i count, too

Growing up, there was a lot of conversation about taking personal responsibility. We were taught to apologize when we had done wrong, to always tell the truth, and to make certain that we took inventory of the feelings of those around us. Unfortunately, as an adult, I have found that not only is such positioning a rarity among most humans these days, but I have failed in finding the balance to ensure I don’t take on that which does not belong to me.

In trying to be cognizant of the feelings and needs of others, I have missed the mark in making choices that honor my OWN feelings and values. And, I have found that I am the only person who will look out for my own heart – I can’t count on the people around me to always look out for me the way I try to for them.

Most recently, I have begun a journey of self discovery that is leading me to make choices outside of my traditional stance. Choosing those things which may possibly rub other people the wrong way is something I have always avoided, and yet in order to head to where I feel called to, and to walk in my truth, into God’s calling for me, I have no other choice than to take personal responsibility for my OWN life and do what I feel led to do.

Regardless of my fears of the responses of those around me.

You see, my happiness has been based largely on my capacity to make the people around me happy, forgetting that THEY too, have choices to make. When my actions are driven by my perception of what will “keep the peace,” I not only end up walking outside of integrity to myself, but I  also prevent others from being accountable for themselves.

Bondage never brings freedom.

Today, I am making a conscious decision to be more aware of my “why,” and of the “who,” my actions are for.  While I still value the importance of telling the truth, apologizing when necessary, and owning my stuff, I also now recognize that taking personal responsibility is not just about my relationship to others, but also my relationship with myself.

And I count, too.

 

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to me…

I spend a lot of time noticing the world around me. Being obsessed with Facebook, I spend what little moments of freedom I have, getting caught up on what my friends are doing. Glancing out the window, I watch the ebb and flow on the mountains around us. I wonder about the cars driving by, and people I pass at the store. Reality shows and sporting events capture my attention and I am taken in by the constant activity this world provides…

In the quiet moments, which seem so infrequent these days, it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that less and less of my time has been spent on evaluating what is going on INSIDE of me.

Recently, I’ve been working on the next level in my coaching certification and have been forced to do some pretty heavy duty work on self. One of the most glaring observations I’ve made is that somehow in the journey, I have gotten off track, and my life-choices are not all lining up with my core value system. In the midst of the chaos and noise, the busyness of life, a wrong turn has been taken, and I am not on the path that leads to where I’m designed to go.

I’m intentional in my work. In my parenting. My relationships. But somewhere along the way…I forgot about me.

Looking forward, I am excited for a new year. Of course, a course-correction can happen at any time, but there is something powerful about a definitive start date. Something compelling about closing the door to one season and being able to say, THAT day, is the moment that my life was redirected.

These last few days of 2015, I am preparing for my journey. Just like packing, planning and shopping for a trip, I am making adjustments, putting systems in place, and grabbing my “map” to make sure I am all ready to run into the new year. Still uncertain as to what exactly it’s all going to look like, and some of the minutia of details, I am confident that as long as I’m moving forward, God will redirect as needed.

It’s time to slow down, listen well, enjoy the scenery…and the journey…to me…

 

 

cookie cutters and cutting comments

A friend recently gave me a cd to listen to – one of original music taken directly from the Psalms. We had been chatting about the power and beauty of God’s words sung back to Him, and about the difference in our styles of worship. One of the greatest benefits of worship is the shift it brings into our atmosphere and into our hearts. It is truly life-giving and life-changing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how different people worship, and the opinions people have about what it should look like. Years ago, I remember a conversation in which I was told that one “cannot take the devil’s instrument (in this case an electric guitar) and make godly music.” He challenged my church’s use of drums and modern lyrics, and yet in his own church, they used a piano, which, of course, is also not an instrument used during the time the bible was written, and yet somehow it was more holy…

It struck me that his OPINION of what worship should look like, his own personal preference, clouded his ability to see the many facets and diversity of our God, and offered him a quite self-indulgent opportunity to elevate his revelation above mine. To elevate his church above mine.

How often do we choose to use our own framework and filter systems and apply them to the nature of God? And, then conversely, use that ideology to elevate ourselves above others in our belief in our own, or in our church’s, perfect revelation of what God looks like among us? If we were being honest, I am quite certain we can all bend that way to varying degrees.

People since the birth of Christ, have chosen to believe or not believe, see or not see, follow or not…based on our own preconceived ideas of how He “should” come, or what He “would” do, or not do. So much of our faith is still as man-made as those who made the idols back in the day, because honestly, our need to control and to understand, and to promote ourselves, often trumps our heart for truth.

What struck me this morning is that the Psalms were written by men. Inspired by God. Many of them were written by David, one whom so many strive to be, and the one God called a “man after His own heart.”  David wrote out of his time in prayer, his own personal journey, and his need to put into words the passion, and lack, he held in his heart. I am no theologian, but it would seem to me that if David followed God so closely, and he is one to model our own worship after, it only seems to follow that we should not be nearly as concerned about directly using David’s words, instruments, or particular format, but striving forever to be as honest and vulnerable as David was as he poured out his heart and love of the Father.

The bible is a blueprint for life, not a cookie cutter pattern into which we all must fit.

I wonder if the Christian church will ever get to a place where we fully embrace that we are each created in His image. In as many facets there are in the glorious face of God, how many more are in the diversity and richness of His people? There is no one way to worship, no one way to serve, but if we are all striving to be the best version of who He has designed us to be, and spend our freedom helping those around us find their way to His plan, how much more effective in our love could we be??

The bible says that others will “know us by our love.” I am quite certain that does not merely apply to those things which are seen by others, but at our core, by the very nature of how we view one another. The freedom we share. The passion we each bring as God stirs in our hearts.

Today, allow yourself time with your Lord. Create space to let Him bring you rest. Revelation. Peace. Conviction. Then express it in whatever way reflects who God made you to be. Whether it be in song, or prayer. In giving a gift or serving a stranger. Painting a picture, or jotting words on paper…allow your worship to be real. Authentic. In His reflection, in the way only YOU can…