Words

Words. I take them to heart, typically. I mean, words of affirmation has always been one of my top love languages, and I’m a writer. I like to encourage other people, because I like to receive love that way, as well. I mean, when people don’t say anything encouraging, I guess I try to let it roll off my back. But….that is MUCH easier said than done (it’s still a work in progress). In my small group on Sunday, we read all of James 3. It’s a short chapter, but we went two verses at a time, with much discussion and talk interspersed throughout our time together.

I don’t usually read scripture that’s in a blog post if it’s too long, so I won’t copy/paste James 3:1-12 here. Some of the biggest things I got out of it: The words we say are either a blessing OR a cursing; it’s black and white (there is no gray area). A fig tree can’t produce olives, a spring can’t produce both fresh water and salt water. Us, as humans, are the only creatures that can produce both life AND death at the same time (with our words!). James even goes as so far as to compare our tongues to fires, like the fires of hell! Matthew 15:18 says, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart.” Uff da. I’ll admit, marriage has made me more careful with my words, especially at home. As a med school wife, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do to “support” Dr. Wile E. Coyote in med school, like everyone said was my job. I even freaked out a little bit because I just needed to know what that looked like. But then I realized, that I could just be me! Every time I encourage Doug, I see how my words affect him. If I’m crabby and in a pity-party, it’s a good thing he’s there to pull me up. And vice versa. If he’s in a pity-party about this or that, I take it upon myself to pull him out and give him a smile and a laugh.   Words. Get ready for some examples (because I like thinking that way).

Image from http://evanmoneyleadership.com/change-your-words-and-change-your-life/  (This is a good blog read, too!)
Image from http://evanmoneyleadership.com/change-your-words-and-change-your-life/
(This is a good blog read, too!)

While touring the Vatican with my family this last December, I rented a wheelchair (which was smart, because I wouldn’t have been able to do all that walking, especially because we’d seen so many Italian things already!). Every time we would get to some stairs, we’d turn around and backtrack until we found a lift that could get me in the wheelchair on another floor. To get to the Sistine Chapel, there was a very slow lift that could bring a chair down. The security on each end of the hall would halt all traffic for the wheelchair to get through, and then they would go again until another wheelchair came by. We had to wait a while for the lift, and I was just looking around. My sister, Laura, spoke up. “Anna, don’t you DARE feel bad about being in a wheelchair. None of us mind, really! Anna? Don’t you dare.” How did she know? Of course I was feeling bad! About how much strength it took Dr. Wile E. Coyote to push me up a ramp, or the fact that we had to backtrack so many times!? But Laura was right. Why should I feel guilty about having to use a wheelchair, when it was such a benefit? Yes, I hated it. I’ve always hated wheelchairs, because my dang pride is so big, and being in a wheelchair admits defeat. But really, it was the best thing. No, I wouldn’t have been able to walk the whole thing. Especially after all the walking we had already been doing that week, and all the walking that we still had to do in the upcoming week of our European vaca! Laura’s words meant a lot and did a lot for me.

The encouragement that Dr. Coyote gives me when it comes to my Mary Kay business is incredible. He believes in me when I have trouble believing in myself. I love the encouragement I get from my friends who are also in Mary Kay, as well! God is using Mary Kay to teach me MANY things. This includes the power of words. If I tell myself that I’m going to advance into this next leadership position, I will. But if I tell myself that I can’t do it, I paralyze myself and I won’t be able to do it. (Good thing I’m going to, anyway!)

I meet my friend Erika for coffee every Tuesday morning. It is SO uplifting. We tell each other about how our weeks are going, and then we’re just there for each other. I love our Christian fellowship, where we can just speak life to each other! I am always open to having coffee dates with more friends, they just have to respond to my text messages….. And when I tell somebody “We should get coffee sometime!” I am not one of those people who says it and then thinks differently. When somebody says that to me, I immediately want to put it down in my datebook. Because I LOVE talking with someone one-on-one. It’s where I THRIVE!

