Tag Archives: growth

Resolutions or Revelations?

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I have a revelation about resolutions. I’m not good at keeping them. And after watching sixty-some New Years come and go, I don’t make them anymore.

I also have a resolution about revelations. IF I spend time listening to the still, small voice of my Heavenly Father, He lovingly reveals areas in my life where I need to change. I can tackle problem areas with greater ease when He enlightens. I move forward in divine grace, instead of by the sheer determination of my limited human effort.

The Creator God of Heaven and Earth and Me, knows what I need better than anyone so I can move forward into the New Year with confidence.

For the One..“who was seated on the throne said,Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

No one is more interested and invested in our progress and improvement than God. As we walk in His enabling power, we are continually becoming new and renewed.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

God specializes in New! He specializes in You!

Start a personal revolution. Let His Revelation become your Resolution.

Spend some time listening and surrendering and have a Happy, new and improved you, in 2017!

The WOW Walk

When our boys were crawling babies and old enough to start noticing and exploring the world around them, Mike would often pick them up and carry them, through the house, outside, in malls or restaurants, just about anywhere at any random moment, and show them things up above their vision. Since they spent their entire day on the floor it was almost impossible to see or know what was up above.wow-walk-1He let them touch clocks, pictures, candles and other things hanging on walls. He showed them flowers, plants, leaves, trees. He let them look out windows, took them into closets and pointed out items on shelves and walked them in restaurant lobbies to let them see whatever was at eye level.

Every item seen or touched was prefaced with, “Wow!  What is that?” Then he would name it and add a simple explanation, “That’s a clock. It’s round. Watch that second hand go. That’s pretty awesome isn’t it?”

Watching their precious faces light up at the discovery of some new wonder was priceless as they absorbed the novelties of their world and every tiny discovery in amazement.

These ‘Wow Walks’, as we came to call them, resulted in Jon’s first word, not being DaDa or MaMa, but “Wow!”

Our nine month old crawling and exploring grandson was with us last week. The first thing Mike did when Asa was comfortable with us holding him, was take him on a “Wow Walk.” He had quite a few of them while he was here, to the point where if he was fussy, his mom or dad would ask him, “Asa, do you want Grampy to take you on a Wow tour?”

The answer was a big smile and outstretched arms. His way of saying, “Yes Grampy, take me, take me.”wow-walk-2As we age and mature, we often lose this childlike sense of wonder. The responsibilities, problems and heaviness of our existence on this planet can easily mire us down, into negativity and despair; things once new and exciting as a child become commonplace. We can see a beautiful sunset, without celebrating it, walk past a rose without smelling it or look at a rainbow without contemplating its mystery. We begin evaluating others through eyes of cynicism or mistrust and miss moments of joy and beauty in everyday life.

Why are we reminded by Jesus to remain, not childish in behavior, but childlike in faith?

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3). I believe He knew how quickly the belief and wonder could fade; after all, He was here, walking as one of us, when He said this.

He also came to return that sense of amazement to life. Not just a, plodding along, trying to keep our head up and survive, sort of reality, but abundance (John 10:10).

Is the wonder and joy of life far from your grasp? Do the problems and struggles you face keep you down? God can lift you up.

Let Him lift you from the floor of limitation. Trust him as a small child trusts a loving grandfather. Reach for Him with outstretched arms. Allow Him to carry you higher and show you great and marvelous things. Lift up your eyes, believing there is much more above and beyond where you are right now.

Don’t settle for a ‘Woe Is Me’ walk through life.

Make it a ‘WOW’ walk!

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:17

“The thief comes but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3 

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2     

“But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

O Me Of Little Faith

mustard-seedI awoke at 3:42 AM in a heart racing panic and find myself at this place more often than I care to admit. It weighs heavy in the back of my mind, no matter how I try to push it away, the unknown haunts me. What will become of my son when we are no longer here? With the passing of every year, every birthday, his and mine, the question looms larger.

So I guess it’s confession time. It’s time for me to admit, to say it out loud; I don’t trust God in this. My re-occurring fear and worry prove it. I’m convinced no one will take care of him as well as I do, after all I Am Mom and have invested most of my life here. Other than Mike, who else will care enough to do that? I don’t know and the not knowing eats at me, plagues me and some days, consumes me.

