When They “Should” All Over You

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My husband and I have this saying that we stole from a former commercial fisherman named Jack*.

Jack used to say people will “should” all over you, if you let them.

As in, You “should” do this.

You “should” do that.

So when we feel the inward pull to do more than we want to, we say that “People are shoulding on us.”

And we’ve had to learn the hard way that people “should” on each other.  We all do it.  We place expectations on each other that we don’t realize are slowly suffocating the life out of the ones we love.

And so we’ve had to learn how to get very good at saying “No”, “No, thank you”, and “I’m sorry that’s not going to work for me”.

Because ultimately, it’s no one else’s job to guard our own hearts except our own.

God has tasked us with that responsibility.

 

Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.

Proverbs 4:23

(The Message)

 

God wasn’t kidding.

Everything that flows from your life starts with your heart

And nothing kills our hearts quite like “should”.

We can get so caught up in looking ahead that we forget to live in the now, the present of our lives.

We worry and fret that we aren’t doing enough and so we redouble our efforts to get more done.

To not only do more but to produce more.

And that is death to our hearts.

It is not up to us.

We are in God’s process of learning to listen to our hearts just as we listen for His.

And if His spirit is within us  – it is Him who works in us BOTH to work but also to want to do good things.

But we have to pay attention.

It’s far to easy to drift into auto-pilot and just do what we believe is the “right-thing” rather than allow God’s spirit to direct our steps to do the “God-thing”.

And there is a huge chasm between the two.

We can be so busy doing the “right thing” that we miss out on God’s “best thing”.

For it is [not your strength, but it is] [a]God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

(The Amplified Bible)

 

So what if instead of tackling our to-do lists and striving to meet other people’s expectations of us, we stopped to ask ourselves what we WANT to do today and from there asking the Father what he thinks about that?

What would your day look like?

Would you have more peace?

Would you have more fun?

Because you were created to live in freedom.  And the choice to give to others can only truly come from that place of freedom.

 

 It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed].

Galatians 5:1

The Amplified

 

And so for the past 2 years, we have been learning as a church how to walk in a season of stewardship.

That means that God is giving us the freedom to choose to take care of ourselves and the things and people he has placed in our care.

 

As a mother, that means taking care of yourself so you have energy, time, and the mental clarity to love on your kids.

 

As someone in a ministry position, that means having interests outside of church so that you are recharged and able to face the demands and needs of others.  This also means, being completely comfortable saying “no” to others.  It was never your job to save them – only to point them to the One who can.

 

As a human being, that means saying “no” to the requests of others so that you have space and time to recharge and just be.

 

 

There are seasons and times when we slip into absolute apathy and God does challenge us to give more, but not this time.  This is a season of stepping back and allowing God to do what He does best.  This is a season of being present.  Present with Him.  This is a season that is all about lifting our eyes upward to connect with the Father and is less about reaching out to others, which is why there is such an opposition to it.

 

 

This is a strategic move of the enemy because:

 

“Should” will burn out all of our energy to seek God first.

 

“Should” will leave you wondering and striving and exhausted.

 

“Should” makes it very difficult to experience the presence of God.

 

So today, I challenge you to step away from all of the demands of others, whether they be spoken or unspoken.  And to step into what the Father has for you.  I promise you it’s worth it and full of more of His presence and grace than you or I could contain.

 

You can purchase Joyce’s latest book, Scattered, Finding God in Your Story at Amazon.com

 

 

Scattered, Finding God in Your Story

 

 *Jack Frost was a commercial fisherman before God caught ahold of his heart.  You can check out more of his resources at Shiloh Place Ministries 
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Did Somebody Say Repost?

Onionized

Hey guys, reposting tonight!

Hope you’re encouraged by this to keep going. . .

 

ONIONIZED

I’ve heard that ogres are like onions, they have layers. . .

and I guess people are kinda like that too.

