Mid Week Motivator: Protecting Your Time

Being consistent with goals is important.

To the point of saying no when I need to.

Such as did a few weeks ago. It was a last minute invite and I was tempted to accept.

However, if  had accepted then nothing else would of gotten done. That is sometimes more important as I work towards my goals.

Real and true friends will understand. Explain what you are trying to do and you will find the support you need.

Why NetFlix Had To Go

I did not expect it to be so hard for me to cancel my NetFlix account. I kept going back and forth on doing it. I argued with myself that the amount I was paying was not really that important. But it was a needed sacrifice.

In embracing the word Plans for this year, means I actually have to make them. To look ahead and think about how I would hope for this year to look. Part of that is to become financially stable.

My relationship with money has often been tenuous. My stubbornness in not taking heed my father attempted to teach me has affected much of my adult life. As money comes it, it goes right out.

I just haven’t thought of money as something to care for, just as something that existed to provide for me.When in truth money is a means for me to worship God. When I don’t budget or plan wisely, I am really being sinful. I’m saying I choose to not honor God with what he gives me to steward.

That my trust lies elsewhere. Dealing with money is emotional, personal and often a symptom of larger heart issues. Money is mentioned in the Bible numerous times.

This means I need to take a hard look at my finances. An unflinching look. To see where the money goes, how to make better decisions. My hope at the end of this year is to be in a better place than I am now.

By canceling my NetFlix account I am taking a step forward. I also realized that my viewing and binge watching was also eating into my reading and writing time.

 

Mid Week Motivator: Sticking To The Plan

At the start of this month, most of made plans for this year or things we hope to do better or differently. As the month comes to a close, it’s time to evaluate where you are with those resolutions, plans or hopes.

Look at what is working for you. What are you doing to make it work. Does this new thing or change feel like it’s becoming a habit.

Also look at what  is not working. Why not, what needs to change for it to start to happen. Or perhaps it is something that you have found you don’t enjoy.

Perhaps some of your goals will need to be revaluated. It may mean taking a few steps back from a current plan. Or even postponing it.  

The thing is, plans are not carved into stone. They are actually rather flexible.

[Tweet “plans are not carved into stone”]

It’s important to understand this in working towards any goal or ambitions.  

When Anger Rules

This past week I stopped off at a national chain coffee shop for breakfast. It was quiet in the store and though the day was rainy, I was feeling good. After ordering I stood aside waiting on my sandwich and coffee, thinking about the day ahead.

When Suddenly a woman started yelling in my direction. No, at ME.

I was a rude and selfish person because I had jumped ahead of her in the line. Horrified, I apologized immediately. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize you were in front of me.”

She replied, ” That’s because you only think of yourself!” Then she left. She reserved a few more parting words for me as she drove away. Words full of anger that I didn’t hear.

I couldn’t argue against that last accusation. I had been thinking of myself though not in the mean, malicious manner she insinuated. Caught up in my own life and day, missing that another person was ahead of me in line.  

Two things struck me about this encounter. The first being that I too didn’t  react back in anger. Something I would of surely done in the past. For years anger was my companion in life. It feels good to get angry and stay angry. It can feel powerful too. In the end it is highly addicting.

I would of wanted to prove her wrong by shouting her down. Which would of escalated things. But I was calm, not because of any technique or something I’ve read. But because of the Holy Spirit working within me.

I’m a passionate person. Feeling emotions deeply, I am rather empathetic. God made me this way, to care, to feel immensely. While just a few years ago I would tapped into my anger towards this person, I did not.

It takes a lot of energy to be angry and stay angry. Once the high is gone, I was left with the reality of my life at the time.

My anger these days is reserved for injustice, hatred and sex trafficking. God is using my anger in new and more positive ways. A favorite song lyric of mine is “break my heart for what breaks yours.” (Credit Hosanna by Hillsong United).

 

The second thing that struck me was how much more upset she bacame after I apologized. After I said “I didn’t realize you were there.” Perhaps that felt as if I were saying you don’t matter. Maybe that reopened an old wound for her.

Maybe taking me to task was her way of saying “I matter”. Because as I engaged with her, I didn’t feel as if this were about me at all. That my thoughtless act said more about who she is than anything else.

Perhaps she is trying to understand why it bothered her so much. I know there have been times when my anger baffled myself. I wasn’t willing to dig deeper, below the surface. Because what awaited me there was the scary truth.

Afterwards, I prayed for her. Prayed that she would long for more in life. That the rest of her day would be filled with joy. I prayed for myself, praising God that my reaction was calm and to not look back in anger. That it no longer has such a hold on my life. [Tweet “anger can often be revealing “] Often the person or people it is directedd towards in the moment have nothing to do with the greater issues at hand. 

Something I continue to learn day by day. Handling my emotions in a less volatile manner, seeking God in prayer and leaning into those times.

 

 

 

The Year of Being Stretched

Last year was a long, hard year. Not only because of the stress of the election ( and its outcome) but also personally. For the past few years I have chosen a word to define the year and for 2016 I had chosen Stretched. What was I thinking when I chose this word ( or did it choose me?)! In years past I have picked YES, LOVE, and BOLDNESS as my words. While I encountered challenges in those years with them, always learning and growing with them, never have I been as challenged as I have been this year.