Trusting God with a child is a tall order for any parent.  We are so hands on, heart invested, all in, with our kids and it’s easy to default back to a place of worry. But a child, who needs continual, life time supervision and assistance, elevates investment levels to exponential heights. So often I feel like the dad who brought his son to Jesus and cried out, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” Maybe Jesus understands this parental desperation more than we know. He healed the boy in spite of dad’s wavering faith. And that gives me hope.

I’ve thought a lot about faith. What is it? How does it work? What should it look like in my life? Honest questions from a girl who grew up in a church culture equating struggle, disaster, illness, and tragedy with a condemning lack of faith; feeling failure and shame whenever my sunshine, lollipops and rainbow life disappeared behind onimous black clouds for a season. Understanding what it means to really trust God has been a huge re-learning process for me.

I’ve seen His unlimited goodness and faithfulness through the years, in both the easy and hard places of my life,  but realize I’m still lacking when it comes to radically abandoned trust. I’ve also lived long enough in my Heavenly Father’s amazing grace to understand we are always in process. Every day and every situation brings new opportunities for my faith to rise to higher levels.

An infant isn’t a full grown adult one week, one month or even a year after he is born. He grows incrementally day after day, over the span of many years. And we don’t condemn him for it. A twenty year old will not have the wisdom and experience of a seventy year old. Full maturity comes with time and age. We know instinctively this is the natural order of things, yet we Christ followers can beat ourselves and others up when we are not spiritual giants overnight.

Wayne Jacobsen (thegodjourney.com) put it like this: “I like the process of God winning us to trust. It’s not that we should trust Him or have to act like we trust Him even where we don’t. God wins us…I think life puts us in different points of extremity..but those opportunities when He says, “OK, we’re going to go deeper here, you’re going to get to learn to trust Me more”…I think all of my days I’m still going to find myself in places going, “OK, my trust doesn’t extend here yet, but God let it.” Maybe that’s the Author and Finisher of our faith, He’s going to grow it into a reality…the faith I live in today was not mine to produce but [grew as] I cooperated with Him.”

When Jesus calls out his followers with, “Oh, you of little faith,” we see it as a negative, a criticism, a scolding, but maybe it was more of a reminder than a rebuke.

After all, He said we only need faith the size of a mustard seed to throw a mountain into the sea (Matthew 17:20). A mustard seed is slightly larger than a grain of sand. That’s tiny!  Could He be telling us we don’t need as much as we think, we just need to exercise what we already have and watch it produce? After all He does the work, the miracle, the impossible. We just do the believing.

There’s a tension, a balance, between planning for the future and worrying over it and our manual for living, the Bible, addresses both. Proverbs 6:6-8 tells us to consider the ant who stores up and plans for the days ahead. Jesus tells us to consider the lilies who don’t fret or toil but are clothed in beauty by the Provider of all things (Luke 2:27-40).

While we plan as much as possible for Jon’s future, we must trust God with the rest. We do our part and believe He will do His, because He always has. Today, I absorb what Apostle Paul stated in Philippians 4:6-7, into my heart, mind and spirit, “Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ.”

So Lord, today, I give Jon and his future back to You. Once again, I lay him at your feet and     place him in Your capable hands, knowing You have a good plan already in mind for him. I thank You for it, even in my inability to see or control it. I may need to do this again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, Father, but I offer my mustard seed faith to you, thankful for Your patience while it grows into larger trust I have yet to obtain.

Lord, I believe. Please touch those places in me where I don’t believe, those areas filled with doubt, worry and fear. I give them, along with my son, to You and thank You for never giving up on me but continuously calling me into Your amazing faith, trust and peace.

Today I choose I choose Faith.

Today I choose Trust.

Today I choose You!

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” ~Corrie Ten Boom

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Proverbs 6:6-8 “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

Luke 12:27 “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The Reward of Staying

I know someone who never stayed – for anything – marriages, children, jobs, family, friends.

Offended? Leave. Conflict? Forget it. Difficulty? Run.

Everytime.

