Self-Confidence

If you post nothing but positivity and perfection on social media, you make everyone else feel bad.  While everyone also believes that there is absolutely no way your life is that perfect.

You’re just faking it.

You shouldn’t brag about your accomplishments.

But you shouldn’t have low self-esteem.

Do this.

Don’t do that.

Act this way.

Don’t be absurd.

Why are you being like that?

Just be real.

Oh, but not that real.

Share your feelings.

But only if they’re positive.

But be real.

Admit your struggles.

But don’t talk bad about yourself.

Have self-confidence.

But be humble about it.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Because it certainly does to me.  There is such a fine line between self-confidence and self-deprecation that it’s truly a wonder if any of us have a small measure of mental health.

After a lifetime of never feeling like I was good enough, or smart enough, or just plain enough…I finally feel like I’m maybe, almost making a little bit of progress.  Not to say that this isn’t a daily struggle.  Because it is.

But…

I know that I do not need to settle for anything less that I deserve.  And when I say that, I mean…I’m smart, I’m capable, I’m strong, I’m stubborn, I’m funny, I’m kind, I’m a million different things.

And when I say that I shouldn’t settle for anything less than what I deserve, I will not settle for anything less than someone or something that sees who I truly am, and isn’t fearful of that.  I will not surround myself with people who choose to put me down instead of lift me up.

We often get so focused on what other people think of us, and how other people make us feel about ourselves that we lose sight of what is truly important.

God.

Not only who God is to us…Father, Creator, Friend, Strength…but also who we are to God…loved child.

We.  Are.  Loved.

Daily, we are surrounded by so much love, it can be overwhelming, it can seem false, but it is never unfailing.

Never.

Do you need to read that again?

Because God’s love for you never fails.

No matter what you’ve done.  No matter how unloving you have acted.  God’s love for you has never failed.

It seems incredible, doesn’t it?  That someone loves us without any type of condition laid upon us.

Yet, it’s the truth.

So…

How can that truth help us navigate the tricky path that I laid out above?

Let’s talk about the word humble.  The act of “being humble” does not mean self-deprecating.

To be self-deprecating means to put yourself down.  To say that you are less valuable that you actually are.

But to be humble means to have knowledge and confidence in who you are, and knowing that all you are, all you have, is because of God.

Does that solve a lot of problems?

Well, yes.

I will.  Maybe not instantly.  But it will definitely solve a lot of problems.  And it will help you build a more firm foundation to navigate the rest of the challenges that life throws your way.

So now that we have the easy answer out of the way…what does this really look like?  How do we begin to implement this in our lives?

It isn’t easy.

It isn’t fast.

But it is so worth it.

God didn’t create worthless pieces of junk.

So maybe one of the things that you need to do is take some time to really look at yourself, and who you are, and the things that you offer to the world around you.  Write out a list of all of the good things that you are if you need to.  Turn it into a poster and hang it on your wall if you need to.  Whatever you need to do to remind yourself of your value.

Read your Bible.  I cannot stress this enough.  You must spend time reading, studying and understanding God’s words to truly understand who He is.  I can sit here and type until my fingers bleed about who God is.  But until you actually get into a relationship with Him, you won’t really know Him.

Now…can the Bible be complex, and overwhelming?  Absolutely.  It can be terrifying.

But it’s ok to be afraid, and still move forward and do it.

I promise you, it will be worth it.

Maybe take it slow if you need to.  Get help when you need it.  Ask questions.  Just, please, make sure you’re asking for help from people who have some understanding of the Bible.

Once you have taken those 2 steps, something will naturally happen.  You start to take a look at what you’re doing, who you’re surrounding yourself with, and you really start to take a look inward about whether you need to make any changes in your life.

And guess what?

Those negative voices that have surrounded you in the past, the voices that have tried to bring you down…once you stand up for yourself, and have confidence in yourself, those negative voices tend to weed themselves out.

Not always (unfortunately) so you may need to make some drastic changes to your social scene.

But you won’t be sorry for it.

My friend, you are loved.  You are amazing.  Now go have an amazing day!!!

Self-Care

Have you ever paused a moment, and realized that even though you know what you need to do, you’re not doing it?

I’m rather annoyed with myself, because that’s exactly where I am right now.

