Saturday, March 22, 2014

Talk to Yourself!

What are you talking to yourself about?

No, I’m serious. What do you say?

Whether we know it or not, there is a continual dialogue going through our minds. The dialogue occurs in two ways:

1) Unscripted: Out-of-control, spontaneous, unanchored. It’s when your social calendar, the people around you, and whatever emotion of the day or hour takes over and rules your life.

2) Scripted: A solid plan. It’s something YOU create after thinking through situations, considering your plans and what you want, talking to God about your worries, cares, and your hopes. Then you actively determine how to handle life (with God’s help and strength). So even when everything feels whacked out, you have something solid to hold onto.

Unfortunately, during my teen years, I didn’t have any idea it was possible to script my thoughts. I learned quickly that how I thought, was what I believed. And what I believed, I lived. And living with my emotions just millimeters from the surface didn’t always make a pretty picture.

How about you? What does your current, internal dialogue involve? Your thoughts will control your beliefs—which, in turn, will control your actions. This may not result in throwing punches . . . although that is a real possibility.

Believe it or not, you don’t have to leave your life (thoughts, beliefs, actions) to chance. You don’t have to be caught up in the drama, pulled along by every new character that pops into the scenes of your life (whether positively or negatively). Instead, you can realize you are the Star
Performer in your life story. You can write the script. Being the Star Performer of your world doesn’t mean you’re the center of the universe, but rather you understand that God—who is the center of the universe—created you with a role to play. Not only that, He’s provided His Word (the Script) and the Holy Spirit (the Internal Director) to guide you along the way.

To live life scripted means to allow God’s Word to guide your thoughts, actions, emotions, and desires before you throw yourself into the drama of life.

So. What ARE you saying to yourself?

(Image c/o stock.xchng)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Lesson from Frozen

In honor of Frozen being released on DVD, I thought I’d devote a blog post to some things I took away from it (besides the song, “Let it Go” getting stuck in my head).

It has been a long time since I loved a Disney movie as much as I did Frozen. Besides the incredible music and powerful story, I related to the characters in deep ways. If my sister had frozen our kingdom before running away to hide from the world, I would have blamed myself just like Anna did, arriving at her door shouting, “It’s just me; your sister, who made you freeze summer.” When someone that Anna loved turned out to be a creep and justified his behavior with, “You were so desperate for love that I knew I could get what I wanted” I literally got chills. 

My heart ached most for Elsa and her legitimate refusal to let anyone in, isolated by the thing that made her different, born with a power she never asked for and didn’t seem to have any control over. I think I would have stormed off to build a castle of ice too.

But what hit me first was the scene where Elsa and her family must come to grips with her power and one of the dwarves tells Elsa, “Fear will be your greatest enemy.”

Is that true or what? At least I know it has been in my life. Elsa’s story reminded me that:

Fear isolates us. Think about how much time she missed out on with her sweet, fun-loving little sister.

Fear robs us of fun. She couldn’t even enjoy her own coronation.

Fear brings out our worst. As we see every time she is confronted or exposed.

Fear hurts those who love us. Did it not rip your heart out every time Anna knocked on her sister’s bedroom door asking to build a snowman?

Fear causes people to misunderstand us. When she pushes her sister away, it’s easy to forget that Elsa really is a nice girl; she’s just afraid.

Fear holds us back from our potential. Elsa's fear of exposure and the bad things that her power could do prevented her from discovering the good she had to offer.

Fear must be faced eventually. And Elsa spends most of the movie facing hers just as I have had to face many of mine in recent years.

When has fear been your greatest enemy? What fears is God helping you overcome? How has He helped you grow in courage?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Pushed You Under

Near my house is a college. In that college is a garden. In that garden is a rose… surrounded by roses.
I think of you every time I pass the garden with the rose.
I wish you didn’t live there.
I wish you didn’t live in that one song, in that one place.
I wish you didn’t live in the grasp of strangers at church.
I wish you didn’t live in that word, that one spoken, whispered in my ear again and again that one day.
Did you know that four-year-olds do not possess the brain development to understand what you did that day?
Of course you know. That’s why it was so easy for you. To take it and to walk away.
There are so many places I wish you didn’t live… in my church, in my shower, in my wedding day, in every lap I try to swim at the YMCA, telling myself I’m not suffocating, not being held under.
I spent a few years being held under, the sickness literally escaping my bones because my mind could not contain it.
I forgive you.
I want you to know you cannot stay.
You are not welcome in my garden, in my church, in my shower, in my wedding day, or in my marathon laps. With every stroke, I have pushed you under.
And with every walk through the garden, I have watched the rose… once mutilated… die to become resurrected.
She is in full bloom and your shadow has fled away.
Bekah Hamrick Martin is a national speaker and the author of The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting & God’s Purity Plan (Zondervan, 2013). Most of all, she’s Ethan’s wife and Zoey’s mom.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Life Lessons Learned at the Gym

“I think I came up with a new article idea today,” I told my friend Cheryl as we finished our traditional Wednesday morning workout, “I’m calling it ‘Lessons Learned at the Gym’ Lesson 1, don’t be a machine hog.” 

She laughed, but she also knew I was completely serious. She’d seen me waiting patiently for my turn on the lower back machine while a young woman texted a friend then proceeded to do a dozen sets of fifteen. (I didn’t actually count, but I do know she far exceeded the unspoken three-sets-per-machine courtesy rule.) I’d been there the day that Cheryl sat down at the empty triceps machine only to have a hulk-in-training inform her that he had dibs on it as well as the one he was currently using.
Such experiences stood as reminders to us both that some people take their workouts very seriously.

Being one who finds life applications in everything from movies to knitting, I could not pass up the opportunity to see what God had to teach me through this rather rude gym member. He actually taught me several things, but for the sake of this post I will narrow it down to three: 

1)    Life isn’t all about me. I still remember the day when I was grinding coffee beans at Costco and became aware of the line forming behind me. I barely had time to pick up my pace before my friend Susan touched my shoulder and whispered, “You don’t need to rush. Relax.” And she was right. I had waited in line like everyone else and was simply taking my turn. Still, I never want to be that person who focuses so much on my rights that I ignore those who also need to take their turn.        
2)    It feels nicer to be nice. After that woman finished her 30 minutes (okay, 5) on the lower back machine, it was tempting to do a few extra reps myself. After all, I had been waiting for a long time! I pictured my bold friends being so proud of how much I’d grown in my ability to not let people rush me. But I knew I would feel like a jerk if I followed through on that plan. As much as I’m learning to recognize my needs as equally as important as everyone else, I also know that I feel much more true to who I am when I opt for politeness. So I only did one extra set.  
3)    Actions reflect the heart. We rarely need to tell anyone, “I’m putting myself first today.” This attitude has a way of announcing itself. The same goes for our desire to be generous, kind, and considerate.
Standing behind that inconsiderate woman reinforced my desire to be a person who takes others into account even when it is technically my turn and there is no sign saying I can’t do what I’m doing. 

What has inspired you to be more considerate lately?