Have you ever found yourself in your normal routine and you’re doing something you used to really like but you realize you don’t like it anymore? It happened to me a couple weeks ago. What do we do?

Step one is to admit we don’t like it. As the psychiatrist might ask: “How does it make you feel?” We’re not going to make rash decisions based on feelings but we’re not going to deny them either. Feelings are just that, feelings. They aren’t good or bad. The devil didn’t invent emotions. God gave them to us. Like a barometer, they’re good for monitoring our atmospheric pressure.

We need to openly admit that something has changed in the activity or something has changed in us to make us feel unhappy with what we’re doing. If we’re going to move ahead with a healthy attitude, there’s no more room for pretending that everything is okay. Step one: How does the activity make us feel?

Step two is to take a good look at the activity and answer a few simple questions. Often we float through activities without giving them much thought. I was involved in a weight loss program for the past three years. I reached my goal weight, kept it off and developed good eating habits. There came a point when I felt like I wasn’t really learning anything new and the flavor of the weekly meetings soured.

My friend Miki kept asking, “Why are you still going? You don’t need to.” I’d give her some lame answer and just kept on going. (It’s funny how sometimes other people see us better than we see ourselves.) Well, I finally took a closer look myself.

In Quantum physics (for you science buffs) there’s something that relates to what I’m talking about. Atoms consist of electrons orbiting around a nucleus. The electrons exist in a wave state, like a cloud, whirling about the nucleus. That is, until someone looks at it. When the scientist observes it, suddenly the electron appears as a dot or particle and no longer a wave. It can be like that with our lives—things, activities, people and ideas all whirling about us. They don’t take distinct form until we actually observe them.

In step two, once we stop to take a good look at the disagreeable activity, we ask a few simple questions.  “Why do I feel this way now, when I didn’t before?” “Has the activity changed?” “Have I changed?” Once we answer these questions we’re ready to move on to Step three.

In step three we ask ourselves, “Even though I’m unhappy with this activity now, is it moving me toward my goals?” If it’s not, then it’s time to pray about dropping it. With the weight loss program, I’d already reached my goals. When I prayed about it, it was okay to drop it right away.

With other things the Holy Spirit may direct us to wait or take baby steps toward leaving the activity behind. Praying for the Lord’s guidance will be essential. We want to be praying for the manifestations of the Spirit according to First Corinthians 12, especially word of knowledge and word of wisdom.  If we’re in doubt whether we should keep doing the activity or let it go, then we need to go on to the next and final step four.

Step four is the last step. We ask the question, “Are the benefits of this activity worth the pain to stay with it?” Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:28 & 31). On a piece of paper or the computer we make a list of the benefits, then a list of the detriments to staying with this activity. We prayerfully take the time to weigh the worth.

We’re half way through 2014. It’s a good time to examine our goals and the activities we’re doing in light of those goals. We ask ourselves, “What are my major goals: in relationships, in work, in exercise and health, in religious and spiritual matters, in finances, in entertainment and relaxation, in hobbies and special interests?”

Then we take each category and observe the activities around each. We make those activities stop swirling like a cloud and instead become clear like the electron dots of an atom. If there are activities we’re unhappy with, we carefully go through the four steps. 

Step One: How does the activity make me feel? Step Two: What has changed? Step Three: Is the activity putting me closer to my goal and if not, how do I drop it? Step Four: Is this activity worth the cost?

NOTE: You may want to do this exercise one goal category at a time (bite-sized pieces). That’s what I’m doing, taking one more hefty goal and then the entertainment one, having some fun with it.

Love, Carolyn

PS: This coming Thursday through Monday get your FREE download of WINGS SAMPLE BOOK A. For this sample book I’ve chosen chapters specifically about the POWER OF WORDS to direct our lives. These chapters are true life stories about the tremendous and varied BENEFITS OF CHOOSING WORDS WISELY. There are pertinent questions that go with each story to further help the reader look at his or her life and see HOW to apply the keys for more satisfying and victorious living.

Advertisements

SHOCKING REALITY

Thank you for being a friend!
SHOCKING REALITY 
It was about a month after my dad passed away and I returned to work. My boss asked someone to back his SUV out of the warehouse. I was good at maneuvering even the bigger trucks around in tight spaces, so I volunteered. I revved up the engine, looked in the rearview mirror and started to back up…CRUNCH. I was motionless in a state of unbelief for a few seconds—I just couldn’t grasp what had happened. I opened the door and got out, staring at the pavement as I made my way around to the back of the car. I’d misjudged the entrance by a few inches, dented the fender and smashed the tail light. I stood there blurry-eyed with my shoulders slumped over and nothing to say.

Earlier that morning he’d asked me if I was okay after my dad’s passing. I honestly thought that I was and I said I was fine. Now when he came to see what the damage was, I sighed, “I guess I’m not so fine after all.”
My dad’s death affected me in ways I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t quite myself. For the next several months I had to really pay attention to my driving and I had to make an extra effort to not let my mind wander off when I was talking to someone. I wasn’t always successful at it, either. But eventually these side effects disappeared and once again I was my happy self.

At some time or other all of us experience loss and I don’t think we can predict exactly how it will affect us on the inside or how the loss will show up in our attitudes and actions on the outside.

So I was surprised when it happened again. It’s been eight years since my dad died. Then this past November, my sweet little dog Spike died the day after Thanksgiving. I was the one who had to take him to the vet to put him down. I woke up with a feeling of urgency at 2 in the morning and knew it was the day. He was having seizures closer and closer together and having more trouble breathing. I thought I might have to take him to the emergency hospital but decided to wait and take him to his regular vet at 7 when it opened.

