simplyenjoy


Just for today…

Just for today, I will choose to let go of the negative people, events and circumstances in my life that I cannot control or change.

Just for today, I will thank God for my blessings and continue to ask him to light my way according to His will.

Just for today, I will breathe in and be grateful for the life that I have been given.

Just for today, I will greet all with a smile and do my best with the talents I’ve been given.

Just for today, I will nourish myself with exercise and wholesome food, thanking God for the vessel He has given me.

Just for today, I will listen without judgement and answer with kindness to those who would seek counsel.

Just for today, I will accept who I am, where I am and that the God of the universe loves me unconditionally.

(All images courtesy of Google images.)

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations

of life that no man can sincerely try

to help another without helping himself.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson –

 



He will cover you.

(Courtesy of Google images.)

“He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield…”

Psalm 91:4

Faithful.

Constant.

True.

Loyal.

Amazing.

Just.

Compassionate.

Merciful.

Omnipresent.

Forgiving.

Strengthens the weak.

Protects the weary.

Refuge for the wounded.

Solid rock.

Sovereign.

God.



Hurricane by Natalie Grant

 

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.

He is the head over every power and authority.

Colossians 2:9-10



The simplicity of love.

Sometimes I imagine God to be like an old Asian man sitting on top of a mountain, smiling and laughing with a twinkle in his eye. (Bear with me on this blog post – it may get strange – but, if you’re still reading my posts, methinks you enjoy a bit of strange.)

You make this tough, arduous climb upwards in search of “purification” or “spiritual progress” and when you get to the top, where you’re sure you’ll be closer to God and you’ll have reached some revelatory high of spirituality you find God to be smiling and laughing. You tell Him how sorry you are for all your mistakes and flaws. He just looks at you playfully and laughs, perhaps giving you a gentle pat on the shoulder. You ask for forgiveness and feel in your heart the urge to spill more details of how you’ve failed and stumbled, but the twinkle in His eye and the look of unconditional love stops you in your tracks. You realize that He already seees everything you are and everything you’ve done.

You see in that moment that nothing is hidden from God and nothing has been hidden from Him. And any attempt to explain to Him or talk to Him about your failings is met with childish laughter – not a mocking, silly laugh, but a jovial and pleasant giggle lifting straight from the belly. You feel that He is pleased you’ve come to sit with Him and all He wants you to do is be in his presence and to share in the joy of his love.

When I think about the love of God, I think about this giggling old man on the mountain (perhaps influenced by too many martial arts movies and culture) but I see how funny we humans are. We strive in the flesh to be worthy of union with God and the idea of being spiritual, instead of just accepting God’s love and sacrifice through His son Jesus…

Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

This is such a contrary message than the one the world gives us, which is to strive, try, work and earn our livelihood, our respect, our worth, our career, our education and our credentials. The prerequisite for connection with God through Jesus is purely acceptance and receiving His gentle and humble love.

Still, this is often easier said than done – easier written than felt. Because we’re still facing challenges and struggles in life. We still have responsibilities to ourselves and others, goals, families, emergencies and situations that demand our attention and cause feelings of perpetual struggle. But Jesus did not say “take my yoke and then you’re good to go” – He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” This is comforting because life with God is a process and a journey with endless lessons in learning.

If you’re not learning, you’re not growing! It doesn’t matter if you’re 65 or 12. It’s not over until it’s over.

And it’s never too late to learn the simplicity of love…

the gentle willingness to submit and accept that every day there is so much to learn.

I see that love displayed through the innocent curiosity and endless forgiveness of a child, the playful obedience of a young puppy to his master, the patient kindness of a parent to their child and the uplifting support of a loving husband to his bride.

Happy learning today 🙂

Photo

 

(Quote from Ministries of Truth for Women Facebook page Bethlehem, PA)



Somewhere along the Way…

Somewhere along the way

if you lose your sense of wonder

and the thrill of new beginnings

or an exciting dream to ponder…

Somewhere along the way

If you allow bitterness inside

or misery to ruminate,

and jealousy to hide…

Somewhere along the way

if your burdens grow so heavy

that your mind and soul drag

with infinite stresses as a bevy…

that threaten to break you

shape you and make you

define you, confine you

rewind you, design you

mistake you for worthless

assume you’re no good

If you find that your past

looms closer than it should

And you tell yourself you’ve done all that you could

And the pressure surmounting hits like a wave

And the darkness consumes like an unending cave

Breathe in and step back

Let Christ be the God a midst all your lack

He’ll fill in the spaces

He’ll bind up the wounds

soothing the places

hurt and unhealed

touching with love

a pain deep concealed.

With time and release…

Search Him and seek…

A heavenly peace

Shed for the weak.

