Thankful Thursday: Progress

How many of you are paralyzed by perfection?  The perfect weight?  The perfect size? The perfect business?  The perfect house?  Being the perfect mom?  I have been there and some days still am….Perfection is all about playing the comparison game thinking of what we “should be” instead of focusing on the positives of who we are….

As I walk through recover this time, I am AGAIN learning it is progress not perfection which makes us better.  Here is a post I saw which made me realize on most days despite my best efforts, I am “stuck” worrying about perfection….

I would tell you I wasn’t staring at him, but I’d be lying. He immediately caught my attention as he wheeled himself down the aisle. Stopping beside me, he said, “Hello.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  He lifted himself up in his wheelchair. Unabashed, he balanced on his knees where his lower legs used to be. Unable to move, I watched him stretch, reaching for something on the store’s upper shelf.

What if he fell?

He wobbled as he grabbed his item, and then sat back down in his chair. Before I could offer to help, he’d completed his task. He nodded at me and continued his shopping.  I stood there immobilized by my thoughts. What empowered him to be so, whole?  His exterior shell broken, but inside—something beautifully different.

WOW!  This made me realize how crippled I am on a daily basis.  I battle the inner gremlins of perfection which are often paired with the comparison game gremlins.  Yes, they love to tag team me until I am left battered and bruised.  On the inside I’m left feeling less than while on the outside, things look great.  Check out some milestones in my life….

  • 16 months in recovery after a relapse
  • Maintaining a 100+ pound weight loss
  • Doing what I love ever day in my own business
  • MS does not define in
  • A loving husband and supportive family

I don’t say these to brag but so I can appreciate the journey I am on to become a better me every da.  The list could probably be longer but the gremlins start to rear their heads when I think about the positives in my life. They want me to stay stuck in the negatives.  The addictive thinking which kept me feeling less than everyone else.  What about you, what are some major milestones in your life?  Do you focus on them or do you focus on your failed attempts?

Does your idea of perfection cripple you into believing everything you do has to be impeccable?  Does your worth ride on your success?  Think about the gentleman described above…. He elevated his viewpoint, lived outside the lines, and appeared content—all signs of living imperfectly.  Definitely not someone who is handicapped, right?

Here are three ways to become unparalyzed by perfection:

#1 Straighten Up

Believe it or not, standing up straight and changing our body alignment, can make a difference.  How often when we fail at perfectionism do we feel unworthy? As a result, we walk hunched over or eyes cast to the ground, not enjoying the world around us.  Why not practice your “supergirl pose”?  It is time to  change your perspective.  Maybe it is with positive mantras to change your mindset, Maybe it is  seeking your Higher Power. Maybe it is blessing and releasing those fears.  Whatever it is get busy!

#2 Live Outside the Lines

You are NOW standing up straight, so let’s step out of your comfort zone — live outside the lines. This can be tough especially when those gremlins are in the midst of a battle.  It doesn’t have to be something HUGE, just something simple.  How about:

~Driving with the windows down and let your hair get incredibly messy.  Toss the hair tie which will keep your hair neat.

~Get a cake and take a spoonful right from the center. Go ahead, eat from the middle.

~Color outside the lines in a coloring book—make the tree trunk bright orange, the leaves purple, and paint the sky green instead of blue.

“You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make it…”      Albert Einstein 

Just do something to push yourself outside the lines of perfection which keep you restrained.

#3 Love your life

Make the decision to love your life.  Despite the challenges you may have, proclaim contentment.  Remember the man I shared the story about, despite being a differently-abled person, he oozed contentment, even though he had every right to feel otherwise. You could tell he made a choice to love his life.

Perfection doesn’t validate us, it makes us invalid.

Will you challenge yourself in a new way?  Will you claim to love your life so you are unconfined from the handicap of perfectionism?  Share your story with us.

Have a blessed day!

 

How to Make a Gallery Wall

If your walls could talk, what stories would they tell? For some, like me, that would be a scary thought.  LOL.

For many of us, we would like them to simply share our milestones, memories and mottos, right?  I created one of these one our walls of our wedding pictures – some of the family who are in the pictures are no longer with us so it has great memories BUT is definitely doesn’t tell the whole story.  I am hoping to add some memories to it by using some of these tips.   Whether it’s in your kitchen, above your couch or along your staircase, choosing unique pieces is the key to making your display so special.

Here are some GREAT tips for adding one-of-a-kind elements to more traditional framed photographs and oversized initials – all to help you create something truly personalized.

1. Game boards & pieces

What was your favorite childhood sport to play? Which board games does your family reach for over and over on rainy evenings? Your local Goodwill or thrift store is a great place to score retro board games and sports equipment you can use to add character to your gallery wall or shelves. (That broken-in, well-loved look actually boosts the cool factor!)

