Archive

Archive for the ‘a new spirituality’ Category

What Colin and Justin teach me – a little lesson learned from home reno shows

I love home décor shows.  I used to breastfeed my son while watching Debbie Travis’s home reno show on HGTV.  And I can’t get enough of Colin and Justin.  I love their style and I’m always dying to see what Colin will be wearing that day (or the size of his flower…)

 

One thing I don’t like is clutter.   I like things neat and strategically placed…. And I want it to STAY there (you can guess how that goes over with kids…)    I love it when a home renovator like Debbie Travis or Colin and Justin heads into a home stacked to the ceiling with stuff EVERYWHERE and turns it into a show home.  It seems like every house that gets on those shows are hoarder-types who have to fill every counter space and shelf with knick-knacks of all kinds.  I see it as useless garbage.   So what’s the first thing all these professionals do?   They ask them to choose the most important items and get rid of the rest.   The end result is always breathtaking!

 

The type of home you won’t see as often on a home reno show is a home that looks like someone who’s in college: a large space, maybe a couch, no pictures on the wall, no dining room set…. Not much to fill the empty space.

 

I heard Joyce Meyer say this the other day: “An empty space is still a place”.

 

Our lives are filled with spaces free for us to fill with whatever we please.  Some choose to clutter their lives up with stuff, stuff and more stuff, making no room for much else whether it be healthy or not.   Some stuff is useful but other items are just gagets and knick-knacks taking up space that could be better used.

 

Others have no idea what to do with life.  You ask them what they think about?  Or what they’re passionate about?….. the answer? An empty; “Nothing”.

 

But if what Joyce Meyer says is true, then we need to be sure we’re filling our life spaces with things that deserve a place.  Not useless garbage, and certainly not “nothing”.   The enemy of our souls LOVES to fill empty spaces with things.    God, as well, would love to fill our spaces with things that will only enhance our lives and bring Him glory.

 

Why not take a look at your life-space and see if there’s some de-cluttering needed?  Or do you need to fill an empty space with something that will sharpen you to be useful for His kingdom?

 

What would a home reno guru do to rearrange the inner furniture of your soul?  Are you up for an extreme makeover soul addition?

Advertisements
Categories: a new spirituality

To my worst enemy

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Geesh, just leave me alone!  Stop constantly pointing out my every fault!  You make me question my intentions and second guess myself.   Just when I finally release my fear, you’re behind me feeding it right back into me.  You play on my weaknesses and cause me to question my strength.

I don’t appreciate your advice on friendship.  You make me think the world is against me, tempting me to scrutinize even good relationships.  You force me back into isolation and mistrust.    Your idea for me to raise the bar of people I accept is stupid.  Using others to get ahead isn’t something I want to consider.  I’m not interested in your opinions of those who have used me.  I don’t want to listen to your ideas of pushing them out of my life.

You mock when my fat pants don’t even fit.  You laugh at my constant attempts to focus on “being healthy” rather than being consumed with perfection.  You make me want to eat nothing…. or eat a whole cake, but then I know you’d just torture me all the more.   You’re always pointing out how lame my style is compared to others, making me believe if I just had more clothes, more makeup… and got rid of my buck teeth, I MAY just look ok.

I’m done with you nitpicking at every flaw on my face.   Yes, I have grey hair in my eyebrows.  Yes, I have a discolored tooth I can’t afford to fix yet.  Yes, I have huge front teeth and wrinkles.  STOP making me feel that I have to completely change my appearance to be acceptable!   I can’t even look at a picture of myself without you scoffing over my shoulder.

You betray me.  I’m walking away from you, even though you will stay with me forever.   I will learn to shut your voice out and allow God’s voice to replace you.  It may take me some time, but I will persevere.  When I see you in the mirror, I will choose to see past you and see with heaven’s eyes.  Your voice has become too strong in my life.  You’ve become  a god ruling over me.

It’s time to switch gods.

Categories: a new spirituality

Status Anxiety; some of my deepest insecurities

September 14, 2011 2 comments

Before I start today’s blog I want to let you know that I’ll be posting some of the blogs you loved the most for the next little bit in preparation for something very exciting coming up!   I can’t tell you right now what it is, but in the meantime, enjoy the ones you loved most.  And thanks so much for reading and being a part of my journey 🙂

Status Anxiety: What is it?  Anxiety that takes us over when we focus on how others view us.  I’m about to share my deepest insecurities with you, but first lets cover some groundwork.

Alain de Bottom started this phrase and wrote about it in his book (seriously, that’s his name…. no wonder he thought of this phrase!).  He says status anxiety results from various cultural factors in our society:

Today lets focus on the first: Lovelessness: wanting to be loved and have others think well of us – especially our peers.

