Worth the Risk

I perform a test that requires my patients sign a consent form. In order to walk the treadmill, they must be willing to assume the risk.

They might fall, they might have a heart attack, they might die for pete’s sake. It’s right there on the consent form. Still, in eighteen years of doing what I do, I’ve never had anyone refuse to sign. I’ve had some refuse to pay or refuse the test for different reasons, but never because of the consent. That means that they are willing to assume the risk to get the answers they are there to receive. Peace of mind is worth it. It would be for me too. They want to know if their hearts are all right.

Truth is, they could also suffer any of these effects walking up stairs or to their car or in the mall. If I was going to have a heart attack doing any of these, I’d much rather it be in a doctor’s office…

What are you willing to try, even if it kills you (fails)? We drive every day, we fly often, we get on boats and rollercoasters. Most of us have gone swimming in the ocean and dove head first into a pool. Somewhere this has killed others, yet we still do it. We don’t want to live in fear. Life is made to enjoy. But still…

How about attempting a new friendship, or revisiting an old one, getting married again, going back to school, applying for a better job, writing the book, or starting that business? Are we willing, even if it fails?

Many people are encouraged to write in a journal to help them sort out their feelings. And, it does…But, how much more does it help for a brave soul to share theirs? Maybe they are feeling the exact same thing. Knowing you aren’t alone could help even more, but someone has to be willing to share. Risk.

Just like you have to play the lottery to win, you have to try, to succeed…Failure doesn’t mean it will never come. And, never trying could lead to the most regret.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

What’s worth the risk to you?

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You be You

you be you

Do you struggle with feeling like you’re too much or not enough? I sure do. Do I post too much? Do I write too much? Do I share too much? Do I care too much? Then, I think of what Jesus did for me and instead of reassurance, I’ll feel like I don’t do enough. I should share Him more. I should write more. I should reach out more. I should take more pictures. I should share more pictures. I could never care enough. I should visit my friends more. I should love more.

This “not enough/too much” syndrome is a silent peace stealer. It, once again, does all it can to steal our joy, kill our enthusiasm, and destroy our hope. Today, remind yourself who and Whose you are. Be thankful for who God made you to be. Be proud of how far you’ve come. Be grateful for who God has blessed you with. Be amazed by who Jesus is and what He’s done for you. And, rest in His love for you.

Let your joy come from Jesus, a place of unending, unfailing, unchanging love. Soak yourself in it and love others with it. Only when we feel it, can we share it. I’ve come to realize that I may not always feel peaceful, but I can still have peace in the truth that Jesus is with me. He sees me. He knows me. And, He will never leave me. There is peace to this truth. This truth may not always come with a warm fuzzy feeling, but the peace is in the truth. The faith that I have in Him.

When the enemy knocks on the door of your heart and tells you that you are not enough or too much just by being you, shut him down. Know that you are not alone. David struggled too with “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23 and praise Him “because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well“. Psalm 139:14. He may not have felt it, but He knew it.

We don’t always feel the love from those who love us. There are many times I don’t “feel” the love from my kids. Same goes for friends and family, but I trust that it’s there. I KNOW they love me. Sometimes, we just need to know. Same goes with the love of God, there are times I may not feel it and there are times I feel it so strongly that I’m high and euphoric from it. As fabulous as the highs are, the lows are when we need to know it. And, that takes faith. I thank God that mine has strengthened. He is with me in the highs and the lows.

We are all made differently. We have different gifts, preferences, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. We all need a Savior. We all need love. Celebrate with those who love you for you and guard your heart from those who don’t. We are ALL precious in His sight.

 

 

Out With the Old…

out with the old

…..and in with the new. The new year is fast approaching and it always feels like a fresh slate. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned this past year. Each experience and leap of faith has strengthened me and reined in my focus. The holidays this year were tough for me. Just emotional. I cried tears of joy, sadness, sentiment….all true. There is truth in tears. I came to the conclusion that the heaping dose of emotion was because Christmas highlights families. When our families are broken in any way and most of ours are either by death, divorce, or estrangement, the feelings associated with the brokenness are also highlighted. God’s design was for us all to be together in peace, harmony, and love. When this isn’t the case, our souls understandably grieve.

