J. Arthur Rank, an English executive, decided to do all his worrying on one day each week. He chose Wednesdays. When anything happened that gave him anxiety and annoyed his ulcer, he would write it down and put it in his worry box and forget about it until next Wednesday. The interesting thing was that on the following Wednesday when he opened his worry box, he found that most of the things that had disturbed him the past six days were already settled. It would have been useless to have worried about them.
Could it be that simple though? Can we 'shift' worries until they disappear?
Jesus plainly said to 'stop worrying' (see Matthew 6:25) and if I asked you this very moment to tell me if you think worry is a waste of time you would say: Absolutely! So, we know that worry is a waste of time, yet we still worry endlessly.
We worry loathing our past, are constantly concerned for the present, and in total anguish for our future.
Why do we do it and how can we stop it?
To worry is to live by default. It's perfectly natural for us all to see our lives and spot those things that are not going in the right direction and worry about. The way we answer by worrying requires no special efforts.
As Christians though we are called to live by purpose not by default. Purpose rises higher than what's expected and reasons it's way out of the worry triangle through faith.
Yes, it is true that we constantly will have things to worry about, but can we convince ourselves early in the worry process that : none of our worries has helped any of our lives situations to get any better? Can we, right there, stop uttering fretful prayers ( worry prayers) and start declare faithful prayers (prayers while we trust God to interveen in our behaf )?
I have found out lately that another word for worry in the Bible is 'choke.' Worry forces our lives to a standstill. Like a suffocating rope worry cuts our oxygen supplies ( joy, peace and rest) and urges us to live frantic lives. Under worry we are emotionally unstable to function and enjoy our lives.
So, as soon as we detect the worry rope closing in, let us stop right there and do something. You may choose J Arthur Rank method or Apostle Paul ( see Philippians 4:6), but please let us not allow worry to become the habit we live our lives by.
We can do this you know? Because the one who said 'don't worry' lives inside of us and helps us through the process.
"I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn't need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about. Henry Ford
There will be a day when our lives will make perfect sense to us. There is a great ending to our story. Yes, there is conflict, there is pain, there is heartbreak for now. But there is beauty and magic also. We all wish we had a DeLorean (the car in the movie Back to The Future) to take us into eternity and assure us that 'all is going to be ok" at the end. As Christians we have that guarantee. Easter! Yes, the story of Jesus' resurrection is the promise that what awaits for us in the future is glorious.
Not only that, but the fact that when Jesus resurrected he didn't rush to eternity but spent days with his friends restoring and encouraging them tells us that : right here on earth our stories will be a 'happy ending' because he is with us.
Easter, our vehicle to the future is unbreakable, is shiny, is timeless.
It's not in the grave, not in the dark, nor in the hopeless places that our ending lies. We are going somewhere friend, and there, someone is waiting for us with open arms. But while we travel to our destination let us remember that because He is risen, we can be too. Jesus showed up on the resurrection morning with holes in his hands, scar on his chest and marks on his head to tell His story from the other side. Easter is an opportunity for us to do just that. To tell our stories while wearing our marks. Our scars and wounds can refine us, but don't define us. We walk now wearing the tears of time, but not for long. The dawn of Easter stamps with ‘it's well' inscription all over our lives.
Arise, He is risen!
Read John 21
Shame is that ugly pointing finger that says:
You are not enough
Remember that secret you keep? If people knew about that you wouldn't be so confident.
Your father left you
Your husband cheated on you
You can't help others; your own children don't respect you.
You don't deserve good breaks; they are for good people and you are not good.
You need to work hard to be excepted.
Who do you think you are?
Shame does not tell us what we have done wrong. Guilt does that perfectly. Shame tells us that we are wrong, that there is no hope for us and that with our heads down we should hide from the world and living altogether.
