Transforming My Life

one day at a time


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Letting Go of Trying to Control

I am struggling.  I am angry and I am sad.


I am in that  place again, between wanting to scream, pull my hair out and cry and then, shaming myself because I don’t want to feel the way I feel because the truth of how I feel isn’t how I think I “should” feel.  Making sense yet? :)  Well, if you have been in this place you know what I am talking about.

This is the place I go when I want to control someone else and I can’t.

Wanting to change another person never works.  Never.  So why do we think today would be any different?.

Focusing on someone else is always a distraction to changing me.

You know that whole speck and log in the eye thing?  What is the log that I am ignoring in my own eye?

What  am I wanting to avoid in my life that I am focused on someone else?  This is a great question to ask ourselves.

I can only control myself (this is difficult enough! Breaking old patterns takes commitment and humility).

If we could change those around us, we would never need to change ourselves.   And this is good news because this is how we develop character.

And when we stop trying to change someone else and want to develop our character we will….

You ready?  

We will…..

Take 100% Responsibility for our own life.

Taking 100% responsibility means that you own the fact that you have choices.  You may not be able to change the choices you have made in the past but you can choose how you will respond and what you will do with your future.  If you are unhappy change it.  This means you give up blaming and complaining and take 100% responsibility for you.

“But…”

“But…”

I know, it is easier to make excuses and blame others but this keeps us stuck.  You are not a victim.  I am not a victim.

We may be powerless over someone else,

But

We have the power to change ourselves and to create the life, the relationships and the joy and peace we desire.

But…

We must choose.

 

Until next time….

Grace and Peace,

Sheryl

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Stop Trying So Hard

poohquote1Stop what you’re doing.  Take a deep breath and then another.  Relax.  Take the time now to check in with yourself.  What are you feeling?  Where is your tension?  What are you telling yourself is going to happen?  Are you catastrophizing?   Stop.  It is all going to be okay. You have been running around too much today, your mind somewhere else. You do not need to take responsibility for so many things when they do not belong to you.  The fear and anxiety of what will happen if you lay them down.  I know.  It’s scary.  You can do it.  Turn them over.  That’s right, release them.  Surrender.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (NLT)

All of these burdens are like boulders in our backpacks that we need to lay down.   Many of them have names.

Fear, Hurt, Anger, Disappointment, Shame, Betrayal, Scarcity…..

If we let them go, then what?  We may not get what we want, but maybe we will get what we need.  Can that be okay?   Maybe there is some plan or purpose we are unable to see.  The less we try to force our way, and our will, the more natural life flows and can fall gently into place.  If we will just allow it to.

It may feel like God has abandoned us.  He hasn’t.  He has been here all along.  He is working it out, in His way, in His time.  He knows.  He hears.  He cares.  So relax.  Take a deep breath.  And know….God wants you.

God, help me to trust enough to let go of the things that I am trying to control and bring my “boulders” and burdens to you.  Help me to believe and know that you love me more than I can imagine and you have me and my concerns in the palm of your hand. 

Grace and Peace,

Sheryl

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Be the hero of your own life

40-strength-in-hard-timesComplaining,

We all do it.  We moan, we complain, we blame, we gripe.  But it never feels very satisfying does it?  Ok, well for a while it does.  Let’s just tell the truth and come clean here.  It feels like they are getting away with something doesn’t it?  It can feel like we got the short end of the stick, right?  And life can just well, feel plain hard.  And you know what?  You’re right.  Life is hard.  They are getting away with something, and yes,  your feelings do matter.  We need someone sometimes to say to us, yeah, I hear you.  I understand.  You’re pain is real.   How you are feeling makes sense.  You make sense.  And, I can see your pain, your suffering and that you are tired and worn out.  BUT, and this is a big BUT

We can not stay there.  We need others desperately, not to tell us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.  We need to know we are not alone.  We need validation ,to know we are heard,  understood and THEN, we need to pick up our mat and walk.

