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No More Lonely People

We know what it feels like to be crushingly alone. Maybe if you’re like me being alone, as a choice, is your preferred way to spend time. Yet, when you’re forced to be alone even God seems to be miles away.  We then meet and make “friends” with Loneliness.  As Loneliness settles into various cracks and corners of our minds we sink deeper into the abyss with the surface fading fast.  This is the time to remember Christ is our eternal friend, who “sticks closer than a brother”. Christ can seem distant based on our feelings, but feelings aren’t absolute truth. 

Harsh as the above statement is when walking through loneliness, we need to hear it. Feelings are changeable. So how do we change how we feel? Change out routine for starters. Visualize loneliness as a starving, ravenously hungry monster just released from prison. To gather strength, it eats comfort food, easy to find comfort food (ex. the reasons why we’re lonely). Changing our thoughts isn’t what I’m talking about. I mean to take physical action to continue to starve our loneliness further beginning the process of freedom.

Ways to starve the “monster”:

  • Put down the phone.

Studies have shown social media increases a discontent in our lives. We don’t think about our browsing others’ lives deep enough until we look at our own page. We don’t have the smiling group, amazing cruise photo’s, our kids aren’t winning trophies like that etc. It has become routine for us to live in a digital backyard gazing longingly into the windows of other people. So, put down your phone and take a walk. Science has proven walking increase feel-good hormones.

  • Satisfy your curiosity.

All this method takes is a car, maybe coffee/tea if you’re tired, and the library. What has you curious, what have you always wanted to know more about? Distract yourself constructively while learning about what modern décor goes best with your star sign, how to defend your relationship to Christ, how to meal plan food with flavor, or how to draw 3D art. The world is your oyster!  

  • Volunteer

There are many causes needing (wo)man power to make the difference. Giving money is a start, but it’s a soul-lifting feeling to hands-on see what your hard work creates. If you attend church I can guarantee one ministry or another needs help. If you just donate some items and pass them out at outreach event you claimed a victory over the “monster”.

  • Take yourself on a date!

Is a concert coming up? A new restaurant you’ve wanted to try? Go do those things! You are an amazing person so don’t wait for someone else to tell you that! Treat yourself has become meme worthy, trivializing it, but take back what it means to love yourself and do what makes you happy! If eating alone is scary, order takeout from that new restaurant and sit in the park listening to a podcast (I suggest Rabbits).

My hope is this post is some help to those who are feeling lonely today. Know Christ is ever present and a whisper away. Take a chance today because you are awesome- I mean that.

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We need better Answers

Reading Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace lately, I’ve realized while I love Jesus I can’t defend my relationship to others in a transformative way. In a way that will impact their souls. On Forensic Faith’s website, a test asks you how you would respond to each question. You have 21 minutes to answer them.

Here are the questions:

  1. Why are you a Christian?
  2. What evidence do you have to believe God exist?
  3. Why do you trust what the Bible has to say about Jesus?
  4. Why would God send people to hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus?
  5. If God is all loving and all powerful, why is there so much evil in the world?
  6. If God is the creator of everything, who created God?
  7. Why would a loving God command the total destruction of all Israel’s enemies (including their children and livestock)?

I haven’t taken the test. I’m scared of my answers and I know I can’t answer them as I want to. Worst of all, those who don’t know Christ can better answer why they don’t believe, why they’re gay, why they think the government is out to get them, why aliens exist, and how science is the only “god” they trust. Even worse, I envy those who can stand up and make powerful leaders in my world follow them because they can answer why! Evidence, fake or not, is making a bigger impact than most followers of Christ. I want to change that.

How would you answer the above questions? Let me know in the comments or just share how you struggle as well to defend your faith in Christ. I want to show my love for Christ in this world. To sum up my point Mr. Wallace says it best, “We need better answers”.

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Enjoy the Journey, not the destination.

Practicing yoga is a fantastic method to blast away emotional barriers you’ve been experiencing. I love to focus on a few poses or just one that I want improve on. Like comparison for example. By breaking down the pose into various aspects I find a meditative state. Peace even.  Just like a yoga pose, we can get stuck on the end result, not the amazing progress we’re making. Seeing the big picture (or the full pose) can turn your dream into a nightmare.

