Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What is Your Kryptonite?

I am not superman, but I definitely have my own kryptonite.  I bet you do too.  Have you ever thought about what it is? 

Why even think about it?  We may not be dodging into phone booths (I know, what is that - ha!) and changing into our super outfit to save people from a nearby, evil nemesis, but you are the hero of your life, at least you should be.  You also aren't perfect so you can either be ignorant and ignore all your shortcomings or fake and pretend they don't exist, or you can put on your big girl pants and face it. 

What's my kryptonite? I'm severely easily distracted.  I mean I can be talking to you about one thing and then...squirrel!  So my phone is my enemy, because I can get on Facebook to update a group I run or add to an event and before I know it an hour has gone by and I haven't done what I went on to do. 

Knowing this about myself means I have to be intentional.  To get anything done, I must have lists and limits so that I can stay on track.  If I don't, the day will go by and nothing will have been accomplished.  If I need a vaca day then that is fine, but if my family wants to eat (aka, oops I forgot to add dinner to the crockpot or even defrost the meat), and I need to keep the internet on (aka, I forgot to pay the bills), I have to get my list done, not to mention the lists I have for my jobs and every other hat I wear (and yes, I know I do way too much, but baby steps is my pace in the better myself arena). 

Thankfully, when I focus, I can get a lot done.  I'm also great when things fall a part, I have a knack for just rolling with it and finding something that will work when a crisis takes over an event. 

The point is I must first:

1.  Know my kryptonite

Then I can:

2. Create a plan to combat it

And only then can I:

3. Slay the day :)

Do you have goals for your life or even day?  If not, get them because you are just wasting time, and if so are you doing what you need to do to accomplish them? 

Excuses are just that.  If you want to get er' done, you need a plan and that has be broken down into attainable steps.  But the plan will fall a part if you don't recognize your kryptonite and create a plan to overcome it.  Just accept that it is there and prepare yourself to knock it down or avoid it with  your patterns and plan. 

I don't know who is reading this, but I know you are a human being with a purpose.  Why not live life to the fullest?  That is what my Bible tells me Jesus came to give us - abundant life.  So what is stopping you?  The answer usually involves yourself and usually your kryptonite. 

I'd love to hear from you.  Comment, message me, and let me know if this is helping you.  I don't need to write just to have my words fill a page.  I want it to make a difference.  Is there something you would like to hear more about?  Tell me.  Introduce yourself.  I promise - I'm listening!  Happy Wednesday.  Decide what you want out of life and start your journey today.  If you already know, motivate and keep going.  God bless, my friends.  - Carrie

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Are You Asking Your Kids the Wrong Question?

Do you remember this question - What do you want to be when you grow up?  I remember getting asked this a lot throughout my childhood and adolescents, and I even ask my own kids this same question. Its a great question - dreaming and self-actualization are great tools for personal success. While creating a sense of wonder for the future is a good thing, there is a problem with this question.  

First, when do we actually grow up?  Do you remember that day?  I don't.  I have life defining moments and even milestones that mark the path of my life - graduation, marriage, motherhood...but I'm still growing up.  Subconsciously, we send the message that "growing up" is some destination we get to when we stop being a child and have a career.  But the truth is the journey of growing up is life long.

On a recent episode of "Better Late Than Never" Jeff Dye said something like - when we are young we want to fit in and be like everyone else but there comes a time when being different is good and we want to know who we are and what separates us from the crowd.  It is a process of becoming us; the ride doesn't end until the day we die. 

I had a professor at TCU that did her Doctoral dissertation on the topic of wedding psychology.  One of the many insights she shared with me included the pitfall in calling your wedding day the "happiest day of your life."  This is another example of subsciously setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. What do you have to look forward to after that? 

 Second, how many adults these days have one career?  Even our work like is a mixed bag of different jobs.  We must continue to live each day with vision and purpose, and the likelihood that each of us will grow up to be one thing, just isn't reasonable.  I'm approaching 40 and have to look at what is next because my job as Youth Pastor isn't something one tends to do until a traditional retirement age, not to mention, non-profit hasn't provided me with any tools to retire someday, so I have to prepare for the next chapter. 

I don't think I'm alone.  I have a friend that just lost a job after 22 years of dedicated service and has to regroup and figure out what is on the horizon.  Which leads me to my third point...

Our focus should be on the type of person we want to be, not the job we choose.  People of character and community are much more admirable dreams than a job title.  Knowing your child wants to be someone who helps people can lead to a discussion on how they will do so - surgeon, nurse, police officer, politician, pastor, teacher, counselor...

This helps us to know and make known the heart of our children.  Knowing your personality and your hearts desires are a great compass for when you navigate life.  There will always be bumps along the journey and knowing yourself aids you in adjusting as necessary. 

