Saturday, December 9, 2017

It's OK To Be Your "Un-Best"



Image is everything these days. Brand names are powerful. It’s not enough to just “be yourself.” You have to be your BEST self.

It saddens me. It saddens me that we can’t feel comfortable to be our “not-best” selves.

We are afraid to tell anyone that that cute new shirt is second-hand bought.  We tuck away the tags of those bargain shoes. We highlight when we go to Nordstrom’s, but hide the fact that we can only mostly afford Wal-Mart.  

We attend church on Sundays and tell everyone all is “good” in our world. We smile and shake hands.

We only share the highlights on Facebook and instagram. 

And yet we are always caught by surprise when we discover something tragic about someone. We are shocked to see we failed to catch problems in a friend or family member’s life.

All because we all have a habit of only showing each other our “best.”

But it’s ok to be your “un-best.”

It’s okay to open the door with no makeup on.  It’s ok to say “thank you, I got this top at Goodwill.” It’s ok to not have the best brands. It’s not wrong to have the best brands, but it’s ok to not have them. It’s ok to not wear them. It’s ok to not be able to AFFORD them.

It’s ok to have date-night at McDonald’s. It’s ok to show up to church with a tear-stained face. Shouldn’t church be the best place to go when your heart is hurting?

It’s all ok. 

Some people may look at you strangely - but it’s only because they don’t know how to handle authenticity. 

You be YOU. In all of your best AND your “un-best” moments. After all, that’s what makes life full.

We all get sick.  We all cry. We all say something stupid. We all want acceptance.  We’re all afraid of rejection… even the people who can afford Nordstroms every day and then some.

It takes one courageous person to be genuine in their “un-best” moments, for someone else to follow suit. And then another, and another, and another.

It takes one person willing to risk rejection and risk misunderstanding people, to discover the freedom that deep down we are all seeking.

Our “un-best.” Those moments we try to pretend don’t happen. The ones we try to hide. These are the moments that actually make us so relatable to everyone else around us. Because they’ve felt them too.

Be YOU. Be your best and enjoy it when you feel it in all it’s glory.  But also be your “un-best.” Walk out the door in those moments too. Own them. Live them. And tenderly let them shape you.


Image isn’t everything. But authenticity? Authenticity IS. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I Need You To Know You're Not Alone



My heart breaks for you. For the “you” who passes by in the grocery aisle and thinks no one sees you. No one cares.

My heart tenders to the child who goes to school thinking they are unloveable. Stupid.

My arms want to pull in the person who can’t seem to break free from the hurts and pains that they have suffered in their life. The one who gets sucked in by their depression and anxiety.

Oh, how I wish I could love on the sweet soul that feels like they have to be bold, brazen, and tough in order to never be hurt by someone again!

We all have moments where we are swept into these roles and feelings. But for some of us, they aren’t just moments. They are lifetimes.

If you are one of them, I need you to know you aren’t alone.  I need you to know that the lies you have believe about yourself can be overturned, undone, chased away.

I want you to know that there are others out there, JUST LIKE YOU. They feel the same way that you do. And they are wanting someone to touch them with a hug, with a squeeze of the hand, or with a pat on the back.

I understand what it feels like to want to know that someone will care if you don’t show up to church, school, or work. I “get it,” that your soul just wants a friend. A smile. A kind gesture.

So many feel as you do.

If I knew you personally, I would try to do these things for you. But I know there are many, many good souls out there who also feel the same as I do. So, please hang in there.

Wait.

Look.

Be patient.


That kind soul will cross your path. I pray it’s soon. But if not, be patient. Wait for them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Learn How To Enjoy Your "Wins"



We all have goals, wishes, and dreams.  There are those “personal” goals and wishes, and there are those goals that are more ambitious and aligned with our work or our passions for some kind of work.

I think for most of us, we achieve “wins” along the way. They may seem minor, but they are rungs on a ladder that we are climbing. If we’re real “go-getters,” it can be so easy to overlook those “wins” and just look ahead to the next rung we want to climb.