Quotes like, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” while classic can make us look too far ahead. Enjoying our process and all those steps in between stop being fun. Moments throughout our journeys get lost, moments that shed light on the dark and the light side of who we are. Frankly, forgetting the miles from point A to point B is a sad way to approach our goals. Why not allow each pain, victory, and learning moment show us we are more than the box we put ourselves in?  

God has no limit and as His creation, we are truly limitless. He doesn’t leave us to walk our journey alone but guides us so we don’t lose our way. Trust in Him- walking with Christ will make sure we aren’t bored by the unique path we all walk.  

Journey meditation ( Nothing fancy)

 Connect with where you are in your journey. Don’t compare or judge yourself. Just appreciate the victories, many personal revelations, and challenges you’ve overcome. Imagine yourself on a  forest path if it helps to center you.

The Saviour you need, not the Saviour you want

Christ has risen giving us victory over death today. Because of Christ sacrifice, we are given eternal life and a million second chances. While many of us know these basic facts, how many of us are readily available to admit God’s way is right in face of temptations we face and when our plans are frustrated? I know I need a lot of help in admitting Gods right only because I get what I need from God confused with what I want from God.

What we want and what we need are vastly different. This contrast is heavily seen when it comes to our prayer life.  Praying without ceasing can become ineffective if we treat our prayer time as rubbing a genie’s lamp. God is not granting wishes, He’s transforming us into His holy likeness which means we are denied the easy way every time. Praying for strength in our spiritual character means we will face situations to practice a skill we don’t possess.  

Think of it this way, we don’t grow when life is easy or when we get everything we want. Influences of the world around us make it harder because easy has become the goal for daily life. Easy commutes, easy ways to pay, easy ways to search… the list continues. As followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard of living. We walk a narrow path that cleaves the unnecessary dead weight we don’t need to make room for the great blessings God has promised His people if they will abandon their way of life to following His footsteps.

Daily Challenge: Read the passages you do read normally, but read them as they are with no devotional tone. Allow the scripture to reveal who Christ really, not who you’ve been told He is or think He is. Or how you wish He were. Meditate and pray for God to reveal Himself to you.

Blessings and Peace :)- Randa!

 

 

 

 

 

Why Clutter is Killing You

Besides obvious clutter around our homes, there is hidden clutter– messes even the neatest of neat freaks miss every day. These messes are chameleons blending into our routines and hiding right under our noses. No, it’s not dirty dishes or that box of old clothes, it’s your thoughts, fears, and the illusions you cast around yourself while you suffer behind the curtain. Clutter of the soul and mind derail us just as we think we’ve cleaned our spiritual house.We can keep repeating the vicious cycle or let God step in.

Sadly, we only notice a relationship in trouble after a fight, not before. We only notice were out of storage right as we go to take a perfect photo. You see where I’m going. Why should you care? The answer is simple: true happiness and peace of mind. Small is big when it comes to being outrageously happy and that means you must know yourself as well as a human can. Allowing deep-seated issues to clutter up your life leads to regret; regret chains us to our past, stealing our futures.

 In Christ, we are new creations not burden with the sin debt of our past. Our future is wide open, filled with second chances and yet we still don’t understand how the transformation works. To stop living in illusion we have to be changed from the inside out. Imagine inside all of us is a vast landscape filled with, aptly called, inner demons that taunt and goad us to admit defeat. In response, we hold on white knuckled generating an outer image of “okay” and “at peace” when we are far from either.

Dispelling illusions are easy as were not alone. God is aware of every need you have and every issue you have. Nor will He manipulate you because of your sin because He longs to be close to us, to heal us. To have a deeply committed relationship with us. His thoughts about you are all love and wanting to heal you of any hurts because small is big.

Blessing and Peace-Randa 🙂

Separate to Grow Closer

Separation anxiety affects mostly children yet teens up to age 18 (about 4-5 percent) can suffer as well. This type of anxiety is described as different” from normal clinginess. Children with the disorder can’t think about anything but the present fear of separation. They may have nightmares or regular physical complaints. ”  I’m sure each of us has experienced the panic or have had pets who made us furious because of their anxiety (separation anxiety can affect pets). However, I challenge you to re-think what separation anxiety means in your own life. What or who is keeping you from growing?  What lifestyle choices always pull up back in? Maybe it’s time to learn to separate and see you can stand on your own two feet.

