A Can’t Do Attitude

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This week y’all, it’s been a doozy. While it may not compare to others’ weeks and what some are currently working through, it’s been a week of coming to bear out some things I have been wrestling with for a good long stint.

One of those being the mindset I have clung to that I can do it all myself. For a while I was claiming Philippians 4:13 in the midst of my doing, and fretting, and frustrations. Oh yes, I CAN do all things was what I would tell myself. My word did I misuse that verse to do things in vain and in my own way.

This week I went in to a couple of coworkers and said “I have to admit defeat and ask for help on some of these responsibilities.” To which one of them lovingly looked at me and said “It’s not defeat to ask for help, and we’ve been waiting for you to ask.” So y’all, I was wearing my weariness, anxiety, stress and CAN DO-ness out there for all to see. And it was not pretty…believe me I see it.

But from then on, I felt lightness as if a burden had been lifted from my back that I didn’t have to trudge along with. Over the last 24 hours I have thought about that and my attitude of “I can do this, and this and this and this.” I realized that I had made it a “had to” attitude instead of a “can but will ask for help” attitude. I made it the mandate to do it all, no one else did.

You see when I go back into Philippians 4 and point to verse 13 that I can do all of this through Him who strengthens me, I found that I hadn’t really looked for strength in Him first of all. Secondly, when I read the verses surrounding it in context I see that others were sharing in Paul’s distress, they were seeking to care for him in the state he was currently in and they had not had the opportunity to do so.

In my striving of can do-ness on my own, I wasn’t allowing others the opportunity to live out their God-given care for me. I was pursuing my own definition of success through a “have to” attitude that I had put upon myself instead of stepping into His strength, putting on humility and leaning into the beautiful community of care from those around me. Pursuing the right things with the wrong attitude will get us to the same spot as pursuing the wrong things.

I had to realize that I cannot do it all and I have to relinquish that sinful mindset. I can ask for help, I can be weak and seek strength that can only come from Him, and I can understand that it’s an opportunity for others to come along in my journey as well. It’s in fact not about me at all, and the more I realize that the more I’ll see it’s all about Him.

He can do and He does.

Stress Less, Eat More

Normally I don’t post in the evenings. Y’all that read regularly know this, but summer is finding me writing more in the evenings than in the mornings-possibly because I’m also trying to run in the mornings before it gets so stinkin’ hot.

I will be posting either tomorrow or Monday about the awesome time I had today at Macy’s Culinary Cookout and Sizzle Showdown. I was so inspired by all the fantastic chefs, as well as the tasty bites concocted by two of my favorite chefs Michelle Bernstein and Stephanie Izard. After an afternoon spent tucked away in my favorite local coffee shop (ahem, Starbucks) writing on my book, I came home and fired up that grill.

Tonight’s grill specialty was pork once again as I am just not feeling the chicken-but I need to be soon or this running won’t help the waistline a bit. I paired cubed thick-cut pork loins with pineapple chunks and red onion quarters on skewers. Then I brushed on a mix of teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce (because I am in love with this stuff) and some Asian seasonings. I let them grill along with some corn on the cob. I soaked the corn, along with those skewers, for about ten minutes in water. I put them on the top rack of the grill, then transferred them once the skewers were ready to come off to get a good char on them. Once I took the skewers off, I brushed them again with the same sauce mixture to get a glaze on them. You can see the finished dinner below. I also put on some brown rice mixture to eat the skewered goodness with as well.

FullSizeRender(5)I would have to say one thing to change on this, definitely brine the pork before cutting it up to grill. Having tasted the difference I won’t go back to not brining pork prior to grilling, or probably cooking any which way. It seriously makes the juiciest meat that you can cut with a fork.

Thankfully I did feel up for a little under two mile walk after dinner, but I am definitely going to have to run four tomorrow morning after today’s tastings at the Macy’s event and then tonight’s dinner. Today reminded me that I often don’t find myself writing for the fun of it much anymore. I push myself to write deeper or for production’s sake on the book, knowing I’ll edit down later. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see more easy posts thrown in the rotation these days.

The summer is finding me willing to loosen up my writing, as well as sharing some of my favorite hobbies with you all! That’s just another part of the #NoHSummer Have an amazing Sunday!

More Than

I make God rather small the majority of the time.

I believe my God doesn’t want to hear about my worries and troubles. He has far bigger things to concern Himself with across the globe. They are often petty and ridiculous, so I save Him the trouble of even listening.

Because let’s be honest, conflict with a friend or woes of single life pale in comparison to the conflicts in Iraq. To the earthquake in Nepal. To those suffering and grieving in life. I feel like I am doing Him a favor by not pestering Him with my heart’s cries. And I figured He appreciates me for that.

