Tag Archives: acceptance

Reader request Friday

For 007 at https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/: I asked my son about the first birthday he ever planned and he laughed and said, “none , well maybe this one. ” We were sitting at the table eating pieces of a giant cake that his girlfriend had made for him. It was last Friday and he had called me on Tuesday to say he was coming home for his birthday. He brought his musical equipment and computer and his desire was for all the musicians in the family to make a birthday song together. That didn’t actually come together but good times were had.

For Rakellewrites  http://www.racquelwrites.com : Yes, 27 years is a lot of time spent with another human being and many compromises have been made on both sides to keep this ship afloat! While it’s easy for me to think of a long list of things I’ve given up for him, I must admit that he has an equally long list. Both of us are pretty easy-going , as long as we get our way. But , that only works if you both want the same thing! So over the years we’ve had to let go of some things. I think maybe he was the more generous one in the past and maybe I’m paying that back now . But who’s keeping track? Wink wink! One biggie for him was that in order to keep the growing family fed and bills paid he has had to sell some of his toys, as in cars, motorcycles, and other wheeled objects . Not always without some resentment and unhappiness, but we got past it. Another one is he’s been very flexible with me as far as giving me a lot of freedom, as long as all my work is done. In my case, I’ve had to learn to be patient when I want to go and do things and we just can’t afford it. In the past I’ve found ways to make travel and races happen , but it’s getting harder and harder . I have a strong belief in God and I rely on the Bible as my standard of right and wrong, therefore, even in some very trying periods of marriage, I have not felt that quitting was an option . I believe that Satan is real and he wants to destroy relationships. When things get rough , I pray harder! I also avoid people, authors, and other media that do not value the marriage vow. I know how easy it is to get sucked into that way of thinking. I think my husband and I are a good match and we usually enjoy the same things , but not always. And that’s okay. We are both independent and opinionated as well. We don’t always agree on politics but we agree on values and religion. Somehow it has worked for 27 years. When I hear that a couple is struggling, I try to encourage them to 1)remember their spouses good points and 2)remember their own faults. No one is perfect. I’ll finish with an example from real life. The weather is perfect today and I really wanted to go hiking . But I discovered my husband had other plans . Since I’m going trail running tomorrow, I opted to not push for the hike, even though he was willing to try to fit in both activities. There was not enough time in my opinion for both. I’m sorry to miss a day hiking in fall weather, but I had to be honest that I would do better to stay home and do chores. So I guess I’ve gotten better at not getting my way. I want to give God the credit for helping me mature and not be so selfish and stubborn. I have prayed specifically that he would make me a better wife and mother and I trust that he is at work .

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I wasn’t expecting that! Or: Churches are made up of People

I think I mentioned that after years of being away from attending Sunday worship services, I had started visiting a local church and really enjoying the peaceful low-key , fairly anonymous time with other believers. I’ve been going for a couple of months I guess . I kept thinking I’d like to make an appointment to chat with the pastor , just to learn more about the Lutheran church since it’s not my usual Baptist denomination.

Well today I got a shock when I sat down and they began the announcements and I heard the pastor say that he had tendered his resignation that week. I can still hardly believe this . Why? Because I really liked him! He preaches good Biblical sermons and he’s a nice guy. I’m sure God has a reason for this and it has nothing to do with me. I just feel sad that he and his family are leaving and that the church is about to go through a transition. I’ve been through that before and don’t look forward to it . But maybe this church needs that . It had a split a few years ago and I guess things never really healed so attendance and offerings are way down. I can see how a pastor might decide it’s time to move on if he feels unwanted.

The sun came out today after weeks of gloomy rain and clouds.

As in everything, I will keep trusting God to show me the way. If he wants me to keep going there , I’ll know. If I start seeing an ugly side of this church , I’ll move on. But I’ve been asking him to show me how I can serve so maybe something will come up .

Do you attend church? Have you ever been part of a church that split ? Have you ever left a church that you had been a longtime member of?

Well, Now What?

My happy and excited mood was instantly replaced with disappointment and questions when I checked the weather this morning. All week I’ve been patiently waiting and anticipating what was supposed to be great weather and a hiking trip for my birthday (which is actually Monday). Evidently the jet stream or whatever has shifted , as often happens for good or for bad, and now we are looking at a 60% chance of thunderstorms and a high of 80 degrees. I can handle the heat but this park closes the trails when it rains . So, now what?

The park is over 3.5 hours drive from here. Do we risk it? We have a hotel reservation , as well. Do I cancel or change it to somewhere else? Do we just pray and hope for the rain to hold off or be lighter than expected? If you’re from Texas you know most of the time rain here equals storms , not pleasant showers, but we get those occasionally and that might feel nice when hiking as long as the trails don’t get too slippery. They are steep and rocky , like I like them, but I don’t want one of us getting hurt.

