It’s Time to Sack Your Feelings!

There seems to be a common thought process at the beginning of Spring…If you’re like me, you’re stoked that winter is over, and super excited for Summer. But then there’s also this anxious feeling, as you realise that it’s been a long, lazy winter and you’ve definitely neglected your workout routines. You think it’s time to throw yourself into regular exercise ASAP to get ready, so you make a decision… “That’s it! I’m doing it!”…

And then you realise you’ve said the same thing everyday for the last 3 weeks.

What kind of crazy person feels like putting themselves through pain anyway?!

Some people call this pain discipline, I call it annoying…

Cutting out ice cream from my life, going to bed early, studying, saving money instead of buying a new dress, being patient and saying no to something that looks good, pursuing God…

Maybe you know that feeling…you’ve been curious about God, wondering if you could ever experience Him… or maybe you remember how amazing it feels to be close to Him and you crave it… but for some reason, finding a Bible and taking the time to sit down and read it, doesn’t sound as exciting… just time consuming, and boring.

We spend SO much time waiting for all the right feelings… We want to feel good about doing things before we make a decision and get going. And then if we feel tired, uncomfortable or nervous, we’ll just postpone it for another time. “I’m not really feeling up to it today”…

In the meantime we chill out, convinced that everything will be ok.

The scary thing is, feelings are ridiculously unreliable. They’re so often nowhere to be found when we need them the most. And then we get another week closer to summer and we still haven’t started exercising. Then another month goes by, God’s still waiting for us, and we’ve missed out on SO much revelation, direction, purpose, and blessing that would transform our lives!

All because of stupid feelings!

I say, you need to sack your feelings!

Then you might like to consider employing some Truth.

Truth won’t ever lie to us like our feelings do. Truth reminds me that exercise IS good for me and WILL make me fit, while feelings convince me that 30mins on the couch will be much more beneficial.

Truth is all about what’s actually best for me.

Truth understands that the best thing sometimes feels like the hardest thing, but is absolutely confident that it’s all worth it. It’s honest. It’s reliable. It’s always right.

So unfortunately truth often feels more like a mean personal trainer than a friend.

I don’t generally enjoy my workout for the first 10 minutes of it…it may even make me angry and frustrated…

But something does happen as I start feeling my heart racing, the sweat, adrenalin, the mental images of a fit body, and the greatest feeling of achievement knowing that I pushed through the pain and finished.

The next time I need to workout, it’s still hard to get going, but it’s a tiny bit easier than last time. And it does get easier every time I do it… eventually, I almost love exercise and even feel slightly addicted to it.

But I’ll never be able to convince you to believe any of this. You’ll only know from your own experience.

Truth tells you that if you want to get healthy, beat that addiction, learn the guitar, get over that fear, get close to God, you have to just do something about it.

You HAVE TO UNDERSTAND that you most likely won’t have feelings to get you started, so you’ll have to rely on truth to motivate you.

And then you HAVE TO BELIEVE that as you keep doing it, you’ll begin to enjoy it, and one day you’ll find that sweet, satisfying place where it all feels SO GOOD!

Decide first, feel later!

Advertisements
Posted in Theories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Nearly Slept Through my Dream…

Confession time… I’m a comfort eater. When I’m stressed, disappointed, frustrated and generally sad, sugar and carbs become my friends. Eating doesn’t actually fix anything, it makes me feel worse in fact, but as I desperately search for something to rescue me from pain, something inside of me thinks that food is the answer.

Confession two… There are days when I wake up and question “what the heck I’m doing with my life?” And when it takes too long to find a satisfying answer, I just want to go back to bed.

Tormenting thoughts and feelings that make life extra hard sometimes… emptiness, loneliness, impatience, discomfort, dissatisfaction, anger, jealousy, discouragement, confusion…

I often find that it’s times like these when I look at those around me and everyone else seems to be getting promotions, starting a new relationship, getting engaged, going on a holiday and just generally living the dream… MY dream.

And sometimes it’s way too exhausting to talk myself out of my rut.