You are not a victim.  We all have choices.  Feel your feelings.  Grieve, be sad, allow yourself to heal.  Express your pain.  And share your hurts with safe people.  It may take some time.  But staying there is not really loving yourself.  Feeling justified in our pain, and licking our wounds for too long, stunts our growth.  It actually keeps our hurts from healing .  Have you ever thought about how an animal keeps licking a wound and it never heals?  That’s because it needs air to breath and time to form a scab.  A scab may leave a scar, but scars make us stronger.  Others can look at our scars, our battle wounds, and see that we have made it through and believe that they can too.

Don’t blame others.  You are 100% responsible for the outcomes in your life.  It is not the hand you are dealt, it is what you choose to do with the hand.  Play it.  Don’t play twos, play aces.  If you are unhappy, figure out what you need to do to change it.  Ask for help.  Make a request.  Get the support you need but don’t blame somebody else.  Stop making excuses.  You are the author of your own life.

Be grateful.  I know, sometimes we get sick of hearing that.  Why?  Because being grateful works and sometimes we just want to stay stuck.  But staying stuck is not an option unless you want to be miserable.  It will never change you.  Have you ever been with a constant complainer?  It is draining.  Nobody wants to be around Debbie or Danny Downer.  Who do you want to be?

Believe, Visualize and Take Action.

Who do you admire?

Who are your heroes?  Have you ever noticed that our heroes are usually the ones that have overcome incredible obstacles?

We cheer for them!  We get energy from them.  Because they have overcome!

Heroes give us life.  They give us hope.  And, if we’re honest, we all want to be a hero.

I want to allow God to use my pain for good.  And I want to see His power at work within me.

It is our choice…

So how will we choose to live?

We create the life we live.

So let’s take 100% responsibility for our lives.

Figure out what we want,

and Create the outcome.

Get angry.  Fight the good fight!

Be a living testimony.   Be courageous.

Don’t just complain.  Do something!

One step forward.

Don’t look back.

Get rid of what isn’t working.

Create something new.

Make a request.

Ask for what you need.

Let us not think we can go it alone.

but let us reveal our scars to each other,

So we can all be beacons of hope,

Shining lights out in the darkness or at least in the rain,

Taking the ashes of  life and making them beautiful.

And asking God to give us the strength.

Hope and Peace,

Sheryl

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Celebrate Surrender

copy-th3-e1393117170985.jpegLet’s choose to celebrate today.  Surrender this day.  Let’s just try it.  Quit the striving. Believe we are enough.  That there is enough.  Enough time.  Enough of us to do what we need to do.  Enough of God’s loving care to help us through whatever we are facing and going through.

Rest.  

Trust.  

Let go.  Believing God longs to show us compassion and is abounding in love.  If we choose to believe this, maybe we can relinquish some of the control we so desperately hold on to. Worry.  What are we worried about?  “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”  (Matthew 6:26)  If God takes care of the birds, will He surely not take care of us?  How often I miss the feast because I am too busy making mud pies. (C.S. Lewis said something similar but way better)  We all need a little grace today. Let’s choose grace.  Believe in it.  Live it.  Radiate it.   

Live Abundantly.

Believe there is enough.

You are enough.

Just the way you are.

 

Fix your eyes on what is true, noble and good.

Imagine….

Letting go of who you think you need to be

Embracing who you are.

 

You are worthy of love, belonging and joy.

Stop struggling and striving.

No more perfecting, and performing.

 

Honor vulnerability.

Be.  Where you are now.

Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Let in the love.  Let in the compassion.

The grace in all that is good.

 

Courage to…

Feel, to

Throw off the mask, to live

Free from the expectations of others,

to say no, to say yes, to be true to yourself.

 

Celebrate

who you are.

your children, your spouse.

Picture each of them.

Acceptance, freedom

to be imperfect, flawed,

Permission to be yourselves.

No matter what, you belong.

 

Unique.

Each of us.

Beautiful

Just as we are.

 

Let in the love.  Let in the compassion.

Love with your whole heart truly, deeply,  

And Dare Greatly.

The themes of my poem,  I took from Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, which I love and highly recommend!

