The best defense is having a great offense…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about fortress building. Could you imagine having to stand in front of an audience of strangers to share the most intimate details of your life?

Impossible or easy?

Now imagine standing in front of an audience of people that you do know, family, friends or otherwise to share the same information.

A walk in the park? Or would you rather get your teeth pulled?

In both instances, we may be compelled to shield ourselves and build a fortress to protect us from hearing potentially harmful responses and reactions.

You may think:

Sometimes I feel inadequate as a mom. Brick.
I’m battling anorexia. Brick.
I’m old, and no one listens to me at work. Brick. Brick.
My finances are a mess. Brick. Brick. Brick.
I appear happy, but I’ve been depressed for years. Brick. Brick. Brick. Brick.

It can go on and on and on and before you know it you’ve imprisoned yourself with a barricade of shame hoping to hide your vulnerabilities.

Consider this for today: Not a day goes by that we aren’t tempted to fortify ourselves in some regard, either by virtue of perceived necessity or just sheer none of your business. No one wants to reveal those things we’ve worked so hard to conceal, flaws or failures…even the bruises.

Instead of creating a barrier around you, dismantle it by telling your truth and place shame under your feet. Stand tall on your vulnerabilities; those things that you consider your weaknesses are really your biggest attributes for an authentic life. It’s part of your life experience; it’s not who you are.

No, to shame.

No, to fear.

No, to doubt.

Yes to truth.

Yes to light.

Yes to life.

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Who’s Watching The Watchers…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about remembrances. We truly are living in interesting times, from the fires in the Pacific Northwest and uncivil rights in Missouri to a continuous war in the Middle East… and all this is compounded by anything you are growing through in your personal life.

Interesting times indeed.

Whether we realize it or not, history is being recorded, time is still marching forward and yet the prevailing frailties of the human condition do not delude us. Because of them we can still serve justice — we can right wrongs; we can choose not to look the other way, we can lend a hand to families in need of assistance, and we can choose how we respond to sheer terror.

Interesting times indeed.

Consider this question for today: How do you navigate the world when things around you are unjust, unfair or uncertain? I’ve said this before: no one wants human hurt to go unnoticed. What we do today will stand as the legacy of truth for our future. I watched my grandmother and mom; my children are watching me…who’s watching you and what truth will you tell when asked to remember?

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I Really Thought I’d Be Much Further Along By Now…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about gaining momentum. Do you remember as kids when running a race, we often took a few steps backward thinking it would help our stride and propel us forward? It seemed logical and instinctive in our juvenile minds that this was a surefire way of getting the boost we needed.

It’s funny how something so clear as kids somehow becomes a hindrance in adulthood. Then, it meant getting ready to run our race, and now taking a few steps backward could be interpreted as … we are not in the race.

But take heart – you are a contender.

In the stride of life there will be setbacks, and getting off our intended path or having to sit on the sidelines for a while or even taking 2 giant steps backward does not mean that you cannot win your race.

The word “backward” should not be made synonymous with a denial… and a step back is not a failure… and not being where you thought you would be at this point in life does not mean you failed.

Stepping back allows you to take a look at the big picture.

Stepping back allows you to confirm your direction.

Stepping back allows you to regain your sanity and composure.

Stepping back, intentional or not, adjusts your timing.

Consider this for today: If you find that you have to take a few steps back to get closer to your goal, do it with the confidence knowing that it’s only temporary and it will help push you forward in the long run.

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If I Allow Myself To Receive Feedback…Will It Make Me Vulnerable?

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about acceptance. Why is it that we run from compliments and run toward criticism? Is it because it’s easier to believe the worst about us?

When we reject compliments, we discount ourselves and demote the significance of any contribution that we’ve made.

Acceptance of criticism, on the other hand, if they are not constructive, further depletes any value and self-worth we hold in high regard.

But here’s the rub, they both are necessary for growth.

Consider this for today: compliments and criticisms are a gift and when genuinely given is a demonstration that you are living authentically.

Compliments say that you have qualities worthy of noting.

Criticism says that you’re growing.

Compliments say that you’re on the right path and here are a few words of encouragement.

Criticism says that you’re not afraid to fail and try again.

Choose to believe the good about you, choose to endeavor to improve, and choose to open yourself up to receiving love.

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Having the Gift of Good-bye Means…

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Guest Post by Franchesca Warren

There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.

I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.

The Bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay.

Let them go.

And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so that you don’t keep trying to raise the dead.

You’ve got to know when it’s dead.

You’ve got to know when it’s over. Let me tell you something. I’ve got the gift of good-bye. It’s the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It’s not that I’m hateful, it’s that I’m faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He’ll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don’t need it. Stop begging people to stay.

