anger

I struggle with anger. It’s been a problem my whole life, really. Growing up, I always wanted to be “good,” and like many people, I didn’t find a healthy way to express it. It seemed like a sin to be angry (you know, “love is patient, love is kind…”). As a result, I swallowed my pain and frustrations, and became melancholy, sometimes depressed, turning my anger inward where it was “safe.” By the time I was a young adult, I began to express myself with tough language and alcohol. College gave me a freedom to express outwardly what was going on in my heart, but it was still imbalanced and unhealthy. 

Even now, years later, I struggle to find  a balance. I often vacillate between breathing deeply (and sometimes stuffing it) and expressing myself passionately. Jesus got angry, turning over tables. I’m not sure I would feel okay in doing that myself, but it certainly lends itself to at least some consideration as to what is “sinning in anger,” and what is actually being healthy in expression. 

How do you express your frustration? What is worthy of that energy to you? Is it more a cultural bias than an absolute? Thoughts??

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catch up

I have a Facebook friend from college that I used to date. I love Facebook – it’s been fun catching up with old friends. And yet sometimes that feeling in the pit of my stomach reminds me of those awkward and sometimes painful friendships in my past. Some days I am genuinely happy for the love that others have found, and yet other days, I wonder what was wrong with me that I wasn’t enough for that person.  It’s amazing how negativity attracts more negativity… I find that when I am feeling insecure, past situations/hurts come to my memory, compounding those feelings even more. It’s easy to look at another person’s life and believe that theirs is more fulfilled, but at the end of the day, we are all on our own journeys and nobody’s life is perfect. The bible says to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” God is love, Christ came to fulfill that love. God has “not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love and a sound mind.” When we choose to linger on a failure or disappointment, there are a dozen other memories that will happily flood in to join us in our pity party. But, when we keep our eyes on the blessings in our lives, on the gifts God has given us and the growth He has brought us to, the negativity has no room and His peace abounds. 

So today I think I might just stay away from memories, people, and thoughts, which might add to my feelings of inadequacy, and set my heart on the beauty that lives in my home and heart. And catch up with old friends tomorrow…

the truth shall set you free

Getting ready this morning, I looked down at my arms and was thinking they looked rather slender…until I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. It was there that I got a little different perspective on what age and life without consistent exercise has done for my chicken wings. Can I tell you I was a little disheartened?? It made me think of times when I have really needed to look at myself honestly, but while I was looking AT myself, I may not have really been looking from the right angle. Oftentimes, when soul-searching, we can tend to compare to others – we figure as long we aren’t doing such-and-such or we aren’t like so-and-so – we are still okay. But when we take our lives and measure them against God’s best plan for our us, THAT is when we are able to get a more accurate reflection of what we are really working with, and how far we might really be needing to go to get to where we’ve been called. A true evaluation of ourselves is never easy, but is far more rewarding than walking behind a mere shadow of reality. Only in truth and honesty can we move forward and begin to self-actualize. It’s where authenticity reigns and fullness of life thrives. Today, challenge yourself to put your heart, motives and choices in front of Jesus. You might not be initially excited with what you see, but there is great hope in knowing that no matter where we start out, the truth will always set us free…

Your feelings about your, or your spouse’s, ex, are completely irrelevant when there are children involved. A parent is a sacred position & honor by all is imperative in the emotional well-being of any child. We need to raise the bar as a community & help one another manage our relationships well.

adultery

Today’s quiet time in the bible brought me to the book of Proverbs. There are many references to a harlot in Proverbs – many tales of disaster that fall upon those men who follow her. She is also referred to as a “strange woman,” and most scholars would agree that while it is true that such relationships lead to pain and loss, the implications really have more to do with God’s people being led astray. As I read this morning; I chose to put a little different spin on it and started inserting my name in the mix. There are many things in my life that have kept me from fullness of relationship with God, that have derailed me from walking in my full potential. As I share my list of idols and “strange women,” consider yours – there is no growth without first receiving revelation… Jealousy…Insecurity…Comparison…Envy…Unforgiveness…Anger…Lust…Dishonesty…Lack of Faith…  Today I repent of my adultery against my God and His people and ask for forgiveness and His grace to grow. I will never be perfect, but am grateful for His faithfulness to move in spite of me. May you find the strength to turn from that which holds you back…When you cheat on God, you really only cheat on yourself… Believe me, I know. Shalom.

