For the Quitters Among Us

Let me start by admitting I go by another name. It’s true. While “Missy” is certainly one way to turn my head toward the sound of your voice, so is “Quitzilla”.

As we wrap up our study of The Five Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz over on the P31 Online Bible Studies’ blog, I’m reminded of my “other” name.

And I don’t like it. Or her. (Quitzilla, not Nicki Koziarz, because she? She is LOVELY!)

This person inside of me who doubts she has what it takes to see a new adventure through to completion? I don’t care for her.

And, I know I’m not alone. Friends share constantly about issues they quit over and over again. We all seem to have issues that just can’t seem to be overcome.

  • The weight that won’t come off
  • The relationship that won’t heal
  • The risk we just can’t seem to take

 

Slowly, I’m seeing the patterns of behavior where my inner quitter starts getting most vocal. No surprises in the patterns, either. The enemy of my soul, the one who won’t quit trying to turn my eyes from He who makes everything possible, will press on. It’s my job to see when I’m most prone to hearing his hollow tune over the steady song of my Savior.

And, I think I’ve nailed down how I can do that best.

Just do the next thing.

Simple, right? It should be. But, I tend to get wrapped up in the whole goal. What is my end game? And, I start looking down the barrel of that goal and I get tunnel vision. Big time.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who forgets to take it one step at a time?

Recently, Sweetman and I had to make a financial decision that hurt. It ruined a perfectly good summer vacation plan and put a wedge in some perfectly wonderful friendships. What I most wanted to do, as Sweetman and I approached this hurtful decision-making process, was quit. Flat out throw caution and wisdom to the wind and do what I wanted to do. And that Quitzilla voice roared the whole time we wrestled with the choice before us.

But God…

He keeps reassuring me our resolution was not just the wise thing to do, but exactly what we needed to do to be good stewards of all He’s given.

And He has given much! He has blessed when I deserved less than half a devil dog. He had seen fit to right too many of my wrongs. He washes me new with grace and mercy All The Days.

Moving forward is a matter of taking that next right step.

I’m quitting the quitting.

Yes indeedy!

What’s hard for you for you to quit? What gives you strength to keep going?

 

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Five Things I Learned in September

September heralds birthday-mania, in this family of mine. Soccer starts, summer ends, and generally, All The Busy-ness intrudes into every breathing space I’ve spent the summer cultivating in my soul. Every. Single. September.

But, looking back over the past month (I praise you, Lord, for ushering in October!), I’ve taken inventory of what is important and what can be let go of. Maybe it’s because I’m already tired of the tyranny of the urgent that shouts from day one of September. It could also be that I’m applying loads from our study over on Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies Or, it could just be the sugar talking (from the many pieces of cake I’ve consumed this month).

In any case, here are the five (most important) things I learned in September.

  1. There is still no such thing as too much cake. There is, however, such a thing as a scale to try to tell you otherwise. I can’t get over how much I love my people, so celebrating another year with each one of them was precious. This picture so perfectly captures one day of the celebrating. I feel the need to point out that four birthdays are represented in this picture. And that’s just the family birthdays! Family_Bdays_Missindeedy2.  When the subject line of my favorite online devotionals looks like this, twice in one day, I’d best pay attention. (And, because this topic was in the subject line of many devotionals and blog posts and conversations this month, you can bet my attention is rapt!)  Tongue_Trouble_Missindeedy3. Also, I learned that reading  is still my favorite thing to do. Most recently, I’ve read Every Little Thing by Deidra Riggs, Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and Taming the To-Do List, by Glynnis Whitwer. All impacted me greatly. But, this one line from Every Little Thing has been banging around in my head for a week:  “Some seasons of life are like that, with each moment marking a small victory, primarily because we survived it.”  AMEN! EveryLittleThing_Missindeedy4. Sweetboy is old enough to “watch” Sweetgirl for an hour, now,  while I run out to the grocery store (or Target). However, Sweetgirl has dutifully informed us that her brother is a “Not-So-Great Babysitter”. Upon further questioning, we found out that this is because he will not play Princess Palace Pets with her.  We’ve realized her gifting does not lie in determining the quality of a babysitter.
  2. Lastly, (even though it says number 2, because even my computer won’t listen today!) I learned that friendships require time, but that time requires careful consideration. I’m pretty sure we all know that, of course. But, it was brought home to me when I started filling in all of the commitments that I had over the course of the month. I saw lots of lunches and breakfasts and coffees with lots of wonderful beautiful friends, but hardly any white space for my own soul to breathe on its own. Everyone in this household suffers when mama doesn’t have space for her soul to breathe. Anyone else? Now, this realization is going to take some thinking through because, friendships! But, for now, I see that I can’t sustain the pouring out without more time and space to fill up. 

