Five Minute Friday-Together

Every Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is Together. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

Some things just go better…together:  milk and cookies, salt and pepper, macaroni and cheese, chips and dip.

When life happens we sometimes decide to hide within ourselves. We put our big girl panties on and face things alone.

Sounds noble…except alone can sometimes mean catching the train straight to Crazytown where our thoughts are all over the place and totally irrational.

Whether we would like to admit it or not, we need other people.  We need “Sistas” who will give us a hug after a hard day, meet a need, tell us when we are out of line AND remind us to go to our true source of power and resolution…GOD.

Life is simply done better...together.

Glow Party after

What I decided would be an eight week session three years ago, God transformed into a community of women of all different shapes, sizes, colors, ages and stages journeying through life together.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT

Who are the sistas is your life? Call one of them up today.

There is light and love in the sisterhood of community.

Negative Inside Chatter Unglued Chapter 10

Hello Divas and welcome to our continued walk through the book and bible study, Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst.   In chapter 10, Lysa talks about negative inside chatter.  When I read the title of the chapter, I knew this chapter was for me.  I am the QUEEN of MEAN in my head.  I talk to myself in ways that I would never allow someone else to talk to me.  My inner mean-girl is a bully! 

Image Source

It only takes an honest mistake, a quick comparison, or some criticism from someone else to push me over into a toxic thought wasteland.  A toxic thought wasteland is not a good place to be because it is so full of negativity and lies, there is no room for truth. 

I don’t know about y’all but when I get negative, an “unglued moment” is most likely on the horizon.  It is hard for me to see the good side of ANY situation when my inner mean girl starts yakking at me.  In the book, Lysa suggested that negative thoughts actually shift our endocrine system to focus on protection which limits our ability to think with wisdom or to develop healthy thoughts.    Wow.

In Philippians 4:6-8, the apostle Paul advised the following:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Switching my thoughts to something pure and lovely is hard for me in the moment.

Lysa gave three questions that we should ask ourselves when we feel negative self chatter begin:

1. Did someone actually say this or am I making assumptions about that they are thinking?  OOOH I need this.  I will read body language or a look and make it into an entire soap opera drama in my mind. 

2.  Am I actively immersing myself in truth?  Here is that truth word again! Often when I get negative, I also start awfullizing.  “This will NEVER get any better”.  I am going to be stuck on this job FOREVER”.  Test taking skills teach us, nothing is always, forever or NEVER.

3.  Are there situations or relationships that feed my insecurities? You just have to handle some folks with a long handle spoon.  It is just too exhausting to be their friend.

Being intentional about our thoughts helps us think clearly and be free enough to pour out love on other people.  Quieting negative inside chatter can also allow us the freedom to obey God’s call on our lives.  Ohhh weee.

How many of you have a dream that you know is ordained by God but you have not acted on it because you are:  too broke, too fat, too old, too young, not married, married, a mom……

Make sure to have chapters 9 & 10 read for our bible study discussion on this Saturday!

The Empty Woman-Unglued Bible Study Chapter 9

Hello Divas! We have been really learning some things about ourselves with this Unglued study haven’t we?  In chapter nine, Lysa talks about the elephant in the room…jealousy.

I don’t like to think of myself as a jealous person.  But honestly, it is hard to see other people get something that I really want but don’t have yet.  On one of my CRAZY weeks,  I had “work” to do at work that I really did not want to do. My nose started running, so I took Benadryl and had “medicine head”. I had been screaming and rushing around to get out of the door in the mornings and I had to start planning for a Zumba® event. (Y’all know all of that was a recipe for an UNGLUED MOMENT!)

Anywho, during the planning, I began to feel a pang of frustration. One of the other instructors helping with the event has her own fitness company. As I tried to complete the work I did not want to do at my regular job, my mind started to turn cart wheels. “Must be nice to do what you love ALL the time AND make tons of money”. “Why can’t I do what I love AND make money?” Then I really took a dive into the sea of green. I began to reflect on closing my party business and the dealing with the debt from doing what I was passionate about. Then, just looking at her email address made me very depressed.

The more I compared myself to the other instructor, the more lethargic and empty I felt.  Empty women come unglued.

Do you EVER compare your self to others?

In chapter nine, Lysa gave two simple action steps to deal with jealousy and comparing ourselves to others and I added a third:

1.  Focus on your own responsibilities and actions.

Galatians 6:4-5 (NIV)  Each one should test their own actions.  Then they can take pride in themselves alone without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. 

2.  Carry some love to others.  Find a way to be a blessing to someone else. When you change your focus away from yourself, all of a sudden your self-image improves. You get to experience the feeling of satisfaction that only comes when you’re a blessing to someone else.

