Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Archive for the ‘Thoughts on Faith’ Category

Manifesting … Making Things Happen

What I needed, I realised as I watched the 25th video on how French ladies care for their skin, was a proper skin care routine. The old bar-of-hand-soap-followed-by-a-slather-of-aqueous-cream just wasn’t going to cut it anymore if I wanted my skin to stand the test of time.

The next evening we played our favourite White Elephant gift exchange game and I got … wait for it … body care products. Later, these were enhanced by a pack of skin care products in my favourite range: African Extracts Rooibos. Cleanser. Tone. Moisturise. Sorted.

It occurred to me that, just two days before, I had been gifted a little pack of emery boards I’d wanted but just hadn’t thought I needed.

Hmm.

Walking through my house the following morning, I thought how lovely it would be to have furniture without holes, and a fridge that could fit our groceries in it each month. Maybe a microwave that worked … It was a happy contemplation, as I start to imagine that I might deserve to have nice things once in a while. Or at least be allowed to …

A few hours later my uncle called to ask if I wanted … wait for it, a fridge, lounge suite, and microwave. There’s even a desk available, which is just what Red Riding Hood needs.

I couldn’t believe it … but I should.

As I get onto the path I should be following; as I get intentional about my life and my goals; the abundance of creation flows into my life. Not without struggle sometimes. Not without pain. But always with joy. And (usually) with peace.

I am grateful.

intentionality

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Forgiveness

It’s not a small word. Three syllables. Eleven letters. Centuries of meaning.

Weighty.

My daughters ask me what it means. They don’t want to forgive. They think that to forgive means to sanction. To say, “What you did to me is okay.”

It’s not okay.

And they never have to say that. I never have to say that. You never have to say it.

Forgiveness is the compassionate ability to see the brokenness and hurt behind the evil actions of another … and to no longer give them any power over your life and the choices you make.

They don’t deserve the power your bitterness gives them to control you. 

All you need to do is let it go. Set yourself free. Not them. Not the ones who hurt you. Just you. Your poor, aching, bruised soul has suffered enough. Open the cage. Let her fly.

 

 

 

For Better after Worse

I mentioned recently that I’m reading Liz Gilbert’s Committed. She talks about her first marriage a bit, and the “mere” sadness that ended it. Obviously her sadness was not “mere” at all, or it wouldn’t have ended her marriage. It was grinding and pervasive and permanent and all-consuming.

Or so it seemed at the time.

I know many people who have become that sad – that trapped – by their marriages, and been infinitely happier when they left.

marriage vowHere’s the thing: I’ve been that sad in my marriage. I’ve had those days (weeks … months … years) where I honestly thought the only escape from my matrimonial hell would be divorce – or death.

Crying secretly, so no one finds out.

A hurt so real that it’s a physical pain that drives into your joints without relent.

And absolutely no prospect of light or joy on the horizon ever again.

Someone once told me that can sometimes happen in a marriage. And they told me it would pass.

I’ll admit that when I was buried in that mire, I didn’t let myself hope for a moment that it could possibly ever need, that anything could ever be good or right again with us.

But that dear, wise person was right. It passed. (More than once!)

one of the advantages of marriageRight now, we’re happier than we’ve ever been. And our relationship is deeper and more honest than ever before.

I don’t know if this heartbreaking, gut-wrenching agony is a natural part of marriage. I really hope it isn’t. But when I was there, I felt like I owed it to the love we had once, and the young and optimistic girl I once was, to see if – just maybe – my friend had the right of it and things could get better.

I certainly don’t think people should stay in a situation that is toxic in any way, whether it’s abuse of some kind, or it generates that numbing depression that slowly engulfs you in nothing from the inside out.

For me (for us) it was worth it to stick it out. And if it happens again, I hope I’ll remember the lesson.

Love

love never fails

1 Corinthians 13:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

I may be a great speaker (or writer). I may have the gift of the gab and be able to wield words to change the world. But if my words are not supported by actions, they are empty and worthless.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

I may be wise. I may have discernment. I might be full of faith and that steady constancy that comes from truly knowing absolute truth. But if I do nothing with that faith – if that faith does not motivate intentional action – I may as well not have it at all. I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.

In other words: love is more than giving things to those in need. That IS love in action – but only a part of it.

So what IS love, then?

4 Love suffers long, and is kind;

I will be patient. I will be kind. I won’t get angry and frustrated with small, perceived slights. I won’t say unkind things to or about you. Even when the truth is painful, I will share it gently, with love, grace, and compassion.

Love does not envy; Love does not promote (vaunt), is not puffed up,
I will be delighted by your success. I will root for you. I am on your side, and I genuinely want your best for you. I will not compete for what is rightfully yours. I will not behave in way that makes it seem like I am better than you. I am no better than you. I will not show off. I will share my achievements with you in a humble and excited way – a way that motivates us both to be the best we can be. And I hope you will do the same , so that I can celebrate with you.

5 Love does not behave itself unseemly, does seek not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;
I will not be rude. I will not embarrass you. I will not belittle you. I will not use you for my own gain. I will not get irritated by the little things. I release all that is unlike love. I will not ascribe to malicious intent that which can be explained by – frankly, anything else at all. I will always assume positive intent. I will look at you (and everyone) that way I would look at my beloved children. Everyone needs to be loved the way a mother loves her children.

