Tag Archives: “perspective”

Don’t Make Life Hard

It’s been a week of extremes–highs and lows, not a lot of sleep, even the weather. A week ago today it rained, and yet another day (yea! we need it)! It was beautiful in between–our blooming yard loved it and became even prettier. But early this morning the wind became a veritable tempest–I kept saying in my head I hate this wind.

Now I’m wondering if that is the reason I had such a hard time staying positive today–I really struggled, my back hurts to prove it.

I thought it was loss of sleep, hormones, and being cooped up in the house, plus other people’s attitudes. But it was probably where my focus was. I kept coming back to praise, but couldn’t seem to stay there.

I did have one small victory–I de-escalated a confrontation with my husband. Another was booking plane tickets that have been creating pressure. And the routine of cleaning house is somehow centering, so I got through it. I think I could have made it easier, though.

My irritation with the wind must have started the CRH–triggering the inflammatory cascade. I knew I was shooting myself in the foot saying “I hate this wind!” (Early on, I did thank God for wind sweeping my patio. It was a mess yesterday.) I should have put more effort into the thankfulness. Gratitude is such an upper.  And I knew loss of sleep and exposure to illness put me in a compromised state. Your brain brakes go out when you are fatigued, GABA disappears, and it’s hard to hold a boundary when you are tired.

The day had started out so well: extra time with God this morning, His presence changed my fatigue into energy, I exercised, my perspective improved, and then I kept sabotaging it!

This whole mind-body connection is a fearful and wonderful thing. Our thoughts signal chemical changes that make it hard to reverse them. Our choices (even default ones) set up more of the same kind. No wonder Jesus said in so many ways, “Be careful how you see.” In other words, be mindful of what you allow, choose wisely, feelings follow thoughts, actions too. Don’t make life hard.

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You See What You Look For

Wasn’t going to write this week. It was a hard week; mental health can be daunting at times. Frustrating at the least, when you try so hard and just can’t help someone. Prayers go unanswered, fear hangs on the edges, and you have to simply remind yourself that God doesn’t force anyone to trust. A huge loophole of answered prayer for others is personal choice. The wormhole! Old Wormwood gets his sticky fingers of fear around someone’s heart, and trusting God goes out the window–or such is my perspective.

But then I missed my sleep window tonight, so might as well process feelings with you all. It was a beautiful day to be outside. My husband and I had breakfast in our gazebo–love that. Encouraging messages came in. One from an old boyfriend on his birthday–that was nice. He lost his 23 yr-old daughter years ago. Can’t even imagine… Good to hear life is happy again.

A friend came over and we celebrated her belated birthday by making healthy ice-cream–nice too. (It was really good and we ate on the patio.) It was a good day filled with fun, beauty and love. I should be feeling content, and I am, just stayed up five minutes too long playing Words with Friends with my sister–five minutes is all it takes!

But the very best thing that happened in the many good things of today was hearing that my nephew is finding his way back to God! He’s been an atheist for years, so that was huge! But we’re pretty close and I know he’s honest-hearted, so I always figured he’d find his way back somehow. Fabulous news. So now I realize what a really good day this was! I’m glad I shared it with you. I always say everything is perspective, and it really is. You really do find what you look for. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes of reflection to see it. Thanks God.

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How to Get Rid of a Heavy Heart

This week it seemed everywhere I turned were very heavy hearts, people discouraged by their circumstances, hopeless. It was very sad. And I made the mistake, once, of suggesting a solution. It didn’t go well. That usually doesn’t work, unless you are telling people something they already know.

Today, I spoke with someone whose fear was out of control, running her life. There doesn’t seem to be any answers. And yet the thing most needed before any answer is calm. Anxiety and fear are all around us. They are becoming a way of life, ruining lives.

So once again I have decided I can’t out-smart God. If He said there is only one thing that is necessary, why should I talk about anything else as a starting point? Making time for God in your life is the one thing that matters–that’s what Jesus said, and he should know. (Luke 10:42)

He undoubtedly had the hardest life anyone has been asked to live, continually stalked by God’s enemies, and ending with torture and the worst death. He got through his life by spending time in God’s presence. Much of it was even happy. And he got through the worst in the strength he had gained in time with God. (Remember, he had to go through it completely as a human.)

You can take hold of your inner space by asking God for peace, for faith, for His perspective, his answers. And then listen. Write down what comes to you in a journal or notebook. Living in tune with God is the only way to peace.

The main thing is to get a new perspective–God’s viewpoint will always be better than yours. When you stop and focus on the hugeness of the universe and how big God is and yet how close and personal and tender, it has a calming and lifting effect. I’ve experienced it many times. Spirit only needs our permission, our focus, to smooth things out inside.

One of my favorite authors says, “Get into the habit of saying ‘Speak Lord,’ and life will become a romance…make time to listen… As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.” You can have that!