The more we love, the more we grieve the loss of love. I found myself leaning on the Everlasting Arms more than ever and asking for a real life squeeze. I also found myself relishing in my blessings more than I had before. Getting emotional over my girls getting older and their Christmas lists changing…I found myself in tears over the birth of Jesus and wondering what more I could give to Him and others because of His gift. I know Jesus rescued me. He’s been with me every day whether I’ve felt it or not. In the physical loneliness, He is still there. Protecting me. All this I know in my brain. At certain times, like the holidays, our hearts are harder to convince. And, He knows that. He’s still there.

I’ve spoken to several friends who were also struggling or know someone who is during this season. The compassion and stories we shared, felt like a special gift. Coming together, relating, listening, and welcoming honesty is so healing. Having a safe place to share our feelings is priceless. Because we all have them. Our feelings make us human, our actions show our strength.

Take your feelings to God first. Get them out and be honest with Him. I’m so thankful that He welcomes our neediness. He craves it. Needing Him is how He created us. He longs to comfort and fulfill us. This is also His design. Then, cherish the friends you can share and be honest with. Cherish the ones who love you on your worst days. Cherish the friends who pray for you, cry with you, send you scriptures, and point you to the Jesus. They truly love you and want to spend eternity with you. We usually can’t fix each other’s deepest issues, but we can point each other to the One who can.

Regardless of our relationship status, we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only He can fill. OUT with the old ways of trying to fill it, mask it, cover it, or deny it. And IN with the only way to live and love in this broken world….and that is with the love and strength of Jesus. Living in His strength all things ARE possible. Family members can reunite, siblings can bury the hatchet, new families can form, and healing can take place. A fresh slate is a beautiful thing and heaven is on the horizon. In with the new…

He did WHAT?!?!

anger

Have you heard the saying “Anger is hurt’s bodyguard”? I have no doubt that is true. Every time I feel anger bubbling up inside of me, if I take the time to look deeper, I can see it’s from some sort of pain that I’m trying to avoid or I’m tired of feeling. Target that pain and figure out what hurts. It could be betrayal, rejection, shock, confusion….ANGER. Boiling red hot anger is the result.

Jesus got downright angry when He witnessed people using the temple as practically a flea market. He threw tables over, He got red in the face, He raised His voice. “My house will be called a ‘house of prayer’, but you’re turning it into a gathering place for thieves!” — Matthew 21:13 GW. His anger was fueled by blatant disrespect. Can we stand up for each other? Can we stand up for God? Can we stand up for ourselves? Can we get angry about what counts and make a GOOD impact? Absolutely.

Next time anger boils to the surface, take the time to figure out where it truly stems from and how to deal with it appropriately. Are you angry over the disrespect of a person? Over being disrespected yourself? Over being cut off in traffic? Over computer issues? Anger isn’t necessarily a bad emotion. It does mean something is “wrong”. Something is “off”. Just take the time to analyze what you are angry about and why BEFORE acting. That’s the tough part! Our human natures kick in and we want to respond IMMEDIATELY. In some cases, like a child in imminent danger, there is cause to act out immediately.

But, MOST of the time, we get angry because we are hurt. We get rejected. We feel “less than”. We feel misunderstood. We assume the worst. Someone we love gets treated poorly. We FEEL. We are human beings and we were created to have feelings. Our feelings do matter, they shouldn’t be minimized, and we do have the right to speak up. But, our feelings should be assessed before acting on them. What’s going on here? Why am I SO angry?? How dare they? How dare I?

Anger is a normal human emotion. It comes and goes more than I’d like. But, how I act when I’m angry is what can leave a much bigger imprint than the feeling itself. Honestly, “counting to ten” doesn’t always help me, but breathing and praying DOES. Just breathe. Just pray. Take your time. Then….move forward. If something can be changed, do what you can to change it. If it can’t be changed, do what you need to do to accept it and keep going. Keep loving, forgive yourself, forgive others, and move forward in grace and mercy.

We are not alone in our emotions. We are ALL in this together. Anger is a passionate emotion and can easily lead to danger. Let’s use it to passionately propel us in a positive direction.