Saturday, March 27, 2010

Physiological Funk

My friends and family know I mean well and truly try to be a good person. At least, the people who really know me. But sometimes, I just feel so bad. Do you? Matter of fact, I feel so out of control and so tired of people telling me to just "pull myself up by my bootstraps" that I could spit. Alas, I'm a terrible spitter. Is that a word? Well, you know what I mean. Some people spit and it just shoots with power. I'm lucky to keep it off my chin... Oh. Gettin off track here.

The point I wanted to make is that sometimes we... no. I'm going to simply ask you a question. If someone ... let's say a Christian ... were comatose in the hospital, would you expect them to be an amazing example of Gods reflective love and grace? Perhaps you would think it their duty to encourage and build up all the people around them by sharing God's love in the way God would want them to? But, how can they do that when they are comatose? Perhaps they are in an isolation unit hooked up to IV's hanging on to their very life? Would you have the same expectation of that person as you would of, say, a healthy Christian?

The answer is obvious. Of course not. So, why is it that we have expectations of ourselves or other people that are unhealthy in a way we can't see? It's because we can't see it. But God does. That's why I keep talking about the fact that I am so glad God knows me. He knows when I'm "faking it". He knows if I'm "making excuses" as I procrastinate. But He also knows my heart and if I am sincerely having a difficult time. He understands functions of my body that I don't know about. Hey, He created me, why shouldn't He understand?

I've heard it said that emotional abuse is more potentially damaging simply because the abused person is filled with unseen, hidden wounds. But again, God knows that as well. If you allow God into your life, He will welcome you in turn. His healing of your wounds - seen or unseen - will take place.

Maybe you haven't experienced past or present emotional abuse, but you have or are dealing with unseen physiological factors that are messing with you. Believe me, we know when we are simply making excuses, procrastinating, being selfish,etc. Sometimes, though, there seems to be some other problem that doesn't easily fit into our guilty explanations. If that is the case. Don't worry. God knows.

You may, like me, at times feel a physiological funk. But something that is easy to do is to think that you're stuck without any chance for a "normal" life. Please, hang with me... I understand that thinking - but so does Satan...and he'll take full advantage of it. He has no problem adding fuel to the fire!

Next post I want to tell you about an amazing Christian. He's been a huge encouragement to me.

Hope it will encourage you as well!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ground Zero

You know the term "Ground Zero" from the 9/11 tragedy of the World Trade Towers.
As you know, the towers fell. The fall was actually an implosion - as opposed to an explosion. The term "Ground Zero" refers to the ground beneath an explosion, or in this case, an implosion.

Yesterday, I told you I would tell you about something I did when I was feeling very down - as if I were the ground beneath an explosion. Honestly, I felt like "ground zero" personified. I was so distraught I felt like I had imploded on the World Trade Center tragedy compacted into one person. Believe me when I tell you that at the time, I wished I were in the World Trade Center when disaster struck. I'm not being glib here. I mean it. I get so down, I implode. Uh, think I could have used a little encouragement? Sure. But, it wasn't to be.

I finally decided to reach out. It was literally the only thing I could do that would take my mind off of my misery. So. I made brownies. No, I didn't eat them! (Okay, I might have had a couple... and the crumbs) The vast majority of brownies went to my new neighbors.

The surprise and delight in their eyes was not only evident of the encouragement they received, but it encouraged me as well. So. What? Is that it? Am I simply going to make brownies for everyone for the rest of my life? Is that what I'm going to suggest you do? No. What I did realize was that every time I do something that encourages someone else, it's as if I am "rebuilding" my imploded self.

One brick does not a building make. But a lot of material will do the trick! It's as if each bit of encouragement equals a brick. Different types of encouragement results in all the material necessary to build a whole building.

Do we always have the energy we need to be encouraging to others? Do we even think to encourage others all the time? No. But God can infuse us with His strength and enable us to see the world through His eyes, if we let Him.

Time to build up Ground Zero!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where to start?

I've needed encouragement my whole life. Needed love demonstrated to me. But how can we show love, if we've never known it ourselves? Is playing the blame game going to solve anything? Psychiatrist and psychologist can potentially be very helpful under some circumstances... but the only One who can truly love us is the author of love itself: God.

We spoke about the footholds that Satan, "The Father of Lies", uses... but now we're going to talk about God... the Father of Everything.
I want to start off with the reminder that God is not Satan's evil twin. He is not the "opposite" of Satan. God actually created him. Remember, Satan was once a beautiful angel whose pride catapulted him from God's home, Heaven. He is simply a created being. God, on the other hand, is the creator and author of all things. Period. Let's see now, who do you propose we worship... the Creator or what He created? I'm going for the Creator of all things.

