Last week I wrote a post on Jeremiah 17:5. The post was about the difference between men who trust in God verses a man who does not. Trusting in God will help you to flourish and feel God’s protection. While this is beautiful sentiment it does not help much when you are in the midst of struggling with doubt. I feel like I trust God a lot but I still experience a lot anxiety about money, resentment against injustice and I still lack clarity in life’s my purpose. Can you relate? Have you had moments in your life where you believe in God’s existence but have a hard time praying or asking him for guidance because something you’ve experienced leaves you doubting His power, His grace, His goodness or even maybe His existence all together?

When we hold on, for dear life, to doctrines or belief systems that don’t answer life questions it leaves us superficial, full of doubt or anger, and stuck with weak and unstable convictions. Romans 8: 28,”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Everything that we experience in life can become good and purposeful, even doubt or any emotion that we deem as negative. Doubt happens when we hit a wall, when something happens that our beliefs tell us was impossible. Let’s say that you belief that God loves good people and will protect them from harm. What happens when someone you know and love is tragically killed? You hit a wall. You ask yourself if God protects every good person then there are only two chooses either that person was not good or God does not exist. Maybe you can even figure out more questions, but all seem to have a negative and unspiritual undertone. It is hard to overcome this, but I believe that people are meant to have experiences like these in order to grow in faith, wisdom and discernment. As people mature they gain a new perspective that had not even fathomed before. That happens when they allow themselves to doubt and ask, and later get answers to, new questions.

People have said don’t put God in a box; what that means to me is don’t worry about knowing everything about God or answering questions that only he should answer. Instead spend time with God: in prayer, learning to love people more deeply and getting in touch with your own soul and spirit. The more time you spend with Him the more you will understand that though He is stable and dependable he is also flexible. His plan and purpose is different for everyone; but without knowing Him personally it can look as if He doesn’t care or shows favoritism.

I use to be leaglistic; I had a long list of Can’ts and Won’ts that left me feeling stagnant, insecure and controlled. Finally I hit a spiritual walls that would not allow me to continue living that way.  Now I feel so much freedom and have gained a deeper relationship with God.

Thank God for walls, they are there to keep you safe and provide stability: the walls in your house keep out most thieves, highway walls (or dividers) keep a lot of cars from crashing, and emotional walls keep abusive people  out of your life.  So if you hit a wall, figure out why it’s there, then decide if it is keeping you safe or if it’s time to for a break through. Breakthroughs lead to more faith and joy than you could have ever imagined. Don’t worry about doubting; instead stretch all the boxes of confinement in your life.

Can you think of a time when doubting something or someone has helped you?

Heart to Heart

October 7, 2008

  

Originally uploaded by Sutanto

 

I need to lose weight, but I am having a hard time sticking to any plan. I have a lot of books and exercise DVDs and a good understanding of what works for me, but that is not the problem. The problem is that I feel like it is easier to give in the temptation that fast food and cheap food offers. I excuse my poor choices by saying that it would be so much easier to lose weight if I lived by myself and did not have a family to feed. It is hard to spend four hours preparing a very healthy meal that will fill us all and to see them frown up and say thank you for cooking as they scurry to the kitchen to dump their leftovers in the trashcan. Nobody looks disappointed when I cook macaroni and cheese with fried chicken, nobody is complaining that they are full when I bring home Burger King. I watched the fast food documentary that made me believe that all of those restaurants were going to kill me, but still I had White Castles for dinner.

Part of the problem I have is that perfection’s voice inside telling me if you can’t do it right then don’t do it at all. When I was younger it was easy for me to make life style changes; I once gave up meat for three months on a whim. Now that I’m older I have so many life and death motivations to make permanent changes, but it seems like the more reason I have to change the harder it becomes. I just don’t know how to make major diet changes without my family eating the same way; I know how not to buy Doritos but I don’t know how to avoid eating them when they are in the house and I don’t have anything else prepared. My family consists of my 32 year old husband who was hospitalized this year for having an artery with a 95% blockage, and a his 17 years old sister who we have been caring for since their mother died of a heart attack almost 3 years ago (did I mention my husband’s father having at least two open heart surgeries already). It have tried to have heart to heart with my family and tell them that no longer will we by fatty and sugary foods and I buy the super healthy food my husband worries about the grocery bill and him and sis, end up eating more fast food. When I try to cook healthy for myself and make them what they want I feel guilty and tempted all the time. I’m not sure what the solution is.

What I want to do is follow this anti-aging diet plan that limits your calories but provides you with very nutritious foods so that your body gets everything it needs and your appetite is satisfied. Originally I worked it out with my husband that I he would give me the full grocery budget and I would buy groceries based off of the plan and slowly implement it for the whole family. Since then I have gotten discouraged by the lack of enthusiasm and feeling overwhelmed at learning a new lifestyle while trying to force it upon everyone else; while I’ve done that I’ve noticed bills that are not getting paid because of the new grocery bill.

Out of frustration and need to take a cooking break I came up with a new plan. I proposed tonight that we all split the grocery bill, menu planning and cooking up. We will each get money for grocery and, two days each week, we are responsible for cooking dinner (cooking is optional for my husband since he is the only one with a job). I was a little worried that my family would not go for it but they all said that it was a good idea.

I’ve gotten a lot of good advice along the way but what do you have to say? Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

Dancing With the Stars

October 7, 2008

 

I have no desire to become an entertainment journalist or critic of any kind, but I love Reality TV and anything that contains good dancing.  So when you put those two together I can’t help myself.  I love Dancing with the Stars, it’s better than American Idol any day.  I love to see the horrific sites of people who have no ability to sway their hips, attempt to do the rumba.  I love to see body conscious celebs come out of their shell and shake their shimmies.  I love to see the shoe in dominate the floor form the start; I love it all.  This session does not disappoint from crazy Cloris and here wild antics to Erica Cain, I mean Susan Lucci strutting her stuff and so on.

