Life: Learning How To Ride The Wave

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Have you ever seen those movies where a guy is struggling in life and he meets the surfing guru and gets all wrapped up in the excitement and the vibe of conquering the surf? Yeah, these are great movies full of emotion, hardship, training, discipline, overcoming, and victory. Sounds just like the challenges of life to me.

It’s Thanksgiving day and I am sitting in my chair relaxing after our family dinner, thinking over the last few months of my life realizing that I have been living a surf movie. Especially that one part of the movie where the surfer is trying to get out to the break so that he can ride the wave but over and over he is swept back to the shore all while wearing himself out paddling in the sea.

I decided to look up this surfing thought I was having and I came upon a couple articles with good info but I noticed 4 things about getting to the break so that you can ride the wave that reminded me a lot like waiting for your breakthrough. It’s never easy.!

Here are the 4 things I noticed:

1.Look for Channels -A surfer looks for channels where water heads back out to sea.

He is looking for the opportunities in front of him where there is less resistance and he is able to use the current to his advantage.

Isaiah 22:22b…So he shall open, and no one shall shut;
And he shall shut, and no one shall open. 

It’s never easy when God closes doors but we must remember that when He shuts doors He also opens doors somewhere else. Sometimes we can become people of such predictability that we lose the wonder of being led by a God. We forget He is the God who wants to lead a people who walk by faith and not by sight.  What do you do when your God takes you on a journey that feels like going with the flow in an unpredictable and totally unsafe way? He is either sovereign or He isn’t. I choose to trust. We started looking for the paths of least resistance. Little side jobs that came in that paid all the bills one month. The time my Husband took a job that was good work but felt off after a while and he was let go, but that employment kept us afloat for a little while longer. As people in our church began to hear about our struggle we went through a time of learning to let the body of Christ take care of us. These people helped pay our mortgage one month, bought our son school clothes and supplies, and put food on our table many nights. Then my husband was given a load of apples. So we made canned apple rings and asked for donations and again God’s people carried us through another month of paying our mortgage.

2. When the wave dies – get off of it.

If the surfer doesn’t get off dead waves but instead tries to squeeze out the last of the ride he will expend to much time and energy wasting his daylight.

Matt. 6:8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

Don’t waste your time trying to keep something alive that is dead. Too often we don’t want to “look like a failure” or we fear what others will think if we walk away, so we keep at something that is clearly not working. We are afraid of what will happen if we walk away. What if we stop? What does it say about who we are, if we give up? I believe God created us in such a way that we are able to hear Him. He speaks all the time. Are you listening? If you stay at it longer than you are anointed to do it then you could end up with a catastrophe like we did. My husband had known for many years it was time to leave the career he had done for 20 years but he didn’t leave. The last 6 years were brutal. It was relationally damaging. It wasn’t working anymore. Having his knee blow out was the only way he was ever going to leave. He is loyal and dedicated to the bitter end. The knee injury was the most pain I had ever seen him in. It was scary. I wondered if he would be ok and if he would ever walk the same as he used too.

Now don’t get me wrong! Crap happens and we need to work on stuff with people. So don’t go using this as an excuse but there comes a time when you know your exit is long overdue. It’s time to walk away. Trust that God knows how to tell you its time. Walk and be free to let God lead.

3. Right timingFind a strategic place to wait for the wave

For the surfer, he doesn’t want to be in the breaking zone while he is waiting to ride the wave. If he does then he will be hammered by the brunt force of the waves. It is better to hang out in the shallows and wait.

Ps. 27:14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Everyone wants to get out into the deep! We can not forget that we learn much in the shallows while we ask Him to take us a little deeper.  If we try to get out into the deep before it is time, just like the wave rider in the movies, over and over he gets out there before he is ready and gets thrown about and almost drowns. How often we forget that we can not do or go where God is taking us in our own strength? He must retool us for the next move. So we wait on Him. It takes more courage than we can comprehend to wait. Just try to sit in silence for 5 minutes and listen to your thoughts run wild. You will be surprised how every ounce of your flesh and soul wrestles with you. Waiting brings a tumult day and night that you “have to do something.” It will steal your sleep and try to drive you crazy in an effort to push you out of the shallows. The thing is, it is in the shallows that you find Jesus. He is always there when we are stuck in the waiting. He is in the waiting and he is doing things spiritually in you that you can not know with your natural understanding. He is teaching and training you. There are some things we must learn to go deep. Some of the lessons are that you have to let others in. You have to rest in the One who can be trusted. You have to learn to write the lessons so that we keep them and worship Him through the waiting.

