Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Contentment’

Do you want to be Right? Or Be Restored?

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago and thought I would repost it today.  It is still applicable in my life today – as I am still learning and on a journey of self discovery.

Be kind to one another with a brother’s love, putting others before yourselves in honor    Romans 12:10

That is indeed the question.  Have you ever known anyone like this in your life?  As long as they’re right – and have the last word they are happy.  Well at least they feel like they’re happy.

You see “being right” does not necessarily bring closure and restoration to an unresolved issue.  It can just create a wedge between people.  I’ve had to back down on things myself over the years – even when I knew I was right.  Relationships with people in our lives are way more important than arguing over the finer points – the “he said – she said” games could go on forever – if we allow it.

Being right is an “attitude”.  And when you are in the people restoring business – you sometimes have to put this “attitude” aside.  It can blind you and cause everything from a past or present situation to have a certain “slant” – as you can only see things one way.  The right way.  Your way.

I would submit to you – that there are ALWAYS two sides to a story and situation in life.  Because people are different and rarely look at things the same way.

It comes down to this:  how much do you value relationships in your life?  Do people mean something to you – even if they mess up?  Do you say, “They hurt me – they messed up – I am so disillusioned and can’t forgive them – I know I am RIGHT”  I know I have.  Why?  Because I love to be right.  And so do you.  People hurt me – have hurt me – will continue to hurt me in the future.  What do I do with this???  Bristle and pull in – never allow anyone near me again??  Argue and argue??  Even bring in a few other people to hear my point of view – so they can tell me how right I am too?  That would be silly.  But people do this.  I have been guilty of doing this myself.  It IS easier to be right.  Way easier.   But NO.  I love people.  I have decided that I will not do this anymore.  It means holding my tongue.  It means submitting.  It means MY story may never be told.  And just how “right” I am – will never be known.  My friends are more valuable to me than being “right”.

Being restored is the right thing to do – it’s also the hardest.  Why?  Because we have to humble ourselves – admit that we are not always right.  We have to face the truth about ourselves.  We have to face the ones that hurt us.  We have to come to grips with the “eye ball – to eye ball” encounter from the one that hurt us most.  No burying it under the carpet – no running and hiding – no refusing to revisit it – but really facing it.  Accept that we are not perfect either.  Ouch!!!  Facing something head on that’s very hard – takes a real Man or Woman.

My husband just recently had to face a situation where he could have taken the position of “being right” or “being restored” and he chose the later.  He chose wisely.  And I know that God will bless his life because of this.  He is free because of it.  It’s caused us to really have great discussion.  Being right – or being restored.

Which one are you?  Do you stubbornly “hold on” to your opinion – a never ending “blame game”?  Stunted and bound up by your own “principles” and “ideals” about people?  Is being “right” more important than anything else or anyone else?  Or are you a lover of people?  Do you have grace for people in your life to “mess up”?  Do you “allow” for others to “mess up” – do you have the capacity to understand it?  Do you constantly “cite” examples of how you are so right – and they are so wrong?  Are you free of sin in your own life?  Can you honestly see things from another perspective?  Reach and restore – forgive and don’t care who’s right or wrong?  Can you put your own feelings aside – and prefer other people?  Are you Christ like?  Do you just ooze with love and mercy.  Are your friends that important to you?

Jesus is the great “restorer”.  He desires health and happiness for you today.  He is the only one that can truly bring people together – melt the heart – bring you to your knees and do the deep work in your life.  If you are in a “situation” now that is unresolved – ask the Lord to “melt your heart” – help you to see things another way – ask Him to help you forgive and love the ones that have hurt you so deeply.  Make that step toward reconciliation – don’t wait for them.  Believe that He has a testimony in this “situation” for you some day – health, encouragement and healing for someone else.

Be restored.  Love people.  You will be a more blessed and happier person.

In what ways would you rather be right, then be restored?  Is being right more important than having relationship with others?  Do you know anyone like this?

Praying for you today.

God Bless

A New Kind Of Peace… (Repost)

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Image by Griffin Matthews via Flickr

From my blog 2 years ago – August 31, 2009

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

Do you ever feel troubled?  Unsettled.  You don’t know why.  You just do.  I believe that we all feel this way from time to time.  A deep peace comes from God.  And from knowing God.  If He says – “don’t be afraid” then you can trust in His words.  And He gives peace “not as the world would give” but a lasting deep peace that comes from another place entirely than any outward circumstances.  You see “peace” from the world may mean no struggle in finances – no strife in the office or at home – seemingly peaceful situations that could “lull” you to sleep – or even keep you “off your guard”.  No trouble sometimes can be a precursor to a “wake up” call.  And a peace “from the world” may be the wrong kind of comfort – a temporary “feel good” moment not based in reality – and may be just an illusion.

