Monday, December 31, 2012

MS, Meet My Red High Heels

Hey MS, I want you to meet some folks. Meet my Red High Heels. You see them? They are going on my feet. They are going on my feet while I WALK out the door. They will stay on my feet as I WALK up and down stairs. Oh, and they will be doing that for a very long time. Just thought I would give you a heads up about that - in case you were getting any ideas about trying to get me into flats any time soon. Yeah....not happening. You see, these bad boys are my inspiration. These guys are a reminder to me that we are winning and you are not. Or rather, that HE is winning....

You see MS - I have another awesome friend, besides my Heels. They are just my posse. This guy, HE is incredible. HE is powerful. HE is mighty. HE is awesome. His name is Jesus, and He is using you to grow and stretch me. But you know what MS, He is healing me from you. That's right, you heard me, you... are... leaving.

Why are you leaving you ask? Well, first of all, we (Jesus and me) have too much to do, and you are just getting in the way. Or rather, you have served your purpose. Don't get me wrong, I have learned a lot from you. I have grown a lot because of you. But for right now, we don't need you. Personally, I don't want to see you come back. No offense. Second, Jesus is so incredibly awesome and talented and smart! You see, even though He allowed you to make an entrance into my life, He has also been showing me how to show you out the door - graciously.

MS - I know that this is difficult for you to take right now, so, I am going to go eat a huge salad while I wait for you to process this.....

Speaking of salad....yeah, salad has also joined my posse. And green juice. And avocado. And quinoa! Jesus has given me food for physical healing, worship and counsel for spiritual/emotional healing, and red heels for... Well, for fun and absolute joy;)

So MS - don't be too broke up about this. Because I am not upset at all. Me, I'm just stoked about this life with Jesus. I am on cloud nine that I get to live for Him. I am thrilled that I have been symptom free for 10 months. I am humbled, blessed and rejoicing over this gift of life that I have been given. This life that I get to truck on through in my red high heels!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


I am in the middle of reading an awesome book called, “Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life” by Emily Freeman. Because it resonates so strongly with me, I have to read it in stages. Today's chapter ended with this statement, “Jesus didn't value what people thought, He valued people.” Upon reading this phrase, I had to stop. And think about it. It really is true.... You never read about Jesus second guessing what He was called to do. Ever... Wow, to have such faith and belief in a true calling. 

Lately, I have posted a lot about people's opinions determining my decisions. I think I might be redundant to the point of annoyance... Nonetheless, I figure that I am not the only person to struggle with this, so I might as well share how Jesus and I are changing this habit. This is something that controlled most of my growing up, and if my being transparent can help someone else heal, we'll then, I will be redundant... For healing is powerful and restorative.

Growing up, I started to care what people thought of me as early as 7. I cared if they liked my hair, my clothes, my laugh, my stories, my personality, etc... I cared if I was apart if the “in” crowd (Which by the way, consisted of maybe 3 people). Then I started to care what people thought about my academic abilities. Then my musical talents. Then my spiritual accomplishments. And finally, my ranking as “one of the finest young ladies....” 

Now I would NEVER have defined myself as a prideful person. Mostly because I tried so hard to be humble. Humility is apparently the best quality to be acknowledged for possessing (How's that for an oxymoron?). But when I look back at all the ways through which I tried to gain acceptance, I realized it was ALL about works and tangible accomplishments. It was all about me...... but, I told myself that it was about Jesus. 

Since I know myself fairly well, I can say that some of it was about Jesus. I love HIM a lot! I wanted to please Him. However, I wasn't asking Jesus if I was pleasing Him. I was looking at other people who were “godly”, or “closer to God” than I thought myself to be. If I had their approval than I knew I was on the right track. Even when it felt weird. Even when it felt wrong. Even when I couldn't explain it for the life of me, I still followed in that vein of thinking.

Why? Well....there are a lot of reasons. Three reasons why I did it, and three reasons why I don't anymore. Oh, and they all start with “p”.... (I actually hate alliteration. It limits my creative flow, haha.But, for the sake of this post, I use my least favorite writing tool. For, I believe it makes a point. And it drives home a way of thinking I'm trying to change)

Why I Did:

  I became a people pleaser at a young age. Whatever kept the peace. Whatever made people happy and whatever made people like me. Or at least to is what I told myself. For example, if someone said that reading the Bible two hours everyday was a way to prove your dedication to God, then I would have tried it. Now, I would have failed, miserably. Why? Because I am human and Nancy Drew and playing outside are more appealing when you are eight. But here is where it was so unhealthy. If someone shared a presences like that and I could achieve it (which happened often by the way), I would spend days and weeks feeling guilty and less than acceptable because I couldn't reach someone else's guidelines for spiritual success.

  I especially followed preferences when they were argued upon with “principles”, Biblical principles. Because if someone could justify it, then I had a hard time arguing with it. Even when it seemed wrong and unhealthy, or just flat out didn't make sense. Because remember, I'm a people pleaser. And I please people with principles and preferences.

