Who Are You Leaving Out?

I read this story the other day, and it brought tears to my eyes… http://nicerdays.org/tb-newspaper-column-response/

Exclusion is so painful; yet, even more painful is watching someone so oblivious to the truth. My prayer is that I might always be aware of the truth and never be so blinded by my own “rightness.” It is so easy to become exclusive and not even realize the damage we are doing, the harm we are bringing, or the pain we are inflicting. We must always be giving ourselves ‘heart checks.’ We must always self-evaluate. If we ever get to the place where we believe we could “never be like the woman in this article,” or we believe our motives are always pure, and we could never intentionally exclude someone, that is when we run the risk of becoming the most dangerous person we could ever know. 

We all falter, and we all make mistakes. I just pray if and when I do fall, that God will help me to recognize the truth…the truth of my own wicked and deceitful heart. The key to success is to constantly question your motives and to surround yourself with truth speakers. People who can honestly give you wisdom, who can love you for who you are and who will never drink too much of your “koolaid,” but rather, will be the one who always challenges you to be a better person than who you are presently. 

I pray I always have a gracious friend who gently helps to open my eyes to see clearer…or a loving friend who gives me a good, strong and swift kick in the pants when I’m veering off the path of goodness and grace!ūüėČ

#realfriendsaretruthspeakers 

Living In The Reality of What Is

(Proposed Reality vs. Fantasized Perspective)
Living in the reality of what is rather than the fantasy of what should be is so important, even when it proves to be painful and awkward. Living in the reality of what is may not always be the most enjoyable spot, but it sure beats the foolishness and perpetual agony of the fantasy of what should be. Living in the fantasy of what should be might seem fun and even peaceful for a moment, but it will only bring deeper pain when the fantasy proves to be untrue and a waste of so much time. Let me share with you why…

In the fantasized perspective, you will:

* Imagine yourself being someone you’re not. You will fabricate a whole new personality, character and interaction than what is actually true. 

* Trade the true affection and acceptance from those who love and care for you and replace it with the fabricated affections of those who will only use and abuse you. 

* Fantasize about what could have been, should have been or what would have been, had things or people just been different and live in a perpetual state of denial, blame and justification. 

* Accept a false reality in the attempts of achieving the fantasized world of which you have dreamt. 

* Accept the reality someone else gives you to live. 

myboundlessthoughts.wordpress.com


In the proposed reality, you will:  

* Recognize who you are and who you are not and embrace whom God has called you to be. 

* Grow beyond what or whom you desired to have and embrace your God given purpose and engagements. 

* Have to accept that you are unwanted, unloved and unaccepted by the crowd in which you long to belong, but also, open your eyes to see who truly does want you, love you and accept you for who you are. 

* Let go of false expectations and embrace the reality of where you are and to where you are commissioned by God. 

* Accept the reality God brings to you. 
Through those painful moments of life, I have often been tempted, to slip into the fantasy of what could have been or should have been; however, I have learned over the years, this temptation is just that, a temptation for a counterfeit in my life. As I grow older, I have learned (and sometimes, am still learning) to embrace those people and things of value in my life and just let go of those of a fantasized value. I’ve learned to count my many blessings and realize those who aren’t or who have no desire to be in my life don’t need to be fantasized into the beautiful tapestry of life God has woven for me. Because of this, my life has become much fuller and richer. 

Living in a fantasy of what should be might bring you a temporary joy, but it is an exhausting journey that will leave you washed up like a broken seashell on the shore, and it will unravel any shred of peace and serenity you might find. We were never created to live in that fantasy. We were never called to fabricate a fairytale in which to abide. God created us to be who we are, and He called us to a time, a purpose and a people. It is our job to seek out that calling, get busy fulfilling it and let all the rest of that stuff go! 

…otherwise, you end up living your life like this…ūüėā

FunnyAnd.com

How’s It Growing?

 

bamboo

jurassicworld.com

 

A Chinese bamboo seed stays hidden in the ground for 4 years. It shows NO amount of growth on the surface for that entire amount of time. Then, in the fifth year, something amazing happens. In just six weeks, that same bamboo tree grows to a staggering ninety feet tall. It has even been measured to grow 48 inches in a single 24hour period.