As soon as the next bump in the road arose (small, medium, large, mountains, molehills, anthills) it was time to run again.

And again. And again. Burning every bridge until nothing was left.

Then the Golden Years arrived. A time to reap the benefits of staying: Children. Grandchildren. Retirement. Relationships. Friendships. Money saved. Home owned. Travel. Wisdom. Influence. Respect.

But there was nothing. Absolutely nothing but sad alone-ness, with barely enough to sustain an existence. Life’s garden had become a barren weed patch with no harvest in sight.barren

Though it’s never too late to start over, the rewards of staying aren’t instant. They build slowly and mundanely over time, growing with consistency, routine, responsibility, trust, effort, plodding, endurance, work, sacrifice, discipline, selflessness.

Days turn into seasons. Seasons into years. Years into decades. Decades into a lifetime.

Of course, there are certain circumstances where staying isn’t wise and it’s beneficial to move on, but staying can never be based on feelings. It’s a choice and often an act of love, paying great dividends, offering stability and bringing reward. Eventually.

Jesus, on the night of His arrest, told His friend Peter, “I could call on my Father to send more than twelve legions of angels to help me now. But how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say this must happen?” (Matthew 26:53-54)

He stayed all the way to brutal death on a cross, all the way to, “It is finished.”

He chose to endure the cross “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). What was that joy? I believe it was restoring relationship with Me and You! He stayed for Us!

In the short term, cut and run may look easier, but as a habit, it perpetuates an accumulation of poor decisions. The decisions of today become tomorrow’s reality.

Before quitting, be honest about the possible long term consequences. Take time to think and pray about the influence of this decision on tomorrow and all the tomorrows after.

Never underestimate the power of staying.

Plod on.

Don’t give in.

Don’t give up.

Stick it out.

Keep the faith.

Stay the course.

Sow the harvest.

Enjoy the journey.

And EVENTUALLY..

..reap the rewards.

 

 

“Success is measured, not by how we start, but by how we finish.” ~ Mike Connis

“Let us not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom.” Luke 9:62

“I press on toward the goal..” Philippians 3:14

“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18

“Matthew 7:24-25 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”

Do Unto Others

“Do unto others as they have done to you?”

There are many times in life, relationships and circumstances we secretly wish Jesus had actually said it that way and more often than we like to admit, we react as if He did (Matthew 7:12).

Here’s what I know:

People can disappointruler-684005_640
People can hurt
People can reject
People can ignore
People can ridicule
People can neglect
People can be selfish
People can be disloyal
People can be harsh
People can be intolerant
People can be heartless
People can be cruel
People can be…just fallen, broken, messed-up people.

So how do we respond when others become these ‘People Can’ folks?

What is our reaction when people don’t rise to the level of our expectations?

The human tendency is to recoil, withdraw, take out a mental permanent marker and cross them off our internal, ‘people-I-just-might-continue-to-like’ list.

I’ve said it and many times heard others say it, “They did/said ________. That’s it! I’m done with them!”

We wash our angry, offended hands of them and walk away; maybe not literally, but emotionally. We build walls, barriers and keep them distant; at the extreme fringe of our consciousness.

They are cast to the outside of our tiny circle and are greeted, if it all, with a stiff jaw, hard heart and an icy attitude.

Obviously, I’m not referring to abusive, immoral or illegal relationships. There may be people we need out of our life to vastly improve its’ outcome. Go ahead and pray for these as you walk away. But in the everyday interactions between co-workers, friends, family, spouse, fellow believers and the cashier in the checkout line, we can be so easily offended, so quick to write others off.

The truth is God did not write us off. He should have. We certainly deserve it.

He did this instead:

“For God so loved the world He gave…” John 3:16
“While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“Father forgive them they don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:34

And if God, my Creator, did this for us, we can do no less for others.

Jesus, our pattern and example of God walking and living on the earth said:

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you…” Matthew 5:44

In other words, “Do what I do. Treat others, not as they deserve, but in the same way I have treated you.”

He’s never turned his back on us, but gave it to the lash of scorners.

He’s never walked away from us, but stumbled up a dusty hill, carrying the same tree that took His life.

