Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh So Happy

Do you believe you deserve it? Do you believe you've earned it? Do you believe you created it?


A word we all strive for, a word we all crave even if only silently, and yet a word that trips us all up. A word we can't ever seem to fully grasp with our hands. Is happiness possible or is it an illusion, a fairy tale that's called the "American Dream"?

I want to be happy and yet it seems that at times I sabotage the very things that will make me happy. I've also been told nothing ever makes me happy. Is it possible I fear being happy? After all, when you're down the only place to go is up but when you're up the only place to go is down. Right?

To me there is a difference between joy and happy. Joy is peace, that calm in the eye of the storm. Joy is centered around Christ, not me. Happy is a feeling, something that we can create. Happy can be taken from me just as easily as it's given.

Regardless of what you believe religiously I think we all agree on the fact that happy is something we all want. So, how do we get it? And how do we keep it?

The saying "if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything" rings so true; in fact, if you don't know what you stand for, if you don't know who you are then you'll never fully like the life you have and you'll never fully be happy.

I have a great life. I love being me. I also endure my share of heartache and shed many tears. I. Am. Happy. Why? Because life's circumstances don't define me nor do they dictate my future. I'm happy because I choose to be that way, regardless of what's going on. I have my off days, but I quickly get back up again, dust myself off and refocus where I'm looking. I'm happy because I stopped worrying about if I deserve it and I just accepted the gift it is. I'm happy because I'm loved.

You are loved too. You just have to decide if you're going to accept it...and be happy...or not.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Much to Give

The more research I do on not-for-profits the more I am realizing the vastness of our hearts. Money is being raised for animals, for nature, to restore antiques, buildings, kids on the street, sex-trafficking, depression, cancer, the list goes on and on. We could choose to look at it as heart breaking, to see the depth of need around us; I choose to look at it as an opportunity for compassion, an opportunity for love to be shown, an opportunity for us as individuals to get out of our comfort zone and give till it hurts.

Do we do that? Do we give till it hurts? Do we believe God when He says that He will supply all our needs? Or do we fear that ONLY our needs will be met and dang it we deserve that vacation!

I want to encourage us all to take time and really think about what we are doing with our time, our money, our thoughts, our talents/gifts. Are we using all of it to better the world we live in or are we doing it to better us? Are we teaching others our skills? Are we living outside ourselves and seeking ways to come alongside others? When we have a day off are we filling it with so much of our "list" that we don't take time to help the old lady get something off the top shelf at the store?

There's so much need around us. It can be overwhelming. I know. Listen to your heart, give where you are led. Give more than you planned on. Be compassionate. Be daring. Be a little less focused on what YOU deserve. And then...wait and see that the Lord is good.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's hard work

Since Sunday I have not listened to any music except Christian music. At first I thought it wasn't that big of deal, then I realized I miss country music all that keeps going through my head are awesome Christian songs about how cool God is and safe I am. Could be true what we listen to really does influence how we feel/what we think?

It's Thursday, typically by now I'm begging Friday to come as the week is brutal most of the time but today I just simply feel happy to be in this moment. I'm home, writing, after a busy day of meetings and taking Kaity to the ortho. I've listened to problems, prayed with others, talked about the glory of God in small things, and took a moment for just me and it's only a little after 2! Could it be when we align ourselves with God's path our path becomes less rocky/less unbearable?

So many times I say being a Christian is hard...the act itself isn't hard, following the commitment is hard. But then, having a healthy marriage is hard, being a wise parent is hard, working a job with no appreciation is hard, trusting in God is hard, doing what's right instead of what we want is hard. Commitment is hard. Dedication is hard. Our society is too "if you don't like it, change it"; that's not the foundation of Christianity at all. Staying steadfast, against the wind (family, friends, society) simply because God says too....that's freedom.

That's my word today, freedom. I have many decisions to make, fears to address, obstacles in my way yet today I feel free, giddy even.

Listen to Christian music, for more than a song. I dare you.
Embrace the moment your in instead of wishing for the next one. I dare you.
See the gifts you have and rest in them alone. I dare you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

she's so pretty

I am having a really good day and then....came across someones picture on facebook who is absolutely beautiful and suddenly I don't feel as good about myself. I instantly compared myself to her in every single way only to end the thinking with "she's much prettier than I am".

Why do we do that? Why do we compare ourselves to everyone we see? Why do we assume their life is so much better than ours? Why do we look to someone else to measure what beauty is instead of accepting the beauty that is within us?

1Peter 3:3-4 says "Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God."

A picture says a thousand words...those words can be false, my dad can manipulate a picture so much it doesn't even look like you. When we look at a picture we're seeing a single moment in time, that again can be altered. Over and over God says beauty is not skin deep and I would venture to say according to this passage beauty isn't even totally in the "eye of the beholder" because with that thinking we're still looking to someone to tell us we're beautiful, we're still comparing ourselves to the chick on facebook whom we know NOTHING about. She just has a really good photo (and she probably doesn't think she's very pretty).

I struggle with body image every single day. I hear the comments made about others and wonder what they must think of me, I see what someone "skinny" looks like and think that will never be me. I let a stupid picture alter my good mood....according to 1Peter that's just not ok.

I want to align myself with Truth, with what God says and no where in the bible does it say beauty depends on how I look in the mirror, how I look standing next to someone, how that chick looks to me. No where in the bible does it say compare yourself...what it does say is where's your heart according to your relationship with Christ.

So, I encourage you (and me) to recognize the next time we are tempted to judge someone according to their body to stop and judge where is our heart...because my friends, that's apparently the secret to being beautiful.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

sweetly broken

Sweetly broken. I remember when I first heard this song on the radio, I was so confused how being broken could be sweet in any way. Then I remember feeling total brokenness and as we sang the song in church I thought "I get it now".

To be broken, to know you have nothing else to turn to but God...well as the song say, what a priceless gift.

Today I am recovering from a 9 year old birthday sleep over. I'm recovering from a battle that lasted 10 months. I'm recovering from a heart ache that happened a life time ago. I'm recovering from who I use to be. Today I'm still broken and it's still completely sweet.

I encourage you to listen to this Jeremy Camp song, read the lyrics, soak it in. I encourage you to let yourself become broken, I mean really and utterly broken before the One who made you. I encourage to soak in the sweetness He has to offer so that you too can say it's not in person I find my joy, it's in my Creator.