Impossible. There could never be a problem with pockets. I agree. I'm such a fan I wrote a whole blog about the beauty of these magical folds of fabric.
When it comes to wellness, I have discovered that oftentimes I try to live my life in pockets. And that doesn't work.
You know those jewelry organizers? The ones that hang in your closet and every piece of jewelry has a place? No guess work involved. No tangled necklaces or missing earrings. I have one or six, but they are wasted on me because, well, I'm—me. My jewels fall (are thrown) in a drawer—kind of like a pirate's treasure chest. And yes, I get my kicks from untangling and rediscovering all the precious something shiny(s). Fun, right?
Some of you are breaking out in hives at the thought.
Back to the point.
Separating spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental wellness into pockets doesn't work because they are all intertwined into the unique, wonderful, and masterful creation called YOU. In the past I have been discouraged because one or two areas are on point, yet another is out of control. Because I'm on this journey with you, I don't have the answers, but I can tell you where I am in my thought process. Three questions are rolling around in my head like marbles and I'm journaling through them. Join me?
In the meantime, live well (somewhere between a pocket and a pirate's chest) and choose joy.
*This picture has more to do with THESE BABIES are both going to be in high school than the actual topic of the blog. So, excuse this sentimental mama. Note, Zach does have pockets in his cargo pants;)
No one likes being lied to.
Not one person.
Not your parents, your teachers, your friends, your significant others, your boss, your co-workers, or your children.
Not even you.
Captain Obvious statement?
Maybe. But then why do we lie to ourselves?
Yes. We are our biggest offenders. Self-awareness is a rare quality these days. Whether that's due to the everyone gets a trophy mentality, our gold-star obsessed society, or the praise minus constructive criticism mindset—I'm not sure. Although the cause is somewhat of a mystery, the effect stares me in the face every day.
We are terrible at being honest with ourselves. Granted, the truth might be buried under false security and inflated self-esteem. Still. The truth dwells deep in the marrow of our bones—waiting to be called out.
A compelling, successful leader can look in the mirror and unashamedly assess. Then, magic happens. Empowerment tickles the fingertips.
Why is that?
Honest assessment identifies strengths and weaknesses. True strengths are capitalized upon, and weaknesses are shored up by the construction and development of a capable team.
Call to action?
Be honest with yourself.
Ask trusted friends and family to help identify strengths and weaknesses. They sometimes know you better than yourself. Be willing to listen.
Verse: Ephesians 4:25
Come on y'all!
Let's get a clue.
Me versus you
will never do.
You post that.
I take it in.
No wrinkles, no crinkles
I look at me,
Unfiltered and real--
I'll never meet that crazy ideal.
Yes, I can.
Magic Wands at your service!
Shrink and crop--
Filter and blur and—voila
That's the shot!
No wrinkles, no crinkles
That's not me--
Not even close.
Do you see?
A mask, a moment
but one you perceive
as absolute perfection.
Oh, don't be deceived!
It's all an illusion.
Yet, oh my goodness!
What a fuss!
Our who we are,
Twisted and tainted--
How bizarre . . .
You are not them.
They are not you.
Come on y'all.
Let's all get a clue!
Amanda H. Williams
A little poetry never hurts to power through hump day, right?
I'm the worst offender in the comparison game. I would like to think I'm getting better as common sense (not so common) reminds me of the veil all of us drop over our social media accounts.
Can today be a call to action? Just stop. No, I'm not saying take all the filters off your phone. Everyone likes a great picture.
Only stop defining someone by what's on the screen. That's not real. It's a moment—a snapshot—a blink. You do them a disservice, as they do you one in turn, by summing up their identity in pixels. That mindset is the opposite of wellness. It's weakness.
A person has depth, pain, sorrows, moments of ugly, moments of beautiful, and all the messy in between. The breathtaking wholeness of a person, a fellow image bearer, can only be captured through authentic relationship. And even then, let's reach out for community, not comparison.
