Taking on a new attitude can be intimidating.

Forgive me for the language lesson but I found it helpful and interesting as I pondered my reason for the title.

The definition of intimidating according to http://www.dictionary.com is “to make timid; fill with fear”.

The Bible is full of Scripture that defines the attitudes Christians should have. This exert is from Philippians Chapter 5 (NKJV):” The Humbled and Exalted Christ. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The definition of attitude according to http://www.dictionary.com is “manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, especially of the mind“.

Luke 3:14 states “‘Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”’

I know I tend to judge people by what I see. It is easy to spot a phony (of any kind) when your guard is up. But let your guard down and boy, you are in for a world of hurt. People send emails knowing the person they are talking about won’t see it. Text messages complaining about a family member or another person they have in common go screaming through today’s media sources. We watch the news and see examples of this every day. It doesn’t matter if it is the famous or the unknowns, attitudes abound everywhere with everyone. So what is the solution? Do we even need one?

Scripture says we do need a solution and it provides the answer in many verses. I Corinthians 13:4-8 reads: “4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Part of Jesus’ mission was to show love to everyone, especially those who didn’t deserve it. So why would we think it is OK to not show everyone love? And what does that even look like?

We can agree we need a solution. But what is it? What do we do to fix the problem of bad attitudes? How do you love someone who just doesn’t deserve your love back? Here is where it gets rather sticky or intimidating. It isn’t that we cannot love each other or don’t want to. The problem is in our hearts not our heads. Remember, the word intimidating means fear and it injects itself into the situation. The heart feels the fear, the mind just processes it. So now the solution is blocked by fear. But where does this fear come from?

Galations 5:22-23 explains the fruit of the spirit. The first fruit he speaks of is love. “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.” The word fear does not appear in this chapter so why do we fear showing love?

Part of the reason, for some people, is they have not read and studied Scripture enough to know what God’s definition of love is. They don’t have any meaningful personal relationships or a relationship with Jesus Christ and therefore don’t know how love is intended to work. You have to learn how to love some people, especially if they don’t know how to love you back. And if they have never experienced love, then they really don’t know how to act or what it looks like. Everyone is afraid to open their hearts to love because of fear. Unfortunately one cannot exist without the other. No one wants to show how vulnerable they are so they avoid loving anyone. There are tons of examples and how-to’s written in Scripture and I doubt I could do them justice here, so I won’t try.

So, it is fear I have to overcome. Fear of loving someone sounds so strange and foreign to me. As I watch the news everyday, I see where people were brave enough to love someone and they turned out to be con artists or murderers. Well, that didn’t help the fear factor at all. Now I’m back to feeling intimidated. Just kidding. So now what?

Lets look at the definition of faith according to http://www.dictionary.com, “strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence”. It surprised me that it says “strong or unshakable”. By definition the word faith affirms that we cannot be plucked from our Father’s hand. This is reinforced with John 10:27-30, as it also affirms several other truths, it declares that our faith is set in stone. “27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” I was missing something simple, fundamental, basic yet vitally important. I was overlooking faith. That unseen force but ever so present feeling that draws us to the Father and keeps us in His hands. I had been looking for something harder to harness, impossible to find and something this world does not naturally have or do. In developing an attitude of love, I have to show love to the unlovable and have faith that God, the master orchestrator, will work out all of the details. I know He will.

 

 
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The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino

This is one of the best ways I have found to explain invisible illness to those who don’t understand. I have also learned to pray without ceasing which is a good thing anyway.

GentleKindness

I just read this article by by Christine Miserandino called The Spoon Theory.

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com – See more at: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/#sthash.Z6ekoAKf.dpuf

She describes how and when she came up with this way of communicating to others, what having an invisible illness is like.

Christina has Lupus, which causes a lot of fatigue and pain. It is not something that people can see, but it is very real. She used this spoon theory to allow someone to experience a day of having to make choices, based on a limited amount of energy and ability to do things.

I really love the way she explained this and this article is worth reading, if you struggle with people not understanding your inability to keep up with everyone else, due to an invisible illness.

Invisible illness can be a chronic pain disorder or disease, or it can be a mental / emotional illness , or a neurological…

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Still living the Journey!

This life is so fragile. One misstep and so many people can be impacted. A car accident, a fall from a ladder or a fight of words with someone can change our world in a matter of seconds. We sometimes seem to have blinders on as we trudge through our stressful and time limited days. It is easy to overlook the miraculous creations that surround us. The ones that are insignificant until we make them significant on purpose.

