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

Tag

health

The Crooked Road

Be careful listening to anyone trying to “sell” you something that will “make” you something.

Happier.

Skinner.

More energized.

Whatever.

Doctors will prescribe pills. Friends will try to sell you their coffee or their wraps. Your pastor will point you to Jesus *and I’ll join Him to an extent*

But in the end…

It all comes down to YOU. Nothing is going to “fix” you or “make” you turn into the person you want to be except YOU.

Hard truth.

Pills can help *temporarily* but they are not a fix. Talking it through, looking at hard things, taking responsibility, establishing boundaries and extending continual forgiveness are pretty good helpers.

Coffee and wraps? Heck I don’t actually know anything about these things but I do know that eating real food, being consistent with exercising and getting good sleep are great helpers.

And Jesus? He is not your Genie and He does carry a magic wand. Rarely have I heard a prayer come to be that was not attached to someone’s intentional action post prayer; their willingness to be changed along with their fortitude and humility. He promises to walk with you but you’ve got to show up and do the work and the work is hard, especially when it comes to your heart. The good news is, the Spirit of Jesus is the most excellent Helper. He has my vote.

So if you are looking for a “fix”, you will most likely keep looking for a slew of them your whole life and may fall for whatever is out there that seems quick and easy. Take it from me, there is no quick and easy anything to change the “you” you want to be.

You can read all the self-help books you want but if you don’t consistently apply the authors principles to your life, all you’ve done is read a really good book that someone else wrote. Someone who actually took the crooked road to grace because change, especially lasting change, is hard and it’s ugly…

But it can be done.

Gather your troops and find your tribe.

Change rarely happens on your own.

Advertisements

The Price of Peace

I remember sitting at a conference once and the speaker said something profoundly simple. They said, “You are a human being NOT a human doing.” This came on the heels of year’s worth of people prophetically speaking “rest” over me.

And they were not talking about a nap.

What I’ve realized about myself is two-fold. I’m an incredibly high achiever 1). because I have a large amount of can-do in me and I think walking in excellence is huge part of who I am. 2). I’ve taken a large part of my identity as an achiever out of my insecurity of not feeling like being myself was enough.

BAM!

It’s often easy to confuse what is YOU with the things you add TO you for pomp and circumstance. I personally wanted to be THE person other people could count on to show up and…

Being THAT person has overshadowed my ability to truly show up and BE me.

So, I’ve been learning to say NO and let some of my “doings” go. It’s felt like I’ve been thrown into a roaring fire, I will not lie, but I’ve needed to know what has needed burned off to see what’s remained. What has been ME all along.

For example, I’ve said NO to three really big and wonderful things within the last week. One was time with a dear friend, one was work related and the other was involvement in a community organization.

Because I know my NO was right for me, whatever the reason at the time was. When life feels large and my are days crammed full and tight, my cup becomes empty and drained dry and THAT eats at my joy and steals my peace.

In fact, it’s not largeness that makes me overwhelmed because I often pause and reevaluate my what and my who. It’s my lack of reevaluating that often ties my hands and feet with a corse rope as I’m dropped to the bottom of the sea.

So if you are like me and tend to feel pulled here and there with expectations, real or imaginary, that you cannot fulfill…I encourage you to take a step back and reevaluate what you are saying yes to and why.

Because you cannot do it all. NO is a completely good and needed sentence. What you DO does not determine your value, your worth and most importantly of all, your identity. You have nothing to prove or compensate for. Being is enough and in that, choose wisely where you allocate your time and your energy.

It is a holy and precious act to do so.

 

push

An early morning conversation with a friend led to talk of exercise and I realized how out of shape I truly am. Out of shape. Out of breath. Out of everything. I am exhausted. I’ve been on thyroid medicine since I was nine and the thought has been going through my head that maybe I should actually use the lab paperwork my doctor gave me months ago and get my TSH levels checked because I’m tired, have brain fog along with morning headaches but life has also not been the kindest lately so then there’s that.

For the last few weeks, I will myself every day to wake up. My alarm disturbingly goes off and I begrudgingly hit the snooze, something I have never done.

And I am learning never to say never.

So I get up and get dressed. Make-up, hair, the works.

I drive, I run here and there and have been keeping myself so busy, I haven’t even had time to relax…as in lounge in my ugly sweatpants and favorite sweatshirt which is something I am finding recharges me.

Because I push. I hate staying stuck, I loathe being tired and caught in the middle part of life. I love the start and the finish but the middle? Um, no thanks. Not when your life begins to replicate a favorite movie, Groundhog Day.

So I get up and pretty up and put a huge smile on and trudge along. I canceled some of my week which helps but when my alarm went off this morning, I just couldn’t. I even went to be at 8:30 PM and still, my body groaned.

Snooze.

An hour later, I get up and grabbed my ugly sweatpants and my favorite sweatshirt and headed out the door to drive. “I’ll shower when I get home.” And when I say shower, I mean I’ll put some cute outfit on and fix my hair and blah blah blah.

But as I drove, the exercise conversation was forefront on my mind. When will I begin again?

Push.

When will I clean out my old office?

Push.

 When will I snap out of this funk?

Push.

