Tag Archives: growth

Turtle Like Tendencies

7 Jan

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I get the heart of this message and agree with it, truly this world does not need another voice joining the chorus of negativity, whining, complaining or insult throwing.  Beyond that, I try to be a person that if I am speaking I am hoping it is to add to the equation and not subtract. 

A couple of months of dealing with serious family health struggles left me physically and emotionally tired, dealing with my own feelings of shame for failing at making desired progress in my life, for not being able to do everything well, add in my own physical crisis and all the issues that can make one consider left me in a place that I’d been before, back in my shell.  It’s dark and lonely there and deceptively “safe”.

What happens when life overwhelms and you’re trying to survive and feel a bit like an empty shell hoping that if you keep hanging on, the winds will shift and you’ll be able to sail again?  I can tell you what happens to me.  I don’t want to but I will.  I follow my inclination to become turtle like, I tuck inside my shell.  Radio silence. 

I mean, what is there to say?  What do I have to offer at this juncture?  Nothing you probably want.  So I go with my propensity for solitary confinement.  There’s nothing cute to talk about and I’m out of wise tips and quips so I’m quiet.  No need to meet up for coffee, I’m not good company these days.  I even stop writing so I don’t have to deal with my own internal conversations.  It’s rough when you annoy yourself!

Maybe, I’m the only one that follows this custom, but I kinda doubt it.  It seems there is likely to be a few who will read this and admit at least to themselves that they go with the train of thought that “I’ll get through this on my own”, “No one’s knocking down my door anyway”, “If they really knew what was going on with me, I’d be even more alone”, “I don’t want to be a pain or a drain”….on and on, it’s easy to believe lies when you’ve pushed anyone away who could speak truth.

My shell-like tendencies that I have often struggled with have not served me or others well.  They ensure that I stay in the pain and shame.  They cut me off from life and whisper the same old sad song. 

I want to be the kind of person who can listen to others when it’s not convenient or fun.  I want to be a person who talks with Jesus even when I don’t feel like He is answering because I hold tightly to the truth that He is for me even when my faith is faltering.  I want to be vulnerable enough to say something when it’s not cute or clever.  I want to be humble enough to admit my need and accept help.  I want to be brave enough to speak, even if it makes me feel weak and needy, because truth be told I am.  Truth is we all are. 

I’m peeking out from the shell and don’t want to retreat any longer.  If I cling to my turtle like tendencies I am fighting against the very way God intended me to operate.  He created you and I to share life, to do life together.  Sorry, but I need you and you need me!  I have recently placed some on purpose accountability in my life in different areas.  I have asked people to check in with me and check up on me.  To knock on the shell and drag me out if necessary. 

I pray that anyone reading this who may also struggle with turtle like tendencies will also choose to stick their neck out and invite others to walk this journey with them.  I’ll admit it, it’s a little scary coming out from under that shell but what is scarier is not living the lives we were meant to live because we are too busy hunkered down trying to survive. 

Be encouraged my friend!

Baby Steps

26 Jan

I am learning, definitely have not mastered, but am learning that to accomplish things in my life, to see change, to be a blessing to others, I must be intentional. Wishing, dreaming, praying about something is one thing and Lord knows, I have spent much time doing those things!  Although, the wishing, dreaming and praying is all good, there comes a time in almost all circumstances where action is required on our end.  That’s where things can get tricky!

I have been on a journey the past several months making many changes in my life and I can tell you it’s hard work!!  You ever have the feeling that what you learn along the way may be more important than the actual destination?  I have an inkling that just may be the case 🙂  There are some days, o.k., most days; where I feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, the miles still to go and I can spend way too much time attempting to figure out how it’s all gonna work out.

For those of you who have areas in your life that you have been wishing, dreaming, praying for change, whether it be physical transformation, a desire to improve the important relationships in your life or how to be a blessing to others, may I say this?  Add one more ingredient to your wishing, dreaming and praying and start DOING.

If you start to immediately feel overwhelmed or at a loss as to where to begin, remember change rarely happens over night.  What is more important is that you choose to start somewhere and be intentional about it.  So, if you want to have a better relationship with a family member, what is one thing you are going to do this week to invest in that relationship?  Make it happen!  If you have a dream that you’ve carried for years and your no closer to it than you were 10 years ago, what can you do over the next month to breathe life into that dream and course correct if needed?  If you know that there is something inside you that needs to change, possibly an attitude that needs some adjusting?  What conscientious efforts can you begin to take now that will ensure this area of your heart and life are cared for?

It reminds me again of one of my all time favorite movies, “What About Bob”.  I’ve learned quite a bit from this deeply philosophical movie, not the least of which is “baby steps”.  It doesn’t have to all be done tomorrow and realistically many changes that need to come in our lives will take consistent time and effort over a period of time.  I can tell you this from experience, the time will pass anyway, so why not be moving in the right direction, even if you haven’t reached the ultimate destination?  Food for thought…

I just want to encourage you to not let fear of failure, fear of the future, fear of rejection or fear of the unknown from fighting for the things that you have spent your time wishing, dreaming and praying for.  Once you make the decision to start doing, make an action plan and begin “baby steppin” you’ve already succeeded.  It’s that first step that’s the most awkward, after that you just keep movin’ for however long it takes and soak in the lessons along the way.  We can all take a baby step 🙂

Baby Steps

Change is Gonna Come

26 Sep

Well, if there’s one thing you can count on…Things are gonna change! Although there may be a few folks in this world that relish the thought of change, from my vantage point, most don’t.

