Planted By God to Display His Glory -Isaiah 61:3

Archive for September, 2011

Everybody is a Genius

Everybody is a Genius

It’s true.

It has to be because one of the smartest people to ever live said so—Albert Einstein.

It takes a genius to know a genius right? And he says you and I are geniuses.

(Don’t choke on your Diet Coke, it will burn your nose.)

Do you believe it? Do you believe you are a genius?

If not, according to crazy haired Mr. Einstein, there could only be one reason:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Let that one hit you between the eyes for a few minutes…

<pause here for a “30 seconds with God” commercial>

Now print it out on a piece of paper along with this from the world’s greatest genius:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

And post them both where you can read them every day.

Until you believe the words are true.

Which leads me to my prayer for this week:

May you and I be set free to become who we were created to be—geniuses. Living in the truth and able to believe we can be all that God created us to be!

Amen!

And by the way, don’t forget to tell your husband, friends, co-workers, children, neighbors, and strangers-in-the-checkout-line that they are geniuses too!

~ Linda   🙂

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

Joy Floats

It’s Five minute Friday time! The rules: write for 5 minutes, no editing, no backtracking, no over thinking…

Here’s my 5 minutes on the topic: Joy

Joy

Joy is a red balloon floating into a deep blue sky. Far above the noise and clutter and confusion of earth.

Joy floats. It’s free and I wonder sometimes where the helium of joy can be found in this earth-bound life.

But then I breathe. And the very breath of life is inhaled deep into my being from the source of life. And joy takes flight again.

I float above life. I touch the sky and laugh till it hurts. Tickled by the freedom of the reality of it.

Joy floats, and I soar with it and upon the breath of it.

And live beyond myself.

Time’s up! Join in the fun and write your own five minutes on JOY. Click on the link to The Gypsy Mama below.



© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

Five Minute Friday: IN REAL LIFE

IN REAL LIFE

In real life there are toothpaste streaks in my sink. Mail and papers piled up on my counter. Five foot weeds in my rose garden. And these things make me sad. They steal my joy and point out my shortcomings and long-standing disability.

But yesterday I walked. Walked in the sunshine for only the second time in the last two years. It was only eight minutes, but it was eight minutes of victory. Victory over my real life for the last two years. Too much pain, too much lost hope, too many lost days of doing and being in the real life I want to live.

But victory. Overcoming. I can see for the first time that my real life, the one I’ve only dreamed of as I was sidetracked by the pain…it can be. Will be, and my hope and faith, even in the midst of it all survived. And thrived.

In real life. I breathe, I walk, I love, and I hope.

Someday I’ll dance…

Time’s up! Join in the fun and write your own five minutes on IN REAL LIFE. Click on the link to The Gypsy Mama below.



© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

I Think I am a Princess

Friends,

I’m on a writing retreat for the month of September (although still at home with dirty dishes and laundry), so I’ve dug out chapters and excerpts from my previous two book attempts to share with you. The first book I started was called:

Escape From Wonderland: How to Stop Chasing Fantasies and Live in the Realities of Your Faith

Here’s Part II of Chapter 4… (See last week’s post for Part I)

I Think I am a Princess


Oh how I have prayed over the years for God to transform me into who I really am in Christ…to change the way I think about myself, and teach me to act like myself so I can be myself. There’s nothing more difficult or distressing than trying to live life not knowing who you really are.

Without my identity secure in Christ I’m just an actress always trying to find the right script.

Years ago I didn’t even know I was not really being me. I found out later that other people knew. A pastor friend told me that I used to drive him crazy because, in his words, “you would never say what you really meant.”

What he’d noticed for years was that I chose my words so carefully I was never free to be real—to say what I meant and to mean what I said. Mine was a tightly scripted act that was supposed to protect me from failure and keep me from thinking too highly of myself. After all, I reasoned, only people who thought too highly of themselves spoke their true minds!

I was stuck in Cinderella thinking.

“Stinkin’ thinkin’” is what my brutally honest husband would call it. And frankly, I have to agree with him. There was nothing sweet-smelling about it.

My thoughts about me were in the dump. God’s thoughts about me were in the kingdom.

I was continually throwing a load of stinky smelly trash on what God had deemed treasure.

It must have smelled pretty bad for me to finally realize that I had to learn how to stop that trash from desecrating the truth. It was time to redecorate my dump and re-wallpaper the rooms of my mind with scripture. I had to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

I went to war. I fought every time I recognized a negative accusation. I got lots of practice fighting, especially alone driving in my car and awake in bed at night. That’s when the fiercest battles raged in my mind.