He’s never washed his hands of us, but allowed them to be pierced with nails of redemption.

He’s never crossed us off his list, but hung on a cross to prove He will never stop reaching for us.

This isn’t a fuzzy, mushy, lollipops and sunshine sorta’ love. It’s a, “This is hard and I don’t feel like it, but it’s the right thing to do,” kind of love (Luke 22:42).

It’s a love that puts relationship over being right. And a love, not for romantic, starry-eyed whimps, but for spirit led soldiers who will take up their cross and follow Him.

“So in EVERYTHING, do to others what you WOULD HAVE them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 7:12.

The addition of a few extra words changes everything.

My prayer today, is they will also change me and you.

My Gnat Confession

scary-gnatCleaning Jon’s room makes me mad! I’m confessing, putting it out here for all to read.

Every time I clean his room I battle a huge bad attitude. One way to deal with my anger has been to give it a name, “The Landfill”, and to play worship music on my iPad as loudly as possible while cleaning.

The past few days we’ve been seeing little gnat things flying around the house and couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. I do a quick check in Jon’s room every other day or so, making sure nothing’s growing or moving that shouldn’t be and about once a week, do a more thorough clean and sheet change.

Yesterday, I decided it was “Landfill” cleaning day. Mike was home so he helped me with the vacuuming and I was sorting through Jon’s usual piles of stuff on the floor and in crates making sure everything was kosher, when I found it buried under a pile of stuffed animals, a personal size Rubbermaid cooler that he had taken from a cabinet in the laundry room.

I opened it to see what was inside and a fleet of gnats flew up in my face. After they lifted off, I noticed the bottom of the cooler was alive and moving with hundreds of little gnat larva. They were living off some sort of food science experiment growing in there.

Horrified, I screamed, slammed the top shut, grabbed it, ran to the front door and heaved the cooler as hard as I could into the yard. I slammed the front door closed and jumped around in the foyer for a few minutes, totally grossed out, itching, shaking and hollering, trying to get hallucinatory gnats off of me.

Once that subsided, incredible anger took its place. I stomped into the kitchen and yelled at Jon for two minutes straight while he stared at me like I’d just lost my mind then I went back in his room, still freaking out, and tried to tell Mike I’d found the source of our gnat invasion.

“I can’t hear anything you’re saying. You’ve got the music so loud it sounds like a Pentecostal church service in here. Turn it down so I can hear you.” Mike hollered over the music.

I yelled back, “Listening to that music is the only way I get through cleaning this room so you best be glad it’s playing. I’m so mad right now if that music shuts off I’m gonna’ smack someone, and hard!”

We scrubbed the daylights out of Jon’s room for the next hour. I reluctantly searched every nook, cranny, box, crate, bag and pile in there and in his bathroom. I threw every thread of bedding and fabric I could find in the washing machine and got Jon in the shower. He even let me wash his hair, possible penance for what he’d just put me through, though I’ll never know for sure.

A few hours later, after I was sure everything was clean and back in order, I finally calmed down.

Last night I prayed. Though yesterday’s clean was more than unusual, I asked God to show me why I become so angry every time I clean Jon’s room.  God knows my heart better than I, and I want to understand what is triggering this anger inside of me.

The answer came in my prayer as I poured my heart out before my Heavenly Daddy.

“He’s thirty five, I shouldn’t have to still clean his room and it’s not fair that I do. We should be empty nesters now and only cleaning kid messes after grandchildren visit.”

As much as I love my son, cleaning his room is evidence that this didn’t turn out as I’d hoped and hope disappointed triggers many reactions and emotions. We often don’t recognize their source.

Like we didn’t know where the gnats were coming from, I didn’t know where my anger was coming from until I searched, until I asked.

Now that I know, God and I can start working on it together; one more area where grace can replace reaction, where a servant heart can replace selfishness.

Recognizing my shortcoming is the first step. Asking God to help me change is the second. He loves me too much to leave me as I am, yet He is gentle enough to expose and change my selfish heart one layer at a time, even if it takes a plague of gnats to motivate me.

Confession is good so I pray I’ll soon have a heart of joy and a song of praise at all times, even in “The Landfill”.