Bob Goff doesn't need my endorsement, but let me tell you, I needed his words. In Everybody, Always, Goff breaks down what it means to become love. He simplifies what we tend to make overly complicated. What does Jesus require of us? Is it our defense or is it our willingness to reach out to the difficult and make love known? So many causes to pause and chewable nuggets! I actually listened to this one on audible.com and if that's you're thing, I highly recommend because Goff is the narrator.
Featuring a fellow author friend, Raven H. Price. Blinded by the Light is a short story with unexpected twists that will make the reader pause and evaluate truths presented betwixt the pages of fiction. The dialogue between the supernatural beings and the main character is fascinating. Great, short read!
"Ellen Draper has a near-death-experience like no other. She dies, has her physical sight and hearing destroyed, and is taken to heaven by three angels to be judged and scrutinized by a tormentor.
Before her trial begins, the angels prepare her by giving her a royal treatment and tutoring her biblically for the battle. Finally, she is forced to remember her horrible past, so she will be prepared for the accusations.
When the angels feel Ellen is ready, one shoves her in a room to face the devil, or so she thinks. Who is the accuser she can see and hear inside this courtroom? What will is the purpose behind this ordeal? Will heaven assist or allow Ellen to take unspeakable punishment? Will she be the same afterward, or does she buckle under extreme fear?"
This classic novel is part of a delicious series by Winston Graham. Set in Cornwall during the late 1700's, you won't be able to get enough of the intense drama! And—Masterpiece has made a FANTASTIC adaptation. If you like period drama, this is a must read/see!
Why do we set intentional goals?
To achieve results? Of course.
In my experience, long term results are well—LONG term. And here's the thing. I'm not a patient creature.
Short-term goals with immediate rewards are my friends.
This morning, I completed a programmed 2-mile work out. I met my pace goals and did not stop. That may seem small, but guess what magic occurred as a result of that one accomplishment? A shot of energy, productivity, and a big ole' dose of positive attitude. Before 9 am. When my air conditioner is broken. And it's 100 and whatever in Central Florida.
Whether those baby steps look like:
All of them are signs of moving forward—toward the bigger goal.
Speaking of—here's my progress report from last week:
How's it going for you?
BTW, the Lord works in mysterious ways. My book to review this month?
I'll let you know how it is.
Moving with Scribbles,
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart
How To Know For Sure You Are Saved
Reasons I chose this book to review:
Love it, especially for teens. WHY? Because it's easy to stick in their string bags or backpacks. It's PORTABLE. Necessary, right?
Very user friendly, guys. You won't be intimidated to start reading. Table of Contents and thorough Notes section included.
As a kid who grew up in the church, I can relate to the premise of this book. It's an issue for teenagers—especially for those who are reared in the pews. My own children have struggled with it and during our family discussions I flash back to my adolescent fears. Greear does an outstanding job of compiling a lot of information into a non-intimidating package. I'm buying several for friends/family. Invaluable resource.
My big takeaway: Repentance is not a prayer. Repentance is a posture.
Wow. That word conjures up quite a few images, right? Relax. I'm talking 30 ways to be a leader; not 50 shades of not-going-there.
What in the world does passion have to do with leadership?
According to dictionary.com, to be passionate is to possess a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.
Now we're talking.
But how do you become a passionate leader, one who is filled with a fervor that catches fire and spreads?
First things first. Find your passion. What sparks your interests? What excites you? What do you enjoy doing? What do you care about? What do you not care about? What occupies your mind and steals your attention?
Next, pursue your passion with a plan. I can't tell you how many times I sit across from someone at the interview table, and they share their end destination but have no map to get there. Again, randomness is not your battle buddy when it comes to crossing a finish line or beginning a journey.
Third, use your passion for fuel when stuff gets hard. Because, as stated last week, stuff will get hard. And, a part of you will want to quit. Always. Why? Because we generally don't enjoy hard stuff. So, how do you push through those walls? Inject that intentional, I-choose-it-even-if-I-don't-feel-it enthusiasm and excitement into the go-go-go of becoming a leader who is passionate.
Last, but most important tidbit of advice. Don't confuse the vehicle with the destination. For instance, if I handed you the keys to a car and a credit card and invited you to use those resources to go anywhere in the continental United States you wanted to go, would you do it? Hmmm, exciting, right?
