Discontent? Perhaps its time to Disconnect!

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My husband is most often a happy go lucky encourager. It isn’t very often that he becomes cloudy and in the dumps. So I asked him the other day if his emotions come in waves at all like the hormonal mad woman that I can be at times lately. I asked if he feels discontent and just doesn’t show it. He thought for a moment and his answer resonated with me.

He said, “I feel a quick rise in frustration or joy when things in life happen. I get mad when someone cuts me off in work traffic or a customer comes at me in ignorance. It is a moment and fades. But you know, what really gets to my emotions is the posts on social media. I have to be mindful to not spend much time on the negative junk that is posted. I can rise in anger at injustice or politics. I can sink in the dumps when I see what others have where I lack in talent or luxuries. I can feel unmotivated when others are doing what I want to be doing but don’t know how or feel I can’t leave my profession. A lot is to be said about what your thoughts are on. Until social media, I was a lot easier going than I am now if I let the junk in.”

I too have felt this very thing. It starts as a little stirring of discontent. Perhaps as you scroll you see someone far more talented than you see yourself. You compare and your brain begins to scramble with all the thoughts of how you can improve or how you can measure up, or even how you just can’t. Then you see a political post that you are the polar opposite of and you grow frustrated how far one way or the other politics has swung. Your mind is filled with even more scramble and emotions.
Maybe you make an innocent comment on a post and you are attacked with bullies hitting you in very personal ways. Add more scramble and discontent. Then you disconnect from those that are around you.
If you are unmotivated and discontent in your creativity perhaps you need to disconnect from comparison and seeing what everyone else is doing.
If attitudes you hear and read are affecting your own attitude, disconnect from the ugliness. The onslaught of thoughts can be so overpowering, the mind becomes scrambled and what is truly important can be tangled in the mess. Perhaps the rise of depression is linked to time spent online and not face to face with others, or tangible creative opportunities and living life without the screen in your way.

Maybe the solution for discontentment is to disconnect from social media outlets for a season, or online gaming. If you are just not resonating and connecting to people that are around you in the flesh it is important to see what is in your way. I saw a little girl crying and completely upset and her mother doing nothing more than scrolling her phone and pushing her child away. Another little boy fell and hit his head hard, and the mother had a very little reaction for her hurting child. We have to disconnect in alarming ways! We are not hearing the heart of others. We are not regulating our own emotions.

Social media, as a tool for marketing business or connecting with people, is great. But when seeds of discontent begin to be planted and the more you submerge into the cyber world the more discontent you can become, It can pour out into the attitude and emotions in the life around you. It is time to disconnect from the source of death and to reconnect with life-giving resources.

I ask you to listen to the words of wisdom of my love. If you are feeling disconnected or ‘off’ or if you are feeling more temperamental then perhaps look at how much time you are spending with screen time outlets as your social connection. Maybe it is time to disconnect from that screen and connect face to face.

Endurance: Follow up on “Painful” post

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Yesterday I had blogged on the issue that making a change is often painful or uncomfortable. The post can be found (here).
I now want to address maintaining our endurance when the pressure is on while making those changes. When we are hit from every side and when things become uncomfortable or we feel week there are tools that can help us keep us pressing on without giving in to defeat.

ENDURANCE: The power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.

I look at the strong athlete, able to overcome his opponent in victory and the sheer satisfaction on the face, the release of tension in the body and the knowledge that their endurance saw them through. They would not have become the victor over another seasoned athlete if they had not prepared for that victory and fought through the uncomfortable. We were created to be overcomers. We have it within us to overcome the things that are weighing us down and holding us back. We were built to be victorious.

How I will endure the difficult:

Desire: Do you really fully want that what you are working towards? Having the desire to overcome and obtain your victory will help you keep your mind on the reward rather than the struggle. If you want a change and if you want the victory, purpose to make it a desire of your heart that is bigger than the comfortable.
I’ve made sure my desire lines up with the word of God and His will for me. Then I can know with all my heart, soul and mind, that I can obtain my goal even in the midst of pain for the moment. He will go before me, as I stay steadfast on the path.

Psalm 37:5- Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Confidence: Being bold enough to know that you will see victory, in the end, as your flesh comforts rise up and you want to give in, having a deep knowledge that you can, will go a long way to keep your head in the race until the end. HE is my victory.

