Monday, January 25, 2016

Women Love Thyself – SEMPLY Yourself

As women we can be extremely critical of ourselves. We can be overly conscious of what we wear, and how we wear it, as well as a plethora of other things about ourselves.  We judge ourselves on every plain and platform and often times much too harshly.  Regardless of our station in life, we all struggle with this to some degree.  I confess, I am a self-proclaimed expert in the area of being overly critical of myself, so I know that of which I speak.  Much too often I am guilty of being so critical of myself that I allow it to spill over into what others may think of me or how they may perceive me. This has only recently begun to change, as I have made a conscious effort to shift my thought process. Whenever I find myself being overly critical of myself or being presumptuous of how I think others are perceiving me, I refocus my thoughts.       

This past weekend I attended a life group meet-up. As a result of the lesson topic discussion we all divulged personal things about ourselves. In almost every story, included my own (even though not voiced) I heard my own inner-voice.  That voice sounds something like this: “I am not worthy of having the life I desire, which includes people who genuinely care about me.  If people knew the real me, would they accept me in all my flaws, failures, and mistakes?”  That dialog may vary to some degree but for the most part that was what I gathered.  As stated before this is where I lived for quite some time so I am very familiar with what it looks and sounds like.  Might I add that I still visit there from time to time.  The total abandonment of this negative self-talk is a work in progress.

I am writing this post today, not to point out my flaws nor the flaws of others, but to offer an answer to the problem, at least what it has come down to for me. Who knows maybe this will help someone else move into a place of real self-love. Which in turn may help with coming to a place of real self-acceptance and thereby moving to a place of having real meaningful relationships with transparency without the  perception of  being judged.  

Photo by: Marilyn Martin
I have found that my reason for being so critical of myself is that I thought I had to be perfect. I thought I had to be the best at everything I did. If I was not perfect or at the top of everything then something must have been wrong with me. If something was wrong with me, then surely everyone else could see how imperfect I was.   Boy, try following someone down that rabbit hole!!!  Anyway, I digress. I have come to understand that at the core of my being I did not feel nor know the love of God for me.  Often times I would say that I knew God loved me but at the very center of my being I rejected His love for me.  Feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy are all signs of that fact. As a result, I now spend a lot of time thinking about the love of God for me and reading scripture looking for signs of His love for me.

In times past I read the Bible as a book of rules; dos’ and don’ts’. This view only served to make me feel more inadequate and defeated.  Now that I have a different perspective, in that now I look for signs of my heavenly Father’s love for me, I enjoy my time with God in a whole new way. I am coming to know (in my heart) more and more, that in spite of every flaw, and every failure (past, present and future) God’s love for me is unwavering and He will never leave me, and never forsake me. As I understand these powerful truths with my heart (not my head) the critical thoughts lessen and I can see the good (His good) in me, which causes me to see my value and worth.  This brings me to a place of real all-inclusive self-acceptance (good, bad and ugly) and that further silences (no crushes) the racing thoughts of constant bad self-evaluation. This is a daily work, sometimes moment by moment as I find myself having to adjust my thinking about myself and realign my thoughts with the word of God, which tells me that: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. This is a truth that God has recently revealed to my heart which I can’t wait to share (in another post). 

However, I would like to share a couple of the scriptures that I read daily and often refer back to throughout my day. This first one is taken from Ephesian 3:19a (Amplified): “That you may really come) to know (practically, through experience for yourselves) the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience)”. The other is Psalm 91:14b (Amplified): “I will set him on high because he knows and understands my name (has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness – trusts and relies on Me, knowing that I will never forsake him, no never”.  I always reword the scriptures and make them personal, so much so that when I look at these scriptures (to read them) I no longer see them as they are written. Here is an example:  Psalm 91:14b (Amplified): “My heavenly Father has set me on high because I know and understand His name (I have a personal knowledge of His mercy, His love, and His kindness (for me) – (and therefore I) trusts and relies on Him, knowing that He will never forsake me, no never”.   This one is a great go-to for me when my thoughts are spiraling out of control.

It is in this place (the Love of God) that I have and do continue to find real self-love and this has helped me to be willing and able to open up to others without fear of rejection.  My prayer is that you will come to find this same place of real self-love and acceptance in the love that our heavenly Father has for you.              

Until next time, live life to the fullest, laugh a lot and love much, and remember to never forget that you have greatness in you….. because you were created by a great God!  

Marilyn









“Becoming Semply Whole” 


Monday, January 18, 2016

Word Over Matter - SEMPLY Spiritual

A few days ago someone on Facebook asked the question, “What is the difference between mediation and prayer?”  There were already a few replies to the question, so I chimed in with an answer according to my understanding.  

Prayer is a conversation with God, and most uplifting when conducted based on His word. Mediation in particular as of late has become an intentional focus, so this part of the reply rolled effortlessly from my fingertips.  Mediation is by definition: to think on, muse, reflect, ponder or consider.  In the confounds of Christianity to mediate is to think on and/or consider the word of God, especially in adverse situations or circumstances.  It is equally (if not more) important for us to mediation on the word in trouble free times.

Reflecting on the word on a regular basis has aided me in receiving the reality of it as it relates to real life issues. On yesterday I was driving down President George Bush Turnpike on my way to handle a business matter.  I glanced over to my right and noticed the grass and immediately Matthew 6:28 & 30 (IVS) sprang to mind. It reads: “And why do you worry about clothes? Consider the lilies in the field and how they grow. They don’t work or spin yarn,…… Now if that is the way God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and thrown into an oven tomorrow, won’t he clothe you much better..” So as I drove I took time to consider the grass.  At first I thought, that’s not really a fair comparison.  Grass does not have the ability seek provision for itself.  Then it dawned on me, that is exactly the point. 