That right there is where I, and I think many of us, get it all wrong. I am taking my perceptions of God, with my limited understanding and my own experiences of life, and placing them on Him as characteristics and ability to time manage. He’s the omnipotent, omnipresent Abba Father.

He’s Daddy.

The God who wants to hear everything, who knows our inmost being and still wants to hear from us. He calls us to abide in Him, and what happens when you abide? You continue without fading or being lost. You are fully in Him, casting it all upon Him.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6,7

That means I have to humble my opinions, experiences and thoughts. I have to put those down and thinking God doesn’t care about my anxieties because they don’t seem important in the grand scheme. Because He is more than I think He is. He is more thanĀ  my limited understanding as a human, He is more than words can describe. He is so much more than anything I have ever experience.

So today I come boldly before that throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) to talk with Him. To share, and to listen. To be in Him, without fading or being lost. Because I want to share with Him what is weighing on me, as well as the joys. I want to cast of this thought that I can handle things up to this point when He wants it all.

Take a moment today to unburden your heart, even the small things, the things which you may deem petty or minor. Let Him take on the anxieties and cares of your heart. I am learning, ever so slowly, that He wants to hear from His child. He wants to be with me and have me trust Him fully to share every thing about my life, my mind and my heart. It’s not about Him already knowing, it’s about me faithfully trusting He is more than.


This song from Danny Gokey was what got my heart and mind pushing beyond the boundaries of limited thinking to see Him as more than.

I Suck at Providing

Ack.

That would be a common text I send to a select group of people. I am quite sure they truly love getting those. They often know what that means. It’s my sound of frustration. My warring of tension and strife. The resemblance of defeatism stumbling out in the only way it can.

I find I am weary and worn, when I should be rested and ready. I look around and see others just the same. In what normally is a time of refreshment and joy, we find exhaustion and doubt.

Last night I had some of the most troubling nightmares I have had since I saw The Ring back in ’03. (just another reason to hate Alabama…) I found myself in high anxiety and it spilling into even my rest. It then rolled itself into my day and overwhelmed me at every turn.

When I sent the frustrated call out I got an amazing soap box moment from a friend. While she may have meant it for herself, it was most definitely meant for me. It was a ‘how bad could it be?’ but in a kind way. It was God looking down and saying…”Well are you going to rest your confidence in yourself some more? Or are you going to finally give in and place it in me?”

I say so often that I rest my trust in Him. I place every bit of my faith in Him. And yet when the tension rises, the expectations mount, I burrow deep and cry that the walls are caving in around me. He waits for the cry for help. He comes running when we turn back towards Him. When I try to muster up the confidence and courage in myself, it just doesn’t fit.

Why?

Because I am a sucky provider. I am actually pretty bad at it. But you know what? He’s not. Never has been. Never will be. My next step requires me to put faith into Him and not myself. Not even an ounce of it. Because He is calling me to a place of utter dependence upon Him and not a lick of it on myself. To provide. To care. To work through. To lean on. That’s some pretty great provision from a pretty solid God.

You ate no bread and drank no wine or other alcoholic drink, but he provided for you so you would know that he is the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 29:6 (NLT)

Baking to Cope.

My coworkers love when I am stressed out.

Wait, that didn’t sound right.

They don’t necessarily love when I am stressed out. They love the effects of my stress often, as I tend to deal with stress through baking. Baking makes sense and it is a precise task or it will more than likely fail. And sometimes I do fail at baking. But it is how I choose to cope in stressful times. Which then is a reward for my colleagues…

I also realize that ignoring the stress, or not addressing it properly, is an unhealthy coping strategy. Believe me when I say I have been there in the ugly coping times. When I chose something far worse to channel my inability to control a situation into. I welcomed the wrong people and the wrong outlets into my life. I let chaos have control and my anxiety overwhelm me.

Some of us in this world don’t know how to address stress, anxiety, and the pressures that are often piled upon us in healthy ways. I didn’t for a long time. With either an explosive reaction of anger and frustration or choosing to ignore the reality that was presented me simply because I didn’t like it, I would go about life. I would think the world was out to get me and I would craft these elaborate scenarios which would come to be my reality.

Then I realized something, thanks to some real conversations with friends who truly cared for my well-being and health…I was choosing to cope with life. I just wasn’t choosing a life I could cope with. I picked what was easy and comfortable for me, because I needed that comfort in the stress. I needed that safety blanket.

Unfortunately for many (including myself at one point) that safety blanket has been alcohol, or pills, or sexual encounters, or cutting. I have had countless conversations with people on their coping mechanisms and far too often we choose to bury it within ourselves instead of seeking help. I was one for far too long and I understand the hurt and pain that confronts you. The words and fears of others finding out you just aren’t strong enough to cope with daily life.