Deep within me, I know that everything is going to work out fine… it always does… I believe that God created me, He loves me and has designed my life to be the most incredible, fulfilling and inspiring life… but I’m also pretty used to the idea of him allowing bumps in life to shape me into a greater person…

But it doesn’t feel nice.

And what am I supposed to do in the meantime?

RE-FOCUS…

Here’s what happened…

I was chatting to a friend who’d just got the most exciting opportunity to travel overseas for work… I choose to be excited for them and cheer them on as they live the dream.

I was at the shops and I saw a lady slip over, dragging her pram and baby to the ground… I rushed over and did whatever I could to help her.

I talked to a friend who’d just been diagnosed with cancer and was traumatised… I stopped everything to comfort her.

Another friend had a birthday… I cooked her dinner, bought her presents and made her day special for her.

I was praying and telling God how frustrated and impatient I was, I then realised He had already heard this from me for 3 days in a row… So I started praying for God to bless my travelling friend, I prayed for God to comfort and heal my sick friend, I prayed for my family, my Pastors, my friends, my enemies, and the random person in the car next to me.

The list goes on.

Gradually, something changed in me…

I remembered that the world is so much bigger than my little cocoon of emotion.

I realised that others actually need my love and encouragement.

I found a sense of purpose as I loved others. In fact I even started to get excited that God could use my prayers or acts of kindness to bless someone else.

And there are opportunities everywhere.

I kinda felt silly for ever considering going back to bed… I don’t need sleep, I just need to love.

I felt heaps better, because I’ve decided that there’s not much I can do to change my circumstances, but I’m not gonna waste my life depressed and desperately waiting for something to cheer me up.

I re-focus…

It starts off as a distraction from my pain, and becomes a passionate determination to make other people’s lives better.

I’ve transitioned from bitter hopelessness to a confident sense of purpose.

The kinda life I dream of.

Are you stuck in an emotional rut?

I wonder what would happen if you went and found someone to love.

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 NLT)

20120822-173847.jpg

Posted in Theories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Secretly Weird…

Do you remember playing Follow the Leader on the playgrounds at school? One of the kids would be nominated as the person who’d lead the way and you’d follow them everywhere and copy everything they did. Was this person really a leader? Or was it the first kid who bought his Gameboy to school and spent all lunchtime engrossed in his mesmerising game?

Now we’re all grown up and we still follow appointed leaders… Like people in the government who announce their big decisions and then life as we know it changes. Yet regardless of how honourable they are, it may be people like Steve Jobs who’ve been the most powerful leaders in our society. Let’s be honest, we’d be living in a very different world without our Apple devises.

So how do these mysterious leaders manage to sneak in and influence us like they do?

There was this other game growing up, called Hide and Seek. We like hiding. We like to keep some things a secret. We all have our little quirks, ideas and values that could be potentially embarrassing if people were to discover them. And people are judgmental, so sometimes it’s just safer to keep some things a secret.

No humiliation.
No rejection.

The kid with the Gameboy wasn’t afraid to look like a loner and play by himself. He was pretty convinced he was onto something great. And now, we too spend much of our “social lives” in a world of our own, staring at the little screens on our devises.

An influencer… Someone whose decisions shape and alter the choices that others make. Someone who redefines normality. Someone who has the ability to change everything.

A Revolutionary.

I feel like the most potentially influential leaders could actually be hiding amongst us… but they’re wearing a disguise that makes them look normal.

People with big ideas, skills, convictions, passion and tenacity to seriously shape the world we live in.

Is it you? Is it me? Are you our mystery leader that could change the way we see the world or cause us to reconsider the way we do life?

I think I know where my favourite hiding spots are in this big game of Hide and Seek.

It’s a serious temptation for a leader to withdraw, to hold back, compromise, tone down your excitement, to just look like everyone else, to settle with where you’re at…

…to hide.

Ah safe in the background.

…with no influence.

Influential leaders ARE weird… they never look like the people around them. Often they do look like loners, their decisions do shock people, they’re misunderstood, judged, questioned and labeled as over-enthusiastic.

Maybe cos you make people uncomfortable. They’re confronted by your passion, purity and dedication because it causes them to assess their own reality. What are they doing that makes a difference?

