The Bible says perfect love casts out fear. The Message version reads, “It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism.” Statements like that used to drive me crazy! I just didn’t understand how me trying to love and show love more shuts down the negative talker in my head! But then I started to dig in to what it meant. Perfect love… GOD is love… God is perfect. Really it is about me accepting HIS love! As humans we are always looking for what the action step is…. in this case it’s sitting down, opening our hands and asking God to help us to understand and be FILLED with HIS love. This is what casts out fear, this is what shuts down self-criticism. When we understand God’s perfect love for US!!!!!
God loves you…. he has sacrificed on your behalf!
God loves you… he has created for your enjoyment!
God loves you…. he provides for your need!
God loves you… he’s just waiting for you to open your heart.
Recently I had the opportunity to share part of my “story”. Being able to do that makes it worth while to have gone through and continue to go through difficulties. Here’s just a small recap of the final points…
I had gotten to a place in life where I was ignoring the little girl inside of me that needed nurture and love. I’m not just talking about a day or a week of ignoring but a good many years. At my worst I found myself sitting alone in my closet crying out to God for relief! I had tried so many things to numb and distract myself from dealing with the pile up of stresses, losses and changes.
But before things could begin to change for the better I needed to ACCEPT the fact that I was powerless on my own. I needed help and support! I found this through my BELIEF in a power greater than myself. You see I had been hiding from the One who loves me unconditionally and offers unlimited grace and power beyond my human strength… my Father God! I tended to do that, comes from a false belief about not deserving love. And I also found others that were learning how to overcome , they were “Jesus with skin on” to me and offered a non-judgmental listening ear and the encouraging words to take one little step at a time forward. I SURRENDERED to these things, not easily mind you, but when you are at the end of your rope surrender becomes easier. I had a hard protective shell, fear, that made letting go in surrender a scary step!
Acceptance, belief and surrender is a daily practice… I have learned that once you ignore it one day it’s easy to ignore it two days and then 2 years and so on. God loves me unconditionally and has GOOD plans for me (for you too!) and I want to be part of those plans! You know what, I am worth it! We all are! The lust of the flesh lies to us and fills us with temporary satisfaction but I can attest that the peace that comes from God far outweighs the quick highs this world has to offer.
Feed your body, mind and spirit with acceptance, belief and surrender!
My daughter bought me a bag of my favorite coffee beans for my birthday. I was astounded at the smooth taste of my morning coffee! In fact, I had almost gotten to a point of cutting coffee out in the morning because it just wasn’t anything special anymore! A couple years ago we started buying just plain old Maxwell House, but until I got those Gold Coast beans again I had not realized that I had settled! I had settled for cheap, for basic and run of the mill! When those beans ran out I knew I could not go back, my taste buds had been reawakened and refused to be shut down again. The excitement of morning coffee returned!
It hit me, this scenario is similar to my life. I’m settling for Folgers when I could have fresh roasted beans from Gold Coast! I’ve allowed myself to become accustomed to less, expect less, strive for less, feeling JOYless. What do I love? GOLD COAST! What are my dreams? To help others through my writing, through one-on-one conversations, by sharing my story and sharing tools I’ve gathered over the years. I don’t know all of the details of how I will accomplish this to the extent my mind imagines but I do know I HAVE to be pursuing this passion or else my life is like drinking stale coffee out of a styrofoam cup! I can’t settle for that anymore, I want those fresh roasted beans, ground up and brewed… served in my favorite mug! This blog is my baby step in the direction towards my dream. It makes my heart soar just to think it may bring encouragement and hope to just one person.
What are your dreams? Do you know? Take some time and allow them to be reawakened. Let’s encourage each other to pursue and live this life with passion!
Birthdays…. they’ve been an interesting journey for me. As a child my mom would let me pick out a cake from the special little book. Most years I was allowed to have a friend party and then we also had a big extended family party. There was always a lot of activity, presents and “me” focus. That took some time for me to outgrow and really learn what it means to celebrate me. I’ve gone to some extremes over the years from crying and having fits over not feeling celebrated enough to declaring that we would skip my birthday. (one year I even sat at my job all day without saying a word to anyone that it was my birthday)
This year I decided to be AWARE of what my body, mind and spirit (BMS) were telling me… take a day off for me. Did it have to involve spending money and making elaborate plans? No! But it did involve being aware of the things that bring me JOY. Having a day to be in my home brings me joy, so I asked for the day off (that was hard! I was scared to ask, but I did it FOR ME!) I brought two of my kids to school, this is my favorite time of the day with them. They honored me with pictures and a banner that greeted me at the table. I came home and went back to bed then cuddled and played with my dogs in my bed, my dogs bring me joy. My daughter took the day off to spend with me, what a gift! We enjoyed time chatting and just being together. I spent some time watching my favorite show and drinking some wine. The topping to the day was a nice family dinner prepared by my husband with all of my children present, and a delicious cake. I’ll be honest, there were a few moments yesterday I started to feel a little panicky that I didn’t make plans, but my biggest desire in life right now is for peace. Today was full of peace, surrounded by those I love the most in a place that brings me joy. I’m learning how to truly celebrate me!
There are so many tools we have available to feed our spirits. Books (I’m an advocate for the Bible being a constant, Gods living word), music, podcasts, preaching, teaching….This morning my daughter played a song for us on the drive to school. The lyrics talked about walking through difficult things but feeling gods presence in the midst of it. In my family alone we are all going through our own valleys. That draws me to conclude that everyone has a valley they are walking through. But I was reminded today of Gods word (the BREAD for our spirit) that says even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you (God/”Daddy”) are with me. (Psalm 23:4)
Surrender. Put your hands up when your on the roller coaster, try not to grip the bar. Coming from someone who is terrified and has to convince myself to actually get on the ride! But once, I tried it, I let go. I relaxed and I didn’t grip or fight the twists and turns, I surrendered. And I felt invigorated!!! Will I be scared next time? Absolutely! But I hope to surrender sooner, remembering my experience.
The key, you have to know the character/makeup/construction of what you are putting your faith in. Know it’s reliable and trustworthy. That comes through the feeding…. reading, studying, meditating, praying.
Feed your spirit!
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light onto my path.” Psalm 119: 105
Today I woke up and was aware that I was thirsty, instead of ignoring my body’s signal I decided to fill up my water bottle and drink. The next body sensation I noticed was hunger. My son triggered my memory of a dream I had, it was about purchasing and warming up cinnamon rolls. In my dream, I ate a whole pan full! My addictive side wanted to run out to the store and purchase the cinnamon rolls to re-enact my dream but thankfully today I had enough self-control (and also have been gaining much more knowledge on healthy eating) to go in the kitchen and make myself some eggs. I thought about what I wanted to do in my day, feeling a crash after high carbs and sugar was not on the list! So the second way I fed my body was through a healthy breakfast. AWARENESS! Being aware of my body’s signals and choosing to allow that awareness to guide me in caring for my body. I’ve spent many days of my life ignoring my body’s signals and pushing on to my agenda, needing to cross the items off the to do list I had written in my mind before getting out of bed. That kind of living left me burnt out, exhausted, sick…. the list goes on. So my encouragement for today is be AWARE and tune in to what your body needs. Let’s help each other to stay AWARE, we deserve it!