Thy Will

{Photo 285/365}  We are working Step 3 together, me and my “sponsee” — Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him — S U R R E N D E R!  The best part about working with others is that it forces me to, again and again, work on me.  I needed to review this message today — THY will, NOT my will.  It’s that simple, yes it’s that difficult.  I need this constant reminder to keep me grounded, focused, and to slow down!  I need this constant reminder to not get ahead of His plans with my plans.  I need this constant reminder in all my relationships to be more accepting, more patient, more tolerant.  I am grateful for the opportunity to “carry the message” each time I do, it affirms within me too.  blessed.

Corn Stalk

{Photo 235/365}  This afternoon we went for a walk.  Actually I power walked while he rode his bike.  I guess you could say we live out in the country — in a development, but surrounded by farm land.  So, as we walked, Zach noticed the development, the growth of the corn in the corn field.  He jumped off his bike, ran down with his hand stretched high and said, “They are taller than me now!”  Just a few short months ago, this field was dirt with standing water in areas and now it’s a maze of over 5 foot corn stalks.  His realization of this “growth” sparked great conversations for our walk.  He starts 6th grade in just 6 more sleeps — growth.  I love the free gift we can give one another, quality time, that’s his love language.

Football Camp

{Photo 209/365}  He took this week so seriously, football camp.  Training for the upcoming season of tackle football is super exciting.  It was hot.  It was humid.  It was sweaty, sweaty, sweaty.  It was fun — he had a blast.  Zach and I went today and watched his team scrimmage the other teams, I can tell he learned a lot, fundamentals of the game, which is so crucial.  Life is about learning and growing.  It’s about commitment and desire.  This little guy toughed it out, had such a positive attitude all week, and now he’s anxious to start the season.  I love being a mom and watching these little nuggets develop. grow. become.  God is doing great things in their hearts, I can see it.  special.


 

Alter-Ego, Meet Mine

After talking this over with several friends, I realized that I’m not alone on this topic, SO I thought I would share a fun way……OK maybe it’s not FUN, BUT it is a ‘not so serious’ way to deal with our negative self talk, selfishness, poisonous pride, deceiving thoughts, resentments, and our larger than LARGE ego that needs to be tamed and managed.

Just like most things that make their way into our lives, if we acknowledge them, call them out, identify what they are we have a better chance of dealing with them and managing the situation. When we’ve got our blinders on or if we are unwilling to take an honest look at ourselves, a few things could happen.  We can slowly lose joy, get stuck in ruts, and start to place blame where it does NOT belong.

Let me introduce to you Towanda.  Towanda has been with me since I was born.  We grew up together, experienced life together, faced challenges together, and even lived together.  The funny things is………I didn’t really KNOW her until recently.  Once I got to know her?  Well, I decided I did NOT like her AT ALL!!   She is negative, controlling, manipulative, insecure, resentful, selfish, insensitive, judgmental, and angry.  LOVELY, wouldn’t you say?!?!?  NOT!!  Here’s the kicker about Towanda; Towanda is ME.

YES, Towanda is the name I have given all my MY “character defects”.  Before I continue, I have to say this.  If your name is Towanda and you’re reading this, PLEASE do NOT take offense.  I grabbed the name from a scene that I remembered from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.  Actress Kathy Bates plays the character Evelyn Couch and gives her alter-ego this name.  You can watch the Towanda clip if you’d like, it’s pretty funny!  With that said, If you’d like to name your character defects “Teri” go right ahead, I won’t take offense.  LOL

I was FINALLY able to see Towanda when God revealed her to me in February 2010.  It was a love/hate experience.  I thought that I had already surrendered MY will or should I say Towanda’s, BUT I had not.  I was still in the drivers seat, trying to maintain the wheel.  It took me 36 years to get to this point of being able to identify Towanda.  I’m confident that many people in my world had met her before I was able to, but I’m grateful that I FINALLY did……even though it was a painful realization.

Our first meeting was tough, I cried when I met her.  I couldn’t believe I had let her live with me for that long with out doing something about it.  It has been a slow process grasping ALL of her character defects, but God continues to reveal to me more of Towanda as I grow in my faith and my walk with Him.

If you’re perfect.  Not needing to change anything in your life, you can stop reading hear.  BUT, if you’ve got some areas in your life that need improvement, or have identified some character defects, like me, you will want to read Part two of this post on Thursday.  There I will walk you though the steps that I took to giving ‘it’ a name and explain what to do when your new found unwanted friend is triggered and wakes up!

You can read Part two by following this link.

Dry Well

frontimg-main_FullWhat is a dry well?  Simply put its a well that is dry, one that doesn’t produce any water.  A dry well would be one that no one returns to to quench their thirst and in most cases it would be capped of, abandoned and forgotten.  BUT they are most often always still there.

Getting water from a well is NOT an easy task, it a takes a lot of work.  I’m not talking about the modern day technology that’s used by cities which connect wells to the city water system that we get to our faucets, not that kind of well.  I’m talking about the old wells.  You know, the one where the bucket is hanging there – you have to manually turn the crank down to the bottom, scoop up the water in the bucket and then crank the bucket up…….that’s the kind of well that I have in my mind.  That’s A LOT of work to get one bucket of water!!

