2018 Week 13: Reflect

download

Week 13’s Task of 50 Weeks to a Lighter More Loving You is to REFLECT.

This simple and a bit unusual task is to REFLECT about how you want to REFLECT!

WHAT??!!!    🙂

This week pick a day and COVER ALL YOUR MIRRORS!

Before you go to bed on the eve of “no mirror day”, cover any mirror you typically use with a towel, sheet, or blanket.

For ONE DAY, do not use a mirror to fix your hair, apply makeup, examine your skin, see how your clothes fit, or criticize your reflection in any way!  

Believe it or not, this exercise can make you feel really good!

You can still do your hair and makeup…or not…just don’t use a mirror!

I’d love to give this exercise to you for a week, but if you go ONE DAY, I’ll be cheering loud for you!


For a week I stayed at a place where there were no mirrors. This was not on purpose!  At first I was quite anxious….worrying about my hair and all.

It made me realize how much I rely on a mirror to tell me “I’m Okay!”   UGH!

This really got my REFLECTIVE juices going.

What is this anxiety all about?

And I started thinking what is it I really want to REFLECT if I can’t see it from my outward garb of clothes, hair and makeup?

By the third day, I’d given up all makeup, wore what made me comfortable, and let my hair be!  I was happy to just be me…whatever that looked like!  I enjoyed it!

So this week, pick a day, cover those mirrors, and REFLECT!

Feel free to share below how this went!

Encouraging You to a Whole JUST YOU REFLECTED Heart,
Barbara

cropped-011114_2043_selfcompass1

CHECK IN for Week 11: Do the Wave

images

Your task for Week 11 of 50 Weeks to a Lighter More Loving You was to do the WAVE…to wave at anyone and everyone, whether you knew them or not, while you were driving or out and about.

Have you had your wave day…or a few?  What is about this exercise that makes you a Lighter More Loving You?


FIRST….CONNECTION!

Connections are one characteristic of people who have “long and happy lives.”  The quality and sense of security in those relations are the other two factors.

SECOND…ACKNOWLEDGING!

How often do we go about out days and see people, but not really SEE THEM!

I dare say I’ve walked, drove, and rushed by thousands of people with barely a notice.  I’ve sat next to people on a plane that I said no word to.  This is not hard for an introvert like myself.  The plane rides where I talked to my neighbor or consciously smiled at people as they passed to their seats, where definitely more fun and interesting.  WHY? Because I was in the moment, mindful, connecting, and acknowledging others.

It makes your heart feel great when you notice and acknowledge others.  You are present, engaged in the now, and connecting.

It makes others feel great too!

Feel free to share a WAVE Story or how someone acknowledging you made your day.

Keep Calm and Wave On to a Whole Heart,

Barbara

cropped-011114_2043_selfcompass1

 

WHO ARE YOU Part 5: A Taste of WHOOP—Whole Heartedly Opening Our Purpose

download (5)The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.  –Carl Jung

 10 “This & That’s” of the HEART of WHO YOU ARE

During one particular season in my life, I took lots of family photos. I was diligent about making scrapbook photo albums for each year.   I created pages and pages about the activities and events in our family’s life.  But inevitably, I would have single, random photos that didn’t go with an event, yet still had something to say.  I couldn’t leave them out, but there was no obvious place to put them.  Finally, I made a page called “This & That” so these precious pictures would have their spot.

This is how I see this final blog on WHO YOU ARE: here are important, precious, random quotes, musings, and thoughts that didn’t make the pages of the previous posts.  May they be a reminder of what was previously said and take you further in discovering your HEART and WHO YOU ARE.


1.  Remember there are two parts to who you are: Human and Spiritual.  Richard Rohr said this in one of his daily devotions.  Something to think about:

Catherine of Siena in her Dialogues pictures the spiritual life as a large tree:

  • The trunk of the tree is love (God).
  • The core of the tree, that middle part that must be alive for the rest of the tree to be alive, is patience.
  • The roots of the tree are self-knowledge.
  • The many branches, reaching out into the air, are discernment.

