Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Love and Confrontation

Fair warning: this post is really raw right now. But as writers, sometimes we process best on paper. And that's okay. I am doing what I would like you to do. Giving myself permission to be real. To let your heart process that bit of life that isn't a cupcake right now. The bit of life that hurts. That disappoints. That frustrates. That you can't quite wrap your mind around, because it just isn't normal.

Go on. Shake your head. Ask God "What ... the ... heck?" Figure out how to process it with Him.

How do you feel about confrontation? It seems some people love it while others will avoid people just so they don't have to face confrontation. I don't necessarily love confrontation, but I do believe there are instances when it is necessary in life. Instances like when someone you love needs a little glimpse into reality. Like when someone you love is obviously in sin, even when they think no one else can see it. Like when a child is heading down the wrong path and needs to be set straight. Like when someone has decided they're just going to lay down and die. Quit on life and everyone who loves them. (This can be physically or mentally or spiritually.)

Because sometimes love is tough.

People who don't handle correction well will say you're being mean. People who disagree will yell back. People who hate correction will mock. People who don't want to be bothered will stop picking up the phone or walk away.

And how do we handle that? What's the process, Lord?

Do we push on? Do we back off? Do we wipe our hands and walk away, searching for another man of peace? Somehow it just seems wrong to leave someone we love floundering in their foolishness. It feels like murder in my heart to just walk away and let them die.

Knowing we cannot force someone to do what's best for them isn't easy. Not for a parent. Not for a spouse. Not for a child. Not for a sibling. Not for a friend. There's no comfort to be found in "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."

Maybe it's a savior complex rising up in me again. That complex I'd thought had been revealed and removed the moment I met the only One who could really ever save anyone. The One who died on a cross for my sins and the sins of the world, should the world allow Him into their hearts.

Don't you see how it hurts your children? Maybe you don't intend it. Maybe you don't want others to worry about you. But that doesn't change anything. Because if you really didn't intend it, and you really don't want us to worry, you'd do everything in your power to get answers to questions and concerns we've all had for well over two years now. Instead, you lay down. Instead, you give up. You isolate and leave us in the cold, wondering day after day if today is the day we lose you forever.

When, Lord? When is a person sick enough to be considered a risk to themselves? Just because they aren't holding a pistol to their head doesn't mean they aren't a risk to themselves. Why is it that when someone refuses medical attention it's okay for them to remain ill enough they really need to be in a doctor's office or the hospital? Yet, if someone puts a gun in their hand or a needle in their arm, it's a risk? What a sick notion. It really sucks when the medical and legal system won't listen to the family members crying out around someone who really needs assistance but refuses it. Sure, it's their life. But it's our lives too. Disrupted. Out of joint. Filled with concern and wondering...

So do we tiptoe? Or do we confront? Do we love a person enough to be tough with them when their situation could be perceived as "delicate?" Maybe now's not the time...

Then when is it? Because we're all running out of time. Every second of every day that passes, we are running out of time.

Personally, I would confront. I would voice my heart. My big, I-Love-You-Too-Much heart. The heart that swells with concern and anger and frustration and ... love for someone who means something to me. I would tell them that their decisions affect those around them. That I'm not okay and am most definitely worried. I would tell them it's time to stop joking; it isn't funny anymore. It's time to grow up and set aside your childish, selfish ways. It's time to do what needs to be done. It's time to let someone help you. It's time to let go of your pride or your laziness or your foolishness or your ... {sin} that keeps you lying down and dying.

If I don't tell them, who will? Most likely, there are only a few of us on this planet that love these parents/spouses/children/siblings/friends as much as we do. Who else will say what needs to be said? Do what needs to be done?

What about you? Is there someone in your life who you would love to confront about their lack of concern for how their decision affect the ones who love them? Let me know if you can relate...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

16 Quotes About You

I can see you rolling your eyes. "Yeah, right. 16 quotes about me. She doesn't even know me."

Ah, but I do understand your desire to be loved unconditionally. So these are for you...