Grace and Peace,

Sheryl

treeoflife


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A Screaming Heart to….

shhhhBe Heard…..Listened to…..Cared About…..Accepted…

Listen! All I ask is that you listen.

Don’t talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap; 20 cents will get
 you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham 
in the same newspaper.

And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.  
Maybe discouraged and faltering,
 but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can
 and need to do for myself,
 you contribute to my fear and 
inadequacy.

But when you accept as a simple fact
 that I feel what I feel,
 no matter how irrational, 
then I can stop trying to convince 
you and get about this business 
of understanding what’s behind
 this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are
 obvious and I don’t need advice. 
 Irrational feelings make sense when 
we understand what’s behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works, sometimes, for some people – because God is mute, and he doesn’t give advice or try 
to fix things. 
 God just listens and lets you work
 it out for yourself.

So please listen, and just hear me. 
And if you want to talk, wait a minute
 for your turn – and I will listen to you.

Author Unknown


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What kind of Parent are you?

mom-yelling

In Jennifer Wyatt’s book, Getting to Calm –  Cool -Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens, she describes four parenting styles that can help us on the journey to creating healthier relationships with our teens.

Are you a kibosher?

This style is heavy on control, power struggles, and about who is more “right”.  This can result in guilt tripping, shaming, and lecturing.

*Do you tend to find yourself making heavy-handed attempts to control your teen?

*Do you find yourself making statements like, “You are grounded for a month.”  “How dare you talk to me like that!”

*Do feel responsible to put an end to your teen’s rudeness right then and there by coming down too hard?

*Do you find yourself trying to manage your teen’s behavior and their thoughts and feelings, too?

*Do you tend to lean towards “right” and “wrong”, “black or white” thinking?

By the time a teen reaches the teen years, a parent that is intent on pure control of rudeness and bad attitude can be in for a nonstop power struggle.  Constantly focusing on and trying to control your teen’s bad attitude, and trying to get it to change can bring a lot of strife and struggle.

This style of parenting damages the relationship with your child.

“Children reared by intrusive parents who demonstrate this kind of ‘Psychological control’ are more likely to show patterns of guilt, dependency, aggression, alienation, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, and depressed feelings.”  The paradox is that this style of parenting leads to exactly what no one wants – loss of control.

The Romantics -

This style of parenting swings to the opposite extreme of the kibosher’s.

*Are you excessively indulgent and permissive, without adequate authority?

*Do you have idealized notions of trying to be the perfect parent?

*Do you hover and find yourself trying too hard to stay close to your children?

*If you are honest about it, do you find yourself feeling needy to be liked by your teen?

If you fall into this category of parenting style you will find yourself struggling to hold your ground against your mouthy and moody teen.

“Rules and consistency – ingredients of good parenting – fall by the wayside.”

The Bouncers – 

This parenting style is a combination of the kibosh and the romantic.   These parents often guilt trip and shame only to find themselves feeling guilty and then caving in.

*Do you find yourself swinging between ruling with an iron fist one day and permissiveness the next?

*Do you find yourself overcome with outrage at your teen’s obnoxious ways and rush in to ground him for life?

*At other times do you find yourself too tired to take on your teen and give in and let it go?

The Shrewd Choosers –  

This is the most effective parenting style.

These parents are clear in their authority and at the same time there is ongoing give and take with their teen.  They pick their battles, based on parenting rule number one:  Keep a mostly positive relationship.

A useful standard is five to one.  Each negative interaction needs to be balanced with five positive ones.

“Teens are moody by nature, and shrewd choosers accept that their children might have negative feelings about them, particularly during this “individuation” phase of life – and especially when teens don’t get what they want.”  Expect teens to express their upset.  Whether dealing with a smart mouth or making a parenting judgment call, these moms and dads walk a fine line – they hold the standards and values they put into place while being open to negotiate new privileges when appropriate.

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Meditative Prayer for Our Relationships

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May we open our eyes, ears and hearts to the relationships that are all around us.

