Tuesday, September 28, 2010

stop asking "why me?"...

stop asking, "why me?" Have you ever thrown yourself a big pity party? You don't invite any human guests this party is meant strictly so you can wallow in all the "why me" scenarios in your life and put yourself in a complete funk about how miserable everything is.

As positive as I try to be about the circumstances and situations in my life, from time to time I throw an excellent "pity party." And, if you're like me, it's tough to break that mood once you've let it sink in. You're lucky if it only lasts an hour or two, but more likely than not you let it last all day. Sometimes the main attendees are your missed chances in life and you wonder what things would be like if you had chosen a different path. Sometimes your guests of honor are valid inequalities or unfairness in your current circumstances. You are justified in feeling that things aren't equal in your partnership, or that you put forth more effort than others but don't receive the same benefits. You are certain that you are surpassing your end of the bargain and you're tired. You want the recognition. You want a more equal distribution of responsibilities. And you want more frequent and better rewards for all your efforts. You're tired. You're tired. Key point - you're tired. If you're like me, during these times, what I fail to realize is that I have no idea of what a different path would be like and there's no guarantee that it would actually have been better. I forget that when I'm not in my "why me" mood, that I am generally very satisfied and quite happy with my life. When I'm in the right frame of mind, I count my blessings (which are many) daily. On my good days, I remember that God put me front row and center in the life of my specific family because they need me and He gave me gifts to share with them. I remember that God has blessed me with certain talents and abilities so that I can be a blessing to others (and guess what, He gave my family and friends wonderful attributes to bless me as well). I need to remember that God has made them, at this point, dependent on me so that I can give, care and love them just as He loves and cares for me. He has trusted me with these people, these relationships and responsibilities for a reason! God trusts me! He needs me to do this job for Him and His purposes. Wow - He trusts me! The responsibilities I have aren't a burden, but actually an honor. When you are responsible with the charges God lays at your feet, He gives you more. So if He trusts me and knows how to strengthen me when I need it, I will make it past my "pity party" and be able to continue His work. Sometimes I'm tired and it's o.k. to cut myself some slack and remember that I'm not perfect. So maybe the next time the "pity party" mood surfaces, I'll remember that God trusts me and I'll make it through.

So for today, I will stop asking "why me?" I will focus more intensely on the heart of Jesus. He came to serve without thought of personal reward. I want to be a blessing to others and I'm glad that I can be. So, "why me" step aside! Instead I will start saying, "Thank God it's me!" My family, friends, and parents can depend on me. And I will pray for God to continue to bless me with the strength, endurance, spirit and patience to continue His work. When I'm tired, I will allow myself that moment of downtime but I won't wallow - no pity party today - then I will re-energize and I will repeat to myself, "Thank God it's me."

Monday, September 27, 2010

add Christian music to my library...

add Christian music to my library. Now this is an easy one. It's Friday so I thought I'd make it very simple today.

Do you love music? Do you have favorite songs that you love to hear or play over and over? I know I do. As soon as I hear the first notes of certain songs it affects my mood immediately. Sometimes it's good and they make me remember a favorite time in my life or a great person and I get all happy and nostalgic. Other times they make me sad because they bring back a hurt or a broken dream that still touches me. Most of you would probably relate Pop, Rock, or R&B to this type of emotional response, but music with Christian lyrics can be just as moving - maybe more so. Don't wait until Sundays to hear the songs you love at church. And don't limit your connection to the music and Christ with only church events or sermons. Add Christian music to your daily life. Find a station or your car radio or link on your office computer. Let music inspired by God begin to fill your life every day. You'll find inspiration, clarity, hope, comfort and thoughtfulness in this type of music. You'll begin to tie these songs to special events or moments and then seek out those songs over and over when you're in need. It's a great way to keep yourself centered and focused on the true priorities in life - and your praising God while your listening (or singing along).

So, for today I will add Christian music to my library. I will begin to expand my love for Christ into my itunes. I'll realize that church music doesn't have to stay in church and I will be blessed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

memorize a favorite verse...

memorize a favorite verse. This is going to be easy, easy, easy today.

We all have favorite jokes, sayings, riddles, songs, even commercials or lines from movies that we love and can recite at the drop of a hat. But, have you ever memorized your favorite passages from the Bible. Are you able to recall with clarity and accuracy those verses which have brought you peace, comfort, encouragement, inspiration or hope? If you can - great, now pick another one to memorize. If you can't, start today with just one verse. It doesn't matter if it's long or short. Find the one passage that means the most to you. The one line or paragraph that captures your heart and soul with God's love, power or knowledge. Find one simple verse that you can memorize. This verse, you will find, will feed you when you are uncertain or scared or just having a bad day. Use this verse for strength and solice. I have many, many favorites but the only I draw on the most is: "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'what shall we eat?' or 'what shall we drink?' or 'what shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. " (Matt 6:31-34)

So, for today I will memorize a favorite bible verse. I will find the passage that speaks to my heart and soul and I will carry it my mind from this day forward.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

not retaliate...

not retaliate. When someone hurts us our first instinct is to strike back. When they say something that we feel is unfair, untrue or just plain unkind it can be very hard not to say something nasty right back.