Push harder.

Truth is, I came home and worked in the office for an hour and then took a shower, because cleanliness is next to Godliness, and I put my ugly sweatpants and favorite sweatshirt BACK on. I walked out my front door with a wet head and a fresh face and took the puppy to the vet. Then I went to the grocery store because we are out of bread and butter. I came home and drove. Tonight I’ll take my daughter to soccer practice and then meet up with a friend at the movies.

And I will not push through.

I will be my fresh-faced self who is a little tired and maybe a little sad these days.

It just might be one of the most honest things I’ve ever done.

The Purpose of Pain

Our youngest daughter is into a lot of things right now: Baking. Cooking. Crafting. She writes notes. Builds note boxes. Wants to do her laundry and walk the dog. She is craving responsibility and longs for opportunities to show up and be seen. To try and to succeed. To fail and to learn.

So last night, we baked. WITH A HOT OVEN.

Someday I will learn that oven mitts are my friend.

Today my right forefinger sports a raised bubble and I’m sure by evening, it will crack open and ooze and I’m not sorry for the visual because I want you to experience my pain with me. I’m that type of friend. You’re welcome.

It’s been making me think a lot about the purpose of pain. It seems like everyone is trying to avoid it, myself included, and we’ve made it out to be this bad, scary thing. Is it? Is there a purpose?

Yes.

Absolutely yes.

If you have been anywhere in your kitchen and have actually used your own stove, you most likely have experienced a burn at some point in your life. The more you are around one, the greater your chances…

It’s simple math.

And hopefully, unlike me, your brain has made it quite clear that touching the hot oven racks is not wise so when your naked hands instinctively go to “grab” without an oven mitt, your brain jumps in front of the moving car frantically waving its arms, reminding you that touching indeed is not wise.

As in, DON’T BE STUPID. DO NOT TOUCH THE HOT OVEN RACKS. YOU WILL BURN YOUR HANDS. 

And hopefully, you change course and go in another direction. Hopefully your brain convinces your hands to take precautions, to take cover because you know…last time was kind of painful.

If you have ever experienced pain, you will understand where I am going. Pain is not always physical, like the raised little bubble of fluid on my right forefinger. You can experience emotional or spiritual pain which can all lead to a mixed bag of symptoms that aren’t so easily diagnosed and treated.

Medications can help but don’t always fix and Jesus is not a magic wand that you wave in order to live a perfectly happy life. 

Both acute (short-term) and chronic (ongoing) pain can lead to emotional suffering. Emotional and spiritual pain may include sleep problems, sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety, and depression. How do I know this?

Takes one to know one.

It makes me wonder: Does it HAVE TO HURT in order to learn a life lesson? Not always. Not every situation or person that I learn from is tethered to a raw ache but I know from personal experience, it IS when I pay attention the MOST. I liken the times when I feel pain to feeling like I’m on fire, like I am sitting smack dab in the center of an eternal flame. One thing I’ve noticed through that heartache is my intentions are purified and I grow in honesty about my actual motives because most often, I do not pay attention to “what’s going on inside of me” till my outsides have experienced some sort of fall or failure…A FIRE. 

And I have yet to fathom why this pattern is consistently true.

Perhaps it’s because I am a creature of habit and my regular, every-day-comfort is falsely reassuring. So reassuring in fact that I would make my permanent home IN my comfort if I could. Stepping forward into the unknown is unfamiliar and untested…perhaps pain is an opportunity to be “pushed” – or I would never go.

I have no solid answers, only thoughts rolling around in the big, wide open space within my head like this one: 

I have grown spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.

Sorry Church. I have. 

I know when I get sick and tired of being sick and tired, I find myself hanging on the fraying tassel of some rope. I try to hang on. Dear God I do everything in my power to stay attached. Every desperate measure I can muster, I do, but on occasion I have found myself not only at the end of the rope but at the end of myself. I let go of my pride thereby, I let go of that tassled rope and I fall. 

I fall hard.

It is usually the pain from that fall that inspires the most change.

I hate falling so you can imagine, I do EVERYTHING possible not to. Falling is way worse than burning myself on a hot oven rack and it is way worse than feeling momentarily sad or missing my kids. Falling equates to failure. Falling leaves me feeling like my insides are broken into and splattered across a concrete floor. It is the greatest place of vulnerability and incredibly humbling to have your insides on the outsides. It can be embarrassing and shameful. Very. In the last few weeks, I have become increasingly aware of my own grotesque fallibility, which brings to the surface every potential lie possible, enticing me to believe. But the good news is, because I believe there is always good news…as hard and as painful as it’s been to fall down, the presence of pain indicates that I CAN learn better….if I can fall DOWN, I can also fall UP.

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” – Madeleine L’Engle 

So long story short, I think pain is the body’s way of “encouraging” action and the pain of facing the truth about yourself is often necessary to change for the better. Just like touching the hot oven racks is teaching me to avoid hot metal, accepting why a relationship has been falling apart will help me better understand what to do differently in the future with it.

Instead of running from or coddling pain, because pain can become an idol, I will choose to allow a healthy dose OF pain to inspire change.

IN me.

What will you allow pain to do in YOU?

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