I think its time we start having broader discussions with our kids and ourselves.  How well do you know yourself?  Google resources on personality tests and discover something new about yourself!  Its fun, I promise. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What My Tears Don't Mean

I felt inspired by an article my friend shared on Facebook.  The article was about helping a friend after the loss of a baby.  As I read the author's words, the sentence below struck me. 

"Of course I might cry when you bring it up in the grocery store. But of COURSE I want you to acknowledge what Sheryl Sandberg calls “the elephant in the room” – in my case, the fact that my baby has died."

You see, I haven't lost a baby recently, and while I can identify with all this article shares after my abortion twenty-one years ago and my miscarriage 7ish years ago; it was actually the bit on crying that gave me pause. 

I am a crier.  It is crazy the way people respond to my show of emotion.  I get it, its awkward and if my tears are in response to the real-life trial I just shared with you, I usually give voice to the awkward, but I am not apologizing for those tears. 


Crying is normal.  Pretending it isn't, is what is not normal. 

My tears in response to life don't mean:

1. I'm weak

2.  You should leave me alone

3. You should just restrict our talks to butterflies and Kardashians.

4. I need you to fix my problems

If I trust you enough to share my heart with you and be vulnerable, then swim in the awkward with me.  That is the path to true relationships. 

When I preached two weeks ago, I said the following which I whole-heartedly still agree with:

"Truth, authenticity, vulnerability and humility, birth - compassion, kindness, patience and true relationships."
We live in a culture that is zapping the true, authentic vulnerability out of our existence and we are lacking a compassion for those around us and a necessary connection as a result. 
Sure its hard to sit in silence with someone who's facing grief, or hug a friend when you aren't a hugger, but the things that really matter, typically are hard. 
This truth doesn't just apply to me, it applies to us all.  In the past few months, I grieved with friends going through divorce; friends at a funeral of a loved one.  I've talked with friends walking in grief from the loss of a mother, friend or child and just got a call last week, that my sister's friend abruptly passed away.  I have family battling cancer and friends who kids are also warring against that evil disease, I have friends who lost a job and are not sure what will happen, and friends struggling with depression or substance abuse. 
Crying is a way to process our hardship and feelings. Crying is a healthy expression of emotion.  Sure there is a time and place for everything, but when in the company of friends and family, we should all feel safe to share our heart. 
Let's be real, and give others the space to do the same.  Life is hard enough without having it have it all together and pretend we are all good, when we aren't. 
  • Do you need to give yourself or someone in your life space to cry? 
  • Do you need to swim in the awkward without having to have all the answers or make someone feel bad for their ability to show up in the conversation? 
Go be a friend and a listening hear, offer a hug and let people be where they actually are, even when its uncomfortable or stop pretending you are okay when you are truly struggling.  Being real is where the journey begins.  God bless your week!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Why Forgiveness Is Not Enough

Last Sunday I filled in for our Pastor (aka my dad) who is in Israel right now.  I decided to add to a sermon series he’d concluded the week prior..  Our final act for  his series on the heart, was to write down the lies we believed or the grieves we were holding onto, on a sheet of paper, that we then took out to a fire pit and burned.  It was a beautiful symbolic act and something I applaud.

Being able to identify the load of crap you've bought into or being able to face the parts of your past that seem to still have a grip on you, all by itself, is a miracle.  Dr. David D Burns shares in his book, "When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life" that most outlined steps to change, seldom recognize the first obstacle is getting people to want to change.  Change and self-reflection are subjects we talk about but often do nothing about.  That means writing things down and burning it is a breakthrough, but the problem is, the symbolic gesture of letting go isn't enough. 

Yes,God has forgiven me.

True, I can't live in the past. 

But, saying those things and pretending you have moved on when,  in fact you just ignore the pain, isn't enough! 

Let's be honest, life sucks.  Sure it doesn't all suck and perspective is a huge factor in our quality of live, but obstacles and loss are a part of life.  We don't live in a society that takes the time to grieve and process that loss, so if we are an admired member of society we just trek on and pick up some new socially acceptable addiction that allows us to push through life and survive. 

I don't want to survive.  I don't want to settle for the status quo.  I want freedom and I want to succeed and thrive, not just in my business but in my life.  I want to sleep and go to bed without guilt of what I've done.  I want the freedom to be myself without the confines of my past shame or regret. I believe if you are reading this, you want that too!

That only happens when we:

1. Face the Past
2. Replace the Lies Or Redefine Our Norms
3. Create a New Path

God knows life is hard and he knows we get hurt by the junk we encounter and he wants us to properly handle it which is why he tells us to demolish those lies and take our thoughts captive.  (2 Corinthians 10:5) 

To get to a good place, we must wallow in the mud of our stuff.  That process looks different depending on what you have walked. 

