Monday, February 20, 2012

Where's my paddle?!?!?

You have probably heard the saying about the paddle. I will try and keep it family friendly with my version: Up crap creek without a paddle.

There are days where not only do I not have a paddle....I'm not even sure I have a boat!!!! Or I'm not up the creek....but right in the middle with all that "stuff" swirling around me. Those days are not fun.

On a good day, I realize (and sometimes it takes me awhile to remember) that my paddle is not lost. I either have it and I am not using it. OR it has been taken away or given up.

My family members are much more visual thinkers than I am. However, I am realizing ever so slowly that sometimes thinking in pictures helps. On the days I figure out that my paddle is not with me, I am going to picture the devil gleefully standing off on the shore watching me struggle as he holds the paddle just out of my grasp.

Unfortunately, I have come to realize that there are days when it is not much of a stretch to say that I have given up my paddle without much of a fight. I stop doing what I know works. I get too busy in the morning and rush out the door without prayers, worship music or some Bible reading. I make excuses of why I'm not getting things done.

The secret to remember is that even if my paddle has been taken or swept away? I'm not in the boat, or any situation, alone. Neither are you. So grab that paddle back....and beat it over the devil's head.

Mark 6:50-51 (NIV) Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 

Psalm 41:2 The LORD protects and preserves them—they are counted among the blessed in the land--he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Roller Coaster...of emotions

Feelings.....whoa, whoa, f-e-e-l-i-n-g-s......

As far as I know, you will not find this roller coaster at any theme park. It's so scary, I don't think many would willingly get on it.....let alone pay to ride it.....and yet we

Emotions have taken on such a stigma in our culture. Kids that wear too much black....or all black are called "emo" :(  Maybe they just like black....or maybe they are working through something in life and that's how they deal with it.

I know what emotions can be, but I don't recall ever looking it thanks to Webster's: emotion: a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body 

???? ummm I'm not sure that cleared anything up for me. Until I looked up the word subjective and found the word perception. Makes sense, right? How we see the roller coaster...even if we decide to ride based on our perceptions of what has happened to us or around us in the past.

We move further and further away from "feeling" our feelings. We get in such a hurry that we don't stop to think about WHY we might be feeling that way.  I'm finding out the hard way. You can't tell somebody else not to feel a certain way about something. It is their emotion and feeling. It is based on their perception of what is going on. Same as us. I can't tell myself not to feel a certain way about something.

What we can do is change how much we let that feeling(s) affect us. We can be in charge of how long we ride the roller coaster....or if we'll even get on in the first place. We can decide if we're willing to ride along with someone else on their roller coaster....or we can stand on the side and wait for their ride to be over! (This might be the safest choice!)

Having written all of that though, I also know that our brains can get clouded by depression, fear, anxiety.... where it feels like we have no control or choice of riding. We're just on it. Going up and down...maybe not as many ups. A little while is natural. We do what we can do with what we have. BUT if you feel like you will never get off the roller coaster and enjoy some days where feelings are not trying to rule your world? Talk to a friend. Talk to a doctor and make sure there is nothing mentally or physically wrong. A doctor once explained to me, medicine can make the highs not so high, but the lows not so low. 

One consolation? We don't have to ride the roller coaster alone. Even on our worst days, when we feel the most unlovable. God can be right there in the front seat with us. Putting life a little more in perspective. Helping us adjust our perception. Helping us realize those hills that look so frightening on the ground can help us learn how to deal with the stuff of life.....and enjoy the ride....on or off the roller coaster.

Jeremiah 31:27 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. 28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the LORD.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Are the side effects worth it?

I watch TV crime/mystery shows. Even though I detest blood and gore, I get into the story and solving the mystery. Many times I watch them too late at night. Dumb! Late at night when I'm already tired, somewhat depressed and overly emotional. I should turn it off....but I'm hooked after a few minutes. Sometimes I wonder how many creeps get ideas from watching shows like Criminal Minds, etc. A lot of those murder mystery/cop shows have numerous creative ways to do people in.

Before you get to worried about me, I'll get on with my train of thought (THIS one, I actually remember!)

One of the downsides of television are the commercials (unless the ad is really creative....and makes me remember WHAT they are advertising for!) It seems lately there are SO many ads for ones that require a prescription. I find it amusing (? for lack of a better word) when they show the whole ad and then tell the side effects....sometimes rather quickly...including the one to call a dr if something lasts more than 4 hours. OR there is an ad in a magazine with a happy looking person and when you flip the page...a whole page of possible issues. OR when I pick up my prescription with the small novel size pamphlet of info with even smaller print.

Have you ever actually READ one of those? For me, they are kind of like the "terms and conditions" that need to be agreed on frequently. Once in awhile, I glance over, but usually just click the box that I read it. Who knows what I could be giving up?

When I was pregnant, I had to get injections the first few months. I had to pick up the vial of medicine. Small novel of small print came with it. I actually read most of it.....and promptly called the dr and asked if they knew of kids born after their mother had taken this medicine. I was somewhat calmly reassured that the benefit of the medicine which would help me stay pregnant was worth it....and that a side effect had to be listed even if it was only rats or a few people that had an issue. Oh how reassuring. not.

However, our son was born healthy....and life continues on.....and I have persisting thoughts late at night/early AM.

In life, not just medicines/prescriptions have side effects. Maybe for the way I'm thinking of it, a similar word would be consequence. Our decisions (or lack thereof) carry side effects/consequences. Some we will not like and decide that life is better the way it is than the way it could be if we choose to medicate/decide.

Sometimes there are side effects of dealing with people who are already dealing with their own side effects. This can be tricky because everybody handles them differently. So we do our best to be understanding and seek to make the best, informed decisions we can....and help others that may not be as far on the journey.

So maybe take some time to reflect (speaking to myself here also) on what the issue is, what the cure might look like and if the side effects will be worth it.

Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

I Love You. Period.

Love.....ahhh.....LOVE. We seem to toss that term around so casually these days. We can "love" anything from the latest TV show to the newest flavor of chips to a 0 score in tennis. In our world today, sex seems = to love. (P.S. IT'S NOT) Love is more than a feeling and an overused word in songs.

Love also can have conditions. 

I love you, if......  I love you, even though......  I love you, but...... 

Lately, I'm learning that sometimes we need to just stop after "I love you" to make sure that the person we're talking to hears the whole intention. The ifs, ands, buts and even thoughs can come later in a different discussion. Sometimes we don't hear what comes before the comma. We just hear you would love me better if I was more, different, whatever. 

This can be difficult with a spouse or a child.....or I'm finding out sometimes, even ourselves. It's so easy to use the comma, if, and..... and not stop at the period. I love you. I love myself. I will save the other stuff for another conversation. At this time, in this moment, I just need you to hear I LOVE YOU. I will love you in the next minute, hour, day, month, year. Love is different and so much more than like. What we do, the decisions we make will not always (hardly ever) be the best. We will live and we will learn. It may not always be in my strength, but I will love you.

You may not feel love right now. You may not feel like giving or receiving love. Sometimes when we don't feel like being loved, is when we need it the most.

I looked up the definition of "love" online. There are 9 definitions. My favorite wasn't at the top of the list: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another  The dictionary lists "love" as a noun. Love is also a word of action.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I pray that you will feel love, be able to give love and accept love for yourself and for others. May you know that you do not need to love in your own strength. You are loved. Amen.

Jude 1:2  Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

1 Peter 4:8  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 

1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (PERIOD!)