The Manipulator

The commanding timbre of her voice more than compensates for any lack of logic. “No, you must do it this way.” It’s not that when questioned she doesn’t have her reasons, but the reasons are shallow and antiquated. They were helpful for a time, but that time has passed.  She continues on, not realizing her lack of relevance. And when her caution goes unheeded, her insistence morphs into poorly veiled threats. “You’ll be a bad person if you don’t.” And that, well, that is really what underlies all she has to say.  Fear. Fear of being bad.  For it is in being good, very good, that she finds belonging.

The record has a scratch that causes the lines to repeat in the back of my head. When I internalize the message and believe the fear, I find myself making painful, boundary-less, unhealthy decisions that paradoxically result in the very outcome I was determined to avoid.

Dear Younger Me,

You are of value because you are a human being loved by your Creator. Your value does not stem from your performance. You are finding a way to get your needs met, and that’s OK for now. But realize this is simply the starting place for your journey. It’s not the end-all.  One day you will find more beneficial, healthier ways.

There is a voice more powerful than fear. Listen for it. That voice is not demanding, so its urgency can be easily overlooked when compared to the voice of fear. The voice of fear will tell you that any course other than the way it demands will make you bad. But fear lies.

While it will feel destabilizing to let go of the fear that has controlled you, press on. You will learn to ride the waves and will experience a fuller life than is possible while standing in fear on the shore. You won’t be the first in your circle to step out in the waves, nor will you be the last. Don’t get too caught up in the people still on the shore. It’s OK if you go a different direction. In fact, you were designed to do so.

Be confidently you. The world needs it. And so do you.

Much love, Me

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There is no manipulator stronger than the one that lives in your own head. From it, all others gain their power.

 

25 Things

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  1. I’m finding joy, freedom and peace in discovering who I am in Christ and allowing God to grow me rather than trying hard to be the person I think I should be or must be.
  2. The hands-down, single most redefining process in my life has been that of getting a tiny grasp on righteousness by faith. The situations God has been able to use to take me down this path defy my logic.
  3. As I increasingly embrace righteousness by faith, I am more able to allow me to be me, God to be God, and you to be you. It’s called boundaries.
  4. Simple pleasures for me would be a drive in the country, a book and a hammock, an iced coffee drink, a campfire, wandering through an art gallery, or a walk in the woods.
  5. I have a hard time turning my brain off at the end of the day if there is an unsolved puzzle buzzing around in it.
  6. Life is a bunch of unsolved puzzles.
  7. Since becoming single, I’m more relaxed around married men than single men.  Married men create no puzzle.
  8. My ideal set of vehicles would be a big ol’ pickup and a sleek, classy convertible.
  9. I’ve lived in 5 states and don’t know where to call home. I’m most emotionally attached to WY but there is no logical reason for me to call it home.
  10. I’m not very motivated by the quest for money or impressed with social position. Ironic for a doctor, but true.
  11. I more often tackle my fears and hurts than I flee from them ~ after I get done denying they exist.
  12. I believe most everyone is doing the best they can in life. But sometimes their best is detrimental to my well-being and their having good intentions doesn’t necessarily make a thing good for me. I believe God can read hearts and will honor their good intentions. He offers me the same grace.
  13. I still experience growing pains. Boy howdy!
  14. I’m finding the hardest part of parenting is the stopping part.
  15. Life is full of ironies. The hardest things are generally the most rewarding. Recognizing my weaknesses is a strength. Letting go allows me to fully attain.  My spiritual growth has resulted in my life looking less traditionally spiritual. Ironic.
  16. I like playing with boy toys (you know… guns, ATV’s, 4WD’s, tools… ~ sheesh ~ ).
  17. It never ceases to amaze me how my kids can be so much like me sometimes and the spitting image of their dad at other times.
  18. I’ve always wanted to explore Alaska. Wild places call me.
  19. My ideal house would be a cabin in the mountains or woods with a lake nearby.
  20. I enjoy the arts.
  21. My best memories from childhood include fishing and camping with my family.
  22. A writing project will distract me from my work most any day ~ like today.
  23. I’m grateful for my past ~ as tough and messed up as it’s been at times ~ because it’s brought me to where I am.  It’s been worth it.
  24.  I’ve always been sincere. But many times I’ve been sincerely wrong.
  25. I used to think I could and should do great things for God. Now I understand that it’s God who does great things for me – most of which are not seen and can’t be touched with your hand. The best I can do for Him is simply share what He’s doing in my life so others might choose to get to know Him for themselves.