Your quirkiness is your influence.

That kid with the Gameboy? He was probably only a loner for a week before he became the coolest kid in school.

And remember that nerd who was always studying who now is a Lawyer? Remember that odd girl with the high standards who’d never kissed a guy, who’s now married and changing the world with her hot husband? You know that guy who served week after week passionately putting out chairs and now he’s the world-changing Youth Pastor?

I reckon your “weird” decisions and quirkiness could catch on someday… people will see the results of your persistence and reluctance to compromise and most likely come to respect you. You’ll be in favourable positions, doing significant things and leading the way…

And I’m guessing they’ll be following you.

You may cringe with discomfort as you come out of hiding… but I reckon it’s probably worth it.

And we all need you to be weird and change the world.

20120617-134127.jpg

Posted in Theories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!!!

We all know what it feels like to have someone ruin our fun. When I was at school, laughing fits always happened at the most inconvenient times. A friend or I would make a little comment that would send us both into hysterical laughter, but the teacher seemed to only interpret our humour as a disruption. Why?

Why go to bed early? Why eat my veggies, save my pocket money, stay away from the edge, watch the speed limit, be on time…?

Ok… deep down we knew why these rules and decisions were made for us.

But even now I often feel like life is strangled by expectations. Everyone and everything seem to want something from me. My parents, my boss, my electricity company, my pile of washing, my homework, my broken car, my fitness, my massive to-do list…

It can often feel like our entire supply of time and energy is spent on things we feel obligated to do rather than things we personally choose to do.

Have I lost my own will?

No wonder why we crave holidays, options and freedom to make decisions to do what we want, when we want to.

No wonder why we all have this inner urge to rebel. To say “NO!” when confronted with a demand, to party hard when we finish school, to sleep in till lunchtime on a day off, to leave the country, to move out of home, to sing and play music as loud as possible in our car, to eat cake for dinner…

No wonder why we often see God and Christianity as more rules and expectations that steal more of our freedom. Someone else who just wants more from us.

More obligations…

Read the Bible. Pray. Attend Church. Serve. Love your enemies. Try not to sin. Use self discipline. Obey. Give. Sacrifice. Commit.

But then…

Sometimes I stop and notice a sunset, I eat the sweetest mango, or I consider the inventor of the sabbath day, sleep, travel, food, the beach, love, sex and music…

God is actually a creative genius who totally has His head around the idea of fun and indulging in gooood things.

And honestly… once I’ve thoroughly tasted freedom, done my own thing, experienced the world, and satisfied my curiosity, I just feel… Empty.

Because as great as it feels to make all my own decisions, I’m left with too many questions… Who am I? Why am I here? What makes me different from everyone else on this planet? What am I supposed to do with my life? Who knows?…

God does.

Escaping doesn’t seem like a good plan anymore.

Maybe He’s not out to ruin my fun.

I reckon God might actually be much more chilled out than any of us. He created the world, designed the perfect life for each of us, set all His plans in motion and then sat back to watch it all happen…

He does try to talk to me, to help me get on track… Because more than anything, He wants me to see that He really went all out with His amazing designs for my greatest life possible.

But He just waits.

He doesn’t force me. And He doesn’t respond like my angry teacher when I ignore Him or make stupid decisions.

He’s kind enough to let me decide for myself.

No demands.

No reason to rebel.

Just an invitation to follow His directions for an amazing life of significant purpose, blessings, unbelievable opportunities, growth, insight, help when I need it and SO much fun!

…Ok please tell me what to do!!

Posted in Theories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Seem to Have Misplaced Motivation…

So you’ve got an essay to write, or the messiest bedroom to clean, a goal to lose 10kgs, a bunch of chords to learn on the guitar, a stack of paper work to attend to, a book to read, a debt to pay off, or just a million different things on a to-do list…argh! Too much mental energy required, so tedious, uncomfortable, too many decisions, physically draining, so time consuming…as my good friend Sharee would say “too hard basket”.

