Something Love Doesn’t Require

If you asked someone to define love they’d probably mention the word trust somewhere in there. But that’s not actually true.

(But before I go on I must say that I’m NOT talking about the kind of love that would lead to marriage! Single People, Don’t even look twice at someone if they’re not trustworthy! And dating should never be a consideration if they aren’t honest!)

One evening not too long ago, as I was praying (and crying) to God about the many people over the years that I’ve made myself vulnerable to, loved freely and then been hurt by, I said, “Lord, I don’t know if I can keep on trusting people.”  He gently replied, “You don’t have to trust to love.”

Loving someone we don’t trust sounds ridiculous! Stupid, in fact. But it’s true. Jesus told us that the greatest kind of love is the one that gives up his/her life for someone else. (John 15:13)  That’s what Jesus did for us… we are certainly not trustworthy… especially when compared to God’s trust-ability!

Giving & living LOVE means we open up ourselves so we can speak encouragement to others, find the good in them, believe the best in them, cheer for them, pray for them, rejoice with them, be ourselves around them, laugh, hug, etc…. Easy enough if the people are trustworthy. Not so easy if they’ve hurt you, taken advantage of you, stabbed you in the back, talked behind your back, took their knowledge of you and made themselves gain something while you lose it. NOT EASY!

So, what was my response that evening during prayer when God assured me that I don’t have to trust to love?  Well,  honestly, a couple of embarrassing whimper noises and few more tears. Then a huge sigh of relief and joy!

Giving love = joy!

 

Pain Can Lead to Lies

 

 

When you’re treated badly you’re presented with the opportunity to believe a lie about yourself.

Reject it.

Jesus has other things to say about you. Believe Him!

 

Painful situations can leave us with the impression that we’re not valuable, not appreciated,  of little worth to others & that we’re a continual let-down who is not good enough to be completely accepted.

ALL LIES!

 

Jesus says:  He loves you with an everlasting love; you’re so valuable that He died to know you; He rejoices & dances over you; He’s included you in His plans & together you’re making an eternal impact; He loves & comforts you with Father’s heart; His love for you extends farther than the east is from the west; you are His child.

We all are faced with lies… unspoken, derived, implied, made up, pondered, considered and ultimately believed if we don’t make a point to reject them & believe the Truth instead!

What encouragement hides behind these links? Click’um. Ponder them. Think about them. Believe them.  His Word is TRUE!

So Busy, Again…

A couple of days ago I posted about my frustration with the sentence, “I’m so busy!”

Before I say more I have to clarify the previous post… I’m not against having a full schedule and living life to the fullest. My frustration is with people who TALK about it ALL THE TIME and/or over-commit to things they should say, “no” to. But, let’s assume that you’re NOT one those people…

Let’s supposed that all of us reading this right now have lives  full of useful things that we’re supposed to be doing. If this is actually true, then we’re probably pretty good at knowing our priorities and living by them…. and saying,”YES” when needed and “NO” when necessary.

Although all the magazines & organizing blogs make it sound like “saying no” is a piece of cake, it of course, is NOT!  Saying no involves people… and we like people. So what can you say or do to make the “no” easier? We don’t always mean “No way, Never!” Sometimes it just has to be later, or in a different way.

Here’s a few ideas that will still help you communicate to the person that you care about them but simply cannot say yes at the time and/or way they’ve requested.  And, after reading these ideas PLEASE list your own!

– “Let me take a look at next month and let’s get it on the calendar.”

– When asked to be involved in something big: “All of your ideas are wonderful. Although I’m unable to oversee the bake sale, I’d love to bake cookies and get one of my friends to donate treats, too.” This communicates your interest in their event but sets the limits of your involvement.

– “Yes, getting our kids together sounds fun. We’re planning to be at the park on Friday. Wanna join us then?” (this doesn’t add anything else to your calendar, but does add fun & time with friends)

– “Ooh, what an interesting  idea. Although I’m probably not the right fit for it at this point,  may I have your website so I can pass on to a couple of my friends who may be interested.” (Don’t say this unless you mean it!)

– “This week doesn’t have much wiggle room, but we could plan something for the week of the 17th?”

-“The invitations are just adorable. I bet the rest of the party will be, too. But sadly, I won’t be able to attend. Would it be OK if I drop off a gift the day before the party?”

 

Notice the absence of  the words busy, crazy, can’t, etc. But it does point out the positive points of the one doing the asking and does not imply that your life is more important than their life.

What are your thoughts & ideas about saying, “NO?”

