Journey to Acceptance

When I began blogging, I knew that I didn’t have an area of expertise. Some writers blog exclusively about topics such as parenting, homeschooling, or cooking. Some have had formal training on their topic or have spent years researching and gathering information about their area of expertise.

I stared at the message wordpress sent me last week saying, Congratutions on Publishing 50 Posts! 50 posts? I remember counting the first few, but how did it reach 50?

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Something about that message caused me to become reflective. Reflective about my purpose. Reflective about my goal. And, reflective about my future writing.

Six months ago, when I began Lisa Louise: Stories of Overcoming, I only knew I wanted to be Spirit-led. Each time I sit down to write, I do so because the Lord has put a message in me and it’s time to organize it into writing. I don’t feel I have an area of expertise, but rather a heart that is being cultivated by the Spirit.

In the 40 years leading up to my life as a blogger, I held on to many hurts and had many ideas of how I thought my life should be. The inner critic inside my head screamed loudly each chance I gave it.

Once I began blogging, it was like there was a new voice rising up in me. A much kinder, more creative, accepting voice. The inner critic still sneaks it’s slithery, condemning voice in, but the new voice is becoming louder, bolder, more frequent.

In a social gathering, you can bet I will be the one listening, nodding, taking in what others are saying. It’s unlikely you will hear my voice much at all. There are many reasons for this. I am an introvert with constant thoughts bouncing around in my mind. Also, I am an internal processor. My response to something that was said will often take hours or days to form. And, then there’s also that inner critic causing doubt and uncertainty.

With writing, I am finding my voice. The Lord gave me this outlet and it’s bringing about healing. It’s leading to a kinder inner and outer voice.

Do you walk around with words of doubt, fear,  or lies taking up space in your mind? That’s right where the enemy wants you. Listening to his sneaky, negative voice. Drowning out the Spirit. You will not be able to fully walk in His calling while listening to those lies.

Do you long to hear kind words being spoken in your mind? That is what the Lord wants for you. That  is how He speaks to you.

Here are a few ways in which writing is helping to tame my inner critic:

  1. Writing one or two sentences whenever I hear a sermon or read the Bible. The Lord tells us to be ready to share. How often have I left church, only able to say, “That was such a good message.” But, ask me what it was about it, and you would receive a blank stare. Writing a short summary about what I have learned or what I read helps to organize my thoughts and cement them in my brain.
  2. Keeping a journal. In my journal, I write approximately a paragraph about what the Lord is teaching me. It may have to do with my scripture reading, a book I am reading, or what He reveals to me through prayer, or through another person.
  3. Listing what I am grateful for. I write out 5 things I am grateful for each night. My family and I have also began a gratitude notebook which sits in a central location in our house. There is always a pen there (that’s the plan anyway!) and anyone at anytime can list something for which they are grateful. Want to replace negative thinking? Nothing is a quicker antidote for negative thinking than reading what your child lists in a gratitude notebook. Gratitude journal
  4. Keeping notes in the note section of my phone. I currently have 324 notes! Whew! As long as I have a title such as: Bible verses for the girls, book list, sermon notes, Netflix movie ideas, or verses about kindness, I can put in a keyword and search for my note. When I hear a beautiful song lyric or encouraging statement on an audiobook, I can quickly add it to my notes.

I don’t pretend to completely understand why writing aids in our growth and learning but I just know it is working for me. And, I feel it will help you.

In an article titled, Why Does Writing Make Us Smarter, The Huffington Post states that writing is beneficial because it is “Visual: Seeing what is on the paper in front of you.
Motor: Using your fine motor skills to actually put the pen to paper and form the letters to make the words. Cognitive: Remembering the shapes of the letters requires a different type of feedback from the brain.”

Dear one, what do you have to lose? Why not take one step today to create a kinder voice inside your head. Pick one of my ideas to implement in writing or create an idea of your own. Whatever you do, stick with it. Release yourself from the bondage of negativity and begin to accept yourself as you are…as God created you.

Ephesians 1:4, For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Press On

Over and over again the stubby-legged turtle climbed up the steep, slippery side. Each attempt brought the turtle to the same height, only to send him right back into the pond. Without hesitation, the turtle repeated it’s original ascent. Unfortunately, the determined turtle slid right back down again and again.

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As I watch the turtles futile attempts at reaching it’s goal, I think about my lack of persistence at times in pursuing God’s plan for me. My whiny times of wishing my situation was different. The way I’d focus so much on my circumstances. My “shortcomings” which I wrongly assumed made me stuck. Unable to climb back up to reach toward God’s calling.

God’s creation, the turtle, didn’t show any sign of losing focus. The turtle didn’t heave a loud sigh when his short legs failed him once more. He didn’t throw a fit, trying to remove the hard shell hindering his labor up the slope. No. The turtle just went right back to the original plan, and repeated it over and over. The turtle accepts it’s lot in life. He accepts his short legs, hard shell, stiff feet, and short stature. Each time he falls, he doesn’t waste a single second doubting his original plan, bowing down in defeat, or whining about his circumstances. 

My girls and I watched this turtle  (turtle video) for several minutes. Unfortunately, I was so taken by the turtles tenacity that it didn’t occur to me to video his attempts until the end when he finally succeeded. With big eyes and laughter on our lips, we watched the turtle with sheer delight. And, when he finally reached his destination we clapped and cheered for the turtle.

My whiny defeat was quiet, but yet it lingered in my heart for far too long. At age 25, when I was diagnosed with a chronic, life-threatening, life-altering disease, you wouldn’t hear me complaining about my circumstances. But, the Lord heard me. And, of course, even when I didn’t vocalize my complaints to the Lord, He knew what was in my heart.

My whining sounded something like this:

Why, Lord?

Why did you give me these high energy kids when I am a mom with low energy? 

Why do I keep facing the same trials over and over? 

Why do I continue to experience one rare disease after another?

And, the constant looming question, what is your purpose for my pain, Lord?

Not only was I repeating the same trials but my growth was stunted. I was stuck.

The apostle Paul writes about a remedy for this pattern in the book of Philippians in the Bible.

Philippians 3:13-14, Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Rather than being stuck in the past, focusing on previous trials, even yesterday’s trial, Paul says to forget it.

When the turtle slid back in the water, after another failed attempt, he didn’t float around in the water, with his head slunk low, rehashing his failed pursuits.

In all my questions and struggling to make sense of my circumstances, my attention was stuck in the past.

Paul, not only tells us what not to do, he gives us further instruction. “Strain forward to what lies ahead”.

I noticed the turtle continued to keep his focus on his goal. Each time he descended into the water, he kept his narrow head pointed in the direction of the slope he was to climb. He never turned away.

Once I stopped looking at the trials I had gone through, I was open to the Spirit leading me towards what the Lord had in front of me. I could see the truth.

The truth was I had faced life threatening trials, but I was still alive.

The truth was I had faced the inability to bear children, but I was a mom.

The truth was my life wasn’t much like I had planned it to be, but it was the life God had for me.

Then Paul continues on by stating, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

The turtle looked upward. We never figured out why the turtle was determined to climb up the slope, but his call was clear. He didn’t look back at where he’d been. He pushed and pulled his way upward.

Jesus’ call is upward. He’s not calling us backward or lower. Each step I take along this walk with Jesus, takes me higher. Closer to Him.

Don’t you hear Him calling?

Press on, my beloved.

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