Philippians 1:6-Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Focus: Know what you want. Know the goal. Keep your eye on your victory. If I look at the here and now, I may give in to what is more comfortable. Yet, when I keep my eyes on being the overcomer in my present uncomfortable situation, my moment pales in comparison.
Know it, see it, and do it.
For me, I focus on the fact that God is faithful. His ways are higher than my ways. I know He will remain with me and I find my endurance in His truth for my life.

Colossians 3:2- Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Strength: Le’ts face it, we get weak. We want to give up. So building our strength in the downtime, keeps us ready to fight and walk-in endurance during the difficult process. We can build our self up physically but I also must remember that the true strength to endure the difficulties in this life, comes from my Lord. He is my strength and shield. Building myself up in the Spirit is very much as important as building up my physical self.

Colossians 1:11- being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

Philippians 4:13- I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
These are the few truths that I am thinking on today, as I face the race ahead of me. I desire the change, I desire the health and I desire the victory. I am confident that these desires, are the same desires of my God and He will remain faithful to strengthen me to reach the desires of my heart. I will remain steadfast and strengthened in my endurance despite the unpleasent. One day I will have that smile of victory on my face, the shoulders relaxed from a job well done and I will be able to say that I overcame.

 

Painful

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Tearing away from old habits can be uncomfortable and even flat out painful.

In my search for a healthier life both physically and spiritually, I have had to cut away people and things that I held on to for comfort that was not healthy for me. In fact, it was painful to let the very people go that were in the long term hurting me far greater than I had known. I cried and I prayed, I missed and wanted to reach out, but these relationships were causing a dependency in my life that was not healthy, for I held the opinions and attention of those people, much higher than I ever should have.

I’ve had to let go of medications that had side effects far greater than their worth, but I had formed a dependency on them after 10 years.  When I stopped taking them, I thought my skin was crawling and my legs were so restless. I had chills and cramping and the reason I took these medications was for pain, and the pain came flooding back in an assault as I was withdrawing. The experience was absolutely painful and the craving to just cover it all up was strong.

Most recently I am having to change my diet (again). I have tried this numerous times but old habits are hard to break and for me, indulgence in food has become one of the hardest. This is very much an uncomfortable process and even at times painful. I am overweight and have diet sensitivities. But man I crave all the wrong things and my emotions are attached to those cravings!
I know I must make a change now before my abilities decrease even more physically. I know when the hard part is over and I have adjusted I feel better mentally and have benefits that far outweigh that cookie or frosting. I must fight all the urges just like anyone else making any lifestyle change. Making a change for the betterment of our life is often uncomfortable in the least, if not outright painful.

I need to build my stamina, I need to regain my physical strength and endurance. I already know from past attempts, this is painful. It is not easy. It is work. My body fights me and one day of working five minutes can hurt for three days. Recovery time, I think to myself, recover from what? What did I really accomplish? But I know, those five minutes can turn into fifteen minutes, then a half an hour, then an hour. I just have to get over the flesh desire to always be comfortable.

And I ask myself, how can I believe for my healing, and continue to do all the wrong things? My very treasure of health is being robbed, and I am absolutely allowing it to happen.
Proverbs 25:28- A  man without self-control, is like a city broken into and left without walls. 


The reward of growth with disciplined lifestyle is far greater than any of the pain that must be walked through. The uncomfortable is a moment but the rewards can be lifelong. Healing, strength, peace, joy and so much more can come from the practice of being disciplined and seeking your best health above all unhealthy habits, despite the painful process.

What have you been fighting because you are afraid or unwilling to go through a period of being uncomfortable? Will you consider that it is time for the best and the uncomfortable will not last forever? Or will you continue to sit in sickness or an unhealthy situation and lifestyle choices because it is not worth the painful process to have better?

I am seriously speaking to my self in this situation. Even now I am craving a candy bar like no one’s business and I am hungry to my core following my recommended calories. I would love to slather a piece of sourdough bread with butter and stuff my face. I know in the past I have tried and failed and tried again.
BUT…

Today, I am choosing one more time to be self-disciplined. Today I am choosing a better life even in my moment of uncomfortable. Tomorrow, I will face the painful workout again even when this body wants to fight me. Because I know that with each victory I gain strength. No longer a slave to the painful, but an overcomer in the uncomfortable. I will not fear, I will not worry and I will not give in to defeat before I have even tried.

