Posts filed under ‘Boundaries’

Lenten Ideas to Help Us Focus on and Become More Like Jesus

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan. And I wrote about the following: When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held.)

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan.  . . . .  And I wrote about the following: . . . . . When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held Evans.)

I dabble in Lent. For the past 8 years I’ve done various things: given something up (social media, unnecessary spending), added something (usually a spiritual discipline), donated (money and items) to a good cause, and prayed more. I’m not of a liturgical bent, so I don’t really know what I am doing.

I never did well at fasting. I never spent extra time in confession. And come to think of it, many of my other attempts were also lame.

But I did these things to prepare myself for Easter. And while they were done imperfectly and probably incorrectly, I did achieve my goal. By the time Easter came around, I was a little more focused on the Redeemer of my soul, Jesus. My thoughts & actions were a little more like His.

Here is a cool video about Lent. It is only 1 minute 15 seconds. “Lent is not a list of Catholic Resolutions nor is it a Catholic Endurance Test. . . . It is a campaign for holiness. Instead of giving up chocolate, how about giving up sin.” OUCH!

This year I am keeping it simple. The idea generator in me wants to add a bunch of things to this list. But I typically over-estimate my available time, energy, and resources. So there are only 3 things on my list.

(1) I am giving up negativity in all forms: pessimism . . . uncalled for anger . . .  criticism . . . complaining . . . worry . . . gossip . . . impatience . . . swearing . . . mean talk . . . pride . . . discouragement . . . hyper independence . . .  and victim- and scarcity-thinking. . . . I want to be purposeful about my thoughts and about what comes out of my mouth.

I don’t normally have a problem with negativity, but I think these next 40 days will show how well I do or don’t do in this area.

(2) I am adding in Gratitude. I will write down one thing I am grateful for every day. And I want to be more purposeful abut looking for God’s presence in my life and in the world. I am sure this will give me many things to write on my gratitude list.

(3) I will read only about Jesus. I want my thoughts to be more focused on Him. Right now I have the following books in mind.

Here are some other Lent ideas. As I get the time and energy, I will pop into the following links and try one or two of their ideas.

40 Days of Prayer Doodling.  This is a visual, concrete,and different way to pray.

40 Days of Signs & Symbols.  Each day a different sign or symbol from Christian history or art and its meaning will be posted. Your challenge is to consider its meaning for you today OR post a picture of something you saw today with a similar meaning OR share a thought as you reflect on this symbol.

40 Ideas for Lent Rachel Held Evans has compiled a list of 40 ideas to help us in this season of reflection, penitence, and preparation. I especially like how she starts off the list with 5 questions. If nothing else, do the 5 questions.

A Lent Where #BlackLivesMatter: 10 Ideas for Black History Month and the White Church. Use the Lenten season to truly immerse yourself in Black history and the current reality of people of color… if a white congregation has truly observed Black History month, then it will have naturally found itself wading, likely deeper than ever before, into the themes of Lent, that season of self-examination and repentance.

Declutter 40 Bags. Focus on getting the unnecessary stuff out in one spot per day. Don’t go nuts and tackle five spots because you want to prove something. Don’t get all bummed out because you missed a day (or ten). Just focus on one. spot. per. day.

Do Lent Generously. 55,000+ people are doing 40 days of giving back, doing good and living generously.

An infographic list of 20 odd ideas for teens (or anyone really).

Lenten Wilderness Meditation Practice. Every day for 40 days, we invite you to spend 10-20 minutes OUTSIDE in prayer/meditation/just being (rain or shine)!

Photography. InstaLent Photo Challenge or this photo-a-day project.

Write 40 Encouraging Notes. 

Your Turn . . .

  • If you’re participating in Lent this year, what will it look like?
  • Have you tried any of the above ideas?
  • What would you add to the list?

Related Posts . . . Read about my 1st Ash Wednesday here.

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Are You Living as If God is Not Enough?

