05/25/14

Moi?

Moi?…Me? …Sarcastic?

I am guilty of it more times than I care to admit.  I’ve come to realize by how much I despise receiving it, and that it is most definitely time to make sure I’m not hurting anyone else with it….I’m talking about sarcasm. I’m so sick of sarcasm and the smart-aleck response! 

It’s everywhere! T-shirts, bumper-stickers! I can’t get away from it. It seems nearly impossible to talk with anyone these days without sarcasm making its way into and taking over the conversation. Some of the funniest conversations I’ve ever had most definitely were peppered with sarcasm. It is part of humor, I get it, but it is time for me to stop and reconsider. I read once,  “Show me a sarcastic person and I will show you a wounded person. And I can tell you where their wound is too.” How true is this? I believe it is very true. And if we all stop and really listen to the people talking around us, we may realize just how wounded even our closest friends and family really are.

It has really hit me lately as I’ve witnessed in my own family just how difficult it is for me to make a simple comment about anything without getting some snide, smart aleck-type, sarcastic comment in return. The nuts don’t fall far from the tree and so, the self-examination of my heart starts now.

The Bible says we are to treat others the way we want to be treated, and while it may be a little selfish of me, it has taken me getting to this place of absolute frustration for me to decide to change, and even realize I am guilty of it.  How much of what is coming out of my mouth is sarcasm?  Heaven knows I do it while driving, but where and how else? It is time to investigate because our children learn from what we model for them. What is their model in me, my actions, my words?

The Word of God tells us in Matthew 5:37 “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” also,   Luke 6:31 says, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”  And lastly, Luke 6:45 says,  “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” We are to speak life into people. Sarcasm is death…and finding its way very quickly to be unfunny. It is destroying communication and we are losing authenticity in our relationships. There is nothing left that is real, only sarcasm and reading between the lines.

What are we really saying about ourselves with our sarcasm?  What are we telling people about what we think of them? How are we hurting others? How do we know where we stand with one another if we only use sarcasm?

It is something to think about. And maybe it’s time to go back to the old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  Maybe if we all did that, we might hear the crickets chirp…a welcome sound indeed.

 

 

 

 

02/25/14

Reality Check

Are you feeling anxious or nervous? Then it’s time for a reality check, and by reality check I mean just that. I’m not saying that what you feel isn’t real emotion and that you aren’t really anxious. Walk with me a minute and I’ll show you what I mean.

When I was in therapy years ago one of the things I suffered with greatly was uncontrollable, irrational thoughts. They were rapid fire thoughts that came so quickly I couldn’t sort them out from my reality. My adrenaline would pump as if the thoughts were true to life and I ended up in an anxiety tailspin. From the age of about 7 until 27 this was how I lived, and it wasn’t “living”, it was nightmarish.

One of the greatest tools my therapist gave me to deal with this type of anxiety was the exercise of asking myself, “What is your reality right now, Becky?”  This question alone had the power to stop the rapid irrational thoughts and bring me to a place of here and now. The question begs an answer.

Many times the irrational thoughts I would have had to do with something horrible happening to my children or husband. After learning to ask myself this question, “What is your reality?” I could then walk through the moment and rationalize my thoughts, “Okay, my husband is safe at work, the babies are napping, (and breathing just fine, ) and my big guy is at school.”  Sometimes just answering the question alone would bring peace, because knowing the reality, the real answer that everyone is okay, I was able to throw the thought out and move on.  Often times though it was a little bit more work to quiet my racing thoughts. I needed to evoke my other senses to help me find reality.

I remembered this exercise about a year ago when helping our daughter work through some anxious thoughts that gripped her in fear. We had to coach her on what she is feeling, seeing, touching, smelling right here and now to bring her back to peace.

Bringing your other senses into play after asking the question, What is my reality?, could just mean taking a deep breath to smell the fresh air or maybe you’ll smell the meal that cooks before you. It could be that you touch something or someone near you, like a soft pillow, or giving a hug to your loved one beside you. It could be that you need to look out the window to behold a beautiful tree or flower that you may have otherwise taken for granted. Whatever it is, however you need to do it,  bring your self back to reality, back to the moment. Use the gift of your senses to come back to now.

