Self-Discovery in Quarantine

My faith was shaken today. I cursed at God. I told Him, I don’t want to believe in Him anymore. More unpleasant words flew out of my mouth, and tears streamed down my cheeks.  

Yesterday, my husband and I got into an argument on our walk with the dog. I saw huge amounts of dog poop on the grass for anyone to step in. I said, “these irresponsible, f-ing people piss me off!” He got upset with me and said I have been complaining about everything. I call my husband, “the great compartmentalizer.” He can leave work at work and home life at home. All areas of my life bleed into one another.

I asked him what he wanted from me. He said, I want to come home without hearing you and our daughter argue (our daughter is 12, almost 13 years old-easier said than done) and for all of us to go on a family walk willingly. Maybe that isn’t too much to ask, but when I am angry, and in pain, I don’t feel capable.  

I came inside after our walk and Googled, “why do I complain too much?” And this article came up. One of the steps said to be less judgmental. I thought, “well, I don’t judge.” Well, I admit it now, I do(a lot!), and we all do it! When I stay in that mindset of negativity and only seeing the bad in everything, how can I ever see anything good?

The world has seen a lot of change in the past few months. We all have had to re-arrange our lives. In some way, we all have had to grieve something. A lost job, canceled events, no school, even losing a loved one. Traumas we have dealt with in our lives somehow found a way back. My trauma is an eating disorder.

Every morning during this quarantine, I have stepped on the scale. Ounces gained became pounds, which turned into binding shame. Those voices of negativity and hatred are in my head again. I want the ground to swallow me up. I don’t look down at anyone the way I look down at myself. The pain is deep and vast.

So today, after I cast my anger at God, I asked for forgiveness. I prayed for God to reveal Himself to me in my daily bible reading. I went to my Bible app, and the reading consisted of Job Chapters 1 and 2, Luke 6, and Revelations 4. Job 1 and 2 dealt with his life in utter turmoil and pain, yet he never cursed God. Luke 6 explained judging others, amongst other important things. And Revelations 4 ended with verse 11, “worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and your will they existed and were created.” God delivered me answers to my pleas. Also, today is our trash pick up day, and the scale found its way into the trash bin.

I have years of experience in thinking in a negative way, which developed neural pathways of negativity. It hasn’t been beneficial to me. The good news is, neural pathways can change. My therapist said two things to me that helped me today—the first piece of advice, the brain changes in increments, not all at once. So, do not expect negative behaviors to go away after you decide to change. And second, when you do catch yourself reacting negatively, you can say, here is the new way I can handle it.

Everyone is affected by this COVID-19. May the virus be eradicated, and we find real meaning in our lives. Until then, be gentle with yourselves!

Lesson Learned: I see God cares for me, and neural pathways aren’t permanent.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I believe for the complete eradication of COVID-19 in the name of Jesus. I pray for healing and restoration for everyone who has become a victim of it. I pray for the loved one who lost a family member to COVID-19. I pray for comfort and peace during their mourning. Protect the first responders and hospital staff who are treating patients every day. Father God, I lift every person with mental illness and who are in abusive situations during this quarantine. Make a way Lord, for clarity or a way out. Thank you, Jehovah Shalom. Give provision to those who have lost work and revive this economy. Forgive us, Lord, for not trusting in you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

It is Never a Good Time to Worry

I read a devotional this morning on the Bible app, You Version. The study is entitled, “How to Stop Worrying.” The devotion defined worry as to torment oneself with cares and anxieties. As I read that definition, it felt like a 2×4 to the face.


Everyone has thoughts on the things that most concern them. We can plan the best ways to meet our goals or take care of dire situations. But when these thoughts turn to worry, they torment us.


I allowed worry to be a daily exercise in my life. However, most times, the things I worried about never came to pass.


Be conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak. When there is a deep history of living your life in worry, it will take a while to undo it. Have grace with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself worrying.


If you catch yourself in that mode of worry, say, “Oh! I have a worrisome thought.” Then ask yourself, “If I continue to dwell on this, will I be able to remain positive or be anxious?” If it is the latter, choose to change your focus.


In these perilous times, worry will not solve anything. I have spent the last few weeks, taking a lot of deep breaths, finding solace in prayer, trusting in the Lord and meditation, communicating with others (online), and watching light shows. May you find peace from worry today.

Managing Difficult People

I do not like experiencing tension between myself and others. In the past, I exhausted myself to make everyone else happy around me instead of protecting myself from the drama.

As much as I desire peace and harmony between myself and others, there are times where it won’t happen. I can promise peace for myself by establishing boundaries and not engaging with the drama.

Sadly, years can go by before I discover the true nature of a person.  I am in the process of learning that I must let go of trying to get along with someone who does not want to be civil.  It is not my job to appease them.  These difficult people are energy vampires.  Would I want to have someone suck out all of my energy?  No, I’m over forty years old, and my energy is scarce but sacred!

