Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting Over Insecurities

Insecurities can often sabotage our lives.  Our relationships are going well, things are going well, etc and we shoot ourselves in the foot by allowing our own insecurities to grow out of control and ruin something.

How do you stop this from happening?

I have concluded that there are 3 ways to overcome insecurities in your life.

1.     Accept it.

2.     Improve it.

3.     Replace it with something healthier, or better.

If we can accept whatever it is that is making us insecure, oftentimes it loses its hold and power over us. Especially if it has to do with something personally, like our appearance, a character trait, something we’re not gifted at, etc. This acceptance helps us come to terms with our limitations in a way that says, ‘I am who I am, and I’m going to love myself this way.”

We can improve areas of insecurity in our life. If you want to become better at something so you don’t feel so inadequate, you can become more confident. You may not become an expert or a professional, but you can learn to master something that once mastered you. There is always room for growth in our lives!

We can replace our insecurities with healthier, more loving options. Whether it’s friends who make us feel unlovable, or something else, we can remove that negative influence in our lives – replacing it with a more positive, comfortable, and loving one.

Everyone’s areas of insecurities are different. But we ALL have insecurities. We need to learn to surround ourselves with people who love us as we are – flaws, failures, and all. When we have loving people in our lives, we are able to grow more confident in who we are.

Only we can decide what to do with our areas of insecurity.  Only we can decide if we will allow them to hold us back from having a full and enjoyable life. If we can learn to let life be imperfect, and let ourselves be imperfect – a lot of our insecurities will melt away.  Others, may only improve with time, perspective, and maturity.  But we never just have to sit back and let them rule over us. We have choices.  So, what’s yours? Will you let your insecurity rule over you today? Or will you decide to accept that area in your life, improve it, or replace it?

Most insecurities come from internal struggles over our worth. Discover your worth and your value. Let yourself love and be loved. And choose to overcome those little monsters who laughingly try to make you feel small inside.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I Don't Want to Get Used to Disappointment

I don’t want to get used to not depending on anyone.

I know disappointment. It has entered and exited my life, more times than I can count.

Circumstances have disappointed me. PEOPLE have disappointed me. I have disappointed myself. And I never get used to disappointment. I never get used to hoping so hard for something, only to have it slip away from my grasp.

It’s just discouraging.

I don’t think I will ever get used to it. I still feel like a little girl when the tears come to my heart and my eyes. I still want someone to “fix it.” I still want someone to hold and hug me until my heart feels better. I still want the world to shout, “We understand. It’s not fair!”

But, the world continues on – in it’s harried, hurried, self-focused pace. I don’t even think most of the world notices my disappointment.

And that’s so sad.

I know, I have disappointed people. Oh, how that makes me wince and cringe! I never want to be the cause of someone’s heartache! But, I’m human. And I know I fall. I fail. I neglect.

So, I try to be fair to others when they disappoint me. But it is tough, sometimes. For I want to protect my heart from hoping too much in someone again. Wanting too much, and being let down.

Don’t we all? Don’t we all run to the idea of putting up a shield to protect ourselves? Don’t we often try to pretend we don’t need anyone, lest they fail us?

We will be disappointed by others. Today. Yesterday. And tomorrow too. It is not fun. It’s not welcome. But it will continue to happen. But I think the worst thing we can do, is to not let others into our hearts and lives anymore. To not hope.  Yes, we may be disappointed again – but we may not. We may find the beauty and joy we’ve always been looking for, if we allow ourselves to remain loving, generous, and open to life.

I have neared the door of wanting to give up on others so many times. But, I want to live and love. Even if that means heartbreak sometimes. For heartbreak means love existed. And I’d rather have a little bit of love in my life from time to time from others – than none at all.

So, come it will. Disappointment. It won’t be welcome – ever. But I won’t let it ever steal away my hope in the goodness of people.  For that would be the deepest disappointment in myself of all.

Friday, January 22, 2016

To Get a "God-focus," Sometimes, We Just Need to Look UP

It is so easy to get caught up in our lives. We focus on what is going on with me, what is going on around us, and we get this vision that never sees outside of its own circle of life.

Its kind of like a kaleidoscope. We only see the same colors of our lives, over and over again. Sometimes in different doses or orders – but the same colors.