We ebb and flow, we have seasons of triumph, seasons of what feels like defeat, we have these high seasons with God where we touch the miraculous and then, wham!

We are thrust into a season of onion-ness.  Where we have a layer pulled back and we are exposed.  Motivations, fears, struggles all right there out in the open.

And like any onion – it makes your eyes water, vision momentarily blurs, and you’re left sobbing like a girl.  Saying things like, “I’m not crying, my eyes just sprung a leak.”

I’ll be really honest here and say, I’m not a big fan of being peeled back like an onion.

It’s like being sat down on an old musty couch while loved ones sit around you in a circle.  Corralling you in like cattle. . .just in case you wanted to escape, meanwhile you’ve been cornered in your own personal intervention.

This is how God does that.

He onionizes you.

You find yourself in situations you’d rather not be in and you get to watch as your fears, trust issues, thoughts and behaviors all rise to the surface.

And it’s really hard to take an honest look in God’s mirror, especially if you’ve been walking with him for a while.  There is a naive part of me that thinks this part of the process will somehow get easier, but the truth is it doesn’t.

How’s that for a ray of hope for your 2014?

But it’s true, at least for me.  When life is sorta predictable, it’s easy to settle.  To stay on this side of the Jordan (check out Numbers 32).

But it is hard to be vulnerable with God sometimes.

Maybe harder still to be honest with ourselves.

I mean, after all I totally trust God to provide for me, to protect me, to heal me, to comfort me . . . you know, that is until I don’t.

Onionizing – totally effective at showing us what we really believe.

And the truth is that nothing else will heal those areas.  We can slap a bandage over them but now that they’ve been onionized, we’ve got to bring it to the Healer.

And then we’ve got to stay there.

I’ve tried the whole, lob a quick prayer up, “God, I’ve got issues.  Heal me.” and that’s an okay start but sometimes he wants us to linger in the healing with him.  You know actually, park ourselves before him and listen to what he might have to say about our wounds.

Some might require forgiveness.

Some a change in the way we think.

Some might be allowing God to take you back into childhood memories to face old fears.

The thing is, only the Healer knows.

And how, he knows.

He knows us through and through.

I feel God tugging gently on my heart to allow him to go places into my memories.

Places in my heart.

Places that hide dark monsters from my past.

And I know he wants to walk with me there.

Because these monsters of fear and mistrust keep me from him.

And here is what has come to the surface, I am afraid he really isn’t the protector the Psalms claim he is or that I don’t quite fit the mold of what he’s looking for or that he will just tell me to just stop whining and suck it up. . .and so I unknowingly (okay sometimes knowingly) hesitate to bring my onionized self truly before him.

But here I am once again.

I’m hearing the quiet whisper of God across my heart saying there are some deep places of fear and mistrust.

Places he wants to heal.

Places he wants me to trust him with.

And inwardly I hear myself let out a little bit of a groan.  Partly because he’s right, I need healing.  It’s a cyclical process, just as the human body is constantly healing itself from scrapes and paper cuts, we need that in our souls too.  Not only is it okay.  It’s necessary.

But mostly I groan, because the last 5 years have been an intense season of discipline.  Seriously, someone hand me some Ben-Gay because my faith muscles are sore!

Transitioning from discipline to healing sounds brutal.

But as I pull myself up from the trenches and haul my carcass off to God’s infirmary, I’m sane enough to know it’s necessary.

 

Photo Credit: “Food” by Pentapfel, permissions through C.C. by 2.0

When Mountains Won’t Move

 

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I’ve had several requests for help this past month, some really fun opportunities and others that were heart-breaking pleas for help.

One was extremely hard to say no to, due to the sadness of the situation, but I knew with everything in my heart that I needed to say “no”.

It was such a difficult thing to say no to, that afterwards, I crawled into the shower and sobbed.

It is excruciating to say “no” to people.

People with very real need, people with very tender hearts.

