So, I'm sitting here in "mommyville" today, bunny slippers locked on tight and messy hair as my crown wondering what beauty tips and tricks am I going to offer in this moment?! I don't know about y'all but some days getting dressed can be as fancy as I get and applying make up and fixing my 'do just DON'T happen!
Our family just returned from Gatlinburg, Tennessee where we held our annual Crossroads Winter Conference. Clayton and I started this conference 21 years ago as a way to build up and encourage middle and high school students halfway through the school year, giving them the godly boost they needed to continue in their faith and finish well.
We all live on planet earth. But if you’re a believer, you probably carry around this little longing, this feeling, this deep knowing that the world is not as it should be. Do you have this inclination that either you belong somewhere else, or that this world, this place we call home, needs a radical transformation before you could feel "at home?"
I know some of you have been in a season where life is just not what you’d like it to be, or you’re currently toughing it out right now. In the Christmas season and new year, there can be pressure to put on a “facade” to our families, friends, and to the world that everything is okay. One of the beautiful things about Christ is that he came to silence the need to put up a “front”.
What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Are you filled with joyful anticipation of togetherness? For a lot of people, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year (see what I did there). But for some, I know it’s the very opposite. Christmas can bring feelings of unmet expectations, money woes, grief, obligation, and straight up anxiety. For me, memories of the holidays and Christmas aren’t particularly joyful. Last year was hard. Like, we need a do-over hard.
By “hanging on,” I mean I have a white-knuckled, iron-fisted death grip on those jeans. And by “skinny jeans,” I am not referring to the fashion piece; I’m talking about my I-need-to-lose-ten-pounds-before-I-can- t-in-them- again skinny jeans. Know what I mean?
My family is sitting second row for a Clemson home game. I knew it was going to be noisy. I expected it. But, there’s a man behind us who knows everything and won’t stop yelling into the back of my head. Part of me wishes he’d just put on a jersey and show us all how the game should be played. And just when I don’t think he can get any more obnoxious—he does. The refs make a few bad calls against our beloved team, and he loses it! “What’s wrong with you, ref?” Then—at the top of his lungs—he yells a long-winded “Boooo!” at every play for the rest of the game. I agree with his assessment, but I’m more irritated with Mr. Boo Fan than the refs because he’s keeping me from appreciating my second-row seats!
One time, on an international bus ride, I was playing a question game with friends to pass the time. The question we had to answer was, “If you could be any person in the Bible, who would you choose?” When my friend answered Ruth, the reality of living Ruth’s life hit me like a ton of bricks.
There’s nothing wrong with telling entertaining stories or developing good conversational skills. But if we want to take our friendships deeper, we have to do away with conversational monologues. Friends want a two-way conversation with you; they don’t want to be talked at, but to. Are you any different? You want people to listen and try to understand you, right?
When I was a schoolgirl, I remember thinking, “If those people liked me I’d be popular, important, find a boyfriend, and fit in.” The combination of a social life at school and entertainment on the weekends taught me that friendships existed to meet my emotional needs or make me popular. I thought an ideal friend would always listen and never disagree because I dreaded conflict. She would share all of my likes and none of my dislikes because then we’d always love hanging out. She would always lift me up and never drain me because then I’d always go home happy.
My boys and I are cuddled on the couch with the book everyone says we have to read, The Giving Tree. Before I start, I make sure the book is completely centered because reading at their age is all about the pictures. “Okay guys! Everyone says this book is ah-ma-zing, so let’s take every- one’s word for it and read it today!”
My husband recently told me that one of my common phrases is, "I feel bad that..." I never noticed how bad I felt for everything...for so many things I didn't need to feel bad for...until he made me aware. I felt bad when my kids got in trouble, got their feelings hurt, weren't having enough fun, or when I felt like a "bad mom." At first I tried to justify my guilty feelings by telling myself that Clayton was an insensitive guy. But, after years of trying to explain to him why I felt guilty (and why he should too), I understood that I was worrying about things that weren't my responsibility. I was carrying other people's burdens in the name of compassion and love, but was actually motivated by guilt.
Honestly, I have a hard time saying no to my kids because I don't want to disappoint them. I don't like disappointing people in general. I hope you have a bigger backbone than I do! But, in case you don't, here are three reasons I was able to start saying no.
How many times have you heard the quip, "Women are complicated?" Whenever I hear it, I want to roll my eyes. Of course women are complicated. Do we have an option? Think about it: We're supposed to be strong and independent, but also tender and nurturing. We're wired to want a man, but we're supposed to be content if we're single. We want a healthy marriage, but one in four of us have experienced abuse by a man.
Something happened inside me when I gave birth to my kids. I became obsessed with keeping peace among them. I wanted to make them stop yelling, stop hitting, stop picking at each other, stop throwing things at one another, stop, stop, stop. But controversy and tension among them happened every day and nothing I did or said took it away.And then, on the radio one day, I heard this quote from Focus on the Family. "If your boys are fighting, they are bonding.
Stephen was the leader I want to be. Not because he was an eloquent spokesman or because he had a large following, but because he was willing to be humble and obedient to the greatest leader of all time, Jesus! If we want to lead, we must learn how to obey God, whether or not his plan abides by our agenda.
Sometimes hectic can't be helped, but many times the chaos is a sign that we need to take time to problem solve. Miscommunication in leadership not only has the propensity to create chaos in your organization, but can also steal your momentum and focus. If we want to lead well, we have to eliminate confusion by addressing assumptions. Here are three ways we can do this...