Altered Reality or Unaltered Reality

Altered Reality or Unaltered Reality

truth as I see itLet me propose a question to you. Would you alter someones reality and life if you could? Let me explain. Think of someone you love dearly, someone who has a part of your heart that you love unconditionally. Perhaps they have made not to great life choices. Perhaps they have experienced some pain you could not help them avoid. Perhaps they are in a relationship with someone that you think isn’t good for them or you are not not fond of. Perhaps it’s all of this and much more. Would you, if given the opportunity, alter their reality and their life for the better if given the chance? Say they suddenly had amnesia and couldn’t remember certain things from the past, and when asked you could change how they viewed things….in their life…in their relationships for “the better”. Would you do it? Would you tell them the truth and let the chips fall as they may?

I had this presented to me and I had to really think, what would I do? We all want the best for those we love. We want them to be happy, healthy, and in great relationships with awesome people, right? Would I tell them the truth as I see it? Even if it is painful to them and would destroy the reality of what they have now and how they view life and the people in it? Would I tell them what I thought they needed to hear to have what I would consider a better situation and relationship or would I tell them what they needed to hear to keep their reality as it is. If I tell them “the truth”(according to me) then their life certainly would change. The opinion they had of this person, or that situation would certainly be different then what I thought. OR would I tell them what I knew they felt and thought to be in the reality and life they now have. Tough one. You wouldn’t think it would be, but it is.

prideThis one challenge made me think deep and hard, how prideful am I to think that my opinion matters so much that I have the RIGHT to change the reality of the ones I love so much? Even if I can see it is harmful, or that they deserve “more”, the truth is they have the right to live the life they have chosen and made, regardless of my opinion of it. AND IF there is a relationship involved, I don’t have the right to harm it or change it with my word or opinions(even if in my view it is the truth and right). Can we truly say we love someone without asking ourself, “God, what do they need to hear? What is best for them” before we speak? Can we set our flesh, our opinions, our desire for that person aside and trust the Father to answer what they need vs. standing on our own accord to state and speaking what we think they need?

It’s not my place to change someones reality and life, it’s God’s. So, if I truly love you, I will seek Him first to answer and love you they way HE know you need it, not simply the way I may think you need it. Humility produces for others, while pride destroys.

Hidden Infestation

Hidden Infestation

I must say, I am not easily offended. As a matter of fact, I jokingly tell people that you can try to offend me and I probably won’t even notice. To say I’m thick skinned in that area is an understatement (like a rhinoceros!). However, I am learning that sometimes unforgiveness and offense can sneak in like an unwanted cock roach and begin to nest in a busy life.

When I become offended or upset with someone I tend to immediately address it because I know the mess it can quickly become! Like when you see that first sign of little roaches, you exterminate immediately because they can multiply overnight! But what happens if you don’t know you have it? If it’s hidden and shielded behind something? I didn’t know I had unforgiveness or offense. As a matter of fact, I would have never known it had this one phrase not been said. “Your speech will betray you.”.

grace-scripture-2I had to really think about that. My mouth has been an ongoing refining and revamping process for YEARS! and still is if I’m being truthful. I have to intentionally watch and take a hold of my tongue and tone all the time! However, over the past 6 months it has definitely become a losing battle. I could see my impatience rearing it’s ugly head and my exhaustion showing up through my sharp words and tone. I could see the “old me” trying to take over the healed me, yet I couldn’t pin point the source. I knew the pressure and stress level in my life was higher then ever before due to circumstances beyond my control, but that was no excuse. At this point in my life I have learned to deal with stress, unpleasant, and hard life issues. This should be routine right? or not!

