Search

Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

as is

When I was in college, I fell in love with a leather backpack at a store downtown. It was everything that a leather backpack should be but it had this little defect; the one clasp wouldn’t quite close properly and the one strap was a few inches longer than the other. Minor defects, but still. It was marked, “AS IS” and when I approached the sales associate and asked her to lower the price of the bag, she politely said, “NO. The bag is as marked.”

And I really, REALLY loved that bag. So guess what, I bought it and to this day, I love it still. It is all tattered and worn and the one clasp still won’t close properly and the one strap is noticeably longer the the other, but I don’t care. I love it because it’s an old friend and has seen me on many a journey besides, it’s different and different to me is good.

My oldest son has a girlfriend and they have been dating for almost two years and we love her very much. When your kids grow up, you find yourself wondering about their future so you pay close attention to the people in the lives. Their relationship makes me think of my own with his father,  my husband, and how over the years I have tried to change him. I have tried to make him THIS when he was THAT and I realize I’ve done that on too many occasions to count. It’s a brutal realization but nonetheless, it has helped me learn how to pray for my son; that he would love his girlfriend, AS IS. 

I could have decided that day many, many years ago that that leather bag was not for me. I know it was just a bag, but it is probably one of the first times I remember consciously thinking to myself, “Is this something I want to sign up for?” AS IN, “Is this really worth the money?” because I was in college and was operating without a lot of cash. 

I wish I could adopt the intentionality of asking those questions on a regular basis but I’m getting there because it’s important to know what is and isn’t you. Not everything or everyone is for me and maybe if I’d take a moment to ask myself what and who IS, I’d be more willing to dig my heels in when the going gets tough, because the going always does. Maybe if I keep practicing embracing the “as is” in my life, I’d be more at peace and find joy outside of a fleeting feeling. Maybe I’d walk a little bit more free if I wasn’t so bogged down by regret or guilt because I said YES when I should have said NO.

Maybe. 

Because I want my YES to mean YES. 

Absolutely.

All in.

Without a doubt.

Till the end and then.

Friends, please make the time to intentionally ask yourself the hard questions like, “Is THIS something or someone I want to sign up for?” If you answer yes…enjoy the journey of learning how to hold them in your hands, open-hearted, not expecting or secretly hoping they would change, but loving them fully as is. If their clasp doesn’t close just right or their one strap is not the same length as the other…

If they never lose weight.

If they never get your jokes.

If they religiously leave their underwear laying on the floor in the bathroom after they shower and they often don’t make the bed and their cups pile up on the counter beside the sink.

Can you love them, all the way through?

Can I? 

We are free to be ourselves when we know we are unconditionally loved and accepted for WHO we are. When I think of what brings me the most joy in this life, it is that. Being me. 

And I am most myself when I love people right where they are at. 

“Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” – Romans 15:7

 

 

what to let go of and what to hold onto

I, like many of you, are using the days after Thanksgiving to get ready for Christmas. I no longer go Black Friday shopping so I use that time to put my Fall decorations away and bring down my Christmas decorations from the attic.

And according to the amount of decorations that I have, I must really like Christmas.

Growing up, my mother decorated for each season, LIKE THE WHOLE HOUSE, and as her oldest daughter, I have obviously felt the need to continue her legacy. On Friday I brought my bins of snowmen and trees and wreaths all down from the attic and one by one, I got them out and some I just wasn’t so into, but I put them out anyway. Then I took them down. Then I took down some more. 

It’s possible to NOT FEEL a Christmas decoration.

The beginning of October I cleaned out our bedroom. I took everything out in preparation of painting. EVERYTHING as in ALL. I painted our walls, shampooed our carpets and cleaned our windows. Once our bedroom furniture was in, I was left with bins of STUFF and left with the decision of what to let go of and what to hold onto.

Some of these belongings just wouldn’t fit. The walls and the bedding were a different color, the dressers were not the same. Some of the stuff I had really never wanted but was gifted therefore displayed and most of the items were from like twenty years ago; old watches, my children’s first teeth, old notes, socks and belts…pants that would never again see the light of day. Over the years, I had gone through and cleaned out but there is nothing quite like taking it ALL out and then deciding what gets put back in…becuase it all doesn’t have to.