There's a difference between constructive criticism and sarcastic or undeserved judgement. There's a saying, "if you can't say something nice - don't say anything at all." Most of us don't apply that on a daily basis especially if someone takes the first strike. It's that animal instinct that only the strong survive. When you feel you've been unfairly judged and you're hurt, you want to hurt the other person right back so they know how it feels. It's a natural, normal feeling right? But does striking back make you stronger or is it stronger to disregard that hurtful and probably ignorant comment and move on with your day? This is a tough situation to be in for most of us. Whether you love a good fight or are conflict adverse, when you feel you've been picked on unfairly thoughts of retaliation undoubtedly come to mind. Just for today, we will bite our tongues, mind our actions and not retaliate in hast. We will take the high road with the assurance that we know the truth and that stooping to that person's level will only fuel a petty and usually ridiculous fire. Don't fan the flames today.

So, for today I will not retaliate. As much as I want to get back at that person who has done a wrong to me, I will practice self-control today. I will take the high road - even though it can be a tough one. I will be confident in who I am and what I stand for and I won't let their petty, ignorant or just plain mean comment/action pierce my soul. I'm stronger than they think. I'm under His protection and don't need to retaliate and lower myself to that level.

Friday, September 17, 2010

make God proud of me...

make God proud of me. In bible study once a friend closed us in prayer by saying, "God help us to make you proud of us." I loved that prayer and I now often think, "did I do anything today to make God proud of me?"

If I'm being honest, sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes the answer is no. So the challenge today is to pick one think that you want to accomplish for God to show your love and respect for Him and to make Him proud. You might choose volunteering somewhere, or going back to bible study (or attending for the first time), or making a commitment to go to church on Sunday. You might decide to be ultra-patient with your kids today, or to not argue with your spouse, or to be especially considerate to your parents, or to show understanding and compassion to a friend that's been hard to deal with lately. You might make a donation to charity, or offer assistance to someone in need, or refrain from a destructive habit that pulls you away from God. Just pick something tangible and do it. And don't think that you're too far gone or unworthy of His grace and pride. He loves you and He wants you! So show God you can be focused or kind or mature or generous. Show God that you are trying in some small way to be like Him and to emulate His glory. Show Him that you want to be a good and faithful servant and that you want to make Him proud.

So, for today I will make God proud of me. The love that He pours onto me, I will pour it onto someone else today. I pray that God will bless me and help me in my efforts and that at the end of the day I will be fulfilled and thankful and I will know that my small gesture made Him smile. And then I will do it again tomorrow!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

have a picnic...

have a picnic. I love picnics. They somehow change the entire feel of meal time. There is something inherently relaxing and pleasant about them.

So today instead of sitting around the table, cramming food down your throat while you drive, or plopping in front of the TV with your zapped microwave meal - have a picnic. Go to the park or the beach. Go into your backyard or lay out a blanket in the middle of your living room! It doesn't really matter "where" your picnic is, it's more about the sense of ease and lack of structure and rules that makes picnics so great. You sit on the ground, no fancy china or glasses, you eat just about everything with your hands and you always seem to spill something. Is there something magical about that blanket and sitting on the ground that transforms us and breaks through all the stress and brings out the laughter? I don't know. But I do know there's something instinctively fun about a picnic. Maybe because our lives are so structured and so scheduled and a picnic seems to break all the rules of manners and decorum. You can just be yourself, eat your sandwich and smile. No one's judging your use of the proper fork, or telling you to get your elbows off the table. You don't even have to use a napkin because a sleeve will always do. The point is to break lose today and have a little freedom from structure.

So, for today I will have a picnic. I will enjoy the freedom and fun of a picnic. Whether big or small, with others or on my own, I will have a picnic and relax. And while I'm enjoying my picnic I will thank God that there are still some things in life that are easy, uncomplicated and fun.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

will not judge when I don't know the facts...

not judge when I don't know the facts. It's easy, but unfair and unkind, to sit back and pick apart someone else's life. To call them names, decide that they are unworthy and to pass judgement on what you have decided are their mistakes and their failures.

