Monday, January 25, 2016

Fear: The Bratty Emotion

New things are scary; more scary than any horror movie ever created.


Because real life doesn't end with a series of credits and bonus features. You have to live with the choices you make.

But wait a second. God says not to fear. He wants us to trust Him, and Him alone. Human beings aren't afraid when we're born; we learn to fear as we grow up.

Fear is a spoiled brat. It has no intention of leaving us be. Trusting God means fear won't get any attention- so sometimes it throws a fit.
It makes us angry.
It makes us hate.
It makes us lash out, hurting everyone around us.
It makes us hermits, physically and emotionally.

Yet we feed it, and it gets bigger. And big brats become bullies.

Is fear bullying you? I know it bullies me. A lot.

I let fear get to me too often. Fear of failure, fear of success. Fear that no one will ever like me. Fear of disappointing the ones I love. Fear of not getting approval from those I don't even like. My fear bully has gotten too big for its britches. But how do I fight the bully in my heart?

That's the best part. I don't have to. God is already with me. I just have to step aside and trust Him.

Talk about scary!

Part of me wants to trust wholeheartedly- the other part is a fearful cynic listening to the bully. Sometimes I find myself challenging God- Me- like I'll actually win! I hear myself making bets with Him like "Okay Lord, I'll trust You with the finances this time- so let's see what You can do with this mess."

Granted, not one of my best ideas.

Occasionally God takes me up on my so-called challenges, and surprises the heck out of me. Then my cynical side can't say squat. 

Lately life has been too busy for me to be afraid. Have you ever been that busy? I can't say I have either- until I challenged God about the finances. Now I have more jobs coming in than I can handle, with a lot of potential side jobs sprinkled liberally on top. 

I know better than to challenge Instead I've been praying to Him for guidance in picking the right jobs. To work smarter. To bless others with the skills He's given me as I pay off my financial sins.

I haven't had time to fear. And the blessings are rolling in. Weird, huh?

Fear isn't getting my attention. It's been trying to throw fits, but I'm too busy to notice. Maybe that was God's plan. Maybe not. He does things His own way, and I've learned (at least in part) to get the heck out of His way and not try to second-guess Him.
I hope it sticks. I like not being afraid.

As I learn to trust Him more and more, the bully will become a brat, and the brat will eventually disappear. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the peace in the parts of my life that I've handed over to Him, and pray for Him to help me let go of the rest.

Because giving up all of me is still scary. But it's less scary than it used to be!

Monday, January 18, 2016

I Need To Be 'List'less

I love lists.

I love making lists. I love posting lists. I like making lists of lists. But I'm not very good at crossing things off of a list.

Lists are a major part of my life. they help me organize, make plans, keep plans, and help me to be productive. But sometimes I need to throw my lists merrily out the window.

Especially when God gets involved.

He got involved today. I had a list of things to do. It was a wonderful list; it was full of chores to be done, tasks to be completed, and I even managed to cross off a few items before God decided to throw me for a loop.

I received a call. Someone needed me to take them somewhere- they just couldn't get their on their own. I groaned inwardly. Didn't this person understand I had a list? In fact, I was out running my errands when she called! How was I going to get everything done with all of these list interruptions?

Then God tapped me on the head as of to say Now, now, that's not what I taught you...

As this point I could tell you I was a good Christian, smiled and said "Okay God!" and sped off. But nooooo, I mutter-grumbled and wondered why He would wreck my schedule like this. I knew the reasons why, but I still grumbled. And muttered. I sighed and turned the van around to pick her up and took her where she needed to go. And back.

She was so grateful, how could my heart not be moved? This is what God wanted me to do today- He didn't give a hoot that I didn't get my sewing room straightened or the floors vacuumed. He doesn't care too much about lists- my lists anyway; He sometimes prefers me to be 'list'less so He can do His good works through me.

Can't really be a vessel of blessing if I'm too darned busy to hear His call, now can I?

I'm still learning to listen. Sometimes I have to put aside the lists and ask God what He wants me to do, then go do it. I also need to stop hesitating and mutter-grumbling when He asks me to do something. I'm not a perfect Christian- not even close!- but He does teach me something new about myself and Him everyday.

And that is a list I really should be making!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Inner Brains- Kid vs. Adult

This is not a post about kids versus adults; it's about the clash of the brains- inside my head.

My kid brain wants stuff. My adult brain thinks it knows better and refrains. And sometimes the arguments are quite interesting.

