Archive for November, 2009

Holy Griswold! The adventures of Thanksgiving Day Weekend

It’s only fitting that I tell you my muffin top is slightly protruding over my jeans this morning. A muffin top, for those who might not know, is the ring of fat around your middle that suddenly appears when you put on jeans that may be a little too snug. TMI? Maybe, but I tell you to be transparent, you know, to get to know each other better…

I’m sitting here with my coffee, and I hope you might have a cup too, then it would be like we were having coffee together as I told you the adventures of my Thanksgiving day weekend.

It all started with a screeching sound coming from my car early Wednesday morning. That screeching sound accompanied a burning rubber stench that emanated from my engine. Popping the hood, my husband says, “We can make it one more day, but then it has to be fixed. Just don’t drive too much today.” Oh, that’s easy, I thought. I’m just going to be at the office till noon. I dropped him off at work and headed to the office, realizing I forgot my lunch at home!

Just don’t drive it too much today. His words rang in my ears as I took the risk and drove passed the office to the house to quickly grab my lunch. Once I made it back to the office, I realized I forgot my key-card–at home. Locked out of the office, I had no other choice but to drive back home to grab my key-card. This would make trip #2. I tried to ignore the growing chard rubber smell.

Fast forward to 3 o’clock that day, as the engine jerks to a stop right outside my husband’s office. He calls a friend and from 3pm to 10pm that night they work on the car. $250 bucks later, I have a brand new radiator! Burning rubber stench=gone!

Burnt potato water=filling the house. See I was in charge of making the sweet potato casserole and the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. After peeling and chopping 10 large sweet potatoes and boiling them for a good 45 minutes they were perfectly done. Next were the white potatoes.

5 pounds of them! I put them on to boil and thinking they would probably take the same amount of time as the sweet potatoes I left them on the stove and went to take a shower. After about 20 minutes, I came back into the kitchen, where the pot of potatoes was boiling over onto my stove, filling the air with that burnt smell. The potatoes were well passed done, so I quickly grabbed them off and strained them. Starchy potato residue everywhere! My mom said you can’t hardly overcook potatoes–especially if you’re mashing them. (That’s probably the only reason they let me be in charge of the potatoes–can’t screw ’em up!)

The food and family was great as usual. I tried not to eat too much this year, since I had just reached my pre-wedding weight and didn’t want to back track too much.

We slept through the Black Friday madness, and joined all the sane shoppers around 10:30am that morning.

First stop: Home Depot. My husband is like a kid in a candy store when it comes to that store. I don’t think it mattered what we bought there, as long as it came with a white and orange label it was good for him. We loaded up on Christmas lights and tree ornaments, excited for our first Christmas together!

Next stop: Wal-Mart. Our goal: The perfect tree. (BTW, don’t ever go to Wal-Mart when you’re in a spending mood.) We loaded up on more decorations, ridiculous stuff that you realize once you get home, really isn’t necessary.

Then, we saw it! The perfect tree! It was propped up along with many other trees outside in Wal-Marts lawn and garden center. There was something different about this particular tree. I could’ve sworn to you a beam of light shown down from heaven indicating this was the tree for us! 9 foot tall, but thin–you know, the skinny type. The type that doesn’t take up too much room…

I mean, it looked skinny. Yeah, it still had the string wrapped around it, but that doesn’t make too much of a difference… or so I thought!

We get it home, thanks to my mother-in-law’s SUV, and my husband stands it up in our living room. I look at it, turn my head, and look at it a different way…

“It’s kinda tall,” I say, trying to calculate if the star we bought would actually fit on the top without scraping the ceiling.

“It fits.”

“Okay, cut the string, let’s see it!”

My excitement could’ve only been matched by the shock I felt as the string slowly started to unravel. I wish I would’ve had a mirror, so I could watch as my gleeful smile slowly melted into the grimace I now felt on my face.

“It’s too big.”

“It’s fine.”

The branches continued to shake themselves free filling the space with their width. I started to wonder what the heck that beam from heaven was a couple minutes ago. Clearly this was not the perfect tree! If there had been any windows around, I’m sure those branches would’ve crashed right through. We stood there and looked at it, then looked at each other, bursting into laughter at our Griswold tree.

Lesson learned: Don’t buy the trees that are still strung up.

Even better lesson learned: Make the most of life’s little set-backs. That’s where memories are made.

