Your boundary reminder:



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(I recently read a very informative blog post & thought I’d share!)

http://www.morethanamess.com/boundaries/

I remember being in Africa when the word “boundaries” was first brought up to me. I had never been taught by my parents, or the religious organization I belonged to, that boundaries were okay, or more than that- necessary. I thought you always give grown ups their way, you say yes to everything your parents say (even when it can be harmful), and you don’t question your authorities. 

Boundaries seemed to be taboo.

Over a period of months, the concept slowly began sinking in. I clearly remember defining boundaries with my mother last year in order to start recovering from an eating disorder.

A year later, and with life looking way different, I’m once again reminded of how important my boundaries with her all. Not just with her, with everyone. It’s easy to allow the words and opinions of others to push us around. But which one of us wants to let another run the life WE’RE given?

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You, just like me, have your own life to live. Good choices, bad, they’re all yours. Sometimes, it’s the lack of boundaries that hold you back from living your life as you’d actually like. Boundaries sound a little heavy, like restraints, but in reality, they lead you to a life of more and more freedom. Ah, we love freedom.

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A religious experience.

I hate being called religious. A spiritual Christian? Not so bad. Here’s a snipet of what religion has looked like in my interestingly adventurous life:

I joined a religious community for about 5 years.

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I had just quit using drugs and partying the month I showed up to my new church. My first day there was a Friday and a section of the service was open-mic. Testimony time.

I was SO excited by God intervening in my life and saving me from death just weeks before. I jumped on the opportunity. I rushed to the front, took the microphone, and began to share about how God mercifully saved me. I wore a T-shirt, had big silver hoops in my ears, had a long blingy necklace on, and wore eye makeup that was much too dark for such a gathering.

I didn’t know I stood out.

Within the next 5 years, I was squeezed and pushed into the most uncomfortable mold. All I knew was that I wanted to make God happy! My new community of people was telling me- “Anna, that make up isn’t godly. You need to wear a head-covering. You shouldn’t wear jewelry. You laugh too much. That music you listen to? It’s secular. (Which was Skillet, Red, Lecrae, etc.) Your personality? Much too rebellious. Sister, you NEED to change! In fact, you need to call girls “sisters” and guys “brothers.” You’ve also gotta stop using the word “crap.”

You see, I always needed to change. Nothing was ever good enough.

Now if you are the perfectionist type, a people pleaser, and a passionate God lover, that makes for quite the combination. It’s easy to get lost. 

I lost who I was. I traded in my identity. I gave up who Christ called me to be. I became a slave to people. I wanted to fit in, but as hard as I tried, I still always stood out!

Maybe I was never called to be part of the crowd.Image result for getting out of the boat and walking on water

I came more “Americanized” than others to the Russian community. I came with a backpack of Utah sarcasm to people who misinterpreted it as mean and cocky. I arrived too loud.

5 years and 50,000 trials later, I realize that’s the only person I want to be: I want to be that outsider who runs up before more 100+ people to share about the miracles God’s done in my life, not having a care in the world of what they might think.

Since I’ve left that circle, cult, or maybe crowd, I’ve been on a journey back to the “me” God has called me to be. As such, I’m able to love freely, and when I share Christ, I share Him passionately. I’ve learned that my outside appearance will never please everyone. (Lately, it’s my tattoos that religious folks are triggered by.) Perhaps, it’s not the outside that really matters. I’ve undoubtedly had a fair share of mistakes, and I have yet to reach perfection!

On my own, I am sinful, but in Christ, I am righteous. As long as I have His grace, I’ll stay alive. Because it’s not about what I can do, but about what He has done. HE is all we need. 

Religion squelches. Law kills. Spirit gives life.

2-Corinthians 3: 4-6: “ And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

[That’s the MSG Version- Because yes, I read a version different than KJ or NKJ. I also don’t mind NIV. P.S: Another thing I was told in the religious circle was that I have to read the “right” version of the Bible. Those folks must have missed that that the point is the message & not the vocab.]

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Oh, crap.

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Humor’s always good.

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Got this one here, since it’s realistic right?!

You know what feels good?

When God exposes another area of your heart where you’ve been judgmental before!

It’s a lot of fun.

…It freakin sucks. Usually it sucks because you’ve finally gotten yourself into a position of the very “type” of person you’ve been judging. You realize, “Wow, I’m just like them. I’m actually not ANY different. Even I’m capable of the same mistakes and problems.”  (I never thought I’d try drugs in my life, fight an eating disorder, or go through many other things.)

