Monday, December 23, 2019

Open the Doors, Open the Windows ~ Be Vulnerable, Be Free ~ Receive the Ultimate Gift

As the sun begins to rise, the clouds of color are spreading throughout the morning sky.  Today is December 23.  Two days before Christmas.  I let my thoughts wonder a bit.

For the first time in quite sometime, I am not feeling stressed or overwhelmed.  My to do list isn't a mile long.  All month long I have prepped and prepared.  Really, all year long I have been prepping and preparing.  Sinking in deep with in and setting myself free.

Peeling back the layers, healing, letting go, growing, changing as needed, I am now beginning to see the beauty inside.

It has always been there, but I didn't always recognize it or understand it.

In the spirit of Christmas, there is a magical awe in the beauty that surrounds us.  But likewise, that magical awe and beauty lie within us as well.

When we let ourselves be vulnerable, we open to so much more.  All the doors, all the windows are flung wide open.

This can bring out so many emotions and feelings.  We begin to feel scared, fearful, worry, shame, guilt...the list goes on and on.  When we travel down those feelings, letting them take hold, we begin to close each and everyone of those doors, those windows.

But what if instead, we go to each door and walk through it?  Go to each window, feel the breezes blowing in?

What if instead of letting those feelings take their grip, we instead acknowledge they are there and seek to find out why?  What if we release those feeling then?

I know, that may sound so easy, but when putting it into practice you get stuck.  I totally get that.  It is about recreating new tracks that play in your mind, in your heart.  It is about telling yourself the truth and believing it.  It is about feeling, feeling it all, discovering, healing, releasing.  It is about freeing yourself and letting yourself be vulnerable.

When we are vulnerable a multitude of things can happen.  We draw in closer to God, we draw in closer to our relationships, we find harmony in the day to day, we rise above the chaos and overwhelm, we find light, we grow, we blossom. 

With vulnerability, we build trust.  With trust, we find hope.  With hope, we can deepen our love.  With love, we have joy.  There is joy in vulnerability.  You can find many gifts in it.  Those gifts are what can change you, carry you, grow you, let you blossom. 

And then you being to feel it.  You begin to believe it.  You are thriving, you are finding joy in the day to day, your relationships are deeper, your love and intimacy have grown, you find your harmony, your grounding.

During this magical time of year, fling open the doors, fling open the windows, be vulnerable.  Take the chance to go through each door, stand by each window.  Slow it down, be present, receive the best gifts of all.

May you all have a Holiday season filled with many blessings, peace, joy, love, hope, and grace.  May you open the doors, open the windows, set yourself free.  May your relationships deepen.  May you be vulnerable, may you deepen your intimacy.  May you blossom.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The True Magic and Awe of the Holiday Season

December is a lead up to Christmas and New Year's Day.  It is filled with so many activities, concerts, preparing, to do lists and more. 

As soon as Thanksgiving is done, we rush right on into December.  Flinging the doors wide open, busying ourselves, rushing, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle...and for what?  Before we know it Christmas is here, come and gone just as quick as thunderstorm rolls through sometimes. 

We are left wondering, the day after New Year's, where did it all go?  Where did December go? November?

Halloween hits and passes, then it all seems to blur as the days speed by and then we are dropped into min January.  Feeling like it all passed by quick, too quick we are left wondering, sometimes overwhelmed, sometimes sad.

But what if we slowed things down?  Not just a little, but a lot.  What if we took each holiday that comes our way to slow down, to really dive into the season, to really be present?

Saying we are busy, our calendar is full is a badge of honor nowadays.  It's one thing to fill it with your priorities, downtime, activities, and such in a harmony balanced way.  But when we pack it so full, are we really full?  Have we really filled our days, our life the way God intended?

We are in a the season of Advent in our house.  As a Christian family, we put God as a priority in everything.  As individuals, as a marriage, as parents God is center. 

Advent is a time of preparing.  Preparing for the wonderful, magical gift that we are about to receive on Christmas.  It is about the unending love, unending grace that God gives us through Jesus.  Yes, the story happened long ago, but Advent gives us the time to walk through the story over and over each year.  To really dive in and understand what the season is about.  To slow down and receive.

It is about the magic and awe in the season, if we slow down and look.  It is about the ultimate gift we are receiving, the one true perfect gift.  We can see it all through the lights, the trees, the stories, the time with family and friends, the giving and receiving.  But we have to be present and open.  We have to slow down in between all the activities, traditions, schedules.