You have to drive the vehicle the entire way.
Except—the car is a piece of junk. One that will run—most of the time. One that will get you there—eventually. One that might need a little tender, love, and care along the way. But still. I gave you the credit card. Would you go?
Would you expend the energy, the time, the intentionality to take the journey?
God has used vehicles—lemons and jalopies—to allow me to pursue my passion. And guess what? The road trip taught me a few key pieces of information.
I'm passionate about:
God willing, I'm using my gifts to passionately pursue leading in each of those areas. No matter the vehicle. No matter the job. No matter the walls. No matter.
Verse: Proverbs 20:5
To-Do: Spend some time exploring what sparks your interests. Think of the practical application of leadership within the context of what you are passionate about. Discuss with a trusted family member or friend.
Y'all, I'm knock, knock, knockin' on 44's door. And I'll be honest, between hormone crazy-town, the antics of two active teenagers, the ups, downs, and sideways of a few businesses, and the overall whackadoodle day-to-day, random survival is often the name of the game.
Whew. We made it.
Short-term? Fantastic. Everyone wants to check survival off their list of to-dos.
Long-term? Not. Good.
Why? Random, by definition, is without intentionality. I mean, technically, I guess you could be an intentionally random person, but—whatever. Not going there.
According to thesaurus.com, a few synonyms for random are:
accidental, arbitrary, designless, hit-or-miss, fluky (my fave)
Not words I'd like ascribed to my overall wellness plan.
On the flip side, a few antonyms for random are:
essential, methodical, planned, systematic, specific
Okay, now we're talking goals.
As in setting them.
There are seasons where I'm an ace at this part. My gig for the first twelve years of my professional life involved setting goals for other people. I'm kind of good at it.
Except when my grandfather used to say, "My give-a-damn is broken."
And there you go. That's the other season. The season where I personify the shrug-the-shoulders emoji 24/7. Not towards other people, but towards my self.
So, as I begin this journey of overall fitness, my GOAL is to be the opposite of random.
I'm striving for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. To be wholly fit on all levels.
Work in progress, but thus far, this is what I have:
Not fleshed out, but a work in progress. If you'd like to share yours, please do.
Moving with Scribbles,
An innovative thinker is one full of fresh, new, novel, unprecedented, and creative ideas. *
Give yourselves a pat on the back fellow GenX'ers! Why? Because. We, my friends, have raised an innovative generation.
These young people are bursting with all the upgrades, and they are eager to share.
Bless their hearts. Exposure to information began the moment they took their first breath. We poured our education into "parenting" these boys and girls and bada bing bada boom, 2.0 absorbed some stuff. Yay!
But we aren't done yet, Y'all.
What some of us have forgotten is that successful innovation must be paired with its infamous counterpart, patience.
Yeah. Patience. As in settling into a pocket and learning how a system works before implementing meaningful change.
Let me give you an example:
A fresh-faced junior in high school scores a job at a local clothing store. Her leadership skills are recognized, and the wise employer praises her for said skills during the interview. Well done, mama and daddy. Check the box. You raised her right. She did it!
You go out to dinner, celebrate, and maybe even open a checking account.
The first day of work arrives.
She is cute as a bug, and you post her image, nametag attached correctly, on all the socials.
Off she goes. Ready to change the world.
Clock in. Ready, set, go. What does this bright future leader get tasked to do? Fold t-shirts. For her entire 6 hour shift.
Stop. Eyebrows raise. Why would wise employer waste such talent? Why not task young, energetic shiny penny girl with a job that shows off that fantastic innovative skill set?
She's not ready—yet. She doesn't know the systems in place—yet. She doesn't understand the customer component—yet. She doesn't understand how ideas translate from the mind to paper and into the procedural practice of watching it succeed and/or fail—yet.
But she will. IF—she's patient. IF—you are patient.
Patience. The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.*
What plays out more than not is our innovative offspring are not patient enough to hang in there consistently over time to display their fresh, new, novel, unprecedented, and creative ideas.
Sad and scary.
These are our future leaders, after all.
Relax and take a deep breath. Squashing spirit is not the end game. However. Equipping them with a pair of wings that will soar to a height where others want to follow—that's what patience will do.
