All too often us super-responsible people take responsibility for others, because we feel responsible for everything. But, living responsibly means owning your life and decisions in such a way that you can let your friend own theirs. Being truly self-less means knowing who you are so well that you can live without identifying yourself as the problem or the solution.
I love your hands.
Every Thursday I went for a walk with one of my best friends.
One day I commented on how I disliked my hands. I thought my finger were pudgy and my nails squatty.
My friend quickly responded, “No, I love your hands. They’re strong, but lovely, and so good at so many things.”
With those words she taught me to not only love my hands but my life not for what meets the eye but for what gives meaning to life.
By definition a risk is any situation that involves exposure to danger.
In other words: LIFE.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Loving yourself isn’t about you, it’s about others.
All your life you have been taught to serve, lay your life down for others, and go out of your way to make others’ lives better. That’s not wrong. But…
How do you expect to love others if you don’t know how to love yourself?
If you’re never giving to yourself, what do you expect to give when you’ve burned out?
If you’re never thinking about yourself, what are you thinking of others?
Can you imagine doing everything that you love and always dreamed of all day every day? Of course you can, because you have. For the last year you have mentored young women, read to your siblings, published a book, hosted a conference, coordinated a flashmob, directed a ballroom dance program for youth, trained for triathlons, and toured the Mediterranean for four weeks. Your life has been the epitome of your dream come true! But even in the midst of this dream-come-true-life you felt as though you were living a nightmare.
Balance is a lie.
It’s a loser’s game.
And, the age old secret of illusionists.
Even gymnasts know there is no such thing as balance but only the audience’s perception of balance. Gymnasts distribute their weight so that they look balanced, but in all honesty their weight is not dispersed evenly. They appear balanced because they are counterbalancing. By centering their mind and muscles on a certain position they displace the rest of their weight to make their feat possible. In other words, balance is just an illusion.
I know life is full right now. Your to-do list is two pages long, you have a rough draft on a book due in a month, you’re trying to eat healthy and help your friend be strong enough to complete her first triathlon on May 1st, you’ve got flights to book, things to clean, pants to mend, and siblings to love.
You’re busy. But don’t let it be said that chores and chaos screamed so loud you slammed your book down to answer them.
When you walk into your garage/home-gym, rocking your champion workout leggings, pumped to kill your Friday work-out and find twenty pieces of “schmidt” wood scattered beneath a mattress, which is weighted down by a 100lb punching bag, topped with a full sized ladder you’re ready to kill your brothers who left this mess in your home gym.
The secret to significance is simple, it’s simplicity.
Serving dinner is a simple thing, but I’m learning that it is the simple things that add up eternal things in the kingdom of God. Like Lydia, who opened her home to Paul and Silas. She didn’t know that her hospitality would one day find it’s way into the oldest and most historically accurate book in the world. Neither did she know that the believers which she served in her home would change the world.
It’s time you overcame overwhelm. Being overwhelmed is not wrong, it’s just like when a wave overtakes the shore. Each wave that recedes takes with it shells and sand. In the same way being overwhelmed steals from you. It steals joy, productivity, creativity and so much more.
While you’re overwhelmed by all your goals please know that the best thing you can do to get more done is to overcome overwhelm. So, settle down and follow these three simple steps to overcome overwhelm:
It’s time your yes meant yes and your no meant no. You’re like the girl from 27 Dresses who doesn’t know how to say no and gets herself in a whole lot of things she never meant to all because she couldn’t say N-O. So, let me teach you a new way to think of the word no.
Saying no requires a yes.
Elsa was wrong.
Letting go doesn’t always feel god. Sometimes it even hurts and feels wrong. Just remember pain doesn’t mean it’s wrong. You hurt much because you loved much, and that’s okay. Jesus tells us to love deeply.
This week has been a hurricane of conference prep, crunching numbers, book launch #2, catching up with friends who are home from college, and goal setting.
Do you know why this surprise took your breath away?
Life is not a bad as it seems.
When all you want to do is cry but you know in your heart you should be jumping up and down praising God, remember Satan is a roaring lion looking for who He can destroy.