How I’m Trying to Not Be Awful to Myself

Here is what I normally do.  I make a decision to start a new exercise routine and to do it vigorously. Or  I say I’m never drinking a soda again, when in fact I drink a small countries worth of Coke and Big Red per day.  Or I tell myself, I am going to write 10,000 words a day when I struggle to write 1,000 words a month.

All or nothing.

Go big or go home.

But here is what I’ve learned from that. Not just from my own decisions but by watching an entire society make decisions the same exact way.  It just doesn’t work.

This time, I’m trying something different. I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s work on shame and loving yourself and being imperfect. (I am convinced she did all those years of research just for me, or she’s been secretly watching my life for 40 years.) One thing I’ve learned is that I suck at extending grace to myself.

I don’t just suck at it, I actually don’t ever do it. I rarely, if ever, allow myself to fail, falter or be human in any way.  Maybe most of us do that. That’s why, when we start something and it doesn’t work out in the first few months, weeks or even days, we just give up.  Not because we couldn’t follow through, but because of what we tell ourselves when we don’t follow through.  We say things like, “I suck.” or “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough.”

In starting this self-imposed challenge of 30 days of Yoga and 30 days of writing, I almost quit before I even started. November 1, Wednesday night, I’m driving home from teaching a youth group and BAM it was like a lightening bolt hit my head. I can’t even begin to explain the pain of this headache that snuck up on me, most likely from the cesspool of allergies that linger around my city.

I crawled upstairs, yanked out my contacts, slithered into my jammies only to remember that November 1, Wednesday, was Day 1 of Yoga.  I had written earlier in the day, but I had not done Yoga, because, well I’m a last minute kind of girl when it comes to doing things that involve me. I laid on the bed, arm over my eyes, wondering how I was going to do this. I knew I couldn’t live with the impending shame if I skipped Day 1. Honestly, that would be pathetic.

cone-of-shame-dog-funny-pictures-lol

The old way of thinking would have forced myself to find a 30-45 minute Yoga video, and cry my way through it, and then shame myself anyway for doing too much and making myself sick.  Instead, I decided to find a gentle Yoga, one for headaches…to bring healing, so that I can take a step in the right direction and to make this whole process NOT the burden it could easily become.

So Day 1  I did Yoga with Adriene, Yoga for Migraines

Day 2  I wasn’t feeling much better so I stretched with Yoga for Bedtime

But today, Day 3, after a cocktail of Zyrtec, Tylenol & Sinus Meds, I was able to tackle Yoga with Adriene Day 2.

Sometimes just making the decision to do what I set out to is accomplishment enough. It doesn’t matter what Yoga workout I do, or how many words I write.  I intend to push myself, but what I won’t do anymore is expect unreasonable things of myself that are going to set me up to fail.

I’m human, I will get headaches and allergy attacks. I will sit in front of the computer and not be able to form any creative or inspiring sentences. I will not feel like it, or want to, or have time to. But I will DECIDE TO. I will wait patiently for the ball to come across home plate and swing when it feels right. And maybe by the end of this 30 days I will knock one out of the park.

What are some goals that you have that you need to grace yourself a little so you can accomplish them?

 

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I Am A Horrible Christian

I am, without a doubt, an absolute horrible Christian.

Often people see my FB posts, or even read a blog or two.  I’ve had woman who have told me how “amazing” I am to follow God the way I do.

I just laugh.

My sister-in-love mentioned to me one day, while in conversation in the car…. One day I’m going to expose you for who you really are.  Everyone out there thinks your so sugar sweet and super Christian, but little do they know.

I just laugh. It’s funny, because it’s true.

Seriously though, I’ve never meant to misrepresent myself.

I truly follow Christ.

I love Him completely with my whole heart.

Daily, I attempt to live for Him and live out my purpose in Him.

But, really, at the end of the day, I’m human…and I pretty much suck.

mouth

So for those of you who don’t know me, or don’t know the sinful side of me….allow me to confess…now keep in mind, I don’t need judgement for my confession or for what I do. Nor do I need you to tell me it’s okay, nor do I need you to be offended because of whatever reason you have.