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It’s a new year and therefore a good time to look at your thoughts and behaviors. Do you look at these on a regular basis?

I do so twice a year because it is easy for me to get off track. This reflection time helps me to see if God is the priority.

  • What are my thoughts and behaviors based on?
  • Do they show that I believe God is enough?
  • Have I allowed daily time to grow my spiritual life? Check out the following areas: (1) devotions, (2) church, and (3) relationship with God.

Too often I find the following things have crept back into my thoughts, calendar, checkbook, and behaviors.

  • I allow too many outings on my calendar so that the truly important things and relationships get overshadowed.
  • I allow too much clutter and stuff  into my life. Therefore my home tends to be chaotic and unorganized.
  • I allow too many things on my to-do list. This contributes to me being confused and having a hard time focusing and finishing things.
  • I allow myself to spend too much time on the internet. Playing spider solitaire and researching is fun and informational, but not always the best use of my time

I recently wrote 5 Things on my STOP List Help me Clarify Life. I want to make sure my life is one that follows God like HE is ENOUGH, because He is. His Hands are holding me ALL the time, whenever I call.

Listen to this song, By Your Side, by Tenth Avenue North. The lyrics are after the jump.

Your Turn . . .  As you examine your life, what does it says about . . . . your priorities? . . . . your relationship with God? . . .  Does your life show that God is enough? Do you have a STOP list you’d like to make?

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4 Items On Post Retreat Bucket List

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In Summer 2011, I wrote my bucket list and displayed it like this. I will display my Retreat Bucket List in a re-purposed Altoids Tin. How will you display yours?

Have you heard of a bucket list? Do you have one (or more)? Usually the lists are a random hodge-podge of to-do’s.

I have many lists: : One for each season (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall), a theological bucket list, and a Food/Technique Bucket List.

In short, it is an intentional (and fun) list of items I intend to accomplish before I kick the bucket (aka die).

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with what I learned at Retreat this past weekend. So I decided to take my to-do’s and take-aways and create a bucket list of what I will do this summer (which I hope is a longtime away from when I die).

Many bucket lists include goals from the following categories: Languages, Music, Travel, Books, Hobbies, Relationships, Personal Development, Educational, and Crafting.

I AM CHOOSING FOUR CATEGORIES FOR THIS SUMMER. 

ONE. TRAVEL “Traveling” to see God. Instead of going to a Wonder of the World or an exotic place, I am going to watch videos that show the grandeur, creativity, and power of God

Here are a few ideas I have now. I will update as I find more. Please share your good “travel” videos that showcase God.

TWO. RELATIONSHIPS. Enrich my relationships. Healthy relationships with people improve my quality of life, help me navigate the hard times better, stretch me into becoming a kinder, less selfish person, and make the journey more satisfying and fun.

I will concentrate on two types of relationships: new and old.

  • New(er). At retreat I had the opportunity to spend time with ladies I had never spent time with before. This was a great way to jump start a relationship. I want to make sure I am purposeful about following up with them.
  • Old(er). I also had time to spend with  old relationships. And with these ladies, I also want to make sure I spend purposeful time with them this Summer.

How will I do this? Going to the Drive-In . . .  Game Night . . .  Pray Together . . . Discuss a Book . . . Day Trip to the Ocean . . . Bake or Craft Something Together . . . Learn something from the Bible together . . . One-on-One Time at Starbucks . . . Walking . . . Share a trouble. What would you add?

THREE. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Improve my View of Myself. What I think and feel about myself is a constant stumbling block. All that I think and feel aren’t true. (Thanks to Robin for sharing that tidbit at Retreat.) I need to experience them, but I don’t have to follow their lead.

I want to release my feelings of being unloved, unliked, and incapable. In short I want to release my feelings of inadequacies.

God loves me. I share St. Augustine’s belief: “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” I want to LIVE it more often though.

It is a process and I am better than when I accepted Christ 3 days before my 16th birthday.