One of my favorite things to do, to bring me back to a level place in my head, is to look at nature. To silence the voices in my head, to quiet my anxious heart, to ignore the pain, just for a moment, to ponder the bloom on a rose. Simply breathe and look at the pedals, their ends, their stems, their thorns. I sometimes wonder how nature knows what to do and when to do it. Without a brain for thought, they simply exist. Something that would be utterly magnificent to be able to do. Just be! Think about it for a moment. What does that look like for you?

Father, Help me see Your miraculous creations in this world knowing that I am one too. In Jesus name, Amen.

Stay safe and God bless.

Image courtesy of Hubble Space Telescope, titled “Butterfly Nebula NGC 6302”.

Tell them you love them

When I was a freshman in high school, I had a crush on a neighborhood boy who was a senior and the sweetest man I have ever known next to my own dad. I wasn’t old enough to date but he would walk to my house several evenings a week to hang out. We’d play one on one basketball if no one else came around to join in. When it got dark, we’d sit in the swing and smooch until my dad would turn on the back floodlight which was my clue to come inside.

I was lousy at learning about people back then. Since he was on the football team, I thought I was way below his standards. As though football players were super special or untouchable or something. It took my relationship with him to teach me that wasn’t at all true. He had a wonderful and unique voice and did I tell you he was very sweet. After he graduated he started working and didn’t have the time he use to have. Needless to say, I missed him a lot.

We were great friends. I would see him in passing after that. At the gas station or at the grocery store but he never came to visit again. I guess we weren’t that great of friends. Or at least as great as I thought. Truth be known, I’m sure he found a girlfriend that was old enough for the relationship he wanted.

Fast forward 30 some years and I learn that he was still in our hometown area. Apparently he had a family, at least at one time. Well, he committed suicide a few months ago. I know nothing about his life after high school. I no longer ran into him anywhere. He was out of my life but would always be remembered as my first crush.

So what is the point of this post you may ask. Well, that is a good question. Ever since I learned of his death, I started having him show up in a few of my dreams. Dreams that don’t make sense. I know not all dreams do, but I can usually connect mine to something specific. Last night I dreamed he was staying in our spare room, even though we don’t have one. I woke up looking for an ashtray of all things. We don’t smoke so it was an odd thing to be focused on. I cried when I found out he died. At first I wasn’t sure if it was because I questioned his salvation or some lingering feelings that I thought were long gone. I figure it could be both. Maybe it hit me because he was such a sweet soul. Death is a sad thing regardless but I may never really understand any of this. Someone has said “you never forget the neighborhood kids you grew up with”. That’s true and sadly, I don’t know where any of them are. I came back home a few years ago to take care of my elderly parents. It has been a blessing but so much has changed. People are gone. Sometimes it feels foreign to me and other times it feels good. I’ll stick with the good!

It has made me realize how important it is to tell the people in your life how you feel about them and how important they are to you. I would hate to lose anyone, no matter by what means, thinking they didn’t know how much they were loved and appreciated. It makes me wonder if one person could have said that to him and it make such an impact that he would not have decided to end his life? Was it that simple? In a way I hope it was and in another I hope it wasn’t. The choice to end your life is such a drastic solution. I have known several people who have done this and I still shake my head. I can’t imagine what caused them to feel so bad and down that they would do that. I hope I never have to.

Stay safe and God bless.

On Writing.

I started writing about my life with my ex bi-polar, schizophrenic, narcissistic sociopath husband after I finally worked up the courage to leave him. I have wanted to turn it into a story befitting a book where only the names were changed to protect the innocent. I think I left it alone for a while because it was still so painful to deal with. Well, this week I started to edit and go over it. The pain was minimal so I think I’m ready to finish it. Wahoo!

I am trying very hard not to make it all his fault. I don’t want it to sound like a wife-bashing story. I recognize my fault in all of this but I also know that I have healed because I have sought to. He chooses to remain in the hell he has created for himself and continues to blame everyone for it. I know they call that denial but it is hard to look at face to face. The man in the mirror is rarely kind in that respect.