Last Saturday I went to the prayer ministry at my church called Prophetic Intersession. I came a little early to just pray on my own and worship the Lord. They prayed and interceded for us. It was an encouraging time in the Lord.

4. Paddle with purpose –  taking advantage of 1,2,3 

In order to make it to the break, the surfer must take advantage of all that the surfing guru has taught him and those things together he can paddle with purpose and ride the wave!

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

God is the Great Teacher! He has been at this training of people since the beginning. He has good plans for us. He wants to give us a future and a hope but there are some things that just have to change and we have to use the tools God gives to our advantage before we ride the wave. It’s time for us to start paddling with purpose.

3 things to help us paddle with purpose:

  1. CULTIVATE GRATITUDE: Too often we are busy complaining about the closed doors. Being overly focused on what people have done to us and our rights rather than looking for the open doors in front of us leaves us focused in all the wrong places. He has laced our pathways with grace packages and opportunities to show off His love for us. We must cultivate a heart of gratitude toward His sovereign hand that leads us on when we can’t see the way through.
  2. BE BRAVE: We have become too comfortable. We do not like change nor do we use the power of change to our advantage. We fear failure and worry too much about what other people think. We can’t ride a wave if its over. It’s time to see the truth about our situations and let go. We have to be brave enough to trust in the goodness of God that endures continually and let Him take you, in His timing, out to the deep.
  3. FIX YOUR EYES: We must learn to wait on the Lord and discipline our minds and hearts by fixing our eyes on Jesus. When we learn to love sitting in the silence with the King we receive from Him what we could never get going in on our own and in our own strength.

The breakthrough came for my family Monday! We have been paddling with purpose and we have finally made it to the break and it time to ride the wave! My husband said that all he has heard from the Lord since he hurt his knee in March has been “hold your shorts, I have something tailor-made for you.” Did I say March? Yes …MARCH! He starts on Dec. 11th. This job has medical, dental, vision, 401k, and many more benefits. It will be the first time in his life having that kind of job. He has the skills to do the job and he said: “everyone I have met has been so kind and congratulating.”  I am very excited for him. Also, we had Thanksgiving with a family that we have been estranged from for several years and tonight was the first time it felt like family in a long time. I was nervous to go but my daughter said “Mom, you go and make an effort” and I thought to myself “let’s see what God can do” so I prayed about it. Asking Him for peace and a heart that sees them how He sees them. I heard the Lord say to take the heart candle, volunteer to say grace at dinner and light it in the honor of family giving thanks for them all. After that, the atmosphere shifted. God is so good! I love my family.

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Come up next week, I have a big announcement. So stay tuned.

Thanks for listening,

Starla

 

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Stuck In The Waiting?

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I have been in the waiting for what seems like forever. I know that I am not the only one. I want to share my story and if you are in this place too then I would like to give you 3 things that you can do to get unstuck while you are in the waiting.

This past week has been rough.  All I could feel was sadness and anger. Circumstances have forced me to be unable to move forward in some places in my life. It’s so strange that somehow these things have the power to narrow our focus and gain our attention so strongly we can’t feel or see anything else.These situations have caused me to pause at what has happened to me and ask the question “Why God?” and “What did I do wrong?” I am a pretty resilient person. So, when life and the cares of this world grab me hard and throw me to the ground when my soul feels so off and out of sorts, I know what to do!? I write! And trust me the enemy of my souls knows how to distract me and keep me busy so that I will not write because he knows, as well as I do, that when I write, It does something in me that he can not control. It is one of the amazing gifts God has given to me, not because I am so good at it but rather because of what He can do when I use this gift and tool He has given.

All I could hear from my soul within me this week was “Oh God, how long, O Lord?” My spirit within me crying out for resolve, for change, for movement, for salvation. My soul lamenting in anguish “when will this season be over?” If you are anything like me, then when you have gotten to a standstill space, you will do one of two things or a vortex spin of both. I would like that I always would land on #2 but hey, that’s a post for the perfect women and I am not her. It’s not even the right heart attitude but it just seems better than the first.  Trust me it’s not.

