Those cringe-worthy moments

You know those Facebook posts from the past that pop up on your feed prompting you to reshare?

I have some adorable ones- past trips with the grandkids, cute vacation snaps, visits with Mom and Dad…

And I have some “Why did I hate my body THEN?” ones when I realize that even though I might’ve been bigger than I’d ever been; it was, in fact, not the biggest I’d ever be.

But the ones that get me the most are the truly cringe-worthy ones. The ones that make me a little sad for the girl I used to be.

We aren’t talking pre-salvation either. We’re talking someone who let a setback or two (work, health issues) derail her to the point where there was no joy and no peace.

Ten years ago, I posted about being so angry at a television character that I turned my tv off. I wouldn’t admit the “lame program” I was watching at the time. I reposted it today, half-curious about what show it was (my money was on something on Nickelodeon since I wouldn’t name the program) and half-embarrassed that I’d ever posted that. To be honest, I’m not even sure why I REposted it except to chastise myself just a little. And give a little grace too….I genuinely felt bad for 10-years-ago me.

Some “kind soul” found it “necessary” to respond to my original post, so I was able to see what I’d been fussing about. It was a teenage gymnastics drama on what was formerly ABC Family. I remember the show- I liked the show a lot- but I don’t remember the character that made me so angry at all.

Imagine that!

For starters, I let it sink in that I was this mad at a CHARACTER. Okay, okay…maybe I do still get a little invested. Dale has to remind me often, as I’m sobbing into a tissue, that those things didn’t REALLY happen. But she ran after him in the rain and he got hit by a car as she reached out to him… (Okay, I made that one up, but you get my drift…)

It was the anger that bothered me the most. Because I remember that time period well. I had been miserable at work and then had major surgery; I was still not adjusting well to an empty nest; and my entire life revolved around lying in bed watching tv. It was all I had. And I was angry.

I was angry at the failing school system I’d thought I could make a difference in. It was the first district I’d been in that didn’t want innovative teaching; they wanted test questions drilled from Day 1.

I was angry that my son was overseas fighting for our country and we couldn’t hear from him for months at a time. I was angry at my girls for avoiding me (in retrospect, I completely understand. You know that one person you dread talking to because he/she is always miserable and it’s draining just to listen to them? That was me.)

So my anger at this tv character WHO I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER was really more about the anger within me. A deep, deep anger.

But how did it get there? After all, I’d let it all go ten years ago. And I don’t mean I THOUGHT I’d let it go. I had.

So how was there that much anger?

Simple, I let it in a little at a time.

Have you ever done a major closet cleaning? Cleared out stuff you no longer wore, put clothes on hangers facing the same direction, maybe even color-coordinated? The satisfaction of a well-organized closet can run deep. It also comes with a vow to NEVER let it get it piled up again.

Fast forward a year and there you are, finding something to wear from the pile of clothes in a jumbled heap. How did it get so messy? Simple. One garment at a time.

Our spiritual closets are no different. They require effort and a daily maintenance to keep them clean. When we do notice a problem, it’s best to take care of it immediately. Otherwise, you just pile more problems on top of each other until you can’t even identify the real issue anymore.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

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.