And that’s really hard, especially when you know that you could change the outcome of the story.

That with God’s help, you could move mountains.

 

And yet, I hear the Father’s heart saying, “No, not this time.”

 

Why?

Why would God say no to something that is very much in his power to give through another person?

 

Because there are some journeys that were meant to be taken alone with only him.

Those mountain roads that only He can navigate with you.

No person, no church, no gifting can ever replace that.

 

I think sometimes, that it can be a good thing when our churches and the people in our lives disappoint us.

It’s a healthy reminder that at the end of the day, you and I are just people.

But I can only imagine how hard it must be for God to delay things that are in his power to give.

He is still the God who heals.

He is still the God who is with us in our loneliness.

He is still the God who sees and knows and is all powerful.

 

But sometimes He doesn’t come through like we hoped.

And sometimes the Christians we know, and the churches we attend don’t come through the way we thought they would.

And this is hard to swallow, whether you believe in God or not.

Disappointment is never easy.

 

But disappointment can be an opportunity to make room in our lives for God to be God.

Not the idea of a grandiose God who hovers above us, punishing us for our sins.

But a God who loves us better than we know.  Who loves like a Father and gives us his best, even if it might cause us to misunderstand him.

It’s about making room in our lives to tell God things that hurt us and that disappoint us.

And for those of us who have been through a season like this – it is one of learning to let go.

Learning to let God do what only he can do in the lives of those we love.

To step back, and not be the hero of the show.

To let him do what only he can do.

Remembering that he is faithful and able to be trusted.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: “Mountains” by Skeeze, Permission through C.C. by 2.0

 

 

 

 

Humility

Humility

Pride is a funny thing.

For that matter, so is humility.

They aren’t quite what I thought they were.

On some surface level I had a general idea but if I was going to be real honest with you, I don’t know if I could have told you why God hates pride so much.

But I’m in the know, now.

You want to know too, don’t you?

Okay, but you owe me a latte or something.

 

God hates pride because. . . (drumroll, please) it’s a relationship killer.

 

Yep, that’s the big secret.

God hates pride because it breaks down authentic, heart connections.

And on the flip side, God L-O-V-E-S humility because it promotes very real, very close relationships.

 

So this got me thinking.

What the heck is humility anyways.

And I don’t mean a definition out of the dictionary.

I mean if I take humility off the rack, what does it look like on a person?

 

 

It’s not self-depreciating.

If you’re good at something, own it.

No, seriously.

I told you, humility is not what we think it is.  When we self-depreciate ourselves its so we LOOK humble, but inside we are high five-ing our awesome selves.

Might as well just get it out in the open.

Besides, self-depreciating yourself is no laughing matter. . . unless you’re a writer then it’s just plain funny.

 

It’s not comparing yourself to others.

It’s like those old Nintendo racing games.

Every car had some pluses and some minuses, which kinda all evened them out in the end.  We’re all in this race together, except if you had the cheat codes, then your car was definitely the best, but if you have cheat codes, you owe it to the rest of us to share the love.

 

It takes time to rest.  

Whoa.

Hold up.

What does rest have to do with humility?

I know, right?  I was thinking the same thing.  We could be besties, the way you read my mind.

Rest is the simple act of acknowledging that hey, maybe I’m not Wonder Woman after all (or Superman, you choose.  They’re your tights).

And yeah, I’m human and I have needs.

Like a couch, some Netflix and a bag of Doritos.

Don’t knock it people.

Doritios, right there on the bottom of the Needs Pyramid.

What?!  It’s not there.

Well, they should be.

 

Humility is a team player.

It’s open to hearing new ideas. . . like putting Doritos on that dang Needs Pyramid.

 

And humility is okay with saying “no”.

Not to Doritos.

Humility would never say no to Doritos.

 

And maybe the most defining mark of humility is this. . . it’s cool being itself.

Humble people are comfortable in their own skin.

