Would you love to be a respected volunteer or employee or spouse? Would you love to be free to make decisions and not be micromanaged?
It’s what I’ve always wanted.
Trust/Respect/Confidence in me/Power of decision making
How does that relate to Topic #1 for this week’s blog hop? #empowered
Most of my career path has been spent in very large organizations with lots of processes and levels of management. For the last 3 years I have been heavily involved an organizational change movement to EMPOWER the employees.
You see, a common problem in large organizations is that people stop thinking. They get used to someone else making the decisions and just giving them work. They become reliant on their manager or authority figure to guide them and tell them what to do. This also relieves them of responsibility. If it goes wrong…..then it wasn’t their fault. They were just doing what they were told.
I think all of us have had an authority figure in our lives who did not “empower” us, but rather overpowered us.
The org change movement I reference above is the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the P31 Online Bible Study topic #empowered. YES! I know all about that topic. I know all about empowerment.
Then God pulled back the curtain. (cue dramatic music)
Yes – I am an empowered employee.
But what about in my Christianity? And specifically in my cravings?
This bible study on Made to Crave by Lisa Terkeurst is bringing awareness to my cravings, to what they mean, and how to redirect them so I crave God.
I am thinking a lot about my health, food, activity levels and time with God.
If we apply my workplace definition of empowerment listed above….to my relationship with God…..it looks something like this:
God empowers me:
- Trust: God trusts me to make wise decisions about my health and food and body. He doesn’t tell me exactly what to eat, when to eat it, and what way to eat it. He trusts me to take care of this vessel.
- Respect: God respects my decisions and pathways….he doesn’t butt in. He believes that I am an intelligent individual and can make wise decisions.
- Micromanaged: God does not micromanage me. He does not ask me the who, what, when, where, and why on every one of my decisions.
- Confidence in me: God clearly has given me freedom to make my own decisions and live my life. He has confidence in me to make the right decisions. He believes I will be wise.
- Power over my decisions: God will allow me to lead myself if I want. He doesn’t interrupt and tell me I’m making a bad decision. He doesn’t give me “that look”.
How am I measuring up to God’s trust, respect and empowerment?
Not very good. Daily I am making very bad decisions around my health. Almost moment by moment.
When I think about the corporate world where I empower my employees…..and how frustrated I am when someone I am trying to empower responds in their old habits…..like recently I gave someone a project, and the project needed some meetings to gain alignment prior to the task work being done. This person I trusted to complete the project start to finish……. actually looked at me and said “I don’t schedule meetings. That’s not my job”. An empowered employee does whatever needs to be done to finish the whole project start to end. WOW.
This is the curtain God pulled back for me tonight. I’m really responding wrongly to the areas of my life he has empowered me in. It makes me so repentant to God and the Holy Spirit. They are trying to hand me the keys to the kingdom, the keys to my life…….and I am not responding adequately at all. I’ve got all kinds of old habits/thought patterns that are keeping me from following through on my health and my cravings. Ugh. I now have a new perspective that is burning within me to live up to the trust, respect and power that God has entrusted me with. #empowered
How about you? Does this make sense? It’s a totally different way of thinking about empowerment in Christianity. But I think it’s worth pondering.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. [Psa 139:13 NIV] I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. [Psa 139:14 NIV]
This week continues my online bible study with Proverbs 31. One of the blog topics this week was about The Real Me. Share your God-given talents and personality.
What comes to mind is celebrating the people God made us to be.
One of the Oopsland tag lines is “free to be”.
Once we feel free to be ourselves, to truly become all that we are….that is when we are free.
“Oopsland is where we are free. To try, to live, to be. Just as we were created. Learning, failing, celebrated.” (from “Beware the Shoulds” located in the main menu above) http://www.oopsland.org/beware-the-shoulds/
So as I read Chapter 8 this week in A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, I am reminded that I am a Sanguine/Choleric. I have not always allowed myself to be that. Let’s take a look at the roller coaster ride of not accepting yourself the way you are naturally bent.
- As a young child I was more than allowed to be free, creative, playful, goofy and relaxed. If I needed a nap, I just laid down on my favorite spot on the sun porch and slept.