In other words, says Catherine, love does not happen without patience, self-knowledge, and discernment.  Today we have little encouragement toward honest self-knowledge or training in spiritual discernment from our churches. We prefer the seeming clarity of black-and-white laws. By nature, most of us are not very patient. All of which means love is not going to be very common. We need St. Catherine’s tree again.


2.  Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. –Aristotle

Self Knowledge–understanding who we are, taking a really good look at what we are doing and how we are being–is important.   One of the defining characteristics of being human is our ability to be conscious—to be aware, to be mindful.  Therefore, being conscious of our self is vitally important to become who we truly are.  The most difficult phase of life is not when no one understands you; It is when you don’t understand yourself.   –unknown


3.  Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.  –Howard Thurman

I didn’t get into this too much in the past posts, but another aspect of WHO YOU ARE is what brings you alive.   The things that you love to do.  The things that you get lost in.  The things that make you feel icredibly joy-filled.  The things that stir your heart to action and accomplishment.   These are your passions and determine your PURPOSE.  And they have been given to you for a reason.  Each of us has been given gifts, talents, activities or causes that we have a desire to do. You were made to do those thing and to do those things in a way no one else would.   Here are some ways to figure some of those out:

    • In the 4 part series on Journaling, I gave an exercise that helps you define your passions. Go to the past posts on JOURNALING and do the fill in the blank exercise: When my life is idea I will be or have ______.  The exercise has several steps and they are highlighted in Part 2, 3 and 4 of the journaling posts.
    • Take a spiritual gift assessment test:  Discover Your Spiritual Gifts
    • Journal your answers these questions:
      • What do others compliment you most on?
      • What are your talents?
      • What are you trained in?
      • What experiences have you had in your life that have shaped who you are?
      • What do you love to do that you can’t wait to do?
      • What activity do you love to do that you loose track of time doing?
      • What matters to you?
      • What is worth doing, even if you fail?
      • What were you doing when you had times of great joy, bliss, honest contentment or fulfillment?
      • What things are you really good at?
      • What is the crazy thing you’ve always wanted to do?
      • If you had a whole day to yourself and all your obligations have been taken care of, what would you do?
      • Fill in the blank with as many things as come to mind: Meaningful work to me is __________.

4.  Your TRUE SELF is really spiritual.

When all else fades away in our life—titles, roles, status—what we are left with is our TRUE SPIRIT SELF. From the biblical perspective, here are a few things the bible says about WHO WE ARE:

      • we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:4)
      • we were created in the likeness of God (Gen 1:27; Gen 5:1),
      • God is love and created us out of love (1 John 4:8),
      • He made us for a purpose (Prov 16:4)
      • He can work all things for His good purpose (Rom 8:28)
      • God is perfect (2 Sam 22:31; Rom 12:2) thus is incapable of making mistakes
      • we are living in fallen world due to selfishness/sin (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 5:10) but
      • we can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13).

Here is what we can conclude about WHO WE ARE spiritually from above:

      • there is no mistakes in how you are made
      • the core of who you are is God-like and capable of perfection (don’t think in worldly ways here)
      • you are deeply loved and capable of this also
      • all the experiences you’ve had and will have in life, God can make for good and for a good purpose
      • you are the perfect person for your purpose and God is making that so
      • you can be all that you were created to be with God’s help

5.  I acknowledge and do not deny that you love me before I existed, and that you love me unspeakably much, as one gone mad over your creature. — Saint Catherine of Siena            

God is crazy-mad in love with us.  Are you crazy in love with God? Are you crazy in love with you?  Are you crazy in love with others?  Do you believe you are capable of this?  If we allow God’s love to reflect through us, we can be crazy lovers…even back to our self which is so vital to being who you truly are.


6.  Love transforms one into what one loves. We looked at this quote in a previous post.  Here is another thought  on this quote:

If we transform into what we love, then who are we becoming?   What do you love?  If it is anything other than God than you probably won’t become WHO YOU ARE as the crazy loving being that God intended you to be. We are meant to love. But very easily, we can end up loving the wrong things.   Idols, for example, are things that can take our love from God.  They come in many forms–money, work, our body, a person, drugs, alcohol, porn, food.  When we use these things to define our identity, for fulfillment, or to meet our need for love, acceptance, significance or belonging, we create an idol.   Our God-given gifts (talents and strengths) and passions (activities you get lost in or make your spirit soar) can also become idols.  Be ever mindful.  As long as what you love is an extension of love and NOT a source for love, then wholeheartedly pursue it.


