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Posts Tagged ‘personal’

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What would be YOUR ideal YOU-cation?

Are you a beach, mountain, train, ski/snowboard, or wine in fun places type person?

If money was no object, what do you dream about for an ideal vacation? 

What has been your best You-cation to date?

 

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Some people say we should “get back to the basics.” What about just getting back to the simple?

Tonight, I have been so grateful for simple. There is just something so rich and so sweet about simple.

Tonight, I went to a church I enjoy in my hometown. It meets in this old and very small church building. Stain glass windows lined the walls. Wooden pews creaked with the sounds of old worship.

Sometimes you just need to get back to the simple.

Life gets busy and loud. So many church buildings streamline worship through the wires of amplifiers and new technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good music that blares through electric guitars and drums, but I also love a rich voice.

There are seasons where everything seems loud. Life is  loud through the sounds pain, frustration, grief, busy-ness, demands, self-pursuit, the battle  of lies, and even the echos of silent waiting.

This is where I find myself. I am in a season of hard. Hard has just been loud. I am exhausted. Tonight, I closed my eyes and just listened. The smell of an old musty church was balm for my heart.

Sometimes you just need an acoustic version of life. Sometimes church just needs to be unplugged. 

It was the sound of one voice, and one guitar that softened my heart. It was all of our voices just singing together off key to an old projector that made me smile deep. More than anything, it was speaking the truth together as we broke the bread of communion that was honey to my soul.

Tonight, the simplicity of God was redeemed for me a little. The bruised reed of this heart just needed some simple, and some peace passed my way.

As you start your week. I encourage you to get back to the simple.

What ways can you the simplicity of God this week?

What do you long to be redeemed for/in you?

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My head is still spinning from this past week at Catalyst. Such an amazing two days of fast, but rich wisdom. I was in need of a time to soak up the inspiration of others, who are way further down the line.

My faith is small. Sometimes my dreams feel even smaller.

Do you put God in a box?

I do. I look at my life, my future, my dreams, and I limit God. I stick Him in a box with the boundaries that speak of understanding and calculated risks. Feeling uncomfortable and out of control is not my forte, but it is the recipe needed for faith.

I spent two days listening to men and women speak of great steps in faith. All of them spent a season choosing to be out of control and uncomfortable. That is what faith is. Faith takes the willingness to fight through being afraid, jealous, and anxious.

How do you handle discomfort with where you are in life? Do you take control? Do you take the reins?

The words, “I believe” should be so powerful. I am sad for the ways I water down them down. Those words mean everything – believing changes everything.

I want to be a person who believes big. Not only believe, but wait on the weight of those words.

Faith is illogical. Faith is that place in a great movie where you say, “Oh my dang! Didn’t see that coming!”

I watched these great men and women and thought they don’t even see how much God has blessed them. That is a part of just believing – walking in obedience. Feeling the grace and peace of living out the gifts and race HE has designed.

Let’s do this friends! Let’s risk to believe – to spend some time in out of control discomfort!

Truth? Our plans never work out. Our visions go nowhere without the extra step of His planning.

Reality?A part from Him, we can do nothing.”

There is weight in believing. There is a responsibility that comes with waiting on what is bigger than we are.

Risk to believe. 

What holds you back? 

What makes you take back the reins?

 

 

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Awareness is a bittersweet thing.

Sometimes, I would love to just be blissfully unaware of the “good” things around me, as well as what other people have.

As kids, we learn so quickly what want feels like. This only happens when we experience someone else having, or doing something, we want to do. There is an unfairness that rises up in our hearts. With eyes wide open awareness sets in and the fruit of want takes root.

I am one who struggles with jealousy. It is the thorn in my side. I actually find this struggle to be real with leaders. I would consider myself a strong leader and one who leans into that role predominately.

Jealousy raises its ugly head in me when I start to compare myself to others. Jealousy is conceived in me when I start to compare myself to what others have. This could be monetary things or just influence.

