Sunday, July 30, 2017

For Real

There's a phrase that I've been meditating on quite a bit since I read it in the latest book by Julie Gillies - From Hot Mess to Blessed.  At the end of each chapter is a section with the heading, "Your Personal Proclamation - Say It. Know It. Believe It." Chapter two's personal proclamation ends with, "I will walk through life with authentic dignity and holy ease, and I will value myself because I am precious in His sight." 

For days after reading page 53, I find myself silently repeating the refrain, "authentic dignity and holy ease." So caught up with the potential impact of these five words, I consulted Merriam Webster (my favorite dictionary) and found that "dignity" may be defined as "the quality or state of being worthy." As a human being, I have worth and value - dignity - simply because I am. I exist.

As it pertains to a relationship with God, and as one who believes in and puts her trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, knowing that my spiritual worth is based on how God sees me "in" Christ allows me the perfect balance of that definition. My life is hidden in Christ. God does not see me without seeing His Son and all of the righteousness inherent in Him.

I am IN Christ; I am worthy. That worthiness gives me the right to "walk through this life with authentic dignity." I have not always done that. Even though I was raised in a pastor's home and grew up in church, I hid an awful lot. Once, I even hid under a pew in the sanctuary! I hid myself. I hid the things I was ashamed of. I hid because I believed my worth was conditional upon my behavior and even my secret (hidden) thoughts. Even now I have to remind myself that sometimes thoughts are just thoughts and not an indicator of my character. Some thoughts just land on us. It's up to me (and you) what we do with them.

I hid when I felt ugly because I was ashamed. I hid when I felt pretty (too much attention and again...shame). I hid when I was broke (embarrassed) and I hid when I had plenty (again, embarrassed).

A hider is not authentic. A hider does not feel worth in just being.

It's taken me a long time to be okay at being "me." Too many years were wasted in camouflage - not the kind I'm prone to wear today like when I wear my favorite hat! (That's another story for another day). The camouflage I wore was of an invisible fashion designed to prevent very many people from seeing or knowing the real me. And the reason for that type of camo usually stems from self-protection. If I am not really seen and known, I will not be rejected and hurt for being the real me.
In retrospect, I can look back from childhood through adolescence (and unfortunately, beyond!) and share things said, things done and things I most likely misconstrued to mean that "just me - the real me" was "just not quite worthy." Not worthy of inclusion, Not worthy of friendship. Not worthy of a seat at the table.

Before this reeks of a pity party, I need to add that I have no doubt many of you could share much of the same. Your history may sound a lot like mine with the exception of the fine details. We've all faced the "not enough's" the "too much" the "almost" the "if only's" that feel like a big ol' pile of rejection. After all, people aren't perfect and we're all guilty of saying some really dumb and thoughtless things to each other.

Usually, those dumb words are more about the "dumb word say-er" than the one to whom they're said. It would behoove each of us to recognize our little issues and seek healing and lasting wholeness for ourselves so we don't thoughtlessly dump those on another. Seriously.

I'm going to continue to mull over and meditate on these words, "I will walk through life with authentic dignity and holy ease..." for awhile longer...and I haven't even talked about the "holy ease" part, yet!

I imagine that if at any time throughout my day that I am physically walking - on my daily walking workouts, walking the dog, walking across a store parking lot, walking to my mailbox - triggers "I walk in authentic dignity," how that might impact my thinking, my interactions, my relationships!

To live with the rock solid belief that you have TRUE WORTH has the power to change everything that needs to change for you. EVERYTHING.

I choose to believe it. Will you?

Yours, TRULY...

Friday, July 28, 2017

Gratefully, Yours

It's not new. Maybe you first heard about it from Oprah. But it's actually been in your Bible all along.

Being grateful. Giving thanks. GRATITUDE, BABY!

So, what's so great about gratitude?

There are numerous studies on the benefits of gratitude. You could spend hours reading all the articles!

My bottom line take on it is this: 

Being grateful in my life may not change my life but it changes me and, in effect, that changes my life!

 A scripture I memorized years ago is Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV). 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Giving thanks is the expression of gratitude for benefits received. One way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal. But I'll be honest - I've never been good at keeping a gratitude journal or even a list for more than a few days. I'm kind of lousy at journaling. It's a task that does not come easily to me unlike my habit of drinking coffee in the morning! But I've decided a daily notation of gratitude is important to me. I just need a way that works with my personality and my dailies - those things I do on a regular basis as a matter of habitual practice - like morning coffee! 

What works for me may not work for you but here's what I'm going to do. My planner has lovely little boxes for each day of the month. I'm going to couple my morning coffee with writing at least one thing that I'm grateful for in the daily box. Today I wrote three.

I figure if I combine a new thing with an old thing, I'm more likely to be successful in the new thing. Because, seriously, I never miss morning coffee. Skipping it would make me pretty grouchy and nobody wants to spend time with Mrs. Grouchy! That brings me to this - grouchiness stems from a bad attitude and battitudes are catchy. But so are great attitudes! 

I'm convinced the way to have a great attitude is to express gratitude! 

Wanna join me in having a great attitude through GRATITUDE? Starting today through the month of August, I'm going to make this one change in my morning routine. But I'll give myself grace, too, and if I slip up, I'll start over. After all, if the good things of God are are new each morning (mercy, faithfulness, grace), I'm going to receive those - with gratitude! 

Gratefully Yours,