Jul 272016
 

“Your reality is like good medicine” were the words of a song which I woke up to on repeat in my mind.  And then the song turned into a thoughts about a challenging “reality” moment I encountered with my daughter a couple Sunday’s back.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were stil ltrying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10 

I was having somewhere between a teaching and all out frustration moment as I went over the “do’s and don’ts” church etiquette with my 7 year old daughter.  Do-“stand when everyone stands during the worship songs.”  Don’t-“Drink your tea during worship time.”  Do-“Sing the words to the songs.”  Don’t-“Talk to your friend.”  Don’t-“Go to the bathroom.”  Do-“Close your eyes during the prayer.”

Check. Did my good Christian motherly duties.  At the time, basking in what felt to be some amazing “training up my daughter in God’s Ways”, I held my head a little higher than before.  Our family row was looking.  Good.  (Oh and nothing could be wrong with this, “I’m too good for my britches”, scene.)  We were doing all the right things, at the right time, in the right way.

At this point, by the grace of God I was able to step off my pedistle and look down for one moment.  And I smiled.  Differently.  Deeper.  Better.  Truer.   Than before.  Because my smile this time wasn’t based on how other’s would see us.  Or how my daughter was responding positively to forced “do’s and don’ts”.  It was based on what I witnessed as I watched my 7 year old daughter respond with spontaneous/made up motions to the worship song we were singing.

I sang “Jesus paid it all”- her arms elongated out so wide her face was stretching right along with them.  I sang, “All to Him I owe”-her hands moved crazily all around in a circular form.  I sang, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-her clinched fists on her heart and face in despair.  And finally, “He washed me white as snow”-her clenched fists opened fiercely and broke open.  Freedom.  In.  Jesus.

This was an act of authenticity and freedom in my daughter and her relationship with God.  She was doing her own thing.  She was responding to Him.  Not because of what anyone told her to do.  Not because of what would “look good” to those around.  Simply because she was being herself.  With her loving Father.  And loving every.  minute.  of.  it.

5 questions to test your authenticity in your relationship with God and others

  1.  What are my motives in making decisions?  What is your process you go through when saying “yes” to a particular commitment, activity, decision?  Does it involve weighing in how other’s will respond to you or think of you if you say “no”?  Does it involve what you will get out of it selfishly or what you might get in return if you do it?  If so, you are not being true to yourself, them, or your God.  Respond with “yes” only in obedience to your Master God, who is the only one you are serving.
  2. Do my actions match my words?  We want to not only speak truth in love to others, but show it as well.  Are you the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting friend or just a nice voice over the phone?
  3. When was the last time you “made a fool of yourself” for Jesus?  Following our God is risky and when we step out in faith/out of our comfort zone we don’t always respond in a typical, earthly standard sort of way.  If we are never “looking strange or making strange decisions” in the eyes of the world, we are probably living more by sight than by faith.
  4. What does your time with God look like?  If it is a “going through the motions” based on “checking off” the list of devotion, bible reading, prayer based on self imposed or other’s imposed rules and standards, it may be time to mix things up a little.  Maybe it’s time to be spontaneous with God and “bust out some motions to the worship songs” or go on a coffee date or walk in nature or spend time with Him doing what you love to do with a friend.  Take time this week to get out of the “box” and do something new with Jesus.
  5. What am I afraid to approach God about?  If you can answer this genuinely, then you are at a great place.  Because the cool thing is He already knows about this and wants to love you/help you through it.  He always in “gentle, gracious and humble”.

“Reality is like good medicine” my friends (in which I always seem to find out the hard way of pride coming before a fall.)  But if we allow our loving God to search and test our hearts and motives and come to a place of repentance for our yucky stuff, then we will live in that sweet spot.  We live in the reality of our song from above, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-meaning we all are sinners, but we have hope because… “He washed us white as snow” through His death on the cross.  The Holy Spirit gives us the balming medicine to “lead us into all truth” about how we can have “more of Him and less of me”.  Don’t resist this reality and good medicine He offers!  The more we lean into the reality of who we are and why we NEED Jesus, the more freedom, peace and joy we will experience.  The more abundant life and purpose filled living we will walk in.  May your day today be one in which you run to the arms of your loving.  heavenly.  Father.  And may you run with grace to Truly. be. yourself.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 142012
 

Maintaining healthy relationships is vital to our overall health.