A few weeks ago we had a speaker at our church who spoke about 2 kinds of people; those who lived out of LOVED and those who live out of SELFED.

Those who live from LOVED, are secure.   Their actions flow out of a “no-agenda, no strings attached” attitude.  They give because they are loved, not to see what they can get in return.  They are adventurous because they have confidence from knowing they are loved.  They aren’t afraid of risks; what is there to lose when you’re loved?!  They are selfless and others-focused because they are FREE to be that way.  They have nothing to prove to you.  They are completely safe in themselves and the love that envelops them.

Those who live from SELFED are quite different.  They are constantly insecure about…. everything.  They seek others approval.  They question themselves consistently.  They need people around them that will feed their status.  They give to others out of a desire to be giving but deep within, it’s given out of insecurity.   The issue with living out of SELFED is that there is great desire to do good, be kind and considerate and loving, but it can’t manifest in its pure form because of the root of where its coming from.  There is a desire to serve, but when that “service” doesn’t feed status of some sort, the desire eventually fades.

Everyone wants to live out of the LOVED.  I sure do.  But more often than not, I find myself back living out of the SELFED.   As of late, I have struggled with so much insecurity!! I’m insecure about; my weight, feelings of “am I good enough?”, I’m a “jack of all trades, master of none” making me wish I could nail SOMETHING well!, My motherhood skills as I deal with a very challenging boy, my intensity (freaks people right out), my personality quirks (there’s a ton), my speaking voice (I find it annoying).  My fears of making mistakes, getting shut out, getting criticized, being misunderstood, rejection, friends checking out (realizing I’m not as “good” as they thought), getting fired from a job, being abandoned by family,  and my own stupid ignorance that just gets me in trouble.

That’s a LOAD of insecurity! And that’s just what’s been mulling for the past few months!!!

So how do you break free from the SELFED life into the LOVED life?  Speaker, Steve Fry, gave this antidote: you repent.  “Excuse me?”   Yes, you repent.  Not from “sin” (insert evil tone), but from your victim-mentality.  From coming from such a self-focus.   Clearly God has poured out nothing but love and acceptance into our lives through Christ.  To lived out of the SELFED is to say to Him; “Your sacrifice was good for everyone else, but not for me.  I need to take care of this on my own.  Your blood means nothing…”   OUCH!  Is that really what we’re saying?  Maybe not out of our mouths but through our actions.

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a young child in a rich, grassy field.  You haven’t been tainted by the world.  Your innocence penetrates every step.  The Father is right beside you.  The sun is shining and the hills look radiant.   He embraces you then lovingly encourages you to run.   Beloved, how do you run?   From His love, what does it look like to run through those fields and hills with such love in your heart?  What does it feel like?

Run free.  You are LOVED.  Now lets LIVE LOVED.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: a new spirituality

The time a priest slapped me…

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Seriously, a priest slapped me.   We were living down the street from a large Catholic church in Surrey where one of my favorite dance teams practice (big shout-out to Praise Team!)   I was dropping in to visit when I ended up randomly meeting the priest of the church.  He was an older man who honestly, didn’t seem like he had all his marbles.   He slapped me, quite hard, then said, “Now will you forgive me?”   I was still taken off guard, but I’m sure I was able to mumble something along the lines of forgiving him…. and then carried on my way as quick as possible.

 

That doesn’t happen every day, does it?  I wondered how someone who struggled with their faith would have handled this.   It was a very strange experience that got my brain thinking about all sorts of things would feel odd about “church” to those who don’t frequent there.

 

Like the time I didn’t realize my grandparents Anglican church uses REAL wine for communion and I spit it out right there at the altar in front of the minister.  Somebody warn me next time!…

 

Like the time my childhood certainty that Christ died on Calgary was smashed only to discover cow-town was NOT the place of His death…

 

Like the time I heard Psalm 23 and wondered why on earth someone would write about not wanting God to be his shepherd, only to find it meant, “not BE in want”…. Geesh.  Took a $300 Bible College course to reveal that to me.

 

Like the time I watched a good friend having an “off day” drumming be humiliated in front of the church by the worship leader disciplining him in public, only to have him leave mid-service…. and never come back.

 

Like the time I watched a woman speak against the pastor during a service, causing many others to stand in protest (Yes!  The service was still happening!!)   When the pastors wife stands up against the crowd, one of the protesters try to choke her….

 

Like the time I was called a “manipulator” and other things I don’t care to mention, then shoved out of the church.

 

Spiritual abuse – that’s what I call some of the latter items on the list.  My pastor said something I won’t forget in last Sunday’s message.  “Those who judge have an authority and control issue”.   Interesting.

 

Its taken me six  years to get over words than crushed my spirit into despair.  I believed what I was told and began to live as such.  If it was really true, why not live like it then?   In the name of God, cursing comes in disguise of blessing, which leaves nothing but confusion.