There you have it. Try to contain your enthusiasm for all the sharing. If you’d like to read some far more fabulous lessons learned in September, head on over to Emily P. Freeman’s blog and check them out.

What did you learn last month?

I Want The King for My Friend

I’ve been working my way through a book that has done something incredible in my life.

It has dried up my words.

And, honestly? I’m okay with that.

Reading Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman, has been life-altering. My brain, and by extension, the mouth that’s connected to it, have experienced some blissful radio silence. I’m not even going to try to guess the number of people around me, who also consider this new frequency blissful.

I’m a gap-filler, you see. If there is a lull in conversation, I’m your girl. When the small talk at a party dwindles, I jump right in. In the midst of an awkward situation and not sure what to say next? Count on me!

Usually, these aren’t necessarily bad things.

But sometimes, they aren’t really good things, either.

The abundance of words that accumulates within me doesn’t actually mean that I need to voice every single one of them.

Amen? (Not you, Nana. We all know you’re saying “AMEN!”)

Not much is added to a filling-the-gap moment that is true, noble, right, pure, or lovely. Certainly not much is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. So, what exactly am I adding to conversations?

That is the ultimate question I’ve been asking myself, lately.

For the first time in probably ever, I see that many of my words aren’t attaching anything of benefit to the discussion. And, that’s not to discount the meaningful chats I have with people I care about. Nor does it mean that I need to throw out the fun back-and-forths I might have with friends and acquaintances.

Pause_Before_Piping_Up_KIS_Missindeedy

It is, however, a fantastic reason to do a lot more pausing before piping up. It’s also a great reason to do a little more listening with those two ears of mine and a lot less talking with that one mouth.

The more listening I do, the more I see what I haven’t seen as my lips were moving. The hurting neighbor. The angry relative. The hesitant friend. There are hearts that I am hearing, that I’ve never even known were trying to talk.

Allow my inner 80’s teen to re-emerge, please? DUDE!

There is no small beauty in a heart that is finally heard.

Don’t we all know this to be true? What relief, what joy, what profound satisfaction in our souls when some beautiful ear finally bends to hear?

Maybe the most amazing thing of all is that as I speak with more grace, which means more listening before speaking, my friendships will deepen. Friends that I long to connect with – deeply hear from and be heard by – will appear.

How do I know?

“Whoever loves pure thoughts and kind words will have even the king as a friend.”

Even The King.

I don’t know about you, but, I want The King for my friend.

Yes indeedy.

Why Are You Looking for Crickets?

Maybe, because you’re hearing them around here, lately?

‘Tis true.

But, for good reason.  (More on that on Wednesday!)

For now, if you’ve been missing me (and really, I’d expect nothing less. JUST KIDDING!), you can find me over at Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies  as part of the Teaching Team for 2015. As we work our way through a study of Keep it Shut by Karen Ehman, you’ll find me over there. A lot. Click here to hop over and check it out.

In the meantime, I wanted to share something amazing that’s happened since my reading of this book.

But, you’ll have to come on back here, on Wednesday, to read about it.

So, see you soon?

I really hope so!

Yes indeedy!

Let’s Learn to Zip It, Shall We?

My mouth gets me into trouble. Anyone else?

A lot. Tell me I’m not alone, here!

Really, though, it’s a head problem. Can I get an amen?

And, if I’m being completely honest, it’s a heart problem. Oh, yes indeedy.

I’ve always longed to be one of those wise women who say very little. You know the ones… they don’t often speak their mind, but when they do, WHOA NELLY, it’s important! Alas, God apparently thought better of that idea. In fact, I often wonder why He allows me to speak at all!

But, He does. In His completely unfathomable infinite wisdom, He gives me the freedom to speak the words in my head.

Here’s what I’ve found to be true: if I don’t check those words against His Word, what tumbles from my mouth can be a) too much, b) too loud, c) too soon, or d) all of the above.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to find out that the next book that Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Studies is going to work through has to do with exactly this issue!

Hallay-glorious-lou-ya!

And, sweet Moses, do I ever need it!

On January 26th, over here, we will begin a study of Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. The author provides phenomenal insight into “What to say, how to say it, and when to say nothing at all”. (I believe I especially need help with that last one. Also, Sweetman seems a bit too happy that we are studying this particular book.)

