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4 Reason to Take a Temporary Vow of Silence.

  1. Reclaim and cultivate peace

How much noise harass us all day? I love listening to music or watching Youtube videos but there are times that I want quiet. I want to hear nothing. Doing so resets our spirits and gives us time to communicate with our creator.

As an exercise, when taking a vow of silence, write down what sounds or sensations you notice then forget them. Move past them to focus on a mental picture of an empty cavern where you gather peace lost during stressful events that day.

  1. Set intentions for the coming week

Each week has challenges we have to meet and conquer. Some of our weekends do too. All the more reason to plan how you might respond to hiccups/upsets that will happen.  Meetings, interviews, family gatherings, and other events go smoother when you preprogram how you’d prefer to respond.

For example, I have a weekly call I make to a difficult family member to keep the peace. I prepare with a moment of silence to center my already fraying patience and nerves. When we talk I’ve already made up my mind to make this time productive. If that fails, I have prepared a Plan B: put on my favorite J-Pop group to make the minutes fly by.

  1. Spend Time on A Pet Project

There are projects that make sure we eat and there are projects that feed our souls. It’s achieving balance in our life that is hard to do when constant noise and distractions never cease. It’s okay to nourish ourselves. We can’t give back to others if we have nothing to give. I’ve seen people who give of themselves after hitting zero and it’s hard to watch as they slowly dissolve into a shell.  

We are worth investing in. If we don’t feed ourselves we can’t live the lives God has for us, we can’t help anyone Just as silencing our minds makes it easier to flow into creating meaningful lives.

  1. Recharge After Work

Honking, squealing brakes, and never-ending commercials trying to sell to us it’s no wonder silence sounds so loud when we finally sit down at home. At work, phones ring and co-workers demand a portion of our time. Reports are due while more projects with stricter deadlines are piled on.  We need a mental break. We need a time of silence.

Pushing through frustrations only represses issues that spring up later. Like when we’re trying to sleep making the next day’s stress worse.  Writing in a journal helps some but sitting out outside can be just as beneficial. An easy walk around the block after dinner is a great way to enjoy the silence and get some light exercise.

Peace and Love, 

Randa 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Holy Strategy

  I’ve been playing unhealthy hours of Knights of Pen and Paper on my Xbox. Using my druids sleeping spell to make my rouges dagger attack cause extra damage and casting ice to decrease magic resistance. Each monster varies in what attacks work. Each time I have to adapt my plan or my team gets killed.  Even with a high-level team, victory isn’t guaranteed. I need to know how to use the skills they have. But life isn’t a game. We need a strategy if we are to complete the quest Christ has tasked us with.

To my peril, I’m not great at changing strategy. Mostly I run away from battle until I feel ready or I keep attacking the problem with the same method hoping it goes away. Which it never does due to my fear of looking at life head-on. Living in fear paralyzes us and as a strategy, I don’t suggest it.  We all know that so how do we become a holy strategist?

Let’s consult our savior for those answers as I am learning myself.

Manage What You’re Given1 Cor. 7:17, 4:2

We see our lives as boring. We live in boring towns with boring jobs. At least we have family we care about and if not, we have friends who are our family. I know I feel this way sometimes. I wonder why God would put me in this place at this time. Instead of the grey we see, He sees the millions of opportunities and ways we can lift Him up where we are. To successfully manage what God has gifted us in our lives we must change the lenses we look through. See our lives through the eyes of loving God.

There will be a day when our lives are changed and the next step of the journey begins. At this moment let’s make God proud of who are now, not who we will be.

Training Matters 1 Cor. 9:24, 10:23

I talk about our choices a lot on this blog. But I truly have a passion for the long game; making sure the future is as bright as possible.  Which is why to create a holy strategy we must realize actions and choices have lasting effects. Today will affect tomorrow so why not try to sway the odds in our favor.

None of us change unless we train like our lives will be used as vessels to combat the forces aiming to keep us from living a full Christ filled life. If we can’t be a testimonial of Christ overcoming power how can we change the lives of others? We have to run the race we’ve been given as if victory is already won.

Simply put, the best strategy is to “be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.”

Peace and Love, Randa 🙂 

Citizen of Heaven

Scripture Reference: Phillippians 1:27-29, 2:14-15

Who can count how many people joined in on your latest pity party? Who came to your latest anxiety fulled rage fest?  Last time I checked, my attendance was one person: just me. And that pile of soggy tissues.  I don’t blame anyone because I don’t enjoy my own company when I’m like this. Not even Christ, who loves me, wants to go my rage-ing pity parties. He stops in to inform me my heavenly shine is diming and my grumbling is not a good use of my time (Philippians 2:14). Then He leaves to prepare a future I can’t see through my rage, tears, and sadness.