  1. I LOVE Horrible TV Shows like Sex In The City and Will & Grace.  It’s great writing, with great characters.
  2. I sometimes, occasionally, every now and then Cuss. Almost every single day. Sometimes I even drop the “F” Bomb.  It’s definitely cleaned up in the last 20 years, no more do I hang with the sailors, but I do have a potty mouth.  My kids are constantly correcting me, when it should be the other way around.
  3. I fight with my husband. And sometimes I say mean things I can’t take back.  We are not the perfect couple. Our arguments are meaningless at times with no resolution.
  4. I hide from my kids. In a secret room, because sometimes I just can’t “mom” or meet their needs.
  5. I am HORRIBLE about finishing anything.
  6. just kidding
  7. Sometimes I just don’t understand people, so I judge them. Like seriously judge their shoes, or why they think the way they do.  And I look at them with funny faces…and they think I’m interested, but really I’m confused.
  8. I sometimes think about stealing stuff from stores.  I don’t actually do it, but I wonder if I could get away with it.
  9. I don’t always feel like talking about Jesus or sharing my “story” or witnessing or testifying…i’m okay with getting out of Walmart without even making eye contact.

cuss

We know that the list is longer and the sins deeper, because this list isn’t all that impressive or funny or shameful.  So when you see my posts or blogs or tweets and think how deep and reflective and thoughtful I am, imagine me instead, avoiding all my projects, and ignoring phone calls.  Imagine me just being a human trying to get along, without perfection, hoping for a giggle, working on cleaning my mouth out with soap.  I’m a work in progress, but aren’t we all?!

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I FOUND YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE

At the beginning of the year I signed up for a Women's Bible Study at a local mega church located smack in the middle of the upper class of town. I wanted to go with a friend, I wanted to make more friends. It was the only thing I knew to do to make myself get off my growing-larger-butt at least once week. I deserved to wear clean clothes on Tuesdays.

I entered into the estrogen pep rally with as much postive-i-ty as I could squeeze out of my soul to find the kind smiles of women, garbed in Lilly Pulitzer carrying their Michael Kors bags. I found it comical when the leader announced that last sessions complaints were about worship and that there wasn't enough protein options on the snack table. I wasn't sure how I felt about either, honestly.

Then we were asked to do this exercise where we picked a word to focus on during the year. I actually had already been thinking of this, because it's big in the blogosphere of the Christian-girl. Some picked obedience (good luck), one lady picked humility (ha-ha!) and another patience (to which internally I screamed NOOOOO, trying to save her from the mistake she was making. All Christians KNOW to never ask God for patience)! Then it was my turn.

Mine was simply Love.

I am certain all the women were wondering what type of evil person I was that I had to focus on love. But I knew I had to learn to love again because, frankly, for the last few months, since we moved, I pretty much hated everything.

I hated church. (Yah, I said it!)

I hated this city.

I hated our circumstances.

All in all, I hated life.

True story. I hated it.

And my life wasn't all that bad. I lived in a nice house (still do). I have a husband who adores me (who in the world knows why, I'm not easy to love). I have kids who spend time with the family, don't use drugs, make good grades and love Jesus. (Seriously, though, I'm waiting to see how I've screwed them up).

But still, my heart was filled with this black, dark regret and unbelief. I figured if I learned to love God with a new passion and His people with a clear heart, then I would be okay once again. So I decorated my cute little heart stamped bookmark with the word — L.O.V.E. And with every intention to love once again.

Since then, I am simplifying my life, and God is flushing out my idea of purpose. And in the meantime, I still find it hard to get off the couch somedays, and I still cry to my husband, because I am, after all, a crybaby (Seriously, I am).

“Wah, Wah, I have no purpose.”

“Wah, Wah, I have no friends.”

“Wah, Wah, God has forgotten me.”

Wah.

Wah.

Wah.

My husband told me in so many words, to suck it up, put on my cape and get to saving people.

When my girlfriend asked me what I did all week, I told her, “Ohhh, just fighting the devil.”

Cuz sister, that is so what it is! When we want to love, the devil wants us to hate. When we want to be patient, the devil wants us to demand things. When we want to be humble, we have all the reason in the world to be boastful. And when we want more of Jesus, the devil tells us that it's the things of the world we need that really satisfy.

Lies. Lies and more lies. And I think I washed them away with all these tears I've cried over this last year.

So currently, I am ironing my cape, because there are people in this world, in my world, that need some Jesus-saving-love. This is my job (to love, not save) and the simplified version of yours:

Move God's Love into the lives of anyone and everyone within your reach.

The God's-Love Movement

#theglovemovement

 

Let's do this! Just look around you, and notice. God will do the rest. Comment and share your thoughts— you think you can be a way that God moves His love this week??

 

HOW NOT EATING CHANGED ME

At the beginning of May I entered into a 21 day fast. It was the second time I've done this crazy thing. But what I found even crazier is that there are people who have been Christians forever and ever and ever who have never ever fasted before.

Now I'm not super Christian who fasts all the time and does everything right and who is always obedient–in fact I'm quite the opposite. Just a few nights ago you could have found me fully clothed, sitting in an empty bathtub with the shower curtain closed screaming at God because he doesn't seem to be listening.