I liken it to praying for patience, I don’t know about you but when I have prayed for that in my life it shows my lack of patience! It’s like God is saying alright, you really don’t know what you are asking for here but I will answer your prayer. I have been challenged and stretched in various areas of my life, from learning how to work in a ministry, leading young adults at church, getting some kind of grasp on my financials and being pushed out of my comfort zones. I say zones because there is always more than just one isn’t there?

The biggest and most recent is moving out of my sister’s house. It wasn’t something planned but it had to happen when it did for the sake of my family and future relationships. This was hard and painful and for a most of last month I was in survival mode. In the end it has all worked out, I have found a new place to live, with friends whom I am growing closer in relationship with each day.

Another comfort zone I had was in ministry. For several years I have served at my church in the area of stage design. For many of those years it either myself or myself and one other person. Which meant I HAD to do everything otherwise things would not get done. Anyone who serves at church knows that this was not a healthy place to be in. This year I have learned how to delegate ( this has also become my new favorite word!) with my team. This has meant me letting go of wanting to be in control of how the church looks each week and trusting what my team is doing with it. It has meant placing others in charge in preparing for Easter and Christmas Eve services. This has been so freeing! Letting go of control ( when I believed I didn’t have control issues oops!) is the best gift.

The best way to put it is that God stretched me this year by having me see where I needed to also let go. It didn’t mean I needed to take on more but had to jettison what wasn’t helping me grow in relationship to him. Letting go doesn’t mean one no longer cares but also sees that others care as well. If I take on everything I am not allowing someone else to also serve God.

As I reflect on the words for each past year, I see a larger word behind them. Namely trust, in order to say YES, I have to trust. Same with LOVE, BOLDNESS and STRETCHED. I have to trust God and His providence, not mine.

As I prepare my heart, mind, body and spirit for the new year this is where I sit. In adoration of what God does all the time in my own life and in the lives of others around me. I am not sure of a word for 2017 as if yet or at all.

 

Mid Week Motivator: It Isn’t Easy

You see that person, jogging down the road and it strikes you how easy it comes to them. And perhaps why it does not for you. Why can’t you be like that jogger who looks so graceful?

While it can look like it is far easier for them, it may not be at all. Perhaps it was a battle just to get out there. Perhaps not.

It takes work to get to the point of looking effortless. What you don’t see is all the work and time that people have put in.  Put in the time and effort. Get out there, push yourself to get to that point too. You are capable of becoming that effortless looking runner too.

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Being born a born procrastinator, I am a poor planner. Throughout my life things just well happened from my lack of planning.  My penchant for not doing so is often about avoiding responsibility. To not want to be disappointed when planning did not work out. While all my classmates were preparing for their futures, I put in my half hearted attempts.

Life after graduation continued to be a series of short sighted descions or whims. Despite my follies, God always had a bigger plan for me. Placing the people and places I needed in my life. Patiently loving me, guiding the course of my life.

Mid Week Motivator: Six Days In

We are now six days in. Six days (more or less) of pursuing a better year than last year.

For some, it is healthy habits.

Or to pursue that dream.

Perhaps you are already feeling the pressure of getting to the point of accomplishment.

But right now you are in the midst of it.

Putting in the foundation for later on is hard work. Right now you are feeling sore from those workouts. Strategizing the next step to achieve that dream.

It can feel overwhelming. Just remember there are no overnight successes. As you take each step, it is one more than you were just a few days ago.

Remember that when you have that hard day. Then keep going.

 

 

 

Story Monday: Reading Habits

Reading is a passion for me. However, I feel a bit guilty. I have not read nearly as much people suppose I do. This has been a year of Netflix viewing I admit. Binge watching my way through several series and movies. There is no one else to blame but myself, I made time for things I wanted to do.

It’s something that I’ve missed in my life. Getting lost in another world. It’s something I need in my life, books. The perspective of others. A playground for my imagination. To stir the pot so speak as I work on my own writing.

I need story. My Kindle and bookshelves beckon me to read them. I look forward to diving in. Below is a list of the books I did read this past year.

My 2015 Reading List

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

This autobiographical tale of a free man being sold into slavery was gripping and tough to read. The hope he had in being reunited with his family is felt throughout the work. I reccomend this book to educate and remember our history.

Pride & prejudice by Jane Austen 

This was my fifth time rereading it. Each time I rejoin the Elizabeth and Darcy I learn something new. Perhaps it is part of  getting  older but I find Mrs. Bennett a more sympathic character than I did before.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

This is my slow read. I began reading it over a year ago. From time to time I read chapters, savoring the words and this world. I do not foresee finishing it this coming year either and that is just fine.

Searching For Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

This book was eye opening and for anyone grasping with what the Church can be and the reality of where it is. I enjoyed her previous book A Year of Biblical Womanhood.

Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

A friend introduced me to this series and I have yet to stop! The first season of the show is faithful to the first book to a T. I enjoy the romantic aspects and adventures of Claire and Jaime through time. I am currently finishing Drums of Autumn.  

Zombie Christian by Sabrena Klausman

This sat on my bookshelf for over a year I must admit and only just finished it (but hey it still counts as a 2015 read!). This book examines lethargy that had settled not only within the Church but in the body of the church.

Do Over by Jon Acuff

This was my first book I read by Jon Acuff. This is a great, clarifying book on how to assess where one is at in their career and the steps we need to take to move forward.