“I am who God says I am! I am not a total failure, I am not a nothing, I am a beloved child of God, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

I would literally yell at myself to drown out those habitual self-destructive thoughts.

Over time, I began to yell less. Today, most of the time I just need to give myself a good talking to.

Love…As yourself

“Okay, God, maybe I can learn to accept myself, but can I really love myself?”

This was a tough question for me until I realized that by refusing to learn how to love myself I had no idea how to really love others.

My constant self-critical habits were an irritation to my husband and an obstacle to all my relationships. One night my husband said to me, “Do you realize that every time you criticize yourself you are criticizing God?”

He reminded me of Romans 9:20:

Who are you, a mere human being, to criticize God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who made it, “Why have you made me like this? ” (NLT)

He was right. I did not like myself, much less love myself, and every time I criticized myself I was questioning God. God made me and loved me the way He made me. I was His creation, fearfully and wonderfully knit together in my mother’s womb!

But how could I change how I felt about myself?

I began to get some insight a few years ago. I had started to feel pretty confident in my identity in Christ and developed some close friendships I treasured. I was astonished one day when one of my friends confronted me with, “I never feel like you really mean it when you hug me and you’re always the first to let go.”

Ouch. But I immediately knew she was right. I had “personal space” issues and I only allowed people to get so close.

Soon after this, I was involved in the formation of a women’s ministry group. The inaugural meeting was held at my house and the first thing God put on my heart was to have “a ministry of hugs.” (This would later become known as HUGS—Hearts United in Grace and Spirit—and we opened every meeting sharing the love of Jesus.)

About six months later, I heard a brief teaching on Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere.” (NIV)

I had heard the words many times before, but this time I was hit between the eyes with the simple, no room for negotiation command, “must be.”

My friend’s words of a few months before echoed in my mind. My love was not sincere and I knew it. But God’s Word clearly said it “must be.”

So I started to pray every time I hugged someone that my love would be sincere. I prayed that I would learn to receive love and not be the first to let go. Over time the most amazing thing happened. My hugs began to become real. And I was able to receive hugs. I could love and be loved.

For me, by learning to sincerely fulfill the commandment to love my neighbor, I began to learn how to love myself. I realize now that every time I extend the love of Jesus to another person, that love must first flow in me.

Can I really love myself? I not only can, I must. This is not a distortion of pride or permission to esteem myself above anyone else or God. But if I say I sincerely love Christ, then I must endeavor to sincerely love myself, for God created me and Christ who lives in me is my true self. To deny acceptance of myself would be to deny acceptance of Him. And He not only loves, He is love!

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

From Fantasy to Faith

Are you like I was, oppressed and “faithfully” scrubbing toilets waiting for Prince Charming (or Jesus) to rescue you? Who do you say you are? Who does the world say you are? Who does God say you are? Are you believing in the minuses or the pluses? Do you find yourself pretending to be two people and never really finding your true identity through “Christ in you?” Can you truly say you love yourself?

Renewing my mind in Christ will be a life-long process, but today I can tell you that I am a princess. I am more who I really am than I have ever been. And with more prayer and practice living in the truth, I will be more of who I really am tomorrow—being ever transformed into His image and likeness.

No matter where you are on your journey from fantasy to faith, God always wants to help you learn more about knowing and loving who you really are.

You are a Princess!

 Have you found it hard to love yourself?

Share your story in the comments!

 ~Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

The Rhythm of Rest: Five Minute Friday

Today I’m joining The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday. The rules? Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. Today’s topic: REST

Rest

 I roll the r’s around in my mouth and try to taste it.

But life is sometimes bitter yet beautiful in its busy-ness. And rest eludes me.

But it lives in my memories…

Cool mountain breezes caressing my face as I gaze at the snow-capped mountains in all their splendor.

Warm ocean breezes that cuddle me with sun mellowed warmth as I dig my toes in the sand.

Rest.

My body longs for the rhythm of the breath of rest. My soul for the healing room where rest dwells.

My mind dreams of the altitude and the deepness of rest. My fingers long to grasp it.

And never let go of its eternity…

Time’s up! Join in the fun and write your own five minutes on REST. Click on the link to The Gypsy Mama below.



© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

Is it Okay to Love Myself?

