Wednesday, September 30, 2015

We Need Other People To Speak Into Our Lives

We need other people to speak into our lives.

It can be so easy to live life today without true connections with others. We don’t like any churches so we say we will just live by faith at home.  We don’t want to do “Small groups” or “connection groups” if we DO do church because it can be uncomfortable or we don’t particularly click with the people we were placed with.  We don’t go to Bible Study, we don’t have close friends.

It can be isolating. Not only that, we can grow so comfortable in that isolation that we don’t see that it’s isolating.

In this kind of a life, the only voice we hear in life is our own and our immediate family’s.  We may have a great family. But family isn’t always objective.

As far as our own voice goes, we can be our most critical influence in life. We can be so hard on ourselves. Negative. Picking out all of our flaws and faults. Or on the other end of the scale, we can ignore our flaws and faults. We can gloss over areas of our heart and life that need to be worked on.

Yes, we need other people to speak into our lives. We need Godly influences. Moral people. People of character. People who are reliable and whom we can trust. We need SEVERAL people. Just as we shouldn’t only listen to one pastor or one Christian speaker, we shouldn’t just listen to one friend or influence in our life. For even if intentions are good, we can often be led astray. But if you have several people inputting and speaking into your life, then you can better filter what is being said. If people are reiterating the same thing, then usually that is advice that needs to be heeded and listened to.

It’s all for our good. For our growth.

Finding good influence can be hard, at times. Maybe you’re looking and you’re struggling to find those people whom you can trust. People who really care about you. Keep praying about it. Keep looking. Oftentimes you can find them in places you hadn’t thought of. Yes, sometimes, it’s at church, but other times it might be at the gym, or at work. Maybe it’s the fellow parent of your teen whom you keep bumping into.

Keep praying about those voices. Keep seeking them out. For we are always better together, than alone.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


If you are a leader, you may know that leadership isn’t about us. It’s about others.

Leadership isn’t about our success. It’s about inspiring, encouraging, motivating, and growing other people, so that they are stronger and better people. So that they can go further. Dream bigger. Plan smarter.

Leadership isn’t about getting all the glory of something for ourselves. It’s about showing others how to humbly handle good news and give the glory to God.

A lot of times, a leader can lose perspective once they are elevated and put in a place of authority and leadership. It is easy to believe what everyone says about you, especially if it’s all good. You can so easily think you’re terrific, just like everyone says you are.  But a true leader remembers how easy it is to fail at something. How quickly you can be humbled. They remember they are in that role as the greatest servant of all.

A lot of people lead. But not all of them are great leaders. The greatest leaders stay relatable. They stay reachable. They remember their humanness. They keep a great support system around them so that they can hear both constructive criticism, as well as compliments.

They stay balanced.  Focused.

God says that those who are in leadership positions will be held to a higher accountability than those who are not. That’s a lot of responsibility to live up to! To know that you will be judged in a harsher light than those who come along and follow you is a great reminder of how important and valued your role is.

We are not all worthy to be leaders. In fact, the very ones who think they are unworthy to be leaders, are the most fitting. For they are the ones who have their priorities in order. They keep things in perspective.

God can put any king on a throne just as easily as He can remove them. He can put any leader into leadership, just as easily as He can remove them from it.

Value your position. Pray about it. And hold it wisely in your hands.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Forgive Yourself

Ever since we were little, most of us were told to forgive. We had to forgive our siblings when they hit us, or stole our candy, or did something not nice. We were to forgive that mean girl in class, and the neighborhood bully.

Because it was the right thing to do.

That still didn’t mean we didn’t get hurt. Our feelings got hurt as we grew up. Sometimes, we physically got hurt.  And a lot of us stopped wanting to forgive.

It’s easier at times, to lash out at someone who does something stupid, than to focus on our own short fallings.  We want to protect ourselves. We want to stop from getting hurt any more. Ever.

