Thursday, July 30, 2015

There Is No Timetable For Healing

There is no timetable for healing. You can’t rush the process of healing.

We are all so different. One person might be in shock over something for awhile, while someone else gets angry immediately and gets it out of their system. Another person may not even register what they are feeling for awhile – their emotions are delayed. They come at another time and place when they are least suspecting it.  (And often, with force.)

So, with all the differences of dealing with hurts, losses, tragedies, and grief… who are we to say when the right time is for someone to “get over it?”

I think it’s important that we extend grace to one another. None of us sits in someone else’s shoes – or heart, for that matter.  We can’t force someone to stop thinking about a loved one, to think LONGER about a loved one, or to not have ‘after-effects’ that last years or longer from something tragic in their lives. For we all register big hurts and losses on different scales.  That doesn’t mean that one person cares more than another, just that we sift through those feelings and deal with them at a different rate and manner.

I believe in always being respectful and gracious. Certain situations and losses in life demand a certain level of respect and honor. That being said, I also believe that it’s important to move on with our lives. It’s vital to keep moving forward and growing as a person. That can be hard to fathom when you’re in the beginning stages of grief or healing. But at some point, there have to be steps taken to keep on living and to live life to the fullest.

We are still here. We survived. And even though we may have hurt in a way that no person should have to – our lives still have meaning. We can turn that pain into something constructive, good, helpful, and generous to someone else who may be a little bit further back on the road that we just came on.

I wish life had less hurts. I wish parents didn’t lose babies or children. I wish no one ever had to make the decision to “pull the plug” on someone who lay in a coma. I wish no person was ever abused, raped, bullied, or kidnapped. There is a great deal of evil out there. A great deal that is unfair.

We will ALL go through hurts in life. None of us escapes unscathed. So we should all understand what it feels like to be hurting. To shed tears and to feel great pain.  We can use that understanding to offer love to one another and give each other the freedom to work through their suffering on their timetable – and at their comfortable pace.

As long as someone IS working through whatever that awful “IT” is, that’s all that matters. Love them and be there for them.

Even if it takes years.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

You Don't Need To Pray About Everything

“I’ll pray about it and then get back to you.”

“I need to pray about it, first.”

These are things we hear when we ask someone to make a commitment. These are things we say.

Sometimes, these words are the exact right approach and answer.  We should pray about big commitments on our time, or lengthy commitments. We should pray about something that we are not quite sure if God has called us to do, or not. We should pray when we feel unsettled about saying ‘yes,’ and we should pray when God has specifically placed something on our heart – but it hasn’t come about.

Prayer is important. It’s powerful.

But there are times when we don’t really need to pray first.

There are times when we know we should say ‘yes.’ However hesitant we may be, we know God is asking it of us.

There are times, when we can fill a need. We have the gift needed, the money needed, or the tools needed. There is no need to pray. There is simply a need to jump in with action and give of ourselves on behalf of the Lord.

I think we shouldn’t delay doing good things at times. We don’t need to pray about giving a hungry person food. We don’t need to pray about letting a hurting person come over to talk. We don’t need to pray about whether or not we should send someone an encouraging note.

We should.

There are things that we should quickly and heartily do in life – without having to pray about them, first. We should be generous people, gentle people, loving, kind, and caring.  If we have something to give, something to help someone else, we should give it. Quickly. Lovingly.

Prayer is an important part of our lives; there is no doubt. But sometimes we can use it simply as an excuse to delay doing something that we need to do.

Loving others is a command. There is no need to pray about that. So if we have a chance to show that love – we should immediately step in without any doubts.

Without any prayer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Letting Nature Tend To My Soul

I’m in love with the sounds. The sounds from my new home in Texas.

Maybe nature wasn’t as abundant in my last home state. Maybe I just wasn’t listening as closely. But here, here, all the animals and insects seem to be happy and cheerful.

I sit on my back patio, and I can hear the doves cooing, the insects chirping, and the birds singing. And I take it all in.

It makes me happy and refreshed. For it’s how I imagine God intended it to be – with all the different animals frolicking about and speaking to one another here and there. Going about their business, living life. Loving who they were created to be. At least, that’s what they sound like to me. They don’t sound like they are unhappy, depressed, or mad about where they live or what they are. The squirrel bounces around and seems perfectly content that he’s a squirrel – and not a bird.

So, why aren’t we, as people, happy with who we are? God made us each differently. We can still interact and relate to one another – accepting who we are, and accepting who others are. We can be happy and cheerful – simply living our lives.

I wonder what our “people” sounds, sound like to the critters? Do we sound happy and joyful, or whiny, angry, and ungrateful? Maybe if we seemed more at peace, the animals would be more drawn to us, as we are to them.

I think that’s why nature is so recharging to a soul. It’s accepting. It’s inspiring and motivational, simply in observing, listening, and letting it attend to our hearts and souls.

It’s healing.

City smog, fast-paced traffic, noisy television sets, ipods, and computers. They can be exciting at times – but they are manufactured distractions. They can’t attend to a soul the way the outdoors can. The way that GOD can.

Maybe that’s the secret the wild animals carry with them.

Maybe we can learn something from them.

Friday, July 17, 2015

How We See Ourselves, Isn't Always How Others See Us

How we see ourselves, isn’t always how others see us.