  And if preferences and principles were promoted by PEOPLE, well then I was headed on a downward spiral. Mainly because I wanted to fit in and be accepted so badly. I wanted to be wanted, and I had found an avenue through which I could do that and excel. At least that is what I told myself. I could follow rules, sort of. you see, I can ease myself into a mold for a short period of time. Then common sense and Jesus start to kick in and I start coloring outside of the lines, haha. I told myself that if I gained the approval and good will of certain people, then I could place myself on this personal scale of success. I could gage my growth and maturity. I could now ,for a fact, how well I was doing - especially spiritually. For with the acceptance and approval of man comes godliness, maturity and growth - right?

This way of living was exhausting. Emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. Now, the three “P”s are not of themselves bad, but if you are looking to anyone but Jesus for your ultimate guidance in these areas, then you are in for a life of confusion and disillusionment. I know this because I have experienced it. So, I will turn these three “P”s around to show you what Jesus has been showing me and teaching me about prioritizing. Or rather, re-prioritizing.

Why I Don't Anymore:

  I am to serve God rather than man - therefore, if I am looking to man’s preferences rather than God’s commandments, then I am not loving and serving my Jesus. Oh, and lets not forget that man looks on the outside while God looks on the heart. I am far from perfect and there is none righteous. So, with that being said, my preferences are the last ones that people need to be using as life guidelines. If I use other people to tell me if I am succeeding, what do I do when they change? Or when they are gone? Or when they have wrong motives? See the downside to this way of thinking?
  If you look up the word principle in the dictionary, you will find multiple definitions. The two that stood out to me are as follows:

A) “a rule or code of conduct”

B) ”a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption”

The first definition is the one I spent a majority of my life living by. Now, as I write this, I want to state that I am pointing no fingers. I am not blaming anyone for “making” me live this way. I am just relating the works and going on of my own spirit and mind. Jesus pointed out to me that I spent more time wondering what “Fill In Name” would think than I did actually being alone with Him, seeking what He wanted me to do. Which leads to the second definition. “Fundamental law and doctrine” is a key . For me, it no longer references man’s laws. A least not initially.  It is referencing Jesus’s law and doctrine. It references Who I need to be most concerned about being close to.

  Jesus’s main goal and purpose was PEOPLE. More often than not, we focus on the preferences and principles more than we do the people. Why is that? Well, I know that for me, it seemed far easier to follow tangible rules (because rules are concrete; concrete is safe;), rather than open myself up to the vulnerability of relationships and relating to people. This was skewed thinking. There is nothing more freeing than opening yourself up to the grace and liberty that is Jesus. I didn't say it wasn't scary, I just said it was freeing. It is freeing to realize that with Jesus by your side you don't need to worry. I didn't say it would be smooth sailing, I just said you don't need to worry about it. God’s got your back. Oh, and get this, He has your back and loves you even when it isn't reciprocated... You hear that? His love isn't conditional and He is NOT a respecter of persons!

Do I still have preferences? Sure, we all do. I hate wearing socks to bed and chewing with your mouth open is gross. But,just because I can justify my preferences, does NOT mean that it is “law” or that people “have” to follow them. Nor should they feel like they have to follow them in order to receive good will and love from me.

Do I live by principles? Yes, to a point... Laws and guidelines are great. They are even helpful and safe. But, when followed blindly or set up improperly, they can also enable you to be very rigid, locked and judgmental. And when you follow people instead of the Person, you open yourself up to a world of mess. because, you can’t please everyone all of the time. Personally, I’d rather be open to the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit. He's been around the block a few time, and I trust Him more than I trust human beings with motives.

Do I love people? Oh man, yes I do! People are frustrating, entertaining, difficult, wonderful and amazing creations of God! People make me smile, and people are a motivating factor for how I live my life. People are fun and bring joy to my life. But, people shouldn't flat out determine my life, no should I determine theirs. I am better than no one, and no one is better than I am. I am not judge and jury, nor am I responsible for everyone's actions. People don't determine my destiny, control my feelings or handle my outcomes. Unless I let them.... People just need love. People just need Jesus. People (speaking to myself here) need to know that Jesus and love are synonymous. And personally, I want people to see the love of Jesus shine through me every single day. 

I have yet to meet someone that felt the unconditional, sacrificial love of Jesus through a rigid set of principles and preferences set forth by people. But when we let Him flow freely through us.... That is where we see the greatest gain and the most incredible miracles. Because folks, it's not about us... And in my experience, all stringent rule setting does is give you a guideline to show others how awesome you are. How well you can conform. How dedicated you are. Historical religious leaders led strict lives of dedication to those rules, and Jesus told them they were focusing on the wrong things! When I get to Heaven, no one is going to care about how well I fit myself into a mold. No one. No is going to ask how well I pleased everyone else with my righteous living. I am just going to look into the face of my Jesus, and nothing else will matter. Even if I don't receive crowns or blessings - you hear that? - even if I don't receive a single crown, Jesus still wants me in Heaven with Him. Because He wants me more than anything. It's why He died. His unconditionally, all inclusive love enables Him to look past my failings and see something that He wants....

Liberty in Christ...... Safety in the knowledge than I can fully depend on Him.... Peace in knowing that He is the Way, the Truth Andy the Life... Joy in knowing that I am NEVER alone....