Control

I like control. There’s a safety there. Where you know what you’re capable of and how you will handle it all.

Where does that leave you?

Are you tired of trying to keep it all together?

Controlling your emotions.

Maybe controlling your response, not too angry so you don’t lose control but you still feel the need to express it.

Part of me has believed if I expressed an emotion then maybe it would go away.

So I’d confess away, trying to find relief especially from those intense emotions: anger, fear, depression.

Feeling like if I didn’t confess them the emotions would control me, take over. I’d condemn myself saying “I can’t believe you felt that way.”

Recently reading a book called “You are the one you’ve been waiting for.”

And it talks about how valid each of our emotions are, they are parts of us, is humans at least. And one emotion is not who we are, but a part. I have had depression and anxiety but those were expressions of deep hurt I was trying to control and mask so it would look prettier, more presentable. I’m learning there are parts of me that I have not taken care of.

Anxiety was a way I coped. It was the best I had at the time. So now, I’m relearning. And I’m really excited because God has a new way.

He came for all those parts I try to hide, the ones I push aside or lay a verse in it hoping it would consume it for me.

Stay posted, I’m walking this one out.

On waiting

Sometimes waiting is enough to push me over the edge.  Then sometimes I love waiting, like waiting for the coffee timer to ding that the coffee is done.

But sometimes waiting is painful…

  • waiting for the doctor to call, i.e. high blood pressure
  • healing to come
  • relationships to restore
  • falling asleep
  • coffee to finish brewing (its both, anticipated and taking way too long the next morning)

How are we supposed to wait well?

How do we let our heart take courage, when it’s difficult?  When what we are waiting on we are not looking forward to?

Psalm 27: 14 says,

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

I don’t know why you are waiting, and I’m betting that answer wouldn’t help.  But maybe we can allow ourselves to wait, so that our heart can take courage.  We don’t have to know why, but we can know that there is purpose.

Maybe, our hearts aren’t ready yet.  Maybe you are waiting to see a black and yellow butterfly drinking nectar out of your zinnias out front.  So we can stop and be in awe that we aren’t the ones holding this whole thing together.  That we are loved, cherished, adored.  Strengthen your heart with that truth today.

So what are you waiting on today?  Let your heart take courage.  img_1299-1

Tough Stuff

I have struggled with not having answers.  I want answers.  I want to find comfort in having all the answers.  So I can justify something that has happened, making the pain less.  I want something tangible to hang on to.

Life circumstances just don’t make sense sometimes.

What are we supposed to do when we don’t have answers?  When we can’t see the light in the darkness.

I’m sitting here thinking about this pastor, 30 years old Andrew Stoecklein, who committed suicide.  Suffering.  Alone.  My heart aches for that family, the suffering they are enduring.

And then I realize, there are a lot of things in life we don’t have answers for.

People die of cancer, car accidents, natural disasters.  This is the age old question “If God is real, why is there suffering in this world?”

I hate suffering, does anyone like it?  Have you suffered?  Grieved a loss?  Walked through a dark time in life?  Been so anxious you couldn’t eat or sleep?

I have and because I have experienced those things, I know there is a God who is real.  More real than any pain we can experience here on this earth.  More intentional with showing us the way than ever before.  More loving and kind than I imagined.  More powerful and real even without healing.  Even in death, He is with us.  Oh He is with us.

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Satan would love for us to see it differently.  That he is the one with all the power.  He’s gross and cruel.  He has no victory, and he is acting out of defeat and he knows it.  He’d love to deceive us into believing he’s won.

But Jesus took our pain and sin carrying it to the Cross and broke its power by sacrificing Himself because of His love for us.  And then in all His power, rose from the dead, letting us know He is the One who holds all the victory.  He has won.  We can rest there when we don’t understand.  When it hurts too much.

Father, show us Your Love and help us to have eyes to see it even when we have no answers.  In Jesus name, amen.

 

Fear

I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear.  The more I feared things, the more those things came true, which kept me in this cycle believing all those fears because some of them had come true.

Last night my son had a bad thought, which made him fearful he’d have nightmares.  Oh bless him, I couldn’t hug him tight enough.  I encouraged him to say his fear out loud, breaking it’s power, praying with him, and checking on him as he fell back to sleep.

It felt right.  I could tell he was calm.  My heart swelled with love for him.  I didn’t think less of him because he had a bad thought.  I didn’t tell him to quit it and get it together.  It didn’t make sense to say those things.

But how often do we say those things to ourselves?  Just stop worrying, get it together, no one else thinks this way.  And in our silence we’ve given power to those thoughts.

Negative thoughts are normal, it is what we do with them that gives them power or dissolves them.  

It also hit me after Caleb went to lay down, just because you think something doesn’t make it true.  Our brains need this reminder.  We are hardwired for protection.  Our brains know how to do this well.  And if we’ve had any sort of trauma we are hardwired for more protection.

A thought is a thought and we get to choose what to do with it.

  1. Speak it out loud.  So our brains have a chance to look at it differently.
  2. Share it with someone else. Maybe a friend or a counselor.
  3. Pray.
  4. Let others check on you.  People who love you and encourage you.  Reminding you that you are not alone, no shame.  Just joy shared in this journey.

 

Hopefully this encourages you, by reminding you, you are not alone.  How we speak to our kids is how we should speak to ourselves.  Or speak to ourselves the way we want to speak to our kids.  Parenting continues to teach me more and more about myself.  Grateful. img_0228

Rewriting Your Story

Two songs that are speaking to my heart right now are Phil Wickham “Till I Found You” and Steffany Gretzinger “Letting Go.”  Go Listen!