When those words were spoken, “your speech will betray you” it made me perk up and listen. Our pastor went on to explain. Whatever you are speaking of, is what your heart is consumed with (good or bad). That hit me like a 2×4 between the eyes. You see I had noticed that the majority of my conversations were about how hard this was, or what this was like. I could see my speech changing but I didn’t know how to stop it, or reverse it. I would do my best to veer the subject somewhere else, but it always ended back up there. This last Sunday I realized, my speech had betrayed me to unforgiveness and offense.

matt 6Unknown to me I had become bitter, hurt, and angry over the heaviness of the load I was carrying and it revealed itself through my speech. My outside handled it ok(not good, you can ask anyone in my house that! but ok) however my insides were becoming infested with all that grossness of bitterness and resentment and I didn’t even know it. You see offense and unforgiveness doesn’t just come when someone says or does something hurtful or mean. That’s the obvious ones to see. Offense can creep in when someone doesn’t do something and you are left holding the ball. It can come in by humans just being flawed and making mistakes, and you bare the brunt of it. It can so quietly sneak in with words that are not said. You must be careful…offense is a sneaky little sucker that breeds unforgiveness in masses and quickly!

IMG_0384So I urge you, this season, before this year ends, shine the light on your speech and see what scatters! Do a check and balance of what you are talking about in your down time. Who are you talking about? What does it sound like?(tone is everything you know) and Could there be something hidden and nesting in your heart and mind causing offense and unforgiveness and you not even know it? If you don’t address it, it will grow and multiply.

Freedom comes in forgiveness and we are called to be free! We are also called to love, and to do so we must consistently evaluate our hearts, our minds, and our speech to make sure the light is piercing the darkness and love is what is driving our lives!

Preserving Beauty….even unto Death

Preserving Beauty….even unto Death

I know that anyone that knows me and my background thinks I’m about to write about some great beauty tips or tricks! What’s the newest “fountain of youth”? Best cream or preserver? How to preserve your “beauty” until you die. Not this time. This is much closer and deeper to my heart then my quickly fading natural beauty than no cream will ever bring back.

grief-felt-so-like-fearI have found myself walking in a time that quite frankly I have not IDEA how to navigate. Grief. At first I didn’t even know that what it was…I had never really experienced it to this level much less navigated it in a healthy way. I know what your thinking…Who died? Well no one. That’s why it caught me off guard. Grief does not always come with death. Just like you don’t have to experience a death to grieve. I thought I was fearing the change in the relationship, when I am actually finding myself grieving over the loss of a relationship once had, and now trying to handle what it is changing into. I lost what that relationship once looked like to me, and it’s hard to see what it will become. This can be a relationship with a child, family member, or spouse. The relationship you have with your job, your ministry, or your identity. All these are changes. They will change and should….so how do you navigate it?

This last week I have found myself withdrawn, snippy, and irritable. All the things I do not want to be and have worked so hard to change in me when I am hurting or trying to process through things. With that I had to ask, What’s going on God? Why am I withdrawn? or lashing out? These are things that I do when I am hurt….am I hurting? The answer was and is…YES. I am hurting from a relationship that has changed.

How do I handle change? I thrive on change! I love to redecorate, make things look new and good. I roll with change easily, however not this time. I realized that I am hurting because this was not a change I asked for, nor wanted. Life circumstances simply handed it to me. How do I handle it? How do I heal from the loss of a beautiful relationship that was changed unwantingly? unwillingly? How do I sit with this person and not feel the sting of the hurt and relationship lost? DO I simply withdraw and throw it away? or do I just ignore it and hope it will work itself out?(tried that by the way, it doesn’t work!). So as I cried this morning on my daughter’s shoulder apologizing for being short and not the mom she needed after arguing and exploding my emotions on her. You see, she’s is my sensitive soul. As others will simply let me withdrawal and allow my moodiness simply roll off their back until I work through it, she absorbs it.  I told God you’ve got to help me navigate this! I can’t keep doing this to my family or myself. If this relationship were dead I could put it behind me but every time I see them, I am reminded of what I don’t have and want with them; yet can never have again.

IMG_3461Just a walk through the front door and I see the beautiful roses I have chosen to preserve and dry as they die..this said it all….and then He speaks.

Preserve the things beautiful, even unto death.