Taking those snowman down that I didn’t want really got me thinking about how important it is not to hold onto to things that don’t carry value or are no longer us. Maybe years ago, cute little ceramic decorations were me, maybe they brought me great joy or maybe they were just THERE and then somehow HERE in my home, but I am no longer at a place in life were I’m looking for fillers. I know what I want and am not going to settle for anything less than. I’m all about compromise but I’m no longer about settling. There’s a difference.

The entirety of my life I have kept things, even relationships with people, because I though I HAD to. I remember my mother gave me my deceased grandmothers ceramic white cat when she passed away because I apparently liked it when I was a child. I brought that thing home and could not, for the love, understand WHAT it is was doing in my house. For a few weeks it sat there all out of place and stared at me and I loathed it each day more and more till eventually I got the guts up to remove it all together. BUT IT’S YOUR GRANDMOTHERS….I could hear the voices in my head trying to make me feel bad. Not having it. All the sentiments in the world could not make me love that cat enough to keep it.

Friends, stuff is easy to get rid of. You just get your brutality on and decide what’s important and what’s not, you grab some bags and open up the back of your vehicle and TA-DAH. You drive that stuff far, far away. People on the other hand, not so easy. You cannot pick up your relatives or your friends and stuff them in grocery bags and throw them in the back of your Jeep …though it’s tempting at times. You cannot go by your feelings, absolutely not. Try your very best to keep yourself open to everyone you encounter and hold each of them in your hands, one-hearted. Some will stay with you over the course of time, some will ebb and flow in and out and there WILL be seasons when some just can’t stay. I’m learning to ask Holy Spirit, the voice inside of me that whispers to my heart, WHO is to be in my life in THIS season. SHOW ME. 

And He always does.

Somewhere along the way I have believed the lie that I have to. I have to keep everything…I have to do everything…I have to be for everyone. In reality, the only thing I have to is be true to myself and the only way I know what is true FOR ME, is to spend time with Jesus and continually ask Him…

What stay and what goes?

Who.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” – Proverbs 4:23 The Message

 

Disappointment

I sat in the doctors office and looked my son in face, “It will be ok.” My words offered him little reassurance and I could tell. The doctor came back in and quietly said, “His hand is fractured.” She said words like “cast.” She said sentences like, “No sports activities for six weeks.” and “I am sorry but that means no more football.”

If you know my youngest son at all, this was a very hard moment. He has faithfully played football each Fall since he was five and has been waiting since then to be a Trojan AND start on the middle school team, but here were, three games in with more than that to go and he was out.

I was about to say, “It will be ok” once more but the look on his face warned me not to say a word. NOT. A. SINGLE. ONE. So we checked out and I drove him to one of his favorite places to eat for lunch hoping it would cheer him up. I realized as we sat in the doctors office, the four corners of that very small room closed in and quickly on my son. He had hoped for THIS and got THAT and disappointment was going to try to suck the very air out of his lungs, making it hard for him to breathe. Would he let it?

Weeks before, I sat at a church during a women conference and the speaker Friday night asked us to come forward and write down on a rock what we’ve been holding onto that has potentially been holding us back from God (and others). After we wrote it down, we were to walk up front and put it in the mock river the conferences design team creatively erected up front as a place for us to  “let go.” I often think request like these are hokey, but I obliged. I was one of the breakout speakers the following day and I wanted to be supportive and a team player, even if I thought deep down it was a ridiculous request. I stood up and a thousand thoughts went through my head and I scavenged the files in my heart. What would my word be because I had lots of words.

“What am I holding onto that I need to give to you Lord?”

And it was only one word but one from Him was all that was needed.

“Disappointment.”

I wrote that word on my rock and “let it go” in the river and felt nothing.

“SEE! These things are hokey.”

But later that night in bed, the Lord took me to the story in Acts 7 where Stephen, who loved Jesus so bravely, was stoned to death. I remember laying in bed that night as He said to me, “August, do you think perhaps Stephen thought things were going to go different for him? Do you think maybe he said to himself, “I really thought THIS, but now THAT is my reality.”

