Take your own advice

Have you ever listened to yourself give advice to a friend? Words of encouragement come so easily to us as we guide a friend through a tough situation, help them work through a problem or want to help them succeed in a new venture.

You know what’s terrible? Not taking your own advice. It’s so much easier to listen to a friend tell you good, insightful things instead of really believing them.  For instance- the previous post I wrote on patience was pretty much written to myself. I knew other people would benefit from it but as there are a number of things I am waiting on (winter to be over, losing weight, my son to get through his terrible threes just to name a few) THE DAYS SEEM ENDLESSS…….SSSSSSS…………SSSSSSSSSS.

I can’t think of one person who likes waiting- the process is so uncomfortable, so challenging to our sense of power and self-control. When I texted my friend Leslie today to ask her advice on a challenging situation to change this was her advice:

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Leslie has the best advice. And the best emoji empathy. “Be present with that discomfort.”  Last week I wrote all about how practicing gratitude helps us to be patient because we realize that we can live life freely now and trust that God is in control. Here’s the thing about writing cool stuff like that- it’s a lot more difficult to believe it and live it than it is to write it. I have a really hard time taking my own advice. And like other writers I can easily inspire others and then be horribly depressed and despondent myself.

But here I am. In yet another snowstorm. With spring a long ways off. A thyroid that I recently found out is messed up and causes unexpected weight gain (yaaaaaay. just what every gal hopes for!) and a preschooler that is so demanding that I have to give myself time-outs so I don’t have angry outbursts at him.

Friends, what advice do you often give that you have a hard time believing or living out yourself?

Each passing day I often wonder: “where the crap are you Jesus? Why isn’t stuff changing? Why are things so difficult? Why are my thighs still so chunky? Why do hot Cheetos taste so good?”  I often tell people that Jesus is present- not a long way off in the distant but right there while we’re scrapping’ and mixing in real life- with the mess and unresolved conflicts in life. We need to be more present to him and his love for us. (hmm, I sound like Leslie).

So I’m going to Leslie-advice myself with some empathetic emojis- Be present. Jesus is present. O.k.- your turn- what’s your advice for yourself or others in times of waiting?

artist: Stella Im Hultberg

artist: Stella Im Hultberg

Patience is a virtue- and a virtue can’t hurt you

Years ago I heard a preacher say these words: “Patience is a virtue, and a virtue can’t hurt you.” That little rhyming phrase has stuck with me for at least a decade, especially when I’m prone to be impatient about something.

And there has been a lot to be impatient about in the last decade of my life: waiting to hear if an offer on a house went through, being pregnant and waiting for each of my two sons to arrive, waiting to hear if I got into graduate school, waiting for my husband, Dave, to fix the hole in the wall that he accidentally made while working on a house project. Less weighty circumstances also require waiting: waiting for a friend to call me back to make plans for the weekend, for example, or waiting for a load of clothes to finish in the dryer, or waiting for the drive to Lake Michigan to be over so that I can enjoy a day at the beach….

To keep reading this post hop on over to InterVarsity’s blog

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Hold- five minute friday

That moment in a workout where you’ve been doing squats or plank for what seems like forever and then the instructor tells you- “great! now hold it for a minute!” is excruciating. Waiting is difficult- no matter if you’re holding a squat and your quads are burning, your mind spins with worry waiting to hear back about a job, or your stomach knots up when you take a risk and send the text to the person you’re interested in.

Being on hold is difficult because you have moved past the beginning but haven’t yet reached closure. There are a lot of things in my life that feel on hold right now- friendships that I wonder if they will ever heal from the brokenness they have suffered, waiting to hear from my editor about the changes he’s making to my book, trying to consistently workout to shed 10 more pounds (the goal being 20) from when I chubbed out this spring from stress eating. I have friends that are on hold as they wait for their adoption of their two precious kids to be finalized and are excruciatingly waiting for the day when they can bring them home. Others who are in the middle of a divorce and are on hold between their words of ending a marriage and the legal papers to make it complete. Others who are waiting to hear back from biopsy results to see if their breast cancer has returned. Whether it is something wonderful and exciting that makes life feel on hold while you anticipate it happening or something painful an crushing we often find ourselves in the middle, on hold.

Even in the midst of being on hold I am reminded that I am held. Isaiah 41:13 says:
“For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Do not fear,
I will help you.”

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He says he will do this- it’s a promise, not contingent on whether we feel worthy or not, whether we are broken or not, whether we are running away from God or not. He is holding me, he is holding you even when you feel like life is on hold.

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