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Archive for September, 2016

WHAT? Two posts in a row?? I know – I know, you think the world is coming to an end.  But have no fear! It is only that I am at work, but have little to do (right now at least) and wanted to talk about something that I experienced yesterday but wasn’t ready to talk about when I posted last night.

So, you recall, no doubt, that I wore a hat to church yesterday. Which was awesome and exciting and a huge step for me. But something unexpected came out of it too. Something you are the first to hear, and it is humbling for me to talk about it. But I feel the need to share it, if only to cement what I learned within myself.

I was standing in church during worship, singing along to the words – but not paying attention. I was far too focused on whether I looked okay, and if people were staring at me, and what it would be like if everyone wore hats to church like they used to. Suddenly some words I had said to Daniel before reaching church floated back into my head. It was something along the lines of: “I’m pretty sure God doesn’t care if I wear a hat, so I don’t know why I care so much what other people think.” And I suddenly felt convicted as something (or Someone) whispered, “He may not care if you wear a hat, but He cares if you pay closer attention to that hat and your looks than Him.” I realized with a start that I was so concentrated on my own looks, I couldn’t even do what I had come to church to do – which is worship and learn about God. I’m not going to say it was easy, but I very purposefully turned away my attention from myself and concentrated on the worshipful words I was singing. Which not only took away my self-consciousness but opened up another vein of thought.

How many times had I stood in that same church, singing and worshiping and focusing on something other than God? For instance, in the same line of fear (people’s opinions), I often focus on my voice and whether I am singing too loudly or not loudly enough, if I am in tune, if I got the wrong words or had the wrong timing and whether other people liked or disliked the tone of my voice. I blushed to myself as I realized how incredibly self-focused I was during this time at church every Sunday. So I took my purposefulness to another level, and instead of focusing on my voice and how it sounded, I listened to the sound of the church singing to their God. What an incredible difference it made! For the first time, I could hear all of our voices joined in one harmonic tone, lifting up praise. And I understood why God loves worship. The people in that church may or may not have “good” voices and may or may not sing in general – but for those moments – it was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard and the most in harmony song I’d ever witnessed. And I knew that God was in His heaven, looking down and reveling in the sound of that many people joined together to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. What I had been missing for so long, because I was so self-focused!

I realized – I mean – I had told myself this before, certainly – but never really, really realized how incredibly selfish and self-focusing fear of people makes you. Yes, you are called a “people pleaser” – you want others to be happy so you worry about what you are doing – but why do you want others to be happy? So you can feel happy, and respected, and worthy and even important. It all circled back to me, me, and more of me. That is not to say we shouldn’t be concerned about others certainly – but perhaps I should be more focused on how to help THEM instead of how it is going to make me feel if I don’t do it right. It is a very slight shift in mindset that I think makes an incredible difference in life view.

That is not to say that everything is going to change overnight – it has been a mode of thought ingrained in me for so long I don’t think that is possible. But at least I know now what to concentrate on – how to change my mindset – and about what may be the biggest sin issue I’ve ever discovered about myself  – and the last one I expected – selfishness. I wonder what would happen if, every time I started to feel self-conscious or worried about what people thought, I stopped myself and asked myself why I felt that way and whether I was actually worried about them, or about myself.

Image result for c.s. lewis humility quote

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Hats and Printers

So, I’ve already told all my friends, and my mom, and Facebook about this, so I won’t spend too much time on it – but I wore a hat to church today! Technically called a fascinator these days, because you know, they feel like they have to sell it under another name to actually sell it since real hats went out of style awhile ago. I have a lovely collection now, and this is my second time wearing one out (other than the one I wore to the tea house). I was scared to death, but I’m working on not letting my fear of people influence my decisions. Working on it.

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Most recent update on my writing life? I bought a printer. Yes, a printer. And if you want to know why (invigorating subject, I know) – it’s on my other blog. You know, the one I am trying to use to increase my public profile in case I ever get published. We’ll see if it works. 😛 http://storyidyls.blogspot.com/

Anyway – I don’t have much more to say right now. Plus, I should start thinking about going to bed. I think Daniel is going to make us get up at 6:15 tomorrow to work out. 😦

 

 

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So, I have the day off today, for which I am every so grateful. It was pretty much worth the hours upon hours of work for the Full-Scale Exercise my team did last week if it resulted in a couple days off without using PTO. And I fully intend to use today to write for the first time in over two weeks. Which you can read a little bit more about at Once Upon a Story.