There are important elements of healthy relationships.

Below is a list of key elements. This is not a rule list to be followed but rather suggestions on how to have deep meaningful relationships. 

  • Talking: Conversation opens a window of knowledge between two people. Deep conversation opens a door to intimate relationship. Bonds are formed as we risk sharing ourselves and trust.
  • Listening: My need to share is equal to his/her need to share. Willingness to be silent while another speaks is one of the first, and finest, gifts of relationship.
  • Attention: A step beyond listening is paying attention to the words shared and the non-verbal cues that are transmitted. It means that your ears, your eyes, your body and your feelings are all focused on that person.
  • Acceptance: Relationships that have a chance to prosper never include trying to change the other person. Both people in a healthy friendship will change as each learns from the other.
  • Empathy: The ability to let others know that “I feel what you feel” is priceless. Seeing life through their eyes can expand your horizons. Confidences are more readily shared when received with empathy.
  • Affirmation: Genuine praise is powerful and can encourage and positively affect a persons life. Be liberal with sincere praise and affirmation.
  • Touch: An arm around a shoulder, a hug, and the touch of a hand are all forms of warm regard.
  • Loyalty and Trustworthiness: Never break a confidence. One must be able to trust you with their thoughts, their fears and hopes, and their secrets.
  • Equality: In a healthy relationship, both parties are equals. Each has respect for the other. Each is willing to give as well as take. There should be a balance in relationships that helps each to become more than they were alone.
  • Transparency: No one can read your mind. The person who withholds their thoughts from others and thinks, “If you really liked me, you could read my mind,” will never achieve a satisfying relationship.
  • Kindness: We are hard on ourselves and can be hard on each other. Be conscious of that in your friendships. Be the type of friend that you would want to have. Be kind and set aside judgment.
  • Words: Be aware of your words. Words are powerful! They impact us. Be aware of what you say and how you say it.
  • Give: Give as well as receive. Relationship is a two way street. There will be times when you are in the receiving position. When the time comes for you to give, be just as ready to act in this position as you were to receive.
  • Grace: Give grace. Do not set the standard too high. Be the first to reach out.

Take a step toward strengthening your relationships.  Start with the above elements that you struggle with the most and work from there.

How can you put these elements into practice?

 

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 072012
 
  • My last post I shared about the importance of friendships. This post is dedicated to the “how” of creating meaningful relationships.

Tips for Establishing Meaningful Relationships:

  • All new things can be uncomfortable in the beginning. Familiarly comes with time.  The more you go, the more times you try, the more comfortable you will get.  When I first attended a Bible study at my church I didn’t know anyone. The ladies were close and I felt like an outsider. I forced myself to push through these feelings and keep going to the study.  Now some of those women are my dearest friends! I would have missed this opportunity if I had stopped quit due to my uncomfortable feelings.
  • The more you give of yourself the more you will receive.  In order to have authentic and meaningful friendships you have to be willing to be a little vulnerable. (This doesn’t mean you must share your darkest secrets during a first conversation!)  Over time be willing to open up and share your fears, dreams, hopes, joys and struggles. The more vulnerable you are, the more your friends will be willing to share themselves with you.
  • Believe that you deserve time with friends.  If you are a mom, develop a support system that will free you up to have time for friendships.  Some of us have husbands that have a hard time supporting us in taking time for ourselves. It is helpful to evaluate, how supportive are you when he wants time with his friends or to do his hobbies? Try to work out equal time for you each to have a break.
  • Set out specific time and energy to have friends in your life.  It is important to trust how vital these connections are. If you believe in the value of friendships, you will be more apt to make room in your life for friends.Form or join interest groups such as garden clubs or book clubs. Joining a faith community is a great way to form friendships.  It is important to remember in this day of social media, email, texting, Skype, etc. that although they are helpful in staying connected, they can not take the place of real life face to face encounters.