2. Vintage numbers

Whether they’re antique license plates, framed playing cards, tin stencils or old scoreboard tags, vintage numerals are a fun way to express a number that holds a story or memory for your family. Do a quick online search or browse flea markets, yard sales and antique shops for the digits of your address, anniversary or favorite Bible verse.

3. Flowers & wreaths

Add a sweet touch to the gallery wall in a nursery, craft space, laundry room or even your front porch with an arrangement of dried flowers or an artificial wreath. Check your local craft store for oversized fabric blossoms to match your décor, swap in a seasonal sprig for a traditional frame, or create a cute wreath with fabric scraps – we tried this easy-to-make one from Kelly at Typically Simple. And faux greenery looks great mixed with antique window panes and grapevine wreaths arranged on an outdoor wall to welcome guests.

4. Quotes on canvas

Share the special names, dates and words in your life with customized Statement Canvas Wall Art. Scour a social site like Pinterest® for cute quote ideas, then choose from a variety of sizes and printed designs, including white text on black canvas, your choice of 16 colors on natural canvas and even your personal photos! Have a budding artist in the family? Scan your kids’ original artwork and have it printed on one of our durable canvases.

5. Shadowboxes

These deep-set frames are built to hold dimensional keepsakes and, depending on their size, the options are practically limitless. Highlight a single object like a sculpted key or bridal bouquet. Simply fill one with wine corks, seashells, fabric flowers, bottle caps or Christmas tree bulbs. Or adhere some items to the back, layering pieces over each other to add visual interest – think baby shoes, blocks and photos; use wooden letter game tiles to spell out names or places; arrange keys, ticket stubs, medals or pressed flowers; or design your own artwork out of buttons or plastic building blocks – even crayons! (Jamie at The Trendy Treehouse offers step-by-step instructions for putting together your own crayon letter shadowbox.)

6. Photo tag galleries

Turn moments to remember into personalized keepsakes to treasure with Thirty-One’s Close to Home™ Collection. We make it simple to tell your family’s story on your gallery wall with pieces like our Close to Home™ Table Gallery and 9″ Close to Home™ Round Frame, both available in Natural or Grey Wash Wood. It’s easy to switch out the keepsake-quality iron Photo Inserts for the season and to commemorate trips and events as your family grows. Remember to personalize the wood frame with your family name, saying or special date in your favorite laser-etched design.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget the sofa underneath!

Fluff up a few perfectly personalized Statement Canvas Pillows in black and natural – choose an embroidered monogram, printed design or your own family photos to continue your theme even below your gallery wall. Toss a cozy Super Soft Blanket over one arm of the sofa, and you’ll be ready to hibernate all winter!

Share your gallery wall with us….. Have a blessed day!

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

red hairy alien

Thank you  Melissa Spoelstra for today’s message.

“Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.” Psalm 119:29

As I’m processing a recent conflict with a family member, I’m trying to sort out the fact and fiction in my own head. I usually feel like my truth is the truth, but I know my tendency to equate my perspective with truth is shortsighted. In my daily Bible reading, I just happened to encounter the verse in Today’s Truth, or more likely God sovereignly had it before my eyes right when I would need it!
In this verse, the psalmist prayed that God would help him not to lie to himself. I know I need to pray this type of prayer on a regular basis. Whether I’m justifying myself in a parenting decision, making judgments about others’ choices, or working through a relational conflict, I know I’m biased. I tend to think of each situation based on my perceptions of others’ actions, words, and attitudes. I have one side of the story and it is mine. How about you? Have you noticed that we can all tell ourselves lies at times and not even realize it?

Culture is sending us messages that stand in contrast to the teachings of Jesus. He said to seek purity, forgive, and serve. The world celebrates scandal, revenge, and being served. If I don’t ask God to help me live in truth, I can easily find wrong thinking creeping into my head. The danger comes when we tell lies about ourselves, it can lead us to tell lies about God. I can also lose the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. These are some pretty heavy consequences. So what can we do?

This verse gives us two practical helps when it comes to lying to ourselves:
Admit it. The psalmist knew it was a tendency so he implored God to help him. In the same way, we can confess that we don’t have the corner on truth. In his letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul talked about spiritual pride and then remarked, “My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.” (1 Corinthians 4:4) In the same way, Jesus taught that we should be careful of making surface conclusions. He said, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” (John 7:24) So we begin by admitting that we might be lying to ourselves. We need God’s help to see situations clearly.

Pray specifically about lying to ourselves. The book of Psalms is a prayer book. In it we read personal pleas for help. In the same way, we can cry out to the Lord asking Him to keep us from lying to ourselves.

Study God’s Instructions. After the psalmist asks God to keep him from lying to himself, he then says, “give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.” Knowing God’s Word can help us speak truth to ourselves. The more we press into the Bible by reading, studying, and memorizing it, the more we align ourselves with truth. This can expose any lies we’ve been telling ourselves about what we deserve or how our poor reactions were justified. God’s Word lays us bare. 2 Timothy 3:16 describes it this way, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” The privilege of knowing God’s instructions helps us to realize what is wrong including the lies we tell ourselves.