“August…do you think?”

I don’t remember much else of that night but I do know I woke up the next morning and told my husband I wanted us to try again. Indeed, disappointment had found a home in me in many different forms and they all had a name and a face. I thought things were going to look like THIS and indeed, they looked like THAT and over time, my heart wasn’t as open, as vibrant, as alive and I was dying inside. Worry and anxiousness resided inside my house and had taken up more space than I’d ever permissibly allow but there they were…hijacking my brain and my heart.

I am so thankful for Friday’s speaker. Holy Spirit can take and use ANYTHING and ANYBODY and had it not been for her, “Come forward and write what’s holding you under on this rock,” I might well still be drowning in my disappointment.

Ephesians 2:6 tells us that we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places and 2 Timothy 3 tells us that difficult times will come, THAT DISAPPOINTMENT WILL. We are not immune as followers of Christ. Somewhere along the way, I allowed my disappointment to take the throne where Jesus sat and it began to reign and rule over my heart and flooded me with unmet expectations and bitterness. Sure, I thought THIS and got THAT in a lot of areas this past year, but Jesus is still WHO He says He is.

Friends, if there is anything I have been learning in this season of my life it is this: Don’t dethrone Jesus and put yourself or anyone else in His seat. We are to sit WITH Him and are not to sit alone, AS Him. People will let us down, situations will come up that are not expected, like my son’s football injury. We will hurt. We will be disappointed. We will wish and hope for and sometimes, most times, it will look slightly different than we imagined. WISH and HOPE anyway. DREAM ALL DAY LONG. Just do it WITH Him.

If you are looking for perspective and understanding to the senseless, He’s got it. When things get muddled, He makes them clear. I do not know how He does it, I just know that He does. He indeed is good.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

 

When I was Better at Things 

I’ve been cleaning out most of my house for over a month. I’ve meticulously gone through each room and purged, sorted and cleaned but don’t be fooled, there’s more to do, and through it I’ve discovered a thing or two.

Like I used to be a better picture printer and picture framer which simple means, my intense love of capturing life is still active and present however my ability and desire to print and frame said love…

Not so much.

Our oldest can fill a wall filled with her face. Our second oldest, maybe but shy a sliver. Our middle child, not so much. Our fourth…not even. Our last…not.

Are you hearing what I am saying? I have officially sucked at photo documenting my last three children’s lives. The only real way I know they exist is because of the massively large pile of laundry that collects on the floor of their rooms and my grocery bill.

Chatbooks…redeem me.

Thank God for counselors and safe people to talk to.

Additionally for the last two weeks of my life, focus has been on our son who recently became a United States Marine. We were there and then we were here and it still all feels like one ginormous dream. THIS IS WHY I CLEANED. We crammed we were intentional with our time to the fullest during our 10 day visit and I have not one single regret. We dropped him off Monday evening to catch a bus to North Carolina and woke up the next morning to Halloween and doctors appointments and I forgot both.

Mom for the win. My brain. It was done.

And trick-or-treating…my children. What ever will they be?

BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO BE SOMETHING!!

One wore a bed sheet which was brilliant and if I had a spare sheet, I would have been cloaked in one as well. The other wore her brothers costume from two years ago, a glow-in-the-dark skeleton figure whose rib cage and pelvis bone accidentally had been tore from the fabric when the dog played a little too aggressive months back. And the other, well…apparently MY poor planning landed him at Grandma’s house sitting on the couch without a costume while all of his friends gathered at some house for a party I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT. 

IMG_5915

I just can’t keep up. Ever have that feeling?

It’s real.

When I started having kids, I was young and full of enthusiasm and energy, even though I was sleep deprived and house bound. My biggest worries were getting my children on a routine, especially a sleep routine, and instilling in them good manners so they played nice with one another and showed up clean and respectful around my mother-in-law. Little people…little problems.

Now a days, everything obviously wains. Life is bigger than it used to be. My kids are and so is the realities of their life. Elementary, Middle and High School. Fitting in, acceptance, and self-esteem. Bullying. Extra-curricular sports, braces, and after school jobs. College visits, meetings with recruiters, enlisting and choose to serve. Boyfriends and girlfriends and knowing where ones value comes from. Heartache and loss. Anxiety, confusion and depression.

