Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Unglued Blog Hop Week 5 - Negative Inside Chatter

Those whispers Lysa shares on page 141 of Chapter 10?

I have known them all too well.

You are not liked.
Who are you to think you can do that?
Why did you say that? Everyone thinks you're annoying.
Your kids just illustrated every inadequacy you have as a mom.
You are invisible.

Yes, I have heard these same words. I have felt their impact and experienced their torment.

Even now on the eve of something outside of my comfort zone, something stretching me, something I keep quiet because I may fail or it may not work or may not be good enough...these words kidnap joy and plant seeds of doubt.

Lysa asks, "Why do we let such destructive words fall hard on our souls?"

Fall hard on our souls...

These words do weigh heavy.

These thoughts steal dreams and render gifts inactive.

These. Words.

When Paul said in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things," he wasn't just talking about keeping our mind out of the gutter or resisting the urge to plot revenge on the person who cut us off in the school pick-up line.

You see, these thoughts that we allow to invade our minds and crush our souls? They are not true or noble or just or pure or lovely or of good report. In fact, they are just the opposite.

These words, these thoughts affect us. If left alone to wreak havoc, that they will. Negative words and thoughts can immobilize us and keep us from reaching our greatest potential.

Paul continues in verse 9, "...and the God of peace will be with you."

There is not a lot of peace following negative inside chatter.

On pg. 145 Lysa says, "Thinking runaway, worrisome thoughts is just an invitation to anxiety." This is so true. Many times we over think a situation, read too much into something, misinterpret a text message, or allow our insecurities to fabricate a scenario that never even happened causing us to become anxious, fearful, and emotional.

Lysa encourages us on pg 144 to "park our minds on constructive thoughts, not destructive thoughts. Thoughts that build us up not tear us down. Thoughts that breathe life into us, not suck life from us."

I love the three questions she gives to help hold runaway thoughts, assumptions, and misperceptions in check:
  • Did someone actually say this or am I making assumptions about what they're thinking?
  • Am I actively immersing myself in truth?
  • Are there situations or relationships that feed my insecurities?
These questions are not the cure-all, but they are a great place to start in helping to silence the negative chatter inside our heads. Taking our thoughts captive and replacing them with truth from the Word of God will empower us to become the women of God we were created to be.

"Addressing the issue of inside chatter will lead us to freedom. Not just freedom from negative things like doubt and insecurities, confusion, and suspicion. But freedom to pour out love on others. Freedom to think clearly. Freedom to obey God's call on our lives no mater what others think. Our thoughts really matter...After all, how a woman thinks is often how she lives," (p 149).

I am determining to think on and live out only truth today and every day...won't you join me? :)

Joining the blog hop at Melissa's Place.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Unglued Blog Hop Week 4