Here’s what I do:

  1. I look for any way to control my immediate surroundings to release the pressure like a valve. I do anything will help me tell myself “I See Movement!” I clean like a banshee. I drill sergeant at my kids to clean their rooms, clean the bathroom, the kitchen and my spouse gets the feeling that I am not happy and I don’t try to alleviate the pressure for him.  I am not thinking of him. I am fixated on making me feel better at the expense of others. I just set out to FIX something, anything!
  2. Fall on my knees in desperation for the presence of the King hoping that this posture would be like a insta fix it. Its a good start but doing the right motions and positions never produces what we are really searching for. Why? Because works never save us. It’s a heart connection I really need now.

There is a narrow way that touches the heart. But my heart has been disconnected, fretful and full of worry and what it really needs is rest and I know that. But too often, I don’t want rest. I want a reset! A quick fix. If you are like me, you want to be comfortable. You don’t want to enter the messy place of the heart with another. We don’t want to enter the often uncomfortable space of communion. 

What can you do to get unstuck if you find yourself in this place of waiting? 

  1. Let other’s in

Comfort fades. Communion is eternal. No wonder the latter doesn’t satisfy.

I use to fall into these types of moments and think  “I have lost my way and I have fallen from grace.” I would judge myself harshly and then go into hiding, not wanting others to see me at my worst, at my most vulnerable.  I now know that these types of moments are not a roll call on my character or my spirituality. They are, however, moments that are calling me out. Calling me out for connection, for communion and not just with God but with others.  “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)

I am looking for the “me, too’s!” in the room of my life.

quietlistening

I read this quote after a particularly hard day. I had taken a work phone call from a friend and in the middle of it, my friend, on the other end of the phone said: “Hey, are you ok?”  The easy answer was “yeah, I’m fine.” But the true answer was “I’m struggling!” We talked a few more minutes. She heard me. She could feel me. I was not my normal self and she knew it. My other friend who had come to help me in the office that day just sat with me. Her comforting presence, to just be there, was enough for me to verbalize “I’m sad! and I’m angry” and while I cried, she hugged me.  It was what’s inside these little exchanges that are so profound and moving to our heart. It’s connection.

True, real connection!

When you find those people, don’t let them go! They are your “Me, too!” people.

2. Rest

I do not want to live life being resistive to what God wants to do in me! When I find myself in this place and I find resistance in my soul, clogging me up. When I am resisting my emotions and just trying to hold it all together. ..When I am resisting letting the truth of the current situation touch my mind and instead find myself in la la land mentally talking to myself in my best “positive” voice but I am wearing my angry eyebrows… When I resist letting others into my heart, to see my pain, sadness and fear it is then I must recognize I am resisting truth and living a lie. I have to remember what the Lord taught me about RESIST earlier this year in March:

RES (is) T  = Trust the Father with what IS and REST in what Jesus has done!!

I have to trust the Father with what IS actually happening around me and in me, then I must crawl, claw and drag my heart to the place where Jesus meets with me and He will give me rest. This is the place where I stop trying to fix it by emotionally hiding, mentally justifying and projecting “all is well” to the people around me and I let God transform my heart. This is the place where ALL BECOMES GRACE. He transforms it and I begin to see that the goodness of God endures continually.

There is no one else for me, None but Jesus!

This song here is one that calls me back every time.

If you are in this waiting? If your heart is wearing a button that says:

resist

Enter the space of rest today! Talk to someone. Let them hold you. You don’t have to be strong when He is our strength.

….And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:9-10

And when you see that God has given you “me too” people then come to the altar (listen to it) and let Him change you and how you see what is happening from the inside out.

3. Write and Worship

I write and worship to right my soul into its true place.

Where He writes words on my heart: I GIVE YOU REST and YOU ARE LOVED

The reason I write and I journal is so that I can capture my lessons and words from the Lord and remember them and live them going and growing forward. So today, I stand on the words that have held my soul up for many years now. Today, I pray them! I shift my focus to the truth’s they represent. I ask the Holy Spirit to make them real to me again. Today  I worship. I listen to the songs all linked in this post that encourage my heart. This one that my soul knows is the anthem for this year to me.

You can listen here Take Courage.