Dear Readers,

I’m taking myself on a writing retreat for the month of September (unfortunately still at home with dirty dishes and laundry), in order to REALLY work on and hopefully finish my first non-fiction book. I’ve started two others over the years that both made it to publishers committees, but I wasn’t ready. I pray I am now! In the meantime, I’ve dug out chapters and excerpts from my previous two book attempts to share with you. The first book I started was called:

Escape From Wonderland: How to Stop Chasing Fantasies and Live in the Realities of Your Faith

Hope you enjoy it! Here’s Part I of Chapter 4…

Is it Okay to Love Myself?

“Sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes…for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people.”                                                – Alice in Wonderland

Am I Cinderella or a Princess of the King?

I told my husband a few years back that a strange thing was happening to me—I was starting to feel good about myself. I was beginning to think I was a good person. “Is that okay?” I asked.

“What if it’s pride? How will I know?”

“Don’t worry,” my tell-it like-it-is husband assured me, “I’ll be sure to let you know!”

What a distorted perception I had of the “right” thoughts to think about myself. I had interpreted the scripture “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” (Romans 12:3) to mean it was wrong to think any good thoughts about myself. I believed proper Christian humility was to think poorly of myself. I thought being a good Christian woman meant living life as Cinderella—a hidden existence of humble servitude.

Being humble to me meant trying to balance performance scores in my head. Every time I felt a teeny bit successful or received any form of compliment I would immediately think of all the things that were wrong with me—I had to negate any thoughts that might pop into my head that something might be right. I had a minus for every pIus. Then I had to find even more minuses so I could always end up on the negative side of the scale.

I didn’t need anyone else’s criticism; I was my own worst judge. I didn’t even need an enemy; I was my own worst enemy. I could aim with sharpshooter accuracy my own fiery darts of accusation. After all, I knew my vulnerabilities better than anyone. I knew I wasn’t really worthy and I knew how to convince myself it was the truth.

It’s amazing that despite all my ferocious attacks against myself, I was never able to extinguish my hidden dream of being a princess—of being a somebody who was a somebody! Somewhere in my heart of hearts I knew I was really not a Cinderella, that my true hidden Christian identity was to be a princess of the King! So while I “humbly” tried to live as a sub-servant servant, I secretly dreamed of the day Jesus would show up and the shoe would finally fit.

I thought it would be like the fairy-tale and one day I would be Cinderella and the next I would be that princess. I had no idea that it would take years and years for God to rewrite the scripts in my head first.

I’m My Own Worst Enemy

Despite my laundry list of doubts about myself, I was somehow able to “put myself out there” and try doing things that were out of my Cinderella comfort zone. Like teaching a Bible study class. After my first night of teaching I decided I was going to go home and curl up into a ball and never venture out of my house again. I scolded myself so severely over what I had said or didn’t say, and flogged myself with my list of faults and inadequacies until I was a sobbing mess.

I cried for hours. But the next week I went out and taught again, and cried again. I continued this cycle for years. I would step out into ministry and do my best, then go home and beat myself up for a week.

It encouraged me to find examples in the Bible of true heroes of the faith who also experienced times of self-doubt and even despair about who they were. Elijah, for example, a prophet and a man of great humility and faith, conquered the prophets of Baal and called down fire from heaven, then packed up and ran to hide in the desert. After a great victory on the mountain he fell into the depths of discouragement.

“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4 (NIV)

How well I knew this feeling! And all I was doing was teaching a Bible study class!

I was, like the description of Alice at the beginning of this chapter, a curious child of God, pretending to be two people…

One who could do all things through Christ, and one who couldn’t. I had the scripts for both parts well memorized. But I couldn’t continue to play them this way forever.

Pretending to be anything other than the truth of who we are takes way too much energy. Thankfully, I began to get sick (literally) and tired of acting in the sad, overly dramatic play that had become my life.

I knew enough of the truth about what God said about me in the Bible to know that I was supposed to be believing it instead of attacking it. But the old habits of my thought life were deeply ingrained. I prayed for God to help me learn to live in the truth of the scripture.

Romans 12:2 became a guide for the re-writing of my scripts.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (NLT)

You know the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well, I’m not a dog, but I might as well have been! It seemed nearly impossible for my old mind to learn to renew itself. I found I had to turn my thoughts against myself again.

Only this time, instead of attacking the positive thoughts I went on a mission to attack the negative thoughts—to erase every minus thought with a plus and try to end up on the positive side for a change.

         To be continued in Part II…

         Have you found it hard to love yourself?

         Share your story in the comments!

         I’ll be back with Part II in a few days!

      ~Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

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