I think I will dedicate the book to him.  I won’t name him specifically, that would give him too much credit and make him famous which fuels his ego. I will also name my children since they are the ones that started my “awakening”. If it wasn’t for their insight and questioning everything that was happening, I may have never been able to confront my abuser. I only hope my ability to overcome this will somehow encourage my children to look out for behaviors that could be hiding in their own mirrors. My children are good Christians and have good family to support them which doesn’t make them immune, but hopefully aware. The lack of family support may have been part of my ex’s issues all along. But I may not learn the reasons this side of Heaven. I know God knows and that is good enough for me.

So wish me luck as I get a manuscript ready and we’ll see how it goes.

Stay safe and God bless.

 

So, why am I crying?

Just when you think you’ve healed all you can, this happens. Don’t get me wrong, hearing that the young husband of an in-law’s niece got saved tonight is absolutely miraculous, amazing and wonderful. Knowing that I prayed for years for my ex to one day “get it” and all he would do was to fake it…I don’t like crying for that mess. Yes, I know, I learned from it all and it wasn’t really about me anyway. But I had hoped and dreamed and prayed that at this age, 54, we would be slowing down and planning to retire soon and enjoy the rest of our lives together. It didn’t happen that way. He decided he had faked it long enough and wanted to live his life his way. Not that he hadn’t been doing that for 30 years anyway. It’s not like I was a nag or a cheat. I cherished the ground he walked on, for some reason. He never appreciated anyone. I don’t know why I thought I or his own children would be any different.

Mental illness is so misunderstood and under researched. Not that he would have accepted any help of any kind. We tried counseling several times and he would either quit going saying it wasn’t making me better (lol) or the counselor would tell him that until he is willing to accept his bad behavior being under his control, we were wasting our time. Thankfully I kept going and she was able to help me get over the years of trauma that he had caused and she taught me how to effectively stand up to his bullying.

Well, that was the reason for my mini-crying blast this evening. Just wanted to vent and share. Do some research on narcissism to make sure you are not with someone like this. It is very subtle and barely noticeable at first.

Stay safe and God bless.

“What are you doing?”

I can remember my mom asking me that question. It was usually when things got quiet in the house. I would always reply to her with one simple word, “nothing”. That’s when she knew she’d better find out what my “nothing” was. It was usually something mom wouldn’t like. When I recently spent a month with my daughter and her family, I asked my youngest granddaughter that same question. She also said “nothing”. Even if she had been sleeping or sitting staring out a window, which she doesn’t do because she would fall asleep, she could reply of those things. I told her she was at least “breathing”, and that it isn’t possible to be doing nothing. Sometime later after my return home, my daughter called me to say she had asked her that question. My granddaughters reply to her mom was, “breathing”. Ha, that’s my girl…lol.

But think about it. When I sit and do nothing, I feel guilty. Could I be so conditioned by our society to be busy and to be doing something, that I cannot do nothing without feeling like there is something I need to be doing?! I could be reading today or even take a short nap but when I sit down and look around, it feels like I should be working doing something. Breakfast was cleaned up after, there’s supper to get ready for but it’s too early to prep, I cleaned house already but I still feel guilty about doing nothing.

I’m pretty sure this comes from at least two avenues. First being that with Fibromyalgia and two different Arthritis’ the last thing I want anyone to think of me is that I’m lazy. The other side of that is the belief that I don’t need help and I can do it myself. Second I’ll give to God because I know the devil has a hand in trying to keep me so busy that I forget about Him. I work myself into a flare and then I have to sit down and with that comes a lot of pain, discomfort and even more guilt. It is an endless cycle with only one way out…Lot’s and lots of prayer.

Father, thank You that I can come to You for everything and You promise to provide. Thank You for Your peace and strength.

 

 

 

What ever happened to Prince Charming?

You know the guy…the one that rides in on a beautiful white horse to save the damsel in distress. Or the one that happens to be in the right place at the right time to save the day. The old fairy tales of yore when your heart sank as they gazed into each others eyes before the brilliantly wonderful first kiss. Wow, I think I may gag…lol.

Did he ever really exist at all or was he just a dream someone remembered during her distress? We wake up everyday with our own dreams of finding such an elusive, wonderful, perfect mate. And what if we catch him? Will he remain the charming prince of a rescuer or turn into the scoundrel we usually wind up with in the end. You know, the one that cheats with your best friend, or does drugs behind your back and has a gambling problem on top of it all.

Do we have any hope of finding that all elusive perfect soul mate? Does it even exist? Could that dream actually be real? Then it wouldn’t be a dream. So does this reality really exist then? Who knows. I guess it is our dreams that keep us going. Thinking that maybe one day it will happen. You’ll be in a place and across the way from you there is a prince charming of a man watching you. Be careful, he could be a stalker.