Shame likes to record our failings. Then time after time unloads the whole ammunition leaving us defeated. It's right there that we are very prone to sink into long self pity periods, depression, overeating, starving, anger, loneliness, isolation and the biggest of all- feeling worthless, that one, sticks like clay and paralyses us.
How do we fight shame then?
Well, shame loves to be isolated. It grows in the dark and its well protected by fake smiles and many trying to be 'better' acts. Shame hates to be exposed! And that we must do in order to fight it right at the core. Expose it! Share with a trusted friend, spouse, family member your shame talk, all those shame thoughts. Start sharing with God first if you are not ready to open your heart to anyone just yet.
I can tell you in full assurance that when I do that I find that the magic word 'me too' from my friends consoles me in such a way that tons of weight fall off my shoulders and a freer heart rejoices inside my chest.
Dear brave friend, shame will not listen to our 'sorry', no even one of our pleas. Shame does not have any 'mercy' for us. Shame will not just leave us alone if we ignore it long enough. No, shame doesn't care about our sorrys, but it does run away all the time we uncover it. So let's start today, let's start now to expose shame. Lets do it little by little until we know that the people we are sharing with are handling our hearts in love and trust.
How is shame effecting your life? Who is someone you can share with your 'worthless' thoughts and talk you have about/with yourself?
How it's going sister friend? How is shame changing you?
How is this kind of talk:
You spoke too much again
You forgot about your friends birthday
Your children never wrote those 'Thank You" cards
You ignored your spouse......again
You ate too much ....... again
You wasted another day on doing nothing
Shame on you, when you are going to get hold of yourself?
Yes friend, how is this method getting you to where you hope you should be?
I didn't think so either. So, what do we do? How on earth can we change? How can we be the 'real' us? How can we start to move in the right direction?
Well, firstly by recognising that "shame is never a changing agent."
Yes, we have used shame for far too long to understand by now that isn't working, but we continue using it hoping that by magic one day we will strike the right cord by speaking the appropriate shaming sentence .
Secondly, by pairing with the best agent for change. Love.
Yes, the simple and profound - love.
Knowing that we are loved by God who made us, family who stick with us and friends who do life with us is the best way to start and replace those shame thoughts with. I know it's not that easy, I know that it's not that straight forward, but today I just want to convince you and me that : Shame will never change you to the person you are longing to become! Shame is never a Change Agent!
For years I didn't wanted a dog! Its not that I don't like animals, but only lately I have found out the true reason why. Not, it's not the hours of exercise and caring that I had to get use to-although that was a concern, a more deeper reason bothered me. I found out that the fear of one day loosing our beloved pet was the real motive of resisting that thought. The heartache and pain that that event would cause to our family made me resist that idea.
We do the exact same thing with our friendships. We are afraid of building deep friendships for fear of getting hurt by friends or they leaving us. We refuse to love because love can be crushing. We forsake our dreams our deepest desires because hope has been deferred, disappointment is a bitter pill to swallow? So, we 'take control' of our lives by suffocating our hearts. By limiting our opportunities and reducing them to more 'manageable' ones.
We buy a goldfish, we love partially, we dream small........ Then we wonder why with each passing day we extinguish a little. Why the spark of life gets dimmer and dimmer.
"The desires of good people lead straight to the best," says the proverb. That's how we know if our hearts are open, if they are awake: by the nature of our desires. Do our desires lead us to the 'good enough' options for our lives? To they lead us to 'acceptable' ones? Or do they guide us to the best choices we can make for our lives?
If we sense our lives shrinking, closing in- would it be that we have reduced our desires, what we really long for to manageable sizes? Have we perhaps build a dam to contain them and keep them checked, safe?
If the answer is yes, can you feel the walls beginning to crack lately? Don't be afraid! Let the dam burst. Let the excitement and life bubbling desires run through our hearts again and let us sprint wild with them. "Ask and I will give you the nation" is what welcomes us to the other side. Desire expands our lives, despair shrinks them!
