If Only...

24 February 2013

What if?

We often ask this question every day in regards to something that has been said or done at some point in out lives.
Maybe we ask it in regards to little things, such as "What if I had roomed with someone else Freshman year of college?" or maybe we ask it in regards to big things, such as "What if I hadn't yelled at & degraded my significant other?".
This question can take on many forms and it can range from extremely little things to extremely large, life altering things.
Sometimes we can find ourselves getting lost in our thoughts as we question "What if..." in regards to different aspects of our lives, whether we could have altered it or if our "What ifs..." are really what it would have been like.
We can become so consumed with trying to figure out what could have been if we did something differently, that we often times find ourselves unable to keep ourselves from making decisions that leave us with more "What if..." moments.

On a personal level, I ask myself "What if..." on a regular basis in regards to things that have happened.
What if I had chosen to go to bed early the other night?
What if I hadn't ordered pizza for supper two nights this week?
What if I hadn't reacted that way to his simple inquiry about how I was doing?
What if I would have stepped out of my comfort zone and asked what his intentions were?
What if I would have opened myself up to let him into my heart?
What if I did not have trust issues?
What if I had had a father who was active in my life?
What if I had had a father who was a positive presence in my life?
What if?
I could go on and on with this list, but I think this makes my point.
I ask myself these questions about multitudes of things on a daily basis.
As much as I hate to admit it, I often find myself dwelling on these "What ifs" and it ends up affecting my mood & my life.
It is not that it is always bad for me to wonder, but when I let that affect the way I live now...that's when there is a problem.
I cannot change what has happened and it can be damaging to me to dwell on those things.
God does not want me to dwell on those things.
He wants me to focus on my present so that I can try to limit the number of "What ifs" I have later on.

When we focus on our past and the "What ifs" that come along with that, we are likely to end up having "What ifs" about how our lives are going now because we were so worried about the past.
We need to seek God's help in accepting the past and working on doing our best to remove "What if" moments from life.
We will never be able to completely avoid "What if" moments, but we can do our best to limit them.
There is also a part of us as humans that feels the need to talk about these things with someone, but maybe we're afraid.
But as members of a Christian community, we always have people to talk to who will not judge us.
Seek out those people and ask them to talk with you and pray with you, even hold you accountable to handle things differently in similar situations in the future.
If you're not a part of a Christian (Church) family/community, then look for a friend who you feel you can trust or look for a church and get to know someone there and talk to them.
The family of God is our support system, whether Christians or not, and that does not just mean on the good days.
They are there on the bad days and through the tough times.
It is so much easier to go through these things with people by your side.
I encourage to find someone to talk to or to talk to God.
I also encourage you not to dwell on the "What ifs".
Do not let them control your life.
Put them behind you, put them in God's hands.
He has far greater things for you!!

***NOTE: My pastor has been doing a series on this topic at church on Sunday mornings and you can find recordings of these to listen to on our website... Journey Church

Are We Really Showing Love Like Jesus?

18 February 2013

     An anon that I follow on Twitter posted about a lesson that her youth pastor did on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. He had the teens read the verse and every time the word love came up they were to replace it with their name. He used this as a way to show them that we do not really love like Jesus. Out of curiosity, I want to take a closer look at this.

Here is the original passage:
     Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. -1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Here it is with my name inserted where the words love and it come up:
     Shelbi is patient, Shelbi is kind. Shelbi does not envy, Shelbi does not boast, Shelbi is not proud. Shelbi does not dishonor others, Shelbi is not self-seeking, Shelbi is not easily angered, Shelbi keeps no records of wrongs. Shelbi does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. Shelbi always protects, [Shelbi] always trusts, [Shelbi] always hopes, [Shelbi] always perseveres.

Take a moment if you wish, to read it with your name inserted or to write it down.

     Looking at things that way changes the whole meaning of what love is and how we show it to others. While reading that I realized just how many of those I am not good at, nor do I do on a regular basis. Yet we as Christians are supposed to love like Jesus loved. Jesus loved just like this, which means we should love this way as well. Yet how often do we pay attention to whether or not we are loving this way.

I know personally that I do not pay attention to whether or not I am doing these things.

     Patience. I am not patient all the time. Some times I just get tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, or any number of things, and any semblance of patience is lost. Now I may be able to stay patient for quite a long while, but eventually I get worn down and I grow impatient. God has definitely been working on me in regards to this matter over the last year or so. However, there are still times when I realize that I need to be more mindful of my patience. I may not always voice my impatience out loud, but a lot of times I may dwell on it in my mind, which is just as bad as talking about it out loud. I have to ask God to work on my patience on a daily basis.

     Kindness. This one can go hand in hand with patience. I am generally kind regardless of my patience, but some times I am not in a good mood or have had a bad day and I do not always treat or react to people in the kindest manner. I am working on this on a regular basis.