You see these roses are like my relationship…it is beautiful!

rosesThey were displayed and shown for a time and purpose for all to see! They were carefully taken care of, cut, arranged, and nurtured with food and water for a season. Then that season and time came to an end. For some reason I could not find it in myself to throw these beautiful flowers out! roses 3I mean I bought them for a specific purpose…used them for it….even shared them with others so that they could take some of the beauty home with them but I could not throw them away and I didn’t know why. It seemed like such a waste to me when I knew the potential they carried. roses2So, I carefully emptied them from the vases in which they had spent their short life of display. Shook the excess water off and took them home to preserve. I  took an evening to “prep” each flower. I laid them out and took away the petals that would not let it dry to thier potential best form of beauty.FullSizeRender I meticulously and gently strung them as to not cause damage to the already delicate state of the still beautiful yet changing bud. Now, I wait and watch the change happen. I don’t handle them to much because that will disrupt the process. I simply wait. I know in time, I will handle them again to create them into something new and different, but for now. I wait and look at the beautiful way they change.

rose diedThis is what I am suppose to do with this ever changing relationship….unto death. I remember the beauty of what it once was…what it held. Then I intentionally preserve the beauty of the relationship and watch it change into what it is to become. Will it look the same? No. It will have some remnants and traits of what it was, but it will not remain the fresh new relationship put on display as it was in my youth. However, I am intentionally choosing to take care and delicately preserve it to become a new kind of beautiful…even unto death. Were those roses going to die? yes. Will this relationship eventually die? yes. but How I handle it now in preserving it will determine the beauty of what it is to become. Delicately .. intentionally .. giving it time to change .. warm air to breathe .. develop ..enjoying the beauty in and through the process .. then arranging it and remembering all that it was and appreciating all that it is now.

Grief… It is different for everyone and we all experience it sooner or later. We can grieve over the loss of people, pets, things, and experiences. We can grieve the loss of relationship changes, from what they were to what they are becoming. phil 4-8Grief is a part of changing. You have to allow yourself to grieve the loss of the old, regardless of what it looks like in your minds. We must choose to embrace and intentional preserve the beauty of what it was by taking the time to see it what is now and preserve it. We have to draw out those things that are beautiful. We must then allow ourselves to take those things in and bring a different kind of preserved beauty and view to what they are and look forward to what they can become. We could throw it out and not mess with it but then we would miss the beauty in the process. We would stop at what it was and not allow what is to develop in to what it can be.

Do I know what this relationship will look like in the end? No. Just like I don’t know what those roses I have drying will look like in the end. But I do know, I have set the process up for them to dry as beautifully as they can. I will let them develop and dry as gently as I can. Just as I will this this relationship. I will handle it gently and show the beauty of it and not the loss of what it once was. I will look for the things that were and are honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise in this ever changing relationship. I will think on the new beauty of what it will become and can be….even in it’s death of what it was.

Do you see YOU in this post?

Do you see YOU in this post?

I am wondering, read the description below and tell me, who does it sound like to you?

A person who:

*Are middle class and of the workforce or a businessman

*Reject worldly or social culture

*They are popular with most of society and people and seek people to recruit for their religious standards and beliefs

*They spend most of their time in or at the church and speak the word and letter of the law.

*Also concerned with keeping the truth and purity of thier religious beliefs

pharisee1When I first read this description, I though OMG!! That’s the church and any really devoted Christian or church member! That’s me! Seriously! Most of us are hard working middle class people. We all for the most part social and interact with others. We believe Christ is the answer to all, so we are always recruiting others to believe. We stand apart from the “worldy” beliefs and culture and try to keep our beliefs upright and biblically based! and I don’t know about you but sometime I feel like I live at the church house! So, I bet now your wondering….what’s your point?

pharisee2The description above is the description that was given through my theological study on the PHARISEES. You know the ones Christ reprimanded and put in their place. The ones who snarled their nose down at others who weren’t as “righteous” as them. The one who wanted to kill Him! This hit so close to home for me. So WHAT makes me different than the Pharisee? what makes the difference between a devoted Christ follower and the Pharisees? None of the attribute above are bad, so what made the Pharisees an issue with Christ?