You know, like your grandpa when he wears his tank top and boxers with socks rolled up to his knees.  You know what I’m talking about – that is a man who is secure in his own skin . . . and fashion choices.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline

Colossians 3:12

The Message

 

I could use more humility in my life.

I could do with less comparison of what I think I should be.

I could do with more rest.

I could do with more saying “no”.

And I could definitely do more with just being me.

Maybe you could too.

We live in a world full of causes and needs – and we will get to them.  We will, because God has poured his spirit into us.  Those things won’t get left undone.  But in all of our doing, lets not forget that we are people and not vending machines.

Maybe that’s the truest mark of humility.

That we remember that we are human.

 

Love you,

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Anxiety much?

I’ve been feeling anxious lately.

It’s that obnoxious type of anxiety because I once had peace – a lot of it and it feels like I’ve misplaced it somehow.

Doctors have run tests and scans and I am perfectly healthy by all accounts.

But I could barely function.

Peace, joy, and a host of other good things were seeping out of my life and I couldn’t understand why.

I was being the mom my kids needed.

I was being the worship leader that my church wanted.

I was being the wife that supported my husband.

I was being the daughter I should be.

I was being the friend that was always available to listen.

I was doing all the things I thought God wanted me to do and be.

All of these roles serve people I love. And I am passionate about being all of those roles- mother, worship leader, wife, daughter, friend.

But all of me was hurting.

My body.

My mind.

My spirit.
Let me just say, not a single person asked me to be something I’m not.

 I did that all on my own.

I’m driven by nature and sadly sometimes still find my worth in what I can do rather than who I am.

Relate much?
Am I called to be all of those things.
Wife.

Mother.

Daughter.

Worship Leader.

Friend.
Absolutely.

So since last Fall, I’ve been muddling through what life should look like for me, because I don’t want to be that exhausted again.  Ever.
But thank God for good friends and strong coffee.
I have a friend, and musical mentor extraordinaire, tell me that she felt like God was telling her that I was taking on too much.

That was what God gave me as my starting place and like I said, the past 6 months have been a painfully slow learning process.

So what’s the secret of juggling the demands of life without losing ourselves in the process?

For me, it’s been learning about boundaries and rest.

Really practical, I know.

But sometimes the most practical words are the most spiritual and more importantly, the ones that God is speaking in the moment.

“Stress was hurting me physically and emotionally. But the Lord also began to show me that stress was hurting me spiritually. I was allowing the external pressures of life to affect my internal peace and joy. If I didn’t make some major changes, I was never going to fully enjoy the life Jesus died to give me.”
Joyce Meyer 

from her book “Overload”

I’m hoping to blog more on this- because it’s important.

It’s important to remember to have some fun in this life and that we are worth far more than what we produce. 

No

 

I am so loving the word “no” right now.

I would sing it like a choir boy if I could.

Do-Re-Mi-NOOOOOOOO.

 

 

“No” is the word that God gave us as freedom from distracting thoughts, over busy schedules, expectations to be something we are not.

I’m not talking about character issues.

I’m talking about feeling anxious all the time.

I’m talking about being afraid that we are not being who others think we should be.

Maybe even, who we think God wants us to be.

 

Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

(The Message)

 

Stingy and lavish.

So the moral is we should give more and not less right?

 

I don’t think that’s what it means.

Plus it’s all followed up with “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving”.

I think it’s about our motivation.

 

It comes back to heart.

I’ve had moments where I have given lots out of a stingy heart, because it was what I thought was expected, and I’ve given little with all of the love I had within me.

God was way more excited that I was excited about the little than the lot.

 

Geez, if I’m honest, I can’t remember the last time I was excited to give of my time or my money or my prayers.

I just got in the habit of giving because it’s what we Christians do.

But this burnt out girl is learning, it’s not enough to just give.

God wants us engaged in our giving- from hearts that overflow.

He’s asking us,

Why do we do what we do?

