Same Path; Different Destinations

During my daily 40-minute commute to work, I have quite a bit of time in the car to think, pray, and even preach (to myself).  The interstate I take branches into 5 different lanes and while I was driving along the other day, I had the most beautiful thought: all of these cars are traveling in the same direction and though we may be going to the same city, we all have different destinations within that city.  There were cars all around me and regardless of speed we had one thing in common: we were all moving forward in the same direction.  Our final destinations didn’t matter at that time because during that brief snapshot of our journeys we were all in the process of getting there.

 

Leave that Fruit on the Tree

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” — Genesis 3: 1-12, (NIV)

In Genesis 3,  the serpent challenged Eve with a question that led her to doubt God and what He had commanded about not eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She knew that she was not supposed to eat from it but she started reasoning and justified her decision to violate God’s command.  Her reasoning did not change the fact that eating the forbidden fruit was sin and introduced death into the world.  Fact will always be fact despite human reasoning.

 

The Comparison Game

I’m a Christian and I often struggle with what I call the comparison game.  Daily,  I have to shut down lying thoughts that try to tell me stupid stuff like:
‘you probably missed God because you are over 30 and single’

‘God is holding out on you; you’re missing something good’

‘you are wasting time waiting, you need to put yourself out there and make it happen on your own’

‘your friends are all married with children and you’re not; there’s something wrong with you’

‘did you really hear God, is He even with you?

The enemy is out to destroy my relationship with God, he wants me to doubt the Lord’s authority,  love, and concern for me and every detail about my life.  When things don’t arrive on my timetable, I can’t give into discouragement because what I thought was something good didn’t work out the way I had imagined or hoped.  More often than not, whether it was a relationship, a job, or an opportunity that didn’t work out, I can trust and believe that it wasn’t God’s best for me.  Rest assured, the Lord will always come through with the upgrade.

I’ve settled on this– if the Lord thought so much about me that He didn’t think twice about giving me Jesus- His one and only perfect Son to secure my eternal life, how much more willing is He to give me good things that would enrich my earthly life?

 

Unpack Your Bags Now Instead of Later

I realize that God has graced me in my single life to work out a lot of things before I get married. He’s disciplining me to be a godly wife not just in the spiritual things, but in the practical things because honestly, if I can’t manage my own laundry by keeping my hamper empty, why would He add my husband’s and children’s clothes to it?

Seriously, there are a lot of things that I want to overcome; whether it’s being too emotional at times, overly analytical, or healing from past hurtful events.  These and other issues are areas the Lord is growing, pruning, and maturing me through because frankly, I don’t want to expose my husband or my children to a bunch of emotional baggage.

There’s so much more on the table than we realize.  God loves us–there’s a purpose for every season and every challenge that you and I encounter.  We can’t waste time looking at other people around us and measure our life by what they present on the surface.  Don’t assume that everyone who is married has “arrived” and overcome everything that you are trying to master and overcome as a single person. Prayerfully, they are continuing to grow in their relationship with their spouse by the Lord’s leading.  Let God measure your progress and set your standards.  Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.

 

Submit to The Lord

As a single woman with a desire to marry God’s best one day, the temptation to believe that I’m not where I need to be will always be there.  Unless I deny these thoughts access into my mind, I will constantly second-guess and doubt God, His provision, and His plan for how He wants me to live the life He’s given me.  That doubt will lead me away from His guidance and further into my own pursuit of what I think is right.  That’s a dangerous place to be.  I can’t lead or submit to myself but with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can submit to the Lord and He’ll lead me to where I need to be.

When you are waiting on and serving God, you don’t have to worry about time.  Trust the Lord, He made eternity and is not limited by measurable time on a calendar. Don’t compare yourself to others around you, just keep moving forward to your final destination.

~KP

 

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Two Weeks Notice

In the professional world, the “two week notice” is given as a courtesy by employees who are leaving a job in order to establish a plan of action to maintain the flow of business until the vacant position can be filled.

This year coming to a close and there are some things that I’m issuing a two week notice to and leave behind.  These are things that I have allowed to set up shop in my mind, body, and emotions to wreck and ruin my thought-life, my health and wellness, and most importantly my witness for Christ.