When I sew something (usually very basic) and the stitching is bunched up or in the wrong place, I have to go in there and rip out the thread.  I have to do it carefully so as not to damage the fabric.  This is the same process when we allow ourselves the space to heal from our past - it takes time and attention, and I have to take the old out before I can redo it. 

Just like a fender bender can leave a dent in your bumper, when we get banged around in life, we experience emotional bumps and bruises.  We accumulate these messages about ourselves that often are misguided or outright lies and they change the decisions we make and the thoughts we entertain.  We then lug these hurts around with us and allow them to taint how we see ourselves and the world around us.  Forgiveness and a choice to be done with it prepares us to actually get in there and replace the faulty patterns. 

Isaiah 43:9 says - "For I am about to do something new."

My freshman year of college, I ugly cried for hours (without a much needed box of tissues) and when I was done yelling at God for the pain I'd been carrying for years, I heard God say, "Finally, I have been waiting for you to get that out so I could pour myself into you."  It was like a pitcher of filthy water that I had to dump so that God could put clean, drinkable water into that pitcher. 

Where are you in this process, and what is your next step.  The truth is, I've already done this with two major parts of my past and am in process on a third right now.  In the process of properly handling my past, I'm learning skills to help me process the present and that, my friends, is amazing!  Will you join me?  We can't change the past, but we don't have to let it keep changing us!  If you are someone walking through a rough time, let me encourage you to go against our culture, grieve and inventory all that is coming at you, but take your time.  Don't rush away from pain, yes it hurts, but healing takes time and you don't want to come back to it later because you didn't let yourself heal. 

Its okay to be in process, living any other way, is just FICTION!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Finding Your Tribe

There is something amazing when you can look back over the past few months and see God working in your life.  Have you ever experienced that?  You know, like when you have 3 conversations with people in completely different circles and they all say the same thing!  When I was in junior high I had two people in two different countries share with me the exact same scripture.  I remember thinking - I better pay attention to this!

October of last year, I attended the Organic Outreach Conference in Monterey, CA.  It was amazing and if you want to know more about it, go check out their website

I can tell you, I took copious notes at the conference.  I am a note taker, not just from the speakers but all the ideas their thoughts spark in my own brain.  Generating ideas is kind of my jam - following through on all the ideas, is not!  Pretty sure if I had both skills mastered, I'd be a millionaire by now. 

Anyway,  one of the many people I found quotable, was a man named Mike Brock.  He shared a sentence as a side note toward the end of a breakout session that resonated with me. 

While I don't have a direct quote, what he said went something like this:

We need to reconcile our pretentious nature, when we think "God told me...", and recognize if he told you, he told thousands of other people.  Instead of standing up and saying, "God said.." find those others God spoke to and partner with them.

I have loved the journey that those words sent me on.  I didn't start out seeking a tribe of like-minded visionaries, but it definitely opened me up to the lessons I was learning.  I've already talked about the Brené Brown quote that Lindsey Teague Moreno referenced in her book, "Getting Noticed."  I was floored when I discovered this woman (much smarter than me) with the same passion.  I started off in college looking at Social Work as a major, but quickly realized my overly sensitive heart would get swallowed alive in that field, and chose Communications instead.

I love people and discovering how they tick.  My own path as created a desire to see people find their voice and walk in freedom from the pain of their past.  This woman in her talks on shame, vulnerability, emotions and daring to live bravely as we rise strong after falling, was in sync with my mantras and personal journey. 

I'm obviously not joining Brené in her research or tagging along for her speaking engagements, but seeing that common thread being spoken from someone of her caliber has given me cause to celebrate.  Its inspired me to keep moving forward because I'm not alone.  I don't need to be any of the women who have inspired me over the last few months (and that list is growing exponentially), but I've been empowered by their stories and themes to be myself.

Its easy to feel alone and while a surge of pride can be appealing when you feel God has spoken to you, that pretentious nature doesn't foster community or even promote confidence, because if we seek to be the lone wolf in the fight for our cause we will in fact be, alone.  Who wants that life?  Okay so I realize that appeals to some people, but I am not one of them.  I want my alone time but I have no desire to be isolated in this world.  Hearing that Brené's research has revealed most people struggle with the same insecurities I have, is freeing.  As she says (and I paraphrase), we may be crazy, but no more than the next person.

I need to keep going and fighting because others need me, not because I am some superwoman. Its my responsibility to speak from my life as an encouragement to others and protect that connection with my tribe - those of you being real and putting yourself out there for the benefit of others.  Why else are we here?!  I'm glad I paid attention to what God was trying to speak into my life.

Do you need that encouragement to fight on and be you? Is God trying to get your attention?  Do you need to find those with the same voice and change the world together?   Your voice is louder when its focused and joining the song of others with same song.  Look for God's guidance, go forth and make a difference through the power of connection and numbers.