Seasonal

Loneliness Unraveled

Loneliness Unraveled: a poem

From 9 months cocooned in solitary confinement; to present day condition of “always trying to hide it”…loneliness seems to chase us…though, In the womb, we weren’t really alone – we were surrounded by sinew, organs, and bone. Forming us, growing us, orchestrating our humanity – preparing us for this life of insanity.

We were protected, and then we entered a world helpless, needing others to clean up our mess.

So now, if you feel guilty, or “less than” or weak – because you want a confidant with which to speak, know it’s a human condition and rightfully so – to love others and to be fully known. When you feel lonely, though unfortunate, reach out to the one with the ultimate safety net. Your Heavenly Father has heard it all and is not taken back – He doesn’t run away and He never attacks.

Preparing for Easter: Celebration Song!

Easter is an important holiday. I would argue that it is more important than Christmas. Without Easter, there would be no Christianity. Without Jesus rising from the dead to save us from our sins, there would be no eternal life. Easter is a day to celebrate, so today I picked some celebration songs.

I’ve always loved this first song. When I was a part of the Methodist church, the choir would sing this every Easter. I’ve always thought that this will be what heaven sounds like. It just doesn’t feel like Easter to me without it. So if you like the classics, listen to this one (although videos just can’t accurately portray the amazing experience of sitting in front of a full choir):

Disclaimer: I do not support the views of the Mormon church. This was just a really cool version of the Hallelujah chorus.

I absolutely love the next song. It feels like a celebration and always makes me want to get up and dance. I also love how it incorporates the two different languages to praise God. If you want a more modern Easter celebration, here it is:

Have a wonderful Easter celebration!!

Preparing for Easter: Song 2

Consider what it would have been like to be at the foot of Jesus’ cross. The pain, the heartbreak. To see him beaten, battered, and covered with blood. He never did anything wrong. That should have been you on that cross! But because he did that, you can lay every burden down. Every wrong thing that you’ve ever said or done. Every worry that you’re not good enough. Because of what he’s done, you are good enough.

Jesus has won my heart. Has he won yours?

Preparing for Easter: Song 1

This morning during my quiet time, I felt the urge to sing. And then not only to sing, but to share some of the songs I was thinking about with others. So for the next few days until Easter, I will be sharing some songs that will hopefully help prepare your heart for Easter. Here is the first one:

On Friday, we will commemorate the day that Christ died. Jesus could have called for God to rescue him and had an army of angels at his side. He did not have to die. But if he didn’t die, we would be lost. We would never be good enough to be in God’s presence in heaven. Jesus did not let us down. He came to earth, lived, went through torture, and died for us. And he doesn’t let us down today. He is at the Father’s side, interceding for us. No matter what you are going through in your life today, God is good. And he is NEVER gonna let you down.

 

Lent Post 5: When We Fail

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

If you chose to give something up for Lent, how is that going? If you’re like me, it’s not going 100% according to plan. I gave up going on Facebook for Lent. I said that I would only go on it one time or less per day. For the most part, I did this. I only went on Facebook once most days. There were some days that I did not go on it at all. I thought that I was going to read the bible and spend more time with God in the days that I was not on Facebook, and that is where I started having issues.

When I first gave up Facebook, there were lots of times that I wanted to go on and I just went on the bible app instead. I got a lot more time with God’s word that way. But as Lent went on, I found more things to fill my time. Instead of going on the bible app, I would watch BookTube (YouTube videos about books), google things, or play Cookie Jam. As a side note, Cookie Jam is even more addicting than Facebook! I must have played over 100 levels, thinking I would eventually beat the game. Turns out, it’s unbeatable. As I am writing, there are 7859 levels in Cookie Jam and updates are being released every two weeks. I have wasted hours playing Cookie Jam this Lent. I guess that will have to be the next thing I give up.

So, all in all, I consider my Lenten sacrifice a partial failure. If you failed as well, don’t despair. This post is for you! I’m here to remind you that it’s ok to fail sometimes. Failure is kind of the point of Easter. Our failure is why Jesus had to die and rise again. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Because he died, our failures are forgiven. We don’t have to get stuck on the things that we do wrong. We don’t have to live separated from God. Each day is a fresh start, and every minute you are given a clean slate.

If you struggled this Lent, I hope it doesn’t leave you upset. Instead, I hope it makes you thankful. Thankful that Jesus died so that your failures don’t count. Thankful that someday, despite your failures, you will rise to heaven with him. I hope that your Easter is a joyful time of thanksgiving that carries over into the rest of your year.

Prayer: “Thank you God that when I fail, you still love me. Thank you Jesus for coming and dying for me so that I can be with you in heaven some day. Thank you that every day is a new day and every minute a fresh start. Please help me to remember this and to live a life overflowing with joy and thanksgiving because of what you have done for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Learning to Embrace Mondays

Image result for mondays are hard picture

I once had a boss who told me, on multiple occasions, that I didn’t perform my best on Mondays.  Never mind that this person later admitted in not so many words that that he/she was also not in the best moods on Mondays because of the awareness of all the tasks that needed completed that week.  The point is: Mondays are often regarded as our arch enemies, but can we change that?

Here’s a list of some things that have worked for me or ideas I’ve read about in other posts.  The below list is not comprehensive, as I know this topic has likley been covered by thousands of others, and I have no desire to reinvent the wheel.

(Note: If you don’t work a traditional Monday-Friday job, you can still use these tips for any time you need a little spring in your step.)

