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.

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A Woman being pursued is most beautiful

Have you ever noticed how a woman is most beautiful when she’s being pursued? When she’s falling in love…

This is because that’s when a woman’s most important questions are being answered. At the core of every woman are the questions of, “Am I beautiful? Am I captivating? Am I worth fighting for?”

When a woman is being pursued, she lights up from inside because her questions are being answered. Yes, you are beautiful, captivating, and worth fighting for!

Think of Toula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. When Ian finds her and begins to romance her, she comes alive. There’s a new shimmer in her eyes and her beauty begins to radiates from within.

Contrastingly, when a woman feels unloved and not worth pursuing, her inner light dims. She goes about her days hiding her innate beauty, believing that she’s not beautiful or worth it.

What if we could have this glow that comes from our most important questions being answered, regardless of our circumstances?

We can.

In fact, as women, we’re supposed to.

We were designed to be beautiful, radiating, captivating, and worth pursuing.

And guess what? The God of angel’s armies is totally and completely in love with us. He’s pursuing us everyday. He thinks we’re captivating, beautiful and worth fighting for.

The Creator of the universe has already answered all of our most important questions!

If we can truly understand and internalize this truth, then we become free to share our beauty with the world and our inner radiance will never go dull again.

Women of the world, we’re beautiful.

 

A Woman’s Prayer

I’ve just finished reading Captivating by Stasi Eldredge. Highly recommend it. One of the parts that stuck out most to me is a prayer that’s quoted from one of her peers. I’ve written my own version of it below.

(“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Eph. 6:10-13)

I put on with gratitude the armor which you’ve provided me as woman. My need to be pursued and fought for in all of my vulnerability. Thank you for pursing me and fighting for me every day. I wrap in truth my desire to be irreplaceable in a grand scheme of Yours. Help me to be present each day so that I might see what you’re doing in my life and that I may live in the big-ness of your story. Help me to offer life through my beauty and gifts, which you’ve given to me. Continue to reveal and confirm in me what you desire for me to do with these gifts. May today be an offering of love poured out before you on the altar of my life. 

Amen. 

 

Soon You Will Be Confident in Who You Are and What Your Purpose Is

My new dog is what trainers refer to as “reactive”. Probably due to the fact that she had zero socialization during the first few months of her life. She sat alone, abandoned, and afraid during her most crucial development period. And then she came home with me.

dog

She’s a farm girl living in the city and she’s terrified of everything unknown. (Which given her background, is pretty much everything.) I’ve had her with me now for about four months. She’s been slowly gaining confidence and I thought it would be a great idea to send her to doggy daycare once a week. Not only to give myself a much needed break, but also to help her socialize. She loves dogs and I figured by watching the more confident dogs at daycare, she would learn to overcome her fear of people, as well as many other ordinary, everyday things.

Yesterday, we had our much awaited initial evaluation with a Doggy Daycare Center. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. She failed her temperament test. Apparently, once I left, she sat in the corner trembling and wouldn’t let any of the dogs or people come near her. She was terrified. Not the place for her, they told me and sent us on our way.

I was crushed. I’d been spending every day working with this dog for four months and I’ve watched her make incredible progress. To hear that she hadn’t progressed enough to attend a dog daycare, when other dogs are the one thing she loves most, was devastating. I felt exhaustion begin to overwhelm my thoughts as I contemplated just how long this road to recovery would be.

You see, I feel a sadness for my new dog. It makes me sad to think she doesn’t get to experience the fullness of joy that this life has to offer because of her own unfounded fears. I’m sad when I see her insecurities preventing her from enjoying the world around her. And mostly, I’m sad because her defense mechanisms prevent other people from seeing the real her. The dog that I know and love.

The sweet soul who can talk a big talk, but doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. The playful puppy who loves nothing more than a good game of fetch and close cuddling on the couch. She’s brave and courageous and incredibly bright. She’s fast and strong. Gentle and loving.

I could hardly sleep last night. I couldn’t stop brainstorming of how I was going to help this dog. I needed to go back to the drawing board. She was making progress but not enough. I spent the night formulating our recovery plan.

When I awoke this morning, I had a new sense of determination and hope. I found myself talking out loud to her. “You are going to be the bravest pup in all the land,” I said. “Soon you will be confident in who you are and what your purpose is.”

And that’s when it hits me. Isn’t our plight as humans more or less the same?

I wonder if God thinks the same thing about us? Feels the same sadness when He sees our own unfounded fears preventing us from experiencing all that life has to offer. When He watches us push away other people with our defense mechanisms. When our own insecurities cause us to hide who we really are.

“I know you,” He whispers to us. “You’re brave and courageous and incredibly bright. You’re fast and strong, gentle and loving. If only you could see the real you, the person that I know, then you would know your purpose. You could approach the world with confidence, letting other people know you in all of your glorious imperfections. And finally, you could experience the fullness of joy that this life has to offer.”

