March 2016 archive

Hey. You’re In a River. Flow.

This idea of being in flow with life is CONSTANTLY coming up for me this month. A recent episode of Super Soul Sunday, a TEDtalk, speeches given by CEOs and others by pastors…it’s been mentioned everywhere! “The flow.” It’s moving with life, co-creating with God, feeling the pull, however you want to describe it. And when you fall OUT of your flow, you know it.

When I’m personally out of flow, I feel fear. Other people have different red flags: extreme anger, addiction (alcohol, work, porn, shopping, etc.), and sometimes acute depression. Those are all basically God’s/The Universe’s/Life’s way of saying, “Hey. You’re in a river and you’re swimming in the wrong direction. You’re swimming against the current. You know how I know? Because you’re not going anywhere, you feel like shit, and nothing’s changing.”
That’s not to say that being IN flow is without its frustration. People will think you’re CRAZY for doing what you’re doing, or you’ll feel totally out of your comfort zone, but you’ll still be flowing. You’ll still have drive, direction, and that intuition that you’re doing the right thing.

Flow changes, too. You can head in one direction for a while and suddenly, that thing you’ve ALWAYS done that ALWAYS worked doesn’t work anymore. The flow changes when it’s time for you to grow or when it’s time for something in your life to adapt. What’s important is when you notice the flow changing and go with it. People spend YEARS fighting against a change in the flow of life, only to eventually be FORCED into the change (and it usually ain’t pretty).

Going with the flow can literally mean destroying what you know to be true. In the moment you accept one of life’s changes it can feel like a death! A divorce, a move, a job lost, a friendship ending…it’s awful! But if it’s a natural part of the flow of your life, and that pain will end. (I promise. I know.) The pain of continuing to try and force life to go in the direction you want is far worse than the pain of letting things naturally end and begin again.

Flow. I’m trying to get into a new flow right now. I can feel life changing, I can feel the call to try something new. I’m not completely sure what it is yet, so I’m just trying new things and listening. It’s exciting! Kind of terrifying. But mostly exciting!
So, my question to you is, where are you going against the flow of life? Is there a new flow nagging at you??

Requesting a Transfer

On Monday I noticed a puddle of water next to the air handler in our garage. We have a home warranty company, so I called them and a plumber came out on Wednesday.
The plumber said it’s not a pipe that’s leaking. It’s the air handler itself. And, worse…the wall is wet.

THAT MEANS MOLD.

And no one can touch mold or go within 500 feet of mold or TALK ABOUT MOLD.
He told me to call my home owners’ insurance company, get a water damage claim, and then call a water mitigation specialist. He knew one. He gave me the guy’s number. I called him. His Indian name is Rolls Eyes All the Time.
I called my home owners insurance and got a claim number. Rolls Eyes got here early this morning and set up fans, dehumidifiers, and air scrubbers. How does one scrub the air? ONE DOESN’T. But don’t tell Rolls Eyes that. He’s just roll his eyes. Rolls Eyes told me it would take about 4 days to dry out the walls and that he’d see me on Monday, but in the mean time, he found the leak. The AC handler had a clog, so the condensation wasn’t draining out. “Easy fix,” Rolls Eyes told me. He also told me the home owners’ insurance pays him directly and I didn’t need to worry about it.
Awesome.
I called the AC guy. He comes out Monday, too. Perfect.

PERFECT.

Then the home owners’ insurance desk adjuster called me. Do you know what a desk adjuster is? It’s a person who tells you what’s wrong with your house without actually seeing it and then telling you they probably won’t cover it. The entire job description is, “Scare People.” This particular home owners’ insurance desk adjuster lady, whose Indian name is Nice But Not Really, assured me everything would be taken care of just before telling me she wasn’t sure everything would be taken care of and that I TOTALLY SCREWED UP by calling Rolls Eyes.
She also told me the walls would have to be dried, the leak fixed, and the walls rebuilt. REBUILT. TWO WALLS HAVE TO BE REBUILT. I actually said to Nice But Not Really, “You’re not making me feel better at all.”
Nice But Not Really informed me she would be sending her OWN water mitigation people out to basically affirm that this guy was not doing what he was supposed to be doing so she could refuse to pay him.
In the mean time, I still had four fans, a dehumidifier, and an air scrubber.