Focusing on our end goal is important. It keeps us on an intentional and diligent path.  But it also can rob us of enjoying the process. It can steal those moments of joy that come our way. So, then, it ‘s easier to get discouraged and frustrated about our progress.

ENJOY the “wins” you get along the way. Take the time to sit back and relish them. You worked hard for them!  Even if they seem little, they aren’t. They are big. For they are another step in the right direction. They bring you another moment closer to what you dream for yourself (or for someone else, if it happens to be a prayer request.)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating achievements. We are not “vain” or “selfish” to do so! You can celebrate with humility, thankfulness, and great joy. But allow those times to fuel you onward. Allow them to bring you continued clarity, and allow them to take a little bit of weight off of your shoulders and replace it, instead, with peace.

Whether it’s a work-related goal, or a personal one, don’t let it get lost in the whole process. Don’t be in such a hurry to reach the end, that you forget what has been done along the way.


It takes many jewels to form a diamond necklace. And it takes many “wins” to achieve a huge goal or dream. Allow them to form, delight in seeing each one granted, and you will love and appreciate the huge WIN all-the-more.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Giving Your "All"




Excellence. I strive to do excellence in all I do. 

It stands out when I see someone else working with the goal of excellence.

It shouldn’t stand out. But it does. Excellence seems to be a rare trait.

How many times have you had to go back to the car service center because someone didn’t fix something right the first time? The same goes for “fix-it” guys. 

How many times is your day messed up because you had to “re-do” something that someone else didn’t do right?

Excellence.

People just don’t seem to be invested in what they are doing. They don’t seem to be invested in OTHERS.

That grieves me.

It doesn’t matter to me, if I don’t live with the results of a job I do…. Because someone else does. And what I do is a reflection of me. So, I want to go the extra mile. I want to do things with integrity, honor, and excellence.

Reputation. 

Honor. 

Empathy.

Compassion.


These are traits we should take with us as we do our jobs. As we walk in relationship with others. And, as we train up our children. They are all part of having and working with excellence in mind.

Doing the least we can do never benefits anyone. It doesn’t make anyone feel better or grow stronger. It’s simply a patch – never a permanent fix.

It feels good to invest yourself in all you do. In all you are. It feels good to know you did the right thing – spent the extra time – and put in the extra effort. EVEN if you don’t get paid extra. EVEN if you don’t get acknowledged.

It WILL pay off for you. In your reputation. In your feelings about yourself. And in the way you live your life.

Excellence. Try it. Achieve it. 

Give it.


We all hunger for it.

Friday, November 10, 2017

When Someone Sees Something In Us



Not too long ago, a woman told me that I had a ‘great vibe’ about me. She told me that I could do anything I set my mind to.

Then, someone else saw a picture I posted on facebook, and they told me that I was beautiful. When I politely told them ‘thank you, but that I didn’t see myself that way,” they replied again with a “own it. You are! “

Why is it so easy to believe the bad stuff about ourselves? And why is it so much harder to believe the awesome?

I think I’m nice. But, to think I can do anything I set my mind to? Hmmm……

And I think I’m cute. But beautiful? C’mon. 

What if we claimed the good things that others said about us? What if we truly started “owning” them? Not just for a “hot second,” but for a whole month? A year? A lifetime? Maybe then, we’d start fulfilling our true potential!

When someone compliments us, in whatever way, shape or form that comes in, I think that is an “I love you” message from God. A way that He comes down into the details of our lives to let us know that we have MORE to give. MORE to be. 

We limit ourselves more than anyone else can limit us. We deny ourselves things because we don’t believe we deserve them. We don’t believe we are worthy.

But we are. We are every bit as worthy and deserving as that “beautiful” person you see walk into the coffee shop, or that successful business guy that struts into the office.

If someone SEES something in us, isn’t that to be celebrated? Isn’t that worth something?


I think it is. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Motherhood: It's Allll Tiring, But It's Allll Good



Allll of parenting can be exhausting.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking once your kids are older, that you won’t be tired. You will.  But it’s a different kind of tired.

