12 August 2017

The uncomfortable (but true) reality that God doesn't owe me anything.

One of my favorite resources to use in youth ministry is the Fr. Mike Schmitz videos he produces for Ascension Press. 

I often use them at leadership team meetings for an extra dose of formation and they always lead to great conversations. The teens love him and refer to Fr. Mike like he's a priest they personally know. #kindasweet

There have been several videos that have really knocked me upside the head. Like the ones on fasting?! Whew. 

Last week I re-watched God Doesn't Owe You Anything.

It's a true yet uncomfortable spiritual truth I find myself coming back to lately. 

God doesn't owe me anything. 
Not one damn thing.

God doesn't owe me a wonderful marriage with lots of babies, that job I really want, or a certain number on my pay stubs. He doesn't owe me a life of ease, comfort, or even security. 
God will never ever be in my debt.

Sometimes I confuse God's faithfulness with the promise that I deserve good things in life because...well I just do! It is my right to be happy and have good things in my life. It is such a misunderstanding of the Gospel Jesus preached; we don't follow Jesus because we're expected to receive good things as a result of our fellowship with Him. 
Jesus is not a vending machine.

Honestly acknowledging this rubs me raw sometimes; it makes me uncomfortable that I feel this way and then when I have to honestly name it before Jesus in prayer.

I've noticed some of this mentality creeping in from time to time especially after my divorce and annulment: "Jesus I deserve this (fill in the blank) because I went through all this stuff (fill in blanks again)." When I live out of this attitude, I know it is my own brokenness talking back at me...which are subtle reminders that I still need counseling and Unbound prayer. 

When I catch myself going down that rabbit hole, I have gotten better at stopping myself and renouncing those lies. But at the same time, I've had to do A LOT of talking and (even more) being still with Jesus on WHY I have this perception with Him sometimes.

I don't love having to admit how many times I have whined to the Lord, "Okay Jesus, when is it my turn to have good things happen to me?!" My perception of God's goodness sometimes is weighed down by what I want and what I expect out of my relationship with God. 
And that's jacked.up.

I have done nothing to deserve this life I have been given, the many gifts and blessings I do have. 
When I get hyper focused on what I do not have in life, it makes me super forgetful (and ungrateful) of the many more blessings and good things God has freely given me.

Not because I deserve them or I am owed them, but just freely given...as gift.

I have a body that is capable of physical things I never thought I could do like train for a marathon.

I grew up in a home where my parents loved each other and loved their kids. Not everyone in life has that.

The list goes on and on.

Shaking my fist at God for what I don't have is not what changes things.

But changing how I look at all I do have as pure gift, that changes my heart and my perspective.

post signature

31 July 2017

The Stigma of Doing Things Alone

A few months ago I was sharing with someone two good movies I had seen recently. I also casually mentioned I went by myself.

The look I got back when I said I went alone was one if I had said I just kicked a puppy dog in the stomach. 

"Really?" he said. "I would want to find someone to go with, otherwise it would feel lonely to me."

I found myself recalling this conversation recently as I went somewhere nicer for dinner. Just me. 
It was relaxing. I had a nice glass of wine and brought a new book with me...between the people watching ;)

It seems sometimes in modern society there is an unspoken stigma of doing things alone: going to dinner, the movies, travel...anything really. 

If you are alone doing activities typically done in groups, it could be seen as lonely or having no friends. Seeing another person out and about on their own, doesn't equate with being a lonely heart or an awkward bear. 

Does that mean when I've been out and about on my own I haven't felt lonely before? Of course not! I'm human. But doing things by myself doesn't mean I deserve pity.

I am wondering if it is something on a deeper level. 

I wonder if people feel afraid to try and do things on their own because they're not sure what others will think of them. I think on some level we're all scared of being alone, of not being known and loved. To be known and loved are some of the deepest desires of the human heart.

In a world of endless distractions, it can be so easy to run away or avoid loneliness. Because when we're distracted all the time we don't have to face our "stuff" or be alone with our thoughts.

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to be alone. But being alone doesn't equate loneliness.

I've had to re-learn what being alone looks like in healthy ways. I used to avoid it like the plague. Now I see to be healthy in relationships with other people, I need to be okay being alone with myself.

Yes we human beings are social creatures. God created us with a inherent desire to be in relationship with each other. Socialization and being in a community are important needs for healthy, emotional development.

The world continues to move at a whirling pace. But if we want to be truly known by others, we have to first know ourselves. And we cannot do that if we feel like we're unable to do anything alone.

Take yourself out to dinner.
Go see that movie and eat the whole freaking bag of popcorn.
Don't worry what other people are thinking.

Do you think there is stigma of doing things alone in our culture? What has been your experience?
I'm really curious...

post signature

18 July 2017

What Every Woman Needs in Her Relational Toolkit

I used to think I knew EXACTLY what went into stable, solid relationships with other people. I thought I knew how to have a healthy, emotional relationship with a guy. I believed I was a pretty faithful friend to those in my life. 

Then life happens.

I began to see major cracks in how I did relationships. All of this led me to see how I was dragging around past wounds and trauma into my current relationships. I saw how easily I would return to controlling and manipulative ways in relationships as a coping mechanism.

Enter Boundaries.


post signature
09 10