I've had complex feelings about Valentine's Day most of my adult life. I was married to a recovering addict for many years. Relapses were sure to occur Christmas, my birthday (12/24), and New Years Eve. There simply wasn't enough time to heal and forgive before Valentine's Day came about. And so I developed a habit of rolling my eyes when I saw heart-shaped balloons at the market.
Fast forward to my last Valentine's Day as a married woman. My brother was visiting from L.A.. My husband had just returned from camping (allegedly) when he took me aside to say, "I'll be moving out. Not to worry. God will send someone to take my place."
Um, Okay. I swallowed the pain and in typical doormat fashion, cooked a beautiful dinner for my family. I didn't have the heart to not give him a gift on this special holiday, so I purchased a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Thin mints. The cookie of champions. (I have a great deal of compassion for the woman I once was.)
I've only dated one man since my divorce. He was very charming. Too charming. It would be indiscreet of me to share the details of our relationship. But suffice to say, it ended abruptly after 4-ish months when he realized I was serious about saving myself for marriage. Who gets dumped five days before Valentine's Day? Yours, truly. Naturally, Valentine's Day threw up all over the city that year. It practically rained heart-shaped balloons.
If you follow me, you know I have consider stores of bohemian humor. Laughter is one of God's greatest gifts. And crying. The curse is to be numb. (I've been there, too.) So I drag my sad self to Sports Academy, where Voila!, I acquire a date for Valentine's Day! Because necessity is the mother of invention, I made myself a Wilson.
Me and Wilson. Going strong since 2015. Not to brag, but he's an actor. Perhaps you saw his work in Top Gun and Cast Away.
This year on Valentine's Day, my heart warms when I see Wilson. And nothing is more fun than sharing that story with other women. That silly volleyball is a gift that keeps on giving. What could have been lasting "bad" memory has morphed into something I sincerely find funny. Know what I did today? I bought myself a box of thin mints. Oh yes I did!
The past two years go unparalleled in what God's shown me about loving myself. It began with a prayer: Father in heaven, In the name of Christ, I ask for the greatest gift of all . . . A love that allows me to be at ease with myself when life isn't' easy.
God commands us to love others as we love ourselves. But do we really know what this means? The take away for me is that the will of God always begins within. The question isn't what shall I do next, but rather, will I yield to the Love who resides within me and allow Him to shape me in such a way that the desires of my heart are fulfilled naturally.
This Valentine's Day, cry if you must. But allow room for laughter. Ask God to give you something to laugh about if you're going solo.
Let God love you so you can get on with the business of loving others as you love yourself.
Next blog: We'll unpack Mark 12:30-31; The greatest commandment.
"Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself."
Peace out Bohemians!
Published on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 5:57 PM CDT
Today is all about S.M.A.R.T. goal setting and how it shakes out in practical abidance in Christ. You can double back to re-read Part 1 by scrolling down. It's listed just below this blog.
First, a little background information you may or may not find interesting. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting first appeared in the November 1981 issue of Management Review. "There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives." was the title and it was written by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham. www.smart-goals-guide.com/smart-goal.html
What does any of this have to do with you? A lot if you desire to abide in Christ in a way that brings lasting and longed for change. Think of it this way. God may be Boss, but you are still called to manage your own life. When life is unmanageable, you have to start somewhere. And that somewhere begins with an honest inventory of where you are now and where you aspire to be later.
Because you cannot overcome what you deny.
Need a job?
Your S.M.A.R.T. goal setting might begin like this:
S-specific [What is your skill-set. This will help determine what types of jobs to apply for.]
M- measurable [How many applications do you intend to fill out daily or weekly?]
A - achievable [Is this achievable? Do you have access to a computer? If not, can you get to a public library or apply on site at a company computer?]
R- realistic [If you're in counseling or just started medication for anxiety, A high-pressure, quick-paced job is not realistic for you at this time.]
T- time-bound [Ex. I intend to be gainfully employed 45 days from today's date.]
Alternatively, let's say "where you are" is emotionally unstable due to an abusive relationship.
S- specific [I need outside intervention/help to leave an abusive relationship]
M- measurable [What organizations in my area offer help to abused women? How can I access them or implore the help of a friend or church to make contact on my behalf?]
A- achievable [Can you get there? Do you meet the criteria if say, they offer transitional housing?]
R- realistic [If you are too overwhelmed to make contacts, be realistic, ask someone to come alongside you in the process. You'll be less likely to give up.]
T- time-bound [What actual date are you leaving.]
The thought of goal setting can be overwhelming. I know. But the odd thing is, once you get it out on paper, you won't feel so powerless. You'll begin to see more clearly.
Next, add supporting scriptures to your smart goals. Know that every baby step you take you do not take alone.
- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31: 6)
- "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
- "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction." (Mark 5:34)
- "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31a)
- "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
See what I mean? I don't have a thing against a "princess mindset." Yes, in Christ you are a princess. But if you want to see lasting change it's going to take more than a pink bumper sticker, a plastic tiara, and your favorite bible verse in whimsical font hanging over your bed.
If you do the math. You won't regret it!
We get better together,
Published on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 @ 4:30 PM CDT