What if the answer to your current struggles is completely off your map? What if there is more to be gained from your circumstances than you can see? How would you live differently if you knew The Lord has greater plans for your life? Continue reading “Living the Life God Has Planned for You”
One thing I’ve been learning this year is that God always has Good Stuff planned for my future … no matter what my circumstances are saying at any given time.
I believe Him and hope this story will encourage you in your own journey.
Last Wednesday afternoon, I ran home on my lunch break to complete a few tasks in preparation for my Christmas Vacation. Upon my arrival, I discovered a new, unexpected task: Finding a different ride to the airport. Record-breaking fires in Ventura and Los Angeles had shut down the entire Amtrak schedule.
Undaunted (mostly), I explored my options and decided a limo ride to the Hollywood Airport would be cheaper than parking my car in the longterm lot.
I headed back to the office for my last two clients of 2017 … in rush hour traffic … feeling rather pleased with my “instead.”
Traffic was slow. But at least it was moving.
Until it wasn’t.
Suddenly a BMW was sitting motionless in front of me. I hit the brakes. And nothing happened. The impact was imminent, so I whispered, “Lord, You’ve got me.”
I was in the left lane and hit the BMW hard. He hit the guy in front of him.
Not to be outdone, I somehow swerved to the right around the car I’d hit, and sideswiped the car the BMW had already hit, miraculously avoiding four more lanes of traffic on my right.
Debris flew everywhere … in slow motion.
After fully passing the second car, my little bug veered to the left and slammed into the retaining wall … in FRONT of both the cars I’d hit!
(Neither of the other drivers were injured, and they carried no passengers.)
As I had sped toward the unknown, I was confident The Lord was in charge. Although Heaven will be amazing, I’m grateful He chose to save me (a) to lavish more love on others and (b) to complete the work He created me to do.
I got a whole bunch of “insteads” that day.
- Peace instead of panic. I felt amazingly calm through it all. And I’ve had zero nightmares or even nervousness about riding in a car.
- Bruises and abrasions instead of death or disability. The CHP officer said, “I don’t have to ask if you were wearing your seat belt because I can see that you were.” I’ll spare you the pix of my long and lovely seat-belt slice from shoulder to sternum. And 5 days later, I am sporting the biggest, most colorful contusions my chest and abdomen have ever known!
- Road Trip instead of flight. Yes, I made it to the airport the next day. My son’s taking me shopping for a Chevy while I’m here. Oh, the possibilities!
This story illustrates, of course, how “insteads” usually vary in size, from a limo ride to life itself.
So keep your heart set on Jesus!
Because The One Who sees
the ashes of your life as a
Prelude to Beauty knows exactly
what He wants to give you instead!
Isaiah 61 declares that The Messiah would come
… to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes …
Yes, life often turns out differently than you plan. But trusting in The Lord will always bring the Beauty of Something Better. Starting with more of Him! ❤️
Shortly before I turned 3, my mom loaded up her friend’s pale green Pontiac with clothes and stuff, tucked my older brother and me into the already-packed backseat, and headed out of town.
… while my dad was at work. He had no idea what was happening. And neither did I, of course. But it left me with a painful longing – a longing to go home – that I didn’t even begin to understand for several decades.
I missed my daddy.
But we never saw him.
And he never came for me.
All my life, I’ve longed for a real home.
I wanted to belong. But I often felt like I didn’t.
As a kid, I filled my days with school. I was good at it. At 40, I moved on to the fancier academics of college and graduate school. Always dreams of traveling. Of being someone who went places and did stuff. My goal was to be “in charge.”
Little did I know all of that would fail me.
Because it wasn’t My Deepest Desire. And because it didn’t consider my most basic needs. My emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. In fact, those seemed so impossible to meet that I tried hard to ignore them altogether. But they didn’t go away.
Today I realize more of who God created me to be.
He knows what I need. Maybe it’s what you’re looking for, too?
A Safe Haven and a Secure Base
Attachment Theory uses the terms safe haven (a place of comfort) and secure base (a place from which to explore).
But those aren’t new concepts. It’s how God made us. It’s how He made me. A long time ago, the psalmist put it this way:
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91)
Is someone you care about causing you a great deal of pain?
- Do you find yourself concealing what you think or feel because you’re afraid of the other person’s reaction or because it just doesn’t seem worth the horrible fight or hurt feelings that will follow?
- Do you feel that anything you say or do will be twisted and used against you?
- Are you blamed and criticized for everything wrong in the relationship— even when it makes no logical sense?
- Are you the focus of intense, violent, or irrational rages, alternating with perfectly normal and loving behavior? Does no one believe you when you explain that this is going on?
- Do you feel like the person you care about sees you as either all good or all bad, with nothing in between? Is there sometimes no rational reason for the switch?
- Are you afraid to ask for things in the relationship because you will be told that you’re too demanding or that there is something wrong with you? Do you feel that your needs are not important?
- Does the other person denigrate or deny your point of view?
- Do you feel that their expectations are constantly changing, so you can never do anything right?
- Are you accused of doing things you never did and saying things you never said?
- Do you feel misunderstood and, when you try to explain, do you find that the other person doesn’t believe you?
- Are you often put down?
- If you try to leave the relationship, does the other person try to prevent you, using anything from declarations of love and promises to change to implicit or explicit threats?
- Do you make excuses for their behavior or try to convince yourself that everything is okay?
- Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or even lied to sometimes?
- Do you feel like you’re the victim of emotional blackmail?
If you answered yes to many of these questions, we have good news for you:
- You’re not going crazy.
- It’s not your fault.
- And you’re not alone.
You may share these experiences because someone close to you has traits associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
If you’re concerned, but not sure if your partner has Borderline Personality Disorder, contact me. I’m here to help!
NOTE: Both men and women can exhibit traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.
In most cases, the woman is not mentally ill.
She is simply more emotionally reactive than he.
On more than one occasion a man in couples counseling has suggested that his partner is mentally ill.
When a man is flooded/overwhelmed by his own emotions, he may shut down to protect himself and/or the relationship, hoping that by staying calm she will deescalate. However, this maladaptive communication strategy, experienced as “stonewalling,” typically serves to escalate the relational anxiety of an already terrified and frustrated woman.
This is NOT mental illness, but a negative cycle that is typical of many conflicted couples who have not yet realized how God created them to live in one-flesh partnership with one another.
Learn more about Stonewalling in my FREE online course
Why Won’t He Talk to Me?