I called the Good Guy. The Good Guy is who helped is the broker who got us our home owners’ insurance policy. He’s a REALLY good guy. When I told him what was going on, he calmly assured me that everything was going to be ok. He told me to keep him updated but not to worry. It would all be fine.

SEE GUYS?! IT’LL ALL BE FINE!

Then Nice But Not Nice called me back to tell me Rolls Eyes’ prices were outrageous and they wouldn’t pay him.

EVERYTHING IS NOT FINE.

It was at that point that I told Nice But Not Nice that she was going to have to figure this out because I couldn’t deal with it all anymore. I didn’t know who was telling the truth and who was lying and it didn’t matter because I just needed the leak fixed and the wall rebuilt and that was the end of the whole story.
Nice But Not Nice didn’t really have much more to say to me except that her water mitigation person would be out at dinner time. Which is just SUCH a time way to spend dinner.

The new water mit people (there were 3) were called Points All Our Fingers. They walked in and before anything else they started pointing at everything Rolls Eyes had done and commenting on how wrong it was.
“Oh, look. An Air Scrubber? Ha. Right.”
“Do you see this? A humidifier? Geeeeez.”
“This fan! This fan isn’t even right!”
Points Fingers were in and around my house for an HOUR measuring walls, taking pictures, and pointing their fingers. It felt like I was the uncool kid who accidentally ended up in the Student Council meeting. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Listen. What’s going to happen is you’re going to go to the insurance company, you’re going to tell them I’m overpaying for Rolls Eyes, then they won’t pay him but instead they’ll pay you because you work for them. Amiright?”
“No!” Points Fingers insisted. “Not at all! We care about you the customer and we want to know that this job is being done right!”
“Right, ok. Whatever. Look. Don’t screw me here, OK? I’m just a home owner being honest and trying to do the right thing.”
“Yes! Of course, and we want to help,” Points Fingers agreed.

As I sat on the couch tonight, fans running right along side the thoughts in my head, I realized…this is my lesson. It’s my lesson over and over and over again. Tons of things outside of my control happen and then I have to sit back and not try to fix it all at once in one day. I have to RELEASE CONTROL.
I did not release control today. I failed and it sucked.
Life is my teacher and today I hate my teacher. I’m putting in a request for a transfer.

Half Full

optimismI am an incurable optimist. I’m guessing a lot of people mistake my optimism for being naive and or just plain old southern bless-her-heart stupid. I’ve been told on more than one occasion I’m being “taken for a ride” as if I don’t really see what’s going on around me. Sometimes I may be missing something, but for the most part I’m not: I’m just not reacting to it.

I’ve tried to explain to a lot of people in my life that my compassion and ability to let things go and remain optimistic is a choice.
Someone flips me off in traffic? He must be having a really hard day and I hope it gets better.
Someone doesn’t call me back when they say they’re going to? Hopefully they’re safe. They’ll get back to me when they can.
It rains on my wedding day? What a funny way to remember this occasion forever!
What does it actually hurt to remain optimistic and compassionate? Releasing all that negative doesn’t put me at risk for not noticing someone hurting me or taking advantage of me; it just gives me the chance to check everything out from the positive perspective before creating issues that may never have existed.
People around me create conspiracy theories for themselves, like the world is out to get them. A woman said to me the other day, “My ex-husband has been calling me. He’s probably trying to cut off my alimony so I’m not answering!” It floors me when people go to the worst case scenario and just stay there. They set up a whole tent based on the worst case scenario and then they build a fire and LIVE right there in the experience that hasn’t even happened yet. Truth is if she did answer and her ex-husband revealed he was no longer paying her alimony, she might also learn why and glean some compassion from the conversation. Or she might just take him straight to court. Either way, remaining pessimistic does nothing to solve the problem, and it leaves her feeling shitty.

I’ve tried explaining my perspective on remaining incurably optimistic to so many people with this oldie but goodie: “Everything will be OK in the end, and if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.” That’s John Lennon, and so sometimes the argument is…well…John Lennon said that. Not the best example of everything turning out ok in the end eh? At least as far as we can see…

But over the weekend, I heard the greatest example of optimism and why it makes more sense than any other way of living life, and I’m positive you pessimists can’t argue with this one.