I was sad to her about Misty May-Treanor’s ruptured achilles tendon on her left leg during practice on Friday.  Her approach to dancing athletic and brought a fresh interpretation to the chorography.  I was really looking forward to her learning how to tone down her physical strength but still use it to her advantage over the tiny women who have not yet commanded the audience’s attention yet. I was happy to see her partner, Makism Chmerkovskiy, finally appearing to be fully supportive; I think he was unnecessarily hard on her before. As any other gold medal wining athlete would do she slightly winced as they showed the footage of her injury for the viewing audience and made a proclamation to be back to perform the Lindy Hop with her partner as soon as she fully recovered; making no mention of ending her career.

Today I feel like I’m the only one who wanted to see more of Kim Kardashian. She was voted off last week but it is rumored that she might return to replace Misty.  I know that she is not a talented dancer yet, but I believe that she had a ton of potential.  There is something incredible about watching someone who has a natural grace learn how to own their body and perform by letting the music take over.  I use to FEAR dancing in front of others, but the first time I got out on the dance floor was life changing.  I really give dancing a lot of credit for making me into the woman I am today.  It brought me confidence, a way to express myself and connect to music, and opened my eyes to my creative side.  Dancing fought depression, body image insecurities and gave me a since of power.  For some strange reason I think Kim could use that power, so could Tony Braxton and Cloris and everyone else for that matter.

No tears though.  After watching the show with my sister I realized that I should want the best dancers to remain on the show, so regrettably I think it is time for Cloris Leachman to go.  I really enjoy watching her on the dance floor and off.  She deserves so much respect for her bravery; putting herself in a position to be judge harshly when you are doing your best and enjoying herself immensely is awesome.  I know that her sensitivity gets the best of her mouth sometimes but she is a tough and can take.  She has the money to continue dancing if she wants to but that jive was a jip and I hope she leaves gracefully.

So all lovers of dance please join me tonight and watch the elimination round tonight to see if America got it right this time.

Jeremiah 17:5-10

October 5, 2008

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

But blessed is the man who trusts in the lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”


LL&L’s two cents:

A person, who depends solely on themselves or on other people, will eventually turn away from God. We are suppose to work hard for the things that we need and want out of life, but each person is very limited in their strength and resources.  God is without limits and he has infinite strength.  Without him trusting him we will have become lonely, desperate and blind.  Have you ever met someone who to you seems rich, talented or beautiful but can’t seem to see it?  I’m sure we’ve all been there.  We are working so hard to attain things that are right in front of us, but we don’t take time to celebrate our victories and accomplishments.  Even with when we are surrounded by love from our families or friends we feel alone.

Without confidence in God’s love and power you can be happy, but happiness is circumstantial and fleeting.  Happiness comes when something new and exciting comes into your life, but as soon as you get it its value and excitement depreciate quickly and you need to get a new and shinier thing.  Joy comes from your soul and never wanes.  Joy happen when we connect to our true selves, when we experience the presence of God and we look at the world and appreciate the beauty in all things.  Joy comes from trusting and God and through mindfulness.  To trust God more, pray more, asking for his help on specific matters and keep a prayer journal.  Highlight a prayer every time God comes through and you will understand why you should trust him.  To experience mindfulness, meditate more; start with breathing meditations and read books that will help you understand how to sit with your thoughts, feelings and perceptions.  A joyful man is a faithful man; when troubles come you will be confident that everything will work out and that you are already equipped with everything you need.

“The heart is deceitful above all things”; more deceitful than the mind, the eyes or the tongue.  Your heart will tell you your true motives, what you really love and what your only option is. Yes, your heart also possesses honesty and sincerity, just make sure you are also trusting God as you trust yourself.  You will hear people say, “God knows my heart” and they are correct.  God is the only one that knows your heart completely.  Our job is to guard are hearts so that it stays as pure as possible but to trust God as we choose our life’s path:  trust that he loves you, trust that he will answer your prayers, trust that he wants you to have an incredibly fulfilling life, trust that he will guide you towards your purpose, and trust that he knows you very well.  Jeremiah 17:10 states that God examines our hearts but rewards us by what we do. Don’t worry about what is hiding in the shadows of your heart. Instead focus on some good deeds you can accomplish; when you don’t feel like doing the good you know you ought to do, DO IT ANYWAY, and your heart will catch up eventually.

Travis Barker

October 5, 2008

Did you hear about his plane crash?A true survivor.

He shares about his recovery and some hospital pictures on myspace.

His an interview to get a little background.

If you don’t know his music here’s one of his videos. I love this song.

Our prayer are with you and all the families involved.

No Rest for the Weary

October 1, 2008

 

I slept two hours last night and I don’t feel like doing anything. I have some important subjects that I want to write about but I feel so foggy. Being tired all the time has been a drag. They say that a person fatigued is just as bad as a drunk driver, but what about the other areas of your life. I know that when I’m tired I over react easily, have trouble concentrating or retaining info, my grammar and math skills go out the window, I feel depressed or act goofy, in other words it’s not a pretty site.

For so long working midnights and having roommates was the blame for my 10-20 hours of sleep/week. When I did not have a roommate I did fall asleep and stay asleep easier, but I was also taking sleeping pills. Now that I don’t work outside of the home I sleep everyday but I still experience bouts of restlessness. Last night stress was the blame. I have been feeling emotionally off since Sunday, I subconsciously got my feelings hurt, which made me more sensitive to stress andinnocent comments. Now I have a lot of stuff that I need to do but no energy or brain power to do it.  I hope I fair better than this cutie pie.

 

Does anyone else struggle with sleep deprivation?