I think, when children are very young, you are PHYSICALLY tired. They demand a lot of you. They need your help on a lot of things. And so, yes, this brings physical exhaustion. And that physical exhaustion lessens as they grow up. It improves. But, a different kind of “tired” replaces it.

When your kids are teens, and young adults, you are EMOTIONALLY tired. There are lots of choices to make. Some FOR your kids, some WITH your kids. Some battles to walk through with them as they make their own choices. So, if you wonder why you feel tired all of the time – it can be because all those choices, conversations, decisions, and hurdles; even if they are good ones, they take an emotional toll on you.

You will never not worry about your kids.

You will never not love them.

Parenting can be tiring – yes. But oh, such a joy, it is! It’s a joy when they are young and think you are the best thing in the world. It’s a joy when they are young adults, and they desire your company, or want your feedback on something.

The hugs feel so special when your kids are young. But they feel so special when they are older, too. Each one, given by choice.

I loved being a mom when my kids were little. I loved doing their hair, picking them up from school, buying them cute clothes, and tucking them into bed with a story. 

I LOVE being their mom, now that they are young adults, too. I still love finding them cute clothes and shopping WITH them. I love watching their favorite shows with them (even if that show wouldn’t have been my choice), and I love hearing a story about something that happened in their day.

Motherhood. It’s all tiring. And it’s all good.

I wouldn’t trade a moment. I own every one of those tears, sleep-deprived nights, worry lines, and times of celebration. I own those proud “mom” feelings.


They are my kids. My pride and joy.


My life made fuller. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

We Need God EVERY Hour



Oh, God, how I need you. Every hour I need you.

We are fooling ourselves to think we don’t need God EVERY HOUR. Every day.

Yes, we need Him in the big events of our lives – like strength for delivering a baby, help escaping floods after a hurricane, or protection in the midst of evil.

But we still need Him every hour of what we see as “normal” days too.

We need Him when we are tempted to eat too much at mealtime.

We need Him when we resent our spouse for something they did.

We need His help for creativity when we are given that assignment that we don’t feel qualified to complete.

We need Him when we are sick.

We need Him when we are out driving amongst so many other personalities – who may be driving in ways we don’t agree with.

We need Him when we sluggishly prepare another meal.  When we scrape our wallets for another home repair.

We need Him when our children hurt our feelings, or when we feel lonely.

We even need Him in the moments of joy. We need Him to remind us of where our help comes from, and from whom all blessings flow. We need Him to keep us humble, thankful, and joyful.

Yes, we need you, Lord. EVERY HOUR we need you.


Let us not forget to live our moments without you as a part of them. As the LEADER of them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Which Voice Do You Listen To the Most?


Our “self-talk” pulls some of the strongest weight in our lives.  What we tell ourselves about who we are, how others view us, and what our value is…. sometimes those very thoughts outweigh the verbal words that are actually given out loud to us by others.

On our “bad” days, the words we tell ourselves matter a great deal.  As do the words we tell ourselves on our “good” days. The question is – which ones do you listen to the most?

I know that sometimes when I’m feeling really low, my own thoughts and the voice in my heart that whispers to me – it can lift me up on out of those blues – or sink me deeper into them.

When I’ve had a victory in my life, the encouragement and thankfulness I feel inside, can also implant itself strongly into my character; so that the next time I’m faced with challenges and hurdles, I’m more positioned to deal with them. Instead of falling victim to them.

Which voice do you listen to the most? Which one do you let take root in your heart and soul? The voice that speaks loudly on the low days… or the one that shouts on the good ones?

Oftentimes, it’s the negative thoughts and words that we let stay longer than they should. I’m not sure why that is. 

If we feel conviction, determination, or the need to persevere when life deals us a blow, if we are feeling heartache – those feelings can be used for growth and movement in our life.  But if we are feeling and thinking shame, unworthiness, or inadequacy; those thoughts need to stay in the moment and not come with us into the next day, the next challenge, or the rise out of the sadness.

