Beliefs equal Certainty

I hope I can, I think I can, I hope I can… begins many a conversation with myself when it comes to making changes to my life in a SIGNIFICANT way. While HOPE has often brought me a positive inspiration, I realize only HOPING for something is not a STRONG or COMMITTED as BELIEVING.

Today, this jolted me to attention:

A belief is nothing but an idea with a feeling of certainty…

So what have I felt CERTAIN about in life?  What are those things that I have walked into a room with confidence, clarity, and an UNWAVERING belief I knew, what I knew, what I KNEW?  The first thing that comes to mind is my work.  I have developed a confidence in my ability to train, teach, educate people.  So when asked to present, teach, train, speak in front of a group of people I may get the initial stage fright before the curtain comes up; but I KNOW I can do it and I’m EXCITED TO DO IT.  I know I’ll be good, and I KNOW I’ll enjoy it.

The next memory that rushes to mind is my most confident audition EEEEEEEVER!!! In High School, my senior year, we did Oklahoma! and our Drama teacher showed us the movie prior to the auditions.  It was in that viewing, that I saw the Aunt Eller character and in the core of who I am I said, “That one’s MINE!” And I worked as hard as I knew how to: prepare the audition, study the lines, practice singing, bring my personality into her character, be full of ENERGY, and PROJECT! PROJECT! PROOOOOOJECT!!!  And when I stepped on stage, I was so full of confidence I could touch each corner of the auditory with my voice.  I even forgot a few of the words during the song (Simon Cowell would NOT have been impressed), but I stayed in character and brought to life an aspect of Aunt Eller that the director had not seen in any of the other 8 callback actresses.  It was exhilarating, it was amazing, it was a belief I had developed, nurtured, produced in me so deep that even through my mistakes it didn’t deter my resolve.

Royal Family LogoThen I began to search my life for a more recent example, and I IMMEDIATELY pictured CAMP.  There is a Strange confidence that fills my soul when I think about doing camp and preparing for camp.  The confidence I have in regards to working with the kids.  I KNEW I was going to enjoy them, I KNEW I was going to focus all my efforts on doing it for the kids, I KNEW that this was my niche, strength, skill set, gifting, natural fit (however you want to put it), I BELIEVED: “I got this!”

Now most of the time, I was in constant prayer asking God for help, support, peace, wisdom, words, and ideas for how to survive.  But I don’t worry about Him not answering me.  He always gives me answers at CAMP, I feel his presence there and I am completely confident that success was right there within my grasp.  When the very next moment arrived, I would have the answers I needed. And this is the ONE place I am at peace that EVEN if it’s not perfect it’s not wrong.  Even when conflict arises and I didn’t do things perfectly, its ok because God knew and knows what’s next.  There was the general nervousness about the week, worrying about the new responsibilities (I was responsible for directing the drama) and whether I was gonna do it right, whether people were gonna like it, enjoy it, approve of it; but outside of that part of CAMP, my BELIEF that this would be a success was unwavering.

There truly is a shift in the inner most part of your being when you KNOW you are doing the right thing.  When you BELIEVE you are in the right place at the right time doing what you were created to do.  Insecurity has no place, worry seems to fade away, and negativity just seems absurd.  That is how I feel when I am AT Camp actually doing it.  I don’t just HOPE it will work out, I BELIEVE it will be amazing.  Of course, I work with a FANTASTIC team of people that allows me to flourish in my strengths and experiment with my ideas and support me in my imperfect moments.

So in my struggle with food, weight, exercise, new habits… How can I become certain about anything before I do it?  Need to create certainty for success.  Remembering my past does not equal my future. Actually view the success, feel the success, imagine the success.  What is it like to EXPECT that success?  How would I spend each day KNOWING I will have victory with my eating each day?  How would I feel if I BELIEVED I cannot fail, I am CONFIDENT that I will make good choices for myself to build a healthier life?

Is it Really Worth Getting Annoyed?

Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.  – Prov 12:16

Some days when I don’t know what to read, I go to the chapter in proverbs for the day of the month.  And today as with most days there is confirmed wisdom and subtle reminders of whom to live.  This one seemed to have a lightening bolt attached to it.  A jolting reminder with “Oh yeah!!!” qualities.  There was  a time not so long ago when I hear someone say, “People don’t MAKE you feel miserable, YOU make you feel miserable.” And with RADICAL fervent objection, I argued with myself and God about its truth.  Only to come to the all to startling realization… Yeah that’s true.

