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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Seasons

We're in the middle of a "Nor'easter" here in Havertown. The wintry mix has turned our autumn-colored foliage frosty white. Yesterday's crisp, dry leaves, heaped high atop the curbs awaiting collection, have morphed into soggy, limp piles of refuse.

In the midst of this terrible weather, our dear friend Anita has traveled north to watch her elder son marry. Several years ago, the cold winds of November howled as his beloved wife lost her fight with cancer. Tomorrow he will crush a wine glass as his new bride looks on from under the chuppah. They will begin life together as husband and wife, and the tears of yesterday will make tomorrow's rejoicing that much sweeter.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart..." Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

                                           MAZEL TOV, NEWLYWEDS!


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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Shame Game

I've never been one to bleed all over the Internet, and don't want to start now. Still, it seems disingenuous to write a blog based on personal experiences without injecting some degree of transparency. That said, I've been having some tough days. Not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Magnifying mistakes, having to really work to remember my successes and good points. In short, beating myself up mentally. I hate days like this, where I feel everything I'm doing is wrong, like no one's buying what I'm selling. That old shame game just can't wait to get going.

It's up to me to send it packing.

This is not how God would have me act towards myself. At times I am too hard on others, so is it any wonder that I should shift the laser beam homeward when I fail to live up to my own expectations? And vice versa; it stands to reason, if I work on being kinder to myself, doesn't it follow that I'll be gentler with others?

I am a child of God, and God DOESN'T MAKE JUNK! This statement may not be original, but it sure is true. No one can make me feel unworthy without my permission, and I withhold permission!

To borrow an expression from my support group, "Act as if..."
"Act as if you're feeling OK, even though you feel rotten."
"Act as if you're competent, even though your mind is telling you otherwise."
"Act as if you believe in yourself, no matter how ill at ease you feel."

"Fake it till you make it" is another slogan from the same program, and has similar meaning.

One of the toughest parts for me is finding the truth in criticism. Sifting through the hurt and feelings of worthlessness that  suck me down like a whirlwind when I perceive someone else is displeased with me. I'm practicing the art of correcting mistakes without falling prey to self-deprecation. Recognizing areas I could improve upon without whipping myself for not doing them in the first place.

In other words, allowing myself to bloom without despising the inevitable weeds.


"... you are HIGHLY esteemed..." ~ Daniel 9:23b

Friday, October 7, 2011

Breaking Even...

... that's what I feel like I've been doing lately, in most areas of my life. Financially, I've been somewhat stalled (!) since buying my new car last summer. Not that I regret it for one minute. It was long overdue, and it's been absolutely heavenly not to worry about start-ups and breakdowns. Still, my bank account took a hit and hasn't really recovered yet. The scale has been stuck at an unpleasant number for several years now, despite my increased exercise regime (I guess the old theory about an inverse relationship between food and weight loss must have some truth to it). My book has been rejected by two publishers. And I have the typical concerns for my children's health, education, and, most importantly, spiritual growth.

Psalm 42:5 says, "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." When I look at my life, at the various waves coming at me from upstream, I sometimes get scared and discouraged. I let small matters like sticking doorknobs and chimney repairs get me down. Instead of cheering for myself and my family, I sink into a rut with walls which are very hard to scale. But when I stop to re-examine the facts - I own a new car; the scale hasn't gone down, but it hasn't gone up either, and my body's got to be better for the exercise; I actually wrote a book and submitted it to publishers; my kids are hanging in there, with all their struggles, and are right there paddling with me - well, it's then that I realize the Psalmist indeed has a point.

After all, better to be treading water than to go under...