But what you see on the surface isn't the whole story. If you don't live that persons life - if you haven't walked in their shoes - if you don't know their struggles, their disappointments, how those experiences have shaped them and changed them - how can you judge it? The sad part is, maybe you don't care. It's an easy position to stay cloaked in self-righteousness with no qualms about chiming in on why you think someone else is flawed and how you couldn't possible relate or accept "someone like that." Maybe it makes you feel superior to comment and judge someone? Maybe you think it makes you stronger to call out the weaknesses you think you see? But just remember that you don't know what they've been through, just like they don't know what you've been through. So next time you decide to judge someone, why don't you stop and think first. Why don't you take the time to listen and learn about that person. We all have life experiences, good and bad, that we've gone through that hopefully help us learn and grow and move on. Maybe what you look down your nose at is a pivotal experience this person went through that devastated their life and they are just trying to move forward. Maybe they had hopes and dreams but lost everything and want to start over and do it better this time. Maybe they got caught in circumstances you know nothing about and they are trying to make the best of it anyway. Or maybe they just made mistakes and are trying to learn from them and create a different life....

So, for today I will not judge when I don't know the facts. I will stop trying to make myself feel superior by putting down someone else's efforts. I will actually acknowledge that I don't know everything about everyone in every situation and I will temper my attitude and my tongue with compassion, humility, and a little understanding. We're all human. We all live in glass houses. Don't throw the first stone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

forgive someone...

forgive someone. I know, I know. This is probably one of the most difficult things God requires from us - to forgive others. So, I won't ask you to try to forgive everyone in your life that has ever hurt you, we're going to narrow this down to one person. But there's an important twist...

Think of the person who has hurt you the most in your life. Who is the one that has either intentionally or unintentionally caused you the most pain? For many of us, we won't have to think long or hard to pick out this person. For others, it may take more thought but we all have someone who has done something to us that we've never gotten over. Today, we need to forgive that person. We need to forgive them completely. We can't say it today and then hold that grudge again tomorrow. We need to give it to God and let it go. We need to, with full hearts and complete conviction, forgive that person (whether they have asked for it or not). Think of all the things Christ forgives for each one of us. We are blessed that He doesn't hold a grudge or wish us harm because we've hurt Him - and we all know we've hurt Him during our lives. Forgiveness is so difficult for us to give but we live by a double standard because even without giving it we all still want to receive an endless supply of forgiveness from God. So let it go, give up the pain and the anger, the moral indignation, the outrage, the despise and forgive that person today. If you can truly forgive them today, you will be free tomorrow and for the rest of your life. Don't be a prisoner to pain and to the past. Don't let your inability to forgive hold you back anymore. Pray, fill your heart and mind with Christ's grace and love, and forgive that person now and forever.

So, for today I will forgive someone. We will pray for all the strength, compassion, grace and peace that we need in order to be able to do this. We will fill our hearts with Christ's love and all that He does for us and we will forgive this person and not look back. We will realize that if we can forgive the person who has hurt me the most, we will be able to better forgive others in our lives. We will learn that forgiveness is freeing and brings peace. This may not be easy, but it's a step we need to take.

Friday, September 10, 2010

take a bubble bath...

take a bubble bath. It's Friday and you deserve a break. This may sound girly, so if you can't handle a bubble bath - jump in the jacuzzi or take a nice long hot shower.

Many times we try to find a quiet moment to think, but by taking a bubble bath you get your quiet time and your body gets a much needed time to physically relax. All you have to do today is just take those few minutes to quiet the world, pamper your tired and aching body, and just sit. You can block out the rest of world while you soak in a hot, bubbly bath. Light some scented candles, play some nice relaxing music, and just let your worries float away for a little while. Give your mind and body peace. You deal with "life" all day, every day. Take the time today to sit, soak, pray and come out of it mentally and physically relaxed! You can find the time, if you try - so try.

So, for today I will take a bubble bath. I will soak my tired body and soul. I will relax in the warmth of the bath and enjoy the quiet time to calm my spinning mind. I will not make 'to do' lists or think about what's happening at work or with the kids. I will pray and quiet my spirit and my muscles and I will enjoy my peace.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


laugh. This is one thing that we definitely don't do enough in our day to day lives usually. We're busy, tired, getting things done and being efficient and we forget to laugh to ease the tension and have a little fun.

I can think of an example. Do you ever get so upset or so frustrated that you want to explode, but at the same time realize how ridiculous the situation is and want to break out laughing but don't? I can get frazzled with my children and when they make a silly face or do something goofy in the middle of my frustration I hold back from laughing. I think to myself - this is serious, they have to learn a lesson - whatever you do don't laugh. I wish I would just let it go more often, laugh with them, give a hug and let us all move forward in a better mood. So if you're like me and you find yourself in one of these situations, just let it go - give in to the impulse - laugh. Maybe it's not your kids, but your spouse or significant other, maybe it's with your parents or a friend. You get into a "debate" and want so much to hold your ground that you can't give in to the absurdity of arguing over which brand of tomato paste is better(or whatever equally silly thing you find to argue about).... Laugh at the situation, laugh at yourself. Break the tension, release the anger, and make it a much more pleasant experience and day.

So, for today I will laugh. Instead of being controlled and argumentative, I will allow myself the pleasure and release that laughter provides. I will remember that more gets accomplished by everyone (including me) when we are in a good mood and have been lighten by laughter.