I catch myself, sometimes. I catch myself getting stuck in a routine, or being immersed in my own thoughts. I remind myself that I need fresh perspective.

In these moments, I look up.  For me, when I do this, my perspective on life and what was currently tumbling around in my head, usually shifts with clarity. I feel calmer. I feel more focused.  I see things through a different lense instead of that same kaleidoscope of colors. All because I took a few minutes to look up and see things from Gods perspective instead of just my own.  My thoughts turn to Him, instead of keeping them on myself. I feel HIS presence and His strength.

When I look up, I long to be with my Lord. To talk to Him. To hug Him. To see His eyes land on me and look on me with gentleness – knowing Im struggling to do my best for Him here. to BE my best for Him here.

Oh how often we keep our eyes looking down, instead of lifting them up! We are consumed with what is going on in our own little world. We keep our eyes down on our problems, our surroundings, and ourselves. That focus is on what is temporal here on earth – instead of what is eternal – up there in Heaven.

All it takes is a second. One second to turn our gazes upwards to the skies and the heavens. To be reminded. To be restored. All it takes is that simple effort on our parts, to get a God-focus on what is going on in our lives. To get the direction and inspiration our hearts long for.

We dont have to stay buried in our list of to-dos, or anything else in our lives. We can get clarity and peace. We just need to look up.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Everything You Do, Says Something About Who You Are

Everything I do, says something about who I am.

When I play a game, I can’t just cheat and then say, “it was just a game.” No – how I play that game says a lot about my character and values.

The same is true for my work ethic on the job, my honesty with money, how I treat others while I’m driving – and even, how often I go to church, or in what condition I leave my table in, at a restaurant.

EVERYTHING, that you and I do – reflects on who we are, what we believe about others, and about ourselves.

We may think a lot of the things we do, don’t matter in the grander scheme of things in life. We may think no one is watching, or that someone else deserves our reaction, or attitude. But the thing is – it’s not about THEM. It’s about US.

Who I am, matters to me. It matters to my spouse. It matters to my kids and my friends. And it matters to my Lord.

Companies are now checking into social media accounts like twitter and facebook to see how someone carries themselves. Drunk photos? Swearing in your statuses? Badmouthing someone else? You may not get the job. Because WHO YOU ARE MATTERS.

We never just represent ourselves. We always represent someone else, as well as ourselves. Our parents. Our faith. Our employer. Our church. Our city.

We matter.  We matter because we are valuable.  We are worth something.  Shouldn’t we start acting like it? Shouldn’t we start BELIEVING it?

Dress – like you matter.

Carry yourself – like you matter.

Speak – like you matter.

For everything you do, and everything you are, matters.  Whether you feel forgotten, overlooked, or ignored – you matter.

Start believing it. Start acting like it. And start feeling it.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Relationships Need Room To Breathe

Relationships. They add such lifeblood to our lives. The laughter and tears that we share with those close to us…. Bonds us forever.

The thing is, we make relationships tricky, when they shouldn’t be. We place expectations on others that are impossible to be met. We pressure those we love to react, adhere, and BE, how we think they should be. We smother. We judge.

Oh, what a mess.

If we could only relax.

Just because we ask someone a question, it doesn’t mean they are obligated to answer.

Just because we have expectations of someone, doesn’t mean they have to fill them.

And just because we love a certain way, doesn’t mean someone else has to love a certain way.

Everyone is different. Some people need more room and space to live life, than others do. Some people need to talk everything out. The dynamics are fascinating when you put different personalities and character traits into one friendship, one marriage, or one family.

Relationships need room to breathe. People need space to be different than you or I. They need to be given the freedom to think differently than we do, love differently, and respond to life’s events – DIFFERENTLY.

We need to respect that. Or we will never understand others; and they won’t ever understand us.

We can choke and smother others to death in the quest to be and act how we think they should, OR, we can give them the room and freedom to live life freely on their own terms, while loving them from where we stand. One choice brings much more joy into a relationship than the other!

Let’s just love each other and enjoy each other when we’re together. When we talk. Let’s not beat each other up over what or how something isn’t done. There is enough pressure and stress in life without us putting it on each other.