 

He’s not expecting that

I’m surrounded by some very smart, super talented, incredibly motivated people; I’m even married to one of them. There are moments when look around me… and… Holy Moly… (Where did that phrase come from, anyway?) I start thinking very true things like this: He’s so talented at this. She does this with excellence. He knows just how to handle this & that. She’s so good at that it almost looks easy.

It would be easy to fall into the comparison game: “I’m not as good at this or that.”

Well, of course I’m not as good … I’m not them. They hold different talents in their lives, different giftings that I’m not responsible for using because I don’t have them. My abilities lie in other areas.   You already know this. So do I. But let’s be honest… sometimes we compare and that only leads to one of two things: feeling icky about ourselves or feeling a slightly snotty sense of pride (also icky!).

This morning as I was reading in Matthew 26 I got a little verbal spanking about comparisons. The Master (God) in the story gives talents (abilities & resources) to each of His servants (that’s us!) & expects them to put them to be used to the best of their ability. That’s ALL I’m responsible for doing. He’s not expecting me to accomplish something with someone else’s gifts, just mine. If I get too busy noticing how someone else is “better than me” then I’ll slack off from accomplishing what I’m purposed to do.

Note: This does not mean that we stop appreciating other people & their giftings! But rather, this allows us to truly admire others and have the freedom to verbalize that & encourage them. If we’re tied up in the comparison ropes we’re unable to be thankful for them and “icky-ness” finds a home in our thoughts & heart.

Who’s expectations are you living up to? What standards dictate your attitudes & actions?  God is not expecting me to be anyone but me, but He does insist that I put my abilities to use for Him! (And He’ll give me the ideas & strength to accomplish that!)

Now that’s a relief. 🙂

 

 

It all happend before lunchtime…

It happened just this week. It was noon.  A friend had texted me to say “Hi,” and innocently asked how my morning had been. I couldn’t possibly TEXT it all. I was feeling like, well, like the crazy picture of me at the top of this post. So I sent her this email below. I thought you might enjoy a little laugh & a bit of encouragement!
_________________________________________________________________________

It’s noon and so far…
– An entire bottle of hand soap hit the floor in the bathroom (ever tried cleanin’ that up?  Sticky goo)

–  No lesson plans this week for Max & Chase… just wingin’ it through their books…

– Laundry pile has eaten the remaining clean clothes in my closet

–  I’d straighten up my house but I can’t find the furniture, it’s hidden under several layers of dust

– There’s a national fruit fly convention in my kitchen AND bathrooms!

– I’m NOT wearing any make-up yet

– Pretty sure I could really use a shower

– Kids haven’t eaten any fruit or veggies today

– and I’m stuffin my face full of tortilla chips!

But… I spoke with Jesus about all this and He doesn’t seem upset by any of it… so I’m trying NOT to be either!  🙂

Am I messin’ them up?

 

Alarm!

I’m startled awake.

“Oh, Jesus. Help me. Am I screwing up my kids?”

(A thought/prayer that crosses my mind pretty often.)

 

When I was pregnant with our oldest child (almost 20 yrs ago), someone told me this little thought:

“If you are concerned that you could be doing more with & for your child then it shows that you care, and you’re probably doing a great job. But to think you’re doing just fine all the time probably shows a selfish pride that translates into poor parenting.”

True! True! But I must take it a step further…  because I’m aware of my weaknesses I’m driven to spend time with Jesus…everyday!  He teaches me, corrects me and refocuses my thoughts & attitudes. He assures me of His love & personal involvement in our lives… cuz we’re committed to Him.

Take heart, my parenting-friend. Sure, you’re capable of screwing up your kids. So, invest in a real relationship with Jesus; He made us & our kids.. He knows how we’re wired & what will work best.  And remember… The day we stop wondering if we can be a better parent is the day we should be concerned!

 

(NOTE: This post is NOT condoning laziness or negligence, but rather an encouragement to be diligent and properly focused.)

 

 

 

 

Words that Sadden. Wounds that Lie.

“Ouch. They really just said that to me!?”

You’ve thought those words at some point & will again someday. (Nice, Netta, what a depressing way to begin a blog post!) But it happens cuz we deal with humans. Over the years I’ve learned that many hurtful words spoken to me are NOT really spoken AT me or because of me. Hurt people hurt people.

Think about that… Hurt people hurt people.

That said, I’ve learned to remain calm, smile and do my best to keep loving people when they’ve lashed out at me… well, I’ve mostly learned that. Here’s the deal:  that’s not so hard to do unless the person knows you well & is quite close to you. Then the words go deeper.

 

Those words sink in and make me ponder. Now what?

I pray. “Lord, what truth is in these statements?”

I talk with my husband. “What do I need to learn from this?”

I pray for the person, the situation, etc. .