- As I grew up……”order” entered my life. Wow. What a shock that was. Suddenly I had rules to follow. “People don’t do that, and they don’t do this, and they certainly would NEVER do such and such.” Ugh. So much to remember.
- So I stuffed my true self into a box, and I fit the mold around me. Almost like a jack-in-the-box. Round and round, being turn by Perfect Isle into the perfect child…….the jack-in-the-box music played……..but when would the lid pop open? There were many external warning signs that the stuffing was starting to pop at any minute.
- So many aspects of life caused me to get rid of my true self. School, Leadership positions, Corporate jobs. Task oriented, decision maker was acceptable because good leaders could make decisions. But an energetic Sanguine who just wanted to have fun…..well, that did not fit in the corporate, leadership box at all. And how could I possibly support myself, keep a job and pay the bills by being my true self?!
I won’t go into details in this post, but the jack-in-the-box style eventually popped the lid. The path was hard and the decline was steep, but I did eventually hit rock bottom.
Now I am allowing myself to acknowledge a few things about myself.
- D/I on the DISC.
- ENFP on the Myers-Briggs.
- The Strengths Finder lists me as having Command and Futuristic as my top strengths.
- My top spiritual gifts are Leadership, Teaching and Prophecy.
- I LOVE the outdoors – especially hiking, rollerblading, kayaking, skiing, snow-shoeing
- My friends tell me I invite them to adventure
- I do have a unique, creative artistic side that needs to be fed and let loose more often
- I love acting and being on stage and video as one of my creative expressions
My Oopsland journey is to uncover and discover how all that fits together to make an amazing person. Sound self-conceited? No. The residents of Oopsland know that the more they celebrate themselves, the more they celebrate others and allow others to be the glorious individuals they were also meant to be. It is a life-giving place.
Another book I am just finishing is Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. This book has also been talking about living in our truest self in order to bring life to the world around us. When we are fully alive, then we bring life everywhere we go.
Doesn’t that sound great?
I want that.
I want to be the best Billie I can be, in order to bring more life to the refugees coming out of Perfect Isle.
Many of them are coming from a dry, dead place and could use some springs of life. Like streams in the desert.
Isa 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland
“WHAT?! How is the possible…..I can’t believe it…….that is soooo unfair……they don’t love me………”
This week I had what I call a $500 reaction to a $5 situation. Which basically means I COMPLETELY over-reacted.
When I over-react like that, I know to look for the emotion deep inside. Somewhere in my heart is an injured place that needs to be brought forward for healing and truth.
This situation was wrapped up in so many others this week. All with intertwining thoughts and storylines.
The main theme was what Renee Swope talks about in her book A Confident Heart as I continue that study this week with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Our hashtag this week is #IAmNot So let’s refute some stinkin’ thinkin’ a bit today.
Or if we think in terms Perfect Isle and Oopsland (cuz that’s the language of this blog) ……….I was spending all of my time in Perfect Isle and it was really getting me down.
One example of how these AM thoughts (against me) impact my life negatively happened on Saturday morning:
- I had gotten up early to get a lot done. I had high (UNREALISTIC) expectations for the day. As I went about my morning schedule and ran errands, NOTHING was working out. I mean nothing. My path was not efficient, the places I needed to go were not working out, the people were frustrating me….etc etc etc
- I was getting so down on myself, that by 10:30am I thought I had FAILED so much and was so INCOMPETANT I may as well toss in the towel for the rest of the day.
It was only 10:30am. How can 1 person fail that much in less than half a day? But I had convinced myself I was that awful. Might as well quit. Expectations like these come straight from Perfect Isle.
Luckily I caught my stinking thinking…..but I wrote some of them down and will refute them here. I am still on a journey to Oopsland, and as I transform, I am catching these things earlier and earlier before they get out of hand.