“Nobody knows enough to be pessimistic.”

AND THAT’S EXACTLY IT!! Being pessimistic is almost arrogant. It’s assuming you know the way things are going to turn out!! And even if you plan out a scenario to the bitterest of endings you can possibly conjure, you STILL don’t know if that’s how it will all turn out! Bear losing his job a week after we closed on our house looked pretty bleak. Losing the job he landed AFTER he lost his job a week after we closed on our house could have been the end; the worst case scenario. But guess what? We didn’t know enough yet to be pessimistic. And two weeks later, he had an interview for a job that is now the greatest one he has ever had!

You don’t know enough to be pessimistic. You don’t know enough to assume the worst. Instead of being pessimistic (or as many of you pessimists like to veil it, “realistic”), could you just wait and see? Could you stop guessing the worst ending and just wait to see what the ending actually is?
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be wrong.
The world doesn’t need a gabillion optimists. Don’t go full optimist for me. Just meet me in the middle where you don’t know the outcome and see where life goes.

What’s It Been Like Not Drinking for Two Weeks?

It’s been surprising.

About two weeks ago, I decided I was going to stop drinking for a little while. I didn’t give myself a timeline because that would just set me up for failure. I just decided not to drink “for a little while.” At bars, at restaurants, cooking dinner, out with friends…at every turn I’ve been tempted. And I’ll be totally honest with you, most of the time I have absolutely NO problem justifying why it’s completely fine to drink.
I’ve never had a drinking problem.
I love enjoying a bev with my friends and there’s no danger. 
Not drinking doesn’t seem to fix my anxiety.
But I continued on, not just to prove it to myself, but also to see what happens. The first week was pretty much just a demonstration of will power. A whiskey sour here, glass of wine there, margarita next to my glass of water…
imagesBesides the temptation, there was also this weird awkward social pressure that I did NOT expect. I found myself warning friends and family ahead of time or right before seeing them that I wasn’t drinking. I felt the need to specify, “I don’t have a problem with drinking. I’m just doing an experiment.” As if saying, “No thanks, I’m not drinking,” isn’t enough?! On one particular instance I was falling all over myself trying to explain how I just wanted to see how my body would change, my anxiety would change, or maybe how my social experiences would change. I even apologized!! I basically held up a sign that read, “Would anything I’m saying keep you from judging me or making assumptions about me?!” More than how drinking affects me, I’ve noticed how making the choice to not drink has affected me!
The second week was far more interesting. I was more accustomed to saying no, and after realizing I didn’t owe any explanations, I got more comfortable saying, “Just water, please.” I also started collecting little bits of data about why staying sober was actually kinda great. For one thing, I didn’t worry about whether or not I was being authentic. I never had to re-trace my conversations to be sure I didn’t say anything offensive or off-the-wall, either. I didn’t feel like garbage when going to sleep, not to mention I didn’t have anxiety about what I might feel like when I woke up. I even enjoyed not having to account for the extra calories!
I’ll tell you this: I’ve miss sitting down for a beer with my Bear. I miss relaxing with him on a hot afternoon with a cold drink. I enjoy sharing that with him.
BUT.
For the most part, I don’t really miss drinking. No, it really hasn’t helped me with my anxiety. It hasn’t made a difference in the way I sleep or eat or work out. But the perks of not drinking are outweighing the benefits of that glass with dinner at this point. If you know me, you probably think my blog has been hacked. Either that or you’re passed out on the floor. I’ve NEVER been one to turn down a drink. Now I’m wondering what my motives were that entire time I did drink? Have I just fallen into the idea that I’m someone everyone expects to drink and so I do?! Maybe…just maybe…I’m not a drinker?!

More on that as the experiment continues…

 

Who Did You Vote For?

I literally couldn’t care less who you voted for. I just wanted to get your attention and then completely distract you from the primaries tonight.
I haven’t been bloggin’ too much lately because my blogging time has been taken up by something else…

…book writing time.

That’s right.
A few months ago I started feeling the urge to write a book. But every time I sat down to write, a new story starting coming out. The whole point of the book changed weekly, and while I do believe eventually a book will reveal itself if you continue writing, I started getting frustrated.