Andy Stanley talks a lot about the losing battle of comparison in a great sermon series he does. In that series he talks about how the Pharisees are jealous of Jesus because He has the crowd. There jealousy eventually leads them to crucifying Jesus.

I get that. If jealousy is left unattended, pain and even death is inevitable.

Andy states that “there is no win, satisfaction, or finish line when it comes to comparison.”

We are not meant to compare ourselves with the successions, failures, gifts, talents, influences, and even life stories of others. When we place our eyes on the lives of others, we miss out on the life we are meant to live.

I suck at the comparison battle.

My eyes wander and my awareness of want grows. Jealousy is my weakness.

We live in a culture of comparison.

Honestly, there are times I just need to step back from platforms like Twitter that can be a breeding ground for comparison. Everyday I can see one who is five steps ahead of me in my dream life. It’s just plain hard.

This past week, I was blessed to attend Story Conference in Chicago. I loved it. However, I also learned that conferences are filled with temptations to compare. So many awesome people doing awesome things and it always makes me wonder if I’m good enough. This week as I head down to the ATL for Catalyst, my awareness for comparison is heightened.

Jealousy is a battle.

There is no freedom in comparison.

As far as I can remember our culture has lived by the mantra of “keep up with Jones.”

As long as we are running life’s race to keep up with our “Jones” there is no room for the life we are meant to live. It is impossible to celebrate anyone else in the state of comparison.

I feel like I have wasted too much time comparing myself to others. I want to be a person who celebrates the gifts and victories of others. I want to mourn with those who feel the pain of failure. More importantly, I just want to be ok with where I am and what I have.

Are you?

“What or who are you using as a reference point to determine whether or not you’re okay?”

“Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with ______?”

“Are you allowing what others have to keep you from enjoying what you have?”

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“There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

– Winnie the Pooh

We all have circumstances that we are facing. We are fighting battles that seem to take every ounce of energy we’ve got.

All circumstances affect our lives. Some we walk ourselves into, and some receive no invitation at all.

There are some circumstances that we can move through with ease – lasting a moment. However, there are some that take a lifetime to heal through.

Our lives take dealing with. It seems a bit like playing a hand of poker. We are all dealt a few cards, some we can trade in for new ones, but inevitably we have to learn how to play with the hand we hold.

Every hand challenges our survival skills, character, reasoning, functioning, and faith.

About fifteen years ago, I felt like I was dealt the cards of tragedy. I went from a “normal” home that had routines, vacations, and rules to one of brokenness and divorce. My world shattered through the confessed words of my father’s affair.

I no longer knew words like stable or security. Our social status changed as a family. I learned how to function in the word “apart” more than “together.”

What do you with the cards in your hand that hold the full house of grief?

What do you do when your life is forever changed in ways you never asked for?

Grief is a lifelong process. It is not linear in nature. It has no timeline or warning. It is known and felt in every season of life. Grief only has a healer.

The truth about every circumstance is that we learn just what we are made of. Challenges bring out the deepest parts of our character in how we handle fear, insecurity, and doubt. BUT I promise that you will also learn that you are smarter, braver, and possess more strength then you imagined you had.

This week I am going to talk about glimpses of my life’s grieving process written in a book that I was a contributing author for.

Inciting Incidents just released this past week. I am so excited. I, along with six other authors, dive in depth into our own stories, unpacking our personal inciting incidents.

If you want to get your own copy and read more go HERE!

What circumstances are you facing right now?

How are you dealing with it?

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Love is the most powerful word there is. Words, actions, song lyrics, poems, and the like try and capture its deep meaning and expression. I am convinced I will spend my lifetime trying to grasp its depth.

Love is no light expression. It always runs deep and means something.

I am grateful for the different glimpses of love I have experienced worldwide. Every culture has their own unique way of holding loves value. I’d like to think that all of my experiences have made a mixing bowl of loves expression in me.

