Tag Archives: People pleasing

Life Strategies, Hard Questions

Hard questions

Have you ever wished you could talk with a loved one who has gone home to be with the Lord?

Recently, I was actually challenged with some “hard questions” posed to me by my sister Lois from her own last days on this earth. No,  she didn’t contact me in an audible voice or as a spirit but through her journals, that I was blessed to end up with after her death.

I have had these journals for many years and had scanned through them on occasion but recently was drawn back to them during a time of questioning about my own life and wishing I could talk with her. Suddenly, one particular page jumped out at me challenging me to evaluate my own life strategies with the following “hard questions.”

1.  Am I really headed where I want to go or am I wandering around with no purpose failing to seek God’s purpose for my life?

2. Is what I’m doing today really what God wants me to be doing and gifted me for, or am I “doing” to please others?

3. Do I really have a God-given strategy in my life or am I allowing someone else’s strategy to guide me?

4. Do I make initial assumptions because of what I want to be true or am I seeking God’s truth?

5. Do I practice deceptive and/or manipulative behaviors to have things my way ?

6. Am I in denial about anything in my life or am I allowing God to search me and know me, all of me, to reveal anything in me that is not right and help me follow him in His truth?

My Sister was asking these same hard questions in her last days on this earth as she was bedridden with Emphysema and I find them challenging me today.

I have been blessed with two great lessons through this experience.

First, I believe my sister would have wanted me to search for the answers to these questions earlier on than she did and to know a part of her heart that she had not had the opportunity to share with me before she went to Heaven.

And secondly, as I have been feeling that my journaling and blogging are not all that important to anyone but me, now  I can see how God can use  “journaling” in whatever form we may put it (a journal, a blog, writing a book, or even a personal note to someone) to help someone else who may be struggling with the same things we struggle with bringing hope to them as they see the victory God will give for our good and His glory.

I may, and most likely won’t, ever be a famous blogger or writer but as I ask myself these questions I am finding that the love of study and writing is a gift God has given me. It is my hope that one day something that challenged me will challenge someone else to ask the hard questions and find God’s purpose for them.

And my sister Lois, Well, I know from her other journals that she faced these questions , answered them and surrendered it all to her heavenly Father, who gave her His grace, wisdom and strength to accept the things she couldn’t change and to change the things she could and to know His peace in and through it all even into eternity.

And today all her questions are answered and are yes Lord yes!

I challenge you to not wait until your last days to ask the hard questions! Start today for it is the first day of your remaining days on this earth!

For He (God) says, “In a favorable time I listened to you and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” (Isaiah 49:8) Behold, now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

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Filed under faith stages, humility, self-examination

Where’s Your Trigger Set?

As the wife of a Master Gunsmith I have found there is much to learn about life from the care and repair of firearms and their ability to help or harm. My husband is retired now but still does some “trigger work” every year for a couple of long time customers. These customers keep coming back because they want someone with experience and the right tools needed to keep the trigger settings within a legal and safe margin.

If the trigger pull is to light (to touchy) the gun can go off prematurely without warning, randomly hitting whatever is in its path. If the trigger pull is to heavy (harder to pull) there is a tendency to pull away from your target and hit what is not intended, missing the mark completely. Adjustments are made by filing and/or adjusting tensions to get just the right trigger set point. Each firearm may have a different set point when it comes from the manufacturer that is within what is considered to be the legal and safe range. Set points may need to be changed in order to accommodate an individuals stature, strength, and the purpose for which the firearm is used, always keeping in mind the legal and safe range.

Just as a trigger on a firearm can be dangerous if it isn’t evaluated and adjusted from time to time, in order to respond appropriately to the pressure being exerted on it, we too have a point where situations, circumstances, and others can “trip our trigger” (pun intended). Where our trigger is set can make the difference in whether or not we miss or hit our mark, whether we harm or help as we fire off our response.

The place we see this analogy play out most often today is in the realm of  social media. With the rapidly increasing social media available, every thought, opinion, and challenge is out there for all to respond to and with many of the opinions and responses having little or no filter. Because there is no personal contact, personal responsibility or immediate repercussions to the response or comment posted, the comments are often shot from the hip. When an opinion or comment hits a nerve we are often quick to fire off our own responses and/or comments, defending or rebuking without any thought that they may consequently ricochet and harm an innocent bystander. But on the other hand we may delay our making positive comments or fail to consider not responding at all in order to diffuse a conversation gone rogue.

So where is your trigger set?

Does your trigger need to be reset?

Is it to touchy? Or is there too much delay? Either way you could be missing the mark and end up needing damage control!

Our set points may need to be changed in order to accommodate our individual natures, strengths or weaknesses, and the purpose of our response, always keeping in mind the safe and effective range.

So what are we to do?

How do we find the experience and the right tools to reset our “trigger point”?

Of course a master gunsmith won’t be able to do the job, but on the other hand we have a Master Creator who made us and He knows just where our triggers are set and has given us the tools to adjust them and maintain them at that safe and effective level that will enable us to fulfill His purpose. God has even given us the instruction book, His own word, on keeping that set point in line with His will, His target for building His kingdom here on earth in a positive and effective way. He will guide us, file down our rough spots, and tighten or loosen the tensions to adjust the response time to where it needs to be.

He gives much attention to instructing us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:9) , to have “soundness in our speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8), and to “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6) These are just a few of our instructions regarding our speech, whether spoken or written.

