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!

Frank Honest.

2014 World Series Parade

That moment.

The light is green, but the downtown streets are busy, both morning and evening. You pull forward, but the butt of your car still sticks way out and if that light dare turn red, you’ll be blocking half the intersection. You think (or say), “Crap. Hurry up cars, move!” The light up ahead of them turns green, they pull forward just enough to where you’re safe from the oncoming traffic. First thought, “Phew! at least I’M safe!” …And then you notice that the person behind you has not been as fortunate and their car is still way out in front of others. At this point you either think, “I’m glad that’s not ME,” or, “How can I pull up closer to the car in front of me to help the guy behind me?”

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Hi. My name is Frank and my last name is Honest. I think the selfish thought first. I get embarrassed and I’m reminded of my new nature- a nature that’s God’s. The most generous and selfless One. So I ask, “Dear God, please change mine.”

 

Miss. New Ness

  1. A new car.
  2. A new home.
  3. A new relationship.
  4. Your first job.
  5. Fresher clothes.
  6. A new experience. That one— New experiences! We love them!
  7. Your first trip abroad.
  8. Your first kiss.
  9. The first trip outside of your mind.
  10. The first time you voted.
  11. A promotion.
  12. Your baptism.
  13. The day you bungee jumped, skydived, or rock climbed.
  14. Your first tattoo, piercing, and colored hair.
  15. Your first cellphone, time you sneaked out, or took a trip to the movies.
  16. The first time you got stung by a bee.
  17. Your drivers test.
  18. Your relative’s funeral.
  19. Your child’s first word.
  20. A birth.
  21. The list goes on and on and on.

There is something about humanity & new experiences! We tire of the old. We unfriend the familiar. We are on a chase for a new high.

 

However, what do you do the day that drive attempts to pull you South? What if you’ve already got something good going on, but you miss Miss.Newness? The chase- it never satisfies. In a relationship, the most memorable and “exciting” season for many people- is that of courtship. Why? Because so much is new. That’s why after a few years of marriage, the couple needs to “spice things up.” Or take buying that new car- notice that new car smell, but within weeks stop sensing such.

So what do you do to satisfy that insatiable drive? How many new things can you actually experience before the writing ink for your list dries out?

Good or bad, the “first times” and the new moments of our lives, we remember with admiration. I’ve been thinking for a couple weeks now, what is the solution for this search of ours? Is this phenomenon a part of our DNA or our character? Why such a drive?

There is something my friend did say that makes sense- she talked about doing things mechanically once they’re routine and how it isn’t fun to catch yourself doing that. So I conclude- We want to be connected with our hearts. The first time we ever do anything, we are full on into it, hard or easy. We are fully into it, because we want to do our best. Animals do not posses such a quality. The drive DOES give our human lives quality and pushes us to be our best. In that connection with our hearts, is the search for identity.

What do you make of the drive for New Ness?