3.  Have an attitude of gratitude.  An attitude of gratitude in all things helps bring joy to our lives.

How can you be a woman full of joy instead of an Empty woman this week?

Homework for this week’s bible study meeting–Chapters 9 & 10

 

United We Dance and Change the World

I truly believe every one in America needs to come to our class and learn how to be a community. Although no one wore their political preferences on their shirts for all to see, I am sure we had women who are Republican, Democrat, and all in between in class tonight.

I felt led to start tonight’s class with a prayer for our country. I prayed for unity, peace, wisdom for our leaders and reminder for us to submit to God’s will. Then we danced. We started off with Mary J. Blige’s Just Fine “So I like what see when I’m looking at me in the Mirror” OH YEAH!

We then removed our “Shackles So We Could Dance” with Mandisa’s Shackles.  I threw in a little cumbia, gnangam style, a killer salsa, a merengue, and a little reggaeton mixed with energy through the roof and we had a recipe for true community…embracing our differences with LOVE!

Women of both red and blue danced their hearts out tonight, TOGETHER. We  applauded the new job of one diva, listened intently about the upcoming wedding of an excited diva-bride-to-be, and asked about the health of the husband of another diva. Our lives are connected much deeper than politics.

We cooled down to Kirk Franklin’s “Smile” and that for me sealed the night with a Heavenly Hug. 

I love the line, “I know God is working so I smile”. 

God IS working!

I couldn’t help BUT smile at y’all tonight. I forgot that I put Proud Mary at the end just in case we had time. When it came on and y’all ran back onto the floor and danced an encore, it was just confirmation of the mighty work God is doing! The sheer joy on your faces was breath-taking!

Until we Dance again,

All about Perspective-Unglued Bible Study Chapter 8

Hello Divas! It is hard to believe that we are already on Chapter 8 of the book Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst. Prior to chapter eight, we have worked on identifying our “unglued” tendencies and learning how to properly process our emotions.  Chapter eight deals with the “glue” that holds identifying and properly processing together—PERSPECTIVE.

I found a definition of perspective that made my jaw drop:  The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance—WOW. 

In the book, Lysa shared a story about how her daughters used to argue over paper placements when they were out to dinner.  We all know how this goes, some one spills water or writes on the other’s placement and bam…whines, screams, and drama over a PAPER PLACEMAT! Seriously???

Cough, gag, ok …that example was VERY close to home for me.  But really, children tend to come unglued about very small things.  Have you ever watched a child melt over not getting something they really wanted or over another child not sharing?

What about us?  Do the things that cause us to come unglued DAILY really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Ok, lets say DO matter.  Can we find ANYTHING to be thankful for and then be gentle in our response?

At the beginning of chapter eight, Lysa stated: “Perspective calls forth a gentleness I can’t seem to find any other way”.  This is so true.  When you mentally grasp that things could really be MUCH worse and you have SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL for, you display a more gentle nature. 

Have you ever spoken to someone right when they return from a mission trip?  They get it!  Perhaps we need to seek out some serving activities like:  serving in a soup kitchen, going on a mission trip, or helping a family in need to help us gain some perspective.

The Key verse for the entire chapter was Philippians 4:4-5: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

In other words:

Find some reason to be thankful regardless of what is going on. Smile and don’t miss the chance to rejoice!  Gain some perspective over your situation then quiet and settle your mind so that you can respond to EVERYONE (not just the people who are nice to you) with gentleness (a sweet temper that is the result of joy in the LORD).

I think in all the times I have read Philippians 4:5, I totally missed the “The Lord is near” part. When we are able to gain some godly perspective, we realize that God IS near.  In fact, He has been here all the time! He has been making a way out of no way for eons.

Have chapters 7 & 8 read for our discussion on Saturday!

Blessings,

Unglued Bible Study- Procedure Manual

Hello Divas and welcome to our discussion on Chapter 7 of the book Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst.

In this chapter entitled, “I need a Procedure Manual”, we learn a policy, a mechanism, or a process to follow EVERY TIME we feel ourselves coming unglued. 

In the book, Lysa refers us to 2 Chronicles 20 to observe a man named Jehoshaphat who had an “Unglued Procedure Manual” . 

When the chapter begins, we find out that Jehoshaphat is about to be attacked:

2 Chronicles 20:1-2 (NKJV)…the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat.  Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea”….

Upon hearing that a huge army was coming to wage war against him, Jehoshaphat, like any of us given his situation, just might come Unglued.

But…..

 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 2 Chronicles 20:3– (NIV 1984)

Jehoshaphat felt alarmed, then he resolved to seek guidance from God.  In the book, Lysa challenges us to also be “resolved to remember who we are”.