I’m not sure what conversations you’ve been having with yourself lately, but I wonder if like me you sometimes confuse your truth with the truth as you process life. Our perspectives matter, but we need God’s help to be sure we aren’t lying to ourselves

Have a blessed day!

Grace for the Imperfect

Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message:

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many ~ Hebrews 12:15, NIV.

It wasn’t a major thing she did to make me upset. It was many minor things over many days. For instance, I shared a joy I was thrilled about, but she changed the subject. I sent her texts of love from the bottom of my heart, and she was either slow to respond, or didn’t respond at all. I showed love, but she didn’t invite me to things other friends were invited to.

Inside, I was ready to write her off.

I’ve invested so much, butI am done with her.

Consciously and decisively, I created distance when we were together: talking to her less, giving her short answers, avoiding eye contact, and paying attention to others more.

But at home, I felt convicted. What is true love if it is dependent on another woman’s response?

I’d looked to her response to define my worth. But in reality, my love isn’t unto her – it is unto Christ. I’d lost perspective.

Worst of all, I’d allowed something horrible to grow within me. . .

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 12:15, NIV).

A bitter root was forming.

Do you have a bitter root forming within? Toward a co-worker? A husband? A friend? A child?

There are 3 ways to pull out bad roots:

1. Forgive.

Christ forgave us when we were still sinners. Likewise, we forgive others while they are still imperfect. This doesn’t negate or defend bad actions, but it frees us from carrying the weight of them.

2. Extend grace.

We can extend to others the very grace we could only hope to receive on our worst day.

No one is perfect. We all are growing. We hit busy seasons. Tough seasons. Rough seasons. Pain. Trials. Tribulations. Huge mistakes.

Christ-like love bears each other’s weaknesses, so as to carry the other person’s cross, even if only for a bit. This kind of love changes relationships, brings back marriages and restores what has been lost. It resurrects.

3. Receive grace.

Undoubtedly, I had eyes for myself in this situation. There was more to this woman’s responses. I could either beat myself up for what I’d done wrong or receive the grace Jesus paid for. The first option would keep me stuck in perpetual self-harm, but the other would set me free.

You too can let yourself off the hook, because Christ is not condemning you. The second you confess, you are blessed by His grace.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: My Story

Today I am thankful for my story….

There was a time when I was Negative Nellie, looking at my past and not liking myself very much.  I’m sure I am not alone, right? My story is a bit messy – addiction, relapse, recovery, and a whole lot in between but it is the story which made me the person I am today.  There are days when I don’t like the way I look or sit on the “pity pot” because of circumstances BUT for today, I am grateful for all of these things.  I am even learning to like myself, a little bit at a time.

I recently re-read a blog post by LYSA TERKEURST entitled “Learn to Love Your Story“.  It is helping me to change my perspective every day but especially on those days when Negative Nellie comes for a visit.

She talks about loving your story – your life – being content in the moment and enjoying it! WOW!  This week has been an emotional roller coaster and I am not sure I even know why.  No major fiascos, no crisis – just little hiccups which quickly sent me on a road less traveled (okay so maybe it is traveled a little bit more than I want it to be).

It is strange but I can almost tell when I wake up, if I am going to love my story day.  Crazy, right?  Hubby always ask for a warning or a text alert message.  Thankfully, I am starting to share how I feel without getting snarky.  On those days I  STOP, take a breathe and regroup.  Praising and thanking God for my life… my story.  See I forget sometimes.  My life may not be a story book or full of lots of happy endings but it is MY story.  It is the life he gave to me.

Hubby and I were talking the other day about just this thing.  We were reminiscing about days gone by.  I have no regrets nor does he because it is because of those things we are blessed to be in each other’s lives today.  We had our struggles.  We had our heartache.  We had our joys.  Life wasn’t perfect but we got through it to get us where we are today.  The struggles still come but now we try to look at the differently – together.  I’m learning this time around in recovery, marriage is a joint effort and I don’t have to carry things all on my own.

Lysa talked about “pre-deciding” to LOVE her story.  NOTE to self: change my point of reference BEFORE the day begins.  Stop thinking about the “what if” and “predicting” what may happen in any given situation.

I decided I would look at it all through the lens of noticing the rich evidence of life through each mess and mishap.

Did I do it all perfectly? Nope, not at all.

But even if we choose to be noticers with thankful hearts just once today, we’ll start to look at our stories in a different way.

A more beautiful way.

So I whispered, “Notice. Be a noticer. See all the fun represented here and thank God for these moments.”  Noticers see the lovely in front of them and learn to love their story.

What might happen if you pre-determined to look through the lens of lovely today?

Thank you Lysa for reminding me to look through the “lens of lovely” today.

Have a blessed day!