Day 8 – Why Do I Keep Touching the Stove?

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As a child, like most others, I was taught to dangers of touching hot things.

Mom: Mayisha, don’t touch that eye. It’ll burn you!

Me: Ok.

When the food was cooking, I had little to no interest in approaching. I mean the eye was glowing red hot and looked to almost want to come and get me. But when turned off and the pot removed along with my mother’s presence and attention, it seemed to beckon. “Touch me, touch me. I’m not hot anymore. Don’t you want to see for yourself? I promise I won’t hurt you now. Look! I’m loosing my glow.”

So what do I do?

I touch it.

And what happens?

It burns me.

It hurts me.

It teaches me.

And what happens next?

My mother tends to me.

She covers to heal.

She reminds me of her words.

 

My curiosity was and still is a gift. The way I viewed the situation was problematic. I did not recognize the danger.  I did not trust the instruction. I did not accept love’s “constraints”.  

For too long, I believed only bold, red, hot “supersins” were dangerous and that the enemy is dressed as someone in a red suit with two horns and a tail. In reality, he is far more subtle and successful in promoting a salubrious nature. He is likened to a charismatic leader clothed in divisive rhetoric, false humility, comparisons, and judgeful mentality. He is the accuser of the brethren, tricking us to see ourselves as deficient. When that occurs, we look to false gods for answers. Addictions develop while our faith wanes.

This is how we complicate our lives. This is how we lose focus. God wants to change how we view things.

Romans 12:2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

 

He does not want to change us or others.

Psalm 139:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

 

He has inundated us with His grace. All deficiencies were nullified on the cross.

Ephesians 2:8-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

 

All these exchanges teach me to have faith in God.  Faith in who He made me to be. Faith in His instruction. Faith in His love.

Living simply means learning my standards are not His. I learn my standards are arbitrary and His are obtainable only through His son. I learn that following my standards leads to defeat and to follow His son leads to victory in this life and the next. I learn that throughout life I will continue to “touch stoves” and that His grace and word will always cover, tend, and heal.

Be well, Beloved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7 – A Damning Delusion I Control Things (ADDICT)

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Matthew 26:41 King James Version (KJV)

41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

No doubt you have heard of or know of someone effected by the opioid crisis. As a PM&R physician, this is close to my heart as we are specially trained in treating chronic pain. As a consultant for a worker’s compensation company, I’ve been on the two sides of this issue. (Thankfully, I haven’t been on the patient side). In this role, my duties are to review charts, deem whether I think the dosage meets or exceeds the patient’s needs, and discuss my findings with the team and the prescribing provider. I also treat addicts. As you can imagine, it’s all been quite a learning experience.

What have I learned?

We have all succumb to addictions.

Our addictions are vast: money, screens (TV, phone, computer), substances, complaining, shopping, food, exercising, likeability, rationalizing, etc. Be they strange or otherwise, are the offspring of entitlement, comfort, self-righteousness, anxiety, fear and pride.  

In scripture, addiction has different names.  Paul called it the old man or old self. We are instructed to put off the old self. Thankfully, scripture gives us guidance on how, the reward is great and we’re not alone.  

Romans 8:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So, let’s hand over the reigns to the One who saves us. Only then can we be free from our addictions.

Be Well, Beloved.

Day 5 – Grace

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Well Beloved,

Today was a little rough. And by a little, I really mean a lot. There was a sick child, financial  issues, my scheduled weekly dose of interaction with passive aggressiveness, a child that “knows way more than me,” a husband out of town, a friend in need of medical assurance and a missed hot yoga class. Whew! Was that complaining? While all this was going on, I tried to make sure I didn’t complain and occasionally chastised myself for complaining and then chastised myself for chastising myself.

Oh no! The wheels of my efforts have come off!

But somewhere in the mist of this circus, His Word erupts from my heart.

Scriptures like:

2 Chronicles 20:15 New International Version (NIV)

‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 New International Version (NIV)

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

These calm me. They give me peace and direction. Hopefully, for you as well. 

Be well, Beloved. Be well. 

 

 

Day 4 – The Butterfly Effect

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2 Corinthians 10:5 King James Version (KJV)  

Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

Hello Beloved,

Today, I called my bank with a question about the bank’s offerings. The young lady on the other side of the line answered by saying, “I’m pretty sure we don’t do that.” Mind you while this was what I’d consider a basic question, it was also very important to me. So after further explaining my request and getting the same answer, I asked if there was someone she could ask. She informed me that there was if I didn’t mind holding on the phone.

