Archive | June 2016

Mind Over Matter

Yesterday the fam and I went to Cedar Point. It’s been a ritual that my mom and I would go every summer since she gets free tickets through her job but we had some extra special guests this time: my high school BFF and her niece. Now when I was a kid I LOVED roller coasters!!! My gramma and I would hit every ride when she took me to the amusement park and those were some of my happiest memories. My mom and I would do the same. But something changed these last few years and the idea of a little cart with a little belt barely strapping you in while zooming 100 mph for several minutes flipping and dipping you 100s of feet in the air, well, it seemed less appealing. Basically I had fallen out of love with roller coasters.  I no longer liked being afraid. 

There is something in most people that causes them to like fear. That’s why scary movies are popular and the lines at Cedar Point are an hour long wait on a good day. But dealing with fear on a supernatural level has removed the taste of a quick thrill and I was not ashamed in admitting that to myself! However I know how much these times together mean to my mom so I muster up the courage and go along for the ride (literally). A couple of years ago there was a specific ride that God used to speak to me. He talked to me about trusting Him and though I had no control and did not feel secure, trusting the journey I was on allowed me to enjoy it more. Well I was looking forward to that ride but what I found once we road it was that it no longer posed the challenge it once had. I had “conquered” the ride. Because I had mentally found a way to cope with the momentary thrill and fear while riding it it no longer posed a threat. I was both happy and dissapointed with this realization. But then something new happened.  Instead of hitting all of our “normal” rides my mom wanted to try a different, scarier ride.  I was so caught off guard by the routine being broken that it took me a minute to compose myself.  I looked up at this huge machine that was going literally faster than any coaster I’ve ever been on and knew one thing was certain: I did not want to ride this ride!!! But the group wanted to ride this ride and these 10-year-old girls were in line to ride this ride so how could I seriously back out?! So I practiced what I learned by riding the easier rides and focused on controlling my thoughts. Instead of dwelling on the speed, screams of the riders, and every intimidating factor about this ride I told myself it was “no big deal”.  I said “It will be over in seconds.”  I counted the number of times it completed a cycle and said “I just have to loop 4 times”.  I basically practiced mind over matter.  And you know what? It worked.  At every “scary” ride I did this and as a result I actually started having a good time! I was no longer afraid! 

Sometimes the very things and situations we are in seem life threatening.  We are intimadated or bullied into believing they are greater than they really are, but that is all in our perception.  If we believe fear we will be needlessly afraid because fear is only a response to our thoughts. 

But if we dismantle the bully, take apart its strengths and focus on its weaknesses we will see how to defeat our enemy.  As we practice controlling our thoughts all of a sudden we become stronger and our perception is more accurate. That thing was not here to “take us out” as we originally thought. It was actually here to make us better.

Me and the fam… 

 
 SHALOM!

Advertisements

Can I Be Casual?

Many years ago I was pretty much desperate to be in a committed relationship. I hate to use that word but it’s pretty accurate.  I was needy and codependent and did not know my identity.  When you’re in a state like that you’re liable to accept anything.  And so I did.  Thankfully God got a hold of me pretty young and though I made a lot of poor choices they could have been worse.  Much worse.

It’s been a journey of learning what Love is and who He is and who I am.  This journey has been an ebb and flow of emotion and passion and pain.  Mostly because of who I am and how I have functioned.  It’s only now in this season that my vocabulary has words to describe what it is I have experienced with God.  It was passion.  But it was passion because I was passionate.  Yes I was desperate, but I became desperate for Him.

Yet my affection for Christ was rivaled and though I loved Him I still loved my idols. The only way I knew to become free from those idols was to be “all in” with Christ.  Kind of like the way my city has been “all in” for the CAVS (Go Cleveland!).

 I have always been intense and driven and goal-oriented.  Jesus became my goal and I wanted to do everything I could to “get to Him”.  My heart was sincere and He met me where I was.  But I didn’t have the healthiest ways along this journey.  My intense, serious, single-mindedness served its purpose, but it also hindered me.

It caused me anxiety. It caused me to fear the One who loves me the most.  It misshaped my view of Him, His love and His path which, although narrow, is not a burden.  It kept me in bondage.

For a long time I just wanted “the one”. But then 10+ years later “the one” never came and instead there were tests and trials and pruning.  I can see the wisdom in him not showing up but still, those things can take their toll.  Even with the Holy Spirit.  So now I find myself here after those tests and difficult choices and I see the fruit.  I also attempt to find a better way at functioning.  One that is not so “black and white” because in my 30s I’m learning life is never black and white.  Yes, I am still waiting on “the one” but what does my waiting look like?  I don’t think it looks like it did in the past when I was not allowed certain experiences because I couldn’t be trusted with them.  I’m more apt these days to think it looks more like saying “yes” than saying “no” (even though when saying that there is still doubt).  It looks more like finding balance and embracing the opportunities to meet others, connect and value them as people, not use them to satisfy my own selfish desires.

I’m more apt to lean more toward the casual and less toward the heavy commitment.  At least for now.

And if I’m wrong, well He’ll do what He always does: steer me back on the path. But if I’m right, I will have grown more, developed more and become more balanced.  Which I believe has been His goal from the beginning.  Even when I wasn’t aware.  Especially when I wasn’t aware.

At the parade!

