Archive for the ‘Encourage Yourself’ Category

Perched

 

 

This is a letter to myself. A letter to myself that I am sharing with you in hopes that it might help you as it is slowly helping me.

 

Today I was at my wits end. Recently I have been struggling with intense overcast feelings to the extent of not wanting to leave my bed and feeling as one without hope. I blamed these feelings that I felt on many circumstances that I was drowning in. External pressures, external loss and disappointment. I was a victim of my circumstances. And I couldn’t overcome it. As a Type A personality I do very well at burying my feelings and emotions under work. I schedule my days to leave no time to think, reflect… or to breakdown. My mind is always moving, always achieving. But I couldn’t shake the cloud that had been following me. It was persistent, vigilant, shaking its hand at every ray of sunshine that tried to lighten my way.

 

Then something happened that took me from sitting under a cloud, to sitting under a cloud, as it began to downpour. With no coat or umbrella, I felt like shaking my hands at God. Was I not low enough? How well was I handling the cloud, that made you decide now was the time to bring the rain!

 

During this pity party, which was hosted and attended by me and myself alone, I came to the realization that my perception of the intensity of my circumstances stemmed from one issue. I tried to quiet all of the external voices for one second and the only voice left was my own. And I was screaming one thing. “God why have you discarded me! You have left me!”

 

The only reason my circumstances were drowning me was because I no longer believed that I had a lifeguard watching over me, ready to dive in and buoy me up. I felt that God was absent, uncaring, and un-invested. I felt like I was fighting a battle myself when I should have been letting God fight for me. But how could I sit back and let God fight for me if I didn’t believe He was on my side? Or even if He was on my side maybe He was unfeeling. He didn’t have anything to lose in this game! When I am doubling-over in pain that’s just me hurting, me alone. Why should I let him direct me if I have to face the aftermath by myself? When Job had sores on his body (Job 2:7) and his breath was putrid. God was unaffected!

 

I shocked myself with my thoughts. I pride myself on being pretty well read biblically. I could have quoted to you: Isaiah 49:15, which says “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” Or Lamentations 3:32, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”

 

But the problem was the Bible is just a book, unless you believe in the power of the words there in. In my pain I reached out to someone, which in and of itself is incredibly unlike me. But I needed someone to remind me of those words. But not just the word, the power behind those words. I needed someone to tell me those words and hear in their voice that they believed that which they were saying to be the truth. Like a match to a candle I was reminded of what I had long sought.

 

Romans 8: 38-39; “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

I wish I could tell you I am equally as persuaded as Paul was when he was writing this verse; after facing beatings and imprisonment. I am not there yet, partly because I haven’t been tested on that level. I don’t want to be to you like Peter who swore twice He would not deny our Lord and Savior, only to deny him thrice (Luke 22:54-62). But I will tell you that though I still remain perched under my cloud, the rain has slowed and when I reach out beside me I recognize that I am no longer alone.

 

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Ideal Time

What would you accomplish if you waited till you were in ideal circumstances before you acted? What if you waited till you felt sure that what you were doing would succeed? Self-care and timing are extremely important, but as long as we have life there is the potential for things to go awry, plans to fail, and disappointments to occur. If we sit around waiting for ideal circumstances we might never accomplish what we set out to.

 

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Don’t spend so much time tending the soil that you never plant the seed. Do what you can with what you have and soon what you have to work with will increase. Focus less on the things you can’t control about your situation and begin to change and work on the things you can.

Not special, but Strong

Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you are strong. Stronger than you know. Stronger than you give yourself credit for. Strong despite those who left you or hurt you. Your worth is not a variable that someone can thumbs up on Facebook, or unfollow on Twitter. Your worth is grounded in who you are. Who God made you to be. Even on your worst day, after your biggest mistakes, in your loneliest places, you are worth something.

 

No matter how much loss you’ve experienced, rejection you face or road blocks in your way, the fact that you are still here, still alive, still waking up each morning, putting one foot in front of the other and weathering whatever storm life brings, proves your strength! I don’t care if you break down and cry, or get lost in periods of depression or self-hate. I see your strength when you put on a brave face and show up to work on time, smile at a stranger, or make dinner for your kids.

 

Take time to appreciate how far you have come without drowning in the awareness that there is still further yet to go. Notice the wounds that have become scars. Maybe they aren’t fully healed, and maybe they are still tender to the touch, but Praise God for the ones that no longer bleed!

 

This life is hard; but take comfort in the fact that your struggles don’t make you special, because we—individuals all over the world, are with you, struggling together. Your struggle is like a unique snowflake but together we are snow helping each other stay alive, whereas alone we might melt. Today I am praying for you, in the same way I hope you are praying for me. That we keep fighting, we keep surviving, and we keep overcoming.