Let’s get unstuck in the waiting. Let us move into the place where we can breath free even when the circumstances don’t change. Find your words to Stand on! These are mine. My life verses that have held me most of my Christian life:

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways a acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path. 

I write them again and again in my journal. Letting my hand once again translate the words into my hearts. Words I Build my life upon and choose to live by.

I hope this post encourages you as it has me, while we are in the waiting.

Thanks for listening,

Starla

Fear: What other’s think

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As far back as I can remember fear was a part of my life.

I grew up watching the scariest movies. The kind where mass murderers were hunted by FBI agents and serial killers got away with killing for years before they got caught.  I grew up with an unpredictable father figure. One that I just wasn’t sure how he would be from one day to the next.

One was a source of escape into a world of adrenaline and intensity.

The other was a source of worry and left me on edge.

When I was in 6th grade I kissed a boy with braces and they cut my lip. As a pre-adolescent girl, I just thought that was gross. So I broke up with this boy and he spread a rumor around my school. That unpredictable father figure was called into the principal’s office and told him what this rumor was. I could see it on his face. I was in so much trouble. He took me home and he asked me if I had done what that principal said. I told him no. He didn’t believe me. It didn’t go well for me after that.  That was the first time I encountered being accused of lying when I was telling the truth. It didn’t matter how many times I said no, he just got angrier.

In my teenage years, I woke up one night with a knife to my neck and a man in my bed. He told me to get up. He fully intended on walking me out of my house. But I screamed my head off and he ran. When the police came I told them what happened. I stayed calm because I didn’t want them to miss the details they needed to catch him. (Remember I watched all those scary shows) But the policeman just looked at my mom and said: “You have quite the little actress.” She told him to get out of our house. I was again in possession of truth and accused of lying.

These two situations left me with a great fear that if I told the truth people would not believe me. Slowly I began to hide what I thought and how I felt out of fear of what others would think about me and what I had to say. So here’s the thing. I know now I was set up by the enemy to take my voice out before I ever became a Christian. Every time he would pull out this calling card. I would bow. I did it to myself. I stopped speaking the truth as the enemy roared. I went silent. I turned the facts a bit. I became hyper-aware of people likes and dislikes and would maneuver to stay in the safety zone with them. This did not work! I’ve fought this demon for most my life. This fear stole friendships, ruined relationships and tore holes in my soul as a sought to just be ok with every person around me. I compromised my own heart and dragged many a person into the drama it created.  I struggled to be myself everywhere I went.  In God’s loving kindness He worked on my heart. He had to get through my thick head that if I couldn’t be true to who I was then how could I ever become more like him. See, we are uniquely made by God and have to learn to love what God created. He doesn’t make junk. We are not doomed to live our lives just as we are. He wants to transform us. This acceptance, it allows us to just BE who we are and as we place our selves into His hands and let Him do the work in us, in our hearts and souls. We learn and grow. We begin to find freedom.

God is speaking all the time. Speaking into our situations and helping us at every turn. So how did God get my attention? I hear someone say these words ” schizophrenia is just as bad as being double minded.” I instantly thought of this scripture.

James 1:8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

It hit me like a frying pan in the face. I was dealing with being double minded. I was being pulled two ways coupled with fear left me full of doubt, unstable and unsure of everything.  Fear eats at you from the inside out. Fear will grip you and will hold you captive if you don’t just get up and leap for your goals and dreams. Truth makes a way for itself! This is one of my mantras when I feel this fear creeping in. Then I leap and let truth loose. Fear only holds me if I let it. I choose everytime that I am in a situation where I am afraid to confront misunderstanding or misinformation to speak up and say what I am thinking. I will say “I need to ask a question. I am not sure I am understanding what has happened or if I know what is happening.” Or some form of that and then I let my heart out of its chest cage and trust God with the outcome. Its the only way I know how to get over the fear of what someone will think of me. Just start talking. Fear cant live in the light! So drag it kicking and screaming right out into the sun. 

HOW TO OVERCOME FEAR OF WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK:

  1. Become aware that you are afraid of what someone is going to think
  2. Search your heart for what exactly you are afraid of?
  3. Love them and Love you – go talk about it.
  4. Drag that fear into the light! And walk away free. 

Ps. little truth I have found – in 98% of these situations I am not really afraid of what they think, I am afraid of what I think they will think.

FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real

The battlefield is in the mind!

Thanks for listening,

Starla