Griswold TreeHeight: 9 feet

Width: 4 feet at bottom

Freedom Envy

EnvyI had breakfast with a chic last week who has been freed from much insecurity. She has allowed God to reveal to her the lies she believed about herself, and accepted His truth instead. This woman shines with freedom. No longer does she live under the shadow of bondage. She’s captivating, encouraging and full of the love of God.

But there was something troubling her. Ever since she stepped into her new found freedom, the other women in her life have treated her inhumanely. Some of the exchanges my friend has had to put up with, are just plain childish. Cut-downs and negativity. Hurtful words and hateful attitudes. My friend asked me, “What did I do to get this kind of response?”

Nothing. Except get free.

As women, if we’re not careful, we can struggle with petty jealousy. I call it Freedom Envy, caused from not being content with who we are.

We see another woman walking in the freedom we wish we had and something rises up in us. Discontent, depression, obsession, anger, jealousy, hatred… these emotions take control of our attitudes and we lash out causing our insecurity to pull us even tighter into bondage.

I used to struggle with this very thing. There was a girl I grew up with who seemed to have it all: beauty, encouragement, full of life and everyone wanted to be around her. I found myself wishing I had her life, thinking that if I was like her than maybe I wouldn’t hate who I was so much. But then I realized this truth: I wouldn’t make a very good, her. But I would make an excellent me. No one else could be me. Through this, and many other realizations of truth I found my identity and rested in the security it brought. Not too long after I started walking in my freedom I got a call from another girl confessing her jealousy of me. She told me, “I find myself thinking that if I could just be like Anna, then I will like myself. Then, maybe people will want to be around me.” I told her the same thing God had revealed to me: “You wouldn’t make a very good, Anna. But you make an excellent you!”

See, it’s not the person we envy, but the freedom they have found that we want for ourselves. A quote I heard yesterday brings a lot to light:

“It is the things no one sees that results in what everyone wants.”–Craig Groeschel

No one knows what someone might go through to overcome their insecurities. No one can appreciate the pain, tears, doubts and questions that go into finding your identity in Christ. No one, but you.

So ladies, I beg of us, let’s not allow jealousy to steal another sister’s joy and freedom. Instead, let’s start our own journey to discovering it for ourselves. After all, you’ll never make a very good “someone else.” But you’ll make an excellent YOU!

3 Attitudes of Insecurity

InsecurityFor the next few posts we’ll need a working definition of insecurity.

Insecurity: lack of confidence or assurance; self-doubt; Not sure or certain; doubtful; Inadequately guarded or protected; unsafe

This definition gives us a glimpse of the attitudes and actions of a person controled by insecurity.

What does a person do when they lack confidence? They are untrusting.

What about if they are not sure, uncertain or doubtful? They are cautious, or held back.

What about if they don’t feel protected? They attack.

These three attitudes are indicators of a person struggling with inscurity. Perhaps you know someone who acts this way. Perhaps you, yourself struggle with one or more of these attitudes. When a sickness is diagnosed it is much easier to know what medications to apply to fight it off. The same is true in this case, knowing the enemy we fight gives us a much better advantage in defeating it.

Friday’s Free Fitness Fact

FitnessFact: If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t eat anything past 9pm. (or 2 hours before you go to bed.)

Eating food right before bed doesn’t give your body enough time to work off those calories. And when you’re trying to lose weight, working off calories is what you want!

Letters From Last Night

Last night for SWITCH we talked about the Bible, and how the Bible is God’s note to us. To start this conversation with our students we had each of them write a note to anyone they wanted. Below are some of the best! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Max, I love you. You’re the best dog in the whole world. I tell you everything because you’re the only guy I actually trust. You’ll never hurt me, leave me and you’ll always love me, kinda like God.–Lindsey

Dear Tyree, You look so weird and ugly! Just kidding! You are a beast!! Like, OMG, I’m serious. You are freakin’ awesome! So, what up, my bro?–from Conner PS: I’m glad to be an American.