What do I want to be when I grow up? WHO do I want to be?

As their life gets bigger so do my prayers and I have far less time than I used to sit around worrying myself if I am living my best life, a woman whose home displays every photo ever taken of her dearly loved children. I find myself so focused on the big details that I often forget the small ones. AND THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. I don’t really care if I forget the classroom snack anymore, seriously I have bigger fish to fry but don’t get me wrong, I will try to have thirty-three organic juice boxes and peanut-free, individually wrapped confections that I make from scratch so to stay in the good graces of the room Mom but…

I cannot do ALL things.

My kids have outnumbered me 5 to 1 and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes I wish I was more with it, in terms of being the mom I used to be, the one who was at one time super organized and turned every paper in on time, but I am not that person any more. I no longer have THAT life. Now instead of one paper, I have 15. However, I am doing the very best I can and I know that my best is enough. It counts where it should, with WHO it should, and that is where my priority lies.

Friends you might not win in all areas of life. There will be times you’ll fall below the line that is invisibly set by you and the standards of others. You may one day even reach an all time low and fall off the spectrum all together. Good. Create your own. This is not a competition, especially against the person you used to be when you were young and full of enthusiasm and energy. Just do the best YOU can. Your best will look differently in each season so give yourself grace to ebb and flow…what was important in one won’t be as important in another and that is ok.

In fact, it is more than.

Know WHO Your People Are. 

My life is filled with amazing people and so not to make one sound more amazing than the other, BECAUSE WE KNOW WHAT THAT CAN DO, I’ll skip the identification process and leave you in a state of wonder.

I have one who will drop just about everything and anything and show up at your door if there is a need, announced or not, with food, a drink or a hug.

I have one who is a vivacious dreamer and they inspire me to think BIG and way outside my box and every time I am with them, they keep my eyes focused onward and upward.

I have one or five who are incredible listeners and I know I can sit with them and share real-life as it is and will be heard and not judged.

I have one who craves quality time and every time I am with them, I know they are 100% WITH me and they teach be how to practice being PRESENT.

I have helpers, grace givers, pray warriors, teachers, fixers and counselors. I have hard truth tellers whose words sometimes sting but are sincere and well-meaning and I have those who tell me what I want to hear when I want to hear it and their words help ease life’s stings, even if temporarily. I indeed have a plethora of people in my life who are full of amazing characteristics and qualities, each bearing their own unique gift to this great universe. Drowning? I have a friend for that.

But here’s what I’m finding. I’ve sat in a room with a fixer when I needed a good listener and have left feeling bypassed and manhandled by their good intentions. Likewise, life gets big every now and then and a big life brings with it big waves and I’ve gotten lost trying to navigate through the storms. During these times, I’ve felt that I was drowning and realize now, the last person I should have called upon for help was someone who doesn’t know how to swim or doesn’t want to get wet in choppy waters because of their own fears.

Expecting someone to show up and BE for me puts an unrealistic demand ON them. I get that. It’s the whole “We are responsibly TO people not FOR people” thing. No one can save me if I am drowning. No one can fix my problems. No one is ever going to fully and accurately hear my heart or make me feel valued or accepted.

But Jesus.

When I look you in the eyes and expect you to BE what and who I need or want in that moment is taxing and incredibly messy. I’m trying my best to hold each person I encounter in my empty hands, palms outstretched so they can flow in and out as they go. I’m learning to communicate what it is that I need or want instead of assuming that they know it.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  – George Bernard Shaw

I’m learning and learning takes practice.

But no matter how I try to not hold anyone up against the picture I have in my head, there IS this major component in a relationship where it’s important to KNOW one another. To know each other’s INS and OUTS. The places where we are each strong and adversely, not because we DO rely and depend on one another and if we pretend we don’t, we shortchange ourselves. Think of the Garden. Of Adam and Eve. Of Helpers and “It is not good for man to be alone.” Seriously, all of these amazing relationships in our lives are to look like something. They are to look like Someone.

The body of Christ.

And you cannot expect a hand to be a foot.