I believe that the peace Jesus talks about here is an eternal peace even in the midst of pain, hurt or confusion.  Or even just a topsy turvy schedule where our world seems out of whack.  The knowing that we have peace and security – despite the things going on around us.  Trusting in something you can’t see.  The invisible arms that reach for you – supporting you through some of the toughest days of your life.  Peace that has no explanation in the natural.  No reason for being there.  And yet it is.

I know that I cannot explain God’s peace in my life.  But I do know that it was there in great supply for me – in some of my darkest hours wrestling with pain and hurt.  I just knew it would be okay.  I would be okay.  The situation  – though far from healed – is in His hands and that gives me great comfort and peace.  I can let it go – and feel good about it.  That’s real peace.

What are you carrying around today that you need to have some peace?  What do you need to let go of?  Do you trust in another kind of peace to sustain you – the wrong kind of people – and the wrong kind of circumstances that seem like the real thing?  I encourage you to let go of what would hold you back in finding God’s real peace. Ask Him to fill you with another kind of peace – another kind of meaning to your life that’s real and lasting.

Do it now.  Do it today.

I am praying for you

God Bless

Living On The Edge

I recently ran across this article from my new blogging buddy  Elizabeth Esther.  She explains how her daughter wanted to jump into their pool with her dance recital outfit on – to know what it would feel like to ‘fly’ with it on.  It’s a sweet story complete with a picture of her ‘in flight’ after Elizabeth finally relented to letting her daughter ruin her outfit for that ‘thrill’ of flying through the air.

Absurd?  Impracticable?   Foolishly frivolous?   Yes.  All of these – and more.

A chance to ‘let go’ – to ‘run with reckless abandon’ and do something spontaneous – just because.

We lose this ability as we mature.  We become responsible and (gasp!) practical.  We think in terms of conserving and ‘pulling in’ – often times squelching any creativity or spontaneity.   Because we are grown up and have to act responsibly – I mean if we don’t – WHO WILL?  Right?

Do you remember a time when you ran through the sprinklers in your yard (or someone else’s) and got soaking wet?  Even your hair?  And it felt SO GOOD, didn’t it?  Just kicked off your shoes and ran through!

How about the time you risked your life swinging on a rope swing?  The kind that was on its last few precious strands of rope weeks before and everyone that was swinging on it – you just knew they were on borrowed time?

When was the last time you had a popsicle?  The kind you used to get when you heard the ice cream man coming?  My favorites were banana and root beer.  How about a slurpee?  When was the last time?  They’re not just for kids you know 🙂

We grow up and get ‘careful’.  And not just ‘careful’ – but ‘cautious’.  Life becomes so serious to us – and granted – there is much to be serious about.  There are bills to be paid – and family situations – but there is also a mind-set that creeps in – if we’re not careful.  The mind-set that fun is for the young – and life becomes very mundane and predictable.

Well – that may be okay for you – but NOT FOR ME!  I love excitement – I even have to have something exciting for breakfast!  No dull and dry cereal for me – NO SIR!  I need something – ANYTHING with a little pizzaz! A yummy bagel with flavored cream cheese – or a wonderful mouth-watering scone – or a Danish with a little something extra – you know. Greg likes the same thing for breakfast everyday. (Boring) He really likes it like that!  Amazing!

I like to ‘live on the edge’ – LOVE adventure, romance and just plain living! Greg likes consistency and routine.  That’s where he is comfortable and safe.

Greg knows that I just can’t ‘exist’ – but that I love to express myself – share love and friendship with those in my world and – love to explore new places and get to know new people – and love to encourage others to LIVE and LOVE life!!   And in this ‘new season’ that we find ourselves in – it is nice that we are both now self-employed and can do some of the things we’ve always wanted to do – it doesn’t always take money to do them – (we don’t have any – so that’s good!) and I’m thrilled for that!