Ok so anytime these kinds of responsibilities/obligations/expectations enter my mind, all of a sudden, checking Facebook is super important! Or it becomes lunchtime all day long (for the sake of the break and for the food). It’s way too natural for me to find every reason under the sun for why that task is just impossible. Procrastination, doubt, insecurity, fear of boredom, all of the above.

There’s this thing called “motivation”…I’ve experienced it a couple of times, but I’m convinced it’s a master at hiding in places it can never be found. It plays hard to get, and is rarely available when I need it. SO unreliable! So when it doesn’t come to us, most of the time we have to hunt it down.

I’ve come to discover some really good bait for motivation…enough to get me to the point where I can’t put the book down, when a piece of chocolate doesn’t even interest me, and when I’m addicted to ticking off my list. Because after I had lost the first kg, I felt amazing and couldn’t wait to see what I’d look like after I’d lost the next one…after I’d written the first 500 words of my essay, I was in the zone and ready to write 500 more…once I had paid of one debt, I was ready to ban myself from shopping so I’d save the money to pay the next one…after I conquered the first thing, I wanted to do it again…it’s as if the thrill of the achievement stirs excitement to attack the next challenge.

Sometimes it’s a matter of just finding the easiest or smallest things on our to-do list and make them happen first. Ticking them off the list is SUCH a great feeling and we’ll most often find the motivation to attempt the other things. We can set little achievable goals…don’t think about the 10kg, just think about 1kg…stop thinking about the 3000 word limit and just attack the first paragraph…don’t worry about the fact that you can’t see your bedroom floor, just put 5 items of clothing away.

Just start somewhere. Then once you’ve done something, stop and look at your progress. Recognising your achievement is the key to momentum. We like to be productive. A healthy sense of pride in success initiates the energy and confidence to be even more successful. And one day you’ll look back, the hard work will be over and your goal will be COMPLETE! Yeeeah!

I’d be living a fantasy to think that a spoon full of sugar will make the medicine go down every time, or that the application of a seemingly simple solution will solve every challenge we face…but I do believe we can decide on our approach to a lot of our challenges in life, and we can set ourselves up to THRIVE! Motivation actually isn’t as far away as you think…I’m pretty sure it’s just standing right behind you.

28.4.10

Posted in Theories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Just Let Me Run and Hide!

Most of us would have at some stage, experienced an awkward conversation. Those interactions when we need to make a good impression, but we seem to be so self conscious and nervous that we struggle with basic abilities like walking and talking (ever had an awkward crush?) For some of us, these moments are pretty frequent because your personality is just awkward in general.

Awkwardness. Argh! Moments that make you squirm. Moments when you can’s seem to concentrate on a conversation because you’re so distracted by the thoughts going on in your head… What are they thinking of me? Why can’t I hold eye contact with them? Why are my words so fumbled? I’m not making any sense. They must think I’m an idiot. I wonder if there’s anything in my teeth. Eye contact! I don’t know what to do with my hands. Why did I just say that? Why did I make than joke? I bet they know how uncomfortable I feel right now. Eye contact! So awkward!

And the conversation doesn’t finish quick enough. We continue to interact with them, but really all we want to do is run and hide.

We get to know those specific people in our lives that make us especially uncomfortable, so we try our best to stay away from them.

Why would I willingly put myself through the pain of awkwardness?

Why is it so painful? We feel intimidated. Insecure. We feel judged. Self conscious. We think we have nothing in common with a person. What will we talk about? Maybe they know something. We don’t want to talk about it. We’ve disappointed them. We feel guilty. And sometimes we’re actually just tired, introverted and would rather not interact with people.

It’s uncomfortable. It’s exhausting.

So it’s easy…just avoid them.

I recently discovered that God has often become one of these people that I avoid.

I may have said or done something I’m not proud of. I may have gone a few days without reading my bible. He may be wanting me to do something in particular, but I’ve been putting it off. I may feel like I’m not capable of meeting His expectations right now.

And He knows. He knows everything.

Yet even though I know I could just go to Him, ask for forgiveness, hang out with Him and everything will be sweet, it just seems too hard sometimes. I’m tired and not ready to face Him.

Is it possible that I can feel too awkward to approach God??