Once thing I didn’t mention in that post is that I am hoping – that is, I think I might ask – that some of my friends might do some of those writing exercises with me. I’m not sure I’ll be successful – but I feel like I will do it more frequently if other people are doing it with me. I don’t know – we’ll see.

Okay – so here is a pet peeve for you. How do you feel when someone says to you, referring to your significant other, “You’ve trained him well.” Or, if you are a guy, if someone tells your girl she’s trained you well? Personally, I find it incredibly insulting to both me and my husband. It is such a favorite term these days though! Gahh, it makes me so angry. Here comes the rant, so leave now if you don’t want to listen to a rant.

Okay, so, back story – I posted the following on facebook yesterday, because I thought it was super funny coming from a guy:

Daniel: Let’s watch Pride & Prejudice.
Me: Okay – want to try the black and white version that is hysterically inaccurate?
Daniel: I’m going to be a Jane Austen snob and say NO.

Whereupon someone promptly responded with the comment “You’ve trained him so well.” I know that she didn’t mean anything by it, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep my tongue in check if I tried, so I didn’t respond. But why does this get me so angry, you ask?

In my opinion, saying you’ve trained your husband well implies both that you weren’t satisfied with him when you married him and that he is a dog who isn’t allowed to have his likes and dislikes. Yes, that is what comes to mind when someone says that to me. And all I want to do is reply with something along the lines of:

Actually, I understand that my husband may dislike things I like or like things I don’t. We are both entitled to our opinions, and I try to refrain from forcing him into things he doesn’t like. If he chooses to do something for or watch something with me that he may not be fond of, it is because he loves me and not because I am “training” him. And I would do the same for him. When I married him, I married him as he was, knowing that he would remain that way and in no way expecting him to change. There is no faster way to end up in an unhappy marriage than to marry someone expecting to change him. I love him as he is. I may express certain preferences, and he may adjust according to those, but he does so because he loves me, not because I am “training” him the way you train a dog. I also try to make adjustments based on his expectations – because I love him, not because he is “training” me. To say I am training him is insulting me by insinuating I didn’t know who I was marrying and insulting him by saying he isn’t good enough for me as is.

Okay – I feel better getting that out. But next time you are tempted to tell someone they are training their significant other well, just take a breath and remember – he is a person, not a dog or a child.

 

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First things first – head over to my other blog (http://storyidyls.blogspot.com/) and check out my most recent post on fear of failure! Because you all know that is my favorite subject, so I couldn’t resist posting about it on there too and am currently working hard not to regret it.

Second things second: I love you , my readers. Mostly because I don’t know any of you and you still take the time to read my stuff and I don’t have to feel self-conscious because I know if you like it, it is because you actually like it because you aren’t going to have to face me at any point and pretend to anyway. Which means I can be myself around you.

Third things third. I read a lovely little piece in A Lamp for My Feet by Elisabeth Elliot that I am pretty sure God was directly telling me. as many of you know – I have a constant need and impulse to insert my witness in conversations in any way possible – partially because (speaking of fear) I am afraid not doing so constitutes as denying Christ. I’ve been trying to figure out lately the correct balance between being a good witness and allowing people to just talk without my preaching at them. I think this insight has really helped me be at more peace:

The Necessity to Cover

There are things which it is our duty to cover in silence. We are told nowadays that everything ought to be expressed if we are truly “honest” and “open.” Proverbs 11:13 says, “He who goes abroad as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing hidden.” Jesus sometimes refused to reveal the truth about Himself, even when it would have seemed to us an opportunity to witness. He did not always answer questions. He did not always say who He was. He told some of those He healed to tell no one about it. “For every activity under heaven its time . . . a time for silence and a time for speech” (Eccl 3:1, 7), “A man of understanding remains silent” (Prv 11:12). Lord, deliver me from the urge to open my mouth when I should shut it. Give me the wisdom to keep silence when silence is wise. Remind me that not everything needs to be said, and that there are very few things that need to be said by me.

 

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