Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Are You Waiting For?

I know I've been a slacker lately in the blogging department. I'll be honest with you. I've been a slacker in a few other departments, too. Of course like any other self respecting slacker, I have what I feel are pretty reasonable excuses for my slackishness. Hey, cool...I think I just invented another new word. :0)

A month or so ago, while I was babysitting my friends' one-year-old baby, I picked him up and turned to lift him up and flared up a back injury that really took me out of the game for a couple of weeks. Finding any position that was comfortable was difficult and sitting at my computer typing was just not working for me. I worked on my book some and sort of let the blog sit on the back burner. Also, I have been struggling with fatigue and tiring easily for quite some time. As many of you regular readers already know I am a bit of a procrastinator and because of this, I really shot myself in the foot by not following up on a medical exam back in July. I had an ultrasound and some blood work done and because of my busy schedule and difficulty scheduling an appointment, I put off calling the Dr. office back until my symptoms got to be too much. Had I done so, I would have known BACK IN JULY that I am anemic. Duh!! Good to know. I'm taking iron and hopefully will be my old energetic self very soon! I also learned that I will have to have a surgery in May to take care of some issues that I have been dealing with. Though I'm not looking forward to the procedure and recovery, I'll be glad to have some issues resolved. Please keep me in your prayers.

After finally resolving these issues I came to the realization that there is a recurring question in my life that keeps popping up. "What are you waiting for?" I find myself doing a lot of waiting for things (or people) to line up just right instead of moving ahead and getting things accomplished or addressed as I should. Anyone else dealing with this? I've seen a lot of others in my life sort of stuck in the same holding pattern. Waiting. Putting things off. Waiting for others to move first. Why do we do this? In my case it is for a couple of reasons....

First of all fairness, I have been super busy with kids, homework, cheer leading practices, singing a lot at church this past month, etc. My hubby has been working crazy long hours so he's not home as much as we would all like. Add to that a sore back and anemic lack of energy. I have pushed a lot of things to the side and have sort of been operating in 'survival mode' lately. Kids are happy, healthy, and doing great in school and the house is reasonably clean so I guess that is good enough for now. I guess you could say I've been doing the best I can with the cards I was dealt but in the back of my mind, I'm kicking myself for not going to the doctor sooner. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Enough with the excuses, already. I am going to make myself accountable to all of you right now and say that I am resolving to do better at getting things done more efficiently. I know I can do some things to optimize my effectiveness. In order to do this, I will have to do something that is inherently  foreign to my nature. Yes, that's right...I'm going to have to become more....(dare I even say this detestable word) STRUCTURED. *Shudder* This has always been a challenge for me. I am most in my element when I am in the creative process. Working within a framework or structure or plan is not my forte. Still, I see that I need to just suck it up and get more organized and become a better planner. If any of you have any advice or wisdom for me in this area, I would love to hear your suggestions. The irony is that I am great at motivating and organizing others. Just have a hard time applying it to my own life. I'm eagerly awaiting your suggestions in this area!

Here's some good news that is sort of related to the topic of waiting....

Some of you know that I have been serving in the choir and then the worship team for about 5 years at Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. I have been given an opportunity to sing a duet with a dear friend this weekend during the offering. God is so faithful. Please be praying for me. I'm also getting over a cough and scratchy throat which is affecting my voice. I'm believing that God will use us to touch some hearts and that more than anything, we will be a reflection of God's love and mercy. I'm beyond humbled and  super excited.

If you would like to tune in and watch, here's the link:
Service times are: Saturday, March 3, at 7pm and Sunday, March 4 at 8:30 am and 11:00 am, Central time.

So glad you stopped by...


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pick On Somebody Your Own Size....

I know I've said this before but it bears repeating. I am not qualified in any way whatsoever to offer wisdom, counsel or advice about anything of importance. Of course, as usual, that won't stop me from doing it anyway. Since this is my blog and is really just an outlet for the expression of my opinions, I will take the liberty of weighing in on a subject that is heavy on my heart right now. Bullying.

Today is National Stop Bullying Day. I guess it's cool that they gave it an official day. I'm not all that convinced that observing a designated day will do much to stop bullying but I suppose anything that opens up dialogue about the subject is a step in the right direction. Come to think of it, opening up dialogue is pretty much the best answer for most problems. As long as it's respectful and there is the expectancy of resolution and there is active listening going on, that is...Otherwise it's just a lot of wasted time and oxygen.