On one particular day I sat down to finish one story and as it turned into another one, I gave up and wrote a to-do list. Bear was gone for the day so i was determined to finish the list.
Go through my closet and bring my clothes to a consignment shop.
Go through Abe’s closet and bring them to a kid’s consignment and then buy him some new shorts.
Get my eye brows waxed.
FORGET WRITING. I’M GOING TO GET SHIT DONE.
I packed my car full of clothes and started for the first consignment shop. It was lovely, one I hadn’t been to before, and maybe even a little snooty.
“Hi! I have a car full of clothes and I was wondering how you consign?”
The woman behind the counter was…better than me. Automatically. The look on her face. Her hair. Her accessories. Everything was better than me. So I smiled REAL big.
“We don’t buy on Saturdays. There’s a sign on the door. You can read it.”
Yeah. I can read.
It.
“Oh no! I have a huge bag of clothes in the car!”
“Yeah. Soooorrrry about that.”
No you’re not.
All I wanted was to get through this to-do list. So before I drove to the kids’ consignment store, I called them to be sure they were open.
They were, but there was a two-hour wait to sell clothes. What should I do with these two hours…
Write the book?

NO!

No, no. No. I’m going to consign these clothes. I’m going to get my eyebrows waxed. I am going to do these things and not write today!!
As I made this announcement to myself, in my own head, I looked up at the sign in the shopping center and saw…a new kids’ consignment shop sign! RIGHT THERE IN THE PLAZA! It was opening TODAY and I could go sell Abe’s old clothes IMMEDIATELY and then I could buy him SHORTS and then I could get my eyebrows waxed! YES!
I drove across the giant plaza to the new kids’ consignment shop.
I walked in and there was a huge sign. “Not yet open for sale.” But I was INSIDE the store, so i figured there must be someone here. There must be some way I could buy something. WHY IS NOTHING WORKING?
Just then, a woman walked out.
“Oh hi! We’re not open for business yet. We’re still stocking our shelves.”
“Ohhh. Darn. The door was open so I thought you were consigning…”
“I can still buy clothes! Do you have clothes to sell?”
“I do! And toys!”
“Great!”
“Great!”
GREAT!!!
I went to my car and lugged two baby bath tubs, a swing, and a garbage bag full of clothes to her counter. I filled out far too much paperwork. I waited a very long time looking at clothes I couldn’t buy. But that’s OK! I was checking something off the list!!!
“Ma’am? I’m all set!”
Now, at the kids’ consignment store I usually go to, they pour over my stuff, they take about 50% of it, offer me VERY little money, and then I donate the rest to Goodwill. At this consignment store…
“We did find one pair of pants we are willing to accept. These other pants, they have some threading at the hems. And these shirts all have a little bit of fading, this one seems to have dirt on it. This baby tub is dirty and would need to be cleaned before we could consider it, and the swing is very faded.”
“Ok. So…you don’t clean anything? Here? At the consignment store?”
“We just don’t have the time or the manpower to clean everything as it arrives, you know?”
“Oh. Ok. And, so, out of all this, you want one pair of pants?”
“Yes.”
“You don’t want the tub because…Can you wipe it out? I mean I could go wipe it out?”
“If you want to completely clean and sanitize it, we could buy it.”
“Ahhhhh ok.”
“And I can offer you $2 for these pants.”
It was EVERTHING in my power not to turn around and leave all my stuff in her store and drive away. But I didn’t. I picked it all up, along with my $2, and hauled it back to my car. I shoved it into the back seat, along with ALL my clothes I was trying to sell. All that was left was to get my eyebrows waxed.
I drove to my favorite little waxing salon and…you guessed it. The chick that does my brows was on vacation.
I officially completed NONE of my to-do list and my book was shouting at me. WRITE ME! WRITE ME! I drove to Goodwill and dumped everything out of my car in defeat. Next door to the Goodwill was a Starbucks, so I walked over and got an iced green tea and a protein snack. I sat down. Three people around me were sitting down.
And writing.
FIIIIIIIINE-UH.
I walked back to my car, got my laptop, and sat down in Starbucks to write.
For four hours.