It’s a bit ridiculous… our sin doesn’t need to feel like an elephant in the room when we come to Him. Reality is, guilt and shame actually should be what we’re feeling after we’ve disobeyed God. Sin creates that feeling of distance and awkwardness with Him. But He’s actually not shocked when we fumble and make dumb decisions…He kinda expects it. We’re human. He’s always ready to forgive, forget and move on.

He is good. He has so much grace. His acceptance is real. His love is generous.

I also get the biggest relief knowing that I don’t have to put on a face with God. He doesn’t expect me to have it all together. I don’t have to run and check myself in a mirror before I open the door for Him. I don’t have to be fully awake and articulate my words perfectly for Him to understand me. I don’t need to keep Him happy, be in a good mood and smile, or be super-sensative to ensure I don’t offend Him, or be witty and make Him laugh…

And that’s the way He likes me.

I can be the BIGGEST DAG when I approach God. No fashion. No shame. No perfection. No energy. No pressure. No awkwardness.

No reason to run and hide.

Posted in Theories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Oh the Pain of a Dumb Decision!

20120309-140528.jpgJust over a year ago, I experienced one of the dumbest moments of my life. I had been living in Sydney for about a week and decided to go out with some of my new friends. I was in one of those overly excited, hyperactive moods that only seems to be funny to those you’re with, but not to anyone else. It was late at night and we were out walking, when we came across some very large rocks. And of course, as I was feeling particularly daring, I saw them and instantly decided I wanted to climb this obstacle course (I had actually seen a kid do it the previous week and presumed it’d be easy). It wasn’t long before I discovered I had underestimated my strength and the length of my legs, and fell backwards onto my back on the rock behind me. I laughed. And then I cried. I had actually seriously injured myself. And I think I’m still recovering from it today.

I’ve got lots of stories like this.

I presume that we all know what if feels like to do dumb things (please agree and make me feel normal). Mistakes and bad decisions that leave us feeling embarrassed, humiliated or disappointed with ourselves. There’s nothing like the frustration and devastation of realising that you’ve made the wrong decision, and that the consequences could have been avoided. Sometimes it could be just one impulsive choice in a moment that takes way too much of your time and energy to recover from. It’s called regret.

There’s nothing that frustrates me more than Sydney roads. One wrong turn and it could take 20 minutes to get back on track. No U-turn. No right turn. No other alternative routes. And it’s never a convenient time to get lost. Argh!

But a few years ago I made a decision that has saved me from SO much of this pain. I changed my mentality and decided to learn how to eliminate regret from my life. My aim is not to avoid mistakes, because they’re inevitable… it’s more about my determination to choose my reaction to these mistakes.

Because let’s be honest…regret is such a waste of emotion. You actually can’t go back in time and change your decision… So the emotional pain that you feel as you reflect on your negative choices rips you apart, and there’s no pain relief as you become frustrated with the consequences. You hit a dead end and have to start again.

I’ve discovered that if I can train myself to laugh about life (while sometimes also crying) and recognise the value of every experience, I don’t have to suffer so much.

OH NO! I took the wrong road… well I guess I’ll just embrace the opportunity to learn about the area I’m driving through. I was so disappointed with the flavour of ice cream I chose… well I guess it’s helped me decide that chocolate really is my favourite flavour. I just spent a year of my life studying a course only to quit… well now I know a lot of random facts, and I also understand what it’s like to be a Uni student. I just realised we weren’t right for each other, so we broke up… I just learnt so many valuable lessons about relationships, about myself and now feel so much more ready for the right one.

And now I have a wealth of knowledge & perspectives that I’d never had if I hadn’t made so many mistakes. I’m wiser. Stronger. More confident in my identity. Rich!

I also have countless stories that I love to tell people to either make them laugh or to help them avoid making similar mistakes.

Life is too short to get upset about things I can’t change. I can’t always determine my circumstances, but I can change my automatic response to be one of gratefulness rather than regret. Yes, mistakes hurt, but I’m grateful for them.

And I guess I’m also grateful that my friends now never let me climb those stupid rocks.

No regrets!

……………………………

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)

20120309-135931.jpg

Posted in Theories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment