Stillness

Learning to sit with conflict and uncertainty is a skill, much like riding a bike.

When you feel like you’re falling, steer into the fall. Lean into it instead of away, and you’ll be alright.

Have you ever tried making decisions when you’re upset or uncertain? It’s extremely trying.

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to stop making decisions altogether. To learn to just sit and listen to the still, small voice that’s says don’t run. Don’t lean away. Take each day as it comes. One at a time. Lean into the not knowing. Carry on, because everything is going to be okay.

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Why Does Loss Happen?

Why does God let us hurt? Why does He bring us people or animals to love when He knows we’re going to lose them?

Maybe because we don’t love people or animals simply because we’re going to have them forever. We love them because loving them changes us. It makes us better, kinder, healthier, more real. Even if people leave us, or animals die, loving them still makes us better.

So we keep loving. Even though we’re going to lose. Because loving teaches us and changes us, and that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to become better lovers and to learn how to be loved. So when we get to heaven, we’ll be prepared for the place where everyone loves each other perfectly.

When You Start to Feel, Do.

Recently I have been reading, Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite passages from her book, ones that I find especially wise and/or inspirational.

The below is paraphrasing but I think her point remains.

“When you start to feel, do… When you start to feel unloved, go find someone to offer love. When you start to feel unappreciated, go find someone to appreciate and acknowledge. When you feel unlucky, make yourself write down two recent blessings.”

The point is, to not let yourself wallow. This strategy of, “When you start to feel, do” is fascinating and new to me. It seems to be based on the underlying premise that we’re all connected, a belief which I hold dear. It makes sense to me as a concrete and tangible way to sidestep wallowing and overthinking ourselves into despair.

When you start to feel, do.

I Don’t Believe in Advice

I don’t believe in advice. So when someone comes to me and says, “I need advice,” what I think they’re really saying is, “I need love.”

And offering love looks a lot like being quiet, listening, empathizing, and letting someone talk long enough until he/she discovers that they already know the answer they’re looking for.

The thing is, we each hold the answers right inside of us. Sometimes, people simply need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know. So I think offering advice is essentially just trying to hold that space and time for folks in need.

A Breakdown of Relationships

Relationships can be complicated but the breakdown of their success is really quite simple.

Relationships built on mutual values and goals, work. Both parties feel a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. When there is no sense of shared values and goals, the individuals begin to feel disconnected and confused about their purpose which often leads to the relationship falling apart.

So how do you establish mutual values and goals?

Through clear communication that allows for give and take, enabling you to build the trust that every relationship needs.

Clear communication rules include:

Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.

Praise in public, criticize in private.

Don’t bully people into agreeing with you.

Respect the other’s opinion.

When we focus on the goals of the relationship as a whole, and they align with the goals of each individual that’s a party to the relationship, success inevitably follows.

Chris Rock Brilliant Humor

Recently, I was watching Chris Rock’s new stand up show on Netflix. It was highly entertaining and I’d definitely recommend it, if you haven’t seen it yet. What makes Chris Rock so good is not necessarily his humor, but his brilliance. He has a way of making the most fascinating points all while clothing them in the name of comedy, thus reaching more people.

One thing that Chris Rock said on his new show which really stuck out to me is, “Why are we lying to our kids? We shouldn’t be telling them, “You can be anything you want to be.” That’s not true! We should tell them the truth! You can be anything you’re good at………if they’re hiring. And even then, it helps to know someone.”

A hilariously true point and definitely worth sharing.

Control vs. Letting Go

There are really two ways of going about our day to day lives.

Either we’re striving and trying to maintain control (a fruitless effort, by the way, which leaves us exhausted). Or we’re relinquishing control to God, and trusting that He will bring us what we need each day.

There’s a distinct and noticeable difference between how good our days are, depending on which mode of being in which we’re acting.

When we’re striving, the people around us can tell. It says to them that there is something more important which we need to accomplish. Something more important than being present with them and letting God work. When we’re trusting God with all of our needs and desires, we’re at rest. And people around us can see this, too. They wonder how we’ve found such peace within the whirlwind of our daily lives. We’re a living testament of what it’s like to know God.

What it really boils down to, is that all of our striving and trying to gain control, makes the statement: “I don’t trust God.” And that hurts Him.

He’s already proven to us His goodness, grace, and love. Why would we not trust Him to take care of us on a daily basis?

Life becomes so much easier when we learn to let go, and let God. With every single aspect of our lives.

I adopted another dog

You may or may not have noticed that since my beloved dog Ziggy passed away last August, I’ve barely been writing on this blog. I’m not sure if the two correlate but their timing matches up.

Earlier this year, I wrote about how we really ought to be forming new year habits rather than new year resolutions. Well, one of my new year habits is to write more.

Back in November, I adopted another dog. His name is Capone. He resembles Ziggy in his stature and coloring, but his personality is quiet different.

Capone is fearless. He spent the first few months of his life transferring hands from adopters to shelter employees to foster families, before finally arriving to me. He loves all people. At the adoption events, he became used to many different sounds and smells, all sorts of other animals, and humans both young and old. He’s a joy to take out in public because he makes everyone he meets feel like the most important person in the world, smothering them with hugs and kisses.

He doesn’t require much exercise at all or even training. For one, he’s a low energy dog and much prefers snuggling to running. For two, he’s extremely sensitive to commands and thus picks up quickly whenever I’m teaching him new ones.

In short, Capone is everything I could have ever hoped for in a dog. He’s perfect for me. And when I look at him, I can’t help but be reminded of God’s grace and goodness. That no matter how devastating a loss, God turns all things for good. And often, for better than we could have even imagined.

Quote

The Great Thing Is…

“The great thing is, once we let go of being everything, we have the opportunity to be gloriously ourselves.”

If you want to write, read.

The number one advice I have for other people interested in become better writers, is to read.

I find it fascinating that whenever I’m going through a dry spell in my writing, I’m going through a drought in my reading.

The opposite is also true. As soon as I begin reading a new book, the creative inspiration and ideas begin to consume me in such a way that I have no other choice but to write.

The two activities are directly and positively correlated.

Reading serves as mental stimulation. It provides us with renewed inspiration.

As a general rule, we are readers first. And writers second.

So if you want to write, read.