Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Two Kinds of People

I sat in church recently and just gazed at my son sitting next to me.  I am in awe sometimes of who he is because even though my husband I had part in making him, he grew in my body, I birthed him and we have raised him since then - he is his own person.  As parents we help him grow but part of that journey is discovering who he is.  At the end of the day, God made him. 

I pulled him close and whispered something into his ear that I wanted to share with you. 

There are two kinds of people in this world.

1. People who want to discover who you are and get to know you.

2.  People who judge you and try to make you something they want you to be. 

Show love to everyone, but make sure the people you spend time with are people in the first group.  Be around people who want to know you, instead of the people who tell you who to be.  That can be hard in our world, where people say they are individuals yet put their energy into being just like everyone else.  Yet being ourselves is necessary for personal happiness, holiness and freedom.  God made us with a purpose and the world is suffering if we aren't being ourselves.  God may transform us more into his likeness as we seek him in relationship but that comes from the freedom of living in the shoes he placed us in. 

I didn't end the lesson with that point because I felt it imperative I finish up the lesson by adding - you also need to be the first person.  Its easy to judge people, but its harder to dig deeper and find out who they are and what makes them tick.  Doing so is worth it.  Deeper relationships happen through authenticity.

Last night I was at a local summer book club.  We are reading through, "UnAshamed" by Christine Caine.  One of the discussion questions was something like, "Do you hang out with people with the goal of friendship and fitting in or for respect?"  As we discussed, we noted as teens and young adults our aim is often to fit in and be accepted, and its not until we get older that we realize the importance of being respected.

Dr. Henry Cloud shares in his book, "Changes that Heal," that true bonding isn't possible without proper boundaries.  Respect is a part of that.  We can't get close to people who don't respect where they end and we begin.

Do you foster relationships that bring healing to your life and bring out the best in you and others or do the relationships in your life bring about pain and unhealthy conflict?

We get to choose how we want our lives to be - well, at some level. Too often we complain about the things we can't control and passively accept the circumstances and people we have a say about.  I'm not advocating mistreatment of others, instead, I am encouraging you to be and be around the first type of person I listed above.  Show love to the second time of person but keep your emotional distance.  They need to learn to be the first type of person and you can model it for them by being the first person.  We all deserve the best relationships, do you have those in your life? What are the biggest obstacles you face in being the first person? I'd love to hear from you!  Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Having It All

When we think about having it all, we often think of having the perfect spouse and kids, perfect job, great car, dream get the picture.  Today, I read a post from a local acquaintance who shared a photo of her porch after someone had helped themselves to her bench and cushions during the night.

As I thought about this tragedy I realized, we have it wrong when we think about "having it all."

Yes, the person who took her stuff, now has a new bench set or the money from illegally selling it, but they left something on that porch that they can't get back.  When they made the choice to take something that wasn't theirs, they traded in their character for it.  They lost a part of themselves.  Sure, people who do these things usually lost those things a long time ago, but who we are is more important than the possessions or accolades we acquire.

I'm sure many of us can agree with that statement, but I can tell you when I yell at my kids for accidentally breaking something in our house - the disrespect I show in response to a mistake is sending a message that things matter more than they do and that is not a message I want to send.

Truly, having it all is accomplished by character building experiences and self-denial as we love those around us.   The things in our heart, the people we are, that is what we take with us when we die.  So grabbing for what belongs to others so we can have it, isn't doing us any favors.

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV) 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Some of you might be asking, "How does this apply to me? I don't steal stuff off people's porches?" But how many times do we put things before character or before others?  How often do we do things to be liked someone else or to fit in?  If we miss out on being ourselves, we are being robbed of that gift.   This lesson is for all of us in some way.  Maybe its to have compassion for the person stealing because they have got the aim of life all wrong.  Loving people the way Jesus did means caring for them without conditions.  Yes, Jesus expected people to stop with the destructive behavior but he loved them first.  Love is what drew them to him and in that love he spoke truth into their lives.  When we care for people we understand the lies they believe that have led them to where they are now.  It doesn't mean we let them get by with bad behavior, it just means we look beyond the offense and see the person.  Can you imagine the better world we would have if everyone did that?  Where are you off the mark with how you live your life and have it all?  What are you grabbing for that isn't yours in the first place?  I'd love to hear how this truth applies to your life - you may be able to teach me something!!!  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Unrequited Gratitude

Its no secret, I am one sentimental gal!!!  I'm also pretty silly so I stay balanced.  When I left Doulos Ministries in 2002, my parting gifts were a giggle and rock because of my infamous laugh and a box of tissues because I am ALWAYS CRYING! Its true, I cry a lot.  I'm not sad all the time, I cry in times of joy or just when my heart is so full it just can't take it.  I'm this way because I am a feeler.  To be more specific I'm an ENFJ on the Meyers Briggs test, a Sanguine/Choleric in the four temperaments test and a Helper on the Enneagram test.  Just in case you wondered.