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Continual engagement with difficult people will not bring out the best in me.  As much as I want to know why they are the way they are, it will not solve anything.  Only God can change a person, not me.

May you be released of any burden you carry to help those who do not want to change.

Lesson Learned:  Let God handle those who bring you down.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I know peace is precious in a fallen world.  Help me to manage conflict effectively and without becoming too invested.  Give me the wisdom to protect myself when dealing with difficult people.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

 

 

 

Allow God to Surprise You

 

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

Christmas time is here. Tomorrow, many will open gifts and admire all they received. Children have been eagerly waiting for this day to open their gifts. Their wait will soon be over.

When I was a 6th grader, a popular brand of clothing was “Maui and Sons.” They were a surf brand. If you wore an item of clothing from this brand, everyone noticed you at school. I asked, actually begged and pleaded with my parents for a sweatshirt. This brand was not cheap, so I knew my only chance was to receive it as a present for Christmas.

My mom would place empty boxes under the tree as decoration. Then she would put items for us in those boxes the night before, so the presents were ready on Christmas Day. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I sat by the tree, admiring the decorations. I saw the empty boxes under the tree, and curiosity struck me, so I picked one up and shook it. I did not feel anything. I picked up another and shook that one and heard something inside. The temptation was too strong, so I carefully slid my finger under the lid and lifted the corner of the box. I peaked inside and saw a pink “Maui and Sons” sweatshirt. My heart was beating out of my chest from the excitement. Then I thought I ruined the surprise and now I have to keep this from my parents.

As the day continued, I felt more guilty. I didn’t realize it, but the guilt showed in my actions. My dad asked me what the matter was. I couldn’t take the guilt, and I began crying. I told him I peeked and saw my Christmas present. My father was not happy. He said, “well, that was your big gift, and now you won’t have anything to look forward too.” That mistake was a defining moment in my life to learn to be patient.

That moment in my life reminds me of how impatient I am with God working in my life. I keep wanting to know what He wants me to do with my life. I try to force things and make things happen when it isn’t time. I feel like an impatient child in those days leading up to Christmas. I am peeking in the box before it is time.

God knows what needs to happen. It may feel like we are going around in circles or moving farther away from the goal, but God aligns everything for us in the perfect time.  Allow God to surprise you!

Lesson Learned: Allow God to surprise you. No peeking!

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I try to figure out everything on my own. I put my trust in you. You know the way. Thank you for every surprise you give me. Help me anticipate with wonder and excitement for all you plan for me. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Accepting How God Created You to Be

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”  Psalm 139:13

Every day, they are messages that bombard us that we are not enough.  Our bodies and faces, material possessions, or bank accounts need improvement.  We see advertisements for products that could improve every area of our lives. Instead, we have emptier wallets and growing dissatisfaction.

We are unhappy due to the comparison game.

In college, I took a walking exercise class.  I made two friends in the class. We would talk about college, boys, and our plans when we graduated.  Both young women were pretty. I was suffering from an eating disorder at the time and wished I could look like either one.  

They would always talk about their encounters with men.  I did not want my dating life to resemble either one of theirs, but I figured if I looked like either gal, I would have a date.  One of them was petite and blond named, Jenny. Everywhere we walked, strangers would stare at her or try to talk to her. She would giggle and flirt back.

One day at the end of class, another fitness class was finishing up.  Jenny said, “see that woman over there? I think she has the perfect body and I would do anything to look like her.”  I said, “are you kidding me; you’re just fine the way you are! You have guys coming to your beck and call.” She said, “well, I don’t like how I am. I prefer to look like her.”

When we deny God’s will for us, discontent grows in our lives.

Her statement caught me off guard.  How could she think that way about herself?  But here I was, doing the same thing. I didn’t like myself and wanted so desperately to change.  I would have given an organ to look like and weigh the same as Jenny. So many of us women believe, we are not enough and we need to lose a little here, enhance over here, dye our hair, erase some forehead wrinkles, or rejuvenate some other areas.  It is an endless, horrible path.

Last Sunday in church, my pastor said something that reminded me of our discontent with our lives.  He said, “You only have one race to run. A call upon your life that has been ordained by God.” When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we must allow God to fulfill His will for us.  We are disappointed when we don’t have what someone else has, and we complain about how we want better. God knows what we need.

Accept God’s Will for Your Life.

When we accept that God is in control and has a will for our lives, we can finish that race, strong.  We don’t need to be discontent with ourselves. The changes we may have to make are our actions or behaviors, so it aligns with the will God had ordained for us.  We are all valuable and have a purpose and a plan for our lives. May we listen and accept that plan as God reveals it in our lives.

 

Lesson Learned: God made you.   Accept how God created you to be so that you can carry out His will in your lives.  

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the plan and purpose you have for my life.  Show me what that plan is so that I may carry it out. Help me finish the race well. Let me be your hands and feet.  Forgive me for comparing myself to others. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”