 

You are strong! Find your strength.

 

 

 

 

A letter to myself

Lose sight of perfection, and get lost in the journey. Be okay with falling, failing. Be okay with scars. Be okay with never being quite good enough. Be okay if the finish line moves with every step you take. As you improve so do the expectations placed on you. As you go high, anticipate harder falls. But when you fall, don’t stay down. Don’t stay defeated.

 

Don’t let sadness engulf you or misery define you. When people criticize you take whatever you can from it, but do not internalize it. Hear it, listen to it, learn from it, and let it go.

 

Don’t let the sadness of a previous day follow you for the rest of the week. Don’t hide yourself from hurt. Allow it to hit you like a wave, then wash it away. Wake up every day and try your best. Brush your teeth, take a shower, and be grateful for another day.

 

Let perspective find you, let joy lift you up. Find a shoulder to cry on, and if none appear, tell your troubles to Jesus. He has the kindest ear, the softest heart, the biggest smile, and a light that brings cheer.

 

You are okay, if not, you will be. The weight you carry will grow lighter as you become stronger. Believe in yourself the way you believe in others. Have faith, love, and hope. Be kind, and don’t forget to smile.

 

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Condemnation

 

Today I take the power away from you to tear me down with your words. To shake my confidence. To make me feel like I am a failure. I won’t let you or anyone else have that power. Not anymore.

 

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10)

 

When you derive your sense of worth from anything outside of God, it can easily be taken away. The same people, person, institution that builds you up can tear your down in a single instance. With a single word. Even if you derive your worth from your sense of self, one day you will inevitably fall short even by your own standards.

 

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. (John 8:11)

 

You may not feel worthy, or deserving, or even good. But God doesn’t shun you in your brokenness. Jesus doesn’t kick us when we are down; He extends His hands to lift us up.

 

Be lifted up oh my soul. You are a child of the King.

 

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Chilled

Right now I would really love to cling to self-pity like a blanket on a cool day. I try and wrap myself up in it, but somehow either it is too short or I am too tall and my toes end up peeking out. When everything is going well, something, one thing has to just completely fall apart. If I cover my feet, my shoulders get exposed if I cover my shoulders the chill grips my feet.

 

Why can’t everything just be perfect all at once? The bad definitely doesn’t outweigh the good. But like a persistent and painful bug bite the pain that targets one little spot can shift the equilibrium of the rest of the body. We never get a bug bite and say “thank God” the bug just bit me right on my foot, or just on my ear, it could have bitten me all over. No instead we swear that we got the cursed bite in the first place!

 

It is true that we don’t know what we have till its gone, and we don’t appreciate the simple things till its absence reminds us of its importance. This is the same way we can focus so much on what is wrong that we don’t appreciate all that has gone right. Yeah tonight the proverbial blanket has left my toes out in the cold, but I will try and be thankful that in this chill I find myself blessed with a warm thick blanket that covers the majority of my body in the first place.

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Victim mentality

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When you begin to think about all the negative things that were done to you or against youthe people who betrayed you, mistreated you, or left you… 

 

    Do you see yourself as a victim?

 

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Somehow the effect of others on our own lives is sometimes unreasonably magnified. We begin to see ourselves through the eyes of other people instead of seeking ownership of our own identify in order to flourish despite hardship. To allow the actions of others to change you in a negative way is to give them a power over you they don’t deserve. It makes you twice a victim: a victim in the moment of abuse or hurt, and forever a victim holding on to a hurt that festers and multiples. We let ourselves become bitter and disenchanted, continually carrying a chip on our shoulder, when we should just take whatever pieces of wisdom and life lessons that experience taught us and live life fully empowered.

 

As a victim often times you are living with a burden that your abuser does not share. They may have moved on with their lives, but you can’t… or won’t let yourself do the same. The greatest comeback from any kind of difficult situation is happiness with self and peace. You are not your pain, or your abuse. You are greater than that and you have the power to mentally let go of the pain that you may have physically walked away from years ago.

 

Life is more than a series of good or bad events that happened to you. Well at least it can be more than that, if you decide to be an active participant in your own life. You are sitting in a parked car, and as the seasons change the heavy rain fall turns to bitter hail. All around you looks bleak and gloomy. But you are unaware that right across the street from you is a gas station. If you look into your pocket you will find enough bills for you fill your tank. Key in hand, tank full. YOU decide where you go. You can drive to the safety of shelter and rest close by, or if you are willing to travel a little further you can dwell in warmth and sunshine. You have the key. Your future direction is in your hand.

 

The past has already been written, but your future is a clean slate of endless opportunities. Be encouraged.