Proverbs 11:23 MSG
I know how much rejection hurts and the fear of being vulnerable again is real, still show up in life and live. The agony of living a safe, protected and pain free life is more deadly than the pain caused by living in the midst of people who might and for certainly disappoint again.
I know relationships are hard work, love doesn't feel welcoming every day. Still fight for love. I don't know any other more worthy cause than the 'love fight.' The battle to exist in someone else's heart and mind fulfils our soul deepest longing and it's worth any sacrifice.
I know you already feel like all your effort to be a good person are wasted. Still, keep waking up and trying. For that's what being good is — showing up and putting oneself fully out there. After all we are not called to be perfect mums, wives, business women ... individuals, just devoted ones; who wake up every morning with the cry 'help me Jesus' then smearing lipstick on the lips go on doing their best.
I know you are disappointed with God. He has been unfair, mysterious and absent. Still, keep believing— who else is out there that breaths life, sheds truth and colours the world with beauty? A lot of us know that He can be trusted. He is not tamed, but he is so kind.
I know some days you feel like a failure. Keep showing up. Do what makes your heart sing. Press forward, even if the process is slow. We aren't meant to dance to other people's tunes. We were created to write our own story, sing our own melody, paint our own picture. Be brave. Show up daily, fully, intentionally!
"Oh @&%*! What are you doing?" Those were the first words out of the gentlemen that I knocked down as I lost control on the skiing slope. We (my class and I) were crossing through a very busy piste and in a flick of time while checking if I was free to go or not I had lost control. I was slipping uncontrollably backwards downhill. My efforts to stop only slowed me down a bit but didn't stop me crashing into the man and his family as they were taking a break.
All of them fell down and understandably were not happy. I was prepared for anger and frustration but the repetitive words that were spoken by the couple took me by surprise. "You stupid you, you have not place in skiing, I will have you arrested!" Between the accusations, crying and pain I tried my hardest to apologise. "I am so sorry sir, it was an accident, are you all ok?" The man continued to shout and his voice like a war siren had stopped the whole piste activity and people were watching, listening.
A French skier came close handing my ski pole and with a broken English tried to help by saying to the angry gentleman that it was an accident, that things happen and that was not need to shout because all of his family were fine and not hurt. Trembling and crying I walked out to find my class, but those words spoken had done more damage than I anticipated. Fear creeped inside me like crazy and for 3 hours on the piste I fall, lost control, cried and could not ski at all like the day before. The day before I had been fearless, fun and daring, today all that confidence castle was smashed to bits. I tried very hard to 'be that girl' you know the one, the-one-that-forgot-already-those-spoken-words-and -moved -on-with-a-brave-face... I couldn't.
How do you build confidence when all of it is knocked down and destroyed? How do you gather yourself and show up living when you are in pieces? How do you love when love betrayed you? How do you build friendships when the wounds of a 'friend' are still fresh and burning?
At the end of my lesson, tearing up and still hearing those words repeatedly banging in my head I knew I needed some help to start and put those broken pieces together. I met Nath at our ski dropping place and told him what had happened and that I was in need of a walk. He hugged me hard and let me go.
I walked slowly in the village buzzing roads and tried to understand why that episode had effected me so much. His words have not only made me feel a skiing disaster, but that I in fact sucked at all things in life altogether.
I walked around pressing snow underneath my feet and letting my mind cool. As I ascended a little hill in Val d'isere village the tower of St Bernard de Menthon church stood up in front of me and I felt safe and drawn to enter there. It was empty, the only person inside was a men playing his guitar and singing. I sat there looking at all ikons, smelling the candles burning with my eyes glued on the centrepiece. A big statue of Jesus on the cross! As I stood there wiping tears and whispering 'help' I felt my heart starting to beat slower, be less jumpy. I could not understand a word from the song the vicar ( I noticed now that the gentleman with the guitar was wearing a collar) was singing, but my soul understood every single note. Little by little that hurricane of feelings, fear and unsettling was clearing up and I was able to see and gather some of the shattered pieces and start building up again. How?