a lesson learned

I am leading a book study this summer – we are reading “Boundaries,” by Townsend and Cloud. The first two times I read it was about 12 years ago in two consecutive study groups. Clearly, this is an area in which I need considerable support! The thing that struck me in yesterday’s reading was how many things I had forgotten, and how many tools I need to consider again. This life is a process; one that God wants us to succeed in. He often allows us to try and try again until we are perfected in an area. Then, we will move on to the next. Of course, some of us choose to stay stuck and never learn to cycle up out of our personal struggles, thereby never graduating to the next area of healing and restoration. Take a moment and consider where you are right now – emotionally, relationally, spiritually… Carve out time to consider if there are things that you need to move past in order to get to where you want to be – to where God wants you to be. And if you find out you’ve been stuck, choose to cycle up out of it and consider it a lesson learned.

unfaithful

Proverbs 6:32 tells us that when we are unfaithful to our spouse, we lack understanding and wisdom, for we truly are sinning against ourselves. Yet while we are all guilty of this on some level, our justifications rob us of our ability to see clearly the source of so much discontent in our relationships. Comparison of our brides with models in magazines… Endless thoughts of what we wish our husbands would do differently… Selfishness or pride which keeps our partners at a protective distance… All of these, and more, keep us from fulness in our relationships. What is your downfall? Where does your perspective need to change? Which strongholds do you struggle with? Sometimes what keeps us feeling “safe” is what is truly keeping us  from achieving the relationship we were designed to have. Remember that marriage is a coming together as one – just as treating our physical bodies poorly directly affects our lives and health, so does treating our spouses negatively affect us as well. Release pride and unforgiveness, negativity and comparison – love your self as you love one another. Shalom.

We will only ever become what we believe we can be. 

in a box

God does not live in a box, nor does He reside within the walls of a building. He is not confined to the space in between the pages in my bible. He lives in my heart, in your heart. Christ came to obliterate all that would separate us from our Creator. When a soul receives Jesus they immediately gain access to all the richness of life God promised – richness in the happiness as well as the pain. His Spirit moves freely for those who allow, and the peace and grace of God can show up at the most unexpected of times. In my quiet time this morning, there was a healing in my heart. Two hours later, as I was listening to worship music in my kitchen, the peace of God hit me and I had no choice but to fall to my knees in adoration of the He who holds my heart. Tears began to flow, and while they reflected a myriad of feelings and sentiments, I needed not say a word, for I know my prayer was in the water raining down my face. I am so grateful that I do not have to walk this life alone. So amazed at the faithfulness of a loving and personal God who would endure the pain of the cross in order to offer even the opportunity that I might choose to trust Him with my heart. With my everything. Every circumstance, every disappointment, each trial, rests securely in His able hands. May you be free to cast all your cares on Him today as well. And may His love transcend all that you might think He is, to be all that you need Him to be.

never perfect…but enough

There is a plaque that hangs outside my front door which reads, “Peace I give you. My peace I leave with you.” To be perfectly honest, I think Jesus said it, but am not sure. I just know it’s in the bible. Frankly, and I don’t tell many people, but I got it at the dollar store. I am not certain how it ended up there – it’s really very  nicely made; stoneware, hand-painted, and one of my favorite things. I grabbed it while purchasing papers plates and napkins for a birthday party and it now welcomes and blesses all those who enter and leave through my front entry. Charming really. But, if I were to again be frank, peace has eluded me for quite some time. Oh sure, it comes in when I am worshiping, in my bible, sharing a coffee with a friend or a good book, but for the most part, it hasn’t been an active presence in my moment-to-moment. So this afternoon, as I finished watering my planters in the front yard, I paused and really just stared at that beautiful reminder, for quite some time. There was a gentle breeze and my wind chimes were singing me a happy, childhood-memory melody. And there, on my front porch, I found peace. See, while Jesus came to convict and to redirect, He mostly came to bring peace. Healing. Love. Forgiveness. We are actually called to live “peaceful lives,” in the bible, and I want to now walk in that. It might take adding a few things and subtracting a few others, but it’s time that this woman begins to walk in peace. Fullness. Complete joy. Triumph in the day-to-day…. Breathing deeply, even now, I am grateful for the deep, abiding grace and authentic joy that my Jesus brings. Life will never be perfect, but His love in my life?? Well, it’s enough… Shalom.