Secretly hoping it will be will leave you disappointed and disappointment leads to feeling rejected and offended.

This is why it is so important to KNOW WHO YOUR PEOPLE ARE…TO YOU. I absolutely believe we are called to love all people but we are not called to be in relationship with all people. Thinking that we can or should sets us all up to fail and I have tried. I cannot pour myself and my time in to everyone. When I do, we all stand in shallow waters which lacks depth and eventually I can’t keep up and I let people down. So instead of going wide, I’m trying to go deep. I’m discovering the importance of focusing on WHO is in my life in THIS season. This one, right now, because seasons change and we need to give each other permission TO change. I’ve gone in and out of people’s lives and watched them do the same and it’s not personal nor should be taken as such. The homecoming remains sweet when we return to one another when we keep our hands open and don’t hold on too tightly.

So friends, make the time to ask yourself the hard questions and understand what it is you need or want then have enough courage to communicate it. God has given you a slew of amazing Helpers as a gift so spend time with your people and listen to their hearts. Go after discovering their identity and what God has placed inside of them for you to access. BUT do not expect them to be who they are not and most certainly do not ask them to change for you. It only leads to disappointment and a cold heart.

Love them as is. It is how you keep your love active, alive and engaging. 

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

 

 

“It’s OK”

I got online and placed the order. I then followed up with a phone call, just to verify. This is what one does when they don’t have much time and they have to drive to another state to pick up a gift. They make sure everything is taken care of on their end so life goes well and planned.

Easy peasy. 

But not really. Absolutely not reality. 

I arrived on time, fourty-five minutes from home on a work day. “I am sorry. Your ticket never printed so your order is not ready. Can you wait?”

I almost died.

“Yes.”

“I am sorry. I’m not sure what happened.”

It took a lot of effort, but I looked her in the eyes and smiled because there are worse things and I KNOW it. 

And I did NOT say it

I’ve come to realize through a series of unfortunate events that I’ve had the life long habit of saying “OK.”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s OK.”

“Yep. I’m OK.”

Every time I speak those words out loud, I discovered I’m not necessarily mouthing them FOR the other persons benefit, as one would think. I mean maybe sometimes in an attempt to people please or smooth things over so there’s not conflict but for the most part, my OK is a learned response so don’t think feel or think that things AREN’T

Becuase OUR perception becomes OUR reality for as a man thinks in his heart he is. 

If I think I’m OK than I am, right?


Because you shouldn’t think or feel any other way. You keep things looking nice. You stay happy. You keep your yard neatly mowed and your house clean so when guest arrive and cross over your threshold and have a seat at your tabke, they have NO IDEA that you are anything other than…

OK

And with thhat one, small word, the battle begins…

“Don’t feel that way.”

But I do.
“Don’t think those thoughts.”
But I am. 
And every time I contradict myself, I burn. I seethe in the fiery flames. But then there’s Jesus, in it with me saying, “OK. Now let me show you another way so you can move forward from here.”

He is Love, Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness and Truth and He inserts Himself into my hole till I no longer have to climb my way out. I just AM out.
Was it the end of the world that they botched my order causing me a thirty-three  minute delay with my day? NO. Did it kind of ruffle my feathers that I showed up having done MY part and they didn’t show up and do THEIRS? 
YES. 

So I DID NOT look her in the eyes when she apologized and say, “It’s OK.

I DID look her in face with all the willpower I could muster and smiled, even if slightly forced, and my heart remained opened becuase of it. In return, I didn’t think awful thoughts as I walked out of the door. Don’t get me wrong, lots of thoughts went through my head at warp speed but pretending I WASN’T having them was not going to do me any good and in return, her good. 

I gave myself PERMISSION to BE, just as I was which totally and completely freed me to be genuine and sincere with the rest of the world around me. If I had said that one, Small word…I most likely would have walked out the door angry and bitter towards THEM because of MY choice not to show up honest and real. 

WITH me. IN my moment. 

Some things in life friends are not OK

Wherever you are at today, be honest with yourself FIRST. I believe if you don’t try to quickly drag yourself out of some hole and just give yourself permission to be there for a moment or two so you can process it all through, you can remain at peace and walk unoffened. 