Perhaps you have something that needs to be changed in your life. Perhaps you have some things you need to let go of that you hold dear. Patterns, habits, and comforts that are more hurtful than life-giving. It is time to walk through the painful and uncomfortable moments to obtain your best physical and spiritual health, so that not only can you live victoriously but be the most impactful.

 

 

 

 

 

The Empty Box

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I got this prayer box necklace from my aunt years ago and recently it got me to thinking.

Looking at the empty box, I could have worn this as just a pretty necklace over the years, or I could take my prayer and place it in the box, close to the heart. I chose to write my favorite scripture and put it in the box and whenever the necklace moved or I saw it in a reflection I would meditate and believe that word was qualified in my own life.  The empty box did not remain empty.

I use this, as an illustration, to show how we may take the time for our empty box during our downtime. We have spent all day, pouring out our energy and when we stop we are depleted. When we take the time to recharge,  we make choices. Those choices are to leave that box empty, fill it with distraction, or fill it with life.

For a season I found myself filling the empty box with distraction. Such as binge-watching Netflix or spending hours on my social media accounts when I wanted to just ‘chill’. Not before too long it became habitual and without any thought, I pick up my phone first thing in the morning and throughout the day, all day, and mindlessly scroll.
Then there is the other box in the room that grabs my time. As soon as I sit on my couch I would reach for my remote and scroll for an hour looking for something to watch.
Then one day it hit me, did I really just waste an hour (or hours)  scrolling nothingness?

There is a danger for me personally to use ‘nothing’ or distraction during down time. Before too long it becomes same old’ same old’ and if not careful I slip into the melancholy of nothingness and the empty box turns into a life of meh.

Think of your own life, are you working and going home and doing nothing? Is the place that you want to be in 5 years? I ask this because if you are filling your free time with nothingness or distractions, then in 5 years time, you will accomplish only keeping your box empty.

I know this may be an extreme thought, but for me it became extreme. I was created to write, paint, minister and to be present, yet I filled up a season of my life with nothingness and wondered why I was not getting anywhere. It all turned so quickly and without notice went from a few minutes of decompressing daily, into a lifestyle.

I am being exposed here. Not because it is fun to admit it, but because I know I am not alone and my hope is that others will see before the melancholy or time thief sets in. The thief of your time can also be a thief of your joy.

So what can you fill the empty box with?

I am determined to fill my life with things from the Lord through prayer, worship of all forms and pursuit of my future that He has planned for me. I want my empty box to become filled with life. So that I may pour it out onto others and not be running on a nothingness.  So that I may remain young and strong.

Psalm 103:5- He fills my life with good things so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.  

A different lens: Perception

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I recounted a story that changed my perception years ago, at Shaey Anthony on YouTube.
If you are interested, give it a view as it places this blog in a fuller context.

Intentional Connection

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John 14:26-

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. 

Let me start off with this thought… you can not theory your way into changing my heart of what I have experienced personally. You may not believe in the Holy Spirit in such a way, that is okay, but I have EXPERIENCED the Holy Spirit this way, and I will not be convinced otherwise.

The greatest gift is to be able to have an intentional connection with the Holy Spirit.

Where would my relationship be with my husband if I was walking through life, knowing he was there and hearing his voice from a closed door in another room but not have an intentional connection with him? I would be one with him, but not aware of him.
I can hear him trying to converse with me, but no clarity of what is being said. What kind of relationship would that be?

This is how we can walk through life with the Holy Spirit. When we are saved and baptized the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within us. He is our friend, our comforter and hopefully leads us in our walk as we let him. But there is a difference between the Holy Spirit being there and having an intentional connection with Him. He is our face to face encounter with the Father. Our opportunity to hear the Father’s heart towards us.

Just like my relationship with my husband (or anyone for that matter) the Holy Spirit needs and deserves intentional connection. He delights to hear from us. He delights to spend time with us. He delights to speak into our hearts.

So I am intentional, shutting off the noise around me and asking the Holy Spirit, what do you want to share with me today?  He has blown my mind with His goodness and love for me. He reminds me that I am loved and not forgotten. He reminds me of my purpose and call. He is every bit as intentional with me, as I am with Him.

So very thankful for the intentional connection with the Holy Spirit. To be able to say, Holy Spirit, I welcome You.

Out of the Heart

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I have been in a season of great frustration lately. I am frustrated with the health, my physical limits, my personality,  the finances being stretched and not being able to work at what I love right now, and finally the lack of some changes around me that need to happen.
I am frustrated with my reactions to those frustrations.
I am frustrated with my frustrations!