6 Love takes no pleasure in sin, but rejoices in the truth;

When you do something that is not good for you, I won’t be happy for you. I will always be on your side. I will support you no matter the choices you make or their outcome. But I will gently and compassionately let you know if the course you’re on is headed for your destruction. I love the truth and I love you enough to share it with you. I will say the hard things, and I hope you will be able to forgive me if they cause pain. I have no intention of that.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endured all things.
I will share your burdens and bear your slights if I am misunderstood. I will believe what you tell me, because I love you. (Please don’t lie to me: you have my innocent trust.) I will always hope for the best for you. I will always hope for restoration. I will stand by you.

8 Love never fails

No matter how hard, I will be here.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I’m Sorry, Christian, But You Don’t Get to Make That Move

This exactly enccapsulates my fellings on the matter. Not just the Syrian refugee crisis, either. Simply: the judgment that seems to be heaped so liberally onto every conversation. Where does it come from? Why is it here? And most of all: how can we get rid of it?

Rumblings

I have a bone to pick with Christians this morning. Not all Christians.  Not even the majority of Christians in my (limited) circles.  Not by a long shot.  No, my concern is with a smaller subset of Christians that tend to make a disproportionate amount of noise.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of conversations with Christian people about the Syrian refugee crisis. I’ve observed a lot of reaction and response from Christian people online. And I’ve noticed some of these Christian brothers and sisters buying into the fear and the hysteria that attempts to convince us that we need to keep our nation’s doors resolutely closed to refugees from this part of the world.

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“You’re not professional.”

To provide some context to this next piece, I need to explain something. I work too hard. I always have. My sense of self-worth is inextricably tied to how much people like me is inextricably tied to how much work I deliver and how brilliant AND fast AND affordable it is. People tell me to slow down. People tell me I need boundaries. People tell me to take care of myself.

I ignore them.

Why? Because a good night’s rest bears no weight against a single word of approval. None. Nada. Not-a-sausage. I feel the absence of those positive strokes like a physical ache and it bores through my soul like cancer. Like water in lungs. Sleep be damned.

Yesterday, my mentor said three words and blew my mind. Because he’s a genius. And he changed the way I work and the way I view myself, my work, and my time.


Since I was fourteen, working around the clock and drinking inordinate amounts of black coffee to finish French projects, people have been telling me to guard my time more wisely. They’ve explained about boundaries. They’ve expounded on the necessity of placing a higher value on my work and my time.

No one has every called me unprofessional before.

He did.

It was exactly the wake up call and perspective shift I needed.

Those words have been burning a pathway into the core of my brain and I can feel paradigms shifting all over the place.

Changing the conversation from some ephemeral self-help discussion to a cool, calm assessment of how other people see me was like an ice-cold slap in the face with a wet fish. Not pleasant, but effective. And rejuvenating.

I am in his debt.


Update – 14/09: I should have mentioned that what my mentor referred to as unprofessional was the fact that I have been saying “Yes” to every client request I get, without planning my time or being realistic about what I can actually take on. I thought I had to. When he pointed out that, rather than make me look awesome and helpful, that behaviour was the one thing I did that is actually UNprofessional, it was the wake up call I needed. And I appreciate it. And it’s a good thing. 🙂

Being your own ENOUGH

Some time ago, Goldilocks explained to me how frustrated she was. She was working very hard to be “normal”. Not that she was trying to fit in – nothing like that. She was trying to moderate her responses to life’s stressors. She was trying NOT to get anxious, or talk to Zoomer*, or say unkind and thoughtless things. She was trying to integrate and keep her temper and respond rationally – every single day.

That might not seem like a lot to expect of someone.

But for her, the task was mammoth. Is mammoth, I should say.

It takes all of her energy and all of her emotional reserves, and some days it takes more than she has to give.

And no one notices.

She was getting exhausted and run down, and could hardly see the point in being this person people wanted her to be, since no one realised she was being it.

We had a long chat.

I explained to her that, if no one notices she’s doing it, it means she’s doing it right. If no one understands the cost, it means she’s made it look effortless. If no one praises her efforts, it means her efforts have paid off. She’s succeeded.

And then I reminded her that I see. I know.

And God knows.

And she knows.

I told her to be proud of herself for all that she has achieved – and does achieve every day. I pointed out that she has worked hard and has earned a certain amount of righteous back slapping.

And then I told her one of the hardest truths:
“That may be all the acknowledgement you ever get. You need to learn to let it be enough.”

You need to learn to let it be enough

If you do your job so well that no one even realises a job was done – making it look effortless; keeping the cogs running – day in and day out – no one will thank you. They won’t know that you’ve earned their thanks. Especially not when “the job” you do is “being socially acceptable”.

Deep within yourself you need to find the wellspring of self-approval – those reserves of strength that say, “Well done, Me. Nice job.” You need to shed archaic constructs whispering lies about how this kind of self-congratulation is wicked and prideful. And you need to let go of any need for approval.

You have what it takes to achieve what you need to achieve.

And that’s enough.

*Zoomer is the subject of a story I’m not ready to tell. In fact, it’s not really mine to tell.

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