Tuesday, September 16, 2014

On a day like this...

"On a day like this...
clap, clap,
On a day like this...
clap, clap
On a day like this..
I need the Lord to help me..."

This goofy camp song sums up my day today.
It's a song where you add goofy sound effects each round and end with a a good ole' soulful lyric,
"I need the Lord to help me"

Multiple times today, I felt like another goofy sound effect was coming my way.
Things were just not going right.
It seemed to me that the world might be falling apart.
A few times I reached to the hair on my head, ready to pull it out  [but thankfully, I settled with just gripping the strands as to grip a stress ball].
Even a couple times, my frustration made me say a couple choice words to myself [just being real].
Things like...
losing a well thought out email that was ready to send [and of course, did not automatically save]..
dropping my already prepared lunch on the floor,
hearing sad news about a friend, 
stubbing my toe,
receiving zero phone calls for a job I so desperately want,
running out of toilet paper,
 waiting 30 minutes for water to boil but realizing that the stove top wasn't even working...
[and a bunch more silly things]
left me finishing my day off with a couple rounds of...

"On a day like this
clap, clap, snap, snap, boing, boing, woo, woo, bam, bam
On a day like this
clap, clap, snap, snap, boing, boing, woo, woo, bam, bam
ON a day like this
I need the Lord to help me."

My frustration meter was off the charts and an island far, far away from here was calling my name.
Today felt like a chain reaction of Dominoes and the end seemed no where in sight.
It left me downright discouraged and exhausted, looking up to the sky saying, "Seriously?!"
Do you ever have days like this?! 
Was today that day for you?!

As I look at the clock in front of me, 8:21 pm never looked so good.
At the same time, I feel terrible for whining about "this terrible, horrible, no good, rotten day" [side note- I actually found out that they made a movie based on the book, 'Alexander and the Terrible, 
Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day' & it's coming out soon!]
Things could've been worse...way worse.
A lot of today's mishaps were just silly [yet frustrating still] and sure, a few things were legitimately discouraging, but my perspective was "OH my gosh, this day is NEVER going to end!"

Maybe I need to work on just laughing at those silly things more, instead of kicking and screaming.
Maybe I need to say to myself "Woosaww" like in the movie, Anger Management.
Better yet, as I sit here at the end of this pooey day, all I can think is...
"Thank you Jesus, that your mercies are new each day". 

That's a beautiful truth, because through all of my silly, frustrating events today, I kept feeling worse because of the way I was reacting to everything!
Knowing that Jesus extends His grace and mercy to me each and everyday lightens my load a TON.
Knowing that I can wake up tomorrow morning refreshed and renewed, makes tomorrow EVEN better since this "no good day" will be in the past!

We're going to have days when things don't go our way.
We can be reminded that life goes on even if the toast burns, or we don't receive a phone call with a job offer, or the printer jams.
On days like these we should actively remind ourselves of Lamentations 3:22-23-
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”

Perhaps we get so wrapped up in all the mess, that we can't even think of that truth...[because today it clearly took me awhile to remember] 
at least we can go to bed saying, "Thank you God that your mercies are new each day and I can start over-give me strength for tomorrow!"
Maybe even tomorrow morning, before our feet hit the ground, we can remind ourselves,
"Your mercies are new each day!" 
Perhaps we'd go throughout the day with a tad bit different perspective...
a better perspective.

There you have it folks, Jesus just spoke to me through my own blog...
I hope it spoke to you, too.  

Dear God, thank you for speaking to me. Thank you for extending Your grace to me each and everyday. Thank you for my husband, family and friends that extend your compassion to me, making my load a tad bit lighter. 
Help us all to remember the love, hope, and mercy you have for us and may we rest in it daily even during our difficult days.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Great resources to open our minds!

My last post, Whose side are you on?, posed a challenge for us all...
Personalize, instead of generalize.
In order to do that, I suggested we explore different people, different religions, and different cultures.
Not to change ourselves but to change the way we think about God's children.

I figured I would offer some suggestions and resources to help you get started!

Our America with Lisa Ling - TV show that follows journalist, Lisa Ling, as she explores many different topics such as the foster care system, teenage pregnancy, gun violence, child abuse, racism, transgender lives and many more. She gets all sides of the topic and really shows us the reality of all of these. 
I LOVE this show because it opens my eyes to things that I usually generalize, but now can personalize.

Arranged - A movie that follows the friendship of an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman. This is such a good movie!!!

For the Bible Tells Me So -Documentary that explores how homosexuality and religion often intersect due to certain interpretations, which can cause stigma.
This simply offers another way of thinking.

Saint of 9/11 - Documentary that shares the life of Father Mychal Judge, a fire department chaplain in NYC.
Chely Wright: Wish Me Away - "This documentary profiles country music star Chely Wright, a devout Christian who struggled to succeed in the business while hiding her homosexuality." What a story!

Under Our Skin - A documentary about the Lyme Disease epidemic and the many controversies that go with it.
This is such a well-done documentary that really captures the pain that Lyme Disease causes. I cried my eyes out the first couple times of watching it, because I felt like I wasn't alone finally.


Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne - This book (except for the Bible) was the first book to really challenge me. It follows Shane's journey as he wrestles with poverty, suffering, homelessness, and much more. This is a must read!!

Torn by Justin Lee - If you've ever wondered about the gay debate in church, this is a great starting point. It offers a personal story of a man who struggles with his sexuality in the church and his desire to know the truth.

Strangers at My Door: A True Story of Finding Jesus in Unexpected Guests by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove - This is a neat compilation of stories about a hospitality house for all. It's an enjoyable, heart wrenching, easy read.

Unfair by John Shore - This book is a compilation of letters from people who have struggled with their sexuality. This is definitely an eye opener. I'm not finished reading this book yet, but every chapter offers a new perspective.

Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet by Karen Armstrong - This book (although I haven't finished yet) offers an in-depth historical and cultural perspective of Muhammad and the Muslim faith. Great insight & unique facts that I've never heard before!

Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said? by Shane Claiborne & Tony Campolo - I love this book because it covers an array of controversial subjects and challenges us to really think about what Jesus would think/do. Very challenging, but easy read!

I hope you will check out these awesome books/documentaries! Before I was introduced to these, it was hard for me to understand and empathize with these certain topics, because for so long they were generalized. Now they are "personalized".
I went to a Compassionate Communication workshop with my sister awhile back and we did an exercise that really struck me. We were to walk around the room silently and every 30 seconds we would stop in front of a person and look them in the eyes. The instructor would say phrases like, "Realize that the person in front of you has a heart" or "Realize that this person has undergone trials and suffering just like you". It may sound strange but it proved the point that we all have emotions and a story. It reinforced the truth that ALL people deserve respect, dignity, compassion and kindness, despite our beliefs.

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