I get that not everyone is like me, but I know I'm not alone - some of you are feelers like myself.  That is why last week when I talked about saying goodbye, its a big deal to me.  Moving a lot hasn't helped me, I just feel tied to a lot of people in a lot of places.

So why am I telling you all this?

Because all those people in all those places mean something to me.  I was posting a photo of a friend early today, as we had our last get together before she and her family moved.  I was all of a sudden taken down years of memories with them person.  Then I was overcome by overwhelming emotion.  I felt this gratitude for what she had added to my journey.  She had been a sounding board, a confidant - a friend!

Tonight on the other side of the country, people gather to say "thank-you" to a pastor and his wife after they retire following 38 years of ministry at their local church - a church, I grew up in.  This pastor was also a part of my journey.  I can remember sitting in his office in 5th (ish) grade as he counseled me through some very difficult times.

When I look at all the people over the years who have deposited amazingness into my life its wonderfully mind-boggling! Every little drop of love has filled my heart with joy!

Yes, there have been people who have hurt me, and brought pain into my life.  Yes, I have had to work hard, pray hard and lean way into God to get past it all, but despite all that, the kindness, sacrifice and love I've been shown far surpasses the pain!

What about you?  Can you think of all the people who have encouraged you, supported you and just plain been there for you over the years?  Maybe its time to tell people what they mean to you.  I think its high time I do!  In the state of the world where suicide is rising at alarming rates, as seen this past week with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain leaving this world as a result of suicide, I am reminded to share the love.  I am reminded to stay in community and be proactive in my relationships.  I don't want to let the opportunity to let people know their impact, pass by unrequited.

God made me with a purpose, but he used a lot of people to shape me into the woman I am today.  You never know how someone's otherwise everyday actions can have lasting impressions in your soul, until that one comment stays with you forever.

I have had a few people message me or text me letting me know something I wrote on here encouraged them, and that actually means something to me, because I can begin to question whether or not I should keep writing each week, so thank you!!!

Let's start talking about what matters and let people know how much you appreciate their part in your life.  Don't be surprised if you hear from me, though it may take some time because I have a lot of people to thank!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Time to Say Goodbye

Just before my junior year of college at TCU, I flew out during Summer Break to a city called Visalia, CA.  My parents had just moved to Visalia from El Paso, TX.  Transition was upon us as my dad retired from the Army and traded his parish church on Post as a Chaplain for a civilian congregation as a pastor.  I remember driving to a gated community as my stepmom showed me the beginnings of what would be their home.  It was a new subdivision and their's was one of the first homes going up.

In the interim, they were staying at a mobile trailer with my two sisters on the ranch of a family at the church my dad would be the pastor of.  The Johnson's were kind enough to host us and I lived in that trailer with them during my visit.

I had no idea I would move to that same city just a year and a half after graduation.  I had no idea I would move into the guest house in that home that was being built, and I had no idea I would be a youth pastor at the same church my dad pastored.  None of those realities floated in my thoughts about the future.

Here I am eighteen years later, having lived in Visalia myself for over fifteen years, watching on as I stay here with my husband and kids, working the same job that had me moving here all those years ago as my parents say goodbye.

My dad is retiring from the church and the two of them are moving to Texas, this time near San Antonio.  While my dad's last day as Pastor isn't until September 30th, their home has sold and they find themselves in the same place they started: back on the Johnson's Ranch in the same mobile home.

Yesterday, they sent this picture as the last photo in front of the house that had become my home as well.  It is time to say goodbye.

Truly, I am not ready.  While I spent my childhood and young adult years traveling and going between homes and states and even countries, Visalia is the place I've lived the longest.  I have become used to working with my dad and living less than two miles down the road.  I've gotten accustomed to having them at every holiday and all the little moments in life in between.  I have watched on as my kids have fallen in love with their grandparents and giggle at the prospect of seeing them several times a week.  I love the joy in my son's face to have his grandparents there for special events at school and my heart is broken at all of that going away.

But here I stand in reality and life is changing once again.  It is time to say goodbye.

Yes, I may be more sentimental than most, but I am not the only one on earth that struggles with emotions about reality.  The best thing I can do and you can do as well is process those emotions.  Ignoring them or rationalizing them away doesn't actually make them go away.  My parents have a great house being built and there will be new adventures ahead but I can't just trade my sadness for joy like a can an item at Target.

Processing emotion also doesn't mean moving and staying put at that emotion for life, instead its exploring and experiencing with the intent to move on.  This is an emotional season that I want to work through so when it is over, its over.  I hope you are able to be present in your life.  Be honest with your support network about where you are and allow others to help you on your journey.  This too, shall pass!   Happy Wednesday and I'd love to hear your emotional journey.  Send me a message or leave a comment!!!