But still…

Those words can start eating at me. They’ve cut me & now there’s a tiny seed of UNtruth that has planted itself there. Something like, “Since they said that about me, they must really think I’m a jerk. What if they’re right?  They probably are. I was probably way off in that situation.”  Then it can grow into thoughts like…. ” As hard as I try, I just mess things up all the time anyway.

Then it grows into bigger lies: “No wonder people don’t invite me over, I’m not really a friend.”  and  “How am supposed to do anything of lasting value if no one wants to be around me?

See how the lie grew?  It began as a sad heart with a wound that started doubting what it knew was true, and it soon turned into a giant lie that had little to do with the original situation.  We cannot blame someone else for that thought process. WE choose it. So, the flip side is… CHOOSE NOT to think that way.

When those thoughts arise, stop them. Talk to Jesus. He ONLY tells you the TRUTH! Think about what HE’s already told you… what you already know is truth!
Philippians 4:8 says to think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely & of a good report!

 

Lots of thought will pop into our heads during the day, but it’s up to us if we’ll keep thinking & expounding on it or NOT!  Choose your thoughts. It keeps Hurts from Wounding us with their lies!

 

Certain of Uncertainty

 

 

It’s a sure thing. Uncertainty will come…       many, many times in life.

I like uncertainty in SOME areas.. it’s fun.

But even the fun  gets old after a while  & I starting “wanting to know what’s going on.”

That’s when faith must kick in, refocusing my thoughts from self to God & others…

then I’m OK again.

Without uncertainty there would be no need for faith!

 

(These  comments were prompted by my friend, Abby’s, recent blog)

Timid is Tempting

 

If you’ve been around me at all, you know that I’m not shy.. or timid… or

even remotely quiet. Nope. Not at all.  Usually I can talk to anyone and

find great pleasure in getting a “don’t-talk-to-me” kinda person to start

talking… and extra points if I can get them to smile.

(Like the somewhat-cranky ol farmer at Eastern Market who sells the yummiest

sweet corn… it’s taken me two years, but this past Saturday I got him

to smirk slightly and then kindly wish me “nice weekend!”  YES!)

But circumstances in life can smack us in the face and knock the confidence

right out from under us. It’s then that I can sometimes be tempted to just

quiet down & be more timid. But  really, those are the moments when I must

face this question:

Did my confidence come from myself?  or

Does my confidence come from my relationship with Jesus?


Sometimes it’s not the earth shattering things in life that mess with us, but

rather the smaller things that wanna play with our heads.  I’m walking

through a few of those situations, and  I’ve certainly winced in moments of temptation…

moments where I wanted to pull away,

stop being friendly & just close up my heart,

be overly cautious (aka fearful),

be too calculated about friendships & discipleship,

let my courage melt a little  (aka be timid)

think about myself,

second guess the “outgoing-ness” that makes me vulnerable,

be what I am NOT created to be simply because it feels safer.

It’s not safer. It’s horrible to be something/someone that God did NOT make

me to be simply because I’m afraid. Giving into fear means I’m

not trusting Jesus.

So…

*When our car is stolen out of our driveway & a check stolen from our front porch,

I will not ponder all the “what if’s.” I will remind myself of God’s calling, protection

& purpose for our lives.

* When dear friends move away, I will not shut my heart to current & new friends

because of the “fear of losing another friend.” (If I do shut out people then I’ve

already lost them)

*If my scale says something that makes me wanna cry, I will continue to do

my best, smile & love people. Self-consciousness only makes me ugly.

I will NOT cave into to any of these timid thoughts. They quickly take over and

gain power over me. It says that so plainly is 2 Peter 2:19  (The Voice)

—— “Whatever you give in to will soon become your master.”

Instead, I will give into the overwhelming, undeserved love & acceptance

of Jesus Christ!  I let go of fears & the damaging thoughts that go with them.

Jesus is my BEST friend. I will think about Him, read His Words, listen to Him,

talk to Him & give into Him. He’s my Master.

A Mentor once said…

 

“Give what you need!”

———————–-Jeanne Mayo

Years ago we heard Jeanne share this thought.

We’ve watched her live it, too.

It stuck to my head & heart. It’s true. It works.

If you need encouragement, give it to someone else.

If you need prayer, pray for someone else.

If you need a friend, be one.

If you need help, help someone else accomplish their task.

If you need hugs, give a tight one.

etc, etc…

Leadership of any kind can be a lonely place; teachers,

directors, CEOs, pastors, parents, managers, administrators &

captains can all experience the discouragement and “aloneness”

of leading the pack.

If we start thinking about what we’re NOT getting from other

people we’ll get frustrated & even resentful. Maturity decides

to GIVE the very thing you wished you had.