There are several particular areas that I feel the Lord has led me to focus on with this particular post as I approach the final weeks of 2015. Below are a few areas I’ve chosen to settle within myself:

  1.  Beauty is not dictated by your size, your shape, opinions of others, or any other tangible characteristic.

I’m about to lay in to this one…I’m a registered dietitian, so I should be thin, know everything about health, grow my own fruits and vegetables, and never eat pizza, burgers, or ice cream right? Wrong-ola! Are all bankers debt-free? Are all doctors in perfect health? Are all dentists cavity free?

No.

But for some reason, society in general has an expectation of RDs and nutritionists to fit the mold of being thin and “perfect” (whatever perfect is). Trust me, I’ve had my share of struggles with my weight and even when I have lost a lot of weight, I still just didn’t feel right or good enough about myself.  I’ve even had a guy tell me that I didn’t fit his ideal of beauty because of my height.

The problem is not on the scale or the stadiometer (that’s my $0.75 word of the day lol) but it’s in the thought process that says that my worth is somehow tied to my physical appearance. When I see that statement in black and white, I know it is a foolish notion to assume that I’m only as good as my reflection, but by not shutting down the initial thought when it first showed up, I chose to believe this stupid lie.

On the bright side, I praise God for growth, because in the past when I would encounter these thoughts, I would internalize and mull over them and in turn pick myself apart humming and hawing with things like:

“why am I not pretty enough?”

“what’s wrong with me? why doesn’t this guy like me?”

“my body is shaped wrong because these pants fit my thighs perfectly but are too loose at the waist”

Crazy, right?

That was then; the “now” is when these thoughts or words are spoken to me, I hold them up to the litmus test of the Word of God. You see, the Lord reinforces the fact that I am physically designed and fashioned for a purpose (Gen. 2:22 AMP); not by accident.

My height, my figure, everything about me is made for my God-given purpose.  So why hate on it? The Lord is not careless with His creation.  Everything has a purpose for why it is made the way it’s made.  He chooses us carefully for our assignment; He’s not like a kid absent-mindedly rifling around in a bag of M&Ms and hoping for the best.

I’m chosen for something great; so are you! It’s my responsibility to take care of my body with proper eating and physical activity habits not with the goal to be “skinny” or make others approve or accept me, but to glorify God and ensure that my health does not become a hindrance to my ability to do the work He’s called me to do.

Selah.

 

2. God wastes nothing. He uses the good, bad, and ugly to paint your life’s portrait.

I’ve seen the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” several times. I know the plot, some of the lines by heart, and what happens at the end. Still, regardless of how many times I have seen it, the scene where Will Smith’s character spends the night in the train station always gets to me. I know what’s going to happen but I still can’t avoid that sinking “oh, I hate this part” feeling when his character is really struggling.

Some days I look at my life like a movie or a book. The Bible says:

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Ps. 139:16, NLT)

The Lord has seen every day of my life. He is all knowing and not constrained by the limits of chronological time; He is eternal. He knows when my rough days are scheduled before they happen. He knows when the good will make me smile and when the bad can break my heart and I believe that He weaves all of it together for my good.

The upside of going through hurt and disappointment is that it spurs me to get closer to Him for comfort and to grow in wisdom. He gives me grace to lean on Him and cry my tears, but He helps me to not stay in a place of sadness and discontentment when life gets real. In essence, I have learned to not hit pause when I encounter my “train station” moments, in the end, all will be okay.

 

3. Welcome change—it is vital to your growth. Mental preparation can help you to avoid extremes and illustrate the importance of gradual, consistent steps.

I don’t want to be one of those folks signing up for Gold’s Gym, Google searching the latest weight loss fad, and ordering new workout clothes on January 1. For me, a drastic behavioral change carried out in my own strength usually runs out of gas in three or four months.  This season of being uncomfortable is not a bad thing; it’s forcing me to grow. The series of events that lead me to this point did not happen overnight. So I release myself from having to change them all by tomorrow morning.

In counseling sessions with my patients, we talk a lot about readiness to change. I believe outward change starts in the mind. If I take time to:

1) acquaint myself with the thought of meeting a goal

2) allow the Lord to reprogram my thoughts with the Word of God to successfully meet that goal

I will go a lot further in the process to see a sustainable change. I want to see the fruit! And it takes time!