Words. Chatter. Emails. Letters, even. Love them! I am intentional about my relationships with people. God has been telling me this week that I need to focus more on relationships with people where I live, in Eastern KY. See? Even he says encouraging things to me.

How have words positively affected you? I’d love to hear some of YOUR examples!

My Lent 2013 Update

I gave up coffee for lent.  It was a big deal and difficult at first but I have learned a few things.

First of all, when I gave up coffee, I set about to live a more healthy lifestyle.  I have snacked on fruits and vegetables as well as been more active.  I had depended on coffee for energy, but I have proven to myself that energy can come from other places I hadn’t explored in the past, for my mind was too set on coffee.

Next, that coffee really didn’t have as much of a hold on me as I thought it did.  It actually wasn’t that difficult to give it up.  Once my body adapted to not having caffeine every day, I have been just fine.  This has been going easier than I thought it would.  I just needed the drive and determination to step away.

I haven’t actually been thinking of coffee much.  The looks of empathy and horror when I announce that I gave up coffee for lent are amusing.  God has been doing so much more in my life lately.  I have been looking deeper inside myself than I knew I could, and God has been revealing to me brokenness and scars in my life.  It’s great, because in seeing these wounds, I can go through the mess and pray (not worry).

I AM looking forward to coffee again, but coffee is further proof that God loves us and wants us to enjoy his creation.  Everything points back to him (BOOM).

Anna

What did you give up for lent this year, if anything?  Has it been difficult?  Has God been teaching you through it? 

My Addiction

When I feel I’m crashing, when I still have the day left of dashing;

When I have no more strength, when I am done before day’s length—

Coffee?

Photo Credit: Kevin Wild
Photo Credit: Kevin Wild

Here is where I run into problems.  Sometimes, Jesus supplies me with energy I didn’t even know was possible.  Busier and busier I am, though I try and break up my daily activity with breaks when I can sit down for a moment.  This is super hard.  Every day, I run into this problem.  If I do anything that requires activity for a period of time, this is a problem.  There is more to the reasons of my daily loss of energy before the day is done, but I digress.  All this leads to the topic of this post: addiction.

My addiction is coffee.  Not the drink-every-moment, gotta-have-it addiction.  Well, not as bad as some people in the overly-caffeinated society of America. Since I discovered coffee as a freshmen in college (Bio 120 is what did it—sciences are just not my thing), I have found that caffeine is a drug that can give me energy out of nowhere (as I’ve never been a pop drinker).  My biggest struggles are when I rely on COFFEE for energy instead of JESUS.  But, it feels like Jesus is unpredictable.  Sometimes he supplies me with this miraculous energy, and sometimes I struggle extra-much.  I cry out to him some nights as I walk back from night class, but my walking is painfully, horribly, terrible.  But coffee?  It gives me energy all the time (well, mostly).  I guess I have found its flaw, too.  Sometimes coffee gives me this “false energy,” when I feel like I have energy to walk across campus and be on my feet practicing for an hour, but my body tells me otherwise.  I’m writing this post not because I want to share my victory over this addiction, but because I am still stuck in it.  The Bible says that “if  your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.  It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into eternal fire” (Matthew 18:8).  Well, I know I will not be thrown into eternal fire, as I have trusted Christ with my life and made him Lord of my life.  However, how can I honor him with all things?  Making coffee into an “idol” that I turn to instead of God is NOT honoring to him.  I have tried again and again to stop drinking coffee, but it is so hard, especially when the addiction is acceptable to the world and encouraged everywhere I go.

There was a time when I drank coffee when I had quiet times, and spent my time drinking coffee conversing with the Lord.  I’d tell him what was on my mind, and dive into the word.  When I would drink coffee and not have the Bible on hand, I would spend the time in prayer, talking with and thinking about God.  I honestly don’t know how to get back into the habit on my own.  Unfortunately, I cannot “take a moment” every time I drink coffee.  I have been trying to only drink coffee in the mornings, but I crash sometime between noon and two every day (right before or during a class).  I don’t know what to do.  I still have morning coffee with Jesus as I can, but the rest of the day?  Ahh!