Two things: The Pharisees separated themselves from the general public and felt like they were “better” because they prided themselves in what they were doing. Anytime pride steps in, it separats you from God.

phariseeSecondly: They were teaching the letter of the law instead of the principles of it. That you must follow commandments 1-10 plus the other 603 laws! Really?@ 613 of them?! Instead of WHY God made the laws. The principles of what Gad was trying to do and protect us from. You see you will automatically be more inclined to follow guidelines and rules if you understand why they were created and the heart of the person who created it.

pharisee4So essence, what made a Pharisee a Pharisee was the lack of relationship, with people and God. They separated themselves from people who didn’t live like they did and only wanted to be around you if you were trying to be as “good” as they were. Also, the lack of relationship with the word. They merely followed rules and regulation and disregarded the heart of God for a relationship with His people.

So, now I ask you….do you see YOU in this post? I do. I see me doing all the above and MAKING SURE I do the last two things so that will be a Christ follower and not a Pharisee. Never forget, Christ values relationship over law.

 

The unspoken heresy…

The unspoken heresy…

When I was younger it was unheard of and completely taboo to ever and I do mean EVER admit or say that you were mad at God! Seriously! I grew up in church and never would a church going, God fearing “Christian” speak such heresy! angry-godAs a matter of fact, we all thought HE was MAD at us! We would read scriptures from the old testament that talked about God’s wrath on Israel and His anger towards them and just internalize that as to each and every circumstance gone wrong in our life! Car broke down. viagra generique pfizer. God’s mad at me. Come down sick….He struck me with a disease. Someone dies…wheweeee they REALLY pissed HIM off! Wonder what sin they were doing for all that to happen?!

That sounds so utterly ridiculous to me now, but it was a real mindset I had. So, let’s just talk about all that, can we? First off, God in the Old testament was angry at Israel because they came out of communion with Him, they rebelled. They kept WORSHIPPING OTHER GODS. I mean how would you feel if your mate kept having other women or men? and then chose the most intimate time, sacred time…or heck all their time with them. Not trying to hide it, but publicly flaunted it? And then still expected you to comfort, protect and give them all the privileges you had been giving them before?! Would YOU be angry? Nuff said! 

However when Christ came and died He remedied that! He opened the pathway for constant communion with God. No, longer do we have to jump through the hoops of a blood sacrifice, or have a priest do it for us. Christ has given us open access because He loves us so much! Does God still get mad? Yes, but not at us! He gets mad at the sin that draws us away from Him because He only long for us to be with Him. 

whySo, why are YOU mad at God? You may …gasp! Im not! I would NEVER do such a thing! Well, you may never SAY such a thing but I promise you, you have done it! You see when we cannot control the things that are happening around us, when we have hurts pains, life circumstances that we do not understand, we tend to get angry. If we aren’t directly blaming a physical person we are usually blaming God, whether we admit it or not! When we can’t find the source of the pain or frustration physically, we will internally. Can I let you off the hook?…it’s normal and it’s ok. Seriously it is. 

Don’t tell me you haven’t ever thought, “God why is this happening?!”… “God, take this away!”…”What did I do to deserve this?”…”What did that innocent child do to deserve that?!”… ” Why are all these things happening?” You see, in our normal human nature, when we can’t understand or change what’s happening we deflect it elsewhere. When we feel helpless and have no power in the situation, yet we know God does have the power to change it, we become angry. We may have never said it, we may have pushed it down and “just gotten over it”, or maybe at some point we have? It’s ok. He’s not afraid or intimidated by your anger. He already knows it’s there! He sees and feels your frustration so why not just admit it and tell Him?!
It’s ok to admit you have been angry with God, even if you haven’t realized it before. You just can’t stay angry at Him. Being in a relationship with Him requires you to talk to Him about how you feel. You can be angry at a person and them have done nothing wrong…it’s your issue. You can be frustrated with someone because they didn’t meet YOUR expectations, that is your issue. Just like addressing it with them is also yours to do! You see confronting it is for YOU not Him! For You to be free, God’s already free. For you to draw closer to Him, He’s just waiting.

