Archive for July, 2008

Something To Look Forward To

Monday, July 14th, 2008

I’ve been noticing that most mornings I don’t wake up super-happy, and I’m not sure why.  I’ve also been noticing for some time now that when I first wake up, I find myself racing through the coming day in my mind, bracing myself for what’s required of me, but even more so searching to see if there is anything to look forward to.  It’s not really voluntary.  It’s almost as if my heart has a life of its own, and it wakes up before I do and begins to assess the prospects before me.  “I slept but my heart was awake” (Song of Songs 5:2).

By the way, I think this is how our addictions get their claws deeper into us.  Our day-to-day grind isn’t anything close to Eden, and our hurting and desperate hearts look for something to which we can attach all those yearnings.  We’ll settle for a doughnut if that’s all there is to look forward to.  We have to be careful what we give our hearts to.

— John Eldredge, Walking with God, p. 92

Guaranteed

Friday, July 11th, 2008

In Christ, we have an ironclad, unfailing, all-encompassing God-given guarantee that every single circumstance in life will sooner or later turn out well for those committed to Him.

— Robert J. Morgan, The Promise:  How God Works All Things Together for Good, p. xviii

Listening

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Go on the presumption that your partner has a bigger picture.  You may not see it now, and it may not be logical, but it will make emotional sense if you can allow yourself to hear her story.  You have a better chance of learning that story if you can continue asking questions like, “In addition to anger, what else do you feel? . . . And what else?”

Don’t get stuck on getting your point heard.  In Seething Stalemate, you tend to put the bulk of your energy into coercing your partner to hear your side.  Once you give that up, you’re likely to obtain clearer focus of what the argument is really about.

— Ellyn Bader, PhD, and Peter T. Pearson, PhD, Tell Me No Lies, p. 141

Enough

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Happy women understand that no matter what they own, they will always feel a bit insecure about having enough and being enough, but they don’t let these feelings rule their lives.

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

Set Yourself Free

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Nothing clarifies boundaries more than forgiveness.  To forgive someone means to let him off the hook, or to cancel a debt he owes you.  When you refuse to forgive someone, you still want something from that person, and even if it is revenge that you want, it keeps you tied to him forever.

— Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Boundaries, p. 134

In Charge of No One But Ourselves

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

It bears repeating:  We are not in charge of others!  Not their behavior, their thoughts, their dreams, their problems, their successes, or their failures.

Even the children we parent have their own journey to make, and our so-called control over them is, in fact, an illusion.  We can set an example for them, we can suggest a set of behaviors, we can demonstrate a code of ethics, we can even require that they live by certain “house rules” while under our roof, but finally it is they who will decide who they want to be and what they want to do, regardless of our efforts.  And for that we will become grateful in time.

I say:  Let’s celebrate the fact that we are in charge of no one but ourselves.  It relieves us of a heavy burden, and a thankless job, one that never blesses us.  Taking control of every thought we have and every action we take, and being willing to relinquish the past while savoring the present, will assuredly keep us as busy as we need to be.  Doing these things, and only these things is why we are here.  It’s only when we live our own lives and manage our own affairs, freeing others to do the same, that we find the peace we seek and so deserve.

— Karen Casey, Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow:  12 Simple Principles, p. 8-9

Recommitting

Monday, July 7th, 2008

A good relationship is worth the effort of letting go of an annoying trait in your partner and being as kind as possible to this person you are connected to.  Those two ideas are central to your marriage vows.  A marriage is a choice to recommit to your partner every day.  Every spouse, whether recovering from a brutal betrayal or simply dealing with a sloppy partner, decides every day wehter to get up and dance with that partner again.  Every marriage goes through periods when each partner is not sure about continuing it. . . .  Forgiveness is based upon a continual recommitment to your relationship.  Forgiveness comes after grieving your losses, and it allows you to move forward in your relationship with happiness and a positive attitude.  This is true whether the losses were big (your spouse is a drug addict) or little (your lazy partner never does the grocery run) or somewhere in between — as when you accept the fact that you married a slob, you have grieved the neat person you should have married, and you have recommitted to the lovable human being you chose to be with.

Recommitting is an ongoing process; you have to recommit every time your lover says the same dumb thing again and you react with your same exasperated sigh.  You have to recommit when your lover is late yet again, or leaves a cheap tip for the third time in a week.  If your partner does something annoying but ultimately insignificant, acknowledge your dismay or loss for an instant and then connect right back again.  Try saying something to help put the annoyance in perspective and get back in the game.  You could remind yourself that “she’s worth it,” or “it was no big deal.”  Most of the time you don’t even need to let your lover know he or she has done anything wrong.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 199-200

Surpassing Dreams

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Satan wants to destroy our dreams.  God wants to surpass them.  He gives us dreams so we’ll long for his reality.

— Beth Moore, Praying God’s Word Day by Day, p. 196

Two Lenses

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

The Lord took no pleasure in my broken neck.  Like any father who has compassion on his children, it pained his heart to see me hurt.  Yet at the same time, it pleased the Lord to permit my accident.  My spinal cord injury was something he sovereignly designed in and for his good pleasure.

God’s ways are so much higher than ours, he has the capacity to look at the world through two lenses — through a narrow lens and a wide-angle one.  When God looks at a painful event through a narrow lens, he sees the tragedy for what it is.  He is deeply grieved. . . .  When God looks at that same event through his wide-angle lens, however, he sees the tragedy in relation to everything leading up to it, as well as flowing out from it.  He sees a mosaic stretching into eternity.  It is this mosaic with all its parts, both good and evil, that brings him delight.

— Joni Eareckson Tada, Pearls of Great Price, July 6 entry

Forgiveness as a Way of Life

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Forgiveness doesn’t stand alone, as a punctual act or even as an isolated practice.  That would be too passive an understanding of what forgiveness is all about.  Rather, it is embedded in a way of life that is committed to overcoming evil by doing good.

— Miroslav Volf, Free of Charge, p. 189-190