 

I struggled with “church” for two years, deciding I wasn’t going to step into one ever again.  How many other similar stories have I heard of those disillusioned with church and its people?

 

Five years ago, our family walked into the church we now call home.  We were skeptics, cautious and guarded.  What we received was far different than authority trying to pound us into submission.  We found a loving, supportive community of people who accepted us and had a great part in the healing of our souls.  This isn’t the case for everyone.  We consider ourselves fortunate to have found such a place.

 

I can say on the other side of church-skepticism there is simplicity of what it’s all about.  It’s not about getting people to mourn and weep for days over their weaknesses or forcing them into submission.  It’s not about controlling people or trying to create a band of followers to do whatever you say.  It’s not about dividing a church by judgments and sour attitudes.  It’s not about being hard on those struggling…

 

It’s about loving as Christ loved.  It’s about realizing our humanity and walking in grace, and continuing to walk together.  It’s about caring for the broken, the widow, the orphan.  It’s about really SEEING people and their need, not condemning them.  It’s being like Jesus to a world who has no idea what He looks like anymore.

 

And in times the church disappoints (because it will because its made up of humans), It’s about what the priest asked me after he slapped me; “Will you forgive me?”.

Categories: a new spirituality

Something I found out about my stretch marks!

September 9, 2011 2 comments

I was a religious user of stretch mark cream with my first son when I was pregnant.  I would lather it generously every day, remembering that’s what the store clerk said to do in order to see maximum results.

 

Then one day it happened.  I saw my first stretch mark!  Surely I had missed a spot, so on I lathered once again, even more generously in that particular area (which I can’t mention on the blog)

 

Then it happened again!  ANOTHER stretch mark!  And not just one, but many!  They had plagued my hips, thighs and tummy!!   This was impossible!  I was following the directions for the stretch cream to the tee.  How could this have happened??   They were growing on my body in rapid rate, even reaching my triceps!  Seriously??!

 

You know what happened to my stretch marks?  They’re still there.   My memoir of birthing my first born and now my second.   There they are in all their glory staring at me in the mirror as I get dressed.   I imagine for a moment modeling for a skin care commercial and laugh!  Even Dove would shudder.

 

Something funny has happened in regards to these menacing marks….  they’ve grown on me.   I mean, I know they’ve GROWN ON me, but I’m talking about a beauty they’ve revealed to me.   Every time I see them, I remember how far my stomach stretched to protect such precious cargo.   I remember how my legs stretched and grew to be able to support my larger frame (ok, that’s not really a NICE memory, but you know what I mean).  Without the growth of my hip frame, I would have toppled over!   These stretch marks are constant visuals of the strain my body took to produce life.

 

hmmm…..  What a beautiful, visual from God to remind me that as the body has to grow and stretch to produce life, so does life in general.  Our lives have hidden stretch marks that prove we have conceived, pushed and fought for things that have deepened our soul and enhanced our faith.   It was never more than we could handle, we never burst open, we just…. stretched and now we’ll never be the same.

 

It’s tension that makes us flexible.  It’s pressure that deepens.  It’s strain that produces growth.

 

Next time you see those stretch marks, don’t see the imperfection.  Be reminded of what growth has taken place in your life and what beauty the stretch created in and through you.

Categories: a new spirituality

When I was told; “Dream Big”…. and it didn’t work out

July 21, 2011 2 comments

“Dream big!”, I was told.  I was wild, free, full of life, energy and ambition.   Thinking of all that could become fueled my imagination and zest!  Visualizing  possibilities fed my soul.   Life was mine for the taking.  I was riding a wave of favor, seeing everything I touched turn to gold.

You can imagine what happened when everything I dreamed and built came crashing down, leaving in me in nothing but ruins.   My world was shattered.   The blue sky was now dark, leaving me in a world of confusion.   “But I was told to dream big?!!”.   My heart, soul and passion was poured out, only to be returned to me crushed and broken.

What had gone wrong?…..

It’s now a few years after, and perspective has become brighter.   Do I still dream?   Yes, I’m an entrepreneur, a maverick in spirit….  placed there by God inside me.   BUT, here’s a little gift I never realized God had given me until chatting with my mentor yesterday.

When my dreams came crashing down, along with it came what felt like a cage.  A cage that would restrain my actions, keeping me under control.  It deprived me of my freedom, forcing me into “constraint”.   This word, “constraint”, was brought to my attention by my mentor who had read a blog by Seth Godin about that very word.  Very intriguing thoughts.   Seth’s blog started with stating: “Every project worth doing comes with constraints.  Our natural inclination is to fight them”.   YES!  I was experiencing this constrain and fighting it head-on.