Stay safe and God bless…

 

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

As Mother’s Day approaches every year, I love to search for small memories of growing up. Our mom was the homemaker who made us breakfast before school every morning regardless of how she felt. She drove us to school and picked us up until we were old enough to safely walk home together or with friends. When it was supper time you could hear mom call us from a few streets away. Or she would poke her head out the back door and tell our friends it was time for them to go home. Mom kept home safe and ruled with a love-wrapped iron fist. She was our example in every day life. She was our teacher and our safe harbor. Everyday she taught us some little something about God’s love either spoken or by her actions.

As we grew up and started to date, mom was there for every aspect. She was out spoken when she didn’t think either we or they were behaving right. She caught us when we floated with joy and when we crashed in tears. It was mom who taught us how to drive, sure dad would drive with us on the weekends when he was home. But mom did most of that work. She quietly but sternly corrected us whenever and where ever we needed it. Yes, we had to pick our own switches to get whipped with but she did it because she needed to, not because she wanted to hurt us. It is because of mom (and dad, of course) that we are responsible, respectable, polite and upstanding citizens.

It wasn’t enough to just tell you how great our mom is. I had to tell you why. I could go on for days about her but I think you get the idea. I can’t imagine life without her. Hopefully she will live as long as I do so I won’t have to deal with that. But I know that is a dream and may not happen the way I want it to. I actually don’t want to lose either of our parents. I have heard some people actually say they will be glad when so-in-so is gone. I can’t imagine feeling like that about our parents. They are both amazing people.

I figure they must have done something right somewhere along the line. Dad was able to retire from the railroad in 2000. So he has had 15 years so far to enjoy the life he built for his family. We are so blessed it is hard to find words. A few years ago they invited me to move back into the family home. I was skeptical at first but it has been a real blessing. I was divorced and my children are grown with families of their own. I took it as a blessing from the beginning because I was not looking forward to getting the call in the middle of the night that I needed to come home for a medical reason. Praise God, they are mostly healthy, just getting older…lol.

I think part of that equation has to be their faith and walk with Jesus. Some may say sure, it’s just coincidence, but I beg to differ. They have friends that are older and younger than they are and they are dying or having major health problems. My parents have health issues but nothing major. They are survivors and taught us how to be survivors too. I hope all of this has rubbed off on my children. Of course, we know who holds them in His hands.

Thank you Father for our Mom (and Dad) and the many blessings I would never be able to list.

Stay safe and God bless…

Silence is Golden!

I remember Mom telling us many times while growing up that “Silence is Golden”. But I never really understood why. We would be in a group of mixed age people and our parents would be chatting with their friends and mom would hold her finger to her lips showing the “Shush” hand gesture. We complied even after finishing school knowing that mom had her reasons. And sure enough by listening to these conversations, we would learn a great deal about the situation being discussed or about the people doing the talking.

Later, I would do and say the same thing to my children. They too learned that you can learn more in silence than in talking. Fast forward to today and finding silence is the hardest thing I do. I don’t turn on my TV when I wake up. I usually don’t turn it on until the evening news. But someone else in the house will turn one on then there’s a TV blaring from somewhere. Finding a place of silence is extremely difficult most days.

I can go into my walk-in closet and sit and no one knows I am there. But it isn’t a quiet place to get silence. I can go outside and sit in the swing to just hear the outside world and that is great until the neighbor cranks the lawnmower or leaf blower. I can put my ear buds in without the music but even then I hear the hum of my tinnitus.

This rant started because I found a quiet time outside in the swing this afternoon. My mom and dad came out and we quietly said something from time to time. But that ended with the blare of noise from a cell phone.  There went my silence. I prayed for peace to deal with this and It came. But I was still perturbed because my quiet had been invaded. I wanted to say something but I knew it would be misunderstood. So I called on more peace and enjoyed what I could.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my family, but having silence is important to me. It is the place where I hear God’s small voice the loudest. I will continue to ask for God’s peace and look for silence where ever I can get it.

Stay safe and God bless you.

5/4/15 Addendum to the Rant.

I kid you not…mom, who is 78 and still kicking butt, was doing the dishes after breakfast. She had a drying towel in one hand and a coffee cup in the other. She walked into the living room, turned on the TV and returned to the kitchen to finish the dishes. Aarrrggggg! I just can’t win…lol.