Taking action will better serve anyone who is wallowing excessively in their misery. My advice: walk until the pain in your shoes shines brighter than your problem. Next, sit down to figure out a plan. We have been given a responsibility to be ambassadors for Christ, not to present how defeated we are. How does that benefit anyone? Christ gives us all power to face every challenge in our lives if we participate.

Real talk though, I have a hard time standing up. I have a tendency to cuddle up with my anxiety next to a warm fire and come up with reasons to never make a move. Solid logical reasons. No one can douse the cozy fire or take away the familiar comfort of hot cholate except me. I have been given responsibility to have responsibility for myself. No one else. If I don’t do that I can’t impact my circle of influence because I’m hiding behind earthly logic to never move. I trap myself in anxiety always jumping at shadows instead of banishing them.

We cry out for excitement. Adventure. Safe adventure and safe excitement. Christ promises us both but not the safe kind. He promises the ride of a lifetime filled with a holy, heavenly suffering.  He put up with more pain, hatred, contempt than most of us will ever experience. But its who He is that sheds light on how much of a privilege it is that we are chosen. He is the Christ that rose from the grave so suffering will end one day.  He rose so suffering will cease to harm anyone on any level.

If you will, I ask you to join me in canceling that next pity party to instead take a walk. To make a plan and embrace the unsafe adventure Christ has prepared for us. Accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions, emotions, and past pity parties. Take a step in participating, in rejoicing when all we want to do is cry. Walking out our love of Christ instead of talking about it with our anxiety next to a cozy fire. 

Most importantly, see past ourselves and see the big bad world for what it is and what it could be. Christ plan will defy our logic but go with it, Christ won’t let us drown in questions or make our suffering amount to nothing.

Blessing, Peace, and Love,

Randa:)

Mindsets Make the Difference

Scripture reference: Romans 8:5-7

Out mindset is like a filter we put on photos: they color a situation in a good or bad light. We can see a situation in sepia or in full color. Maybe we see an event in our lives as a photo negative filter. All these “filters” make up the photo album of our lives and give us a great tool to make adjustments in the direction we’re headed. Warn us on a dangerous path we weren’t aware we were on. Even better, changing our path is easy as one simple act a day.

Where to Start?

  We must see with as much clarity as possible the path we’re on and try to identify what got us here- what motive drove us. In my life I get tired of waiting and, as I put it, take stabs in the dark when it comes to decisions. The paths I’ve taken weren’t bad but still gave me quite a mental/spiritual sucker punch. I was left feeling more lost than before. Take time to evaluate where you are if you’re not happy because it’s not too late.

We are able to turn around! Christ will not leave us to wander off with no plan to rope us back in if we are willing to admit we don’t know everything.  It is freeing to think we don’t have to know everything. Think about it, our heavenly father arranges the details we can’t see and all we have to do is put in the work to show up, be willing go out of our comfort zone.  Be willing to master what God has given us.

Daily assignments

Whittling down a to-do list, personal and professional, is just an autopilot experience for most us. To give us strength for our daily grind, God, in His great mercy, gives us our daily bread. He gives to us daily assignments so the journey, though a long one, is broken down into doable steps. While we may not reach our destinations this minute, this week, this month, or this year, we are working toward our goal. 

As we pray/meditate: let’s not just hear what God is saying, let’s decide how we are going to complete the small, daily assignment God has given us. For me, I’m going to study and practice how to make writing these posts more interesting. Practice writing more clearly with a clear theme and intention.

What small step will you take today? 

Blessing and Peace—Randa 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer 2018 Book Recommendations​

Reading is a major part of my life and I wanted to share some fiction recommendations. You’ll notice a darker pattern but all of them had me thinking about how I don’t need to judge anyone because I don’t know their full story. I might never know their reason or reasons. Each one reminded me I just need to be kind, not think I’m entitled to understanding everything. I am called to love, not be a judge. That’s God job.

Spoilers ahead for some book content.

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

A dark twist on a classic with a wholly original character thrust into a life she never wanted because of an accident that happened in her not so distant past. Learning she was being sent away to boarding school, Jane runs into woods near a ravine. Running, she cuts her arm and her cousin follows. He takes advantage of the moment as he precedes to sexually assault her. Jane protests and threatens to tell her aunt and he stops, asking if they can be friends again. To accent her “NO!” Jane pushes him in fear he may attack again, but he slips on loose rocks falling back into the ravine killing him. Jane walks away.

