Amazing Grace…..

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see

Even in paradise, God has revealed to me what a wretched soul I am. He has reminded me that it’s only through His grace that I am set free.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve struggled with reality that life simply is not fair. It’s what I call “the red-headed step-child syndrome.”

It began with Lisa and her pink canopy bed. That was a defining moment for me. I wondered what Lisa did to get such a beautiful bed in her very own room. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was because she had her very own daddy and those are the things that good daddies give their little girls.

I learned early on how to rationalize what I considered why I was so disadvantaged. With pink canopy beds, it was because of daddies. When I compared myself to those with perfect bodies it was because they had great genetics and I have a hypothyroidism. If I saw that someone had a better car or house it was because they were valued more than me. And let’s not even begin to discuss ministry….

No matter what, I could find a way to rationalize why they had something that I didn’t.

And then I would begin my complaining campaign with God. I would spend hours, days, or weeks complaining that life isn’t fair. I never considered myself to be coveting what someone else had because I didn’t want them to have to give it up so that I could have it —- I just wanted it too! And I would never have labelled myself as jealous because that sounds simply horrible. I’d just complain that it wasn’t/isn’t fair.

And the comparing and complaining only made me feel worse about myself. I would go from complaining about what I didn’t have to hating what I did have and, ultimately, hating myself for being such a wretched soul.

And you know what? Even in paradise people have lots of things I don’t have and bodies that I could work a million years for and never attain.

As i am once again faced with the wretchedness of my own soul, I have the opportunity to decide if I will destroy paradise with comparing and complaining or  choose to count my blessings. Rather than thinking about the things I don’t have, I can choose to spend that time being grateful for all that I do have.

And it’s that attitude of gratitude that will allow me to enjoy paradise in all of it’s fullness.

it’s all in the perception….

Did I tell you that I got a kayak for Christmas? And last week I got the paddle, life jacket, and whistle to go with it.  It’s crazy but there is a $75 fine if you are caught on the water without that little $2.79 whistle? Hank had gotten a life jacket for Christmas and he got his kayak, paddle, and $2.79 whistle last week also.kayaks

Once we got everything together, we loaded those babies into the truck and headed out to Lake Powell.  The first day we paddled our way around the lake, under the bridge, and towards the gulf.  And it was fun!

But the next time we went out, we decided to go towards the head of the lake through the salt marshes. It was amazing. I wouldn’t describe it as fun or as a workout. It’s more like an exercise in meditation. As the waters stilled , the wildlife came alive. We saw ospreys, gator beds, turtles, and lots of fish. Quiet. Peaceful. Perfect.

During that quiet time, I began to think about all the hours I spent paddling around my grandparents place on Crystal Lake. It was one of the poorest times my family ever experienced but it was rich in experiences.

I can remember taking the john boat (without a life jacket or whistle) out to the far edges of the lake, dropping the anchor, and reading for hours. Once I graduated to the canoe, I’d go further and see more. I loved to drift along and watch the turtles sunning on the logs with the goal of getting as close as I could without them jumping in the water to find safety.

It was on these trips that I found quiet, peace, and perfection in a perfectly imperfect world.

And, once again, I found peace in a perfectly imperfect world.  And, for a few hours, I was the richest woman in all of Panama City Beach……

I’d remiss if I didn’t mention that living a fit lifestyle now allows me to paddle my way through the salt marshes.  Being fit isn’t just about size or shape – it’s about the ability to truly experience the world around you. 

Borrowing an assignment

Okay. I’ve got an assignment for you. I wish I could say that I thought of this on my own but the truth is that I’m borrowing it from my positive psychology course….

If you have fallen off the fitness wagon, I’d like to encourage you to write a letter of forgiveness to yourself. It could go something like this…..

Dear me,

I’ve made promises to you for a long time. It seems like every Monday I plan on going to the gym or making better food choices. And sometimes I even do it. But I rarely do it for very long. I could come up with a million reasons why I fail but this letter isn’t about excuses. It’s simply my way of asking me to forgive me.

Me, will you forgive me for getting to busy to take care of me? Would you be willing to forgive me for letting circumstances come between me and the gym? Would you forgive me for overeating?

Would you forgive me for not believing that I can do this? And will you forgive me for all of the disappointments?

I know that it’s important for me to love me. Will you forgive me for all the times that I’ve hated me?

And now that we’ve worked this out, let’s make a deal. Let’s not look back at what we didn’t do anymore. Let’s choose to look towards the future with an understanding that we are going to succeed?

Lovingly,

Me

You could do this for any area in your life —- Holding a grudge is especially hard work when you’re holding it against yourself.

March 5, 2015

It’s going to take me several months to complete this Positive Psychology course and that means that I’ll have lots things to write about during this time and that’s something that I’m going to do right now……

Christopher Peterson writes,  “One of the powerful ideas of positive psychology, one well supported by research, is that how we think about events determines how we feel about them. How we think about events determines our motivation to do things.” 

In other words,

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

Our thought life is more important than what we eat or how often we exercise. Our problem isn’t as simple as shape or size. Our problem is how we think about this wonderful body that God has given us. If we spend countless hours thinking that our bodies are horrible then that’s exactly how we are going to feel!

Take a moment and really think about this….If you’re like me, you’ve spent countless hours criticizing your bodies and then wonder why the changes that you wanted to see are not happening. Like me, you may have looked in the mirror and listed every  fault and then became angry when those very same faults deny all the hard work you’ve done to change them.  And then, to make matters worse, every time I get dressed to go out allI can think of are those faults.

I feel ugly. I feel fat. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m not pretty enough. And then I start telling myself things like this dress makes me look fat. Or, compare myself to everyone else only to end up feeling even worse than I started out feeling.

Others may be telling me that I look fabulous but that’s not how I feel so I can’t really enjoy the moment.

For me, changing how I think about my body is a discipline that I must embrace over and over again. Look at what I’ve done in the past:

  • Going on a 21 day fast where I can only compliment myself.
  • When I’m all alone, telling myself that I’m the most beautiful woman in the room. (I’ve really done this……)
  • Reassuring myself that I don’t look bad for being in my 50’s.
  • To be more spiritual, telling myself that I’m beautiful because I’m made in my Father’s image.

And it’s time for me to do this again. I’ve decided that between now and Easter, I’m going to change how I think about my body. But I’m not going to do this with a fast or with a motivational mantra. I’m simply going to answer every negative thought with the truth and then stop thinking about it. I’ll go to the beach, read a book, or sew. Rather then spending countless hours trying to change the way I think about my body, I’m going to learn how to stop thinking about it at all.

Now that doesn’t mean that I’m going to start eating tons of junk food or quit going to the gym. I’m just going to stop thinking about it so much……