I have willingly accepted taking on much more stress and responsibility.  Because I’m removing it from someone else’s shoulders, temporarily.  Because they need the break.  They deserve the break.

So, I figure for 3 months, I can handle some extra responsibility.

Except, I made a fatal flaw.

I failed to mentally and emotionally prepare to handle all of this additional stress.  And I allowed the stress to overwhelm me.

How incredibly easy does this happen to all of us?  We allow the external forces in our lives take over, and we, quite literally, lose our dadgum minds.  We don’t allow the stress to be managed in a healthy and appropriate way, and we get sick (which I did) and grumpy (that definitely happened).

And then, inevitably, we end up wallowing in self-pity.

Ok, maybe I wasn’t so much wallowing in self-pity so much as I let the grumpiness seep through every aspect of my life.  I let that take over, and I just had a bad attitude about, well, lots of things.  I had a bad attitude at God.  God, why am I going through this? God, why do I feel like this? God, why aren’t things just working out how they are supposed to? God, why don’t people just do the things they’re supposed to do?

Basically, the long list of questions I was asking God, and having a bad attitude toward was really my own fault.  Because…I didn’t do the thing I knew I was supposed to do.

SAID that I had all of my trust in God.

But what I really meant is that God is totally in charge, but I’m still going to worry about it, and tell God how I want Him to handle my problem.

Ok, so now that I know all of that, and I have realized all of that…I can move forward.

First, I can now channel some of the stress that I am feeling into a more positive way.

Second, I can change my attitude.

I got smacked in the face the other day while reading my Bible.  The words took a running jump off the page and smacked me in the face.  This thing made me realize that I was screwing up in a major way.

I stopped praising and thanking God for the things in my life.

I was still talking to God…about everything.  But my attitude toward Him while we were talking just stunk.  I had a great deal of stinkin’ thinkin’ going on.  And I was whining and complaining to God about all of the things in my life.  And while I said I was grateful and thankful…my attitude clearly showed that I was not.

Now, though I am not 100% cured of my negative Nancy-ness…I’m getting there.  Though the stress and the worry are still there, the burden upon my shoulders is much less.

I have even started thinking that I am grateful for the stress.  Because God has placed me in a position to be able to help.  This thing right now, it’s a blessing.

I know, without a doubt, I will one day look back and say I’m glad I did this.  I’m glad I got to spend the time doing this.

I.  Am.  Grateful.

Round 2

Approximately 10 years ago, I realized that I was in round 2 (sometimes round 3) of dating.  Meaning, a large percentage of the dating pool I am in has already been married.  And many of those people also have children.  As a result, I made the conscious decision that I was going to accept the fact that any relationship I end up in may also have kiddos.

And I have subsequently dated men who have children.

Personally, I love children.

But there is a dangerous and frustrating trend happening.

Instead of focusing on finding someone to build a relationship and life with, men are overwhelmed by single parenting, and focus more on finding a person that is willing to be a mother to their children.

Disclaimer, before you decent guys out there get your panties in a bunch: I understand that this is not ALL men.  But there are definitely men out there that fall into this category.  Trust me, I’ve dated them.

Disclaimer #2: I absolutely believe that the children in this equation are vitally important, and what is best for them should be considered.

Ok, now that we have those issues cleared up, let me get on with my point.

In any discipleship training I have been through, and relationships are truly and Biblically discussed, the order goes as such:

God.

Spouse.

Children.

Everyone else.

A wise friend (and if you tell him I called him that, I will flat out deny it) was once telling me about his explanation to his daughter on how to find an appropriate guy to date.

Find someone who loves God more than they love you, and you will never have to worry about being treated how you deserve to be treated.

This. Is. What. Everyone. Needs. To. Know.

The main issue I have personally had in dating is that I didn’t follow this rule.  Have I dated Christian men?  Absolutely.  Have I dated Christian men who followed this principle?  Absolutely not.

There is a difference.

There is a HUGE difference.

In the past, there are a couple misconceptions that I believed about dating.  First, that a man that truly loves God more than they love me doesn’t exist.  I do believe that those men are few and far between (in the dating range that I’m in, because many of those men are already married).  Second, that I didn’t deserve a man like that.

Both are false.

I know that now.