Messages that were in my head:
- Perfect Isle: “You are so incompetent you can’t even plan a Saturday morning agenda to the best use of your time”
- Oopsland: “It’s ok….did you enjoy your longer cup of coffee this morning? Maybe you needed a few extra minutes at home today”
“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:18-19
“….he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” Phillipians 1:6
- Perfect Isle: “You are so stupid that you don’t even know things other people learned in grade-school”
- Oopsland: “You’ve lived such an adventurous life, that information got pushed out when you were jumping off mountains in the Andes”
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert, streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
- Perfect Isle: “You were supposed to connect with these 10 people a week ago….and you haven’t even followed up….everyone else did”
- Oopsland: “It’s ok…you need to do it soon but the world will not end because you didn’t do it last Monday”
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31b
- Perfect Isle: “You lost that opportunity just like you always do….clueless, lazy, dreamer, disorganized….etc etc”
- Oopsland: “You probably got a better opportunity because you were focused on new creations and looking forward”
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” I Corinthians 1:27
Let’s all start refuting these negative messages about our failures declaring #IAmNot just as Renee Swope is teaching so many of us in her book.
RESOURCES if you need something:
If you are looking for resources for Inner Healing Prayer…..I received certification under Ed Smith. I trust all of their teachings. http://www.theophostic.com/
A simpler, individual guide to learn Inner Healing Prayer for yourself that compliments Ed Smith’s teachings, is from Lillian Easterly Smith (not related). I serve under her here in Michigan at Lifecare Christian Center and trust her teachings as well: The Great Exchange: Replacing Lies with Experiential Truth by Lillian M. Easterly-Smith BCPC
I am studying the book A Confident Heart by Renee Swope through Online Bible Studies at Proverbs 31 ministry.
Our motto this week is #movingfoward.
Luke 24:38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Psalm 81:10 For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.
Why o’ why do I always want to go back?
My days are filled with thinking I had it better in _________. You fill in the blank. It could be anything from 5 years ago, 15 years ago or 10 seconds ago.
Where I am at currently, is never right and I should always be somewhere else.
Sarah Groves says it perfectly in her song
For me, it’s like a film reel in my head. You’ve heard me talk about Perfect Isle.
Perfect Isle is my Egypt. Perfect Isle still has access to my psyche…….they play all of my past videos with happy go lucky, everything was “perfect” fanfare to try to get me to come back from Oopsland.
The truth comes from Oopsland. In Oopsland, my friends keep me grounded. They remind me and play videos that were the reality.
They remind me of how tired I was. How stressed I was. How sad I was. Perfect Isle was full of slave masters who drove me until I could accomplish no more, and then asked for just one more thing. Perfect Isle took everything it could from me, leaving nothing left for anyone else, much less myself.
I have been a slave to many things…..many things I want to be free of.
- Food Addictions
- Co-dependent Love
- Career success
- People Pleasing/Performance/Perfectionism
What if the Israelites could have had a video to remind them of being slaves in Egypt when they were moaning in Exodus 14:11-12 that they wanted to go back?
What if I could have a video that popped up to remind me of truth? Remind me that being a slave to ___________ (fill in the blank with whatever you are a slave to) is bad and I would be happier without it.
What videos are playing in your head? The Perfect Isle ones that make you go crazy because you want to go back and it was all a bed of roses?
Or the Oopsland videos that remind you it is better to move forward?
It is hard. It will be worth it. You can move away from slavery and into the new freedom that is just around your current sand dune. I’ll do it with you. #moving forward
This blog is dedicated to the two worlds I have created – one where it is ok to fail (Oopsland) and one where the Perfectionists live (Perfect Isle). My transforming journey is to become a citizen of Oopsland!
Perfect Isle has a lot of control freaks that live there. Unfortunately I am one of them (although you would never know it by interacting with me. I seem very happy go lucky until things don’t go my way).
Perfect love will cast out fear. Eve had perfect love. But she still wanted control. The Apple of Control is what I call it. That bright, red, shiny apple. #downwiththeapple
The snake held it out to Eve. By eating that apple, Eve was saying: “I don’t believe God’s intentions toward me are good, therefore I will control my own life.” Or at least that is the interpretation that got to my heart. I struggle with Perfect Love. It is much easier to control than to rest in Perfect Love.
In my own life…..I am presented with innumerous apples throughout the day. To remind me not to take the apple of control, I put an apple on my desk or in my kitchen. A visual reminder.