IF you were to make the effort to go to the well, the old fashioned kind – put the bucket on the hook, crank it ALL the way down to the bottom and then crank it back up ONLY to find it empty, would your need be met?  Would you be able to quench your thirst? or use the water to wash your clothes? bathe yourself or your child?  NO!!  You would walk away potentially feeling sad, defeated, lonely, frustrated, thirsty, dirty, afraid.

Knowing that the well was dried up, would you go back to get more water?  Maybe,  right?  Maybe it just happened to be dry that day, maybe tomorrow would be different, maybe because it rained or something like that, there would be water.  So, the next day you go to the SAME well, drop the SAME bucket ONLY to find that – OH MY the well IS still dry!  Shoot, once again your needs are not met and you walk away with the same feelings you had the day before…….sad, defeated, lonely, frustrated, thirsty, dirty, afraid.

This could go on for days – hoping to get different results.  Until finally the decision is made to accept the reality that the well is dry, it will no longer meet the needs that it once did.  You let it go. You find another well to meet your needs.  BUT it’s VERY difficult and it can take a lot of time!!

Over the past couple of years I’ve asked myself why in the world am I continually drawn to “dry wells”?  NOW I’m talking about people and relationships.  I make the connection between the two because some of the relationships that I’ve had OR have are like dry wells……….they do not quench my thirst.  I continue to go to the people/relationship thinking the next time will be different, but it’s not.  I leave sad, defeated, some times insecure, judged, frustrated, empty.

I’ve come to the realization that we indeed are creatures of habit AND change is NOT easy!!  What have I done?  I’ve taken the path of least resistance in some cases and continue to get the same results.  YUK – that’s painful!!

Yesterday my friend shared with me this analogy.  She said, “Sometimes we have to set aside or walk away from the unhealthy to make room in our lives for God to bring healthy.”

Oooooohhhhh!  We liked this, but we both decided that it’s a very difficult task!  It’s true, but hard because we want so bad for the “well” aka. relationship/person NOT to be dry!  Plus, it’s easy to just NOT work on de-cluttering and be status quo, even though it’s unhealthy and painful.  DOUBLE PLUS, if we let go of that, even though it’s unhealthy – WHAT do we replace it with in the meantime?  Do we trust God to bring us healthy?

The one thing to keep in mind is like a  dried up well, they are most often ALWAYS still there.  As we make the decision to accept, set aside the unhealthy to make room for the healthy – it doesn’t mean we need to destroy or eliminate – we just don’t need to go there anymore.  We need to set boundaries and make room for God to bring us healthy.

How many dry wells are you going to?

You Can't Have it Both Ways

images-2I had a great birthday weekend.  What made it so special was connecting with people I LOVE!  On Saturday my husband treated me and two of my friends to a spa day…..it was just what we needed; ALL of us!  We had facials, massages, relaxed in the hot tub and enjoyed the steam room.  To wrap up our day we ate at a fantastic Mexican restaurant inhaling chips and salsa and fresh made guacamole – YUM, my favorite!!

Of course while we were together we talked NON-STOP, like girls do!  There was one conversation in particular that we had that stuck out to me.  We were reflecting upon some of our past experiences, many of which were new stories – I so enjoy learning new things about my friends!

As we were sharing and laughing about life and some of our experiences one of my friends said this, “I wouldn’t choose my difficult and painful experiences, and they were hard to go through but the growth I gained from them changed me into a more compassionate and sensitive person. Those changes wouldn’t have happened without the experiences. So you can’t have it both ways.”

I really like how she stated that.  So often when I’m connecting with people I hear things like, “I wish that would’ve NEVER happened”, “If I could do life over again, I would change this, that, or the other thing.”  I also know, based on my own past experiences, that when we are hurt, angry, carry resentments, shame and guilt towards ourselves and others we struggle to grow and see what good comes out of our experiences.

There’s the old saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  I agree with that but it’s so vague.  I would like to add some alternative ways to finish that statement, “That which does not kill us CAN……

…..make us more understanding and non-judgmental.”

…..allow us to become angry.”

…..give us opportunities to help others because we can relate.”

…..cause resentment and bitterness towards others.”

…..change us positively.”

…..impact us negatively.”

How do you view your experiences?  Are they opportunities for growth? Or are they set backs?  Would you choose NOT to go through painful and difficult situations? OR Would you go through the same, all-over again because if you hadn’t, who would you be today?  Is there something that you’ve experienced that maybe needs to be looked at differently?

For me, I do need to look at some of my past experiences differently.  I still have some resentments and anger that I need to work through AND I need to forgive myself for some things to be set free from lingering shame and guilt that I’ve been carrying.

I STRIVE to finish the statement above with this approach, “That which does not kill me changes me positively and gives me an opportunity to help others.”

How would YOU finish it?