We ALL feel unworthy and inadequate at times. That’s why I say; those feelings need to stay in the moment. It would be great to say we don’t feel them at all – but I don’t think that’s reality. We WILL feel them. We are human. The key is, to remember we are only feeling them because we are hurting.

So we need to leave them there in that hurting moment and not take them with us.

What we tell ourselves about ourselves matters.  Someone else can encourage us to the moon and back – but if we don’t believe them, it won’t matter. We need to watch how we speak to our own heart and soul. Craft our words wisely and value ourselves enough, to tend to ourselves with love, kindness, grace, and gentle prodding towards growth.


We will have good days and bad days in life. Lots of both.  What will you tell yourself  on those days? And which voice will you listen to in the long run?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Move Those Feet

My grandpa used to have this saying that he got from his dad.  It was, “If you don’t got it in your head, you got to have it in your feet.”

Translation? You need to take action.

A lot of us rely on other people to help us get what we want.  Now, support is important in life.  Networking is powerful. But we can’t sit back, and expect other people to supply us with the information, connections, or life, that we desire. We have to work for it ourselves.

Some of us are naturally gifted in things. But for most of us, we have to work hard at what we want for ourselves.  And there’s something to be said for that. Working hard brings depth of character, compassion, generosity, and authenticity that nothing else in life can give. 

You don’t take things for granted when you understand what it took to get something.

What do we do to serve others, instead of simply just desiring others to serve us?  You build rapport by serving others. You build connection. That’s how you build relationships that stand out.

Whether it’s information you seek, a job, community – whatever. It’s your responsibility to spark someone else’s interest, so that you can start moving towards that goal you have for yourself.

Pay attention to the people in your life. Pay attention to the opportunities that cross your plate. And be intentional about focusing on your priorities for your life.  Be ready to “move your feet.” It’s not painful. Actually, it can be a lot of fun. Yes, it can be hard work – but you will see yourself make progress. You will see yourself grow. And you will see the action you take, pay off.

Reach out. Reach up. If other people help you here and there along the way – fantastic! But, don’t expect it. Don’t count on it. Persevere, work hard, and be diligent.

Having the life you want is up to you. Reaching the goals you want to reach is up to you.


Move those feet.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

When You Can't Find the Right Words to Pray

Earnest prayer. Deep requests. Heartfelt praise. Sometimes our hearts feel things so deeply – there are just no words. We are confounded to know how to express ourselves, and don’t know how to possibly convey our feelings into words.

We want to pray, but we don’t know how to pray.

I love where in the Bible it says,

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Rom. 8:26

Did you catch that? God prays on our behalf. 

Oftentimes, when we find words escape us, we can simply ask the Lord to pray on our behalf. We can have confidence and complete peace that the prayer is in line with God’s will, because He is the one praying!

In these moments when our hearts are feeling so much, oftentimes, our feelings come out not in words, but in tears. As we sift and seek out our own feelings, as we ponder how to come up with the right words to give weight to what our heart is feeling – tears fill up in our eyes. And those very tears are sometimes all we need.

Those tears tell God everything we want Him to know.  They tell Him everything our heart is trying to say. They tell Him the full extent and depth of what we want to say in prayer. Those tears ARE our prayer.

We don’t have to give God a grand gesture in our prayers. We don’t have to have big words. We don’t have to be really holy, and our prayers don’t have to be lengthy in order to be passionate.

I look back on God’s example in the Bible and He never did anything grandiose or flowery. He always did things simply, with a genuine, loving heart.

What could be more simple or genuine – than our tears?

All I know, is that sometimes when words escape my tongue, they form in my eyes with a glisten, and I think that is perfectly acceptable to God. He knows our heart anyway, and He knows that we are not always eloquent.

I think sometimes, our tears are the exact PERFECT prayer.

So if you, like me, struggle at times with the deep emotions in your heart and you can’t seem to find the right words to bring before the Lord, remember that He sees all and He knows all. He can see and feel your heart.  And if your tears should come at times, as mine do – know that if our God is a God who chooses to pray for us and on our behalf when words escape us, that He too, will accept and value your tears with the weight and meaning which comes behind them.



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