So how do we do that with God? I mean really?

god im angryGod, I’m mad that you didn’t step in here…. I’m hurt that I am having to go through this…. I’m frustrated that this promise you gave me isn’t coming to pass… Why am I STILL going through this… it could go on and on for your personal issue and circumstance. Well, that’s IS how you say it. It’s that simple, however you may want to add…Lord, forgive me for being mad at you because of….( you fill in the blank). 

We become angry when we don’t really realize that His grace is sufficient for us. All we have to do is ask for it to help us walk through our life circumstances. It’s when we don’t see the big picture plan that He has laid out or realize God’s timing in it, we get impatient and frustrated. And sometime, just sometimes, it is our own immaturities and humanity that causes some our life circumstances that we then want to blame on God. He’s ok with that, for a short while, but as soon as you realize what you are doing, it is then time to repent.

So, being angry with God is not the heresy I thought it was, it’s actually very normal, as it is in all relationships. But just like in any relationship, you must disclose it, bring it to the surface, and deal with it. Not for Himto make Him happy, but for you. You need to know He is always there, He is not angry, frustrated, or disappointed in you for being human. He made you human, He just wants to be with you…flaws and all! Now doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy! 🙂

The Church…what it is…and what it is not!

The Church…what it is…and what it is not!

I grew up in church. For me it was what you did every Sunday, a part of my lifestyle. If you were a Christian you went to church, right? Well I have far since learned that not all Christian go to church, and not all those that go to church are Christians. If you are a little confused by that, here is a little clarification on what I meanly Christian.

ChurchChurch (the building that you go to every now and again, or perhaps a few times a week) is nothing more then a place we gather together. I, as I am sure most of you who have been in church any length of time, have been hurt by people that go to church. The main reason people stop going to church, fall away, or have hang ups with church is because they have been hurt there. Well, let me dispel the myth and be real about church. Yes, you will get hurt and be hurt by those you go to church with! It will just happen. 

You see, church has been warped into this view of, “this is where all the good people go” or the “holy people” gather. That’s why people think that church goers are two faced because of their actions in church vs. their action outside of are contrasting. Let me share with you what I have learned about church as an adult, it has helped me immensely in overcoming wounds, preconceived illusions, and unrealistic expectations.

supportChurch is nothing more then a support meeting! Kinda like you would have in AA or in rehab. You see all the people that go to church are JACKED UP! or at least have been at one point! Church is not where the perfect people are because there are none of those. Church is where you come to try and gain some hope and tools to stop a lifestyle that is destructive and deadly. However, you can be given the tools and steps(a great sermon or teaching) but if you don’t choose to apply it and walk it out daily, guess what?! You’ll fall right back into doing what you did before! Know any alcoholics that went to AA meetings and when they got done went home and drank? Well….enough said.

helpand supportThere are only two types of people at church. The first are those who are hurting and wounded;needing support, guidance, and encouragement so that they can recover and live a full whole happy life.  The second are those who have recovered from some of the life wounds, still needing support, guidance, and encouragement but now are able to help others. There are multi faucet stages in between those two groups that the majority of us fall into, but really that’s the reality. So if you can grasp the concept that hurting people, hurt people, then you can better understand why it happens there. I am by no means excusing and saying it’s ok, Im simply trying to help bring a better understanding. We are ALL in a process in recovering from sin. All of our walks are different, just as all of our recovery steps will be. The fundamentals and tools are the same, Christ and the Word but because we are all uniques in our own way, so it our walk through recovery.

Now the question is then, WHY go to church?!?! Well, if you don’t have a radical intervention from sin, it will KILL YOU. Just as alcohol and drugs will, so will sin..except it’s eternal. Church is the rehab center to recover from sin, but you still have to do the work. Christ intervened at the cross, he paid the price so you could have a recovery. However, you have to CHOOSE to want it, CHOOSE to walk, and CHOOSE to apply it to your daily walk, not just attend a Sunday meeting. The teachings, the tools, and the support should be at the meetings, you just have to use em.

So, I hope now this will encourage you to know, that church is necessary just AA meetings are for an addict. The people in church are just as jacked as you, they are hurting and recovering also. So it’s ok. Just remember, just as you have have needed much forgiveness and grace from God and others, you are now required to give it.