     Envy. Although this is something that many people do not want to talk about, at least not on a regular basis, it is something that is highly prevalent in our daily lives. Personally I know that I often do deal envy on a fairly regular basis. It may be about something something or it may be about something more serious and more personal. While what I am envious of may change and may not be of the greatest importance, but the fact that I am envious at all is a huge deal and something that I need to ask God to help me with  on a daily basis.

     Boasting. Some times it just feels good to tell people about what we did and how great we did at it. However, some times we take it a little too far and we talk about how much better we are than someone else or how much praise we got from someone in regards to something, or any number of things. While I do not do it often, I do find myself dealing with this every now and then.

     Proud. I do not even have to go into detail. This one is simple and straight forward and I deal with it often.

     Dishonoring Others. I also do  not think I need to go into detail on this one (at least not at this point), but I do have moments some times where it does happen, even if it is unintentional.

     Self-seeking. Although I may not like to admit it, I do half a lot of selfish tendencies. These tendencies are not beneficial for me or for anyone else I come into contact with. This is something that we are taught to think of as something that is not an issue, but as Christians we know that it is a very big issue. One that can wreak havoc in our lives and it keeps us from being able to show love in the way that we should.

     Easily Angered. Another one that I feel that I do not need to go into detail on. I definitely do need to work on not being so easily angered and I need to make sure that I ask God to help me in this area.

     No Records of Wrongs. I definitely do not go into this one. I need to make sure to ask God to help me to not hold grudges and dwell on them. It is not beneficial to me or anyone else.

     I could keep going but I do not want this post to be too long. I could most definitely go into far more detail with all of these things, which would ultimately make my point. We do not do as well as we should when it comes to how we love others like Jesus. We want to say that we are showing His love through numerous things, but are we really showing it in the way we act and in are attitudes? Do they reflect Jesus' love to those we come in contact with?

     I think that this is a good reminder for all of us to make sure that we are paying attention to ourselves and asking God to work on us in all of these areas. We will never be perfect here on Earth, but He can help to shape us towards being more like Him on a daily basis. With His help we have the ability to show His love to those around us in the best way possible. Looking at love in this manner is not natural for us, but I think it is something that we should be doing on a regular basis. It is really humbling when we do so.

We are to love like Jesus and I think this is a great way to evaluate whether we are or not.

Are you showing love like Jesus? Or do you need to work on somethings with the help of God?

Hitting A Little Too Close Too Home...

14 February 2013

Sometimes people unintentionally say things that just hit way too close to home for you.
And sometimes people ask you to share about things that have happened in your life.
Either way, they both end up bringing back memories and emotions you have tried to forget about.

Tonight was one of those situations.
It was youth group and I was asked to share about my mom's disorder and my parents divorce.
Neither one of those are light topics.
And they both are interconnected...unfortunately.
While I was asked to share because it was to help the teens understand the importance of the lesson...
...it did not make the memories and thoughts hurt any less.
It did not keep me from getting into even more of a funk than I was already in when I got there.

It just kind of added onto everything else that I was thinking about.
I know it was not the intention of the question being asked, but it happened.

This past week or so has just had me in quite a big funk.
So many things are up in the air right now.
We may finally be getting somewhere with Work Comp., but we do not want to look forward to it because it is highly likely that they will shut it down just as quickly as it was brought up.
Summer plans are completely up in the air at the present moment.
Wedding. I don't think I need to elaborate.
We are waiting to get the appeals process going in regards to custody.
I am thinking of possibly applying to study abroad for one of the semesters next year.
I have no prospects for a roommate for next school year.

I will not go into detail about most of that, but I just kind of want to hit on the last one.

Everyone had made plans about rooming together this coming year.
We lost one because she wants to live somewhere different than the rest of us.
So there are three of us left.
I had not had a chance to talk to anyone in quite a while about rooming situations.
I found out yesterday that the plans had been switched and I got completely left out of the equation.
So I went from thinking I had roommates to finding out that I have absolutely none.
I got left in the dust and did not even get told until way after the decision was made.
It kind of sucks finding out that your 'friends' up and changed rooming plans and did not even have the courtesy to tell you.
So now I am kind of just stuck in this spot where I feel like even has just left.
My 'friends' have just kind of pushed me aside as if i'm not important.
And I am not going to lie...it hurts a lot.
I am not quite sure how I am supposed to feel about it.
I am not sure how I am supposed to go about fixing the situation.
I feel stuck and I feel like i'm at a point again where I am losing my friends.
I do not like this point, but I always seem to hit it at somewhat regular intervals.
This is my life.

I could go into more details but I won't.
I can say that a lot of this comes down to the fact that I am a mess because of my past.
And it absolutely stinks.

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