Image taken from:
 http://7-themes.com/6927628-pink-lilies-hd.html

Oh to become like grass…. in that I don’t worry about provision for this life.  That I would cease from my own efforts. That I would stop wondering if I am going to somehow screw it all up.  To simply be busy about “being” and trust in God’s wisdom to guide me, His power to keep me and His love to cover me.  What a place of mental bliss.  So I continue to delve deeper into mediation and really considering what God says verses what my past says. I now make a conscious effort to consider what the word says and not my issues, regardless of how blaring some of the circumstances may appear to be.  Having anxiety over an issue does not produce a better outcome.  When I turn my attention to the Word and focus on what it says about me and life’s issues I always have a better sense of peace. Even in times of turmoil I have experienced peace that passed all understanding.  I wish I could say that every time trouble reared its ugly head in my life I had this wonderful sense of peace.  Unfortunately, that has not always been the case.    


However, I do understand that It is easier to abide here during those times if I mediate on the goodness of God on a regular basis.  You know the saying, “when you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart”. It is much easier to trust His heart when I know what’s in His heart. 
So, if you are not one to mediate regularly basis consider making it a part of your daily or weekly routine. 

Until next time, live life to the fullest, laugh a lot and love much, and remember to never forget that you have greatness in you….. because you were created by a great God!  

Marilyn












“Becoming Semply Whole”

Monday, January 11, 2016

Loved Unconditionally – SEMPLY LOVE

I used to think that my failures and flaws were an embarrassment to God; to my confession of faith in Christ.  I believed that as a Christian my life should be without spot or wrinkle.  Well scripture could not be truer for me in this instance. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”.  The freeing truth is that my flaws and failures (as a Christian) are actually a testament to the unfathomable Grace and Love of God. (Ephesians 2)  

What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! I am simply saying that in all that we did before coming to Christ and even in Christ was foreknown by our heavenly Father. Yet He chose us anyway.  In the happenings of lives mistakes; our ignorant decisions, our on-purpose & intentional wrong choices, and our failures our heavenly Father loves us. In the mist of it all, through it all, and out of it all, He loves us still.

I know that the love of another person will never match the depth of love that God has for me.
I confess that within me are deep flaws, but I now have a growing awareness of the truth that I am deeply and unconditionally loved. That truth gives my heart comfort beyond anything that words would ever convey. The knowledge of God’s love somehow soothes the effects of those flaws and encourages me to live on in victory in spite of them. I was not accepted into the Beloved because of my behavior; by way of my performance. Nor does my performance maintain that acceptance. Ephesians 2:7-9 declares this truth.  

Despite and in light of this truth there are still some events and choices that I have made, that if given the opportunity to change them, I would. However, as I reflect I can see the love of God for me even in those times.  I can see the gentleness of His love for me even when my actions were not honoring Him. He never left me; He walked with me through the dark days of consequences. As a result, I am no longer a keeper of the law, instead I am kept by His love.  It is the Love of God for me that constrains me and causes me to be mindful of who I am in Christ (2 Cor. 5:14).  My do-nots are driven by His love for me, not to be loved by Him!!
    
My prayer for you is that you too will come to know the unfathomable love which God has for you.            
Until next time, live life to the fullest, laugh a lot and love much, and remember to never forget that you have greatness in you….. because you were created by a great God!  

Marilyn









“Becoming Semply Whole” 

      

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Get Physical for Mental Fitness - SEMPLY Physical

Well, here we are again!! Time to talk about that thing we adore so much… physical exercise!!!

Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy jogging actually.  However, as of late it has grind down to a fast pace walk. Lol  It’s cold here in Dallas and that makes me want to stay cozy and comfy in the bed at 7 AM.  Although once I am out there I am glad and I know I will be the better for it, not only physically but mentally.  So, to ensure that I get up and out no matter how cold it is I enlisted some accountability.  This has been a tremendous help.  When I roll over and look at the temperature level on my phone and it says 32 degrees, feels like 24 degrees, I so want to snuggle deeper under the cover and return to that blissful place of sleep. Knowing that there may be a knock on my door asking me why I’m not up causes me to forsake the comfort of my comforters and get to it.

There are times when the morning walk is more about my mental state than it is about my physical well-being. Recently, there have been a few days when it was just that.  My need to get out for some morning rejuvenation was beyond necessary.  As I step out of my comfort zone to follow my dream of entrepreneurship I have much work to do on my own mindset.  Over the past month there have been a couple of days where it seems the negative thoughts were sitting on the side of my bed just waiting for me to show any sign of being awake.  As soon as I turned over they pounced me like a jaguar and as a result I wanted to stay in bed and feel sorry for myself.  These doubts antagonize me and tell me all about my inadequacies and try to convince me that better (let-a-lone best) is not meant for me. Despite how I feel I know that getting out is best for me, plus I am doing everything I can to avoid being asked why I am not getting up and out. 

Once out and on my way, the fresh crisp air helped me to gain the right perspective on the situation and my life.  On one day in particular felt inadequate and down right down in the dumps. I was glad that I pressed past how I felt. It was on the walk that morning that the Lord dropped an idea in my mind that I plan to go hard after.   That day confirmed what I already knew; my physical well-being is crucial to my success in business and in life.

So, the next time you are down in the dumps and can’t see anything but why thing won’t work or why they can’t get better. I encourage you to get out and take a brisk walk, go for a run or get yourself to the gym.  Once your blood starts pumping and those endorphins get stirred up you will find that things look better and you will be able to look beyond where you are and see the possibility of what could be.
   
Until next time, live life to the fullest, laugh a lot and love much, and remember to never forget that you have greatness in you….. because you were created by a great God!  

Marilyn
“Becoming Semply Whole”