It’s all a matter of perspective~

Every one of us sees life though our own personal filter.  Our past experiences, hurts, persuasions, faith, and traditions can lead us to come to conclusions in our minds about people or situations around us.   Remember the saying ” there are two sides to every story?”.  It’s true.

Sometimes we come to conclusions or judgements based on what we “think we see”.  However, when seeing a picture of a small iceberg we may fail to recognize  the magnitude of what’s truly there.  Remember the Titanic?

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All of us interact with people and information daily and I imagine we all want to have good clarity and clear understanding. However, sometimes we are too close to the situation to have a balanced perspective.  The statement ” you cannot see the forest for the trees”  expresses this challenge.  Google Earth is so interesting because it can give you a macro perspective and yet also visually take you to a specific address on the planet! Very cool!  Yet, this exemplifies 2 very different perspectives.

Perhaps this year, before we find ourselves making “snap judgements” or coming to conclusions about people or situations too hastily we could take a little extra time to gather fresh information, look through a new lens, and seek to be mindful that we may not have all the information needed; there just might be elements we simply do not see.

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People who look through keyholes are apt to get the idea that most things are keyhole shaped.  ~Author Unknown

Enjoy a fresh perspective today!! 🙂

Proverbs 18:15 says:  Intelligent people are always eager and ready to learn.

Tips to Successful Relationships~

Relationships matter!

Relationships can bring us our greatest joys and our deepest wounds. We can’t control how others choose to respond in their relationships with us, but we can establish our own ground rules for having and maintaining quality relationships.

Below are some thoughts to consider as you navigate the relationships in your life:

1.  Surround yourself with positive people- finding like-minded, positive people will fill your cup. Spending the bulk of your time with those who suck the happiness out of you is unwise and unhealthy.

2. Accept people just the way they are – Save yourself the needless stress of trying to change people who don’t want to change. Fight the urge to engage in fruitless conversations, rather look for areas where you can agree and show support.

3. Forgive people and move forward –  holding anger or bitterness affects us much more than the individual we have been hurt by.  Forgiveness is not saying “What you did or said was okay.”  It is saying “I’m not going to let what you did ruin my happiness or steal my joy.” It doesn’t mean you forget it simply means that you choose to let go.

4.   Do little things for those in your life –  A card, a visit, a gift, an email, a text. Simply take opportunities to connect with and appreciate those your care about.  We all feel a little more valuable when we realize that someone has been thinking of us.

5.  Talk a little less, listen a little more –  Our relationships will grow if we move away from being the talker and take the time to listen! A listening ear is the greatest gift we could give to those we love.

6.  Be Loyal – be the kind of person that believes the best about those you love. Everyone needs to know that someone “has their back”. Be that person.

7.  Pick your battlegrounds – don’t pick petty arguments. We aren’t always “right”.  Focus on the things that truly matter and let the small stuff go!

8.  Encourage and cheer them on –  be excited for those you love! Spur them on! Don’t look at their opportunities or dreams with the lens of what it will cost you, rather keep them the priority.

9.  Remember that everyone has baggage –  we all enter relationship with a suitcase filled with past experiences; successes, disappointments, hurts, etc.  Sometimes that “baggage” effects the relationship and needs to be addressed. However, using grace and understanding will always be the most fruitful approach.

10. Let go of friendships that are no longer healthy – some relationships can run their course and a necessary ending needs to take place. To force relationships to continue when the season is over can be exhausting and eventually more harmful than good.  Be willing to appreciate the relationship for what it was, and then release it and move forward.

Relationships are our most valuable assets and worth the effort to keep them strong and healthy! Test these tips out and see if they help create healthier interactions in your relationships. AND–Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

The Power of Grace~

Ever had a day where you beat yourself up for missing the “mark” somehow, and that very day you receive a card from someone expressing how much you mean to them? I have.

Ever had a season where you feel you are falling short of your goals and deeper purposes, and you get a call from someone telling you they have watched your life and would like to glean wisdom from you.  I have.

Ever doubted your abilities, feeling fearful to embrace new opportunities only to be invited to lead in a fresh way because someone fully “believes in your abilities to lead?”   I have.

You feel like you deserve judgement when in comes blessing….

I find this so perplexing because I  (we) can be so hard on ourselves, beating ourselves up with negative talk, worried about what others “might” think, when in all truth, we are surrounded by Grace.

Grace – God’s unmerited favor is so much like this.  We sin, we fail, we disappoint and yet…He loves, He sees the good, He blesses…………

Grace is mentioned 170 times in the Bible. Wow. We must need to be reminded over and over again.

2nd Corinthians 12:9 says  “My Grace is sufficient for thee…”

I know I will not always hit the mark, say all the right things, act perfectly, catch all the social ques, or make every right choice but I will do the very best I can…………and at the end of the day I will continue to be so incredibly grateful for His Grace!

His Grace IS sufficient for YOU!

“LIFE” happens to everyone

As a young girl in a strict thinking church denomination I can remember hearing of the illnesses or challenges in the lives of people in our church.  Conversations involving these folks would inevitably be followed with questions like, “I wonder what God is teaching them”, “they must have sin in their life” or “satan is really attacking them.”    Now, It isn’t my place to say whether those statements had any truth in those situations, yet as I watched my life and the lives of so many others I am much more reticent to attach those thoughts to someones life challenge.

I have seen hurtful and unkind people soar, while kind, giving people face challenge.  I have seen careless people experience financial blessing while frugal friends have faced financial loss.  I have seen folks who have a passion to have a large family experience pregnancy disappointments while others who are irresponsible with the children they already have appear to have a seamless time having more children.  I have watched people who focus on their physical health; making good choices in both food and exercise, face cancer or heart disease while others without concern for their health live to be 99!

“LIFE” happens to everyone.

We all face challenges in this life~ we have all looked toward heaven in wonderment asking God “but Why Lord? “.  Those who would be honest might speak of feeling abandoned by God, over-looked somehow, or perhaps have even questioned whether God exists at all.

As I interact with so many precious people on a regular basis I hear heart wrenching stories of loss and challenge. I remember last year when my nephew was so brutally taken from us all…I spent weeks crying out to God and asking “Why?”.  However, I am learning more and more that God never promised that we would be untouched by the challenges in this life.  He never expressed that an unchallenged life is proof that we belong to Him, nor that a challenged life is proof of His abandonment.

I address this simply to set the “plumb line” straight again. The Word says we will face trials and challenges, we will not always be in favor with people, we have bodies that may not be in perfect health in this life….BUT…………..

John 16:33 says; “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Romans 14 says ” Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Hebrews 13:5 says ” I will never leave you OR forsake you.”

Just those few verses alert me to the fact that He knew our questions would come; He is not surprised when we don’t understand the challenges we are facing. Yet, I imagine in those times that His compassion is over-flowing on our behalf.

As I again reflect back on those questions that often overshadow our judgement of one another as we watch each other navigate perilous waters; let’s be grace filled and slow to judge the circumstances as a “sin issue” or a “teaching opportunity ” for God.

Because….as we all know….”LIFE” happens to everyone.

If today “LIFE” is happening to you~ then I wish you His strength and grace today.