Unfortunately in the following story, I snatched the Apple of Control right out of the evil one’s grimy little hands and chomped hard into it:
I have been wrestling for the last year over a particular situation that happened. I did not like where I had landed, what my new position was and the person I felt I was becoming. Therefore I was constantly fighting it. Fighting with people, fighting with thoughts, actions, etc. Always frustrated and wrestling to get out of it. But then….the “ONE MOMENT IN TIME” thing happened. You know what I mean…..for such a time as this stuff. One singular interaction, at a time I could never have foreseen or organized, for a friend of a friend with my new group of people. Now major healing was taking place in that person’s life. God had to move me into this new group of people, so that this one random interaction could happen. Wow. All while I didn’t have a clue, and was wrestling to get out.
This morning during prayer, God was pointing out to my heart that he needed to move me there. He saw the whole picture even though I didn’t. All of my wrestling was for naught, because he had to wait until this moment in time happened. Now I could leave if I needed or wanted to.
Then he asked my heart a question: “Was that one year of your life worth it, for this person to find healing, to be set on a new path? Or was that too much sacrifice?” Ouch. I was definitely crying by now…………… Then he asked me the clincher, as he held out his hand to me: “Would you like the apple back now?”
God will give us the apple back. He allowed Eve to take the apple and he will allow us to hold it, caress it, and oh-aw at how strong we feel with it.
But I don’t want it. My heart is broken that I have spent the last year fighting something that was his hand but I couldn’t see it.
So my response to his question as he handed the apple back to me……….
I took the apple out of his hand, and I threw it far, far away. I ran to him and jumped into his embrace. I wrapped my legs tightly around him, and said “I never want to see another apple. I only want to see you. I will stop fighting you. Help me to stop fighting your hand in my life.”
Finally resting, for that moment, in his Perfect Love.
Imagine with me that we are in a desert. It is so very hot. We have been trudging along, again and again. Never ending sand. I’m tired, thirsty and exhausted. Feeling very lost and alone.
This is me….in what I have termed “My desert of bad decisions”
Recently I was feeling very overwhelmed by several things. Feeling like there was no way out. I had made these decisions; therefore I had to suffer the consequences. Only the consequences had been going on for years. How long did I need to beat myself up? I was well entrenched in my desert of bad decisions on this particular night.
God sent me to Exodus 14:14
14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
The normal Christian would praise God and say thank you for the word of encouragement. My response was very different.
“Seriously? What do I look like, an idiot? Of course you will fight for them…they are your CHOSEN people. You went to a lot of effort to get them out of Egypt. Therefore you will get them out of this too. You are not going to look very good if you get them out of Egypt but allow them to die in the desert. You wouldn’t do that for me. You never have. You left me there, and now you are going to leave me here.”
My “there” was my childhood. I betrayed my true heart in that sentence. I feel like he didn’t come for me then and he wouldn’t come for me now.
God was gracious with my temper tantrum and gently told me to read the previous verses.
Exodus 14: 10-12
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Sound familiar? Sound like the temper tantrum I was also throwing with God?
Their hopelessness resonated with me. Fully.
Yesterday they were headed to the Promised Land full of freedom, and now they are staring at the entire Egyptian army coming to beat them down.
Defenseless. Alone. Abandoned.
We know God saves them from the army. But imagine being right there, in that moment. Do you think they were questioning if they had made the right decision in following Moses? What if Moses really wasn’t from God?
What if they were there, with an entire Egyptian army coming to beat them down, because they had made a bad decision?
Would God have left them there? Is he going to leave me here in my desert of bad decisions?
If they were in their current state because of their own bad decision…….does that mean you would have left them in their desert of bad decisions?
He ever so gently whispered to my tentative, child heart……
”No. Never. Never ever”
“I will never abandon a heart that is fully seeking me. I can’t. I don’t know how. It’s not in my character, it’s not who I am.”
“I have to fight for you. It’s in my blood”.
Are you in your own desert of bad decisions? Feeling lost and alone. Are you feeling beaten down by your own Egyptian army?
God will NOT leave you there.
He will fight for you.
He has to.
It’s who he is.
It’s in his blood.
So the Proverbs 31 YES TO GOD online bible study has hit home in a very dramatic way with me. One of the verses this week is Psalm 81:10
10 For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.
The Lord will rescue me from my desert of bad decisions. I am saying “yes” to letting him do that. I am saying yes to living the great life he has planned for me. I love that at the end of this verse it talks about opening my mouth wide and he will fill it with good things. I am saying YES, God please fill me with your words, your wisdom and your wonder!