We do something fun everyday. Each day is an adventure.  We had been married far too long – raised a couple of children before we realized that the ‘fun’ and ‘spontaneity’ had been robbed from us.  I blame so many things on that – the families we were both raised in (duty, work and responsibility) and the church we found ourselves in for years (appearances and being an example) – and yet I know that these only served as a guide – and did not mean to suck the joy out of our marriage – but somehow – they did.  Add to that the stresses of life, family situations and burdens from those in crisis close to us – and even some dysfunctional behavior from others and mix it all together and you can get a very dry and tired marriage. With no joy.  Safe, predictable, practical and boring. A slow death sentence for me.

Bringing ‘fun’ back into our marriage was a choice – but also a necessity. Without it – we would not have made it.  We took a step toward excitement – and I’m happy to report that keeping things ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ has become our theme song after 29 years of marriage.  We were both Christians since we were children – so our faith was never in question – just our ‘duty’ and commitment’ became old and stale and we needed a better reason than that to keep doing the same old things over and over and over again.  Like a worn out song that never ends – is how our marriage was becoming.  We were becoming that couple with an ‘arrangement’ but that really wasn’t very happy anymore.  And it scared us.  We refused to be that couple and live that way – with separate lives and interests – pulling further and further apart.

How did we turn it around?  We brought FUN back into our relationship.  We looked closely at us.  Not the ‘us’ as parents of our two wonderful children – not the ‘us’ as a ministry couple (as most people had known us) – not the ‘us’ as wonderful obedient children of our own parents – but we just stepped back and looked at us. And we had to go back and remember just what it was that sparked that interest and kept us – way back then.  The ‘little’ things that meant so much back then.  We started doing that again.  We started thinking of ways to be creative without much money – going and doing something interesting everyday together – being spontaneous and FUN!  Not holding back or squelching each others creativity – but allowing each other to be exactly who we are. And that included allowing each other to grow individually without feeling threatened by it.  I have a lot of friends and love each of them in their own special way.  Greg now understands how important that is to me and does not limit me – nor is he threatened by it.  I understand Greg’s need to feel ‘safe’ by routine and his work – and encourage him to do the things that make him most happy and fulfill him as a man.  It is a win/win – born out of necessity – and has grown into something secure and trusted – a mutual respect and understanding for each other – two completely different people who decided to grow old together and two people who chose each other.

Here’s wishing you and yours some fun and spontaneity – as you endeavor to ‘live on the edge’ in your marriage and in your own personal life.

God Bless

Becoming Myself

‎”Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself” – Kierkegaard

Yesterday Greg and I were tossing around the above quote.  The simple and yet the profound.  The tangible and intangible truth of the above words – hard to fully process and difficult to wrap your mind around.

The longer I live – the more I am convinced that our lives are in process of ‘becoming’ who we are.  We are born – we have a certain ‘bent’ in our personality – those we genetically inherit and those we accumulate from our environment.  We develop in that environment – have friends in school to measure ourselves against – and if we’re really lucky – have good parents, a healthy church and many people we look up to – like teachers, coaches and mentors.  All of these help in the process of us ‘becoming’ who we are – but that in itself is not enough.

It takes many years of growing – getting through adolescence and young adulthood – to even begin to see our own unique gifts and personality.  We make shifts and adjust our likes and dislikes – to get married and have children.  For years we are lost in our lives – raising children – working outside the home – or in my case – in the home (being self-employed) and little by little – the years go by until you wake up one morning and your children – (that took over your life) – are all grown up and gone.  You get ‘judged’ or criticized for ‘just being yourself’ along the journey and little by little you make the adjustment and ‘pull yourself in’ so that you won’t stick out – be different – be wrong. After years and years we forget what it really was that made us unique – and made us ‘who we are’.

So the question is this:  Were we being our full and true self when we were younger?  Before anyone criticized us for being that? – Were we ‘ourselves’ when we were busy raising children – or going about our daily routine?  Or does becoming ourselves mean that we are on a journey – learning things from each of our experiences and taking it into the next step of our journey?  Does it also mean that I can be ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ – not hiding behind a facade of who people really think I am?   Because it’s easier?  Because it’s safer?  What if people don’t accept me for me – or even like me anymore if they find out who I am?

When you’ve spent most of your life in ministry situations like I have – you find many types of people out there.  Many that present a ‘face’ to others because it’s easier and ‘safer’ to just go along than to risk being different.  It was easier for me too.  Hiding behind a ‘title’ and a facade is much easier than risking rejection because we are who we are.