Many have equated this type of¬†growth with the¬†rate of success in one’s life, but I would like to equate this to the process God, sometimes, does within our souls. There are times when we simply can’t see the change we so long to see. We work and toil, worry and sweat, striving to obey in what He has directed us, and we wonder if the growth will ever be what He has promised it will be.

be-still

quotesgram.com

 

Sometimes, we won’t see the immediate results that we so long to see, but if we will remain focused and diligent in what He has called us to do, we will surely see His promise fulfilled¬†in His timing. Sometimes, He is working things out of our own heart and mind to get us ready for that growth. I have found that when I have to “wait on Him,” He is working on my character to help me be prepared for what He is bringing forth.

Can I tell you? He’s not finished until He says He’s finished! Sometimes, we just have to be patient in the waiting. This patience doesn’t mean to simply “kick back, relax, and take it easy,” but it means to be graceful¬†in the commitment of the¬†process. It means to continue putting one foot in front of the other and finish what He told you to start. It means to be just like a farmer who plants those bamboo seeds and waits through the summer heat of four years¬†to see the abundant harvest of fall in that fifth year.

 

philippians_1-6_nkjv_picture

thefellowshipsite.org

 

 

The Closed Roads of Yesterday

There’s a song I’ve been listening to this week that I just can’t seem to get out of my head. It has some incredible lyrics…

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacked. The future feels so hard, and I wanna go back.

The places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I’ve learned. Those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned.  – Sara Groves

Her song is referencing the story in the Bible of the children of Israel who were delivered from their years of slavery in Egypt; however, once they found themselves wandering in the wilderness, they whined and complained, longing for their days back in slavery…

I think, too often, this is so true for our lives. When we are growing, transitioning from the old to new, sometimes, it can feel uncomfortable, even painful, to keep moving forward. The changes and transitions it takes to mature can cause us to long for those “easier” days of our past. They can even cause us to “glorify” those yester-years, forgetting the reality of what once was true. Yet, what we fail to realize is when we’ve grown past those days of which we’ve so beautifully painted, they just don’t seem to fit like they used to.

It’s just like many young adults growing into adulthood. They may long for those glorious days of their youth, but they can never really return, no matter how much they try to regress. They may act silly, playful, even completely irrational, but they’re only left looking a fool, because those childish acts just don’t fit, and they simply cannot become a kid again.

She says in another place, “…caught between the promise and the things I know…” It can be so difficult when we are trying to reach for the promise of our tomorrow, but the comforts of yesterday are screaming at us to return, and the present just doesn’t seem as great as we once envisioned. Sometimes, it can feel so tempting to back up, “take a breather,” and not work so hard to achieve whatever goal it is that we’ve set before us. However, can I tell you something? Too often, when we back up, when we turn around from where we’ve been headed, and we try to return to those more comfortable moments, those places that used to feel good, we realize even those don’t actually feel as good as we thought they did. Something’s missing; something has changed, and what has changed is US. We are no longer the person who used to fit into those experiences, those places from whence we came, and those roads of the past are simply closed.


 It’s just like an old jacket or dress from our early teen years that we try on once we’ve grown up and even had a few kiddos. We might be able to put it on, but the sleeves might be a little short, the ends might come a little above our waistline, or the fashion is one that just can’t quite make it to today’s standards. It just doesn’t fit anymore, because we’ve grown beyond the point when we could wear it comfortably. We’ve grown beyond when we needed it. In order to keep growing, we must put it away, or even better, we must get rid of it. We can cherish the memory, but we must press forward to a better purpose, a higher calling, a brighter promise!

If we’re going to continue growing, this is just how life is. We can’t return to those things of old, those things which we’ve grown beyond. If we are to be champions of the faith, we cannot return to our past time and time again. We cannot dabble in those things that cloud our vision and hold us back. We must press forward, and take hold of those things to come, even when they’re challenging, even when they are uncomfortable and make us long for those “easier” days. We must walk away from those closed roads of yesterday, and take hold of Jesus and allow Him to mold us, shape us and develop us into being who He has called us to be.

We must, also, learn to say with Paul, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:7-9a, 12-14

Sara Groves – Painting Pictures of Egypt from 2nafish on GodTube.