Jesus hanging on the cross in front of me spoke of my value as a person, that value before I even make or think I am a mistake.
Before people call me stupid He had called me a masterpiece. Before I was told I had no place in skiing, God has given me a place on his table, his family.
I had to lay the foundation of my confidence right there before I even was ready to start and build again. Before I added bricks and mortar I knew I had to have the right foundation to build.
I wish I can tell you that all was great after I left the church, that I felt confident and strong again after a few hours. I am sorry, that is not the truth. Those words spoken that day still came rushing after I left the church, they shout even now as I type and try to be loud in my head, try to tell me who `I am'.
They still want to convince me that I am that shaky, stupid person, but I am fighting back, I am building that confidence wall little by little on the right foundation. I have noticed that when we hear constantly what people say we loose sight of who we really are, but when we listen to what God says we find the true us.
We are never going to be brave with our lives unless our confidence is build little by little on the right bedrock. Every other building ground is shifting sand. All the 'self' help, people opinions, 'self' control, success, fame, money ....... will eventually crumple at the pressure of life. But when we have a strong foundation we can build something strong and unshakable every time when the walls of our confidence are destroyed, we can do that again and again.
So, I am back on the horse that threw me back (skiing). I am back facing that fear, and while there I am gathering pieces where my conference was shattered, I am adding new ones also so that I can build up an even stronger confidence wall!
Fat snow flakes dance in the air and exhausted land on the frosted earth. The scenery here it's breathtaking, very much like a winter wonderland. It's our first time in Val d'Isère and I am already in love with the place. Did I just say "I am in love with a place?" We use the word 'love' loosely these days, but tomorrow it's St Valentine (the day we people celebrate love!) and I have not bought a gift for Nath yet.
The first Valentine gift I ever got was when we were engaged. Nath is the first and only who has given me Valentine gifts. Before that I use to hide on the Valentine's day. The sight of red roses and small boxes tightly wrapped up use to make me feel the loneliness girl around. The day of Love was the more Unloving day indeed.
When you think of the story how St Valentine came to be you soon understand that love is sacrificial before it's romantic and that love starts as a decision before is expressed in feelings. Yes, receiving roses, chocolate and jewellery is beautiful but things given on that day only will not maintain love. So, a couple of years back I decided that before running to find a gift for Nath I must walk slowly deep down inside my heart and look for this one thing to give.
'Am I prepared this year to not give up on us?' I ask this question on Valentine season because I know the answer can be the best gift I can offer to Nath. I know that every year our love will have a chance to grow and as result get tested, I just want my heart to be prepare for that. Before running to find the right gift I have to slow down and find my will to love deeper. I want Nath to see the promise 'I won't give up on us' before he sees the material gift. I know that any gift wrapped up with that kind of promise will make a beautiful Valentine day. So, that is what I have been doing this early morning on February the 13th, preparing my heart again. I want intentionally to think and be willing of ways how our love can grow deeper and better than has ever been.
Tomorrow morning though when all family is a sleep and dreaming I will sneak to the near by boulangerie and see what I can find to lavish Nath's stomach with. The saying 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach' has proved many times to be true and helpful too .
Happy Valentine friends, the day to promise to not give up on Love, never!
One day Thomas Edison came home and gave a paper to his mother. He told her, “My teacher gave this paper to me and told me to only give it to my mother.”
His mother’s eyes were tearful as she read the letter out loud to her child: Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers for training him.
Please teach him yourself.
After many, many years, after Edison’s mother died and he was now one of the greatest inventors of the century, one day he was looking through old family things. Suddenly he saw a folded paper in the corner of a drawer in a desk. He took it and opened it up. On the paper was written: Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school any more.
Edison cried for hours and then he wrote in his diary: “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.”