The Girl on the Train 

I looked at her standing in the crowd and instantly fell in love. Her hair was unique and fun plus she had the cutest little outfit on but surface aside, she exuded a peaceful confidence … was fierce yet tender, like someone I’d love to sit with and get to know over coffee. However the doors of the subway train opened and she turned and smiled and then walked out of my life and carried on with her day and my friend affair ended. 

And as things go, my sadness dwindled because as a people watcher, there’s a plethora of people to pay attention to. More people to investigate, more people to carefully croon with my curious eyes and my inquisitive heart and more people to day dream about. You know how it goes, if you are one who is even slightly interested in the person standing in front of you, you find yourself in a place of wonder about them. WHO are they and WHAT do they do? I for one cannot stop my brain from checking them out. 

I am THAT person with scrolling eyes who sometimes lingers a little (and awkwardly) too long. And I make no apologies. 

Over the last however many years, I have found myself in a place of intrigue of the human race, particularly drawn to diverse individuals. People who are unique in every way imaginable. Perhaps it’s because I am on my own quest for individuality and self-acceptance. Perhaps that is why I haphazardly chose to graduate college with a Sociology degree.  Perhaps that is also why I love the person of Jesus. 

You know who I mean, right? Not the religion of Jesus or the Church of Jesus that one would attend on a Sunday morning, but the very PERSON of the Lord. 

He has always been and will always be about people. He’s interested. He wants to get to know every single one of us. This is the largest part OF Him that has been most challenging to wrap my brain around. That God Himself, the very One who knit me in my mothers womb and supposedly knows ALL about me, is intrigued and curious about WHO I am. This is NOT the Jesus I grew up hearing about and it BLOWS MY MIND, but here I am, staring some poor lady down in the subway train because she has caught my attention and I wish we had time to talk so I can find out more about her. 

Now I know where I get it from. 

Friends…let yourself me curious about people. Don’t discount the draw. I truly believe we ALL want to be seen. We want to know that someone is interested in WHO we are. Like the REAL us. Not the us that wears cute hair and fun outfits but the us that is honest and quirky, adventurous one minutes and a homebody the next. The us who takes too much on and struggles with temper outbursts and then feels like shit for doing so. The us that decides to try again. 

Jesus wants to know THAT person. 

And if He wants to know them, I want to know them. I don’t want to pass them by because I don’t think it’s His nature to do so. Even if time and situations don’t allow personal interaction, I can give them a part of my heart on the subway train. I can completely envelope them in my love with one simple thought … even as they walk out onto the platform and the doors close quickly behind them. 

Ask The Question

Recently I asked someone a question because I wanted to better understand what was happening in a situation *READ: in our relationship* with them, or more so, what wasn’t, and for the last few days, I have been mulling over their response. 

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND IT. 

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THEM. 

What I have been trying to do is apply their answer, their way of thinking and being and living TO ME. I’ve picked their response up in my hands and dropped it into a compartment in my brain that has been longing for an answer. I’ve attempted to absorb their words into my heart so I could begin to grasp the void that has taken place and in doing so, I’ve become increasingly unsettled. 

There has been no reward for my sincere diligence in trying best to understand.  

Not Fair.

So yesterday, in the midst of doing everyday random things, Jesus whispered, “Your question is a very good question, but you asked it to the wrong person.” I stopped. In my spirit I knew what He was talking about and soon my conscious mind knew as well.

Asking THEM the question was good. Seeking to understand is not wrong, in fact, communication is a good goal in any relationship, but I needed to start with ME. So the rest of the afternoon, I talked with Jesus about what a particular situation in my life looked like TO JESUS.

TO ME. 

I think it was the best starting point to move forward and to keep connection alone. 

If you have a sense of wonder IN you, ask the question. Do not be afraid, like I was that day several weeks again, to come across eager or excited, scared or confused. Just ask the questions that need to be asked so you can better understand.

B-U-T…ask the question first to YOURSELF before you ask it to someone else. Often we (I) want to understand others ideas or their perspective before we’re willing to grapple with our own. I know if I would have asked myself, “What does this look like to ME” and then gave myself permission to be fully honest, I would have most likely rested in my identity and then asked the other person, “What does this look like to YOU?” so we could have moved forward further.

