How to Be More than “Fine”

Why we really do need each other…

Why we really do need each other…

Dining Room Table photo by wanderingone The laughter rings like church bells around the table, calling me home. I fill a plate and slide into a seat. These faces, these women, have walked the hills and valleys with me.

We're not in a sanctuary (or are we?) but at a kitchen table. After a week of being snowed in and fighting the flu, my voice feels rusty from disuse.

We swap the usual questions, "How are you? What have you been up to?" Answers range from casual to confidential without a thought.

We are safe here.

The food on my plate slowly disappears. I find myself saying, "I feel full." And then I realize I'm not talking about the food at all.

I'm talking about my heart.

"You are the salt of the earth," said Jesus.

My world has felt a bit bland lately. Now I understand why. You see, when I struggle I sometimes do the opposite of what works best.

When Sharon left this comment on my post at (in)courage, I nodded in understanding:

I find myself asking God to help me remember the tiny moments, enjoying the detail of each one and enjoy it to the fullest. Resting in the moment and not getting over stressed about what I may see coming on the horizon. Not to sit on the couch…I am finding that the sitting on the couch is an enabler to my depression. To keep busy, focused on what matters, doesn’t give me time to wallow in self-pity and therefore I spend less time being overwhelmed and drowning in pools of depression.

When I'm hurting, I withdraw. When I do so my plate may not be as full but it sure isn't as satisfying either.

I'm learning how much I need the salt of my brothers and sisters–the salt of tears shed together, the salt of sweat when we work side by side, the salt of a smile cracked at just the right moment to make the world right again.

I need that salt even in (especially in?) my wounds. 

That's how we heal.

I look up from being lost in my thoughts. My friends, these beautiful women from my church small group, have their elbows on the table, forks mid-air, sentences splitting the air with life. "Holley, aren't you going to eat the rest of your food? What are you thinking about?" 

I lean across the table and smile.

Suddenly, I'm hungry for more.

written with love for you by holley

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The Best Kind of Rest

The Best Kind of Rest

Red berries photo by M.B.T. I sit across the table from my husband on a cold morning. Snow spatters the streets outside and coffee steams from my cup.

“I’ve been trying to rest,” I say, “And I don’t think it’s working.”

He looks up at me, “Maybe what your idea of rest isn’t really rest.”

I nod. I’ve been thinking about that too.

When I felt like I needed to start slowing down a few months ago, I took that literally. I spent more time on the couch. I crossed items off my to-do list.

And I felt worse.

“You’re a dreamer,” my husband goes on, “You need to be free to chase ideas, move toward the future, try new things. That’s what renews you.”

He’s a wise one, my man.

I realized what I’d been missing more than I realized…

God-sized dreams.

I’m coming to see that when God asked me to rest it was actually more about my heart.

Learning to trust instead of strive.

Learning to enjoy rather than push so hard.

Learning to focus on the moment instead of results.

I think of the verse God put on my heart when all this began

“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Solomon 2:10-13

Rest is an intimate invitation—

not to step away from life but to embrace the Giver of it.

Will you read the rest with me on (in)courage today? Oh, thank you! I really love having you with me. To get there, just click here.

written with love for you by holley

 

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Over fear into joy…

Over fear into joy…

Rollercoaster photo by theerawat I'm a child at an amusement park. The smell of cotton candy swirls around me. The laughter of other children is like a song in the air. The world is in motion and I stand completely still.

I'm staring at a rollercoaster.

Then I hear a voice beside me, "I'll go with you."

It's my Daddy.

He slips his hand into mine.

We wait in line. I fidget. Run my fingers along the red, hard bars that lead us to the rollercoaster.

Then it's time.

Up the first hill I hear that noise "click, click" all the way to the top.

I wonder if I've made a mistake.

I wish I could get off.

I grip the safety bar in front, knuckles flushed white with fear.

But then I look at my Daddy next to me.

The whole way to the top I say over and over something like, "It's going to be okay. It's going to be okay."

He smiles.

And it is okay.

I'm more than fine when we get off.

I ride the rollercoaster again.

Then another.

And another.

Fear gives way to joy, to freedom, to the wind in my hair and the sun on my face.

As I drove last week, the "click, click" of worry in my mind, that exact memory rushed back to me, followed by this promise from my Heavenly Father…

Do not fear, for I am with you. Isaiah 41:10

Our security comes from the One who is with us.

The One who has promised not to leave us.

The One who has told us that whatever is ahead will somehow be worked out for good.

By the end of the last rollercoaster that day, I was raising my arms high until it seemed I could touch the pink and purple sky.

I pull into home and suddenly realize my heart doing the same.

 written with love for you by holley

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How to be More than “Fine”: The First Step

How to be More than “Fine”: The First Step

Steps photo by Nina Matthews Photography (flickr creative commons) I wrote recently about feeling burned out and asked if any of you had ever felt the same way. When almost 500 of you responded, it seemed the answer was clear.

I told you I felt I was at the start of a new journey and asked if you'd go with me.

You answered yes.

Thank you.

As I've been thinking and praying more this past week about next steps it's become clearer than ever before that there is only One who can lead our hearts to higher ground.

So I'm starting a series about what I'm learning, how God is leading, what it means to live differently–with less weariness and more joy, more peace.

How we can be more than "fine."

It seems one lie often holds us back from even beginning…

Lie: We have to be suffering to please God.

Truth: God "delights in the well-being of His servant." Psalm 35:27

Most of my friends have children. And there are times when their children experience hurt because of poor choices or simply being in a fallen world. But none of those parents want their children to live in a place of pain.

Our Heavenly Father doesn't want us to live that way either.

Our well-being delights Him.

In other words, our joy brings Him joy too.

I think the first step is to simply give ourselves permission to have joy, to embrace grace, to receive love–even if our lives and our hearts aren't perfect.

Perfection is never a prerequisite for God's work in our lives.

We think, "I have to X and then I can feel better."

And all the time it seems God is whispering to our hearts…

You are loved.

You are secure.

You are mine.

Let Me make it well with your soul…

right here, right now. 

The first step to higher ground is believing we're allowed to go there.

You are.

Really.

I am too.

Confession: I don't know where this journey may take us.

All I know is I can't stay where I am any longer…

And with all my heart, I'm asking God to show us the way together.

written with love for you by holley

 

p.s. I just got back from the Blissdom blogging conference. My wonderful friend Emily summed it all up better than I ever could in this post she wrote on her blog, Chatting at the Sky.

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Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst Thanks to all of you who left comments on the When Your Heart is Hungry for More post last week.

Christina Arthur is the winner of the New York Times bestseller Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst! 

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