So, what is bullying, really? Being beat up? Ganged up on? Someone being mean to you? Being put down or insulted? Having malicious unfounded rumors started about you? What behavior on our part earns the distinction of being labeled 'bullying'? Here's the definition:

bullying (present participle of bul·ly) Verb: Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

Interesting. It makes me wonder if we use the word a little too much. Or maybe not enough. Or maybe the definition is not expansive enough. Let's face some time or another we've all been intimidated into doing things or feeling things that we didn't want to by someone who was bigger or stronger than we are. If we're honest, we ourselves may have been bullies in the lives of others at one time or another. This is not a new phenomenon. I mean, by the definition above, my parents were major bullies. By that definition we, as a country are bullies, aren't we? There are even religious bullies. Bullies are those who will do anything to get the upper hand. To set themselves up in a place of power or to further their own agenda. Intimidate and belittle and hold the feelings of others hostage for their own gain. And it's not just that children and certain groups are being bullied. I would say that it permeates every area of our lives. Everyone's lives. Why is that, do you think? 

I think the answer is quite simple. Let's call it what it really is. It is a festering symptom of the disease that is the breakdown of civility and respect in our society. That and (dare I use the actual words): Moral decay and self indulgence. Look around you. Intolerance and impatience and arrogance are so often the order of the day. There is an absence of humility and servitude. People seem to have turned the golden rule from 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' into 'do unto others before they get a chance to do unto you first.' It makes me so sad. It makes me angry, too. Makes me want to do something about it. But what?

My experience is that most people who bully do so out of a place of insecurity and a lack of self worth. That and just plain ignorance. Why are they insecure and ignorant? (Look it comes:) Because that's what their parents are teaching them to be! The solution is this. If every parent made a commitment to teach their children to love and respect themselves and others and to put God first, things would turn around. See how smart I am? Problem solved. My work is done here. Now I can sit back and just enjoy the....Uh oh...wait a minute...Shoot. I just thought of something. Who is going to teach the parents how to love and respect themselves and put God first? There's the rub. Somebody dropped the ball along the way and those lessons have been left out of the lives of so many. I wish I knew why. Too bad life doesn't come with a rewind button, huh?

So, I'm left with what small part I can play in being part of the solution. I have to be vigilant and steadfast in the raising of my children. To have a heart for God. To be a good example. To practice what I preach. To remind myself every day that life and death are in the power of the tongue. To sow seeds of encouragement into as many lives as I can for as long as the Lord wills me to be on the planet. To have a spirit of willingness to be vocal and persistent in sharing the word of God regardless of what anyone may think or say. To take aim at injustice with courage and determination and to leave a legacy of love, faith and tolerance for my children to carry into future generations. Sounds like a daunting task. Seems kind of like taking on a giant, doesn't it? Hmmm...sounds familiar.

I'm hopeful. After all, Goliath was a (really) big bully. David was a vigilant and steadfast little guy. He had a heart for God, a spirit of willingness and wicked good aim.

Obviously, Goliath would have done better to pick on somebody his own size.

"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."  Titus 2:11-14 


Thursday, February 2, 2012

So, You Think I'm Different...

I'm different. I know that. I realize that some people aren't sure exactly how to take me. I wear my feelings on the outside and love people openly and am not afraid to say it. There's not much of a gate between my brain and my mouth which gets me into trouble sometimes. I desire to interact with everyone I meet and I like to get to know people right away. Even strangers. A good way to sum me up might be: 'Ready or I come." I just genuinely love people. (Most of them). I love to laugh and find humor in everyday moments. My sense of humor is pretty eclectic and because I don't mind being the butt of the joke, I occasionally get carried away and forget sometimes that other people do mind. When I make mistakes, I usually do it up big for all the world to see. I feel terrible when I accidentally hurt someone's feelings. I have a very hard time when others around me are in conflict, especially if it is with me. I love to laugh and I hate emotional disharmony of any kind. I'm a seeker of peace. I am a full on, live and love out loud kind of a girl. I know who I am. I am a girl after God's own heart.

Different is not a bad word. People may say things like "There's something about her...she's just different." That might make some people feel self-conscious. I wear difference like a badge of honor. I want to be different. I am called to be different. Besides, being more conscious of self may not be such a bad thing anyway. Why do I say I'm called to be different? Because of this:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:2

And this:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ~Matthew 5:14-16

We are called to be a reflection of the love of God. To draw others closer to Him; not by hammering away at those around us with our judgments and beliefs but by projecting the love of Jesus. We are to lead by example. That means being okay with showing love to everyone we come in contact with. (Yes, even the unlovable ones). It means admitting our mistakes with humility and asking forgiveness openly when required. It means being willing to reveal our imperfections and more importantly, embracing the imperfections of others. It means being able to laugh at ourselves when we are at our most vulnerable because we are secure in the fact that we are loved by the Father no matter what. Jesus saw to it that we are blameless in the eyes of God. What a gift. Knowing what I know about grace and mercy, it's no surprise that I feel different. 

The world spins crazily around me and sometimes seems so out of control. I can't let that bother me. Jesus at the center of my life gives me my equilibrium. His love and mercy steady me and give me balance. His salvation gives me a solid rock to stand on. His protection is a fortress around me. His vigilance is the guardian in the watchtower of my life. If God be for me, who dare be against me? Does that make me stand out or seem different? Good. That means I must be doing it right.