What Jesus modeled and the central message of the Bible is how to live in relationship with God and with one another.

In God’s Word we are given many “one another” verses found in the teachings of the New Testament – love one another, forgive one another……

Prayerfully take some time to meditate on these “one another’s”.

 Allow these words to soak in. Consider what it would feel like to bring these “one-another’s” together into all your relationships. How would you live differently?  Imagine what would change in our hearts and the hearts of those we come in contact with daily if we lived these out.  What would that look like?  Can you think of any of these that you need to give to yourself or someone else in your life? 

  • Love one another.
  • Have peace and accept one another.
  • Be humble and do not judge one another.
  • Be like-minded and have the same care toward one another.
  • Instruct and teach one another.
  • Encourage one another.
  • Minister to one another.
  • Serve one another.
  • Bear with one another.
  • Be patient with one another.
  • Be kind to one another.
  • Do not lie to one another and forgive one another.
  • Comfort one another.
  • Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another.
  • Have compassion and minister to one another.
  • Be submissive to one another.
  • Have fellowship with one another.
  • Spur one another on to love and good deeds.  Love one another deeply from the heart.

God’s Word is so amazing.  These “one anothers” that God gives to us are so intricately woven together that one cannot exist apart from the others.  In order to stand on their own they must stand together. 

 However we mix them we cannot have one without another. In order to really love one another we must be compassionate towards one another. In order to truly honor someone we must be humble towards that person.  If we are to be patient we must bear with one another.  When we minister to one another we show we care.  To instruct and teach with wisdom and encouragement makes all the difference doesn’t’ it?  As we serve others we need to seek to be humble.  How are we to accept and build another up when we are passing judgment? As we show kindness, pray for, and encourage another they feel cared for and loved.   What a difference this would make not only in all of our relational encounters but also in our own hearts as well. Jesus modeled this perfectly for us in all of his relationships.  .

May we not live with judgement or condemnation but rather seek to live out what it means to love one another, God  and ourselves moment by moment….. one day at a time.

Peace and Grace,

Sheryl

Choose Beauty

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Look around you, no matter where you are there is something beautiful there.  Sometimes just by choosing to slow down when you are tired, stressed or upset changes how you perceive the world around you.

Allow yourself to sit down, to close your eyes, to breathe deeply.  Take 5 minutes, a half an hour or a half-day to rest.  No matter if it is a moment or an hour, give yourself the time you need to let go and breathe in the peace and replenishment that you need.  Ask for eyes to see and ears to hear, allowing your thoughts, prayers, and your whole being to choose, that, which is good.

Jesus asked the man, “What do you want me to do for you?” Mark 10:51-52

If we desire to live with full hearts, we must learn to be still and pay attention to what our hearts need. We cannot be expected to give and give and give.  We will only find ourselves burned out, stressed out and resentful.  In order to give we must allow ourselves to receive.

Try practicing this palms up, palms down exercise from Jan Johnson’s book, Practicing The Presence of God.  (Meditation written by me).

Find a quiet place and make yourself comfortable.  Begin to become aware of your breath.  You can close your eyes if you like.  Sit with you palms down and as you breathe, reflect on what it is that you need to surrender today.  Are you tired?  Discouraged?  Do you find yourself weary and overwhelmed, not knowing how you are going to get everything done?  Maybe there an upsetting situation that you find yourself in, something out of your control?  As you continue to breathe imagine yourself releasing these burdens and worries to God, whatever they may be.  As you do this begin to turn your palms up and imagine releasing these to God.

Now, with palms up, allow yourself to breathe in what  you need in this moment from God.

Could it be trust, faith, or a willingness to let go of something you are holding so tightly?  Imagine God lovely standing beside you taking your clenched fist, softly touching your hand and telling you,  “What is it you want me to do for you?”

Picture yourself receiving from God.  Imagine yourself receiving an overflow until your palms can’t contain it!

 “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-12 The Message

 May we choose beauty for this day, in this moment.

Grace and Peace,

Sheryl

Please share with me if these meditations have spoken to you in any way. I would love to hear from you.

