When It Never Feels Like Enough

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message:

As I stand in the middle of Sur La Table, my favorite kitchen store, I pass over the cookware and utensils that beckon me (I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets.) and head straight for the cookbook I came to get. It’s my stepson’s birthday. Jeremy is a talented chef and I know that the new Alton Brown cookbook will be exactly what he wants.

But then, right there in the middle of the store, I start to panic. Will it be enough?

Will it be enough to show Jeremy how much we love him? Step-relationships can be tricky, and I want to make sure that Jeremy knows he is a priority for me. Will this cookbook, along with the party and the other gift, be enough for him? I start to doubt myself and the book I hold in my hand. So, I start marching around the store, throwing utensils and towels into my basket so that I can make sure the gift looks like enough.

This has been a common theme throughout my life—feeling like not enough. And when I’m feeling like I’m not enough, I hustle by doing more, buying more and trying to be more than I am to make up for my lack of “enough.”

But hustle is the world’s answer to fear: work harder, do more, buy more and you will feel okay.

God’s answer to fear is dramatically different: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV) God wants us to reject what the world thinks—that hustle is what will get us peace—and instead renew our minds. God knows that the world’s pattern will never lead to peace, only the radical, counter-cultural act of replacing our worldly thoughts with His thoughts.

So, when the ugly, broken thoughts of being not enough start to invade my thinking (and my shopping cart) I need to break those patterns of thinking and replace them with these truths:

· The goal of giving gifts is celebrating the person, not building the relationship.

· It is presence, not presents, that builds relationships.

· I will never become more by buying more.

· God has promised He will provide everything I need. I don’t have to hustle when I’m in God’s perfect plan.

God says we are already enough, not because of who we are but because of who He is.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Does Your Dream and Faith Go Together?

Many DREAM BIG!  For some it may be their own home, others it is retirement, maybe it is owning your own business or traveling the world. For some, they don’t know how to dream. I know it may sound crazy but I was one of those people (and some days still am).  The struggles of life get in the way and you begin to limit your dreams.  Or, maybe you don’t dream at all because you can’t see the forest for all of the trees.A DREAM is defined as “contemplating the possibility of doing something”.  Being able to envision it is the first step.  I DREAM BIG (most days) in my business and my personal life but I have to admit it is with hesitation.  No hate mail, please.  I second guess things all the time which leads me to FAITH.  FAITH is believing in things you can not see.  I know I have talked about this before but I think this is a new take on an old theme.

Some days, do you feel like you are a hamster on a wheel?  Running and running, doing the same thing day after day, the same way – expecting different results.  We dream of how we would like things to be but we continue to do things the same way – getting the same results and only occasionally reaching our DREAMS!  God (or your Higher Power) has dreams for us – he has a plan and despite our best efforts to do things our way, he will prevail.  Honestly, I am not sure what direction this blog is taking but I am hoping it touches someone’s heart.

For years, my professional (business) DREAM has been to mentor women connecting them with the resources necessary to help them reach their personal, professional and financial goals.  When I look back on my professional career, there are times I feel like I have reached my dream.  When I was at South Jersey AIDS Alliance, I worked with women helping them through the struggles of living life with their HIV status while raising their kids.  When I was at Bethel, working with an underserved populations, it was a little tougher but we were able to help many women grow and prosper in the community.  When I started my Thirty One business, and my blog, I wondered if the dream had changed or was there just another path for it to take?

Health struggles created fear and doubt in me – more than the usual. I am blessed to be a part of leadership with Thirty One.  Another opportunity to work with women and DREAM BIG. My definition of mentoring has changed slightly.  It has become more about inspiring others to dream, helping to build their confidence, setting goals (large or small) and then reaching for them.

The truth is dreaming with a lack of Faith is not a good combination.  I dream but those inner gremlins like to test my faith.  Dreaming combined with Faith will allow you to reach those dreams.  I am not saying there won’t be struggles along the way but those struggles are blessings in disguise helping you to reach your dream.  I tell my team all of the time “I believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself”.  Why is it so easy to believe and encourage others yet we find it so hard to do ourselves (or at least I do)?I am dreaming BIG but my Faith gets a little shaky.  I have heard if you CLAIM IT, it will be yours.  Do you struggle with this concept?  Do you feel like you “don’t deserve the dream”?  As I get ready for the next hurdle in my MS journey, I wonder where my dream will go.  