Coffee with Jesus

“Lord, I seriously am at a loss.  I don’t know how to have energy without caffeine anymore.  Don’t let me put it in front of you, ever.  YOU are the king and the Lord of my life.  YOU sit at the throne of my life.  I thank you that there is coffee, that we may enjoy it.  I confess that it sometimes tries to sneak in and be put ahead of you, and sometimes I let it, but you are first, always.  Help me to see that and remember.  In Jesus’ name”

–Anna

 

Edit and added note (a week after posting): I am giving up coffee for lent 2013.  WHAT!?  If I can do it, you all can do anything.

Morning Coffee with Jesus

I get up in the morning and start some coffee.  Here at home, my mom has an espresso machine, so it’s a mocha.  =)  I gather my journal, Bible, pen, pencil, and Zune.  I sit down with my filled-up mug nearby, and place the earbuds in my ears as I hit “play” on my favorite playlist.  I open my journal.  “Good morning, Lord!”  I start.  I chat with him and tell him what’s going on today, even though he already knows.  I tell him what’s on my mind, and ask him for advice as I place my troubles in his hands.  It is my time to write and reflect on the Lord and what he’s telling me.  I’m not a very good listener, but God talks to me through my pen as I journal, at times.  (Still not a good listener, but I’m a good talker!)  I’ve spent many-a mornings in this routine, and it helps keep me focused on the Important One throughout my day.  It’s not a formula to having a good day or the only formula that lets me connect with God; I’ve learned that this summer.  But it makes me feel better; it is my most comfortable way to study the Word and chat with the Lord.  Sometimes I’ll be reading some hard truths or about the prophesized destruction of Egypt, but other times, I’ll be reading about God’s awesomeness and just re-read it again and again.  God gives me hugs and shows me things and even if I don’t FEEL like anything is happening if I read a boring passage, he’s always up to something.  =)

Sometimes, I write poetry to God.  Many of my poems appear here, on this blog, but not all of them.  I write them before I fall asleep at night or during the day when I feel like it.  I wrote a lot of “psalms” (as I dub them) in the month of June.  I felt like David, pouring out my heart and laying down my troubles, but always seeing God’s face before I conclude.  Sometimes I would write praises and just sit in awe of my Lord.  He is worthy of that awe, you know?

Sometimes, when I’m suffering from boredom or writer’s block I’ll come here and randomly click on blogs to read under the category “Christianity.”  And that’s funny, too, because God always seems to lead me to a few that fall under the same type of theme.  He talks to me through you other bloggers!  I also read books like “Radical Disciple” by John Stott, ”Grace Walk” by Steve McVey or “”Generous Justice” by Tim Keller.  Right now, I am reading “Radical” by David Platt.  God totally uses these writings about himself to point out truths or to just tell me stuff.  I usually read this type of thing again, before I fall asleep at night or when I feel like doing something else but don’t have a brain to think of it.

Throughout my day, I talk to God.  As I said earlier, I’m not a very good listener.  But even just talking to him allows me to see his hand at work and to see his face in the middle of a day that may not be going so well.  God always makes it better.  And sometimes he does tell me things.  But I usually can’t tell unless he hits me in the face with a two-by-four.  Luckily, he’s all for that kind of thing.  Or just telling me subtly again and again.

And sometimes, in the middle of the day, I make myself another mocha and curl up with the Word.  It’s like habit now.  Whenever I drink coffee, mocha or not, I at least talk to God if I don’t write to him or read of him or his Word.  I tried giving up coffee altogether because I was thinking about it first thing when I woke up in the morning, and that wasn’t good.  But now I think about God and the wonderfulness of the day to come.

 

During the school year, I’d go to a coffee shop on Saturdays and spend my morning there.  There were even a few days this summer when I could hang out at a coffee shop with my Bible and a mocha.  Extended dates with Jesus are always refreshing to my spirit, especially if something is heavy on my mind or on my heart.  What do you do to spend some time with God?  What are some of your routines or habits in doing so? 

 

Smiling LOTS, Anna =)^2