Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Words Can Hurt

anguished soul.
 Photo Credit: kelsey_lovefusionphoto

Words were spoken, and they cut through me like a knife making a deep wound. The words made me feel small and worthless. I wanted to run from their sting, but no matter what I do they still echo through my head and the pain remains with me.
But through my pain, I got a good look at myself. The Holy Spirit has reminded of the times that I have been the one who carelessly spewed words never giving a second thought to their impact.
It saddens me to know that even one word that I have said has hurt someone and that they may still be carrying that pain with them. I may never know the damage my tongue has inflicted because the wounds from the tongue are hidden from the eye.

Once the damage is done it cannot be undone. The words forever echo in the victim's heart. It's hard to forget hurtful words; I know this all to well.
Words can hurt so use them with care.
Lord, I know I've been guilty of saying critical words and not giving thought to how my words affect those around me.  I don't want to be like this anymore. Remove these sins from me and forgive me. Help me to use my tongue to help others. I've seen what a careless tongue can do, and I've felt the damaging effects of it. Help me to be more mindful of my speech, to think before I talk and do everything I can to not to hurt another person with my tongue. I need your help with this and I'm asking that you put a guard over my mouth. Amen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Need Accountability

dog on treadmill Photo Credit: normanack

After a recent birthday and realizing I'm in the worst shape of my life, I decided two weeks ago to get fit once and for all. I mean I have tried to eating right and exercising in the past so many times that I've lost count.

My most recent attempt has resulted in me exercising 8 out of the last 14 days for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.  I think this is a good starting point.  As for nutrition, I have room to improve.

In the past two weeks, I have learned:
  • I have low expectations about what I am capable of, and as a result, I don't push myself. I can do a lot more physically than I think I can.
  • I'm prone to be an emotional eater. I need to process my emotions instead of trying to soothe myself with food.
  • I don't always listen to my body, and I eat too much, particularly at social gatherings.
  • I need accountability to be successful with my fitness plan. Even though it's only been two weeks, I can feel myself wanting to fall off the fitness wagon. I think I've failed with past attempts to get fit because I lacked accountability.
So, here's my game plan:
  • My goal is to exercise 30 minutes a day at least 5 times a week.
  • I'm going to journal my feelings to deal my emotional eating.
  • I'm going to eat slowly and resign from the "clean plate club" to avoid overeating.
  • I'm going to check in Count Me Accountable and with Stick With It Saturday to gain the accountability that I need.

How do you stay on track with your fitness goals? I would love to know your secret!

1000 Gifts - 720 to 741

3 gifts orange:
720.   Orange juice
721.   Carrots
722.   Cantaloupe

3 gifts funny:
723.   Sunday comics
724.   My niece being silly
725.   The hummingbirds in my backyard as the vie for a position on the birdfeeder

3 gifts from today's conversations:
726.   Opportunity to answer someone's questions
727.   Sharing details of my weekend with a co-worker
728.   Laughing with a friend

3 gifts found in Christ:
729.   Friendship with Jesus
730.   Reconciliation with God
731.   Hope for the future

A gift of peace:  a smile (#732)
A gift of hope:   a rainbow (#733)
A gift of love:    quality time with a loved one (#734)

Gifts of "ugly-beautiful": a sink full of dishes which means my family has been well fed and hydrated (#735), being stuck in traffic which means I have a car that's reliable transportation for me (#736), I know how to drive (#737) and I am able to drive myself where I need to go (#738)

3 gifts in what I read on Facebook:
739.   A friend's adult son being baptized
740.   A friend being released from the hospital after heart bypass surgery
741.   A friend's daughter reaching the milestone of 7 weeks old after the doctors didn't think she would survive delivery

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

End of Another Season

End of the line for dahlias
Photo Credit: Chris Waits

Jesus, help me at this time.
Give me the words to say. Help me speak in love and truth.

That's was my prayer before calling a respected friend, who I had been helping  prepare a book for publication. The project had evolved and extended beyond my initial expectations, and after several years I found myself convicted that my time of helping my friend needed to come to a close so I could turn my attention to other things.
It should have been an easy decision because God had said "Stop this and start that".  But I'm a people pleaser, and I was torn between not wanting to let my friend down and wanting to obey God. I knew that I couldn't do both.
There was nothing inherently wrong with helping my friend -- that's what friends do.  But the good work I was doing for my friend was keeping me from doing God's will. 
I come to accept that the season for helping my friend was over, even though the project had not been completed. That was hard for me to accept because I don't like to leave tasks unfinished or leave friends in a lurch. But I had to trust God that He would help my friend finish the book.
I also realized that I couldn't do everything -- help my friend and take care of the new responsibilities that had come into my life. By trying to do it all, I had lost my peace, and I wasn't able to give my best because I was stretched to my limits.
It was hard to tell my friend I could no longer help with the book, but God never said obedience would always be easy. Thankfully, God answered my prayer, and the peace that I was filled with after my conversation with my friend, knowing that I had done the right thing and that our friendship had been preserved, was priceless.

Linking with Into the Beautiful, What I Learned This Week and On Your Heart Tuesday.

Friday, October 05, 2012

How To Adjust Your Attitude

Photo Credit:  Anthony Kelly
Psalm 73 begins with Asaph lamenting about how the wicked are getting away with their evil deeds and feeling like his pursuit of righteousness is in vain.  The wicked are prospering while Asaph, who has diligently tried to do the right thing, feels like he is being punished.
(Can you relate to Asaph? I know I can!)
But something happens to Asaph, and this psalm ends with him affirming his trust in God and vowing to remain faithful to the Lord.  Asaph sees God as His refuge and is ready to tell others about Him.
How is it possible to go from having a pity party to praising God?
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
verses 16-17 (emphasis added)
The mental shift occurred within Asaph when he "entered the sanctuary of God". Some may think of the sanctuary only as an area of the church.  While this is true, we can find the sanctuary of God any time we draw near to God.

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, the veil was torn and praise the Lord, I can come to the throne of God anytime, anywhere.  This means I can enter the sanctuary of God in my car while singing a praise song, in the bathroom at work praying, and on my bed in the middle of the night meditating on Scripture.

And when I do -- when my focus shifts from me, my perspective and my feelings to the Sovereign Lord -- I am reminded that God's way are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts.  I can forget about the injustices that have been bothering me and remember that God is just and His judgment comes in His way and according to His perfect timing.  In the sanctuary of God, my heart can echo Asaph's words: "it is good to be near God" (verse 28a).

Being in the Lord's presence changes us. It gives us the attitude adjustment we need when our hearts are burdened and emotions are overwhelming us. But we have to decide to stop and give God our full attention so that He can renew our hearts and minds.



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