It sucks because you wanted to be perfect, flawless, righteous. (I tend to want that anyway…) Yet here you are, fallen short, and in need of grace.

It feels good because now your heart can be purer, although you emotionally feel much worse. It feels good because you can relate instead of look down. It feels good because now you can be at least a smidgen more Christ-like.

It’s beautiful because it’s redemptive.

At first, it’s “oh, crap.” But then it’s “oh, good.”

That Redeemer though… He’s in business for the real good.

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Acknowledging the good.

Say what you want, you will always find that which you seek. I have no problem finding powerful revelations in sermons of controversial preachers, life lessons in TV shows, or genuine advice in Eminem’s crazy lyrics:

“So this is for every kid who all’s they ever did was dreamt that one day just getting accepted, I represent him or her, anyone similar, you are the reason that I made this song, Everything you’re scared to say don’t be afraid to say no more…”

~Guts over Fear

James 1:17 says, “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (KJV)

A person doesn’t have to belong to the same religion as you do, for you to value them. They don’t have to believe what you believe for you to respect them. You don’t have to agree on everything with a person to just be able to love them. And as a couple of my favorite teachers teach: “Achieving greatness in the kingdom is impossible without recognizing greatness in another.” (Bill Johnson) & “You only have as much influence in someone’s life as they have value for you.” (Kris Vallotton)

All that to say, the following are little slivers from sermons I listened to this week. Allow me to share these nuggets of truth with you:

David Wilkerson-

“You don’t get to know God’s heart through miracles…”

-The Israelite people saw miracles in front of their eyes, yet they ended up wandering that blasted desert for 40 years due to their unbelief. I’ve seen people chase miracles (even I was tempted to do so) plenty of times in hopes of getting to know God more.

“You get to know God when He meets you in your trial…”

Pastor Furtick-

“Some of the greatest invitations in our lives come in the form of interruptions…”

– Furtick talked about the virgin Mary in this sermon. One of the coolest thoughts was that while Mary was planning a wedding, God interrupted her with a pregnancy. That interruption had a much greater result than a perfect wedding ever could.

“Plan for imperfection.”

“If you don’t learn how to celebrate your strengths, you can’t address your weaknesses.”

“Jacob pretended to be somebody else (Esau), so he could have what another had…”

– Jacob tried to trick his father by pretending to be his bro so he could have the blessing that his bro was meant to have. Not being true to ourselves blinds us from seeing what is meant for us to have.

“What I hide, God cannot heal.”

“The places of your greatest isolation, often become the places of your greatest revelation.”

-The loneliest times of my life have resulted in the coolest abstract paintings, heartfelt blog posts, songs, poems, etc.

“If  you will devote yourself to the issues within you, He’ll handle the issues around you.”

Papa God’s got it all yo. He’s got your back. And front. And insides. And so forth.

Don’t post THAT

We all love reading raw material. We love those who share their vulnerabilities. We admire those who pull skeletons out of their closets. Shoot, even the chewbacca lady became famous quick. She was willing to share her real and totally dorky moment of laughter with the world. Viral. She went viral. We admire confessions. We love testimonials.

I love my momma. I do. We’ve had an interesting relationship, but lately we’ve at least been getting along. We talked the other day and she advised me by saying, “Don’t post THAT.” See, she’s aware of me sharing my ED journey on my blog. She’s aware that I share honest moments of life online. When she thinks of the opinions others will have of her daughter, I’m sure she wants them to be good ones; and what could be so good about her daughter telling everyone of her life struggles? Perhaps it makes her not look as good of a parent… Perhaps she’s afraid someone will hurt me when I’ve already put myself in a position of vulnerability. Whatever the reason is, she doesn’t get excited when I share personal details of life struggles. Yet, boy do she and my grandma like when I share my victories, but again- not the struggles.

To put your story out there, whether on Facebook, IG, blogging, etc. takes balls. To share it with your coworker, friend, or brother, takes courage. It takes guts to be honest about what you’re going through. To let others in can be super scary. True, they can hurt you. They can laugh. They can make fun of you. However, there’s also the chance of giving someone else hope. When I was beginning my recovery from anorexia, I scoured the internet just to find someone who perhaps was going through the same thing as I, someone I could relate to. Sharing life experiences can be radically encouraging because whoever you’re talking/writing to might think- “Wow, they’re just like me. I’m glad I’m not the only one going through this.”

Maybe you’re thinking, “What do I have to share? I’m just a stay-at-home mom.” Or, “What I’m dealing with is not THAT bad. Things could be worse.” Another thought could be,“Nothing exciting is going on in my life.”  

