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.



Refresh & Renew: Simple tips for Burn Out.

In behavioral health speak, we call the tips used to deal with tough life circumstances or fleeting emotional spikes in mood “coping skills.”

What are some coping skills you use to deal with difficult moments? What do you do to refresh the hum-drum, routine buzz of life?

Do you find yourself getting jaded, bored or burnt out in your daily activities?

These feelings can lead to complacency, which can lead to apathy and poor health.

Some typical coping skills written into behavioral support plans of clients are:

1. Find a place for quiet time. Take a few minutes away from social activity.

2. Count to ten or recite an encouraging affirmation out-loud, “This, too, shall pass.”

3. Take a deep breath.

4. Take a break and go for a walk.

Without ways to continually refresh our minds and cleanse our perspectives, we’re in danger of walking around everyday carrying yesterday’s garbage. A few of my new coworkers tease me because I entered into my new job with one of the most envied schedules – Fridays and Saturdays off. I remind them I have another part-time job I work Tuesdays and Fridays, so I don’t really consider them my “days off.”

“I remember when I used to do that,” said my previously retired coworker who now works part-time. “Now I’m just jaded.”

He said this with a laugh and I know he’s only halfway serious, but still, becoming jaded is so easy. Yes, I may be young, but no matter your age, if you don’t have a good process of coping with stress, then apathy and burn-out seem an all too daunting potentiality. I have felt jaded more than once.

“You’ve got to keep it moving,” I tell him with a laugh. “In with the good and out with the bad… every day!”

I say this in all seriousness, but I know I often so quickly forget to let go at the end of the day.

I think of a river compared to a pond. A river is constantly flowing and self-cleansing. A pond sits stagnant and quickly gathers a layer of muck.

So I take to metaphors and visualizations (coping skills!) to deal with the onslaught of stress from the outside world.

The latest one is my duck metaphor. You’re a duck and the stresses of life are the water around you, let them roll off your intelligently-designed water-resistant feathers.

“A bullet can’t roll off your feathers,” my husband tells me.

“Why thank you for blowing holes in that theory!” I think. (Pun intended.)

I know he says it in love, however dark his humor is.

Because you know what? Life will bring troubles. And we’re not immune to them all. Fancy shmancy therapy talk doesn’t fix everything. That is why we call them “coping skills” and not “fixing skills.” That’s where radical acceptance and commitment come in. When we lean into our pain and embrace the reality that we will have troubles, that in itself takes away the power of the pain over us.

The Bible teaches us not to conform to the pattern of the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We don’t have to choose lethargy, apathy and complacency when such refreshing alternatives are offered to us because of the love of God.

Text graphic from Ministries of Truth for Women



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



Products of environment.

It is a great deal

better to live a holy life

than to talk about it.

Lighthouses do not ring bells

and fire cannons to call attention

to their shining –

they just shine.

– Dwight L. Moody –

Pigeon Point lighthouse

Photo by Ian Chamberlain via Environmentalgraffiti.com

Our first teachers in life are the adults around us. We learn by example. We watch how they behave, how they treat us and how they treat each other.

Still, as adults, we’re strongly influenced by the people around us.

We are a product of our environments.

Unless you are a robot or totally emotionally impenetrable, the fact is, we are influenced by the people around us. Just try to sit at a table with a group of people, place a basket full of hot rolls and butter in the center of the group and see what happens.

When we strive for positive change, taking an inventory of our environment, our relationships and our daily interactions with others is key.

This week, in an effort to gain greater self-discipline, I began a kickboxing class at a local martial arts school. I’ve been to two classes so far and am feeling muscles that have been long inactive.

To say I was intimidated to begin this class is an understatement. I walked in to find this powerhouse of a woman (maybe about 5’2″ and 125 pounds soaking wet) throwing fast jabs and hook punches at our teacher’s gloves. She sidestepped around him swiftly, releasing a powerful cry with each punch. This was not soothing restorative yoga practice. This was tough, gritty, dig-deep exertion.

Some beliefs from the school’s “Student Creed” that mirror the principles of behavioral science:

1. I will develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or my physical health.

2. I will develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others.

3. I will use what I learn in class constructively and defensively to help myself and others, and never to be abusive or offensive.

4. We are a Black Belt School: We are motivated. We are dedicated. We are on a quest to be our best. Asa!

This student creed, along with a list of other Black Belt principles; Modesty, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit, are repeated out loud after and during every class, reinforcing the mission of the school.

“How do we lead?” the teacher asks.

“By example!” the students cry back in unison.

1 Corinthians 33-34

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. 

Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning;

for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.”

 



Just one thing today. One little thing.

What is one thing that you could change (start doing, stop doing, do differently) daily that would have a positive exponential affect on your life and the lives of those around you?

How would this simple little shift help you, your family or  help attain your goals and dreams?

Track your consistency and see how simple, little tweaks in your behavior begin to change you for the better.



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)




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