Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ask the Mirror

When is the last time you asked someone close to you a question that would help you grow?

For me, it happened just this week...and if I am honest, kind of on accident. As I was talking through the commitment of discipleship with a student athlete, I shared my commitment in the discipleship relationship. Next thing I know, I am asking her "how can I do these things better than I have in the past?" As I took my next breath I realized that I had just opened the door for her to speak truth into my life. I had stepped in front of a mirror, in a sense, by asking her to share with me how I could improve. Her answer was honest, gentle, and understanding as she expressed she would simply desire more time with me this upcoming semester as compared to last semester (when I was out for 6 weeks on maternity leave + had a newborn at home). Well that wasn't too bad! I thought to myself. So, as I had a smilier conversation with another student athlete, I thought I would ask the same question. Why? Because I desire to grow--even if it is going to be hard.

I am a firm believer that we NEED people around us, in our lives, to hold up the mirror and show us our blind spots. How do we expect to grow without the insight of others? The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." And oh how true that is! Relationships promote growth--through conflict, intimacy, conversation, time spent, etc. And as well as we may know ourselves, others see us through a different lens. We desperately need people in our lives who know us deeply; safe people who we can trust, to hold up the mirror, come alongside us, and champion us, ultimately, to the finish line of holiness in Jesus.

From one growth seeker to (hopefully) another...invite those in your life to be your mirror.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Unmet Expectations

Have you ever felt disappointed? unconsidered? left out? uninvited? unheard?

I would venture to say everyone can answer that with a YES! We have ALL found ourselves, at one time or another, with unmet expectations. And it's not really a great place to end up.

If I am honest, this happens daily in my my marriage, in motherhood, in ministry. It happens almost annually around the holidays, or on my birthday. It happens when company visits or when I vacation. It happens with family and with friends. It happens surrounding major life events. Unmet expectations and I are, unfortunately, quite acquainted.

It is so easy for me to mentally paint a picture perfect [fill in the blank: day, nap time, Christmas, date, visit, wedding, phone conversation, discipleship meeting, party, play date, Bible study, etc.] in my head and then when reality strikes, it looks like a Picasso next to my Monet.

The question is not whether or not we will face disappointment, rather the challenge is how to respond to the it.

For me, I run through several options...
A. Cry.
B. Share my selfish thoughts.
C. Laugh.
D. Put on a happy face, yet allow my heart to fill with bitterness.
E. Gossip.
F. Gratitude. Joy. Contentment. Humility. Understanding.

And, ideally, I choose F. (although A. is likely when pregnant...). When I am hit with disappointment, I so long to respond with a humble heart--one that recognizes I actually am undeserving and not entitled to whatever it is I did not get. But, unfortunately, I cannot say that I always do. Because I am still in process. Time, seasons of life, grace, relationships, and the being able to empathize have all aided in growing me in this area. But again, F. is not always my initial response. And for that, God pours down His grace. He continues to mold me more and more into His image. And the process ain't always pretty. But the outcome is absolutely worth it.

How do you handle disappointment? I would encourage you to check your heart next time you come face to face with it.