Isaiah 40:29-31

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

 

 

 



May we think of freedom…

Some thoughts on freedom…

what does it mean to be “independent” and what does “freedom” mean?

 

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions,

the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed –

else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

“I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them;

if I find them too obnoxious, I break them.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” – Robert A. Heinlein

 

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus

 

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” Jean-Paul Sarte

 

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall

 

Happy 4th of July and Independence Day and may true and lasting God-given freedom reign in our hearts and in our homes and in our country and in our world.

 

More words on FREEDOM.



Breakthrough.

the feeling of being tangled

pushed around beneath a wave

hitting unexpected

sand scraping elbows and thighs

hitting bottom

again

pulled by force above, beneath and around

grasping for the surface

you are

done with the deep turbulence underneath

panic setting in

the strength of push and pull

keeping you from breakthrough

separated from sweet oxygen

oppression keeping you from the gentle surface

the light of day

being kissed by rays and gentle breezes

where things are clear. evident. safe.

your eyes look up and the light seems so far

so dim beneath the awful droning chaos

the cruel relentless cycle of the water.

the attacks of waves

the roaring presence of inevitable nature.

the crushing, isolating pull.

you open your mouth to scream

and water rushes in

silencing attempts.

muffling your cry for freedom.

Thinking about all the troubles and strife of life this morning and praying for emotional healing for so many hearts and souls… This poem is just a metaphor. Walking toward the light at the end of the tunnel is a process. Knowing that truth and good always win is a daily exercise in faith. I flipped through my daily quote calendar and today’s words are: “What’s true of biology is also true of faith: If it isn’t growing, it’s probably dead.” It’s an unattributed quote and very interesting… and holy moly, it’s tough to believe that it’s July already! Sometimes I think “summer” should be renamed “time warp.”

 

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,

but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,

in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Romans 12:3 

 

 



Light and Dark.

image

I’ve been tinkering about in my new space and am creating a special area to commit greater time to my art and writing for the blog and other avenues, as well. I painted this on the wall in my new office at home. This verse has really been ministering to me this week. It is so amazing to look back at all the dark times of my life – all those moments of confusion, hurt, pain and ignorance and to see that God is using them for greater things. He is using them in ways I cannot comprehend or imagine myself. God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

It is often difficult to understand why we go through trials or pain. Why do people betray us? Why do relationships fail? Why do people hurt us? Why do we make wrong choices?

I know it’s very difficult to see through pain. Impossible, even. It’s tough to envision what is beyond personal hurt. Only love can clear the way. Only truth can part the clouds and teach our hearts to feel again.

And God is always there in that truth. God is always willing and able to reach us in our confusion, lies, betrayal and fear. There is no such thing as too far gone. But we have to move. We have to reach.

A miracle is often just a shift in perception.



The truth about ANTs.

People with depression see the world through a dim grayness, mostly due to dispiriting mental messages and reoccurring automatic negative thoughts. Our overall state of mind is governed by the deep limbic system of our brain. When this system is over-active, it can cast a negative shadow over the entire mind. (Source: Change Your Brain Change Your Life by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. For more information from this source see the link on the left-hand side of the blog page.)

Healing the deep limbic system requires healing moment-to-moment thought patterns. This means we stop to consider our thoughts, reflect on them and decide if they’re true, kind, healthy, helpful and if we ought to keep thinking them or not. One or two negative thoughts from time to time aren’t a big deal and it’s a very human and normal thing, but when the thoughts are over-whelming and the ANTs start walking in by twos and threes and fours, soon they can start streaming in producing chaotic feelings and rushing thoughts.

We have big black ants in our new apartment. I noticed one crawling out from underneath the toaster the other day in all its dark, intrusive largeness. It was zig-zagging across the counter-top scanning for leftover crumbs to snatch. Soon it was joined by another. Then another. I opened the cabinet and noticed they were traipsing down the side, over the bottom and through a tiny crack to make their way to the source that they needed – food.

(Courtesy of Google images.)

We can feed our Automatic Negative Thoughts by giving them power or we can starve them by choosing different ways of thinking.

I know I’ve blogged on ANTs before, but they are such a constant human weakness, it bears repeating.

This topic brings to mind this scripture in 2 Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 10:5

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When we have a thought, we can choose to believe it and receive it, or to hold it up in the light of Christ and the word of God to examine its truth. Check out this great Blog Post for spiritual insight and truth on ANTs.