But. Please. Lord. (Shivverrrr) minus all creepy, crawly, cringy, critter things!

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry and sin not, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath or give place to the devil.”

James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.”

The Chasm Between My Norms

chasmI opened my Facebook page this morning to pass along the exciting post our youngest son and his wife shared, announcing our first grandchild on the way (Yahoo!).

As I typed a comment and hit the share button I noticed my post underneath, from last night, about being out with Jon and his roll of toilet paper that accompanied us to the pizza place.

I usually don’t give it much thought, then there are moments like this one, when the wide extremes of my life’s norms, jump up and smack me right between the eyes.

Webster’s Dictionary defines normal as usual or ordinary; not strange.

One child growing up, getting married and having his own children is pretty ordinary.

The other child growing up and toting a roll of toilet paper to the pizza restaurant, standing in parking lots for thirty minutes before going inside a building, singing Disney songs to me at one thirty in the morning and the myriad of other unusual events that come with being Jon’s mom, Mr. Webster wouldn’t consider ordinary at all.

As I scroll back through some of my older Facebook posts, I’m reminded that life with Jon is anything but ordinary and some of it seems downright strange, yet everything about him and this life we share with him has become normal for us.

Occasionally, I’m sad, when I think of the usual milestones Jon’s will never experience, but today the wide extreme depicted by those two Facebook posts made me laugh out loud.

We live in a culture that is saying all experience, ideas and opinions must be either/or. And while it is true there are still absolute values, standards and morals, regardless of what culture thinks or says, my sons have placed me in a world that is both/and; the usual and the unusual, the ordinary and the strange, mixed together in a kaleidoscope of crazy wonder.

Today, I smile, thinking of the unique joy found in living a life that is a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to the other. I’m perched on it, hanging on tight, mostly enjoying the ride, with no clue what tomorrow will bring

Maybe ordinary is overrated.

The Ultimate Caregiver

Caregiving is selfless work. Problem is, I’m not selfless. Not yet.FB_Jesus_Washes_Feet_PDF-1

I’ve grown through the years I’ve been doing this overtime parenting/caregiving thing, but honestly, I still have a long way to go. There are times when I still struggle and it seems too hard, too frustrating, too confining, too self sacrificing, too…much.

But love moves me forward another day. I love my son and he needs me, whether he realizes it or not. So I rise in the morning with new mercies, new grace and make the most of both the imperfect and fantastic days we are blessed to have.

Comparison is a luxury I can’t afford. Neither can you. When we start comparing our life to others our thoughts can travel into dangerous territory.

Some comparisons that might spiral me into dark places:

They go on vacation. We can’t.

They get in their car and go whenever/wherever they want. I can’t.

Their thirty something year old kid is self sufficient. Mine isn’t.

They don’t have to worry about what will happen to their grown child when they’re no longer here. I do.

There’s plenty more of these, but you get the idea. I can’t allow my mind to dwell on what they are doing. Such thinking has to be ‘taken captive’ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and serves no purpose but a downward spiral into self absorbed misery.

What I can think on is God’s goodness; His provision, grace, strength and blessing.

I have a roof over my head. I’m not hungry. I’m in functioning health. I have support from a good husband, caregivers, church and friends; a decent car to drive when I can get away, a yard full of awesome plants to enjoy and a son who only needs constant reminders to attend to his own basic physical needs. And some times, even while being grumpy and stubborn, Jon’s quirky, humor makes me smile.

Things to be thankful for outnumber the they comparisons and inconveniences, two to one.

Jesus modeled selfless caregiving when He loved me enough to lay aside His Heavenly crown, take on flesh and come to an Earth originally created in perfection by Him and utterly broken by the degradation of His greatest creation – man.

The Ultimate Caregiver came to serve and give His life away. He came to provide solutions for the desperation of humanity and offers the grace and strength I need to serve and care as He does.

Faithfully

Patiently

Cheerfully

Lovingly

Sacrificially

Selflessly

I pray everyday, as I struggle to set ‘me’ aside again, for the benefit of my son and for others, that I will emulate Christ’s love in some small way.

Because true love lives to serve.