In order to move move Truth from my head to heart and feet, I want to meditate and journal on the following:

  • Do I really believe that God is gracious, that He cares about me?
  • Do you really believe that He is always, unfailingly, present to me as companion and support?
  • What in my life is challenging my trust that God unreservedly loves and completely forgives me?
  • What would I say to someone if they told me s/he is unworthy of God’s love?
  • I write a cardboard testimony that shows how God has been in my life. I will share this with someone. Have hankies around as you watch this example of what a cardboard testimony is.

FOUR. SPIRITUALITY: Improve my View of God. “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us” (AW Tozer). As I improve my view about God, I will be improving myself.

How do I do this? I’ll take time to answer the following.

  • What was my view of God before retreat? Did my view change as a result of retreat? If yes, how and why.
  • Look up the names of God. Which aspect(s) of God do I need/want in my life? Study the verses connected with the names. . . . I am going to journal about the names and look for how God shows up as that aspect. I.e. I am starting with Jehovah-Jireh (aka Yahweh-Jireh), the LORD will Provide (because He sees).
  • Look at the Facts of God list. Write my own list.

Your Turn . . . What will you do? Don’t delay. “Most of us postpone a decision hoping that Jesus will get weary of waiting and the inner voice of Truth will get laryngitis.” Brennan Manning

Related Posts . . .  Fruitfulwords Bucket List Index

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9 Types of People I Don’t Need When Life Stinks

Stay away from folks who try to alter or destroy your reality.  "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin Photo credit: Rough & Ready Media

Stay away from people who would try to alter or destroy your reality.
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin
Photo credit: Rough & Ready Media

Sometimes life is very hard and sometimes it even stinks. It’s during this very hard, stinky time that I need to be especially careful about the kind of people I am around. Why do I say this?

Have you heard that each of us is a compilation of the 5 people we hang around most? That is how much influence our friends, co-workers, and family have upon us.

Their attitudes, words, and actions can help us transition through the traumas of life or they can help sink us under the waves.

We have a choice as to how and with whom we spend our time. Below are 9 types of people I avoid when life stinks.

I don’t need someone who will . . . 

  1. POUNCE and tell me I’ve grievously sinned.
  2. QUOTE Scripture as a blame tool.
  3. GLOAT that my life’s use is over because of the situation I am in.
  4. OVER-MEDICATE me with advise.
  5. URGE me to give up on God and/or people.
  6. GOSSIP about my situation.
  7. DESERT me in my time of need.
  8. PUSH substances as a way for me to cope. I.e.  alcohol, sex, shopping, gaming/TV, food, drugs,
  9. MINIMIZE my pain and/or circumstances.

However there are folks I do NEED. Go here to read People I NEED When Life Stinks

Your Turn . . . Please add to this list. What types of people don’t you need when your life stinks?

 

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9 Ways Chronically Ill/Injured People Benefit from a To-Do List

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Healthy to-do- lists help organize, schedule, and corral our lives and thoughts.

Daily to-do lists are not created equal. Some lists are filled with so many tasks that it is impossible to get them all done in one week much less one day. 

Some lists are not written in any kind of order – listing the “must-do” right alongside the “would be nice to do.”

Some lists are not written for you. They state the goals and priorities of others or what you think others want you to do.

Finally some lists are too vague. Penning the word “exercise” doesn’t give you an indication of how to tell when you are done exercising.

Healthy to-do lists are what you need. They are do-able, precise, personal, and state what really needs doing today. And they must be S.M.A.R.T. A  healthy daily to-do list is not  a wish list, dump list, or bucket list.

Here are two links about writing effective to-do lists.

  1. 10 Tips to Create To-Do Lists Like a Pro!
  2. How to Make Your To-Do List Doable

Healthy to-do lists  . . .

  • help organize,
  • schedule, and
  • corral

A LIFE bursting with things to do.

It also helps corral, schedule, and organize A MIND bursting with thoughts.

But when I am ill or in pain, especially for a long time, I don’t have much on the to-do list nor is my mind bursting with thoughts. My main physical and mental goals are getting well, getting through that day. Can you relate?