I love how Jane becomes social justice vigilante as each nightmare unfolds around her. The romance is perfect! Her friendships are just as twistedly complicated as Jane is. You will love the twist with the constable that keeps finding Jane throughout the book.  I’m sorry if I didn’t describe the book as I should but give it a chance and thank me later.

Alice by Christina Henry (First in The Chronicle of Alice series)

Not sure if anyone has played Alice: Madness Returns (Dr. Bumby deserved it!), but if you did you have an idea what this book is about.  Alice teams up with Hatcher as they escape the asylum. Once escaped, Alice goes on an adventure to reclaim her memories of what happened to her along with falling somewhat in love with Hatcher. All she knows is when her family found her all those years ago she kept saying “Rabbit”. Alice brings back beloved characters like the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, and the Walrus all as mob bosses in a magical territory war.

A twisted, fun magical ride in a world that draws from the genius mind of Lewis Carrol. Fans of original Alice in Wonderland will love this fantasy adventure. Read Red Queen if you enjoy Alice to continue your journey down the rabbit hole.

Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James

Set after the Great War, a nurse takes a job at a hospital for shell-shocked soldiers to discover the hospital is haunted and forms a relationship with a mysterious patient who admitted himself. As tragedy strikes the isolated hospital of the medical kind secrets of the haunting, the hospital’s former occupants, and secrets hidden by the nurse herself come to light.

I love the heart in this book most of all. The slow, steady build of friendship the nurse forms with each patient is heartbreakingly sweet. It makes you have deep sympathy for those who suffered and still do suffer as survivors of war. Near the end when the mysterious patient tells his story of how he decided to admit himself made me want to hug him. Everybody is likable and you’ll miss out if you don’t get know these amazing characters who haunt you long after you’ve put the book down.

What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this summer or summers past?

Blessing and Peace 🙂

Randa

Minimalism and Our Meditation Practice

Scripture Reference: Matthew 6:19-21

There’s an art to minimalism that doesn’t have anything to do with what we have. The art of minimalism begins within our minds. Convincing our mind to let go of shoe boxes we don’t need because we had plans for them. Convincing our mind, we’re going to wear those clothes we never wear. No matter how cute they are. Letting go is not a function of the mind most of us are good at using. The key to let go is finding a balance between what’s needed and what’s not.  

How can we achieve this balance? Meditation. While physically letting go of material goods, we can leave thought patterns of old habits lying around. Piling up, waiting to undermine our progress. Today in our meditation practice, let’s focus on the following in regards to an item or items we know we don’t need but keep holding on to:

Could ___benefit someone else?  

When was the last time I used ___?

Why am I resistant to letting go of ___?

What was my motive for buying ___?

Do I really need ___? Or just want to find any reason to keep ___?

Extra Credit: Material goods are just the start of finding the balance we seek. In our digital lives, what excess are we holding on to? We have inboxes stuffed with emails selling to us, phone apps we never use, various social media accounts and the list goes on.  Yet learning to let go is a process not to be rushed. Take it one day at a time enjoying the freedom created by an uncluttered life.

Take Off Your Rose Colored Glasses

Scripture reference: Romans 7: 14-25 (CSB translation)

January of 2018, I didn’t make any resolutions. I didn’t make any plans or map out goals on how I was going to champion 2018 instead, I made myself a promise. A promise to not lie about anything regarding who I am or how I feel.  Lies, even white lies, are heralds of disaster as the long game is impossible to predict. Lying is against my moral compass, as a believer in Christ but of course, that compass is held by a very human hand. Mistakes are made, but it’s how I recover by removing the rose-colored glasses to keeping me blinded to changes I must make. 

Thinking positive is a hoax fed to us by so many that the real culprit is never going to be found. While I’m not against being happy or clinging to a gold nugget of joy, I don’t see how crushing my feelings in a box painted with “the best is yet to come”, peace signs’, and yellow smiling faces are going to make any of us feel better. Happier. Embracing our struggles is not giving up and wallowing in the past defeats. It’s a step in living a life that can impact our world. We remove our blinders going forth into a world full of people who are still blind.  Paul writes to us in Romans with a perfect example of what I’m trying to say.

Verses 22-23, “For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.” Here, Paul is being honest with himself about his struggle as a follower of Christ, not painting his struggle with a happy shiny lie and a smiling face.  Once we’ve stopped lying to ourselves we can see the problem a clearer now that our pain isn’t dressed up in a pink tutu. It’s then “by the spirit we put to death the deeds of the body” we can live an authentic joy filed life.  We see where our challenges are and how much we need God to lead us.

Blessing and Peace :),

Randa