 For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. 2 Chronicles 20:12

Jehoshaphat realized that he was not equipped to fight the battle. So, he kept his eyes on God.

…And God answered:

 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” 2 Chronicles 20:17

God told Jehoshaphat to keep his head up, go on do the hard thing and know that HE would be with him all the way.

 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.”  2 Chronicles 20:21

Jehoshaphat thanked God for what He did and for what He was going to do.

And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. 2 Chronicles 20:30
 
Jehoshaphat found peace by honoring God with his actions and reactions.
 
The following statement by Lysa made me stop in my tracks:  “My reactions determine my reach”.
 
Lysa ended the chapter by challenging us to use the example of Jehoshaphat to train our minds when we feel “unglued” coming on.  Here is my personalized Unglued Procedure Manual:
 
1.  Remember who I am.
2. Seek God’s Guidance
3. Allow God to fight the battle.
4.  Have an attitude of gratitude.

 How can you use Jehoshaphat’s example to personalize your own Procedure Manual?

Homework:  Read chapters 7 and 8

The Exploders-Unglued Bible Study Chapter 5

Welcome to our continued discussion on our Unglued Bible Study written by Lysa Terkeurst.  In chapter 4, we learned about the different ways we come unglued:  we either explode or stuff.  Chapter 5 is all about Exploders!

Perhaps it is just me but I tend to come COMPLETELY UNGLUED with my family.  As much as I love my girls and would take a bullet for them, those two can really push my buttons! The morning shuffle, homework, and picking up after themselves are our largest “mommy-comes-unglued” triggers.

When I say Mommy-comes-unglued.  I don’t mean, mommy gets a little upset.  I mean Mommy Goes Kray-Kray! Of course once I do that, I feel HORRIBLE and shame myself about being a bad mother.

Do ever explode and blame others and then later shame yourself?

I just love how Lysa describes emotions and relationships as being like nailing Jell-O to the wall–complicated and messy.

When things are complicated and messy it is hard to see God at work.  When we get in an exploding mind frame, Lysa challenges us to get quiet so that we can see what God is doing and then do what HEwants us to do.

To further explain the getting “quiet” concept Lysa referred to the following scriptures:

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Humbling myself means that I may NOT need to respond right away. Ooooh, not responding right away is HARD and sometimes makes me feel like a wimp.  But the Word promises that when we humble ourselves HE will lift us up in due time. Getting quiet doesn’t mean we don’t discuss our feelings, it just means that we talk to God about the unglued situation FIRST! (Ouch)

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

When we get quiet, we realize that the person or people who are getting on our nerves are NOT the enemy.  Satan is our enemy.

1Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

And that Divas is our promise.  God can use our conflicts for our good. 

Getting quiet before we explode gives perspective, identifies the REAL enemy, and as Lysa put it “frees us from the pressure to make everything turn out rosy”. WOW!

Dear God,

Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to learn about how to control my emotions YOUR way.  Lord, stretch my mind and my feelings so I can embrace people who “dance on my happy” with grace.  Remind me Oh Lord to get quiet and seek instructions from YOU BEFORE I explode.   You never said this life would be without troubles.  In fact, your Word says that WHEN troubles come they should be an opportunity for joy.  Help me live out my God-created identity and be a light to the world.

What can you say or do to remember to get quiet BEFORE you react this week?

The Homework for next week is to read Chapter 6.

Looking for more discussion on this bible study? Head on over to Melissa Taylor’s Blog

What Kind of Unglued am I?–Unglued Bible Study Chapter 4

Hello Divas!  Is is just me or are there just TONS of opportunities to come unglued these days?  We had a great discussion on last Saturday talking about the labels that other people place on us or that we place on ourselves.

I just love the way Lysa Terkerust (the author of our study) summed it all up:  “God doesn’t allow the unglued moments of our lives to happen so we’ll label ourselves and stay stuck.  He allows the unglued moments to make us aware of the chiseling that needs to be done.”  AMEN!

At the end of our time together, Lysa challenged us to practice pausing and whispering “Let God Chisel” before reacting to difficult situations.  How is that working out for you?

In chapter 4, Lysa discussed the ways we come unglued. We either 1) explode  by loudly or forcefully expressing our feelings or 2) stuff everything deep down inside and pretend to be “fine”.  Lysa went on to describe actual subcategories of exploding and stuffing.