**I did not take this pic, nor do I own this pic. Simply looked up and going through Google images.**

Blogging 201: Get Read All Over and Auditing

Today seems to be a short and sweet assignment (“Get Read All Over”)…check out your blog on various devices to see that it is readable and appeals to all possible audiences.¬†I can¬†“Check” this off my list.¬†ūüėČ

So, I suppose, I will address “Day 2: Auditing Your Brand” of the Blogging 201, as I am still in the process of completing this assignment. I have asked a couple of people to look at my blog and “gently critique” it to see what might need some improvements. I’ve received sweet,¬†encouraging, and honest¬†replies from two of the three¬†fellow bloggers¬†I approached (just haven’t heard from the third yet), and I would like to share with you their blogs, as well, to let you see why I chose them. Even though, I don’t personally know either of them, I think¬†we have just kind of “hit it off” as “blogging neighbors.” I think both of them have incredible blogs and really share from their hearts: The Narrow Lens¬†and Minuscule Moments of Inspiration¬†…I do hope you will hop over to their blogs and see what they have to say today. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. ūüôā

You know, if I were to be honest here, asking someone to take time to “review” my blog is a little intimidating. I really am curious and desirous of the review. I wonder all the time if my blog is intriguing, helpful, encouraging, as well as,¬†“pleasant to the eyes;” however, I have to go through so many thoughts before I work up the courage to ask… “Will they mind my asking?” “Do they really have the time?” “Am I imposing upon them by asking?” “Will they give an honest opinion, or will they be mean, and maybe a little too blunt, or will they¬†just simply be too¬†sweet, not being truthful?” It takes courage and confidence to ask for an honest review, an honest answer, even an honest opinion, and it takes humility and confidence to receive constructive criticism. (yes, I used confidence twice in the same sentence. Sorry, making a¬†subtle point. haha.)¬†I think, sometimes…well, no, often times, we avoid asking for honesty in another’s reply to us. We may be too fearful, too intimidated, too prideful, or even too lazy, because to actually¬†receive criticism,¬†we might have to realize we weren’t as right as we thought we were…we might have to alter the way we’ve always done things…we might have to realize and admit we were wrong.¬†(Ouch!) We might have to actually improve our speaking or writing skills. We may have to sit up straighter, walk a little taller, smile a little brighter. We might have to do things a little different…or a lot. We might actually have to change from who we’ve been.

Now, I know, I’m not implying we should change for every little criticism that comes our way! Goodness, NO! If we did that, we’d just become a wimpy, indecisive person who isn’t stable, proactive or even certain of our¬†own¬†thoughts or actions. (and that can be a thought progressed on another post)¬†However, I do believe, if we desire true growth in our lives, we need a few leaders who can “get in our grill” and tell us how it is. We need someone who thinks differently than we do, who dreams different, who sees things different, someone who can challenge us to look at things from a different angle for our own good.¬†Otherwise, we will live our lives puffed up in pride, never realizing we might actually stink at what we’re doing, or we will exist in our own self pity to the point we never can¬†succeed at anything!

Well, I guess, that was a pretty deep thought for the “Audit Your Brand” assignment, but I hope you enjoyed it. ūüėČ By the way, if you would like, I’d love for you to take a few minutes to browse through my blog and see what you think. I’d like to receive some feedback from you!

… taking a risk here, please, be kind yet truthful! ūüėČ

Growth And Change

Round and round we go.

So much complexity.

It’s hard to see clearly.

We fuss. We scrap.  We scream.

Nothing is ever as it seems.

Yesterday is gone.

Never again can you grasp it.

Tomorrow is already here.

I can’t ever seem to find it.

Your memories try to grab it.

We live such different lives.

You go your way and I’ll go mine.

I live by my choices.

You live by your circumstance.

How can we ever find a way to dance.

You fell for love and all lost out.

You missed the times You were needed about.

You went away. Destroyed what could have been.

Never ever to be seen again.

You changed, transformed before my very eyes.

You stopped living for joy and lived for the lies.

You long for things to be the same.

I have moved on, grown and changed.

You are now desperate to be like others.

But now my life is consumed with another.

You will only find what was lost when you look to my Brother.
Penned – MG – 4/25/15