I have noticed my speech has been more negative, I have blown up more often in harsher ways and I have seemed to misplace that joy to the full that was with me constantly. Lately, my joy comes in snippets, like this morning when I was watering my flowers listening to the bird songs, yet the fatigue sets in and my joy meter seems to begin to fade.

I have been seeking the Lord on this issue lately and He reminded me of truths when I first began seeking joy and what will lead me to get my joy to the full, back in place.

1- Out of the heart, the mouth will speak.
God pointed out that just as a parrot, will repeat what it has been told over and over, so will my heart. You can teach a parrot good things or bad, depending on what you spend your time feeding it.

I have been so negative lately because my heart is frustrated. I am repeating that despair and defeat. I am letting it set in where there should be no place for it. I need to fill my heart with life rather than my situations. The fruit of that will be less negativity and criticism.
How to fill the heart to be life productive: Word, Prayer, and Worship. Less of the world and more of HIM.
The song… I have the Joy Joy Joy Joy down in my heart, comes to mind. Let’s have the Lord put some JOY in our hearts today!

2- Recognize the NO’s
One thing that gets to my heart frustrated is the conflicting political views. The anger and hatred I read or hear from both sides are contagious. This is a no for me. I need to recognize the no’s in my life. Sitting and listening to someone else’s frustrations for hours is a NO. The other day, I had a FULL 7 hours of listening and trying to minister to others. Multiple people, but it was a straight 7 hours and they just wanted to vent, not solutions! This is A BIG NO for me and I have to be prepared to say, enough let’s talk about something else. It is absolutely draining otherwise.
Another big no, Doing everything that pops into my head because I have the energy at the moment, is a no for me. I can’t do everything and be everything to everybody. I have to know when to say no, otherwise out of my heart will be resentment and frustration when I become exhausted.

3- It is okay to be me.
I feel guilty for wanting to spend so much time alone and then it plays on my mind. Out of the heart, my mouth will speak, if I am dogging myself and my personality in my heart, I will not have life and give life to others but criticism and harshness. The same criticism and hurtful opinions of myself will be put on others.

I was an only child, a latchkey one at that. Much of my time was spent joyfully alone. I am learning I am a social introvert. I love people and the ministries the Lord has before me, but too much and I am absolutely exhausted. I need to separate and reboot, and in this season it is needed more often. I need the quiet, I thrive on the quiet, it is life-giving to me and that is okay. I need to accept me.
I also have let the opinion of others that I need to be love to everyone all the time put guilt on me. I do need to love everyone, be a light to everyone, but I do not need to socialize with everyone. There are some people who are toxic and I can’t love them enough to change that, I have tried.  When a needy, critical, hurtful person begins to toxify my life, I need to be aware and put my foot down.
I can be selective in this season and for my own health that is ok and necessary.

4- Except my limits.
This is an extension of the no’s but very relevant in its own way.
I have half completed things around my house all of the time in this season. To get through doing the dishes, I have to unload the dishwasher, sit down and rest, then go back to loading it. Same with the Laundry, I can get it out of the dryer and fold but that is the end of it for me and it sits folded, while I rest. This is often the same getting ready for my day; shower, sit. Fix hair, sit. Put on makeup and brush teeth, sit. The fatigue can be overwhelming and if I push, do not rest, do not take those breaks, I can hardly walk across the room and it last for days rather than moments. I have to accept where I am, not bury the negative in my heart but the truth, I have limits, God will grant me strength in my weakness, but I can listen to those limits. Out of the heart, my mouth will speak, perhaps my healing will come faster, if I take the time to REST IN THE LORD, and speak the truth about what I am ABLE to do rather than just sit and stir about what I am not.

I am sure there are many other areas the Lord will reveal to me in the next few weeks as I seek Him on the issue. But today the biggest one that sticks out to me is out of the heart the mouth will speak. No matter how I feel, if I am feeding my heart good things, my mouth will speak good things. If my focus is on my flesh and my situation, of course, negative things will be what comes out. I need to not focus on all my flaws, to err is human, but my God is bigger than my screw ups. He can do more than what I know. He can restore. He makes all things new.
These truths are what will be buried deep in my heart. So that Out of my heart my mouth will speak LIFE things.

Matthew 15:18

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
ESV