But in our quest to stop hurting, we forget to acknowledge some of our own feelings. Some of those feelings that have turned inward on ourselves. 

“Maybe that person was right.”

“Maybe I don’t deserve this.”

“Maybe I should have stood up for myself more.”

Maybe. Those maybe’s can kill us inside.

Chances are, some things in life were our fault. But some, were not. Only we know for sure. But we can’t keep living there – in those moments of pain. The more we try to stuff down those hurts, the harder it is to move on and be free.

Yes, we need to forgive. If only to release ourselves from the grasp someone else has on us. If only to understand and know, that we too, will need forgiving for something we do at some point, somewhere in time.

But it takes time. And it takes love.

Do you love yourself enough to be able to let go of your hatred? Your bitterness? Your anger?

It’s okay. It’s okay to be happy, even though you went through great sorrow.

It’s okay to laugh, even when you’ve shed so many tears.

It’s okay to want to be alone at times. Or not to be alone at times.

Your feelings are yours alone. Yours to feel. Yours to embrace. For feelings keep us soft. They keep us moving and growing.

So forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for holding onto something that is so personal. Something that impacted you in such a great way. You’ve been hurt.

But forgive and let it go. Release it. Don’t carry it with you anymore.

It’s time to be free from those hurts and not let them own you any more.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This Need We Have, For Acceptance

From the moment we are born, it seems that we all crave acceptance. It starts with our babies craving to be held and loved. And it continues on throughout our whole lives. This need we have. For acceptance.

For some of us, this need is fostered by families who never seemed to value, or appreciate us. For others of us, there’s something inside of us, that truly seems to be our own worst enemy, as we look out into the world and see others who we think are better, more beautiful, smarter, more gracious, more athletic – whatever. Whatever it is that we think we are lacking.

We often, don’t give ourselves a chance. Not when we think we’d be better off if we were someone else.

That’s why “he’s” are changing into “she’s.” “She’s” are changing into “he’s.”  “He’s are liking “He”s instead of “She’s” and vice versa. There is no self-acceptance.

The thing is – if we can’t accept ourselves, no one else will ever accept us either. We can change our looks, our gifts, our jobs, our surroundings – but we are still “we” on the inside. Our brains, our organs, our very souls – cannot be changed. We were made to be who we are.

Everyone – EVERYONE – is a gift. A unique, special, priceless gift. EVERYONE has something to add of value to this world. Sometimes, yes, we are hindered by others in our life, or our surroundings. It may take courage and great strength to seek out healthier environments and input into our lives. But who we have in our lives, doesn’t change who WE are. No one can put a label on us that we don’t accept!

We all have a God-given identity. And it’s beautiful. We can spit in the face of it, we can try to change it – but it still exists underneath all of those layers.

YOU are valuable. YOU are irreplaceable. YOU have what it takes to be a man, to be a woman, to be a husband or a wife. Believe in yourself. Believe in the God who made you. It’s the only way you will ever truly feel peace. It’s the only way you will ever truly feel love.

Accept yourself as you were made. For you were not a mistake. You were not a “mess-up.”

You were – and – are – a gift. And you can’t be replaced. If you lose yourself, we lose you too.

You are loved for being you. The REAL you. The “created” you.

I promise.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

To Be With Someone In Their Moment Of Hurting

Sometimes there are no words. Nothing you need anyone to say. Sometimes, you just need someone to hold you in their arms. To feel that they are there with you in the moment – loving you.

Sometimes we don’t always know what to say to someone else. We don’t know what to do and we understand that we can never fix their hurting heart. But we can love them. We can hold them when they cry. We can be there with them – in the moment.

Sometimes, we are by ourselves in the silence. No one is there with us. Yet, we are still hurting. Still feeling. Still needing. And in that moment, there comes to us a sense of peace and warmth. Despite the grief or loss we are feeling, we strangely feel wrapped up in love.