This stupid book is screaming at me to write it, and I have no idea what it is yet. But I’m going to keep writing to see if eventually it comes together into something interesting other people might want to read. It might take years. But I’ll finish the darn thing. And I’ll publish it. And then all of you can say, “I remember when she wrote that blog about voting…”

Everything is not FINE

I lived a lot of years where nothing went wrong. It was quiet. Eerily quiet. And if anything did go wrong, I’m not sure it was talked about or even acknowledged. Everything was just sort of…fine. Or it would be fine. Or we could make it fine.
That’s what I was constantly striving for.
Fine.
In this new life of mine, things seem to not be fine.
A lot.
Things break (like legs), jobs go away, landlords are insane, surprise tax bills, oh hi the plumbing in your new house is terrible, your kid has ADHD, etc. I’ve been taking all this stuff one swing at a time. Like our new bathroom for example.
It’s beautiful.
The bathroom where the plumbing works and the colors are beautiful and everything is perfect. Only thing is, there’s no towel hooks. There’s a towel rack, but I don’t care for racks. I like hooks. I want to hang my towel, not fold and hang my towel. That’s too many steps. Bear and I bought towel hooks months ago and of all the house projects, that one has never been completed. I decided while he was out working until all hours of the night on a big new project, I would surprise him with a bathroom makeover! Simply remove the towel rack, position and hang the towel hooks, spackle and paint the old holes, and VIOLA!

I AM ON HGTV NOW.

I gathered all my little supplies and read directions and watched some Youtube videos and away I went. Flawless. Removed the towel rack. It just so happened that one of the places where the towel rack hung was a great location for a towel hook, and so I reused it. Perfect fit. I drilled holes for the other one, push in the anchors, and up went #2! Spackle and wait until morning to sand and paint the old holes. I’m literally the most capable woman alive.

SO capable in fact that I thought I would also move the toilet roll holder from one wall to the other. I never liked where it was placed and since I’d just proved my brilliance on the other wall, I moved on. It wasn’t even 8 o’clock yet and I’d nearly COMPLETELY redone a bathroom!!!

I chose the spot where I wanted the toilet roll holder to attach to the wall, drilled a hole and, VIOLA!

The wall exploded. 12810198_10154620996664829_857849371_o

I mean, it literally exploded around the screw! Out loud I muttered, “Oooooh boy.” I started prancing around the bathroom like, well, like a girl, searching for the “tool” that would help me fix this. I texted several friends and finally one answered.
“Just spackle it,” she said.
Just spackle it. Ok. I’ll spackle it.
12165066_10154620996944829_1492361348_oMind you, the other holes I’d spackled over were perfect little holes with no wall damage and already nearly flat. Spackling this was NOT as easy. (Also, I was using a butter knife.)

No matter. I got my trusty spackling paste and my handy butter knife and slopped it on there.

 

 

 

It looked great.

And by great I mean kinda like an art deco boob.

And by great I mean kinda like an art deco boob.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I let it dry, I sanded it, and then I painted it. And guess what?!?!

It was the wrong color paint.

I sanded it too much. And it was the wrong color paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
When I finally found the right color, the paint had separated so badly that I basically painted some water or oil or whatever onto the wall. So I decided to start the spackle process over again. Also I decided I picked the wrong day to stop drinking.

This is still a work in progress, but that brings me back to my original point. I learned a lot doing this stupid project. I learned about wall anchors, dry wall, spackle, sanding, paint separation…these are things I didn’t really know about. And I wouldn’t have learned most of that if the wall hadn’t been…well…not fine.
When things are not fine, I grow. I learn. It’s gotten to the point now that if everything is fine I’m uncomfortable, because it means there’s nothing to learn and I’m not growing at all. It means I could get complacent, and when I’m complacent, my only goal is to be…fine. Now that I’ve seen how far past fine life can go, I never want to settle for fine again. EVERYTHING IS NOT FINE! I want to break stuff and lose stuff and get surprised. I want to grow. I want life to be AWESOME!