The current weather is gorgeous! I’ll try to enjoy it while it lasts . I’m going to pray and see where God takes us. Maybe we need to stay home for some reason. I will choose to trust Him.

The Life of the Party

Do you like podcasts? I do and I listen to them regularly while running , instead of music. I often get blog ideas from them and that happened today while I  was listening to an East Coast Trail And Ultra Podcast  interview with Alex Ramsey, aka Barefoot Alex.  Alex was described as a person who NEVER says anything negative. I believe this because I met him once at a race and he was super friendly, positive, and happy. Even when the interviewer said something negative or somewhat rude about something, Alex would just laugh and make a joke and not partake in the negativity. This made me wish that I was that kind of person. Who doesn’t love being around super friendly, positive, happy  people? The kind who have witty comebacks, are very humble, but real, people, who don’t drag other people into gossip, negative conversations, politics, or boring subjects.

I then had to stop myself and say, hey, everybody has their own personality and contributes to the world in their own way.  We can’t all be cheerleaders or motivational speakers or the life of the party. Somebody has to do the other jobs and be the ones to laugh at the jokes. I am a teacher. My gift is sharing and explaining information. But I also try to encourage and build up people in my life with that information.  My personality type and gift is not always appreciated  and I could probably improve my skills and I want to do that. I need to learn from teachers who are able to inspire and encourage while they teach. I had a couple of those special teachers in my years of schooling and I still remember them. They didn’t take things too seriously and they were able to be flexible and also not get upset when students acted up or had trouble learning.

Other people, maybe you, might have the gifts I admire. I love smart people who can make funny jokes. I really appreciate someone who makes me laugh hard! Eddie Murphy was one of my favorites in my youth. He could never get away with some of those jokes nowadays.  I also admire blue collar workers and love to see them at work. My husband is a mechanic and basically an engineer as well. He can use all kinds of tools including a lathe and mill. If he needs a special part to fix something , he can MAKE IT! Pretty cool. I have not spent very many years of my life in paid work, so I find the whole work world fairly mysterious and interesting. I especially love entrepreneurs and salespeople, probably because my dad was a salesman. Some other under-rated people are the ones who do so much good in the world and never want or get attention for it, unless Mike Rowe finds out, the charity workers and good-deed doers and people who donate money, time and their brains to make these organizations successful.  That takes a special personality. These people have huge hearts, good organizational skills, and seemingly boundless energy. Yes, I feel bad that I am not like them, too. And let’s not forget the people who are very good at skills like keeping things safe, being  fair, executing justice, enforcing rules, protecting others, risking their own lives for others,  our police officers, firemen and emergency personnel. Not many of us are cut out for those essential jobs , and they may not always be the life of the party, and that’s okay!  I’d rather have the calm, quiet type in an emergency.

Don’t get me wrong, I do try to always be friendly, positive and happy, but it’s not my natural state. I’m more cautious, observant, and analytical. My point is that I need to be okay with myself, and you should be, too. It’s okay to admire others, but don’t ruin your own happiness trying to be someone you’re not. Find your special gift and use it to make your part of the world better.

Happy Sunday !

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My son, left, and my husband, working on a dirt bike motor. 

 

Be a QUITTER!

“Don’t be a quitter!” is often good advice , but there are times that quitting is a good idea.

1. Quit trying to please everyone. It’s impossible and will make you crazy. Be fair, compromise sometimes, don’t always have to have it your way, but it’s okay to make decisions based on your preferences and best interests at least sometimes! If you’re single with no kids, you can do that most of the time.

2. Quit expecting other people to make you happy, be perfect, always meet your expectations, put your needs first, read your mind, and put up with your bullshit. It’s not reasonable or fair.

3. Quit whining and complaining constantly. This habit drives people away, makes you forget all the good stuff you have going for you and makes you less likely to be successful in your goals.

4. Quit eating junk food , drinking too much caffeine and alcohol , staying up late, and sitting too much. Take care of your health and you’ll be happier .

5. Quit reading and believing social media. Most of it is fake and manipulative and sometimes outright dangerously incorrect information. Choose your research websites carefully.

6. Quit being a slave to your phone. Put it down and leave the room. Can you read a book ? Can you write a sentence or a note with proper spelling on paper with a pen? Can you have a face to face conversation? These skills matter.

7. Quit judging by looks and believing stereotypes. Get to know people first . There are a lot of good people in the world. And bad people. But you can’t always tell the difference.

Hopefully you already quit or never did most of these , good job, but it’s just something I thought about while running.

3 things you should stop being afraid of

In my experience over many years of trying to help people who are chronically anxious and afraid, I have seen many similarities in their fears. I’ve also struggled  with these fears and I have compassion for my fellow sufferers. But it’s good to put a name to them and to FIGHT them and CRUSH them even though it takes time to really KILL them. 