John 13:4…he [Jesus] got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (NIV)

Matthew 20:26-28 “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Jon and the Cutting Dilemma

Jon is into cutting. But not in the same way or for the same reasons as other people.

He cuts sleeves off shirts, toes off socks, slits in the center of our bath and dish towels, legs off his father’s pants and hem strips off sheets and bed skirts.

towelsYesterday I took him to Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins. He dressed in his finest: a sawed off sleeves, blue T-shirt with two belts tied around his waist, one made from a strip of a nice, fluffy over sized beach towel he repurposed and the other, a bright orange and white flowered cloth tie belt he took from my closet.

When I’m tempted to be annoyed about this mysterious (and money wasting) behavior, I stop and remind myself to be thankful Jon’s not harming himself. He has his own brand of creative fun going on in his very unusual and imaginative brain.

And it’s just stuff. I can always go to Walmart and buy more cheap, made-in-China towels and T-shirts for him to cut up. It’s all replaceable. He isn’t.

Hanging out with Jon gives me an entirely different way to look at life and teaches me how to relax about little things that don’t really matter. While Jon is cutting up stuff in our house, God is cutting away the Me that wants to rise up and demand life always go My way.

God uses the people in our lives, yes; even those with annoying habits, to instruct us, change us and expose areas where we need to improve. There is nothing more liberating than letting go of the unrealistic expectations we have for others.

Ask God to help you look at those frustrating, annoying folks around you through His eyes, with His heart. Then look inside yourself and let Him transform you so you can love freely, unconditionally and without barriers.

The same way Jesus loves me and you.

 Philippians 2:3(ERV) “In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves”

Proverbs 27:17(NIV) “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

 

 

Twenty-one Things I Would Tell A Younger Me

My upcoming birthday has caused me to think about what I would tell a younger me if I could go back and sit down for a meaningful chat with her. The fifty-nine year old me has learned some important stuff I didn’t know then.21 things

So here it is, twenty-one things I would tell a twenty-one year old me, if I could: 

1. Get over yourself. Everything isn’t always about you.

2. You don’t know everything and never will. So stop thinking you do.

3. Life can get messy. Clean up the mess and move on.

4. Practice good attitudes and choices. What you choose today becomes tomorrow’s reality.

5. Always needing to be right usually isn’t. Don’t be too proud to admit you’re wrong.

6. Lower the drama meter. Laugh more. Save serious for when it’s really needed.

7. Changing/fixing others is not your life calling. Offering grace and love is.

8. You can still be nice to people who don’t agree with you. Just remember they might not return the courtesy.

9. It’s not the end of the world if everyone doesn’t like you. Enjoy the people who do.

10. Learn to balance work and fun. Too much of either is…too much.

11. Simplify. Busy is not always a sign of productivity. If it won’t matter twenty years from now it’s probably not worth your time.

5912. Take care of yourself. You won’t be young forever. De-stress. Exercise. Rest. Eat Right. Smile.

13. Don’t worry. Worry is borrowing fear for tomorrow from delusional scenarios created inside your own head (it also gives you permanent creases between your eyebrows).

14. Comparing creates misery. Stop measuring your imperfect life against everyone else’s imperfect life. Enjoy the life you’ve been given.

15. Let go of regret, guilt and shame. It does no good to live there. God forgives the broken. So forgive yourself. It’s never too late to start over.

16. Don’t expect any person to satisfy your every want /need when the rest of humanity is just as flawed as you. The only one who loves you perfectly is your Father God.

17. It’s not God’s fault when others are stupid, mean, rude, disloyal, unkind…Forgive them so you can be forgiven and free of their hold over you.

18. Pain, suffering, loss, delay, irritation, frustration and the mundane is where you can learn and grow the most. Not what you want to hear I know. Sorry.

19. Life isn’t always fair and sometimes doesn’t turn out the way you hoped or planned, but remember God is with you in it all. He promised.

20. Pray more. Well actually, pray all the time. Your Creator holds the owner’s manual to your heart and He loves having conversations with you (don’t forget to listen).

21. The years fly swiftly. Relish each day. Each moment of your journey is the best part of now.

I’d love to hear what you would tell a younger version of yourself if you could?