Archive for July, 2008

Wanting What You Have

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Happy women know they can be rich for life if they focus more on what they have than on what they want.

— Dan Baker, PhD, and Cathy Greenburg, PhD, What Happy Women Know, p. 234

God Never Forsakes Us.

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

God never forsakes us.  He is the only one who is not repelled by the depth and length of our needs.

— Beth Moore, Praying God’s Word Day by Day, p. 215

Boundaries in Marriage

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Remember that a boundary always deals with yourself, not the other person.  You are not demanding that your spouse do something — even respect your boundaries.  You are setting boundaries to say what you will do or will not do.  Only these kinds of boundaries are enforceable, for you do have control over yourself.  Do not confuse boundaries with a new way to control a spouse.  It is the opposite.  It is giving up control and beginning to love.  You are giving up trying to control your spouse and allowing him to take responsibility for his behavior.

In a marriage, as in no other relationship, the need for revealing your boundaries is important.  Passive boundaries, such as withdrawal, triangulation, pouting, affairs, and passive-aggressive behavior, are extremely destructive to a relationship.  Passive ways of showing people that they do not have control over you never lead to intimacy.  They never educate the other on who you really are; they only estrange.

Boundaries need to be communicated first verbally and then with actions.

Making It Happen

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Stop trying so hard to make it happen.

Stop doing so much, if doing so much is wearing you out or not achieving the desired results.  Stop thinking so much and so hard about it.  Stop worrying so about it.  Stop trying to force, to manipulate, to coerce, or to make it happen.

Making things happen is controlling.  We can take positive action to help things happen.  We can do our part.  But many of us do much more than our part.  We overstep the boundaries from caring and doing our part into controlling, caretaking, and coercing.

Controlling is self-defeating.  It doesn’t work.  By overextending ourselves to make something happen, we may actually be stopping it from happening.

Do your part in relaxed, peaceful harmony.  Then let it go.  Just let it go.  Force yourself to let it go, if necessary.  “Act as if.”  Put as much energy into letting go as you have into trying to control.  You’ll get much better results.

— Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, p. 206-207

Not Ready to Hear

Monday, July 21st, 2008

When he told us not to cast our pearls before swine, for example, it was not to be mean but because he knew that swine cannot digest pearls; they do them no good (Matt. 7:6).  We, too, should have the good sense to refrain from giving people truth that they are not ready to receive, for it will do them no good.

— Richard J. Foster, Prayer, p. 232

Letting Go of How Others Live

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Our spouses, our friends, our family, our neighbors, even the strangers crossing our paths, must be who they are, not who we think they should be.  They must make their own mistakes and, through what they learn, have reason to celebrate their own successes.

There are many reasons for letting go of this futile behavior, but the most important ones are that we will never succeed in controlling others and never experience peace in our own lives if we are always focused on how other people are living or how we think they should be living.  If we want to be peaceful, we must let go of how others choose to live and take care of business in one life only:  our own.

— Karen Casey, Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, p. 9-10

Making a Point to Ourselves

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Trying excessively to make a point with another may mean that we have not yet made that point with ourselves.  Once we make that point with ourselves, once we understand, we will know what to do.

The issue is not about others understanding and taking us seriously.  The issue is not about others believing we’re good and good enough.  The issue is not about others seeing and believing how responsible or loving or competent we are.  The issue is not about whether others realize how deeply we are feeling a particular feeling.  We are the ones that need to see the light….

If I catch myself in the codependent trap of trying to emphasize something about myself to another, I will ask myself if I need to convince myself of that point.

— Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, p. 204

Speaking to Others with Kindness

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Whenever possible, you want to speak of your lover and your relationship with kindness.  That is the overarching message of this book.  Look for any way you can be kind to the person you share your life with.  Don’t be tempted to say nasty things when your lover screws up or to put your lover down when he or she fails….  Setting boundaries and expressing ourselves is good, but talking about our relationship negatively and highlighting our lover’s failings is bad….

Remember that what comes out of your mouth says more about your character than it does about your partner’s….  We think that we are describing our lover’s weaknesses, but our words and actions are actually showing our own….

The truth is that we can choose how we talk to and about our partner.  Sadly, many people choose to discuss their lover negatively….  A lot of relationships struggle with the cost of holding a grudge and the sense of blame it causes.  Getting rid of the blame quickly and regularly is hugely important if you want your relationship to thrive and move forward.

Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 201-203

Serving Through Libraries

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

One of the great intangible benefits of library work is the sense of self-worth that comes when we realize that, no matter how humdrum the day or week, we are playing a part in bringing the good things of life to everyone and improving our communities, one life at a time.  A library serving a community of any kind (a village, school, city, college or university, corporation, government) enriches that community, which would be impoverished and weakened if that library did not exist.

— Michael Gorman, Our Own Selves:  More Meditations for Librarians, p. 191

Living Today

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

I find myself planning and working for the future, for payoffs and rewards in a month or a year, for which I am willing to pay with happiness now.  Only to find of course that there is always another month, another year to wait.  True, the future must be planned for, and there are surely rewards tomorrow for prudent action today.  But somehow, I am learning, I must discover how to live a life of happiness today.  Not someday when things quiet down and there’s enough in the bank and I’ve gotten beyond these problems — but today.  The idea that we can live temporarily unhappy lives in pursuit of payday/someday, when we will be set for life and ready for happiness, is a sad illusion.

Life is of a piece.  The future is woven of the thread we spin today.  It is silly to imagine that a “temporary” life of tension and stress is preparing us for a future day of relaxation and peace; that a provisional life spent compromising our ideals and deferring our deepest longings will one day give way to a future of fulfillment and deep joy.  It doesn’t work.  “What shall it profit a man,” Jesus asked, “if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”  You can’t live a soul-ebbing life and somehow pull out happiness in the end.

In a culture of achievement we naturally assume a path to happiness:  get on it, do the work, and — enduring a baleful journey of indeterminate years — you will eventually arrive at bliss.  But there is no path to happiness, only a path of happiness.  In other words, happiness is a state, not a destination.

— David Anderson, Breakfast Epiphanies:  Finding wonder in the Everyday, p. 88-89