Like Edison, but with fewer tears I cried too as I read this story which has circulates largely on the web lately. But most of all I thought deep and hard about what it takes to be called a hero.
A real hero of our days is the one that knows and sees clearly the performance, but is brave enough to choose to speak to the potential instead. It takes no effort at all to speak what we see in our children, husband, friend or colleague. Words like "you are weak, you don't have a backbone, you are not like Sussie or John, you never going to learn that, you are a loser.......etc escape our mouths fluently, but can we see and voice the unseen?
Performance is easily seen, potential on the other hand stays hidden within us waiting for the right eyes and lips to unlock it.
Yes, words are there to be spoken, but the choice of words we decide to speak is definitely on us. I wonder how our daily lives and conversations will look if we spoke and encouraged people's potential rather than their practice? That's what vision is right? Championing, pointing out in people who they can become?
I know for sure that speaking to the potential in people rather than the behavior would increase the "Thomas Edison's" in our world. We will have more genius and fulfilled spouses, children, friends and colleagues. I know for definite also that the world would be a place less insecure to live in and much more generous in making room for each other's gifting.
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Goethe
I pray because I feel so small and unable inside this vast world that I need to know I am seen, I am noticed, I am not alone.
I pray because I can't follow my children to school, protect them and care for them always.
I pray because more often than not I have this jealousy feeling and fear that my husband might fall for someone else, the better looking type, the more established kind of women.
I pray because there is a storm inside of my heart that will not calm down unless I utter the name - Jesus.
I pray because empty words alone will not mend relationships, broken hearts and damaged souls.
I cry out the word 'help' hundreds of times a day because I need it big doses of it, in big matters and little ones alike.
"Help" is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn't matter how you pray--with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, "Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.”
― Anne Lamott, Further Thoughts on Faith
I pray because I miss family and friends living afar, I know that I can't be there in person, but prayer can and give me peace.
I pray because the world is a mess and a beautiful place and I don't want to ignore ether of them.
I pray because prayer like a lit arrow pierces ahead into the dark and my unknown directing me where to go.
I pray because million of you pray too and that is miraculous. Like a multicoloured chorus our voices sing along a heartfelt song, a symphony which converses with our maker. I'm convinced, I have seen and witnessed that prayer works.
Prayer is that one conversation I can't do without, it's the oxygen that maintains my earthy lungs, so I will pray till I don't need it any longer. I will continue to breathe.
Dear husband. When you go to a party with your wife please stop time after time your engaging conversations and go find her. Give her a smile, a kiss on the neck or even a hip rub. She needs to know right there inside that big room that you eyes are still on her. Assure her that you are very proud of her and so blessed to have her at your side.
Dear wife, yes it's good to have friends over for a meal. The evening has been lovely but longer than you anticipated and now you are tired. You are about to snap at your husband or put him down in front of all for not thinking of helping you. Please don't. Go and give him a waist hug and a pair of loving eyes. I can promise you that he will feel immediately like a hero. He will grab that sword, cutlery I mean and shine it to perfection.
Dear boyfriend, be more affectionate (hold her hand, hug and smile often) to your girlfriend in public than private. She needs you to let her know and declare it to the world that the quest is over. You have found the One.
Dear girlfriend, yes your buddies are still very important to you. Nonetheless, your boyfriend will soon become your best friend, so invest more into that relationship please. I assure you that that time invested will give great dividends to your couple life later.
Dear mamma. Yes, all that shouting shame, criticism and rushing around weighs heavy on your shoulders. Don't ever give up please, don't give up on cupping their faces (make them bend if they have passed your height) and tell them. "You're a good kid, I am so proud of you and I love you so much!" I promise you that they will forgive you for the shouting and that loving eyes talk will become their strongest inner voice for life.
Dear daddy. As you open the door to enter the house your energy tank feels scarce. All you want doing is grabbing your plate of food and reclining watching tv. Dig deeper please. That word 'love' indeed is spelled 'time' bigger and louder at home. The big and little eyes are waiting for a kiss, a smile, some kind of understanding.