Anxiety comes in many forms and you may be thinking that because you don’t suffer as I once did that this doesn’t help. But let me ask you, are you worried about your job, and what if you lose it? Are you worried about who your kids will marry, who they’re dating, what college they’ll attend, how you’ll pay for it? How about your teenager who is about to get their driver’s license?  Are you anxious about not reaching that goal weight you set, or about your health, or about where a relationship might be headed? The questions of “what if this, what if that?”will never stop coming, but you can take an active role in your own reality check. Bring yourself back to the present.

We are all given good reason to be anxious in this life, it’s never ending. But we are also only given this moment, right now. All He’s given us is right now.  What are we going to choose to do and think, right now? And most things we worry and stress and have anxiety over we cannot change the outcome from where we are. Some worries are irrational, as mine were. Some of our worries are very legitimate fears of the future, BUT GOD has given us only this moment. We can only know His presence in THIS moment. We can not know His peace in the future thoughts of our minds, we can only know His peace right now, because that’s all He’s given us.

Matthew 6:25-34 is a great passage of scripture where Jesus clearly calls us to a place of peace and not worrying over our future, but my favorite verse is 6:34. It reads, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  In other words, I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow let alone today, so let’s just do this one day at a time. And for some of us it could be just one moment at a time.

One of my most recent self-talk statements is “Live in the present in His presence”.  I say this to myself often because if I choose to roam too far outside of the present moment in my thoughts, I will lose the experience of His presence and that is where I long to be, where I need to be, because that is where I find my reality, where I find His peace.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”  Isaiah 26:3

 

 

 

 

12/30/13

Ready or Not!

Being a “thinker”, an analyzer of my life, it is not uncommon for me at this time of year to reflect on the year that so quickly went by; reflect on my life, and what my hopes are for the future. As I do this now, I feel a twinge of sadness and pangs of uncertainty moving forward. Despite my feelings, time will move on of course and so its here and now I must make some peace with it.

It is not just another year that comes to a close, but a whole decade, my 30’s. My 20’s had primarily been a very dark time, with many deep struggles of heart, life and God. I floundered, had gone my whole life being undiagnosed with anxiety disorder until my later 20’s. So when 30 approached I began to see hope, new experiences on the horizon and the years proved to be just that; hopeful, fun and purposeful! My 30’s of course were not without struggle or hurt by no means, but it was a far cry from my 20’s. Now, 40 is 2 weeks away and as I said I’m a little sad, and apprehensive, not quite as hopeful as with 30.

My life, by no one’s standards would say is rough or bad. I have a great husband, 3 healthy kids-its all very picture perfect as they say. But what makes me uneasy is that some of the very things I wanted so badly to change throughout my 20’s and 30’s still remain in my life today-to varying degrees, but nonetheless remain. And its not been for a lack of trying to resolve them. Some relationships are still a struggle no matter how I’ve tried to make them right. Some questions still ring out in my mind of “Who am I and what’s my purpose?” (While I’ve grown closer to solid answers on those, I’m not yet comfy in my own skin.) Some insecurities that I’m so tired of fighting still linger as well. I don’t know what I was thinking, that suddenly at 40 I would have it all together? No. It’s more just being tired of the old stuff I can’t fix and change and not  knowing what the future holds, and if they’ll ever be fixed at all.

Perhaps I should take a new approach to fighting the insecurities, a new approach to mending the broken relationships, and earnestly seek the answers to the questions of who I am. I am not sure. I guess I just didn’t expect to feel as I do as 40 rapidly approaches. But life is life and expectations are often not met. And so at this moment the only thing I know for sure is that I will not walk alone. No matter what hurts, or falls apart around me, I know God is holding me. He sees my hurt and my tears. There are times when that just doesn’t feel true, like yesterday as I sat in church and sobbed quietly in the back as the pastor delivered words of encouragement to trust God even when it hurts. For a moment I wondered if following Him was worth all the heartache, worth all the frustration of things I can’t make right. Of course the moment passed and the new mercies of this morning tell me once again He IS trustworthy no matter how much it hurts. He is the ONLY one who loves me with an everlasting love. He is the one who holds the future, my future, my 40’s and however many more breaths He gives me. He is the God of all things, and even now as I write these words though they do not feel true, they ARE true. And while the pain in my heart over certain matters remains, God’s love remains truer still. God does love me and He IS good, no matter the outcome. So ready or not 2014 and 40, here I come….trusting God!