time.

Thankfully, a new battery and less than $100 later, my phone is back good as new. No lost pictures. No permanent damage. No huge expense. I am grateful.

The time without my phone has opened my eyes to how people, myself included, spend our time. The act of everyday conversation is becoming a lost art. People don’t engage with each other as much. Just look around a restaurant. Unless, just maybe, you are at Cracker Barrel.

The other night at Cracker Barrel, I observed table after table engaging with one another over a friendly game. I love these little wooden peg games. In fact, my grandfather made me this one years ago. I will always cherish it.
It was refreshing to see so many people interacting and not on devices. I know that our world has shifted just in my short life to be more focused and centered on technology and various forms of media but breaks from all of it is a great thing.
Spending time with older adults daily in my work is also another great reminder of the need to engage and interact with one another in meaningful conversation.

Our family is planning a media free day for an upcoming weekend. As we look forward to this time to connect undistracted, we are very aware that we need to be intentional about our plans. 

The world that God created is too amazing of a place to let everyday moments pass by because our attention is focused downwards on a device.

What are your ideas for old fashioned fun?

Moments…

A few days ago, I wrote about the noise on the basketball court. Tonight, God spoke to me through that noise.

I was late to my son’s game. Always running out of work… Always a few minutes late.

I made my way into the stands. I saw him there…charging down the court, full of confidence. He shot. He missed but he had made the attempt. Moments later, he snatched the ball, charged down the court again, and made that basket.

He made his shot. 

I made it for his moment.

Life can quickly become routine. Work, household chores, games, sleep, repeat. It can become so easy to get lost in motions and lose sight of the moments. 

Life is really a beautiful collection of moments.

Tonight, no, I did not see the start of the game. I did witness his moment, though. His confidence. His shot. His basket. Slapping the hands of his teammates. Teamwork.
I have been focusing on my shortcomings for too long. I have been dwelling on dreams not yet reached. I have been harboring guilt at being late to games. I have been placing a lot of pressure on myself to be all things.

I have been exhausted. I am not all things.

Christ is enough, and in Christ, I am enough.

Yes, I need to find a better work life balance. Yes, I need to improve my communication. Yes, I want to grow as a leader. Yes, I have many dreams I still yearn to reach. Yes, I continue to work through my anxiety struggles and second guessing.

But, you know what? I am making progress. Through the noise, I can hear God’s love and grace.

I am learning to let go of second guessing myself.

I am learning to give myself permission to not be perfect.

I am learning to make the most of moments. Everyday life moments.
Sometimes, it takes a little noise to grab our attention. 

Be present for the moments that matter.