Verse: Isaiah 40: 28-31
To-Do: Identify a problem. Take time to define the problem. Research the history of the problem. Understand this takes time and experience. Brainstorm innovative solutions.
Before the first day of work, talk to your kid about realistic expectations.
On a day much like any other, I was with two good friends, riding in the backseat of a truck, singing along to a song we were playing too loud to be healthy. In a sudden blur of color, two (probably modified) sports cars screamed past us in the middle and rightmost lanes going a hundred and something miles an hour. I couldn’t tell if they were racing, or just going fast because they felt obligated on account of all the money they’d spent to be able to. You see stuff like this on highways all the time, so I thought nothing of it and kept singing.
I wasn’t looking at the road when my friend in the driver’s seat gasped — I’m talking about an honest, stage-worthy gasp — and turned the music all the way down. I leaned forward, squeezing my shoulders between the front two seats, and looked out through the windshield. Something glowed bright in the distance, casting a soft light on the road in front of us. A fiery mushroom cloud erupted from a car and billowed at least a hundred feet into the air before caving in on itself. It was like a handheld nuke had gone off. It’s strange what goes through your head in moments like that. I remember thinking it was strange to see something so bright and so orange late at night. And on a highway where typically your view is comprised of long stretches of dark road. It’s like your brain takes a moment to process things like that — things that just aren’t supposed to happen. Eventually it seemed to understand: explosion.
We were going to stop, but there were already loads of cars parking on the side of the road. We called 911, and as we rolled slowly by the scene, we saw the car still immersed in that relentless inferno like some metallic bonfire, the driver’s side door blown off and laying on the side of the road beside a flaming tire. I knew immediately that I had just witnessed someone die.
We looked the story up in the news later. The kid was seventeen. And so, even though I believe in a perfect God, my question then was this: “How can there be a good God in a world where this happens?”
I think it’s healthy to question what you believe every now and then — to ask difficult, uncomfortable questions. I do find myself asking why a perfect, benevolent God would allow such tragedies to occur. In fact, one of the most popular arguments against the existence of God is the existence of evil. How can God allow these things to exist? If he’s all powerful, why did he not prevent evil from ever entering the world in the first place? Better yet, why does he allow evil to exist as a construct, as a concept? If it didn’t exist, surely it could never have entered the world. If you think I’m here to answer those questions, you’d be wrong. There are folks far smarter than me who devote their lives to studying these issues and formulating logical answers; there’s no use in me trying to stumble around forming a theological explanation. I do think that there are people out there who have delivered pretty sound explanations as to why God and evil exist. And I do believe that there are answers. But there’s a problem with having all the answers, anyway.
Once you know everything there is to know about everything, you have entirely removed wonder from the world, and you have abolished the need for faith. If there is nothing I don’t know, not a question I can’t answer, then why do I need God? Why do I need faith? I don’t. The thing is, there’s actually some stuff I don’t know — quite a bit, really —you could call it a lot and it wouldn’t be a stretch, I don’t think. I don’t have all the answers, and neither does anyone else, nor anyone past, nor anyone to come. It wouldn’t be called faith if we had all the answers. Not everyone will agree with me, and some may even despise me, but I’m choosing to believe. Not because I think it’s the most logical decision (even though it may be) but because I’ve felt the peace, love, and joy that I believe only God can provide in this world that so often feels broken down and rusted over, malicious and sadistic in its intent. In the end, I feel Jon Foreman described it pretty well when he said, “I think both faith and doubt are equally logical responses in the face of tragedy. Faith is to say, ‘Yes the future will have pain. But there is a meaning and a purpose deeper than that pain.’ For me, that is my choice: to believe rather than doubt.”
Sam Skipper is a university senior studying English and Creative Writing. He hopes to graduate within the year and pursue a possible career teaching high school English. While he is furthering his education, he spends his remaining hours working part-time, staying active in his church, and doing absolutely nothing with his friends. Sam enjoys the beach, traveling, camping, and hiking among many other things, but he values his relationship with Christ, his friends, and his family most of all. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his mom, dad, and brother.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.