Sometimes, It’s Best to Tip Toe

At the heart of pleasing others is the need to be necessary. At the heart of the need to be necessary is the desire to be loved. No amount of pleasing or needing can take the place of love. Believe me, I’ve spent a lifetime learning that painful lesson. If others need me, then I’ll be loved. If I please others, they will need and eventually love me. Small wonder my heart is in the shape its in. 

Pleasing leads to lust, and lust leads to hate if allowed to run its course. It is a natural progression seen over and over in life. I eventually come to hate that which I had to have. I’m thankful God lets me learn the hard lessons of pleasing and being pleased on my own. If He didn’t, I imagine the hate would be directed at Him. Like a spoiled and ungrateful child, I would blame Him when I didn’t get what I wanted.

I found myself throwing stuffed animals this afternoon after a particularly trying day. The girls were tired and fussy, and so was I. I was hurt, and I did what all spoiled children do when they are hurt. I lashed out, and I felt pretty silly afterward. I’m glad no one witnessed my fit and that Mickey Mouse and the Pink Panther can’t talk. Lillyann asked me later, while we were watching Dr. McStuffin, if I thought it would be fun if toys really did come to life.

I told her that they might be upset by the way we treated them. She gave me a questioning look, and I explained that we lose, break, or sometimes don’t bother to play with toys, and they would probably tell us to play with them more or be careful with them. She didn’t see me throw the stuffed animals, so I think she must have thought I was referring to her treatment of her toys. I could tell she was thinking about it, and so was I.

Toys and people need love. That was the point of the Dr. McStuffin episode we were watching when Tyler came down to join us. The girls made a bee line for him and smothered him with kisses and hugs. He enjoyed the attention and agreed that nothing made him feel better. I felt the same way as I was getting the girls to sleep. There’s nothing better than hugs from sleepy children. They love with abandon, and there’s nothing more healing.

Transitions are so hard, but I know they are necessary if I am to love as God desires. It’s not easy to make the steps necessary for the transformation God has in mind, but a friend shared a post from AARP Arizona that said, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.” That image was just what I needed to stop throwing stuffed animals and quietly tip toe in the right direction.

The lessons this week have been about being grateful, and it was humbling to realize how ungrateful I am when it comes to all God has given. I hope to be more mindful of His gifts, especially His Son’s precious love. I’m also thankful that Pink Panther can’t come to life because he’s almost as big as I am and might just toss me on that top bunk if he could!!

Pink Panther

Life or Death?

Choices can be confusing, so I like it when they are simplified for me. I want to choose without being overwhelmed. God’s lessons this week have been crystal clear. He offers two choices, and I can have one or the other.  I can have the life He wants for me or not. It’s completely up to me. Love and fear will not abide in the same place. Anger and peace cannot coexist. Unforgiveness and grace do not mix. Insecurity hates trust, and comparisons kill gratitude. I cannot have control and surrender at the same time. Living in the flesh prevents me from living in His Spirit. The choices are simple, but I have the tendency to hesitate and complicate things. When I stop and think, I get into trouble. When I trust and love, the right decision is much easier.

My small group is reading “She’s Got Issues” by Nicole Eunice. God is using the book to help me see clearly that my issues are, as Nicole says, “joy stealing and love sucking.” I love that phrase because it creates a vivid image of what fear, anger, unforgiveness, insecurity, comparison, and control do to my ability to love as God desires.

Letting go of control allows me to surrender.

Gratitude puts comparison in its place.

Insecurity falls away when I remember God is trustworthy.

God’s infinite grace reminds me of His forgiveness and opens the door for my own.

The peace that passes understanding comes when I let go of my death grip on anger.

Fear doesn’t stand a chance in the face of love.

Spirit reminds flesh of its temporary nature, and resurrection living becomes possible.

Life or death? God leaves the choice up to me.

A Grateful Heart :)

God’s grace fills my heart with the desire to worship Him with humility and gratitude. Thanksgiving is a time to stop for a moment and give thanks for God’s love and grace. Like Christmas, the world complicates Thanksgiving in attempts to make it something other than what it was intended to be.

The Chickasaw in me has mixed feelings when it comes to the holiday and would like for it to be about accepting differences and understanding that we need those differences. I believe that was at the heart of the first Thanksgiving. We cannot make it in this world without help. As those early Native Americans came to learn, giving someone a hand often leads to them taking a leg, an arm, and a heart.

I suppose it is all part of human nature, but Thanksgiving is a time to think of thanking in a new way. We gather to remind ourselves that we have been given much and we are here to give. The lessons this year have helped me when it comes to giving. My giving has been unhealthy and left me depleted. I’m learning to give in a different way, and I’m finding that I am blessed and filled by healthy giving. I’m most thankful this year for the lessons in giving and the changes in my heart that have resulted.

Thanksgiving is about helping and giving my heart to those in my path. I’ve learned hard lessons, as have we all, when it comes to helping. I’ve been duped and taken more times than I care to recount. In those situations, I remember the first Thanksgiving. The intentions were good, and hearts were in one accord as they were all in the same boat. Giving is about knowing that we are all God’s children and in the same boat. I’ve learned that it isn’t about fixing and fusing. That’s changed the way I give and live:)

Gathering at church this morning and with my family this afternoon will remind me to be grateful for the love God has placed in my path. I hope I will also remember and give thanks for the fact that we are all beautifully different and bring something special to His table. God needs for me to love others, differences and all; that is at the heart of Thanksgiving. Knowing that God is in all and loves all makes the holiday truly a holy day as I see others as God sees them and give as He desires.

The lessons of late have left me speechless and filled with wonder. They remind me of an image from years ago when God showed me that Christ is a beautiful mosaic made up of all His sweet children. At a distance, I see my loving Savior. As I draw nearer to His side, I see others in Him. That changes the way I look at the world, and it changes the way I see God. We are all His beloved, and I am thankful for Christ’s precious love which binds us together in a way that only it can. It fills my heart and spills over into the world if I leave it alone and let it flow through me with the help of the Holy Spirit:)

Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless you in a beautiful way today:)