The four categories of unglued reactions are:

  • Exploders who shame themselves (Yell first, feel horrible later)
  • Exploders who blame others (Yell and then blame the other person for your behavior)
  • Stuffers who build barriers (Say everything is fine but then get distant)
  • Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks ( Silent record keeping of every wrong doing only to be brought up later)

Call me crazy but depending on my audience, I can react in all of these ways.  Don’t let someone close to me like my husband or children dance on one of my nerves, I can explode and blame, stuff and build a barrier while collecting my retaliation rocks, and shame myself for it ALL  in record time.

The point is to have something Lysa calls “Soul Integrity”.  “Soul Integrity is honesty that is godly.  Soul Integrity brings balance to unglued situations.  It makes us true peacemakers–people who aren’t stuffing or exploding but rather honestly demonstrating what they are experiencing in a godly manner.

A passage in the book of James speaks about Soul Integrity:

James 3: 13-15, 17

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic….But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

How can you respond in ways that are: considerate, submissive, impartial, full of mercy and sincere this week?

Homework:  Read Chapters 4, 5 and 6 before our next study time together (October 20, 2012)

Coming Unglued is an Opportunity to Choose!

We had an ah-mazing bible study on Saturday! Sixteen beautiful women came together, studied God’s Word and shared about our own experiences with coming Unglued. One wonderful thought that has stuck with me from our last study is that when we feel ourselves coming unglued, our feelings are reminders or indicators that we need to choose whose side we are on. Are we all about ourselves and our comfort, or are we for God?

During our discussion on Saturday, we focused on Joshua 5:13-14(NLT).

When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?”

Just before becoming completely unglued about a work situation, bills, something that someone has done to us or an interruption in our schedules, we have an opportunity to choose God’s side by submitting to HIM right then. We can ask God what HE wants us to do BEFORE we do what we want to do in the moment.

When I come unglued, I fly into action to “fix” the situation. Stopping to choose a side is the last thing on my mind.  In the Unglued Participant’s Guide, Lysa gave us some action steps on how to “stay on God’s side”.

1.  Use Truth–What is REALLY true about the situation or person.  There are so many outside influences that sometimes getting a little truth about the matter is a really wise thing to do.  Remember, our perception may NOT be the reality.

2.  Use self-control.  I can only control KATINA! In Unglued situations, I often behave in ways to control the other person or the outcome: pouting, yelling, sulking, silent treatment, etc…)  As Lysa says, “Our feelings are indicators NOT dictators”.

3.  Use prayer–Pray for the person who is getting on your last nerve!  I think it is only natural to pray for the resolution of a situation that has us unglued. The only issue with that  is what if the situation does not resolve?

In addition to praying for resolution, I think we should also pray to be able to see God at work in our situation.  Andy Stanley brought out this point in his sermon on The Five Things That Grow Your Faith (Pivotal Circumstances):

Often times, what shapes our response to these pivotal circumstances (Unglued moments) is the support that we have around us during these experiences. Is there a community? . . . Are there providential relationships? . . . that help us frame these circumstances in a way for us to see that God is not doing something to us, but is doing something in us and through us.”

Divas, I believe that we are that community of support for each other.  I can’t wait to learn more about our imperfect progress in resisting becoming Unglued!

Need info about our Unglued bible Study?  Go HERE

Homework for this week:

1. Complete the session 1 worksheets in the participants guide.

2.  Read chapters 1 and 2 before our next study ( 10/6/12).

3  If you do NOT have the participants guide:

Read John 8:10-11–Write down your thoughts.

Think about any changes that you would like to experience in dealing with your “unglued moments” and make some goals for your new normal. (Write them down!)

Here is one of my goals:

I would like for it to be normal for me to speak softly when my children get on my nerves.  (Remember, Imperfect Progress!)

Five Minute Friday-Graceful

Five Minute FridayEvery Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and then write until the timer goes off.  The word for today is Graceful.  Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

When I tell people  I am a dance fitness instructor, they quickly inform me that they think our class MIGHT be fun but they:  can’t dance, don’t have any rhythm, and are too clumsy to join us.  My answer to them:  being graceful or even being able to dance is NOT a requirement.  All that is required is an open mind and the ability to laugh at yourself!

One of the reasons we start class with everyone finding a neighbor and looking them in the eyes and informing them “No matter how hard you try, you cannot look like me”, is to release the fear of having to perform every step perfectly and full of grace.

As we salsa through the dance of life, we have moments of graceful footwork.  Sometimes, we are tripping over every thing in our path.  Other times,  like Paula Abdul, we are awkwardly taking two steps forward and two steps back. 

The great joy is that God is Always with us. 

image source: God’s Gracefulness

Join us tomorrow, September 8, 2012 for Soulful Saturday 9:30-11am!  Start your weekend with inspiration, sweat, girl-time, stress relief and FUN! Need more info click HERE