1. Beautiful things don't ask for attention. {The Secret Life of Walter Mitty}

2. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.{Romans 8:1, emphasis mine}

3. I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect - they are much more interesting. {Marc Jacobs}

4. Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else. {Judy Garland}

5. Why fit in when you were born to stand out! {Dr. Seuss}

 6. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. {Psalm 139:14}

7. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. {C.S. Lewis}

8. To say that I am in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name. {Thomas Merton}

9. Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. {Nicole Krauss}

10. It just takes one person, believing in you. It just takes one person, loving on you. That's all it takes to change the world. {Emily Wierenga}

11. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable, beautiful, and afraid of nothing as though I
had wings. {Mary Oliver}

12. We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. {Thornton Wilder}

13. God didn't give us our gifts to paint over them with someone else's. The unique tendencies in you and me are meant to shine in a hue all their own, and in so doing, bring a little more clarity to the full-color beauty of the God we reveal to the world. {Laurie Wallin}

14. We cannot let the haters of this world define us. Or frighten us into no longer being ourselves. {Mary DeMuth}

15. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. {Oscar Wilde}

16. If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be. {Maya Angelou}

I hope you've found some inspiration within these quotes. I'd love to know which one touched you the most. Please join the conversation and leave a comment below. And thanks for joining us today!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that not everyone is going to like me. And even those who love me will be able to point out at least one flaw in me. 
Whether it's the length of my haircut, the extra-long hair on my chin that I missed plucking, or the fact that I like to be alone when others wish I were more snuggly, there will always be something I could improve.

It's so easy to change things these days. Too much cellulite hanging from that tummy? Lipo it. Don't like your hair color? Dye it. Have blue eyes and wish they were green? Tinted contacts.

But what if I don't want to change?

What if I like myself just the way God intended me to be?

What if I like my perfectionist side? I think it's what causes me to strive for excellence in all I do.

Even when I fall short.

What if I like being alone? Need my space? My down time? It allows me the time I need to recharge so I can face tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day.

And the next time the kids fight. And the next time I get a text and have to drop everything to do something for my husband. And the next time the dog pees on the floor and I have to clean it up.

Because God wired me that way. Which is okay, because He said we'd need to rest.

My husband has a short temper. But he's passionate. My oldest son is sensitive. But he's compassionate. My middle son pushes everyone's buttons. But he's a go-getter. My daughter worries too much. But she's protective. My youngest son doesn't like to talk to people much. But he's a deep thinker.

It's easy to find faults in others. It's easy to dislike them because of these faults.

But it's just as easy to find the awesome in them too. If we'll take the time to get to know them for who they truly are. And look at them through God's eyes and not our own.

We are, after all, created in His image and likeness.

And we all know that God doesn't make junk.

But man ... man has a bad habit of making all sorts of junk. Especially in the lives of others. And we love to sit on our couches and watch people and their junk and their worlds collapse. Why?

Do we love to laugh at others in their demise? Do we think ourselves better than them? Do we wish we could do something to help? Or are we simply thankful we aren't dealing with that issue in our own lives?

If we were truly Christian (Christ-like) in our attitudes and thinking, we'd turn off the television and pray for those people we love to watch, asking God to reveal the beauty laying dormant inside of them. Because once the camera's turned off, I'm pretty certain there's deep-rooted shame, bitterness, and a desire to be truly loved for who they are hiding deep in the corners of their hearts.

Because we're all created in the image and likeness of God. Yes. Even them.

Even those people who called us "Muttley" or "Four-eyes" or "not good enough."

Even you.

Even me.

And deep down inside, we long to be loved for who God created us to be.

Short hair. Glasses. Rollie-poly tummy. Overtired. Grumpy. Frumpy. Not-so-perfect perfectionist. Chasing my dreams when others think I should get a job. Me.

These are the people this blog is dedicated to. Those imperfect people who want to be loved for who they are, no matter what.
Because when we look at each other as children of God, created in His image and likeness, we look with love. Not condemnation. Not needing to change each other. Not pushing our idea of who we think someone else should be.