Christmas truly doesn't start until December 25 and then the twelve days following are the Christmas season.  However, the magic and awe, the giving and receiving doesn't end.  It continues on, day after day, through the whole year if we let it.  If we let it carry through our lives throughout the rest of the year, we can carry the ultimate gift with us.  Not only that, we can share it with others.

Isn't that what Christmas is really about?  The magic and awe, the feeling we get when we slow down and truly take it all in, and when we open our hearts to what is truly meant for the season.  What if we let that carry us through into January?  Then on into the next month and the next?

How do you prepare for Christmas?  How do you spend your holiday time leading up to it all?

Have you lost the magic and awe of the season?  What would it be like if you brought it back?

As we are winding down the days of December, gearing up for the holiday season, and heading into a new year I encourage you take time each day and slow it down.  I encourage you to look for the magic and awe, not just in this season, but every season...every day.

Something I have learned over the years since having kids is that they really truly know what the season is about and how to take it in.  This is where the magic and awe really shine brightly.  This year, this season, look at the world around you through the eyes of a 4 year old and maybe, just maybe you will not only see the magic and awe of the season, but feel it too and believe it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Striving For Balance ~ Does it Exist

How often have you come across the phrase: you need to find a better balance, I am striving for balance, I am trying to balance it all?

In some form or another, the idea of finding balance seems to be something that many strive for.  But I wonder, does it really exist?

I came across a wonderful analogy while reading Tonya Dalton's "The Joy of Missing Out".  In there she talks about how it is outside of the balance where we can truly thrive.  Think of a riding a bike she says.  In order to stay on, stay centered, you have to be constantly making adjustments.  Too big we fall.  Too small, we don't go anywhere.

Let's compare it to our comfort zone.  Too big of adjustments, we fall in the form of making mistakes and failing.  But even in that, there can still be growth and blessings.  And let's be honest, failing and mistakes...that scares the crap out of us sometimes.  We let the fear of making a mistake or failing take control and we dig our heels in, unwilling to move. 

On the flip side, to little of adjustments, we can stall out.  We slow down to a point where we give up.  Letting all of it overwhelm us and take us down.  We loose sight of the good things in the day and how far we may have come or where we are headed. 

Both of these lead us to become, well, become complacent.  Refusing to work to improve and thinking that if everything was balanced life would be good.

Yes, it is true, small steps lead to our end goal, and yes, we learn the most in those in between moments.  But there needs to be a balance between the too small and too big, but maybe balance isn't the right word to use.  It is a harmony in it all that we strive for.  And in that harmony, it isn't always dead center, it isn't always balanced.  Yet it feels right.

Like riding a bike. We make adjustments along the way.  Speed up or slow down just enough to keep going.  Coasting to rest here and there, gearing up to go faster to make it up the hill ahead.  But in those adjustments we are re-calibrating, resetting, and pausing where needed.  As we do this, we begin to look inward and can dig in.  We also get to see glimpses of the bigger picture. 

We are in a constant state of learning, growing,  changing, but only if we let ourselves.  We may not be in balance, but we can be in harmony.

However, we have to realize that it starts with us, our attitudes and behaviors.  Our decision to step out of comfort zone, to place our priorities where they truly are meant to be, and to build our lives around them.

There will always be chaos, there will always be busy, there will always be storms, but even in the midst of that we can still find calm, joy, rest, and harmony.

We can still ride our bike, as we ride through the day to day of our lives.  Being present, thriving, working toward the bigger picture, and adjusting along the way. 

So instead of finding a balance, I encourage you to find a harmony.  A harmony between all your roles, your priorities, your ministries, your faith.  Something that ebbs and flows as you do.  That allows you to have calm in the chaos, to release and reset, to go with the natural rhythm that God has set for you.

What can you use as a guide?  For me, I start with my faith.  Then through discovering who I am and where I am headed, I am able to move forward.  Yup, I still fail and make mistakes.  Oh and do I ever take like five steps for every one I take forward at times.  But I have learned to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and reset back at my last solid footing.

It isn't always easy, but as I move through it, it lightens and flows more smoothly.  Sometimes it also means setting stuff aside for now or even permanently...and being okay with that.  Sometimes it means letting those around me do it and in their way.  Sometimes it is being open and honest about where I am at and what I need.

As we round out the year, through the month of December slow down enough to get a solid footing.  Then push off, forward despite mistakes and fails, let yourself learn and grow changing where you need, move out of your comfort zone. Feel the freedom that harmony brings.

And let yourself ride a bike.