I never realized, till yesterday, that this constraint that had come into my life was a gift to focus me.  When you’re in a box, you only have so much you can do with your arms and legs.  They can only go so far, causing the moves to be focused.  You could call gravity a constraint, keeping us grounded so we don’t literally get blown by the wind here, there and everywhere.

Could I dare present the idea that the constraint we feel in our lives is actually giving us the power to focus?  Could it be directing us to God’s preferred future for us?  I can see this true for my life looking back to where constraint has led me.

“Where there is no vision, people cast off restraint” (Proverbs 29:10).    “Restraint” in the Hebrew meaning; “getting out of hand, running wild, undisciplined….. to let loose”.

May I present this idea then: Where there is constraint, there is vision.   What these uncontrolled people described in Proverbs needed was a little limitation to give them the vision they needed?

Could this be true?  Could it be that what was taken away was actually this gift of constraint wanting to give you fresh vision?  Could it be what seemed unjust to you was actually just what you needed?   Is it possible that the confusion you felt was actually going to lead to a clarity like you’ve never experienced?

I’m still a dreamer….. but thanks to constraint, one with a bit more focus.

Categories: a new spirituality

Shame on you

July 19, 2011 1 comment

There was a season in my life when the torment of shame ruled me.   Everything I did, I thought I was wrong.  I felt misjudged, questioned myself repeatedly, worried that I was unaware of a character in me that was untrue.   I would scrutinize every action, constantly questioning my integrity in every motive.   I was under my own microscope.  I assumed the worst of myself on most occasions.  What a sick, twisted way of thinking.

 

I did this, because I felt others would judge me, so I determined to beat them to it.  A series of tragic events kept happening in my life, making me believe God was angry with me.  I would shame myself, hopefully so I would be spared His anger.  I beat myself up day after day, assuming that’s what He wanted me to do.   It would take 6 years to understand this was far from truthful thinking.

 

I remember the day I broke.   I had had it.  Enough was enough, I wanted rid of this awful, emotional agony.   I let go.  What did I let go of?….. control.

 

My problem wasn’t just the shame I was carrying, it was control.  I felt misjudged, so I took control of my situation and determined to do to myself what I felt others wanted to do to me.  By doing this, I could take that power away from them.   I wanted to do the same to God as well; take away His power to shame me.

 

Unfortunately, that control I thought I had was destroying me.  It put on me misery that was never meant for me to carry.    That’s what people who carry shame do; take the matter into their own hands.  They try so hard to be the person they want to be, but when they come up short, they beat themselves so “God doesn’t have to”.

 

Friends, if you are in this state, I pray that it doesn’t take you 6 years, or even 6 days to be able to see past this awful lie.  You see, shame tell us that we are worthless, and all that we believe comes from THAT place.  If I believe I’m worthless and believe others and God see me that way, then there’s no way out of living up to that expectation, no matter how hard we try.  Its an unending circle of feeling valueless, trying to prove to self and others that you are indeed worthy, only to find you cannot win – repeat cycle, each time sinking more into shame’s clutches.

 

So what happened?  Is that what you’re wondering?  How did I get over this?  Well, the truth is that it’s a continual, conscience decision for me to not go back there.  I could very easily sink back into this mental state, as its so closely tied with being an approval addict.   But I’m happy to say that I’ve come through, thanks to the grace of God.  Here’s some snippets of my journey out of shame’s lair.

 

  • I had to come to the place where God could get my attention.   I had to get  to the bottom before I realized I had created a cycle I couldn’t beat.  I was powerless and I finally knew it.

 

  • I had to embrace the fact that there was no possible way I could be in charge of my emotions, actions and will.   I was playing God…. and failing, which was only feeding the shame.

 

  • I had to let go of all my control that was guarding me.  As I allowed my wall to crumble, I was so fearful of God’s punishing hand  I expected to come down on me, but instead, I found His love and grace surround me in such a tangible way I just crumbled into His arms.  I was so wrong about Him.  He wasn’t going to condemn me, He was there the whole time ready and willing to forgive me for my foolishness.

 

  • I had to make a choice every day to believe what He said was true about me: that I’m loved and accepted freely by Him.  This is still a daily choice.  Our minds have more to do with our freedom than we think.   Fill your mind with His truth and meditate on it and you’ll see yourself transform.

 

  • I had to let go of caring about others’ judgments of me.  I had to choose to live out of God’s love and acceptance in moments of feelings others opinions of my intentions.

 

As I still journey on this road, I’m learning the joy of loving the creation God has made in me.  All the things I started to repress in my life, like my “go-getter-ness”, I learned was a gift that God wanted me to have (and to tame at times).

 

Friends, shame is not something you were meant to carry.   I truly believe if you let go of that control you’re trying to have over your life in the name of shame, you’ll be surprised of the freedom waiting on the other side for you.

 

Categories: a new spirituality