Ever had one of those days when you felt agitated and annoyed and had no idea why? Well, I had one this week. I was agitated with my husband (can't remember why) and made things worse with my snarky words and stinkin' attitude. This set the tone for the evening in my whole house. My issue (whatever it was) with my husband transferred to my interaction with my sixteen year old (Lord knows that is complicated enough without any help from me). Tension and strife were served for dinner and I was the master chef.
Bedtime arrived and I went to tuck my seven year old in for the night (since we were still on good terms). We have been reading a Proverbs a day all this month and this day we read chapter sixteen. I would've expected him to remember something from our current chapter but as he prayed his night time prayers, this is what he said:
"...and God help us to be wise. Like the woman in...what was it? Chapter fourteen? The wise woman builds her house but a foolish one tears it down with hear hands. Yes. Help us, God, to be like the wise woman and not like the one who tore her house down with her hands. Amen."
He may have said a foolish woman tears her house down with her hands but all I heard was "a foolish woman tears her house down with her snarky words and stinkin' attitude."
Okay, God. I'm listening.
All this in the middle of the "Unglued" book study by Lysa Terkeurst. God's definitely got my number.
This week was Ch. 7 & 8 for all of us going through the study with Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies. Here are some quotes from Ch. 7 that stood out to me (in light of my snarky words day).
"I want it to be evident that I know Jesus, love Jesus, and spend time with Jesus each day. So why do other things bubble to the surface when my life gets stressful and my relationships get strained?"
Why, you ask? Oh, friend, she gives answers, but you may not want to hear them. (It's getting kind of personal, if you ask me.)
  • Selfishness
  • Pride
  • Impatience
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
I'm feeling a little exposed.
But thank God we don't have to stay where we are. There is hope for change and grace to help.
Lysa provides a great example in chapter seven of a five-step process on how she handles raw emotions. She uses 2 Chronicles 20 as her guide. Today, our small group leader challenged us to write our own five-step process from this same text. Here is my SIX step process (because I'm a writer and I always have too many words):
  1. Close my ears to other's opinions that are based on fear and not faith (vs. 2-3).
  2. Remember God's promises and don't be afraid to remind Him of what He has done and what He said He would do (vs. 6-12).
  3. Acknowledge that it is not by my power or strength or wisdom, but God's (vs. 12).
  4. Position myself to hear God speak to me (vs 17-18).
  5. Be still (vs 17-18). This kind of goes with #4 but it's so important I thought it needed its own number.
  6. Thank God for the victory (vs 26-28)!
"Seeking to obey God in the midst of whatever circumstance I'm facing is what positions me to work in the flow of God's power. I still have to navigate the realities of my situation, but I won't be doing it in my own strength...I want to participate in His divine nature rather than wallow in my own bad attitude and insecurities." pg. 113
Amen, sister.
In chapter eight (don't worry I'll be quick) Lysa talks about changing our perspective and keeping an attitude of gratitude. A few of my favorite quotes are:
"Perspective calls forth a gentleness I can't seem to find any other way." pg. 119
"The more my heart is parked in a place of thanksgiving and rejoicing, the less room I have for grumpiness." pg. 121
"The more I rejoice, the more I keep things in perspective. The more I keep things in perspective, the gentler I become." pg. 121
"I am a woman whose identity has been changed by coming face to face with the One who has the power to completely transform me." pg. 125
"The best way to position my heart to tap into the power of God is gratitude." pg. 129
We were also challenged to write a gratitude list in our small group. I did, but I think I'll save that for my next post. :)
Is anyone else enjoying this study as much as I am?
What is your favorite quote from the book?
Is anyone else getting lots of opportunities for life application? :)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. ~Phil. 4:4-5
***Linking up with my Bible study sisters on Melissa's page. Click on the picture below to find your way over there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

He Sees. He Knows. He Has Experienced It.

I recently read this by Mary DeMuth (from her book, "EVERYTHING," that comes out TODAY):

"Everything that hurts us on earth has the potential, when we let God put His hands in the conflict, to bless the world. In short, we hurt, God heals, we become an agent of healing. In other words, when we're brave enough to let God transform our pain, we bring heaven to earth. And when He stretches His arm from heaven to earth, blessing us with comfort, we, in turn, touch the world with heaven's touch."

And then, this morning, I heard an interview on the radio with Mark Shultz. I don't remember his exact words, but Mark said something like this, "If God isn't moving the mountain, it's because He's giving you the strength to go over it."

And then I remembered seeing this:

"The quickest way to forget about your pain is to help someone who hurts more." ~Matthew Barnett

So many times we find ourselves in places we'd rather not be, in circumstances we would've never chosen for ourselves, and pain (physical, mental, emotional) we wish would just. please. go. away.

But what if our circumstances don't change and the pain does not go away?

What if we use our faith and we pray every day and we stand on scriptures and nothing changes?

Maybe something IS changing.

Maybe WE are changing on the inside.

Maybe we are being prepared to help someone who hurts more.

Maybe we are becoming an agent of healing.

Maybe we are healing from the inside out.

Maybe our faith is growing and our hearts are being softened.

I don't understand everything, but I know God never changes.

I know Jesus loves me so much He died on the cross so I can live.

So when I don't get I answers, I remember, God has my life in His hands.

He sees the big picture. He knows the number of my days. And His ways are perfect.

So I keep walking.

I keep celebrating.

I keep praying.

I give thanks.

I keep believing.

I share.

I keep praising.

chose joy.

And I remind myself His love never gives up on me. He knows me better than anyone. And He promises that no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, He will never leave me nor forsake me.

In that hard place? Yep. He's there.

When my pain is more than I can bear? Yes. He is there, too.

He sees, He knows, He has experienced it.

Keep pressing forward, sister. Keep going. Don't give up! Your story isn't finished yet, and neither is mine!

Please let me pray with you today. Let me keep standing and keep believing with you. Leave a comment below or feel free to send me a private message:

His love never fails!

Praise the Lord! He is good. God’s love never fails. Praise the God of all gods. God’s love never fails. Praise the Lord of lords. God’s love never fails. ~Psalms 136:1-3

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. ~Psalms 105:4

Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee. ~Psalms 63:3

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Unglued Blog Hop Week 3

(Flickr Creative Commons - Evil Erin)

To read last Thursday's post, Unglued Blog Hop Week 2, click here.

