Cutting the Cord

Standard

The soul that is attached to anything however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for, until the cord be broken, the bird cannot fly. – St John of the Cross

Here recently, I have had the desire to go sky diving. Maybe it’s because for once in my life I want to do something daring. I want to step out of the parameters I have enclosed myself in. But out of fear, I have not made the jump just yet. What if the parachute doesn’t open? What if this? What if that? Those thoughts end up killing the desire.

I relate this to toxic relationships. There are several that I have wanted to “cut the cord” with for some time, but out of fear I don’t. My realm of reasoning for such behavior consisted of: I’m supposed to love and forgive those that hurt me and give them a second chance. I believe there is good in them and that they can change.

You see, I have a “fear” of letting go.

But as I’m learning the hard way, I don’t have to keep hanging on to toxic relationships. I don’t have to hang around for insults and attacks on my character. I deserve better. I deserve friends that are going to support me, lift me up, encourage me, and not knock me down.  It’s true I have to forgive them, but I don’t have to keep trusting them and leaving the door open for further attacks.

Whether you find yourself dealing with toxic relationships or abusive (verbal, physical) ones for that matter, you can let go. You deserve better. You can cut the cord and free yourself of harm. I know it might be scary, but I assure you once you do, you will find that God’s grace swoops in like the parachute and carries you safely to the ground.

signature

Advertisements

In Our Own Hands

Standard

The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating an enemy is provided by the enemy himself. – Sun Tzu

For a few years in my childhood, my Dad lived in Nashville, TN. On his weekends, I would go down there for a visit. A visit usually included a trip to Chuck E Cheese and Whac-A-Mole was one of my favorite games to play.

For those who have no idea of what I am talking about here is little visual.

Don’t you just love the satisfaction of hitting them little suckers on the head? I certainly do!! 🙂 And the more you hit, the higher your score. Double bonus 🙂

At times, this is how I feel in the “game of life”. There is always an enemy popping his little head up trying to start trouble, to hit you in a weak spot with the intent of knocking you “off” your game.

He knows what bothers you. He knows what upsets you. So, he sends his little “moles” in to do his dirty work.  He’s fast and he is random too just like those in the game.  Sometimes those moles are random people and sometimes they are who you once considered a close friend.

The actions and words of the “moles” makes you start to doubt and question yourself which is exactly what the enemy wants. But just like those moles, you can squash those feelings, those emotions and send them right back into their holes. Who knows, with enough pressure applied, maybe you can defeat them once and for all.

As I am walking out yet another challenge and the raw feelings subside, I see through the little mole that the enemy has recently sent my way. I dig into myself to find the truth, the truth of who I am and what I stand for.  The truth that I know exists.

As that truth starts to make its way back, so does my power. I guess my enemy failed to realize that a little blow to the head wasn’t going to stop me. I always land on my feet and No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).

I’m not sure what enemy you are facing today, but I hope you are like me in that you pick up your mallet and get your “head” back in the game. Go ahead, whack that mole upside his head. It feels good, trust me 🙂

signature

Imperfect Love

Standard

You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. – Unknown

I use to think in order to receive love, you had to be perfect – blameless, no imperfections. I thought the person you were in love with had to be perfect too. You had to have the perfect little union, you know, do everything right all the time. I guess I thought love was achieved by works. It seems that life led me down this path of lies.

As I’m working out this word, love, I keep breaking down those lies brick by brick until I uncover the absolute truth.

perfect love

It’s kind of like my painting here. It’s not perfect. It might not be exactly what the professional teacher painted, but it is close to perfection for me 🙂 As I study my painting, I discover that love is not perfect. It is messy. It goes out of the lines sometimes. It is bright in some areas, and lacks luster in others.

As I pray over what I want in a husband, I realize the perfect man does not exist and he many never live up to my expectations. For all I know, I probably already found the “perfect” man and let him go due to him not fulfilling my long list of requirements.

But when I get the chance again, I’ll let go of that list and just shoot for this 🙂

the perfect guysignature

With Expectancy

Standard

Opportunities, many times, are so small that we glimpse them not and yet they are often the seeds of great enterprises. Opportunities are also everywhere and so you must always let your hook be hanging. When you least expect it, a great fish will swim by. – Og Mandino quotes

What is it to be expectant? When we hear the word, our minds immediately think of pregnancy. She is expecting. They are expecting their first child.

expectant

See, I was right. The synonym is pregnant. The Free Online dictionary even confirms 🙂

Do you remember as a young child when you wanted something so desperately and you ran to your Mom begging her for it? Her typical response was probably like this, “Go ask your Father”, right?

You all may have to tell me the verdict as I cannot relate. My Mom had to make the decisions as she was a single parent most of my childhood.  Her response was either “Yes or No, we cannot afford it.”

Here recently, the Lord has been heavily dealing with me on the word expectant and how it concerns my prayers. It seems I am double minded. Yes, I pray, I believe, but I doubt all at the same time.

He’s been showing me that I should pray with expectancy, one who anticipates their prayers will come through. I thought I was but I guess I was not showing that exciting feeling that something good was about to happen.

I think it all stems back to my childhood and the absent father issue. The people I expected to take care of me and come through for me either did not for selfish reasons or could not for issues of their own. So, I started depending on myself.

After dealing with this new discovery, I tried to pray with expectancy. However, I could not. I couldn’t say it convincingly. Maybe it was fear, fear of being disappointed. Maybe it was fear of sounding self-centered and having a sense of entitlement. Maybe it was because I felt unworthy. Nobody had ever shown me that I was worthy of receiving anything good so why would they start now?