Do you have dreams?  Is your FAITH strong enough to help you reach those dreams?  TRUST and BELIEVE God’s plan will help you reach your DREAM as long as you have FAITH in what you can not see.

I hope this was blog strikes a nerve with someone and has helped you.  As for me, I am continuing to DREAM BIG, those Super Size DREAMS where my FAITH stands firm in God’s promise.

Any good words of wisdom on how to get off the hamster wheel and lean on FAITH to reach my DREAMS?

faith

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

As a Child in the Presence of a Loving Father

Today we lay my dad to rest.  We will gather together as a family to say good-by again as your ashes are buried.  I can’t believe it has been almost seven months since I heard your voice.  I know you are near every time I hear talk about the “aliens”.  Miss you dad….

Thank you Michele Cushatt for today’s message.

The second the bus stopped at the corner, my little girl climbed off and ran as fast as she could toward where I stood.
Something wasn’t right. She was crying.
Immediately my mind jumped to worst-case scenarios.

Not quite so dramatic, someone told her they didn’t like her anymore. In typical grade-school fashion, the mood of the relationship had turned sour on the playground. As a result, my girl fell out of the other girl’s affection.

There on the street corner, I held her close while she cried. I was glad she told me. But what made me most proud is what she said next: “When we get home, can we cuddle?”

For years I’ve been working with my girl to learn how to ask for what she needs. It’s hard for her, tough girl that she is. Typically she either guts it out or reverts to theatrics. Instead, we’ve discussed how to use words to communicate needs.

That day, on the street corner, she did just that.

If only I could learn to do the same.

Most days I’m glad to be an adult. I mean, really. Who wants to travel back to the days of diapers or pimples?

When I’m hurt or discouraged or afraid, however, my adult skin wears thin.

When bills demand paying and parenting proves impossible. When marriage is hard, friendships struggle, and doctor’s appointments fill a calendar.

Then I wish to travel back in time, when a girl’s greatest fears could be soothed in a mama’s arms. Held close, all was well. To a child, there’s nothing greater than a parent’s ability to comfort.

But comfort doesn’t come so easily to us grownups.

Where do you and I go when relationships wound and the injustice of life stings?

We adults carry such responsibility, don’t we? Such blunt knowledge of the unfairness and volatility of this life. Even if we avoid news and media, fear and pain still have a way of finding us. We can’t escape them.

Ourselves, more often than not. We either erect a false front of strength or cave in to a pattern of complaining. But neither brings much relief.

There’s a better way.

The Bible is rich with examples of men who voiced their needs and asked God for His comfort.

Even better, the Bible nearly explodes with examples of God’s corresponding tireless affection. At times He comforted those He loved through their circumstances, and other times He comforted them in their circumstances:

– To the leader Joshua, overwhelmed by his new task: “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Josh. 1:9).

– To the Israelites enslaved by ruthless Egyptians: “I am concerned about their suffering” (Ex. 3:7).

– To the widow who’d lost her only son: “Don’t cry” (Luke7:13).

– To the adulteress caught in her shameful sin: “Neither do I 
condemn you” (John 8:11).

– To the blind man longing to see: “Receive your sight; your faithhas healed you” (Luke 18:42).

– To the disciples, who ached because their friend would be leaving them, Jesus said: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

– And to those of us who wade through the deep waters of this modern life, longing for a world we’ve heard about but have not yet seen, Jesus promises: “I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

Regardless of your pain—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual— you don’t have to pretend to be strong, nor do you need to succumb to your tears. Become a child in the presence of a comforting Father.

Don’t be afraid to expose your need and ask God for comfort.

Then, count on Him to deliver.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Saturday Spotlight: Angel of the Word

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Today’s Saturday Spotlight is on a local business run by a friend of mine, Cress.  I bought one of these as a gift for my mom for Christmas.  She loved it and everyone she showed it to thought it was AWESOME.  Not the usual “trinket” but something which conveys a special message to the one receiving the gift.

