Archive | June 2012

Taking Constructive Criticism

As many of you know, I have recently stepped out and written a book. This book was something I’ve been speaking about for twenty years. Finally, God lit a fire in me and made it clear that now was the time to write it. He gave me a great sense of urgency to get the message out about what He has been doing in my life.

There have been many that have encouraged me along my journey, and then there are the critics. It seems funny that it is so easy to listen to the people that have negative things to say, rather than believe the people who tell you the good things. Perhaps it’s the enemy working to discourage me, or maybe it is unbelief rearing its ugly head again. Did God really speak to me? Can God really use me?

In any case, the struggle to listen to criticism without feeling personally attacked can be difficult. How does one sift through all the information coming in and discern what is important and what should be discarded? It’s certainly important to learn how to grow and improve ourselves, but when it starts becoming an obsession something is wrong.

Today, I’m choosing to make peace with the fact that my book is published. It’s out there and it is touching people; giving them hope and igniting a desire to know God in a new and  deeper way. That was the purpose of sharing my testimony. I want people to know that they are not alone in their struggles, and God can come into their lives and completely redeem anything that seems less than perfect. (Joel 2:25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten–the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm–my great army that I sent among you.”)

Do I think there is much that I can learn about being a writer? Yes, absolutely! It is an exciting time and I can’t wait to learn and build upon the gift of writing that God has given me. So here’s to enjoying the journey!

How do you choose to view criticism? Do you allow others criticism to stop you from moving boldy forward?

Please share your thoughts; it would be wonderful to hear suggestions from others on dealing with criticism.

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2012. 1 Comment

Victim No More

Every one of us that has lived for a little while can agree that things happen to us that we don’t like. In fact, probably everyday at least one thing will happen that doesn’t go the way we planned. This is when we get to make a choice. Do we let this thing ruin our day or do we seek to find the lesson in this event?

The truth is that two different people can live through the same experience; one can thrive and one can be devastated. What’s the difference? Attitude makes the difference between learning from life or being overcome by it. This might seem very simplistic, but I’ve heard somewhere the simplest is the highest.

It seems that when things seem their worst that is when so many people emerge with a new found vision for their lives. There is something about adversity that will bring out the best in us, should we choose to allow it. One of my friends recently pointed out that we are only learning when we fail. If we choose to change our mindset around failure it could just revolutionize our life!

I have spent the last year working hard at no longer allowing myself to be a victim. It is simple, but not easy. There are so many people who will support you in being a victim, but few who are willing to hold themselves accountable let alone someone else. It has been a crazy journey and it has taught me a lot. The journey is not over yet; there is still much to be learned. I do have the privilege of having an awesome group of people around me to keep me accountable. These people love me enough to tell me the truth so that I can become a better me. I thank God for them every day.

Where are you showing up a victim in your life? What lesson can you learn from what you are experiencing right now? Please feel free to share.

Enjoying the Journey!

The further I go down this road we call life, the more I realize that I know very little. There are always things to learn and people to learn from. We can learn from anyone young or old. Personally, I have always been fascinated with older people. Older people have amazing stories to tell if we would only take the time to listen, but what has been amazing to me recently is what we can learn from children.

We are all born with curiosity, boldness, tenacity, and very little pride. Somehow over the years, well meaning people that think they have our best interests at heart, start to teach us that these things are not very realistic. How many of you have heard the phrase “Curiosity killed the cat”? Children are taught not to make waves to fit in with the crowd and that they need to grow up and be realistic. If we are not careful it’s very easy to fall into the sea of mediocrity that is all around us.

Here’s something I heard this weekend at the A Day About Books conference with John Maxwell. “Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the “creative bug” is just a wee voice telling you, “I’d like my crayons back please.”

How many of us have had a dream from childhood that got lost along the way? Then when we try to revive that dream all or most of our well meaning friends and relatives try to help us by encouraging us to stop dreaming. Some will say things like, “People who have made it just got lucky” or “Don’t you think you’re a little old to still be dreaming?” Is it any wonder many of us will drop back into the sea of mediocrity?

I’ve recently decided to revive the dream to be a writer. This was the result of seeking a deeper relationship with God. This journey took a year and a half of searching deep within myself and doing a fearless inventory of who I had become and who God had created me to be. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that God created me to be the very thing I had been dreaming about for most of my life. As I stepped out into this dream, I have given others around me permission to do the same and I have touched several lives with my writing.

How many people miss the calling on their life because they’ve listened to the voices telling them that they are not good enough, they need to be realistic or to be successful takes luck? We need to wake up, take an honest look at our lives and decide that we are going to make the most of the life we have! (John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”)

Now is the time to step out and determine to make this world a better place because we were in it. Sure, stepping out will be difficult, it will take curiosity, tenacity, boldness, and very little pride. All the things we had as a child. We will have to be willing to fall down and get back up as many times as it takes to succeed, but won’t the success be worth all those bumps and bruises?

 

What dreams have you abandoned because you listened to the voices that told you that you couldn’t make it happen? What dreams are you taking back from your childhood? Please feel free to share so we can encourage you when the voices come.

Praying When You Feel Far Away From God

Recently, a good friend was sharing how hard it was for her to pray right now. She is going through a wilderness time in her life and is very angry. She keeps wondering what God is doing and feels like He has completely abandoned her.

It reminded me of some of the darkest times in my life and how hard it was to pray during those times. I remember when a friend was murdered by her husband and I really was angry with God for allowing it. Then there was the time when my husband had been laid off from work and we had been struggling to get by on what he made when he was working. Again, I was angry and thought God had abandoned us and was punishing us for some reason.

I remember thinking that it was showing disrespect to be angry at God. Slowly, I started to realize that pretending to be happy when I was really angry was being disrespectful. God wants us to be real with Him. Sometimes it seems He holds back until we finally come to the place where we pray and tell Him what’s really on our mind, not what we think He wants to hear.

Jesus is again an excellent example. When He was facing the last minutes of His crucifixion, He cried out, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” He was being real about His feelings at that moment. When we bring our true feelings to God, then He can begin to work in our lives.

The friend that I mentioned earlier shared how she received peace after she admitted her anger and shared with God what was really on her heart. She was able to reconnect with God again once she realized that she was not doing something wrong by being angry with Him.

Our heavenly Father wants to be in a relationship with us. That means He accepts us just as we are and I believe He delights in us when we come to Him and share what we have on our hearts. We don’t need to get our heart right before we come to Him, but He helps to bring our heart where it needs to be when we come to Him and lay down the truth of where we are.

What are you attempting to hide from God today?

The Journey is Only Beginning!

Today I am finally writing again. It has been a crazy 2 weeks! The last time I shared my excitement and fear of stepping into a deeper look at myself. I was terrified by the thought of what would be lurking there. Imagine my surprise when I discovered some really amazing things about myself.

God has given me the gifts of vulnerability, abundance, power and the knowledge that I am worthy! As an extra bonus I received the unexpected gift of healing from chronic fatigue pain that had plagued me for the last 10 years. God continues to amaze me daily!

The week spent in California in ALS (Advanced Leadership Training with Klemmer and Associates) has given me awareness beyond my wildest dreams. There are several things that will be changing as I move forward in my journey.

First, I am committed to walk in trust rather than fear. Second, I am committed to recognizing the abundance that is surrounding me. Third, I am committed to taking the leap of faith into what God has told me to do without hesitation.

I am looking forward to sharing abundance with all those around me and choosing to allow myself to receive from others.

What have you learned about yourself lately? Please share so we can all benefit.

This entry was posted on June 6, 2012. 1 Comment