I didn’t want to do it, but I knew I had to. He’d been trying to please us and do his normal cute stuff, but I could tell he was having difficulty.
Taking him that morning was awful, just awful. I was as brave as I could be. I took his chubby little self into the vet on the same red leash he had when he first came to us sixteen years ago. At the time he was in the hands of a nine year old neighborhood boy and his dirty-faced sister. “Ma’am could you take this dog? We already have three dogs and my dad won’t let me keep him.” There was just the slightest hesitation on my part, but then, “Yeah, sure.” My roommate Jane and I started toward our front door with a wiggly waggly-tailed brown and white King Charles puppy mix. As we reached the door, I turned back toward the boy and his sister, “Does he have a name?” The boy straightened up, “Oh Yes. His name is Spike.”

That memory was vivid in my mind as I gently held him in my arms on the cold stainless steel table in the vet’s examining room. I tried to be emotionally strong as the vet gave him the last drugs. Spike rested his head down into the curve of my upturned palm and gave me a little kiss. It was as if he was saying thank you. And he was gone. I held back the tears, but it was horrible, really horrible.

It’s been six months and I recently acquired a new cute rescue dog. We actually rescued each other. But I know deep inside I’m still not quite right. Like when my dad passed away, there’s things that are different. I hold it together pretty well but I know me—my humor, my joy, my playful razzing—pretty much diluted and weakened.

However, I KNOW IT WILL CHANGE, BECAUSE I BELIEVE GOD AND I TRUST IN HIM. I’ve been saying “My youth is renewed like the eagle’s” from Psalm 103 almost every day and today could be the day I get my happy whole self back.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of you for sticking with me. Friends who don’t give up on you when you’re going through things and acting kind of weird—they are worth way more than money can buy.

At some time in all our lives we suffer loss. It makes us a little different, a bit more vulnerable, a bit weaker for a period of time, but thank God it’s with His help we can all get through it. I agree with Romans 8: 38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And verse 37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).

With friends like you and a God like ours we can come out on the other side of loss as more than conquerors and truly victorious.

Love, Carolyn

Be sure to check out my books on Amazon under my name. I have a NEW WINGS sample book with 6 chapters on Commitment. It will be a free download Thursday thru Monday. Enjoy.

MOTHERS WHO PRAY

I know my mom prays for us kids. If it wasn’t for her prayer and believing, we probably wouldn’t have made it this far. She told me that when I was little I once followed a dog down the street and she had to call the police to help find me. Then another time I drank a bottle of her perfume and she had to rush me to the hospital. When I was older I put my mom through even more drama. I remember a time when I was freaking out in an old downtown building in Chicago and my mom drove her VW Beetle forty miles in a snow and ice storm to come get me. My mom has always been a big one for prayer and trusting God.

I want to relate another story about a mother who trusted God. Her name is Hagar. We find her story in Genesis 16, 20 and 21. Abraham was married to Sarah and Hagar was Sarah’s maid. When Sarah couldn’t conceive she came up with the idea that if Abraham could impregnate Hagar, somehow the child would be considered hers. I don’t get it, but that’s what they decided and it caused big problems. As soon as Hagar got pregnant, Sarah was jealous and outraged and treated Hagar horribly. Hagar fled, but on God’s urging, she went back and submitted herself to Sarah’s domination. Relationships may have improved slightly, but there was still bitterness and strife in the household.

Abraham’s entourage travelled through the deserts together as a group for the next thirteen years. By this time Sarah had conceived and given birth to Isaac. All of them lived together in the same group of tents: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael. (Do we really think our “complicated” family dynamics are so modern?) As we’d expect, there was more drama brewing.

One day when Ishmael was fourteen Sarah overheard him making fun of her son Isaac. It must have been the last straw because she threw him and his mother out. Hagar was devastated. Back then if you were thrown out it wasn’t like you could just go to stay with a friend. These people were nomads. They lived in a tent city, travelling from place to place according to the water supply. There was harsh desert all around them. So when Sarah threw them out, they had to find a way to survive in the wilderness or they’d die. Abraham was able to sneak them one bottle of water and some bread but when that was gone life was over. Hagar wandered in the desert desperately looking for help. But a person can only last about three days without water and there were two of them. They’d come to the end.

“When the water was gone she left the youth in the shade of a bush and went off and sat down a hundred yards or so away. ‘I don’t want to watch him die,’ she said, and burst into tears, sobbing wildly.
Then God heard the boy crying, and the Angel of God called to Hagar from the sky, ‘Hagar, what’s wrong? Don’t be afraid! For God has heard the lad’s cries as he is lying there. Go and get him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.’
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well; so she refilled the canteen and gave the lad a drink. And God blessed the boy and he grew up” (Gen 21:15-20).

Hagar knew God. She prayed to Him and cried out to Him. She taught her son to do likewise. God “heard the lad’s cries” and saved them both. To mothers this should be a great comfort. When you’ve done your best, you don’t have to be afraid that you haven’t done enough. God thinks you have and He will be there to step in directly for your children when you can’t. GOD IS THERE FOR THEM.

God has given special abilities to mothers and we’re thankful for all of you. Have a great Mother’s Day.

Love, Carolyn

Look for the FREE DOWNLOAD of 7 true stories of GOD’S COMFORT in different situations and in different ways of expressing it: WINGS – SAMPLE D starting Thurs May 15 thru Mon May 19.