Just because you can’t, doesn’t mean you can’t.
Let me explain…
Just because you can’t, doesn’t mean you can’t.
Let me explain…
As I watched a butterfly emerge from an ugly cramped cocoon last week I realized that sometimes pain accompanies dreams as they come true – and it’s OKAY.
I think the purpose of your life for this season is faithfulness.
Like going for a walk. When you go for a walk the purpose is to go for a walk, talk with your friend (sometimes yourself), and enjoy the journey. The purpose is not a destination.
When things aren’t going the way you planned look at it from a different perspective.
Maybe the purpose you always thought was intended wasn’t the purpose at all.
Friend, you don’t need to be ready or perfect to make what matters happen. A life of purpose – living for something bigger than yourself – is not about achieving your dream job or the ideal circumstance or the perfect timing. Use what you have, where you are, right now, ON PURPOSE.
Today is all I have.
I’m learning that life – a beautiful, powerful life – is a choice. It’s a choice that takes work and sacrifice. But more than that it’s a choice to see the beauty and power of simply being alive.
You are the master of your own ship. Just as a mini rudder steers a massive ship, so your thoughts direct your course.
I know that sometimes you struggle to love life. Even though your life is the next best thing to perfect you still sometimes find yourself in agony for something I can’t even name.
First of all, know that you’re not alone. We all struggle to love life at times.
Have you ever heard of the mountain top experience? Like a camp high; you’re on a mountain top and everything is amazing but you can’t stay there forever because there isn’t enough water, food, or oxygen. At the end of camp you have to go home down into the valley. Often it’s discouraging and a drag, but your coaches tell you not to be discouraged.
Recently, I have been reading “Hinds Feet on High Places.” It’s a story of lame little Much-Afraid’s journey of faith in the Shepherd. Shepherd has promised to take her to the High Places and on the way give her the feet of a deer. After traveling several days the path turns, taking Much-Afraid down into a desert dashing her hopes—Shepherd had promised to take her to the High Places! Exploring this book, yet again, I have found many similarities to my own journey with my Lord and Shepherd.
How do you keep from getting sick?
How do you keep your house clean?
How do you keep our job?
You protect your health, your home, and your hours at work. You protect.
When, if ever, is it right for me to follow my heart rather than follow the current of logic?
Is the desire of my heart reason enough to say ‘yes’?
While accepting a tutoring position seemed like a simple answer I saw all the lives that were impacted by my decision. It wasn’t a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer for me. Thankfully, it wasn’t a life or death decision, either. But it was an expensive or costly decision in the realm of passion and purpose. It was a decision that questioned the purpose of my existence.
Have you ever picked up a book and decided to re-shelf it only to hear from your best friend six months later that it is one of her favorite books? Have you ever seen someone from across the room and decided not to be their friend just because of the way they look? Has someone ever told you something and you shut down your heart towards them because what they said stung?
Tuesday morning you walked into Panera ordered a cookie and coffee and enjoyed both without a terrorizing thought because food was not your enemy. You knew that food was fuel so when you were satisfied you were able to stop eating and sipping guilt-free. It was a victorious moment worth savoring.
But it hasn’t always been that way. It used to be every time you decided to indulge, you couldn’t stop. It was as if you were trying to make up for all those years you deprived yourself. Food wasn’t your enemy anymore but it was still a beast. So you embarked on journey number two: learning that while food is fuel, food is also fun.
Oddly enough, having fun and enjoying food have a lot in common.
It was just three years ago that your mom spent 15 minutes coaching you on how and what to order at Starbucks. You were so afraid of ordering you almost cancelled your coffee date! You weren’t scared of the cashier. You weren’t scared of coffee. And you weren’t scared of spending money. You were scared you wouldn’t have the courage to enjoy your drink. In short, food had become your enemy. You couldn’t think of it as fuel. All you could think of were the calories you were about to ask for, pay for, and be expected to savor.
I feel like I’m in a hamster wheel. It doesn’t matter how many times I rework my schedule, the wheel just goes faster.
As you’re reading this I’ll be putting on my creative/coordinator hat collecting everything I could possibly need for a ball. Thursday I’ll pick strawberries with my family. Friday, I’ll work and go to a women’s conference. Saturday I’ll decorate and host that ball for 175 youth. Finally, Sunday will launch me into four straight weeks of traveling, decorating, doing make-up, brides-maiding, cooking, and maid-of-honoring.
Communicating that you value people over projects is simple, but it requires you to be intentional and disciplined. I know your life is a blur of projects – important ones I’m sure – so, here are my favorite ways to communicate that I value people more than projects.
Do you know when washing dishes becomes delightful?
When you’re doing it next to your little brother and having a conversation together. That’s when washing dishes becomes delightful. You could have, of course, rushed through your sink of pots and pans completely ignoring that your brother was next to you. But you didn’t. And the moment you slowed down enough to value people over your projects, washing dishes became delightful.
One of my favorite things about exercising outside is watching the seasons change before my eyes.
Yesterday, I ran through a giant’s tiara as crystal branches defied their lifeless state. Today, straggly and leafless, the trees remind me of death. Stepping out in a few days I know I will be greeted by tiny green shoots promising new life.
The hike makes the view worth it.
I know the hike is hard and long right now. You have skinned knees and sore feet. I heard you tell yourself it wasn’t worth it, but may I be so bold as to tell you that sometimes the purpose of your goal is something other than what you’ve always thought.
Packing one carry-on suitcase was a good idea! It was such a great idea that I think you should take the same approach to your summer. Now before you get all defensive let me clarify a few things. I’m not suggesting that you create a capsule wardrobe. I’m not encouraging you to go without. And, I’m not trying to add another challenge or burden to your life. Quite the opposite really, because these are all the benefits I have observed since have been in Florida with only one carry-on suitcase.