Examples of ANTs:

1. Always/Never Thinking – Thinking in words like always, never, no one, everyone, every time and everything.

2. Focusing on the negative – Only seeing the bad in a situation.

3. Fortune-Telling – Predicting the worst possible outcome to a situation.

4. Mind Reading – Believing that you know what others are thinking, even though they haven’t told you. (This is often a projection onto others of what you are actually thinking yourself. It’s a very infectious and dangerous ANT. You never know what someone else is thinking unless they tell you.)

5. Thinking with your feelings – Believing negative feelings without ever questioning them.

6. Guilt Beating – Thinking in words like should, must, ought or have to.

7. Labeling – Attaching a negative label to yourself or to someone else.

8. Personalizing – Investing innocuous events with personal meaning. (You never fully know why people behave the way they do, so try not to take other people’s negative behavior personally.)

9. Blaming – Blaming someone else for your own problems. (Whenever you blame people for issues in your life or play the victim, you rob yourself of the ability to change your situation. This is a very disabling ANT. You have to take responsibility for your issues before you can choose to change them. Blaming others for your pain will only keep you in it and keep you a victim of life or circumstance.)

When you notice an ANT entering your mind you can train yourself to recognize them by stopping to write it down. When you stop to examine them on a conscious level, you can see for yourself how little sense it makes to think these kinds of things.

Most importantly, surround yourself with people who provide positive bonding experiences. The people you spend time with influence you and will soon rub off on you, no matter who you are.

What kind of people do you spend time with?

Do they encourage you?

Do they believe in you and make you feel good about yourself, or are they constantly putting you down and belittling your ideas, hopes and dreams?

“Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

It can be very difficult to break away from damaging relationships or relational dynamics with people if enmeshment has occurred, especially if we live with them or they are in our close circle of friends and family members.

 Examples of enmeshment include:

  • Family members feel threatened by each other’s growth and independent choices, both big and small.
  • Someone uses fear, obligation and guilt (emotional blackmail) to keep the others in line.
  • One person feels that they need “permission” from the other, while the diminished partner’s needs go unvoiced and unmet.
  • Partners are supposed to totally satisfy each other, so they spend all their time together and have few of their own friends.
  • Partners can’t make decisions for themselves about everyday issues.
  • Any type of privacy is seen to be “secretive,” so family members have access to each other’s personal papers, emails, correspondence and so on. Some demand to know the other’s personal thoughts or the content of discussions with others.
  • Being controlled, attached, and entangled in these ways is seen as “normal” — even loving.
  • Difficulty differentiating one’s emotions from those of their family member.

When we truly and healthfully begin to care for our mind and body and seek more positive behaviors, we can search for new relationships and people to help us through deep limbic healing. It doesn’t mean you stop caring about or loving the people in your life. Sometimes you will find, though, that certain people may not want you to change – even for the better. We can respectively tell these people that we still love them, but are working at positive change and healthy behaviors in our lives and that their support means a lot to us. But do be prepared for people that may try to keep you where you are because your healing and positive change may be perceived as threatening or hurtful to them. True friends and family will encourage you to be the best you can be and they may even want to take that journey of healing with you. This would be a best-case scenario.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsH7gE_bVWM

Search for positive bonding relationships by contacting a therapist or counselor, frequenting a local faith-based Church, joining a gym, wellness group or local organizations or clubs that are of special interest to you.

Healing takes time.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,

and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,

he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”

– Henry David Thoreau –

 



Drowning in paperwork.

image

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Ever feel like life is just one heap of paperwork, tasks or errands demanding our attention?

I smile on the paperwork and the pesky little details. We’ve successfully moved to a new state and the calls, mail, paperwork and life-maintenance that comes with it is nuisance at best. It’s nothing that could surmount the joy of being closer to home or finally in a larger-than-one-bedroom apartment.

That’s Elijah wearing his post-surgical cone. He says “poo-poo” to paperwork, too, literally trotting all over it and turning it into a nap-time nest. I had to push him aside for this picture.

Weeding through the paperwork as I looked for the vet bill, I found this little note (first picture above) from Bible study tucked into the back of my Bible.

It’s so easy to get caught up in all our tasks.

And I wonder, is balance attainable? I feel it is just elusive. Kind of like humility. Once you think you have it down, you find your feet are teeter-tottering on the balance-beam of life.

Sometimes I think surrender is better than balance. I won’t ask for balance. I’ll ask to make greater space in my life for God to work and then I know for sure my feet will stay on the ground.

From “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Weaver:

Mary had a heart of gratitude.

Mary came with abandon.

Mary heard what Jesus was saying and she responded.

Mary held nothing back.

Mary loved with her whole heart. She didn’t hold anything back. Instead, in sweet abandon, she poured everything she had into showing her love for Jesus.

“She has done a beautiful thing for me,” Jesus said in the face of his disciples’ disapproval. “Leave her alone. She belongs to me.”

 




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