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When You Can’t Let Go

Today I am wrestling.

Dark thoughts.

Hard stuff.

Disappointments.

Yesterday, I listened to my two of my grandchildren sing along with that infamous tune, Let it Go, from the movie Frozen. So innocent, so sweet, and unassuming of what that phrase truly means.

To tell the truth, I am not sure, I fully understand what it really means myself!

And yet, it resonates over and over with the pile that has been amassing in my heart of past hurts and disappointments. There are certain dates and times of events and encounters that sneak into my heart reminding me, “This time, last year, or five years ago, or ten, this happened and this is what was said or done.”

I am a master at rehearsing and it can ruin my day, corrupt my attitude and make my soul sick unless I “Bring every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.” as 2 Corinthians instructs us to follow. But even as I attempt to do that, and ask Jesus over and over again to help me, I still can get stuck and I don’t like that and that’s when I have to go outside of myself and ask others for some help. Some encounters are easier to let go of, ones that have worked out. But others linger like garbage smelling up everything because I’ve worked so hard to get rid of it, but the lack of mutual resolution keeps it alive.

This past month has been unpredictable and a little testier for my soul. January felt new and fresh and I made plans on how to embrace my one word for 2016 LIVE BOLD. Then February slammed in with an assortment of disappointments and it hasn’t quit. Did you notice I didn’t post a single blog in February? UGH! More disappointment and guilt.

What do we do then when we can’t let go?

Get back under the covers and hide? It’s tempting, let me tell you.

What do we do when most of life is par excellent but the lingering pieces threaten to capsize the rest?

For me the guilt piles on because I have an infinite amount of things to be grateful for in my life.

Here are seven things of what I am learning lately that are helping me to put it all in perspective and I am hoping it will help you if you are in this place. They aren’t rocket science and pretty simplistic but sometimes you just need simple.

  1. Life will never be exactly what I hope it will be. Life brings both disappointments and times that are exhilarating and purposeful making us smile large. This life on earth is temporary. Readjust and place HOPE in a person, Jesus, rather than people or situations.
  2. People are unpredictable and can change. Give grace. Love them where they are at and adjust the relationship (i.e. how much you invest, spend time with them, etc.) if necessary in order to move forward.
  3. Don’t live with a disguise. Many of us learn to live with disguises, as I just heard from a guest speaker at our church this past Sunday. Don’t be one of them. Continue to be authentic even if it is uncomfortable for others. Telling the truth is always best. We can’t control outcomes or responses of our truth-telling.
  4. Practice gratitude continually. Every night I try to list at least three things I can be thankful for the past hours of my day. It helps to overcome my dark thoughts and is the best sleeping aid ever.
  5. Pray always and keep alert with perseverance. (Ephesians 6:18) I mean really, Cynthia, do you pray always? All through the day? I am such a wimp and desiring to be better at this. Some mornings I just sit in front of my prayer wall and say, “God, here I am, help me because I’m not very good at this prayer thing sometimes.” He meets me right there as I sit, sometimes for just five minutes, sometimes much longer, but the point is, He meets me where I am at and honors my efforts.
  6. Laugh. Invest in things that give joy and renew the weariness of the soul. For me, it is creating whether writing, drawing, sewing or working on a project. It gives life.
  7. Reach out and bless someone else who is facing struggle and disappointment. And writing a quick note on FB or pushing a heart LIKE on someone’s post doesn’t count. Social media has lured us into the false reality that we are connecting with each other in community online. It just isn’t true and doesn’t mean as much. A handwritten card sent in the mail, taking someone out for coffee or tea, taking a walk with a friend with face to face human contact conveys true and meaningful relationship. Don’t hide behind social media, it is isolating and isn’t authentic community.

The answer to the question for me of why it is harder to let go sometimes is because I lose perspective. I am short-sighted, I have good intentions but can get mixed up. I want to frame life differently so I can embrace this gift of life rather than stay stuck in the disappointments.

So here’s to singing….LET IT GO, LET IT GO, LET IT GO!

Why I’ve Stopped Rationalizing About Self-Discipline

Kevin gave me an UP3 for Christmas. It’s an activity tracker which is the rival version of the FitBit that monitors heart rate; sleep intervals, food and steps throughout the day. Please don’t judge him, he got me exactly what I asked for, instead of a “feel good” present.

In an attempt to Live Bold this year (my one word for 2016) I know that I have to make some changes in a few areas, for one, looking to take better care of myself. Okay, I can’t take it anymore and it will be sheer rebellion if I don’t listen and that is what my body is telling me as it moves into another year.

And I do have an announcement to make.

I am not very self-disciplined.

Yikes! Did I just say that out loud?

Yes I did.

I am highly and creatively organized and work well in structured environments, but lack self-discipline when it comes to maintaining physical health. Kevin and I have been working hard at our ‘eating green’ and healthy so I can check that off, but in the exercise and sleep areas, they definitely need work.