Now I could go on and on about all God's attributes... but for today, I want to focus on one thing: He loves us... and therefore knows best how to work in our lives. He knows how to love and encourage us like no other.

When you become His child, He works in you and uses you as one of the supreme ways He works for good in other peoples lives. When you encourage someone, it gives them hope. When you encourage someone, for one brief period of time, you stop thinking about yourself and all your problems and your focus is outside of yourself. Not only do others benefit, but you do as well...without even realizing it.

Hey, I'll tell you something I did when I was feeling exceptionally down.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Small, Medium or Large?

Like I said yesterday, Satan, like a skilled mountaineer, is very observant and able to take advantage of the "smallest" foothold. He will use it to thrust himself forward and enlarge his territory. Your life as well as others will be impacted very negatively. So, what are some examples of what I'm talking about? Glad you asked!
My pastor, Bryan Stupar, at Calvary SLO actually covered this last Sunday. In short, he listed several things:

Bitterness - every felt that before?
Jealousy - you would never envy the fact that someone else has what you want, right?
Selfish Ambition - What are your priorities in life? Does ambition take precedence over those you love? Do you excuse yourself by telling yourself that you are doing it for them?
Drunkenness - Just trying to take the edge off? Is it really helping?
Idleness, Gossip, Busy-bodying - you have no idea how much you hurt others when you partake in any of that. My life was just recently turned upside down because of other peoples gossip. Wasn't pretty.
Lies - I'm absolutely amazed at all the people that honestly don't understand how dangerous lies are! Keep in mind that Satan is the Father of Lies. Who's your daddy?
Idolatry - do you let material possessions consume you? Seriously. Think about it.

These are just a few "footholds" that are more potentially dangerous than you can imagine...Small, Medium and Large. They will hurt you... but they will hurt others as well. Look at our nation. The impact of both action and inaction has done damage that our forefathers would be shocked to see!

But am I here to berate us all for our past mistakes? No. Franky, I couldn't handle it... I need encouragement, and I'm assuming you could use some as well!

Tomorrow: Some words of encouragement!

My favorite verse: Romans 8:28

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Give and Take...

I'll bet you are aware of a lot of things you do that gives a "foothold" to evil. But are you aware that when Satan takes advantage of those things - he isn't just hurting you, he's hurting people around you as well? In our minds, we think things like, "yeah, I know I shouldn't do such and such a thing, I know it'll only hurt me... but I'm willing to be hurt".

You are willing to be hurt... but are you aware of the fact that you are hurting others as well? Yeah, well, like it or not... you are. Hey, I hate it when my husband reminds me that life isn't all about me. How dare he talk to me like that? Doesn't he know how much it hurts? Uh, yeah. He knows. He also knows that if I am like him or any other human being it is likely that I have forgotten that the world around me is impacted by my actions. The world around you is impacted by your actions as well! You don't act? Well, inaction is only another type of action.

Every time you give a foothold to Satan, he gains more ground. Our denial of spiritual warfare does not negate the fact that we are at war... it simply allows Satan to enlarge his territory as he takes yet more ground. Do you really want to be a part of that? (Ephesians 4:27)

I'm not trying to make you feel bad ... or myself, for that matter. But reality needs to be confronted... preferably with our eyes open!

If you give ground, believe me, Satan will take it! It's a give and take relationship that we oftentimes aren't even aware of.

Tomorrow, I will remind us all of the things we do that give Satan that sometimes very tiny foothold that he needs to thrust onward.

Until then...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pure Reality

Several years ago, a friend asked me if I believed in the existence of the spiritual world. My answer... a resounding, yes. But oftentimes people think that something that "looks" good is "truth". Yeah right, that's like saying that all sweets are super healthy for you. Sigh... Remember Satan? He was actually referred to as the "Angel of Light... the most beautiful of all angels". Now, he is called the Father of Lies.. Let me ask you something. In all honesty, do you really think the master of deception is going to be obvious?

Seriously. Think about it. Please don't tell me you've fallen for the red demon in tights with the spiked tail and pitchfork! That's no master of deception. That's a Halloween costume!

Are you interested in a feel-good reality of your making... or the real thing? My husband calls it - Pure Reality. I like that expression. Pure reality implies not only what we can see but what we can't see as well. It really isn't difficult to imagine. I mean, there are good people and there are bad people. There are "good" spirits and there are "bad" spirits. Some people by appearances seem to be good, but are actually quite deceptive. Same goes with anything in the spiritual world. It really isn't the far-fetched thing that people imagine. Pure reality is all-encompassing.