7.  Now how can those who do not know their own sinfulness recognize and correct it in others? They are neither able nor willing to go against themselves. –St. Catherine  

WRECKED has recently become a popular slang word.  People say, “she wrecked me,” or “that movie wrecked me.”  What they are talking about is the mind blowing, perception changing, overwhelming positive or negative effect that something had over them.  The dictionary definition of the word is to ruin, damage, or destroy.

Be brave and let God’s love WRECK YOU—in both definitions!   Be willing to ‘go against yourself’ and see how you are being due to thoughts and lies you believe about WHO YOU ARE.  Who are you trying to be?  How are you protecting yourself and your image?  What unloving behaviors are you engaging in out of fear?  Recognizing and owning our unloving ways is painful.  But if we allow this self awareness, we can destroy the image that is trying to make us something we are not.   God’s love also can wreck us because it is mind blowing, a perception changer, and can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on us.  I dare say that most of us are still wrestling with (1) how can God love us when we are so unloving and sinful, and (2) trying to grasp God’s love through the story of Jesus and his resurrection.  Both of those have no shortage of mind blowing, life changing power. If we allow ourselves to receive God’s love it will destroy AND repair us.  Dying to self and becoming a new creation happen when we allow God to wreck us.    Only the descent into the hell of self-knowledge can pave the way to godliness.  –Immanuel Kant


8.  In Self Love, there is always the danger of self hate. In self hate, there is always the possibility of self love.”  –Tina Ng  

Only in attempting great love for others, God or our self can we see our failings—how unloving we can be.    However, it is in these moments when we have the opportunity to love the most.  How ironic!  Our tendency is to go into denial, justify our behavior, blame others, berate our self, give up, or fall into despair and self pity.  If we can, in those moments, love our selves we honor WHO WE ARE.  Oswald Chamber says when we realize or receive conviction about our unloving ways (or someone else’s), it is God’s call to intercession, never faultfinding.  Intercession has no judgment, ridicule and criticism in it; instead it is characterized by acceptance and compassion.  If you spent as much time loving yourself as you do at running from or hating yourself, who do you think you’d be or become?


9.  Sometimes I pretend to be normal, but it gets boring, so I go back to being me. –Unknown

This makes me chuckle because what is ‘normal’?   We allow many things (family, society, friends, church, etc) to tell us what is normal, and, if we don’t live up to that, we pretend.   We can end up living a false, unauthentic version of WHO WE ARE.   This is hurtful to our self, God, and others!  We are meant to be exactly who and what we are in our glorious, precious, messiness!  Loving your self is JUST BEING YOU! When you get to heaven God will not judge you for not being like your ultimate mentor or spiritual hero, God may judge you for not being YOU! Loving myself is bringing every part of myself out into the light to be seen and accepted…by me! –unknown


10. Lastly, I want to share an inspiring music video to end this blog series! Don’t let other people’s words or your circumstances define who you are.

cropped-011114_2043_selfcompass1.jpgENCOURAGING YOUR WHOLE HEARETEDNESS:

I’d love to hear your heart.  Leave a comment or share a thought on what you’ve discovered about WHO YOU ARE.

WHO ARE YOU Part 3: A Taste of WHOOP—Whole Heartedly Opening Our Purpose

images (4)Love didn’t hurt you. –Tony Gaskins


If we look at experiences that have caused us heartache and gut wrenching pain, through feelings of rejection, abandonment or grief, we would logically conclude that LOVE HURTS.  Ask anyone who is in a recent break up, a divorce, a betrayal or a loss and they will tell you love hurts.  I googled “love hurts”.  The images that accompanied that search were painful to look through.  I can relate with the pain in the images from my own past breakups, betrayals, and losses.  It hurts to lose what was or what could have been.  Love certainly seems to hurt.


