Life Lessons

Valerie 4 Comments

Life lessons of a forty-something:

  • I was on the back of the farm a while ago feeling sorry for myself. Someone that I had invested in, encouraged, believed in was very hurtful to me. Two years ago. And I'm still feeling sorry for myself. I heard a quiet voice gently ask, "Why is this still impacting you? Why did you invest so much? Was it also investing in yourself?" And I had to answer, "yes" to that last question by the Spirit--it was an investment in myself. Another dent in my people-pleasing armor.
  • When we say yes to a lot of things, we say no to others. Even if the word "no" doesn't come out of our mouths, we still say no because we cannot say yes to everything. I want to make sure I am not too often saying no to those most important to me. Dallas Willard says to love your neighbor, you begin with those closest to you. Who are your closest neighbors? Yourself and your family.
  • I see parts of myself in both Hillary and Donald. I can be controlling, manipulative, twist the truth, outright lie, say very inappropriate and hurtful things. If I want repentance in this country, it needs to start with my repentance.
  • Dr. Henry Cloud taught me that to forgive someone doesn't mean you have to trust them for the future. The person you forgive should show the fruit of repentance to receive trust. I can proceed with caution and set boundaries and that doesn't mean I am a bitter or unforgiving person.
  • It is wise to define what love is because sometimes, what we may consider to be loving, really isn't.
  • I've been a doormat and that is hard to admit about myself. 
  • My spiritual director told me the way I got through life during my first half won't work in the second half. She said I could do it, but those who do aren't that great to be around. She's right.
  • Getting older and losing youth is harder than I thought it would be. I thought I was more prepared to accept it, but there is a grieving process. The way I look in my forties is not the way I looked in my thirties, that's for sure. However, the more I surrender, the more beautiful I see myself. There is something very alluring and enchanting and stunning about an older woman who is confident enough to simply be.
  • I am continually overwhelmed by the way God loves me and reveals his love to me.
  • There are times when we need to remind ourselves of what we already know...style is my creative outlet and it's fun. The way I dress and decorate is an expression of myself. It's not a major. It's not the most important thing in life, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it. God delights in our delight.
  • Christians bashing Christians is ugly and nothing new. All we have to do is read Paul's letters to know it's nothing new. The chosen twelve didn't even see eye to eye. I have a friend who is more conservative than I am and I don't agree with everything he says. I also have a friend who is more liberal than I am and I don't agree with everything she says. I am grateful God is a God of individuals. The God of Isaac, Abraham, David, Esther, Peter, Mary Magdalene, Valerie. The God of Anne Lamott and Billy Graham.
  • Doctrine and theology do matter. And that's for me to work through with God and the Spirit-guided wisdom of other Christ followers. 
  • When someone forms an opinion of my character based on social media without having recent face to face conversations or never having met me in person, I hit the disregard button. It's a new Facebook feature. Okay, it's not. But it should be.
  • I am rereading a book called Longing for God by Richard Foster and Gayle Beebe. Some books deserve more than one reading. This time I am going slowly. Lingering. I am spending time with Augustine. A quote from the book, "Essentially, Augustine asserts, all of history reflects one of two things: either we love ourselves or we love God. Either we align our will with his or we are self-willed."

Oh God, I have so much more to learn about you, about myself, about others, about loving and living. Teach me, Jesus. Guide me, Spirit. Father me, God. Amen.

This is a photo I took when we were touring the Fort at Mackinac Island. I loved the staircase, the lighting, the open door; it looked beckoning.

This is a photo I took when we were touring the Fort at Mackinac Island. I loved the staircase, the lighting, the open door; it looked beckoning.