I believe the ‘with God’s help’ part comes in to play when I first acknowledge Him as the Lord of my life – allowing Him to refine and change me – my attitudes and my ‘old nature’ to become more like Him everyday.  But I also believe that God – through that process allows me to become who I am – and takes into account my personality – my strengths and weaknesses and surrounds me with people in my life that will help me and encourage me the most.  If we live lives that are dedicated to Him – and truly pray for His guidance and blessings on our daily activities and the people that we come in contact with – and those we will come in contact with – then we need not fear becoming – and being ourselves.  There is no fear – it is ‘safe’ to be me. We don’t need the ‘approval’ of man any more.

Whenever people tell me about their lives – troubles times and circumstances that brought them to this point  – they are discouraged (as we all are from time to time) and wish life could have been different – wish they could go back and make different choices. I am always quick to remind them that God used those trouble times of pain and frustration in their life – to help them become who they are today.  It is because of those circumstances – no matter what they are – that they are standing and talking about it today and they would not be who they are without them. Those very things helped to shape them into becoming themselves.

My prayer for you today is this:  That you would allow Jesus to lead you and guide your life – talk to Him about navigating through those rough patches (we all have them) and submit to the process of ‘becoming who you truly are‘ as those circumstances happen to you.  Be able to look clearly back over your shoulder at your past and say, ‘I can see now how God used that disappointment and hard time to make me stronger and set me on a different path’ or ‘I can look back and see His hand on my life during my journey.   See His hand in your life as He allowed different people in your life to help and encourage you –  and be convinced of the fact that He has been there every step of the way – in your past – here beside you today – and will continue on that road with you until you have learned everything there is to know about your journey.  That you would feel ‘safe‘ being yourself.  Let that be our prayer – all of us, to allow God to help us – as He gently leads us into the great unknown of becoming who we are.

God Bless

No Fear

Look fear in the face and it will cease to trouble you

Last night I couldn’t sleep.   It was a very warm day here in Seattle and even though it cools down at night – there was virtually NO breeze.  So I tossed and turned and by the time my late working husband came home from his night job – I was ready to get up move around and have a bowl of cereal in the ‘wee hours’.

As we sat in the dark in the cool downstairs family room – we started talking about the subject of ‘fear’.  Fear is an interesting subject – it is different for everyone.  There are things that I’m afraid of – water over my head for instance – that would not bother someone else.  I have what you might call a ‘phobia’ about being in water and not being able to breathe.  Others would say, “how ridiculous! – just SWIM and hold your breath when under water!”  Easy to say if you’re a great swimmer and have no fear.

Others we have known have had a fear of heights.  I personally do not.  I know that I’m not going to fall off a high building – unless I jump and I’m not going to do that!  So to me – that is an unrealistic fear – based in fantasy and not reality.  But to people afraid – they are paralyzed with it. Another big fear:  Spiders.  I know they can look menacing and even some of them will bite – but most are harmless.  And yet many people – including my own daughter – are deathly afraid of them.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  Again – you’re not going to die – but to them they would rather die then have one of those ‘many legged’ creatures crawl on them 0r even next to them. And the fear of being in a closed in space – very real to some – again this is not my fear.  The wall is NOT going to close in on them – nor suffocate them – but they are really afraid they are.   It’s not real.  I say – just close your eyes and breathe deeply and open your eyes!!  Nothing is coming for you!  Easy for me to say, right?

What we fear most often will not ever happen.

I believe that Jesus came to this earth – walked among us – taught his disciples, died on a cross and defeated death and the enemy to give us this great message of hope:  There is NOTHING to fear.  And if we keep our eyes fastened on Him – confess our weaknesses and our fears to Him – He will gently assure us – not think we’re silly or weak – but help us to feel safe. Just like a Father will comfort his children when they are afraid – so our loving heavenly father draws us to himself – scoops us up and allows us to be comforted and embraced.

I pray that today – if there is anything that you are facing, dreading and fearing – that you will allow your Heavenly Father to whisper comfort to you.  That He will show you that there isn’t anything you will face that will overwhelm you or beat you down so far that He will not find you – reach for you and walk with you – in your darkest days – even then.  I pray that you will not allow fear of the unknown to swallow you or cause you to lose your joy.  That you would walk confidently through the journey that you are on – that you will embrace the people who have been put in your path to make the journey more tolerable and help to ease your heavy load – and to remind you – there is no fear.

God Bless

Good Friends With Like Minds

The other night we had some friends over – friends that we have reconnected with – knew casually in college and through this wonderful invention called the internet – were able to find again after almost 30 years.

It is a special thing when hearts and minds are similar – have shared common experiences and have put you on a parallel path.  Though unseen and unheard for many years – the hearts have stayed the same – and time and distance has not severed the feeling of understanding and being understood.