The most common fear is, 1. FEAR OF REJECTION.  This usually becomes an issue for people who were threatened with or felt that they were in danger of a withdrawal of love, approval, affection, praise, or even food and shelter if they did something that their parent or caregiver did not like. The adult in their life was probably simply acting out the way they were raised or taught and didn’t mean to hurt the child, but the child’s sensitive emotions were caught in a cycle of fear leading to either anxiously trying to keep the love and approval or outright giving up as a self-defense mechanism. For example: Billy’s dad is always criticizing how, when, what and with who Billy does things. Billy does not understand what his dad wants from him and becomes fearful and eventually decides it’s impossible to please dad. Billy generalizes this fear to other people in his life whose opinion and approval he values, such as friends and teachers and maybe even strangers. If things go especially wrong, he may even become paranoid that no one likes him and he is a total failure. This is tragic! And all because of a lack of proper communication with a sensitive spirit at a young age.

However, Billy can learn to change his emotional reactions, self-abasing thoughts, and push himself into new, healthy ways of thinking about himself and other people that are not so black and white. He can realize that SOME people DO like him , even if others do not, and that it’s okay if some people do not want to be his friend or even hate him. It’s not his problem. He can move on and still accept himself.

The second , usually co-existing fear is 2. FEAR OF FAILURE. This doesn’t require much explanation. A person is so afraid of making a mistake and being ridiculed or experiencing the emotions that come along with making a mistake when someone is overly anxious about such things, it can feel painful and awful and paralyzing, that the person will not try to do anything he is not sure he can do. I believe it is the internal feelings of guilt and shame that they avoid even more than the possible ridicule of others. Even if no one laughs or says a word, they will tear themselves down , sometimes using truly self-destructive methods.  I have seen people who seem to actually do this on purpose, makes mistakes and then self-abuse, but that’s a topic for another day.

How can you overcome fear of failure? The first step is to admit it, recognize that you have this fear, call it out, set it on the table and look at it. Ask yourself why do you care so much? It’s irrational and you know it . Begin to separate it from your identity. You don’t have to hold on to that way of thinking about yourself, that idea that if you make mistakes you are a terrible person and that everyone is judging you and talking about you and hates you. The truth is that after you graduate from high school, not too many people really care about what you do. Your parents might and that can be a problem for many people. It’s important to separate your self-worth from what your parents and others think of you. You have value. Your value is not dependent on other’s approval. Your value is not dependent on you being perfect. Fight those irrational thoughts! Replace them with true thoughts such as “Everyone makes mistakes. I am just like other people. I am not different or bad. Other people like me. ”

It’s hard to choose the last one, but I will pick 3. Fear of Conflict. Many people live their lives in fear of this! They will choose their words and actions very carefully to keep the peace even if it means not being true to themselves. Children who grow up in angry or overly critical or chaotic atmospheres can become so fearful and sensitive to the slightest disapproval or disagreement that they are constantly avoiding and seeking to prevent these things from happening. “Angry dad” is a stereotypical joke that is not funny. Children and wives/husbands should not have to walk on eggshells and limit themselves to only speaking about safe topics to avoid touching off dad’s/mom’s short fuse. This is a form of abuse in my opinion. Unfortunately, once the child is grown up this habit can remain strong even if they are no longer living in this environment. The fear of anger and chaos remains because it was never addressed. It can also lead to the person using those same tactics of control through anger, which is just as bad or worse.
This fear is closely connected with the other two and must be addressed in order to become a healthy, conscious, self-aware person who is capable of loving others and communicating honestly.  The technique is to identify whether there is actual danger or not and learn to self-talk yourself through the irrational fear of someone else’s emotions. If you are living with a person who is truly willing to hurt you if you step out of line (in their opinion), you should leave. But oftentimes, I find that verbal bullies are really wimps and will back down if you defend yourself calmly and regularly. Show no fear! Be willing to engage in a disagreement if necessary, but don’t argue with fools. If someone tries to scare you with loud voices or threats, evaluate whether you think they will actually back it up or is it just a little dog barking? People like that usually have a weakness. Find it and use it if necessary, but for your own sake, don’t stay in that atmosphere longer than you have to. Go where you can have peace and open communication and freely discuss ideas without being shut down. Your life is worth it.

In conclusion , fear of rejection, fear of failure and fear of conflict can totally paralyze a person and leave them stuck for years. But with awareness of your fears and willingness to change YOURSELF, you can regain your power. If you need professional help, get it. But don’t stay stuck.

Your thoughts and opinions about this article are welcome! Please check out my other blogs about anxiety and life. 

I think you’re awesome!

I just want to say, you are okay the way God made you. I don’t mean your behavior is always perfect and we are all sinners in need of Christ, but YOU are cool. You are special and wonderfully made by God. You don’t need to change to FIT IN . Accept yourself and love yourself and if you are looking for friends or a mate, there’s one out there for you. Be yourself, do things you enjoy, be friendly, be open to others. But don’t change to fit someone else’s profile. YOU DO YOU!

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