The best book I ever read about the reality of spiritual warfare, happens to be a very fast-paced fiction book, "This Present Darkness", by Frank Peretti. I highly recommend reading it, if you haven't already... or read it again!

Refusing to acknowledge reality, pure reality, won't make it go away.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inception of Deception

When Warren Wiersbe said the penalty for rejecting truth is accepting lies, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was true. Think about it. Most of us don't blatantly lie on a regular basis. Why,I would hope we don't lie at all! But we do. All the time.
"No! Not me", you say! Well, I have news for you.

The beginning of deception begins inside your head. My head. Little voices inside our braincase's insist that we are either stupid, or failures, or unlovable, or unacceptable in some fashion or another. Perhaps all of the above. The list of negative things we tell ourselves and believe is endless. Day after day, week after week, year after year... we accept those lies because we reject the truth.

I realize that this may be old to some of you, but it is good for all of us to remember... Ephesians 6:10-17. Verse 14 specifically speaks of the importance of putting onto ourselves - the belt of truth. In other words, to clothe ourselves in truth is one of the incredibly important ways we need to prepare ourselves for battle in this spiritual world we live in.

Deception leads to despair which leads to destruction and eventually a type of death.

I don't recommend it.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Inward Distraction

Last time we talked about distractions and hopefully we all thought about things that can and do distract us. But, keep in mind that distractions are not always outward. Oftentimes they are inward.

Example: Me. I have to go to a doctors appointment to see about my thyroid. A thyroid problem can have a myriad of symptoms including: difficulty loosing weight, no difficulty loosing hair, awful depression and much more. Alas, when most people have their thyroid checked, the doctor will tell them they are "normal". What most people aren't aware of is the fact that the "normal" range was changed in 2004, but it can take up to 17 years before the change is recognized by all doctors. So. I'm going to see if the doctor I am scheduled to see is on the "cutting edge". Fast forward to after my doctors visit.

He seems like a good doctor. I made an appt. for later in the month. Yeah!

The point is, sometimes we have internal issues that really do prevent us from looking at the world very clearly. If that is the case in your life - as it is in mine - then, do something about it. Please. Hey, I don't have money, insurance and can give you even more reasons why "it simply won't work for me". You could do the same. But, let's try to do what we can and stop whining. It may take much longer than we'd like, but it's the only feasible option I can think of.

Sometimes internal turmoil is the worst "distraction" of all, but we need to stop the emotional roller coaster ride that we may be on. A little easier said than done, huh? Believe me, I can relate.

Hang in there, don't give up... you'll find the answer. So will I.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


You know, we are so used to the "ready...set...go" thinking, that it oftentimes doesn't occur to us to stop and be still. Interestingly enough, that is what God told us to do in the Bible.
"Be still and know that I am God".

What things in our lives are causing the spinning in the first place? Is there more than one thing? Can we stop it right away or will it take a while? Questions beget more questions. I'm starting to feel like a child, here. Maybe that's a good thing.

Anyway. Spinning. What causes it? I would think any number of things would. That is for us to determine individually for ourselves. Distractions insert themselves into all our lives...resulting in a spinning that can leave us dizzy. Sound familiar? Ever had a distraction keep you from your focus?

There is more about focus that I want to hone in on, but for now...

I'll refrain from distracting you from thinking about the things that can distract you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spin City

Last post, we talked about focus. We came to the realization of just how important our focus really is. But I have a question. Let's just say we know what we want our focus to be. Okay. You with me? Now. Why is it so hard for us to stay focused?

Frankly, I think there is more than one reason. Well, of course there is...but one specific reason came to me last night when I imagined myself being spun around in circles... you know, like when we were kids. Or maybe going round and round on the merry-go-round. Perhaps you used to twirl as fast as you could until you got so dizzy you fell down! You know what I'm talking about.

The point is, the world around you was spinning so much that you couldn't focus on anything for any length of time. You couldn't "view" anything clearly.

I don't twirl around anymore, nor does anybody spin me... but my world, nevertheless, often spins around me so rapidly that I loose focus. For that matter, oftentimes I am so busy trying to keep from falling, that I don't even think about focus.

Not good. So how do we keep from spinning out of control? I'm thinking the first think we need to do is to identify the spin!

What is causing it? Where is it coming from? Can I stop it?

