Monday, October 31, 2016

We Can All Be Found

The buffer.  We all implement a “buffer zone” in our lives.  For some of us, it’s physically isolating ourselves from relationships – from getting hurt.  For some of us, it’s the opposite. We participate in any and everything. We have FOMO (Fear of missing out.)

There are some of us who use the buffer to keep others away from us. We set ourselves apart by our physical look; our attitude.

Still others of us, push ourselves to our limits and then some. We have to excel at everything. We don’t know how to relax.

It’s the buffer. We all use it to varying degrees.

Thankfully, some of us have learned to only use it temporarily as we heal from hurts. Others of us, somehow, have allowed it to become permanent in our lives – in our hearts.

We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all stumbled.  It can be easy to panic and say, “We’re not ready” to put ourselves out there again.  We’re not ready to take the risk of falling again. Of hurting again.

Being at the bottom isn’t fun. Being on the outside doesn’t feel good. And losing, hurts.

But the thing is, we can’t find what we don’t allow ourselves to search for.  We can’t fly if we stay on the ground.  We can’t be free if we stay in the chains.

A buffer in our lives is good sometimes. It’s good to give us healing time. It’s good to show us how much healthier we can live with boundaries in place in our lives.

It’s good to take a “ pause” sometimes. To think. To rest. To wait on our own souls to catch up to the moment.

Otherwise, we need to learn to let go of those buffers we’ve set in place in our lives.

It can be scary at first. No one said bravery would come easy.  But we can overcome. Step by step. Grasp by grasp.

We all lose sometimes. But we can all be found.

Take the step. Make the choice. Take the risk.  Lift your eyes upward, and reach for your life. Your joy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Somewhere Along the Line, You Stopped Being You

Oh, those sweet dreams of our childhood. We dreamed of being rockstars, doctors, lawyers, mommies and daddies.  We dreamed of being loved. Of having perfect little families, in beautiful little houses.

As we grew up – little by little – we got jaded.  Life changed for us. For most of us, our parents taught us we could change the world. They would tell us how special we were, and that we could do whatever we wanted to do.

But then – we’d go out on that job interview, and we’d be told we weren’t good enough. Classmates would bully us, and point out all of our flaws.  We’d feel rejected by peers and the opposite sex. But worst of all? We believed what they had to say about us.

We let their perceptions of us, change us.

And we stopped being “us.”

Instead of knowing our value, we looked for it in the eyes of others.

Instead of facing the wind that blew against us, we let it blow us down altogether.

To know what your worth means, you live like it. You go out and you make the life you know you can have. You don’t wait for it to come to you.

Yes, there will be punches and hits along the way. Life hits hard sometimes.  But if you can take the punches; still knowing who you are, and what you are worth…you will always grow.

Not everyone will see your value or your worth. They will make fun of you. Hinder you. Tell you that you can’t do what you want to do. But it’s up to you to never let them tell you who you are. Despite the hits you will take in life, keep….being….you.

You are priceless. Believe in yourself, and in who you can be. In who you, ARE.

Because if you can’t believe in yourself, no one else is going to take a chance on you, either.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Never Quit On Yourself

Some obstacles and challenges in life seem overwhelming.  It can seem like we are all alone, fighting the battles of the world on our front doorstep.

It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to want to give up and just let the “world” have its way with us. 

But I want to encourage you to fight for yourself.  Fight for your life, for your family, for your values, and for your dreams. 

Never, ever, quit on yourself.

Some odds are insurmountable, yes. Some battles are very, very steep. That just means we have to grow stronger muscles to engage in them. The distance we have to go may be further, harder, or more challenging than someone else’s journey.  But go the distance.  Fight the battle!

There is never a reward in giving up on yourself. Never happiness to be found in saying, “I’m not worth it.”

I’m not guaranteeing you will win, or that you will succeed in whatever it is that you are fighting for. Sometimes you won’t. But you will win in other ways. You will know that you gave it everything you’ve got. You will know that you tried your best. You will KNOW, that you fought for what was important to you. And that is a lot.

Life changes. Circumstances change. You never know what is around that next corner. Stay the course, my friend. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your life.

Never quit. Never quit on your dreams. Never quit on yourself.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fighting for the Broken

Are you struggling? Do you feel like you aren’t…. quite… whole?

Emotions can do that to us. When we feel like no one values us. When we feel neglected, unloved, cast aside, weird, or “different.”

If you are struggling to be happy, to feel worthwhile, and joyful… you are not alone.

There is a world full of people just like you. People who have shattered pieces they are carrying around inside of their heart. Pieces broken by others that they truly cared about. Whatever the situation…. Lots of us are walking around needing some healing and mending.

My heart goes out to you. 

I may not know what it’s like to hurt every moment I’m awake – but I do know what it’s like to hurt in a moment.

