Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Hamster Wheel

Image Credit: © Alexander Limbach via Dreamstime
For the past week or so, my thoughts have been all over the place. I haven't really had anything to write. That always bothers me. Then, the phrase "Focus and filter" came to mind. I thought, That is exactly what I need to do!

Instead of letting questions and frustrations swirl around in my head, I need to stay focused. Today I choose to focus on what I am grateful for. I am going to focus on the fact that my basic needs are provided for. I have food, clothing, shelter, and a way to get from place to place.

I am going to focus on the fact that my health is good. I don't have to go to the doctor several times a week like in years past.

I am going to focus on the fact that I am more mobile. I am able to move around more and sit up for longer periods of time.

I am going to focus on the fact that my mind is sharp. I am able to research things and help other people in the process.

I am going to filter out the negative thoughts. The thoughts that say, "Well, maybe I should have done this. Why did I do that? Why did I say that? What if this happens?"

There is such a thing as getting in your own way, and I have been doing JUST that. Those thoughts have been flooding my mind, bringing confusion and sadness. I thought that God was unhappy with me. I should have prayed more. Maybe the words of my mouth have hindered my faith!

During these times, I would ask Mama questions. So many questions. Sometimes the same ones. She said, "It's okay to ask questions, but when you start obsessing over things, it's not good. You don't have to do that. Just shake those thoughts and move on."

Boy, did I want to move on! I was tired of feeling like this. I was tired of my brain being in overdrive. I saw myself like a hamster on a wheel just going around and around. I didn't want to stay on that wheel. I wanted off, pronto!

Mama reminded me each time I said something about God being unhappy with me that it simply wasn't true. She pointed out that I had been saying, "I should... I wish... I'm not doing enough...."

Who is the subject of that sentence? I am. "You are still thinking that YOU can do this," Mama said.

That's right! I can't do this. I have to have God's help! I've got it now. I have been unhappy with myself. During prayer time, God told me, "You need to forgive yourself, Madison." Man, that is hard to do. I know myself. I know my weaknesses.

But, get this! SO does God. And He has already forgiven me. I had laid some cares and worries on the altar a few weeks ago, only to get focused on something else. I was focusing on my shortcomings. I was focusing on the lies of the enemy. Every time I would talk about my physical pain, the devil said, "See, you've made a negative confession! You have nullified all of the Scriptures you have said." All the while, my faith was being strangled and I did not even realize it!

I couldn't see what was happening because my mind was a mess. Yes, I was reading the Bible and confessing who I am in Christ and what God has done for me. It wasn't until I repented for worrying and trying to carry the cares of this life that I became free. I wasn't depressed anymore, and my mind was clear again.

Yes, I will mess up again and again. But what I have to realize is that God is greater than all of my messes. I can trust Him to heal my mind just like my body. If you have been like me, in a seemingly endless cycle of confusion, fear, and sadness, ask God to forgive you for trying to do things your way. And be assured that He who has begun a good work in you WILL complete it! 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Day the Boy Stopped Calling for His Dad

Several months ago, mom and I were in a restaurant. There was a large family sitting near us. The dad wanted to watch the football game while eating, so the waitress was busy trying to get to the right channel.

His teenage son said, "Dad, we've got the game on." The dad barely acknowledged him. 

As we ate, I heard the mom getting frustrated with the baby. But then, I heard something else. Distinctive talking. Proper and business like. 

I told my mom it sounded like someone was having a conversation. Sure enough, I turned around to see the dad talking into his headset.

Through that, I heard the son say, "Dad."

No response.

"Dad," this time in a firmer tone. "Dad!"

Still nothing.

"Daaad." There was a desperation in the teenage boy's voice now. He wanted to share something with his dad.

I think his dad mumbled something to him, but he never gave him his full attention. All of his attention was focused on sealing the deal on the other end of the line.

Finally, the boy was silent. He stopped calling for his dad. I guess he knew it was no use. 

My heart broke for the teenage boy. "One day, that boy is going to be a man and the dad is going to regret not creating memories with him. Is the phone that important? The phone won't be a comfort when regret washes over him for things he wishes he would have done," I said.

"The dad is engrossed in his phone, but one day all he's going to want is his arms around his son. His son may not be there."

Some thoughts that have run through my mind since that day are:

People, put down your phones! It's not worth it. You are missing out on life. You have gotten caught up in minor details while missing the big picture.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Be a Friend by Edgar Guest

Be a friend. You don't need money;

Just a disposition sunny;

Just the wish to help another

Get along some way or other;

Just a kindly hand extended

Out to one who's unbefriended;

Just the will to give or lend,

This will make you someone's friend.

Be a friend. You don't need glory.

Friendship is a simple story.

Pass by trifling errors blindly,

Gaze on honest effort kindly,

Cheer the youth who's bravely trying,

Pity him who's sadly sighing;

Just a little labor spend

On the duties of a friend.

Be a friend. The pay is bigger(Though not written by a figure)

Than is earned by people clever

In what's merely self-endeavor.

You'll have friends instead of neighbors

For the profits of your labors;

You'll be richer in the end

Than a prince, if you're a friend.

I decided to share this in honor of a friend who is going through a physical struggle. Sometimes we all need a friend just to listen. By that I mean, no interrupting, just being there for the other person. I get so much joy from helping others. Words of encouragement have carried me through some of my darkest times, so I try to repay the favor as often as possible.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

For Those who Have Lost Their Will to Fight

Today pain grips me. I didn't sleep well, so I waited to get up. I wanted at least a little good sleep, and I did. I might as well get up, I thought. No sense in lying here.

When pain or hardship comes, what will you do? Are you going to lie down and hope it goes away or will you get up and choose to have a good day in spite of how you feel?

I chose to do the second one this morning. But there have been times when I couldn't get up. I've had times that I couldn't quote the Bible. I couldn't do anything but moan and cry.

Today is a different day. I have weapons in my arsenal, and I know how to use them. I put a special cream on my foot that has a mixture of muscle relaxant, an anti-inflammatory, and a numbing medicine.

I ate my breakfast. I took my pain pill. I praised Jesus. He is so good to me that He deserves a "Thank you, Lord for all You are doing and have done."

This post is for those who have lost their will to fight. It's not that you can't fight, it's just that you have lost hope. You have become weary and faint-hearted. You say, "What's the use? Why even try?"

My answer is: You have so much more to give! You probably can't see that right now because you are so beaten down, but you are stronger than you think. Fight back against those self-loathing thoughts knowing that YOU have been created for a purpose! Pain is just a distraction to detour you from the path. In spite of how you feel, in spite of what you see, keep moving forward. With God on your side, you can't fail. Reach out to Him, today. Lay all of your burdens and worries down. You will buckle underneath the weight of it all because YOU can't carry it. He can. He's waiting to help you. Just ask.

If you are still struggling, comment on this post or my F@cebook (or private message me on F@cebook). I will listen. I will encourage you. We are in this fight together, and as long as you don't give up, you will win.