Why is it that I feel like I live in "Spin City"?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Okay, I have no problem telling you that I decided to call my photographer friend to pick his brain about photography terminology as it relates to focusing. He is the one who told me about the "F-Stop". Wanna know what it is? Come on, you know you do!

The F-Stop actually determines the amount of area in focus. The larger the hole in the lens, the less area in focus. The smaller the hole, the greater the focus. Reminds me of a laser beam...light that is so focused that the intensity of it is piercing!

How about your "F-Stop"? Are you so open to the world around you that you are allowing anything and everything to take precedent in your life - resulting on a blurry focus?

Don't get weird on me. The analogy may not be perfect...but you get the idea. Our focus is important.

More later...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


As this baby-boomer attempts to understand the computer, one thing I have learned is the importance of "control-shift" as the necessary precursor to the following step - which results in change.

So what is the "control-shift" feature in our life? What is the one thing that - if we do it - will result in change?

Focus. Take a deep breath, squinch your eyes and change gears. Change your focus. When you do, your new perspective will automatically result in a shift. Of course, the new direction will be dependent upon where you place your focus. Think about it. When you look to the right- go ahead, keep turning your'll notice other parts of your body must follow.

The big question now is...where to put your focus?

Something to think about.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Could you spare a little change?

No, I'm not referring to our illustrious much as he likes to talk about change. No. I'm talking about us. You and me. The other day I was reading yet another book, The Noticer by Andy Andrews. One of the questions he asks is very interesting - or disconcerting. Depends on the answer I suppose. The question is:
"If someone, other than yourself, could change something about you, what would it be?"

Great question. Potentially scary answer. Think about it, though. If other people were to desire you to change in a particular area, what would it be?

In general, I like myself. But admittedly, I have to admit that other people who know me well would probably say they wish I didn't get depressed so easily. (Uh,hello, I wish that as well). It can be very discouraging to be around a person who isn't always a happy camper. So, do we just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and - voila - change?

Is it wrong for me to want or expect some areas in my life to change? You may think that question is a no brainer - but many people hold different views on that very topic.

What do you think?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Down Pillows and Prophecies...

Sorry if my last blog came across to some of you as a downer, but I want to recognize the truth and then deal with it in the best way I know how. Sometimes the truth is, in initial appearances, a downer. But keep in mind the down pillow. Not only is it soft and comfortable, but it has the ability to form to the curve of your head and neck, providing support that is just right for you. What does that have to do with anything? Well, think about it. Sometimes what seems like a down thing, if understood correctly, can actually be the best thing for you. It will provide the support you need.

Jesus looks good to a lot of people. He is oftentimes referred to as a great man or even a prophet. But the truth is He was much more. Throughout the Old Testament, there were more than 300 predictions concerning the Messiah - approximately 50 separate and distinct ones - that were fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. What would be the odds of one person fulfilling those prophecies by chance?

In his book “Science Speaks,” Peter Stoner estimated the odds of one person fulfilling just eight of these Messianic prophecies being one in ten to the seventeenth power. How likely is that? Stoner tries to help us understand this vast number by having us imagine spreading silver dollars across the face of Texas...enough to equal 10 to the 17th power. Get this. They will cover the entire state two feet deep! Mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Now, blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must - in one pick - choose the marked silver dollar. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had if only EIGHT of those prophecies came true in any one man.

Jesus said:
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Some people may call Jesus a downer...but believe it or not, He provides the support we need.

I always did like Down Pillows.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Ultimate Paradox

We're emotional people. We want what we want and we base that on what we think we need.
You've probably heard it said that God is more interested in making us what He wants us to be than giving us what we think we ought to have.
The only problem is that I hate hearing that. It's true...I just hate hearing it. Do you? I mean, sometimes when I'm feeling really good then I can listen to that truth. Unfortunately, I feel like a good deal of my time is spent flat-lining. Okay, I'm not saying I'm really dead, but sometimes I just feel like the life has been sucked out of me...or I just don't want to deal with the "ups" in life when I'm feeling "down". The good news is that God knows that about me. The bad news is that sometimes I feel like He allows those unpleasant circumstances in my life so that I will understand that this life isn't all it's cut out to be. Maybe this sounds really weird to you, but could it be that God wants us to die to ourselves and the only way some of us will do that is when we want to die - or rather - when we recognize that life isn't always as cushy as we might want it to be?

There is so much that God wants for us. He created us as unique individuals for a reason. Yes. But in order for Him to be reflected in our lives as He desires to be, we have to die to ourselves...and yet not. The Christian life is full of paradoxes, is it not? To die, yet to be fully alive!