I should have known participating in this study would have consequences. I'm thinking a warning label is appropriate.

WARNING: This study may cause "Unglued" moments to arise in your life.


In my small group yesterday, our fearless leader, Christa, asked the question:

What carnival ride comes the closest to describing your experience of progress?
Bumper Cars
Big Slide
Drop Tower
Ferris Wheel
Roller Coaster
Tea Cups
Mechanical Bull
Ball Pit
Air Hockey

I am normally a very even-tempered person, with an occasional exploding or barrier building moment. But since beginning this study, life has been interesting. There have been bumper car rides, big, slippery slides, scary drop towers, dizzying roller get the picture.

But hey, practice makes perfect imperfect progress, right?

Without going into details, I have had many, many opportunities to apply what I've been learning...most of which have revealed areas still needing lots of work.






Lysa states, "Raw emotions won't sit quietly awaiting further instructions. They'll move - outward if we explode and inward if we stuff."

Learning to recognize triggers (things, situations or people) and the "whys" of our raw and sometimes negative emotions is a huge step in the right direction. Why does this person make me feel this way? Why do those words hurt so much?  Why do I want to run away, cry, stomp my foot, or pull my hair out when ____________?


Certain responses from people (or no response at all) can leave me feeling rejected and alone which in turn lead to more negative feelings and emotions. But there is a bigger issue and something I need to deal with deep down on the inside.

This statement from Lysa has been a great tool for me: "Feelings are indicators, not dictators." I do not have to act based on my raw emotions and feelings but it is my responsibility to acknowledge and deal with the root cause.

A wonderful piece of advice (and reminder) for us is found on page 62. "Do not check in with the screaming demands of the world before you exchange whispers with God."

When I am prepared and built up spiritually, I can hear God speak and recognize when the Holy Spirit is trying to do a work in me. Moving to the next level or into the next season God has for us may require unearthing past hurts still tender from physical or emotional trauma, digging deep to remove false beliefs about ourselves, discovering areas of unforgiveness or sin, and other painful paths to healing and growth. The good news is God does not ask that we do any of this alone. His grace and mercy are constant companions if we allow them to be. And He gives us wisdom and prepares the way for victory if we remain teachable.

One of our memory verses for this week is found in I Peter 5: 8:

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
And devour is exactly what he does in that moment of raw emotion when we are not prepared.
Some synonyms for devour are: annihilate, destroy, exhaust, ravage. Have you ever felt destroyed and annihilated after an unglued moment?
I have.
But when we are spiritually prepared, we are more alert and aware and able to practice the spiritual fruit of self-control. And Lord knows, controlling self is our greatest challenge. With supernatural help and impartation from God Himself, we are able to prevent this prowling, roaring lion from devouring  us.

We don't have to be exhausted or ravaged or annihilated or destroyed.

God has a better plan. There is a purpose for everything we must walk through. And there is a masterpiece underneath all those hard places.

Can you see it taking form?

As I said last week, I'm so thankful He loves us enough to not leave us where we are, but gives us the opportunity to change and grow and start over again and again.

As I press forward, I continue to "hear the clink of the Master's chisel."

I am tuning my ears to listen, opening my eyes wide to see, and preparing my heart to say yes.

And I choose to call it all grace.

Praying for all of you, today, my sweet sisters. God loves us more than we can ever imagine. He sees the masterpiece in us. And He calls us His.

For further reading and personal invitations inside of some beautiful women's hearts and what God is doing in their lives through this study, please click on the picture below to visit Melissa Taylor's place, where I am privileged to link up today.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

F is for Fall

...and football, of course. :)

There is something about the crisp, cool air and the changing of colors that feels like home and beckons me to create.

Satisfying and fulfilling, Fall is beautiful.

Pumpkin spice candles and pigmented leaves. Fall festivals and football games. Bon fires and family time at the deer lease.

Have I mentioned this is my favorite time of the year?

My fingers ache for paintbrushes and my mind races for new ideas.

Ribbons call to me in the craft department.

Flowers and glitter and glue become Saturday companions.

Fabric and pine cones and scarves and boots.

How did I survive so many months without these?

To welcome this treasured season, I gifted our front door with a new wreath.


I found lots of inspiration on the website Kristen's Creations. This girl is super talented and creative!