For instance- I'm hungry. I could eat the doughnuts my husband brought home (quick and easy) or I can make myself something (time consuming but healthier). The argument in my head goes something like this:

Adult: No. We are trying to lose weight.
Adult: We can make something else up in about ten to fifteen minutes.
Kid: We don't have fifteen minutes! 
Adult: (sighs as she looks in the fridge) Maybe a grilled cheese sandwich?
Kid: We have to leave soon and I'm hungry NOW!
Adult: What about an apple?
Kid: Doughnuts don't have cores- oh wait- some do, but they're usually creamy- and you can eat them!
Adult: They make a mess.
Kid: You can lick your fingers!
Adult: But...
Kid: Too late! We have to go now- DOUGHNUT!!
Adult: Just this once...

....aaaand that's why I'm fat.

But sometimes, just sometimes my adult brain wins.

Kid: Let's go do something fun and dangerous!
Adult: Like what?
Kid: Go pet that bear!
Adult: Pet the bear. Right.
Kid: He's so fuzzy and cute...and see? He's smiling!
Adult: You want me to go up to the fuzzy smiling bear and pet him.
Kid: Or her. I can't tell from here. 
Adult: No.
Kid: Why?
Adult: Because I like having arms.
Kid: Awww! (pouts)
Adult: Let's go feed the goats.
Kid: okay!

It's not easy having two brains, especially when they argue. But I'm sure most of you understand what I go through each day. I won't even mention the writer's brain and all the characters that she brings along- it's a wonder I get anything done at all!

It doesn't happen often, but sometimes my brains agree with each other. And sometimes my kid brain teaches my adult brain something.

Kid: Did you see that? Awesome!
Adult: What?
Kid: That awesome big blue bird that just flew by! Oh! He's at the window now!
Adult: The blue jay?
Kid: YES!!
Adult: Nice bird.
Kid: Lookit! It's playing with a squirrel!
Adult: Shh! Trying to do work here!
Kid: (makes me turn my head to the window) Look! How cool is that?
Adult: (gives in and watches) wow- that is cool!
Kid: God does some really cool stuff.
Adult: Yes, He does.
Kid: Just don't be too busy to miss God's blessings...okay?
Adult: (smiles) Gotcha.

Do you have a kid and adult brain? Do they argue too? Please don't let me be the only one that does- otherwise the guys in the white coats might be coming for me soon...

Kid: ...But the long sleeves and buckles are so cool! You can scratch the hard-to-reach itchy spot on your back, and...
Adult: Shaddap.

It doesn't matter if you are of two minds, or five, or even ten- as long as all of them love God. Don't be afraid to let your kid brain show you something cool and interesting about Him each day. That's what makes God smile- even more than cute, fuzzy, arm-eating bears!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Change of Years- Switching Gears

Life is funny. And weird.

Last year at this time, I was fighting the same demons- getting books written and published, and losing weight. 
Two books are polished (and I thought they were done), but still need a little tweaking. The children's book doesn't need much more than an illustrator. Not done, but on the way.
As for losing weight? This is a win-lose situation, because I did lose almost fifty pounds, but gained almost half of it back. I won because I still lost twenty-five pounds, but I lost (or is that gained?) because it could have been forty eight. It still counts though!

It's time to reevaluate. Some gears need greasing, and some need to be changed out. A few need to be put in a box for a while until I'm ready to use them!

The gears that need greasing are the ones concerning weight loss and the books. If I can get one book out this year, that would be great! And another twenty five pound loss (or more) would also be very, very welcome.

The gears that need changing out concern working. Some jobs just don't pay as well or are as consistent as others, and I have to make some serious decisions- though I admit, one of them doesn't seem all that serious- since I'm considering becoming a face-painting clown.

Yes, you heard me! Funny and weird, all rolled into one curly purple wig.

I'm also looking into specializing in one craft and starting a real online business. My crafting focus has been too diverse; I've been watching coaching videos and talking to people to help me narrow the fields down to one. Right now I'm deciding among four choices: fabric fashions (aka scarves), totes and bags, home dec sewing, or paper crafting. Talk about switching gears!

The only gear I'm not touching is the one steady driving job. That will help support everything else until I can get the fabric/paper rolling! I have no idea how long it will last, but it's very steady at the moment, so for now, all is good.

It's time to make some changes and stop sitting on my duff, imagining my way to success. I don't know about you, but going out and doing it scares the bejeebers out of me!

It's time to do something. About my weight. About the debt. About how I work. It's time to get myself out there in the business and book world, and let God's light shine through me! Who's with me?