So here’s the thing…relationships are tough.  Building a relationship where children are involved are really tough.  And sometimes, the focus is out of place.  Putting children above trying to build a decent, God centered relationship is going to fail.  When you put children in place of God as the center, you are focusing on the wrong thing.

But when God is the center of your relationship, together we will build a relationship that will thrive.  And when the adults are focusing on God, and pursuing God’s path in their life, and in how they treat other people, the relationship will be solid.  And once that relationship is solid, the children won’t be an issue.  Why?  Because when a solid relationship is built with God at the center, I am going to treat you how God wants me to treat you, and I am also going to treat your children how God wants me to treat them.

Plain.  And.  Simple.

This. Is. Ridiculous.

Have you ever prayed what you felt was an absolutely absurd, ridiculous prayer?

Even as you’re praying, you just feel dumb even praying the words.

I have done that a couple of times recently.

The holiday season is upon us.  And Hallmark movies are constantly being showed about everyone finding their one true love in just the nick of time.  And I love every single one of them.  I truly do.

Not because I believe that they’re true to life stories.  Or because I want a storybook ending.

But each and every one gives hope in situations where we can often feel hopeless.

Point of clarity: I am not blaming Hallmark, or their wonderful Christmas movies for what I’m about to tell you.

But it’s the holiday season.  A time where we all spend somewhere between too much and not enough time with our family members.  And it can be tough when you’re the single one in the family.

well im not married yet dear marilyn monroe GIF

I decided a while back that I was going to wait until God brought the perfect for me person into my life.

God’s taking a really long time about that.

Like, a REALLY long time.

A frustratingly long and ridiculous amount of time.

I’m being a brat about it.  Because, once again, I’m spending the holidays single.  No, that’s not it.  I’m being a brat because I’m trying to fit God’s plan into my plan.  I’m trying to pull back control on a situation that I already turned over to God.

And because I was trying to take charge, I almost made a stupid decision.  Ok, in my lifetime of stupid decisions, by far, not the worst of the stupid decisions.

I almost signed up for online dating.

Because I was lonely.

And because I’m frustrated.

And impatient.

And I feel like God isn’t moving in the ways that I want Him to move.

Because that’s not what God does.

And even though I know all of these things.  I still almost made a stupid decision.  So I prayed.  I prayed for God to help keep me from making a stupid decision.  And to remind myself that I’m really not the one in charge anyway.

I’m not saying that I’m 100% of the way there.  But at least I acknowledge that I almost did a stupid thing.

That’s progress, right?

Humble Confidence

I don’t want to brag, but…

I am smart.

I am beautiful.

I am thoughtful.

I am hard-working.

I am stubborn.

I am sarcastic.

I am funny.

I am tough.

I am strong.

I am…a million different things.

Just because I am all of these things, doesn’t mean that you aren’t, too.

The dangerous trend, that honestly has probably been around since nearly the dawn of time, is that to have self-confidence, one must also put others down, to highlight just how awesome we are.  You can’t be nearly as awesome as me, because you suck, and I smell like roses.

And, oh, how many times in my life have I fallen victim to this???

How many times do I still fall victim to this???

Insecurity.  Insecurity in ourselves, in how the world perceives us, in who we are.  Insecurity causes so many challenges.  Some people, like me, respond to this by shutting down.  I start to believe all of those negative comments that people make, because I believe in how they are talking to me, talking about me.  I believe them.  And I shut down.

The other response is to be one of those people who put others down.  There are varying degrees of this.  Sometimes this can come across as a very polite comment, but the truth of what is said is a criticism.  Other times it is very blatant, rude and meant to hurt.  And still other times, an insecure narcissist can be outright damaging, both physically and emotionally, to other people.

  • “You might as well just go to the nursing home and marry an 80 year old man, because no one else will ever want to marry you.”
  • “Why would you wear that?”
  • “That’s hysterical that you think you can write a book.”
  • “You just don’t know what you’re talking about.”
  • “You’re stupid.”
  • “You’re ugly.”
  • “You’re fat.”
  • “You smile too much.”
  • “What do you have to be so happy about?”

All of these things have been said to me, and then some!  And when I heard them, they hurt.  And I started to believe them…

 

One of my own personal struggles is that I don’t know how to walk the very fine line of between being humble and egotistical, confident and coward.  It is a very fine line.  And I tend to fall on the negative side of the line.