  1. Self-awareness: Don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling tired on a Monday morning. It’s natural to feel tired after squeezing in your to-do list, time with loved ones, and trying to rest over a 2 day period that zips by at the speed of light.
  2. Plan something to look forward to for a Monday: It could even be something simple like a walk during your lunch break, or a quick trip to the local ice-cream shop for a milkshake.
  3. Sunday Prep: Take time on Sunday to prep your outfit and meals for Monday.  Try to go to bed early (or at least on time) on Sunday nights.
  4. Monday motivations: Wake up early, and spend a few minutes reading, listening, or watching something that encourages and motivated you.  It might be the Bible (my first go to), it might be a podcast, it might be “I Love Lucy” reruns.
  5. Listen to music in the shower: Actually I recommend this everyday.  You can buy very inexpensive Bluetooth shower speakers.  I have multiple playlists on Spotify that work for just about any mood, including “Believe and Step Up” for when I need a confidence boost.
  6.  Create a weekly to-do list in order of priority: Do a personal list first before creating one for work – If you have it all written down regarding your personal list, it may give your brain more space to shift to work tasks.
  7.  Treat your body right:  If you’re regularly eating healthy and exercising, your body and brain will be healthier and much more able to take on stress.
  8. Learn to say NO: Learn not to overcommit to activities inside and outside the workplace.  A little more free time will make the weekends not seem like the only time you get to prioritize R&R.

Feel free to comment below with ideas that have worked for you!

A Place For You (Lent Bonus Post)

At church this morning, we sang a song I’ve heard what seems like hundred of times over the last few years.  A song with powerful lyrics – but those that I’ve sadly become numb to over time.  However today, one particular line of this song stuck out to me prominently.  It goes like this: “In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me…”

Why that line?  Why me?  Church is nothing new for me.  My whole life has been spent attending church, and Bible studies, and volunteering, and, and, and…BUT If I choose to be honest with you (all 5 of you that will read this) what I feel when I go to church lately has usually been a barrage of loneliness.  And often I let the loneliness win.

I can blame many factors for my loneliness – a tight knit church group from a few years ago whose fibers have started to slowly unravel due just to life happening and people moving on; to going to a new, larger, church but working too much in the past to really get involved and make the same connections.  Still, at the end of the day I know that I’m supposed to be in God’s house and that He always, always is with me.

I don’t know what the answer to the loneliness is quite yet, I just know God wants me in His house AND He wants you to know you are always welcome at church – no matter if you’re a seasoned Veteran, one who attends only Christmas or Easter, or you’ve never been.  Please let me know, because, at my Father’s house, there’s a place for you…right next to me.

Lent Post 4: (Un)Forgiveness

Unforgiveness can be a sneaky thing. It hides in the shadows of your heart. You might not even realize that you are treating someone with less kindness than normal. You may try to justify not helping someone in need, not realizing that the root of your lack of empathy is unforgiveness.

I recently realized that I had unforgiveness in my heart. I was holding on to negative feelings towards someone that I worked with. I was not acting mean or rude to the person, but my thoughts towards them were not always kind. It began when I had expectations that they would help me with a project, but they disappointed me. I did the project without them and everything turned out fine. I thought that I had just brushed it off, that the disappointment didn’t matter. But months later, when they were asking for volunteers to help them, I realized that I was not as eager as I normally am to help. I realized that I had not been very interested in how their life was going and had avoided engaging with them at work.

Since realizing this, I prayed for them and for me. I prayed that God would help me to see them the way that he sees them and that he would help me to get over the disappointment and forgive them. I started to make a conscious effort to talk to them more and think more positively about them. Things aren’t perfect, but I think our relationship is starting to grow. I don’t feel negative emotions when I see them anymore and I am glad when things go well in their life.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, he looked down at the people who had mocked him, whipped him, and nailed him to the cross. They were in the process of physically torturing him and gambling over who would get his clothes when he said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). It’s not like the soldiers torturing Jesus were asking for any forgiveness. They didn’t even believe that he was the son of God! Jesus didn’t wait until he had risen from the dead and come back in glorious splendor to forgive them. But Jesus forgave them while he was still in pain and while they were still in the midst of hurting him. It’s amazing that Jesus was able to forgive people as they were physically and verbally torturing him, while I had trouble forgiving someone months later for a such a small offense!

I think that God expects that kind of forgiveness from his children as well. He wants us to forgive people before they even ask for forgiveness. He wants us to forgive those who are still publicly shaming us. He wants us to forgive people while they’re bad-mouthing us on Facebook. He wants us to forgive people while our grief over what they’ve done is still fresh. He wants us to forgive them right after they did something behind our back. He wants us to forgive them when they are calling us names to our face. The bible says that “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15, emphasis added)

How on earth can any of us hope to have that kind of forgiveness? I think it comes from remembering what God has had to forgive us for. The times that we’ve lied, times that we stole, times that we were angry with God, the times we disobeyed our parents, the times that we treated others badly. None of us is perfect and if we can remember the times that we’ve made mistakes and sinned, that can help us to have empathy for the person who is also making a mistake and sinning against us. When forgiveness is hard, we can pray for God’s help. He wants us to forgive and is happy to help us when we ask for it.

Even if you don’t think that you’re holding unforgiveness against anyone right now, it might be hiding where you can’t see it. I would encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal any areas where you still might be holding on to unforgiveness. You might be surprised (as I was) by what turns up. I hope that you will be able to experience the freedom that I had when I finally found that area and was able to forgive.