Why was I believing other people had the control or influence over me like that?  How was I allowing people to make me FEEL miserable?  And before I had even made it through the first day did I realize it began with the little annoyances.  I would start with the stupid drivers on the way to work, followed by the lazy people I worked with, interrupted by the selfish friends I had, and topped it off by the rude people I lived with.  (HORRIBLE overgeneralizations I agree as well, because life really isn’t that bad and people really aren’t that awful.)  But it was so easy to come to those beliefs just by a few actions that people said, did, expressed, or didn’t do in connection with my world that I would spiral down into a pit of anger and frustration without even blinking.

So what can I do? Surround myself with better people, change my outlook, move to another state to start fresh?  But what if I could CHOOSE to NOT let others frustrate me, not allow the things I don’t like bother me, or not feel people’s actions as an intentional affront to my goals. I didn’t think it was possible, I didn’t think it was changeable, I didn’t believe there was a way I could reprogram my mind and emotions… but I was wrong.

Upon reflection of my life I have noticed: I have changed a lot.  I have grown a lot.  I have overcome a lot.  And there was a huge credit to many people who coached me, taught me, mentored me… but what I have forgotten is that I let them in.  I let them change my way of thinking and operating.  I told myself I could do things differently, I could do things better, I could do things RIGHT.  So even though I may not have known HOW I did it… I did it all the same.

So this time I tried to change my mental thinking: whenever something would irritate me, I would talk myself out of being irritated.  Who knew words from the inside to the inside could be so powerful.  They could have such an effect.  That just telling myself this annoyance wasn’t really annoying me THAT bad, or that in the grand scheme of life what does it matter that I didn’t like how someone did that, or ever What does it matter to me that they are doing it WRONG?  Just to name a few of the mental challenges…

And amazingly enough it was fruitful.  I found my frustrations lessening, my annoyances reducing, and my stress level falling.  So this verse just reminded me that I can choose the way of the prudent and overlook insults.  I can choose the way of the wise and believe I can be changed from the inside out.  There is hope that growth still occurs, change is still possible… this dog can still learn a few tricks.

It’s Just a Summer Camp…

As I continue through my post camp ritual: camp tunes flowing through my mind, tears trickling down my face, and memories flying through my mind of the fastest camp week yet; I already miss my camp family. Their positive expressions, words of encouragement, exceptional focus, hard-working dedication, and accepting nature is something I wish I could take with me every where I go.

As with each day at camp, there are a variety of tasks, goals, missions, activities, issues, and emotions that accompany the schedule that keeps us moving from one day to the next.   But just today it began in a rush, mellowed to a picnic’s pace, sped up to the slide show, stepped through the debrief, and laughed its way through dinner.  As the adrenaline carried me home with thoughts that “Making it a Night on the Town” after dark was an actual possibility; I unloaded the car, organized the essentials, slid into an Epsom salt coma and began the process of coming down.  It never ceases to amaze me the feelings I experience after camp and the never-ending questions that follow as I internally react to every little sound or visual that reminds me of camp.

How does one begin to process the re-entry into every day life?  How does any part of what was left behind seem significant or worthy of attention after a hyper-intensely focused week where nothing mattered but the kids?  The little projects left behind seem unworthy of attention and all music, movie, and tv seem but mere distractions from the internal euphoria that has settled upon my spirit.  I want to keep this feeling, wallow in its peace, drink in its satisfaction of a job completed, a mission accomplished, a ministry well served.

Then the tears begin… over a simple commercial or a sad story line of a show, but I let them flow with no apology.  Something I would normally be embarrassed by, I lean in and embrace.  It is not a sorrowful sob that escapes me with pain and suffering.  Not really certain exactly what it is tied to; but knowing that at this moment a genuine raw emotion is making an appearance.  It is real, it is honest, it is true so I do not want to hide it, squish it, or deny its release.  I know I will return to life, work, boyfriend, and people looking to the future of the next task, next item, next to do; but today it is about reveling in the reality of what has happened.  Allowing myself to feel vulnerable and raw, knowing that these things are not bad, just not normal (for me); it is good.

It is part of God’s design to feel connected to people, to children, to His purposes and plans. To give of yourself, give your all, and then even just a little bit more… can leave an empty space.  So easy is it to feel the NEED to quickly fill that space with distractions (music, tv, food, people) and not just embrace it as a season of letting go; and embrace the peace of knowing the God will be the one to fill it with His love, grace, glory, and joy.  We need but wait on Him in his timing and method.

How do I share with those amazing people how much their example has inspired me and encouraged me?  How do I communicate a trust and loyalty to people I have been in concert with for mere days?  How do I take these experiences and memories and transform them into making me the person I am supposed to be?   Only by seeking God’s truth, His wisdom, His comfort, and His guidance for what lies ahead… For I know the plans I have for you, Says the Lord, plans for good and NOT for destruction. Plans for a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11