I was in a hurry to leave for work. With a purse on my shoulder and fancy shoes shouting my hurried pace i jerked the fridge open. Flinging a bag of lettuce and a can of tuna on the counter I frantically searched for a can-opener. Finally I started jamming a lettuce tuna wrap in my mouth careful not to smear my perfectly painted red lips – my signature feature.
As I bent to grab my purse that had fallen during my sophisticated scavenge through the kitchen for a five-minute meal my eye were captured on the neat but empty kitchenette. As if in a daze I dragged my purse to the bench and we ended the table’s loneliness – my purse and I.
I’m not sure what I thought would happen. The table and chairs would thank me for being their friend or a bright light from the ceiling would burst around me showering me in pixie dust…but that’s not what happened.
I saw you hopelessly staring at the piles in your living room yesterday and watched you pick at the duct tape on the floor with your toes. I also heard you sigh as you stared out the kitchen window only to have your vision obscured by cardboard covering a whole made by a stray arrow from your brothers’ heroic adventures. You see messes caused by a busy life, but that’s not what others see.
Guess what? It’s okay to be scared.
Friends say I’m fearless, but my family will be the first to tell you I’m a sissy, the scaredy-cat kind. The truth is, I’m scared all the time, but two years ago I read Taking the Stairs by Rory Vaden and this story changed my life:
It’s easy to become overwhelmed and beaten up by your emotions. Before you know it you’ve been thrown from your boogie board. Your face is being ground into the sand while relentless waves tumble you like shoes in a dryer. Disoriented you don’t know how to escape and claim the precious brilliance of light and hopeful air. You’ve been beaten and the only hope of survival you have is owning the fact so that you can be pulled to the surface.
Snow White was right, “It’s important to know when you’ve been beaten.”
I had no idea I had it in me to write you three letters about managing your emotions. But as I was pondering the series of letters I have most recently written I realized that I neglected to teach you my favorite emotion management technique. So while it’s still on my mind I want to share with you my secret to floating through the ocean of emotions.
One day when I was drowning in my high-school emotions mom sent me to my room to journal until I had a happy heart. I was mad. But between filling lined notebook paper and smearing ink with my tears I discovered David’s secret.
I can hardly believe this little letter I started writing last week has turned into three. In the first letter I clarified that emotions are merely our experiential realization of our thoughts – they’re not wrong, it’s what we do with them that can be wrong. And, in my most recent letter, I challenged you to describe your emotions more fully by identifying and defining them. Today, I’m going to teach you how to respond.
Your security system has been breached, you know that burglars are climbing through your window to steal the brownies baking in your oven – the brownies that you were looking forward to enjoying with your friends! There are three responses.
In my last letter I explained that emotions aren’t wrong, rather it’s what we do with our emotions that can be wrong. After all, emotions are merely the experience of our thoughts. They should not initiate our actions, but rather be treated as indicators to what is happening in our souls. Which leads us to soul-searching.
Back to our brownie analogy, when you feel the heat you need to register what that heat is and where it’s coming from. In other words, upon feeling heat you instinctively know that you forgot hot mitts. Unfortunately, our brain doesn’t instinctively understand the thoughts sparking our emotions. So, some soul-searching is required.
I know you hate emotions. You’ve tried to throw them overboard like sandbags on a hot air balloon. Living with them is sickening. But once you’ve dumped them, living without them is horrifying. I’ve got news for you, (WARNING: I’m about to sound like your mother) emotions aren’t bad. They’re not deadweights anchoring you to average. It’s what you do with your emotions that can be bad.
The real feat wasn’t running 13.1 miles. The feat was the last 8 years leading up to this race. The time you dared to go on a second run even though you couldn’t make it once around the track on your first run. All the times you ran when you didn’t want to, rested intentionally, and every single time you ignored the thoughts that told you that you couldn’t.
Why didn’t you tell the truth yesterday? I understand that you had been looking forward to relaxing with your sister and watching a movie. It’s completely reasonable that your feelings were hurt when she wanted to finish her book instead of chill with you, but under no circumstances did you have license to speak falsely to yourself.
I can remember it like yesterday (maybe that’s because it was yesterday), feet pounding, mind chanting, chest heaving, arms working. This would be the day you set a new personal record. Every stride counted. At the start you picked a speedy yet sustainable pace. Now maintaining that pace through labored breathing and lagging legs was your only key to victory.
Remember when you were training your fifteen mile bike for your triathlon last summer and the sky broke loose on the last mile and a half? What did you do?
You clung to the handlebars and headed home!
There’s so much to be said for boarding a train and enjoying the journey. When you get on a train you first choose your destination. Once on board you relax and read. True, you might change trains along the way, but you trust the railroad tracks to get the train where you need to go.
In twenty years you’re going to look back on life and regret the way you lived. Contrary to popular opinion, just because you’re overbooked doesn’t mean you’re living your best life. Just because you’re not squandering your hours with mindless activities, parties, and retail jobs doesn’t mean you’re doing what matters most. And, just because you rearrange your schedule every Sunday doesn’t mean you value your time. In the same way that someone will one day regret that they frivolously whiled away their youth you will regret the intensity with which you stressed yours away.
Hope is a funny thing – an influential thing. It impacts your health, your decisions, and your actions. But hope is simply the sum of the thoughts you choose to think.
If you are thinking about how there is not enough time or you don’t have what it takes, the result is hopelessness. But if you choose to determine in your heart that God will make a way where there seems to be no way or that a lesson can be learned in every situation you have just set yourself up a hope equation.