Dear Sarah, I feel so blessed that you would come to church with me instead of watching TV. I pray that your eyes open and see how awesome God can be.–Your BFF Emily

Dear Justice, I miss you! It sucks that you’re grounded for like 20 thousand months! -Mariah

I love you God. You’re so freakin’ amazing and I always know you’re there for me.–Love Shawn

Dear SWITCH student, If I could write you anything it would be to tell you how much God loves you and desires to have a personal, real, dynamic relationship. God wants you right now! Don’t wait!–SWITCH Leader

Mrs. Gault, you’re the meanest math teacher ever! You always blame me for everything. You give us too much homework, but it’s ok.–Jess

Dear God, I really need your help. I’m having trouble with fake friends. I feel soo, soo alone and I feel like I can’t trust anybody.–Your friend, Shemetria

Tony, Hey! I like tots. The tater kind.–Chase

Dear Grandma, Life is so weird without you. I miss you a lot. If you get a chance will you ask God to tell my dad to answer the phone the next time I call?–SWITCH student

Dear Students, I am so excited you are here today! I feel totally blessed to be able to share the love of Jesus with you tonight. I am trying to earn your trust by being here every week and by being available outside of SWITCH. Please understand that I love you for who you are, not what you have done.–SWITCH Leader.

I feel incredibly blessed to work with these students and leaders. If you don’t mind, take a moment and offer a prayer for our SWITCH students. Thanks!

Say Thank You…

American FlagToday is the day to say thank you. Thank you to the thousands of individuals who sacrificed their lives for the sake of your freedom and mine. If you know of someone who served or currently serves in the arm forces, please leave their names, their branch and rank in the comments to honor them.

If you see a veteran today, say thank you. It might feel odd, a little uncomfortable or awkward, but say thank you. They can never be thanked enough. Our veterans appreciate it more than we realize.

Let’s never forget the ones who fight so we can keep enjoying the freedom America has…

How Using Math Can Help You Overcome Insecurity

Math GeniusHere’s an equation: Lie + Lie = >truth Translation: Lie plus lie equals less than truth.

If you believe a lie long enough, hard enough eventually people will begin to believe it as truth, even though it may not be true. I can’t get out of my head how vital this equation is when it comes to insecurity.

Let me give you an example: Whatever you believe about yourself, be it low thoughts of yourself, high thoughts, no thoughts, eventually that’s what people will believe about you too. Understanding this concept is so vitally important.

  • If you don’t believe that what you have to say matters… others won’t believe it matters either.
  • If you don’t think you can do something… others won’t think you can do it either.
  • If you think you’re insecure, you will act insecure… causing others to believe you’re insecure. (A lie)
  • Add some of your own…

Whatever you believe about yourself is how your actions and behaviors will follow your line of thinking. What we believe about ourselves determines our behaviors, and in turn effects what others believe about us as well.

We can teach others what to think about us by the way we think of ourselves.

But if this equation about believing lies is real, than the same must be true for believing truth.

Equation: Lie + Lie = {TRUTH} Translation: Lie plus Lie equals TRUTH without limits.

If you believe a truth often enough, hard enough, eventually you and the people around you will believe it as truth as well.

If what we believe really does effect how we act and who we are, shouldn’t we start believing the truth?

  • Truth: You are God’s workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus to do good works!
  • Truth: You are God’s masterpiece. Perfectly woven together and known from birth!
  • Truth: You are God’s chosen one. Set apart as His child before you ever took a breath!

That is truth, no matter how you feel, what you think, or what others say…

Truth is truth no matter who believes it. Might as well believe it.

Do you have a hard time believing the truth about yourself?

How do you think this hinders us in our lives?

What will you do TODAY to start living in God’s TRUTH?

The #1 Thing You Need and How to Get It, Free!

HappyWhat is that thing that everyone wants? The thing that makes life bearable. That thing that, once you have it, you know probably won’t stay around for long. It’s elusive. Some people think money can bring it, others swear they’ll never experience it. Many people devote their life to the pursuit of it. Do you have it?

I’m talking about happiness. Happiness defined is: delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing or situation. But what happens if that particular thing or situation is not a happy one? What if it is a hard situation? What if it seems like an impossible situation? Then happiness is gone. Replaced with any number of these atonyms: Sadness, misery, depression, anger, hoplessness, gloomyness and dejection. Have you ever felt any of these emotions?

What if I told you, you didn’t have to feel these things any longer? Even in the midst of impossible circumstances, what if you could overcome those words that describe the frame of mind of so many people today?

You see, happiness is caused by happenings. If a particular happening is happy, then you will be happy. However, likewise, if a particular happening is not happy, what are you left feeling?

Instead, I believe we should focus our energies not on happiness, but on JOY.

Joy has nothing to do with our happenings or circumstances. Joy trancends those things. Joy outlasts. Joy rises above.