In the final analysis are we going regularly to the Master to assure our trigger point is set where it needs to be or are we just letting emotions and others determine our set point? Is our aim to be right or to live the righteous life that God desires? Do we want to show how much we know or how much we care, to be grumpy or gracious?

To conclude I leave you with a quote from  King Solomon’s practical words for living in the Proverbs:

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  Proverbs 25:11

Let your words be like “apples of gold” and you will find the “settings of silver” that the Lord wants to reveal in and through you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under communication, Kindness, peace, Peaceful, responsibility

View From a Room

breakfast nook mt view

Where would I go if I could go anywhere? This was a difficult question for me and it took me most of the day to decide.

I thought of all the places I had been, where my favorite places were, and which places I might want to go back to but none of these places inspired me to write about them. You see as an adult, I have tried to go back to some of those places from the past and each time I did I was disappointed because it was never the same. Oh, there were memories and some feelings of nostalgia for a short time but also some sadness when reality reminded me those days were gone and can’t be retrieved. And in some respects I am thankful for that for some of those places weren’t places I would want to go back to. I have grown up and moved forward and life changes as we move from one season to the next. I read somewhere, a few years ago, it is good to look in the rear-view mirror occasionally but better to spend the majority of your time looking at what is right in front of you.

As a child in a dysfunctional family, secondary to my father’s alcoholism, we moved many times.  I never had a permanent place I could call home or a home town. The longest we ever lived anywhere was eight years. Now I am not saying this to complain because I made many friends along the way and even remain friends with a few of them, but I say this as my explanation why I don’t have any real attachment to one place.

After I was married my husband and we did live in the same small town for 43 years. WOW – culture shock,  but we did move to eight different houses in that little town. The town was in a valley and the mountains surrounded us. This was the first place that I really felt secure. I’m not sure if it was the mountains that made me feel secure or just being in a place where I could put down roots.  It was the place we raised our children. It was a place where our children would go to the same schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. So as adults they would be able to talk with friends about “remember when we were kids” and share the stories of growing up together. The conversations that I have never been able to be part of. It was the place where I learned God loved me and where I committed my life to Him. It was a secure place, a “home town.”

The view from the room I prefer is one in the future. This room would be in a little bungalow with a breakfast nook, a picture window and a view of the mountains, I love the mountains.  Mountains make me think of God’s strength and majesty and because I’m His child, that makes me feel secure.

A bungalow where in our retirement our children and grandchildren will come and visit Papa and I. We will tell stories about our kids growing up years and read to the grandchildren from the same story books that I read from to there parents. We will have Sunday dinners together when they visit after church. And in  the quiet time when everyone’s gone home, while my wonderful husband is playing games on his computer and watching TV,  I will continue writing so that all our memories are preserved for generations to come.

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Filed under assignment, Peaceful, quiet, Word Press

Unlocking the MInd

This is my first assignment for WP writing 101. Write whatever comes to your mind, unedited for 20 minutes.

The reason I am taking this course is to learn to be a better writer. I have been writing in journals for about twenty years and am so insecure that I even edit my journal writing for fear of what others might think if if there is no filter on what I write. The odd thing is that for years there was no filter on anything I said and I didn’t put anything in writing because I feared it would come back to bite me in the butt. d

I know now that my boldness and mouthy behavior was a cover-up for my own emotional insecurity. Now I don’t blame anyone for  that but I know a lot of it came from the way I was treated as a child and teen. I came from a home where dad was an alcoholic and mom worked all the time to get by ( and probably away from Dad). I decided as a teen that I would “do to others before they did to me”. Since I was only 4′ 11′ and 92 # the chip I had on my shoulder weighed me down significantly.

By God’s grace and mercy I lived through those teen years and did mellow with age, however went from bold and brassy to meek and weak. Man there had to be a middle road. Over the years the school of hard knocks  and a maturing relationship with the Lord Jesus I began to gain a bit of insight into who I was and how to deal with the things of the past that brought out undesirable behaviors. Not undesirable by others but by me. Your see I am my own worst critic! I double and triple check everything I do and therefore don’t do as much as I could or should in my perspective.

I love to learn and read and get excited about putting all I learn into practice but when the course work is done and the lessons are learned I seldom take action because of the fear of failure. The prompt for today’s lesson was about information overload and that is how I feel after taking a course. I have to have a step 1,2,3 to go by and be told just what to do next because I don’t trust my own thinking. I don’t feel I have anything of my own to offer so I live off the wisdom of those other bloggers, Christians, authors and teachers.

I have a lot of ideas of what I would like to write about and I love analogies but it is just like the writer of this assignment said, by the time it gets to putting it on paper or at the computer keys it just doesn’t seem as important or impressive and I delete or wad it up and throw it out. I have a whole box of analogies and stories I have jotted down that I would like  to expand on but there they sit in the box. The minute I pull one out and begin to try to expand on it my mind goes blank and I determine “it wasn’t such a good idea anyway.

Well my 20 minutes are almost up and I am surprised that I haven’t stopped once to change anything. So these random thoughts are there for all the blogosphere to see. And to my friend Lori who got me started blogging I say thank you. My filters are off and it has been a very liberating experience.  I have one confession to make though I did do a little spell checking. So take away my birthday, no please take it away, I’m 66.

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Filed under faith stages, Weary encouragement hope