Now if anyone is available, I really need a small bucket of Lowes Serenity Gray in flat…

Why I’m Going to Stop Drinking for a While

pT7rxRrecNo, I didn’t dance on a table or otherwise embarrass myself by over-drinking. Why would you think that? You obviously don’t know me at all…

During my divorce, I drank a lot. I didn’t really drink to get drunk. I drank because I needed something to take the edge of the indelible pain I was feeling watching my life ravaged by tiny, angry divorce monsters. All the spiritual, “together” people tell you to sit with the pain, sit with the anxiety, but I’ll be honest: I just couldn’t do it. On the days I didn’t have my son, I’d sit for 5 minutes and before I thought I was going to die. I’m not altogether proud of it, but martinis helped.
Since then, I have just been sort of “known” as someone who drinks. Not like, “Oh that girl can DRINK.” It’s just that a lot of people who met me during and after my divorce don’t know me any other way. It’s not that I didn’t drink before; I just didn’t drink as much. I might have only had one glass of wine a week with a fancy dinner, something that “paired well.” Whatever that means. (I’m not as fancy as I thought I was, either, but that’s a different blog.)

Recently, I’ve been fighting with some hormonal demons and some anxiety-provoking imps. I occasionally even have to control the residual mess that is my brain with medication because I actually start believing all the nonsense it tells me. So if someone else is drinking, I’ll join them. A glass of wine. A beer. A glass of scotch. It immediately chills my nerves and somehow reminds me that the things I was totally freaking out about are actually non-issues. They don’t even matter. One of the best feelings in the world is when your brain stops panicking and you can see clearly that your worst fears made absolutely no sense.

But then, that beer, that glass, it wears off. Alcohol is a depressant. So what I’ve noticed recently is that when it wears off, I’m suddenly back to being panicked…and often worse than I was before. Sometimes I’m panicked for literally no reason after a glass of wine and then I panic because I can’t figure out why I’m panicking. What’s there to panic about!? I DON’T KNOW!! LAUNDRY-PLANTS-HANGINGPICTURES-PAYTHEMORTGAGE-AHHH!!!!!

Yesterday I prayed about my anxiety this past year, especially these past few months. I don’t always get a clear-as-day answer from God. In fact, most of the time I don’t get anything. But last night, I got a clear-as-day answer. Stop drinking.

Now, I’m not an addict. I’m not addicted to anything. If you told me no more rare steak ever again, I’d be really sad, but I could do it. So when I got this message I was almost…offended. Stop drinking? I’m not even an alcoholic! I’m not going to argue when I get an answer so clear, but I’m going to be a little miffed that God thinks I have a drinking problem. (Isn’t it funny how our egos can turn a word into an entire explanation never even uttered?)

Later on it hit me. I don’t even care about drinking. I don’t really think about when my next glass of wine will be or if I get to enjoy a beer with the BBQ. And if I’m being honest, I actually kinda don’t want to drink. As I thought about it more, I realized…geez. I’ve been drinking mostly because other people do. Because I want other people to know I’m cool with drinking. Like, yeah. I drink. I can handle it. It’s fine.

But I can’t.

I can handle the control over the drinking, that’s never been the issue. (Well, there was that one time in college, but it was Halloween and everyone was doing it…) But I can no longer handle the effect it has on my body and my brain. I don’t like feeling groggy. I don’t like feeling anxious. And I don’t like feeling I have to have a drink to satiate OTHER people.

I told Bear I was going to stop drinking for a while, which of course he agreed to support by smacking anything alcoholic out of my hands. (He’s fun.) And I shared it with a few friends, but I decided like anything else: if I’m going to make the commitment, I’ll have to proclaim it publicly. I’ll keep you updated with how it feels to be in those social functions without a drink, and how much better (or not) my anxiety gets. I’m kind of looking forward to this little experiment and testing the limits of my ego at the same time.

Anything you can uncover about your egos to make a change?

Woe-is-Me

Oh, people. People, people, people. I have heard more woe-is-me in the past two weeks than I have in my entire life. (And that includes me.) I have been sick to death of all the things “happening” to me and “happening” to other people. I am a HUGE believer and proponent of the idea that things that go wrong are happening to show me a new direction. Just like pain in the body alerts you to something you should stop doing or pay attention to, pain in life is the same. It’s not the end. It’s a heads up. And if more people would look at it that way, even though it hurts, they wouldn’t have to feel so stuck in the pit.

While I was refocusing my thoughts from a woe-is-me to a “Let’s do this shit” mentality this morning, I just HAPPENED to listen to a podcast from Pastor Steven Furtick who tells it like it is and won’t mind that I used “shit” in my blog. He told the story about how it’s always at the pass, the transition, the change in life that you get knocked down. And it’s up to you to get up and keep shouting “I will” in the face of “No you won’t.”

