Friday, July 25, 2014

You're Next

I remember being in high school and going to talks that were held in the gym, they were meant to be inspirational talks, but I used that time to sit with my boyfriend, holding hands, and whispering about the upcoming party. I can't recall a single speaker let alone any impact they had on my life. Those talks were free time from class, from school, from teachers.

This morning I talked with a friend about how to take her idea and branch it out, reach more of the next generation and in essence give them the very talks I tuned out, because now later in life I cling to those types of talks. I've thought about this conversation all day--how could the message be spun in a way that ears will not just hear, but hearts will grab onto, believe in, and become?

I'm quick to admit faults I've made with my children, not because I want to say "man I'm such a screw up" but because I believe lessons are learned in order to be taught. The older I've gotten, the older my children have gotten, and the more conversations I have with other the more I have come to realize WE ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Kids are smart. Really smart. So for us to stand in front of them and list off a bunch of "words to live by" is empty. If we stand in front of them and tell them all the things we did wrong, they will just assume "I will not be like you." And if we give them rules to obey because we think it'll help them make wiser choices, we've only created barriers between them and us. None of that stuff works...totally.

What do we need? What WILL work?

I received a Thank You note the other day from a girl who's in her early 20's, I've only met her once (5 months ago) and in her note she stated "thank you for taking the time to ask about my life, to care." What I learned in that Thank You note is this: By having one conversation of being intentional, pausing in the moment and truly being present, letting that person know I'm totally listening and I actually want you to share is worth far more than the list of books to read that will impact your life, the list of TedTalks to watch that will stretch your thinking, or the pep rallies to attend that will inspire you to become the next president of something.


It's all about relationship. I'm not talking about the type of relationship that requires constant attention. I'm talking about the fact that we are relational beings, we want to be heard, we want to know we matter. 

So, instead of complaining about the upcoming generation and all the things you see wrong with it, pause and invest; take the time to be relational. Instead of expecting everyone else to do the work for you, instead of feeling like there's nothing you can do, be active and intentional with those you come in contact with; because when it's all put together from pep rallies to check out lanes is when lives are changed.

I talked with that young lady over lunch and honestly I can't recall the conversation, but that moment wasn't about me, it was about her. I don't need to recall the conversation, God was present, doing His thing and I was the vessel He used (a prayer I pray often, let me be your vessel)

You're next. Be the vessel. Be present. Be relational.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hurting Me Hurting You

It's so easy to get upset with someone when they hurt us. It's so easy to lash back at them when they wound us with their words or actions. It's so easy to be angry instead of doing the work to be better.

"Do what is right, not what is easy." That's a phrase I have said countless times over the years to my children, it's a phrase I believe deeply in and yet didn't understand until well into adulthood. It's a phrase that is far from comfortable, far from natural and certainly far from what society teaches us. It's the exact opposite of "Old Carla."

The other day someone said something to me and my feelings were instantly hurt. In reflecting back on that moment I realized that my instant reaction wasn't to lash out, to say "well, YOU..." nor was my instant reaction to turn and run. My instant reaction was to stay quiet and say a quick prayer of "God, help me."  While that person was spewing pain, I was able to remain calm and get us both through the moment with less wounding instead of more wounding...which is what would have happened if I had responded the way I used too, the way a part of me still wanted too.

When we hear things like "there is power in the name of Jesus" and "God changes us from the inside out" we are often quick to judge and quick to doubt. What kind of power? You haven't really changed all that much!  That's typically our heart's reaction. 


The power comes in those moments that we show strength, honor, dignity, maturity, and self control. The power is when we are given advice by our friends to basically bite back and yet we have a whisper inside us saying, "don't do that"....and we listen to the whisper. The power is when we can reflect and see growth.

Each time you are hurt, each time someone wounds you and you choose to not act on that wound but rather act out of the love in your heart THAT is the point of Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds."

It's one decision at a time, friends. Choose this time to follow the whisper, not the shout. Join me in allowing God to change us, to make us better; after all, hurting you because you hurt me leads to only more hurt.