Even still today.

I know, and honestly do believe all of the qualities that I listed above.  I believe all of them with my whole heart.

But the tendency to believe that negative inner monologue still afflicts me.

And oh how many times have I stopped myself from doing something because someone else made me feel inferior.  Sometimes, it’s the actions of other people directly putting me down.  Sometimes, I see how amazing other people are, and think that there isn’t possibly a way I could do that, so why should I even try?

Even if I don’t always realize it, even if I don’t always see it, I know, deep down (sometimes way, way, way deep down) that my life has a purpose.  That even if other people can do awesome and amazing things, so can I!

So instead of tearing each other down, let’s just stop.  Stop it all.  Stop the negative talk.  Stop the criticism.  Stop the judgement.  Stop believing that we are horrible people.

Yes, it is easy to compare ourselves to everyone else.

But just because I’m awesome, doesn’t mean that you aren’t awesome, too!

Awesomeness isn’t mutually exclusive.  There isn’t just one awesome award that gets handed out in life.

Ope, I won the Awesome Award this week, sorry ’boutcha!

Life doesn’t work like that!

So join me in being a cheerleader for life.

Build each other up.

Compliment instead of criticize.

We just might change the world.

 

Out Of My Comfort Zone

I tend to shy away from discussing controversial topics.  I don’t engage in pointless arguments on social media. In fact, if you follow me on social media, you will find I talk about 3 main things:  coffee, funny stuff to put a smile on your face, or something uplifting. And that’s basically it.  

But here I am, stepping out of my comfort zone because I feel God calling me to do this.  You should also know that right now, right this very second, my heart is beating faster, and my stomach is in knots because I’m writing this.  

Way out of my comfort zone is an understatement.

But here goes…

“I don’t need you.  I want you.”

I have never told a greater lie to myself.  

But for many, many years, that was my slogan when it came to dating.  Because I was a strong and independent woman, and I didn’t need anyone to fulfill my life.

While some of that principle isn’t entirely accurate, the base of it is still true.  Because I don’t need another human. I need God.

But…

As humans, we need one another.  We do. I cannot survive in this world alone.  There is no possible way that I could survive without the help from others.  I assure you that should I be dropped in the middle of the woods and left to survive on just the things in the woods, I would starve, or my klutzy behind would inevitably do something insane and end up damaging myself beyond repair.

There are people out there that could do those things.

I am certainly not one of them.

When the feminist movement began, it was about having equal rights.  Not being forced to jobs that we didn’t want to do, nor get paid a pittance for doing such a job.  Ending women feeling like second class citizens.  It was about women standing up and saying “I can do this, too. I can do it well. And I should get paid for doing it well.”  But even by the end of the original feminist movement, those that started it no longer supported how far things had gone.

Because if I paid attention to what society thinks I should do, I should have a husband and kids, and work a full time job, and keep my house spotless, and cook amazing meals every night of the week, and do all of the housework, and volunteer.  

So let me clue you in on a little secret.  

If you follow the guidelines that society is setting up for you, you will fail.

Read that again.

You.  Will. Fail.

Miserably.

I tend to consider myself more of a common-sensical feminist.  It follows one simple guideline:

Intelligence is knowing you can do ANYTHING.  Wisdom is knowing you cannot do EVERYTHING.

I do many things that are not what you would consider “girly.”  I build furniture, and I love mowing the lawn, and helping my dad farm.  Yes, I drive a tractor. But I also know that it is not possible for me to do everything all on my own.  

Ask my dad.  As a single woman, I call on him a lot to help me with things around the farm.  

God designed women to be a partner and support system.  And I’m not really sure I understand why all of a sudden that seemed to be a bad thing.  

A while back, I was talking to a fellow teacher.  And his assessment of the world we live in (specifically, with teenagers), he is convinced that women are going to end up ruling the world.  And honestly, if you look at the maturity level between Freshman girls and boys, he is correct. At that age, boys are simply not as mature as girls.  My response was to use the analogy of a farmer…

Looking back to days gone by, to the present, in most cases (certainly not all) the man is the farmer.  He works in the field, he stresses over whether or not to do this or do that. So yes, the man is the farmer.  But if you look at his wife, and all of the tasks she manages to be able to support that farmer: cooking meals, laundry, helping out on the farm.  All of the tasks that she does allows the farm to run smoothly. Both roles are vitally important.  With the roles that women have, we already rule the world.  We just don’t always get credit for it.