But by using a healthy to-do list, you and I can do more than get through the day.  A well-written, healthy to-do list  is short. It takes into consideration the available energy for that day. It is okay and best to have only a few items on the list.

A healthy to-do list is beneficial in the following ways.

  1. Gives you something to look forward to
  2. Structures your day
  3. Determines YOUR priority for the day versus what others demand/expect of you
  4. Takes your mind off present ills
  5. Helps you create boundaries in your life
  6. Creates a sense of accomplishment
  7. Is a way to chart progress
  8. Automates your life so you don’t have to remember what to-do because it is written down
  9. Challenges you to do more or to do something out of your comfort zone

Want some ideas on what to put on your list? Look at the above benefits.  What would you like to do that would give you that benefit? Then choose one or two for today’s to-do list.

Your Turn . . . How have you found to-do lists beneficial (besides the obvious of getting things done)?

Related Posts . . .

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Memorable Posts from 2012 (Part 1)

last yearDo you ever look back at previous posts? I do for two reasons.

ONE. To remind myself of what happened in a certain year, month or week. 

TWO. To remind myself of what I learned.

Like me, are you ever surprised at what you wrote? Once in a while I say, who wrote that? That is some good writing!

Here are some posts from last year that tell a bit about my life or what I learned. I hope you are encouraged as you read.

January . . .

February . . . 

March . . . 

April . . . 

May – Nothing

June . . .

Part 2 (July-December) Coming Soon.

Your Turn . . .

  • Which of these posts are most meaningful to you?
  • If you have a blog, which post(s) are most meaningful to you? Share the title here and I will go read it at your blog and leave a comment.

Related Posts . . .

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Boundaries Benefit Me and Others

A well maintained physical fence insures that boundaries are respected. The same applies to life-fences too.

When you don’t set a boundary, you are doing that because it fulfils some need in you. However it is not typically in the best interest of the other person to do this. Your lack of action is not helping them long-term.

Think about what happens to the child who is not taught to be respectful towards others. Many times s/he develops a rude, self-centered, out-of-control attitude. People tend to stay away from and not like these types of people. So your inaction actually harms the child in the long run.

Boundaries are like fences around a yard (your life). They keep others’ problems out of your life (yard) and in the yard where they belong.

Boundaries . . .

  • Define what is me and what isn’t me
  • Show where I end and someone else begins
  • Lead to a sense of ownership
  • Are not walls or an excuse to avoid interacting with others
We need to keep things in our yards (our lives) that will nurture us. We need to keep out those things that will harm us. Sometimes we do the opposite: we keep the good out and keep the bad in.

This is why we need a gate. When the pain or the sin of boundary-less living affects us, we have a choice. We can either open the gate of communication (to God and to appropriate people) or ignore the pain and/or sin.

“Confessing pain and sin helps to get it out [of my yard/life] so that it does not continue to poison me on the inside” (Boundaries, p31).

What is my responsibility? My responsibility includes my . . .

  • Attitudes
  • Behaviours
  • Feelings

What is not my responsibility? Galatians 6:2 talks about helping others with their “stuff.”  This help is to take place during times of crisis and tragedy. This is not to be a day-to-day involvement where the other person abdicates their choices, power, and actions to you.

Think about this  . . .  “Satan is the great distorter of reality. He caused Eve to question God’s boundaries and God’s Truth” (Boundaries, p33).

NOTE: The book I am getting this information from is titled, Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This is my 4th time through the topic and I learn something to apply each time.

Your Turn . . .

  1. What is an action in your life that needs to be put out?
  2. Is there an area where you are questioning God’s boundaries or His truth?
  3. Are you taking full responsibility for your attitudes, behaviours, and feelings?
  4. Is there some action you want/need to take regarding a boundary with yourself or someone else?
  5. Are you neglecting a boundary because it is fulfilling a need in your life? If yes, what is the potential long-term harm to the other person?

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