So, how do we get joy? Easy. We already have it.

Here’s why that is true. God has given each and every one of us the free gift of grace. We no longer have to answer for our sins. We are saved and covered by the blood of Jesus. For free! If that doesn’t make you want to jump up in down with joy, I don’t know what will!

There is joy in grace. If grace is a free gift, then joy is freely available to anyone.

If we truly believe that, then no matter what circumstance comes our way, we can rise above it. No, our circumstances may not change. They may even get worse before they get better. But even in the midst of what is out of our control, we can control one thing: Our attitude. We can decide to be joyful no matter what life throws our way.

Joy is a choice. Choose joy. It’s free!

You’re Nobody Unless You’re Better than Somebody Else

The comparison game. We’d never admit that we play it. But we do. Sometimes it creeps into our thoughts when we meet someone new (usually another woman.) We size her up, taking in what she’s wearing, how much make-up she has on, what she says, how she acts and the little question we might not even realize is effecting our encounter is “Am I better than her?” Am I prettier? Do I dress better? How do I measure up against her?

I used to struggle with this lie more than I’d like to admit. Thinking back on it now I realize the reason I played this little game of comparing was that I wasn’t secure in who I was. I was always seeking that next thing that could make me feel good about myself. If it was at the expense of another person than that was good enough for me.

It hurts my heart to know that so many women struggle with this desire to compare. It’s often the reason our encounters with each other can be so caddy. It’s definitely the reason I hate going to bridal and baby showers where the room is thick with the tension of comparison. It hurts me to know the reason we succumb to this form of interaction is because of our own insecurity. Why do we allow other people to decide how we feel about ourselves?

The only answer I have found to overcome this comparison game is love. Love is the answer. It may be difficult at first but if we approach our encounters with love we won’t have to compare ourself to someone else. This is just one more step in helping us overcome our insecurity.

Once we’ve realized our own insecurity and begin to overcome it, our eyes began to open and see that most other people (especially women) struggle with their own insecurity as well. If we know the truth and are working to overcome our own lies, love is what drives us to share that same freedom with those who may not know.

Comparison is just the enemy’s tactic to keep us blind to the fact that we need each other. We need each other to fight this battle. We need to link arms and pick each other up when we fall. We need to stop thinking that other women are the enemy and realize the enemy is pitting us against each other.

How much more could we do together than alone?

Let’s destroy these lies once and for all. Let’s not forget who we have been called to be as women and let’s remember that we are all in this together.

You’re Nobody Unless You’re as Strong and as Successful as Men

Our society today has caused many women to buy into this lie. To make it in this “world of men” we believe we have to be ruthless, cut-throat and sometimes even heartless in our approach to our success. Sometimes we think, “How else are we going to be noticed in this world run by men?”

I’ve struggled with this very lie, allowing it to distort who I was. I began to deny my heart as a woman and ultimately became someone I was never supposed to be. A fake, trying too hard to make myself stand out. Trying too hard to cover up the fact that I’m a woman. Why? Because I believed these thoughts the world has distorted.

  • Women can’t handle the same things men can.
  • Women are weaker then men.
  • Women are too emotional to handle things.

So I began to be competitive, trampling over the people I worked with instead of helping, and encouraging them along. I made my heart numb to the heartache I encounter in my job so that I wouldn’t have the urge to cry. I even started dressing less feminine just so the men I worked with would know they couldn’t poke fun at me for being a girl any longer. The problem was, the more I became something I wasn’t, the less strength and power I actually had. The more energy I used trying to cover up who I was, the more I actually made those thoughts up there a reality. Discovering the truth was a liberating revelation that has catapulted my influence and recharged my confidence.

Lie: You’re Nobody Unless You’re as Strong and as Successful as Men

Truth: There is Strength in Being a Woman.

When we begin to realize that we have been given tremendous strength in who we are as women, I believe that is what will make us stand out. Instead of trying to hide our femininity we need to learn to embrace it and work from the strength that our identity brings us. A woman at rest in who she is, is a powerful thing. A woman secure in who God has created her to be, is a weapon in His armery, perfectly poised to take down the unique conflicts the enemy throws our way.

Share your own story. Have you felt the tension of being a woman in “a man’s world”? What obstacles have you had to face? How have you overcome them?

It’s time we take back our identity as women and live from the strength that our uniqueness brings us.

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