But you are.

You will find out that we’re all struggling with something in our life when you decide to ask for help. For some it’s loneliness, others its finances, or family pressures. Maybe it’s work expectations or a wayward child. God never guaranteed a perfect life for us, and I know I struggle with that understanding as His child. I also know my strength doesn’t come from within myself all the time. It comes from asking for help…from talking with someone who can see the destructive path ahead of me and guide me to another trail.

Today whatever it is you are attempting to cope with in your life…whatever you are choosing to do instead of face the struggle know you are not alone. Know you don’t have to go it alone anymore. Know you are being prayed for specifically by me today.

Top Five Friday-Stress Relievers

Right now is an incredibly busy time in my profession. I am quite certain that this year, this week has been more intense, more tiring, and more gratifying than any in my seven years in higher education work. As you probably noticed the posts were few this week, and Wednesday’s was photos from my weekend in Bristol seeing Mumford and Sons. As much as I would like to apologize, I won’t. Instead I will give you my top five stress relievers that I enjoy, especially during this time of year.

 

1. Baking. I’m a stress baker. I will purposefully bake for shear mind-clearing time. I have to focus on that alone when I bake or you will severely screw something up. My coworkers know I’m stressed when I have a large Tupperware container in tow. They’ve been getting on to me about making them fat, so now that students are returning they will receive the fruits of my stress.
2. Crafting. With the rise of Pinterest last year, my crafting took on monumental efforts. I have created some awesome gifts for others, and some home decor of my own. I have discovered a love of painting that I never really knew I had. It’s also saved me money on decor pieces or settling for something when I didn’t like it or it didn’t exactly match what I was aiming for.

3. SongPop app. This is a recent discovery/obsession for my stress. I love music, this allows me to compete with people on music snippets. Genius! And it fulfills my competitive nature.

4. Running. This is also a recent uptake of mine. I’ve started a run trainer program and I am loving it. My hip flexors are sore, but I feel accomplished at the end of a 30 minute run. This is not something I have felt before.

5. Reading. Shocker that I would love reading. I have moved around alot in what I have been reading as of late. However I am entrenched in the Game of Thrones series and am awaiting its availability via the Nashville Public Library once more. I’m also in the middle of Myra McEntire’s Hourglass (I highly recommend this book).

 

So what do you do to relieve stress? Anything you’d suggest for this highly stressed lady right here….?

I Fell Off the Merry-Go-Round.

When I was in third grade, several of us would commute over to another elementary school once a week as a part of the gifted program. I really enjoyed this time, not only because the other school had chocolate milk (fat kid score!) but also because it gave me time to do what I loved, which was learn. I proudly wave my geek flag now, but back then, to be a slightly overweight nerd was the death sentence in school.

At this other school, they had several options on their playground that we didn’t have at our school. (When you’re a bigger kid, the monkey bars are not your item of choice to play on) One was a merry-go-round. Oh I loved it. I was the queen of that thing, whether I was pushing it or standing in the middle without holding on. For some reason I found such great joy with it. One day as we were playing before we presented an adapted play to the school, I fell off the merry-go-round. When I mean I fell off, I mean it drug me for a full rotation with my face in the dirt. I had gotten my shortalls caught on a screw and was just being slung around. It ripped my shortalls, I was cut up, and covered in dirt. But I had to continue on with the play shortly thereafter.Eventually my mom had to bring clothes for me to change into at school.

Often, this is how life feels for me. I am either pushing my schedule or standing in the middle with abandon enjoying it. Unfortunately, when you allow others to push your merry-go-round, or you lose energy from pushing, chaos can quickly ensue. Then you’ll be dragged by your life, rather than functioning in it. You will find that life has beaten you down, ripped up your shortalls and planted you face first in the dirt. Many of us, including me, like to say that none of this is our fault…that if we had control, if we were our own bosses, essentially if we were the masters of our own schedule, this wouldn’t be happening.

Really though, you are the one who chooses much of your schedule, and what you do within that schedule. I realize many of us have jobs that require more than a 40 hours a week. It requires more than just switching off work mode at 5pm every day…believe me, I know. Our lives get demanding, whether it is family commitments, friends, or church…or personal hobbies. You make that choice in how you spend your time. You make that choice how you react to the situation that didn’t quite work out how you had planned in your head (and let’s be honest, it’s always the best case scenario where you wind up with all you wanted without the work, believe me, I’m right there with you). Life never promised to be easy, but it does promise to let us make choices.

Let’s intentionally look at the merry-go-round to see what all is on it before we give it a good push. Be secure in your grip and make the choice as to where you’ll plant yourself-in the middle spinning or on the ground pushing.