In addition to my new Fall wreath, I also spiced up our front porch area as much as the budget would allow. Luckily, my mom had some Fall stakes tucked away in the attic that weren't being used and my hubby had some leftover lumber pieces that were the perfect landing for some cute welcome signs. All I had to do was add some paint and polka dots, position them in last year's mulch, and presto!


The rest of the house needs a paint job and that won't fit in to the budget, so I'll stop with the porch pics. We live in a mobile home and I dream of a new brick and stone house, but for now my pretty steps will have to do. :)  There IS a new house in our future, though (speaking words of faith, yes).
Happy Fall, friends! May your pumpkins be ripe and your flowers bloom vibrant hues of Autumn!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Unglued Blog Hop, Week 2

Welcome, friends! This study (for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, visit Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies for a glimpse of our Unglued Study by Lysa Terkeurst) has officially jolted me out of my blogging slumber. My last post was in July! My how time flies when you're having a blast with your kids in the summer :)

This is week two of our study and man, oh, man.

God is speaking to me.

I'm so thankful He loves us enough to not leave us where we are, but gives us the opportunity to change and grow and start over again and again.

And again.

In Chapter One, imperfect progress gives me hope. "Slow steps of progress wrapped in grace..." I have a bucket full of unrealistic expectations I'm throwing out the back door. I'll never be perfect but I can keep moving forward.

In Chapter Two, I'm (still) learning to "rest in the fact that God is in control." As Joshua did, I have at times felt the weight of the impossible. I love how Lysa talks about Joshua having asked the wrong question. In preparation for battle and the impossible feat before him, the question should have been not whose side was God on, but whose side was Joshua on. If our focus is wrong and our eyes are on ourselves or our circumstances, our impossible situation will remain impossible. But with God ALL things.... So, whose side am I on? Do I trust God enough? "If we ground ourselves in the reality that we trust God, we can face circumstances that are out of our control without acting out of control. We can't always fix our circumstances, but we can fix our minds on God." LT

As I was preparing for our first face-to-face group meeting in my home yesterday morning (that was supposed to be at Starbucks but that's another story), I felt a tad overwhelmed. I had to take my son to the doctor at 9:00 and our study was at 10:30. I had dreams of a perfect house smelling like baked goods fresh from the oven (that I would serve to my guests on an unchipped Fall platter), worship music playing softly in the background, and my wood floor shining. But instead, reality smacked me in the face. Dishes in the sink, kids/guest bathroom a mess, unswept floor, and dirty clothes crawling out of the laundry room.

Thirty minutes and counting.

It was the perfect opportunity to release my freak out woman (and she was desperately trying to free herself).

As I ran through the house like a crazy person, wiping this and sweeping that (and hiding everything else), God gently asked, "Are you more concerned with your house being clean than your heart being prepared?"

Conviction poured over me like a warm blanket and melted through walls of pride in my heart.

And then I saw a parallel. Just as I want my house to appear perfect (please don't open the laundry room door) I sometimes try to make my life appear perfect. Remember the stuffer busy building barriers? "I'm fine." "It's all good." I often wear myself out trying to keep my Super (Spiritual) Woman cape pressed.

The truth is sometimes I'm a big ol' mess. Sometimes my thoughts need dusting, my attitude needs an adjusting, and my heart needs a round in the washer.

So as I put my broom away, my study buddy arrived and was welcomed by my beautiful new Fall wreath I made for my front door and about twenty pair of muddy rubber boots my kids left on the front porch. My house wasn't perfect, but the presence of God was so sweet during our time together (as worship music played softly in the background). We shared hard truths and spilled honesty and God met us there.

With Grace.

As we shared stories and experiences, we realized the seeds we planted last week were already producing good fruit in our day to day happenings. Our thoughts are being transformed, our minds are being renewed. We are making imperfect progress.

And...God continues to chisel.

"God is chiseling us, making us new, releasing us from our hard places - those places that make us feel so stinkin' defeated -- so we can do good works. Works God has prepared for us, which means He knows best how to prepare in us the character we need to fulfill our calling." ~LT

And we pray...

"Oh, that we might hear the purposeful clink of the Master's chisel and call it grace." LT

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

(Anyone else remember Lysa's message -Chapter 3 from She Speaks 2011? I'm looking for my key chain...)

Joining the blog hop today on Melissa's page. Meet us there?" target="_blank">

**For my local friends, if you would like to join our face-to-face meetings every two weeks, please send me a private email for details.**