It’s hard enough to change when it’s something we choose, when we’re the ones directing the momentum behind the change, but change when we had no say in the matter, when it’s not the choice we would’ve made and we feel like we’re forced to go along for the ride anyway…Watch Out! That’s when we really get worked up.

I see so many examples of this in my own life…Mark Zuckerberg, has at least half of my facebook friends up in arms at this very moment, because of the changes he’s rolled out in recent days, no one wants that newsfeed messed with!  Oh, and the new Boss at work decided it was time for re-structure and I don’t think we’ve recovered from the last re-structure yet, but here I go, like a good soldier!  A friend’s grandma passed away this morning after battling cancer and those left behind find themselves forced to deal with this loss and life moving forward changes.  Change is Hard!!

This is the thing, I’m beginning to learn, I say “beginning” because I certainly don’t have it down.  Change is hard, mostly because we don’t know what the change will bring, we don’t know what’s on the other side, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful, and bottom line, the unknown makes us uneasy.  But stay with me for a minute…What if on the other side of that change was something better, something needed, something refreshing, something healing, some unforseen gift?

Ready or not, change is going to come knockin’ at your door many times in this life.  Instead of digging the heels in and sticking our heads in the sand, Can I suggest that we try a new approach?    What if we chose to take a deep breath and jump on in!  To embrace the opportunity, to learn, to grow and see what is possible?  I say we consider it…who know’s, we may find that the water is just fine!

It’s Not About Me

17 Sep

Well, it may sound highly self absorbed of me and it probably is, but one of my life long lessons has been learning that this life is “not about me”.  Boy, I’d like to say it’s been an easy lesson to learn, but I’d be lying, it’s tough and still can be on a frequent basis (confessions good for the soul, right?).

I can remember as a child when this painful truth just started to become apparent to me.  My birthday is on the 4th of July and every year for MY birthday a big multi-million dollar production of fireworks was set off for my special day, I even saw fireworks on the television, everyone was into celebrating MY special day…imagine my 5 year old horror when I realized the fireworks weren’t necessarily for ME, they had something to do with Independence day and freedom or something like that?!  Or imagine my shock, when I stay home from school because I’m sick and the school actually still opened without MY attendance!  The painful lesson began…

It is highly likely that I am a slow learner regarding this specific life lesson, but I look at myself and at many of those I work with, call friend, see in the news and I don’t think I’m the only one struggling with this fact of life.  Life simply doesn’t go the way we want it sometimes.  We’re not where we thought we would be, doing what we thought we’d be doing, with who we want to be doing it with and what do we do with that?

I have spent way too much of my life either dealing with the past or focusing so much on a desired future that I altogether miss out on the gift of today AND it is a gift my friends.  Today is not something I’m owed because I’m me, my ideal future is not guaranteed because it’s what I want and the growth I think comes when we can learn to embrace today, even with it’s perceived imperfections, even when it’s not where we thought we would be and it doesn’t look like we thought it would.  It’s still a gift!  My prayer is that I would learn to cherish it, to grab hold of it, celebrate it and realize, it’s not all about me and you know what…that’s o.k.!

Sometimes I’m A Stinker!

4 Sep

I called my sis-n-love this week to hear about my 3 nephews 1st day of school! (I’ll leave names out to protect the “guilty”) She stated nephew #1 and #2 had a great day and then proceeded to explain to me the long and arduous details that started nephew #3’s 1st day. #3 decided he did not wish to attend school…Van is in the drop off line, slider door is open #1 & #2 jump on out, but #3, he’s not budging. Mom parks the van to assist #3 out of the vehicle which was met by great resistance.  The details are now fuzzy, however, the ordeal involved, running, clinging, screaming, crying, school counselor, teacher and took the majority of the morning. I am told a little before lunch #3 made it to his 1st grade class to stay and had a marvelous remainder of the day. A matter of fact, #3 has told me “school is the awesomest”! Mom might still be recovering but #3 is no worse for the wear.

I will admit as my sis-n-love was relaying this story detail by painful detail, I was thinking to myself, “that little stinker”! But, I got to thinking…I’m a bit of a stinker myself, at times. If I’m being honest (and I’m going to be) I’m in a bit of a “stinker” stage right now. Moving on can be hard, a new challenge can be quite overwhelming, taking that leap into the unknown can be downright frightening even if it’s for our ultimate good and benefit. So many times we (or at least I) dig my heels in, hold on tightly to the security of the familiar or maybe even run as far away in the wrong direction as I can and act like a real “stinker”!

Eventually it’s decision time and we have to make a choice are we going to stay in Kindergarten forever OR are we going to be brave and trust the ONE who knows far more than we do and walk through that door and become a big 1st grader? If we stay in Kindergarten, it will be familiar, but we’ll miss out on all we could be, all were called to be and we’ll never get to say “It’s the awesomest”!