So if you are in the position of serving, helping, being a teammate, don’t ever look down on your support role.  

Because without every role being managed, we will fail.

We all must work together.

One ill side effect of the feminist movement that is rather frustrating to deal with is that because women are standing up and saying “I don’t need no man” we are creating a generation of lazy men.

Not all men are lazy.  I get that. Don’t get all kerflusterbated at me.

But some men see that women are pushing them aside to do tasks themselves, and they end up completely content to just sit back and let someone else do it.  And more than anything, it leads to a lack of respect. Take for example, men opening the door for women. Yes, I can physically open a door myself. But I love it when men still open the door for me.  Because that is their way of saying, you know what, yes you can do it yourself. But you don’t have to do everything by yourself.  

So, women, can we please stop accepting the lack of respect, the downright awful expectation, of needing to do absolutely everything to feel like a success? 

Ugh, Seriously???

I am annoyed.  Mostly with myself.  A little bit with God.  But seriously, it’s with myself.  This is not the story that I want to tell.  But this is the story that I need to tell.  

My mom has the absolute best intentions in the world.  She really does. And I appreciate the intent, even if I don’t always appreciate the actual thing she does.  For years, she would buy me books, or forward me stories of women who had similar stories to mine, in that I’m an old lady, and I’m still single.  Even though I REALLY don’t want to be.  So she would give me these stories of other women who were in similar circumstances for years and years and years.  And then they meet their soulmate, and life is wonderful.

Those stories annoy me.

Because that is the life that I so desperately want to live.  

Because that’s great and fantastic and wonderful that life has worked out for them.  But here I am. And I’m not in the place that I really want to be. And there are days that I just don’t understand why.  Today is one of those days.  

Except, I really do know the reason why.  Because God is telling me to write the story that I needed to read years ago.  The story of how it’s possible to not be exactly where I want to be. But to still live a life full of joy and wonder and love.  

At the end of the day, I am happy.  I really am.  

And there are days (yesterday, and today) where the loneliness weighs a little heavier on my shoulders.  

Because let me tell you about my weekend.  My cousin, who is seriously more like a sister to me, is amazing.  Her husband is amazing. Her kids are the best, except when they shot me in the eye with a Nerf dart.  Over the weekend, she was telling my mom and I about an event that they had been invited to, and someone that has hurt her was also going to be there.  And her husband’s response to this was so simple, yet so powerful. They had decided that they never wanted this person to ever set eyes on their children.  But beyond that, her husband told her that he didn’t want her to have to experience going to this event for her own mental health.  

Later, my only comment to my mom about this was that I love how he defends her, and protects her.  

I want that.

I’ve never come close to having that.

But that is how it is supposed to be.  

The other thing from this weekend is even more ridiculous.  Because Sunday at church, my pastor was talking about his niece, whose husband just had his fifth brain surgery in just a couple of months.  But through it all, how her faith has never wavered. And she is struggling, and is tired, beyond anything you could imagine. 

And one of the first things that went through my mind was “wow, I want a love like that.”  

Yes, I was jealous of the love that this woman has for God, and for her husband.  Not the situation, mind you. Because no one should have to experience anything like that.  But the love that they have is what everyone should have.  

Last night, I went for a walk.  Honestly, I was content to sit at home and do nothing.  Mindless, nothing. But I forced myself to go for a walk.  And it was so hot that I didn’t take Cheese with me. So I walked.  And I prayed. I almost wrote that I walked alone. But I really wasn’t.  God was with me. And I spent a lot of time praying. Praying for God to guide me on what to do.  On what to say. And praying for a miracle.

I have decided that that is exactly what it is going to take for me to find my husband.  I need a miracle.  

I am not one of those people you often hear about where they receive the overt and obvious miracles.  I never have been. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that God isn’t working in my life. I feel Him working in my life every single day.  Just in a more subtle way.  

So right now, where am I at?  

I am still praying until something happens.  At least, I’m trying to. PUSH. Pray. Until.  Something. Happens.