Do we give because we want to?

Or because we think it’s expected?

 

Which brings me back to my Sesame Street rant on why I loooove “No.”

“No”, protects our hearts and our motivations.

So if we are going to have and keep big hearts towards people, we have to be able to have and keep our big “no’s” towards the things that would cause us to feel less than delighted in our giving.

That’s really hard because it hits right at the heart of what people will think of me.

Yeouch.

I know, it’s hard to say no.

We want people to think that we are the awesome people we know we are- but sometimes the most awesome and sincere and honest thing we can do is nicely say “no”. It keeps our hearts from resenting people and it keeps what flows from our hearts pure.

“No” gives us rest.

“No” gives us breathing room.

“No” gives us space to really discern our own hearts and God’s.

 

So, not that you need it, but if you were looking for someone to give you permission to say “no”, I’m saying it.  Say “no” to things the things that have been slowly killing your joy and your relationships with others.  Say “no” to the false expectation to be something you’re not.

Because here’s the best part, in the “no” we have more “yes” for each other and for a God that loves us enough to give us a word like “no”.

 

 

 

Website: www.joyceackermann.com

Twitter:@joyceackermann

 

In the waiting

 

In The Waiting

Hold on to your promises, even if they feel a little tattered and torn at the moment.

God moves in seasons.

 

Why?

 

I’m not sure, but I think sometimes that farmers must understand God better than us city kids.

 

There are seasons when we are waiting on God to blow on our dreams and to answer prayers.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

 

 

My friend Praveena and I went out for dinner a couple of months ago and she said in her usually brilliant way, “God is teaching me how to hold onto my dream without having any casualties in my relationships along the way.”

Wow.

Doesn’t that sound like the God we know.

The one who wants us to have our dreams.

The one who loves people.

 

The one who wants us to learn how to do both.

Have our dreams and love people.

 

In the waiting, we’re learning how to do just that.

 

Maybe it goes without saying, but waiting is hard.

Correction.

Waiting is really really hard.

 

God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep.

In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’

The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’

They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’

They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked.

Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’

He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’

So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.

Matthew 25:1-13

(The Message)

 

We read this verse a lot when we talk about Jesus coming back, but I believe there’s a kingdom principle embedded in this story.

Those who have been wise to hold on to their oil, to not give away their hope and their faith in who God is, get to enter into the party with Jesus.

Why?

Because when the time comes, they have hope that gives them light to see and discern the opportunities God brings our way.

These are the ones that held onto believing the promises of God, even when it felt like you were just holding on by a thread.

It still counts.

Remember Jesus said, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed.

And a thread is bigger than a mustard seed.

 

So hold on to your promises, even if they feel a little tattered and torn at the moment.  God is good and he always comes through for us, the ones he loves.

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Photo Credit: “Sparkler” by Unsplash, permission through C.C. by 2.0

The reality of dreaming

The Reality of Dreaming

My son wants to drive so badly he can taste exhaust fumes.

This past summer, he asked me nearly every time we got into the van when it would be his turn to drive.  Most parents probably dread the day their children start driving and their insurance premiums go through the roof,  but I am so excited for the day when I can hand him the keys and see that look of joy in his eyes.  In my heart, I look forward to him driving probably more than he does.  So why haven’t I let him get his permit and take the family mini-van for a spin?

Because he’s 3 years old.

I will safe guard the dream of his driving until he is ready, not to mention old enough to see over the steering wheel, but if I gave him his “dream” today it would cause him and who knows who else harm. He’s not ready yet.

I’ve explained to him a million and one different ways, why he can’t drive right now and he responds with a quivering lower lip, “okay, someday”.  He has resigned himself to comply despite not fully understanding my reasons.

It’s the same with us.  We don’t always understand when God says, “not now” and our 3 year old hearts distort his words into “no” as we perceive our dreams crumbling into dust.