For several years it was pretty habitual and then I dropped off the wagon. Why does that happen? So, I am coming to terms with this weakness and will be looking for a support therapy group!

Seriously, I think I am disciplined in my head. I make the plan and carry it out in my faraway thoughts, visualizing my sweaty body after a good workout, going to bed the same time every night and rising refreshed after 8 hours of sleep. But when it comes time to “buckle down” as my Dad used to say, well I flip flop because I get distracted with the next “best thing” or the “urgent need” of the moment or heaven forbid people, “not feeling like it!”

I am also very hard on myself, so if I begin something and then fail a few times I can slump into a melancholy regret of,

How will I ever measure up?

Then I just quit!

I call it an Eyeore moment~bleak, dark, no hope, can’t change, etc., you get the picture. Yes, I know this sounds extreme, but as my friends and family tell me, I need to get over it and not berate myself and try to find the middle ground.

One area of serious self-discipline space that needs to be created is my sleep and exercise schedule. I realize that I have rationalized myself to death on consistency of exercise and regulating my sleep. I’ve been using the UP3 for nearly a month now and it is telling, oh so telling. Sometimes we just need a little dose of facts and reality because it kicks the teeth out of my rationalization and stories I make up about how I think I am doing in these areas.

I believe to Live Bold means making sure I am maintaining even this part of my life because reality says it impacts every area of my life, AND I am finally old to enough to actually feel the consequences. When I am sleep deprived because I stay up too late, I am cranky the next day. When I don’t exercise, it shows and I am not talking about looking good in the latest fashion trend, I am talking about just plain functioning well.

And so as I’ve asked God to speak into my one-word for 2016 Live Bold.  He’s reminded me, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Hebrews 12:1

I can often forget that the physical is equally important and it is actually an act of worship to take care of the gift that God gave me, my health. I think I’ve blanked that word “worship” out from that passage. Funny how you can read the same words in the Bible over a hundred times and never see something. Worship with physical self-discipline, what a thought!

My UP3 band is vibrating me telling me it’s time to get ready for bed.  I better pay attention. And so, here I go in 2016 beginning the year not with a resolution, but with a solution to learn to worship Jesus in a new way!

My One Word for 2016

BOLD

bold/

adjective

1. (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.

This is my one word I am declaring for 2016.

It’s taken me a few weeks to narrow it down but it’s finally settled and my one word for 2016 will be BOLD. Notice that the definition states it is an adjective and an adjective by definition is a descriptive word that names an attribute or is associated with a noun.

My tag on my personal website is Live Bold~Leave a Legacy. As I was reflecting the last few weeks of 2015 and into 2016, I realized that I needed to unpack that phrase more seriously if that is an attribute that I choose to live by.

But you know how it is, I wanted to be sure. So I made a list, a short list mind you of other words that had been running across the radar screen of my mind.

Then I prayed.

The more I talked to God about it, the more I realized I needed to just be bold in choosing this word.

Why?

Because I am a big chicken and I am afraid of just exactly what God might ask me to do or say at some point if I make this my one word for 2016.

I want to know the why and how and when and who and and get a full on explanation…get the picture? I like to know ahead of time. I like to be in control (hopeless I realize, I am dealing with God!) and I am not big on surprises. But I have a sneaky suspicion that God wants me to be bold, courageous and take a risk in embracing this as my one word for 2016. Funny, that is just what the word bold means. Go figure!

I have no clue as to what it will look like for me, but it is and will become my one word of focus because I am leaning in. I have learned (and learning) that it’s better to surrender when God whispers gently to me about something I need to follow through with… or else. I don’t want to learn the hard way what the “or else” could be. Besides, I can’t turn back now because I am sharing it with you!

I actually started choosing one word for each year decades ago. It went well for several years and then I missed a few here and there with some big gaps. The last few years that I have practiced this very simple but profound exercise has impacted me in ways that are beyond my imagination. It always, and I say always, surprises me (in a good way) what God does in and through this choosing of one word.

I am a little late to the party here in January of new starts, new thoughts, new themes and new ideas that have been floating around Facebook, Twitter and the blogging world. But I wanted to be certain and be sure. So between now and the beginning of February in this blog I am going to try and sort out just exactly what it looks like to Live Bold in jumpstarting this new year. And I might be inclined to add the rest of my tagline Leave a Legacy. Stay tuned.

I’ve been searching for all the words and similarities in the Bible on boldness and I am starting with this one today. If you are looking for an extra shot of strength, hang on to this….

On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul. Psalm 138:3.

That’s what I want Jesus, to be bold with strength in my core, my soul, my heart and my being.

So what is your one word for 2016?

Take your time, don’t rush. God has a word for you, I am believing for you. Please share I’d love to hear it!