Mayhem Monday: Take the Leap!

Ever wonder what it was like for the Israelites trekking through the desert towards the “Promised Land” after so many years in slavery?

Do you know the story? The descendants of Joseph had overstayed their welcome in Egypt, now they were enslaved by the Egyptians. For years they had been bound, fettered to hard labor, working their fingers to the bone and seeing no benefits from their efforts. They watched the days, weeks, months and years roll by without any hope for their own progress or success. The extent of their hopes and dreams were merely to stay alive another day.

But then God raised up Moses as an unlikely leader who negotiated their freedom and the day finally came when their chains were loosed. They were able to move forward at last—unbound, uninhibited! What an amazing moment that must have been for them, released from their darkness, they burst into the light of day! The possibilities were endless, their choices unlimited, the whole earth spread out before them in one glorious, lavish landscape flowing with milk and honey. As they made their way to towards the Promised land their imaginations must have bloomed like flowers in May as their voices lifted in song above the hazy cloud hovering overhead…

but then they saw it.

The frothy waves of the Red Sea lapping the shores of the desert sand before them and, just as suddenly, behind them another wave–Pharoah’s army, horses and chariots galloping from the other side. They were literally trapped between “the Devil and the deep blue sea”!

What would you do in an impossible situation like that? Perhaps the temptation would be to surrender. To slip quietly, obediently, back into slavery. It’s safe. It’s familiar. There’s less risk. You might think:

Why did I think I could get away, after all? That wasn’t really realistic. Just look at the odds, I’ve been at this slave thing for so long, I’m too old for change now; there’s too much at stake; there are too many unknowns in this so-called “Promised Land”. I don’t know what’s really on the other side. What’s “out there” may not be any better than what’s over here. The grass is not always greener, you know…

Do you hear how easily we talk ourselves out of it? When we’ve been enslaved by negative thinking it controls us and hinders us from moving forward. We spend our whole lives imagining what we would do “if only we were free,” but we never make any moves towards changing our situation. We only imagine it, or we get right up to the Red Sea—that point in our journey where we have to take a leap of faith before we can ever get to the Promised Land, and like Pharoah’s army, all our second-thoughts and uncertainties come rushing in like a flood to discourage us.

But, like the Israelites, we’re faced with a crucial choice: will we turn away from the Promise or will we take the leap?

It must have been terrifying standing on the edge of the Red Sea without a raft, a boat, an ark—no physical evidence that what they were being asked to do made any sense at all. Moses was telling them to walk into the sea. It sounded like mass suicide! Yet, someone had to take the first step. Someone had to believe that putting one foot in front of the other is all that’s required for the miracle to happen–whether the physical evidence is there or not–whether the plan is fully developed or not–whether all of the questions are answered or not. One step.

Have you ever found yourself on the edge? Has your path led you to a decision point that now requires you to take a leap of faith? It can be scary, but don’t let your Pharaoh talk you out of the Promise. The miracle will happen. You just have to take the leap!

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Happy Monday!

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Cover Photo credit: pixabay.com

Mayhem Monday: Choose Joy!

Life is full of choices.

Coffee or tea?

Black socks or blue socks?

Toll roads or back roads?

But, it’s the the stuff we don’t get to choose that causes problems: circumstances

Sometimes they are the result of our choices and sometimes they’re handed to us without our consent. Nonetheless, we still have a choice. We can choose our response. How we respond to circumstances will make all the difference in whether we wallow in misery or live a fulfilled and prosperous life.

It’s hard, though. Circumstances can knock the wind out of you–just ask anyone who’s suffered a loss–the loss of a loved one, loss of an opportunity, loss of physical or mental wholeness–circumstances can make you feel as though there is no such thing as choice. Stuff happens and we are the victim of it–helpless, hopeless and without agency.

Yet, it is in those moments of our greatest defeat that we must resist the urge to lay down. We must choose joy.

The one thing that makes us human is the power that God gave us in the very beginning. It is the only power that still remains. Although we lost our ability to commune with Him face to face, lost immortality and lost access to paradise–the one thing that we retained was the power to choose! And it is this power that can lead us back to everything that we lost. We can choose:

  • to focus on what’s left. What remains?
  • to look at what we can do, rather than what we can’t
  • to look at what we have, rather than what we don’t

And by doing so, we will find joy, which is different from happiness. Happiness is a temporary feeling, a fleeting emotion. Joy is an acceptance of circumstances and a choice to be content anyway. We must resist the urge to give up, as tempting as it is.

Even if our choices are reduced, diminished or shifted, they are never absent because the choices that we seek are not out there, but in here–inside of us. The crucial question is: What is it that I need to do to change my perspective on these circumstances? That is what will make all the difference.

I can speak on this topic because I am personally challenged by some tough choices and circumstances, and it’s difficult to know the right way to go. Although the cloud of failure is ever looming overhead and uncertainty swirls all around, I must decide which way to go.

My daughter, the artist, decided to paint this cover photo for me, and in the wisdom of a child she has captured beautifully this moment, this point where I must decide. Of course, one small problem with her rendering is that it assumes “my way” will take me in the opposite direction of “God’s way,” which, I hope is not the case. But whatever my decision, I know I must choose wisely and I must choose joy. I would advise you to do the same.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Happy Monday!

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Mayhem Monday: No More Fake News!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with fake news! It’s time to get real.

And I’m not just talking about the parade of false narratives coming out of Washington, DC either–although I’m certainly tired of those! I’m talking about the false narratives that invade our daily lives and inform our daily decisions. The narratives that shape our worldview about things like relationships, beauty, success and happiness. So many of our ideas about such things are dictated by media–social media, news media, entertainment television, print media and, of course, Hollywood–but when we finally power off the devices we still have to deal with the realities, whether we like them or not. So what happens when our reality doesn’t look like all the pretty pictures we spend so many hours of our day staring at? Depression? Anxiety? Stress?

How does the disconnect between what’s real and what’s perceived affect our relationships?

Recently, a few of my girlfriends and I were talking about “the real deal” when it comes to our relationships and we realized that our personal stories might resonate with some of you. We’re all married and we each have had unique experiences before and since becoming married women. When we get together our stories are…hilarious at times, but more importantly they are real!

So, there are lots of relationship books on the market–lots of books that will tell you how to have a happy marriage–lots of “how to” and 10 steps to, and the Five Love Languages… and those are all great! We’ve read them! But at the end of the day, when you’re face to face with your spouse and he’s getting on your LAST NERVE! What are some of the words that come out of your mouth in that moment? Well…

We’ll share some of our moments with you in our up coming book… The The Real Deal: Finding the Truth Through our Stories. (working title)

Now, granted, we’re not experts on marriage or relationships, we’ve just been married a long time and have lots of trial-and-error stories to share that have taught us things about ourselves, our spouses and marriage in general. We’re also still learning, but the reality is, that’s life! It’s a work in progress! The real deal is relationships don’t fit into nice, neat categories or tidy 10-step plans. You figure it out as you go.

So, we’re dumping the fake news and we’re just going to give it to you straight! Are you ready for it? We can’t wait to share!

In the coming weeks I’ll tell you more about the book, our Facebook Live chat and all the other plans in the making for this new venture. I’m excited about what’s in store and I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Happy Monday!

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