As we were sitting, talking and laughing – I was reminded once again of how important people like these friends are to me – as I am in a different ‘season’ of my life – and my journey.  Superficial friends are not my number one priority anymore – I don’t have time for just an ‘acquaintance’ – for the look of it – No – I want – No I need authenticity in my life and with those who are on my journey with me.  I don’t want to ‘sugar coat’ life in the “isn’t life great?” because sometimes it isn’t.  I don’t want to hide behind the ‘smiles and cute phrases’ anymore.  It doesn’t impress me.  It no longer works for me.  I need real friendship in my life.

As we talked – I knew we all felt like this – it is with very few people who you can actually be real and take off any ‘former’ ministry hat.  Those who won’t ‘judge’ you.  These friends have walked that road like me – there’s no pretending.  There is only understanding and honesty – and that is a rare thing among ministers – even former ones.  When I said that I want to have relationships like this – our friend Ron added, “and I am also wanting  church to be like this – simple – and not so complicated”  I totally agree.  Back to the basics of why we do church.  So true.  Back to honesty – simplicity and being your true self – with no fear – and no judgment.  Ah – it feels good.

Can we do this?  I don’t know.  But I know I’m not alone in wanting it.  I know I’m not alone on this journey – and as long as there are people out there like me – I know we all will find each other – and develop life long relationships.  There is strength in numbers – and in friendship of like minds that bind the heart together to help you overcome any adversity that may come your way.

I’m loving how God knew what things would come into my path.  And He placed loving friendships in my path to walk beside me and help me by daily encouragement – bringing simplicity and honesty back into focus once again.  Reminding me what’s really important after all.  It is to those friends that I say, ‘thank you’.  You showed me I am not alone.  You showed me that we all struggle and are a journey.  Thank you for investing in me.

Dear Lord – bless my dear friends who live close to me whom I have the privilege of being a part of their world and lives much of the time – and for those that I can’t see too often – but that I carry in my heart even though they are far away.  ♥  Be with them today as they too are on their journey finding good friends with like minds.

God Bless

You Are Loved

Romans 12:12

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

How are we “joyful in hope”?  and “PATIENT in affliction”??  This is so messed up.  Or…is it?  I can pray.  I can be VERY faithful in prayer – but the rest??  Ugh.

I guess when you break it down – ‘hope’ is something we can’t see yet – something like ‘faith’.  It is easy to get discouraged when we have “short-sighted” vision – nothing to look forward to – nothing to hope for.  If it is something good or exciting – then we are ‘joyful’ – just thinking about it, right?  No one ‘hopes’ for bad things.  When I think of the word ‘hope’ – I think of that word – much as a child would.  Anticipating Christmas presents – or a fun vacation!  Since there is so much that seems to hit us from all sides in this life as we grow up and we have reality blind side us – it seems that ‘hope’ is all we have to depend on.  And all we have to look forward to.

I want to live my life – like a child does.  Willing and able to let past offenses go.  Willing to live for the moment without baggage  – either self-imposed – or junk that others have thrown on me.  With “wide-eyed” excitement and anticipation.  Breathless at each new wonderful thing.  Imagine that.  What a wonderful world that would be.  Where ‘hope’ and ‘joy’ – rule. Where each new day brings some great new delight.

I’m not sure I know how to be ‘patient in affliction’.  I would say that goes entirely against my nature.  But I’ve observed something about children.  They are not very patient either.  But since they do not ‘harbor a grudge’ – like we adults do – maybe that’s the secret.  In becoming child-like – I think we can learn by observing their resilience. Although not patient by nature – they have a great ability to “forget” when hard times come.  They can “let it go” so much easier than we can.  And maybe this is what is meant by this verse.  In letting go of something – and keeping my heart free during bad times – is the “key” to actually becoming more Christ-like.  And in that – over time – I do become more patient. It takes great internal strength to forgive and let go – it produces character in me.

And as we are ‘faithful in prayer’ – we are part of that great process – being transformed daily into who we are supposed to be.  Letting God speak directly to us – and realizing our great dependance on Him.

My prayer for you today, my friends – is this: that you would have ‘hope’ renewed inside of you – looking past the circumstances of today and straining toward that day.  Become ‘joyful’ as you anticipate – learn patience in times of the bad thrown at you – and never give up on prayer.  You are becoming each and every day.  Never forget that.  You are loved.

God Bless

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