Dear friend, yes it's tough work to split open your heart's pain and joy to someone who might abuse and use you. Keeping a friendship strong requires us to be bravely open, to be vulnerable. So be brave, be wise and you start first. Trust me friendships are worth the price. Our deepest pain comes from relationships, and God uses relationships to mend our hearts. Don't miss out on that! Go brave friend
I went to the dentist today. Don't worry I will not share any horrifying story here because there isn't any, but I learned something as I sat down on that white chair that is worth sharing. As the bright light beamed through my orange protector glasses I wonder how is it for a dentist to face every day working with a persistent drilling noise? I have sat there for a hour only and the noise of the drill was driving me crazy.
So, with my mouth numb and wide opened I asked him. How do you do well your job working in the company of this annoying, loud, uncomfortable (I was generous with the choice of my adjectives) noise?
His answer surprised me. "I don't hear it!" He calmly said. 'How come?' I asked, now very short of adjectives.
"I am so focused on doing a good job and having a satisfied client that the noise of the drill, the bright lights, the music on the radio ......all of them, I don't hear!"
What? You don't hear the screeching noise of the drill? His answer was the same again. Simply-No
So, focus is the secret of quietening all those annoying other noises that distract us - I thought.
If I am well focused on eaten healthy for example my eyes will be on the good result that that process will bring and not on the cake and cheese around me? If my focus is arrowlike on having good relationships I will see for ways how to improve and invest on those relationships rather than hearing all the negative, complains and judgement noises around me. If I want to be successful at a certain filed my focus needs to be there, totally, wholeheartedly, almost forcefully because all the around noises are going to be present, there annoyingly looking for my attention, districting my focus, pulling me away from the most important things.
Where we focus on there we are heading to!
If I had to focus on just one thing for the whole 2016 it will be relationships.
I just want to be more brave with them. I want to nurture those relationships that let my soul breathe and disentangle myself from those relationships that enslave, suffocate and languish me.
Our lives are as strong as our good relationships are!
We need healthy relationships not only to enjoy life, but to be able to face life's storms well . When Nath was almost forceful for us to have a 'date' each week I wondered if that was even possible. I though we will get bored by the third time and have nothing to say to each other. I was wrong. Not only that I look forward to that day but I have a deeper understanding and friendship with Nath because of it. I want to nurture that one better this year.
Those little conversations that my kids share as we drive to their school and back have become some recently discovered gems. I want to be more present in my children's life and not miss those rich moments when they come by. I want to stop while chopping an onion and stirring up the dinner to hear their heart pour out, that will fill their soul and mine and sustain us longer than the food can.
A few friends and I started the 'cooking club' last year. Basically we meet once a month and share food and time together. Their company soon has become one of the highlights of the month and I love what that converge does to me. Time with those girls has challenged me, grown me, we have laughed hard and cried painful tears too. I need that relationship, I value that time so much, yes-that is a keeper too.
As a leader I meet regularly with many women from our community. We exchange encouragements, different pieces from our life and truths from the Bible. I love giving my time and heart like that. Community has a way of refining us. By edifying others we illuminate ourselves and fulfil the belonging ache.
Then come those relationships that I like to keep at bay. I have to be more brave with them then with the one I like to nurture. I love people, don't get me wrong, but if good relationships build us up then the negative ones really dismantle us. Relationships that are kept by manipulation, control and guilt need established boundaries time after time as people need time to change, some never do. I have tried to love people like that.......many times, and all those times I am the one left to pay the big bill of maintaining 'peace' - which mostly means loosing myself little by little.
I have learned that love in those cases has to be more from afar till the right moment comes when our hearts are safe to build trust. Relationships are hard work, that's why I want the main focus to be on them. Relationships are amazing, that's why I want to be investing more and more of me in them.
Happy New Year Brave One! May we grow couragious with our relationships.