Here’s what he shared about 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan’s fight against the Philistines, and I figure someone else needs, too.

“March 1 my fourth book came out, but it’s not my fourth book. It’s my 5th. The fourth one I wrote, I turned it in, and the publisher didn’t want it. You know what that feels like? No you don’t! I wanted to quit so bad. I wanted to send them back the advance check and say, “I don’t need your money!” I had to find another way. And I wrote 5 chapters of another book, And then that book got rejected, too. And there was a part of me that was saying, “I will. I will. I will…blow my brains out.” Come on, I’m being honest. People ask me about this passage. Tell us more about the cliffs, tell us more about the climb! Yeah…
I was sitting in my office thinking – do I send them a bomb? <laughter> You know, what do I do? Show me Lord, I want to know your will. I was just out and done. You know, sometimes you’re just out…
A few years ago I heard this theologian on youtube talking about me and he said my name and was asked, “What do you think of Steven Furtick?” And the theologian said one word: “Unqualified.” Ouch. That was a few years ago. As I sat in my office trying to write this book again, a book I didn’t know the title of or what I should write…it hit me. So, on March 1, I want you to know my fifth-fourth book is called Unqualified. So thank you for everything you brought against me, because it made a way for me.”

When something is brought against you and you cry out, “It isn’t fair,” I can assure you that you’re right. It is not fair. But it is for a reason. You don’t get to know the reasons. You just don’t! Not right this second! And if you would stop throwing a temper tantrum, you just might see the reason sooner. You just might move along and realize that had you stayed where you were, everything would have gone to hell. Stop blaming, stop pointing at others, and stop playing woe-is-me. (Did I mention I’m still talking to me, too?) Be annoyed or frustrated or sad, but keep moving. Drop the baggage and look around for what else there is to pick up.

When I Lose My $hit a Little Bit

124ac84a6a5e37083381b3f984427489For the past two years, I’ve watched my Bear work his butt off. He works 8-10 hours a day and then goes out at night to run cornhole tournaments (his personal passion). I’ve honestly never seen anyone with the work ethic he has.
So when I found out someone suggested he’s anything but the most ethical, honest, and hard working man I’ve ever met, I tend to lose my shit a little bit. The mere suggestion that he would lie or be anything but giving (you can’t outgive God, but this guy comes close) causes me to consider things that are illegal.

Of course, as usual, all that anger got me thinking. What is it that causes people to assume, make up stories, or share half-truths in the shadows? Why would ANYONE want to hurt someone else’s livelihood without first sitting down and having a human, grown-up conversation?

And the only thing I could come up with?
Fear.

Actions based in fear are the slippery slope; the beginning of the end for so many people. We fear we might not have enough and so we hang on too tightly. We fear we might not be enough and so we try to take someone else down. We fear we won’t be loved enough and so we love so hard it depletes everything we have.
The results of fear usually involve us ending up alone and wondering how we got there.
But the root of fear…that’s a different story altogether. Every shrink and scientist and wise old grandmother can give you a causal factor as to why fear is so physiologically ingrained in us. But here’s what I think: I think the human experience can be so vast, so awe-inspiring, so overwhelmingly, breathtakingly beautiful, that we begin to think it’s not possible we could mean anything. For Pete sake, God keeps the PLANETS spinning in perfect time. How could our one, single life make any difference at all? And if it doesn’t…then we are meaningless.
And that’s scary.
Instead of focusing on the root causes of fear, we can address them by going out and being positive, graceful, nurturing both to people and about people. Because if we don’t let the fear win and we love to our fullest potential of loving, we could find out that we are far more important than we ever knew possible. So necessary, in fact, that our vastness leaves our range of control.
And that’s even scarier.

One of my top 5 favorite quotes in the entire world is from Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Talking smack, even behind closed doors, EVEN IF YOU THINK IT’S TRUE, is playing small. We’ve all done it. I have. Sometimes it’s mean-spirited and sometimes it just feels good to have someone agree with you. No matter the motive or the excuses you give yourself about why it’s ok, it’s playing small. It’s the smallest version of you. You were made to be something better, to do something better, to say something better. You were made to grow.

So grow bigger.

Grow more forgiving.

And grow more graceful.

You’ll want someone to do that for you one day, too.