Saturday, April 30, 2016

How's Your Day?

"How's your day?" asks the teller at the bank oh so casually. She was busy processing my transaction. She hadn't really glanced up or she probably would have noticed the teary look on my face. Or maybe she would have thought I always looked like that. She doesn't know me. It was my first time at that branch. Even a teller at my own "home" branch probably wouldn't have noticed. I pride (?) myself on thinking I hide my feelings so well. HA! I'm discovering I am only fooling myself. I have a horrible poker face. Emotions on sleeve. Check.

"How's your day?" SUCH a loaded question. Is he/she just making pleasant conversation? (Probably) Does the person asking REALLY want to know? (At a bank? Probably not) Do you answer truthfully? (Crappy thanks. And you?) Just say fine to get it out of the way and get the business you need done? (Just take my money and move on. No need to be pleasant!) Answer back almost parrot-like, "how's YOUR day?" (tempting.....)

Quite honestly, today was NOT the greatest day. I honestly answered after I hesitated a bit...."I've had better" to say fine would have been lying....mostly to myself.

I have had better. I have also had worse. I am not usually so honest with a stranger. I am not even usually that honest with myself! My mind repeats....fine, fine, fine. My heart goes....not so much, not so much.

When the not so fine, I've had better days are few and far between, I feel like I at least have a grip on life. When those days are coming closer and closer together, like they have been lately? Oh, the grip is not quite so tight. The smile is not quite so forth-coming. The tears are much closer to the surface and sometimes even spill out.

However? I am beginning to realize that the way of handling those days is much more important than how I answer the question.

There will always be something that can turn even the best day quickly into what seems like frustration overdrive.

Having a less than stellar day? Try some of the following:

Acknowledge - If it sucks? Say so. Even if it is only admitting it to yourself.

Better - There WILL be better day(s). It may not be today or the next day, but take your better whenever and however you can....even if it comes in increments and not the whole day.

Grateful - Find something, ANYTHING to be grateful for!

Laugh - Find a way to stretch those smile muscles.

Strength - When you feel weak, borrow somebody else's strength until you feel yours coming back.

Ice Cream - When all else fails, do what you gotta do. Get sprinkles. Everything's better with sprinkles.

**Nudges - Pay attention to the nudges. If you feel like you are supposed to take a little extra time to do some praying, devotions, etc? DO IT. I'm finding out this is God's way of providing that extra strength I'll need....before I know I need it.

**That nudge this AM made this an "I've had better" day instead of a curl up in a fetal position in bed day when I made it home.

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Give Up!

I believe we are born to be fighters, not quitters....not giver uppers.

Give people a cause to get behind, and we don't give up even when the outcome looks bleak.

In sports, players/individuals go to the last 10th of a it their all, pouring it cross the finish line, to score a point, to make a goal, to beat their own best time.

I think that is why my thought process to give up is so counter intuitive to my very nature. Probably yours too. That may be where many of our problems stem from.

In the past, I have been much better at feeling in tune with God. Those are also the times that I was having a time of devotions sometime during the day. I was reading the Bible. I was listening. I prayed more...not just sentence, "help me" prayers. I danced and sang to praise music. I went to church. I took time to be close to God and, more importantly, to let Him be close to me.

Recently, I can feel myself slipping. I don't take as much time to just be in God's presence. I rely more on ME than on HIM. This has not turned out well in the past. Maybe it seems so temporarily, but then LIFE starts to creep up and get the better of me....and I am reminded....again. Still?

God is not pushy. He waits patiently, often on the sidelines because that is where we PUT Him. God doesn't just want to be a cheerleader, there to encourage us. He wants to be IN the game. The captain even.

God wants me to give up. Not give up on myself, but to let Him in to deal with some of the life stuff that is just TOO heavy to carry on my own! Oh....I've been trying. Not very successfully, when I'm honest with myself. Honestly, we can be our own worst enemy when we try to be honest. I can put on a nice smile. I can sound like I'm doing all the "right" things and God feels far away. GOD DIDN'T MOVE!

Are you ready to give up?

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.