I’m going to be really honest, I was really hoping that I wouldn’t still be praying about that miracle I need.  But I am. I pray every single day for the ways God is working in my life. And to prepare my heart. And to prepare my husband’s heart.  Whoever he is.  

And I am weary from still needing to pray about it.  I still am. But my patience is wearing thin. And I’m not sure how much longer I will need to pray.  But I also know that if I stop praying for this miracle, I won’t get it.

So, annoyed as I am.  I’m still PUSHing.

The Curious Q-Tip Incident

Do you ever look back at events in your past, and realize that though they seemed horrific at the time, they now just seem utterly ridiculous?

I know personally that my brain often doesn’t shut down, and I relive events from my past.  Wishing that I had done something differently. Sometimes in a more positive way. More often thinking that I was just a moron.

And I don’t know if any other survivors of abuse have done this, but recently I have been thinking about one particular “fight” (we’ll call it that) that my ex started with me.  Over Q-tips.  

Yes, you read that correctly.

Q-tips.

For most of my childhood, I was plagued with ear infections.  Plus, I have wet earwax (I honestly didn’t know that there were different types of earwax, until I was in Biology class with my students last year).

According to him, I was “wasteful” and an “idiot” because I chose to use 2 Q-tips after I showered, to clean my ears.

And because he decided I was wrong, yet again, I must be punished.  And I was only allowed to use 1 Q-tip from now on.  And he would be keeping track, and counting exactly how many Q-tips I used.

Absurd, right?

Even more absurd?  Get this, 5 years after I removed myself from the situation, I still only used one Q-tip.

Recently, I have been thinking about the burden that I carry because of what I went through.  And often, the weight of it does not feel as heavy as it once did. But then, I realize why I continue to do some of the things I do.  And the weight all of a sudden feels a little heavier.

One of the things that I have realized over the past 5 years is that forgiveness in these circumstances is vitally important.  It is important because carrying the weight of the lack of forgiveness weighs on my heart. So turning all of that over to God, and allowing him the vengeance that already told us is His, and His alone, frees that weight from my heart and shoulders.  I take comfort in the fact that he will have to face God for the things that he did.

But the other thing that I know for certain is that even though I have forgiven.  Even though I know that I never have to experience anything like that again, I catch myself doing something as a result of the abuse I suffered, and I realize that no matter how much healing I go through, I will continue to carry pieces of that me around.

That isn’t a bad thing.  Not really.

I am a far different person that I was then.  

I am stronger.  I am healthier. I am happy.

But I am forever changed because of what I experienced.  

Every single time I pick up a Q-tip, I am reminded of why I only use one Q-tip.  Except, a couple of weeks ago, I stopped cold in my tracks, and it really hit me why I only use one Q-tip.  And I couldn’t move. For over 5 years, I have dealt with my ears itching all day long because I didn’t clean them out properly.  

5 years!!!

Over a stinking Q-tip that costs about a penny.  

So no more.  I realized that I am not, in fact, being wasteful.  I am taking care of myself. But now, because it was so ingrained in my head only to use one, I have to remind myself some mornings that I can use 2 Q-tips.  

The times that I work through some of these issues, I pray and ask God how many more of these incidents do I have to work through.  I thought I was doing really well. I thought I had gotten over the hump on many of these things. But clearly, I am not all of the way there.  So how many more ridiculous nuances of my life that are a result of abuse must I get over?  

At this point, only God knows the answer to that.

Am I the only one that has this reaction?  Laughing at how idiotic some of the reasons he started a fight truly are? Tell me your stories.

Imma Pray for You

I had to pray for someone yesterday, someone that is not a very nice person.  Someone who created a current, horrific situation affecting people that I love.  And this same person has created horrific situations for other people that I love in the past.  This person is selfish, and mean. Long story short, unless this person has a profound change within their soul, she is going to hell.

And I HAD to pray for her yesterday.  Not because she asked me to pray for her.  But because I felt in my heart that she needs a profound change in her life, and we needed a miracle.  

I have no idea what has happened in her life for her to be such a mean and hateful person.  I know her parents. I know the area she grew up in. I know a great deal of her family. And nothing explains why she is the way she is…except Satan has got a hold of her.  