TOGETHER. 

But here we are, in my opinion, stuck. Each with a different idea of how things are to flow. We could have both went forward on the same page, at least in the same book, walking towards a common goal instead of things being left in a state of confusion where expectations take root and people fall short. 

Disappointment.

And I have been filled with it. I realize now, it could have been better avoided if I would have just had the guts to ask the questions I really wanted to ask from the get go.

Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. – Don Miguel Ruiz

So friends, before you seek to understand someone else and why they do what they do and think like they think, make the time to better understand yourself first. Ask yourself the questions, even the hard ones. I really do believe you can rest a lot easier, be more peace-filled, EVEN JOYFILLED, when YOU know that YOU know…

for YOU.

It turns out my idea of this situation is similar in parts but completely differently then the person I first asked the question to AND THAT IS OK. We all have these pictures in our head of what something looks like. Our lives are all shaped very differently so to say “I am right and you are wrong” serves no purpose. What does serve purpose is the asking, “What does this look like to me?”

This. 👆🏻

You were not created to grace this planet walking around in someone else’s shoes, making your life look like theirs with their thoughts as your own. You were uniquely created so go ahead and ask others the questions in order to better know and understand them. Trying to understand their WHY’S and WHAT’S is good and will help foster intimacy and connection. 

Just remember to start with yourself first. 

Ask the question. 

 

 

 

When Corners are Crooked

As you may know, I’ve spent the last fourteen, now fifteen days of my life immersed in painting projects in my home. Our son is a Marine Recruit in Parris Island SC and will soon be graduating and home for a brief stay. One thing I wanted to do before he came home was paint his room and give it a more mature/adult feel. Well here we are, day fifteen and I’m quickly finding that one painting project leads to two which ultimately leads to six.

I’ve painted his ceiling, cut in the walls, rolled the walls, painted his trim and the door; painted our daughters door because it’s beside his door and well…the difference is noticeable. I painted our front door red becuase we’ve lived here almost sixteen years, and as penitence for my neglect, painted it not three but FIVE coats. Plus there is white trim around the door, touched up red door after splattering with white paint; decided to paint the “other” front door (that we no longer use) so we would be unified and then began painting the outdoor bench with the leftover red paint in pan because I was tired and needed to go to bed and then the white pillars with the leftover white paint in the pan becuase I was bored and still have to touch up white door trim on the THIRD side door (because I loathe my existence) and finish bench, chairs and pillars that are now started but half-assed….plus touch up my son’s ceiling in his bedroom.

Did you follow me? Because I feel confused.

The whole entire point is…do you know how many times I have had to touch things up? A drip here, a drop there? I promise you I do not like to paint and I am no expert…clearly, but once you start, you are compelled to continue or LIFE IS JUST NOT RIGHT. I am not trying to be a perfectionist but when you use RED paint and the corners are crooked, imperfections are noticeable.

And none of us like our imperfections to be noticeable. 

Life is much like my painting projects. One event flows into the next with no definite begin or end and are full of spills and slops (you should see the concrete on my front porch). All I can say at this moment is this: Seldom do things go as planned and rarely do corners match. Mine personally are a little crooked (plus I have a unique one-hundred + year old house) so instead of getting all out of sorts, ALL THE TIME, I do the best I can in making lines meet. My ultimate desire is to merge (rather than collide) colors and in doing so, if I need to take a few extra days (or weeks) and take the painstaking time to touch things up, so be it.

I am tired feeling BAD for needing to touch things up. It happens. Life does.

So for the love of God sweet friends, go easy. Can you tell this is getting worked of me? It’s like showing up for work. I AM punching my time card EVERY DAY. I am in a very grueling yet freeing season of learning to be kind to myself and others by letting go of expectations while maintaining my hopes, dreams and desires and most importantly, not compromising WHO I am.

And when I give myself permission to be me, ALL THE WAY THROUGH, I no longer feel badly for making a few spills a long the way that need touched up as I go. And if I can learn to do this for me…just think of the possibilities. 

YOU would be included.

A win for all.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