“Absolutely, I will.”

So, I held for about 45 seconds. She came back with an affirmative to my request and explained she was new and still learning. She had confused my request with something else. Blah, blah, blah. Beloved, I know you know where my mind went but thank God for grace. In mid mental complaint, I realized that I did not take time to thank God.

This hit me hard!

My first inclination was to complain instead of praise. Praise her for knowing who to ask, confessing her shortcoming to a total stranger, her pleasant disposition during the entire encounter, and her willingness to be helpful. Praise Him in and for EVERYTHING but namely for her and her actions,  that our bank of 16 plus years has the offering we need, the effect that will have on our financial standing going forward, the effect it will have on entities we like to donate to, I didn’t have to jump through hoops to get the offering, it’s one of the “million” things on my To Do list that I can check off,  I only had to hold for 45 seconds. Oh my, I can’t seem to stop thinking of reasons why I should be thankful for this one small interaction. 

How many times have I missed out on seeing His goodness because I chose to complain?

I spent the rest of my day in a much more thankful and much less complainy tone. I smiled more and people smiled back. I know this is common sense stuff but that doesn’t mean it’s part of our lifestyle. It’s my hope that those I smiled at, joked with, complimented passed it on. 

Now it’s your turn. Beloved, I thank God for you. It is a privilege to be part of your life and for you to take time out to read this post. Be well. 

 

BTW, tomorrow we’ll talk about complaint vs constructive criticism.

Day 2 – The Mulligan

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Okay, so I failed the first day. I can’t say I am surprised. This is what happens when you give up an “addiction.” I caught myself as I was chastising my 12 yo. I not only pointed out what she was doing wrong but complaining about her actions as well. When I realized this of course it was done but it helped temper my tone for the rest of the day. I also realized I had not informed her of this challenge. Who better to help keep me accountable than my family- especially the kids? I’m glad that I have you to help keep me accountable but I know I also need pointers from those who have done this before. In researching, I came across this helpful resource:

1. START BY DEFINING WHAT A COMPLAINT IS (Complaint vs Observation)
It’s cold outside”.- Observation 

‘It’s cold outside and I hate living in this place.’ – Complaint 

How does the statement make you feel? Does your chest tighten slightly or is there tension in your shoulders? These aren’t diagnostic but they are helpful pointers. You know yourself and how your body reacts. You just have to trust it. 

2. TRACK HOW OFTEN YOU COMPLAIN AND WHAT ABOUT
Don’t be shocked if you count into the hundreds in just a few hours. Nuff said.

3. SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM CHRONIC COMPLAINERS
Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself (Proverbs 22:24-25).

4. TURN COMPLAINTS INTO SOLUTIONS
This is called “positive complaining” or “effective complaining. In other words, work to fix what’s vexing you. 

5. USE THE “BUT-POSITIVE” TECHNIQUE
“I don’t like driving to work, but I’m thankful at least I can drive and I even have a job.”

6. CHANGE “HAVE TO” TO “GET TO”

List adapted from: https://www.fastcompany.com/3042951/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/what-its-like-to-go-without-complaining-for-a-month

This is both challenge and process but I’m encouraged and hope you are too. If and when there are slip ups, let’s agree to forgive, take a Mulligan and jump back in. We can do this by His grace!

 

 

 

Forbidden

I’m a Christian. As such, we’re taught that a lot of things are forbidden by the sometimes well intentioned but often ignorant. Well, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of being seen as the faith of exclusion. I’m sick of hearing people ostracize others out of their ignorance of the Word. As Oswald Chambers so eloquently stated “We slander God by our very eagerness to work for Him without knowing Him.” He loves us without restraint. Pure and simple. That’s the reason behind the Great Sacrifice. So we can have life and have it to the full. It’s so beautiful, it’s delicious!

As a parent, I can somewhat understand the love He has for me. Regardless of how my kids behave, I will always love them and they will always be mine.
If we are really truthful and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with one another, we will realize we all participate in forbidden activities. Such honesty facilitates openness, forgiveness, gentleness, longsuffering, grace and mercy. Our discussion turns from chastisement to acceptance. I want to be able to show you my ugliness without fear or trepidation. And you the same. No more hiding. No more shame. No more hatred.

Love is not forbidden.