Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heavenly Sonshine

I love summer and one thing is for certain– summertime always brings lots of sunshine! Contrary to what some may think, there are some great benefits to sunshine- for example: it lifts the spirit, it promotes Vitamin D, it can be therapeutic, and it gives a healthy glow to the skin. Although I love to bask in the summer sun, I also realize that over-exposure to the sun can be damaging and even dangerous to the skin. When it comes to sun exposure– here are some important things to remember:
  • Seek the shade between 10AM and 4PM
  • Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF 
  • Never sunburn
  • Wear caps and sunshades
  • Use lip balm with sunscreen
  • Stay hydrated
While exposure to the natural sun requires moderation, I am  thankful that when it comes to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, there is no danger of  over-exposure; as a matter of fact, it is actually healthy to be a “Son” worshipper!  The more we allow God’s Son to shine on us, the more we can reflect that light to the world around us!  Like the natural sunshine, God’s Son-light brings hope and healing. He too can lift our spirits and provide spiritual nourishment and- all without the side effects of sunburn!  Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 Basking in the Son-shine allows us to illuminate the lives of others as we let the love of Jesus shine through us.  Have you gotten enough Son-shine today?  

1 John 1:5 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare
unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

Heavenly Sunshine
Words by Unknown
Music Arranged by Charles E. Fuller

Heavenly sunshine, heavenly sunshine,
Flooding my soul with glory divine -
Heavenly sunshine, heavenly sunshine,
Halleulujah! Jesus is mine.

Fun in the sun!  With Corbin, Chandler and Terry!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fly With Me

Today I am blogging from seat 18D at 35,000 feet. For some reason, airports always inspire me to muse about the analogies between life and travel. Anyway, the passenger in 18 E is snoring, which takes away any guilt I might have had about not conversing with a stranger about random topics. Indulge me as I embark upon a whirlwind of metaphors that are swirling around in my head and forgive me if I stop to clear my ears from time to time.

As we boarded the plane today, the flight attendant announced (in her voice reserved for not so pleasant news) that the overhead storage bins were full and that all remaining bags would have to be checked plane side. Of course this did not ruffle my feathers since I paid the $25.00 baggage fee to check my bag (my hairspray is worth it). The announcement led to a conversation with my son about how the cabins were not designed to accommodate so many large bags and that most people have too much baggage anyway. Of course in defense of the woman who rolled over my foot with her rolling bag, we have been reduced to this madness by no choice of our own. Well, the point is, life and flying are much easier when we learn to travel light and eliminate some of the excess baggage we carry around with us. You know that grudge you have been holding against someone for years and that chip you've had on your shoulder for a while? I for one want to lighten my load and stop holding on to the things of the past that weigh me down and steal my joy. The point is, there is just not enough room in anyone's life for excess baggage. It's time to check that junk at the gate. "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalms 55:22 NIV (pause for announcement from the cockpit)

"Ladies and gentlemen, due to unexpected turbulance, the captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign" (be right back). As I refrain from grabbing the stranger next to me, (never mind, that's Chase) I am reminded that life is full of unexpected bumps and what the pilot calls "rough air". Most of the time we never see it coming and then suddenly we are bounced around hoping to survive the chaos and confusion that interrupts our once peaceful journey. It is usually during these turbulent times that my faith is suddenly challenged and I search frantically for the only truth I can hold onto. Just like turbulence, unexpected challenges in life can be scary, but with Jesus as our co-pilot, we find comfort in knowing that setbacks are only temporary. If we lean on Him, He will take us to a higher altitude and help us find that smooth air we've been looking for. After all Psalms 9:9 tells us, "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. He is our strong tower." NIV

Well, it looks like the first leg of my trip is almost over and the flight attendant is giving me that look (which means turn off my electronic device). Pray for me, I have a tight connection in Atlanta! Now, as we prepare for landing, make sure your seatbacks and tray tables are in the locked and upright position and next time, fly with me!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Superwoman Syndrome

Faster than a speeding minivan-
Stronger than a SUV-
Able to leap tall piles of laundry in a single bound-
It's a bird!
It's a plane!

I walk into my house after an exhausting day at work, two meetings with my favorite charities, a mad dash to the grocery store and a battle with traffic. I am dreaming about finding a comfy spot on the sofa to relax for just a few minutes before dinner. But what happens next is no surprise to a fellow superwoman.   I find myself washing a few dishes left in the sink from breakfast, which leads to disinfecting the entire sink and counter top followed by the microwave and coffee pot!  As I walk over to the refrigerator to put away the groceries that I left on the floor, I notice the mail, which I begin to sort and file.  While in the office filing away the mail, the phone rings- a ten minute conversation that turns into twenty. After hanging up the phone, I return to the kitchen only to find the groceries that never made it to the refrigerator still sitting on the floor.  While putting away the milk on the third shelf, I move the eggs to the second shelf which leads to an organizational overhaul of the entire refrigerator- and at the same time I am thinking about exhausted I am!

Do you ever find yourself seeking out more tasks and responsibilities despite your obvious need for rest or relaxation?  Then you too may suffer from the Superwoman Syndrome!  In the 1950's, women focused mostly on the home and family, in the 1980's, women wanted it all; a home, a family and a successful career.  As we move into a world filled with family, work, home, social and emotional demands, we are beginning to see that having it all sometimes means spreading ourselves too thin!  The result is that something will eventually suffer; that something is typically our health, our relationship with others and our peace of mind.  Why do we do it?

Perhaps we see superwomen in the media who make it look easy to "have it all".  They cook entire meals in a 30 minute Food Network show, they re-decorate an entire house during a one hour HGTV or DIY episode and Martha Stewart- well, enough said.  I have a sign in my kitchen that reads:  MARTHA STEWART HAD A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN HERE!  As women, we feel the need to be all things to all people; we derive satisfaction from knowing that we have achieved exhaustion!

Often, the superwoman is a perfectionist (not me of course) who has unrealistic expectations about what she is physically capable of achieving in one 24 hour day.  She sacrifices her own needs both physical and emotional for the sake of everything else.  Perfectionism is like a two-edged sword- it cuts both ways.  According to The University of Texas at Austin, "perfectionism is a duel with oneself, the ultimate no-win situation.  Perfectionism is not a healthy pursuit of excellence, rather a preoccupation with avoiding failure and disapproval". 

Perhaps if we looked at the biblical standard of perfection, we would lighten up on ourselves just a bit.  Matthew 5:48 (NIV) tells us to "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect".  But, what is Godly perfection?  The amplified version puts it all into perspective.  "You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect".

Becoming mature in Christ, means learning that I do have limitations (pause for an epiphany).  In order to have abundant life, I have to prioritize what is really important to me.  Abundant life is not about a daily planner crammed with activities.  Dean Dyer, in the book "Grace for the Race", tells us to "get off the hamster wheel of perfection, recognize our limits and rest with Jesus for a while".  Jesus loved us enough to leave Heaven and come into an imperfect world in order that we might experience His love and mercy; surely we can give ourselves permission to be less than perfect in order to spend more time with Him.  

Fellow Superwomen, I know that it is hard to take off that cape and suit with the big red "S" on the front of it; but you CAN do it!  I still consider myself a recovering perfectionist.  I am not proud of the fact that I am still doing the phone booth trick.  But, with God's grace, maybe someday I will be able to ignore that pile of laundry and get a pedicure- at least until we run out of underwear!

Until next time,