That’s God.  He is there with us in that moment. In that silence. He is wrapping His arms around us, loving us.

A gesture like that is so huge. So encompassing. It shows us we are not alone. We are loved. We are cared for. We will make it through.

Love is everything.

Touch is everything. It speaks loudly. Its impact lingers long after we leave. It heals. It helps. It loves.

Sometimes there ARE no words.  There IS nothing we can do  - except love. Except be there. Except hold someone in our arms and let them hurt with the knowledge they are not hurting alone.

That alone, is everything.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Character Matters More Than Arithmetic

I’m lucky. My kiddos have always been pretty good at learning. They were good kids as well. Their teachers (most of them,) loved them. They stood out.

My kids stood out in class, not just because they did good on their work, but, because they were exceptional people.

I didn’t have to motivate my girls much when it came to their schoolwork. They were usually harder on themselves than I ever could be, on them. They expected a lot out of themselves. Especially my youngest. In fact, we had to encourage her to lighten up at times, because she would stress herself out, and forget, that these are the years to have fun!

One thing I always told my kids – was that as long as they tried to do their best, that was all I expected or wanted from them. I would be happy if they got a “C” in class, and they worked really, really hard for it. It didn’t have to be an “A” if they found things challenging for them. For I realize that not everyone is good at every subject. I can never wrap my brain around math, for example! So I knew my children would be stronger in some classes, and weaker in others.

What mattered the most to me, as their mom, was their character. And that is what I told them.

I’m not here to raise doctors, lawyers, scientists, or presidents. If my children become those things – then great. But I will be proud of them not because of their occupation, but because of who they are as human beings. I want them to have good characters, values, and morals – whether they are a mailman, a construction worker, a dog walker, or an engineer.

Kindness matters to me. Gentleness. Forgiveness. Compassion and understanding. Empathy. Integrity. These are the things that matter in life. In relationships.

I’m thankful my kids have learned how to read and write. I’m glad that they know how to add. But education is only important to me as far as that it takes my children to where they can be beneficial and happy in life doing what they love. The rest – I can leave it.  It’s character that matters. Character that counts. And character that will impact everyone in life.

Whether or not you find it valuable.

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, September 4, 2015

Look In the Mirror

 Every morning we get up and we go into our bathrooms. We get dressed and we look into our bathroom mirror. Some of us gloss over our appearance quickly – maybe so that we don’t have to dwell on it. Maybe because we’re not happy with ourselves.  Others of us, look longer. And we do dwell. But not in a good way.

It’s so easy to see all of our flaws. That pimple that just popped up overnight. The eye that droops a little. The physique that doesn’t quite fit into the “I’m a supermodel” dream that we had for ourselves.

We can so quickly look at the negative. We take note of it. We ingest it.

Then we go about our day and maybe without realizing it, we carry those negative thoughts with us. So we feel insecure around others who we think have it “more together” than we do.  We aren’t as confident.

What if we had started our day on a totally different note?

What if, when we look in the mirror – we look at our positives? And not only that, what if we thank God for them?

What if when we see our eyes, we can thank God that He gave us eyes that hold compassion and notice hurting hearts so readily? What if when we see that pimple on our face, we remind ourselves that an authentic face is easier for others to relate to and get to know?

What if we embrace our smile? What if we are thankful for the arms that so easily hug others? What if we…. Just….enjoy who we are? 

We don’t have to be in denial that we have flaws and blemishes. Everyone has them. But we can, instead, focus on our gifts and blessings. We can notice the lovely things about ourselves and carry THOSE with us throughout our day – being ready to use them and bless others with them.

When we look in the mirror, we can choose to look at ourselves how God looks at us. With nothing but love.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I feel loved, I feel more beautiful. So maybe  a post-it on the mirror is in order to remind each one of us, that we ARE beautiful. We ARE blessed. And we ARE loved.

I see that when I look at you. Now you just need to see it when you look at yourself.