SHALOM

The Choice

Yesterday I saw the new X-Men movie with my mom. I would consider myself an X-Men fan since I’ve seen all of the movies however there were some that were better than others. I started thinking this wasn’t going to be one of the good ones since in my opinion it started off slow, but it did eventually pick up and I got more out of it than I expected.

This particular X-Men, like the last one, goes back in time showing the characters before they were X-Men; it shows their journey. Because the series started out later on in their lives these new movies reveal the choices that led up to their final outcome, and that is what really resonated with me.

                            *Spoiler Alert*

Some of the characters who end up being “bad” later on actually started out “good”. It was pain and a response to hold onto that pain that ultimately led to their deformity of character.

Some of the characters that started out “bad” end up being “good” because they saw that Evil really did not care about their well being like he pretended to. They then chose to join leaders who actually cared (think the Good Shepard). 

In each scenario the defining quality of what made these individuals ultimately who they would become was their ability to choose. We do not have to hold onto pain and we do not have to stay at a lesser version of ourselves. 

We can change, grow and mature.

In my inner circle since the beginning of my spiritual journey we have all made different choices and those choices have greatly affected our relationships (and characters). “Can two walk together lest they agree?” Certainly they cannot. 

I personally feel I can take no credit of my own in the good choices I have made as they were all inspired by Holy Spirit. And then when I made poor choices, He used them for my good (think How To Overcome Heartbreak) 😊. I guess that is the benefit when walking with the One who created life. He puts you on the right path for you and no matter the hurdle or obstacle, you already know the end result:

We win.  

SHALOM

Right in Front of You

Sometimes I tend to make things, I mean life, more difficult than it needs to be.  Like the time I was unemployed for 4 months and I spinned my wheels looking for a job.  I attended workshops, used a resume coach, updated all social media platforms and even made business cards!  I was determined to get a job.  But what happened?  I did all that to only have one fall into my lap right when I gave up trying.  I didn’t have to prove myself for it, I didn’t need a stellar resume and I didn’t need a memorized branding statement. 

I just needed to BE.

I admit it, I’m an overachiever.  I go the extra mile.  I love to accomplish goals and make things happen.  In a word, I am driven.  But I realize that when you follow Christ He prefers to be the driver. And sometimes He will make the road a little easier in some areas so that you can have a smoother ride.  Usually when you (I) least expect it.

Yesterday I was approaching one of my favorite couples (my pastors) and proceeded to ask the wife (who is also a licensed health coach) what I should do about this cold I can’t seem to get rid of. Now, out of the corner of my eye (we were standing in a grocery store) I spotted an herbal tea made specifically for soothing the throat, but I disregarded it for a few minutes. Then I referenced to it and she agreed that would be a great remedy along with some local honey.   The thing is I ignored the tea initially because it seemed too easy of a solution.  I felt I needed to WORK for the answer.  

So often I am trying to work for the answer and God is saying, “You have already done the work by your obedience. Now just reap.”

There are many instances in this season when God keeps giving me the desires of my heart.  I mean the exact desires.  His Word says if we delight in Him He will give us our desires. He is truly a keeper of His Word…

In other news: 
SHALOM!

Simply Human

Sometimes it’s good to cry. I am wired to be more emotional so crying is typical for me. I guess the fact that I haven’t cried much in response to this season is actually a red flag. I should be crying more.

I sat on his couch this morning and cried. I hope that won’t be an ongoing pattern. Only our 2nd session and I’ve now cried in both. He already had the tissues waiting.  He brought  up some good points and I wrote down things to ponder on later.

Do I feel abandoned by God? Am I projecting my father’s abandonment onto my Heavenly Father? Do I equate God’s manifestations and intimacy with His love? And if so then when they are gone do I feel unloved?

I realized while talking to him I’ve had this “superhuman” complex. I felt I couldn’t possibly struggle in these ways because of my experiences with Him. How could doubt, fear and depression be issues when I have been set apart, called, and immersed with God’s intimacy? Maybe for those who only knew Him theologically but surely not for those who know Him intimately.  Surely not me!

I was wrong.

I am faced with my own humanity just as Christ was on the cross: “Father why have You forsaken me?” 

Just as in the garden when He sweat so hard He bled.

I have to admit to myself, I am not super human. I am just a human who has supernatural experiences and a supernatural Father who has chosen to be silent in this season.

Well, not silent really. But moreso speaking in a still, small, voice…

SHALOM

Summer

Each morning I wake up to sunlight cascading into my bedroom window. Birds are singing songs of praise and everything is light and airy.  Summer came swiftly and I found myself hurrying to catch up with the new season. I put away my sweaters and pulled out my sandals. Summer is here!  Only a few weeks before we had snow!  Such an odd occurence but a reminder to me that each day is new. I can’t remember a time when there was snow and then 80 degree weather in my city. God makes each day its own.

I scrubbed the house from top to bottom in preperation for a special visitor. All the windows are up and the back door is left open. I spend most mornings having quiet time on the porch. My Bible and journal wait in expectation. 

  

 
It’s so much easier to feel joy when there is sun. It’s so freeing to not have on layers. But would I really appreciate this season if not for the cold? 

I’ve grown to love Fall. I’ve grown to love layers. But I don’t know if Summer will ever be a bore.  It is always a welcome refreshment from the times of hybernation.

Enjoying this new season…   

   
SHALOM