I guess I needed a bit more convincing.

I was watching Biggest Loser Tuesday night when I got the so-called message. Alex was weighing in for her final weigh in of the week. As the scaled showed, she only lost 3 pounds. She wasn’t really disappointed though. She chalked it up as “doing her best”. But I like how Bob, her trainer, challenged her, kind of like how God challenged me.

Bob told her that 3 pounds was not her best. She could do better and she should expect better. He said that she deserves the world 🙂 You could see her eyes tear up. Maybe no one had ever told her that before. But I think then at that moment, she believed.

I agree with Bob. I think we all deserve the world. Your “world” may look different from mine – a book deal, traveling around inspiring others, and a husband. Maybe you want to lose weight and be the best shape possible like Alex or maybe you simply want to be loved.

I think whatever you strive for or hope for, do it with expectancy. Show the world that you know a change is on the way even though there are no visible signs present.

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5:3 NIV)

signature

The Day After Love

Standard

Today, if you were to walk through the seasonal section of any retail store, Target, Wal-Mart, or Kroger, you will find empty or scarce shelves where Valentines candy and merchandise once filled them.

empty shelf

And what is left over, will quickly be reduced to 50% off so the store can clear it out and make room for the next holiday.

mark downs

It’s sad, really. Valentines, the day of love, is only allocated for one day. No more. Then we go about our lives until the next year.

Americans spend nearly $20 billion dollars on Valentines day. Can you imagine if we averaged out that amount over 365 days just how different our world would be? What if we recognized and celebrated love every day?

I posted this pic from the Galentines event I went to last night at Lifeway.

Love comes from GodApparently, it inspired my friend Christy to share this.

Love isn’t about whether you’re married, in a relationship, single, you got flowers, chocolate, jewelry, dinner, a spa certificate, or whatever else today. Love comes from God. That’s all that matters. Love God first because love comes from HIM—not Valentines Day. That’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

So as I go about my day on this February 15th, the day after love, I’m going to continue as if it were Valentines Day and I’m going to love Him by extending love to others.

  • I’m going to buy that tub of Otis Spunkmeyer cookies from one of my kids at Church (even though I currently have a tub in the freezer), because I love her and I want to help her in achieving her goal.
  • I’m going to buy another subscription to a magazine that I could possibly not read because I love my niece and I want her to receive her Super Mario glow in the dark t-shirt. Besides I like being called a “super sponsor” 🙂super sponsor

Maybe I am different because love for me is 365 days a year and not just one. I know this because I’ve created room on the shelf of my heart that will last longer than a day. I’m so full of love at the moment that I cannot help but to extend it out to others 🙂

What does your shelf look like?

signature

The Cardboard Box

Standard

When I was little, my step-dad worked for a local furniture store in my home town. He made me a playhouse out of one of the tall boxes that the furniture came in. He cut out a door so I could go in and out and a window for me to see.

0001233_cardboard_shed_playhouse

Mine was not this fancy.

The playhouse set inside the breeze way of our apartment. I loved that playhouse. I played in it all the time. I kept it as long as I could until the elements of rain and wind ruined it and I eventually I had to throw it away.

Even though I grew up, I never truly grew out of staying inside a box. I always boxed myself in with tight parameters so only I could go in or see what was on the outside.

As I journey through this love thing, it requires that I step out of the box and take risks. I have to be vulnerable.

I shared this picture with an old love of mine with the message that said, “I hope this speaks to you like it did me.”

To Love is to be VulnerableRight after I sent the message, I immediately wanted to throw up and recall the message. That was so unlike me. I don’t send messages like this. I don’t put my heart on the line. But you know, I’m tired of my heart being unbreakable, unreachable. I want it to feel the elements just like my playhouse. I want to invite people in and let them see me.

My heart might be ruined in the process, but at least it will be alive and active. So what does your heart say about you? Are you still living in the box?

signature

The Chair

Standard

My Mom’s favorite chair is a rocking chair something like this. When I think of my Mom, I think of her rocking in that chair. The chair is as old as me and the wood on the arms is worn down. The carpet underneath wore a bit thin from where she rocked so much.

Rocking Chair (2)

She can sit for hours and just rock. She rocks while watching t.v. She rocks while catching up with a friend.  I think it soothes her.

Recently, my Pastor was teaching us about prayer. He played a video titled Coffee with God to introduce us to his lesson as well as to inspire us to set aside time to pray.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xU9GR4H0WQ

At first, I felt convicted after watching. I don’t always necessarily carve out time in my day to have quiet time with God. It seems like I work Him into my day – like getting ready in the morning or driving into work.

So, I chose my favorite spot on the couch as my chair. Every morning while having breakfast I meet with God and read Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer. This book has been right under my nose for a year now and I never read it. It seems right on time as my word for the year is love.

I read, then sometimes I pray using my prayer journal, or I just share what’s on my heart.  My time usually ends with me having to touch up my makeup as the more I share, the more tears fall.

I cannot accurately express what my time in the chair has done for me.  Something internally is changing. It’s like a new personality is emerging – one I’ve been craving and one I’ve been praying for. I feel like the load has been lifted and joy takes over.

We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly. . . spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order. – Susan Taylor

You know, I never understood how a chair could soothe you until I took a seat in it myself. That 9 minute video changed my life all because I made a point to find me a chair. So I ask you, “Where’s your chair?”

signature