I’m not saying these things to sound “super-spiritual” but I’ve come to a place in my relationship with the Lord that my response to Him is different. Granted, I’ve got a lot of room to grow, but my first response is to recognize Him as God when I have to make decisions (Prov. 3:5-6).   It starts with prayers that sound like: “Lord, I need your help with [], will you help me to understand what the Bible says about [] so that I can do things right?” Very simple, but He honors simple requests for wisdom expressed from an obedient, humble heart.

So, with that being said, I encourage you to take a look at your life right now. Ask the Lord if there are any areas in your life that you need to cut, quit, drop, or just fire. He will give you wisdom and discernment concerning every area of your life. Always remember, He has your back and is on your side. He has your best interest at heart.

~KP

We All Need Touch

More Than Don't Have Sex

About 15 years ago my brother and I went to a Rick Springfield concert.  I can’t believe I just typed that.  You have to understand that I was a child of the 80’s and Rick, was well, sort of awesome.  He had 17 top 20 hits.  He was smooth with the lines and the ladies.  So anyway in 2000 or so, long after he was cool, he was in concert to promote a new album that of course no one actually bought.

At any rate there we were at Station Casino and it’s packed (meaning there were like a thousand people there. . . maybe).  Rick steps up on stage, and forgets the words to his opening song.  Haha. Then he says, “I sort of forgot the words there, but it’s ok.  I feel I’m among friends tonight.”  The “crowd” roared.  From then he was on fire.  Flawless as he…

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When Home Isn’t Safe

I’m not sure why I’m being led to post about the specific topic of family strife and emotional/psychological abuse, but I believe that there is someone out there that needs to be encouraged that there is healing for your soul.

 (Before you get too deep into reading this post, please know that what I’m choosing to share is more common than you may realize. Please pray with me for the deliverance and restoration of those who are continuing to suffer in silence).  

What Happens at Home Stays At Home

And that’s most of the problem.  Lots of kids blame themselves for family strife.  In their minds, what’s going on at home doesn’t make sense; all they know is that it hurts.  They wonder if their friends at school have the same problems but because no one ever talks about it, they assume that they don’t.

When I was small, I always blamed myself when things went wrong between my parents.  Child-like reasoning assumed the responsibility for turmoil and weeks of silent treatment as if somehow I could have controlled or prevented it in some way, shape, or form by just being “good” or “better”.  Of course, as an adult, I realize that none of what I witnessed was my fault.  People who are hurting often hurt others.  Are they aware of what they are doing? I’m sure in some way they know what they are doing is not right, but for some unknown reason, they are either unable or unwilling to change or stop.

So, for those who have survived this or something similar or worse, it’s imperative that you know that none of it was your fault.  Whatever “it” was for you, I am here to tell you that you couldn’t have stopped it, it was not your job to prevent or control it, nor was it a response to anything you did or did not do.  The root of the issue had nothing to do with anything pertaining to you.    

Healing is a Redemptive Process– Where Now?

As an adult, my healing process has been just that, a process.  Has my heart been an overnight fix? No.   Though this process takes time, please know it is indeed productive time.

The Lord is not bound by our measures of time or relativity.  Rest assured that He is willing and able to redeem, replenish, and restore anything that you feel has been lost.  Therefore, do not despise the process and run out ahead of Him.  Let the cake bake before you rush to ice it.

Lately, I have started to ask God “why” a lot more.  Why do I think the way I do? Why do I respond this way or that way? Why do I assume the worst case scenario? It’s not enough for me to ask and then rush off to the next thing on my list.  I want to wait and remain open for His answers when He shares them.  Also, I have chosen to invite Him into rooms of my heart that are still pretty painful to confront.  The Lord is patient.  He knows that something is wrong, but He’s gracious enough to wait to be invited into the problem that you keep having.   He’s not going to bust in like the S.W.A.T team.

I thank God that I’m not where I started: enraged, angry at the world, closed-off, bitter, depressed, and confused.  I’m grateful that I’m not insistent to live confined and alone in isolation, while being eaten up by loneliness and desperation for someone to love me.  I’m glad that I can genuinely call home and talk to my parents or my sister and end the conversation with an “I love you” instead of holding them hostage in my mind for things that they said or did (or didn’t say or didn’t do) when I was a kid.

Conflict resolution is not always a two-lane road.  Spending your time and energy trying to convince someone that what they said or did hurt you is like throwing gasoline on a fire.  In essence, when you do this in your own ability, you may end up feeling just as frustrated as before you started.  Unless the Lord has led you to confront someone who has hurt you, it’s best to be more invested in the repair of your heart especially if the person(s) that you want to confront refuse to acknowledge that what they did was wrong.