From Critical to Compassionate: 10 Ways to be Kinder to Yourself and Others

Critical: Better late than never.

Compassionate: Better now than never.

Critical: That was stupid of me.

Compassionate: I learned something from that experience.

Critical: Stop telling me what to do. 

Compassionate: It will be a beautiful thing when you trust God to direct my life.

Critical: That’s crazy! How did you ever come up with that?

Compassionate: You have a unique perspective.

Critical: You’re wrong!

Compassionate: Hmm. Interesting. I don’t see it that way, but you may be right.

Critical: I’m really dumb.  

Compassionate: I’m a human being with a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses.

Critical: You’re kidding me! She did that?!

Compassionate: She must be going through a rough time right now.

Critical: I already said what I thought. I can’t change my mind now.

Compassionate: I am on a journey of growth. I see things differently than I did before.

Critical: I can’t face those people again after what I did.

Compassionate: Seeing them reminds me I’m glad I can make healthier choices.

Critical: I can’t do that.

Compassionate: I may not have a natural talent, but with practice I’ll probably get better at that.

Three Little Words

There are many three word combinations that are meaningful in our lives.  “I love you.” That’s probably the classic phrase people immediately think of. “Jesus loves me.” There’s another power-packed combination that can change your life.

Here are a few more three word combinations that can be life-changing: “I forgive you.” “I am forgiven.” “I am sorry.”  “I was wrong.” Or Christ’s final words on the cross, “It is finished!”  All are three word combinations that can have a huge impact in our lives.

I started reading a book last night written by Scott Peck, whom I believe will likely be my next favorite author.  The first paragraph of chapter one was so thought-provoking that I would like to share it with you in its entirety.   I’ve memorized it.  Here it is:

“Life is difficult.”

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I read that and stopped. Really? This best-selling book started with an entire paragraph that consisted of just three words? I allowed myself to pause with the author and let the profoundness of those three simple words sink in.  I had to agree. Yes, life is difficult.

As I continued reading, I realized this could be an important concept to accept in my life. “Life is difficult.” I know that, so why am I surprised when it is? Do I just know it or have I accepted it?  Do I fight against it?  Or have I embraced it as the way this world is? Do I try to make this life something it wasn’t meant to be?

The possibilities of how I will respond to situations are entirely different when I’ve accepted that one premise. It moves me quickly through any reaction to life and on to action.  “Yes, this or that happened. Life is difficult. Now what do I need to do? What can I learn from it? Where do I go from here?” It makes life more intentional and less emotion driven. It opens up potential for setting aside hurt. It allows more room for self-forgiveness. It quiets the call to “fix it” and encourages me to control only what I can – myself.  It removes the shock and drama.  It decreases any urge to gossip. What big news is there to tell?  If I expect life to be difficult and it turns out that it is, where’s the juicy morsel to spread? It doesn’t exist anymore. Life is difficult – that’s all.

Life is difficult.  I look forward to reading the rest of “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peck.  In the mean time, here are some words from my all-time favorite Author: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Precious Pain

I’d seen a lot of wounds and sores on people’s feet, but none that quite matched this one. Located on the instep of a person with a normal arch, the skin in that area shouldn’t have gotten any pressure at all – and certainly not enough to cause an infected, weeping wound. Unfortunately the man had been diagnosed with diabetes at a young age but had not cared for himself. As a result he had lost sensation in his feet.  He had no memory of doing anything to hurt his foot, but his memory wasn’t to be trusted due to his inability to feel pain. Certain something must have fallen into his shoe, I picked it up to investigate.  Inside I found a perfectly normal (minus the stain from drainage) soft, diabetic insert.  There was no rock in the shoe – no nothing but the soft insert. Even though the insert was very thick, I decided for some reason I should look under the insert to see if perhaps something was lodged there that might be pressing on his foot.  The insert would not pull out.  Strange. Usually I had no problems getting them out. I tugged again. It wouldn’t come out.  That’s when I turned the shoe over and found a roofing nail through the shoe.  The nail was long enough so that when the man stepped on the insole, it squished down and pressed the sharp point of the nail into his flesh, yet the nail was short enough that it wasn’t seen on casual observation.  And most unfortunately, the man’s sensations were dulled enough that he had no idea he was stepping on a nail with every step.

We usually don’t like it when we feel pain. Often times we just want the hurt to go away.  We may even ask God to please take away the pain, make our lives better, and to fill us with joy and happiness.

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I’m sure God would like to take that pain away for us.

But…what about the nail?