“Angel of the Word” is made of recycled prayer books and stands approximately 10 inches high.  They are the perfect gift for those “special celebrations” as well as an “every day” gift to let someone know that you care.  Here is information direct from their website:

Unique Gifts are Memorable…
The creation of our “Angel of The Word” figurines was inspired by the desire to re-purpose the beautiful Magnificat monthly prayer books once they became outdated. I felt they were too special to be thrown away…and in sharing this Angel with others, I have found that I was not alone in how I felt…as it was not long before I became the recipient of these recycled prayer books via the thoughtful donations of those who desired to see more angels this side of Heaven.

The original “Angel of The Word” was created for family and friends as Christmas gifts in 2011. My husband suggested the verse: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us…”

Only in late September of this year, was I prompted to make more of these angels…and the greetings / verses have grown in number and, as with God’s Word, the possibilities are endless.

Stop by her website and check it out.  Don’t see a message you would like, let her know.  She is AWESOME at finding things to fit your special need.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Stop Doubting Your Value

 

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message:

I may look confident and put together on the outside (when I’m not in my yoga pants and a ponytail) but on the inside I often wander back to that little girl who questions her value and wants to make a difference.

There are lots of ways this inner struggle presents itself in me …

I tether my value to how I look.
I tether my value to how my jeans fit.
I tether my value to how I perform.
I want my husband and kids to love me perfectly,
even though they can’t.
I want to love others perfectly, but I don’t, so I 
juggle guilt like a hot potato.
I get distracted and waste time, so I feel unproductive.
I want to make a difference, but I try to do too
 much.

The Bible showcases a perfection that I implement pathetically. Like that love chapter in 1 Corinthians that most of us had read at our weddings. Verses like “love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way” (13:4–5 ESV). Wait, what? Geez! The way I love doesn’t even come close to this list! And then the big left hook smacks me hard: “Love never fails” (v. 8).

The magnitude of God’s perfect love is epic. The magnitude of my love is minuscule.

I try to be patient. I try to be kind. I try not to envy or boast. All of it. But my efforts are less than. I stub my toe on my ego all the time. I get edgy and loud. I insist on my own way. And then I beat myself up!

If I were a better mom, I would’ve ____.

If I were a better friend, I would _____.

If I were in better shape, then maybe _____.

If I were more talented, I would be able to _____.

And because I’m not content with my own body, my own behaviors, and my own abilities, I struggle to see how a perfect God can look past my brokenness. I know in my heart that He loves me, but I sometimes struggle to accept that He likes me, because sometimes I don’t even like myself.

These doubts and insecurities cause me to question my value and my ability to make a difference. They cause me to feel insignificant. Invisible and ineffective.

Yet I know that the Bible says the opposite. And because of this, I’m reminded to, instead, tether my value to truths like these:

I was created in the image of God.
I am sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus loved me so much that He endured a horrific death so I could be saved.
These truths matter. And because they matter, they confirm to me that I matter. And they confirm that you matter too.

Don’t think for one little minute that I don’t sense you bristling up. It’s what we girls do when the spotlight of attention is shined on our significance. We shy away. Throw our hands up to shield the light. Contest with our best excuses …

Some of us contend, “I’m really nothing special. That word valuable makes me nervous. My life is less than. Average at best. Mac and cheese is my jam. I drive a minivan, wear ponytails, use off-brand detergent, and live paycheck to paycheck. Where is the value in that?”

Others of us contend, “I cannot believe you’re going to go there! Did you not read my bumper sticker and T-shirt? I am nothing. Jesus is everything. Hide me in the cross and stop trying to make me feel special. Slap! Slap! Slap! Shame on you for even bringing up such a topic of the flesh!”

Some of us acquiesce: “Okay. Let’s talk. I know in my mind that I’m precious to Jesus, but that often gets lost in translation on its way to my heart. Yes. Let’s have this conversation. I want everything God has for me, and I’m ready to move forward as a woman of greater impact.”

Wherever you find yourself in these responses, my prayer is that you will join our last friend with an expectant and curious heart. With a heart that is ready to move forward in the truth of your significance so that you can live out the purpose for which you were created.