How hard is this?! Ugh. One step. One more step. A stumble. A sigh. Maybe even just a moment of pausing while down. Ok, time to get back up again.
Can you feel the weight, the effort, the obedience? Lately God has been telling me to “finish strong”. Do the right thing in many areas of my life, to change my perspective. Stop feeling hopeless where I am at and wrap things up.
Finish strong. Surrender your current reality.
This current reality is not my forever reality. I needed that. I needed some hope as I am surrendering where I am at. I am waking up each and every day, going through all the motions, one more time. Lowering my nets ONCE AGAIN. Over and over. As I am continuing to live…..I am finding that God really does take care of the little things.
As I surrendered….He has delivered.
My biggest surrender lately is being able to say “it’s OK that I am not the best at my job. I tried something new, and it didn’t work out”. It’s ok to fail.
My Oopsland perspective is that I should celebrate my growth. Oopsland will celebrate that I took a leap of faith and stepped waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone.
But Perfect Isle Syndrome keeps creeping in. It keeps telling me if I just try harder, if I just work longer hours, if I just got the right project…..THEN I could succeed. Then I would be perfect.
In actuality, this current failure is catapulting me to further, better realms. 3 new jobs have already come my way. Funny how that works. God couldn’t do that until I was OK with failing at my current state.
That was what he was asking me to be obedient in.
Lower your nets. Finish strong. Keep going, but wrap things up.
Bad hair. My pants are too tight to wear that outfit. I can’t find my keys. I don’t have any food. That thing I need is of course at the bottom of my oversized purse. And I just spilled coffee on my shirt. I hate my life. And it’s not even 8:00am yet.
How in the world am I supposed to bring life to anyone or anything today?
Life and Death. Blessings and Curses. Choose Life.
I am still doing the Prov 31 “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” online study (#YesToGod), and below is my example of a daily prayer, just like Lysa mentions her prayer in the book. My daily prayer is also my life verse. It is what I use and choose to guide my interactions with others to the best of my abilities.
Deuteronomy 30:19 New International Version (NIV)
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life…..
My Daily Prayer:
Lord, today my words will bring life
My presence will intentionally be life-giving and not poison-emitting
I let others (and myself) off the hook of my missed expectations
In learning to value myself, I end up bringing life to others
I choose to surrender and be at peace with my authentic self
Today you set before me life and death, blessings and curses.
Help me to choose life.
So how do I intentionally NOT choose curses or death? This is the question that sent me on a trip to Oopsland.
My internal dialogue is shocking as it is written down. Seriously. You should try it. The next time you miss a turn on a street, forget an appointment, don’t get your hair just right, or can’t wear that pair of pants because they are now too tight…….write down, on paper, what you are saying to yourself in your mind. It is shocking.
Would you ever say that to another person?
I’m guessing not, but if you answered yes, we may have other things to work on first…….
My path to choosing life started with myself. How could my words and dialogue bring life to Billie?
Wow. Crazy talk.
I started asking myself, in every one of those situations above where I was incredibly down on myself……..
”How would the people of Oopsland handle this? In Oopsland it is ok to make mistakes, it is ok to not be perfect all the time.”
I was living in Perfect Isle based upon the negative dialogue going on in my mind. Clearly, I had failed to research my directions ahead of time like an intelligent person. Clearly I was too stupid to remember an appointment or keep my life organized like all those other successful women. The fact that my hair looks awful is just indicative of the fact that I am a mess overall. And of course I can’t wear those pants anymore. I am a complete failure at controlling any of my food or exercise. Clearly.
So how would an Oopslander handle this situation?
They would find an alternative perspective.
Ask myself, “Did the world end because I turned onto the wrong street?”
“Yes, I forgot an appointment, but now my doctor had a few minutes to take a break and I’ll just make another appointment. “
“My hair has a mind of its own….clearly not my fault. “
“And the pants….well….at least I have clearly learned what I cannot eat in order to maintain my weight. I will make a good choice at the next meal.”
Etc, etc, etc, etc, a thousand times a day until changing my internal tongue becomes second nature.
Start by bringing life to yourself, in order to bring authentic life to others. I promise the life within you will multiply so much that it can’t help but spill over into every situation you are in.