A line in Phil Wickham’s song is “You are rewriting my story.”  Man, it’s is singing to my heart right now.  Maybe you planned life differently.  Maybe you hadn’t really planned at all and are taking life as it comes.  Even so, I’m sure you had an amount of expectation on what life would look like even if generally.  Those expectations can be great if life goes as planned, if it all turns out great.  But what about those hard pieces that inevitably come?

John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.

(The red felt appropriate, words from Jesus.)

So maybe we can let go of the expectation that life with Jesus will be easy.  That we shouldn’t have to endure hardships.  That’s why we came running right?  To him for salvation.  But I think it is when our faith endures these hard times that we are refined, our true selves brought forth.

Now the second song “Letting Go” has a line “I’m letting go, and falling into you.”

Letting go of what others think.

Letting go of fear.

Letting go of lies.

Letting go of who we think we are.

Letting go of self doubt.

Letting go of shame.

Don’t worry we aren’t letting go into an abyss, if we have Jesus.  We are letting go and clinging to him in the tough and in the good.  We are stepping with one eye peeking open praying “Oh please have me Lord.”  And I think we can let go, because His plan will be infinitely better.  Do we believe it is better?  Letting go requires trusting our God is really good.  And that He will be good to us, even still.

Another lyric, “You unwind me until I’m totally undone.”  Oh, let that sink in.  How many of you need Him to unwind you?  Yeah, me too.  Me too.

So let Him write a new story.  Start by letting go, so you can become the person who celebrates others, who is brave, who steps out, who has confidence in themselves, who looks up instead of down at their feet, one who stands tall proud of who you are and the God you serve.

I’m still figuring this all out.

New Mercies

I keep seeing this word: mercy.  In my quiet time this was the verse for today with the caption: choose grace.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

The old testament talks about God being slow to anger and abounding in grace and mercy.  We get annoyed with Israelites after a few rounds of their complaints.  We don’t always associate grace and mercy with God in our crisis or even our daily life.  Normally my words to myself are “Can’t you get it together?”  “Why are you anxious about that, it’s not a big deal?”  Frustration.  Lack of empathy.

We think if we show compassion to our neighbors or ourselves, we are giving a pass.  However, it is clear this is important way of living in scripture.  I think modern psychology would agree.  Punishment does not equal lasting change or a “good head on our shoulders.”

What if we let feelings pass, if we slowed down long enough to see if we needed something, made time to be quiet to hear and listen.  We are scared though huh?  Scared if we stop what we might hear.  Well, I can promise you this.  Just from this Hebrews verse alone, we can know our God is gracious and cannot wait until we come to Him to receive the mercy and grace undeserved, but that He wants to lavish on us anyways.

We can wake up tomorrow and do it differently if we know we have grace and mercy.  Perfectionism comes when we think we will be punished.  Punished for anything and everything.  Not a great way to live.

Example: I’ve felt guilty my kids don’t help pick up much, I bear the burden of most of that.  Now, I could stay there punishing myself-which means I will try harder to keep the house neat and tidy and get angry when our third runs through the living room pouring legos all over the floor or my oldest says he’s just too tired.

Or grace and mercy say, tomorrow is a new day.  Make a stride.  You can’t fail at this, because grace will meet you when you lose your cool as I teach my children to pick up.  And lets be honest, may grace meet me when I succeed, keeping me humble not trusting to much in my own ability to get it right.

So where can you give yourself mercy and grace?  Giving it to yourself means you’ll give it to others too.

Whatever it is, you got this.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself today!

Remember: Lamentations 3:23 “…His mercies are new every morning.”

 

Grounded

Where to begin.  This topic is heavy and hard to articulate.  It’s something I’ve felt a thousand times, but still struggle with the right words for it.

Anxiety.   Defined as “…an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.”

I read an article yesterday about “Anxiety in children” from heysigmund.com.  I just can’t get over how powerful this article was.  When you struggle with anxiety, maybe you fear your kids will struggle with it too.  I don’t think anyone loves feeling anxious.  But it is a normal feeling.  It’s normal.  It’s normal. It’s normal. (I’m reminding myself.)  Because one of the biggest hiccups with anxiety is that it feels so lonely.

This article articulated what a strong mind looks like, and it is one that protects us.  I love this.  I believe the heart of anxiety is a sense of needing to protect ourselves.  “Hey Sigmund” calls an anxious mind strong, creative, and a little overprotective.

Have any of you been with a parent or maybe yourself, and you just feel the need to be overprotective, sit down Timmy, don’t climb on that, don’t jump too high, what’s in your mouth, oh nothing, just the food I gave you…  Anyone else?

Someone with anxiety is reacting the same way just in their mind.  It is irrational but it feels so real to that person.  And going back to the definition, I’m reminded of myself, anxiety for me is a fear of not having enough of myself to do what I need to do.

So I’m going to recap a piece of this article, because this stuff is good!  Go read this article even if you don’t struggle with anxiety, because I know you know someone who does.  Give yourself wisdom to understand someone else.  It is super science-y, which I love.

First it talks about our amygdala (where we feel all our emotions) and someone with anxiety, there’s works a little harder.

Grounding is one area I want to land with this topic.  Anxiety is like the mind getting hijacked by fear of the future.  And grounding is a way to bring it back to the present.

“Hey Sigmund” suggests a fun activity using your five sense.

When anxiety rolls for you or someone you love, here are the five suggestions: Have them say out loud: (Probably will only have to do a few)

5-what are five things you see

4-what are four things you hear

3-what are three things you feel

2-what are two things you can smell

1-what is one thing you can taste

This can help bring you to the present.  (Present; defined as existing or in progress right now. LOVE!)  We don’t have to be perfect or anxiety free, but we can stand in the present making progress over anxiety hauling off with our day.

I’m practicing this today.img_7242-1