I’ve had the privilege of reading Keep It Shut over the last month. There are far too many gems, throughout, to pick just one. (Or, ten!) In fact, there is so much wisdom packed into this book, that I would like to heartily encourage you to pick up a copy and join the study.

You can do that here.

You can buy the book here.

And, if you do decide to join the 20,000 plus people who’ve signed up already, you may just see me hanging around on the Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies blog.

Yes, you might just.

And we can learn to zip it together.

What do you say to that?

(Psst… say yes.)

I hope to see you there!

KISBook_Missindeedy

How to Square a Circle and A Giveaway

If you arrived here looking for a mathematical answer to the ancient problem of constructing a square within the confines of a circle, I’m sorry.

If your eyes just glazed over because you knew you weren’t coming here for any such explanation, hang tight!

According to Wikipedia, “The expression “squaring the circle” is sometimes used as a metaphor for trying to do the impossible.”

I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

Trying to do the impossible.

And, the evidence that I’ve been attempting to do something that cannot be done is in my inability to figure out which are the best things and which things are just good.

I’m learning that saying yes to whatever floats my boat doesn’t, as it turns out, make me any happier. It only makes me tireder.

It makes me more easily aggravated and far less easily amused.

None of these are healthy or helpful.

My sweet friends, lean in please. We can’t do it all.

I know… bummer, right?

Here’s the good news, though – we don’t have to!

What so many of us fail to realize is that all we do, indeed, have to do is become better at discerning the difference between better and best.

The_Best_Yes_Giveaway_Missindeedy

Taking an honest inventory of the resources God’s given me, the time He’s allotted me, and the abilities He’s gifted me, I’m seeing a pattern of decision-making.  And, the pattern I’m seeing over here? It’s just not beneficial.

Not for me, not for my family, and not for making the most out of the time that I’ve been given here on this earth.

So, in an effort to start discerning which is best, I’m participating in Proverbs 31 Ministries’ newest Online Bible Study. It’s focused on Lysa TerKeurst’s new book The Best Yes. Although the study began on Monday, you are welcome to join us, for free. Just click the words Proverbs 31 Ministries above.

Maybe, you like the sound of this book, but just want to read it on your own and at your own pace. Please, go do that!

This book is packed with practical applications. Although I’m only halfway through it, I’m gathering wisdom as I go.

It may not be squaring a circle, but my lines from here to there are getting a little straighter each day.

Yes indeedy!

The Giveaway: Before you run off, leave me a comment below and you’ll be entered to win one of two copies of The Best Yes. There will be two winners picked at random through Random Generator. Contest ends Friday, September 26th, at 8:00 pm EST.

When To Consult Your GPS

“What you do now is take a left down there at the blinking light.  Go about a mile and some change (what does that even mean?) and then take a right.  Keep on till you see the purple polka-dotted windmill, then bear left at the fork in the river. As soon as you see the unicorn, it’ll point you in the right direction.”

Have you ever received directions like this?

Being lost is frustrating enough.  Asking for directions and then receiving ones that don’t seem quite right, doesn’t help.

Every so often, I find that my map’s directions aren’t clear enough.  Maybe the terrain isn’t exactly as the map described it to be. It could be that I simply missed the street sign that I was supposed to be looking for. Possibly, new roads have been created since the map was published.

Whatever the case, every once in a while, I find myself lost.

WrongRoad_CSLewis_Missindeedy

Stopping to ask for directions is usually very helpful. And, although most of the people trying to help me along are well intentioned, being human and all, they’re bound to muck it up.

And when that happens? I pull out that map and get to readjusting my course.

Or, I ask Siri.

“Recalculating route,” is what her voice will tell me she’s doing.

That’s a good word, right there.

When I get off the beaten path, and I feel in my very soul that it’s a path that’s not really meant for me, I need to get some better directions.

Some Divine Direction.

So, I go to my Spiritual GPS.

The One Map that is always exactly right.

Every. Single. Time.

GPS might stand for “Global Positioning System” in this earthly world, but where This Map is concerned, GPS stands for something altogether different.

G – God-given

P – Prayerfully provided

S – Strategy

And the Lord knows that I need it! After all, it was He who created me in all of my Directionally Challenged wonderfulness. It was He who provided me with a stubborn streak dogged determination.  Put those two things together when you are traveling along and it equals needs God’s guidance!

Lots.

Oh, yes indeedy.

I’ve become wise to the fact that when I get to feeling lost, I need to quickly consult my Spiritual GPS.

And, when I do?

That unicorn can eat my dust!