As stated in a previous post, I know soda is bad for me.I’ve separated myself, but withdraw is painful. What comes to mind when you think about an area of your own life where you need to separate but pain will be involved? Sadly, our tribe, as its said nowadays, is a sum of who are or want to become. Thus, it pays to be careful who has access to your emotional currency and time. Both can bankrupt you when relationship boundaries are not clear. Separation is the answer for both parties to establish or reinforce boundaries if this is the case. Taking time out of the relationship does not mean your done, it means you care enough about the other person to work on yourself. To heal mentally from past damage to create a stronger relationship when reunited. As a disclaimer: I am not an expert but this method has worked for me in the past. Let prayer be your guide on any decision. 

Removing obstacles in our way to an abundant life using separation reveals true motivation hidden in our decision-making processes and lifestyle choices.  While researching for this post, I discovered I suffered from separation anxiety as a child when I thought I just loved my dad that much. Which is strange because we never really got along. A classic example of reveling true motive is with eating. Food becomes a place of comfort, not nourishment making the root of weight gain a distorted attitude toward food, not gluttony. The movie Tron: Legacy has a quote that sums up why  separating ourselves isn’t a punishment, but a retreat: “Take yourself of the equation.”  This means our answers to our problem is to separate from our regular pattern, to voluntarily take a step back. Again, we’re not giving up we’re trying to fix what is wrong- become objective. Be open to getting advice from trusted sources and pray about the areas we may have contributed to our own misery.

I haven’t met one person who enjoys being miserable and I’m sure you don’t want to be either. So in closing, I encourage you to “take yourself of the equation.” Create distance from what troubles you to get a battle plan together. I understand with people it can be hard to do so in that case, go on a weekend trip or visit family you haven’t seen in a while who can help you decide what to do next. You don’t have to spend 40 years in a desert to change your life. Embrace your anxiety to root out why blank causes you to be abnormally fearful of making changes. What has running gotten you that facing down your inner demons won’t? Distance will feel lonely but take comfort that no distance can separate from the love of Christ.

Blessings and Peace- Randa 🙂 

Image from up UnSplash.com taken by John Towner.

Learning How To Fail

failFailure. I hate using the word in relation to anything, but the reality is we all fail. I’ve failed in many instances from jobs to personal achievement I set out to accomplish with my whole heart. What I know to be true from my failures is that I learned a life lesson while also learning how to accept grace. Accepting we have a second chance is harder than putting in action life lessons. We are looking for the catch, for the other shoe to drop: we condition ourselves to accept failure. With a lesson, we can make continuous adjustments like an experiment, but with grace its too simple.

Grace is defined as “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” This means no work on my part is involved- a concept modern people are conditioned to resist. Everywhere we turn slogans like “Just do it!“, “Get it done!“, “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” This concept isn’t bad but it can be when isolated from grace. Focusing on what holds us back or caused us to stumble only magnifies the failure. How many occasions come to mind where adjusting your approach made you want to quit because all you focused on was what went wrong?

Once I worked as a leasing agent where occupancy numbers ruled the roost even if that meant not moving someone out on time to keep numbers high. My boss was always on point with corporate when it came to every percentage. That was great because it meant we were off the radar, yet it made me feel all the more a dirty salesman during slow times. When our slow seasons kicked in I felt like a failure since my words and testimonials from current residents didn’t convince them to want to live there. Not to mention a constant battle combating what past residents who didn’t get their way would post on our social media pages. Trying various ways to highlight community benefits and move in special was exhausting. There was no grace, it was my fault, my problem to fix- a challenge. A challenge I grew tired of fast.

A sad fact is failure can be a permanent resident with no respect for the other emotions dwelling inside us. Honestly, I still fight for that balance because of my sales experience; this feeling I’ve failed follows me to others areas of my life daily. Join me in  keeping the faith and fighting your personal battle because “His grace is renewed every day.” Christ sacrifice is my daily reminder I can overcome this since His grace covers me.  Because His grace covers me I can ask for His wisdom, I can have a partner in the process, a healer of old wounds. As a parting note: maybe what we see as “failure” is really Christ calling us out and into the life He has planned for us. That’s my hope anyway.

Blessings and Peace-Randa:)