Satan…man…that guy is just bad news.   And when he gets his hooks into someone, really digs in deep, bad things will happen.

I have known for a long time, and personally experienced, Satan tries to throw things my way because I’m a Jesus girl.  Satan doesn’t like it when Jesus girls continue turning to God, no matter what hardships or war Satan tries to throw our way.  So sometimes the more we turn to God during a temper tantrum from the evil one, the worse the temper tantrum becomes.

And that’s exactly what happened.  Satan has tried throwing a temper tantrum, in human form.  And havoc ensued.

So how is it possible that I can pray for such a hateful person?  Well, the Bible told me to do it.

I look to these 2 verses for direction in how to pray for people you just don’t get along with.

“You have heard that it was said ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:43-45

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-”
1 Timothy 2:1

Paul isn’t telling us to just pray for our friends, and people that we love.  People that we get along with, and the ones that are nice to us. No, no, no.  Paul is telling us to pray for ALL people.  

So while I fully understand that when you pray for people who just haven’t been very nice to you, you may start off doing so through gritted teeth and a locked jaw.  I get it. Been there, done that, gotten the souvenir t-shirt.

I feel you.  

When Satan starts using people to attack you, persecute you, do evil and vile things, his goal is not to get you to pray more.  His goal is not to get you to turn your back on the evil, and pray. Pray for the person that Satan is attacking. Pray for the situation.  Turn everything over to God, and let Him be the one in charge. His goal is to win! He wants you to crumple. He wants you to turn your back on God and think that He has left you to suffer this tragedy all on your own!

I urge you…don’t bow down to Satan and the things that he wants to happen.  

But rather…what an awesome way to thumb your nose at Satan!?!  Tell him that you aren’t going to cave to the pressures he is putting you under.

Turn everything over to God, including the person Satan is using to attack you.

Not today, Satan.  NOT TODAY!!

What Am I Not Doing?

What am I not doing?

Talk about a terrifying question, with some potentially terrifying answers.

Last night, I talked to a dear, sweet friend.  A friend, who, we both agreed, do not talk often enough.  She’s been my person, and my support, even though sometimes we go months without talking.  

The exciting thing is is that she’s getting married.  I am absolutely over the moon happy for her. Genuinely, ecstatically happy.  Because she is happy. You know the kind of happy that just explodes out of someone’s face?

Well, it just so happens that her fiance has never been married before.  And, as women of a certain age, that doesn’t happen very often. But his comment was that he has been waiting for her to come along.

She sent me a passage that her fiance read to the point he memorized it.  And he let that keep running through his head. It’s a beautiful passage titled “A Message From God About the Perfect Human Relationship.”  But this beautiful, well written passage, prompted me to ask, once again…what am I not doing?

As a Christian, as a Jesus follower, what am I not doing?  

I am certain that I am far from perfect.  There is not one thing in this universe that I am more sure of.  But I also know that I am better than I once was. (Isn’t there a country song in there somewhere?)

Tell me if this sounds familiar…

So I know that God has this super awesome and amazing plan for my life!  And I’m going to let God take control of things. And it’s going to be, like, the best thing ever.

Meanwhile, in the back of your mind…

So I’m just going to say that, and play along for a little while…and hope that saying that makes all of  MY hopes, MY dreams, MY plans come true. Because, clearly, I know what is best for my life.

Hey guess what?

That’s not how it works.  Not even close.

I know that’s what has been going through my head.  

I DO want God to use me for whatever he has planned for my life.   Honestly, purely, genuinely. In the depths of my heart, I want God to use me. I want God’s plan for my life.

But at the same time, what I haven’t done, is let go of MY plan.  

So here goes.  I’m letting go of my plan.  Because maybe it isn’t in God’s plan for my life to get married, or have kids, or travel (more than I already have), or be the perfect teacher, or perfect gardener, or be in perfect physical shape.  And it’s honestly, truly terrifying to let go of those plans. I have spent years and years and years making those plans. Hoping for those plans. Dreaming for those plans.  

But I also know that releasing my hold on those plans, right now, opening my heart freely and without reservation to God’s plan for my life, there is hope.  There is excitement. There is joy. Because all of those plans that I spent years dreaming up, those plans are NOTHING compared to what the reality of God’s plan is for my life.