I may not understand what it’s like to deal with depression – but I do know what it’s like to get depressed in small installments.

I may not have had parents who rejected me – but I’ve had friends reject me.

I cannot fathom what it’s like to lose a child – but I do know what it’s like to grieve, as I’ve lost many, many people close to me.

I don’t know what it’s like to LIVE broken. But I do know what it’s like to BE broken. 

And I’m fighting for you.

I care.

I don’t want anyone to live life feeling shattered all of the time. Feeling hopeless.

So, I’m fighting for you. I’m fighting to get through to you. To let you see that there IS hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There ARE genuine, caring people out there. There IS acceptance, healing, and help to be found.

Life CAN change.

You matter. And I want you to not only know that… but I want you to FEEL that.

And I will keep fighting for you, and everyone else who is living broken.

There is too much beauty, joy, and love in life for anyone to miss out on it. Struggles are real. But they can be overcome. Just believe and reach out.

No one has to live life broken all of the time.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Words Are Never JUST Words

There are moments in time, where I look back on my life, and see how certain conversations, moments, and things that were said, forever shaped who I was and who I wanted to be.

I remember a moment in high school. I was a special education aid, and a student came into class really upset. He said some other kids were teasing him about being, “retarded.” He looked at me and said, “I know I have a mental problem…but…but… I’m not retarded!”

I have never forgotten it. In that moment, I saw that he still hurt. He still understood “mean.” I decided to always stick up for those who were weaker than I was.  For people can’t always fight for themselves.

There was that other time when I was a teen and I was at evening church.  A bunch of kids were talking and goofing off. A lady got really upset because she couldn’t see or hear the film being shown.  I felt badly for her, as I had been trying to watch too. So after the service, I went up to her and nervously told her I was sorry for their actions.  She asked my name and I gave it.

I was walking out of the main sanctuary with my parents, when she caught up to us. She proceeded to tell my parents what had happened, and told them that they had raised an amazing young lady to be able to come up to her and apologize like that. I had been scared to be punished for the actions of others – but instead, I was humbled as I was verbally acknowledged and rewarded for mature, honest, and kind behavior.

That moment, whether I knew it or not, probably drilled home in me, more than anything, the desire I felt in wanting to be honest and respectful to others.

There are many moments like those two examples. I’m sure there are many moments in your life, as well. Conversations and words uttered, that didn’t just exist in the moment. They lived on in your heart and soul, long after the event; forever shaping who you chose to be.

I so pray they were good ones.  But even if unkind words are uttered – it’s always still our choice to prove someone wrong. To CHOOSE to be better, wiser, and more than they said we were.

The cycle lives on. As we grow up, we utter words and have conversations with those younger than us. Our kids, our nieces and nephews; our grandkids. And we never know what conversations and words live on long after we’ve said them.

Careless words can last. Encouraging words can influence for years.

I KNOW I’ve made mistakes in the things I’ve said at times. I can only pray that the effort I’ve made to be intentional, generous, loving, and forgiving, outweighs those thoughtless and unfortunate “other” moments I’ve played in someone’s life.

I can only hope that any negative words uttered from my lips – are FAR fewer than the positive, loving ones - so that they don’t stick with someone’s heart long after they were said.

I pray that something I say is life-giving to someone else. And I pray, that it will help shape their view of life and of themselves, in a positive way. For words are never JUST words.

They are moments in time that shape a soul forever. And so many souls are waiting to be molded and shaped.

What will our legacy on another human life be? What impact will our words have made?

Time will tell. One way, or another.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Never Be Afraid Of Your Own Voice

Stuffers. Some of us are “stuffers.” We “stuff” our feelings deep down inside of us. Maybe, we don’t like confrontation. Maybe we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. Lots of maybe’s.

The thing about “stuffers,” is that at some point, the bottle gets full.

And things explode or overflow.

Usually, it’s not in the constructive way we’d prefer. Instead of an honest conversation, we yell at a loved one over something silly. Instead of addressing something that bothers us, we pull away and a rift forms in the relationship.

There is strength in all of us. Some of us just need to look a little deeper to find it.

We all have a voice. We all have feelings. Feelings are never wrong. Sometimes, they just may not have all the facts, or may interpret something in a way that causes misunderstandings.

You don’t have to be a bully to speak up. You don’t have to be confrontative. You can speak up in a soft, gentle voice. But, speak up for yourself. Value yourself enough, and value a relationship enough, to use your voice to express what is going on inside of you.

Of course, not all conversations will end the way we’d prefer. Some people will never understand or “get” us. But don’t we owe it to ourselves to try?

We hurt ourselves when we bury our feelings. They eat away at our joy, our peace, and our self-worth.

Don’t be afraid of what those feelings stand for. Don’t be afraid of what you feel.

You have a voice. Use it. Use it respectfully, but use it.  You owe it to yourself.