This was the very reason I began my 21-day fast because I needed God to listen, and more than that I needed Him to speak. I have been drowning in grief and confusion and every voice I heard was muffled and water logged, so I exhausted myself wondering if it was God speaking, or simply one of the echoes of my temper tantrums that daily emerged. I needed to empty myself…to empty my stomach…to remove distractions and caffeine and all the things I love so the sounds of my heart could maybe become audible.

This fast: no bread, no sugar, no meat and water only. Not quite as strict as my last one, but no less difficult–I love me some caffeine…I LOVE me some bread, I adore, absolutely addictively adore, sugar. I knew my soul needed Jesus more than my tastebuds needed anything. And so I embarked.

For twenty one days:

I prayed and prayed.

I read scripture.

I cried.

I yelled.

I discovered some really ugly…like really ugly parts of me.

And He answered.

Not every single thing in the way I hoped, or in the timing I wished for. In fact daily I'm still going before the throne and praying for a specific miracle. But I emerged with a new perspective, well..mostly.

With every fast comes the specific requests. Mine were personal and filled with hope.

Please lift depression from my daughter and give her vision for her life.

Please give me some sort of vision for my own life, because why do I wake up every morning?

Please please please break this financial bondage that we are in. Too many years, too much stress, too many curses.

Please just fill us. Empty our lives of us and fill us up with you.

God has answered my prayers for my daughter, given me a new hope in him, even though I hate it here still. He has filled us up, drawing us each nearer to him–however, we are still broke.

Fasting isn't realllllly about having Jesus wave his wand and bless you, answering all of your prayers because you so sacrificially deny yourself of something you love. What it's reallllly about is you becoming less like you and more like Him. He will answer prayer, but only if it's in your best interest. He will answer prayer but only if you have a heart change first. He will answer prayer but only if it transforms you–making you less and Him more.

Him more. In your mind…your heart….your thoughts…your requests.

I'm not hating because he didn't methodically check off my list of requests. I'm loving because I am free in a way I wasn't free on April 30th.

I'm a work in progress–and so are you

So plan on fasting with me.

For three days:

July 1

July 2

July 3

And the rest of this week I will convince you why …. I will show you how he worked in my daughter's life. I will envision you with the vision He gave me. I will explain the importance of obedience and fasting and obediently fasting. And we will do it together…Changing our hearts, and changing the World…solely for Him.

Are You In?

Comment and Share with me your emphatic or reluctant “YES!” And stick around the blog this week…

LG|LP Tiff

 

Why I Can’t Sleep or Find The Perfect Shoe

It’s official. I’m a Texan again. We recently spent $800 replacing our license plates, and the world now knows I’m not “from Florida”. I wish I could shout my excitement but …nope…. I got nothin’.

I went to lunch with a friend the other day and she asked me why I moved back to San Antonio. I answered her as honestly as possible.

I have no idea!

I loved Florida and all it stood for to me– independence and opportunity. Texas is, well, to me it feels like a step backward. It feels like soupy foggy dense air and extreme heat. It feels like a wanna-be hustling city with people hurrying up to drive on roads that lead to nowhere. It feels like a memory but it doesn’t feel like home.

I’ve been desperate to feel at home. It’s probably why I am so heartsick that we haven’t found a church, or community. It’s probably why I don’t sleep at night.

But I’m trying to find my place. I think most of us spend our entire lives trying to do that–trying to find our place. And some of us do for awhile before we are called elsewhere. Then, some of us stay comfy in the realm of the regular. But probably most of us, most of us are still searching. Like trying to find a good pair of shoes on the sale rack at Macy’s. We keep trying different styles, colors, brands, hoping that eighth pair of shoes will fit and be around $20.

People keep telling me “just wait it will come.” But I can’t ‘just wait’. I can’t be like the wife pacing in the surgical waiting room wondering when the doctor is going to come out with an update. Then, only to see the door swing open and be horribly disappointed at the sight of a custodian pulling a trash can through. Waiting is disappointing.

Instead I have to be patient.

Patience develops as a result of the Spirit establishing your heart toward God. It is an active faith. And during those times of lull and valley and frustration and nothingness, patience is the great anticipation that all of who God says he is, is right. It is knowing.

Like the bride patient for her dad to say, “It’s time.” Knowing her groom is waiting, she takes a deep breath and a one simple step toward love. Or the woman pregnant with twins feeling her water break, knowing her life will be forever changed. Or the child climbing on her grandmother’s lap to be rocked, knowing she will find safety and comfort there.

Patience is a great faith led by the anticipation of a great King, no, a kind Father, keeping His promises. It is painful and difficult to have patience but worth so much more than simply waiting.

Thoughts?