Don’t you think?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

We Say We Believe

The mouth. It’s one of the most powerful weapons we have. What we say, how we say it… it can wound someone else for the rest of their life.

We say we believe in God.

We say we love God.

We go to church and we sing praise songs with our hands in the air.

And then we turn around and wound someone in our own family with our words. We don’t even look back. We don’t even regret. We just lash out with little thought to the damage our words cause.

We get too “me-focused.”

THEY should have known better. THEY needed to hear that. THEY should get over it. THEY, THEY, THEY.  With little to no responsibility taken on our own shoulders.

But…we DO believe, we rationalize.

How can we say we believe in a God, that we don’t try to be like? 

Our belief needs to go deeper. Further.

When we believe in something, or someone – it should come out in how we speak and act. So that belief should play itself out in how we treat others.

It can be so easy to treat strangers better than we treat our own family, at times. After all, a family member can’t walk out on us. (In theory). A family member is stuck with us for life. And we are comfortable to truly speak our minds with them. But – it is our family members who should get our deepest love and loyalty. For they ALSO see us at our worst. They see every flaw – not just the good face we put on for others. And they still love us. Still accept us. Still BELIEVE in us.

Yes, that’s what belief does. That’s what God does for us. And if we say we believe in Him, it’s what we should also do for others. Not just strangers, but our siblings, our parents, our friends.

Treasure their hearts. Treat them with care. Speak in love. Show them they matter to us. Because HE matters to us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

An Empty Well Cannot Continue To Give Water

“Step outside of your comfort zone.”

“Be generous.”

“Be involved.”

“Don’t be selfish with your money or time.”

“Think of others before yourself.”

All words we’ve heard. All important words TO hear. It’s important to realize where our lives may be out of balance, and where we may have lost some priorities along the way.  It’s good to sift ourselves and put things into focus from time to time.

These words can do that.

BUT – there are moments and times, where these words can also wear you down. These words – if not used in a balanced way – can cause us to neglect taking care of our own emotional and physical well-being.

I’ve seen it happen. I’ve HAD it happen.

An empty well cannot continue to give water. Nor can a person who gives so much that they start to wear down themselves in the process.

We NEED rest. We NEED time to ourselves. We NEED money to pay our own bills and provide for our own families. We NEED to feel safe in our own comfort zones.

None of these things is bad. They are the very things that help us stay whole and healthy. They help us feel confident.  It’s just that from time to time, we need to stretch our horizons a bit.

We can’t JUST focus on ourselves. And we can’t JUST focus on others and forget ourselves. Neither is good. Neither is healthy.

So if you’re one of those people who gives of themselves until the point of exhaustion….. ease up a bit. Allow yourself the freedom to tell someone “no” and be guilt-free about it. Tend to your own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. Then, when you are on more solid ground, dip your toes in the water of being stretched again.

This world needs us. But it needs healthy, confidant, grounded, stable, and HAPPY us! Keep that in the mind the next time you hear someone tell you to go outside of your comfort zone.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

God's Fingerprints

So often, I ask God for the ability to clearly see Him at work in my life. I want to clearly see Him personally communicating with me. I want to feel like He is a personal God – not just KNOW that He is a personal God.

I’ve seen how easy it is to “forget” His goodness in the land of blessings. I’ve felt how easy it is to feel distant from Him, when I am not intentionally seeking Him out.

I hate that void. That sense of quiet – with no word or indication from Him.

So I choose to rehearse in my mind and heart, how He has shown me He exists.

When I start to have doubts, I remind myself of how He has appeared to me in the form of leaving His fingerprints (and love for me) all over a situation. I tell Him ‘thank you’, for things He’s done for me, years ago! Because I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget His faithfulness, and I don’t want to forget how it feels to catch just a glimpse of who He is. I don’t want to forget how it feels to know He is near.

And trust me, HE IS NEAR.

I do forget, however, and I do doubt, unfortunately.

So, I begin again. I remind myself. I seek Him out. I get intentional. And there He is – where He’s been all along. WITH ME.

When I choose to look – I see Him.

When I choose to listen – I hear Him.

His touch, His fingerprints are all over my life. And I feel His love. I see His power. I know His glory.  In these moments, I wish I could always stay. For nothing has ever moved or touched me deeper.