I challenge you to take a step today towards making a friend or connecting with a friend.

What is one thing you can do right now to take a step towards friendship?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 312012
 

Let’s face it our lives are FULL! The demands on our time are GREAT! Often it is our natural tendency to put ourselves last.

Our need for “me-time”, nutrition, exercise, and devotional time seems to always be at the bottom of the list. Sometimes we feel guilty taking time for ourselves. It is just easier to not take the time.

Yet taking time for ourselves and our friends is important.

Why are friendships important?

We are designed to be in relationship. First, with Christ, and second, with others. Women in particular are relational beings and thrive when connected to others in meaningful relationships.

Establishing and maintaining healthy friendships provides the opportunity for us to recharge and connect with others. Having a friend that relates to our stage in life, and that we can share and laugh with, is essential to our mental well-being.

Since life can be stressful, it is vital to maintain friendships (especially after having children). Not doing so can lead to burn out, frustration, isolation or depression.

Evidence suggests these health benefits of friendship:  It increases your sense of belonging and purpose, boosts happiness, reduces stress, improves self worth, decreases risk of serious mental illness, helps you weather traumas and it encourages change of unhealthy habits.

Who should my friends be?

Not all our friends have to be just like us. Friends might be single, married, with kids or without: it does not matter. A friend is someone that you share a special bond with. The critical element is connection.  Connection that is genuine, caring and supportive.

Developing friendships can be scary! You may have experienced hurt at the hand of a friend. The key is to not let that experience hold you back from other real friendships. The benefits outweigh the risks. Forgiveness and learning from the past hurts helps you grow as a person.

At one time or another every woman has feared rejection, felt alone or assumed that the other woman has it all together.

Many times I have heard women say “I don’t have any friends” or “no one invites me anywhere”. I too have thought this and have felt “left out”. After honest conversations with other women I have come to realize that we all feel insecure at times.

Once I recognized that all women just want to be loved and accepted as much as I do, I felt freedom.  Freedom to be myself, to step out of my comfort zone a little and try to make friends.

I encourage you to take an inventory of your friendships.

When was the last time you spent quality time with a friend?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 172012
 

All relationships have one thing in common…talking…relating… COMMUNICATING.

When you read the word communication, you may feel several different emotions. “What’s communication?!” “I can’t communicate with my spouse, he never listens!” “When I tried to communicate as a child, my parents got angry.” “Talking to my teenage daughter, is like talking to the wall.”

We all could use some practice in being better communicators especially during times of conflict.

In the midst of conflict it can seem near impossible to get your point across or to feel heard.

Sometimes when we try to communicate with those closest to us a flood of emotion overcomes us. Particularly if we are trying to talk about a problem.

Leftover emotions from how communication was dealt with in our childhood can influence how we communicate as an adult.

Growing up in my house, we shared emotions, our feelings and we shared them loud! Not a very healthy way to process things but issues were out in the open. On the other hand, my husband’s family is the opposite. Emotions and conflict were swept under the rug. For his family it was safest to avoid the issue.

Now imagine for a moment, two people with such different styles of communication…communication can be difficult. With such different upbringings, we approach topics from differing mind sets.

He wants to avoid the conversation, I want to talk about it and have it be resolved, now.

Healthy communication is a journey.

For me, I’ve learned to allow him time to process and I’ve learned to listen. Really listen. Listen to what is being shared to me.

It is so easy for our minds to not listen. To get caught up in what we want to say next. To defend ourselves. To point out the fault in what the other person is saying. That’s not listening.

To listen is to consider what the other person is saying. Stopping the internal conversation long enough to hear what the other person has to say.

What kind of listener are you? How was communication dealt with in your home as a child?

 

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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