I know I don’t always handle love well. Sin has corrupted love’s intentions and meanings. Love is meant to be known without conditions. Yet, we place criteria and walls around her. In some ways, love even has a standard.

Our culture has moved so far into the direction of conditional love that it makes my heart grieve. I tear up when I see an elderly couple walking hand-in-hand down the road. This picture always gives me a glimpse of unconditional and lasting love.

Love is a choice not a feeling.

Love takes commitment and faithfulness. Love takes trust and the grounding of safety that no matter what, the commitment of love and honor are fought for.

Honestly, our culture makes me sad. I hate that statisitically half of all marriages will end in divorce. Not only is that not ok, but the reason for some divorces is that one person just stopped fighting for love.

I hate that we have moved into being a culture where love is relative and anything goes. We cheer on people’s conditional love choices in the name of “happiness.”

We are becoming a society that thinks we are exempt from having to work through the hard of pain. We have lost the value of commitment. When we start saying, “we don’t have to…..’ the unconditional form of love is lost.

Love requires work. It is through choosing the hard of that work where love grows deeper. Love fought for on a deep level is called intimacy. I hate that we are losing sight of love.

I have experienced conditional love. I know I have also dished it out. I hate that I have. I could call my conditions defenses for fears and doubt, but that is no excuse. Love is meant to be known unconditionally.

I will admit to not always fighting for love and choosing to work through the hard and pain. I honestly fear love as much as I crave loving deeply.  I also don’t want to communicate that my love comes with stipulations. Makes me cringe.

Paul writes in Ephesians, “that you, being rooted and established in love…” I wrestle with these words. My first response to that verse is how many people truly know what this is like?  People who know and trust they are loved is becoming a rarity.

Why is that!?

I wrestle deeply with the truth that He loves me unconditionally and faithfullyMost days I can’t wrap my heart around that truth. I wish I could confidently know that I am rooted and established in love.

I want to get back to the place where unconditional love still walks hand-in-hand down the road. I want 50 years of committed marriage to not be a surprise to us. I want to fight for the norm of relationships to be know for their established love.

Love has no conditions. It is meant to have roots. 

How have you experienced unconditional love?

How have you experienced conditional love? 

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I have these little things called self-sufficiency and independence that seem to be the thorns in my side. I think I popped out of the womb as “Miss Independent.”

As far back as I can remember I have always fought to do my own thing. I thought I could teach myself how to ride a bike, climb trees, play sports, tie my shoes, and pretty much anything my older brother was doing.

I am an independent.

There is also a side of me that has learned how to be very self-sufficient as well. When I was a junior in high school, my family experienced a huge change through the confessed affair of my father. That event was a catalyst for this independent girl to shift right into complete self-sufficiency. I also carry around the apple that fell from the tree of strong and stubborn from my mom as well.

As everyone in my family was trying to emotionally put life back together, the survival skill of self-sufficiency took deeper roots in me.

I have carried around the messages that life has been up to me, and that I am responsible for what happens. There is some level of truth that. However, this does not leave a lot of room for surrender.

At some point we all battle with playing the role of being our own kings. We decide that we can do it better than God and manage whatever we are facing; and onto the throne we go.

We can look back in the Old Testament and see that for centuries the demands on and for a king have always failed. It is no mystery why I have experienced failure in my life every time I take on the throne.

Pain is the only result when stepping outside of what only He can do.

Surrender is something that is so hard for me. It goes against every grain of independence. I hate feeling out of control, and choosing to surrender immediately brings on that feeling. My heart constantly feels the tension of playing Tug-Of-War with God.

I have spent my whole life as an independent. I don’t know how to make the shift from independence to dependence on God. I know it’s a choice – a choice that takes trust and risk. I am working on choosing to find contentment in feeling out of control. I am definitely tired of experiencing failure.

Surrendering is a hard choice to make, but is worth it in the long run.

In what ways do you struggle with surrendering?

What are you holding on to that you might need to surrender?

 

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