Living YOUR Best Life

You see it on magazine covers and book jackets everywhere: How to Live Your BEST LifeĀ with the emphasis on BEST. It makes sense; after all, no one signed up for a mediocre, less-than-fulfilling life. You don’t say “I guess” in place of “I do” or flip that tassel over after four years of studying in a field you’re disinterested in.

But what if we shift the focus to YOUR? Living YOUR best life?

I’m not talking about living vicariously through your children or suppressing your needs to fulfill a spouse. (Though neither of those is healthy either!)

I’m talking about holding your life up to a mirror and seeing what God has for YOU.

It’s hard not to be influenced by (or a little envious of) the lives we see on television and in magazines. Kardashians who spend more on birthday parties than some families make in a decade. “Real” Housewives whose closets resemble small department stores. Chrisleys, Braxtons, Busbys…

Though I’m probably the only person who could be envious of a woman whose second pregnancy resulted in quintuplets!

There are celebrities who never have to clean, cook, or shop. That may sound like a dream to an overworked, over-stressed single mom. There are families of ten crowded into two-bedroom apartments who dream of living in one of the mega-mansions from the latest magazine spread.

But while we are envying, and wishing, and dreaming, we are missing out on what God has laid right in front of us.

The family. The friends. The opportunities.

After taking stock of YOUR life, without any comparisons to the Bravolebrities or even the neighbors, look at what you have to be grateful for.

And then look at what can be changed….

Not many friends? Look around in your community for shared interest groups. During this Covid crisis and quarantine, I’ve reconnected with so many wonderful friends I’d lost touch with. That was a true blessing in disguise.

Lost your job or stuck in a rut? Pray for wisdom and look for new opportunities.

God wants to bless you!

But you have to be ready to receive what He has for YOU and not spend your time comparing it to everyone else around you.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

 

Definition of Insanity?

In recovery programs, they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The reference is usually made about addiction.

And it’s true. We think THIS time will be different. THIS time we can handle it.

It’s insane because it’s not true. And really, it’s just a trick of the devil to make us even consider otherwise.

But with addiction issues behind me, I thought this concept would go away. I solely related it to addiction and that was that.

The truth is, anything we do over and over expecting different results is insanity. Or as Phoebe Buffay would say, IT’S MADNESS!

And that’s where I’ve found myself this week. On the other end of pure madness wondering how on earth I let the same thing happen again.

This week has been incredible. I’ve had a song in my heart, peace in my soul, and a spring in my step. To me, this is normal. It’s what I expect out of my life.

It wasn’t until my husband started questioning it that I realized it had been gone for a little while. I’d say the devil stole it but the truth is, I just handed it to him on a silver platter.

I wrote last week about how I’d allowed my emotions to take center stage and destroy my happiness as well as putting a few dings in my relationships. I don’t think I realized the magnitude of what I’d lost even then.

It wasn’t until the peace and joy had been fully restored to my life that I realized it’d been gone.

And then I realized just how many times I keep coming to that exact same realization.

It’s like investing in a top-rated, high-tech security system for your home and then leaving your front door wide open when you leave.

Pure insanity.

Father, forgive me. And help me to guard the things that matter most- the peace and joy that come from You alone- so that I may live abundantly in Christ. Amen.

Is it worth the price?

How many times do you ask yourself this question?

Unless you have a black AmEx card or unlimited trust fund, you likely weigh the cost of items against the benefit gained. A new pair of shoes, a certain cut of meat, a new sofa.

Sometimes it is well worth it. Other times you decide to pass.

You may even later regret the choice you made. But you still made a calculated decision.

Do you do the same for your spiritual choices?

I’m not talking about the big ones, the ones that leave you begging God to intervene. I’m talking about the little day-to-day ones that destroy your peace, one rotten worm at a time.

For me, it was the neighbor’s dog.

This dog had been let loose and kept coming into my yard, claiming it as his own. He’d pee all over my porch and aggressively antagonize my dogs. They became scared to go outside in their own yard and we would have to stand next to them just so they could relieve themselves.

I was upset.

About five days in, I realized that my simmering frustration had given way to full-blown anger. And it was affecting every area of my life.

It is hard to write about the peace of God when you no longer feel it.

It is hard to sleep at night when you are boiling over inside.

And it is hard to keep the anger inside from manifesting in your conversations with others.

I had to weigh the cost.

Now I’ll be honest. I love my dogs like they are my own children.

And I’m a mama bear when it comes to my kids.

So this wasn’t an easy decision.

That, in itself, was a little frightening.

But I knew that allowing the situation to rob me of life, of peace, of a right relationship with God was NOT worth the price. Not at all.

It took me about three more days before I was able to let it go.

It took prayer, asking God for help.

It took compassion, knowing the neighbors were going through a difficult time that made my inconvenience pale in comparison.

It even took understanding of the dog, who wanted the same attention we showed our own dogs after being forgotten in the midst of their struggles. He wasn’t a mean dog; just huge and instinctively responding to our dogs’ fear.

The bottom line was, right or wrong, I had to let it go.

There’s no such thing as justified anger with God.

As soon as I did, the situation resolved itself.

Weigh the cost of your spiritual decisions. The Lord has already paid the price.