The ultimate paradox!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Inside Man -vs- Emotional Slam

I'm sure you've come to the realization that God Himself is the "Inside Man". Sigh... how does He deal with us? I tell you, sometimes I just can't stand myself. More to the point, my emotions. I mean, don't you ever wish you had a button you could turn off for a few minutes? Good grief, I get slammed with an emotional onslaught daily! Hourly! Okay ... more like an ongoing thing. From the time I wake up until the time I fall asleep, distractions feed my emotions and I loose sight of the world the way God sees it. I don't want to be that way. Really. So why did I spout all this stuff? Because it's the truth. When I talk about it,though, it helps me sort things out.

I realize that God created us and understands us from the inside-out. He understands me. He understands all His children. Why shouldn't he? He created us, after all. He knows everything about me. About you. I remember when I didn't like that thought. For some reason I thought I could hide from Him. I wanted to hide from Him. Not any more. Now I'm incredibly grateful that He knows everything about me. That means He knows why I am the way I am. He knows things about me that I don't know about myself. Think about it. He knows and understands every hurt, every pain.
Because He knows us so well, He knows exactly what circumstances to allow to make us the people He knows we want to be.

He is willing to be our "Inside Man" in spite of the emotional slam that threatens to consume us at times.

Thank God!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

From the Inside Out...

Several months ago I was in a clothing store and noticed some shirts on the rack that were inside out. Being the orderly person that I am, I dutifully began to correct the situation. But of course if you are fashion savvy you will know that there was nothing wrong with those shirts. That is how they were created...with the seams on the outside to give the new "inside out" look.

Okay. First we put holes in our jeans, then they are made to look dirty... now we have inside out shirts. Is there some kind of special meaning behind all this?

Uh. I don't think so. But I will say that the "inside out" shirts do remind me of something that is actually very important.

Over the past couple of months, Mike and I have been looking for a good church. It was surprisingly difficult to find. So many places tell you how to be a good Christian, but I wanted something more. I already know how I am supposed to be. The church I was looking for was one that understood that though we may try to be good for a while, it won't last forever. Now I realize that may not fit with the "just think positive" mode of thinking that is so prevalent today. It may very well be that some people will, at this point, decide that my thoughts are not on the right plane. Hold on.

The reality is, life isn't always easy. No amount of positive thinking is going to permanently solve that nasty little problem. But I know someone on the inside who can work everything - even the bad things - out.

It's true. Some of you know what I'm talking about. Others don't. Regardless, we all need a reminder at the very least.

Remind me to remind you and myself...tomorrow.

Power Outage.

Yes, we know that failure can be turned into success. Countless people have done it. You can too... so can I. Let's all pretend that we "have what it takes" to turn those failures into success. Stay with me here, we're just pretending.

Although we may be applying all the good principals that we have learned over the years,there is one problem that eventually sucks the life out of us. We can 'pull ourselves up by the bootstraps' only so long before we get burned out. It might take a month, perhaps a year...maybe 10 or 20 years. We may be applying all the positive principals we can think of, but at some point...we lose steam.

Now what?

A light bulb gives light - but only if plugged in to the right source. A car can take us from point A to point B - but only if it has gas. Your computer can give you access to any number of things - but only if you have an internet connection. The point is pretty obvious, yet so often we forget until "the lights go out".

We need a source of power that can enable us to move forward. Some people haven't been plugged into The Source of Power in the first place, others have experienced a "Power Outage".

Hmmm...any thoughts? I'll share mine with you tomorrow.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Yeah, well, it should be a word! After all, the fear of failure is at the forefront of our minds much of the time. Perhaps you would prefer using another word. Dislike, hatred, whatever. The point is: nobody likes failure. You say you don't feel like a failure? Uh, how about when you are late somewhere, or you didn't have enough money in the bank to cover that last check? Maybe you like it when your boss is less than happy with your performance. I didn't think so.

Tim Hansel, in his book "Holy Sweat" ,shared some insight as well as a good story that I would like to pass on to you.

Failures, he said, are only temporary setbacks at worst, and bits of wisdom at best.
Attitude is key. Take Thomas Edison. In the process of inventing the light bulb, he failed almost 8,000 times. "They weren't failures," he said. "They were education."

There is a true story about a project manager at IBM who lost the company 10 million dollars. Dejectedly, he walked into the president's office and said, "I'm sorry. I'm sure you'll want my resignation. I'll by gone by the end of the day."

The president's response showed his understanding of the value of failure. He said "Are you kidding? We've just invested 10 million dollars in your education. We're not about to let you go. Now get back to work."