Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Control is Not Trust. Trust is Not Control.

Trust isn't really trust when you can control the situation.

Trust is defined as reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

Control, on the other hand, is defined as to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.

By its very definition, trusting involves relying on something.  Control doesn't rely, but actively dominates or commands.  This distinction stuck out to me the other day as I was considering a relationship where I had been wronged - lied to, betrayed - and was seeking ways to ensure I could know it wouldn't happen again.  I began to panic because it wasn't possible for me to know every situation and be in control of all matters.  And then it struck me.  If I am to continue the relationship, as I desired to, and build back trust in them, this was not the way to do it.  Eventually, I would have to stop trying to control and begin to trust.

My relationship with God is much the same.  I say I trust him, but usually that occurs simultaneously with my feelings of control and comfort being very high.  When I feel out of control, I struggle with relying on God.  Hence, I don't really understand what it means to trust God.  Because control is such a big part of my personality, embracing this new picture of trust feels like purposefully running into a thorn bush and letting it scrape you up.  Not a natural or even tolerable thing!

What has helped you practice an active, authentic trust in others and in God?

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Potential in Today

And a new day rises again. Isn't that the most wonderful thought? No matter what happened yesterday we are blessed with a brand new day!  Sometimes that can feel like a burden, especially if yesterday leaned more towards imaginary steps than baby steps, but it is important to recognize potential the way God does. Without His perspective, most of us I think would cut the entire world off at the knees, saying everything is impossible.  Just think about the number of people who have surprised you.  I've (falsely) judged people, never expecting anything good from them or assuming they would quit trying and just give up.  Sometimes I've even thought that they should give up.  Isn't that awful?  Well, whether its a person, a project or this brand new day, who are we to judge or limit its potential? 

As a teenager, I was NEVER an organized person and so, as an adult, discovering routines and schedules was like a life-preserver of sorts.  I hang on to them for dear life sometimes! The down side, though, has been getting off those schedules.  Being sick, waking up late, etc. pushes everything back and, instead of just rolling with it, I have a tendency to just give up on the day.  Sure, I can start over tomorrow, but simply because it's 9:30 and I haven't worked out yet isn't a sane reason to give up until tomorrow.  What is cool to me is when I start to give up on the day, somehow bypass it (through the power of God) and start accomplishing anyway and what do ya know? My day wasn't a failure after all!

Fridays are happy days anyway, so it will be an easy starting point to look for God's potential in our day.  The key for me anyway is to be purposeful about it.  If I don't intend to look for the potential, it's a sure bet I won't find it on accident!   So, moral of today: Look for the awesome potential in today!

It's a new day and I'm feeling good! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why So Serioussss?

Sometimes (ok, a lot of times) I take myself way too seriously.  Perhaps you do too?  If there ever was a Calvin incarnate, it would be my husband.  The intelligence of a rocket scientist, but the goofiness of a 5 year old.  This little perfectionist sometimes has a hard time keeping up with him! But, the sentiment of this comic and living with Randy for almost 6 years has taught me a thing or two.  Some days, you need to be silly.  When  you have green ugly goo for dinner, why not turn it into an art project? More importantly, laughing and being silly makes the hard stuff easier.

Why not get the job done with a smile on your face and a joke up your sleeve today? :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Peak of Perfection

Ideal. Slam dunk. Perfect.  Whether you will admit it or not, many of us think in these terms. We want our bodies, homes, things, relationships, other people to be the very best - perfect would be great! While having  goals and high standards is healthy and good, this past week I've noticed a theme of perfection that leads to a lot of treading water and arriving nowhere new.

In learning the piano, the thing I encounter the most within myself and my students is this desire and expectation that everything should be played perfectly the first time. When that doesn't happen, a couple of things can happen.   If you're like me, you are tempted to quit.  It's no "fun" to practice.  Or, like many of my diligent students, you take every measure painfully slow insisting on determining the exact correctness of each note.  While sometimes you need to just slug through a song to understand what you're doing, mostly you just waste a lot of time.  In demanding perfection, we paralyze the learning process.  However, allowing yourself to make mistakes but continuing through with the entire song enables you to get somewhere.  Before long, after pushing through (allowing mistakes here and there), you'll have mastered most of the minor problems and are left with 2 or 3 areas that you DO need to pick apart.

If you don't play an instrument, all of that might not mean much to you, but I think the same concept applies to all aspects of my life.  It's easy to be all or nothing with exercise and diet.  Expecting perfection and then when you foul up, what happens? Either quit all together or obsess over the mistake. Relationships - we expect the people in our life to treat us the way we need every time.  What happens when they don't? We write them off or retaliate. Your home - Everyone has an opinion on housework  and whats important. Don't we worry that everything isn't good enough or up to someone else's standards, perhaps our own? Either we spend excessive amounts of time ensuring that perfect home (sometimes to the neglect of others and other things) or we view it as impossible all the while beating ourselves up over not doing enough.

Here's the point: Perfection is a wonderful destination as long as we realize that its located in heaven. Extremes always come with a heavy price tag that usually isn't worth it.  Instead, accept that mistakes come and see the benefits that come with following through to the end despite them.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

Unless you are a super-duper type A personality who thrives off of dotting all the i's, doing several things at a time is just hard.  Some days, near impossible.  Having kids does complicate matters, but even when I was single, I struggled.  I know that part of the problem is my desire to do EVERYTHING when all I have time to do is barely half.  So, instead of being reasonable, I try to do everything, only slower.  So, I say all of that to say this: Sorry I have neglected this blog lately, but I've been busy unsuccessfully trying to do everything! :)

Jude is now 17 months old and running around like a rocket, with a mouth that moves almost as fast.  Alas, we only understand about 5% of it! Lots of traveling this month which means leaving him for the first time (for multiple nights and with someone other than Randy).  That's a little scary for me, but all in all it will be really good for all of us.

We recently started a new marriage/bible study and it began with the concept that reading the Bible and praying are both part of having a conversation with God.  It's simple, but something I tend to overlook.  While stomping through my day, slinging emotions and wills from one rooftop to the next, looking for what God thinks is unfortunately the last thing on my mind.  It's like I expect him to be the hall monitor who lets me know when I've done something wrong, but there's no contact otherwise.  So, both in my marriage and in my relationship with God I am working on better communication, especially listening and seeking their feedback.  Any words of encouragement in that area would be greatly appreciated!

Balance is the name of the game around here so why don't we do a balance check?
Have you given deep abiding love while being truthful with discipline and consistency?
Are you working your hardest while putting complete faith in God and others?
Have you accomplished anything today but also danced in the rain (or with a child)?
It's really all about finding the right balance. :)