Let them go!!

If you are holding on to something that doesn’t belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to past hurts and pains . . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If someone can’t treat you right, love you back, and see your worth . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If someone has angered you . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents . . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you have a bad attitude . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you’re stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you keep trying to help someone who won’t even try to help themselves . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you’re feeling depressed and stressed . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying “take your hands off of it,” then you need to . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

Let the past be the past Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for 2014!!!

LET IT GO!!!

Get Right or Get Left. think about it, and then . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

“The Battle is the Lord’s!”

 You can find more of Franchesca‘s inspiring thoughts by following her on Twitter. 

Righteous Indignation or Feminist Virtues (…that’s a mouthful)

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A women’s intuition is a powerful thing, I’m convinced that it’s a gift we’re born with. Some of us are more in tune with it than others but nevertheless all women have this innate ability of knowing when something just doesn’t quite add up.

“Who would like to give the closing prayer?” Sister Abbie would ask us. She was my first Sunday school teacher and very well liked among the kids because she had the best snacks. We were a motley crew of elementary and middle school aged students, southern, all from different socio-economical backgrounds.

Growing up I felt indifferent about church, even as a young girl I always felt that church was just that: church. It was something that you just did. No explanations, no exceptions. It was church. I loved praise and worship (the singing) and intercessory prayer but soon thereafter my attention was diverted elsewhere when the preaching began.

The room went silent.

Most of the kids started looking at the floor or their shoes. Nobody wanted to lead the prayer. An anxious feeling whelmed up inside me, I wanted to do it.

“No one?” she insisted. “We need someone to lead the prayer, children.”

I raised my hand. “I’ll do it, Sister Abbie.” She smiled tightly and walked toward me.

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she said apologetically with the sweetest southern twang, “…girls don’t lead prayers in church.”

I felt all the air leave my body. I was stunned.

“Max, you lead the prayer,” she said pointing to the little boy sitting next to me and motioned for us to bow our heads. Was she serious? I mean, really. Even in my nine year old mind, I knew she was full of it.

While everyone bowed their heads, I didn’t. I was miffed.  What did she mean girls don’t lead prayers?

The class went through the motion of the closing prayer, I listened to Max stumble his way through. It wasn’t that good. I could have prayed better than that, I thought.

When we joined our families in the main sanctuary I couldn’t wait to tell my aunt. “…and then she said girls can’t pray in church,” I explained. My aunt’s face was expressionless. “She’s right, women’s roles in the church are finite,” she whispered touching my hand.

I looked into my aunt’s face. She was serious. She was wrong. I just knew she was. I felt it down in my bones – my nine year old bones.

That experience has stayed with me for a long time. I think it was probably one of the earliest memories that helped me see how some other people’s ideologies (and religious beliefs in this case) could potentially stifle someone else’s growth. There were other girls in the class that heard her, did they not have the same reaction? Did they question themselves? Was this the norm and I just didn’t notice that girls weren’t leading the closing prayer in Sunday school?

Now I know that everything ain’t for everybody. Some people are perfectly fine with the patriarchal structures in religious settings. That’s fine. I just knew early that it wasn’t going to work for me. I believe that God’s a little more flexible than that.

At thirteen I left that church, at the vehement protest of my family. I found another in walking distance from my grandmother’s house, after all I still had to do church. Today I attend church with my husband and children, I even listen to the lessons now. I still enjoy praise and worship and I make especially sure during intercessory prayer to affirm a special one, “…and God bless Sister Abbie.”

Amen.

Finishing What You Started Looks Like…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about recalibrating.

Imagine having the opportunity to start again because you veered off your intended path, there’s a lot to be said about the potential of a do over.

Finding yourself off track is never easy. Sometimes it’s intentional; we deliberately take a break; sometimes it’s completely unintentional, we took a right where we should have taken a left or we two took steps forward when we should have waited; and then other times we don’t realize that we’re off track until the fog lifts and we find ourselves completely off-center.

It can be frustrating.

In this state of mind, we are easily led by our insecurities and doubt, and it’s difficult to get back on course — projects are left unfinished, friendships and relationships go stale, or we try to be perfect at something that only requires good enough.

Consider this for today: While the opportunity to start completely over is indeed powerful, realize that there’s just as much power in picking up where you left off…you might not necessarily need to go back to square one.

You can recalibrate.

This entails recalling the initial plan, modifying if necessary, assessing where you are and taking the next steps. And when you get back on track (because you will get back on track), try not to focus so much on where you’re going, rather adjust your sights taking in the experiences along the way.

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