“Love didn’t hurt you.  Someone who doesn’t know how to love hurt you, and you confused the two.”   –quote by Tony Gaskins posted on Facebook

This is so true.  I have hurt others because I didn’t know how to love.  Others have hurt me because they didn’t know how to love.  In small ways it might have looked like being late, assuming instead of asking, being forgetful or not returning a text.  In large ways it may have looked like breaking a promise, refusing to apologize, lying, holding a grudge or feeling justified to not extend my love.  It’s true, not knowing how to love or be loved hurts.

Reading a few comments to Tony’s post, this one caught my eye, “It seems there are lot of people out there who don’t know how to love.”   In His calm small voice I heard God whisper to me, “It breaks my heart that people are hurting others and themselves because they don’t know how to love.  They are not understanding or believing WHO THEY ARE.”  I’ m certain there would be a lot more of us loving and living whole heartedly if we understood and believed who we are!

Are we hurting other humans because we believe big fat lies that love hurts and that WHO WE ARE is something other than what God says we are?


images (1)God is love. (1 John 4:8)

If love hurts and God is love, does God hurt?  Looking at the Old Testament in the bible we could certainly find cases where it appears God acts in unloving ways and thus love hurts.  It appears that He is some kind of punisher waiting for us to break His law only to hurt us for doing so.   If we believe love hurts or that God hurts, how could one ever love and trust God?    But we have to read the whole book!   The bible is a giant love story to us from God.  Here are a couple points from this love story:

  • Jesus came and died to reconnect us with God. What do unloving behaviors do that cause us pain? They push others away.  They detach us from another.  They are rejecting.   God sent His one and only beloved son to die to reconnect us to Him.   That is not hurt, that is intimacy.  Any time we connect with another, especially deeply, that is intimacy.  This kind of love connection is what most of us are seeking and longing.
  • Jesus died to save us from sin. What is sin? Sin is anytime we act on our own out of fear, lack of trust, or selfishness which often hurt others.   Most unloving behaviors come from fear.   The opposite of love is not hate it is fear.   When we fear we don’t trust.  When we don’t trust, we act on our own to protect ourselves.  Many, if not most of those behaviors, are unloving which disconnects us from others and God.   God sent his only son to die for our sins, for our disconnecting ways!  He did it so we would have abilities to connect and have loving relationships with Him and others.
  • Jesus loved and trusted God yet was rejected, scorned and hung on a cross. How could that be love?  Because 3 days later God raised him from death into the living Christ.  Jesus’ death and resurrection is a great metaphor that love transforms. Love brings life. Love can heal even dead things in our life.
  • In addition, the whole process of God sending and giving us His son to cleanse us of sin and reconnect us with Him, brought us the Holy Spirit. God’s love, while seemingly hurtful to Jesus, showed love most of us will never know, transformed Jesus into a healing, life giving love, and endowed us with even more connection with God through the Holy Spirit.

Everything that God did before Jesus came seems to be God’s way of helping us see how disconnected, unloving, fearful and untrusting of God we are, so that when He brought about this intimate, saving, transforming union, we might understand how much He LOVES US.  Knowing WHO YOU ARE is knowing who God is.   God is a heaping, huge, still trying to take it all in, hunk of love!  Which means so are we.


images (3)The bible says we are in God and God is in us.

We are in love and love is in us.   If we believe love hurts what does that say about us?  Are we just a bunch of hurting and hurtful people?   YES, but not because of love, but because we don’t know how to love and we are not understanding and believing who we are and what we are capable of…and that hurts.

What we believe we will live out.   If we believe love hurts or that God is hurtful, we will bring forth our natural human instinct to protect ourselves.   This natural instinct can be reinforced and heightened by the environment we grew up in and experiences we’ve had. In human form if we believe love hurts we’ll become untrusting and guard ourselves against others.   Spiritually, if we believe God Hurts, we will not trust God and we won’t believe that everything He is doing is for a good purpose or that He has a good purpose for us.  Everything that goes wrong or is painful in our life, we will think that God is punishing us or teaching us a harsh lesson. In addition we inflict pain upon ourself, to escape the hurt of feeling unloved and unworthy by others, God or our self.