Trust me, there’s stuff you have to share.

Look, you don’t have to be a blogger to share your story. Any part of it. It just takes guts. You’re brave. Share. Inspire. Talk. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you share exactly THAT thing!

It’s all in your head

You are you. With all your +’s and -‘s. Lots of times you forget your +’s and can only see your -‘s. You have problems and you want solutions. At times, all you can do is hope. You believe that one day if you…

…Lose those last 13 lbs, or gain that much more in muscle, you’ll be perfectly satisfied with your body.

…Change or mask that one facial feature, you’ll feel pretty darn good about your face.

…Have children, you’ll be motivated enough to quit smoking/drinking/using drugs.

…Find the perfect partner, you’ll become confident in who you are.

…Find the perfect job, you’ll never complain about your boss again.

…Travel the world, you won’t have to deal with where you are in life now.

…Preach to any & everyone, you’ll be more “aware” of your salvation. “Holiness,” even.

…Finish school, you will feel more accomplished. You’ll finally be successful.

…Are promoted in any group or organization, you’ll receive respect.

This list can go on and on. You know which ones you would add.

(What would they be anyway?)

It’s the whole “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome. It’s easy to believe that once a particular circumstance changes in your life, you’ll finally be satisfied. As if happiness lies outside yourself. As if. You can’t run away from your demons. When your outside environment changes, your inner environment is not guaranteed to change.  I don’t know how to put it prettier than that. I don’t always speak pretty, but I can at least speak the truth. 

In my little life I’ve experienced this syndrome plenty. I still find myself thinking in these terms. By doing so, I can expect to fail. Because no one and nothing can fill a void. No one can change our mentality for us, or our outlook on the situations in our lives. Having a boyfriend who likes my body, doesn’t actually change my opinion of it. Getting married one day won’t rid me of my struggles. Finishing school and getting an ideal job won’t lead me to see myself as successful. Getting older won’t make me necessarily more confident. When I was a kid I thought, “By the time I’ll be 17, I’ll be beautiful, confident, and perfect.” I couldn’t wait to be 17. You can imagine, I was a little disappointed.

Yet… I can be those things today! I can learn to see my beauty, practice confidence, and admire God’s perfection in me. I can have a healthy perspective on my struggles. I can strive to do my best with what I’ve been dealt in life. I can learn to like and accept my body. I can learn to love me.

 

If you’re seeking joy, confidence, security, peace, freedom, etc. I can only say 2 things:

  1. You’ll find it in Christ. But what does that even mean? ( Trust me, I hate unexplained Christian cliches too.) Meaning: You’ll find it in yourself, considering He lives within.
  2. You’ll find it inside your own head by changing your thoughts.

A renewed mind.

Same difference.

 

A Change In Your Wind

Life can be so weird. You cannot deny the awkward phases of transition.

When you were a baby, you had a cute little set of baby teeth. As a kid they turned to scraggly ones, crookedly growing in. After you ripened, you got yourself somewhere between 28-32 nice (or sometimes not-so-nice) adult teeth.

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Or perhaps you got these. If you had to improvise with foil, trust me, I understand.

Let’s take another example: In the wintertime, you get fluffy, beautiful, sparkly, white stuff outside. (If you live in Utah anyway!) In the summertime, you get sunshine, warm beaches, and endless fun. Between those seasons we get spring. While there is a blooming side to it, there’s also the rainy and mucky part. There are days so gloomy you don’t know what the heck to do with yourself.

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What I would call Oregon weather.

One more: You’ve been in a certain environment physically, or have been spiritually ministering in a particular way, and you were so passionately doing what you were. Then faintly you begin tapping into a new idea of where God wants you and what He could be leading you into. So, you go through a time of just persevering. Your passion for your past phase is beginning to dwindle and yet, the time to move on has not totally come. You JUST hang in there, it’s all you can do since you’re not willing to stupidly jump the gun.

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At times we don’t even have a decent awareness of the exact change in our life seasons, things just seem so confusing and even hard. My most recent example of a mental transition has been going from excitedly talking to girls about eating disorders and recovery, to trying to figure out what motivates me next in life. (I do still want to be a therapist in an ED clinic, but ED’s are not all I think about now.) Maybe you’re a few degrees more stable in your passions than I! Within a few years I can jump from living in Africa, to blogging descriptive details of my ED journey, to happily going back to college full time. However, we all go through times of change. In fact, the only thing that is a constant in life IS change! Let me simply remind both you and I, that the end will be truly worth it and there will be sun. Which I love. But, moving on…

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