Dreams are precious things, fragile in the making.  Our dreams are things meant to be placed into the hands of God. He knows this and he’s not willing that we would gain the thing we want most at the risk of losing ourselves.  And so, he has a way of causing us to lay down the thing we want, the way Abraham laid down Issac, so that he can give it back to us at the moment of our maturity.

We all have that something lingering just out of reach.

Maybe you’ve been praying for Mr. Right (or dear God, please fix my Mr. Right).

Maybe your dream is that elusive career opportunity.

Maybe you’ve been patiently waiting for that restored relationship with your parents.

Maybe you’ve been quietly hoping for a child.

Or maybe your dream is simply driving the family mini-van.

The temptation is one of two things: 1. to either try to do everything to make it happen or 2. to do nothing.  If you’re a bold person, you more than likely gravitate towards the first, if you’re fearful you’ll tend to gravitate towards the second and if you’re like me, a cyclone of both – it might just depend on the day.

How do we trust God and act in faith when it comes to something like a dream?

When God told Abraham to go to the promise land, Abraham went. . . and kept going until God told him to stop.  When Joseph dreamed of greatness, he served faithfully . . . and God made him the second most powerful man in Egypt.  When Ruth secretly hoped for her Mr. Right, she continued to care for her mother-in-law . . . and Boaz came along.

Be faithful.

Ask God what your first step is and be faithful to do that thing until he either tells you something new or until that day when your dream becomes reality.  Too simple?  Perhaps, but I think I remember that he likes to use the simple things to confound the wise.

 

 

*I originally posted this when my oldest really was only 3 years old.  He still wants to drive just as bad now that he’s 7.

Pray for us.

–  -No seriously.

One day we’ll have to let our kids drive.*

 

 

Photo Credit: “Key” by Unsplash permissions through C.C. by 2.0

 

Throwing Up With Words

Scattered: Finding God In Your Story (Chapter 1)

 

Hey, I hope it was a great Monday for you today.

 

If not, hang in there – it’s almost over and tomorrow will be better.  Remember, God’s mercies are new every morning.

 

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!

Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Message)

 

Right now, I’m bobbing my head like an idiot, listening to Andy Grammer, because you can’t not move, listening to Andy Grammar and I’m staring at the rain drizzling down the window at Starbucks and – – – oh my gosh, I forgot to tell you, Starbucks moved in like a mile from my house.

 

Ba-bam!  There it is, proof that there is a God and he soooooo loves me!  I am one happy girl slurping on my PSL (that’s a Pumpkin Spice Latte, for those of you not yet fluent in Starbucks speak).

 

At any rate, I thought I’d share an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my book, Scattered: Finding God In Your Story.  I’ve had several people tell me recently that they have always wanted to write their story.  Maybe you’re one of those people, harboring the dream of becoming a story-teller and sharing your life with the world.  If so, then this is for you tonight. . .

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1

Bleh

Throwing Up with Words

 

 

The thing about writing is – there really are no rules in the beginning, except one.

 

Just write.

The temptation is to overanalyze or criticize.

You’re not in it for anyone but you at this point.

The idea is to just get the raw emotion out.

 

It’s a lot like throwing up.

 

After my husband and I first got married, we went to a fondue restaurant.

It was awesome, except when it wasn’t.

 

Which was about an hour after we got home.

 

We both had gotten food poisoning.

 

For the next 24 hours we took turns tossing our cookies, – – er, fondue.

 

We would roll over and gently rub one another’s backs and say encouraging things like, “I’m sorry babe, it’ll be o – o –ohhhhhh no, Where’s the bucket?”

 

Romantic huh?

 

That’s kinda what I had in mind when I started writing.

 

Throwing up that is, not romance.

 

I had been poisoned by some things that had happened to me as a child and I just needed to get it out.

 

Hence, the figurative “Bleh” all over my laptop.