Tunnel Wave


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A Thirsty Soul

Tunnel Wave

“Come, all you who are thirsty, 
 come to the waters; 
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! 
Come, buy wine and milk 
without money and without cost.

 Why spend money on what is not bread, 
and your labor on what does not satisfy? 
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, 
and you will delight in the richest of fare. (Isaiah 55:1-3)

In this moment I am SO thirsty.  I’m not talking about the panicky, “got to get a drink or I’ll pass out” thirsty (although, I  just filled up my glass for the third time because I’ve been running around all day not taking the time to take a drink) but rather the more subtle, whisper beckoning me to come, slow down and fill up my parched and weary soul.

I can be so aware of my need for water but ignore the signs of my thirsty soul.  When I say a thirsty soul I mean the parts of ourselves that need attention, care and filling up.  The parts of ourselves that are exhausted, weary and crying out that we have nothing left to give.

Dallas Willard put it well when he said, “Our soul is like the silent, invisible yet necessary Central Processing Unit (CPU) of our person.  Our soul and thus our soul’s health, is the driving force behind everything that matters.”

In the next series of blog posts I am going to be exploring this topic of caring for our soul.  Caring for your soul matters.  It affects how you feel, how you relate to others and the amount of joy and satisfaction you are going to experience in all areas of your life.  If we can become more aware of our soul’s cries, we can begin to give it more of what it needs.  We can choose to experience the richest of fare by having a deeper connection with ourselves, God and in our relationships.

I would love to hear what feeds your soul.

Grace and Peace,

Sheryl


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Growing our Souls through Loss

Lone Maple Tree

“Loss.  It’s a word that many of us fear and few of us can evade.  The experience of loss does not have to be the defining moment of our lives.  Instead, the defining moment can be our response to the loss.  It is not what happens to us that matters so much as what happens in us.”  Jerry Sittser

All of us have suffered loss at one time or another.  The loss of spouse, children, parents, job, health, marriage, childhood or any other kind  impacts us in ways that we never could have imagined. Many of us are living with the after-effects of profound trauma or the loss of innocence that has left our lives forever changed.  The world can look dark and without hope.  I experienced the loss of my Father at the age of ten.  In the blink of an eye, a tragic accident claimed my Dad’s life with my entire family in the car.  It not only changed my family, but how I viewed everything.  Tragedy forced me to grow up overnight.  No longer a carefree kid, I  faced the reality that bad things can happen in an instant.  While I can still struggle with the fear of bad things happening everyday, I also believe that out of  grief and loss, we can experience incredible healing and transformation.  I am loving the book, A Grace Disguised, by Jerry Sittser. It has touched me profoundly and is unlike any other book on grief that I have read.  It addresses the topic of how a soul can grow through loss and pain and begin a new life – “a life marked by spiritual depth, joy and compassion and a deeper appreciation of simple blessings..”

“Many people are destroyed by loss because, learning what could have been but failed to be, they choose to wallow in guilt and regret, to become bitter in spirit, or to fall into despair.  While nothing they can do will reverse the loss, it is not true that there is nothing they can do to change.  The difference between despair and hope, bitterness and forgiveness, hatred and love, and stagnation and vitality lies in the decision we make about what to do in the face of regrets over an unchangeable and painful past.  We cannot change the situation but we can allow the situation to change us.  We exacerbate our suffering needlessly when we allow one loss to lead to another.  That causes gradual destruction of the soul.”

“God’s forgiveness will show us that he wants to take our losses and somehow bring them back upon us in the form of a blessing.  This work of grace will not erase the loss or alter its consequences.  Grace cannot change the moral order.  What is bad will always be bad.  But grace will bring good out of a bad situation; it will take an evil and somehow turn it into something that results in good.  That is what God accomplished through the crucifixion.  He turned the evil of an unjust murder into the good of salvation.  God can do the same for us as well.  We will not be delivered from suffering, but with God’s help we can be transformed by it.”

Grace and Peace,

Sheryl

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