Here is a list of what may happen when we believe love hurts or God hurts.  This is not an exhaustive list. All of these are out of fear and protection:

  1. We will trust only our self and not God or anyone else.
  2. We will push others away with unloving behavior avoiding connection.
  3. We will deny, avoid, or refuse to acknowledge that we need help or others.
  4. We will also deny, avoid and refuse transformation and connection with God.
  5. We will be selfish, defensive, lie, justify, judge, blame, shame, envy, criticize, retaliate, and compare.
  6. We will be ungrateful, jealous, angry, and unhappy.
  7. We will be suspicious and dismissing.
  8. We will live from a place of lack being greedy and gluttonous.
  9. We will be confused, lack passion, lack direction, and lack motivation.
  10. We will seclude and alienate our self from others.
  11. We will be anxious, depressed, and/or have suicidal thoughts.
  12. We will create idols. Idols are anything we put in God’s place to meet our need for love, acceptance, affection, and worthiness.  Just to name a few, they can be a relationship, marriage, spouse, money, food, things, fame, sex, or recognition.
  13. We may form addictions or even mental illnesses (anorexia, cutting, delusions, and phobias come to mind) to either escape fear and pain or inflict more fear and pain over our unloving feelings towards our self, God, or life.   (Not that all mental illnesses are formed by fear and the belief that love or God hurts, but well rounded treatment would include taking a look at one’s spiritual life.)

Since self-knowledge is one key to knowing WHO YOU ARE and living a whole hearted life, consider these questions:

  1. Who do you believe God is? Do you believe 100% that He is ALWAYS loving and working for good or are there times when you think the hard experiences that have come your way are a punishment or harsh lesson from God?
  2. Do you believe love casts out fear? When have you experienced that?
  3. Do you believe love can be transformative? What experience have you had to know this is true?
  4. What ways are you living out the belief that love hurts? What self protective behaviors do you engage in? When? With who? (Be brave and honest:  look at the list above again and see if any of those self protective behaviors are active in your life, even in your mind.)
  5. How do you treat yourself? Do you love yourself?

I’ll admit, I didn’t need a book to list the above consequences of believing that love hurts or that God hurts.  I’ve performed most of those fear based, protective behaviors outwardly and, if not outwardly, definitely in my mind.  Only if we were loved completely as we needed by everyone we know and have known, would we escape the consequences of protective fear.  We all have exhibited or acted upon those unloving behaviors in some form or fashion for very good reasons.  Don’t berate yourself if you identify with some of the behaviors on the list.  It is not pleasant to become mindful of our unloving ways but it is essential to living a whole hearted life. If you are seriously asking yourself question number 4, I know it will not be fun or easy.   Let me give you some hope.

First, we are created in the likeness of God. (Gen 1:27; Gen 5:1), which means we are love and we are capable of great love for others, God, and our self.   We are not naturally hurtful, unloving people.  We are very much God-Like! We may have a natural instinct to protect our self, but who you are as a God created, loving being can become more of your “doing” and “being” with awareness and practice.   Look at these quotes and let them sink in:

  • We are most ourselves when we love; we are most the people of God when we love. To love we need to realize our unique identity as the people of God who love. (from the introduction to The Message Bible)
  • We are love and we are made for love, and our natural abiding place is love. (Richard Rohr)

Second, sometimes I like to take GOD and LOVE and substitute them for each other when I come across a saying or scripture I like.  Sometimes it gives me more clarity and truth about who God is.  If you recall from last week’s post, knowing God is imperative to knowing and understanding WHO YOU ARE.   It doesn’t always work perfectly, but it can be enlightening.
For example:

  • We are GOD and we are made for GOD, and our nature abiding place is GOD.  (True!)
  • GOD didn’t hurt you.  Someone who doesn’t know how to GOD hurt you, and you confused the two.  (I love it that GOD became a verb, an action word.  It’s like saying, “I’m GODing today!”  Gosh, what would that look like?)

Lastly, love does cast out all fear. Love does transform.  Next week I’m going to talk about how that works in a very practical way.  I’ll talk about how to bring your spiritual loving being into your human living.  Stay tuned!


cropped-011414_2007_selfcompass11.jpgEncouraging Your Whole Heartedness:

I’d love to hear your heart.  Leave a comment or share one way you are going to “GOD” this week!