 

I would have Oscar-winning rants; all while sipping joe and jamming out to Goo Goo Dolls.  It was messy, it was painful, and in the end – it was healing.

 

I would look up new words to express things like sad and mad.  And later, I expanded my writing to include phrases that expressed deeper emotions . . . like – “really sad” and “really mad”.

 

And there was a beautiful clarity that began to form as I wrote.  .  . I was a hot mess.

 

When I started writing ten years ago, I was really emotionally damaged.

 

As in, I made train wrecks look good.

 

But I heard God speak to me.  It was only one word at the time, “write”.

 

I think I responded dumbly with an “uh, okay.”

 

Really though, what are you supposed to say when God tells you something like that?

“No?”

 

And so began my journey of Bleh.

 

I cried and bled for the art of it all.

Facing painful memories and hoping for answers.

 

After a couple of years, it was there – my art of “Bleh” in black and white.  And it looked something like a Van Gogh.

 

My life splashed on a typeset canvas.

 

Except no one liked me well enough to buy my art of “Bleh”, but on the other hand I didn’t hate it enough to cut off any body parts – you know, like an ear or something.

 

More years passed and I began to value what had been slowly happening to my life through something as simple as writing.

 

Old wounds that never seemed to heal were finally beginning to scar over.

 

I wasn’t as scared of letting my walls down and letting people in to see me in all of my vulnerability.  My relationships with others began to heal, I began to value myself, and my perception of God took on new lenses.

 

So this is my story, and I hope that by the end of this journey, you’ll find that it’s okay to share yours.

 

Because your story is worth telling.

 

To help heal your own heart as much as lend courage to someone else, who may just be in the very place that you have once been.

 

……………………………………………….

 (taken from Chapter 1 of Scattered: Finding God In Your Story by Joyce Ackermann)

Photo Credit: “Woman” by Unsplash permissions through C.C. by 2.0

 

Psssst. . . Don’t forget to come by the Anoka County Local Author Fair on November 5th, 2016 from 11 am – 2pm.

 

Why Boundaries Are Necessary

Why Boundaries Are Neccessary

I saw this tonight and I couldn’t wait to share this.  Great post by Kris Vallotton on boundaries, why they aren’t selfish and how to start creating some.

 

By Kris Vallotton
October 19, 2016
www.krisvallotton.com

If you don’t manage your life, others will. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. If you don’t set boundaries for yourself, the crowd will get what they think they need from you, but soon there will be nothing left to get. Then they will discard you like an old pair of shoes.

MANAGING YOUR SOUL

If you set boundaries to manage your soul, many won’t like it. They will accuse you of being arrogant, uncaring, not spiritual, unloving, etc. They will tell you about the life of Jesus, who never turned away anyone…of course He didn’t begin His public ministry until he was 30 and died at 33. He also had no wife or children to take care of…no soccer games to go to, no sleepless nights…up caring for a crying babies etc…

If you have a public platform, most people think you are obligated to carry out their will…pray for them at their convenience, take pictures until all you can see lights, hear every detail of their story, while 40 other people wait in line behind them, follow you out to your car or talk to you over the bathroom stall. You are expected to answer every post, email, phone call, text, etc.

If you love God and are passionate about caring for people…if you give people hope and believe in miracles…if you pour out your soul for the broken and the poor…if you are radically generous…you WILL have favor with God and man. BUT if you don’t steward the favor of God…if you let the fear of man be your shepherd…if you convince yourself that you are the savior of the world, obligated to meet every need that you are exposed to…YOU WILL CRASH and the crowd will find another savior.

LEARN TO SAY NO

So a little advise from an aging man; chill…you are not that important. Have fun! Enjoy your life. Learn to say NO! Operate out of overflow. Let Jesus love on you. Let the crowd think whatever they want…and remind yourself that there is always enough time to touch everyone Jesus sent to you.

 

Photo Credit: “Fence” by Unsplash permissions through C.C. by 2.0