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Does History Matter?

This is one of those days, like the day JFK was shot, that everyone remembers where they were when they heard about the attack on the twin towers. I can even remember how I felt and what I thought two days later listening to the news. Will this change life from now on?

Fourteen years later, a lot has changed in the world, but probably not a lot in your world if you live in America. It seems like a good thing, but is it?

I think it was Roosevelt that said, those who don’t understand history are condemned to repeat it. It may not be verbatim, hence no quotes. But for awhile after that, people were thoughtful about what really mattered. It even caused some people to reorder their priorities–at least for a while.

Did it change your perspective or behavior?

My friend sent me a blog on media overload. It’s hard to live with so much input when the world seems to be coming apart in so many places for so many people. It can put you in fear or make you calloused. So many people’s lives are being threatened by dictators or hostile predators. Even the weather is getting more wild and extreme, threatening and changing life. Is it irresponsible or healthy to turn it off?

Is there really anything to understand?

One of my favorite things is understanding history through scripture. It is why I’m writing my new series Love’s Playbook–the Bible from a cosmic perspective. (Another will be out next month.) One thing that has impressed me lately is how God works through events–sometimes horrible ones. No He doesn’t cause them. But He uses them. And if we trust Him, He can turn it into good. But it takes real trust, and sometimes real time. He works slowly, it seems to us, but that’s because what He is doing is so much bigger than we imagine.

Just try to imagine 200 billion galaxies; it’s freaky to our brains. The scope is so huge, it can overwhelm us. But that is exactly where it gets exciting to me. With that kind of size and order, there has to be something important to understand. And I think scripture makes a great case for understanding the kind of being God is. It says He is all good–“no darkness at all.” Is that hard to believe in light of what is happening? Evil seems to be getting more intense.

I think it is part of the plan. As I understand it, God is going to step back and back and back, and let evil have more and more power. Why would He do that? Just so those who don’t have time for God, or don’t want to be concerned with Him, can see what their options are. When He is caring  and kind and protective, we tend to put very little effort into knowing Him.

But God has been challenged on his character. Is He fit to rule? This whole war between good and evil fills the universe, but centers here. He has put Himself on trial, and recorded it for our benefit, but unless we see events from that perspective, we could blame Him and grow cold and angry.

So yeah, understanding history does matter–making or breaking your perspective of God. He will always leave hooks to hang doubt on–that protects our freedom. We get to choose our paths–our priorities. I’ve said good choices make a good life, and it’s also true that good choices reveal a good God. Everyone gets to choose.

 

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Perspective

I’ve been thinking about perspective non-stop since yesterday. I’m always intrigued with it, but some videos I saw yesterday, and the movie Noah last week have triggered it anew.

We see what we want to see. We see what we choose to see.

We can all see the same thing and perceive it differently, walk away thinking completely different thoughts.

In fact, the filters we bring to a happening, an idea, even a remark can spark such  disparate cognitions and reactions. How much is programming and how much is choice? It is almost frightening. And yet it has a good side to it too. One choice can make all the difference.

Yesterday I was talking with a client who was so discouraged about her powerlessness over an addiction, and over her inability to make choices that she wanted to die. Not feeling you can choose for yourself, not feeling you have any power is a very scary place to be.

And yet as Jesus’ follower I believe that is why God came here, lived as a human and died as a criminal, so he could give us back the power to make choices. No, He doesn’t make us choose Him. He is very respectful. But he knows how long we can last without Him, and the hostile environment we were born into, on this planet, because of someone else’s will.

Twenty-five years of listening to other people’s problems is enough to know that we don’t always create our own issues or messes. We come with a predisposition to making bad choices, or thinking we can’t choose.

This is the time of year that we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. If you reduce his death to its lowest terms, it was to give us back choice. So we could choose him and life.

Another positive I discovered a few years ago in a very familiar passage of scripture is also a matter of perspective. And I like mine so much I want to share it. The passage has always been translated, “If you love me keep my commandments.” There is precedent both in the Greek syntax and in other passages for translating it that way.

But when we were in Chile on a mission, I was reading to my husband from an interlinear translation, and I read  John 13 and 14 together. The context grabbed me because Jesus had seemingly called Peter Satan. The emotions were so obvious. They were all blown away. And Jesus tries to comfort them. Suddenly I said, “That doesn’t make any sense for Jesus to say ‘If you love me, keep my commandments,’ when he’s right in the middle of comforting them.”

So I looked at the original beside it, and sure enough, the most simple translation would be, “If you love me my commandments will keep you.”

Wow what a difference! And when you realize the disparity of information bombarding us, you see the need for his commands keeping us–protecting us, defining what works and what doesn’t–because so much that we think works doesn’t, or ends in addiction and despair.

Protect your perspective with praise, gratitude, love, service and boundaries. These are His commands.

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