Imagination and Prayer

As we age, imagination either overtakes logic/memory or logic and memories overtake our imagination. Imagination is the road less traveled but it is the pathway to prayer. Prayer and imagination are directly proportionate. The more you pray, the bigger your imagination becomes.

A good test of your spiritual maturity is whether your imagination is getting larger or smaller. The older you get, the more faith you should have because you have experienced more of God’s faithfulness. It’s God’s faithfulness that increases our faith and ultimately, our imagination and dreams.

God wants us to keep on dreaming until the day we die. If we keep praying, we’ll keep dreaming. And vice versa. In fact, praying is a form of dreaming and using our imagination is also a form of prayer.

Belief: The Intersection of Creativity and Culture

In Western culture, we consider creativity the province of a select few. But that’s not true of all cultures. In primitive societies, for example, most people participate in creative activities. In more “advanced” ones, creativity becomes something special and therefore an option for fewer and fewer people. In the West, we tend to be concerned solely with the outcome of creativity. The product, so to speak. Asian cultures, on the other hand, are about the process of creativity. They care more about the journey than the destination itself.

How do cultures come to such different approaches towards creativity? 

creation

It might boil down to our beliefs, particularly as they relate to creation. In the west, our story of creation begins with this, “In the beginning God created heaven and Earth.” We take this to mean that God created something from nothing, and thus, we humans tend to approach creation in the same way. This line of thought suggests that the creative act is linear. It says that the creator starts at X and advances until he/she reaches Y.

Chinese beliefs

Contrastingly, in Chinese culture, the universe, the Tao, has no beginning. There has always been something and there will always be. For the Chinese, the creative act is not one of invention but of discovery. Confucius himself said, “I transmit but do not create.”

hindu beliefs

The Hindus hold similar beliefs. In Hindu culture, there is nothing to invent, only old truths to rediscover and combine in new, imaginative ways. For Hindus, the creative genius is like a light bulb illuminating a room. The room has always been there and always will. The creative genius doesn’t create or even discover the room. She illuminates it. And this is not insignificant because without illumination, we would remain ignorant of the room’s existence and of the wonders that lie inside.

light bulb

Personally, I think that our Western version of creation, from the very beginning, has been misconstrued and taken out of context. If you continue reading Genesis, God’s story goes on to say that God always has been and always will be…That we are carefully crafted in His image. Thus, our creation story is closely in line with that of the Chinese or Hindu cultures. It has no beginning and no end. What they call the Universe, we call God. This points us to the rightful conclusion that the creative act is, in fact, non linear. The process of creativity is just as important, if not more so, than the outcome. When we begin to approach creativity in this way, not only does it become more accessible, but also significantly more rewarding.

The Calm Within the Storm

I received this message in my email recently and was quite touched by it. Wanted to share it here in hopes that it might touch some of you as well.

The Psalmist wrote, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” PS 55:6

dove

Have you ever felt that way? Sorry, there’s no escape! Wherever you go — there you are!

Peace is “an inside job.”

Oceanographers tell us that even the worst ocean storms rarely extend more than twenty-five feet below the surface. Gales can rip the ocean, causing tidal waves one hundred feet high, but just twenty-five feet below the surface the water is as calm as a pond.

storm

The point is this: The only place you’ll ever find peace in the midst of life’s storms, is through an in-depth experience with God.

Korean Christians have a saying: “We’re just like nails. The harder you hit us, the deeper you drive us; and the deeper you drive us, the more peaceful it becomes!”

hammer nail

Part of God’s purpose in allowing the storms of life to blow, is to drive us deeper. Deeper into dependence on Him and deeper into relationship with Him.

Someone said, “God takes life’s broken pieces and gives us unbroken peace.” When you focus on the God who never meets a problem He can’t solve, instead of focusing on the problem you can’t solve, you’ll experience in-depth peace. And you’ll carry that peace with you wherever you go. Others will notice it and seek your advice when they too face trouble.

You see, when you know that the God within you reigns above you, you won’t succumb to what’s around you.

Whom Shall I Fear?

Consider our most common fears. Almost always they revolve around an imagined future projection of our reality.
fear
The problem is, as we create this imaginary scenario and ponder the bad things that could happen, we forget to include God. Not only is this troublesome for us and hurtful to Him, but it’s also unrealistic. As our future stretches into eternity, there is not even one second of it in which God will be absent. Already, our fears are unfounded.

Fear doesn’t exist in the present moment, because that’s where God is. And with God, there is no fear. Therefore, we must do all we can to stay present and not be afraid.

When our mind begins to creep ahead of us, we must make the conscious effort to include God in our imagery of the future; helping us, strengthening us, encouraging us in all things. So that rather than being intimidated by tough times ahead of us, we will see them as the wondrous adventures that they are- times that God and us will get through together.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

We want explanation but what God gives us is revelation.

God does not choose the righteous. He makes righteous those He chooses.