Sometimes, it’s okay if just you are okay. However, if the Lord does lead you to address the issue with the other person, approach this type of confrontation prayerfully.  Ask God what do to, what to say, and how to say it. Ask Him to work on that person’s heart so that the conversation will be a fruitful door to growth and healing for both of you.  Remember what I said about people not being willing or able to stop hurting others? Their “eyes” need to be opened to the effect that their behavior has had on others and often, this is not a natural realization.  Pray that God opens the eyes of their understanding not that they would feel guilty, but that they would be able to understand where they missed the mark.

What do you do with your feelings in the meantime? I understand that question because I have asked it a million times.  Those feelings need to go somewhere, they need to be heard and understood.  You are not crazy for wanting justification and feeling disadvantaged when you don’t get it.  Tell your Heavenly Father.  He cares, understands, and more importantly He can help you move past those feelings that are keeping you locked up in your mind.

Praising God in the Process

A few days ago, I was praying and asking God about some things and it occurred to me that without His intervention, I would be a statistic. Researchers say that the majority of adult survivors/witnesses of childhood emotional/psychological abuse are more likely to:

–be perpetrators or victims of abuse as adults

–engage in self-medicating behaviors involving alcohol or drugs

–experience post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms along with a host of other interpersonal relationship barriers

…wow…

The healing process that I made mention of a few paragraphs ago is not always easy.  Sometimes I feel the pain of a particular memory or am tempted to feel “less-than” or insignificant especially when my social media feeds are flooded with happy, perfect, smiling families and I wonder why that couldn’t have been my experience.

You have to know that thinking negative thoughts is prime real estate for the devil to move in and try to make you believe that you are second-class, not good enough, or won’t be any more than your past.  I have to choose to either allow these thoughts to remain or look to the finished work of the Cross for help.  The Cross is a symbol of my inherent victory over pain, hurt, and rejection.

The victory that Jesus Christ secured over any area that would dare to trip me up is freely available to everyone who believes that He died on the Cross and rose from the grave with all power.  He died for you, for me, for the people that hurt you, for the people you don’t like, for everyone.  You don’t have to get “good enough” for Jesus to help you, because (to put things bluntly) you can’t.  Jesus is not looking for you to try to fix up your problem before asking Him to help you; the ugliness of your issue is not going to scare Him off.

Rebuilding with Right Thinking

Healing requires you do to do something with your mind.  Believe it or not, traumatic events change your perception of people, places, and things.  I was listening to Joel Osteen’s message: “Dealing with the Root of The Problem” and he said some very important things regarding dealing with the past.

Specifically, one thing that stood out to me was the emphasis that we put on generational curses instead of focusing on generational blessings.  For example, there are women in my family who have either been married to or divorced from abusive men.  If I really stop and think, I can’t really identify anyone in my past or present bloodline who has a marriage that truly glorifies God.  Given this natural observation, the devil would like for me to subscribe to the lie that ‘since great-grandma, grandma, mother, and most of the women in your family have married abusive men, you will probably marry one too’.

Instead, I choose to believe the following truth: “most women in my family may have made poor choices, but regardless of their decisions, I am destined to have a godly, blessed marriage ordained by the Lord because I am redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ and through Him, I am empowered to initiate generational blessings”.  Quite often, I say things like:

— “The redemptive power of the Blood of Jesus heals me from my past hurts”

–“My sons and daughters will have a healthy, joyful childhood because of power of the Blood of Jesus”

— “I forgive my family members who hurt me and thank God that they are being healed and restored right now”

Using my own voice to confess the things that God has promised to me does two things: it breaks me out of a devilish thinking pattern and it helps my faith in God to become stronger and more consistent.  Focus on generational blessings–you and I have not been forgotten, overlooked, discounted, or ignored by God.    Remember, regardless of the cards you have been dealt, He will give you a new hand to play.

~KP

Anxiety doesn’t fit you

1 Peter 5:5-7 NLT

“In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

Isaiah 41:10 NLT

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Romans 8:28 NLT

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

GM Monday, today take a moment and realize that your heavenly Father is with you. He always has your back. He gave you that big dream, therefore He is responsible to make it a reality. He can and He will. Trust His word, not yours. Have a great day, sunshine.