I’ve written many things. Some things are coming from my own experiences in life. Others are from what I see going on around me. And I find it very interesting; that many times when I write something based on observation, some of the first people to “like” my comments, are the very people I had in mind when writing them!

We just don’t see ourselves the way others do.

I wonder, why that is? I mean, why, when we read something, can we see and recognize good thoughts or values, without seeing maybe flaws or weaknesses in ourselves that resonate with those very words?

Is it because we rationalize our behavior to ourselves? Is it because we’re in denial? Or is it because we honestly, truly, don’t think we act a certain way?

I wonder.

I would hope that I would recognize areas of growth that are needed in my own personality and character. I would hope that I would never just ‘wave’ away an expression or thought as something that only “other” people do. I would hope, that I would be able to always take a deep hard look at myself and see where I might, possibly, have said or done something that I would normally not want to be known for.

I don’t want to over-analyze myself. I do, however, want to honestly see myself how others see me, so if something needs fixing, I can fix it.

We all see life from a kaleidoscope of colors. Colors that come from how we were raised, treated, and what values were instilled in us. It’s easy to get tunnel vision and not see things from a different viewpoint.

Maybe it’s time to stand in a different spot with a different view. Somewhere we can see things from another angle. Then, maybe, we can see what others see. Not that it’s right or wrong, just a different perspective. One that may help us to adjust a few things.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

What's The Worst That Can Happen?

I have fears. I have things I internally struggle with.  I have pretty good instincts and sometimes I fear what is coming because I pretty much know what it’s going to be. And that ‘thing’ is something I either dread, or don’t want.

Years ago, I learned to start challenging my own fearful thoughts. I started asking myself “what is the worst thing that can happen? And if that happens, can I handle it? Can I survive? Can I deal with it?”  Usually, the answer is ‘yes.’ It may not be what I want. It may hurt. But I can usually see that I will survive it and come out the other side of it somewhere.

It’s helped me. It’s helped me grow courage in otherwise vulnerable areas in my heart and life.

I still have fears. I still have struggles. But I can look at them from a more stable stance.

Life is full of curves. If only we could plan out our own path – right? But we can’t. We have so little control. We deal with a lot of things in life because of someone else’s choices. And we have to move on. We have to figure out how to navigate those things, especially when we didn’t really want them to be a part of our story, or our ‘life picture.’

We are stronger than we think.

So, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And if it happens, cry about it. Yell, Kick something. Grieve over the loss.  Then let that moment shift. Adjust to it. And move forward on that new ground and in that new territory.

You can do it. You may not like it, but you can do it. And so can I.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sometimes We Rely On the Wrong Things

Sometimes we rely on the wrong things.

We get to where we don’t know what we’d do without that certain person in our life.

We rely on the salary that our job is producing.

We get into a habit of thinking that someone will come through for us if we don’t plan accordingly.

We rely on having certain things always available to us.

We get ‘lost’ when these things change, or are taken away. We don’t know how to function, or what to do.

Navigating changes in life is normal. But it can really throw us for a loop when we’ve come to rely on that person or thing so much, that we don’t know how to live any differently.

It’s never healthy when we let one person or one thing in life fill us up completely.  It’s important that we do what we enjoy, and that we seek to be happy – yes. But allowing someone or something else to have that much of a hold on us is dangerous indeed.

Only God can fill us up completely. Only God doesn’t change.  And with Him, we will never feel ‘lost.’

I think it’s always good when I look back and see how I’ve taken something in my life for granted. Whether it was a working dishwasher, having two cars, or simply having enough $ to buy what we need. Whenever something comes up to take away one of these things (or something else,) it shows me how much I rely on it. It brings perspective into my every day, and how I go about it.

I want to be able to count on certain things in my life. But I don’t ever want to rely on them so much, that should they be taken away, that I am destroyed.  For I want to know my own mind, my own heart and soul, and my own abilities DESPITE what (or who) is or isn’t in my life.

And with God, I can handle all things. For it is from Him that I get my strength.

And it is ON Him only, that I want to rely.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What Does Your Heart Crave?

Empty spots. Holes that somehow don’t get filled, with most of the things that are sought after in life – things like wealth, success, beauty, or popularity.

Those things don’t satisfy. They don’t last. Sure, they feel good for a while, but then that good feeling fades, and that empty spot returns once again.

So, what does your heart crave? Have you spent time really thinking about that? Have you given yourself enough quiet moments of reflection to ponder, contemplate, and focus on where you are in life – compared to where you want to be?

WHO you want to be?

I think we all crave the same things at some level. We crave kindness. Goodness. We crave to be understood and heard. Listened to. We crave attention because we want to feel valued and valuable. We crave love. Joy. Peace. An unsettled heart and soul desperately craves peace!

We crave God. To know and be known so fully and completely and yet still accepted. Still WANTED.

People can deny it. But there is this inner need for there to be something “more” than just this life. This existence.

We crave hope.

It’s no wonder we so often feel lost. So many of these values, character traits, and morals, have been cast aside. It’s hard to find them.

And so we are left feeling somewhat empty. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t have to stay that way.

You ARE wanted. You ARE valued. There IS peace to be found and joy that can be yours. Even if life is tough and challenging. Even if others don’t understand.

Seek it out. Pursue it.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.