Friday, October 4, 2013

What Did You Say About My Friend?

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
― A.A. Milne

I want to tell you about a friend of mine. We’ll call her Morgan – because she will recognize herself in this post, but she may not want you to know who she is.

So Morgan told me yesterday that she is immature and needs to work on her image. I was floored! Morgan is not immature.  Want to know who she really is?

Morgan is thoughtful. She sees needs that others miss. Morgan is excellent at making people feel valued and welcome in any setting. Morgan sacrifices for her family – working long hours to bring in money to help them achieve their goals. Morgan takes action. When she sees the need that others missed, she doesn’t stop to discuss it or make sure she has permission. She just acts! And her actions are always for the benefit of everyone around her. She is selfless. She would give the shirt off her back or her last dollar to someone in need. She’s a joy! When Morgan walks into a room, the room lights up. You can’t help but smile when she’s around.

Yet, she thinks she needs to work on her image.

Ok. Another friend – let’s go with Brynn this time. Brynn heard a rumor that she had been labeled “pretentious” by another woman. That label has bothered her and caused her to examine how she interacts with others. Want to know who Brynn really is?

Brynn is generous. She gives of her time, home, money, energy, and heart in ways that cannot be measured. The lives she has touched with her generosity are too many to count. Her home is always open. Everything in her pantry is yours if you need it. Her time is your time. She will spend the night so you don’t have to be alone. She will watch your kids so you can go to that important appointment. She will talk on the phone with you until the wee hours of the morning, offering encouragement and support. And the counsel she gives is wise beyond her years. She listens with empathy and then offers gentle but brilliant advice on what to do next. My friend is loving and loyal. She will go to the wall for those who need her – all without expecting anything in return.

Yet, she’s worried she’s pretentious.
Do we really have to live with distorted views of ourselves?

How do we get here? How do we decide we are so flawed and miss all the value we bring to the table? I do it too. Somehow we let other people (usually those who are thoughtless and clueless) tell us who we are and miss the truth.

Do we really want to live like this? Believing negative lies about ourselves instead of realizing how much we have to offer and walking in our strengths?

I’m yelling “NO!” at my dining room table right now :-)

How do we fix it? How do we get a clearer picture of the value in us? I have four suggestions for us:
  1. Let’s ask our best friends – ask them to tell us our strengths (write them down so we can go back to it later). Our friends know us well and can see what we bring to the table.
  2. Ask God! He loves us and created us exactly the way we are on purpose! And He doesn’t make garbage. The Bible is full of passages about how much we are loved and how intentionally we have been created. God treasures us and has given us gifts and talents! We have value!
  3. Now that you’ve asked the people who know you best, make a list of your strengths. Write it down. Frame it. Or laminate it. And refer to it often! I made my own list a while back here on my blog.  I need to dust it off and print it out for my own reference. I forget I have value just as much as the next girl. 
  4. Encourage those women that you come in contact with. The world is such a mean and nasty place. We need to hear from each other that we are fabulous (I got those exact words in a text yesterday, and it carried me through my whole day) – and not in a fake or insincere way, but in an honest effort to help each other see our positives and rejoice in them.

I have to stop writing now and go tell a friend she is fabulous!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm Making Me Crazy!

Stubborn isn't a word I would use to describe myself; pigheaded is more appropriate. 
 -  Michael Bloomberg

This is not the post I thought I would publish this week. But that’s ok.

I’m grumpy today.

Last night, our evening went off in the ditch. Nothing happened like it was supposed to.

I’m supposed to be strong enough to handle the unexpected stuff of life. And sometimes I am, but last night I cracked. I texted my husband to come home from the meeting he was attending to help me deal with the crud life was handing me at the moment.

{I’m very blessed to be able to say that he came right away. He’s a good man!}

Together, we dealt with the stuff that was going on. This morning, I’m continuing to clean up the mess that life handed us. I had today all mapped out. And it’s not going at all according to plan. And that’s making me grumpy. I’m doing what needs to be done, but I’m really annoyed about it.

And how is my attitude is playing out? I’m ignoring God.

You heard me right. I’m frustrated with what He let happen last night, so I’m being petty and ignoring Him. My Bible and Bible study notebook are sitting on the dining room table. They are just waiting for me to sit down and have some time with the One who loves me and only wants the best for me. But I’m ignoring Him.
It makes absolutely no sense. I know that time with God restores me. I know it brings peace and fellowship with the One who knows me best and loves me most. But I’m resisting.


Because being petty is self-centered. Being selfish and having a pity party gives me license to mope, feel sorry for myself, and pout. Time with the Lord is going to expose my selfishness and turn my eyes to Him. It’s going to open my eyes to my petty behavior. Then I’m going to have to decide to confess my behavior or not. And I’d rather enjoy my pity party a bit longer, I think.

As I type this, I know I’m making a stupid choice. I’m confessing to a public audience instead of sitting down in private with God. I’m actually shaking my head at my own foolishness.

So why am I telling you all this?

Because maybe my struggles with my attitude, reality vs. expectations, and taking it all out on God will help someone who reads this post. Maybe it will be an encouragement to know that you are not alone in wishing life would follow the script you wrote. Maybe it will help to know that you aren’t the only one who gets mad at God when life goes off in the ditch. And maybe being reminded that time with Him is the only cure for life’s curveballs will send you – and me – back to Him, where we belong.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Back to Blogging - After A Long Time

"God doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called." - Anonymous

It’s been almost a year since my last post. I started blogging with so much excitement. I had lots to share! I was going to make a difference in the lives of women everywhere. Then I crashed and burned.

What went wrong? It was a combination of things.

First, I got distracted. I got hooked on page views, re-tweets, and comments. Being a "big blog" became too important. I was losing my focus on content. I was losing myself and my priorities in a quest to grow my blog.

Second, I was getting a little too puffed up. I thought I had real wisdom to share that would improve the lives of women everywhere. I was totally missing all of my own issues that needed work.

Finally, events last November had me stepping away out of necessity to focus on my life and family. During this time, my own baggage and issues demanded to be dealt with. Facing my own weaknesses and figuring out what to do with them is not a fun ride. Doubts set in. “What in the world did I think I had to share?” “As messed up as I am, did I really have the nerve to think I could blog something useful for other women?” “Do I really have anything say?”

I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions even now. But the desire to blog – to share my heart with all its issues - won’t leave me alone.

So here I sit, working on a blog post – feeling inadequate and ill-equipped, but willing.

Flawed but still valuable?
The Bible is full of examples of God using messed up people to do great things. The story of Gideon is one of my personal favorites. Gideon was the least of his family, which was the least of his clan, which was the least of his tribe. He was afraid of the bad guys and was hiding from them in a winepress. And still God came to him! He was so unsure that God could use him that he demanded a sign – twice! But God did use Gideon in a mighty way. Gideon was weak, afraid, and full of doubt. But he became a leader that God used to defeat a huge army in a miraculous way.  Gideon’s story is in the Bible – the book of Judges, chapters 6-8.

If God can use Gideon, it's possible that He can use me. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect – He knows me well enough to know that’s not possible. He just wants me to be willing. And since I’m not perfect, anything positive that comes out of my writing can only be attributed to God. There can’t be any confusion about who deserves the credit

Thank you for your patience with me as I worked out some issues. Thank you for encouraging me, through messages and emails, to get back to blogging. Please pray that I will say what God wants me to say.


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